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Home to some of the world’s oldest and most beautiful cities, visitors flock from far and wide to Europe to see these history and culture-steeped metropolises. Among the most high-profile and well regarded of these centers are Paris, Barcelona, Lisbon and Rome. With a flair all of their own, each city embraces visitors with open arms and offers them a distinct and memorable experience.
Often referred to as the City of Love, Paris has long attracted writers and artists and has a reputation for exquisite style. The French capital’s current look owes much to Baron Haussmann, who oversaw a renovation of the city in the 19th century that led to the creation of grand mansion blocks that line elegant streets and boulevards. You can dine in Paris’s many cafes, bars and restaurants, relax in its public parks, enjoy its varied nightlife and visit the plethora of museums on offer. In total, the city has over 150 such centers, including the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Pompidou Centre and Jewish Museum. Make your way up the Eiffel Tower and you can appreciate the full glory of the Paris cityscape from on high.
Equally enchanting but completely different is Barcelona, Spain’s second city is characterized by the buildings designed by Antoni Gaudí. Seven of these are located in or near to the city. They include the Parque Güell, Palacio Güell, Casa Milà, Casa Vicens and the La Sagrada Familia cathedral (which is nearing completion!). Two places to check out are the city’s Gothic Quarter and the Rambla boulevard with its street performers and human statues. Barcelona’s famous boulevard itself has plenty of hotels along the way, so you’re close to the action in the city center. Then there’s the cuisine. The city has acquired a reputation as a culinary center and has no fewer than 23 Michelin starred restaurants willing to serve you high-quality cuisine. A great place to grab a bite to eat is the old fishing and restaurant quarter of Barceloneta.
Perched on hills above the Tagus, Lisbon offers a different experience again to Portugal’s Spanish neighbors. Despite being the capital, the city has a laidback feel and is easy to get around. It also benefits from the cultural mix brought by the Portuguese Brazilians and Africans who have travelled from the country’s former colonies. Latin and African bands are a familiar sound in the city and the world’s your oyster when it comes to places to eat or drink. Don’t forget, too, to check out the mosaics of Rossio Square, the medieval streets of the Alfama district and the many monasteries and museums there are in the city.
A city with more than two millennia of history, Rome hardly needs any introduction. During your stay in Rome, you can explore the Colosseum, the Forum, Palatine Hill and a variety of other monuments, including Christian basilicas and Renaissance palaces. The Vatican is another major tourist draw.
There you have them. They’re all on the Mediterranean, yet they all have their own distinctive character which places them on the map. Their charms and attractions make them giants not just in Europe, but in the world too. Come and feel the Mediterranean vibe. You won’t be able to get enough of it.