The five most underrated cities in Europe

There are literally hundreds of beautiful European cities but tourists still tend to flock to the same few spots on a very well-worn path.  If you want to visit somewhere that still retains its integrity and hasn’t yet become a sightseeing haven, why not try out these destinations before the mass tourist world wakes up to their existence.  Some travel operators do offer cheap all inclusive holidays to these destinations.

Narrow paved road in Lublin

Lublin, Poland

Lublin, in the east of Poland has been designated the 2016 ‘Capital of Culture,’ so now might be the best time to visit this medieval jewel before it is discovered by other travellers.  The city has a charming old town that dates back to the days when Lublin was at the centre of major European trade routes.  Those interested in Jewish history will want to visit the site of the old World War 2 Jewish ghetto.  A trip to the city’s castle, close to the old town, is essential.  The city runs daily trolley bus tours and this might be the best introduction to Lublin.  Cafes and restaurants abound and gourmands might like to savour a few local delicacies before taking part in the city’s vibrant nightlife.

Zurich, Switzerland

It is often thought that Zurich is a boring city but the opposite is true.  From the sprawling cobbled streets of the Old Town, to its many bars and nightclubs, the city has many hidden delights to offer all visitors.  James Joyce lived here, and is buried here, and the lakeside Café Odeon celebrates the birth of the DADA movement.  Most Swiss people speak at least four languages so communication shouldn’t be a problem.  Try some Swiss wine or visit one of the many stunning churches, including the 13th century Fraumunster in the city centre.

Budapest, Hungary

Elizabeth Bridge in Budapest connecting Buda and Pest across the River Danube

Visit the romantic Hungarian capital of the Hapsburgs on the banks of the Danube.  The city has an ancient history and manages to combine the historical with the modern.  Try out some goulash at Karpatia complete with a gypsy violin serenade.  Explore the city’s history on Castle Hill, home to many museums, and then board the funicular railway and visit the Royal Palace.

Turin, Italy

Turin is in Northern Italy and is the stunning capital of the Piedmont region.  This gracious city is packed with clubs and restaurants, including the famous ‘Golden Palace where you can try out different spirits, including the local grappa, in very elegant surroundings.  The city has many chocolate bars and you should try the gjanduja drink, a local ‘Torino’ speciality.  Take in some shopping in some of the central city boulevards or go clubbing in one of the city’s many clubs.

Vilnius, Lithuania

This ancient capital city of Lithuania has changed considerably in the past decade. Previously it was stifled by Soviet domination.  Art and classical music lovers will enjoy some of the many exhibitions and concerts that take place here throughout the year.  Those who want to just chill out will love the Old Town with its many bars and clubs.   This medieval city has many attractions, not least is the Gates of Dawn, an ancient chapel, which still houses the miraculous shrine to the Virgin Mary.  Bizarre artworks abound; track down the Egg Statue in the Old Town.

Skyline of Vilnius, capital of Lithuania

What say you?