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Picture Yourself Here: 10 Easy European Getaways

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Picture Yourself Here: 10 Easy European Getaways
Mention the great cities of Europe, and postcard visions appear of grand boulevards and gilded palaces. And for good reason: It wouldn’t be Barcelona without Las Ramblas, the world’s most inviting pedestrian pathway, or Florence without the Uffizi Gallery, so packed with dazzling Renaissance treasures that it inspired the term Stendhal Syndrome.

Europe’s stellar attractions have lured travelers since today’s bucket-list destinations were defined as stops on the Grand Tour. What draws us back, and back again, is something harder to define—that blend of bustling daily life, enlivened by pace-setting fashion, design, and cuisine, in settings burnished by centuries of tradition. Europe is always in fashion, and with the convenience 19 U.S. gateways, there’s no better transatlantic carrier than Lufthansa to take you there in comfort and style. Read on for tips on visiting 10 top European cities.
Sponsored by Lufthansa
Sivan Askayo/AFAR.com
  • 1 / 10
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    At first glance, Madrid, a city of stately boulevards and grandiose architecture, may seem to be the embodiment of a certain stiff Spanish pride. But this is a city that also knows how to have a good time. After dusk in the hot months of summer, the cafés and tapas in the tightly packed lanes surrounding the Plaza Mayor ring with singing and the strumming of guitars, while under the filigree cast-iron arcades of the refurbished Market of San Miguel, the cava flows and small plates of seafood, paella, and tortilla are piled high. For those who hunger for culture instead, the offerings are equally indulgent: Don’t miss the Prado Museum, Royal Palace, and Queen Sofia Museum, which showcases Picasso’s stirring Guernica.

    Travel Tip: Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Baraja Airport rolls out a welcome mat for passengers traveling with children: There are nurseries in Terminals 2 and 4 and a playground in Terminal 2.
    Sivan Askayo/AFAR.com
  • 2 / 10
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    The smartly dressed citizens of Milan don’t take kindly to their hometown being called Italy’s second city—not when their marble-clad Duomo is Europe’s largest Gothic cathedral, their opera house, Teatro alla Scala, is the world’s most famous, and Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper brightens the walls a local monastery. Here in Italy’s capital of fashion and finance, you’ll also find distinctive shopping opportunities like the Galleria Vittorio Emanuel II (said to be the first mall), the elegance of boutique-lined Via Monte Napoleone, and factory outlets for Armani, Versace, and Prada.

    Travel Tip: The Lufthansa Business Lounge in Terminal 1 of Milan’s Malpensa Airport welcomes First Class, Senator, and Business Class passengers to work or relax in comfort.
    Matthias Rhomberg/Flickr
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    Though no longer a city divided, Germany’s capital easily has enough crowd-pleasing attractions for two metropolises. At its center stands the Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag parliament building, now capped with a spiraling glass dome by British architect Lord Norman Foster. Both powerful symbols of the city’s pivotal role in modern European history, they tell only part of the story of Berlin today as a thriving center of arts, nightlife, and fashion and design, with a culinary culture that ranges from the chic cafés of Potsdamer Platz to the lively Turkish Market in multicultural Kreuzberg.

    Travel Tip: At Berlin’s Tegel Airport, Napcabs private sleeping cabins—offering freshly made beds, TV, and Internet access—can be found in Terminal B, Level 3.
    Ricardo Gomez Angel
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    Start your day as a native does—with coffee and Lisbon’s custardy pastel de nata pastries served in one of city’s elegant Old World cafés. You’ll be fueled up for the day ahead, whether you want to take in the ornate beauty of the 16th-century Torre de Belém, plunge into the tight lanes of the colorfully tiled Alfama district, or pause for photos in front of the waterside MAAT museum of art and architecture, strikingly designed by British architect-of-the-moment Amanda Levete.

    Travel Tip: For work, entertainment, and keeping up-to-date on social media, Lisbon Airport offers free and unlimited Wi-Fi access for all passengers.
  • 5 / 10
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    A staple of most-livable city lists, Copenhagen is surely also one of the most easiest and most enjoyable to visit. Saturday night fireworks at Tivoli Gardens, the amusement park opened in 1843, and the Little Mermaid, perched on her rock by the docks, are timeless attractions for guests of all ages, while the laid-back hippie commune of Christiana and the Viking Ship Museum, 35 minutes outside the city, are attractions you won’t find elsewhere. In the city’s kitchens, the creations of New Nordic chefs make Copenhagen’s restaurant scene one of the world’s hottest.

    Travel Tip: Lufthansa passengers departing from Copenhagen Airport’s Terminal 2 can take advantage of a range of shops offering the latest in Scandinavian fashion and design.
    Ryan Bodenstein/Flickr
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    The crowds can be trying, but then everybody’s here for the same reason: The museums of Florence hold a higher concentration of Renaissance art than perhaps any other city, including exceptional masterpieces by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Rafael. Just an hour’s walk from one end to the other, this compact, ochre-hued city on the Arno River is also the gateway to glorious Tuscany, with both Siena and the ancient port of Pisa, each about an hour’s scenic drive away.

    Travel Tip: With 19 U.S. gateways, warm hospitality, and one of the world’s most technologically advanced fleet of aircraft, Lufthansa promises the ultimate in comfort in convenience for your trip to Florence.
  • 7 / 10
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    Bavaria’s capital welcomes guests with 80 museums, a public garden larger than New York’s Central Park, and world-famous breweries too numerous to sample all in one stay, however much you might be tempted. Plan to get out of town, too, to experience the forested Bavarian mountains and “mad” King Ludwig II’s fairytale castles. After all, renting a stylish ride isn't a problem— BMW’s headquarters is just 20 minutes away — and Germany’s famous autobahns are a true driving pleasure.

    Travel Tip: Munich Airport’s Terminal Two Satellite, built expressly for Lufthansa, features light-filled architecture, a Lufthansa World Shop, and 12 lounges for passengers in First, Business, and Senator classes.
  • 8 / 10
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    “There is no normal life in Venice. Here everything and everyone floats,” wrote Peggy Guggenheim, the art-collecting American heiress who made the city her home. There’s only one way to see it and, whether you choose to so by gondola, water taxi, or crowded vaporetto, cruising past the city’s labyrinth of canals, 15th-century palazzos, and churches with their crooked bell towers is an unforgettable experience. Back on terra firma, enjoy the symphony of competing café orchestras in magnificent Saint Mark’s Square—yours for an overpriced cup of coffee.

    Travel Tip: Transfers to Marco Polo Airport, located 7.5 miles from Venice by road and 6 miles by water, are available by taxi, bus, and water bus.
    Nick Karvounis
  • 9 / 10
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    Strolling along Las Ramblas through Barcelona’s atmospheric Gothic Quarter, past the bustling Boqueria food market, and on to elegant Place de Catalunya is one of the planet’s great pedestrian pleasures. Save time to explore the creations of visionary architect Antoni Gaudí, including his hallucinogenic, and as yet unfinished Sagrada Familia basilica, as well shopping on Passeig de Gracia, and the beaches and cafés of trendy Barceloneta, a haven for locals on hot summer weekends.

    Travel Tip: It’s not too late: Passengers traveling on Lufthansa will find a full range of shops for souvenir hunting in Terminal 1 of Barcelona Airport—including retailers selling branded FC Barcelona goods.
  • 10 / 10
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    To hop aboard one of the trams that pass along Vienna’s Ringstrasse is to travel through time along a route that passes from the Hofburg Palace, once home to the Hapsburg emperors, to the Kunsthistorisches Museum; from Mozart House, where the virtuoso wrote The Marriage of Figaro, to the Hotel Sacher Wien, famed for its delicate and not-too-sweet chocolate torte. And yet this graceful city on the Danube is also a vibrant, diverse community with a large student population and contemporary architectural landmarks by Jean Nouvel and Zaha Hadid. Past or future, Vienna has you covered.

    Travel Tip: One of Lufthansa’s major hubs, Vienna International Airport features 31 shops, including Austrian luxury goods Freyville, Swarovksi, Wolford, and Manner confectionary wafers.