The European Tour is something that Chevy Chase has propelled into our psyches and is something that most American families have on their “things to do” list. But while London, Paris and Rome are all amazing cities that are well worth your time, you cannot help but feel you are going through the motions and treading in the footsteps of a thousand others.
Europe is full of hidden gems that are just as worthy of your time. The interconnectedness of Europe means it is easy to get covered with Schengen Visa Travel Insurance from a site like UHCSafetrip, allowing you the flexibility to roam across 26 countries. Here are five cities you should seriously consider adding to your schedule.
This pretty riverside city recently welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (that’s William and Kate to the rest of us) on a visit, where they sampled the local food and drink. Recommendations do not come much better than that. This is a place teeming with history, and the medieval market square is as spectacular as anything you might see in a more famous city. Fabulous architecture, fascinating museums, delicious seafood and low prices – what’s not to love?
The main thing most travelers know about Treviso is that it is where their flight lands when they are going to Venice. However, there are some good reasons to pause for a day before heading for that particular tourist trap. This tiny walled city stands on a network of canals and narrow, cobbled streets. There is a sense of tranquility here that is sadly lacking in its more illustrious brother, just a 40 minute drive down the road, and it is a perfect place to experience the real Italy.
There are two sides to Portugal: One is the teeming and hectic city of Lisbon, the other the wealthy opulence of the Algarve. Tavira, however, gives you the opportunity to see what the Algarve was really like before the expat millionaires moved in with their yachts, golf clubs and sprawling villas. Here, the hotels are small and family-run, the churches are numerous and the pace of life provides an opportunity to sit back, make new friends over a glass of wine or a cup of coffee and really drink in the culture.
Visit Frankfurt, Hamburg and Stuttgart and you could be forgiven for thinking that when you’ve seen one German city, you’ve seen them all. Prepare to be astonished by Lubeck. This medieval city is located entirely on an island and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is a network of narrow streets, historic squares and towering churches, and is a wonderful place to stroll aimlessly and explore for an afternoon.
Mention Denmark and people automatically think of Copenhagen. That’s a little unfair on its second largest city, Aarhus. From the history of the medieval quarter to the drama of the super-modern Art Museum and its Skywalk, you should prepare to be amazed. There’s also an amazing choice of shops and cafes, plus no fewer than three Michelin-starred restaurants.
Have you been to one of these lesser-known European cities to tour? Which one is your favorite, and why?