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Characterized by cobblestone streets and canals, much of Bruges’s immaculately preserved old city was built between the 12th to 15th centuries: As a result, it’s not hard to feel like you’re in a medieval fairy-tale here. Visit the Church of Our Lady for a viewing of Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child, or sit at a café and take in the views of the Markt, a historic square in the city center.

Characterized by cobblestone streets and canals, much of Bruges’s immaculately preserved old city was built between the 12th to 15th centuries: As a result, it’s not hard to feel like you’re in a medieval fairy-tale here. Visit the Church of Our Lady for a viewing of Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child, or sit at a café and take in the views of the Markt, a historic square in the city center.

The magic of Madrid is best captured on foot, strolling through the streets, stopping in a museum or sitting for a drink at La Alemana, a historic bar once frequented by Ava Gardner and Ernest Hemingway. For a taste of everyday Spanish life in this vibrant capital city, shop at El Corte Inglés, sample the market culture at Mercado San Antón and the Mercado de San Fernando, and bring your picnic to the ancient Egyptian Temple of Debod, which was donated to Spain in 1968 and can be found in…

The magic of Madrid is best captured on foot, strolling through the streets, stopping in a museum or sitting for a drink at La Alemana, a historic bar once frequented by Ava Gardner and Ernest Hemingway. For a taste of everyday Spanish life in this vibrant capital city, shop at El Corte Inglés, sample the market culture at Mercado San Antón and the Mercado de San Fernando, and bring your picnic to the ancient Egyptian Temple of Debod, which was donated to Spain in 1968 and can be found in…

Picturesque Prague beats with a bohemian heart: Get off the beaten bath at any number of historic pubs (try U Zlatého Tygra or U Jelínků) or head up to Petřín Hill for incredible views of the city. Come Christmastime, the city's Wenceslas Square transforms into a scene straight from a postcard.

Picturesque Prague beats with a bohemian heart: Get off the beaten bath at any number of historic pubs (try U Zlatého Tygra or U Jelínků) or head up to Petřín Hill for incredible views of the city. Come Christmastime, the city's Wenceslas Square transforms into a scene straight from a postcard.

The 20 Best Cities in Europe - Photos

The 20 Best Cities in Europe

Made famous by Mozart (and the Von Trapps), classic Salzburg sits divided by the Salzach River: Its pedestrian Old City lines its left bank, and the 19th-century comprises the right. To drink like a local, head to Bräustübl zu Mülln, Austria’s largest beer hall, where beer is drawn directly from wooden barrels and can be enjoyed alongside traditional and regional specialties from the Schmankerlgang, an Old World food court of sorts.

The 20 Best Cities in Europe

Made famous by Mozart (and the Von Trapps), classic Salzburg sits divided by the Salzach River: Its pedestrian Old City lines its left bank, and the 19th-century comprises the right. To drink like a local, head to Bräustübl zu Mülln, Austria’s largest beer hall, where beer is drawn directly from wooden barrels and can be enjoyed alongside traditional and regional specialties from the Schmankerlgang, an Old World food court of sorts.

A usual suspect tops the 2016 Readers' Choice Awards list of the best cities in Europe, but we're seeing the emergence of Scandinavia this year as well. Did your favorite city make the cut?

The 20 Best Cities in Europe

A usual suspect tops the 2016 Readers' Choice Awards list of the best cities in Europe, but we're seeing the emergence of Scandinavia this year as well. Did your favorite city make the cut?

Artistic, exquisite, and largely shaped by its musical and intellectual foundations, Austria’s capital and largest city is packed with culture. Make time to get a figurative taste of royalty at Schönbrunn, the Habsburgs’ former summer residence, and get an actual taste of Sachertorte, a chocolate cake that is one of the city’s culinary specialties. Just be sure to ask for it mit schlaag—with cream.

Artistic, exquisite, and largely shaped by its musical and intellectual foundations, Austria’s capital and largest city is packed with culture. Make time to get a figurative taste of royalty at Schönbrunn, the Habsburgs’ former summer residence, and get an actual taste of Sachertorte, a chocolate cake that is one of the city’s culinary specialties. Just be sure to ask for it mit schlaag—with cream.

The 20 Best Cities in Europe - Photos - Condé Nast Traveler

The 20 Best Cities in Europe

The 20 Best Cities in Europe - Photos - Condé Nast Traveler

From the mountains to the beach, the historic to the contemporary, sunny Barcelona—lucky city that it is—has it all. Brush up on Catalan history at El Born Centre Cultural or take a street art tour of the trendy El Raval district. For dining, try for a table at Tickets, one of the newest restaurants from the Adrià brothers, or stay classic at Quimet y Quimet, a standing-room-only joint that’s been operated by the same family for more than 100 years.

From the mountains to the beach, the historic to the contemporary, sunny Barcelona—lucky city that it is—has it all. Brush up on Catalan history at El Born Centre Cultural or take a street art tour of the trendy El Raval district. For dining, try for a table at Tickets, one of the newest restaurants from the Adrià brothers, or stay classic at Quimet y Quimet, a standing-room-only joint that’s been operated by the same family for more than 100 years.

Experience la dolce vita in all of its forms in Rome. After requisite visits to the Pantheon and Colosseum, perk up with an espresso at Caffe Sant’Eustachio or try your luck at Settimio al Pellegrino: When you ring their doorbell, you’ll be greeted and treated to whatever the owner’s wife has prepared for the day.

The 20 Best Cities in Europe

Experience la dolce vita in all of its forms in Rome. After requisite visits to the Pantheon and Colosseum, perk up with an espresso at Caffe Sant’Eustachio or try your luck at Settimio al Pellegrino: When you ring their doorbell, you’ll be greeted and treated to whatever the owner’s wife has prepared for the day.

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