Best European cities off the beaten path

Ask any avid traveler about European cities they would like to visit and you will be inundated with a long list of some of the finest cities in the world, rich in history, culture, tradition, nightlife and architecture. However, many of these cities appear too often on everyone’s list.

Destinations like Madrid, Barcelona, London, Paris, Rome and Munich are on everyone’s wish list and perhaps the reason why they are so crowded with tourists. In the past, one could easily visit a city like Marseille or Naples to escape the horde of tourists. However, more convenient and cheaper means of travel have ensured that even these cities are slowly getting swallowed up by visitors.

Thankfully, there are still a number of cities that are off the tourist radar and provide the ideal getaway for those seeking something different. Europe is a hotbed of culture and history and for every city that gets bombarded by tourists there is a hidden gem yet to be found. Here are the top 3 European cities that do not get classified as tourist hotspots, but still have plenty to offer:

Riga, Latvia:

Riga Lane

There are very few big cities in the world that can offer a small town charm. Riga is a dream-come-true for travelers seeking to find the perfect balance between old-world charm and modern influence. With Western European cities drawing most of the tourists, Central and Eastern Europe can proudly claim to host cities and towns that remain pristine and unspoiled.

The Latvian capital is especially one of the best cities in the world for those interested in architecture and experts agree that it seriously overlooked by tourists who visit cities for their architectural merits. The thing that makes Riga unique is that it is beautiful no matter what time of the year you visit. In fact, most people who do visit Riga always return at another time of the year to experience the city in a completely different, but equally appealing manner.

Cagliari, Italy:

There is no dearth of cities in Italy that draw tourists like moth to a flame. Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice and Naples boast of some amazing statistics as far as tourism is concerned. Even off the beaten path, you can find a number of Italian cities and towns filled with residents who are proud of everything that makes them distinct from the rest of Italy. Whether you decide to visit Palermo, Genoa or Livorno, you just can’t go wrong. However, none of these cities are as distinct as Cagliari.

Located on the island of Sardinia, Cagliari (or Casteddu if you prefer the local Sardinian name) differs greatly from other Italian cities. Being away from mainland Italy meant that the Sardinians would always have a very different culture and every bit of it is reflected in their capital city. Tourists are seen few and far in between but the hospitality of the Sardinians cannot be faulted in any way. Surfers are particularly more likely to have a good time in Cagliari than anywhere else in Italy.

Galway, Ireland:

Wheatear Oenanthe oenananthe

If you are the kind of traveler that loves visiting a city for its festivals and parades, then Galway is definitely the destination for you. Very few cities in the world can have as delightful summers as this city on the West coast of Ireland. With most of the tourists heading for Dublin and Cork, Galway is one of the most affordable places to have an excellent vacation in comfort.

The locals, though not many in number, are fiercely proud of their beautiful city and leave no stone unturned to show it off to visiting tourists. Anytime in the spring or summer is a good time to visit Galway, but it is even better if your visit coincides with some sort of a festival.

While European cities continue to find themselves overwhelmed by tourists, never believe anyone who tells you that they know all the worthwhile places in Europe inside out. No matter how much somebody travels within Europe, there is always a city or town that is off the radar, waiting to be discovered. It is best to experience these places before the tourism industry puts down camp.

Susan Close authors blogs about travelling. She has keen interest in travelling and giving tips to people regarding it. Her website, provides information on how you can make your trip a memorable one.


Author: Muzi Mohale

Hi there, am your host and I blog about the tourism industry in South Africa. You're also welcome to contribute your expert content on matters affecting the industry. You can reach me on muzi[at]

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