10 Absurdly Underrated Cities in Europe

Looking for some cities less commonly seen by the typical tourists eye? While places like Barcelona and Rome are a must, we’ve got some equally incredible hot spots for you to check out! Here are Nothing Familiar’s 10 Absurdly Underrated Cities in Europe!

Lyon, France

First founded by the Romans, the historical sites of Lyon make it an attractive city to visit. However, it’s the art, culture, and traditional French cuisine that make it one of the most underrated cities in Europe! While most people head straight to Paris, France’s “second city” is truly a gift from the travel gods. Fall in love with the Old Lyon, which plays host to one of the largest sections of renaissance architecture in all of Europe. This special city also features the best art in the country outside of the Louvre, and regional cuisine that will make you drool!

Porto, Portugal

If your travels take you to Portugal, make sure you head north of Lisbon to check out one Europe’s coolest cities! A visit to Porto is a trip back in time, with streets and buildings that will take you to centuries before. Sample the local seafood dishes and take a stroll through the gorgeous botanical gardens at Palacio de Cristal. When you need a break from the capital city or the stunning beaches of south, head up to Porto for a change of pace!

Graz, Austria

As a smaller, more compatible version of Vienna, Graz has everything you’d want in a European city. It’s charming streets look up to The Schlossberg (Capital Hill), and the vibrant colors will draw you in with every step. Graz’s well persevered architecture gives it a old school feel, but with over 40,000 students from six universities roaming the town, things are sure to stay lively!

Malaga, Spain

While I highly recommend taking in the sights of major metropolises like Madrid and Barcelona, nothing beats the enchanting cities of Southern Spain! Not only is Malaga the perfect jumping off point to magical places like Frigiliana and Ronda, but it’s an amazingly beautiful place in itself with plenty to do! Enjoy the best of the Andalucia coast with a hike up to the 14th century Moorish castle of Gibralfaro. Here you’ll have a stunning view of the famous bull fighting ring Plaza de Toros, which still holds events to this day.

Sheffield, England

Known as the Steel City, Sheffield has long had a reputation as a hard nosed industrial metropolis. However, over the years it has transformed into a place that rivals other cities in Great Britain. From sparkling cathedrals to the picturesque town hall (and of course its welcoming local pubs), Sheffield is a place that can’t be overlooked! Yet, the most underrated thing about this European city may be hidden one of our favorite childhood storybooks. While the good folks of Nottingham may not agree, most historians say Robin Hood was in fact from Sheffield!

Basel, Switzerland

On the Northernmost tip of Switzerland, wedged handily in between Germany and France, lies the underrated city of Basel. With its desirable location, Basel meshes the culture of all three of these amazing countries together as perfectly as you could imagine. This stop on our list has been an important commercial and political hub for centuries, and with that comes world class museums! With so much to do and see in this European city, the only question is which language do you speak??

Haarlem, Netherlands

Before the name New York City existed, it was actually a dutch settlement called New Amsterdam. For this reason. you may recognize some names in different parts of the city that never sleeps! And while they may be strikingly different places in the world, I can promise you this Haarlem in the Netherlands is every bit as interesting as the one in America. Take a cruise down one of the many beautiful canals, and check out the Frans Hals museum to see the work of one of Haarlem’s most famous residents. Once your done at the Grote Markt, head over to the fancy shopping district which the locals appropriately nicknamed de Gouden Straatjes or “Streets of Gold.”

Cork, Ireland

After Dublin and Belfast what is left? Well probably the place you should have visited in the first place, Cork! Like any other city in Europe, the best thing you can do is walk, walk, and walk some more to see all of its sights and sounds. That reigns especially true in a place like Cork, where the breathtaking countryside is only steps away from the city. If you’re itching for famous landmarks Cork’s got plenty of that, but make sure to save time for all the amazing pubs and live music you would expect in wonderful Ireland!

Antwerp, Belgium

Over the course of this blog we’ve explored a lot of “second cities,” and this may be the best one yet! So what makes Antwerp so special? Well first, it is home to the historic old diamond district where thousands of diamond cutters, traders, and polishers hone their craft. For the dessert connoisseur, Antwerp also plays host to some of the best bakeries and chocolate shops in all of Europe. As you can see below, the colors and architecture make it pretty easy on the eyes, too!

Heidelberg, Germany

Home to one of the oldest and most reputable universities in all of Europe, the city of Heidelberg might just be the most beautiful college town in the whole world. The streets flow with not only knowledge, but also beautiful architecture and deep historical roots. The ruins of the Heidelberg Castle which sit high above the city are considered one of the most important sites of its kind. With all that Heidelberg has to offer, it’s surprising that this place could be so overlooked. So on your next trip to Germany, don’t miss out on this absurdly underrated city!


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