Top 5 European city sights & shopping hotspots

By Naomi Louwerens:

1. Barcelona

One of the world’s major global cities and city of Gaudi, with many architectural must visits from his hand, such as Parc Guell, Casa Batlló and of course the Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudi’s masterpiece.
His work can be found throughout the city, but for historic buildings and beautiful sights THE place to go to is the old Gothic quarter.
In the La Ribera district near Barceloneta you will find one of the trendiest neighborhoods called El Born. A popular place for expats and one of the most fashionable areas of the old city.
This area is filled with unique boutiques and many café’s, bars and restaurants, which are a bit more authentic and special than the ones on the main tourist walk Rambla de Catalunya.

Barcelona inside Sagrada Familia

2. Lisbon

Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world and THE oldest of Europe. Founded by Caesar and captured by the Moors in the 8th century, this can be recognized in the city’s diverse architecture, cultural sights and Moorish influences throughout the city, such as the many beautiful ceramic tiles on colorful buildings all around.

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Antique and boutique shopping can be done in the neighborhoods Chiado and Bairro Alto. As these are situated up the hill of the old city there are many unique viewpoints here as well. Sao Pedro de Alcantara is stunning because of its location including a stylish city park with wide views over the city and the medieval George castle.
There are many other viewpoints in this city, for instance from the top of Rua Augusta Arch at the Praca do Comércio. This is a classy city square by the water, with wonderful views on either side, and the popular shopping street Rua Augusta directly leading up to it.

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3. London

London is one of the best shopping cities in Europe, especially at Christmas time. The streets are vibrant and there are many historic and classy department stores in the city centre. Just to name a few: Selfridges, Harrods and Liberty, but also luxurious and diverse shopping streets such as Carnaby, Sloane and Dover street.
There are also many royal neighborhoods such as Kensington, Richmond and Greenwich, not many tourists know about yet. They are situated a bit further from the centre, but they have great stature and elegance.

London Eye
Most of the main sights are conveniently situated around the Thames, like the London Eye, the Tower bridge and of course the Big Ben. But Buckingham Palace, Kensington Gardens, the Saatchi Gallery and the Tate Modern should also be on the list of travelers coming to London.

Londen tower bridge

4. Florence

The capital of Tuscany and one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, especially if you appreciate culture, Renaissance art, monuments and architectural heritage. Florence was voted one of the most beautiful cities in the world and its historical centre is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.Florence Ponte Vecchio
The famous cathedral ‘’the Duomo’’ dominates all views over the city and is the most well known sight. Together with the high Campanile and Baptistery next to it a must see for everyone visiting Florence.
Exactly in the centre is the Piazza della Signoria with the unique Palazzo Vecchio. With painted ceilings, beautiful interior, rusticated façades and its impressive tower it is definitely worth a visit.

Florence Duomo, Baptistery and Campanile
The Ponte Vecchio is an iconic feature of the city as well. With many historic shops built on stilts on both sides of the bridge, giving it a colorful outlook, lively atmosphere and the best shopping area for jewelry, luxury souvenirs and accessories.

Florence me in front of Ponte Vecchio

5. Amsterdam

The capital of my country is well known for its canal district which is also listed as a UNESCO site. Some of the best shopping can be done in this area called the Jordaan with its historical shopping area’’the 9 streets’’.
Nearby is the Dam square in the centre of the city, with beautiful department stores Magna Plaza and de Bijenkorf on either side of it. But also various tourist sights, such as Madam Tussaud and the Royal Palace.

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Even more luxurious shopping can be done in the P.C Hooftstraat, where all the mono brand stores are situated. For culture a must visit nearby is the national Rijksmuseum, renowned for artworks of big Dutch painters as Rembrandt and Vermeer and next to it the famous van Gogh museum.

21-11-2015
Naomi Louwerens
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