Uncovered Gems: Europe’s Best Underrated Cities For Intrepid Travellers

22 November 2017

Head off the beaten path on your next holiday and discover an array of one-of-a-kind attractions. Create a unique itinerary by travelling to one of these underrated European cities…

Porto, Portugal

Enjoy a slower pace of life in idyllic Porto, Portugal’s second largest city. Sample the region’s most famous export by visiting port wine cellars like the 250+ year old Caves Ferreira. Dine in elegant restaurants including RIB Beef & Wine where you can sample aged beef dishes on the city’s waterfront and Café Santiago in the downtown area, known for serving local delicacy ‘Francesinha’ sandwiches which feature layered pork, ham and steak. With other sites to explore like modern marvel the Dom Luís I Bridge which spans the Douro river, the city’s charming old town, the iconic Livaria Lello book shop and neoclassical landmark Palácio da Bolsa, Porto is a dream destination.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Immerse yourself in a world of cultural delights in Ljubljana. Cross the historic Triple Bridge and head to Ljubljana Castle, a picturesque architectural gem which overlooks the city. While away the hours in Ljubljana’s green spaces such as the sprawling Tivoli Park with its landscaped ornamental flower beds and the Botanical Garden which features around 4,500 plants and trees. Dive into the city’s art scene with a trip to the Museum of Contemporary Art which showcases Communist-era works. Visit iconic poetic landmark the Prešeren Monument in scenic Prešernov Trg square or buy local goods like foraged wild mushrooms and homemade cheeses at the Pogačarjev Trg open-air markets.

Andorra-la-Vella, Andorra

Buried in the heart of the Pyrenees, Andorra-le-Vella is perhaps Western Europe’s best kept secret. The Andorran capital’s star attraction is the Caldea Thermal Spa, Europe’s largest health spa which boasts a 600 sq. m. thermal lagoon for you to unwind in. Tour the city’s range of architectural marvels including the 9th Century Església de Santa Coloma church and rustic historical house Casa de la Vall. Head to Avinguda de Meritxell where you can pick up designer clothing at one of Andorra’s 2000 shops, many of which are duty free. See something unique at the Museu Nacional de l'Automòbil, which hosts a display of vintage cars and antique motorbikes.

Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg boasts an intriguing mix of attractions bound to fascinate any traveller. Explore the city’s historical legacy by travelling to its warehouse district ‘Speicherstadt’, an area showcasing UNESCO-listed red brick buildings which were built on timber-pile foundations. Must-see sites include the Baroque-style St Michael’s Church; the Kunshalle Gallery which displays works from Renaissance artists and Miniatur Wunderland, the world’s largest model railway. Winter is a good time to visit as Hamburg hosts its iconic Christmas market in December where you can indulge in treats like mulled wine, plus you can catch the city’s famed musical theatre shows at venues like Neue Flora.

Gdańsk, Poland

Visit one of Europe’s most fascinating destinations with a trip to port city Gdańsk. Tour the world’s largest brick church – the gothic St Mary’s Church – and the Gdańsk Shipyard, which saw the birth of Poland’s democratic Solidarity Movement in the late 20th Century. Buy local souvenirs at the Long Market, popular with tourists for its decorated building facades and 17th Century Fountain of Neptune. Nearby you’ll find the Artus Court Museum, a historic house which is decorated with intricate hunting murals. Unwind after a long day of sightseeing with a chilled glass of Polish Perry at quirky bar Józef K. Come in July and you can attend Gdańsk’s Dominican Fair, an annual party dating back to the 13th Century where you can buy a host of goods ranging from bric-a-brac to Chinese charms.

Tallinn, Estonia

Step into another world when you set foot in Tallinn. Stroll through the city’s old town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and view buildings like the St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, a majestic onion-domed structure. Explore Tallinn’s ‘hipsterville’ district of Kalamaja, where former Soviet-era industrial complexes have been turned into cutting-edge art galleries. This area is home to must-see sites like indoor shopping street Telliskivi where you can buy everything from traditional artworks to organic cosmetics, and interactive maritime museum Seaplane Harbour. View Middle Age-era art at the city’s Kunstimuuseum, explore Tallinn’s famous beer scene at venues like Põrgu, and see grand Baroque architecture at Kadriorg Palace, which was built by the indomitable Tsarina Catherine I.

 

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