Gothic architecture became widely popular in France during the high and late Middle Ages (12th-16th century). During the Middle Ages, the new and inspiring French style of architecture quickly spread throughout Europe. Although the French intended the gothic architecture to be used for houses, it quickly became all the craze among churches and cathedral designs. Some of the most famous structures are found in old cities such as Notre Dame in Paris, France, Cologne Cathedral in Cologne, Germany, and the Florence Cathedral in Florence, Italy. But it would be the French who would excel in this gothic architectural form throughout the 12-16th century period. The British, Spanish, and Germans would follow suit and soon develop their own variations on the Gothic theme.

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Top 17 Gothic Cities in Europe


What Exactly is Gothic Architecture?

When we hear the word gothic, our minds automatically think of brooding teenagers with ear piercings and the need to wear all black. However, if we add the word architecture to gothic, our minds do a complete 180 and think about the spectacular architectural style in the world. Several components come together to define gothic architecture. A few of the key elements include grandiose style, pointed arches, stained glass windows, resemblance to the Christian cross, and a hint of mystery. One of the earliest buildings ever to feature these elements is the Abbey of Saint-Denis in Paris.

17 Gothic and Medieval Cities in Europe

#1.     London, England

London is an old-world gothic city that has progressed in many directions throughout the years. During the 14th century and Middle Ages, there was a boom in gothic architecture and construction in general. One of the most important and well-known gothic buildings is Westminster Hall. Other gothic buildings include the Houses of Parliament, St. Pancras station, and Guildhall. One of the medieval villages within London is the Cloth Fair. This former medieval village is now a street and is where the oldest house in London is located (built in the late to early 17th century).

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Gothic design is best showcased in governmental buildings and churches which have peaked roofs, arches, and elements that were inspired by medieval Europe. Gothic Victorian houses, in contrast, were typically shorter in height and emphasized horizontal or curved lines, and were made from lighter-weight materials. One of the best examples of the Gothic Victorian House in London is the Canford Manor with its Great Hall.  Other examples of gothic victorian houses are Highclere Castle, Harlaxton Manor, Mentmore Towers, Penrhyn Castle, Tyntesfield, Waddesdon Manor.

Typically gothic-designed buildings and churches, as well as gothic victorian houses, incorporated gothic art somewhere within the structure. While the gothic style can vary according to age, location, and type of building, it is often characterized by 5 key architectural elements: large stained glass windows, pointed arches, ribbed vaults, flying buttresses, and ornate decoration.

A great example might be the east end of Canterbury Cathedral in Kent, England (1174–84) that was rebuilt by the French masons following a fire. Canterbury is one of the oldest cathedrals in England. It has a long history that can be traced back to the 6th Century. Here you can see that all 5 architectural elements were incorporated. 

Salisbury Cathedral is widely recognized as one of the finest examples of English Gothic Architecture. It has the tallest church spire in the UK and has the largest cloister in Britain. Salisbury Cathedral also houses one of the world’s oldest working clocks and the Magna Carta is also housed here! 

·       Why go there?

Other than being the home of the most famous Royal family in the world, London has several perks if wanting to visit. I recommend visiting London because it is rich in history. Each historic site you visit appears to come alive and share its story with you.

·       When to go there?

In my opinion, March is the best month to visit London. During this month, the weather becomes more bearable, the city parks begin to bloom with color, and walking to gothic-style buildings is a pleasure. Just remember to always bring an umbrella!

·       How to get there?

London has several airports but the most common and busiest are Heathrow and Gatwick. British Airways is always flying in and out of London and the fares are relatively inexpensive. Once you are in London it is best to take a taxi to your destinations because traffic and parking can be a nightmare. 

London, England: The Tower of London is still a prominent piece of the Medieval ages and encompasses what the gothic style was all about. Unfortunately, the Great Fire of 1666 left the city ravished by flames and destruction. Who knows what other gothic-style buildings may have been found in London if it weren’t for this fire? Although this fire led to the modernization of London buildings, there is plenty of architecture of Gothic to see.

#2.     Cologne, Germany

Cologne ranks as the oldest city in Germany, as well as the fourth-largest in the country. Within the medieval walls of this charming gothic city lies museums, galleries, and churches. At each turn you take in the city you are greeted with historical sites, shopping excursions, and gothic-style buildings.

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One of the most famous Gothic buildings is the Cologne Cathedral, left unfinished for 350 years. Construction began in 1248 but was soon abandoned due to a lack of funds and the general population’s distaste for gothic architecture. Once construction resumed, it was completed in 1880. The Cologne Cathedral became the largest gothic cathedral in Northern Europe. It also has some of the second tallest spires built in German Gothic style. Inside you will find treasure troves of Gothic art.  

·       Why go there?

Many German cities have their perks, but Cologne is a city that steals your attention in several ways. History buffs can admire the old-world feel of this city and its surroundings and art lovers can admire stunning art pieces at the galleries and museums. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Cologne Cathedral, the Chocolate Factory, and the busiest shopping street are just some great things to do and see in Cologne!

·       When to go there?

The month of May would be the perfect time to visit Cologne. During this month, the busy Easter craze has passed and children are still in school, which means fewer crowds. Plus, the weather is warm and great for walking around the city.

·       How to get there?

There are several ways to get to the gothic city of Cologne, which include: plane, bus, car, and train. Lufthansa airlines are Germany’s pride and joy when it comes to flying and you can catch a plane from Hamburg, Germany to Cologne Bonn for less than 100 Euros. If you are traveling from Frankfurt, Germany, a bus ride will cost $9 and take 2 hours. Alternatively, a train ride gets you to Cologne in 1 hour and 30 minutes for $27.

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Cologne, Germany: The colorful houses in Fishmarkt are sure to grab anyone’s attention as well as the Rhine River and “love lock” Hohenzollern Bridge. The famous bronze and silver art piece, “Shrine of the Three Kings”, is on display at the Cologne Cathedral. While in Germany, don’t hesitate to visit other gothic buildings in the cities of Trier and Heidelburg.

#3.     Avila, Spain

The beautiful city of Avila was founded in the 5th century BC and in 1985 was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Cathedral de Avil was built in the 11th century and is officially the first gothic cathedral to start the list of gothic cathedrals in Spain. Visitors love to get a full view of the city from the view of the bell tower. The medieval or gothic city walls of Avila are commonly admired at the Plaza Mercado Chico, which is the main square of the city. One of the interesting things that this medieval city is known for is its fortified city walls. Many of the medieval structures have been left intact and this is a huge draw for visitors looking to see authentic and medieval sites, as well as the first gothic cathedral in Spain.

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·       Why go there?

Aside from the cathedral, visitors love to check out the fortified 10-foot-thick walls surrounding the city that was built in ancient Celt Iberian. The walls extend for over 800 feet and keep the city of Avila in a medieval bubble, ready for the world to explore.

·       When to go there?

Early spring is the best time to visit Avila. Visiting between late March and early April gives visitors the chance to explore the sites (without hectic crowds), enjoy the weather, and avoid chances of precipitation. I would recommend bringing a light jacket or windbreaker because the spring in Avila can bring a light breeze.

·       How to get there?

A day trip from Madrid, Spain is just what many people love to do on their weekends or trips in Madrid. A train ride from Madrid can cost up to $14 and takes 1 hour and 30 minutes, while a bus ride can take 1 hour and 15 minutes and costs $9.  A rental car can vary in price but the car ride takes you 70 miles outside of Madrid for a 1 hour and 15-minute ride to Avila.

Avila, Spain: There are several places to visit in Avila, even if not all of these places have a gothic style. Take the time to visit the Museo de Avila, Iglesia Santa Teresa, Plaza Mercado Chico and Santuario de Nuestra Senora de Sonsoles. The Puerta del Alcazar is the main gate to the city and encompasses the medieval feel with its stone and fortified walls.

#4.     Siena, Italy

Siena is one of the oldest cities in Italy and houses some of the most beautiful monuments and attractions.  You can find this gothic cities’ architecture in many buildings such as the Loggia della Mercanzia, Palazzo Salimbeni, Palazzo Tolomei, and Battistero di San Giovanni. One of the oldest lodgings for merchants is the Loggia della Mercanzia. This lodge was built with a combination of architectural styles including the gothic and renaissance.

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The Palazzo Salimbeni was built in the 14th century and was the home of the Salimbeni family. It was used as a medieval fort and was inspired by the Sienese Gothic style. The Palazzo Tolomei was restored in 1971 but still holds its gothic stone exterior. Camaino di Crescentino built the Battistero di San Giovanni Cathedral in a gothic style but left some of the upper part unfinished.

·       Why go there?

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site has made this list and that is the city of Siena. The fascinating buildings, deep-rooted history, and great food as sure to amaze you!

·       When to go there?

In my opinion, the best months to visit Siena are September and October. The weather acts as a perfect backdrop with great weather and with little precipitation to make your day of sightseeing perfetto!

·       How to get there?

Several ways to get to Siena are by flying, train and bus. If you are flying, then you can either stop at Florence Airport or Pisa Airport and get on a train headed to Siena. Trains from Florence’s head out every hour. You can check out the Trenitalia site to get timetables and tickets. The SITA bus will take you 1 hour and 20 minutes from Florence or 4.5 hours from either Milan or Rome.

architecture of gothic, gothic architecture, gothic art, victorian gothic, gothic archway, gothic arch, gothic victorian houseSiena, Italy: Siena is a city that encompasses all the eras that the city has lived through. You can spot parts of the Renaissance, gothic architecture, medieval buildings, and modernization. You must not forget to visit the Piazza del Campo where you will see the Palio di Siena horse race and the Cathedral of Siena, also known as the Duomo.

#5.     Venice, Italy

Italy is one of the top European countries to have an extensive amount gothic-style buildings. Many of the churches in Venice were built during the late medieval ages which happened to be the peak of the gothic era. The Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari has a brick exterior, stained glass windows, and a bell tower. The Madonna dell Orto was built in the 15th century and has a pointed structure and a brick exterior. The gothic doorway of the Church of Santa Stefano stands out in this hidden gem. Another monumental gothic building is the Palazzo Ducale (Dodge’s Palace), which overlooks St. Mark’s Square.

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By Bwag – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34672766

·       Why go there?

Before the inevitable sinking of Venice, Italy you must visit this ancient town at least once. It is jam-packed with artistic pleasures, great art, and splendid architecture. Plus, let’s not forget about the yummy food and espresso.

·       When to go there?

In order to get the best rates on hotels and flights and fewer crowds, I recommend visiting in the Fall. Although the air may be brisk and chilly, you will still have a great time. Just remember to bring rain boots and an umbrella!

·       How to get there?

If you are heading to Venice via plane then you can stop at the Marco Polo Airport, which sees daily arrivals from Delta, US Airways, and Alitalia. You can also take a train that stops at the Venice Central train station. Since most of Venice is floating on water, the best way to get around is with water taxis and gondolas.

Venice, Italy: Venice is one of those gothic cities that you can fall in love with over and over again because of the charming history and stunning architecture. Don’t forget to visit the St. Mark’s Basilica, Rialto Bridge, Bridge of Sighs, and the Gallerie dell’Accademia.

#6. Barcelona, Spain

Since the Gothic era was so dominant in Barcelona, there is an entire quarter named after this movement. The Gothic Quarter is a historic part of the city that begins in La Rambla and ends at Via Laietana. This quarter includes the restoration of the exterior of the Barcelona Cathedral, the grandiose Casa Padellas, the Aguilar Palace, and the newly restored Pignatelli Palace. The Pont del Bisbe, also known as Bishop’s Bridge was built in 1928 and encompasses the later part of the Gothic style.

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·       Why go there?

Barcelona is a great city to encompass yourself among great culture, architecture, and history. As you enter the city, your mind will not know where to begin its fun adventure. You can never go wrong with visit the historic old town and famous buildings mentioned earlier.

·       When to go there?

As the Spring months begin to end, that the best time to visit Barcelona. Towards the end of spring bring forth fun festivals, low humidity, and fewer crowds.

·       How to get there?

Nowadays you can get non-stop flights to Barcelona from many U.S. and European countries with companies such as American Airlines, Lufthansa, and Delta. You can easily get a taxi ride from the Barcelona El Prat International Airport to the city center. Visitors also enjoy riding into Barcelona via ferry and bus.

Barcelona, Spain: One of the hidden treasures of Barcelona is the Sant Felip Neri’s Square. Locals love to visit this square to enjoy peace and quiet. It is surrounded by a church, a small fountain, and a simplicity that is breathtaking. Don’t forget to stop at the House of Archdeacon or La Casa de l’Ardiaca, which dates back to medieval times. There is a legend that if someone places their hand in the turtle mailbox then they will be cursed and wounded at the Bishop’s Bridge.

#7.     Paris, France

France is the birthplace of gothic architecture, so it is not surprising that the city of Paris explodes with very strong gothic roots that can be extracted from the churches and city center. The most beloved gothic architecture in France in Paris is the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, which was built in 1160. It is known as the finest example of French Gothic Architecture. This gothic cities’ building is 420 feet high and 157 feet wide. The interior includes impeccable paintings depicting coronations, statues, and stained-glass windows showcasing religious scenes.

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Due to the fire that occurred in 2019, this cathedral is under renovation. The spire and part of the rooster atop the spire were destroyed in the fire along with other parts of the cathedral. Other churches and gothic buildings to visit include: Basilica of Saint-Denis, Dome of Les Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe, Sainte-Chapelle, Sainte Clotilde Basilica and Saint Germain-l-Auxerrois.

However it is the Basilica of St Denis, located in a suburb of Paris, that is widely considered one of the first-ever Gothic-style buildings. Its choir that was completed in 1144 AD, shows many elements associated with the Gothic style. St-Denis also houses the tombs of most French Kings between the 10th and 18th Centuries.

However, Notre-Dame de Reims is another famous cathedral in France. It is also one of the country’s most visited with 1,000,000 visits per year. It was built in the High Gothic style in the 13th Century

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By Thomas Clouet – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42109690

The Amiens Cathedral is another fine example of Gothic Architecture and the tallest cathedral in France. It is believed that the Amiens Cathedral houses the head of the John the Baptist. 

·       Why go there?

Paris, “the City of Love”, is blooming with endless reasons to visit. The River Seine cuts through the heart of Paris and makes for the most pleasant walk around the city. The beautiful architecture can overwhelm your eyes as you stare at the contemporary buildings, medieval structures, and gothic creations.

·       When to go there?

I would recommend visiting Paris during the spring. The most beautiful cherry blossom trees are absolutely spectacular to see. In the spring you can avoid long crowds, rowdy teenagers hanging out in the plazas, and warm weather.

·       How to get there?

Several flights land daily at Charles de Gaulle Airport and Orly Airport such as Ryanair, Easyjet, Delta, British Airways, and Air France. Visitors often choose to get to Paris via train, bus, or car. Bus rides can be cheap but they also can prolong the journey by hours depending on your departure city. Check out the timetables and routes for train services using this site.

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Paris, France: There is no doubt in my mind that you will be amazed at the gothic architecture interior of most of Paris’ buildings. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of other great places to see and things to do in Paris but viewing gothic architecture is a one-of-a-kind activity, especially with so many to see.

#8.     Dubrovnik, Croatia

As you walk on the cobblestoned streets of the gothic city of Dubrovnik, you may notice a familiar building or two from the hit show ‘Game of Thrones’. There are many filming locations throughout the city that creators of this show thought were perfect in their scenes such as Minceta Fortress, City Guard Building, and the Church of St. Sebastian. The medieval style of the Minceta Fortress was once used for the city’s protection against attack via sea. The Dubrovnik Cathedral, also known as the Church of St. Sebastian has a gothic-inspired façade and spire on top of the blue dome.

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By JoJan – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40418784

·       Why go there?

If you want to be transported to another place and time, then you will feel that sensation in Dubrovnik. The impeccable stone walls that border this island are reason enough to divulge into the history and architectural beauty of this city.

·       When to go there?

Prices, crowds, and temperatures all go down in the fall months, which makes it the perfect time to visit. In the month of September, you can still visit the beaches of Dubrovnik, go sightseeing and walk through this small city without feeling suffocated among large crowds.

·       How to get there?

The best modes of transportation include flying, ferry ride, bus ride, and driving. Flights operate daily to and from Dubrovnik airport and Zagreb airport. If you are in Italy, you can take a ferry ride to this island but it usually takes 12 hours. Buses are available to and from Zagreb, Bosnia, Split, and Jezera.

Dubrovnik, Croatia: Dubrovnik has some of the best beaches in Europe, great food, and savory wine. These are all great reasons to visit this stunning gem of a city. But most of all it is a sort of haven for history buffs. The old town, main square, St. Blaise, and ancient pharmacies will make any history lover swoon upon visiting. Plus, if you are a “Game of Thrones” fan, then check out this filming location tour.

#9. Vienna, Austria

Vienna is arguably one of the most alluring cities in Europe. It is the birthplace of classical music and the home of Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven and Shubert. This city holds the key to several transformations from eras such as Medieval, Middle Ages, and Renaissance. The gothic buildings are just a reminder of how great architects contributed to the beauty of the city. The Austrian Gothic inspired the creation of St. Stephan’s Cathedral, Minorite Church, and Church of St. Augustine. The St. Stephan’s Cathedral was built in the 14th century and includes the coat-of-arms of the Austrian empire, high altar, pillar statues, and painting of prominent religious events.

·       Why go there?

We should be thanking Austria for inventions such as slow-motion, alkaline batteries, and classical music. You will certainly want to visit Austria to check out the filming locations of “The Sound of Music”, the oldest surviving zoo, Schönbrunn Palace, visit ski resorts, and check out the empowering architecture.

·       When to go there?

I recommend visiting Vienna in the winter because it is a great time to visit because of the Christmas markets, holiday festivities, and concerts. Just keep in mind that it is cold in the winter so bring a warm jacket for when visiting the picturesque scenery of Vienna.

·       How to get there?

Train, plane, bus, and boat are all great ways to get to Vienna. Flights to and from Vienna Airport are serviced by Ryanair, EasyJet, Emirates, Delta, and Austrian and Lufthansa airways. You can also take a train or flixbus o the Wien Hauptbahnhof station. An hour and 15-minute boat ride from Bratislava is a fun way to enter to city, especially during the winter months.

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Vienna, Austria: The city center is where you will see the prime spots for historical buildings and get the real gothic feel of the city. With all the museums, impeccable natural parks, and the stunning Vienna State Opera House,  the Staatsoper, you cannot go wrong with a trip to Vienna. In fact, my husband took me to the Staatsoper House for our 11th wedding anniversary and we saw Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

#10.  Vilnius, Lithuania

In the center of Vilnius’ Old Town, there are structures that were built during the Middle Ages, Medieval era, 5th, 12th, and 14th centuries. The gothic buildings are easy to spot and they are St. Anne’s Church, Kazys Varnelis House-Museum, Bernardine Church, and the Sanctuary of the Diving Mercy.

Out of all these buildings, the St. Anne Church is the most adored by locals and tourists alike because of its brick façade, pointed design, and many spires. This church was completed in 1500 and was a present to the Grand Duchess of Lithuania, Anne. The interior of this church includes a black and white floor, wood ceiling panels, and Gothic arches. So as  you can see, this is a gothic city has a gothic church all its own.

architecture of gothic, gothic architecture, gothic art, victorian gothic, gothic archway, gothic arch, gothic victorian house

By Diliff – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36005271

·       Why go there?

If you are on a tight budget, then Vilnius is the best place to visit because it is the cheapest city to tour in Europe. Aside from this, Vilnius has charming cobblestone streets, beautiful parks, and blossoming architecture designs.

·       When to go there?

The climate is in your favor if you choose to visit Vilnius in May or September. Both months offer sunny days with a small chance of precipitation. I would recommend bringing an umbrella in case it rains and some comfortable walking shoes when sightseeing.

·       How to get there?

The Vilnius International Airport is roughly a 15-minute drive from downtown Vilnius, which is perfect for those who wish to fly. If you are in the neighboring countries of Poland or Latvia, you can travel to Vilnius via car by taking highways A1, A2, A3, or A4.  Eurolines is a great site to check out train tickets to Vilnius.

Vilnius, Lithuania: Vilnius’ historic buildings have the style of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classicism. One of the most unique buildings in Vilnius is one that states “In the future, every building will world-famous for fifteen minutes”. It is a captivating piece of art and architecture rolled into one. Other must-see spots include the Antakalnis Cemetery, which holds the troops of Napolean Bonaparte and the Hill of Crosses.

#11. Prague, Czech Republic

This city is bursting with Baroque palaces, Art Noveau buildings, Romanesque chapels and not to mention the Gothic cathedrals.  The 1270 Old-New Synagogue is one of the oldest active in Europe. It has a pointed triangle-shaped roof and buttresses.

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By Øyvind Holmstad – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33016366

The Stone Bell House was the home of Elizabeth of Bohemia and dates back to 1363. The star of the Gothic cathedrals in Prague is the St. Vitus Cathedral which was built in 1344. This cathedral has flying buttresses, a family crypt, a mosaic of the Last Judgment, and stained-glass windows. Other gothic buildings include the Old Town Bridge, Powder Tower, and the Vladislav Hall inside Prague Castle.

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By I, PetrusSilesius, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3818426

·       Why go there?

The city of Prague is beaming with a rich culture, enormous castles, and one of the oldest bridges in Europe. People flock to Prague all year-round just to take a picture with the 600-year-old clock, attend festivals and visit the churches. 

·       When to go there?

To avoid freezing weather, large crowds, and scorching summer days, I would recommend visiting Prague in May. The spring is in full bloom in May, which allows you to take a relaxing walk around the parks or sightsee on foot. Plus, the annual Prague Beer Festival takes place in May.

·       How to get there?

The most common ways to get to Prague are via plane, train, bus or car. The Prague Ruzyne Airport offers services with Delta, KLM, Wizz Air, and Ryanair. The OBB Austrian Railway is a great company to use if you are traveling from other European cities such as Vienna or Budapest. 

Prague, Czech Republic: All of the main attractions in Prague are worth visiting because of their great history and impeccable gothic design. One of the unique museums you must visit is the Kafka Museum for the impressive David Cerny sculptures. His artwork is found throughout Prague including a crawling baby outside the TV Tower and statues of urinating men outside the Kafka Museum.

#12.  Milan, Italy

The gothic style was first introduced in Italy during the 12the century. The gothic style can be seen in buildings such as Abbazia di Chiaravalle, Castello Sforzesco, Duomo, Loggia degli Ossi, San Pietro in Gessate and the Santa Maria della Scala. These are just a handful of gothic-inspired buildings that are strewn throughout the city. The most famous of these is the Milan Cathedral, also known as Duomo. This cathedral has a grandiose structure, perfect depictions on the stained-glass windows, a chapel dedicated to Saint Giovanni, and a bronze statue of San Bartolomeo. The Duomo is the largest church in Italy and the third largest cathedral in the world.

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By Jiuguang Wang – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11566236

·       Why go there?

You should consider visiting Milan for its abundant diversity, lovely masterpieces, and fashion heritage. There are plenty of iconic things you can do in Milan such as watching an opera at La Scale or ride the tram.

·       When to go there?

In my opinion, the months of September and October are perfect to visit Milan because it offers great weather, fewer crowds, and bargains.

·       How to get there?

Milan can easily be reached via plane, bus, train, and car. Flights to Malpensa Airport are serviced by Alitalia, Lufthansa, British Airways, and more. A train ride and bus are great alternatives to get you to Milan. Check out these sites Flixbus and Rail Europe for tickets and timetables.

Milan, Italy: The best way to learn about the history of a city is to visit and in Milan, you will learn a lot. You can visit the Royal Palace, museums and Castello Sforzesco. One of the coolest things to do is stand on the roof of the Duomo. Some lucky visitors are allowed to head to the top of the Duomo to get a close-up look at the spires and statues.

#13.  San Gimignano, Italy

If I had to picture the perfect postcard of a stunning gothic city then San Gimignano comes to mind. This quaint town sits on the hills of Tuscany and is filled with medieval buildings, cobblestone streets, and gothic architecture. You must visit the following gothic-style buildings: Palazzo Comunale, Church of Sant’Agostino, and the Collegiate Church. The Piazza della Cisterna and Piazza Duomo offer views of the towers and traces of the gothic style from the pavement to the surrounding buildings.

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By MarkusMark – Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21345259

·       Why go there?

The heart of San Gimignano is a historic place that will lead you to wander throughout the different piazzas or squares. Plus, if you are in the region of the best vineyards, you shouldn’t hesitate to do a wine tasting at the Wine Museum.

·       When to go there?

Winter is a great time to visit San Gimignano because you can easily weave your way in and out of attractions without any hassle. You can visit each of your favorite stops and really get the chance to take in the beauty of it all, without the pushing and shoving of crowds.

·       How to get there?

Given the close proximity to Florence, the best way to get to San Gimignano is via train or bus. For train and bus timetables and prices check out these sites, Trenitalia and Tiemme.

San Gimignano, Italy: Exploring the bell towers of the Torre Grossa is an amazing activity to do. If you climb to the top of the observation tower you can see the picturesque view of the city. Don’t forget to eat gelato at the famous Gelateria Dondoli which is attached to the medieval square.

#14.  Colmar, France

Colmar is one of the most well-preserved towns in France thanks to its beautiful gothic architecture and stunning landmarks. The Maison Adolph is an impeccably stunning Gothic-style house that was built in the 14th century. The largest church in Colmar is the Eglise Saint-Martin, which has gothic statues, pointed structures, several Gothic chapels, and stained-glass windows. Other gothic buildings to check out include: Eglise des Dominicains, Eglise Saint Matthieu and the Ancienne Douane or Koifhu.

architecture of gothic, gothic architecture, gothic art, victorian gothic, gothic archway, gothic arch, gothic victorian house

By Eric Gaba, Wikimedia Commons user Sting, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14962007

·       Why go there?

As you walk into the quaint town of Colmar, your mind automatically will think it is a mix between the beautiful city of Venice and the made-up town in Beauty and the Beast. It is a splendid town that has maintained its old-world charms among the Fishmonger and Tanner’s quarter. They also have a famously huge Christmas Market there each year where droves of tourists and locals alike attend.

·       When to go there?

If you are interested in watching the grapes of the vineyards blossom during the harvest, then the fall months are the best time to visit Colmar. Plus, the peak season is over by the fall and you can get better rates on transportation and lodging.

  • How to get there?

The closest airports to Colmar are Zurich, Basel, and Strasbourg. You will still have to take a bus, train, or drive in order to get to Colmar. Colmar is less than an hour from Germany and Switzerland and can be reached via bus or train. Bus rides are cheaper but can take you to double the time compared to train rides.

Colmar, France: Colmar has a mixture of different architectural design ranging from the German Renaissance of the Maison de Tetes and Ancien Corps de Garde and the French Neoclassicism of the Cour d’Assises and Theatre municipal. Any place you visit in Colmar will leave you breathless and in awe.

#15.  Tallinn, Estonia

It was under Danish rule that the city of Tallinn began to construct more buildings in the Gothic style. The most famous houses in Tallinn include the Guild House, Three Sisters, Vana Turg 6 Street, and the Hopner House. The classic gothic style of pointing roofs and spires exemplify the true meaning of Gothic architecture.

architecture of gothic, gothic architecture, gothic art, victorian gothic, gothic archway, gothic arch, gothic victorian house

By Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21539721

·       Why go there?

If you are looking for a great medieval city to visit then Tallinn is where to go. It has typical Gothic houses, stone buildings, and a lovely Town Hall Square. As you sit in one of the great restaurants in the Town Hall Square, you can look in any direction and spot spires, gothic architecture, and unwavering beauty.

·       When to go there?

The month of June is a great time to visit because it has good weather, tolerable crowds, and decent prices.

·       How to get there?

Flying to the Tallinn Airport is a great way to get to the city. Due to the close proximity from the airport to the city center, buses run on a constant schedule via routes 2, bus number 65, and tram number 4.

Tallinn, Estonia: The mix of Russian and German foods is exactly what you will eat in Estonian cuisine. Foods like rye, barley, and oats that are eaten today were often consumed in the medieval ages and some traditions never die. I recommend visiting the local parks such as Lindaman Park and the park at Kadriorg Palace.

#16.  Carcassonne, France

The first stop of your hunt for Gothic architecture is at the Basilica of Saints Nazarius and Celsus. Although this basilica was built prior to the start of the Gothic era, there are several added designs to it such as the pointed tower and spire and stained-glass windows. Other must-see spots in Carcassonne include the fortified walls, the Chateau et Remparts, the Chateau Comtal, and Cathar Castles.

architecture of gothic, gothic architecture, gothic art, victorian gothic, gothic archway, gothic arch, gothic victorian house

By Jean-Pol GRANDMONT – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=113054

·       Why go there?

Carcassonne is another city in France to make the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. It is famous for the local history, stunning structures, and medieval feel. During the Hundred Years’ War, this city became known for its medieval walls, which are still intact to this day and are a must-see.

·       When to go there?

Late May and early June are great times to visit Carcassonne because of the dry and warm weather. This period is considered the shoulder season and is great for getting discounts on plane tickets and hotel accommodations.

·       How to get there?

The airport of Carcassonne is the closest airport to the city and offers bus transportation via the RTCA. You can also take a flight to Toulouse and then a 1 hr. and 45-minute bus ride to Carcassonne.

Carcassonne, France: A trip to the lower city of Carcassonne offers a glimpse into the normal life of the French. There are street shops, barely any tourists, and a stunning 1770 Fountain of Neptune in the middle of the square. 

#17.  Florence, Italy

History, art, and culture all go hand in hand when you stroll through the city of Florence. It is an underrated city that is filled with magical places and stunning architecture. The oldest building in Florence is the Baptistery, which has the works of Michelangelo. The most important church in the city is Il Duomo, located in Piazza S. Giovanni. It is most famous for its incredible brick dome that is the biggest ever constructed. It is one of Italy’s largest churches and its famous dome is still the biggest brick dome ever built

The exterior of the duomo has mosaics and a statue of the Madonna and child. The interior includes a tomb of Antonio d’Orso, an antique clock, stained-glass windows, and several busts.  Other buildings to visit include: the Belltower, Ponte Vecchio, Santa Maria Novella Church, and the Santa Croce Church.

architecture of gothic, gothic architecture, gothic art, victorian gothic, gothic archway, gothic arch, gothic victorian house

By No machine-readable author provided. JoJan assumed (based on copyright claims). – No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=409060

·       Why go there?

Florence is the home of the Uffizi Gallery, has breathtaking architecture, and is the home of creative artists. These are just a few of the reasons why visiting Florence would make your vacation perfect while gazing at Gothic Architecture.

·       When to go there?

You should visit the heart of Tuscany in late fall. During this time period, the tourists begin to swindle and the affordable rates begin to appear.

·       How to get there?

You can travel to the Florence or Pisa airport via Delta, Lufthansa, and Alitalia airlines. You can also take a train or hire a car service to take you throughout the city.

Florence, Italy: Drinking the Tuscan wine and Florentine cuisine will leave you feeling full and satisfied. Shopping excursions are not to be missed while you visit the home to Italian brands like Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo.

Honorable Mention Medieval Cities

Obidos, Portugal

The medieval city of Obidos is one of the most beloved and finest cities in Portugal. This city has well-preserved castles, squares, and houses that date back to Gothic architecture. The gardens of this old town bring forth a Gothic-style presence, in addition to the Baroque style.

Cochem, Germany

Germany hits this list again with an honorable mention of the medieval city of Cochem. This little village is often traveled through because of its close proximity to the Burg Eltz Castle. This medieval castle is famously known for its fairy tale style, hidden location, and mysteries with gothic archways.

Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg is known as the musical capital of Austria and the home of Mozart. This old-world city is rich with culture and history at every turn you take. UNESCO named the historical site of Salzburg a World Heritage Site. If you take a cable car from the old part of town then you can catch a glimpse of the Fortress of Hohensalzburg. It is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe.

Troyes, France

Nestled in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France is the quaint medieval town of Troyes. This town is home to half-timber homes, Medieval stain glass, and the gothic-style Troyes Cathedral. This building was constructed in the 13th century and has over 16,000 square feet of stained glass! So as you can see, it has one of the gothic architecture elements.

Giethoorn, Netherlands

There is a small town on the outskirts of Amsterdam that has over 180 bridges that connect it to homes and shops. Instead of the usual car rentals that most cities offer, the town of Giethoorn offers visitors boat rentals. By renting a boat, you can explore the cottages and canals of one of the most unique cities in Europe. Giethoorn is known for its boat-filled waterways, footpaths, bicycle trails, gothic archway, and centuries-old thatched-roof houses. 

Costwolds, England

Costwolds is one of the most Medieval regions in England. The Costwolds region encompasses the old-world style of stone homes and buildings with gothic arch, not to mention it is the region where William Shakespeare was born. Consider visiting the villages of Castle Combe and Bibury. The most English part of this countryside region is the Broadway Tower, built in 1794. Along the road to this region, you must stop at other medieval villages or cities such as Painswick, Chipping Campden, and Slaughters.

Landsberg am Lech, Germany

The most picturesque place and medieval town in Germany are Landsberg am Lech. This town is located on the Romantic Road and once held Adolf Hitler in their prison in 1924. The view of the historic old town and colorful homes look like something out of a magazine. Some notable people that were born or stationed in this town include Johnny Cash (stationed in the 1950s), actor Siegfried Rauch and Anton Posset (founder of the European Holocaust Memorial).

Mostar, Bosnia, and Herzegovina

Undoubtedly the most famous attraction of Mostar is the gothic arch bridge called Mostar. This bridge was built in the 16th century and was used to protect the city from intruders. Some of the most beautiful monuments and buildings in Mostar include the Franciscan Monastery of St. Peter and Paul, Koski Mehmed Pasa Mosque, the Gimanzija Mostar, the Bishop’s Ordinariate building, and the Ottoman residences.

architecture of gothic, gothic architecture, gothic art, victorian gothic, gothic archway, gothic arch, gothic victorian house

It would be a pleasure to visit any or all of the Gothic Cities (Medieval, and old-world) architecturally on this list. Europe is full of amazing and unique cities that are waiting to be explored. Each of the medieval cities and gothic sites has this own captivating story to tell. Each brick, stone, pointed building, and stained-glass windows share a piece of history with their visitors and the experience is truly magical.

 

cacinda

About Dr. Cacinda Maloney

A value-luxury adventure traveler at heart, Dr. Cacinda Maloney shares her experiences as someone who has traveled every six weeks of her life for the last 20 plus years. Being a travel writer, blogger and social media influencer, she now travels more than that! She is Phoenix, Arizona based, but maintains an apartment in Santiago, Chile. She is a member of the Professional Travel Bloggers Association (PTBA), Media Kitty and the International Food, Wine and Travelers Association (IFWTWA). Read more...