7 lesser-known European cities we’re excited to visit

Photo: Josh Woodhead on Unsplash
By Ryanne Co

By Ryanne Co

May 26, 2021

It has been a while since we put this Schengen visa to good use. Nevertheless, we are already planning when and where we plan to fly once the trip resumes.

Traveling in Europe is a dream vacation for many, and it’s obvious why. These days, we’re nostalgic for the cobblestone streets and romantic city lights that only European places can offer. For those of you looking for inspiration for the next travel adventure, here are some of the cities on our bucket list that you should definitely add to your own.

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This beautiful Christmas town, located in the north of France, is an exciting tourist destination all year round. It’s a lot less overwhelming than Paris, but it has all the unique French charm you probably want. It is also a wonderful melting pot of French and German traditions, giving birth to a unique gastronomy such as tarte flambée and Sauerkraut. Enjoy the vast idylls of this UNESCO World Heritage Site as you explore the charming town center of Homme de Fer, the historic district of La Petite France or the majestic Gothic masterpiece that is the Cathedral of Strasbourg.

Formerly the home of Dr Jose Rizal himself, Heidelberg is a magical city located on the banks of the Neckar River. Everywhere are amber-colored roofs, all of which dot the mountain panorama with one of the most romantic views in Germany. Maybe the main attraction here is the Heidelberg Palace, a 15th century castle destroyed in a war against the French four centuries later. Another must-see stop is Karl Theodor Bridge, where you can usually find street musicians performing a charming allegro on violins or cellos. Enjoy a picnic with food and desserts purchased from local cafes to really end a perfect day here.

For those looking to explore a more traditional side of Greece, consider Metsovo. Part of its charm comes from the fact that it is less famous than other parts of this historic country. Located in Epirus, Metsovo is also home to some of the country’s most skilled stonemasons – that means there is plenty of rich architecture to enjoy, from mansions to monasteries and even town squares. There is also a lot of nature to see nearby, including awe-inspiring peaks and pristine forests where tourists can enjoy the scenic spots of the surrounding area.

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Sitting right by the Adriatic Sea, Bari is a magical coastal town that also serves as the capital of Puglia. Due to its strategic geography, it is a convenient connection point for people traveling to or from Croatia, Greece and Albania. The best thing to do in Bari is to soak up the culture in Bari Vecchia (or Old Bari), where the winding streets and alleys will enchant you at every turn. If you’re hungry, Bari is also known for its fresh seafood, most of which comes straight from the town’s fishermen who sell fresh Porto Vecchia dishes – oysters, sea urchins and octopus on hand!

There is a bit of everything in Salamanca. From tapas to wines, foodies are sure to find love in the city’s bustling markets. Speaking on the art scene, Salamanca is also home to the Museo Art Nouveau y Deco, which is among the most renowned in the region; even the building itself, with its stained glass design, is a work of art in its own right. Finally, culture and history buffs can find interesting sites around every turn: from the lavish Casa de las Conchas to Spain’s largest square, the Plaza Mayor.

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Unsurprisingly, the most famous thing to see Bath is – of course – the Roman Baths (which date back to AD43). These historic places were not only intended for hygiene, but were also places where people could socialize. Although these areas are no longer functional, tourists can come and visit them and go to the city’s spas to experience their own baths.

In the city, lovers of literature can also learn about the famous novelist, Jane Austen, who called Bath home. Other cultural attractions include the Theater Royal Bath or live jazz music at the Green Park Brasserie.

Religious devotees can find their fulfillment on a trip to Braga, Portugal. It is often considered the religious capital of the country and is home to a proud tradition of important religious centers and traditions. The Museo de Sacra Arta (Museum of Sacred Art) houses some of the rarest religious artifacts in the world, such as ancient statues and filigree carvings. Of course, this would not be complete without a trip to the Sé (cathedral), which was first built in 1070. Then tourists often head to the palace of the archbishop, the Antigo Paço Episcopal, which is only a stone’s throw away and has a majestic 17th century garden perfect for a lovely afternoon stroll.

Also read: 500 years of Christianity in PH: the influence of Catholicism in the Filipino arts

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