The Most Luxurious Cities In Europe
Looking to experience some European luxury? Below are some of the most glamorous cities in Europe along with some of their most fancy attractions.
Of course, I am going to put Paris first! It is the one city on this list I know the best. And it is has been in the top 10 for most expensive cities in the world for a very long time. The city is well-known for its classic luxury. It is renowned for its glamour.
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Its gourmet dining is hard to beat and there are many top-end luxury shops and boutiques and it’s also home to many upscale hotels. Paris is also known for its world-famous fashion houses. Another reason is it has high real estate prices that trickle down through to retail prices.
The rich and famous from all over the world go there to spend money. The reason for this is because it's a beautiful and romantic place, and they want to experience something new and different than what they have back home.
On a budget?
While Paris has a reputation for being expensive, there is a lot to do here on a budget. For example, access to the Louvre and many other museums is free on certain days. You can also enter the Sacre Coeur for free. There are relatively cheap places to experience French fine dining and you can see a lot of incredible sights just from walking around.
For 3 years I lived 5 minutes away from Geneva, a global hub for banking that attracts a lot of wealthy people. If you want to go shopping for luxury Swiss watches (I did!) or buy the finest Swiss chocolate (did that too!), Geneva is the place to go. The people who live here have access to an international airport which offers flights all over the world along with a train station for those who want to travel by land or sea.
The streets are clean, the buildings are maintained and visitors can feel the economic prosperity that the city has to offer. The presence of famous Swiss companies (and their headquarters) like Rolex, Credit Suisse, Swatch Group, Nestle make this a very wealthy community to live in or visit. The city is surrounded by scenic mountains which are not too far from the downtown where people can go skiing in the winter or explore nature. The city has so much to offer that it is ranked among one of the most luxurious cities in Europe.
It’s definitely not a place to visit on a budget – the cost of living here is known to exceed even New York and Paris. However, it is worth visiting in your life simply for the fact that it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the Alps. The city is positioned on the edge of Lake Geneva and is surrounded by impressive mountains including Mont Blanc. Historic architecture is everywhere and there are some incredible art galleries.
London definitely has its fair share of luxurious attractions. It’s home to luxury stores like Harrods and Selfridges (I also LOVE Fortnum & Mason which I visited while doing a gastro tour) and has some lavish restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. It’s also home to luxury hotels like the Ritz.
The city has been home to many world-renowned architects and designers who have made their mark on its skyline and culture. The city’s history dates back over two thousand years with influences coming from all over the globe: Romans, Saxons, Vikings, and Normans among others. The result is a unique tapestry of cultures and architecture unlike any other European capital today.
The British Empire was born here; it's also where Hollywood found its magic – so no wonder it's one of the most luxurious cities in Europe. The fashion houses, boutiques, and exclusive shopping communities are unrivaled throughout the world. The city is home to some of the biggest fashion names in the industry with luxury brands making up nearly half of all shops found on Bond Street. The iconic Oxford Street is also located here – it's Europe's busiest shopping street with over 300 shops. The high-end stores are especially impressive; Harrods, Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges, and Liberty to name but a few. The city is also home to one of the finest luxury department stores in the world – Harrods. The most luxury houses in Europe are located here, along with some of the most exclusive designers. The world's most expensive shopping streets are in London, so it's one of the most luxurious cities in Europe.
The Ritz is one of the most well-known luxury hotels in London, but not the only one. The Dorchester (another five-star hotel) is another classy place to stay that has hosted royalty, The Beatles, and other celebrities. It’s also home to many upscale dining options.
On a budget?
Want to explore London’s sophisticated side on a budget? One of the city's greatest perks is its world-class museums and galleries, which are all free to enter. There are lots of low-cost river cruises where you can have lunch and see all the sights. Afternoon tea at the Ritz is also surprisingly affordable (the Royal family are known to pop in here – if you’re very lucky, you may even spot a member of royalty).
While I was working in Switzerland I did a lot of business trips to Barcelona and then when I moved back to San Francisco, lots of tradeshows in Barcelona. I had plenty of opportunities to see the ritzy side of this Iberian wonder. From exclusive nightclubs to luxury hotels, there’s a lot of glamorous attractions in Barcelona. The city is known for its architecture, cultural legacy, and nightlife, among other features that make it a leading tourist destination.
Barcelona has long been recognized as one of Spain's top destinations for visitors. The city is known for its architecture, cultural legacy, nightlife, and beaches. The Catalan capital is blessed with an idyllic Mediterranean climate that brings thousands of visitors each year. The beautiful coastline stretches thirty-six miles along the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean Sea. That means a lot of space for luxury boats and yachts!
On a budget?
Can you do Barcelona on a budget? Absolutely. The city has so much to offer on foot including free walking tours. It costs nothing to hit the beach and there are quite a lot of great restaurants at reasonable prices if you’re willing to venture off the beaten path.
Monaco’s placement should come as no surprise to anyone that has visited this city. It’s the playground of the rich and famous – there are supercars parked around every corner, million-dollar yachts all around the marina, and shops for every luxury brand. Luxury attractions include the Monte Carlo casino and opera house. I've spent a half-day here and was overwhelmed by the glamour!
The word “luxury” means extravagance or an unusual degree of comfort, and this small Principality has both to offer. The country's mild climate (it has neither snow nor high humidity), beautiful scenery along with its excellent casino gambling have made Monaco one of the world's top tourist destinations. The cars that roll down Monte Carlo's streets are not just part of the magnificent view.
The city is a playground for the rich and famous, as well as those who just want to look at them. The cost of living is high in Monaco, but those who can afford it know that they will not go hungry or have to worry about being mugged or assaulted. Monaco is also a tax haven, so those who want to avoid taxation will be welcomed here.
The city of Monaco has a large number of luxury boutiques, hotels and restaurants. The fashion world loves this place because designers can show their latest looks without having to wait for the fashion weeks in September or January. The jewelry shops are all very luxurious with rich items that will catch your eye instantly.
On a budget?
Can Monaco be done on a budget? It is possible – your best bet is to stay in a hotel outside of Monaco, it is a great day trip from Cannes. There are affordable-ish restaurants to be found throughout the city. And while you can take paid tours of the streets and bay, you’ll see a lot just by walking around on your own. Relaxing on the beach, walking around the F1 track, and taking the sights are all activities you can do for free.
Milan is one of the fashion capitals of the world. Many of Europe’s biggest luxury fashion brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Armani, Versace, and Prada are based out of Milan. Its most famous shopping district is the Quadrilatero della Moda, where most of these brands have their flagship stores – and where the mega-wealthy go shopping. You can also find one of the world’s oldest malls here, the Grand Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
The reason behind this is the rich culture, history, and architecture that are scattered around every corner. The design aesthetics are also very high end with many designer brands being present on nearly every block. The food scene is also exquisite with many Michelin star restaurants to choose from as well as a variety of cafes for those who want to enjoy their meal sitting down or grab it to go.
The people are very classy and seem to always be dressed up which adds an air of sophistication to the whole environment making Milan feel like you're walking through a runway show at all times! It would not be hard at all for someone visiting Milan for the first time to get swept away by its charm and to want to stay longer than originally planned because it has such a romantic and luxurious feel!
If luxury fashion isn’t your thing, then don’t worry – there’s a lot more to do in Milan. It has some world-class dining opportunities and some incredible art galleries, some of which aren’t that expensive. It’s also renowned for its impressive architecture including the Milan Cathedral.
Copenhagen was ranked #2 by HushHush on a list of the most luxurious cities in Europe. This is largely due to the city’s range of 5-star hotels and Michelin-star restaurants. You’ll also find opulent palaces and impressive fine art museums here.
The Danish capital Copenhagen is a city of contradictions. The place that gave the world Hans Christian Andersen and The Little Mermaid, whose fairy-tale architecture has been preserved in magnificent detail, also offers a very modern urban experience. The city's waterfront promenade is one of the busiest pedestrian zones in Europe, while its other neighborhoods are packed with designer shopping outlets and Michelin-starred restaurants. The old meets the new so effortlessly.
The Danes' outgoing nature makes Copenhagen a very social city. The Danes also take pride in their work, opting for quality over quantity. They are not penny-pinching or restrictive; if they've made a choice to do something, they go all out. The bar is set high for courses of service and products alike—from the first impression of a hotel's lobby to the last morsel of a restaurant's dessert. The people are what makes Copenhagen luxurious.
On a budget?
You can experience Copenhagen without spending a huge amount of money. Guided tours of Christiansborg palace are free and there are lots of free walking tours across the city. Attractions like Black Diamond library are also free to enter. Food tours across the city are also surprisingly cheap.
The beer capital of Europe is also one of Germany’s most luxurious cities. If you’re looking for high-end shopping, head to Maximilian Street where you’ll find all the big brands. There are also many swanky hotels and luxurious historic restaurants serving Bavarian classics.
The city of Munich is known for its rich culture and history, but it is also one of the most luxurious cities in Europe. The lavish food, wine, architecture and museums make this a location to see if you're looking for luxury on your vacations. The more time you spend exploring the different parts of this beautiful city, the more you'll realize how much Munich has to offer.
Munich's residents are some of the wealthiest in Germany which makes it an ideal place to visit if you're interested in European fashion or have a taste for fine dining. The many festivals that take place throughout the year only add to what makes this so prestigious as a destination spot. The Oktoberfest festival is very well known worldwide as it only happens in Munich. The festival is also by far the most famous event of the year and it brings people from all over the world to try out traditional Bavarian food, beer, and music.
The rest of Europe has even taken notice of this city's lavish events as many other countries now host Oktoberfests during their own fall season. The most luxurious part of this event has to be the beer steins which you can purchase at any souvenir stand throughout the festival. The beautiful craftsmanship makes for a perfect memento from your visit.
The locals know all about high fashion and style so it is always safe to go with their tastes when it comes to luxury goods. The best part is that shopping for these goods won't harm your wallet. The city has some of the best deals on luxury clothing, shoes, and more. The only downside to having such a rich culture is that some parts of this city can be quite expensive.
The luxurious hotels, restaurants, and bars are almost always very pricey which only makes it even more important to shop around for these luxury items. The best deal you can get is off the rack as many of the local shops and brands offer some discounts on their products. The luxurious shopping options do not end there as it is easy to find great deals on international designer goods throughout this city. The more time you spend in Munich the more you'll understand how much fun you'll have shopping for the most luxurious things in life.
The art scene in this city is also very well known and certain galleries will not disappoint if you have a taste for exquisite works of art. The rich cultural history of Munich has been captured in various paintings, sculptures, and more making it easy to add these items to your luxury collection when you visit.
On a budget?
Munich has a lot to offer for those that don’t want to spend a lot of money. Several museums have $1 entry fees on Sundays and there are lots of lunchtime offers around for a cheap taster of some fine dining.
Prague is known for its well-preserved history including sights like St Vitus Cathedral and Prague Castle. It’s also a very glamorous city – you’ll find some top-end hotels here with lavish rooms and some incredible superclubs such as Karlovy Lazne.
The most luxurious cities in Europe are well known for their elegance, beauty, and history. The Czech Republic city of Prague is no exception to this rule. The capital of the country was founded by Bohemian kings in 870 AD, making it one of the oldest capitals in continental Europe.
The city has been a center for culture and art since its inception with many famous artists flocking to make it their home over the years. The architecture is stunningly beautiful with buildings ranging from Gothic to Baroque styles that have stood through wars, floods, famines, revolutions, and everything else you can imagine happening during more than 1 thousand years of history. This combination makes Prague one of the most luxurious cities in Europe today.
On a budget?
Prague is a lot cheaper than many cities in Western Europe and is, therefore, easier to do on a budget. There are many luxurious hotels that won’t cost you a lot of money if you’re willing to stay somewhere a little less central.
There are some pretty impressive hotels to be found in Budapest as well as many great restaurants. Its nightlife scene is also one of the greatest in Europe – there are many top-end nightclubs here. This has made it a popular location for the rich and famous.
The city’s rich history and culture make it a top destination for tourists from all over the world. The Hungarian capital is home to many museums, theaters, opera houses, concert halls, and other venues that offer a wide range of performances. The cuisine of Hungary has been influenced by its long history as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and this can be tasted at any number of restaurants throughout the city. The architecture also reflects both Western and Eastern influences with buildings such as St Stephen's Basilica which was based on Roman basilicas found in Italy.
Budapest hotels are some of the most luxurious hotels available in Europe with many different styles to choose from including an Ottoman castle, a baroque palace, and a neoclassical hotel. The rooms in many of these hotels are lavish with high ceilings and chandeliers as well as marble bathrooms and antique furniture. The luxury doesn't stop there as the spa facilities at Budapest hotels are truly world-class with spas offering indoor pools, saunas, steam rooms, and even outdoor thermal baths.
On a budget?
Budapest can be easily done on a budget. Compared to the likes of Paris it’s very cheap, providing you stay in the right area (hotels on the Buda side of the city tend to be a little more pricey than those on the Pest side).
These luxurious cities in Europe are worth visiting for their rich culture, scenic views, and unique architecture. The cultural heritage of these places gives them a sense of history that is unmatched by many other cities in the world.
How about you? Have any other luxurious cities in Europe to add? Do share!
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I would love to visit Europe someday and see all of these sights in person. What a beautiful and exciting experience!
I’ve been to a few and some of these are on my bucket list. We are trying to determine where to go next June, any suggestions (not France or Italy, as my daughter has already been!) would be appreciated!
I wished I could afford even these budget friendly places in Europe someday.
I might not be able to afford and visit these cities but it’s great to know more about them
Paris has always been the number one place on my list. I have wanted to go there for so long now. I really do hope to go someday.
Visiting Paris and Geneva is definitely a dream of mine. Or tour Europe as a whole. Someday, I hope.
I have never been to Europe, but would like to visit any of these cities. I like how much variety there is and so much history and things to see.
Oh my, these are lovely places! I need to keep on saving to be able to visit them in the future!