Pint-sized Bruges punches well above its weight and is proud of its UNESCO world heritage status. However, it’s a city with a very modern outlook on life.
The city was founded by Vikings in the 9th century and dubbed Brygga after its harbour, which has since silted up. However, its position as a maritime trading port was cemented thanks to the river Zwin.
With Germany to the south, Denmark’s mighty western European rival England to the west and Sweden to the north, Copenhagen has been at the centre of Europe’s tumultuous history. It has withstood war and sieges (from 1658-59 a Swedish army besieged the city) and fires (in 1711 nearly a third of the inhabitants died from the bubonic plague, and in 1728 and 1807 the town burned to the ground).
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Cesky Krumlov is the best-preserved medieval town in central Europe. Tucked away along the Vltava River, it’s a dreamy Bohemian beauty that charms visitors with its gorgeous architecture and enormous castle.
The town’s unique character was forged through a gradual and peaceful evolution over centuries. It was first founded as a feudal castle village and later transformed into a Renaissance and Baroque town. The castle and old town have preserved their original street layouts, vaulted spaces, the design of aristocratic buildings and many other details of the medieval period.
Bordeaux is famous throughout the world for its wine, and it’s a large part of the city economy. Its vineyards stretch across 287,000 acres and produce 960 million bottles each year.
The city began as a Celtic settlement called Burdigala around 300 BC and became a leading hub for lead and tin mining in Roman times. However, multiple sackings by the Vandals, Visigoths and Franks led to a decline in the city.