I'm a city girl passionate about travelling, discovering new places and making the most out of my weekends.
Published April 23rd 2014
Four more reasons to get out and see the world
Most visitors to Europe for the first time would have a wish list of places they would like to see. It goes without saying that London, Paris, Rome and Amsterdam are some of the popular cities, and deservingly so. I've recently discovered during my travels some less popular European cities that deserve to make it into every tourist's European bucket list too. Here are the four that I've narrowed down:
Porto is a charming port town with heritage riverside buildings, excellent seafood and hilly narrow cobblestone streets. And this is only a handful of many reasons why Porto deserves a visit. You can sample the famous port wine of Porto, eat a Portuguese custard tart from the many bakeries dotted around town, cruise down the river with all round great views of the hilly city at sunset or just sit by the Ribeira and people watch. Porto is very affordable and will leave you wanting more.
Bologna is a mid-sized city with a large student population, thanks to its prestigious University of Bologna, the oldest in the world. If that alone is not a lure to this city, Bologna is also considered the gastronomic capital of Italy. The world famous spaghetti bolognese originated from this region. And food is cheap because of its student population. This city is lively, hip and young with distinctive red terracotta buildings which earned its nickname, Bologna la rossa (Bologna the red). You'll not want to leave Bologna after a day in this beautiful city.
Madrid is often overshadowed by it's younger, beachy sister Barcelona. But hang on, Madrid is actually in a class of its own. Full of culture, beautiful architecture and vibrancy, Madrid should be on every tourist's agenda. Madrid has some world class art museums (Reina Sofia National Museum, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum of Art, Museo del Prado) and a beautiful park in the middle of the city, resembling Central Park in New York. Its shopping is one of the best in Europe and nightlife in some urban districts goes on all night. Madrid proves that it is more than just a famous soccer club.
Vienna is often overlooked in the tourist European circuit because of its distance to other major European cities. Someone once said that Vienna is like Paris, but without the French. It boasts of outstanding architecture in its historic center and is a very walkable city to explore. Vienna isn't just about its beauty. It is very cosmopolitan and hip with a great nightlife. And if you're a fan of the schnitzel, there really is no better place to have it.