Bucket List Travels Europe Travel Guide underrated destinations

Most Underrated Cities in Europe (Part II)

Introduction: Europe is undoubtedly one of the most popular continents for travelers of all types. Many of the world’s most well-known and popular destinations are in Europe, including Paris, Rome, Venice, Barcelona, and Amsterdam. However, Europe is also full of underrated cities that have much to offer travelers and are worth a visit.

Highlights: In Part I we discussed many underrated cities located throughout Europe, from Coppenhagen to Waterford to Valletta. This week we will explore Piazza del Campo in Siena, learn about Bryndzové halušky in Slovakia, view the Yantra River in Bulgaria, explore the sulfur baths of Tbilisi, and more!

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Photo by Barb Duggan on Pexels.com

Seville, Spain

Written By Earth’s Magical Places

Spain is full of wonderful cities to visit, however, one that often gets overlooked is the fabulous and historic Seville. The capital of southern Spain’s Andalusian region, Seville is famous for its oranges (which are used to make Marmalade), and year round warm weather!


It also has a rich history to discover. Said to be founded by Hercules, Seville’s location close to the African continent means it flourished under the rule of the Islamic civilization for over 500 years. Despite being overtaken by the Christian King Fernando III in 1249, much of the city’s architecture and culture continues to have a Moorish influence, making it a truly unique place to visit.  In this way, there’s lots to discover in the city, from its magnificent Gothic Cathedral, which is the final burial place of Christopher Columbus, to Europe’s oldest inhabited Royal Palace: The Real Alcazar.


Visiting Seville is also like stepping right into one of your favourite movies! The beauty of the city makes it a TV and Film maker’s heaven. Most recently, the Real Alcazar was used as the backdrop to create the Kingdom of Dorne in Game of Thrones. Meanwhile, another of the best places to visit in the city, The Plaza de Espana, was featured in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the clones back in 2002.


While you’d be right to never want to leave Seville! It’s also the perfect base for exploring more of southern Spain. Nearby charming towns such as Ronda, or the magical Granada, are a must visit. Plus you can even take day trips out of Spain to Gibraltar or Morocco…. Just another reason why Seville should not be skipped as a destination when visiting Europe.

3 Day Itinerary for Seville

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Seville. Photo Credit: Earth’s Magical Places.

Siena, Italy

Written By Homeroom Travel

Siena, Italy is a charming medieval town located in the Tuscany area of Italy. In 1995, it became a UNESCO World Heritage City. It is known for its museums, gorgeous views, delicious food, and for hosting the Palio horse races each year. The city center is a pedestrian zone and visitors can spend hours wandering the streets. 

When in Siena, visitors must stop and grab lunch in the Piazza del Campo, the main square. Locals and visitors alike can be found at all hours hanging around in the square and relaxing. Adjacent to the square is the Torre del Mangia. This tower was completed in 1348 and offers impressive views of Siena if you dare to climb the 300 steps to the top. On a clear day, you can even see the Tuscan vineyards from the tower. The Siena Cathedral is also worth a visit to see the gorgeous artwork inside. 

I highly recommend eating at Osteria il Vinaio di Bobbe e Davide, where they make the most amazing homemade pasta. Make sure to try the Caccio e Pepe, a local favorite and grab an Aperol Spritz along with it. A spritz is an alcoholic beverage with Aperol, a popular Italian orange liqueur, mixed with sparkling wine. Do not forget to grab some gelato for dessert!

Siena should not be skipped when visiting Italy because it gives a great depiction of Italian life and history. Not only do you get to escape the hustle and bustle of the big cities, but there is also delicious cuisine, spectacular views, and friendly people. Its charm and character makes Siena one of the most underrated cities in Europe.

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Siena, Italy. Photo Credit: Homeroom Travel.

Corniglia, Italy

Written By Fueled By Wanderlust

Corniglia is the most overlooked village in Italy’s coastal Cinque Terre region. Many visitors to this region skip over this underrated Italian village, and miss out on its unique beauty and charm.

Some of the other Cinque Terre villages are more Insta-famous, and attract hordes of day trippers. If crowds aren’t you thing, Corniglia is a welcome retreat, since it manages to avoid the worst of them. This is largely due to the fact that Corniglia is the most challenging village to access.

Corniglia’s train station is located far below the actual village. This means visitors need to either climb over 300 stairs or wait for a shuttle bus in order to reach the center of town. However, this really helps to weed out the riff-raff, and greatly rewards those who have the patience to deal with these minor challenges.

In addition, those who come to Cinque Terre for hiking will find a great home base in Corniglia. This village is the middle of the five and at the highest altitude, so you can hike downhill to two of the other villages in either direction. Plus, with the coastal trail connecting all five villages being partially closed, choosing an alternative hike to two villages at a time is currently the best option.

If breathtaking views are what you seek, Corniglia’s high elevation guarantees you’ll take in plenty of gorgeous scenery. From our lodging we could actually see Manarola, Vernazza, and Monterosso in the distance. Even a couple local enotecas had dreamy views out to the Ligurian sea, and were the perfect place to grab an aperitivo around golden hour.

Finally, Corniglia offers a great food scene with plenty of ambience. Once of the most famous places to check out is A Cantina da Mananan for its extremely fresh seafood dishes. An experience like this is best topped off like any good Italian vacation should be – a scoop of gelato. The local favorite in Corniglia is Alberto Gelateria, which you will certainly love, as authentic gelato never disappoints.

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Corniglia, Italy. Photo Credit: Fueled By Wanderlust.

Gothenburg, Sweden

Written By The Wanderlust Within

Sweden’s second city, Gothenburg has remained a hidden gem compared to its big sister, Stockholm. However, as the world’s most sustainable destination four times in a row, this is one Swedish city that shouldn’t be missed. 


Gothenburg is one of the most walkable cities in Europe and is filled with beautiful (and free!) botanical gardens, local designer shops, and canals that can transport you across the city. All across Gothenburg there is a love for the Swedish fika culture, that will have you visiting all the pastry hotspots across the city, such as the quaint neighbourhood of Haga, famous for baking the largest cinnamon rolls in Sweden! Food in Gothenburg encompasses the same high quality ingredients and flair that Stockholm is famous for but for a much more affordable price.

The best time of year to visit the city has to be in December during the Gothenburg Christmas Markets, when the whole city turns into a festive winter wonderland. There are four main Christmas markets sprinkled across the city but the main one, and Sweden’s largest Christmas market is at Liseberg Amusement Park. The country’s national icon, Liseberg couples thrilling rollercoaster rides with a seasonal ice skating show and over 80 Christmas stalls and shops. There are plenty of festive food choices such as traditional Swedish gingerbread called Pepparkaka, sweet mulled wine called glogg, and even a four course Swedish Christmas buffet dinner all under one roof. 


Gothenburg is perfect for a weekend but if you have more time, make sure you visit some of the West Sweden islands to experience Swedish nature at its best.

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Gottenburg, Sweden. Photo Credit: The Wanderlust Within.

Sarajevo, Bosnia

Written By Cassie the Hag

Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has to be one of the fascinating cities I’ve visited in Europe, with its startlingly sad history and a huge number of cultural places in one centre.

Learning about the 1990s war and the resulting genocide is a must-do, despite its disturbing nature. There are a number of free walking tours available so you can learn about this respectfully from a local, although you may prefer to do this independently. Museums such as Galerija 11/07/95, with its immersive gallery, give visitors a chance to learn about the tragedy.  Despite outlining the horrors in both photographic and written formats, I found it more emotive than provocative. It thoughtfully humanised the thousands of people killed and made you question how this could possibly have happened to them. And how you did not know about it. Other popular alternatives are the War Childhood Museum or the Tunnel of Hope.

While walking around the Old Town, historical places of interest include the beautiful Gazi Husrev-Beg Mosque and The Baščaršija mosque, both built in the 14th century. At the same time, you can visit lively alleyways lined with coppersmiths and small cafes selling Bosnian coffee. It is certainly worth walking along to the Sarajevo Meeting of Cultures too – the spot where the original prominent cultures of Sarajevo merge. It is known as an ‘east meets west’ city and in this exact spot, you can see buildings of an Austro-Hungarian style change to Islamic and Ottoman architectures in just one step.

There are also plenty of more light-hearted tourist activities in Sarajevo. My favourite was seeing the sunset from The Yellow Fortress, which is just a 15-minute walk from the heart of the old town. The cable car up Trebevic mountain is also hugely popular. While at the top, you can visit the abandoned Olympic bobsleigh track.

One Day Itinerary for Visiting Sarajevo

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Sarajevo, Bosnia. Photo Credit: Cassie The Hag.

Bratislava, Slovakia

Written By Becksplore Travel

One city that often gets overlooked is Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia. It is not the biggest city and compared to other capitals there might be not as much to do. However, it is still worth the visit if you are traveling to Europe. 

The main attraction in Bratislava is its impressive castle that can easily be spotted from the city centre. Other than that you can walk around the beautiful old town, visit the presidential palace, or look at the fascinating blue church. You can hike up to the Slavin War memorial and from there get some beautiful views of Bratislava from above. 

Slovakia’s national dish is Bryndzové halušky, which is sheep cheese served on potato dumplings. It usually comes with Bacon sprinkled on the top. There are a lot of traditional Slovak restaurants in Bratislava such a the Slovak Pub or Flagship restaurant. Food in general is cheap if you avoid restaurants located directly in the old town. Other than good restaurants you can also find a lot of bars with cheap drinks, even beers for one 1€.

Bratislava is located next to the Danube river so if you are coming from Vienna or Budapest, you can even travel to Bratislava by boat. There are good train connections to the Czech Republic and Hungary and a bigger bus terminal that makes it easy to travel to and from Bratislava. 

Furthermore, you can go on a lot of interesting day trips from Bratislava to cities in neighboring countries. Vienna in Austria is only one hour away and also the Czech Republic and Hungary can be reached in less than an hour. That makes Bratislava a good and inexpensive starting point to discover more of Eastern Europe. 


While it might not have as many things to offer as Prague or Budapest, Bratislava should definitely be considered when you are travelling to Eastern Europe. 

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Bratislava, Slovakia. Photo Credit: Becksplore Travel.

Groningen, Netherlands

Written By Bucketlist Bri

Chances are you’re already well aware of Amsterdam in The Netherlands, but have you ever heard of the hip, young, and happy city in the north known as Groningen? I had the chance to live in Groningen for my master’s studies and little did I know I was about to live in one of the most underrated cities in Europe!

If you think Amsterdam is full of bikes and students, think again. Groningen actually competes with Amsterdam in this area, judging by the sheer amount of parked bikes in front of the university on Monday morning (around 10,000 each day!) Renting a bike and exploring around is one of the top things to do in Groningen. But from both a tourist and local’s perspective, there’s much more than meets the eye. Groningen has an adorable downtown area with cobblestone streets and huge squares, with typical Dutch-style homes and architecture. 

Must-visit cafes and concept stores are Holtbar, Op z’n Kop (cat cafe), and BAQ Brood & Cafe. Each has its own character and makes for the perfect afternoon sipping a delicious chai or hot tea. When the weather is nice and sunny, Groningen is perfect for exploring on foot or bike. Don’t miss out on visiting the iconic buildings in Groningen like the ancient Martini Clock Tower, the University of Groningen’s majestic Academy building from the year 1604, the Neo-Gothic train station (Hoofdstation), and the creative and colorful Groninger Art Museum! 

When you combine all of its tourist attractions with its cute houseboats and canals, cafes and bars, bike lanes, and windmills, there are so many reasons to visit Groningen, the Netherlands during your next trip to Europe! Next time you visit the Netherlands, make sure to plan a trip from Amsterdam (even if it’s a quick weekend getaway!). 

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Groningen, Netherlands. Photo Credit: Bucketlist Bri.

Courseulles-sur-Mer, France

Written By Poppin’ Smoke

If you ask most anyone – even a French person – where Courseulles-sur-Mer, France is located, they will likely shrug their shoulders. This small town on France’s northwest coast is where Parisians come to enjoy their vacation homes in the summer, and tourists from around the world come to visit the many famous landing beaches, battlefields, landmarks, and museums in Normandy.

A more recognizable name associated with Courseulles-sur-Mer is Juno Beach, where Canadian forces landed during the 1944 D-Day invasion. The town is a great place to learn about this historic battle from the very grounds on which it was fought.

You can tour one of the bunkers that German forces used as an observation post, view a German machine gun emplacement, and see the remains of the original harbor defenses. Also, take a tour of the Juno Beach Centre, a Canadian WWII museum that does a fantastic job of educating visitors about the Normandy invasion.

Courseulles-sur-Mer is also the perfect base from which to explore Normandy by car, because it is centrally located along the Normandy coast. We fortuitously ended up in this charming town by randomly choosing it on the map, because it appeared to be within a couple hours’ drive of the Normandy sites we wanted to see. It proved to be an excellent choice, not only for its proximity to other towns of historical significance, but because it’s a lovely town in its own right.

When not touring WWII sites, you can enjoy Courseulles-sur-Mer’s many seafood restaurants and delicious boulangeries (bakeries) along with its lovely beach and boardwalk. On a nice day, there’s no better way to explore the area than by renting a bike and riding along the path to explore the neighboring beachfront towns.

You may never have heard of Courseulles-sur-Mer, but if you plan to visit Normandy, it’s the perfect place to stay!

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Courseulles-sur-Mer, France. Photo Credit: Poppin’ Smoke.

Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Written By Ipanema Travels

When talking about Bulgaria even the most travelled tourists come up only with the name of the capital Sofia, but there are so many other great places that remain off-the-radar. One of those underrated cities is Veliko Tarnovo – the old capital of Bulgaria.

Veliko Tarnovo is a picturesque city in the North, which is easily accessible from Sofia (about 250 km) or Varna (the same distance). Travelling from Bucharest (Romania) to Istanbul (Turkey), Veliko Tarnovo can be a perfect stop on the way to spend there at least a day, or even stay longer.

The city has rich cultural and historical heritage. During the heyday of Bulgaria in 12th – 14th century the city was the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. There isn’t much left from those glorious days, but you can still visit Tsarevets – the fortress where the king’s palace and the main church were located. Another historical attraction that just opened for visitors after extensive excavations and restoration is the fortress on the Trapezitsa hill.

The Yantra River meanders through the city cutting through the hilly region, allowing for some stunning views – with the old houses clung to the rocks and the green hills that surround the city. For the nature lovers, there are a lot of hiking possibilities with some trails starting at the very city.

Veliko Tarnovo is a laid back historical city where the spirit of the Bulgarian National Revival (18-19 c.) is well preserved. Walk the cobbled street of the Varusha quarter or stroll along the Yantra River on Gurko Street, or visit the Samovodska Charshia – the old market street where you can find the local craftsmen and many souvenir shops.

Veliko Tarnovo is perfect for a day trip, but I would advise you to stay a bit longer (3-4 days) so that you can explore the city and its surroundings better.

More to Do in Veliko Tarnovo

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Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria. Photo Credit: Ipanema Travels.

Modena, Italy

Written By Little Lost Travel

Modena is a city located in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy. A proud UNESCO World Heritage site, it’s one of the most underrated cities in Europe and not just because of its history and architecture. Modena is a food lover’s paradise. Here in its region, Parmigiano-Reggiano, nicknamed ‘the King of Cheeses’ originated alongside tortellini, air-cured prosciutto, Lambrusco wine and balsamic vinegar. 

Spend a lazy morning in Modena wandering across the cobblestones of the Piazza Grande. Marvel at the UNESCO World Heritage Cathedral and the Torre della Ghirlandina before stopping for a photo opp and a bite at the beautiful Guiseppe Giusti. In the afternoon, join a balsamic vinegar factory tour and learn about the history of this celebrated industry. Some of the balsamic vinegar barrels have been aged for over fifty years and you’ll get a chance to taste the rich and full-bodied flavours – I highly recommend you take a bottle home with you. 

Don’t leave Modena without visiting Gelateria Bloom. Tucked away down a little side street, this gelateria serves quite possibly the best gelato in Northern Italy. Open till late (perfect for an after-dinner treat), it serves dairy-free and vegan sorbets as well as adventurous and classic gelato flavours. Try the Ricordo Catalano (vanilla, cinnamon and orange jam) with an extra scoop of chocolate gelato for the ultimate indulgence. 

Modena also has a lot to offer in between the food. The city is the birthplace of both Enzo Ferrari and Luciano Pavarotti. Car lovers should head to the futuristic-looking building of the Enzo Ferrari Museum. There you can learn about the life and work of the famous car designer and spot some of his most iconic models through the ages. 

If you’re an opera and classical music fan you’ll want to drop by the late Pavarotti’s house (most easily reached by car). This quirky museum is filled with Pavarotti’s artefacts, photographs and everyday belongings. You can see some of the costumes he wore during his performances and there’s even a room dedicated to his fan art. 

I recommend that you hire a car when you visit Modena – that way you can make use of the number of exciting day trips in and around the city. One such site is Hombre, a dairy farm a short drive out of the city. Here you can taste and buy authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese fairly cheaply and look around the farm’s surprising collection of Maserati cars. Without a doubt, Modena’s rich food heritage and exquisite beauty make it an absolute must-visit for any Italy bucket list. 

Europe Budget Travel

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Modena, Italy. Photo Credit: Little Lost Travel

Brighton, England

Written By Live in 10 Countries

Top of most Brits’ staycation list is the South West of England, and for international travellers staying in the capital or wandering the ancient university at Oxford are usually the top choices. But I’d like to put in an appeal for the seaside, for quirky shopping and brightly coloured beach huts that will take you straight back to the last century.

Set on the South Coast, Brighton has a brilliantly hippie and eclectic vibe where you’ll feel free to relax and be yourself. It has a thriving vegan community, a hugely supportive LGBT family and (in my opinion) the best places to nibble on some fish and chips and watch a stunning sunset.

The beach is a huge draw and it attracts plenty of sea swimmers, sunbathers with their deckchairs and even kayakers. For those who want to stay on land, The Lanes offer a network of truly unique shops where you can buy one-of-a-kind things. The vintage clothes shopping is out of this world, and there are also tasty cafes and hearty pubs to keep you fueled.

As you head south through the Lanes you’ll come close to the Pavilion, a palatial building which owes its design to a king in the 1800’s – and yet looks like it wouldn’t be out of place in India. There are cool gardens to relax in and picnic, a museum inside to browse and a really romantic view. 


You can’t skip Brighton, because it’s a city packed with heart, soul and character, so it really shows a new side to Britain’s urban areas.

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Brighton, England. Photo Credit: Live In 10 Countries.

Bari, Italy

Written By The Nomadic Vegan

Despite being the capital of the Puglia region and the gateway to all its attractions, most tourists just pass through Bari quickly en route to somewhere else. This is their loss, as they are missing out on its fascinating history, culture and way of life, all of which are remarkably well preserved. If you walk down cobbled Arco Basso street in the Old Town, you will still see local mothers and grandmothers deftly making orecchiette pasta by hand, as it’s been done for generations.

This local specialty is by far the most common type of pasta eaten in Puglia and is often paired with cime di rape, or broccoli rabe as it’s sometimes known in English. This is just one of many vegan and vegetarian dishes in traditional Puglian cuisine, which is very distinct from what most people think of as “Italian food”.

Many of the foreigners who do visit Bari are religious pilgrims rather than tourists. The 12th-century Basilica of Saint Nicholas is the final resting place of Saint Nicholas — the same St. Nick who’s now celebrated as Santa Claus. His tomb, located in the crypt underneath the basilica, is a place of pilgrimage not only for Catholics but also for Orthodox Christians. Although he wasn’t from Bari, or even Italy, his remains have been kept here ever since the 11th century, when a group of Bari merchants brought them here from Turkey to protect them from desecration by the Seljuk Turks.

Other must-see attractions include the seaside promenade, the Castello Svevo (Swabian Castle), and the beautiful cathedral with its rose window. Head down the steps to see the 9th-century Byzantine church that lies underneath the cathedral. Here you’ll also find an extraordinary mosaic floor that’s even older, dating from the 6th century.

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Bari Basilica of Saint Nicholas. Photo Credit: The Nomadic Vegan.

Astorga, Spain

Written By The Stingy Nomads

Astorga is a middle-size city in Castile and Leon, the north of Spain. The city has a very long history dating back to the Iron Age when the area was inhabited by the local Celtic tribes. Later in 14BC the Romans founded the city named Astucia Augusta now known as Astorga. For many centuries Astucia was the main Roman city in Northern Spain. In the Middle Ages Astorga became an important stop on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. Nowadays pilgrims still are the main tourists that visit the city. Pilgrims from two routes the Camino Frances and the Via de la Plata go through Asturias on their way to Santiago de Compostela.

Due to its rich history Astorga has a great variety of sights from different epocas from the remains of the Old Roman Walls to the 19th century Episcopal Palace built by Antonio Gaudi. The Cathedral of Santa Maria of Astorga is one of the highlights of the city. Its construction started in the 15th century and was finished only in the 18th century. It’s a truly impressive and captivating building. In 1931 the Cathedral was declared a national monument.

Like many Spanish cities Astorga has its Plaza Mayor, the main city square with several historical buildings. Plaza Mayor is the heart of the city with many restaurants and cafes along its perimeter. On weekends the square gets very busy with hundreds of locals talking, drinking wine and eating tapas. The main attraction of Plaza Mayor is Town Hall built in the 17th century. A beautiful Baroque building crowned with three towers.

Spending a couple of hours walking around the city is the best way to explore Astorga. Those who want to learn more about the Roman period in the history of the city can join a guided tour called the Roman Route.

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Astorga, Spain. Photo Credit:The Stingy Nomads.

Kiev, Ukraine

Written By Robe Trotting

One of the coolest and most underrated cities in Europe is Kiev. The city has so much going for it, it’s budget friendly and full of great restaurants and cocktail bars. Compared to more popular European capitals, you can live like royalty on a backpacker’s budget in Kiev.

In Kiev, you’ll find layers upon layers of history, architecture and culture. Since Ukraine is only one generation removed from the Soviet bloc era, the city of Kiev is still developing its identity. The city has a vibrant, fun and youthful energy and its full of young people who are defining in real time what it means to be Ukrainian.

When deciding what to do in Kiev, you should book a city tour to take in the architecture and attractions of the city. There is a blend of Soviet style, early modernist and art nouveau buildings all over the city. Pay a visit to the War Museum and Mariyinsky Palace, the current residence of the Ukrainian president. Other must-visit sites include St. Sophia’s Cathedral, Saint Michael’s Monastery and Saint Andrew’s Church. From Saint Andrew’s Church, walk downhill on a street called Saint Andrew’s Descent. There you’ll find cute shops, restaurants and sidewalk vendors from the top of the hill to the neighborhood of Podil. It’s a busy area where you’ll frequently find street performers and outdoor festivals and events in the city.

Spend one weekend in Kiev and you’ll fall in love with this colourful and exciting but underrated European city.

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Kiev, Ukraine. Photo Credit: Robe Trotting.

Tbilisi, Georgia

Written By Wander-Lush

Tbilisi, capital of the Republic of Georgia, has been on the up-and-up for a few years now. Still, it remains one one of the most interesting – and underrated – cities in Europe.

You only need look at Tbilisi’s location on the map to get an idea of the kind of city it is. Literally located at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, it has long been a meeting place and hub for trading goods and knowledge. Today, it presents the same fascinating mix of cultures and cuisines that it always has.

There’s no two ways about it – Tbilisi is a beautiful city. From the steep cobbled streets of the Old Town to the otherworldly architecture of the inner city, there’s something eye-catching around every corner. Of course it helps that Tbilisi is located in valley and surrounded by vantage points where you can get sweeping views.

Iconic things to do in Tbilisi include visiting the sulfur baths (the city is built on natural hot springs – there’s a small river and waterfall right in the middle of town), climbing up Narikala Fort, doing a wine tasting (Georgia and neighbouring Armenia are the global birthplace of wine), and of course eating. Georgian cuisine is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Khinkali (twirled dumplings filled with meat, cheese or potato) and khachapuri Adjaruli (a boat-shaped bread topped with cheese, butter and an egg) are the country’s two most popular dishes.

Museums, galleries, and the Dry Bridge Market – a daily flea market where vendors sell Soviet-era memorabilia and antiques – are all must-sees. If you’re into slightly off-beat destinations that offer incredible value for money, Tbilisi should be at the top of your Europe wish-list.

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Tbilisi, Georgia. Photo Credit: Wander-Lush.

Sheffield, England

Written By Urban Abroad

One underrated city in the UK that many people forget to consider when traveling to Europe, is Sheffield. Known as one of the greenest cities in the UK, Sheffield is famous for its metalwork and its mighty contribution to the Steel industry, hence its nickname: Steel City. But why is it not seen as an important city to visit on most tourist guides? You can learn all about the history of Sheffield steel at the Kelham Island Museum and see cutlery items made in Sheffield, such as spoons and forks, bowls, and teapots which all hold international importance.

For me, the Millennium Gardens is one of the best free things to do in Sheffield along with the Millennium Gallery which can be visited next door. This part of town is home to the Peace Gardens which can also be accessed from the same site. You’ll start to gather that Sheffield is a tight-knit community in a hilly place where you can find a high concentration of Thrift and Vintage clothing stores.

A stroll through the Devonshire Quarter reveals an interesting mix of trendy independent stores, and in the evening, a bustling nightlife spot. There is also the Peak District National Park on the doorstep. It could be a drive out to the Longshaw Estate or a hike into Derwent Valley, you have so much to do outdoors. The best thing about Sheffield is that most outdoor nature spots can be reached within a 10-minute journey, no matter where you are in the city.  

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Millennium Gardens. Photo Credit: Urban Abroad.

Riga, Lativa

Written By Explore with Lora

Riga is the capital of Latvia and a city that completely took me by surprise. With beautiful architecture,  a booming craft beer scene, and fantastic health and wellness culture, there are many reasons to love Riga.

While visiting Riga, you must visit Old Town. Now a UNESCO world heritage site, Old Town is one of the most charming areas of Riga. It has many historical buildings, so a great way to see Old Town is through a walking tour. Riga is also known for it’s Art Nouveau architecture, having the highest concentration of anywhere in the world

Another aspect to love about Riga is the health and wellness culture. There are some beautiful spas in Riga offering a range of treatment options. Just half an hour outside of the city is the cute seaside town of Jurmala, which has a large spa with a beautiful beach to enjoy. Latvians love the outdoors, and even within Riga, there are many beautiful parks to walk through.

Riga also has a lively nightlife, and a relatively new, but prominent, craft beer scene. The city is small enough that you can see a lot of it in just a couple of days, making it the perfect destination in Europe to escape for a weekend.

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Riga, Lativa. Photo Credit: Explore with Lora.

Freiburg, Germany

Written By Hannah’s Happy Adventures

I spent a full year living and working in Freiburg, Germany. It’s my favorite city to visit in Europe and is often overlooked. It offers just as much, if not more, as other cities in Germany such as Munich or Berlin, but at a cheaper price. The city is also located on the edge of the Black Forest, providing endless hiking or skiing opportunities, depending on season.

I recommend spending time wandering Freiburg’s colorful streets. In the main square you’ll find the Munster (cathedral). It’s 100% worth spending the two euros to walk to the top and get a beautiful view of the city. There is also a local market held here daily, and a wine festival in June. Once you’ve finished exploring the city centre, take the small funicular up Schlossberg, and take a walk around this hill overlooking the city. Don’t forget to visit Kastaniengarten – a beer garden with a view. When you head back towards the city, walk past Schwabentor. This beautiful historic gate has the best light at sunset. There are many amazing things to do in Freiburg, these don’t even scratch the surface!

The main reason I have to advise not skipping Freiburg is the stunning Black Forest. Take the tram, just 20 minutes from the city, to the bottom of Schauinsland. From here you can take a cable car to the top of the mountain or choose to do a full day hike up. At the top there are multiple beautiful hikes and in winter a great sledging park. The Black Forest is one of my favorite places in Europe, so please don’t skip Freiburg on your next trip to Europe!

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Freiburg. Photo Credit: Hannah’s Happy Adventures.

Trieste, Italy

Written By Rocky Travel

Trieste is one of the most underrated cities in Europe and specifically of Italy. Located on the border to Slovenia in the northernmost region of Italy, Trieste has a rich and multicultural heritage that dates back to the Austro-Hungarian time. Over time it developed to one of the most important maritime trade ports in the Mediterranean Sea and nowadays is the pearl on the Adria Sea. It is, how the locals call it, the sister city of world-known Venice.

If you are a lover of Italy and come to visit regularly, you should not miss out on a day-trip or an extended visit. There are many reasons, not only for its vicinity, in only a 2-hour train ride you can get there from Venice and spend some time touring the city, but also for the variety of things to do in Trieste, Italy. From Piazza Unità d’Italia, the largest and most beautiful seafront square in Europe, it stunning 6-km promenade coastal walk, to the remarkable Karst Hills with its unique hiking rock formation and trails and its beautiful buildings, to the scenic Miramare Castle, Trieste is altogether a feast for the eyes, the mind and the tastes too.

If you love food and coffee, then Trieste offers a lot to indulge in, with its classic culinary dishes, delicious pastries and one of the best coffees you can drink in Italy. Moreover, this year in 2020 it is housing the capital of Science Exhibition in Europe. So, there are indeed many exciting things to do in Trieste.

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Triste. Photo Credit: Rocky Travel.

Ponta Delgada, Portugal

Written By Travellers Archive

The capital of the Azores, Ponta Delgada, is a rather hidden gem located right in the Atlantic Ocean. The Azores do belong to Portugal, but still feel like a completely different world. When arriving on the island of Sao Miguel, Ponta Delgada will most likely be your first stop on your island holiday – and it is definitely worth it. The city itself is not that huge and only has roughly 69.000 inhabitants. But still, it is full of sights to see and things to do.

First of, the whole old city itself is a true pearl. Imagine cobblestoned streets, cute houses and picturesque terraces of restaurants and cafés everywhere. Ponta Delgada will never be too hot as it is directly located near the beach, where mostly locals spend their summers sunbathing and swimming. One of our favourite things to do in Ponta Delgada was visiting the pineapple plantage. Did you know that pineapples also grow in Europe? It’s a fun thing to do and a great photo stop. Make sure to spend your evenings in Ponta Delgada right, namely at one of the beach kiosques with a cold beer or some yummy G&Ts.

Above all, Ponta Delgada is perfectly located as a base for everyone who is here for a roadtrip. From here, you can easily reach some of the major sights of the island such as the city Lagoa as well as the volcanic lake Sete Cidades and the romantic villages Ferraria and Mosteiros. Ponta Delgada really is a true gem, trust us.

Learn more about Portugal.

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Ponta Delgada. Photo Credit: Travellers Archive.

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11 comments

  1. Nice little guide – it is a long time since I been to several of those cities – I still remember my visit to Sarejevo – back then there was a lot of high rise buildings which were completely bombed out and just the burned out skeleton of the building were still standing.

  2. I’m so happy I’ve been to one of these places, ashamedly neither of the places in my own country though! Sheffield is only a train ride away from my home town so I really ought to visit – perhaps one for a day trip once the UK is out of Covid lockdown!

  3. I want to go to them all! I hate crowds so all of these villages, towns and cities would suit me fine. Seriously though, Corniglia is the perfect spot for me. The views are to die for, but more importantly, the access to hiking is what excites me…..and the food.

  4. This post is giving me some serious wanderlust! I love visiting smaller cities that aren’t as crowded as the major capitals and the hot tourist spots. Gothenburg is one that I haven’t yet been to but have always wanted to visit, especially for the Christmas Market. Corniglia wasn’t even on my radar, but now I think I need to add it to the list!

  5. I really love this post! You made me want to visit every single one of these underrated travel cities in Europe. I have visited some of them but now I really want to go to Slovakia and Bosnia!!! These images are all stunning! I couldn’t stop looking at that opening image. Thanks so much for the inspiration!!!

  6. My Spanish teacher used to talk about Seville, and I’ve always wanted to visit since then! underrated cities are often more appreciated by the travellers as they don’t have to face major crowds like in Paris per se.

  7. So happy to see that Modena is in your list. Modena is my hometown and yes it is a wonderful city that I highly recommend to everyone visiting Italy. Especially for food lovers.

  8. I haven’t been to any of these cities! Super fail. Thank you for opening my eyes to lesser-known destinations. Definitely saving for later!

  9. What a perfect list! I definitely have some new places to plan trips to now. I’ve heard great things about some of the list and some are new suggestions that I want to run with when traveling resumes. Thanks for putting this together!

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