This is your guide to the most beautiful cities in Europe. It includes the best Instagram locations for destinations like Italy, Turkey, France, and more! As a frequent traveler, I am always on the search for the more quaint villages not necessarily on the well-known path. I like to find those little, lesser-known towns. The harder it is to get to the more picturesque.
Here are 15 of the most beautiful cities in Europe. They are definitely instagrammable so grab your camera and get ready to go!
1) Burano, Italy
Probably the most colorful place in the world. Burano is a 45 min boat ride from Venice known for lace making and it’s a photographer’s paradise with each home painted a vibrant color.
Best photo opportunities in Burano
There are 3 main canals in Burano and you can take a photo in front of any of them with the brightly-hued homes surrounding. The houses have the cutest doors and windows all decorated with flowers and bright curtains. Just choose your favorite color and get ready to snap some photos!
2) Agueda, Portugal
Only in the summertime (July to September), this undiscovered town in Portugal has a festival with umbrellas and street art covering most of the streets. It might be one of the most cheerful and happiest towns I’ve ever traveled to. I loved wandering the streets full of color and creativity.
Best photo opportunities in Agueda
On Rua Luís de Camões street, you can find umbrellas of all colors of the rainbow floating in the sky. However, there are many more umbrella streets adjacent to this main road as they appear throughout the city. Here’s the exact google map location of the most instagram-worthy street in Agueda, Portugal.
There is also a street full of balloons in the air and the best time to capture a photo is when the sun is shining. During this time you will see the colors of the balloons reflected on the street which makes a really cool photo. On top of that, there are many beautiful colorful staircases and street art throughout Agueda.
3) Nice, France
Throughout the city, you will find many pastel-colored buildings and if you go to the top of Colline du Château (Castle Hill) you will see them stacked along the landscape. Nice also boasts one of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets you can ever imagine!
Best photo opportunities in Nice
Climb to the top of the stairs to Castle Hill, just in front of the pebblestone beach for the ultimate views in Nice. As mentioned, be sure to go at sunset for an epic photo. It is one of the best free things to do in Nice!
Throughout the Old Town of Nice, you will find cobblestone streets and colorful architecture. Get lost wandering the streets full of many photo opportunities. There is also a flower market you can attend called the Cours Saleya.
4) The Alsace region in France
All around the Alsace region, you will find the prettiest towns of Europe including Colmar and Eguisheim. Going during the Christmas market is a whole treat in itself. Everywhere you go, you will find the best Christmas decorations. Grab a mulled wine and waltz the streets in Christmas spirit.
Best photo opportunities in Alsace
Eguisheim has such medieval vibes. You can find this photo spot below with the unique yellow buildings at the beginning of the town. Beauty and the Beast was modeled after this town and you can clearly see why!
Colmar is also the absolute cutest town in Europe and has buildings adorned with teddy bears, stars, and other decorations. The most famous photo location is by the Christmas Tree with the pink Gingerbread building behind.
There are many more amazing towns in the Alsace region worth exploring but these were the ones I loved the most.
5) Lisse, Netherlands
Outside of Amsterdam, you will find tulip field after tulip field. The beautiful flowers bloom around April to May so be sure to visit then! You can skip the popular Keukenhof Gardens and visit the fields in Lisse away from all the tourists.
Best photo opportunities in Lisse
When visiting the tulip fields in the Netherlands you should be cautious and respectful of the flowers as to not damage them. It is frowned upon to visit the tulip fields without permission from the owners. Just snapping photos for the gram and stepping on the bulbs is just a no-no so be sure to follow the rules.
However, there are many visitor-friendly fields that are super instagrammable. The Tulip Barn costs only €7.50 to enter and they have all kinds of cute displays all around including a golden cow, a red heart you can sit inside of, a swing set, and a piano in the middle of all the pretty colored tulips.
6) Hallstatt, Austria
The hard to get to towns are often the most picturesque. After taking 2 trains and a ferry, I arrived in Hallstatt, Austria from Salzburg and it was worth it. The pretty swans are bountiful in the lake and the sights are beautiful. It is one of those destinations best seen when the pretty snow is covering the landscape but you can surely go at any time of the year too. Hallstatt is straight out of a children’s storybook and a place you should add to your travel wishlist.
Best photo opportunities in Hallstatt
The absolute best place for a postcard-perfect photo is located at Gosaumühlstraße 67. This is the most photographed location where you can see the church situated above a serene lake filled with white swans. After taking this classic photo, you can visit the Market Square in the city center full of colorful historic buildings. Then end your visit by riding the funicular up to the SkyWalk for a view above the village.
7) Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and is the city of 5 towns. Nothing more makes me happy than those picturesque landscapes and pastel-colored buildings. The 5 towns in Cinque Terre are Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. You can visit many of them in a day as the train system is quick between each place. Many people opt to hike between the villages too! If you only have time for a few I would strongly suggest Manarola, Vernazza, and Riomaggiore in this order!
Best photo opportunities in Cinque Terre
The first place on my list of instagrammable places in Cinque Terre would have to be Nessun Dorma Cinque Terre. Here you can enjoy delicious nibbles, and fantastic drinks, and watch life go by with the breathtaking hilltop views in front of your eyes.
Another impressive place for photography is the viewpoint in Vernazza which you can reach by taking the hiking trail between Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. You will need to pass through a fence and walk down a bit.
Riomaggiore is another pretty village in Cinque Terre and if you walk up the hiking path you can see the brightly colored buildings and sea next to the railing.
Read my full blog post on Cinque Terre here!
8) Paris, France
Paris is a bustling city that will never leave you bored. Visit the iconic spots like the Eiffel Tower but find the best-hidden spots to capture the beauty of the city without tourists!
Best photo opportunities in Paris
To discover the most picturesque streets in Paris, start your day off in Montmartre. This neighborhood is full of cute streets like the one pictured above at La Maison Rose. Not far from there, you will find a street called Rue Norvins full of cafes with pretty facades including the Instagram famous one, Le Consulat. Next, head over to the Square Marcel Bleustein Blanchet, an off-the-radar garden with a view of the magnificent Sacre Coeur. Here you can get a photo without being bombarded by tourists. There are also many beautiful metro stations in Paris and the best of them all is Lamarck – Caulaincourt.
The Eiffel Tower is a must for photos but if you want to get pictures without many people in them then head over to alternative spots like Port Debilly in front of a beautiful tree that is perfect in Autumn or Square Rapp, a secret spot in a residential area. For even more locations in Paris, read my dedicated post here!
9) Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
If you want to feel like you’re in a fairytale visit Rothenburg, a medieval town along the romantic road in Germany between Munich and Frankfurt. This Bavarian town is recognized by the half-timbered houses, cobblestone lanes, and medieval wall that wraps around the city.
Best photo opportunities in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
The most beautiful street in Rothenburg for photo lovers is Plölein (as depicted below). To get the best photo you can stand towards the left side of the street in front of Hotel Goldener Hirsch. This will allow you to capture the beauty of the street and the unique architecture behind. Marktplatz is another key location you should visit which is where the Town Hall is.
10) London, UK
I’ve been living in London for almost 4 years now and it has so many pretty streets. You can find them tucked away from the bustling streets. Take a step away from the typical tourist places and see London from the perspective of a local. For one, if you look for mews you will definitely be in Instagram land. A mews is a row or street of unique houses of character that have been converted from stables – usually found on a hidden street behind grand mansions in some of London’s most exclusive areas. A mews is a virtually traffic-free environment, often found along quiet cobbled lanes.
Best photo opportunities in London
There are many affluent neighborhoods in London like Notting Hill, Hampstead, and Kensington where you can explore and see some of the most beautiful homes. As mentioned, mews streets are the best corners to walk along. My favorites include Kynance Mews (pictured below), St. Luke’s Mews, and Warren Street Mews.
London provides different photo opportunities across all seasons of the year. Around Spring, you find the pink cherry blossoms filling the streets. In April the purple wisteria comes out. Then you have the Chelsea Flower Show in May where all the storefronts go crazy with extravagant flower facades! In Autumn, you can see the gorgeous orangey leaves come out and wrap around the home exteriors and across the ground. And during Christmas, the London streets are full of lights and decorations – the best being on Regents Street where you can see the angel lights floating throughout the busy street.
There are a plethora of photo opportunities that would take a whole dedicated post or longer to go through for sure!
11) Rovinj, Croatia
I have only explored Croatia recently. It hasn’t been on my radar til now and I love it. It reminds me of Italy which makes sense because of how near it is. You can even take a direct ferry to Venice and arrive in under 4 hours! Plus, Rovinj is off the tourist radar for now so you can experience visiting without it being super touristic.
Best photo opportunities in Rovinj
The most photographed place you may have seen plastered all over Instagram is actually part of a clothing boutique called Atelier Charm. This is where you can see the beautiful blue sea from a narrow street with a table set up directly in front. The exact location can be found here.
You should also relax at the Big Pier of Rovinj where you can find some nice views of the city.
12) Positano, Italy
Along the Almalfi Coast (a UNESCO heritage site) there are some of the most beautiful towns you could ever imagine. Positano is one of those places! I fell in love with Positano the moment I first visited and it’s a place I would visit over and over again. This seaside paradise features turquoise blue waters, fantastic beaches, a plethora of boutiques if you’re in the shopping mood, and some of the best Italian food you’ll ever experience. There are many steps leading up to the Path of the Gods which is a clifftop trail offering amazing coastal views. If you walk up, you will find many photo-worthy spots.
Best Photo Opportunities in Positano
The photo opportunities are just endless in Positano. As mentioned, you can walk partially up to towards the Path of the Gods for stunning coastal views. You can also check out Franco’s Bar for a cocktail during sunset to admire the best view in town. It is part of a luxury hotel I dream of one day staying at. This bucket-list hotel is Le Sirenuse – they have some of the most striking rooms as well as possibly the most instagrammable restaurant, La Sponda.
Another photo hotspot in Positano is the beach itself! Head over to Spiaggia Grande and position yourself in front of the beach umbrellas with the Positano hills as your backdrop. Another must-do is taking a boat tour to Fiordo of Furore and capturing a photo right in front of the beautiful arches at this hidden beach. It’s tough to get there so a boat tour is the easiest way.
13) Santorini, Greece
Santorini features white gorgeous painted homes everywhere making it an Instagrammer’s paradise. This Greek Island among others is a bucket list destination. There are many cute pathways and corners with flowers and pops of color in between the white houses making the whole place a photo lover’s dream.
Best Photo Opportunities in Santorini
You can’t miss the famous sunset spot at Oia Castle but it doesn’t come without the crowds! Plan to get there early for a good spot as you will be surrounded by many people watching the sun go down in awe. Take your photo with the windmill perched in the backdrop and the white-washed buildings surrounding it. Kastro Oia Houses is another famous Instagram location by the cliffside where you can see the orangey hues of the buildings and a stairwell leading down a winding picturesque pathway.
14) Porto, Portugal
Porto is full of wonderful architecture featuring colorful tiles known as azulejos. The city is also on a big hill so you can enjoy some of the nicest views here. Plus, there are the most adorable trams buzzing through the town.
Best Photo Opportunities in Porto
The photo hotspots in Porto include the many tiled facades like Igreja do Carmo, Capela das Almas, Igreja de Santo Ildefonso, and the Sao Bento Railway Station. But all throughout the city, you will find photographable buildings with azulejos.
For the best view in town, and off the radar from tourists, head to a rock perched on top of a hill near Rua de Cabo Simao. It is somewhat tricky to find so I’ve linked the location on google maps here.
15) Gdansk, Poland
Gdansk is a small tucked away town in Poland with lots of character. The buildings are so ornate in this charming town making it a beauty to wander around. Gdansk is a super photogenic destination and is also super affordable as most other Eastern European cities making it the perfect place to add to your dream travel list.
Best photo opportunities in Gdansk
If you want to find the most instagrammable spots in Gdansk take a walk on Długa Street. This is one of the prettiest streets in the city full of the most historic buildings. Artus Court & Neptune’s Fountain features a gorgeous blue building and served as a meeting place for merchants. Another photo-worthy place is the Golden House which is an intricately detailed house in the heart of the Old Town.
16. Istanbul, Turkey
Situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, the city sits on the continental divide – although most of the city’s top tourist spots are firmly in Europe. As you’d expect from its location, Istanbul has a fascinating, varied history, with historical cultures from all over Europe, Asia, and Africa settling here and leaving their marks. You’ll experience this in its stunning mosques and detailed museums throughout the city!
Best photo opportunities in Istanbul
There are so beautiful places in buzzing Istanbul, worthy of a beautiful photo. Go back in time to Hagia Sofia, which started life as a Christian church, turned into a mosque, then turned into a museum, then turned back into a mosque! The incredible architecture of the Blue Mosque makes a perfect backdrop for any photo.
Another great photo opportunity is stepping into the many beautiful shops and the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul. While you’re at it, enjoy some traditional Turkish retail therapy at the Grand Bazaar. Visit the colorful neighborhood of Balat and capture the pastel-colored buildings on this beautiful street. End your day by taking a boat on the Bosphorus, sailing into the sunset for the perfect chance to take photos of the city from the sea.
For more reading, you may also like these:
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💎Best Hidden Gems in Europe
🏰 Fairytale Castles in Europe
☀️ Warmest Places in Europe in December
☕ The Best Instagrammable Cafes in London
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