Travel Guide | Barcelona

A Bird’s Eye View of Europe

Taking your European travels to new heights with the best views in major cities.

My favorite part of any excursion is finding the best view that captures the character and style of the city. My visit feels incomplete without the opportunity to take in the entirety of my travel destinations and memorize the details and beauty found from looking down upon the heart of a city. Here are some of my favorite spots in my favorite European cities from which you can capture spectacular views of the entire landscape and snap Instagram-worthy photos to bring back home.

1. Paris, France

The best way to experience the entirety of the city of love is, of course, from above! For a breathtaking view of the sprawling landscape of Paris, pay the 7 euro student rate to make your way to the top of the Eiffel tower. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can take the stairs that spiral upwards to the top, or opt for the lift. At the top of this famous landmark, you’ll find spectacular views as well as the extravagant Le Jules Verne restaurant.

Feel like escaping the flocks of tourists and finding a view via the road less traveled by? Another option is trekking up the Montmartre hill, which offers a quaint village, impressive basilica and manicured gardens. A benefit of opting for this option is that your view will include the Eiffel Tower in it! Equipped with a bottle of French wine, climb your way to a great panorama view of the city that only gets better as the sun sets.

paris, eiffel tower image

2. Berlin, Germany

As the capital of Germany, Berlin is a hub of political activity and government affairs. What better way to view the entire city than from the top of the Reichstag, Berlin’s parliament house? Be sure to make a reservation ahead of time to secure your visitation time and be prepared to pass through a lot of security checkpoints! The unique glass dome that sits atop the timeless Reichstag building houses a spiral staircase that leads visitors to the very center of its arch. You can also pass from inside the dome and make your way onto the rooftop of the building. There the view spans across the entire capital, and the beauty of Berlin can be captured in a snapshot.

reichstag image, berlin

reichstag image, berlin

3. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague boasts an array of astounding architecture, cobblestone streets and the cozy village vibes that are often found traveling through central Europe. While much of Europe has been rebuilt and remodeled after war, Prague is one of the few cities whose original style and architecture has been salvaged. For a view of the Old Town Square, red rooftops and the city’s river, pay 3 euros to ascend the old Town Hall Tower located next to Prague’s famous astrological clock. You’ll find your perfect Kodak moment at the top.

prague, old town hall tower image

4. Budapest, Hungary

Many people don’t know that Budapest actually consists of two separate towns, Buda and Pest, which border a winding river and are connected by bridges that serve as yet another display of the impressive architecture that Hungary has to offer. Pest is full of towers, gorgeous buildings and Hungary’s incredible parliament building. For a beautiful panorama of the entirety of Pest, travel across the river to reach Mathias Church. Once you arrive, climb winding staircases that lead to balconies that hold the crowds of tourists dying to take a photo of the great view.

mathias church image, budapest

5. Barcelona, Spain

Fans of nature will love the views of Barcelona’s sprawling cityscape that can be accessed by hiking one, or both, of the two mountains that border the city. Hike Mount Tibidabo, and you will be gifted with a view of the entirety of the Spanish city, from the base of the mountain that marks its northern border, to the blue horizon of Atlantic Ocean. Hike Montjuic, and you’ll be able to gaze from above at the coastline of this beach town and out at the endless, clear water of the ocean. A cable car that glides above the tallest buildings in Barcelona provides an alternate way of arriving at the top of Montjuic. Whichever mountain you choose, the views will not disappoint.

Photo credit: Nina Truong

6. Florence, Italy

There’s no better way to burn off all the pasta, pizza and gelato that accompany a trip to Italy than to climb the 463 steps to reach the top of the Duomo in Florence. Counting as your cardio for the day, this climb is well worth the views of the city and its background- the rolling, green hills of Tuscany. A 10 euro ticket gets you access to the Duomo, Baptistry of Saint John, cathedral and campanile, or tower. While the steps to the top might seem endless, you’ll be rewarded midway through with the opportunity to stare up at the gloriously painted, domed ceiling of the cathedral.

If you’re feeling less than enthusiastic about the stairs, an easier option is to climb the campanile, which has fewer steps but still provides great views of the city. Arguably better, the view from the top of the campanile includes the impressive Duomo. Your all access ticket does last 24 hours, so if you’re feeling extra ambitious, you could do both climbs in a single day!

view from duomo image, florence

Zoe Radner

Vanderbilt University | 5 stories

Zoe is a senior at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. She loves travel, running, blogging, Tina Fey, guacamole, the beach and bulldog puppies.

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