Europe is packed with old cities, many of them are well preserved and offer a glance at the way people used to live centuries ago. Many of those cities are now enjoying a great new era of prosperity as countless tourists come to admire the beauty of the old buildings, bridges, walls and cathedrals. Picking the top 10 of those cities is very hard, so here’s a list of 10 such cities, and you are more than welcome to add more in the comments section.
Sometimes referred to as “Venice of the North”, this beautiful and charming old town received its city charter in 1128. Today, the historic center of the city is a World Heritage Site of UNESCO. The heart of the historic center is the beautiful market and Belfort tower which stands 83 meters tall. The local beers and fine chocolates are also very good reasons to visit Bruges.
2. Regensburg, Germany
One of Germany’s oldest towns, Regensburg was founded by the Romans almost 2,000 years ago. The main attraction of Regensburg is its very well preserved medieval city center with the cathedral and the stone bridge, and the many Gothic buildings in the old quarter. Regensburg’s old city has also been awarded as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
3. York, England
An ancient cathedral city with a history that dates back to before Roman times. York offers some of the best preserved historical buildings and structures in Europe, so it’s no wonder it’s often ranked the second most visited city in England after London. The top attractions of the city is York Minster – the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe, and a simple walk around the city walls.
4. Collioure, France
The well-preserved town of Collioure is the merging of two nearby villages located on both sides of an impressive castle. The tourists that come to the city admire the beautiful streets and the other main attractions are the old church Notre-Dame-des-Agnes, the old light tower with it’s beautiful view of the sea, and the 13th-century Château Royal.
5. Tallinn, Estonia
Tallinn is the capital of Estonia. Its historical and medieval heart is located on the hill of Toompea. This well-preserved area is filled with medieval houses and alleyways and the old town is still protected by the remnants of the city wall.
6. Carcassonne, France
Located in south-west France, the city of Carcassonne is known for its old walled city. The most remarkable attraction would be the Cité: the historic fortress that was featured in the movie Robin Hood – Prince of Thieves. It is also told that the Cité inspired Walt Disney’s Castle of the Sleeping Beauty
7. San Gimignano, Italy
A beautiful medieval walled city in Tuscany. It is famous for its beautiful towers and great art. The main attraction of the city is the Piazza del Duomo – the town church’s square. The square is surrounded by several thousand-year-old towers!
8. Toledo, Spain
The history of Toledo dates back to Roman occupation around 192BC, and the ruins of the Roman circus are still visible outside the walls of the city. The main Cathedral is the centerpiece of Toledo and not to be missed
9. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is the capital city and largest city of the Czech Republic. The old city of Prague is world famous and attracts tourists from all over the world. The heart of the old city is the Old Town Square. All the original Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings were preserved here. The Historical Centre, including most of the city’s major sites, became a UNESCO heritage site in 1992
10. Stockholm, Sweden
The old town of Stockholm, called Gamla Stan, is a well preserved old town. The Royal Palace and Stockholm Cathedral are notable features