Ok, maybe not so secret, but definitely not very well known and frequented by tourists. Read more about the cities I chose to add to my list of secret European cities you need to visit.
1. Corfu Town, Corfu, Greece
While I was on vacation in Corfu, we took a one-day self-organized trip to Corfu Town, the island’s capital and we got to see a typical Greek city, cosmopolite, at the sea, very touristic, but with lovely buildings and narrow streets, lots of colors.
See why planning your Corfu trip for September is a good idea!
2. Belgrade, Serbia
I honestly did not know what to expect from Belgrade and I haven’t chosen to visit the city as a destination in itself, but found myself here, in transit for 9 hours. So since I was there, why not explore the city.
I was lucky enough to know someone living there so I got an express tour. And I really loved the city! It is spirited, loud, fun.
We were there on a Saturday afternoon and the city center was packed with people singing, dancing, eating something. It is a must-see.
3. Ljubljana, Slovenia
During my Erasmus in Italy, Ljubljana was relatively close and we were always in search of a good trip so we did a one day visit here.
Even though small, the city is airy, overlooking the mountains, it offers a lot of social activities: from having a drink at one of the many terraces along the Ljubljianica River, to visit the castle, to having a Sunday walk in the central market. Oh, and in 2016 it has been the Green Capital of Europe.
4. Bratislava, Slovakia
Another city visited on a road trip to Central Europe with friends. I liked the peacefulness of this little town, the castle up on the hill, the colored houses. It’s really worth it to have a stroll if you have a few hours to spare.
And you can easily link it together with a visit to Vienna which is only 60 kilometers away, and Budapest where you can easily spend more than 3 days. That’s what we did and we had the perfect European itinerary.
Check out my Ultimate 3 days in Budapest itinerary and you’ll want to stay more!
5. Innsbruck, Austria
I have recently visited this city well known for 2 things: skiing and Swarovski crystals. But that is not all to it. I actually had a lovely Saturday strolling on the colorful streets of this small coquette city, placed in the middle of the Alps.
What else you can do in Innsbruck when you don’t only visit it as a day trip from Munich? Come here during winter and spend countless days on the slopes.
Or chose summer as your time to visit, and you surely will have lots of treks to explore in the Austrian Alps.
6. Trieste, Italy
Trieste is and will always remain in my heart for subjective reasons, but that does not mean it doesn’t bring a lot of things on the table.
It perfectly located on some hills, overlooking the Sea, it has a castle, is lively (since there is a high student population), it has great restaurants and even greater gelaterias and offers a lot of possibilities of spending time in and around the city (Miramare, Duino, osmizza, Dolomite, Grotta Gigante and so on).
You can easily make Trieste your weekend destination, or even your start point for a Northern Italy itinerary, where you will have plenty more crowded towns to see along the way. Why not start with an Italian hidden gem?
Want to go South? Check out my Southern Italy one week itinerary!
7. Sibiu, Romania
Having been the European Capital of Culture in 2007, Sibiu has a great number of touristic attractions, within and outside of the city.
Every year in June, it hosts the International Theater Festival, it is a green multicultural city (hosting Romanian, Saxon and Hungarian people), with a history of over 900 years, Sibiu is definitely a place to visit at least once.
And if you want to skip the crowds from Munich’s Christmas Market, or any other European Christmas Markets, hear to Sibiu. Sibiu’s Christmas Market is one of the most wonderful and most popular fairs in Romania. And I can easily say the crowds are not your Western Europe usual numbers.
You can enjoy a nice Christmas Market and blend the charm of a small Transylvanian colorful town.
8. Oradea, Romania
Located only 10 km away from Romania’s border with Hungary, Oradea is the city with the most investments made in infrastructure and building improvements in the past years in Romania.
It is an elegant small city, crossed by Crisul Repede River, with a very old and spectacular Fortress where Christmas Markets are organized.
Check out Oradea main attractions and fall for the city on the boarder.
You can easily spend a long weekend in Oradea without getting bored. Or if you are a more adventurous kind, even a longer time, while exploring the nearby mountains. Or take a day trip to Hungary, in one of Europe’s winemaking heaven: Eger.
9. Sighisoara, Romania
The medieval citadel of Sighisoara is located on a hill in the center of Romania. Fortified walls encircle Sighişoara’s lustrous merchant houses, now harboring cafes, hotels and craft shops. Every year a medieval festival takes place on the streets of the citadel.
But you can also visit during winter when the streets are almost empty, but still as charming. And if you don’t know how to fit it in, since the closest airport might be in Brasov with not so many international links, make it part of your one week in Transylvania itinerary, as we did.
No matter when you visit, you’ll surely be charmed by this small hidden gem and you’ll recommend it further as one of the European cities to visit.
10. Genoa, Italy
Not very touristic, but with an all so Italian flavor, Genoa is located in the NW part of Italy and is the sixth-largest city of Italy. One should not miss a stop here, even if on the way to Cinque Terre.
Bonus: Camogli, Italy
Haha, this is a bonus if we get to Genoa, just look at this picture. Camogli is an oh so romantic city at the sea, where you could relax for a few days.
What hidden gem would you recommend I should add on my “to see”list?
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