Admiring architecture is the best way to discover a city's history. Over time rulers, residents and construction styles lend their hand to creating unique and inimitable cityscapes. These are the best European cities for architecture-savvy tourists.
From Venice to the Czech Republic, Europe is a treasure trove of stunning architecture. And whether they be classical or modern, these 30 cities are sure to wow any and all lovers of buildings large and small. Start packing your bags to check Europe's most architecturally striking cities off your bucket list.
1. Barcelona, Spain
The Art Nouveau influences of 19th-century architect Antoni Gaudí reign over Barcelona. A stroll around the city takes you past his signature ceramic and stained glass mosaics, undulating stonework and ironwork, and hints of modern Gothic and oriental techniques left over from the past. Park Güell and Casa Batllo are perfect examples of Gaudí's artistic creativity but the masterpiece of Barcelona's architectural gallery has to be La Sagrada Família.
2. Rome, Italy
Rome's stunning architecture reveals the city's ancient character, power and ambition. The Romans were innovators, adopting new construction techniques, using new materials and combining existing techniques with creative design to produce a whole range of new architectural structures, leading to the never-before-seen construction of arches, aqueducts and amphitheatres of which Rome's Colosseum is the mightiest example.
3. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague remained relatively unscathed after two World Wars fought mainly on European soil and the history displayed in the city's architecture reveals an immense beauty and culture. Wander through this historic city and its preserved monuments, and a thousand spires and eight centuries of history will be laid out before you. The Old Town Square is a particular jewel, housing the Gothic masterpiece the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn and the oldest operating astronomical clock in the world, dating back over 600 years.
4. Paris, France
When people think of Art Nouveau it's often Barcelona and Gaudí that come to mind. Paris' answer to Gaudí was Hector Guimard, the early 20th-century architect that gave the city its distinctive look. Metro stations such as Cité and Abesses have the immediately recognisable Art Nouveau font but undulating ironwork can be found on balconies and doors across the city if one looks close enough. Architecture aficionados can discover for themselves the history of the city's construction by paying a visit to the Musée d'Orsay's Collection of Architectural and Decorative Drawings.