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There is something enchanting about setting out to discover a little corner of Europe that is far off the beaten path. With their unparalleled history and rich architecture it is no surprise that Paris and Barcelona are among the most popular city breaks. Surely though, with limitless modes of transport and travel becoming more of a passion nowadays, it couldn’t be easier to explore the little treasures that Europe has to offer.
Situated in the East of the Algarve on the south coast of Portugal it’s easy to get distracted and head straight to the nearby Seville. However, with its golden beaches and year round sunshine, nobody should be passing the chance to people watch and coffee drink in this colourful and vibrant town. Tavira was the main trading port in the Algarve during the 16th and 18th centuries. With more churches than restaurants and the bell tower commanding the traditional lifestyle, it’s a place of history and culture which is not one to miss.
Italy is host to a multitude of cobble roads, architectural wonders and foodie delights. Rome’s formidable Colosseum and Sorrento’s sheet of blue sky and ocean dominate the country’s tourist destinations. It’s the majestic university town of Bologna, however, which could leave even the most faithful Roman questioning his background. Coined as a medieval Manhattan, the anatomy theatre and traditional terracotta rooftops add an element of culture unlike any other European destination. On the hilltop beyond the city walls, the Basilica of the Madonna di San Luca protects the residents, while the modern science museum provides a characteristic Italian contradiction to the history, one you won’t want to leave.
Funen is often overlooked since it lacks Zealand’s vibrant city lifestyle and Jutland’s geographic positioning. But seen for what it is, Funen has grand castles to visit and coastal towns close by, not forgetting that this is Hans Christian Andersen’s birthplace and home to Denmark’s finest produce. The green setting full of orchards, farmhouses and craggy hills is a great location to feel at peace and to strike a desire to explore the Earth’s wondrous greenery more.
As the second-largest city in Croatia, you would think that Split would be more taken into account. However, to the locals it is known as a transport hub for the nearby islands. Yet, Split is a thriving and exuberant city which is host to a variety of restaurants and shops, as well as spectacular, dramatic coastal mountains overlooking the islands. With its hefty renovation underway, the Riva is attracting a lot of attention and has never seen more tourists.
Nafplio is a seaport town in the Peloponnese in Greece and is now the capital of the regional unit of Argolis. A range of conquerors left their mark on the town; it was predominately the Turkish and Frankish who influenced its culture, architecture and traditions during the centuries. For instance, two Turkish mosques still stand in Nafplio; the first now operates as a theatre and the second was home to the first Greek Parliament. From the promenades along the beaches and the 999 step walk toward the Palamidi castle which leads to picturesque views overlooking the town, it is no surprise that Nafplio is still referred to as the most romantic Grecian spot.
Innsbruck is nestled in the heart of the Alps but don’t let it fool you, Innsbruck is more than a ski resort. The Nordkette Mountains act as a dramatic backdrop to the idyllic city that lies beneath. With its rich history and exhilarating nightlife, the student town has a lot to offer. For years the residents have been turning to the farmers and organic markets for their groceries, which Is probably why Innsbruck is so renowned for its strudel and doughnuts (Faschingskrapfen). It may have been designed for ski holidays in winter but it’s a great place to hike and enjoy the panorama.
Paris is the birthplace of many of the world’s most enduring fashion houses and there is no need to mention the artistic flair that can be seen throughout the capital. It’s Vézelay though which has caught the eye most recently. It is mainly known for its wine and there is no denying that this enchanting village is host to some of the most beautiful riches in France. The Basilique Sainte Marie-Madeleine is the primary feature. It can be found on the hillside, showing the beauty of the Cure valley which sits below. The courtyards and patios offer a sense of relaxation as they burst with geraniums throughout the warmer months. This hideaway is easy to reach and a getaway to enjoy.
The city of Freiburg im Breisgau is a centre for academics and scholars. It is renowned for its high standard of living and polished environment which is a focus of many visiting tourists. Not only is the Black Forest’s scenic beauty nearby but the city is located in the heart of a huge wine-growing region. Whether it be for the sun (the city is known as the warmest place in Germany according to statistics) or the Dreisam river, Freiburg im Breisgau is one of Germany’s most charming cities.