Europe is undeniably the fairy tale travel destination. There is so much on offer for tourists, be it the world-famous historical sites or the most memorable unique and authentic cuisines. Taking nothing away from cities like Paris and Barcelona, the popular choices, which are undeniably places you should visit, there’s still so much you can discover on a trip to Europe. Here’s a list of enchanting yet underrated cities in Europe you should visit.
1. Split, Croatia
Split is Croatia’s second most populated capital is a vibrant coastal city filled with tradition and a chilled-out Mediterranean vibe. Explore the city’s Roman history at the Diocletian’s Palace and Cathedral of St Domnius, indulge in the finest Dalmatian cuisine and fresh Adriatic seafood, or simply relax by Kaštelet beach. You can visit the hills of Marjan National Park looking for an adventure and a panoramic, Game of Thrones-esque view of the city. You can plan a day trip to Hvar, an island and tropical haven located less than two hours away via a ferry ride.
2. Granada, Spain
Barcelona and Madrid roll right of our tongues when talking of Spanish cities with their picturesque tourist spots, football fever and much more. Granada is the city with a rich history. It is 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.
Walk around the majestic Alhambra palace grounds and the Albayzín neighborhood where you’ll surely fall in love with old white-washed buildings, cafes, gardens, and locations which offer a picturesque view of Granada. But that’s not all: The city offers a vibrant nightlife and is known for its cuisine. Tapas originated here so do check out a Tapas bar.
3. Bergamo, Italy
The Northern Italian region of Lombardy is a sight to behold, with rich tranquil lakes sprawled throughout the territory, and a backdrop of the magnificent Alps. Bergamo is a great place to start exploring the region. The second most popular city in the region after Milan is a hidden gem that exhibits the rich history, art, music, and culture.
Upper Bergamo is home to the iconic 14th-century Venetian Walls. The old town Piazza Vecchia is the heart of the city in which you’ll find cafes lining the cobblestone streets. On the other hand, Lower Bergamo is a mix of the old and new; you’ll see boutiques, restaurants and art galleries interspersed with medieval architecture, offering travellers a truly memorable experience.
4. Porto, Portugal
Porto is not only Portugal’s second largest city – it’s also an industrial and commercial hub with a rich history and a cultural centre (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Porto offers the best of Portuguese cuisine and Port wine. You can stroll along the scenic Ribeira neighbourhood, ride the Funicular Dos Guindais, and shop at the traditional Bolhão Market for the quintessential experience.
Explore the city’s many architectural wonders: besides the Ribeira, visit the Clérigos Tower or the famous Livraria Lello bookstore. Porto may be a lesser-known destination compared to Lisbon, but it’s truly an undiscovered beauty.
5. Valletta, Malta
Valletta is the capital of Malta (remember the Italian man who went to Malta), which is one of the smallest countries in the world. The city itself is a peninsula and a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a royal past exhibited by the 16th-century palaces, cathedrals, and forts. Navigating around Valletta shouldn’t be a problem as the city is small enough to explore entirely on foot.
Despite its tiny size, there are plenty of sights you don’t want to miss, like St John’s Co-Cathedral (a fine example of Baroque architecture), Casa Rocca Piccola (for a look into royal Maltese life), and the Upper Barrakka Gardens (a garden with a to-die-for view of the harbour).