There are some utterly beautiful cities all over the world, from Hong Kong to Negombo and all of them are rich in culture, history and beyond delicious cuisine. And, while traveling far afield is plenty of people’s idea of utter luxury there are some cities in Europe that you should be adding to your must-see list.
Tavira, if you love the Algarve but aren’t a fan of the mass tourists it is now seeing year on year then Tavira is for you. It sits across the Gilão river, and in the sun the white walls reflect each beam from the sun. You will be hard pushed to find a big-name hotel here, but you will find a few charming villas, plenty of holy places, the freshest fish you might ever try and plenty of time to stroll – unrushed.
Umea. Oddly enough this one hasn’t had that much press, even though in 2014 it was the European Capital of Culture. It is an ultra-relaxing spot, nestled alongside a river. If you are a bit of a movie buff or book lover, then it will delight you to know that Stieg Larsson used to live here and, it is here that he wrote some of his earliest crime stories. Great for outdoor pursuits like dog-sledding and kayaking, or – just really enjoying the view.
London, one of the hubs of the UK. Boasting some of the wealthiest cityscapes, heaving with things to do every day of the week and for its Royal Parks. The parks are home to wildlife like deer, parakeets, and foxes. Known for the Royal Family and its live shows, be sure to check out London theatre options when you plan this trip.
A city that is highly photographically beautiful, dripping in rich history, and is very much not on many tourists hit list. If you like to experience the unexperienced then Tbilisi, Georgia is where you should be heading. With paths that wind up the hill, peeling paint and it being the childhood home of Katie Melua you’d be hard-pressed not to fall for its charms.
Although visited recently by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, it hasn’t raised this cities popularity with travelers. The first shots of the Second World War were fired here, Gdansk, Poland. You can catch a flight directly from London (after catching that theatre show) and arrive in a matter of hours. The architecture is the potent mix of medieval, gothic and Renaissance. Making it gorgeous if you love to take photos and capture memories.
Looking for a low population, and a serious café culture? While you might assume we are in the Mediterranean, we are actually in Sion. With around 30,000 peoples you might think there won’t be much to see. However, the distinct lack of people is what makes this place so impressive as a city. Filled with museums and churches, there is, plenty to see and you are very unlikely to need to queue for long. Oh, and the coffee is divine.
While Copenhagen seems to be where people head to, skip it. Instead, book a trip to Aarhus, and spend a day or two exploring the skywalk on the roof of the ARoA Aarhus Art Museum – while it is the cities best-known landmark, you’re still going to find a lot less other tourists. The medieval cobbles alleys hint at the city’s past, and the three-star Michelin restaurants bring you right up to date again.
Similarly, Hungary has one favorite city and the rest, well, they don’t get a look in. If sitting sipping coffee and watching the world and the people go by is something that you can’t get enough of, as well as the most beautiful Baroque church then Eger should be your home for the week or weekend.
Rated as one of France’s best places to live, surprisingly doesn’t get all that much love from travelers. Nantes, great for families and solo travelers alike, the food is, of course, fabulous and being the capital of the western Loire – the wine is spectacular too. And if you want to get even more exploratory, Île de Nantes in the summer is something quite extraordinary.
Potentially the only time you’ve ever heard of Macedonia is when the Eurovision Song Contest comes on, and you suddenly have a deep love of retro-pop. However, Skopje is unforgettable. Filled with huge hammams (Turkish baths), winding cobbled streets, and booming food markets the culture runs deeply here. If you fancy a little bit of journey while there, head out to see Lake Matka, it’s in the mountains and is very much worth charging your camera battery for.
If you are looking to hit up a festival and somewhere that not many people go to, then Lake Constance might be your bag. During the summer there is a massive music festival which has a giant floating stage. Bregenz, Austria is worth a visit any time of year. With plenty of places to explore on foot, stupidly pretty mountain and lake views and some great cafes it is worth it.
A list of European cities that you have to see wouldn’t be complete without Osijek now, would it? Looking like something out of a postcard, this city sits beautifully along the river Drava. The neo-Gothic Church of St Peter and St Paul is something to behold, and the same can be said for the rest of the Art Nouveau architecture.
Spain, home to many (many) overburdened tourist areas, so much so that some people choose to skip the country altogether. However, add Vitoria-Gastaiz on you must visit. If you are looking for something like Spain you have seen in the movies, the pronounced arm waving, the wine glasses tinkling, the slow strolling groups of people deep in conversation then you’ll find it here. And, of course, there will be children running and playing, while the grandparents play cards and put the world to rights. Idyllic and essential to visit at some point in your life.