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The Best European Cities to Explore in 2018

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As the world gets smaller and the number of low cost carriers operating across the European mainland and beyond continues to grow, so travelers are starting to think outside the box in order to find something a little more unusual for their next holiday destination.


While cities such as Paris, Rome and Amsterdam have an enduring appeal, a new generation of more adventurous travelers is looking to step off the beaten track and head down the road less traveled with a view to being among the first to discover the hidden delights and charms these lesser-known cities have to offer.


Rich in Culture

Take Moldova, a former Soviet republic that sits on the border of Romania. Just outside the capital, Chişinău, you'll find rolling hills, lush landscapes, monasteries built into caves and dozens of vineyards – plus, wine is the country's primary export.


The city of Chişinău itself features a surprising number of parks and botanical gardens, along with historic monuments and engaging museums. It’s home to one of the most highly regarded ballet companies in Eastern Europe, and you'll also find concert halls and theatres and artisan markets.


Hidden Gem

Then there is Zagreb in Croatia, which is routinely described as one of the most overlooked destinations in the region. Here you can experience the unique feel and Brutalist architecture of central Europe, but without the huge crowds that now plague many of the more popular destinations such as Budapest, Vienna or Prague.


Of course, there is a good reason why these cities, along with the likes of Berlin, London and Milan continue to attract the big numbers – it’s due to the richness of the treasures they contain.


If you still feel the urge to visit, one way to get much more out of these destinations is to make use of specialist, locally-based tour operators who can help you experience such cities in a more personal, immersive way.


Classic Charm

Take the city for Florence, for example, a placed filled with so many delights that it’s difficult to know where to begin. Although it’s easy enough to explore the highlights on your own, signing up for the Statue of David tour will help you discover the best that Florence has to offer, including little-visited areas in the city center, the iconic Santa Maria de Fiore and, of course, Michelangelo's David. For the next few months, visitors to the city will be able to behold an additional wonder – the first ever large-scale Lego model of the famous Florence Dumo cathedral. Unlike the original, which took more than a century to build, the model will be completed in the space of a few weeks.


Undiscovered Country

If you want to be sure of a feather in your tourism cap, make your way to the city of Kotor in Montenegro, a country that only achieved its independence in 2006. With delightful waterside restaurants and dramatic mountain backdrops and a growing number of tourists, it offers a delightful respite from the hustle and bustle of the modern world. Enjoy it while you can.


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