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Top 10 unexpectedly awesome cities in Europe

Published October 24th, 2012

While Paris, Rome and Berlin are must dos when travelling to Europe, sometimes it pays to take a breather between super cities by staying in the region’s smaller town. And you’ll be surprised just how much some of Europe’s medieval and seaside towns have to offer. Here are some of our top picks.

 

Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

Seasoned travellers will know all too well that the UNESCO World Heritage town of Český Krumlov is one of the most beautiful places in Europe. Like something straight out of a fairytale, don’t leave town without climbing the city’s famous castle, built in the 13th century and home to spectacular views.

 

Brugge, Belgium

Brugge lit up at night

Brugge, Belgium

If you like beer, waffles, chocolate and canal rides then you’ll love Brugge. The medieval town even has its own chocolate museum!

 

Maastricht, The Netherlands

In Maastricht’s you can tour the magical St Pietersberg caves and party well into the night at ‘Night Live’ a nightclub set in an old church that only opens after midnight.

 

Catanzaro, Italy

The city where Italians go to spend their summers, Catanzaro, located on the toe of Italy’s boot, boasts magnificent coastline overlooking the Ionian Sea.

 

Ohrid, Macedonia

Eastern Europeans flock to the resort town of Ohrid and so should you. Why? If the views over Lake Ohrid don’t satisfy you, the $2 beers by the beach will.

 

Tampere, Finland

Seen one museum, seen them all? Not in Tampere. This historic town is home to a Spy Museum where guests can fire laser guns, wander down secret passage ways and embrace their James Bond fantasies.

 

Bern, Switzerland

For storybook streets and happy locals, Bern in Switzerland is hard to beat.

 

Salamaca, Spain

Sunrise in Salamaca

Salamanca, Spain

Go to see the shell-shaped Casa de las Conchas, stay to drink Sangria until dawn along Van Dick Street.

 

Dingle, Ireland

One of the most colourful cities in Europe (literally), Dingle’s vibrantly coloured historic houses sit between green rolling hills and azure seaside views.

 

Èze, France

You may not have heard of it but in France, Èze is one of the most beloved towns along the French Riviera. Located close by to Nice, the medieval town’s biggest drawcard is its scenery, including breath taking views of the Mediterranean.

 

Lauren Burvill

Australian born but London based, I'm a sucker for big cities and small tropical islands. When travelling, I like eating like a local, dressing like a local, but staying in 5 star style. Have a travel story to share? Tweet me @laurenburvill.