Travel in Europe’s Most Liveable Cities
There are many factors go towards making a city ‘liveable’. Safety, environmental sustainability, housing options, good public transport, employment and education opportunities, local shops, public open spaces and parks, health and community services, and leisure and culture. There are a number of European cities which score well on this list of factors, giving them a liveability that also makes them great places to visit. Let’s explore the unique charms of some of Europe’s most liveable cities.
One of the world’s most fashionable cities, Milan is home to major fashion brands and the world’s largest furniture fair, Milan Fair. The city is rich in history, art and culture, and gastronomic tradition. Most visitors start their tour of Milan at Piazza del Duomo, where the city’s largest Gothic cathedral is located. The beautiful square, with the cathedral’s 135 amazing spires and a number of statues, is simply stunning and it’s worth spending some time lounging around before enjoying some shopping at the high-end boutiques at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. If you need to take a break, there are plenty of cafés in the area where you can sip a cappuccino and watch the world go by. Don’t miss the Leonardo da Vinci Museum of Science and Technology where interesting interactive exhibits of da Vinci’s inventions are showcased. Also not to be missed from da Vinci is the world famous mural The Last Supper in Santa Maria delle Grazie church. Advance booking is required.
Founded 2,000 years ago at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône Rivers, Lyon is France’s third largest city and has been a commercial powerhouse for many centuries. It built its fortune on the silk trade during the 15th – 17th centuries, which established one of Europe’s largest renaissance quarters, known today as Vieux Lyon. When visiting the old quarter, discover the Traboules, renaissance passageways which are unique to the city. There are many more historic sites well worth visiting, such as Lyon Cathedral with its original stained-glass windows dating back to the 14th Century, the Musée des Beaux Arts, France’s second largest fine art museum after Le Louvre, Fouvrière Basilica, one of the iconic hill-top churches built in the late 19th Century in French cities, and Presqu’île, the heart of Lyon where broad plazas, luxury shops, department stores, cultural institutions, government buildings, cafés, restaurants, and nightclubs are located.
Austria’s second largest city and one of Europe’s best preserved historical cities, Graz is a city with cultural significance. It was named European Capital of Culture in 2003 and City of Design in 2009, which is no surprise because the city is home to many cultural institutions and attractions. Exploring this city full of architectural wonders - from Neo-renaissance, Gothic, and Baroque churches to such quirky structures as Kunstmuseum and The Murinsel - is exciting and enjoyable. As a university town, Graz is also famous for its vibrant and varied nightlife.
A UNESCO listed historical town, e Swiss capital is a lovely city of picturesque cobblestone streets lined with stylish shops and restaurants which is small enough to be explored on foot. While strolling around the old town, you cannot fail to notice the city’s landmark, Zytglogge, a medieval tower with a 15 Century astronomical clock and a heritage site of national significance. Also discover some centuries-old quirky fountains scattered around the old town, many of which are decorated with allegorical sculptures. Tucked into a wide meander of the River Aare, the city offers spectacular views from many spots, such as from the tower of Bern Münster Cathedral, the highest church in Switzerland, and Nydeggbrücke, the bridge leading to the Bear Park, where you can see the animal that was adopted as an emblem of the city as long ago as the 12th Century.
Best known for its Christmas Market, this second-largest Bavarian city is rich with architectural wonders and historical landmarks. It was a commercial hub since the Middle Ages and became the powerhouse of Germany’s industrial revolution in the 19th Century. Home to a rich culinary tradition, Nuremberg is where Bratwurst sausages and gingerbread treats originated. Hauptmarkt, the main marketplace situated right in the centre of Nuremberg, is a good spot to start exploring the city and stroll around the Old Town. This district features magnificent historical buildings and museums, including Schöner Brunnen, a beautiful fountain which is one of the city’s most beautiful landmarks. Other museums worth visiting include Germanisches Nationalmuseum, the house of Albrecht Dürer, a German painter and theorist of the German Renaissance, the Toy Museum, and the Documentation Centre and Nazi Party Rally Grounds. Do not miss the stunning view of the old town from the top of Sinwell Tower, at Nuremburg’s Imperial Castle.
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