Are you tired of visiting the same old obvious destinations on holidays? Then maybe you need to change things up a little.
We’ve had a look to find a few spots around our continent that don’t get half the credit they deserve in terms of holibops potential. We think you’re gonna like the ones we’ve come across.
We even threw in a few suggestions for bars, restaurants and places to stay, if you need a hand in that department.
Have you been lucky enough to tick many of these spots off your list already? Let’s find out…
1. Porto, Portugal
You’ll find sun, sea, and beautiful surroundings right here.
In the coastal city’s Ribeira district you’ll find medieval buildings on cobbled streets where you can blissfully lose yourself in the charming cafés and bars.
Among the city’s most impressive architectural wonders are the 12th-century Porto Cathedral, the iconic Clérigos Tower and Lello Bookshop (whose staircases inspired JK Rowling’s Harry Potter).
Accommodation: Porto River
Bar: Miradouro Ignez
Restaurant: Pedro Lemos
2. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Known as the ‘Jerusalem of Europe’, there’s a real sense of cultures colliding (in a good way) in this colourful city.
The city was on the brink of the destruction during the 90s, but it has reemerged since those dark times to be a thriving tourist destination with its historic centre fully restored.
While in town you should aim to visit the eye-opening Tunnel Museum, the thought-provoking Ars Aevi contemporary art gallery, and the Emperor’s Mosque — the first wooden structure of its kind.
You won’t regret a trip here.
Accommodation: Sarajevo Daily Apartments
Bar: Freaky’s Pub
Restaurant: Kibe Mahala
3. Dusseldorf, Germany
This university city is known for being lively.
The vibrant city centre is ringed with parks and garden, so you don’t have to worry about being stuck in some suffocating metropolis.
Boasting over a hundred art galleries, numerous riverside walkways and the largest fair on the Rhine (which pops up every July), here’s where to go for a cultural, low-key getaway.
Accommodation: hotel friends Düsseldorf Downtown
Bar: LiQ Bar
4. Warsaw, Poland
With over 400 years of history under its belt, Warsaw has plenty to say for itself.
Feast your eyes upon splendid monuments at the Royal Castle, learn of the Polish fight for independence at the Warsaw Rising Museum, or visit the Old Town with its picturesque alleys, squares, and cafés.
You won’t be stuck for something to do or see.
Accommodation: Warsaw Design Apartments
Bar: PiwPaw BeerHeaven
5. Vilnius, Lithuania
The capital of Vilnius needs to be on your radar this year.
Keep yourself busy during a long weekend here by swinging by the city’s iconic Gediminas’ Tower, got your dose of culture at the Vilnius Picture Gallery, or get active at the nearby Vichy Water Park.
Perhaps its greatest attraction is the stunning architecture found in the Old Town, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
6. Naples, Italy
This city is the actual birthplace of pizza — that alone should be enough to convince you to visit.
If not, it still has some other interesting bits to offer. The third largest city in Italy, Naples lives in the shadow of active volcano Mount Vesuvius, adding to the mystique which surrounds the ancient place.
A must-visit for history fanatics, from here you can visit the ruins of the ill-fated Roman town Pompeii.
Accommodation: The Church
Restaurant: Palazzo Petrucci Ristorante
7. Valencia, Spain
Barcelona gets all the glory, but the nearby Valencia leaves just as lasting an impression.
You’ll be awed by the eye-catching City of Arts and Sciences, the Mercado Central with over 100 stalls of the finest local produce and the 15th-century gothic towers Torres de Quart.
Definitely one for the bucket list.
Accommodation: Boutique Balandret
Restaurant: La Taberna de Marisa
8. Bordeaux, France
Bordeaux is all about its grand architecture.
You can’t throw a stick in this city without hitting a beautiful structure of some sort, most notable being the landmark Place de la Bourse with its reflecting pool (perfect for photo ops), the 19th-century stone bridge Pont de Pierre, and the impressive medieval Basilica of St Michael.
If you love an elegant looking city, this is for you.
Accommodation: Mama Shelter Bordeaux
Bar: Le Verre Ô Vin
Restaurant: Le Bouchon Bordelais
9. San Sebastien, Spain
You’ll find this resort town on the Bay of Biscay in the Basque Country.
Do as the locals do and venture into the lively pintxo bars, where local wine is paired with traditional finger food.
It’s famed for its spectacular beaches, like Playa de la Concha, and with Mount Ulia and the seaside hill Urgell on your doorstep, it’s a wonderful destination for enjoying the great outdoors.
Accommodation: Zenit San Sebastián
10. Tromso, Norway
Ever consider venturing above the Arctic Circle on your summer holidays? Maybe you should.
Renowned for its long-standing wooden houses, impressive aquarium and the world’s northernmost botanical garden, the city of Tromso certainly makes for a unique trip.
It’s also a popular spot to gaze upon the phenomenal Northern Lights — you won’t get that in Puerto del Carmen.
Accommodation: Comfort Hotel Xpress Tromso
Restaurant: De 4 Roser
11. Bath, England
With the UK being our nearest neighbour, it’s easy to write off a trip to England — but you really shouldn’t.
Surrounded by rolling countryside, the idyllic Bath is renowned for its natural hot springs, which is why the public baths were built here by the ancient Romans; they remain viewable by the public to this day.
Other notable sights in the World Heritage Site include Bath Abbey with its huge stained-glass windows, Royal Victoria Park and, for the literary types, the Jane Austen Centre.
Bar: The Dark Horse Bar
Restaurant: Menu Gordon Jones
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