12 of the best stays outside the capital of Europe
City breaks can be as rejuvenating as a beach vacation if you pick the right destination, but how do you find a new experience?
London, Paris and Rome are all known to be some of the best capitals for vacationers. But if you’re looking for somewhere a little less obvious for a weekend or summer vacation, a little inspiration may be needed.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 12 of the best cities in Europe that aren’t national capitals. Perfect for a city break in summer or winter, these destinations have all the culture, gastronomy and nightlife that any tourist could wish for.
Located in the Wielkopolskie region of Poland, Poznan is the homeland of Polish Catholicism with its historic cathedral located on an island at the junction of the Warta River.
This Eastern European gem has no shortage of the usual tourist attractions with its colorful market square, alongside more unusual sites like its avant-garde museum Brama Poznanie ICHOT which is filled with exclusively multimedia facilities.
Be sure to sample some of the region’s typical dishes – wielkopolska cuisine – which is a love letter to the Pole’s beloved root vegetables.
The first city of German Bavaria, Munich, is the perfect place for people who are not too fond of cities.
For endorphins addicts, Munich is ideal for urban cycling. The town is close to the nearby mountains for hiking enthusiasts, and you can even surf the Isar River – an exercise that will come in handy after tasting the local pastries and beers.
Directory Oktoberfest is of course famous, but Munich is also ideal for a quiet getaway; sometimes referred to as Millionendorf (Million Village), the town has a calm, local feel where everyone knows their neighbors.
Ireland’s second largest city is in the heart of the lush green county of the same name.
Take time to relax in peaceful Fitzgerald Park or stargazing at Blackrock Castle Observatory, whiskey lovers will enjoy the Jameson experience and culture lovers will love the Liège opera house and Crawford Art Gallery.
The Italian capital of fashion and design is located in the northern region of Lombardy.
One of the nightlife capitals of Europe, partly fueled by its large population of young professionals, Milan has venues for all tastes, from its jewel bars to Brera or LGBT-friendly clubs in Via Lecco.
This port city graces Poland’s Baltic coast and boasts some of the country’s finest architecture with churches and marketplaces galore.
Why not have a traditional meal in one of Gdansks’ ‘milk bars’ and admire the city’s iconic brightly colored buildings as you stroll along the beautiful waterfront.
Dubrovnik’s famous city walls and location next to the brilliant Adriatic Sea would make you feel like you’re in a fairy tale – even if it wasn’t one of the filming locations of Game Of Thrones.
The city features buildings through the ages and offers wonderful weather, located in the south of Croatia. When you’re there, be sure to sample some delicious signature fresh seafood.
The party capital of Spain, Barcelona is a cosmopolitan delight with attractions for everyone. Enjoy traditional Spanish flamenco or paella performances, or more contemporary music at one of Barcelona’s many nightclubs.
Sunset boat trips along the Mediterranean coast are also available for day trips with friends or to create romantic memories.
Decorated with murals and home to many beautiful buildings – not to mention the Euronews headquarters – Lyon is a must visit.
Nestled at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, Lyon is the cradle of modern cinema and an important pillar of French cuisine, with both the Lumière brothers and the “Pope” of French cuisine Paul Bocuse hailing from the city.
Although being a destination in its own right, Lyon is also the ideal starting point for exploring the national parks and vineyards of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in France.
One of the gems of East Germany, Leipzig has been a cultural center for the arts since the Middle Ages.
Today the city is proud Museum of Fine Arts and Contemporary History Forum To attract discerning culture seekers, equally discerning revelers will want to explore Leipzig’s legendary techno scene which rivals that of Berlin.
A must-see is the old clothing-producing district of Lindenau where dilapidated warehouses have been turned into art spaces.
Overlooking the North Atlantic Ocean, Porto is the cradle of Port wine production. A popular spot for young tourists who go for the vibrant nightlife, Porto is also famous for the UNESCO listed medieval city. Ribeira district.
Things to do in Porto include a sightseeing cruise on the Douro River, the perfect way to enjoy a magnificent Portuguese sunset, and of course tasting the Pasteis de Natas.
This harbor town on the River Clyde may be in the icy north of the UK, but a little Scottish hospitality will warm you up.
Clydeside Distillery will be another for whiskey lovers. Fans of the beautiful game will love the Scottish Football Museum and everyone can enjoy the wonderful works of art on offer along the Glasgow Fresco Trail.
The undisputed capital of northern Britain has culture, nightlife and cuisine to suit all tastes and truly is a city for all seasons (because the weather is just as bad all year round).
Manchester has continued its industrial heritage like nowhere else and Victorian warehouses and canals can be spotted all over the city.
Why not visit the Lowry or Royal Exchange whether you want to enjoy Manchester’s vibrant theatrical scene or visit the Museum of Science and Industry or Popular History Museum to learn more about the city’s political and industrial past.
Party-goers will love sampling Manchester’s famous nightlife and alternative music scene, and LGBTQ + tourists are highly recommended to visit the city’s historic gay village.