Off the Beaten Path: 5 Unique Travel Destinations in Europe
Do you want to ditch the touristy stuff and go off the beaten path on your vacation? Here are 5 unique travel destinations to visit in Europe.
89 million tourists visited Paris last year, making it the most visited city in the world. And while Paris has its place, where do you go when you want a unique travel destination?
In this post, we’ll talk about 10 places in Europe that you should visit that aren’t the typical European vacation. You won’t find Rome, London, Paris, Amsterdam or Prague on our list. Instead, we’re going to guide you off the beaten path to some of the coolest cities in Europe you never knew you wanted to visit.
The Hague, The Netherlands
Just an hour from Amsterdam by train, and 30 minutes or so from the Amsterdam Schipol airport lies The Hague. Although it’s a capital city, it isn’t one that tourists often visit, preferring its more well-trodden cousin, Amsterdam.
The Hague is the seat of not only the country’s politics but also several international tribunals. In fact, crimes related to genocide are often heard there.
Aside from its justice, you can see centuries of Dutch at the Mauritshuis or be dazzled with old world charm at the Binnenhof castle.
The hills are alive with the sound of…Salzburg! This city is iconic for its backdrop in the famous play and film, The Sound of Music. Many tourists skip it in favor of Vienna, but Salzburg offers a local charm nobody should miss.
If you’re a Sound of Music fan, of course, you can have a ball looking at all of the sites where the movie was filmed. But even if you’ve never heard of the musical, you’ll still be taken in by Mozart’s hometown.
We suggest that you take a bus or tour to the nearby Alps and towns tucked away in the hills. You’ll be treated to some seriously breathtaking views that will have you singing just like Maria von Trapp and the von Trapp children.
Poland isn’t known as a tourist destination, and if it is, you’ll find most people flock to Warsaw or Krakow. But we suggest you try visiting the port city of Gdansk.
Gdansk was once the Free City of Danzig, occupied by the Germans. But it hasn’t lost its Polish heritage. You can walk along the port and savor some of the amazing views of the city, where the architecture is Dutch inspired. If you visit other parts of Poland, you’ll notice that Gdansk’s buildings are different from any other you’ll see in the country.
Treat yourself to some seafood with a Polish flare or explore the little city on foot. You may end up buying yourself an amber item, as the region is known for its amber exports.
Arles is a perfect trip for anyone who loves ancient and modern history. They collide here in this southern French city.
Art buffs will know that Arles is where Van Gogh spent some of his final days. He painted many of his most famous works in Arles, including a few of the cafe scene at night.
Arles also has a huge collection of antiquities, including a Roman amphitheater and a miniature Coliseum. The latter is still in working order, and because it is in the south of France, you can see a Spanish-influenced bullfight there on occasion.
Just outside the city walls is a Roman-era aqueduct, one of the oldest of its kind that is so well preserved.
Most people visit Hungary for Budapest and then they’re gone. But check out the charming city of Szeged for an authentic Hungarian experience. Szeged’s university, what the town is centered on, is the most prestigious in Hungary. It attracts students from all over the world, making it a great destination for a night out.
The city is the third largest in Hungary, after Budapest and Debrecen. Most of the city has a “newer” feel to it than the rest of Hungary. This is because much of it was demolished in a flood during 1879. The city’s officials pledged to make the city of Szeged more beautiful than it was before, and they kept their word.
It’s also the home of Hungary’s most famous spice: paprika. The town won’t let you forget that, with paprika shops everywhere. In addition to some amazing Edwardian era buildings, Szeged is home to an open-air zoo. Visiting it is akin to visiting a park, but you can see the animals either up close or neath their enclosures.
If you come during the Christmas season, be sure to catch the Christmas market by the stunning Votive Church. This cathedral is unlike others in Europe, in that it was built in 1914 instead of hundreds of years ago. But it is, nevertheless, incredibly stunning and worth a visit.
Planning a Visit to Unique Travel Destinations
If you’re planning a trip to unique travel destinations, you’ll need to do some work in advance. When you go somewhere in Europe that isn’t full of tourists, they may not be resources for you in English and they may not be expecting to have foreign guests. Many of these cities, like Gdansk, are often only used to local guests visiting them, so they might not accommodate English-speaking guests as easily.
Likewise, you’ll need to do some research to figure out what attractions you want to visit before you set off. That way, you can be sure you have the best vacation possible.
For more on European travel, visit our blog.
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