There are 43 European capital cities, and they are all unique. Some are small cities located on warm Mediterranean islands, and others are immense cities located in much colder climes.
In this post, we’ll take a look at each of the capital cities of Europe to learn more about their history and what makes them interesting.
Below is a map of Europe with the logo of each country’s capital:
Here below you can find the whole list:
- Capital City: Tirana
- 2022 Population Estimate: 512,000
The capital of Albania is Tirana, which is also the largest and most populous in the country. The city is located in the middle of Albania, approximately 37 km (23 mi) from the closest coastal city of Durrës on the Adriatic coast.
Rinas international airport is located in Tirana, which is one of Albania’s two main airports. The city is the most important economic, political, and trade center in the country. It was founded in 1614, but it has likely been inhabited since the Stone Age.
Things to do in Tirana
The Bunk’Art Museum is an attraction that will provide some insight into Albania’s unique history as well as a unique experience. The museum consists of a five-story bunker beneath the city of Tirana, constructed by the country’s former dictator, Enver Hoxha. It now houses historical artifacts and art pieces.
Some areas of Tirana can seem sleepy for a national capital, but Blloku is reliably active. For visitors of Tirana that are looking for nightlife or some upscale shopping and cafes, Blloku is the place to be.
- Capital City: Andorra la Vella
- 2022 Population Estimate: 20,438
Andorra la Vella is the capital of Andorra, one of the smallest countries in the world. The capital is also one of the seven parishes of Andorra and has the highest elevation of any of the European capital cities. The name of the city translates to “Andorra the Town” in English, which helps distinguish it from the country as a whole.
Tourism is an important industry in Andorra la Vella, as is its role as a tax haven for foreign investors.
Things to do in Andorra la Vella
Casa de la Vall
Casa de la Vall is an iconic sight in Andorra la Vella. It is a historic house with beautiful stonework that looks like a small house. Originally a house for an affluent Andorran family, it later served as home to the country’s parliament. It is now closed to the public, but private tours can be arranged.
La Noblesse du Temps
“The Nobility of Time” in English, this sculpture by Salvador Dalí is worth checking out in the capital of Andorra.
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- Capital City: Vienna
- 2022 Population Estimate: 1,931,000
In addition to being the capital of Austria, Vienna is the largest and most populous city in the country. Vienna is known for being a world center for classical music, impressive architecture, and for having served as the last capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
German is the official language of Austria, though English is commonly spoken in Vienna, and the Viennese dialect of German is unique.
Things to do in Vienna
This long, man-made island in the middle of the Danube is an excellent refuge from the concrete of the rest of the Austrian capital. The world’s largest outdoor music festival takes place here at the end of June. Another outdoor space that’s great for relaxing or exercise is Prater, which includes an amusement park.
A visit to Schönbrunn Palace is one of the quintessential activities for tourists in Vienna. It was the main summer residence of Habsburg rulers and features incredible architecture.
- Capital City: Minsk
- 2022 Population Estimate: 2,049,000
Minsk is the largest and most populous city of Belarus as well as its national capital. The city’s population of just over two million makes it the 11th largest city in Europe, and the city was first documented in 1067.
Annexed by Russia in 1793, Minsk was later part of the Soviet Union until Belarus gained the status of an independent nation in 1991.
Things to do in Minsk
This is one of the largest squares in Europe and is a good place to visit if you’re interested in seeing several of the most important buildings in Belarus in one place.
Museum of Contemporary Art
This large museum’s collections are from the 20th and 21st centuries by Russian and Belarussian artists. In addition to an extensive art collection, various events are held in the building throughout the year.
- Capital City: Brussels
- 2022 Population Estimate: 2,111,000
Not only is Brussels the capital of Belgium, but it is also the de facto capital of the European Union (EU) because of the number of important EU institutions located there. Known for its architecture, beer, waffles, and the iconic Manneken Pis, Brussels is a popular city to visit.
Brussels is the capital of the Brussels-Capital Region and is part of the French Community of Belgium as well as the country’s Flemish Region. It is not part of the Walloon Region.
Things to do in Brussels
This is the central square in Brussels and it is a must-visit for tourists in the Belgian capital. There are several impressive buildings for their architecture and history such as the Guild halls and the Town Hall.
The Royal Palace is the official palace of the Belgian King and Queen, but it is not currently used as the royal residence. The palace is open to visitors without charge from July 23 to August 28.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Capital City: Sarajevo
- 2022 Population Estimate: 344,481
Sarajevo is the largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the country’s capital. It is located in the Greater Sarajevo Valley and is surrounded by the Dinaric Alps, located on the Miljacka River. A city of religious and cultural diversity, Sarajevo is sometimes referred to as the “Jerusalem of Europe” and has a mosque, Catholic Church, Orthodox Church, and a synagogue in the same neighborhood.
Things to do in Sarajevo
Sarajevo Old Town
Simply strolling through the streets of Sarajevo’s Old Town is one of the best things to do in this capital city. The neighborhood is full of small shops selling traditional handicrafts and cafes where you can enjoy Bosnian coffee.
War Childhood Museum
The Siege of Sarajevo during the Bosnian War was the longest siege of a capital city in modern history. The War Childhood Museum provides a glimpse into the atrocities of the war through items that belonged to children who endured this period in Sarajevo.
- Capital City: Sofia
- 2022 Population Estimate: 1,280,968
The capital of Bulgaria is Sofia, which is also the country’s largest and most populous city. It is accessible from the international Sofia Airport, located 10 km (6.2 mi) east of the city. The city lies in the Sofia Valley at the foot of Vitosha Mountain in western Bulgaria.
Sofia is the primate city of Bulgaria, meaning it is significantly larger than any other in the country. it’s also the economic center of the country and where major universities, cultural centers, and commercial companies are located.
Things to do in Sofia
St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral
This cathedral dates back to the 1880s and is the second-largest in the Balkans. The architecture and artwork here make the cathedral an interesting attraction for just about any visitor. The crypt, which contains a number of religious icons, is open to the public.
National Historical Museum
This museum features Stanilist architecture and is the former residence of dictator Todor Zhivkov. There are 65,000 items on display in the museum and many more in its archives.
- Capital City: Zagreb
- 2022 Population Estimate: 806,920
The capital of Croatia is Zagreb, located in the northern part of the country near its border with Slovenia. Zagreb is also the largest and most populous city in Croatia. As the capital and financial hub of Croatia, Zagreb is known for its high quality of living, cultural attractions, museums, and diverse economy.
Over 90% of the city’s population are Croats, and Serbs make up the next-largest ethnic group. The official language in Zagreb and Croatia is Standard Croatian.
Things to do in Zagreb
This Zagreb neighborhood is a wonderful place for exploring on foot. At the heart of Gradec is St. Mark’s Square, which is where the Croatian Parliament and Constitutional Court are located.
The Museum of Broken Relationships
This isn’t your typical museum — The Museum of Broken Relationships is quirky and heartfelt. The exhibit features items from ended relationships accompanied by a story. The objects and stories range from heartbreaking to silly.
- Capital City: Prague
- 2022 Population Estimate: 1,318,000
Prague is the 14th-largest city in Europe and the capital of the Czech Republic. It is important politically, economically, and culturally to Central Europe and has been for many years. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia and the residence of more than one Holy Roman Emperor.
Today, Prague is well known for its many cultural attractions, such as the Prague Castle and Charles Bridge. There are more than ten major museums in the city.
Things to do in Prague
This is one of the most popular tourist sites in the city, and a major feature of the square is the Prague Astronomical Clock, first installed in 1410.
Petřín Hill is one of the many parks and green spaces in Prague, but its elevation grants visitors an unparalleled view of the city. Ascending Petřín Tower on top of the hill offers a panoramic experience.
- Capital City: Copenhagen
- 2022 Population Estimate: 1,366,301
Copenhagen lies in eastern Denmark on the islands of Zealand and Amager. It is the capital of Denmark, the country’s largest city, and has the largest international airport in Scandinavia. Copenhagen is separated from Sweden’s Malmö by the Øresund Strait and is connected to the city via the Øresund Bridge.
Copenhagen has been the capital of Denmark since the beginning of the 15th century and was originally a Viking village established in the 10th century.
Things to do in Copenhagen
Tivoli Gardens is an amusement park in Copenhagen that attracts tourists from all over Europe looking for an exciting experience or just to wander through the pleasure garden. Tivoli Gardens was originally opened in 1843, making it the third-oldest amusement park in the world.
National Museum of Denmark
This is Denmark’s largest museum of cultural history and contains exhibits from around the world. Covering over 14,000 years of Danish history, the museum’s scope is impressive.
- Capital City: Tallinn
- 2022 Population Estimate: 437,811
Tallinn is the capital and most populous city in Estonia. It’s located in Tallinn Bay in northern Estonia along the Gulf of Finland in the Baltic Sea, just 80 km (50 mi) south of Helsinki, the capital of Finland. The area of Tallinn has been inhabited by humans for at least 5,000 years, but it officially became a city in 1248.
Today, Tallinn is known for the many international tech companies that are headquartered in the city as well as for its thriving community of startup companies.
Things to do in Tallinn
St. Olaf’s Church
This church dates back to the 1200s and is free to visit, though it is closed in the winter months. Its notably tall church tower has been struck by lightning several times!
Tallinn’s Old Town is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Simply walking through this part of the city is an experience worth seeking out.
- Capital City: Helsinki
- 2022 Population Estimate: 1,327,762
Helsinki is the capital of Finland and the most populous city in the country by a large margin. Located within 500 km of Tallinn, Stockholm, and St. Petersburg, Helsinki shares historical ties with these three major foreign cities. Helsinki regularly ranks highly in lists of countries with the highest standards of living.
Things to do in Helsinki
This cathedral is the largest orthodox church in Western Europe and is a testament to Finland’s long history with neighboring Russia. The brick walls and golden cupolas are what make this cathedral stand out in the city.
Especially during summer, this green space in the middle of Helsinki is a popular spot to head for a walk and to enjoy some nature. In the summertime, there are also concerts held here.
- Capital City: Paris
- 2022 Population Estimate: 2,230,000
Known around the world for its cafe scene, the Eiffel Tower, baguettes, and more, Paris is the capital of France. In the 19th century, it was referred to as the “City of Light” for its early implementation of street lighting, and it was sometimes called the “Capital of the World” in the 20th century prior to the Second World War.
There are well over two million people living in Paris, which makes it the 30th most densely populated city in the world and one of the most densely populated of the European capital cities.
Things to do in Paris
The Eiffel Tower is likely the most iconic structure in Paris, and maybe even the world. Tourists flock from all over the world to climb to the top or to simply get a picture of it against the Paris skyline.
The Louvre is one of the most famous art museums in the world and houses famous works like the Mona Lisa.
- Capital City: Berlin
- 2022 Population Estimate: 3,571,000
Berlin is the capital and largest city in Germany, located in the northeastern region of the country. The city was famously separated in two by the Berlin Wall until the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Today, Berlin is the most populous city in the European Union and a major economic, cultural, and political hub in Europe.
Things to do in Berlin
This is an iconic Berlin site that was completed in 1791 and has served as a site for major events throughout history. Today, the gate is a symbol of European unity and peace. It’s also a feature on the German euro coin.
Tiergarten is Berlin’s most famous park, full of trails for walking, running, or cycling, famous monuments, and swimming holes. It really comes alive during the summer months when outdoor events are held in the park.
- Capital City: Athens
- 2022 Population Estimate: 640,000
Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece as well as the seventh-largest urban area in the European Union. It is one of the oldest cities in the world and is often referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy. Today, Athens is home to more than a third of Greece’s population and is an important financial, cultural, and political center of the country.
Things to do in Athens
The Acropolis of Athens
The Acropolis is a striking ancient citadel built upon a rocky outcropping. There are several ancient buildings that are part of this monumental complex, and it’s possibly the most famous landmark in Athens.
Temple of Hephaestus
This is a well-preserved, ancient temple dedicated to Hephaestus, the Greek god of blacksmiths, metalworking, and volcanoes. It’s located on the northwest side of the Agora of Athens.
- Capital City: Budapest
- 2022 Population Estimate: 1,775,207
The capital and most populous city of Hungary is Budapest, which lies along both banks of the Danube River. The modern city is a result of the unification of the two cities of Buda and Pest, each located on opposite sides of the Danube.
Budapest is the financial center of Hungary, the headquarters of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, and home to more than 33% of Hungary’s population.
Things to do in Budapest
Széchenyi Medicinal Bath
Supplied by two geothermal springs, the Széchenyi Medicinal Bath is the largest of its kind in the world. There are over 18 pools in the complex, and it’s a popular attraction in the city for locals and tourists alike.
Hungarian Parliament Building
This incredible building was designed in a Gothic Revival style and is a wonder to take in from across the Danube. Entering the building is possible with a guided tour.
- Capital City: Reykjavík
- 2022 Population Estimate: 135,688
Reykjavík is the capital of Iceland and the northernmost capital of any sovereign nation. As well as a popular tourist destination, the city is the center of cultural, economic, and political activity in Iceland. The city was officially founded in 1786, but it’s thought that this is where Iceland’s first permanent settlement was established in 874 CE.
Things to do in Reykjavík
National Museum of Iceland
For anyone interested in the history of Iceland, a visit to this museum is a must. Assembly of the vast collection on display began in 1863 and now houses artifacts describing the history and advancement of the country.
If you’re looking for more of a modern experience, the Harpa concert hall features strikingly modern construction and performances by the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and Icelandic Opera.
- Capital City: Dublin
- 2022 Population Estimate: 1,450,701
Located on the east coast of Ireland at the mouth of the River Liffey, Dublin is the capital of Ireland and its largest city. It is also one of the eight geographical regions of Ireland. The area of Dublin has been a settlement from at least the 7th century when it was inhabited by the Gaels. It was later settled by the Vikings, and it became the capital of the Irish Free State when it gained independence in 1922.
Things to do in Dublin
The Temple Bar
Irish whiskey and Guinness are world-famous, and there’s no shortage of either at this bar. The Temple Bar is among the most popular watering holes for tourists in Dublin and has a history dating back to the 1300s.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
This is the largest church in Ireland and was built in 1191. The architecture and peaceful surroundings make it a popular place to visit.
- Capital City: Rome
- 2022 Population Estimate: 2,900,000
Rome is the capital of Italy and the Lazio region, as well as the most populous city in the country. It’s also the third-most populous city in Europe. Rome has one of the most famous ancient histories in the world and was the seat of the famous Roman Empire. Today, Rome is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world.
Things to do in Rome
This is one of the most famous sites in Rome and is visited by millions of tourists every year. The well-preserved, gigantic amphitheater was famously used to host gladiator competitions as well as other events.
Trevi Fountain is one of the most famous fountains in the world. It depicts Greek Titan Oceanus in the center and is located in the Trevi District of Rome. It is free to visit.
- Capital City: Riga
- 2022 Population Estimate: 605,802
Riga is home to about a third of Latvia’s population and is the capital of the country. The city is located in the Gulf of Riga in the Baltic Sea at the mouth of the River Daugava. As the most important Latvian city in terms of economy, Riga generates more than 50% of the country’s GDP. The city is also a cultural center and is home to museums and concert halls.
Things to do in Riga
This is the Old Town of Riga, and it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Simply walking through this part of the city will offer great views of iconic buildings and a feel for the city’s history. There are also plenty of cafes and restaurants here.
Town Hall Square
The Town Hall Square contains beautifully constructed buildings and is free to visit, although most were reconstructed in recent history.
- Capital City: Vaduz
- 2022 Population Estimate: 5,769
Vaduz is the capital city of Liechtenstein and the best-known abroad, but it is not the most populous. The municipality of Schaar is located just to the north of the capital and has a slightly larger population. Vaduz is most famous for being the home of the Liechtenstein princely family as well as its unique architecture.
Things to do in Vaduz
Vaduz Castle was constructed as a fortress in the 12th century and now serves as the official residence of the Prince. The castle is closed to the public, but it can be admired from the outside, and walking tours that lead around the castle are available.
Old Rhine Bridge
This old wooden bridge spans 135 meters (443 feet) across the Rhine River, connecting Liechtenstein to Switzerland. The walk across offers impressive views of Vaduz.
- Capital City: Vilnius
- 2022 Population Estimate: 592,389
Vilnius is the capital and largest city of Lithuania, located in the southeast part of the country. It is the economic center of Lithuania and the second-wealthiest region among the Baltic states. Vilnius is also known for its multicultural population and for the beautiful architecture found in its Old Town, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994.
Things to do in Vilnius
Museum of Occupation and Freedom Fights
This museum is located within the former headquarters of the KGB and offers insight into what life was like during the Soviet occupation as well as information on the resistance efforts during that time.
There’s a reason The Old Town of Vilnius is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s one of the largest surviving medieval old towns on the continent and is exceptionally beautiful.
- Capital City: Luxembourg
- 2022 Population Estimate: 128,512
Luxembourg City is the most populous and capital commune of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The capital is situated in roughly the center of Western Europe at the confluence of the Alzette and Pétrusse in the southern region of the country. Notably, about 70% of the city’s population is made up of foreigners, and this percentage has steadily been rising.
Things to do in Luxembourg City
Lëtzebuerg City Museum
This museum features a collection that describes the urban and social development in Luxembourg and the greater area since the 10th century. There is also a schedule of interactive programs and events.
The Notre Dame Cathedral of Luxembourg was constructed in the early 17th century and is a beautiful example of baroque architecture. The graves of the royal family are located in the Cathedral’s crypt.
- Capital City: Skopje
- 2022 Population Estimate: 526,502
Skopje is the capital and largest city of North Macedonia. The area of the city has a history that dates makes thousands of years and was inhabited since at least 4000 BCE. There was a massive earthquake in 1963 that destroyed the majority of the city and halted its economic development, but it has since been reconstructed and replanned.
Things to do in Skopje
Memorial House of Mother Theresa
Mother Theresa was born in Skopje in 1910, and this church has been built where she was baptized the day after her birth. The church honors the Catholic nun with a permanent exhibition.
Museum of the Macedonian Struggle
This is a great place to learn more about Macedonian history and the centuries it took for the country to gain independence.
- Capital City: Valletta
- 2022 Population Estimate: 534,110
Valletta is the capital city of the island country Malta. It is the smallest European capital as well as its southernmost capital. The city gets its name from French nobleman Jean Parisot de Valette, who defended the island from an Ottoman invasion in 1565. Today, the city is known for its many monuments, its fortifications, and its baroque architecture.
Things to do in Valletta
St. John’s Co-Cathedral
This is one of the top attractions in Valletta for history and architecture lovers. It’s been functioning as a church for over 200 years, and the interior decorations are especially impressive. Adults must pay an entry fee.
The Casa Rocca Piccola
The Casa Rocca Piccola is the only palace that is still inhabited in Valletta. Although there are permanent residents, 12 rooms of the palace are open for guided tours.
- Capital City: Chişinau
- 2019 Population Estimate: 639,000
The capital and largest city in the Republic of Moldova is Chișinău. It is located near the center of the country and is the main industrial and commercial center of Moldova. Almost a third of the country’s population lives in the metro area of the city, and it’s the largest transportation hub in the area.
Things to do in Chișinău
This Chișinău landmark was constructed to commemorate the victory of the Russians over the Ottoman Empire and has been around since the 1840s.
National Museum of History of Moldova
The exhibits in this museum are focused squarely on Moldovan history, making it a great place to learn more about the ancient and modern history of the region.
- Capital: Monaco City
- 2022 Population Estimate: 39,921
Monaco is a city-state, which means that the state is composed of only one city. Thus, the capital of Monaco, Monaco City, isn’t really its own city but a historical district in southcentral Monaco. Monaco is the second-smallest sovereign nation in the world after Vatican City, and it is known for being one of the wealthiest and most expensive locations in the world.
Things to do in Monaco
Palais du Prince
This palace was built as a Genoese fortress in the 13th century and is the current official residence of the Prince of Monaco. The palace is closed to visitors while the Prince is in residence, but the public can experience the balance while it is vacated.
Monte Carlo Casino
As one of the most famous and luxurious casinos in the world, the Monte Carlo Casino is the highlight of many visits to Monaco. It was built in 1893 and features several different themed gaming rooms.
- Capital City: Podgorica
- 2022 Population Estimate: 207,852
Podgorica is the capital and largest city in Montenegro. It is located in the southern region of Montenegro and was previously named Titograd, from 1946 to 1992, in honor of Josip Broz Tito, the Marshall of Yugoslavia. Podgorica is surrounded by mostly mountainous terrain and lies at the confluence of the Ribnica and Morača rivers, which encouraged settlers to choose the location.
Things to do in Podgorica
The Ribnica Bridge — also known by its Ottoman name, Adži-Paša’s Bridge — was initially built by the Romans and is a testament to the fact that the area has been inhabited since the 5th century.
Center of Contemporary Art
This art museum features exhibits of art from local artists as well as those from other continents. It’s located in the former winter palace of King Nikola Petrović, which is surrounded by gardens that are great for walking through.
- Capital City: Amsterdam
- 2022 Population Estimate: 907,976
The capital city of the Netherlands is Amsterdam, which is also the country’s largest city. It was founded at the mouth of the Amstel river, which was dammed to avoid flooding. There are a large number of canals that flow through Amsterdam, which has lent it the nickname, “Venice of the North.” The city became economically powerful in the 17th century and remains one of the most important financial centers in Europe.
Things to do in Amsterdam
The Van Gogh Museum
This museum provides an unparalleled look into the Dutch artist’s life and work. There are over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and hundreds of letters that make up the collection.
Anne Frank House
This exhibit is located in the actual house that Anne Frank lived in and documents the persecution of Jews during the Second World War.
- Capital City: Oslo
- 2022 Population Estimate: 702,543
As both a county and municipality, Oslo is the capital and largest city of Norway. It’s located on Norway’s southern coast at the head of Oslofjord and is surrounded by green hills and mountains. There are 40 islands within the city limits. Oslo is known for its green spaces, museum, and its Viking history.
Things to do in Oslo
Oslo Opera House
The Oslo Opera House is considered one of the most iconic modern buildings in Scandinavia and was constructed to evoke the image of a glacier rising out of a fjord. It’s even possible to walk on the Opera House roof for great city views.
Ekeburg Sculpture Park
There are 31 sculptures in this wooded park that offers excellent views of the city. It’s the perfect place to visit to enjoy some fresh air as well as admire art by famous artists like Salvador Dali and Damien Hirst.
- Capital City: Warsaw
- 2022 Population Estimate: 1,795,000
Warsaw is Poland’s capital and largest city, and it makes it into the top ten most populous European capitals. It is located on the River Vistula, just east of the center of Poland, and is a political, economic, and cultural hub. Many of the city’s beautiful historic buildings were destroyed in World War II, but faithful reconstruction has been carried out to restore the city’s Old Town.
Things to do in Warsaw
Warsaw Old Town
Although much of this district was destroyed in the Second World War, reconstruction efforts have been so successful that they’ve earned the Old Town UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
This is the largest park in Warsaw, covering 76 hectares. The extensive park contains orangeries, a planetarium, an amphitheater, fountains, and famous monuments, among other attractions.
- Capital City: Lisbon
- 2022 Population Estimate: 545,000
Lisbon is the capital and largest city of Portugal. It’s located in southeast Portugal where the Tagus River meets the Atlantic Ocean at the Tagus Estuary. Lisbon is the second-oldest capital in Europe after Athens and the westernmost capital on the continent. The city was controlled by the Romans, various Germanic tribes, and the Moors before it was conquered by Alfonso Henriques, the first King of Portugal, in 1157.
Things to do in Lisbon
National Tile Museum
The tile work on buildings all over Lisbon is one of the things that makes the city stand out, and the National Tile Museum is an excellent place to experience the best of this art up close.
This is one of the most popular places to visit in Lisbon. The tower was built as a fortress at the beginning of the 16th century and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. Purchasing entry tickets ahead of time will save you from waiting to enter!
- Capital City: Bucharest
- 2022 Population Estimate: 1,785,000
The official documented history of Bucharest dates back to 1459, and it’s been the capital of Romania since 1862. Bucharest is the cultural, political, industrial, and financial center of Romania, located in the southeast region of the country. The city has experienced significant economic growth following relative stagnation in the 1990s, which has boosted the standard of living.
Things to do in Bucharest
This is the largest park in Bucharest and features 187 of land around Herăstrău Lake in the northern part of the city. It’s a great park for walking around, relaxing, and enjoying nature.
The Romanian Athenaeum is a stunning performance hall that was first constructed in 1888 and restored in 1992. It seats more than 650 and is the home of the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra.
- Capital City: Moscow
- 2022 Population Estimate: 12,641,000
With a population of almost 13 million, Moscow is one of the largest cities in the world. It is the capital of Russia and the largest of the European capital cities. Moscow was first mentioned in documents in 1147 and has played a prominent role in the area ever since. It was the political center of the Tsardom of Russia for most of its history as well as for the Russian SFSR, the Soviet Union, and finally the Russian Federation.
Things to do in Moscow
Saint Basil’s Cathedral
This Orthodox church located in Moscow’s famous Red Square is one of the most culturally popular symbols of Russia. It was first opened in 1561 and is one of the city’s most visually captivating landmarks.
Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics
From its participation in the Space Race and beyond, Russia has maintained its role as a leading participant in space-related activities. The Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics offers visitors a chance to learn more about this aspect of Russia’s history.
- Capital City: Belgrade
- 2022 Population Estimate: 1,495,192
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers, and with a population of nearly 2.5 million in the city’s administrative limits, it is the third-largest city located along the Danube. With the Vinča culture developing in the area of modern-day Belgrade in the 6th millennium BCE, the city is one of the longest continually inhabited places on Earth.
Things to do in Belgrade
The Belgrade Fortress is undoubtedly one of the primary tourist attractions in the capital city. It was constructed in 279 BCE, overlooks the Sava and Danube Rivers, and is surrounded by a popular park.
Saint Sava Temple
This is one of the most important religious sites in Serbia. The church is dedicated to Saint Sava, the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and it is a popular tourist attraction in Belgrade.
- Capital City: Bratislava
- 2022 Population Estimate: 439,000
Bratislava is the capital and largest city in Slovakia, located on both banks of the Danube River as well as the left bank of the River Morava. It is the only national capital that borders two different sovereign states: Austria and Hungary. Bratislava is the economic, cultural, and political hub of Slovakia in addition to being a popular tourist location. Over one million tourists, primarily from neighboring countries like the Czech Republic, Austria, and Hungary, visit Bratislava each year.
Things to do in Bratislava
Slavín War Memorial
This war memorial not only offers a meaningful glimpse into the losses experienced during the efforts of Soviet troops to liberate Bratislava in 1945, but it’s also a great place to get an exceptional view of the city’s skyline.
Slovak National Gallery
The Slovak National Gallery is located in an 18th-century palace and features stunning art and artifacts dating back to the 1300s.
- Capital City: Ljubljana
- 2022 Population Estimate: 286,978
Ljubljana is the economic, cultural, educational, and political center of Slovenia as well as its capital and largest city. It’s located in the center of Slovenia, and the Ljubljanica River runs through it. The city is in a geographically important location and has a long history of prominence in the region, and today it is known for its green spaces and university population.
Things to do in Ljubljana
Ljubljana Castle is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city and was likely first constructed in the 11th century. It is popular amongst tourists and is accessible by foot or by the Ljubljana Castle Funicular.
This is the largest park in the capital of Slovenia. It includes several important buildings and works of art, making it a wonderful place to relax and see more of the city.
- Capital City: Madrid
- 2022 Population Estimate: 3,300,000
Located in the middle of the country, Madrid is the capital and most populous city of Spain. Madrid is considered a major global city due to its influence on the European Union and the world economically, culturally, and politically. It has been the capital of Spain for the vast majority of the time from 1561 until the present and is now among the most populous European capital cities.
Things to do in Madrid
El Retiro Park
This is one of the largest parks in Madrid and certainly one of the most popular. It consists of an iconic artificial pond, a rose garden, and several buildings from the Buen Retiro Palace. It has been a combined UNESCO World Heritage Site with the Paseo del Prado since 2021.
The Prado Museum
The Prado Museum is the primary national art museum in Spain and one of the most popular attractions in Madrid. It houses a famous collection of European art dating back to the 12th century.
- Capital City: Stockholm
- 2022 Population Estimate: 890,000
Stockholm is the largest and capital city of Sweden, located across 14 islands on a Baltic Sea archipelago along Sweden’s east coast. Stockholm’s status as a city dates back to 1252 when it was founded by Birger Jarl, though it was first settled sometime in the 6th millennium BCE. Today, Stockholm is the cultural, economic, and political center of Sweden. It is the largest city in Scandinavia and ranks among the top 10 European cities for GDP per capita.
Things to do in Stockholm
The Vasa Museum
The Vasa Museum in Stockholm is allegedly the most visited museum in all of Scandinavia. It houses Vasa, a 64-gun warship that sunk on its maiden voyage in 1628. The ship is almost fully intact and the only of its kind on display in such good condition.
Skansen is the oldest open-air museum and zoo in Sweden. It was originally opened in 1891 and depicts the varying ways of life in different regions of Sweden.
- Capital City: Bern
- 2022 Population Estimate: 133,000
Referred to as the “federal city” by the Swiss, Bern is the de facto capital city of Switzerland, though it is nowhere near the largest city in the country. Bern is the fifth-most populous city in Switzerland and was made the federal seat of the country in 1848. Almost a third of the city’s residents are foreign nationals, and Bernese German is the most spoken language, followed by Italian and French.
Things to do in Bern
Bern Old Town
The medieval city center of Bern is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is essentially unchanged since its construction beginning in the 12th century.
This medieval tower was built in the 13th century and is an iconic landmark in Bern’s old city center. It is the oldest and most recognizable monument in Bern.
- Capital City: Ankara
- 2022 Population Estimate: 5,310,000
Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the second-largest city in the country after Istanbul. It was made the capital of Turkey after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1923 and has retained this status ever since. Due to its role as the nation’s capital, the government is one of the largest employers in the city, though its location at the center of the country’s road and railway networks also makes Ankara an important industrial and economic center.
Things to do in Ankara
As the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey, there are few people more famous and cherished in Turkey than Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. This mausoleum is dedicated to Atatürk and is one of the most popular attractions in Ankara.
This is the largest mosque in Ankara, finished in 1987, and is one of the most prominent landmarks in the city.
- Capital City: Kyiv
- 2021 Population Estimate: 2,962,180
Kyiv is the capital and most populous city of Ukraine. It is located along the Dnieper River in the north-central region of Ukraine. The ongoing invasion of Ukraine makes it difficult to know the current population of the city, but it was almost three million in 2021, making it the seventh-most populous city in Europe. In addition to the many important historical landmarks located in the city, it is an important educational, cultural, political, and scientific center in Eastern Europe.
Things to do in Kyiv
St. Sophia’s Cathedral
St. Sophia’s Cathedral is one of the most famous landmarks in Kyiv and was the city’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site; it is now a museum.
This is a reconstructed medieval city gate and a popular tourist attraction in Kyiv. The original Golden Gate was the main gate of the fortifications in the city in the 11th century. The current version was reconstructed in 1982.
The United Kingdom
- Capital City: London
- 2022 Population Estimate: 9,541,000
Located on the River Thames in Southern England, London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. The city’s history dates back to the year 47 CE when it was founded as Londinium by the Romans. Today, London is a major global financial center and has the largest urban economy in Europe. It is one of the most internationally famous capital cities of Europe.
Things to do in London
The British Museum
Established in 1753 and opened to the public in 1759, the British Museum is world-famous for several reasons. It was the first museum in the world to cover such a vast field of knowledge, and it has one of the most extensive collections of any museum.
Big Ben is one of the most iconic landmarks in London and even England as a whole. The clock tower that houses Big Ben (the name of the Great Bell in the clock tower) was the largest and most accurate four-faced clock in the world when it was completed in 1859.