Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Venice; we’re all familiar with these popular European destinations filled with gorgeous architecture, amazing restaurants and tons tons tons of tourists. For my upcoming European ventures I decided to choose cities equally and sometimes more beautiful but the most important part is less crowded and more authentic.
With their historic architecture, beautiful scenery and culture without the crowds here’s my selection of charming cities that won’t break the bank to visit for a perfect winter getaway.
Renowned for its medieval architecture and Venetian-era walls, the town of Kotor is situated on the tip of the picture-perfect Boka Kotorska (Bay of Kotor) on Montenegro’s northern coast. This stylish jewel is fast becoming a new Riviera hot spot for the European smart set, but its historic Old Town remains off limits for cars. Perfect for those seeking a bit of peace and quiet coupled with a dash of cultural charm.
Portugal’s second city is situated at the mouth of the Duoro River and remains most famous for its world-renowned fortified wine, a haven for foodies, this elegant city boasts an array of architectural gems, including the magnificent Porto Cathedral, Clérigos Clock Tower and the Palácio da Bolsa. It’s impossible not to feel enamored with the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city’s ramshackle layout, tiled facades and Douro Valley wine, accessed by both river and ocean cruises.
Unless you’re a true-blue globetrotter or a history-lover, you probably haven’t heard of Granada – which is unsurprising, seeing how Barcelona and Madrid come to mind at the mention of Spanish cities. Situated at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, the city is best known for being the home to the Moors, and its plethora of Spanish-Islamic heritage sites. The streets are filled with vibrant nightlife options, and amazing and affordable food (psst, tapas originated from here!) So make sure to stop by a tapas bar after you’re done exploring!
Home to Sweden’s number one attraction, the Liseberg Amusement Park, Gothenburg is a city that should not be missed. The country’s second-largest city sure is a marvel, a celebration of both land and sea. From the Feskekörka (Fish Church) to “fika” (Swedish concept of having a coffee break), Gothenburg is beyond stunning. It’s a very walkable city! This means you get to save money on transport and still be able to enjoy interesting cultural or social events going on. So don’t sleep on this Scandinavian city any more!
The Kosovan capital isn’t usually at the top of many tourists’ destination wish lists, but that’s no reason not to visit this fascinating city. While Pristina may have been synonymous with war 20 years ago, its undergone a major transformation since then, with various quirky buildings popping up.
Few small cities in Europe pack a cultural punch like Wroclaw. This western Polish city has plenty of attractions for art, architecture and history fanatics to marvel at. Wroclaw’s main highlight is the 114-meter Panorama of Racławice, depicting the 1794 defeat of a Russian army by the Poles.The beautiful Centennial Hall should also be on any itinerary, as should the Penitent Bridge between the towers of the Mary Magdalene Church.No visit is complete without a day spent exploring the Gothic Old Town.
Trondheim, the historic city in Norway is a picturesque city located in mid Norway. This authentic city is really worth a visit! However, with fewer than 200,000 residents, it’s decidedly uncrowded and easy to explore.The famous Gothic cathedral is perhaps its best known sight, but the views across the water and around its vibrant harbor are just as impressive.Trondheim is also known for its excellent microbreweries
With these cities on my list that deserve more attention, explorations in Europe will never be the same!
Avoid tourist traps in more famous cities and you’ll still be able to enjoy culture in an even more meaningful way. So what are you waiting for? Get down to planning and make your next trip the venture of a lifetime.