Hidden gems of Europe: 8 underrated European cities that offer authentic, intimate travel experiences.
Travelers flock to Europe because there are so many beautiful cities. And they’re all so close to each other!
These cities attract tourists from all over the world, and they are 100% worth the trip.
But for those adventurous souls who crave to explore the non touristy parts of Europe, this article is for you.
Here are some cities around the continent that are often overlooked by tourists.
Hidden Gems of Europe
From the outer edges of Scotland to the mountains of Italy and Montenegro, here are 8 hidden gems of Europe.
1. Riga, Latvia
This adorable Baltic city is overflowing with eccentric colorful buildings, cool monuments and lovely parks.
The Daugava River cuts through the city, and the Central Food Market provides all the best cheap local food.
A highlight of Riga is its Art Nouveau architecture. Head to Albert Street for all the best buildings.
During the winter, Riga looks like the inside of a snow globe. Fluffy snowflakes layer themselves on top of the gingerbread-like houses and cover the rows of Christmas trees.
2. Oban, Scotland
Oban is a quiet port town located on the western side of Scotland.
People mainly come here to catch a ferry to the islands of the Inner Hebrides, such as the Isle of Skye or the Isle of Mull.
There are loads of amazing, locally-run bed and breakfasts in Oban that are cozy and welcoming.
Be sure to try the local cuisine. That includes lots of fresh fish, buttery shortbread, and traditional Scottish whiskey.
Eeusk is a great restaurant overlooking the harbor. It’s a bit expensive but offers delicious, high-quality food.
3. Cologne, Germany
Resting on Germany’s western Rhine River, Cologne is not nearly as popular as Berlin or Munich.
But this hidden gem of Europe is well worth a visit.
Cologne is home to a traditional Old Town, a busy modern shopping street, and the monstrously beautiful Cologne Cathedral.
Spend your time visiting museums, drinking cheap German beer, climbing the Cathedral’s 533 steps for a panoramic view, or walking along the riverfront parks.
4. Murcia, Spain
Cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and Seville often overshadow Spain’s smaller towns. So there are lots of hidden gems in Spain!
Visit Murcia on the country’s southeast coast for warm, sunny weather and flavorful cuisine.
There is only one hostel, The Cathedral Hostel, which is centrally located and has cheap prices for student travelers.
With lots of churches, cathedrals, and gorgeous buildings, Murcia is perfect for relaxing and exploring.
5. Reykjavik, Iceland
Most travelers visit Iceland for its majestic, rugged natural beauty.
But the capital city of Reykjavik is a pristine, modern city where you can immerse yourself in the Nordic culture.
Sample some of the odd Icelandic foods like whale and puffin meat. Also be sure to try the thick dairy product known as Skyr.
Attractions in Reykjavik include interesting art museums, a busy food and antique market, and the shimmering Harpa concert hall.
Local shops sell fuzzy, handmade woolen clothing to protect against the cold. And the tap water in Iceland is unbelievably fresh and clean.
6. Kotor, Montenegro
This well-preserved, historical town resides in a small bay on the Adriatic Sea.
There are lots of adorable souvenir shops and traditional cafes packed into the narrow streets of Kotor.
Kotor’s Old Town has even earned a spot on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sights.
Climb the steep, stone wall that snakes up the surrounding St. John Mountain to find the most breathtaking view of the turquoise bay.
7. Giazza, Italy
Tucked away in the hills of Italy’s northern Veneto region, Giazza is rarely visited by tourists.
This small town is surrounded by the towering mountains of the outer Alps and is crawling with natural beauty.
Wander through the forests to find picturesque rivers and waterfalls.
Or drive up the winding roads into the mountains and absorb the powerful views.
English is rarely spoken in the village center. But this allows for an authentic insight into the rich, Italian culture.
Definitely indulge in a proper, three-course meal at a small local restaurant and taste the fresh simplicity of Italian cuisine.
8. Warsaw, Poland
Though Warsaw is Poland’s capital, it still remains relatively low on people’s European travel bucket lists.
So Warsaw is a hidden gem of Europe that will pleasantly surprise tourists!
After its annihilation in WWII, the area has been completely rebuilt and transformed into a sleek, modern metropolis.
Visiting the Old Town allows you to step back in time. Many traditional churches remain standing, and you can still see bullet holes and damage in some older buildings.
Germans destroyed the Old Town Market Place in the war. But the Polish rebuilt it to be exactly the same as it was before. So the area still maintains its traditional beauty.
The more modern areas of Warsaw are very clean, attractive and welcoming. But the Old Town is saturated with history and exceptionally beautiful.
I hope you enjoyed these 8 hidden gems of Europe! This article was so much fun to write because all the places are amazing and not many people know of them!
(This article has been republished on Huffington Post.)
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