Sick of overcrowded capitals and underwhelming attractions? These alternative European cities offer just as much beauty as Paris, as much creativity as Berlin, and as much history as Florence, minus the never-ending queues.
Try one of these lovely cities for your next mini break or weekend getaway.
1. Ghent, Belgium
Skip Brussels and Bruges, and try Ghent instead. One of the most authentic Belgian cities, it has beautiful Flemish architecture and historical sites. But it also has a trendy creative scene thanks to the large student population.
2. Lyon, France
Ditch the other tourists in Paris and take the Eurostar straight to Lyon. It’s a haven for foodies and there’s tons to do on the riverbanks – museums, galleries, live music and hotspot restaurants.
3. Segovia, Spain
If you’re so over Barcelona, try this smaller, more peaceful city in central Spain. The gigantic gothic cathedral and Disney-esque castle have helped make Segovia a Unesco world heritage site. If it gets a little too quiet for you, you’re only a thirty minute train ride from Madrid!
4. Gothenburg, Sweden
While it’s decidedly less glam than the capital, Gothenburg offers industrial chic and creative energy abounds on Sweden’s west coast. Explore the old cobbled streets of the Haga neighbourhood to find indie cafes, shops and restaurants – but know that the city really gets going at night.
5. Porto, Portugal
This laidback riverside city is the home of Port wine and some truly gorgeous architecture. Do some wine tasting, wander around their famous food markets, or explore the city by boat.
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6. Leipzig, Germany
Described by many as “the new Berlin”, Leipzig doesn’t disappoint with beautiful buildings, 14 different museums to choose from and a buzzing nightlife.
This university city is basically a smaller, less crowded Amsterdam. With its lovely canals, cafes (no, not that kind!) and creative energy, Utrecht will win you over in no time.