What is it about Europe that’s so captivating to North Americans? The old world charm? The rich history and soaring architecture? The beautiful languages? From the blustery shores of England to the beaches of southern France, from the cobblestone streets of Belgium to the hip cafes of Prague. Europe offers a diverse and magical lifestyle, filled with cultures, cuisine, and languages.
For parents looking for the perfect monikers for their little ones, Europe also offers inspiration for some of the coolest, and most under-the-radar, baby names you could hope for. While other parents, they may simply love the sound of a particular language, and the names common in that culture.
There are the musical and lyrical names of Italy and Spain, the whimsical and lively names of Ireland and the sophisticated and stylish monikers from England. Or, perhaps, the charming and elegant names of France, and the effortlessly cool and hip names currently popular in playgrounds across Scandinavia.
Regardless of what you’re looking for in baby girl names, this list of some of the most popular girls’ names in Europe will surely inspire. It's possible you’ll find a perfect name here, amongst the most beautiful names from across the pond.
This beautiful Scandinavian name, which means "noble woman", is on the up-and-up in North America, thanks in part to an uptick in the popularity mythological names (we can credit Game of Thrones for this cool new trend).
Freya, which can also be spelled Fraya or Freyja, is the Norse Goddess of love, beauty, and fertility. In fact, according to legend, when Freyja cries, her tears are golden.
Vibrant and luminous, Freya is a fashionable choice for parents of little girls across Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom. It's currently the 15th most popular name in England, and 19th in Scotland, according to Nameberry.com. And Freyja spelled with a "j" is fashionable in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland, as well as in Iceland, where it's in 11th spot.
Currently ranked 330th in the U.S., Freya is gaining momentum here in North America - so nab it now, while it's still flying under the radar.
Mira is an ethereal European girls' name meaning "“princess” or "sea/ocean."
There's no shortage of famous Miras across Europe, including Polish poets, Serbian actresses, Bulgarian singers and Croatian athletes. In fact, there are also famous Miras from Indonesia, India, and Canada, as well as the American actress, Mira Sorvino.
German parents, in particular, seem enamored with this multi-cultural name, so much so that it's the 42nd most popular girls' name in Germany.
Despite the exotic nature of Mira, it's still ranking low among North American parents (Nameberry has it in 546th spot.) However, the tide may soon be turning on this exotic girls' name, with the release of the films Justice League and Aquaman, both of which will feature a superhero named Mera (played by Amber Heard). With the popularity of the girl power movement, particularly when it comes to female superheroes, Mira may soon be climbing the charts here.
Perhaps once viewed as slightly stern and old-fashioned, this classic Norse name, which means “fair” and “beautiful”, is seeing a well-deserved turn-around in popularity in its native Scandinavia, and North American parents are sure to take notice.
This sophisticated and elegant moniker is a royal name in parts of Northern Europe and is the name of the queen mother of Denmark.
North American readers may instantly think of beloved Swedish actress, Ingrid Bergman, mother of Italian actress Isabella Rossellini, when they hear this name. Ingrid also happens to be Scarlett Johansson’s middle name and is the mother of both White Oleander and Spy Kids.
Ingrid is currently ranked 68th in Sweden, and an impressive 16th in Norway. In the U.S., parents have yet to give Ingrid the love she deserves, where it sits in 871st spot on Nameberry charts.
Lively and youthful, Ciara (KEE-rah) is the feminine of the name Ciarán, both of which means “little dark one.” Although, we think there’s something luminous about these charming Irish names.
Outside of Ireland, Ciara is often Anglicized to be spelled Kiera, Keira, and Kira. Unfortunately, some girls, who go by the Irish version, may complain that people mispronounce their name kee-AH-rah or see-AH-rah (like the American singer Ciara). Ciara was also the name of a seventh-century Irish saint – Saint Ciara.
Ciara saw a spike in popularity in the U.S. back in 2005, when it reached as high as 150 (that same year, it was ranked 10th Ireland), but it’s since fallen out of favor, and currently sits in the 882nd spot. In its native Ireland, it’s a different story altogether. Ciara continues to be a hugely popular choice among parents of little girls, who have ranked it in 39th spot, according to Nameberry.
Millie is a rising star in our books, thanks in large part to the popularity of sci-fi drama Stranger Things, and its monster-destroying pre-teen protagonist Eleven (played by Millie Bobbie Brown).
This adorable and endearing name is actually a diminutive of the German Millicent, meaning “strong in work.” And, also, the English Mildred, meaning “gentle strength”. But we think Millie on its own is perfect.
Millie peaked in North America way back in 1881, when it landed in 128th spot, according to Nameberry. After that, it dropped off the charts until 2009, and it’s gradually climbing back up the ranks. In England, Millie is ranked 34th, and in Scotland, it’s even more popular – in 20th spot.
In North America, Millie is ranked 436th – the first time it’s cracked the Top 500 since the Second World War.
It may seem like a head-scratcher at first, but once you get past the pronunciation, this radiant Irish name will steal your heart.
Pronounced Neev (and Anglicized to Neve), Niambh or Niabh is an ancient Irish Gaelic name meaning “bright”, and was originally a term for a goddess, according to Nameberry.
According to Irish myth, Niamh of the Golden Hair was the daughter of a sea god, who fell in love with Finn’s son Ossian. Together, the two left for the Land of Promise, where they stayed for 300 years. Sounds romantic, eh?
There’s no shortage of famous Niamhs, in real life or in fiction. There’s the protagonist in Christina Baker Kline’s bestseller, Orphan Train. And if you watch BBC shows, Niamh is a character in the legal drama, Silk. There’s also Canadian actress Niamh Wilson, and Irish actress Niamh Walsh.
Niamh is currently ranked 60th in Scotland and 47th in Ireland. In North America, it’s in 348th spot.
There's something soft and musical about this elegant Spanish name, which conjures images of exotic destinations, soft sea breezes and the sweet smell of flowers. In reality, Paloma means "dove": A lovely symbol of peace and purity.
Salma Hayek chose this sweet moniker as a middle name for her daughter, Valentina, as did artist Pablo Picasso, whose daughter Anne Paloma Picasso (she goes by her middle name) is a famous jewelry designer. There's also an Easter feast in Italy called La Festa della Palomma (Feast of Palomma), celebrated in Ostuni, Puglia. And in Spain, a feast day known as the Virgen de la Paloma de Madrid is celebrated on Aug. 15 every year.
Paloma is a trendy name for little girls in Italy, Spain, and Croatia. And in Portugal, Paloma is even more popular: currently ranked in 79th spot. Paloma has some work to do before it hits big in North America, where Nameberry has it ranked in 947th spot. Although, we definitely think Paloma will rise up the ranks soon.
This is another European name that's slowly shaking free of its previous association with dusty old ladies, and - in the cause of Maud in particular - goody-goody Maude Flanders from The Simpsons.
Maud is an old German name, and a variant of the equally beautiful "Matilda", both of which mean "battle-mighty." It's the kind of butt-kicking, girl-power name currently in vogue among parents. Perhaps, even more, so given the fact that old lady names are hip again. Maud was a popular choice 100 years ago, according to Nameberry, but quickly fell out of favor at the turn of the Century, where it remained off the charts until recently.
This captivating name was popular among British royals. Maud was the youngest daughter of King Edward VII and granddaughter of Queen Victoria. There's also an Alfred Lord Tennyson poem called Maud, and of course, we're all familiar with Lucy Maud Montgomery, the novelist who wrote Anne of Green Gables.
Maud is currently most popular in the Netherlands, where it sits comfortably in 24th spot. Nameberry has it ranked 786th in North America.
There's so much more to this sweet girls' name than quirky Phoebe Buffay from Friends.
From the Greek language, meaning "radiant" or "shining one", Phoebe is the feminine of the male name Phoebus and has a long list of ties to mythology, literature, and the Bible.
In Greek mythology, Phoebe was a deity associated with the moon, as well as an epithet of Artemis, the goddess of hunting and wilderness. In the New Testament, Phoebe was a female minister. There was also a character named Phebe in Shakespeare's As You Like It, and Phoebe is Holden Caufield's little sister in J.D. Salinger's novel, The Catcher in the Rye.
With a name so rich in history, it's no wonder that Phoebe is currently enjoying a moment in the spotlight in Europe. In Scotland, it's in 74th spot, and in England, it's faring even better in 25th place. This lively and youthful girls' name is currently ranked 316th in the U.S., according to Nameberry.
Romantic and bold, Ines (pronounced ee-NEZ) is a relatively uncommon name that’s climbing up the charts in Europe, and likely to take off soon in North America thanks to one hot celeb couple that recently chose it for their daughter.
Ines has roots in several cultures across the pond, having ties to Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, and Croatia, according to Nameberry. A variant of the name Agnes, it means “pure” and “virginal.”
While relatively low on the charts on Nameberry (in the 124th spot), Ines is a fashionable choice in Europe and is currently ranked 34th in Spain and 32nd in Sweden.
And expect more North American parents to pick up on this cool, under-the-radar girls’ name after Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds named their second daughter, Ines, in 2016.
Exotic and feminine, Esmé is a Persian and French name meaning “esteemed,” “beloved” or “emerald”, and a popular choice among parents looking to add a sophisticated and European flair to their little girls’ names.
Esmé (pronounced EZ-may), was a popular name in Scotland in the 16th Century and was originally a boys’ name (it didn’t become a female name until the mid-20th Century). It’s related to the French Aimee and often used as a short form for Esmeralda.
Actress Samantha Morton loved the name so much, she gave it to her daughter, as did Michael J. Fox and Katey Sagal. She’s also a character from the Twilight series – Esme Cullen. And there's the J.D. Salinger short story "For Esmé – With Love and Squalor."
Esmé is currently a popular choice among parents in Scotland and England, where it’s ranked 59th and 35th respectively. In the U.S., it’s sitting in the 681st spot, according to Nameberry.
This whimsical, floral name hails from Sweden and hits all the right notes for anyone who's a lover of nature, gardening, or the great outdoors.
The names Linnéa (for girls) and Linneaus (for boys) are often given to Swedish children in honor of the 18th Century botanist Carl von Linné – known as the father of modern taxonomy. There’s even a twinflower called Linnaea – also named after the famous scientist.
Linnéa, which can be spelled with or without the accent, is hugely popular in its native Sweden. In 2013, it recently ranked 17th most popular girls’ name in that country and 7th in Norway.
In North America, this beautiful, blossoming name enjoyed some brief popularity when it cracked the Top 1000, at the turn of the Century, and then again in the 1950s, before dropping back off the charts. It currently sits at 347th, according to Nameberry, but take note, it is slowly on the rise here.
Greta is an old German name, and diminutive of Margarethe, that is currently a fashionable choice in parts of Europe. And, North American parents are beginning to notice
Greta means "pearl", and comes with an air of old-fashioned glamour and sophistication thanks to the iconic Swedish actress, Greta Garbo.
Actor David Caruso named his daughter Greta, as did Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates. There's also a character in Mad Men, Dr. Greta Guttman. And actress Greta Gerwig, who wrote and directed Lady Bird, was nominated for an Academy Award for best director in 2017.
Greta is currently popular in both Hungary and Sweden. In its native Germany, Greta is ranked 31st, and it's receiving even more love in Italy, where it's the 8th most popular name for girls. In the U.S. it sits in the 632nd spot, according to Nameberry, although its popularity is currently on the rise, and it may just crack the Top 500 in the next few years.
Girls' names derived from the masculine "George" are on the up-and-up this year, according to baby name expert Jennifer Moss, and founder of BabyNames.com. While Italian name Giorgia hits all the right notes in this regard.
The popularity of supermodel Georgia May Jagger – whose parents are Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall – has likely also encouraged the upward trajectory of Georg- names, especially among parents looking for a hip and stylish monikers. For those looking for something more sophisticated, there's also Georgiana and Georgina.
Originally of Greek origin, Georgia with an "e" has enjoyed continued popularity in England, where it remains high up on the charts. But there's something slightly more exotic about Giorgia with an "i" that warrants its inclusion on our list of hot European girls' names. And the numbers reflect this: Giorgia is currently the 5th most popular name in Italy, according to Nameberry.
It's currently ranked 227th in the United States.
It's not easy to pin down the root of this beautiful girls' name, which has ties to Italy, Spain, and Japan, and is also a biblical name.
Noemi (typically pronounced no-AY-me) is a variant of the name Naomi, and means. In Hebrew, Naomi (who was Ruth's mother-in-law in the Old Testament) means "pleasantness". It's also a Japanese name meaning "honest and beautiful".
This bright and pretty name is popular in so many cultures, that there are dozens of ways it can be spelled. There's Naomi in Dutch, English, and Hebrew; Noomi in Finnish and German; Naomé in French; and our favorite, Noemi, in Czech, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Noemi is most popular, at the moment, in Italy, where it's ranked in 18th spot. In the U.S., Nameberry has it sitting pretty in 786th.
Exotic and bold, Petra is an old Greek name that comes from the masculine Peter, meaning "rock." This makes for a solid choice for hip parents looking for a strong girls' name, which is still off the radars in North America.
History buffs and travel junkies will also know that Petra is the name of a famous, ancient city in Jordan, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It may only be ranked 379th in North America according to Nameberry, but this old-world name is a rising star across Europe, particularly in Germany, Serbia, Finland, Sweden, Macedonia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Slovakia. It's even ranked in the Top 20 in Hungary, and in Croatia, it's the actually second most popular choice among parents of little girls.
There's so much to love about this trend-setting girls' name, that it's time it hit the charts here at home.
Bright and endearing, Matilde is the Spanish version of the German, Matilda.
The German variation of this lovely, vintage name is currently popular among celeb parents like Gordon Ramsey, Moon Unit Zappa, Michelle Williams and Heath Ledger, all of whom named their daughters Matilda. And, Molly Ringwald named her daughter Mathilda with an "h". Of course, there's also the book Matilda, written by beloved children's author, Roald Dahl.
Currently ranked 16th in Italy, and an impressive second in Portugal, Matilde with an "e" reached its height of popularity in the U.S. way back in 1883, when it rose to 600th spot, before dropping back down the charts and hovering just above 1000th. Incidentally, Mathilde with an "h" (pronounced mah-TEEL) is enjoying immense popularity in France and parts of Scandinavia - including Norway, where it's ranked 25th.
Matilde is currently 497th in the U.S., according to Nameberry, but given its popularity in Europe, the tide will likely turn on this beautiful moniker.
This energetic and vibrant girls name is a Spanish variant of the equally beautiful Leona, which means “lioness” – making it the perfect name for a little lady who’s bright and sweet, but also a total butt-kicker.
Leonor (LEE-uh-nor) is seeing an uptick in popularity thanks to a boom in Leo- names (for both girls and boys), including Leonore with an “e”, which is a German name derived from the classic and elegant "Eleanor".
And parents who favor the romanticism of names ending in an “a” might prefer Leonora, an Italian and English name. Of course, there’s also the famous Edgar Allan Poe poem "Lenore".
Leonor is currently in favor in Portugal, where it’s ranked way up in the 3rd spot. In the U.S., it’s sitting at 598th, according to Nameberry, but we reckon that will soon change.
Stylish and exotic, Frida is a German name meaning “peaceful”.
The world's best-known Frida is probably Mexican surrealist painter, Frida Kahlo, whose mother and sister, incidentally, were named Matilde. And of course, there’s Indian actress and model Freida Pinto, who famously starred in Slumdog Millionaire.
As, is common, with European names popular in multiple countries, there’s a huge variety of ways to spell Frida, including Freda (popular in England), Frieda (common in Germany and the Netherlands), and Freida (notably in the U.S.).
Frida with an “i” is particularly fashionable in Sweden. It’s also ranked in the Top 20 in both Norway and Denmark.
In the U.S., Frida saw a bump in popularity in 2003, when it rose to the 600th spot. Perhaps that is because of the 2002 release of the film Frida, in which Salma Hayek played artist Frida Kahlo. Within a few years, it had sunk back down the charts, but in 2016 Frida picked up again in popularity, and it’s continuing its slow rise. Nameberry has it listed as being in the 816th spot in the U.S.
Rounding off our list of trendy European girls' names is bright and unique Alma, a Latin name meaning "nurturing soul".
A perfect name for parents who love music and poetry, Alma was hugely popular for about 40 years, back at the turn of the 20th Century. In fact, from 1880 to about 1920, it stayed the course in the Top 100, before slowly falling out of favor for the remainder of the century, in North America, anyway.
Alma is slowly rising back in favor, thanks in part to characters named Alma in popular films and TV shows, including The Hunger Games, American Horror Story, Deadwood, and Brokeback Mountain.
In Europe, Alma is a trendy girls' name across the continent. According to Nameberry, it's 167th in Germany, 32nd in Norway, 25th in Spain, and 14th in Sweden. U.S. parents have yet to pick up on the simple charm of this beautiful Latin girls' name (it's ranked 723rd), but it's due for a comeback.