Underrated cities to discover around Europe in 2023
Europe is one of the top tourist destinations in the world thanks to its beautiful architecture, unique culture, and exquisite, varied cuisine. If you're looking for an exciting and vibrant urban experience, an opportunity to indulge in nature, or a cultural trip to marvel at centuries-old architecture, Europe is sure to deliver.
The big names of the European tourist trail are, sadly, often rather saturated with visitors. While there is no denying the beauty and romance of Paris, it can be a drag to have to squint to catch a glimpse of the Mona Lisa over the heads of a crowd of hundreds of other art enthusiasts in the Louvre. Similarly, some of the magic of somewhere like the Sistine Chapel in Rome is diminished when you are hurried along in a queue, with only a few minutes to take in its magnificence.
However, alongside heavy hitters like London, Berlin, Barcelona, and Milan, Europe is full of smaller, less famous destinations that are no less wonderful to visit. In fact, these underrated cities are often even more charming, offering a road-less-traveled atmosphere that is hard to beat.
So if you want to see an amazing, alternative, under-the-radar side of Europe, it’s time to start packing your bags and researching Europe cruise deals. Here are four of the best underrated cities to discover around Europe in 2023.
This picturesque city in Andalucia in southern Spain is a feast for the senses. An amazing combination of medieval Spanish and Moorish architecture sits alongside charming streets lined with orange trees, delightful squares full of cafes and bars, and a wonderfully warm climate. The ornate cathedral and stunning Alcazar palace are stupendous and the atmosphere of the city is vibrant and lively, with the traditional flamenco dances and music providing the background rhythm.
Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, is the very definition of an underrated gem. Croatia itself remains relatively off the beaten track still, but visitors tend to head to the eye-catching medieval walls and Game of Thrones setting of Dubrovnik, the summertime festival venues near Zadar and Split, or the beautiful islands that run down the stunning coastline like Hvar, Vis, and Krk. But Zagreb should not be overlooked. This unique city offers a great mix of culture and history, with a fantastic dining scene, plenty of excellent museums, some fantastic medieval churches, and an array of excellent markets. It is also well-located for outdoor adventures in the surrounding countryside, making it a superb choice for almost any traveler.
The gothic vastness of Cologne’s magnificent cathedral ascends from the low-rise center of town in a breathtaking way, looming majestically over this beautiful city and creating an unmissable focus point. The rest of Cologne is just as spectacular as its most prominent landmark, an elegant, sophisticated urban experience on the banks of the river Rhine full of wonderful architecture, excellent art galleries, and some wonderful restaurants to boot. Don’t miss the Cologne Carnival in the spring, when the city embraces chaos and celebrates with unbridled, gaudily costumed joy for a week.
Manchester, United Kingdom
Known as the ‘city of music’, Manchester is an excellent destination for those looking for something a little bit different in the UK. While it is often overlooked in favor of London, Liverpool, and Edinburgh (and famous tourist destinations like Stonehenge and the extraordinary cathedral towns of Bath, Winchester, and Durham), Manchester remains one of the most exciting places in the country. It offers a uniquely exuberant atmosphere unlike anywhere else in the UK, with its vibrant nightlife, fantastic music venues, and great restaurants. It is also a wonderful place for sports fans to visit, with the twin soccer juggernauts of Manchester United and Manchester City vying for citywide supremacy!
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