City Travel

The 10 Most Underrated European Cities

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Porto, Portugal old town cityscape on the Douro River with traditional Rabelo boats

Image: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

The 10 Most Underrated European Cities

Choosing where to visit in Europe is an overwhelming feat. Do you go the classic tourist route by checking off cities like Paris, London, and Rome? Or do you divulge into local cultures by visiting underrated European cities off the beaten track?

There are incredible cities across the entire continent, which means you probably won’t go wrong either way. But if you’re ready to skip the lines, save your pocketbook from tourist traps, and part from the crowd, these underrated European cities should be next on your travel bucket list.

Rhodes Town, Greece

New meets old in Greece’s historic city of Rhodes Town. A coastal city surrounded by blue Mediterranean seas, Rhodes Town is divided into New and Old Town. In Old Town, walk the labyrinth of Roman-era streets, ruins, and castles. In New Town, feast your tastebuds on modern bistros, bars, and cafes. The beach is nearby, too!

Gothenburg, Sweden

A trendier, more hip version of Stockholm, Gothenburg has cafes, eccentric shops, and miles of street art. Modern architecture mixes with ancient buildings to give off a creative and energetic vibe around the city, with museums and parks around every corner.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Slovenia’s capital of Ljubljana has a divine mix of Slovenian, German, and Mediterranean cultures that influence the architecture, cuisine, and city life. The Medieval Ljubljana Castle overlooks the historic city center, where locals peruse the pristine streets and walk the beautifully-lit Ljubljanica River.

Cork, Ireland

Welcoming locals, easily navigable streets, and foodie-quality eateries make Cork the best hidden gem in all of Ireland. Often referred to as “the real capital of Ireland,” Cork has all the liveliness—pubs, live music—that Dublin has, but without the tourist appeal… and price tag.

Porto, Portugal

A Roman-era port on the Atlantic coast, Porto is Portugal’s most underrated tourist destination. The historic Ribeira district’s colorful architecture is home to wonderful museums, romantic side streets, and decadent eateries. Don’t forget to try the cities most famous drink—Port wine.

Split, Croatia

Sunwashed buildings, cobbled limestone streets lined with palm trees, and open-air markets make Split a dreamy seaside destination for those in-the-know. A charming port town and gateway to the Dalmatian Islands, Split is an excellent home base for the summer of your dreams.

Famous view of Lyon from the top of Notre Dame de Fourviere

Image: Shutterstock/prochasson frederic

Lyon, France

Lyon, situated in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France, has all of the exciting amenities of larger Paris, but without the tourist traps. Luxury shopping, local markets, fine cuisine, and classic museums make Lyon a cultural hotspot for travelers who wish to explore an authentic French city. The Roman-era funicular and Ancient Theatre of Fourvière ruins are reason enough to skip Paris and head to Lyon instead.

Odense, Denmark

Odense, which sits on the Danish island of Funen, is a storybook town to get lost in. Quaint, colorful streets, charming cafes, and the open-air museum of Funen Village gives Odense a throwback feel, invoking the times of when fairytale author Hans Christian Andersen was raised here.

Bucharest, Romania

What was once called “Little Paris,” is now a bustling, elegant cultural center of Romania. Bucharest is known for it’s Belle Époque architecture, pristine parks, and sweeping streets. The National Museum of Art of Romania is a favorite with locals and tourists alike.

Innsbruck, Austria

For those needing an alpine escape from the crowded capital streets, Innsbruck, Austria is the perfect destination. Not only are the ski slopes nearby, but the town’s architecture is just as alluring. Resting against the rugged Austrian Alps sits the stately Imperial Palace, where visitors can tour the lavish decor and preserved frescoes.

Mandy Burkholder is a travel, adventure, and outdoor writer who honed her craft in the foothills of the La Plata Mountains of Southwest Colorado. After a stint in the Swiss Alps, she now resides in Tennessee. Follow her on twitter — @mandyburkhold3r