The Hidden Jewels of Europe: Top 10 Underrated Travel Destinations

Europe, a continent rich with history, culture and breathtaking scenery, is a top destination for many tourists. But while the Eiffel Tower, Colosseum, and Big Ben are worthy of your bucket list, Europe has much more to offer. Let's embark on a journey to discover the top 10 underrated travel destinations in Europe where unique experiences await.

1. Aarhus, Denmark

Popularly overshadowed by Copenhagen, the city of Aarhus is a treasured Danish gem waiting to be discovered. Lined with colourful houses, historic landmarks, and a vibrant dining scene, Aarhus stands out with its brilliant combination of modern vibrancy and traditional charm. The open-air museum, Den Gamle By, transports you back in time, while the ARoS Aarhus Art Museum opens a window to contemporary Nordic art.

2. Kotor, Montenegro

With the backdrop of towering mountains and the tranquil waters of the Adriatic Sea, Kotor boasts stunning views coupled with rich history. Wander through the labyrinth of medieval streets within the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town, hike up to the Fortress of Kotor for a panoramic view or simply soak in the natural beauty of the Bay of Kotor.

3. Plovdiv, Bulgaria

As one of the world's oldest cities, Plovdiv exudes a unique blend of different civilizations. The city's remarkable Roman Amphitheatre, charming Old Town, and emerging contemporary art scene provide a vivid cultural cocktail for the curious traveler. In addition, Plovdiv's rich wine heritage cannot be missed.

4. Ljubljana, Slovenia

Hailed as the Green Capital of Europe, Ljubljana is a beautiful balance of the old and new. Its car-free city center, brimming with delightful architecture, opens up a vibrant ambience, with cafes lining the river and a striking castle overseeing the city. The crisp air of the city parks and the lively farmers' market contribute to the city's endearing charm.

5. Porto, Portugal

While Lisbon generally draws most visitors, Porto, the second largest city in Portugal, is a delightful alternative. The city thrives on its bustling food scene, eye-catching baroque architecture, and, of course, the world-renowned Port wine. The Ribeira district, lined with colourful houses along the Douro River, is a must-visit.

6. Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mostar, known for its old-world charm, is defined by East meets West architecture, lively markets, and the iconic Stari Most (Old Bridge). A walk across the 16th-century Ottoman bridge, a symbol of the city's resilience, is akin to walking through history. The diverse cuisines and vibrant nightlife make the experience more enriching.

7. Ghent, Belgium

While Bruges and Brussels are more familiar to tourists, Ghent offers an equally enchanting experience. From the Saint Bavo's Cathedral with the famous Ghent Altarpiece to the bustling food markets, this lively university city is bursting with energy. Ghent by night, with beautifully illuminated buildings, is a spectacle in itself.

8. Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn's well-preserved medieval Old Town, intriguing history, and blossoming food scene are worth every minute of your visit. Modern skyscrapers alongside ancient castles and churches narrate the striking juxtaposition of the city's past with the present. Also, the panoramic view from Toompea Hill is sure to leave you spellbound.

9. Matera, Italy

Once considered the 'Shame of Italy', Matera has undergone a phenomenal transformation. Famously known for its Sassi (stone houses), Matera is amongst the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities. The captivating vistas from the city, winding streets, and warm inhabitants make Matera an unforgettable experience.

10. Zadar, Croatia

Rivaling the beauty of Dubrovnik and Split, Zadar is Croatia's upcoming tourist hotspot. The city's Roman ruins, medieval architecture, and the unique Sea Organ that plays music with the waves create a captivating sensory experience. Don't miss the stunning sunsets at the Monument to the Sun.