Everyone you ask will agree that Europe is an amazing place to visit. With so many countries in a relatively small area, it’s the perfect way to experience multiple cultures, landscapes and environments. However, places like Paris, Barcelona and Amsterdam often steal the show so smaller towns and cities can be left in the shadows. These little secret destinations are the hidden gems of Europe. Whilst the European big guns are still amazing places, here are 5 underrated European cities that should be on your radar.
Ljubljana has made its home very close to the top of my travel bucket list. The Slovenian capital is said to be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe whilst losing none of its charm to a tourist takeover. A cheap place to visit, full of fantastic food and breath taking architecture, what could be better? Oh yeah, the fact it’s only a short drive from the fairytale of Lake Bled. Should I just meet you there now?
Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
In the past, Bosnia and Herzegovina provided me with more spelling nightmares than travel dreams, until I came across Mostar. Surrounded by amazing landscapes, such as the Kravice Waterfalls, Mostar has rebuilt itself after the Bosnian War to become a thriving city full of culture. Remnants of the past, however, are what make the city unique with many abandoned buildings to explore and loads of thought provoking street art to discover.
Another city moving away from a turbulent past to a promising future is Belgrade. Often recommended as a perfect diversion from the beaten path, it is the atmosphere here that is talked about among travellers. The Serbian capital is full of young people meaning the city offers an thriving, alternative nightlife scene.
Moving away from Eastern Europe to Spain, a country rarely seen as underrated. However, in the shadow of the big guns of Barcelona and Madrid, Valencia sits, happily avoiding the crowds and crime that come with being a tourist trap. The perfect mix of old and new, Valencia boasts a vast and beautiful old town, contrasting with new ultra-modern development, along with all of the great culture and food you’d expect anywhere in Spain. Time your visit to coincide with one of their many festivals or go simply for some paella and orange juice.
I mean, just look at that picture and tell me you don’t want to go there. The old town feels like a set of a medieval movie whilst the ever-present mountains remind you that this is a city like no other. Thanks to a large student population, the historic city remains young and vibrant with great restaurants and bars throughout. But you don’t need to know that cos you booked flight as soon as you saw the picture.
Where are your underrated European recommendations? Let me know in the comments.