Have you already visited all the big capital cities in Europe?! This is great! But let’s not forget that capitals are usually multinational melting points, and regardless of the amazing sightseeing spots, you can face many catchy tricks, standardized offers, a crowd of tourists, and less authenticity. As they say, to understand the real sense of a country it’s actually always better to visit its countryside and the less-known secondary towns or its amazing non-capital cities.
So let’s see our list about Top 8 non-capital cities to visit in Europe:
1. Pécs, Hungary
Pécs is an ancient city, and was founded by the Romans at the beginning of the 2nd century and was called Sopianae. The area was peopled by Celts and Pannoni tribes. By the 4th century, it became the capital of Valeria province and a significant early Christian center. The early Christian necropolis from that era became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 2000. Presently it is the fifth-largest city in Hungary, located on the slopes of the Mecsek mountains close to the Croatian border. It’s very popular among Hungarian in-land tourists and Croatians, but besides them, it’s rare to find tourists from other parts of the world. It’s a nice cosy town with many cute streets, beautiful squares with all the services and plenty of bars and restaurants to taste the local food.
Read our article about Pécs here.
2. Bordeaux, France
We had the chance to visit Bordeaux twice, first in winter and then during summer-time as well. We must admit, regardless of which seasons you are getting there, this city is simply amazing. Obviously, you don’t need to look for long to locate and visit some of the most prestigious châteaux and smaller wineries here, not to mention the lovely riverbank of Garonne, the related neighborhoods, and the majestic square of Place de la Bourse with the Le Miroir d’Eau – Water mirror.
3. Toledo, Spain
Toledo, this magical city really has a lot of attractions to offer to visitors. The old city is located on a mountaintop with a 150-degree view, surrounded on three sides by a bend in the Tagus River, and contains many historical sites, including the Alcázar, the cathedral (the primate church of Spain), and the Zocodover, a central market place located on the Plaza de Zocodover, which is actually the best place to start a walk and discover the history and culture of Toledo and its culturally mixed legacy.
Read our article about Toledo here.
4. Wrocław, Poland
Wrocław is the capital of Lower Silesia, in the year 2016 it was chosen as Capital of European Culture and since then, although tourism has increased significantly, services have also been developed. Nevertheless, the city is today at its right point among the facilities to have fun as a visitor and the authenticity of a place still not fully-spoiled, which continues to live minding more the locals rather than the tourists.
Read our article about Wrocław here.
5. Napoli, Italy
Italy’s third city, Naples or Napoli is made of unique stories you have to know, see, and hear. Once a rogue and dangerous city to be avoided, now is back on the map, and luckily Naples has still held on to much of its character and old-world charm. We understand – when walking around on its narrow streets, with laundry laces all around, and the smell of fresh clothes mixed with sweet and spicy-smelling local products – life here is lived on the streets.
Read our article about Napoli here.
6. Liverpool, England
Liverpool is an amazing place for music lovers. If you would like to know more about The Beatles, The Cavern is a must for you. You should visit it because this is the place where The Beatles started to stand out in their beloved Liverpool. Not to mention if you are a football lover, the city has two stadiums of two eternal rivals separated by only a very green and nice park, which is good even to take a walk around. Those two stadiums are in the Everton neighborhood. And if anyone doesn’t know these two stadiums are the very singular Goodison Park and the mythic Anfield stadium.
Read our article about Liverpool here.
7. Porto, Portugal
One of the most emblematic representations of Porto’s history and culture are those beautiful tiles we see all over the city which are known as azulejos. Of course, you cannot miss out on Porto wine tasting and on delicious seafood from the Atlantic either. Not to mention the Sé do Porto, Livraria Lello, São Bento railway station, Ponte de Dom Luís I., really it’s so much to see there while enjoying the superb vibe of this city.
Read our article about Porto here.
8. Ghent, Belgium
It is the capital and largest city of the East Flanders province, and the third-largest In Belgium, exceeded in size only by Brussels and Antwerp. Ghent is highly recommended for the splendid architecture along the old Graslei harbor. Not to mention that is a university city with a superbly unique and vivid vibe. Other remarkable highlights are the Saint Bavo Cathedral with the Ghent Altarpiece, the Belfry, the Gravensteen Castle.
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2 Replies to “8 amazing non-capital cities to visit in Europe”
Yes, fair points regarding Toledo! 🙂 Thanks for sharing Lluís!
Excellent! A magnificent exemple of cities (still) not too crowded but with a lot of interesting places to visit and things to do. I must admit I have never heard about Pécs, and it sounds good!
By the way, I would like to add two more places to visit in Toledo: the main Synagogue (maybe the most important one in Spain, and one of the best preserved) and “El museo del Greco”, where everyone is invited to descover one of the most fascinating and unique painters iof all times.