5 of the Prettiest, but Least-Known European Cities

Just about everybody’s heard of London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, and Madrid, as they’re some of the most gorgeous cities in Europe. However, there are dozens more that are just as beautiful, interesting, historic, and cultural. These are 5 of the best cities in Europe, but also some of the most least-known.

1. Ceský Krumlov, The Czech Republic

This is a wonderful old, fairy-tale town which has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. There are about 300 medieval buildings still standing and the town surrounds Ceský Krumlov Castle, which was erected in the 13th century. There are about 40 palaces and buildings on the castle grounds along with a moat, courtyards, and some beautiful and colourful gardens.

The architecture is a sight to behold as there’s a mixture of Baroque, Renaissance, and Gothic. There are plenty of galleries, bars, and museums in town and it’s easy to find a place to enjoy the outstanding Czech beer. Kayaking and boating down the city’s Vltava River is a popular summertime activity, and if you head a little further out you can enjoy some excellent white water rafting.

2. Sofia, Bulgaria

This fantastic city is the capital of Bulgaria, and its history is best explored by foot. Some of the most popular sites are the St Alexander Nevski Memorial Church, the Byzantium Church of Sofia, and the Boyana Church which was built in the 11th century.

The city has numerous forested parklands with Tsar Boris’s Garden being the best and oldest. Just outside of Sofia you’ll find a wonderful ski resort at Vitosha Mountain, which also makes for a majestic backdrop for the city. During the summertime the mountain is a great spot for mountain biking and hiking.

3. Skopje, Macedonia

This is the heart and capital city of Macedonia. Skopje was virtually knocked to the ground back in 1963 by an earthquake. The city was rebuilt, but there were numerous concrete buildings left that were built in the Communist-style. In addition you’ll still be able to find some wonderful churches, bridges, and medieval fortresses.

The 15th-century Stone Bridge connects the Old Bazaar to the bustling Macedonia Square. The Old Town is a wonderful mixture of East and West styles as it is filled with mosques, churches, Turkish baths, and a 15th-century market area. You’ll also come across several museums and statues that are dedicated to Mother Theresa, who hailed from Skopje.

4. Galway, Ireland

Galway lies on the west coast of the Emerald Isle and is one of Ireland’s fastest growing and most popular cities. The medieval city is full of history and is considered to be the cultural heart of the nation due to its annual celebrations and festivals. There are dozens of pubs and taverns to drop into for a pint and to listen to traditional Irish music.

You’ll also hear the Irish Gaeltacht language being spoken by some of the city’s residents. There are two universities in town and you’ll find traditional Irish culture all over the parks, markets, and streets. Some of the most popular sites are the Church of St. Nicholas, and Galway Cathedral. There are also some ancient towers, castles and homes on display.

5. Cadiz, Spain

Cadiz, which sits in the south of sunny Spain, is one of Europe’s oldest cities as its history dates back about 3,000 years. The scenic town lies on a peninsula which reaches out to the Bay of Cadiz. Exploring Cadiz is best done by foot and you’ll find the Old Town close to the picturesque coastline.

The many plazas are filled with easygoing people, with Plaza de Mina, built in the 1800s, being one of the most charming. You’ll also find old watchtowers, churches and a Roman theater. Sun worshippers will love the city’s beautiful beaches, such as La Playa de la Caleta.

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