My European Capital Ranking – 10 to 6

Now the competition is really hotting up. I bet there are a few people’s number one city in this bunch……

10 Athens

I love Mrs Wilbur’s home city. The acropolis area is wonderful to visit by day and gaze at by night, the Acropolis Museum is great (even for a museum probe like me!), the Monastiraki area of flea markets is brilliant to wander and there is ancient history at every turn in the form of Greek ruins and millennia old remnants of markets.

Add to that the fabulous cuisine & brilliant nightlife options and you hardly notice the infamous traffic.

9 Vienna

First visited in ’87 and the place where I spent my 40th birthday. Very impressive architecture, a fine opera house & cathedral.

In Schonbrunn they have a wonderful palace & grounds and in Belvedere a fabulous art gallery featuring Klimt’s iconic ‘The Kiss’.

A Sacher torte in the sumptuous Hotel Sacher or its adjoining cafe with hot chocolate is also a must!

8 Copenhagen

I had a few business trips down the years to Denmark’s capital and also went there on my inter-rail trips of ’89 & ’92.

Nice enough but nothing that special. That all changed in 2008 when I visited with Mrs Wilbur in winter time. The place was covered in snow, Nyhavn looked a picture and the whole place had a fairy tale feel.

Very apt in the home city of Hans Christian Andersen. Even the frankly rubbish little mermaid (viewed from a fab boat trip around the waterways of the city) didn’t diminish our visit. A big thumbs up from me!

7 Riga

I loved Riga. An extremely beautiful old town, a lively river, bustling market and wonderful Art Deco district (Jugendstil). I even went to a top flight ice hockey match against a team from Moscow when I visited. The view from atop the cathedral is fabulous.

There is also a lively market that is housed in a former zeppelin hanger.

I really hope to visit my favourite Baltic capital again soon as there is so much great stuff to see and do. Next time I will also take a train to the coast.


6 Tbilisi

The highest ranked of the former Soviet cities and well deserved.

Stuffed full of religious buildings, a ruined fort, a Muslim quarter with mosque and hammam, a huge statue of Mother Georgia, modern architecture mixing with the ancient and an efficient cable car that takes you up the hill for an astonishing view of the city with the river snaking through it, by day or night.

I loved my visit in 2014.The cuisine was also great and the red wine amongst the best I have ever tasted (Georgia claims to be the inventor of wine).

It isn’t simple to get to from the UK as there are no direct flights (I arrived by train from Yerevan). If you make the effort you will be delighted you did.



  1. I keep hearing wonderful things about Riga! I would love to visit one day. It’s fun to see Tbilisi on the list too, I don’t often see a lot of travel posts on it. #FarawayFiles

    1. They are both great cities indeed. We have so many to choose from.

  2. Interesting perspectives here Wilbur. I tend to agree about the Little Mermaid but I found Copenhagen utterly charming in summer. Looking forward to exploring the Eastern European cities soon and Riga is definitely on the list. #farawayfiles

    1. That’s what is so great about Europe, from the majestic Baltic capitals to the terracotta blue ribboned ones of the Med and every Bohemian, liberal, alpine, iron-curtain, party place in between. Such diversity.

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