Sure, Paris has the romance. Rome has the ancient ruins. Barcelona has the picturesque sights. And Berlin has a wealth of culture and a modern “for the tourist” vibe. In fact, most of Europe’s most visited cities have a little bit of everything. The architecture, the history, and the exciting cultures that make them the “go to” travel destinations. But what about the European cities less traveled?
If you’re looking for something a little different for your European trip, there are quite a few “hidden gems” to consider. Here’s a look at seven cities along the roads less traveled in Europe that may just surprise you with their charm and culture:
Bruges tends to be overlooked when it comes to Belgium travel. Especially since the more popular Antwerp gets more of the attention from travelers. But Bruges has quite a lot to offer travelers too. This charming and historic city is best known for medieval architecture and picturesque canals.
Some even refer to the city as “The Venice of the North.” So it definitely offers that romantic Italian vibe…without all of the busy crowds that come along with Venice. It’s a great place to go for a stroll and take in the history and architecture surrounding you. Fans of art should also take note…as Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child sculpture can be found in this quaint Belgium city.
It’s a seemingly well-known city. But Budapest tends to get overlooked when it comes to top places to visit in Europe. And it definitely shouldn’t be! Hungary’s capital offers so much culture, history, and amazing architecture. It’s a great city to explore on foot to really take in all the city has to offer. Don’t forget to check out the neo-Gothic Parliament building. Castle Hill and the Castle District are also must sees. And of course, you have to take a stroll along the historic banks of the Danube River.
Scandinavian cities rarely make it on the typical European tourist’s radar. However, cities like Copenhagen definitely deserve a visit. Denmark’s capital has plenty of culture, history, and architecture to check out. Once a fishing village, it’s now a major Scandinavian city full of surprises for the unsuspecting tourist. The picturesque harbor is a great place to start a walk around the city. And if you’re into castles…there are plenty of those around too. Copenhagen also has plenty of museums to explore too. It’s a laid back city that deserves more attention than it gets. Just be sure to bring warm clothes if you’re looking to visit during the winter season!
Wine lovers should definitely consider a visit to Porto. That’s because port wine originated in this Portuguese city. It’s a city full of charm and history…especially since it was built during the Roman times. Take a stroll along the ancient, narrow cobblestone streets. Winding through the oldest city district of Riberia will take you back in time with beautiful architecture and quaint family owned shops and cafes. And of course…there are plenty of port wine tasting opportunities. Set against the backdrop of the Douro River, Porto is a great choice for a more low-key European travel destination.
Another Scandinavian destination makes the list with Gothenburg. It may be the second largest city in Sweden, but it usually remains in shadows of the popular capital city of Stockholm. This university town is well-known for its awesome festivals. So if you’re considering a trip to Sweden, see if you can plan it around one of Gothenburg’s festivals. You’ll definitely be glad you did! The city is also a great source of Scandinavian style architecture and is rich in history and vibrant culture.
By the time World War II ended, Dresden was basically in ruins. But the city was rebuilt and is now known for its chic and elegant Baroque design. It’s home to several of Germany’s largest universities and is located near the Czech border. So if you’re planning a side trip to the Czech Republic, Dresden is definitely a great choice for a visit. Museum lovers will be delighted to find some of the country’s most renowned museums located in the city. And if you’re a fan of beer, don’t forget to check out the ample beer gardens while you’re there.
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
Since it’s already been mentioned how close Dresden, Germany is to the Czech border, why not add Prague to you travel itinerary? It’s the most well known city in the country, but not really considered a popular tourist destination. This historic city is actually full of plenty of amazing sights to see. It’s rich in history and culture. And there’s definitely plenty of awesome architecture to seek out. Check out the churches and cathedrals that date back to the 10th century. Prague is also known for making some pretty great beer as well, and it’s often the cheapest drink on the menu!