Paris…Venice…London… just saying the names of these cities conjures visions of romance. All of their unique attributes are too numerous to name, but let’s start with a few: the beauty, the history, the culture—not to mention iconic attractions that simply must be seen. Eiffel Tower, anyone? These six timeless European cities will inspire you now and for decades to come.
In the British capital tradition reigns supreme. (What else would you expect from a monarchy that has held power since 1066?) Add Gothic cathedrals, gilded palaces and veddy proper customs like afternoon tea, and you’ve got the very definition of a classic European city.
Do: Join your fellow visitors at Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guard—the ultimate in pomp and circumstance. In Westminster Abbey, roam among the royal tombs of Edward the Confessor, Henry V and Elizabeth I, among others. Gaze at the crown jewels in the Tower of London. And be sure to snap some photos in front of London’s famous Big Ben—the 316-foot clock tower that rises over the Houses of Parliament.
Eat: Head to a traditional British pub like Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, where you can sip ale and enjoy pub grub like steak and kidney pie, as did Charles Dickens and Samuel Johnson in their time. Considered London’s oldest restaurant, Covent Garden’s Rules was established in 1798. Here, you can expect such classic English cuisine as game and roasts and sticky toffee pudding for dessert (rules.co.uk).
Stay: At the posh Stafford Hotel you’ll feel like a guest in a private country home. The historic red-brick building, which is filled with beautiful antiques, sits behind Clarence House, where Prince Charles and his sons, William and Harry, reside. Keep your eyes peeled: The princes occasionally stop by the hotel’s American Bar; the 18th-century cobbled courtyard in front is the last in London to be lit by Victorian gas lamps (thestaffordhotel.co.uk).
Photography: Courtesy of VisitBritain.