23 Aug,2018 By Jagabond
Looking to add some underrated gems to your European bucket list? Europe has so many destinations that permanently live in people’s daydreams. When you wrap up the more famous spots, start moving towards the lesser known. I suggest eleven places to spark some off-beat wanderlust.
“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.” – Jack Kerouac
Oslo is Scandinavia’s plainest big city, but also its most interesting. Learn how Norwegians valiantly fought against their Nazi occupiers at the Resistance Museum. Fans of science need to check out the Nobel Center, and culture nuts will love taking in a show at Oslo’s modern opera house. Vigeland Park is the city’s highlight for me. Who wouldn’t love a park filled with eccentric statues?
Visit Bologna and happily stuff your stomach in this foodie capital of Italy. Enjoy a glass of vino while admiring the city’s medieval towers, and partake in one of the multitude of day trip options. From Bologna you can easily reach Modena, Ferrara, Parma, Ravenna and San Marino.
Want to see the highest pub ceiling in the world? It’s in Tartu. How about a giant monument honoring an astronomer? Also in Tartu. The quirkiness of this city continues with their famous ‘kissing students’ fountain, a devil AND angel bridge, and a bronze pig sculpture.
Old Town Rhodes might just be the most medieval looking place I’ve ever seen, as it almost resembles a theme park exhibit where actors dress as knights and maidens. Get your picture next to the Colossus statue, and don’t forget the ruins at Lindos, which is an easy day trip. This is one of the few Greek Islands where a beach day isn’t necessary, as there is plenty else to do.
I left Zurich unimpressed, but Basel surprised me. This city rests at the cusp of two other countries, France and Germany. With over forty museums, Basel can entertain a curious visitor for days. The city also boasts one of the most colorful city hall buildings in Europe. Check out that wild red!
Hasselt has all the great shopping options of Antwerp but in a more concentrated space. You can check out the Jenever museum, which highlights the gin-like liquor produced in the region. Surprisingly Hasselt also has one of the nicest Japanese gardens in Europe, a great place to spend a Sunday afternoon.
Lucca sits on the outer fringe of the Tuscany region, and thus tourists often skip right by it. It’s a short train ride from Pisa, however, so consider a visit after your brief encounter with the leaning tower. Walk the city walls for some great views, and check out the majestic exterior mosaic at the Basilica of San Frediano.
You’re in the hub of champagne country, but Reims is far from a one-trick pony. The city celebrates both medieval and modern history. Joan of Arc helped ensure a king’s coronation at the stunningly beautiful Reims Cathedral, and Eisenhower met the Germans here for their official surrender in World War II.
The ‘Bud’ in the city name stands for Budweiser beer, which originated here. Whereas other Czech cities like Pilsen have an industrial look, Ceske Budejovice is brilliantly set at the junction of the Vltava and Malse rivers. There’s nothing like sitting on a riverside terrace on a summer afternoon and enjoying a cold brew.
Most day trippers from Porto choose wine country or the coast, leaving the inland city of Braga untouched. In an interesting contrast, it’s both one of the oldest cities in Portugal and currently one of the youngest populations due to its university. For fans of religious history, this is a must visit place as there are more than thirty churches worth exploring.
Procida is one of the islands off the coast of Naples. Those preferring less crowds should shun Capri and visit here instead. The island is very small but hilly, so renting a scooter is better than walking. Hang out at the Port of Corricella for some colorful views and great seafood at La Lampara.