Europe is the trip of a lifetime for many or the usual summer destination for the lucky. Tour companies and travel agents tend to shuttle visitors to the same European cities year after year. Certainly, places like Paris, Rome, and London are rich in history and well worth the visit. However, if you are willing to venture slightly off the beaten path you will be rewarded with the same rich history and culture that the larger tourist attractions have, minus the big crowds. Savor the culture and immerse yourself in a travel adventure as you travel to one of these six European cities to visit that aren’t Paris.
The stunning rock formations in Goreme will take your breath away. Even more incredible are the beautiful, enormous churches that have been built inside the rock site at Cappadocia. While you are there, take a hot air balloon ride and marvel at the amazing scenery.
Hallstat is Austria’s oldest and possibly most photographed village. It appears like a mirage, tucked away between the edge of Hallstätter Sea and the massive Dachstein mountains. Arrive by ferry to enjoy the view of this nearly carless village built on salt mines. Add this one to any list of European cities to visit.
The Bay of Kotor is a unique natural attraction in the Mediterranean because it’s actually a submerged river canyon. The very secluded town is surrounded by limestone cliffs. Kotor is located at the end of Boka Bay, which has been listed as one of the 25 most beautiful bays in the world by multiple travel writers. Step back in time with a visit to this remarkably preserved medieval old town.
A short train ride from the Amalfi coast will bring you to the ancient town of Pozzuoli. This hidden gem on our list of European cities to visit is home to multiple ancient historic sites, as well as three excellent Michelin star rated restaurants. Avoid the huge crowds at the Coliseum and explore the Amphitheater Flavius, the third largest one built by the Roman Empire. Besides that, a dormant volcano, an ancient Roman marketplace, and the old Greek colony of Acropolis are other sites that will make for an unforgettable Italian vacation.
Rovinj calls itself “the blue pearl of the Adriatic.” This active fishing port boasts incredible Mediterranean weather, not to mention the fresh seafood meals. The Brijuni Island National Park is very close by. Spend a day there to see ancient Roman villas, as well as what is left of a once magnificent Byzantine Palace. The beaches are clean and highly rated, perfect for lounging or for adventure sports on the water. Want to see more of Croatia? Try this article!
Porto is the second largest city in Portugal but tourists overlook it as they flock to Lisbon instead. This lively city is colorful and full of culture. Porto is a World Heritage city that is famous for the Port wine in the area. The ancient heritage of the city includes churches and monuments. A visit to the historic Cathedral and the Church of São Francisco are a must. In addition, modern buildings, such as Casa da Música and the Serralves Museum are also sites that visitors will love. Castles, manor houses, Baroque architecture, and much more can be seen in the countryside surrounding the city.
So, which of these six beautiful off the beaten path European cities are calling your name? It will be hard to choose just one or two European cities to visit from this list. For more information about travel to Europe, read our article about how to vacation in Europe.