As Hans Anderson chose to put it, “To travel is to live”. And if your motto for traveling is Holidays, but better! deciding a destination often becomes a challenge because you want all the amenities along with the most realistic impression of the country’s everyday life. But with so many tourists pouring in Europe every year it’s hard to get that authentic experience that also has the right luxuries you wish to have. Besides the famous European cities, we have sorted our favorite cities in Europe for a travel snob.
Porto will give you the perfect blend of future and past in one place. It is the second largest metropolis in Portugal after Lisbon. Situated at the banks of Rio Douro, Porto charms its visitors by offering an aged rustic colored port Ribeira, the biggest attraction at Porto. Stringently gothic looking from the outside the Igreja de São Francisco (Church of São Francisco) has the most ravishing displays of Baroque art. Serralves, the cultural institution housing a museum (Museu de Arte Contemporanea), a mansion and vast gardens. An $11.81 ticket is all you need to visit all of these marvels. And you just cannot afford to miss the “Taste Porto” food tour with downtown food tour costing around €65 only starting at 10:45 am and ending at 4 pm.
Coming back to life after being wiped off by bombings in 1945, Dresden is a classic example of restoration. The cultural development of Dresden happened during the reign of Augustus der Starke and his son Augustus III during the 18th century. They sponsored Dresden’s archetypal building like Frauenkirche and Zwinger. Across the river, away from Classic art, Dresden has a number of restaurants, shops and lively nightlife to offer. Top sights to look for, when in Dresden: Residenzschloss, the incredible city palace. Zwinger, originally a party palace for royals now has three museums within its walls. Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister, a breathtaking collection of 16th and 18th-century art priding a good number of masterpieces. Other attractions including, Militahistorisches Museum Dresden, Albertinum, Historisches Grunes Gewolbe, Frauenkirche and Neues Grunes Gewolbe that you can’t afford to miss.
There’s something magical about this place, is a largely agreed fact about Salamanca. Salamanca came to the world’s knowledge after its great University came into existence, which now is a part of Unesco World Heritage site with sophisticated Latin inscriptions in Golden sandstone building that appear ablaze in the bright sunlight. Besides pleasing-to-eye architecture, Salamanca prides its rich cultural heritage. Being a hub of the Spanish Golden age, it has seen world-renowned writers, artists, and philosophers like Cervantes, San Juan de la Cruz, and Lope de Vega. Salamanca’s streets house these names that can still be seen. Major sights that must be paid a visit include Universidad Civil, Catedral Nueva, Catedral Vieja, Plaza Mayor, Museo de Art Nouveau y Art Deco, Puerta de la Torre, Convento de San Esteban, and Real Clerecia de San Marcos.
Are you an Everything-Shakespeare lover? Verona is a place you’ll instantly fall in love with. This charming Italian city is the main attraction for tourists looking to get lost in mazes of lanes looking for Romeo and Juliet. Verona’s center is known for a well-preserved amphitheater built in the 1st century where you can’t afford to miss the annual summer opera festival scheduled in June every year. To sum it up, Verona is like Venice without canals and tons of tourists. The five things that have to be on your itinerary are a day trip to Lake Garda, exploring Piazza Delle Erbe, eating some of the best food in Italy at Café Barbarani, going to Castelvecchio Bridge and Museum, and visiting the Arche Scaligere, a gothic arc, near Piazza dei Signori.
A perfect blend of style and history, Marseille is one of the most French and least understood cities. This city is a perfect opposite of Paris. France’s national anthem is called La Marseillaise, for a good reason of course. Besides having the French essence, the city has a surprising mix of immigrants from Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia that brings a greater diversity to the local cuisine and has shaped the culture. Marseille’s major attractions that you must visit include Cours Julien, a square sporting vibrant bohemian hues. The Jardin du Pharo has the best sunsets to offer in town. Go kayaking with Raskas Kayak at a mere €40/70 for half/full day respectively. Visit Marseille’s place of origin, the lively Vieux Port. Make sure you eat at Les Grande Tables (international), L’Arome (Modern French), Place Lorette (Moroccan), Le Café des Epices (Modern French), and El Santo Cachon (Chilean).
Aarhus is one of Denmark’s most erudite cities. About 1/7 of residents are enrolled in a university. This city was declared the European Capital of Culture in 2017. It has some of the best architectural landmarks in the world. From artwork at the most unexpected places to a brimming city center, Aarhus has a lot to offer. Foodies out there reading this, take notes! Look out for Aarhus Street Food; Foodhall, Frederikshoj; Danish eatery, Social Foodies; for best sweets in town, Kahler Spisesalon and Langhoff & Juul for great Danish food.
Aros Aarhus Kunstmuseum is a nine-floor art museum flaunting an astonishing collection of art from the Golden Ages. The Aarhus festival marked 2018 to be yet another eventful year, spanning over the week of 31st August to 10th September. This is by far the largest Scandinavian festival promoting both local and international talent. With just 3-hour train ride from Copenhagen, Aarhus has remained beclouded by it. But after rising cultural development in Aarhus, this city provides nothing short of the best traveling experience. But before traveling to this destination don’t forget to do your homework on the top sights, I’d personally recommend using your Windstream internet plans for the best browsing experience ever.
A short ferry rides from Helsinki, Tallinn, though culturally remote from Scandinavia, provides an extremely fulfilling experience that is a blend of both Nordic and Russian civilization. Tallinn has long been a playground for Swedish, German, Soviet and Polish powers, but after becoming a free European capital, takes great pride in its rich cultural heritage. A perfect holiday spot for someone looking to experience all the modern comforts along with a rich culture, lively nightlife and loads of adventures. Tallinn is one of the very few completely walled cities, indexed by UNESCO as Old Town. Make sure you visit the Estonian Open-Air Museum where historic buildings are resettled and preserved among trees and the costumed staff performing traditional activities.
Utrecht has a very old-fashioned yet eclectic charm and attractiveness, that it’s almost too hard to resist falling in love with this place. It was indexed as one of the world’s ten underrated travel destinations in 2012. Look out for the weekly Utrecht Travelcafe Cycling Tour, Tropical Butterfly Festival happening until 16th Sept. Utrecht Canal Run, a marathon scheduled on Sunday 7 October. Hotspots City Tour, scheduled every weekend. Saturday afternoon music Domkerk happening every week. For snobbish foodies, ask around for Blauw; Indonesian cuisine specialist, Heron, and Concours; for mostly European food, Gys Café, de Zwarte Vosch; for pintxos.
So, if you consider yourself a person who wants an exceptional and sophisticated holiday. These places are bound to provide you that experience, and are totally worth investing in, with no crowds of tourists, rich culture and fulfilling experiences to offer. This is your way to go before you plan your next vacation in Europe.
Published by Matthew Piggot