If you’ve been to Europe a few times already, chances are you’ve hit all the big destinations: London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Barcelona. On your next trip to Europe you can either visit those same cities a second time, or instead you can take a chance and walk the streets of some cities that are a little bit smaller, a little bit less famous, but still full of European grace and charm. Here are four suggestions for European cities to visit that you probably haven’t been to yet.
Palermo is the capital city of Sicily, the southern island off the coast of mainland Italy. Since the island is located further out in the Mediterranean Sea, some of the most stunning beaches in the world are found right next to Palermo. The city has an ancient history that goes back to antiquity, and the numerous cultures that have controlled the island through the years have all left their marks on it. Besides winding street markets, antiques fairs, and open air nightclubs, Palermo is home to the Capuchin Catacombs. This stunning, macabre attraction houses mummified bodies that date back to the Middle Ages, silently lined along the walls and stacked on shelves throughout the underground caverns.
This hidden French gem of a city has had a long reputation for being a well-kept secret. It can be at once sleepy and worldly, with few tourists but abundant galleries, restaurants, and a wonderful Beaux Arts museum whose collection is second only to the Louvre. The city is wound by the picturesque River Doubs and also touts its own UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Citadel, home to several small museums and a zoo.
For the tourist who is already tired of Barcelona and Madrid, Seville offers a different take on Spain. Located on the Southern coast, in the autonomous region of Andalusia, it retains beautiful traces of the long period of Moorish rule, nowhere more so than in the Alcázar palace complex, just one of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Seville has over a dozen museums, tropical parkland, and probably the best tapas culture in all of Spain.
Ghent is a European city that looks like it should be the setting for a fairy tale. All of the typical Belgium treats abound here—waffles, fries, and beer. Every year on the Saturday before July 21, Ghent hosts a ten day festival called, appropriately, the Ghent Festival. This music and theater festival draws almost 2 million visitors, as the city streets transform into performance spaces for performers, buskers and musicians. Not something to miss.
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