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Don’t get us wrong, the Eiffel tower is pretty special, but you aren’t exactly breaking new ground with a trip to Paris. Looking for a few new cities to put on your European Bucket list? Here are some of our favorite less visited European cities and why they are worth a visit:

ALSO: Add Azerbaijan to the list – it’s the coolestcountry you’ve never heard of 

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The impressive architecture of Riga, Latvia – Photo by

Riga, Latvia

The biggest city in the Baltics is full of history and incredible architecture. In the 19th century, Riga was growing at a rapid rate that resulted in a building boom. Today, the Old City is often regarded as having the largest and best collection of Art Nouveau buildings in the world and was given UNESCO World Heritage site status. In 2014, Riga was the European Capital of Culture. While in the city, make sure to try some of the unique cuisine inspired by the country’s many influences.

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An eerie church in the middle of Lake Bled, Slovenia – Photo by

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Tucked away in the Julian Alps outside the capital of Ljubljana, Lake Bled is a picturesque little resort town. The crown jewel of the area is the church on the island in the middle of the lake. Trails run the length of the perimeter of the shoreline with great views of the island and also the Bled Castle perched high above on a cliff.

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The best view in the city at sunset in Dubrovnik – Photo by

Dubrovnik, Croatia

The walled city of Dubrovnik sits on the Adriatic sea with towering cliffs behind making for an absolutely stunning landscape. The producers of the Game of Thrones must think so too because numerous scenes for the show have been filmed in and around the city. The white limestone blocks used to create the wall around the old city date back to as early as the 12th century. Inside this lesser-visited gem, visitors can see the influences from different groups that controlled the city, like the Venetians. Don’t miss the sunset from the top of the walls.

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Beautiful Budapest looking down from high atop the Buda Castle – Photo by

Budapest, Hungary

Possibly the best under-the-radar city in Europe is Budapest. This charming city is split in two by the Danube River. On one side lies the centuries old Buda Castle and on the other the slightly more modern city. Both are connected in the middle by the famous Chain Bridge. Aside from the remarkable architecture, the post-soviet rebellious spirit is still alive and well in the city. Not to mention everything is dirt cheap here compared to most of the rest of Europe. Budapest seems to have an energy that pulls you in, it should be high onyour visit list.

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The focal point of Krakow’s Old Town Center – Photo by

Krakow, Poland

Home to a large and lively city square, Krakow is at the center action in this central European gem. A short walk from the square is the impressive Wawel Royal Castle. Krakow is also surrounded by the painful reminders of the past with the largest concentration camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, just 30 minutes away. Also in the city is the museum and memorial dedicated to Oskar Schindler and the many lives he saved during the Holocaust.

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The beautifully lit Old Town Square in Prague on a summer evening – Photo by

Prague, Czech Republic

Though gaining in popularity over the past decade, Prague still sees less visitors than mega tourist destinations like Paris and Rome. Those that make the trek will discover a city full of amazing architecture, unique cuisine and, of course, great Czech beer. Prague is beautiful during all seasons, but really comes to life in the summer and the month of December for the Christmas markets.

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The imposing Cologne Cathedral at night – Photo by

Cologne, Germany

Often overshadowed by trendy and rebellious capital Berlin and beer-loving Munich, Cologne has a lot to offer tourists too. The massive, Gothic style Cologne Cathedral is as impressive as any in central Europe. Climb the dizzying 533 steps to the top for out of this world views of the city. Wander the cobblestone streets and make time for a glass or two of the city’s Kolsch style beer.

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Tagged: Europe

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Hannah & Adam | Getting Stamped Bloggers
Hannah & Adam are travel writers & photographers who have called the road home since 2013. Their passion for adventurous travel has brought them to 60 countries and counting. They blog about their adventures on their travel blog

5 thoughts on “7 less traveled European cities that should be on your bucket list”

  1. Prague and Dubrovnik are less traveled and under the radar? Have you been to either recently during the summer? Packed with tourists.

    I was just in Riga a month ago. It’s nice, but for a day or two. I thought a place like Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic, was much more quaint and beautiful. Also, I like Split, Croatia which while crowded, seems to have fewer tourists than Dubrovnik.

  2. Prague and Cologne are fantastic, but they are NOT less traveled cities. Prague is on every backpacking college kid’s itinerary, and Cologne’s cathedral is a world heritage site and is Germany’s most visited landmark, for crying out loud. These cities fit more into a list of cities that aren’t of the Paris-London-Rome-first-trip-to-Europe destinations. If that’s the case, may I recommend:
    *Barcelona, Spain – most visitors wanting to see a lot of variety of Europe in a 10-day to 2-week trip don’t make it down to Spain, for obvious reasons, but Barcelona is an incredible city with great food, history, friendly people, art and architecture.
    *Lyon, France – the gastronomic heart of France, friendlier and more walkable than Paris
    *Strasbourg, France – in the unlikely scenario that you only had a weekend in Europe, and couldn’t decide whether you wanted a more Germanic experience or a more Latinate one, this would be the place to go. Beautiful half-timbered architecture, German-inflected French culture and food, a walkable old city center that is a world heritage site.
    *Nuremberg, Germany – a beautiful, walkable old town, the best Holocaust museum I have ever seen, right on the site of the Nazi party rally grounds, great German food, a wonderful Christmas market.

    1. Fully agree with Lyon! Work there quite often and its a wonderful, very livable city (unesco world heritage)
      Don’t give much about Cologne: the cathedral is truly magnificent, but rest of the city is much ugly 60 style post-war buildings.
      I also like Brno (is Prague is too touristy).

  3. I did not know Prague was less traveled. Was in Prague this past October and St Wencelas Square was like elbow to elbow with tourist. A few of the cities I would recommend as less traveled are San Sebastian, Spain, Oporto, Portugal, York, UK & Perugia, Italy.

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