Europe has many beautiful cities that are perfect for a weekend away and yet remain relatively undiscovered by mass tourism. Here are just a few of those hidden gems.
The Dresden skyline is one of the finest in Europe and its position on the River Elbe has attracted artists to this German city for years. Dresden was once known as the Florence of the North for its iconic buildings. Destroyed in World War Two they have been painstakingly restored and provide the backdrop to cultural events throughout the year. With art museums, beer gardens and a laid back charm this city is a joy to explore.
Northern Ireland is a beautiful place to visit and Belfast is a rapidly changing city. The Titanic Museum is a major attraction and there is a vibrant foodie scene in town with new restaurants popping up all the time. There are cultural tours, interesting markets and a designer scene in the city that make this a fascinating place to explore. From a drink at the iconic Crown Liquor Saloon to the gardens at Mount Stewart, Belfast has a lot to see and do.
Rhodes Town is steeped in history with medieval castles, historic streets and a unique culture from Byzantine and Roman rule. This is a small city with many winding streets and art galleries. There are superb restaurants too as well as beaches and a laid back welcoming atmosphere. Hang out at Mandraki Harbour or browse the jewelry shops in this historic and iconic town, or simply relax and soak up the sunshine.
Located in Southern France the city of Carcassonne is magnificent. The old city is a gem to explore with a rich Cathar history and winding passageways where stepping back in time is all too easy. There are traditional restaurants, elegant shops and a sense of mystery within the ancient walled city, making it perfect for a relaxed weekend. Carcassonne is the setting for Kate Mosse’s trilogy and is beautiful at any time of the year.
Helsinki lies on the Gulf of Finland and is a major Baltic port. This is a city connected to world-famous design and with many superb museums. There are gardens, wonderful seafood restaurants, and a vibrant night life in Helsinki. Visitors can take a historic tram ride, browse flea markets, and see the art at Ateneum. For the ultimate Finnish experience take a sauna at one of the many venues in Helsinki.
Ljubljana is a small and compact city but one of the prettiest in Europe. Slovenia’s capital is dominated by the hilltop castle and green River Ljubljanica and most places are within easy walking distance. With historic buildings, museums and galleries, there is something around every corner of this intriguing city. Enjoy a meal at a pavement café or a quiet cycle ride through the beautiful streets. Ljubljana is enchanting and a delightful place to spend a few days.
Perugia is one of Italy’s best kept secret and lies on the River Tiber. The capital of Umbria, Perugia has cobbled streets, intriguing archways, and hidden courtyards. It is beautiful to explore or to simply relax in a café and watch the world go by. Known for its chocolate, this is a city to taste some of the sweet specialties of the region. Perugia also has a vibrant night life and is within easy reach of other Umbrian towns.
Europe has many cities with a rich cultural heritage that are perfect for a few days away. These are just a few to enjoy. Do you have any uncommon cities that are must-includes on a tour of Europe?