If you’re longing for a holiday, whether it’s for a week long jaunt or for over the Bank Holiday weekend – consider foregoing the likes of Barcelona, Rome and Vienna in favour of heading off the beaten track. Europe is full of underrated places that have been overshadowed by nearby capitals, so check out our guide below before heading to SkyScanner!
San Sebastián, Spain
If you’re a foodie, San Sebastián is the place for you thanks to its reputation as one of the best culinary destinations in Europe! Producers of Game of Thrones weren’t immune to its allure either as some season 7 scenes were shot here – grab your partner and walk over Gaztelugatxe (an islet connected to the mainland) to embrace your inner Jon Snow and Daenerys. Despite its picturesque coastline, dining reputation and range of cultural events, San Sebastián attracts far fewer tourists than Seville, Barcelona and Madrid so avoid the crowds by heading to the Basque region.
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If you’re on a budget, head to Vilnius for your next city break. It’s home to the largest medieval old town in central/eastern Europe so if you’re a history buff, you’re all set! It’s located further east than the majority of the EU’s tourist hotspots so is easily overlooked, but if you’re yet to visit one of the Baltic states – make Lithuania your next trip!
Feeling privileged being a lecturer in tourism and having the opportunity once in a while to visit destinations together with students. After all, travelling is what I love to do most! This is Piran in southwestern Slovenia on the Gulf of Piran on the Adriatic Sea from where you can see Italy as well as Croatia. It's a beautiful medieval town with narrow streets and is one of Slovenia's major tourist attractions. You can see why! #piran #slovenia #adriaticsea #ifeelslovenia #medieval #town #touristattraction #tourism #wanderlust #sea #travel #travelgram #traveladdict #landscape_lovers #view #landscape_captures #lonelyplanet #natgeotravel #travelstoke #travelphotography #awesomeearth #bestdestinations #travelyourway #exploringtheglobe #worldtravelpics #letsgosomewhere #bestjob #ilovetravel #nhtv #cityscape
Piran belonged to Venice for centuries so it’s easy to see the Venetian influence within the tiny town. There’s not much to actually see here in terms of iconic sights, but if you’re after a place to laze around and soak up the sun for a few days – opt for a spot on the Slovene Riviera.
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When visiting Poland, many tourists head to either Warsaw or Krakow – both of which are further inland. However if you’re after a city break in close distance to a beach, consider the seaside city of Gdansk. If you love learning about a country’s past, Gdansk is the place to be for Poland’s since it’s where the Second World War started and also where the fall of Communism in Central Europe began!
Another Venetian inspired spot, Perast is a tiny town located in Boka Bay just north of Kotor. It’ll be hard to take a bad picture here since Perast has a backdrop of snowcapped mountains, sea views and two beautiful islands (one natural, one man-made). The Monastery on the ‘natural’ island is prohibited to visitors but be sure to visit Our Lady of the Rocks Church on the man-made island to learn all about its unique name and place in history!
Paris is one of the most famous cities in the world so if you fancy a break from the hoards of tourists, head to France’s third largest city: Lyon. It’s got history, impressive cuisine (there’s over a dozen Michelen star restaurants), great shopping and not to start an argument with Parisians, but Lyon’s Notre Dame is reportedly a nicer church. You won’t be short of things to do if you head here for a long weekend!
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Remember how determined to visit Greece you were after the release of Mammia Mia? Well, the second film is out in July so if you didn’t go the first time round – you’ll be even more eager to go after this! Avoid the tourists and super-yachts in Mykonos and Santorini by travelling to Hydra instead. It has a more laidback pace (cars are banned here) and has played host to the likes of Mick Jagger, Leonard Cohen and Sophia Loren. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a fast-paced lifestyle, head to Hydra to spend your days sleeping and swimming for the ultimate stress relief!
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When planning a trip to Italy, many people are often spoilt for choice when it comes to which city to visit whereas most tourists don’t venture outside of Berlin whilst in Germany. As great as Berlin is, Germany has so much more to offer! Take Hamburg in the North – it’s home to one of the busiest ports in Europe so thanks to it’s proximity to the sea, their seafood offering is second to none. Our opinion on the best time to go? Just before Christmas so you can experience a proper German Christmas market.
When you ask someone where they’re planning a holiday to next, it’s rare they reply with ‘Latvia’, but with incredible architecture, experimental restaurants and being awarded the 2014 European Capital of Culture – Riga should be on more people’s must-visit destinations! It’s had a pretty turbulent past (what with being occupied by both the Nazi’s and Soviets), but has managed to rebuild itself to become the most vibrant and cosmopolitan Baltic capital.
Hvar has been described as ‘the most beautiful island in Europe‘ and everyone from musical royalty: Beyoncé and Jay Z to a legit royal: Prince Harry, have been spotted holidaying here. Start your trip off in Split (Croatia’s second biggest city) as it’s closer to Hvar and also has a well-connected ferry port if you fancy doing some island hopping – it’s the best way to experience Croatia!
C’mon, we couldn’t not big up our home city! It might not be as photogenic as a Greek or Croatian island but what it lacks in glamour, it makes up for in culture. Sports fan? Head to either the Etihad for Manchester City or Old Trafford for Manchester United (there’s also Old Trafford Cricket Ground if that’s your thing). Pop into one of the Northern Quarter’s record stores for a Mancunian bands vinyl – think The Stone Roses, Oasis or The Smiths. If you’re lucky, you might even spot someone from Corrie in Piccadilly Train Station!
Wondering what to pack while jet-setting? Check out our holiday hitlist blog post to save yourself a job!