They say that the history of a city is written into the bricks of its buildings, and Europe – with its charmingly preserved towns and dramatic, restored buildings in downtown city centres – makes every effort to preserve its storied past. Relive the magnificent history of Europe’s most charismatic cities by spending a night in one of these restored heritage buildings.
When it comes to vibrant cities, you won’t find one with a pulse that beats stronger than Berlin: and while its electrifying streets, with their galleries, clubs and eclectic stores add a spectacular look into the city’s culture, they might not be the best places to get a good night’s rest. Head to the newly opened Das Stue Berlin instead – the stately, 1930s neoclassical building is perched so close to the Berlin Zoo that you may even catch a glimpse of an ostrich from the bar.
Berlin’s largest palace, the Schloss Charlottenburg, is known for its lavish baroque and rococo styles, having been commissioned by the wife of Friedrich I in the 17th-century. The palace was restored to its former glory over the years, and today, it hosts grand dinner-concerts within its hallowed halls.
From now until May 18 2019, the Berlin Residence Concerts will stage a retrospective look at some of the most important composers of the European Baroque period, including works from maestros like Vivaldi, Handel and Quantz.
Spain is known for its passion, fiery spirit and colourful candour, and no street characterises this better than the trendy El Born district. During the day, its narrow medieval streets are packed with designer boutiques and cafes, and come night, the area transforms into a constellation of cocktail bars and samba dancing.
The sexy and decadent EDITION Barcelona is the perfect intimate boutique spot to base yourself in the city, since it’s also a stone’s throw away from the landmark Museu Picasso. The museum is home to the world’s most extensive collection of works by the Spanish painter, and the building itself – a dramatic, medieval mansion – is worth visiting for its Catalan civic gothic style.
Head north to Oslo to be captivated by its curious blend of modern buildings with historical fortresses and squares. The Amerikalinjen codifies this best: set in a former office building from the 1910s, the chic boutique hotel has kept its charming exterior while overhauling its interiors to personify the Nordic’s penchant for minimalism.
A short walk away is Oslo’s magnificent Opera House, a striking, contemporary building that’s home to the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet. From April 6 – May 5 2019, the dancers of the Norwegian National Ballet will put on a gorgeous, playful performance showcasing music from the Baroque masters. It combines the dramatic, lavish stage costumes and dressing that you’d expect from the Baroque era with light, almost irreverent choreography Ñ a mesmerising combination. ◼
© This article was first published in Apr-May 2019 edition of World Travel Magazine.