My European Capital Ranking – 15 to 11

It would not surprise me at all if any of my next five cities featured in many people’s top fives. A brilliant time is hard to avoid in any of them…..

15 Reykjavik

It is quite difficult to separate Iceland’s capital from the rest of the wonderful country. I was there for my 50th birthday and really loved my visit in the snow. Reykjavik has some great eating places, lovely parks, striking buildings and a fabulous location by the North Sea with rugged mountains in the distance. Writing this piece has led me to notching the city up several places in my pecking order.

Whether you are on the lookout for Northern Lights or whales (I failed to spot either!) or just want a fabulous time chilling out in Europe’s northern most capital, you are sure to have a memorable (if very expensive) time.

14 Lisbon

The capital of Portugal has a special place in my heart as the hospital there looked after my dear mum, who sadly passed away in their care. Aside from that, Lisbon is a cracking place by the sea. Loads to do and see with my favourite place up high by the castle with its brilliant views across the city to the Atlantic.

There are many fine streets to stroll in and plenty of excellent restaurants and entertainment venues to. A trip on one of the iconic cars & lifts up the very steep streets is a memorable must do.



13 Budapest

The Hungarian cities of Buda and Pest were a grower on me. I was not overly impressed in ’92 on my first visit. Once I got over the fact that the Danube is far from blue in the city, I enjoyed my subsequent visits far more.

The parliament building is one of Europe’s finest architectural jewels, whilst the central bridges are eye catching, especially the unusual chain bridge.

A great winter destination for enjoying coffee and cake, whilst a dip in one of the spas such as that at the Hotel Gelert is a memorable experience.


budapest 021

12 Tallinn

I rank the Estonian capital as the 2nd ranked Baltic State capital. We visited for three days in January 2003 when we arrived on a grey rainy day, followed by a bright sunny day with powder blue skies and finally a snow filled one. I now have three sets of photographs!

A beautiful compact city with a medieval feel. The city walls are great for clambering around, there are a few squares brimming with atmosphere and the unusual churches are a photographer’s dream.

The only slight downside were the cheesy restaurants – all medieval banquets complete with mock sword fights mid-meal!

This did not detract from the fab time we had though. I also remember a bar called Depeche Mode that played the band’s music non-stop. Happily both Mrs Wilbur and I love their sound.

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11 Stockholm

A fantastic location being sited on an archipelago and crammed full of lovely buildings surrounded by water.

The first time that I stayed I slept on a masted ship (a youth hostel called af Chapman) moored in Gamlastan, the main island. I have paid a few visits and really loved what I saw. I need to go again I feel.

Grand buildings everywhere framed perfectly by the plentiful water. The reflections of the structures at night makes for a fine spectacle.

The Swede’s are an outdoor race and on my third visit it coincided with Stockholm’s water festival. A week of partying culminating in a free outdoor concert headlined by Sweden’s second favourite pop band, The Cardigans.

Stockholm-and-vicinity-178311-smallTabletRetinaCity of Stockholm

14 comments

  1. It’s so hard to pick a number one city, they’re all so amazing! I absolutely fell in LOVE with Budapest. #FarawayFiles

  2. I’d put Lisbon and Stockholm much higher:) #farawayfiles

  3. Glad you have good impressions about Lisbon, my hometown 🙂 cheers PedroL

  4. I went to Reykjavik in summer and the weather was amazing! It’s such a beautiful place!

  5. I have been to three of them and will visit Lisbon this year.

  6. I loved the Depeche Mode bar too when I went in 2011. Loved the fact cocktails were named after their songs. Tallinn is in my top 5!

  7. I also love Stockholm. And I still love your Iceland photos! Cheers.

  8. Love ” your” capitals!

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