When people go on a city break, they rarely get off the beaten track. Often, they don’t even consider going outside of the capital city. However, a country generally cannot truly be experienced just by visiting its largest cities.
Many countries have a plethora of other often more interesting places to visit and they are usually significantly cheaper than the larger cities as well. If you are planning a short city break in Europe in the coming months, consider some of the following destinations. Some of them might be places which you’ve never even heard of!
1. Wrocław, Poland
By far the most visited cities in Poland are Warsaw and Krakow, but there are many other smaller cities which offer just as much. Wrocław in Silesia in south-eastern Poland is one of them. The city is quite underrated, but it is steadily becoming a more popular destination and, in 2016, it is set to become the European Capital of Culture.
Wrocław boasts some fascinating architecture, much of which has been proudly restored since the horrific destruction unleashed during the Second World War. The city is also a bargain destination with prices of things like accommodation, food and drinks being far lower than most of Western Europe.
2. Salamanca, Spain
Salamanca is the Cambridge of the Spanish-speaking world. Home to one of Europe’s oldest and most prolific universities, Salamanca is a mecca for student life and parties. Just a few hours away from Madrid, it is also one of Spain’s most beautiful and underrated cities.
Salamanca is home to spectacular renaissance architecture and the largest town square (Plaza Mayor) in the country. In 2002, it was selected as the European Capital of Culture. Salamanca is also a popular place to go and study Spanish among other things. If you want to experience the very best of what the real Spain has to offer, then Salamanca is an unforgettable destination.
3. Lviv, Ukraine
Ukraine is rarely on the top of many people’s lists of countries to visit and, as a destination, it is sadly underrated. Lviv, in spite of its Polish history, has become a centre of Ukrainian culture. Lviv is a city of some 800,000 people near the Polish border. It was once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and this is reflected in the impressive architecture of this very fine city.
Much of the beautiful Old Town can be seen on foot as well. It is also a bargain destination, with things like food and drink being a fraction of the price of most places in Western Europe. E.U. and American citizens no longer need visas to visit Ukraine either.
4. Sibiu, Romania
Transylvania is by far the most visited region of Romania. While the country continues to get a bad reputation in much of the Western media, Romania is actually a wonderful country to visit and home to some of the most hospitable people in Europe.
Sibiu is a delightful city in the heart of Transylvania with a population of around 140,000. Winning the European Capital of Culture award in 2007, the town centre underwent a massive regeneration project and now it looks absolutely stunning. The epitome of a Saxon Transylvanian town without the glitz and gimmicks of the more visited city of Brașov nearby, Sibiu is a must-see place.
5. Heidelberg, Germany
Heidelberg is often described as Germany’s most romantic city. This delightful destination is also the country’s top university city. It also escaped most of the devastation of the Second World War which saw the destruction of many other German cities. Heidelberg is located on the River Neckar and it has a population of around 150,000.
The city boasts a beautifully preserved old town, a castle and numerous other landmarks. If you are looking for either a romantic city break in one of Central Europe’s prettiest towns or a lively student scene for more of a party holiday, then you can’t go wrong with Heidelberg.