Today we are showcasing down our picks for the 10 underestimated cities in Europe to visit after the pandemic. Her we have some of the most overlooked and underappreciated cities from across Europe. The places we are discussing tend to play second fiddle to more tourist-centric cities. These destinations are a perfect place to start your post-pandemic travels.
When we say Belgium Bruges and Brussells, unfortunately, that’s you and everyone else who’s considering taking a trip to Belgium in the spirit of underrated overlooked and under appreciated European destinations where instead recommending a trip to hint offering a similar fairy tale atmospheres but with a fraction of the tourists.
Belgium’s 3rd largest city is just small enough to feel intimate and yet large enough to check the various boxes that one looks for in a well-rounded city trip.
Architectural and historic highlights include Saint Bavo Cathedral, Gravensteen Castle and the Museum of Fine Arts the Riverside is among the city’s most popular areas and is especially beautiful when illuminated at night of course if you don’t mind crowds and are looking to experience hence at its most vibrant consider visiting during the annual Ghent festival.
This perpetually popular country attracts tourists by the millions and despite Italy being among the places hit hardest by Covid-19. Tourism is expected to make a full recovery translation. Rome, Florence, and Venice are likely to feel quite crowded quite soon.
Bergamo on the other hand not so much located in the country’s northern Lombardy region it’s long been overshadowed by Milan but Bergamo boasts a wealth of history and culture in its own right.
The walled old town La Cita Alta dates back to medieval times and is characterized by cobblestone streets and historic architecture. It’s here that you’ll find the city’s best sites including the Basilica de Santa Maria Maggiore most culinary.
The scene also does Italy proud backed by the Alps which add to the country’s picturesque qualities Bergamo is also notably modern the La Cita basa wonderfully contrasts the historic district with modern trendy businesses and shops.
Lille Italy, France is one of Europe’s most consistently popular destinations many a traveler has gone to Paris fueled by fantasies of romance great food and a Quiet essential Parisian lifestyle only to have their hopes dashed by a pervasive feeling of being unwelcome but can you really blame the locals they whether tens of millions of visitors each year so why not buck the trend and move beyond the country’s oversaturated capital for getting specific major attractions like the Active films Nouveau and Eiffel Tower.
Lille checks all the same boxes as Paris it’s a city of art culture, history, architecture, cuisine and more given that a large percentage of residents are students the entire city has a youthful vibrance to it that bleeds into everything from the nightlife and shopping to cafe culture and the food scene to extend your alternative French holiday with something a little different the historic town of Bisley is another great underrated destination.
As the nation’s capital, Riga attracts more international visitors than any other city or region in Latvia but it being the country’s top destination doesn’t make it any less underrated. 2018 was a record year for the city with 3.5 million visitors that’s more than double the numbers than it did just two years earlier but still relatively modest compared to many European capitals.
Riga is a city on the rise but one that you still have time to visit before it goes from underrated to on-trend a shockingly beautiful city that thanks to being photographed if not painted. Riga is characterized by narrow winding streets, gothic spires, and brightly colored Art Nouveau buildings of which Riga is said to have the most in the world from the Central Market and the city’s countless boutiques to the National Museum of Arts and Riga Cathedral, this is the destination with much to offer.
Never heard of it don’t worry you’re not alone in that regard though it may be the country’s third most populated city at just about 180,000 residents, it’s not exactly a metropolis but honestly, Basel might realistically boast the most culture per capita anywhere in Europe. in fact, it’s thought to have the most museums per capita with dozens of them to choose from and being on the border of.
Germany and France Basel is also unique in its multicultural identity the city is a compelling blend that borrows liberally from its neighbors the architecture, in particular, feels world-class now Basel is by no means a budget destination. Switzerland is after all among the most expensive countries in the world that are said relative to Zurich and Geneva, Basel definitely makes for a bit more of a cost-efficient way to experience everything Switzerland has to offer peaceful and picturesque Basel is a must-visit.
One glimpse of this city and you’ll be looking into flights with its colorful waterfront buildings. Innsbruck looks like something out of a Wes Anderson movie or maybe that’s the setting of a story that the director simply hasn’t told yet but really it’s the contrast between these structures and the snow-capped mountains that soar behind it that makes Innsbruck feel so downright, surreal and that’s at the heart of Innsbruck appeal its duality.
The city is rich in historic architecture and Austrian culture but it’s also an ideal launchpad for outdoor activities in the surrounding landscape has twice hosted the Olympic Games in the 1960s and 70s in Spock is no stranger to large crowds it also served as the site of the Paralympics in 84 and 88 as well as the Winter Youth Olympics in 2012 outside of major events however this picturesque city with its population of just over 132000 remains relatively uncrowded and underappreciated most of the year.
If you remember the horrors of the Balkans in the 90s chances are that Serbia doesn’t rank very highly on your travel bucket list but in 2021 the Serbian capital of Belgrade may just become one of your new favorite destinations it might lack the carefully manicured architecture of many other cities on our list today but Belgrade’s rich history can be seen and felt around every corner its roots reach all the way back to its initial establishment around 279 BCE and its patchwork skyline is a testament to its storied past as you walk the city’s bustling pedestrian, boulevards, you’ll come across countless hidden gems and be able to explore everything from coffee houses and clubs to museums and the Belgrade fortress.
Modern Belgrade boasts some of Europe’s most exciting under-the-radar nightlife set at the junction of the Danube and Sava rivers the waterfront is a big part of Belgrade’s appeal, you haven’t lived until you visit the floating River lounges that number in the hundreds.
Before the pandemic, there were a few countries suffering from over-tourism more acutely than Spain, it had gotten so bad that in recent years the people of Barcelona were actively discouraging tourists from coming to their city thankfully those wanting to immerse themselves in Spanish culture can still do so while respecting the wants and needs of Barcelona’s understandably frustrated residents located in the autonomous southern region of Andalusia.
Ronda is a stunning city divided into a new and old town by a towering Gorge while there’s a distinct lack of conventional tourist sights ruins of Neolithic settlements can be found around the city and the architecture and the overall atmosphere of the old town is an attraction in its own right for those interested in embarking on an entire alternative tour of Spain consider adding other underrated gems to your itinerary including Santiago de Compostela, Girona, Carmona, Salamanca, and Hesco.
When people toy with the idea of taking a Mediterranean vacation there are a few destinations that immediately come to mind namely Italy, Greece, and more recently Croatia all are indeed picturesque escapes but equally unless you avoid the major population centers tend to suffer from over-tourism.
In Malta, however, you can visit the capital city of Valletta and still feel like you’re exploring relatively uncharted territory from the perspective of international travel that is the tiny island nation which encompasses just 122 square miles of land receives about 1.6 million travelers per year which means it can get a little crowded at peak season but remains far from being overdone the capital.
Capital Valletta is one big UNESCO world heritage site and because of its relatively small size, it can easily be explored on foot with its many gardens, churches, baroque, palaces, piazzas, and the city’s historic fortifications. The city feels like one big living museum furthermore as a result of its long and complex history Malta draws influence from a number of neighboring cultures making it feel like the ultimate concentrated Mediterranean experience with a local twist.
Maastricht, Netherlands at last count receives roughly 20 million visitors a year the unfortunate thing both for locals and travelers alike is that a massive percentage of tourists treat the country as a single city destination never moving beyond Amsterdam and those crowds can significantly detract from the experience must lift on the other hand remains almost entirely off the radar despite meeting much of the same criteria
City Hall and the Market Square is your Quintessential European town squares lined with restaurants and bars architectural and historic sites abound like the Basilica of Saint Servatius and various remnants of the old city fortifications including fort St. Peter while Maastricht might not have Amsterdam’s elaborate canals the Musa River does scratch a similar mosque lift is rich in history and culture but being a university city it’s also vibrant and modern where it counts with trendy bars progressive values and an international culinary scene.