Overlooked European Cities to Explore

Published Categorized as Travel Tips

When discussing your next Euro Trip, the some things that come to mind would possibly be going for Germany’s famous Oktoberfest, or sipping wine under France’s famous tower, or getting lost in Italy’s Roman streets.

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Have you ever considered visiting the overlooked European cities, though? If not, you’re certainly missing out.

Sure, Paris might be considered the city of love, with so many tourists choosing it as the ideal location to propose, but isn’t it growing a tad cliché?

Why not consider visiting some of the more underrated European countries? What about the gardens of the Monserrate Palace in Sintra, Portugal? The snow peaks of Sweden may seem ideal, but why not go hiking among the breathtaking scenery of the Slovak Paradise National Park, Slovensky Raj, in Slovakia?

Europe is a larger continent that what we see on TV with plenty to offer. If you have wanderlust, you’d want to see the best small cities in Europe.

Why should you need any more reason to visit overlooked European cities and underrated destinations?

Wouldn’t it be quite the boast to mention places that aren’t just the Eiffel Tower? You’d do yourself a favor if you visited less-traveled these destinations.

There is so much to discover!

Table of Contents

Lyon, France

Lyon is the third largest city and second largest urban area of France.  It might not be a small European city, but Lyon might be overlooked by many when considering a peaceful breakaway.

Lyon is located in east central France on the banks of the Rhone and Saone rivers 290 miles south of Paris. The city has plenty of treasures to offer enthusiastic travelers.

Lyon boasts incomparable historical art. The statue of Louis XIV in the courtyard of Place Bellecour, the famous Basilica on Fourviere Hill, the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon. One mustn’t forget the medieval charm of Vieux Lyon’s cobbled streets and mysterious traboules.

If it’s good food you’re looking for, then Lyon’s gastronomic cuisine should satisfy even the worst critic. Gastronomy is the science that studies the relationship between culture and food. This is practiced in Lyon’s many fabulous restaurants.

What would be better than good food in a mystical city with so much beautiful scenery and colorful culture? Lyon is certainly one of the most underrated European destinations during summer.

Helsinki, Finland

Thinking of artistic destinations to visit? If art and culture are more your motivation for traveling, then Helsinki is certainly a great choice, This is one of the European countries that is very underrated. Rest assured, it is definitely worth a visit.

Located on the Gulf of Finland, Helsinki is the capital of the country. It sports more than 13 unique museums of art and design. Helsinki also hosts a mass of musical theaters, operas, and musical festivals.

Helsinki is a popular sauna retreat and a splendid getaway for a relaxing vacation.

You could check out Helsinki’s stately libraries. You can also laze around it’s ferry harbor, or explore its fascinating streets while dining on the local food and wine.

Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany

Freiburg is a small city in the southwest of Germany, nestled at the foot of the Schlossberg hill astride the Dreisam River and decked in the sylvan majesty of the Black Forest. The city is best known for its Renaissance university. It is considered one of Germany’s greenest cities due to its high living standards and advanced environmental practices.

Other than its green landscapes and beautiful countryside, Freiburg is one of many small European cities worth visiting.

It offers Gothic architectural sights, like the Historical Merchant’s Hall. It is also host to the longest cable car running in Germany.

The Munsterplatz, or Cathedral Square, offers a fun day out among farm stalls.

The city has plenty of museums that you could visit, including one dedicated to archaeology and another that had once been an Augustinian monastery.

With so much beauty and character, this city in Germany remains one of the most underrated places in Europe.

Here is a great list of ideas for gifts for travel lovers.

Maastricht, Netherlands

When considering the best European cities, the less known Maastricht is great pick. A sophisticated city in the southeast of the Netherlands, it has a long and very old history that landed the city membership into the Most Ancient Europian Towns Network.

Located on both sides of the Meuse River, Maastricht is a peaceful city. It plays host to many wonderful gardens and several interesting and historical bridges that you might want to visit.

For the more adventurous traveler, mystery and intrigue would draw you to the city’s network of tourable underground tunnels, as well as the many remnants of old fortifications found all over Maastricht.

That is, if the ancient character of the city isn’t enough to charm you.

Odense, Denmark

Odense is the capital city of Funen Island in Denmark, famous for being the birthplace of Hans Christian Anderson. Upon visiting this little city, it will be clear where Hans found the inspiration for his splendid tales.

The city’s tourist attractions include the Odense Zoo and the live museum of Funen Village, which attempts to show what life was like in Denmark when Anderson still lived.

What other excuse do you need to visit a fairy tale island? Denmark is one of the many hidden gems of Northern Europe.

Brno, Czech Republic

Brno is a city in the south Moravian region of the Czech Republic. It is home to Castle Spilberk and many more historical sites.

It is rich with history and culture. Brno is the ideal getaway if you want to step away from crowded places to enjoy fine Moravian wines in relaxing restaurants.

Additionally, you could also tour the city’s crypts and many churches or museums.

Ghent, Belgium

Belgium may be a popular destination because of Brussels and the Colin Farrell film, In Bruges. But somewhat under the international radar is the city, Ghent. That’s why it’s on our list of overlooked European cities.

This city is located in the East Flanders province of Belgium. Its beautiful combination of old and modern styles gives the city a wholesome atmosphere, and it is an absolute delight to stroll along its canals at night.

Enjoy the local cuisine that, of course, includes the traditional chocolates of Belgium fame and the many other gastronomic dishes known to the region.

It is recommended that every new visitor should check out Gravensteen in the heart of the city, also known as Ghent Castle.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

One of Eastern Europe’s best-kept secrets, the capital of Slovenia is a must-visit destination for any wanderlust adventurer.

Surrounded by the Julian Alps, this small city is ideal to spend your days strolling through picturesque streets and green landscapes.

You could visit the Franciscan church of the Annunciation or wander off to Ljubljana Castle.

It is also home to natural springs and spas. Ljubljana has a wine region, as well as a home goodie market where you can sample local jams, cheeses, and honey.

Tallinn, Estonia

Next on our list of overlooked European cities is Tallinn.

If you’re looking for a seaside escape in Europe, look no further than the Estonian capital, Tallinn, on the coast of the Baltic Sea. You will not find a more beautiful city or, for that matter, a more peaceful beach resort.

It is a curious place with a mix of Scandinavian, Baltic, and Slavic cultures. Try the local cuisine, visit the Oleviste Church, or the Kadrioru Palace museum, or just go to relax in its green waters.

Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Once ravaged by the Bosnian war, Mostar had been completely un-travelable until, from the ashes, the Phoenix rose again to new glory. It’s hard to believe that this exotic city had once been reduced to rubble, but now its Ottoman architecture has gained new attention, and its historical bridge, Stari Most, has become a delightful tourist attraction.

Some of the world’s most beautiful waterfalls can be found in a small nearby village, Kravica, but, if that is not enough reason to visit Mostar, then you should at least visit for the fine cuisine and popular hiking and cycling trails the city has to offer.

Your next Euro Trip

Get your bags ready and packed for the best adventure you could ever undertake and waste no time visiting these overlooked countries and cities of Europe.

Just make sure you pack properly, so you can focus on enjoying your trip rather than stressing over the technicalities!

Don’t forget to pack your necessities in a large travel cosmetic organizer!

What are some of your favorite overlooked European cities and destinations?

By Ellis James

We design luxuriously glamorous bags, organizers and life essentials for you. At Ellis James Designs, it’s all about YOU. Your bag, Your way. Our exclusive designs are timeless, indulgent and most importantly inspired by you. What will be your first Ellis James Design?


  1. I can’t wait until we can all travel again but my heart goes out to everyone impacted right now 🙁 I hope you are keeping safe. x

  2. Completely agree! While the more known places are beautiful, too, it doesn’t hurt the traveler to expand and explore other locations!

  3. The European cities that you mentioned are just so beautiful. These are such great suggestions for a European vacation. There are so many great places that are not so well known.

  4. These cities are amazing- definitely putting ’em on my list! Europe in general is just so pretty!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  5. Helsinki is definitely fantastic destination for anyone’s next European escapade!

  6. I love this post idea, so many great suggestions. They all look great but I’d love to visit Helsinki x


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