Travel Blog – Top 5 Underrated European Cities
We all enjoy a long beach break or lazing by the pool but, here at Shoetique, we have been thinking about a few of the more cultural destinations for those of you who prefer a weekend city break.
Valencia has an underrated, thriving cultural scene, and some of the best restaurants Spain has to offer. Not content with only boasting a lively city vibe and contemporary architecture, Valencia is also a coastal city, with beautiful beaches for those who are looking for the best of both worlds.
Don’t miss: You can’t visit Valencia without sampling the paella. Locals are likely to point you to La Pepica, a beach side restaurant dating back to 1898.
Siena is arguably one of Italy’s most beautiful cities, often overlooked by those who travel to its more well-known rival Florence. Whereas Florence boasts a renaissance style, Siena’s gothic architecture made it the perfect backdrop for the James Bond film, Quantum of Solace.
Don’t miss: The city is best known for the twice-yearly Palio de Siena bareback horse race, a 700 year old tradition celebrated by the locals. Next taking place on 16th August, head down to the Palazzo Comunale for the spectacular medieval parade ahead of the race for a one-of-a-kind experience.
Edinburgh is a lively city with culture to rival the best. August is a particularly exciting time to visit Scotland’s capital, with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh International Festival and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo all showcasing the best that the city has to offer. If festivals are not your scene, Edinburgh boasts some of the best shopping that the UK has to offer.
Don’t miss: For something a little bit different, why not brave a Murder and Mystery Walking Tour of Edinburgh? Explore the historic backstreets and courtyards of Edinburgh’s Old Town, guided by Adam Lyal, the deceased Edinburgh highwayman executed in 1811.
Although Lisbon is Portugal’s capital city, it has never been the most popular tourist destination in the country but has so much to offer, both for those who are looking for a cultural, historic break, or for those who are chasing the sun and night-life. Gothic cathedrals and grand monasteries offer would-be architects plenty to look at, whilst the narrow lanes and backstreets host an array of tiny pastry cafes, perfect for a relaxing brunch.
Don’t miss: Take the walk through the hills to the Moorish Alfama neighbourhood, home of the Castelo dos Mouros, a charming castle ruin with high fortified stone walls. The views over the hills are spectacular and are not to be missed.
Dubrovnik is a hidden gem, for years overlooked but gaining popularity. Dubrovnik is re-establishing itself as a holiday destination since the devastation it suffered in the civil war in the early 90’s and is once again flourishing. The city is known for its distinctive old town, encircled with massive stone walls dating back to the 16th century. The highlight of Dubrovnik is the stunning views over the Adriatic Sea so aim for a hotel with a wonderful view!
Don’t miss: No visit to Dubrovnik would be complete without a walk around the spectacular city walls, the finest in the world.