Prague Castle District Lit Up at Night

10 Most-Underrated European Cities

Europe is well known for its beautiful views and historical cities. However, often famous cities such as Rome, Paris, and London steal the spotlight. Despite their perks, there are many other hidden gems throughout Europe that offer a unique view into the history, culture, and nature that contribute to Europe’s fame.

10 Most-Underrated European Cities

1. Ljubljana, Slovenia

Miran Rebrec (photo), ModriDirkac (merging&editing), CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

With bridges arching over a quiet canal and an assortment of bars, boutiques, and cafes, it’s easy to feel lost in time (or shops). However, Ljubljana also has a fascinating history. Since its construction in the 11th century, Ljubljana Castle has become the property of many famous leaders, such as the rulers of Corniola, Ottokar II of Bohemia and Rudolph of Habsburg, and even the French army. On a clear day, the Julian Alps will, without a doubt, leave their spectators speechless. From its timeless streets, history, and culture, Ljubljana is a stop that cannot be missed.

2. Budapest, Hungary

buda castle at night

Budapest’s charm makes it easy to get lost. Its bars, beautiful architecture, boutiques, museums, and food will make all visitors fall in love with the city. Fisherman’s Bastion offers the perfect view of the sparkle of the iconic Hungarian Parliament Building reflecting over the Danube. Budapest also tells the story of its history through museums such as the House of Terror and the Hungarian National Museum. Budapest’s nightlife and food are unforgettable with its ruin bars and famous dishes such as chicken paprikash and cinnamon chimney cakes. It’s a city that is hard to leave with its timeless class and culture.

3. Izmir, Turkey

BerkeKayalarr, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Izmir has something to offer everyone. Not only is it the gateway to Turkey’s incredible wine region, but it also is surrounded by the beauty of the Aegean Sea and ancient history. For example, Agora is an open-air museum preserving the remains of the ancient city of Smyrna. Izmir is also home to many historical religious sites, such as the House of the Virgin Mary. Izmir is a cradle for culture with Bazaars like Keremalti Market with delicious food and coffee as well as a variety of authentic souvenirs. Izmir’s most iconic destination, an elaborate Ottoman-style clock tower built in 1901, is also well worth a visit.

4. Glasgow, Scotland

Tolbooth Steeple

Glasgow is a prosperous, charming, and gritty historical post-industrial city with a vibrant arts, music, and foodie scene that has made it one of Scotland’s favorite destinations. In the nineteenth century, it was one of the world’s most famous shipbuilding centers. The city is a combination of beautiful architecture, exceptional shops, restaurants, and pubs, a buzzing business class, a large university population, and a lively arts and culture scene. You’ll be charmed by the city’s beautifully maintained, historic sandstone buildings that blend in seamlessly with an array of modern architecture.

5. Delft, Netherlands

Free stock photo of architecture, boat, bridge

Walking through the tiny streets and along the winding canals scattered throughout the small city of Delft is truly breathtaking. The quaint and picturesque city sits between the much larger cities of Rotterdam and The Hague and is often overlooked by many travelers visiting the Netherlands. The unspoiled Renaissance architecture in Delft is reason enough to visit, but the city offers many highlights and attractions that increasingly draw travelers off the beaten path for a day or overnight trip.

6. Lyon, France

brown concrete building in lyon, france near river during daytime

Lyon is known as the gastronomical capital of France, with an equally interesting history as other French cities. Founded in 43 BC, Lyon was the Roman capital of the province of Gallia Lugdunensis. Its roots back to Roman times have led it to be considered a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city preserves various Roman ruins, such as an amphitheater, baths, and aqueducts. There are also a variety of historical cathedrals, such as Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste and La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière which will impress everyone regardless of religion. For those visiting during Christmas time, the Fête des Lumières festival draws millions of tourists every year who wish to enjoy the dazzling light festival. The city also has twenty Michelin-starred restaurants with food tours to appreciate all the flavour Lyon has to offer.

7. Dublin, Ireland

samuel beckett bridge

Ireland is famous for its serene beauty and history, and Dublin is no exception. Besides the variety of iconic pubs throughout the city, one of Dublin’s most popular destinations is Kilmainham Gaol. The prison opened in 1796, and its walls are well-acquainted with a variety of rebellion leaders. History lovers will also be entranced with Dublinia and Dublin Castle. Dublin is also the gateway to beautiful scenery, such as the Howth Cliff, Dublin Mountains, and Killiney Hill Walk. A trip to Dublin is not complete without a visit to the wide variety of historic pubs. Beer lovers will not be disappointed with a tour of the Guinness Storehouse, which has claimed its spot at St James’s gate since 1759.

8. Zagreb, Croatia

Nick Savchenko from Kiev, Ukraine, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Zagreb is historically a political center with a struggle against Turkey and later an attempt at Germanization by Austria. Later on, it became the center of the 19th-century pan-Yugoslav and Croatian independence movements. Today, Zagreb is a calm city and the industrial core of Croatia, reflected in the variety of shoe, clothing, and jewelry shops in the downtown area. Travelers during the Christmas season cannot miss out on the Advent in Zagreb Christmas Market with its award-winning shops and festive decor. One of Zagreb’s most iconic buildings is St. Mark’s Church, known for its beautiful red, blue, and white patterned roof alongside the medieval coat of arms and the city emblem.

9. Bolzano, Italy

Robot8A, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bolzano is the perfect mix of Italian and Germanic influences. Bolzano is characterized by its diverse food, architecture, and mountain views, such as the iconic backdrop of Valle di Funes. The mountainsides are surrounded by an array of quiet small villages with ski resorts, perfect for a winter adventure. However, the mountain region is also full of historical secrets such as Ötzi the Iceman, a mummy from the Copper Age over 5300 years ago discovered by hikers in 1991 with his clothes and tools preserved. Tourists can see Ötzi at the Museum of Archaeology, one of the region’s best museums. 800-year-old houses turned restaurants such as Hopfen and Company serve delicious Tyrolean food such as dumplings, pasta, and sausages.

10. Bayreuth, Germany

Michael Sander, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bayreuth is synonymous with music. The great 19th C. German composer Richard Wagner was lured here by the reputation of the Margravial Opera House. The Margravial Opera House, built between 1744 and 1748, is one of Europe’s few surviving theatres of the Baroque period and is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Bayreuth charms all its visitors with well-preserved historical areas, quaint streets, and famous breweries. One of the most interesting activities is the catacombs connected to the Bayreuther Brewery, historically used for beer making and shelter during the 2nd World War. For those in need of an escape outside the city center, the Hermitage is a must-see with its stunning gardens and structures. Whether in search of beer or beauty, Bayreuth sings the tunes of it all.


Although mainstream destinations are well known for a reason, it’s important to look beneath the surface to experience all the beauty, history, and culture Europe has to offer. Exploring the less popular locations does not mean missing out — in fact, it offers a unique and unforgettable perspective and experience. Whether it be Bolzano, Dublin or Glasgow, either location will not disappoint and will beckon all visitors to return.

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