7 lesser-known Europen gems to visit

7 lesser-known Europen gems to visit

Here are some fantastic European cities to visit and get away from it all, where you’re guaranteed to recharge without the crowds.

Although travelling now is a bit more complicated and requires more administration than before, the experience is not to be missed! There are countless wonderful places to explore in Europe, and they’re not overrun with tourists. Here are six exciting and beautiful European cities to visit if you’re tired of tourist-filled capitals.

Nafplio – Greece

Located in the Peloponnese region of Greece, the coastal port city of Nafplio is a relatively low-traffic town, yet it has a lot to offer. Located along the Argolic Gulf, Nafplio is full of castles, culture and archaeological sites, making it one of the most underrated cities in Europe.

Here you will find the Epidaurus Theatre, an ancient site built in 340 BC, which used to host around 13,000 spectators and was also considered a place of healing through the arts. The well-preserved site is known for its impeccable acoustics, which you can experience for yourself when you visit the extensive building. Visit the on-site museum to truly appreciate the significance of the history and architecture of the place.

High up on an urban hill, you can discover the Palamidi fortress, built by the Venetians in the early 1700s. Climb 800 steps to reach the top. Go back in time as you walk the stone paths and gaze in awe at the bay and the breathtaking views of the city.

Bruges – Belgium

Well-known travellers love the city of Bruges for its culinary delights, authentic Belgian cuisine, beautiful canal-lined streets and fairytale atmosphere. The historic city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the artistic and cultural experiences will fascinate tourists as they devour the country’s famously delicious waffles. For a fantastic view of Bruges from above, climb the 366 steps of the iconic Belfort (Bell Tower), which dates back to medieval times. Count all 47 chimes and admire the bustling historic market square below. One of the best things to do in Bruges is to sample the region’s rich chocolate or master the art of handmade chocolate making. Professional chocolate makers will teach visitors the secrets of making this sweet delicacy.

Liverpool – England

Known for its art, culture and music history, Liverpool is the alternative to the north of England as a rival to London for most. With several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a bustling waterfront district, The Beatles museum and a friendly, creative and exhilarating atmosphere, the city offers tourists a wealth of things to explore. Spend a day in Liverpool and explore the sights and museums of the historic city centre, such as the Royal Liver Building, Liverpool Cathedral, Royal Albert Dock and the Maritime Museum.

One of the most entertaining things to do in Liverpool is to delve into the Beatles’ history, as it was from this city that they embarked on their world-conquering journey. Take a photo in the famous Penny Lane; visit the Cavern Club, a popular venue where the band often played; and experience the city’s utterly musical soul through the eyes of the musical talents who inspired Liverpool as their hometown. Take an hour outside the city to witness the beauty of Conwy Castle in Wales, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Europe’s finest medieval castles. Feel like a king and queen as you admire the soaring towers that rise above the picturesque harbour. Learn about the battles fought here while you explore the castle that stands against the backdrop of Snowdonia Mountains.

Bilbao – Spain

Located on Spain’s north-eastern coast, in the beautiful Basque Country, Bilbao is ready to dazzle visitors with its cultural and culinary treasures. Indulge in authentic tapas known as pintxos; marvel at innovative architecture that seamlessly blends old and new; and experience the city’s artistic atmosphere and diverse neighbourhoods.

Take a stroll through Bilbao’s old town, where you’ll be enchanted by a myriad of architectural styles, including Baroque, Renaissance and Modernist. Explore quirky boutiques, sample the local cuisine, meander through historic narrow streets and enjoy discovering Spanish treasures.

Visit the Vizcaya Bridge, spanning the Nervion River, which uniquely unites the cities of Portugálete and Las Arenas. This ‘suspension’ bridge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in its own right, thanks to the way it transports passengers and cars by lift, while allowing taller boats to pass underneath.

Designed and built by architect Frank Gehry, the museum houses contemporary art exhibitions and is a stunning work of art in its own right. If you’re having a good time in Bilbao, consider heading to nearby San Sebastian afterwards, a seaside village about an hour away with a beautiful waterfront promenade.

Koper – Slovenia

Nestled on the Adriatic coast of Slovenia, between Croatia and Italy, the town of Koper is often overlooked for the nearby town of Piran. But this medieval port city’s rich history and Venetian influence are worth a visit, and without the crowds.

A solid starting point in Koper is Tito Square, where you can visit the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the Praetorian Palace and climb the steps of the bell tower, which rewards you with stunning views. Meander through the charming old town, shop on Shoemaker Street, sip a drink by the harbour and sample local delicacies at the flea markets of Carpaccio Square.

Koper is a great base for exploring the surrounding villages and natural attractions. About 45 minutes northeast of the city, you can discover Slovenia’s unique other world at the Postojna Caves, a natural wonder carved by the Pivka River. See the incredible stalactites of this five-kilometre cave system and marvel! Get your adrenaline pumping with a white-water rafting expedition on the well-known Soca River. Around two hours from Koper, bright green waters are waiting to push you out of your comfort zone as you paddle through unspoilt nature.

Stavanger – Norway

Southwest Norway is home to the city of Stavanger. Fjords, hiking trails, boat trips and endless beauty lurk in Norwegian nature as you explore the city and its surroundings.

History is reflected in landmarks such as the 12th-century Stavanger Cathedral and the preserved wooden housing estate. The city also delves deep on the Norwegian cuisine and cultural front, making this undeservedly underrated European city a very versatile destination.

Learn more about Norwegian culture in Stavanger’s old town, the canned food museum, before sampling local dishes in the market square. The salmon here is definitely worth a try, as it is one of the best in the world.

Tihany – Hungary

Hey there, adventure-loving fam! Buckle up your seatbelts (or car seats) because we’re taking a wild ride to Tihany – the land of stunning views, quirky charm, and ice cream that’ll make your taste buds dance the tango.

Views That Rival Your Kid’s Crayon Art: If your little Picasso is all about drawing mountains and lakes, just wait till they see the real deal! Tihany serves up jaw-dropping views of Lake Balaton that’ll have you reaching for your camera faster than you can say “cheese!”

Bells, Bells, and More Bells: Ding-dong! Tihany’s famous for its Abbey Church and the ear-catching sound of its bells. Your kids might just start a one-family band, and who knows, maybe they’ll even get a record deal!

A Playground for History Buffs (and Their Mini Sidekicks): History lessons can be fun when you’re wandering through medieval streets and pretending you’re time-traveling knights. Tihany’s got that magic potion – cobblestone streets, ancient ruins, and stories that’ll make your kids’ eyes widen.

Lavender Fields Straight Outta a Dream: You’ve seen lavender-scented candles, but have you ever danced through a real lavender field? Tihany’s lavender farms are like walking into a purple-hued fairy tale – just try not to break into a spontaneous ballet.

Lake Adventures for Water Babies: Calling all mini mermaids and mermen! Lake Balaton is like a giant playground for water-loving families. Splash, swim, or try some family kayaking – just don’t forget your floaties!

 

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