Ever wanted to know beautiful cities in Europe apart from Paris, Rome, Barcelona, and London ? Let’s take a look at my Europe’s top 10 most underrated destinations. From nightlife in Slovakia, awesome mountains in Austria, to one of the biggest music annual festivals in Scandinavia.
10. Lviv, Ukraine
Ukraine as a whole country should be considered on top of the list of underrated destinations in Europe. This architectural jewel of western Ukraine is notably different to any other Ukrainian cities. The historic city centre is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and without a doubt, worth a visit at least once in our lifetime. Old buildings and cobblestone roads could be seen around the city along with charming cafés and cozy restaurants are ideally suited for relaxation. Keep in mind that you don’t have to spend that much money in this country to have an enjoyable trip in Ukraine.
9. Bergen, Norway
Bergen is located in western Norway, it is the second’s country largest city. Bergen has retained its charm and relaxed atmosphere, and offers an existing blend of culture and nature. With backdrop of beautiful mountains and fjords which offer excellent hiking opportunities, Bergen is also an ideal place to go yachting, cycling, and rafting. Friendly locals and a dynamic cultural life might be another factor to try living in this charming city.
8. Florence, Italy
The capital of Tuscany, Florence offers a wide range of visits. From old churches, palaces, and museums which include sculptures made by Michelangelo, Donatello, and many more famous artists. A broad range of specialty shopping, Florence is also considered as one of the most important fashion cities around. The fact that many fashion giants such as Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, and Roberto Cavalli are headquartered in Florence makes this city a popular choice to visit while spending time in Italy.
7. Copenhagen, Denmark
Nobody could say that Copenhagen is unpopular and infamous. But I still think that this city deserves more attention. And why not, Copenhagen is filled with beautiful canals, cobbled squares, cozy sidewalk cafés, and tempting pastry shops. Copenhagen is also home to one of the most popular attractions around in Tivoli Gardens, an amusement park which has one of the world’s oldest wooden roller coaster. The city has lately become popular as a beer-drinking destination in Europe. Even beers from Greenland and Faroe Island are easily found at local pubs. To sum it all up, the Roskilde Festival (an annual music festival) is held in this city. It is one of the six biggest annual music festivals in Europe, it covers the mainstream youth from Scandinavia and the rest of Europe. The likes of Björk, Radiohead, Chromatics, Bon Iver, and Them Crooked Vultures have taken part in this festival.
6. Bratislava, Slovakia
Hands down on Prague as the most beautiful city in Eastern Europe and the city definitely deserves it. But what about Prague’s little sister Bratislava ? That’s unfortunate for Bratislava to live in the shadow of Prague because this city has its own fascinating history and is home to many great castles, narrow and winding streets, and old churches. Bratislava has been completely renovated with diverse restaurants, new real estate developments, and a fantastic nightlife scene. It has become the cultural heart of Slovakia and numerous theaters, cinemas, and galleries lie around the city.
5. Strasbourg, France
Being the seat of the European Parliament doesn’t stop Strasbourg to become one of the most must-visit cities in Europe. Located in the region of Alsace and close to the border with Germany, Strasbourg has it all. From modern transportation, fascinating foods, vintage city centre, medieval streets, to its own culture. The city is beautifully maintained by its inhabitants who seem to have a real sense of pride and concern for their local environment. Bikes are everywhere around the corner and are a good option to go sight-seeing in the city.
4. Reykjavík, Iceland
Far from everywhere and every stress you have, the capital of Iceland makes a good bet to go for a visit. During the post-war, a mass exodus from the coutryside began, a once primitive village was quickly transformed into a modern city. Reykjavík has produced several talents in recent years, such as Björk, Sigur Rós, and Múm. Nature sight-seeing is popular around the tourists. This island is geologically active with many volcanoes, ranking the country as one of the most beautiful in Europe.
3. Innsbruck, Austria
With 120.000 residents, Innsbruck is the fifth largest city in Austria. It is located both near Munich and northern Italy making it a must see alpine destination. This city hosted the Winter Olympics twice and is considered as the largest ski resort in the alps making the city interesting for those ski lovers. The local residents are very friendly and easy to talk to, most of them speak English. I once visited a local restaurant to have a lunch and they offered me a free pint of beer ! The capital of Tyrol merits a longer stay, car-free streets throughout the Old Town, surprisingly edgy architecture, calm and friendly atmosphere around the city, and cheap cigarette price. This is the kind of city that makes your heart beats so fast once you enter the town. It’s a good choice to live for your retirement days.
2. Bruges, Belgium
Bruges (or Brugge in Flemmish) is one of the best pre-motorised cities in Europe and offers the kind of charms rarely available in other cities. It is a post-card perfect stop on any tour of Europe. What makes this city underrated is the fact that most people had never heard of this city before recent Colin Farrell film In Bruges. Take a walk along a canal, then have some mussels with fries, and wash them with the world’s best Belgian beer. There is a museum in Bruges called the Chip Museum. Tracing the potato’s journey from 16th century Belgium to its transformation into chips. Bruges is also a fantastic place to take photos and a city where you don’t mind being a tourist ! One down-point is the weather which even by Belgian standards has a poor reputation.
1. Ajaccio (Corsica), France
Santorini was a decent place to spend your summer before it became too commercial as a destination of couples on their second honeymoon. Ajaccio is located on the island of Corsica, the place where French hero Napoléon Bonaparte was born in 1769. The island of Corsica is spiritually one-third Italian but technically French which means you get the best of both worlds here. From France : cheese, crisp rosé, French art. From Italy : fresh pasta studded with even fresher seafood, and better manners than you could find in France especially Paris. This is just the beginning of Corsica’s appeal, it’s like living at a place you’ve always dreamt of. The dramatic beaches and rugged mountains sum it all up.