Top 10 Most Underrated Fantastic Cities In Europe

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Paris, Rome, Amsterdam… All great European cities we know. But what about the top 10 most underrated fantastic cities in Europe? Isn’t it exciting to travel off the beaten path and get to know those cities you normally wouldn’t think of? Europe has so many amazing overlooked places that deserves just as much love as their big sister!

As a flight attendant, flying solely in Europe for five years, I have been to cities I normally wouldn’t have seen. I have been to European cities I never heard of before becoming a flight attendant. From the top of my head Linkoping, Vaxjo, Sandefjord🤔

I’ve made it my mission to spread the word on all those underrated hidden gems in Europe that most people tend to overlook when planning a city trip in Europe!

Krakow

The first time I had Poland on my roster, I was sceptical. I assumed that Poland was going to be old and boring. Boy, oh boy, was I wrong! Poland has become one of my favourite countries to visit and definitely deserves a place in the top 10 most fantastic underrated cities to visit in Europe.

Krakow has amazing restaurants, great bars, a lovely town square, beautiful architecture, and rich history. It did remind me a bit of Prague, but cleaner and brighter.

The best thing about Krakow and Poland, in general, is that it’s affordable, which makes it the perfect budget destination. Don’t forget to indulge in the local dish, ‘pierogi’. These are tasty dumplings filled with meat or cheese.

It’s also possible to visit Auschwitz if you would like to know more about the 2nd World War. You can book a guided tour to Auschwitz where everything will be arranged. A tour like this might not be fun, but it is educational and it’s important to remind ourselves that this can never happen again.

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Where to stay?

Check out the top-rated White Room Apartment or the Apartment Golden Place for a place to stay. Or check out the full accommodation list with hotels in Krakow.

What to do?

There are plenty of fun and educational tours to do in Krakow. Check out all these amazing excursions in Krakow!

Where to eat/ drink?

Have dinner at La Campana. The food is excellent, the staff is amazing, and there is a beautiful garden to sit in. Teatro Cubano for drinks and a great night out if you’re into Latin music.

Cardiff

I don’t know exactly why, but Cardiff has a special place in my heart. It was one of the first cities I visited in the UK. Side note: don’t say England, because Cardiff is in Wales, which is not England!

Cardiff has everything you need for a perfect weekend away. I would definitely recommend Cardiff for a girls or lads weekend away. You can go shopping, eat at one of the many restaurants and get a beer at a pub. Nightlife in this hidden gem is fantastic and is quite a show in general.

Cardiff also has a great historical part like the Cardiff castle, and a walk along Cardiff Bay is great. Also, check out this Food Tasting Walking Tour in Cardiff, where you’ll try local dishes while enjoying Cardiff.

Where to sleep?

Sleep in The Jury’s Inn for a great stay in the centre or find something yourself in this complete hotel list in Cardiff.

What to do?

How about a nice castle tour? Or maybe a guided walking tour through the city? Check out all Cardiff tours!

Where to eat/ drink?

Lab 22 is a fantastic scientist-based cocktail bar. Bill’s Bar is great for breakfast and lunch.

Gothenburg

Gothenburg is the second-largest city in Sweden. Stockholm is great, but I think that Gothenburg is even better and an underrated destination in Sweden! Gothenburg, in some parts, makes me think of Amsterdam with the canals running through it and the trams. There are many cool coffee bars, trendy juice bars, healthy hip restaurants and a great shopping centre. 

I feel that Swedish people are always looking trendy, and they have been rocking athleisure for years before Covid hit. Gothenburg has a young, hip and relaxed vibe. Swedish people also speak English very well (I believe they even beat the Dutch on that).

Gothenburg is definitely an underrated travel destination in Europe and is worth visiting if you plan a trip to Sweden. If you’re into theme parks you can’t miss Liseberg. It’s the most visited theme park in Scandinavia.

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Where to stay?

Sleep in Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel with a great location in the centre or check out the complete list of hotels in Gothenburg.

Where to eat/ drink?

Have delicious Thai food at a tuk-tuk table at Moon Thai Kitchen.

What to do?

A group tour in Gothenburg is a great way to meet other people. Check them out!


Related post: 22 safety hacks and accessories for the solo female traveller!


Nuremberg

The first thing I remember about Nuremberg is the Stadtstrand Summer In The City. They created a beach area in the city where you can relax with your feet in the sand and enjoy drinks and food.

But Nuremberg has more than that. It has a historic medieval city centre with various restaurants, and great pubs to get a beer and museums to get your history fix. It’s a great city to spend a weekend in.

The Old Town has its medieval charm with great architecture, churches and castles. Nuremberg used to be an important city during the 2nd World War, and just like Krakow, the city has been rebuilt after the war. At the Documentation Center Museum, you can learn more about the cities history.

Visiting Nuremberg around Christmas will make your trip extra special. The city is beautifully decorated and there is a huge Christmas Market.

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Where to stay?

Check out the top-rated Adina Apartment Hotel for accommodation or check out the complete list of hotels in Nuremberg.

What to do?

Check out all Nuremberg tours here!

Where to eat/ drink?

For real German food and beers go to Hausbrauerei Altstadthof

Utrecht

This list of the most underrated fantastic cities in Europe is not complete without a Dutch city. Most tourists only think of Amsterdam when the Netherlands comes up. But the Netherlands has more beautiful cities worth visiting.

Thinking of which Dutch city has all the typical Dutch elements tourists come for, it would be Utrecht. Utrecht has the full Dutch vibe you’re looking for. Canals, cosy streets, plenty of terraces, cheese shops, typical Dutch architecture, loads of restaurants, and it’s only 40 minutes away from Amsterdam.

The best thing about Utrecht is the bars and restaurants located in old cellars, along the canals. It’s hard to explain, but the photo above tells it all. These places are unique to Utrecht and can’t even be found in Amsterdam! If this doesn’t tickle your fancy, I don’t know what else will!

Now that definitely deserves a spot in the top 10 most underrated fantastic cities in Europe.

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Where to stay?

Sleep in the top-rated The Hunfeld Hotel located in the city centre or check out all hotels in Utrecht.

What to do?

What about a tour through the canals? Check out all Utrecht tours and find one that suits you.

Where to eat/drink?

Street Food Club is famous in Utrecht and has amazing street-style food and a kick-ass interior. Have a glass of wine at the trendy Ruby Rose Wine Bar.


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Bilbao

Bilbao is located in the north of Spain in the Basque Country, mostly known for the Guggenheim museum. But Bilbao is also famous for its own style of tapas called pintxos. These are small tapas-like dishes served on a little piece of bread. Pintxos bars are the way to roll in Bilbao and can be found all over the city.

Bilbao is cheap compared to other major cities in Spain. I remember paying around €2 for a glass of rose, thinking it was a mistake. The city is great to stroll around, with great squares spread around town. Next to a fantastic food scene, you’ll find loads of shops, including all the typical Spanish ones like El Corte Ingles. Therefore it definitely belongs in the top 10 most fantastic underrated cities in Europe.

Bilbao has a great metro system to take you around town, so no need for an Uber. Just remember to bring an umbrella. It rains a lot in Bilbao!

If you’re into surfing, approximately an hour from Bilbao, there is a surf beach. I have never been there myself, but I know of colleagues who went to Bilbao, especially for the surf.

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Where to stay?

To sleep, check out the top-rated Cosmov Bilbao Hotel located in the centre or find an awesome hotel in Bilbao yourself.

What to do?

Think about a bike tour through the city? Check out all Bilbao tours here!

Where to eat/ drink?

A great little pintxos bar on a cosy square is Cafe Bar Bilbao. Check the menu inside on the boards and order at your table. Bring home the local pastry pasteles de arroz from Pastelería Arrese 1852.


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Norwich

Although some parts of Norwich can give you the impression that the city is ugly and boring, the opposite is true! Norwich has a great little cosy authentic English city centre.

There are cute shops, nice English pubs, high tea lunchrooms, many restaurants and a great small little city centre to wander around. A river goes through Norwich centre, making the small city even cosier. The cathedral in town is one of the biggest in England and definitely worth a visit.

Norwich is a great city to enjoy the beauty of a typical medieval English town, small enough to explore on foot. Don’t forget to order a plate of fish and chips when you’re there! Norwich is great for a quick weekend away to drink, eat, shop and party and therefore definitely an underrated destination in England.

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Where to stay?

Sleep at the top-rated The Maids Head Hotel in the city centre.

Where to eat/ drink?

Go for an afternoon tea lunch with a glass of bubbles at Harriet’s Cafe Tearoom. Drink a beer at The Brewdog! They brew their own beers, and the staff gives great advice if you can’t choose.

Turin

As beautiful as Rome, Milan, or Florence may be, Turin in Italy is just as stunning. I have the feeling that Turin gets overlooked most of the time because of the other Italian cities that steal the show.

Turin, famous for the Olympics in 2006, is just as beautiful as other Italian cities, only more affordable and less crowded. Florence is great, but sometimes a little too crowded in my opinion, especially during the summer’s city heat. In Turin, you’ll find everything an Italian city has to offer without having to elbow your way through the crowd like in Florence.

Turin has great restaurants, nice wine bars, delicious gelato shops and the same baroque-like architecture. If you’re into historical Egyptian art and history, check out this guided tour to the Egyptian Museum of Turin!

Don’t forget to buy a bottle of limoncello and a big chunk of Parmigiano. Turin is big, and a great way to explore the city is the Italian way. Rent a Vespa and cruise around town! Don’t forget to end your day with a big glass of Aperol Spritz in this underrated hidden city gem in Italy.

Where to stay?

To sleep, check out the top-rated Residenza Dell’ Opera Hotel.

What to do?

Check out all Turin tours here!

Where to eat/ drink?

For a quick but good breakfast, check out 1610 Bagel Torino. This place has amazing bagel sandwiches! If you’re in the mood for gelato, go to Gelateria La Romana. They have multiple locations in town.

Bordeaux

It took a while for me to see how fantastic Bordeaux actually is. When I finally did, I couldn’t believe I had been to this hidden gem in Europe many times without realizing how great it is.

Nothing beats drinking a glass of bordeaux in Bordeaux. The city centre is quite big with loads of shops, restaurants, terraces, squares and typically French looking bistro’s. Bordeaux has everything a city has to offer including great food and of course good wines!

The Stone Bridge has a great view across the river and is the perfect spot for photos. The same goes for Place de la Bourse, the most famous square in Bordeaux.

If you’re interested in wine and how it’s made, this Saint-Emilion Wine Tasting Experience is a great way to spend an afternoon!

Where to stay?

Check out this top-rated Aparthotel Adagio in the centre of Bordeaux for accommodation or check out all the accommodations in Bordeaux.

What to do?

Check out all Bordeaux tours here!

Where to eat/ drink?

If you’re looking for a great night out with an excellent dinner, check out restaurant Nofa.

Gdansk

Gdansk is located at sea. The city centre reminds me of Krakow but is more colourful. The colourful buildings along the water make up for beautiful photos.

Like every medieval city, Gdansk has great architecture, historic cathedrals, and loads of cafes and restaurants. The city is smaller and lesser-known than Krakow and, therefore, less explored. The city is perfect for a weekend away; it has everything a city has to offer but in a cosier way.

Gdansk has great bars and clubs, perfect for a weekend away! But Gdansk caters very well for a romantic weekend away too. The city centre offers great spots for romantic walks, rooftop bars and excellent hotels. The city is extremely affordable. Staying in the higher end hotels will cost you less than any other big European city.

Where to stay?

To sleep, check out the top-rated Fama Residence Hotel in the middle of the Old Town or check out the complete list with accommodations in Gdansk.

What to do?

Check out all tours in Gdansk here!

Where to eat/drink?

Check out Pierogarnia, with a wide choice of different pierogi. It’s my favourite spot for dumplings! For dinner and great wines, check out Literacka Restaurant! A lovely restaurant!

How to make the most of these top 10 most underrated destinations in Europe

The last destination in this list of the 10 most underrated fantastic cities in Europe was a tough one! But it had to be Gdansk, another Polish city. Perhaps Poland was far beyond what I expected it would be and quickly became a favourite destination. I think Poland really is an underrated country in the world.

If you’re thinking of booking a city trip, check out Kiwi.com for the cheapest flights available or perhaps make a multi-destination booking and visit two cities in a row? Kiwi.com is a fantastic search flight engine to check that out for you!

Tripadvisor has great resources for finding great restaurants or bars in the area. You can also make reservations for most places.

For hotel bookings, I highly recommend Booking.com. They have a wide selection of hotels and the more often you book the higher your discounts. Making a booking via their Booking.com app gives an extra discount on some deals, and you can easily look for hotels that offer free cancellation.

Are you interested in booking a tour? GetYourGuide has amazing top-rated tours in most cities. They have a great cancellation policy where you can cancel free of charge up to 24 hours before. Save yourself the hassle of arranging everything yourself, and let GetYourGuide do that for you!

What do you think of these hidden gems in Europe? Have you visited any of these unique cities? Do they belong in your top 10 most underrated fantastic cities in Europe?


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Top 11 most underrated cities in Europe | underrated places in Europe | underrated destination in Europe | hidden gems in Europe

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