Seven Alternative European City Vacation Ideas
When it comes to a European vacation, the usual places will always be rolled out as potential destinations. London, Paris, and Rome will usually make the list and that is why those cities are usually overrun with tourists and the lines to get in anywhere are so long. Obviously, all those places are well worth visiting – but there are other options.
If you are looking for a few alternatives when it comes to European city breaks, you have come to the right place. We’ve put together a list of seven cities that have something for everyone in the family and all the charm, romance, food and drink, without the frustration of the crowds.
Some of these places are more well-known than others and some you may not have heard of, or even seen featured on online betting sites for their sports teams. But they are all well worth checking out as an alternative break that will stay long in the memory.
If you have a romantic idea of Europe being full of medieval cities, with olde worlde squares and cobbled streets, then you will probably end up being a little disappointed with some of the more popular cities. But if that is what you want from your vacation, then a trip to Bruges is definitely in order.
This Belgian city, also referred to as Brugges in Dutch, is one of the best-preserved cities on the continent. A maze of cobblestone roads and canals, Bruges is a delight to get lost in. There are plenty of historical buildings and museums to explore – and, did we mention that this city is known for its chocolate and beer?
If the UK is on the vacation itinerary, there is a pretty good chance that London will be the center of your operations. That is only logical, given the attractions of England’s capital. But we would recommend making a trip a little further north for another wonderfully historical city.
Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and can be reached easily from London by train. But you may find that the Gothic architecture and castles leave an even longer impression. The stunning view of the city from Arthur’s Seat up on the surrounding hill is a must, but just exploring the cobbled backstreets and enjoying a drink in one of its many pubs will make you fall in love with Edinburgh.
Just like Edinburgh is a more than capable alternative for London, Vienna can offer much of what Paris is so rightly famed for. If you are looking for a café culture city, with grand palaces, houses and garden parks, then the Austrian capital is well worth checking out.
There’s also a rich artistic and musical pedigree to discover, while partaking in some of the finest pastries and coffee in Europe. We’re not saying thing there is no need to visit Paris at least once in your life – but if you want to take a stroll next to the Danube, rather than the Seine, we completely understand.
Ironically, Marseille is nothing like Paris, but it is still an intriguing melting pot of a city that is sometimes overlooked by tourists who would rather flock to the high-class neighboring cities of the French Riviera. There is definitely more life in this city on the south coast of France – and it is all the better for that.
A vibrant, multicultural city, Marseille offers visitors a taste of the culture of the Mediterranean more than just a purely French ambience. Founded by the Greeks in 600 BC, the influence is still everywhere and the thriving Old Port is a perfect place to begin discovering this underrated gem.
If you enjoy visiting sustainable cities that are striving to put the environment at the core of their policies, then the Slovenian capital is a perfect place for an alternative European city break. With car restrictions and an abundance of greenery, Ljubljana is also one of the most livable cities on the continent.
There are plenty of cafes and restaurants to while away the hours in the center of the city. But, for an aerial view of this tranquil place, the glass cable car ride up to the medieval castle on the hill is unbeatable. You may not instantly be able to pronounce the name of this city – but you will soon fall in love with it.
Cities like Copenhagen and Stockholm may be more popular for visitors to the wonderful Scandinavian region, but as a gateway to Norway’s extensive fjords, Bergen should definitely be on your list too. The city is actually surrounded by seven hills and seven fjords and the port looks to be straight out of a Nordic fairy tale.
It must be said that the weather here can be notoriously damp, so do make sure to pack warm and waterproof clothing. But it will all be worth it for a walk around the preserved wooden buildings of the Bryggen area. For all its picture book charm, Bergen is also home to a large student population and is well known for its nightlife.
So, to our final alternative European city, and we are travelling to Italy – but not to the more common destinations such as Rome, Milan or Venice. Located in the heart of the country, Perugia is a bustling, cosmopolitan city that also boasts medieval buildings and a historic center consisting of a maze of cobbled streets.
This capital of Umbria overlooks the stunning countryside and benefits from being far enough off of the usual tourist track that everything feels so much more authentically Italian. The food and drink of the region is obviously first class – and with Rome within easy access, a trip to Perugia should be on everyone’s travel list.