5 Underrated European Cities to Visit This Year

Posted by HeyCarson on

We know what you guys are thinking: The classic Summer Euro Trip is getting played out. You’ve heard a million and one stories about how rowdy the pubs in London get and how underwhelming the Mona Lisa in Paris actually is...and you’ve about had enough. In fact, you’re ready to move on to a different continent completely.

As much as we agree that the world is full of plenty more incredible places to discover, we wanna put you onto some hidden gems that might make you turn that plane around and give Europe another shot.

Check ‘em out:

1. Ljubljana, Slovenia

With its stunning historic architecture, idyllic canals, and long list of things to do, this capital city has found the perfect balance between small-town feel and big city vibes. It also has the luxury of nesting between central Europe and the Mediterranean, which means it’s got a fun mix of food, history, and culture to keep you stimulated for as long as you care to stay.

Plus, it’s about as aesthetic as it is difficult to pronounce. Don’t believe us? Stop what you’re doing right now and Google it.

2. Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina

If you happen to be in Croatia (also an incredible travel destination – 10/10 would recommend) and in the mood for a day trip or weekend trip, we highly suggest you hop on a tour bus and head to Mostar. From Dubrovnik, it’s a relatively easy 2.5 hour drive, made a lot easier by the jaw-dropping views of the Adriatic Sea on the way.

This mountainous city is a picturesque haven for those who love all things colorful, handmade, and Turkish (the city has been molded by Turkish influence since around the 1400’s). The streets are filled with local vendors selling artisanal jewelry and rugs, savory meats (try the “cevapi”) and people waiting to watch local divers jump off the 80 ft Old Bridge (a daily summertime occurrence in Mostar).

3. Ghent, Belgium

Sure, there are delicious Belgian waffles here, but the small city of Ghent has a lot more to offer than that. About a 40-minute train ride from the capital city of Brussels (and on the way to Bruges, it's more popular neighbor), this small European city boasts the perfect balance between “quaint-historic” and “new age modern.” Essentially, if you’re looking to explore ancient churches and castles by day and party at a rowdy concert venue by night, we’d say Ghent is a safe bet for you.

5. Budapest, Hungary

Instagram is probably home to more pics of the Szechenyi thermal bath house to last all of us a lifetime, but that isn’t to say that Budapest isn’t still extremely underrated. Located in Eastern Europe, this capital city has three primary selling points: 1) It’s huge (so even if it is full of tourists, you won’t notice); 2) It’s affordable (save that bag, friends); and 3) It’s got a raging nightlife scene. So, if soaking it up in a bath house during the day and dancing until the early hours of the morning sounds like an ideal itinerary to you, we think you’ve got your next trip all figured out.

6. Peniche, Portugal

Alright, we admit it: This place is more of a small town than a city. Nonetheless, the fact that we felt compelled enough to include it in this list should tell you something about how sick it is. About a 1.5 hour drive from Portugal’s most well-known city, Lisbon, Peniche is a must-visit destination for anyone who’s looking to take advantage of the slow life and, most importantly, the surf. The wave breaks are equally stunning as they are consistent, the seafood is dank, and the sunsets from the coastal cliffs are absolute game-changers. Note, however, that, in order to catch the swells, both local and visiting surfers head to bed early and rise early, too. So, if you’re planning on popping over to this small Portuguese paradise, we suggest getting that circadian rhythm in check.

>>> Have any other hidden European gems we should add to our list? Send us a message and share your insights with us!