Everyone knows the big shots of Europe:
Paris, Rome, and London, but what about the other, lesser-known, gems? There are plenty of cities tucked away into the depths of this diverse, culture rich part of the world that never get explored.
This list provides the names of cities that you just can’t miss in your tour across the continent, as they will enrich your trip with different cuisines, unique people, and amazing sights.
Referenced in old Greek mythology, you can explore the ancient ruins of Delphi atop of the mountains after a short commute from Athens. In addition to the site seeing there are all sorts of year-round ski lodges and hotels with much more reasonable prices than its close neighboring cities.
If you are looking for the luck of the Irish this is where you will find it! Cork – or as some call it, “the real capital” – is full of friendly locals and has a much easier layout to navigate than Dublin. This allows you to travel about with ease. Pubs filled with hearty meals and tons of great live music makes it great for nights out on the town.
Located to the southwest of Paris, this city is close enough to the French Alps for some amazing views while having a college town nightlife and quaint renaissance architecture. Wineries offer a taste of true French countryside with the top ten most expensive wines produced right in the area.
Next to the gulf this city on the water has endless ferries and boating explorations along with its unique history – which can be found displayed in a multitude of museums. This gives you an authentic Finnish feel. Even though it’s a major city, do not mistake it for a concrete jungle as there are enough parks to roam for days.
Right on the Adriatic Sea with a tiny population Rovinj is commonly known for excellent fishing and relaxing resorts. Beach lounging, rock climbing, and Balkan history will suit any tourist’s tastes as you take in the colorful city buildings.
Among the North Sea cities, Sylt takes the prize for the largest city. It also happens to be considered one of the best places for a variety of water sports. Sailboats, kite surfers and swimmers flock to this sport enthusiastic city that has beaches for miles. Not to mention its insanely delicious seafood restaurants that will amaze your taste buds with its fresh German ingredients.
If you’re not a fan of the touristy vibe at Stockholm, then Gothenburg is the place for you. This art filled city will never let your eyes rest, with street art decorating its city walkways and intriguing art stores along the way. If that’s not enough, it is home to a popular Liseberg amusement park perfect for kids or adults.
Filled with Romanesque architecture, this city oozes romance and timeless beauty as one of the oldest city centers in Europe. For a full cultural experience the Riberia District has music, contemporary art, and history. This city is also where Port wine was born, so there’s a pretty good chance you won’t escape without at least one glass before you go.
Where the famous Flemenco dancing originated, this city is full of Spanish flare in its musical experience that will surely get you off your feet and moving. Significantly cheaper than Madrid, the capital of Andalusia (one of Spain’s autonomous communities) is right off of the River Guadalquivir and will allow you to explore classic Spanish architecture without feeling like you’re missing out on the city experience.
More modern than most cities in Europe, Rotterdam has Instagram worthy sites situated right in the streets of downtown that you can admire from one of its famous bicycle tours. If you’d rather be on the water there are also cruises you can take around the port for a breathtaking skyline view.
Make no mistake, the larger cities of Europe are nothing to be missed, but these other contenders put up a close fight as they are usually cheaper, less crowded, and closer to the nation’s true culture. So next time you plan a trip around the continent don’t forget the smaller cities and maybe you will discover the beauty of Europe that not many tourists get the chance to see.
Rebecca Borchers acts as a travel agent – helping individuals find good deals on quality vacations. She also often refers business owners to http://www.getupandgo.com to set up travel incentive packages for potential customers and high performing employees. You can find more examples of her work on Google+.