From Seville and Tallinn, to Athens, Riga and St Petersburg, it’s time to venture away from the obvious and consider these lesser-visited cities in Europe.
When I think of my favourite European destinations, many of them are the tried and tested choices, with Barcelona sitting at the top of the list. But there are plenty of underrated European cities that are packed with all the good stuff – culture, top restaurants, beautiful architecture, and that a bit of adventure too!
So if you fancy shaking up your holiday habits, why not book a mini-break to check out a few of these less-visited choices?
I visited Seville a couple of years ago on a wonderful road trip around Andalucía. I absolutely loved Seville. I remember trying to drive around the city’s tiny, skinny streets, petrified of scraping the car against the walls! It’s a stunning city though, and along with the impressive Plaza De Espana, Real Alcázar de Sevilla and Seville Cathedral, I also loved discovering some great restaurants.
Time to travel around Riga in Latvia.
Stop two on my Scandi-Baltic Adventure was Latvia’s vibrant capital. Riga’s reputation preceded it… I knew it was a prime location for rowdy British stag dos looking for a cheap weekend with buzzing nightlife. Thankfully, I found there was plenty more to the city.
Check out Part 1 of the video of my Scandi-Baltic Adventure now, and scroll down to read all about my time in Riga.
We stayed in the old town, close to the picturesque 17th Century Powder Tower – previously used to store gunpowder. Around a third of the population of Latvia live in the capital, but it didn’t feel congested or horribly built up. I think this was partly due to the number of squares and green spaces (particularly Bastion Hill Park by the Freedom Monument) – something very important to the Baltic and Scandinavian countries. Latvia’s treacherous past was visible – with the Latvian Riflemen Monument and the Freedom Monument standing tall in different parts of the city.
Unofficial “tourist attractions” include the Radisson Hotel – which, as the tallest building around, was once inhabited the KGB. McDonalds also holds some significance in Riga as it was the first to be opened in the Baltic countries. It was seen as a symbolic moment – marking the end of communism. In fact, the queues on its first day stretched around the block!