5 Under the Radar Cities to Visit in Europe

When your friends and family visit Europe, you expect to hear that they’re going to a popular destination like Paris, London, or Rome. If you want your European vacation to be different from the norm, it’s time to move away from the typical cities and visit a lesser-known destination.

Lots of cities, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, are cultural gold mines where you can experience a side of Europe that’s still under the radar.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Image via Flickr by -marika bortolami-

The architecture in Ljubljana is gorgeous. Here, Baroque and Renaissance influences merge to create gorgeous buildings. Because Slovenia is between Austria and Italy, you’ll find an interesting blend of Germanic and Mediterranean influences coloring Ljubljana. Be sure to book a walking or biking tour while you’re there to get more historical information about the architecture you see in the city.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Image via Flickr by worldaroundtrip

The city of Dubrovnik is on the Adriatic Sea, and though you may not have considered visiting before, in-the-know tourists have found it to be a beautiful vacation spot. You’ll find several palaces worth visiting in Dubrovnik, including the beautiful Sponza Palace. Dubrovnik also has a Summer Festival that spans 45 days and celebrates Croatian history and modern culture with music, dancing, theater, and more. Visit between July 10 and August 25 to catch the festival.

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Image via Flickr by zlakfoto

Sarajevo is a gorgeous Eastern European town with Ottoman touches that you can still see today. Though it’s the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the city has a population under 500,000. There are less than a million people in this small city’s metropolitan area. When you visit Sarajevo, you’ll find lots of historic landmarks that date back centuries. Thanks in part to its rich history and lower tourist population, many travel experts suggest visiting Eastern Europe during a Eurotrip.

Coimbra, Portugal

Image via Flickr by #moliço

If you want to hear fado, the traditional music of Portugal, Coimbra is a great place to visit. Head to Coimbra instead of Lisbon to escape major tourist crowds and high temperatures. This city used to be the capital, and it still features a medieval section that’s been very well-preserved. The University of Coimbra is beautiful, with picturesque old buildings you’ll want to tour.

Krakow, Poland

Image via Flickr by archer10 (Dennis) 89M Views

Central Krakow is full of historic medieval architecture. This city has withstood a long history of wars and other changes, giving it vibrance and diversity worth exploring. One of Krakow’s major draws is the city’s walkability. You can visit historical parts of the city, spend a night exploring bars and restaurants, or wander through Park Lotnikow Polskich on a beautiful afternoon.

Spend your next European vacation in cities that are well worth a visit. Explore further than the norm to have an experience different from the European vacation that many people take. The architecture is beautiful, the food offers endless adventures, and you’ll get lots of European history from a perspective you never learned in school. If you only make it to a few cities, don’t worry. You can always go back.

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