Everybody knows London, Paris, Rome and Barcelona and they are rightly counted among Europes most interesting cities, but this status, often coupled with the coverage they recieve from official tourism authroities, often leads to other fabulous european cities to be overlooked by travellers . When planning your vacation this year, why not broaden your scope and pay a visit to one of Europes more underrated cities.
Home to stunning Roman buildings, mosaics and scenic parks as well as lively tapas bars, restaurants and cafes, the city of Pamplona was first brought into international awareness by one of its most famous modern day residents, the great American writer, Ernest Hemingway. The city is famous worldwide for the San Fermin festival, which takes place from the 6th to the 14th of July, in which the annual running of the bulls is one of the main attractions. It is located along many wine routes and its status as a historical capital makes this northern Spanish city well worth a look.
This bustling West German state capital, located along the mighty Rhein river, boasts an ecclectic mix of old and new. The Altstadt (old town) is home to such a high concentration of bars, pubs and traditional breweries that it has earned the title of die längste Theke der Welt (the longest bar in the world). The cities fashion strip, the Königsallee is one of Germanys most important fashion districts. It is also the most vibrant Karneval city in Germany. The start of Febuary sees the city filled with costumed revellers as several days of Carnival celebrations begin.
Often referred to as the Venice of the north, the north western Belgian city of Bruges is very cosmopolitan for its size. With numerous Amsterdam like canals, a great number of music, beer and food festivals throughout the year and with most of its medieval archietecture intact, this city offers old-style charm rarely found elsewhere.
Gdańsk is frequently referred to as the most beautiful city on the Baltic Sea. The city has many fine buildings from the time of the Hanseatic league and it is this majestic archieceture that gives it its charm. Also known as Danzig under its German name, the Polish city of Gdańsk is the capital city of Pomerania and has had a somewhat turbulent history. Its geographical position has made it one of Europe’s most strategically important cities
The Hague, The Netherlands
The Hague is not only the seat of the Dutch parliament, but also the permanent residence of Queen Beatrix, the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court Hague as well as to the most popular seaside resort in the Netherlands. The city has a layout that is more spacious than other cities in the Netherlands. Post-war construction saw the creation of various parks and green zones around natural streams, it is significantly greener than any other in the Netherlands.
York’s ancient history dates back to Roman times. This North Yorkshire cathedral city has some of the best-preserved structures and buildings in Europe. York is awash with regular annual cultural festivals, earning it the byname of England’s “City of Festivals”. Some of the more popular festivals include the Early and Late Music, the Viking Festival and the Festival of Angels. The city has a wide range of accommodation available for weekend breaks or for longer stays.
Being the home of six universities, Graz has a rich past in education. About 14 percent of the city’s population is made up of students, which contributes to the citys lively atmosphere. The University City is associated with names as renowned as Nikola Tesla, Johannes Kepler and Arnold Schwarzenegger. A museum dedicated to the movie star turned governor has been made of his childhood home.
Turin is part of the Piedmont region and is an hours drive from the boarder with France. Not as well known or as well visited as other large Italian cities like Rome and Florence, but no less spectacular. Turin combines a mixture of castles, leafy parks, art galleries and grand boulevards, which all contribute to this cities aristocratic, romantic atmosphere.
The picturesque municipality of Sintra in the Grande Lisboa subregion was classed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995. Its numerous former royal residences, arabesque estates and hill top castles in addition to its romantic landscapes make this enchanting portugese town a must see.