29 Stunning Examples of Art Nouveau Architecture in Europe

All around Europe there can be found amazing examples of Art Nouveau architecture. In this post I have collected the most significant and most beautiful ones. Some places, like Paris, Barcelona and Brussels are extremely popular with their Art-Nouveau legacy, but others like Subotica, Ljubljana or Tbilisi are real hidden gems.

Towards the end of the 19th century Europe was in a desperate need of something new, a new form of art that would break up with the norms of the old century and will welcome the euphorie of the new one. A new art was born which introduced rounded shapes, curvilinear forms, whiplash lines and nature-inspired motifs. The so-called Art Nouveau (‘new art’) quickly spread around Europe and found expression in almost everything, from architecture to jewelry, from graphic art to furniture.

Regional influences around Europe enriched the Art Nouveau movement and contributed to its specific local charm. Thus, Modernism appeared in Catalonia, Jugendstil in Germany, Secession in Austria, Stile Liberty in Italy, Nieuwe Kunst in the Netherlands.

a colorful image of Park Guell in barcelona with overlay text: Best cities in Europe to see Art Nouveau architecture

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a bird's-eye view of colorful buildings alongside a water canal, Alesund, Norway
A bird’s-eye view of Ålesund

Alesund, Norway

by Kris from Nomad by Trade

Ålesund, Norway is known as one of the top destinations for Art Nouveau architecture in the world. Most of the buildings in its historic center are built in the Art Nouveau style as they were all reconstructed around the same time after a major fire destroyed most of Ålesund’s city center in 1904. As a result, much of the city had to be completely rebuilt at the same time. As Art Nouveau was in fashion during this era, it was the dominant style used during the rebuilding process. This gives the architecture a beautiful cohesiveness and causes the buildings to blend together in a perfect fairytale-esque look.

Walking through the city center to view the Art Nouveau buildings is one of the most popular experiences in Ålesund. Visitors can also join guided tours if desired, which is a great way to learn about the history of different locations and the elements that characterize Art Nouveau. The pedestrian friendly Kongens Gate area is one of the top spots for enjoying the Art Nouveau architecture as this bustling street with little shops is home to numerous great examples. Take a walk along the Notenesgata street to see some of the buildings beautifully reflected in the usually calm waters.

Author’s Bio: Kris has been a worldwide traveler from an early age, exploring her native United States and other countries near and far. She blogs about her travels on her website, Nomad by Trade. You can also find her on Twitter.

an arch with red bricks and lots of sculptures at the top part, Arc de Triomf in Barcelona
Arc de Triomf, Barcelona; photo by Faraway Worlds

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

by Roxanne de Bruyn from Faraway Worlds

The late 19th century saw the introduction of a new style of Art-Nouveau architecture in Barcelona – the Modernisme or Catalan modernism movement, an expression of decorative buildings and Catalan identity. Early examples include the Editorial Montaner i Simon, a printing house commissioned in 1879, the Arc de Triomf and the Castle of the Three Dragons. The trend continued with crafted metal and ceramic decorations and a lean toward Gothic-style buildings with turrets, arched windows and gargoyles, reflecting a romanticised vision of Catalonia’s past.

While you can see examples of Modernisme in many neighbourhoods in Barcelona, Eixample was developed at the height of the movement. As a result, there are many apartment buildings built in this style and the neighbourhood has one of the highest concentrations of urban Art Nouveau buildings in the world. As well as the Fundacio Antoni Tapies building and Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia, Eixample is also home to the Illa de la Discordia. In this small block, four of Barcelona’s Modernista architects each designed a building and you can see four excellent examples of the style in one place: Casa Batllo by Antoni Gaudí, Casa Lleo Morera, by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, Casa Amatller by Puig i Cadafalch, and Casa Mulleras by Enric Sagnier.

The most famous artist of the Modernist movement was, of course, Gaudí and his works are renowned today. Gaudí evolved the Gothic-inspired style into something more fantastical and geometric, keeping his work relevant, even when the Modernisme fell out of favour around 1915.

Tip: Book a tour to discover all masterpieces of Gaudí in Barcelona!

Author’s Bio: Roxanne de Bruyn is a writer who has travelled extensively through Northern Spain. She especially enjoys discovering isolated spots, historical sites, and good food and wine. Originally from South Africa, Roxanne is now based in Auckland and usually travels with her husband and young son. You can follow Roxanne on Facebook.

a gorgeous ceiling with colorful stained glass, the ceiling of Palau de la Musica in Barcelona, Spain
The ceiling of the Palau de la Musica in Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain: Palau de la Musica Catalana

by Noel Morata from Travel Photo Discovery

Barcelona is a city of architecture and one that has so many Art Nouveau treasures to explore. One of the most celebrated and top Barcelona attractions and masterpiece in the city, the Palau de la Musica Catalana is a concert hall just outside the historic district of the city. This famous building is itself a UNESCO World Heritage site and created by master architect Lluis Domenech i Montaner. This architect was one of the founders of the Catalan Modernism movement that is Spain’s version of Art Nouveau. The Palau exemplifies all of the attributes, design and beautiful ornamentation that designates this as one of the epic masterpieces in Barcelona and a World Heritage site on its own. 

What makes the design of this building endemic of the Modernism style is the use of curves and dynamic shapes in the structure. The building features rich embellishments with floral and organic motifs throughout the inside and outside of the building, creating a complete and beautiful building that stands out in Barcelona and showcases the Catalan creativity and character. A variety of local artists and craftsmen produced the stunning ornamentation, sculpture, glass and decorative structural elements that makes the Palau a modern marvel.

You’ll enjoy visiting the Palau both inside and out on a tour, or better yet try to attend one of the many fabulous concerts offered at the concert hall. You’ll be marveling the beautiful interior lit up for everyone to enjoy at night time, which makes the experience even more special.

Author’s Bio: Noel Morata Is a professional photographer, writer and artist from Hawaii who loves to travel the world and share his imagery and love for travel.

a colorful house in blue shades with curved balconies, Casa Batllo of Gaudi in Barcelona, Spain
Casa Batlló, Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain: Casa Batlló

by Stéphanie from Bay of Travel

Casa Batlló is one of the most famous art nouveau buildings in Europe. Initially, in 1877, the building was designed and built by Gaudí’s teacher, Emilio Sala Cortés. In 1903 the house was purchased by Mr Josep Batlló y Casanovas, a textile industrialist who owned several factories in Barcelona and a prominent businessman. He commissioned Antoni Gaudí alteration of the building, which gave the architect complete creative freedom. Gaudí completely changed the façade, redistributing the internal partitioning, expanding the patio of lights and converting the inside into a true work of art.

The Casa Batlló is a UNESCO world heritage site. Because the architectural elements of the house resemble a skeleton, the house is also known as the “House of Bones”. Casa Batlló is one of the most visited places in Barcelona. If you want to visit the place yourself, make sure you buy your tickets well in advance. A ticket will cost you 35 euro, but is definitely worth it if you love architecture.

Tip: Visit Casa Batlló with this immersive experience!

Author’s Bio: Stéphanie is the creative brain behind the adventurous travel blog Bey Of Travel. She loves to inspire people to go out and discover the world and collect the best travel memories. You can follow her on Instagram.

a colorful red building with interesting forms in Modernist style, Casa Vicens in Barcelona
Casa Vicens, Barcelona; photo by Vicki Viaja

Barcelona, Spain: Casa Vicens

by Vicki Franz from Vicki Viaja

Casa Vicens is one of Barcelona’s most beautiful buildings, even though it is still considered one of the city’s underrated attractions. Although this unique building is the first one in Barcelona designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudí, the talent of its designer is already evident here.

Typical of the Modernisme style, the Catalan version of Art Nouveau, picturesque decorations meet unique colors and shapes. As with many of his other buildings, Gaudí used many floral decorative elements and forms that would otherwise be found in nature. What is special about Casa Vicens is that, in addition to the Modernisme style, it also has clear Arabic influences from the Mudéjar style typical of Spain.

Casa Vicens is not only the oldest of Gaudí’s buildings but also one of the most striking. Casa Vicens clearly stands out from the row of houses with the red elements of its exterior facade. But there are also many colorful and playful elements waiting for you inside.

Depending on the ticket, your visit will also include a drink and a delicious chocolate pastry that you can enjoy overlooking the unique interior design of Casa Vicens. If you would like to also visit the other Modernist buildings in the city in addition to Casa Vicens, it is worth purchasing one of the various Barcelona Passes.

Tip: Buy your ticket online to skip the lines.

Author’s Bio: Vicki Franz is a travel lover always looking for the best travel deal for her blog Vickiviaja.com. When she is not getting lost in countries far away, she is probably dreaming about food or discovering new places in her hometown Barcelona and surrounding Catalonia. You follow her on Instagram.

a low wall covered with broken pieces of colorful tiles and fantastic towers and a city view at the background, Park Guell in Barcelona
Park Güell, Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain: Park Güell

by Mar Pages from Once in a Lifetime Journey

Master Catalan architect and all-round proponent of Art-Nouveau, Antoni Gaudí designed some of the most famous buildings and landmarks in Spain. After Sagrada Familia, his next most well-known architectural statement in Barcelona is Park Güell. The gated enclosure was actually thought up by wealthy industrialist Eusebi Guell in 1900, invoking British Parks as his inspiration. Gaudí was only brought in in 1906.

The original concept was to have 60 residences in the quiet green hilltop estate. It was opened to the public in 1926 and became a UNESCO heritage site in 1984. Restricted access to the main area (about 10% of the park) began later on due to increasing wear and tear.

What makes this spot so intriguing and beloved by locals and tourists? The most famous part of the park are the undulating trencadis mosaic benches. One of Gaudí’s most well known techniques is called “trencar” which basically means “to break” in Catalan, placing broken ceramic tiles, plates and cups to form the most colorful and picturesque patterns. His playful mosaic salamander (“el drac”) is always happy to be photographed. The main area is supported by massive doric columns with more sunny mosaics on the ceiling.

The colonnaded footpaths will make you feel as though you’re riding a wave of stone, the Bird Nests are gorgeously kitsch and the Porter Lodge screams Gaudí. This is a miraculous place to have a picnic while gazing at both the view and the best Art-Nouveau in Europe.

Here are my tips for visiting the park:

  • Purchase tickets to the main area online before going to avoid disappointment (entrance is limited to 800 ppl/hour).
  • Take food with you if you want to have a picnic as there is limited food available.
  • Catch the Bus Güell from metro stop Alfons X to Park Güell’s main entrance in just 15 min (bus is included in the ticket). It runs from 15 min before opening to 45 min after closing.
  • Opening hours vary per month, in winter (5-5:30 pm closure), summer (9:30 pm closure).

Author’s Bio: Mar Pages is the brainchild behind Once in a Lifetime Journey. She juggles her time between the blog, uplifting solo female travelers and flying to the most luxurious and out-of-the-ordinary destinations. You can follow her on Facebook.

a facade of a building with yellow decorative tiles and mosaic type of decoration, the Cauchie House in Brussel, Belgium
The Cauchie House, Brussels; photo by Helen on her Holidays

Brussels, Belgium: The Cauchie House

by Helen from Helen on her Holidays

As a home to some of the earliest Art Nouveau buildings, Brussels is a treasure-trove of stunning shapes and fine detailing. The prettiest Art Nouveau building in Brussels is the Cauchie House. The Cauchie House was built in 1905 by painter, designer and architect Paul Cauchie for himself and his new wife, art tutor Carolina ‘Lina’ Voet. The house sits on a narrow, 6-metre-wide plot across the road from the Cinquantenaire Park, close to Brussels’ European Quarter

The defining characteristic of the Cauchie House is its rich external decoration with beautiful gold highlights. It’s a wonderful example of the sgraffito technique, one of Paul Cauchie’s specialities, but from the first plans, the house was designed to be an example of ‘total art’, combining architecture, painting, sculpture and the decorative arts. The Cauchie House’s prominent position made it a superb advertisement for the couples’ talents, but the inscription “par nous, pour nous” (“by us, for us”) made it clear that the Cauchie House was primarily for the couple themselves. 

The Cauchie House was nearly demolished in 1971, but was saved and listed as a protected monument in 1975. Interior visits to the gallery in the basement need to be booked in advance, but it’s well worth making the short trip from the Cinquantenaire Park to see the house from the street. 

Tip: Book a private Art Nouveau tour of Brussels to see all hidden gems.

Author’s Bio: Helen from Helen on her Holidays visited Brussels as part of her project to visit all the European Union capitals. You can find her on Facebook.

a beautiful building with a lot of ornaments and a sea-shell shaped roof above the entrance, the Cantacuzino Palace in Bucharest
Cantacuzino Palace in Bucharest

Bucharest, Romania

by Daniela, the author of this blog

They call Bucharest the ‘Little Paris‘ and for a reason. At the end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th century Bucharest was rapidly growing and there appeared lots of buildings in the modern Beaux-Arts architecture style. However, here and there architects took the liberty to include Art-Nouveau elements and the results were stunning.

One of the most beautiful buildings in Bucharest with Art Nouveau elements is the Cantacuzino Palace, which hosts today the George Enescu Museum. It was designed by the Romanian architect Ion D. Berindey for the then mayor of the city Gheorghe Cantacuzino. The shell-shaped roof above the entrance is perhaps one of the most iconic sights in Bucharest.

There are also a few residential buildings which are completely in Art Nouveau style, like the Dinu Lipatti House at no. 12 on Lascăr Catargiu Boulevard, by Petre Antonescu, the Romulus Porescu House at no. 12 on Doctor Paleologu Street, by Dumitru Maimarolu, or the House at no 16 on Dimitrie Racoviță Street.

a beautiful but dilapidated building in Art Nouveau style, the Constanta Casino in Romania
The Casino in Constanta, Romania; photo by RJOnTour

Constanta, Romania: Constanta Casino

by Rich from RJOnTour

The Constanţa Casino is an Art Nouveau building in Constanţa, Romania, with an interesting history. It is one of the most photogenic buildings in the Romanian city, despite being derelict. The Romanian Ministry of Culture designated the casino as a historic monument. It is one of the must-see sights in Constanţa.

The first building dates back 1880 when it was built in wood. Subsequently, they rebuilt Casino two more times. Its current form with the art nouveau design was completed in 1910. The design of the current building was done by Daniel Renard, a Romanian architect of French ancestry. Daniel Renard was a graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His idea for the design caused much controversy, however the liberal government in power at the time embraced it.

Back in the early 20th century, the city was the Romanian equivalent of Monte Carlo. The casino suffered destruction during the two World Wars and it served as a hospital during WW2. During the communist era it was used as a cultural centre. Today, the casino is closed to visitors as the building has been abandoned. However, we can still enjoy it from outside.

Tip: Visit Constanta on a day trip from Bucharest.

Author’s Bio: Rich of RJOnTour, is a travel blogger that mainly travels with a dog in tow in the UK and Europe. He loves visiting historic sites and the wilds of the mountains. Food, booze and photography is a passion too, and he enjoys these wherever he goes.

a tower with interesting form in Darmstadt, Germany
The Wedding Tower, Darmstadt

Darmstadt, Germany

by Victoria from Guide Your Travel

Darmstadt is a mid-sized city located in central Germany. It’s known as a student city and is not only famous for its scientific research institutions but also its unique style of Art Nouveau or Jugendstil architecture. There are several impressive buildings around the city. One of the most notable is the Jugendstil Bath. This is a public indoor swimming pool which is more than 100 years old. Its buildings have significant elements of Art Noveau and are known for their beauty and unique style. The main swimming hall is especially beautiful with its balconies overlooking the pool and the large windows. 

The Wedding Tower or Hochzeitsturm is often considered the most famous landmark in Darmstadt. It was constructed in 1908 and commemorates the wedding of Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Eleonore in 1905. It has a unique roof with rounded arches which can be seen from all around the city of Darmstadt. The tower is surrounded by a beautiful park and is of course a popular location for wedding photos and celebrations. The tower and its viewing platform are open to the public.

While these are the two most famous Art Nouveau buildings in Darmstadt there are actually a lot more unknown ones scattered around the city making it the perfect place to go exploring.

Author’s Bio: Victoria is a blogger and freelance writer from Germany. She’s the author of Guide Your Travel and loves to write about photography, blogging and travel in general. Her destination guides focus on budget travel and creating realistic expectations.

a yellow building with lovely ornaments and a green-tiled roof, Art Nouveau example in Helsinki, Finland
Art Nouveau in Helsinki

Helsinki, Finland

by Jessica from Uprooted Traveler

Helsinki, Finland, boasts hundreds of buildings designed in a uniquely Finnish version of Art Nouveau, built from the 1890s to the start of World War I. Art Nouveau was popular throughout most European cities during this timeframe. While other countries’ designs leaned heavily on organic decorations, like spindly metalwork or intricate natural elements, like flowers or vines, in Helsinki, however, the Finnish culture bled into this design, with influences from the Finnish countryside, from elegant castles to the most rustic peasant houses. Not only was this an artistic statement, but also a political one – during this timeframe, Finland was a semi-autonomous Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire and desperately seeking its independence.

In the midst of this national struggle, more traditional elements of Finnish culture were steadily incorporated into artwork, from music to literature and, yes, even architecture. While Helsinki is full of beautiful examples of Art Nouveau buildings, perhaps none are as beloved as the candy-colored houses of Huvilakatu (or Villa Street). This two-block area, built from 1904 to 1910, incorporates traditional elements of Finnish nature with urban architecture. Despite its name, no villas are found on this street, with the blocks made up of narrow rows of apartment buildings, with features similar to that of a Finnish country home. If you’d like to learn more about Finnish Art Nouveau style, the Design Museum is a short walk from Huvilakatu and a great spot to understand more about Helsinki’s uniquely stunning architecture.

Author’s Bio: Jessica Schmit is a full time corporate attorney by day, but by night, she’s a travel blogger focusing on vegan, adventure, and responsible travel. She enjoys finding offbeat adventure, a really good deal, and the best craft beer a city has to offer. Follow her on Instagram.

A red building with symmetrical embellishments around the windows in Art Nouveau style, in Ljubljana, Slovenia
Vurnik House in Ljubljana; photo by We Are Craving Adventure

Ljubljana, Slovenia

by Tom & Zi from We Are Craving Adventure

When it comes to architecture, Ljubljana is mainly known for the structures designed by the famous Slovene architect Jože Plečnik, but the iconic Art Nouveau pieces you’ll find in the city are at least as impressive. Most of Ljubljana’s Art Nouveau buildings can be found in the compact city centre, meaning that they are all within walking distance from each other so you can see them all in one day. 

Let’s start with the most famous one, and the most photographed building in Ljubjlana; Vurnik House. This striking building is easily recognized by its unique facade adorned with geometric patterns painted in bright red, blue, yellow and white. Right next to it stands the People’s Loan Bank, with its blue and white facade and Secession-style statues on the roof. Then across the street bump into the Grand Union Hotel and we’re sure you’ll find that it is grand both on the outside and the inside.

Keep walking down the street to end up next to the Ljubljanica River at the Art Nouveau-filled Prešeren Square where you should make sure to check out the grand staircase in Galerija Emporium. Then following the river East it takes you to the iconic Dragon Bridge, which, as the name suggests, is adorned with statues depicting dragons and is often regarded as the most beautiful bridge produced by the Vienna Secession.

Even though the city centre of Ljubljana is quite small, it is jam-packed with enough gorgeous Art Nouveau buildings to make any art and architecture lover excited, and you should definitely visit!

Author’s Bio: In 2018 Tom & Zi chose to swap their old lives for a life of travel. That’s when Craving Adventure, a travel blog with a focus on adventure and authentic experiences was born. Through in-depth guides, they help you travel more and encourage you to take the path less travelled.

beautifully decorated food hall in a shopping mall, Harrods Food Hall in London
Harrods Food Hall, London

London, United Kingdom: Harrods Food Hall

by Rosie from Flying Fluskey

London isn’t blessed with a great deal of Art Nouveau, which is why finding a real gem seems extra special. Harrods, the world-renowned department store is a gold mine of architecture. From its Edwardian terracotta facade to the striking Egyptian escalator, it is a jigsaw. A key piece, hidden within its walls, is the intricately tiled food hall. Up until 2019, this room housed the fish and meat counters but has now been transformed into a dining room by David Collins Studio with a selection of eateries. Thankfully, although it has been renovated, the beautiful tile displays have been preserved.

From floor to ceiling, the William Neatby tiles gleam after their facelift, just as they did when first finished by Doulton & Co. Nestled among the cream background, gorgeous scenes of pastoral life reflected the produce on offer in front of each design. Columns around the room glisten with neat patterns and across the ceiling rise iron arches reminiscent of the Paris Metro. Directly above these are the crowning glory of the room. An orchard of trees with dogs and other creatures dashing between them are painted with a sweeping hand. The whole scene is topped by beautiful birds.

When it was first created, people mocked the over-decorative grocery store interior but it soon became a beloved example of Art Nouveau. It is a real treat to dine here and have the time to enjoy the interior, rather than making a quick poultry purchase and being bustled right out again.

Author’s Bio: Rosie Fluskey is one half of the team behind Flying Fluskey travel blog. She has been living in London with the other half, and exploring the world with him, for 15 years. They share their travels and great tips for flashpackers over at their Instagram page.

a building in Art Nouveau style with Michelin on it and lots of colorful tiles, the former Michelin headquarters in London, UK
The Michelin House; photo by Steve Cadman, CC BY-SA 2.0

London, United Kingdom: The Michelin House

by Clotilde from A Princess Travelling with Twins

The former headquarters of the Michelin tyre company is a building that anyone who appreciates art should not fail to include in a London itinerary. Located 5 minutes walk from South Kensington tube station, it can be the perfect end-to-a-day spent in the museum area.

Built by one of the engineers employed by Michelin itself, it presents a predominantly Art Nouveau style with subtle Art Deco influences. One of the prominent elements are the three large windows that represent the characteristic smiling little Michelin man. Unfortunately however, today you have to be content with appreciating the beauty of the replicas, as the original windows were lost when disassembled and transported to another Michelin headquarters during the Second World War to protect them from the bombing.

In 1985 the building was sold to Sir Terence Conran and completely renovated to house the famous interiors shop, a restaurant, and the oyster bar. The new use makes a visit easy. When you enter, try to take a step back in time imagining when the front was used for changing tyres and inside, instead of expensive pieces of interior furniture, piles and piles of tyres were stored. Do not forget to look for the beautiful plates made of ceramic tiles representing cars and tyres along the facade of the building, and when it gets dark the characteristic illuminated pinnacles representing stacked tyres.

Author’s Bio: Clotilde from A princess Travelling with Twins, is a mum and a wife with a full time job that will help you save time and find the confidence to build adventurous itineraries for your next trips with kids. Follow her on Instagram.

a top detail of abuilding with small turrets and stained glass, the Metropol Hotel in Moscow, Russia
Hotel Metropol in Moscow

Moscow, Russia: Hotel Metropol

by Lindsey from Have Clothes, Will Travel

The luxurious, historical Hotel Metropol is in the heart of Moscow, Russia. It’s located just across the road from the famous Bolshoi Theater and is within walking distance of the Kremlin and Red Square. It is a fine example of Art Nouveau architecture.

The Metropol was set up by the owner of Russia’s first private opera troupe, Savva Ivanovich Mamontov, in the late 19th century. Mamontov offered the best artists of that time – Mikhail Vrubel, Nikolay Andreev, Sergei Chekhonin, and Alexander Golovin – the opportunity to decorate the facades and interiors of the hotel. It officially opened in January 1905 and was unlike anything Muscovites had ever seen!

Then, this grand hotel underwent a large restoration from 1986 to 1991, which propelled it to be Russia’s first five-star hotel. It continues to be one of the leading hotels in the world. It’s been featured in many novels, most famously the Amor Towels’ novel “A Gentleman in Moscow”. The main character, Count Alexander Rostov, is sentenced to house arrest in 1922 and must spend the remainder of his life in The Metropol Hotel. Fans of the book can even book A Gentleman in Moscow Tour of the Metropol Hotel. 

Tip: Stay a night at the legendary Hotel Metropol and experience the Russian version of La Belle Époque!

Author’s Bio: Lindsey is the owner of the travel/style blog Have Clothes, Will Travel. She is originally from Wisconsin, USA and lived in Moscow, Russia for over a year. She writes at length about traveling in Moscow on her blog. You can follow her on Instagram.

an interior of cafe with rich Art Nouveau decorations, Cafe Cigale in Nantes, France
Brasserie La Cigale, Nantes; photo courtesy of La Cigale

Nantes, France: Brasserie La Cigale

by Leyla from Offbeat France

You don’t absolutely have to eat a meal when you visit La Cigale brasserie in Nantes, France: you could just go in and stare. Many do. But if you sit down for a meal, you’ll have plenty of time to ogle the sparkling Art Nouveau mosaics and woodwork created more than a century ago by the ceramist – and architect – Émile Libaudière.

Gazing at the decor, you’ll immediately understand why this became such a gathering place for the Nantes bourgeoisie and the nascent Surrealists, and why it has been used as a film backdrop again and again. Sitting across from the city’s main theater, the Graslin, you can almost imagine the actors and actresses stepping out for a nightcap or a bite after a successful performance.

Its protection as a historical monument has probably saved La Cigale from destruction. It briefly became a fast food restaurant in the 1960s, until it stopped being used, neglected and even abandoned until, thank goodness, the next owners converted it back into a brasserie in 1982.

Look around the high-ceilinged room and you’ll be dazzled by the friezes, sculptures, ceramics, mirrors and paintings, all brilliantly executed, the turquoises and golds and greens that weave through one another, cascading exuberantly into swirls of natural shapes as only an Art Nouveau artist could render. La Cigale is a true product of the Belle Époque, when Art Nouveau flourished.

Author’s Bio: Leyla publishes Offbeat France, where you’ll find quirky French stories about things unsung – history, culture, legends… not your usual top 10 fare. Follow her on Instagram.

a building in Catalan Modernist style with a facade with intricate ornaments and two trees in front
La Casa Solà Morales, Olot

Olot, Spain

by Claudia Tavani from My Adventures Across The World

Olot is a small town of no more than 35,000 inhabitants, and the capital of the Volcanic Region of Garrotxa. Set on a plain crossed by two rivers – Fluvià and Riudaura, Olot is known as the City of Volcanoes, for it is surrounded by them, and they are easily accessible on a short walk from the center of town. 

Yet, one of the main attractions of Olot are the many examples of Art Nouveau – there are so many of them in the Garrotxa Region that there’s even a Garrotxa Art Nouveau route. The most beautiful Art Nouveau buildings in Olot are Casa Gassiot, located in Carrer Sant Rafael, it was built by architect Alfred Paluzie between 1911 and 1912. The most notable feature is the statue at the corner of the building, by Rosendo Aubert.

The Solà Morales house, located in the Firal (marketplace) of Olot was added to the European Art Nouveau Route in 2000. The building is decorated with plant motifs, and female figures on the balcony of the first floor. It was built between 1913 and 1916 by architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner.

With its bright colors, Casa Gaietà Vila is probably the most eye-catching building in town. Located in Plaza del Rector Ferrer, it was built in 1905 by architect Alfred Paluzie who mixed several decorative styles – namely Modernism and Medievalism. 

Author’s Bio: Claudia Tavani is a former human rights lawyer who abandoned her academic career to pursue a life of travel. You can follow her on My Adventures Across The World or on Instagram.

a yellowish building with lots of curvey ornaments and a clock tower, Black Eagle Palace in Oradea Romania
Black Eagle Palace in Oradea

Oradea, Romania

by Kami from My Wanderlust

Oradea, the Romanian city located at the border with Hungary, is a real gem of Art Nouveau architecture that doesn’t get all the attention it should. The city is packed with buildings in this style that eventually put Oradea on the Art Nouveau European Route in 2012. What you can see in Oradea, is the Viennese school of Art Nouveau, mostly because at that time (beginning of the 20th century) this area was part of the Habsburg Empire and the city was developing rapidly, bringing well-known architects (like Kálmán Rimanóczy Jr, Marcell Komor or Franz Löbl) to create the well-needed spaces.

The most impressive art nouveau building in Oradea (and the whole Transylvania region) is Black Eagle Palace, beautifully renovated recently. This multifunctional space has a distinctive passage in the middle and two identical parts on both sides. Fortunately, the place is open to visitors and you can walk through it to admire its beauty.

Other important Art Nouveau gems include The Adorjan Houses, Transylvania Hotel, La Roche House, Astoria Hotel, and Poynar Mansion. You might discover Art Nouveau architecture in Oradea with a tour or you can simply just wander around the city yourself and find all the great buildings yourself.

Tip: See all Art Nouveau sights in Oradea with this private cultural tour!

Author’s Bio: Kami is fascinated with Central/Eastern Europe and the Balkans, often exploring these regions and discovering less known places there. She shares her travels and tips on the blog and on Facebook.

An entrance of a metro station in Paris with wrought iron details, an example of Art Nouveau architecture in Europe
One of Paris’ Art Nouveau Metro Stations by Guimard

Paris, France

by Christina from Travel2next

Paris was one of the first cities in Europe to embrace the Art Nouveau architectural movement, which art dealer Siegfried Bing introduced when he opened a gallery called Maison de l’Art Nouveau. The movement became a symbol of freedom from the stuffy, over-regulated designs prevalent during the late 19th century. Paris’ Art Nouveau movement was characterized by the use of alternative materials such as iron and glass, asymmetrical designs, decorative motifs from nature or symbolic representations like urns, flowers, shells or fruit; and natural forms more reminiscent of plant life than man-made creations.

Many famous landmarks in France were from the Art Nouveau movement. Famous examples of Art Nouveau architecture that every visitor in Paris has seen are the metro entrances, where Hector Guimard used wrought iron in a distinctive Art Nouveau style. Hector Guimard (1867-1942) was a Lyon-born architect and a graduate of Paris’ École des Beaux-Arts, who won a competition for designing the best facade in Paris with Castel Beranger in 1898.

You can also see touches of the Art Nouveau style in many famous buildings around Paris. Another example of this use of wrought iron can be found inside the Grand Palais des Champs-Élysées. Several department stores and shops have fine examples of Art Nouveau. The famous department store Galeries Lafayette, designed by Georges Chedanne and Ferdinand Chanu, has an impressive cupola designed in the Art Nouveau style, and La Samaritaine designed by Franz Jourdaine is another example. Museums in Paris with Art Nouveau furniture, paintings, jewellery, and glassware on display include Musée d’Orsay, Musée des Arts Décoratifs and Musée Carnavalet.

Tip: See all Art-Nouveau sights in Paris with this private tour!

Author’s Bio: Christina from Travel2next lives in Queensland, Australia. Her career as a travel journalist has taken her to 65 countries and she has contributed to major newspapers and websites around the world. Check out also her Pinterest page for more inspiration.

a gigantic dome shaped ceiling with wrought-iron details and gilded embellishments, the ceiling at Galerie Lafayette in Paris, France
The dome of the Galeries Lafayette in Paris

Paris, France: Galeries Lafayette

by Lena from Salut from Paris

The Art Nouveau style made it early to Paris. Just a few years after the first Art Nouveau decorations appeared in Brussels, the first Parisian architects and designers adopted the style. Hence it’s not surprising that Paris is an Art Nouveau hotspot until today. But even though you can spot the style all over town, one of the most impressive pieces is certainly the dome of the luxury department store Galeries Lafayette

The dome was designed by architect Ferdinand Chanut and glass artist Jacques Grüber and got inaugurated in 1912. It is a breathtaking masterpiece of filigrane metal frames and stained glass. The more than 30 meters high glass cupola is split up in 10 beam windows of painted glass, decorated with golden floral pieces. 

Originally, the Galeries Lafayette was also equipped with a beautiful grand staircase designed by Louis Majorelle. However, it got almost completely dismantled in 1974 to enlarge the sales area, but luckily, a little section is still visible on the first floor. 

To get a closer look at the dome, the Galeries Lafayette installed a suspended glasswalk that let you stand right under the cupola. It’s especially amazing if you visit Paris around Christmas, when the famous Christmas tree is up – the Christmas lights are having a wonderful sparkling effect on the stained glass and the golden ornaments of the cupola. The queues can be quite long though, so better be there early!

Tip: If you are visiting Paris around Christmas, take this tour of the shops and department stores with the best Christmas displays.

Author’s Bio: Lena lives since 15 years in Paris helps visitors plan their Paris vacation on her website Salut from Paris and her Facebook page. She provides guests with complete travel itineraries, valuable insider tips and neighbourhood guides to ensure that they have all information at hand to spend a perfect time in Paris. 

a library with a richly decorated stained glass roof and books on shelves on both sides, the Llelo Library in Porto, Portugal
The Llelo and Irmao Bookstore in Porto

Porto, Portugal

by Kenny from Knycx Journeying

In Portugal, Art Nouveau varies with the name Arte Nova, and it was adopted as a way for the bourgeoisie to parade their wealth. A unique touch of Arte Nova was the mix with Azulejo – painted tin-glazed ceramic tile that is usually blue. 

While Lisbon has a number of Arte Nova buildings, there are two fine examples in Porto where travelers can also taste great food, have a sip of port wine, and enjoy the view of Douro from the iconic Luis I Bridge. 

Café Majestic (1921) is a historic café located at the Rua Santa Catarina. Back in the days, it was called Elite, as it was a gathering place of intellectuals, artists, and writers. Originally designed by João Queiroz, the the dramatic façade demands attention. The interior doesn’t disappoint either. Inside you can find intricate wood-framed chairs, a marble tabletop, and a long banquette that is made of red velvet and embossed leather.

Lello & Irmao (1906) is widely recognized as the most beautiful bookstore in the world, and also one of the oldest. The bookstore was designed by Xavier Esteves, with dark wooden walls and a luxurious and winding staircase as the centerpiece. The interior also incorporates Neo-Gothic and Art Deco elements in its design.

Author’s Bio: Knycx Journeying is a blog covering anything that interests Kenny, from history, culture, humanity, architecture, art, food, music to outdoor adventure. He made it his mission to inspire people with his guides, adventures, resources, tips, and more. Follow Kenny on Instagram.

a building in Art Nouveau style with graffiti on the ground floor in poznan, Poland
Poznan, Poland; photo by Brown Boy Travels

Poznań, Poland

by Ucman from Brown Boy Travels

Poznań is the city of goats, potatoes and delicious croissants (that one can’t finish in one sitting) but it also has a finer side to it. The district with Art Nouveau architecture is quickly becoming the hip part of town. A lot of restaurants and cafes are popping up and this district is enjoying the much deserved fame and popularity. This up and coming district is Jeżyce and it is located in the Western part of the city. 

The name Jeżyce refers to the wider district but the Art Nouveau buildings are mainly located near the Rynek Jeżycki area or the Old Town Market.

To see the best of Jeżyce start with Klub Poludnie restaurant. The surrounding area has buildings with subtle but beautiful decor. The best is the building with a giant decorative sculpture at no. 4 on Roosvelta Street. The lady holds flowers with nearby balconies rising from elaborate floral patterns and vines.

The walk through this part has a great village feel with small enclosures and houses lined with gardens. It actually used to be a village before being engulfed by Poznań city. The most elaborate buildings stand near the old market though. While the market itself is quite ordinary, a walk on the main road reveals plenty of beautiful buildings one after the other. Jeżyce definitely deserves at least half a day to explore the hidden gems. There are plenty of good restaurants and cafes to make it easier to mix great historical architecture with delicious food.

Author’s Bio: Ucman is a 30 something gay travel blogger from London who loves exploring weird places and meeting new people, yoga and eating around the world, one destination at a time. He thinks the possibilities are endless and so is the world of adventure. You can find him on his blog or Instagram. 

a beautiful building in Art Nouveau style in Prague
The Municipal House in Prague; photo by Travel Geekery

Prague, Czechia

by Veronika from Travel Geekery

Prague is a true architectural gem and offers a vast array of different architectonic styles. The beauty of Art Nouveau shines through some of Prague’s most notable buildings. Alfons Mucha, one of the most prolific representatives of the Art Nouveau movement, was a Czech painter, who lived in Paris during the Art Nouveau era.

One of Prague’s most prime examples of Art Nouveau is the building of the Municipal House located at Náměstí Republiky (Republic Square). The large object features several concert halls, a restaurant, and a café. Prague’s Railway Station carries another famous Art Nouveau pearl – the Fantova building. This historical building can be found above the main hall. It houses a café, so you can sit down and admire the beauty of its interior with a nice cup of coffee.

Apart from these two main ones, there are about 40 buildings of the Art Nouveau style to be found in Prague. They are scattered all around the city. Some of them even house hotels – such as Hotel Evropa on Wenceslas Square, Hotel Paris right next to the Municipal House, or the Art Nouveau Hotel on Jindřišská Street. Imperial Hotel and Café then offer a unique combination of Art Nouveau with Art Deco – well worth seeing, too!

Staying in the city center, notice the Topičův house on Národní třída Boulevard and two buildings right on the Wenceslas Square: Adamova Pharmacy and Peterkův house.

Tip: Spot all Art Nouveau buildings in Prague with this special Art Nouveau tour of the city.

Author’s Bio: Veronika Primm is a Czech travel blogger based in Prague, who loves exploring cities big and small in Europe, as well as enjoying nature to the fullest all over the world. When not hiking, she can be found chilling at a beach or working away in a café. You can follow her on Instagram.

a large head with ornaments on a facade of a building in Riga
Riga, Latvia; photo by ipanematravels.com

Riga, Latvia

by Daniela, the author of this blog

Brussels maybe the birthplace of Art Nouveau and Paris its cradle but the Latvian capital Riga is the Meca for any Art Nouveau architecture lover, as it has the highest concentration of Art Nouveau buildings at one place in the world. Towards the turn of the 20th century Riga was a rapidly growing city which was open to the latest influences in architecture, which were breaking free from the eclecticism of the 19th century and were introducing a new, more dynamic esthetic.

The best examples of Art Nouveau architecture in Riga can be found on Albert Street (Alberta iela), Elizabeth Street (Elizabetes iela), and Strēlnieku Street (Strēlnieku iela). Also in the Old Town there are Art Nouveau buildings. Actually one-third of all buildings in the city centre of Riga are in the Art Nouveau style. This is also one of the reasons why the Historic Centre of Riga is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You can also visit the Riga Art Nouveau Centre, which is housed in a lovely building from the period. Its spiral staircase is pretty unique.

Practical info
Address: Brīvdabas iela 21, Rīga, LV-1024, Latvia
Admission fee: Summer season (May 1 – September 30): adults – 4 EUR, students – 2 EUR, schoolchildren – 1,40 EUR; Low season (October 1 – April 30): adults – 2 EUR, students – 1,40 EUR, schoolchildren – 0,70 EUR;
Opening times: Summer season (May 1 – September 30): daily, from 10 am till 8 pm; Low season (October 1 – April 30): daily, from 10 am till 5 pm, February & March: Wednesday till Saturday, from 10 am till 5 pm
Website: brivdabasmuzejs.lv

a beautifully decorated interior of a synagogue, Subotica
The Synagogue in Subotica, Serbia; photo by Wander-Lush

Subotica, Serbia

by Emily from Wander-Lush

An established stop on the Art Nouveau European Route yet still a little off the beaten track for many travellers, Subotica is a must-visit in Serbia for anyone who’s even remotely interested in Art Nouveau. This small city boasts some of the most impressive examples of Hungarian Secession architecture anywhere in Europe, including the iconic 1904 Ferenc Raichle’s Palace, a private home built by one of the movement’s local leaders.

Subotica is located close to the Hungarian border in Serbia’s northern Vojvodina region. Part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it was heavily influenced by both the Hungarian Szecesszio movement and the Vienna Secession, which shaped the entire downtown. Floral motifs, organic lines and classic colour combinations define many of the city’s major landmarks – with a liberal use of Zsolnay ceramic tiles. There are more than a dozen buildings classified as Art Nouveau, including the City Hall and the main bank.

Perhaps the most sublime example is the Subotica Synagogue, built in 1902 and recently refurbished. This was the city’s first Secessionist building and is considered the only synagogue in Europe that incorporates Hungarian Art Nouveau elements. The interior is a masterpiece of stained glass, floral ornamentation and bright, storybook colours.

The best way to discover Subotica’s architecture is with one of the free audio tours created by Visit Subotica, available via an app. While you’re there, take a short side-trip to nearby Palic Lake, where several more noteworthy Art Nouveau buildings – including the 1912 Women’s Lido – can be found.

Author’s Bio: Emily is a culture-obsessed travel writer from Australia who now lives in Tbilisi, Georgia. She publishes guides for the Caucasus, the Balkans and Southeast Asia on her website, Wander-Lush, and shares her travel photography on Instagram.

a beautiful staircase in Art Nouveau style, but in a very bad, dilapidated condition, Tbilisi
Tbilisi, Georgia; photo by Red Fedora Diary

Tbilisi, Georgia

by Baia from Red Fedora Diary

Apart from ancient and modern buildings, the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, hides some of the most impressive architectural gems of the early 20th century. Scattered in the city’s central neighborhoods, most of those Art Nouveau buildings are in decay and desperate need of renovation.

Georgian architects and engineers quickly adopted this new modern architecture style, constructing Art Nouveau residential houses from 1902. These early buildings still stand today. However, Georgian Art Nouveau distinguishes from the rest of the world with traditional and national elements incorporated in this international style. Namely, wooden carved balconies.

The best examples of Art Nouveau buildings are in Sololaki and Mtatsminda neighborhoods; however, you’ll need to sharpen your eyes not to miss anything. Most of the time, they are in poor conditions and hard to notice. During the Communist Era, many buildings were whitewashed and therefore lost many details.

Besides having intricate facades, these residential houses have gorgeous hand-painted hallways. It was “fashionable” for the bourgeois family to have such entrance halls. It was a way of “showing off” back then. One such notable entrance hallway is on Tabidze 18, near Freedom Square.

Apart from the residential homes, Tbilisi had banks, hospitals, maternity homes, pawnshop, greenhouse, and a library, to name a few, all housed in gorgeous Art Nouveau-style buildings. So, if you haven’t considered Tbilisi as your destination to hunt down less-known Art Nouveau architecture, this might be the time.

Author’s Bio: Baia is a travel writer, foodie, and passionate photographer. Her articles have been published in Lonely Planet, Passion Passport, the Culture Trip, National Geographic Traveller FOOD, etc. Follow her journey on Instagram or check out her blog.

a building in Art Nouveau style in The Hague, the Netherlands
The Oger storefront at Noordeinde 6 by L.A.H. de Wolf; photo by Exploring the Netherlands

The Hague, the Netherlands

by Daniela from Exploring the Netherlands

At the end of the 19th century Art Nouveau arrived in the Netherlands and was quickly adopted by local artists, designers and architects under the name Nieuwe Kunst. It wasn’t as exuberant as the Art Nouveau in Belgium and France or the Jugendstil in Germany, but nonetheless it was quite visible in the decorations and the ornamentations.

The city with the largest concentration of Art Nouveau buildings in the Netherlands is The Hague (Den Haag). Around 1900 The Hague was a booming city and high-end retailers set up new businesses downtown commissioning building with the fashionable Art Nouveau facades. The finest examples of Art Nouveau in The Hague can be found at Noordeinde, Kettingstraat, Hoogstraat, and Korte Poten.

One of the most famous buildings is the House of Lorrie (Huis van Lorrie) of the Dutch architect J.P.J. Lorrie at Smidswater 26. Other great examples are the cinema Pathé Buitenhof at Buitenhof 20, the Hofstad Apotheek at Korte Poten 7A, and the building at Denneweg 56.

Author’s Bio: Besides this blog (ipanematravels.com), Daniela is the author of the local site Exploring the Netherlands, where she shares local secrets and helps travellers plan the perfect trip to her home country – the Netherlands. For the ultimate Dutch experience, follow her Instagram page.

a sea-side boulevard with lovely colorful buildings in Art Nouveau style in Viareggio, Italy
The Promenade in Viareggio, Italy; photo by PlacesofJuma

Viareggio, Italy

by Martina & Jürgen from PlacesofJuma

One of the most beautiful places for Art-Nouveau is definitely Viareggio in Italy. This lovely coastal town is located in Tuscany, not far from Pisa and Lucca, and amazes in many different ways. Here you will enjoy one of the longest sandy beaches in Italy. Beautiful are also the historic Bagnos, the so-called beach resorts, which line the coast, and which creates a very extraordinary ambience with their many colorful umbrellas.

If you love Art-Nouveau you should definitely choose the Bagnos Balena, Amedeo and Felice, which are considered to be the most beautiful ones. Especially picturesque is the marvelous promenade in Viareggio, where colorful buildings and beautiful villas in Art Nouveau style are lined up.

The history of the “passeggiate” goes back to 1917 when Galileo Chini created the new seafront promenade in a unique Art Nouveau ensemble, which he underlaid and ornamented with oriental motifs. To this day, the buildings with their turrets and oriels, with their decorations, ceramic tiles and stained-glass windows give the promenade an unmistakable character.

The most interesting examples of this Art Nouveau style are the Gran Caffè Margherita, the Teatro Eden, the Emporio Duilio and the Galleria del Libro. All located along the picturesque promenade. The locals come here especially on weekends for having long walks, for doing some shopping or just having a lovely lunch.

Author’s Bio: On PlacesofJuma Martina & Jürgen write about their most amazing trips around the globe. The two bloggers love travel photography and are therefore always searching for the most beautiful places and locations.

An interesting clock with figures on a small covered bridge between two buildings, the Anchor Clock in Vienna, Austria
The Anchor Clock in Vienna, Austria; photo by Continent Hop

Vienna, Austria

by Lavina from Continent Hop

Ornamented architecture is quite prominent when one thinks of Art Nouveau architecture, and Vienna in Austria has some great examples at every corner. One of the first galleries for modern art in all of Europe, the Secession is one of the most famous examples of the Jugendstil style done by Joseph Olbrich. The dome of the Secession has a massive sphere covered with intertwined leaves that shine in the light making it quite the attraction.

Otto Wagner contributed to most other places in Vienna with this style. The Stadtpark and Pavilion stations are the ones that are the most preserved and untouched. There’s also a museum dedicated to the legendary architect at the Pavilion station that talks about his life and work in Vienna. However, his apartment building Majolika House at Linke Wienzeile 40, is what stands out the most. The facade of the building is completely covered with a floral pattern with golden vines creeping in-between.

The Anker Clock in the oldest square of Vienna, the Hoher Markt, is another example, one that is also popular with tourists as many tours around Vienna include a stop here. The clock was built as a bridge between two buildings belonging to the Anker company. Every day at 12 PM, 12 historical figures pass from one end of the bridge to the other.

In addition to this, some other examples in Vienna include the Artaria house, the Zacherl Haus, the Urania and even one of the public toilets on the underground, the Art Nouveau toilet on Graben.

Tip: Do not miss any of the Art Nouveau buildings in Vienna with this private walking tour.

Author’s Bio: Lavina is an Analyst, Writer and Speaker who focuses on culture and food on her travels and helps professionals get the most from their limited holidays. Follow her on Instagram.

About Daniela

Daniela is the creator and writer of this travel blog. A writer by nature and occupation and traveller by heart, Daniela will take you to all forgotten corners of Europe and even beyond. She travels with her partner, but his only role is to be the greatest fan of this blog. To learn more, check out the About section.