Sometimes you just want to go somewhere a little bit different, somewhere that isn’t going to be teeming with tourists and somewhere that makes you feel you’ve discovered a bit of a hidden treasure.
Sure, it’s lovely to visit cities like Rome and Paris, but they’re pretty common destinations and it’s unlikely you’ll get any kind of new experience in such major tourist destinations. So, where is there to go in Europe that isn’t on the direct radar of the cheap flight crowd, but can still be reached using cheap flights that land at airports nearby?
Well, we’ve had a dig around and come up with five cities that you might want to try out this summer, if you’re looking for somewhere a little different, a little off the beaten track but definitely enjoyable and interesting.
Gdansk is more well known, but Wroclaw is also an amazing destination on offer in beautiful Poland. It’s a student town so it has the kind of buzzing nightlife you’d expect, making it easy to meet people and get out and about if you’re into having a good time. There are clubs galore and you’re bound to find something that suits you. So, that’s the nightlife sorted but there’s plenty to see by day too. Have a look around Rynek, the central square where locals gather to drink beer and relax. There is also a Japanese Garden to soothe your senses and provide a respite from all the beer! Accommodation can be found extremely cheaply, although there is plenty of the luxury sort on offer as well. The beer, however, is cheap pretty much everywhere.
To stick with the beer theme, you can get a pint in Plovdiv for a ridiculous 57p. However, assuming that’s not the only reason you’d select a new destination, it’s a mecca for bohemian types. In fact, it’s so laid back, hipster-like and trendy that it’s known as the Paris of the Balkans. It’s also another university town, meaning its nightlife is plenty and varied. There is also loads of history on tap for the culture vulture – you can go and watch an opera in the Roman amphitheatre for example, or check out the Bachkovo Monastery or the Ottoman Empire mosque. In fact, there’s something for everyone.
Portugal itself may not be particularly obscure as a destination, but you don’t have to go straight to the beaches or the capital city. Bypass all of that for the charms of the city that’s known as ‘Wine City’ thanks to its amazing port. It’s also known as Porto. There is a plethora of gorgeous medieval and baroque architecture to feast your eyes on, loads of museums and, of course, the obligatory nightlife, making Porto a wise choice as a holiday destination.
Ohrid is fast becoming popular as a destination with a difference, so get in quick. It’s not as easy to access as some of the other cities on this list, but it’s definitely worth it. Once you’re there, it’s cheap and absolutely beautiful, all cobbled streets hidden in a gorgeous and lush valley. There are lots of churches to wander around and even a fortress. And when you’ve had enough of culture you can head down to the beaches that adorn the side of the lakes, where you’ll find plenty of people to party with.
Riga and Liepāja, Latvia
Not far from the bustling capital city Riga, lies Liepāja. This used to be a secret Soviet military town and is covered in gorgeous white beaches. And the best part? These beaches are usually tourist-free, apart from when it comes to the Balkan Beach Party Festival!