If you want to make your friends envious of your European city holiday, skip the usual hotspots such as Rome, Paris, and London and head off instead for some least talked about gems. Here are ten suggestions for that memorable European city holiday.
1. Edinburgh Scotland
Cobbled lanes, castles and medieval buildings are some of the charms of this lovely historic city. If you’re into history and monuments, you will love Scotland’s capital city, similar to London but less crowded.
One of the first things you will undoubtedly want to visit is the 12th century Edinburgh Castle. You need comfortable shoes for this full day visit which includes lots of museums, prisons and crown jewels.
Are you a Harry Potter fan? Then chase up the haunts the JK Rowling wrote about in her books. The author was inspired here in this magical atmosphere of Edinburgh. Roland who is part Scottish on her mother’s side finished her novel here in the capital writing in a café.
Edinburgh becomes even more vibrant in August, the perfect time to visit this European city for your holiday as the city hosts the extremely popular Fringe Festival, one of the world’s biggest arts festival featuring comedy and theater. Equally famous is the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, another yearly festival that’s definitely worth attending in August.
2. Agadir Morocco
The city of Agadir is often referred to as the Miami of Morocco, a beach resort that great for unwinding if you’re looking a relaxing time for your European city holiday. It’s easy to walk around the city, no steep hills, it’s all flat.
This is a laid-back holiday set up with less historical cultural places to visit but lots of hotels and trendy nightclubs, ideal for the young at heart. But there’s more if you want to visit this European city for your holiday:
One of Agadir’s main attractions is the wide clean sandy beach which stretches for miles
Visiting the local souk is a must do if you visit this European city. This is where you can find everything from Moroccan souvenirs, leather goods, and clothes. You can even buy food, spices, olives, and vegetables. Be prepared to haggle though as not everything has a fixed price.
If you’re a foodie, you’ll have an excellent time sampling spicy and colorful Moroccan cuisine. And because they are used to having tourists, there’s a wide selection of restaurants and cafes to choose from. When it comes to exotic flavor and spices nothing beats the Moroccan National dish couscous; it a flavorful hearty and healthy stew made with vegetables, served with couscous pasta and lentils.
3. Nice in the South of France
Forget Paris and head to the south if you want to feel that Mediterranean breeze and enjoy city life at the same time.
Here’s what to enjoy in the glitzy sunny Riviera city, a great choice for your European city holiday:
Nice is the ideal place to enjoy the unpretentious, delicious cuisine of the Mediterranean people. They use fresh herbs, garlic, and olive oil and vegetables
While staying in Nice day trips to nearby hotspots are easy: Cannes, Monaco, and Antibes are all in the same region and easy to get to.
Nice is one of the most romantic cities on the Riviera at any time of the year. It’s your holiday so spend time lingering in the cafes during the day, swimming and exploring. And to end the day, watch the sunset from the Promenade des Anglais.
4. Dubrovnik Croatia
This charming medieval city overlooks the blue Adriatic Sea is the most visited city in Croatia. If you choose to visit this European city for your holiday here are some must do’s:
Take a leisurely walk around the incredibly wide ancient stone walls of the old city built to protect the town from wars and diseases. Inside these walls are narrow streets, churches synagogues; a real historical adventure especially as it’s a car-free area.
Are you a Game of Thrones fan? Then you have to visit Dubrovnik. This is where Hollywood chose for the location for at least 19 scenes of the series. Granted the city has become a prominent tourist attraction since but why not get lost while checking out some of the fictional scenes of Kings Landings?
Wanting to get away from the city for the day is not a problem in Dubrovnik; you have 66 inhabited islands to choose from for this European gem.
5. Krakow in Poland
Krakow is Poland’s second city full of history especially concerning the Second World War, a difficult period for Krakow as it was the capital for the German Central Government. Despite the solemn past of war, this European city is now rated as one of the most beautiful cities, a great choice if you decide to visit Krakow for your European holiday.
Here’s what you should see:
The old Jewish quarter Kazimierz almost entirely destroyed during the war but now a favorite spot for young people especially at nights. It’s full of authentic eating places, craft, vintage boutiques, and gift shops.
Krakow’s old medieval town is reputed to be the largest market square in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Although Krakow is relatively small, it has many impressive museums. Two favorites are the Museum of Stained Glass Museum and the Oskar Schindler’s factory where Schindler hid hundreds of Jews from the Nazis.
Sobering but necessary to understand the tragedy of World War 2, you could include a day trip to visit the two concentration camps of Auschwitz- Birkenau where more than I.5 million people were killed.
6. Barcelona Spain
Barcelona is one of the most charming relaxed cities in Europe; a good option if you choose to visit this city for your holidays. Bear in mind though that August is the hottest month with an average temperature of about 74° F. Remember too that siestas are an important part of Spanish culture which means that shops and restaurants will close in the afternoons.
Here’s why you might like a holiday in this vibrant city for your European holiday:
Culture and nightlife go together in Barcelona. You’ll find everything here – relaxed bars, night clubs, and more. However, it all starts late in the evening and continues late into the night so if you want to party don’t venture out too early.
Hang out in a tapas bar to experience the tapas culture. Tapas are hot and cold finger food shared among friends not in a restaurant but in a lively bar. What’s important here is the socializing while eating and drinking.
Explore a museum or two. You‘ll be spoilt for choice here; the city has a quite a few museums that you’ll want to visit. One of the most popular is the Picasso museum which houses around 3,500 of his works covering the different stages of his artistic journey.
York is a medieval city of Northern England, a car-free city center regarded by the British as one of the best places to live. This historic city is situated in northeast England about two hours by train from London, a great city to visit for your next European holiday.
What makes this city so loved?
York is one of the oldest cities in Britain, still well-preserved still with evidence of Roman presence: just imagine although 1,500 miles away from Rome York was once adorned with Roman temples and pillars.
York’s Gothic cathedral took 250 years to build; it is the largest medieval cathedral in Northern Europe with amazing stained glass windows.
Exploring the many historical and cultural sites is mind-blowing – there are so many in this beautiful city. Walking through the narrow streets of this 14th century historical city thoroughfare with the timber-framed buildings is just one of those awesome activities.
York has some quirky traditional pubs where you go not only for the beer but to step back in the past: the city has some of the most historic and oldest pubs in the region.
8 St Petersburg Russia
Petersburg situated in Eastern Europe is famous for ornate churches, palaces, and rich history. Russia’s second city is becoming more and more popular amongst tourists and has over the years gained a reputation for being a unique and exotic city.
What you should see and do if you visit this European city for your holiday:
The Hermitage Museum, Russia’s oldest museum once a palace is the most famous attraction in the city. It is vast. With over 30,000 exhibits on display, you will need at least one day to visit the state Hermitage Houses founded by Catherine the Great in 1764.
The Church of the Savior on the Spilt Blood with its onion-shaped domes is one of the city’s landmarks. It got its dramatic name because the church marks the spot where Tsar Alexander 11 was wounded in 1881. This colorful place of worship right in the middle of the city is as beautiful inside as the stunning outside.
Try to get tickets for an authentic Russian song and dance evening. Russia is well-known for Cossack dancing as well as superb ballet and St. Petersburg is home to the famous Mariinsky Theatre one of the oldest opera and ballet houses in Russia.
9. Ajaccio Corsica
Ajaccio is the capital of Corsica an elegant sunny French island in the Mediterranean, the sort of island you want to visit again and again. You will fall in love with this city because even though it’s the capital, it has a nice relaxed feel and you’ll enjoy wandering the little streets, visiting the port and watching the fishermen.
If you plan to visit this European city, it’s probably best to avoid going in July and August the height of the tourist season. Ajaccio isn’t big which makes it easy to explore on foot. You could walk to some of the beaches, but it’s best probably to rent a car to enjoy the hidden beaches and gorgeous coastlines north and south of Ajaccio.
Visit Napoleon’s birthplace. Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Ajaccio and lived here until he was seven. You’ll find places and statues named after the General throughout the town.
Live like a local and shop in the market. Corsica has some of the best homemade meat, sausages, honey, and olive oil. Shopping in the main market in Ajaccio is great fun, especially as you get to taste before you buy. Stock up here before your picnic: this is where you get the best cheeses, bread, and olives.
Take a boat trip to the Iles Sanguinaires
Although you can see these four rocky islands from the road, a boat trip gets you closer to this stunning nature site. You can take a walk around the island or have a swim. If you can, try to get there for sunset, camera at the ready.
10. Amsterdam Holland
They call Amsterdam the Bicycle capital and one of the first things you’ll notice is the huge amount of bikes in the city. To feel that Amsterdam experience and to blend in with the locals while exploring why not hop on a bike and visit the European city as one.
One of the first tourist stops is undoubtedly the Red Light District and discovering Amsterdam’s coffeeshops. Be aware that there’s a difference between coffeeshops and cafés. Cannabis is legalized in this European city, and you’ll find about 200 coffeeshops, a licensed establishment for selling cannabis products. Coffeeshops do not sell alcohol, but most of them have great coffee and sell snacks as well.
A canal cruise is a lovely way to take in the city sites, and you can even do a hop on hop off sightseeing tour. You could opt for an evening cruise with cocktails and dinner included.
Amsterdam has two must see museums. The Anne Frank Museum tells the story of the bravery of the Jewish girl it is named after and the Van Gough Museum which displays the largest collection of the Dutch painter’s work.