Take that selfie stick and shove it…
There’s nothing wrong with the likes of Paris, London, Barcelona, Rome and all the more popular European destinations – in fact, they’re quintessentially fantastic. The only problem is – everyone floods these iconic cities year after year, and a selfie stick to the face is as fun as never, and no picture of the Eiffel Tower looks as cool with 10,000 other people in the background. To avoid the manic crowds of pop culture tourism and gain a deeper appreciation for the diverse history, style, and evolution of Europe – and realistically, places to eat and drink – these trending city hotspots are worth visiting sooner rather than later. According to TripAdvisor’s annual Travellers’ Choice Awards this is where you should be heading for your next long weekend, and we couldn’t agree more…
Gdańsk is gothic greatness in a nut shell, and it’s hard to figure out where to even start in this underrated gem. The city features 24 acres of immaculate French style gardens in the gorgeous Park Oliwa, which will make you think you’re in Paris, but then the famous Long Market will have you sure you’ve landed in Amsterdam instead. If you love beautiful port cities and food straight from the sea, time to head to the country that starts with a P.
This beautiful city has been growing in popularity for a while, and rightly so. Riga is home to a hip arts and music scene, which is arguably one of the best in Europe. It’s like something between hipster heaven meets medieval times. Weird, indeed. The medieval Old Town is bursting with shops, restaurants, cafes and bars – and is a wonderful and affordable weekend destination.
The picturesque seaside fishing city of Rovinj blends in perfectly against clear blue skies and waters. The historic Church of St. Euphemia may dominate the skyline, but it’s the quaint cobbled streets that steal the show. Rovinj is an amazing budget destination and is only on the way up. Come for the views, stay for the amazing freshly caught seafood.
Are you sure this isn’t Greece? Spain is literally one of the most visited countries in the world, and with so many incredible cities, it’s not hard to understand why. But for a truly special slice of Southern Spain, one with fewer tourists that rivals views found in Santorini, Nerja sits perfectly on the Costa del Sol. Teeming with sandy beaches, rocky cliffs and gorgeous views over the Mediterranean – there’s so much to love!
There’s just something so lovely about a port city, especially when it’s a port in Italy! On the east coast of Sicily, Catania sits humbly next to Mount Etna; and you can spend days exploring all the things you crave. Good food? Duh, it’s Italy. Amazing wine? Is that even a question? And with the iconic Mount Etna as a backdrop, there’s power and beauty everywhere. Two days is hardly enough…
It may be full of history, but Zagreb is young and Zagreb is buzzing. Often overlooked for coastal areas when visiting Croatia, it’s perfect for a city break to get your fix of European culture, cafes, classic architecture and colorful buildings. If you’re into nightlife, you’ve found your spot, but if you love a quiet night and a nice coffee in the morning, you have too. It’s that good.
Ljubljana has it all. Views that rival Lake Como from nearby Lake Bled? Yep. But then there are museums, galleries, parks, shops and even great local wine! Slovenia is an up and coming wine market, with fantastic producers, so this is a best of both worlds destination with beauty and booze. Basically, you won’t be disappointed. The Ljubljanica River splits the city and offers stellar views from any vantage point. Must go.
One of the oldest cities in Western Europe, Cádiz offers sandy beaches and deep blue waters full of the colorful fishing boats you see in pictures, and of course – the ocean fresh seafood that comes with them. The city has a lively, local vibe all year round, as well as pleasant temperatures even in the winter months. Just check when their carnival and festivals are if you’re aiming for a more peaceful visit.
Many people head to Malta searching for sun, sea, sand and Game Of Thrones filming locations – but the overlooked capital city of Valletta has all that and so much more. The small city is packed with historical buildings and cultural wonder, and has been named a UNESCO world heritage site. Cleverly built between two natural harbors, it stays nice and breezy, even in the middle of summer.
Nuremberg is a deeply moving, fascinating and now charming place to visit. Wandering around the Old Town is a walk through history, replete with photo opportunities. In true German tourist fashion, you just can’t leave without trying their delectable Nürnberger Bratwurst washed down with a potent German beer. Prost!
Which European destinations top your 2018/2019 bucket list?
Featured image of Lake Bled, Slovenia.