Skip to Content
Each Capital City in Europe

It can be quite challenging to quantify all the European national capitals when planning a trip, so we have listed them all here and provided some basic information on each for your convenience. Each one of these destinations has unique attributes and attractions and a unique history.


Zagreb, Croatia

Zagreb has 17 separate administrative divisions and you can find both foothills and valleys in this mountainous area. The quality of living is high here, public transportation is reliable and readily available, and the economy is high-tech. It is also a major tourist destination that sees more than a million tourists yearly, especially those looking to visit the Christmas market. The historic district sees many live re-enactments and many souvenirs can be procured in Zagreb.

Warsaw, Poland

The culture and history of Warsaw is tangible and well-known. It is arguably one of the most important sites of world history on this list. More than 25% of Warsaw is filled with parks where one can attend events and festivals regularly. Other cultural attractions include the Royal Caste, the Palace on the Isle, King Sigismund’s Column, and the Warsaw Grand Theatre. There are many churches and mansions around this location, and the local arts and club scene is pretty impressive. The recently reconstructed historic Old Town, today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Vilnius, Lithuania

Vilnius Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a significant part of its history is related to its former nickname: Jerusalem of Lithuania. Napoleon also referred to it as the Jerusalem of the North. These nicknames were related to the large number of Jewish people living there, and visiting, compared to the rest of Europe. Today, Vilnius has the reputation of being open minded and forward-thinking, so much so that it is known as a major Cultural Capital. Vilnius is also home to exciting festivals and cultural practices, including the St Patricks Day tradition of dyeing the Vilnia River green.

Vienna, Austria

Vienna is extremely large and around one-third of the entire Austrian population lives within its metropolitan area. Many international businesses make their home in Vienna, for example the United Nations. The center of Vienna is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Vienna is known for its glittering musical history, having been the birthplace of Mozart, along with other famous names. Sigmund Freud, the father of psychology, was also born in Vienna. Many international conventions are held in Vienna and global innovations are common here, it is also known as one of the top ten best cities to live in globally. Furthermore, Vienna is a tourist hub due to its many historical sites.

Vatican City

The Vatican is probably one of the most unique principalities on the planet. It is extremely small and is a complete city-state encased within Rome, Italy. The Catholic Pope lives in, and reigns from, the Vatican, and it is legally an independent country. Both by physical size and overall population, the Vatican is the smallest country globally. History here is rich and the landmarks and historical value of the country draw large tourist crowds yearly. The economy is dependent on museum entry prices, publication sales, souvenir sales, and religious donations.

Valletta, Malta

Valletta, on the main island of Malta, is often called the outdoor museum due to the more than 320 monuments that can be found there. Like many others on this list, it is also a UNESCO Heritage Site. Valetta is the smallest capital city in the EU. It is also another Cultural Capital with a rich historical background.

Vaduz, Liechtenstein

The ruling prince of Liechtenstein lives in Vaduz, specifically in Vaduz castle which is the most recognizable landmark in the area. Vaduz is not the largest city in Liechtenstein and a large part of its population is foreign-born. Notably, there is no airport at this location but that does not stop the influx of tourists who are drawn to the cultural atmosphere and attractions like the Ski Museum, Postage Stamp Museum, the National Art Gallery, and the National Museum.

Tirana, Albania

The Mediterranean climate has a significant influence on Tirana which is known for its sunny but also rainy weather. Tirana is considered the European Youth Capital and has amazing cultural centers that make it famous for arts, fashion, media, music, and entertainment. The nightlife and numerous festivals are quickly drawing this location towards the title of Cultural Capital.

Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn is a coastal location and has a far larger population than other areas in Estonia. Vanallin in Tallinn is an extremely well-preserved UNESCO Heritage Site. It is also a European hub for entrepreneurs with a high number of business start-ups. This includes very successful companies like Skype. Tallinn is also home to the NATO Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, and the European Union’s IT agency, making it an extremely important digital destination.

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm is quite large for the Scandinavian region, to such an extent that it is actually the largest urban settlement in the entire Scandinavia. Stockholm is home to an impressive fourteen islands in the Baltic Sea. Several top European universities are in Stockholm, and this is also where the Nobel Prize ceremony is held. Drottningholm Palace and the Stockholm Palace host Sweden’s royal family, with the Stockholm Palace being a UNESCO Heritage Site.


Sofia, Bulgaria

The history of Sofia is largely mixed between Bulgarian autonomy and Ottoman rule, which has resulted in a lot of cultural diversity. Sofia is also famous for its religious tolerance, sporting, and within the same square, a newly established Catholic church, an Orthodox church, a mosque, and a synagogue. The metro area is massive, and reaches beyond the country of Bulgaria into Serbia.

Skopje, North Macedonia

Skopje is quite new to the list of capitals. North Macedonia itself is a very new country, and has only existed as a country since 1991. An astonishing 80% of Skopje was destroyed in an earthquake in 1983 which resulted in a lot of rebuilding since North Macedonia became independent.

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzogovina

Sarajevo is often called the Jerusalem of the Balkans, but you can also find a mosque, Orthodox church, and Catholic church in the same neighborhood as a synagogue. Sarajevo is often considered one of the best destinations to visit as it is the current European Cultural Capital and one of UNESCO’s 18 Cities of Film. Winter sports, cultural, religious, and historical sites draw a lot of tourists to this destination, and it was host to the 1984 Winter Olympics.

San Marino

Another UNESCO Heritage Site is San Marino which is located at the foot of the highest mountain in the country of San Marino. Although extremely tiny, more than 3 million tourists visit here annually. The Grand Hotel San Marino, The Three Towers of San Marino, the Palazzo dei Capitani, and the Basilica di San Marino are popular tourist destinations.

Rome, Italy

Rome is quite famous for marrying ancient empires and modern metros in the same place. It is one of the oldest locations on this list, and has been known for 28 centuries. Due to its rick history it is a UNESCO Heritage Centre, but is also known for its culture, food, and fashion. Several factions of the United Nations have made their home here, along with several major international organizations.


Riga, Latvia

Riga is the largest metropolitan area in all three Baltic States (Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia). The centre of Riga is a UNESCO Heritage Site, mostly due to its Art Noveau/Jugendstil architecture and 19th-century wooden architecture. Many sporting events, political, and cultural events are held in Riga, including the women’s curling championship, the NATO summit, and the Eurovision Song Contest. It also has ten universities and six theatres.

Reykjavik, Iceland

On the South shore of Faxaflói Bay is the popular tourist destination of Reykjavik. This is almost the Northernmost Capital on the planet. It is also one of the safest, cleanest, and greenest destinations worldwide. Reykjavik is also the only city in the country of Iceland. The literature that is preserved here is extremely important as it is one of the only ways that the Icelandic language will continue to exist. Reykjavik hosts many live music festivals and a massive New Year’s Eve celebration.

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is a hub for politics, culture, and economy in the EU. Prague is a UNESCO Heritage Site and there are many historic sites to note, like the Jewish Quarter, Prague astronomical clock, Old Town Square, and Prague Castle. Cultural events and historical sites are common here and is one of the five most visited European places.

Podgorica, Montenegro

Podgorica is full of an eclectic mixture of architecture including modern buildings and ancient Ottoman influences. Theatres and galleries are common sites, and sports are quite popular. There are also many commercial, financial, and industrial institutions in Podgorica.

Paris, France

Paris is one of the most popular capitals on this list. Paris is known for its landmarks (Arc d’Triomphe, the Louvre, and the Eiffel Tower), its architecture, cuisine, and art. Many international groups host events here, including UNESCO. The Summer Olympic Games are scheduled to take place in Paris in 2024 for the 3rd time. The popular Tour de France also takes place in Paris. And, quite unique to Paris, it is one of the few capitals that has never been destroyed in a war or by natural disasters.

Oslo, Norway

Oslo, in Norway, is heavily populated and an important European maritime center. The standard of living in Oslo is famously high, but it is also one of the most expensive places to live, despite being ranked amongst the happiest nations. The annual Oslo Jazz Festival spans six-days, and there is also a rock festival lasting four days. The Nobel Peace Prize ceremony is also held in Oslo.


Nuuk, Greenland

About one-third of the Greenland population lives in Nuuk, which draws most of its power from hydroelectric energy. It is also the Northernmost capital on our list. Industry mostly comprises of mineral mining and fishing, and the only university in Greenland can also be found here. Trade schools are plentiful and you can come here to see the Northern Lights.

Nicosia, Cyprus

Nicosia is the southernmost capital city in EU. It is a European business center and one of the richest metro areas worldwide. Cultural influence is strong here, and Nicosia is home to the Dionysos Theatre, the Lyric Theatre, and the Cyprus National Theatre. Nicosia also has three major football teams and five universities.

Moscow, Russia

Moscow is the largest city on our list. Famous landmarks here include the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral, and the Red Square.


Monaco is a sovereign nation – the city is the country. It is one of the most expensive but also wealthiest places in the world, with around 30% of the local population being counted as millionaires. Monaco is full of sports teams, religious attractions, banking centers, and cultural attractions. The Monte Carlo casino is in Monaco and speaks to the strength of the local gambling industry.

Minsk, Belarus

The European Games were held in Minsk in 2019. Minsk is also the industrial center of Belarus and many major provisions of the country actually come straights from Minsk. There are also a great many cultural attractions, like 139 libraries, 20 cinemas, and 11 theatres. There are also several churches.

Madrid, Spain

Madrid is another extremely large EU city. There are many political organizations that are held in Madrid, like the Public Interest Oversight Board, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the Ibero-American General Secretariat, and the UN’s World Tourism Organization. The historic part of Madrid is well preserved with many cultural touchpoints, art installations, and more than one museum.



Luxembourg has the highest GDP per capita in the world. This is one of the EU capitals meaning that many EU councils are held here, including, Eurosat, European Stability Mechanism, European Investment Fund, European Public Prosecutor’s Office, Secretariat of the European Parliament, European Court of Auditors, and Court of Justice of the European Union. There are many tourist attractions related to art, history, and culture.

London, United Kingdom

London is the capital of both England and the United Kingdom as a whole. Famous landmarks in London include Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace. The Summer Olympic games have been hosted in London three times, and there are four UNESCO Heritage sites. London is quite multicultural and there is an eclectic mix of architecture on display throughout.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana is an important administrative, political, educational, and cultural center in Slovenia. Castle Hill is a particularly popular tourist destination. There are many cultural events and a mix of architecture throughout the city, including Renaissance, Gothic, and Romanesque. Ljubljana is also home to the famous ornamented Dragon Bridge.

Lisbon, Portugal

This part of the Portuguese Riviera is the Westernmost point of the continent and is in the west of its metro area. It is one of the oldest cities on our list and one of the top ten most visited European cities. It has been the political, cultural, and economic center of Portugal for many centuries. There are many different kinds of architecture in the city and cultural attractions are plentiful.


Kyiv, Ukraine

Kyiv is an extremely popular Eastern European destination. A hub for education, science, industry, and culture and one of the wealthiest cities in the country. The market economy and electoral democracy are points of pride for Ukraine. There are many cultural draws, parks, islands, and botanical gardens.

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki is an extremely large city in Finland, compared to the rest of the country. Other destinations that are culturally and geographically close to Helsinki are Saint Petersburg, Russia, Stockholm, Sweden, and Tallinn, Estonia. It is Finland’s center for research, culture, finance, education, and politics. Furthermore, it is the Northernmost metropolitan on the continent.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh has so much to offer, including a castle in the middle of the city. Edinburgh is rich in culture, arts, and education. The largest international arts festival in the world is held here (The Fringe Festival), along with the Edinburgh International Festival which is filled with artists, actors, and comedians. A large part of Edinburgh is a UNESCO Heritage Site, and there are three universities within the boundaries of the city. There are also important historical sites and attractions in Edinburgh.

Dublin, Ireland

Dublin is Ireland’s most well-known city. It also ranks quite high globally in terms of culture, arts, industry, commerce, and education. Dublin is almost fully employed and there are so many historical and modern landmarks along with a great many green spaces. The Old Library of Trinity College Dublin can be found in Dublin and this is home to several historic items that would be truly amazing to view.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is the most populated city in Denmark, but it is actually located on one of the islands, in this case, Zealand. Originally, this Denmark location was a Viking fishing village, but life in Denmark certainly changed significantly, and by the 15th century, it was a European capital. When the Kalmar Union between Denmark, Norway, and Sweden still existed it was the capital of this union. It is still connected to Sweden with a bridge. There are many arts attractions, universities, and museums in Copenhagen and it is a major financial center.


Chisinau, Moldova

Chisinau is in the middle of Moldova and has a freezing winter climate and hot summer climate. The new and the old coincide peacefully in Chisinau while still maintaining a clear distinction. There are a great many universities and amusement parks in the area as well as a Wine Festival and Moldova National Wine Day which takes place in October.

Cardiff, Wales

Cardiff is the political and commercial center of Wales and the place where Senedd meet. Significant parts of the city is dedicated to media production, while the bayside art project is huge, and there is an international sports village in Cardiff. Along with more than 200 European cities Cardiff is a member of the Eurocities network.

Budapest, Hungary

The economy in Budapest is growing extremely fast, and entertainment, education, technology, research, fashion, art, media, finance, and commerce all contribute to Budapest’s global reputation. The center of Budapest around the Danube river is a UNESCO Heritage Site, and there are over 40 tertiary education institutions in the city. One of the largest thermal water cave systems, the third biggest Parliament building, and the second biggest synagogue in the world can be found in Budapest.

Bucharest, Romania

Bucharest is one of the newest European capital cities on our list. The biggest high-tech summit in Southeast Europe is hosted in Bucharest. The architecture is truly beautiful and the tourism industry is slowly growing every year.

Brussels, Belgium

Brussels is not only the capital city of Belgium, but also of the European Union. The city is home to the NATO headquarters. It is also one of the most popular European cities. The city has many UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is known for its delicious cuisine.

Bratislava, Slovakia

Bratislava is the only capital among national capitals that borders two additional sovereign states; Hungary and Austria. There are a great many important sites in Bratislava, including new ones under construction and some that have unfortunately been demolished.

Bern, Switzerland

Compared to the rest of Switzerland, the city of Bern is not all that populated. Old Town is historic and is known as a UNESCO Heritage Site. The official language in Bern is German, although it is not German as you might know it. It is a Swiss dialect of German. There are some truly stunning sights in the city, including a scenic rose garden, a palace, and a zoo.

Berlin, Germany

Berlin is the largest city in the country and is surrounded by beautiful rivers and lakes. It is a very popular city to visit, one of the biggest tourist draws along Western European capitals. Berlin used to be split between West and East during more tumultuous times in Germany. This ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990. Today this ideally located German city is a major player in global science, media, politics, and culture.


Belgrade, Serbia

Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, is one of the world’s oldest cities. Before Serbia was formed, Belgrade was the Yugoslavian capital. The city is jam-packed with scientific institutions, media organizations, and large companies. One of the largest hospitals in the world is within the Belgrade city limits.

Belfast, Northern Ireland

There is a great deal of recent history to be found in Belfast, including the reason behind the distinction between Ireland and Northern Ireland. This half of Ireland, specifically Belfast is also famous for being the site where the HMS Titanic was constructed. Sites like the giant cranes (Samson and Goliath) and the ‘peace walls’ are tourist attractions in Belfast, along with breathtaking parks and the most popular zoo in the United Kingdom.

Barcelona, Catalonia

Barcelona is the capital city of Catalonia. Cultural events and international sports tournaments are popular in Barcelona. The city remains a transportation hub that connects to several European capital cities, this helps to attract a great many tourists to Barcelona. People visit most often for culture or sports.

Athens, Greece

Athens is the cradle of Western Civilization and is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is also a tourist hub and has some of the most spectacular historical sites worldwide. Urban and modern city life are combined gracefully within Athens. The population of Athens is massive, so when tourists come to see sites like the Acropolis and Parthenon things can become quite cramped.

Andorra La Vella, Andorra

Andorra La Vella is one of the smallest cities on our list and is the capital city of Andorra. Hipsters love to visit the city due to how unique the experience is. Foreign nationals see it as a tax haven but it is also an extremely beautiful city nestled between scenic mountains, making it an ideal ski destination.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam is the official capital city of the Netherlands. It is known as the Venice of the North for its many canals and is one of the most attractive capitals in the EU. Amsterdam is full of tourist attractions like the royal palace, the Van Gogh museum, and the Anne Frank House, along with many other museums. There are also cannabis coffee shops and the red-light district. The best way to tour Amsterdam is on a bicycle, which helps to maintain Amsterdam’s status as one of the greenest European capitals.


Final Trivia

There is a lot that we can still say about capital cities, but we will try to keep it brief. The coldest city on the list is Reykjavik, which is only a few degrees warmer than the arctic circle. We have identified the Southernmost capital city in this list, but it is important to also mention that Europe is not in the Southern Hemisphere. It can be an easy mistake to make if you are not familiar with geography, but very few landlocked countries are part of the Southern Hemisphere (only a part of Africa and South America).

Frequently Asked Questions

How many capital cities does the EU have?

Currently there are 27 capital cities belonging to EU countries. However, there are several nations who have applied or are waiting for registration with the EU. So this number is sure to change along the road.

What is the highest European capital city?

Andorra La Vella has the highest elevation of any European capital city. The elevation is 1,023 m/3,356 ft. However, the highest point in Europe is Mount Elbrus which can be found in Russia.

What is Europe’s largest capital city?

The answer to this question can be quite interesting. Technically, the capital city with the largest population in Europe is Moscow, Russia. The population of Istanbul, Turkey is technically larger, but Istanbul is not a capital city, and Turkey is not in Europe (it is in the Middle East). The largest capital city in the European Union is Berlin.

How many capital cities are there in Europe?

This is also a questions that seems straightforward, but the answer can be tricky. Overall there are 51 capital cities. However, the accepted number is 47. This is because of the United Kingdom. Wales and Northern Ireland are counted as one under the UK. Furthermore, Amsterdam is the official capital of the Netherlands, but not the seat of the government, and Catalonia counts as part of Spain, under Madrid.