Europe & Britain | Destination Guides

Five of the most underrated European Cities

Recently updated on July 28th, 2023 at 12:14 pm

You’ve marvelled at Madrid and been romanced in Rome. Why not escape the major metropolises for some of Europe’s lesser-known – but no less incredible – destinations? From modern capitals to medieval towns, these five underrated European cities don’t get the attention they deserve.

Győr, Hungary

Gyor in HungaryYou’d be forgiven for falling for Budapest’s charms, but venture west out to the pretty Baroque city of Győr and you’ll be rewarded with spectacular historic architecture. Nicknamed the City of Waters thanks to its location at the meeting point of the Rába, Rábca and Danube rivers, Győr is all scenic squares, shabby-chic buildings and grand churches.

Visit it on: Imperial Europe

Porto, Portugal

Porto Old City in PortugalLeave Lisbon behind and head north for the charming coastal city of Porto. Flanked by the Douro River, the Portuguese city’s candy-coloured buildings gently slope down to its banks, making for the most beautiful view. Explore Porto’s rambling Ribeira district (its oldest), with medieval streets and crumbling houses. No visit to Porto would be complete without sampling its iconic namesake drink and be sure to check out a port cellar to learn about its centuries-old production techniques.

Visit it on: Best of Portugal

Lyon, France

Lyon is an underrated city in EuropeA true foodie’s paradise, Lyon is the culinary capital of France. You’ll discover Michelin starred restaurants alongside rustic, local eateries – all temptingly good. The sophisticated riverside city delivers picture-perfect moments in spades, from its stunning Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere to the gorgeous Parc de la Tete d’Or. With ancient amphitheatres and a Gallo-Roman Museum it’s steeped in captivating history too.

Visit it on: Best of France

Krakow, Poland

Aerial view of Krakow's central squareWith a well-preserved Medieval centre, Europe’s largest market square and a fairy-tale castle, Krakow is the stuff of myths and legends – literally. Allegedly founded on the defeat of a dragon, the Polish city has centuries of folklore to match its dreamy spires and cobbled backstreets. Wander around the majestic Wawel Castle and get lost around Krakow’s Old Town before tucking into a slice of sernik, a tasty Polish cheesecake in a quaint café.

Visit it on: Pilgrimage to Poland

Oslo, Norway

Oslo's port at twilight - underrated European citiesNorway’s capital, Oslo has a booming creative scene; it’s chock full of galleries, museums and artful contemporary architecture. Take its striking glass and granite harbour-side opera house for instance. It resembles a floating glacier. New harmonises with old in this Nordic city however, from its regal 19th century Royal Palace to the majestic Akerhus Castle. Spend some time exploring the buzzy Aker Brygge district along the riverfront where you’ll find lively shops, cafes and a museum where you can learn about the city’s seafaring history.

Visit it on: Best of Norway

Have you visited any of these underrated European cities? Or are they next on your bucket list? Let us know in the comments below.

Image Credits: Porto © iStock/SeanPavonePhoto. Oslo © iStock/orpheus26 . Krakow © iStock/seregalsv. Lyon  © iStock/MartinM303. Győr © Vadaro/Wikicommons.

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