I was going to write a nice post about my five favourite cities in Europe, but then I figured that wasn’t quite as exciting as putting them to the test in a knockout and seeing which came up trumps. Naturally, this will be an entirely objective post, based solely on fact.
Each round will feature two European cities, and I’ll work out which one I like better, allowing it to proceed to the next round. The city still standing at the end, wins! Let’s get this started with our five contenders. Rocky theme music is optional.
Round 1: Paris vs Rome!
Lets see – two cities famous for being the romance capital of Europe. Sadly only one can carry that particular crown, and Paris wins my heart there.
Romance isn’t everything though. Rome has the upper hand when it comes to empire building, with the Roman Empire once spreading all across Europe. They’ve also got the religious angle down pretty well, what with being the seat of Christianity.
As far as old crumbliness and prettiness go – well, Rome and Paris both have their spectacles, but for me, Rome wins. Paris may have a steel tower, but Rome has so many ruins that you can often find ruins built on top of other ruins built on top of other ruins. Rome is the onion of ruins. Plus the ice cream is better. Victory to Rome!
Round 2: Berlin vs London!
On second thoughts, putting Berlin up against London may have been an error, what with the recent history between the Germans and the English. Still, I’ll labour on, and do my best not to mention any unfortunate football based incidents.
I am slightly biased, as I lived in London for a couple of years, and haven’t spent a massive amount of time in Berlin. Still, the time I did spend there let me see what a fascinating city it is.
There are visible reminders of the cold war all around – from the crumbling remnants of the actual Berlin wall to the incredible street art to be found all over the city.
It is also home to a vibrant club scene, wonderful palaces and churches, and some of the most inventive sausage sauces out there.
It’s not all over for London though. London has quirky markets, incredible pubs, and some of the most recognisable landmarks in the world. Plus I’m English. Victory to London!
Semi-final: London vs Rome!
So now I have two cities that are over two thousand years old, both of which owe a rather great deal of their look and feel to that previously mentioned empire, both of which I absolutely love.
Rome has some serious quirkiness going for it, which I am mostly basing on the fact that everyone drives tiny cars or scooters. If you're up for it, you can rent a car (noleggio auto in Italian) - go here - and have a go yourself.
This transport option is less popular in London, largely due to the presence of the deadly London bus.
Rome also has better weather, better ice cream, and a bit more crumbliness. London has markets that service goat curry, pubs that serve real, meaty beer, and the South Bank.
Ah, this was a tough one, but ultimately, London isn’t going to win this bout. Rome, as she was a couple of thousand years ago, is victorious. Alea iacta est.
Final: Surprise Contender vs Rome!
I did say this was a round up of five of my favourite European cities, and thus far only four have slugged it out, Rome emerging victorious.
My fifth city is a bit like Marmite. For those of you not familiar with this food stuff, marmite is a yeast based tar like substance that you spread on bread. The flavour is difficult to describe, and hard to appreciate unless you’ve been brought up on the stuff. The thing about Marmite though, is that you either absolutely love it, or you hate it. There is no happy in-between.
And the same can be said of Venice. Some folk absolutely adore the place, a city set in a swamp which is slowly sinking away. They will go on about the tiny backstreets, the magnificent piazzas and the fabulous ice cream. They will wax lyrical about the cafes, the glass sculptors, and the joy of getting lost in the pedestrian heaven that is a car free city.
Venice’s detractors, on the other hand, will bemoan that the place is tacky, full of tourists, overpriced, and smells like an open sewer.
Those people are wrong.
Which is why I am happy to declare Venice my overall favourite city in Europe! Rome has a lot to offer, but the magic that can be found in Venice is unbeatable.
I’d love to know what you have to say about my five picks! Did I miss one of your favourite cities off the list? Am I completely insane to have picked Venice? Share away in the comments below!