10 Great cities in Central Europe
Central Europe is not an area you here a lot about as a travel destination. Why? Well, this is largely due to the fact that many of the regions it’s comprised of are talked about in other ways. Due to its size and history, Germany is usually referred to alone, while countries like the Czech Republic and Slovakia are often considered Eastern Europe despite their central location. Here are 10 great cities to check out in the centre of Europe.
One of the most beautiful cities in the world, Prague is a cultural paradise with beautiful architecture and plenty of museums. Avoid tourist traps such as the Charles Bridge (it’s a long, busy bridge) and take a short tram ride to the National Gallery, outside of the centre, or Stromovka, a beautiful park. Of course, Prague Castle is a must, even with the number of tourists, and if you’re in the city during the summer, you should visit one of the city’s beers gardens. Letna is the best, with its hillside location and beautiful views of the city.
Dresden is still relatively unheard of compared to other cities in Germany. Heavily bombed during WW2, it now boasts a number of interesting museums and a beautiful central square. The GDR museum is interesting, but, take note, it’s all in German, so you’ll need a friend to guide you around unless you want to look at Communist-era televisions and furniture without context!
Perhaps Central Europe’s most popular city for tourists, Berlin has it all, from the historically charged Brandenburg Gate to the boho areas of Kreuzberg and Neukölln with their wonderful street food and vintage shops. Of all the cities on this list, Berlin probably has the most to offer, as you’d expect of Germany’s capital, and is easily accessible from other cities on this list.
Geneva is worth visiting for Lake Geneva alone, a beautiful body of water which stretches all the way to France. On a good day, one can take a trip on the lake itself, or sit on the bank enjoying the fine weather. There are many interesting restaurants in the city itself, but the lake is its jewel.
Bratislava doesn’t receive a lot of attention due to Prague, a few hours west. Often dismissed (particularly by the Czechs) as ‘Little Prague’ it has a lot to offer, including the beautiful Devin Castle (spectacular views), the historical Slavin Memorial and a number of interesting museums.
It would be madness to talk about Central European cities without mentioning Vienna. Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it isn’t cheap, but smart travellers can visit the city without burning through all their money. The city is fantastic in both winter and summer, with the State Opera a highlight, but it also has wonderful flea markets to wander around. Vienna is also the world’s largest wine-growing capital, so trying the local vino is a must.
Another great city to check out in Austria is Salzburg. Smaller than the capital, it has a lot to offer nonetheless, including the beautiful Hohensalzburg Castle with fantastic views, the Red Bull Museum, a fantastic zoo and a number of characteristically Austrian beer halls.
Poland is still largely regarded as an Eastern European country, but its success in recent years has led many to consider it part of Central Europe. We’d tend to agree, at least in geographical terms, and so we wanted to include Wroclaw, a beautiful city in the country’s south. With a beautiful central square, an abundance of museums and extremely friendly locals, it’s well worth a visit.
Similarly, Krakow is now one of the most popular destinations to visit in Poland. Why? Well, the city itself is beautiful, with a fantastic nightlife of bars and clubs. And for the more culturally minded, it is located close to the haunting Auschwitz as well as other historical locations, making it a great location for those hoping to mix education and leisure.
About three hours south of Prague is Cesky Krumlov, or Disneyland, as many visitors refer to it. With a beautiful castle thought to have inspired Walt Disney, it’s extremely picturesque, but also has a friendly atmosphere and relaxed style. The revolving theatre on the hill alone makes visiting worth it.
And what are you favourite Central Europe countries? Let us know – leave your comments below.