The classic European travel destinations include London, Paris and Rome (to name a few), where tourists visit architectural marvels like the Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, and the Colosseum. Excursions to these metropolises are a must for all globetrotters, but it’s also important for travel enthusiasts to visit some of the smaller, less well-known cities that make up the rest of Europe. In the more obscure cities, tourists have the opportunity to discover new marvels and unravel century-old mysteries. Although the following five cities below are often excluded from itineraries, there are many more throughout the Europe worth adding to your bucket list.
1. Krakow, Poland
The second largest city in Poland is the ideal destination spot for travelers interested in unwinding, partying or immersing themselves into a new culture. Krakow possesses a dense number of cafés, restaurants, museums, bars and clubs certain to keep tourists entertained. Tourists can enjoy climbing up Kopiec Krakusa, visiting the Wawel Royal Castle and walking through the Grand Square, to name a few. The old-city charm of Krakow is guaranteed to leave travelers with everlasting memories.
Photo courtesy | Nico Trinkhaus
2. Metz, France
The historic monuments, scenic riverside views and impressive bridges make visiting Metz, France necessary for all traveling enthusiasts. The city is home to Saint-Étienne de Metz, the jewel of gothic architecture consecrated in 1552. Sightseers should also take a trip to the Centre Pompidou-Metz, a museum of modern and contemporary arts where numerous communal events are held throughout the year. Visitors can stroll through the Régates Garden and spend their evenings viewing magical fountain shows on Swan Lake.
Photo courtesy | Jean Balczesak
3. Heidelberg, Germany
The charm and character abundant in Heidelberg, Germany contributes to the romantic appeal of the city. Located on the banks of River Nectar, Heidelberg is best known for its awe-inspiring, red-stone castle overlooking the historic town. Although full of important sites to see, this city is often skipped by travelers preferring to visit the more popular cities of Berlin or Frankfurt. Tourists can enjoy trekking up the Heiligenberg Mountain to see breathtaking views of the city or stroll along the Old Bridge to be mesmerized by the scenic views.
Photo courtesy | Chris Goldberg
4. Lisbon, Portugal
As an ideal vacation destination for travelers on a budget, the capital of Portugal offers a mix of ancient and modern marvels. The cosmopolitan city is home to rich historic monuments and world-class museums. After touring the Belem Tower, the Santa Justa Elevator, and the Castle of Sao Jorge, tourists can visit Europe’s largest indoor aquarium. In the evening, visitors can stroll along the street of Rua Garrett, which offers high end shopping as well as museums and theaters.
Photo courtesy | David Holt
5. Ferrara, Italy
Due to its close proximity to Venice, the city of Ferrara, Italy is left relatively unexplored. At the heart of this tranquil city lies Castello Estense, a castle constructed as a symbol of the powerful Este clan that left their mark throughout the city. Globetrotters can also admire the architectural diversity of the Cathedral of Ferrara, walk through Piazza Ariostea and explore the Po River Delta Park, one of the greatest protected natural ecosystems in Italy. Ferrara has been included on the list of world heritage sites by UNESCO for its exceptional beauty and important place in the culture and art of Italy.
Photo courtesy | Augusto Mia Battaglia