European capitals are famous around the world for their glamor and greatness: London, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels. They are the most visited places in Europe, but there are some hidden gems that are also amazing and worth a visit.
1. Lubeck, Germany
Also known as, “The Venice of the North,” Lubeck is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site. Its airport is mostly used for fliers heading to Hamburg, since they are very close. Located on an island surrounded by the Trave river, the old part of the city is rich in history, with gorgeous medieval buildings, towering Gothic churches, narrow streets and lovely squares. Lubeck is also home to an important German university, and the birth place of three Nobel Prize winners. Professor Nicholas Harrison, director of computational materials science group at the Imperial College London, describes this city as the “sleeping beauty of northern Europe.”
2. Nantes, France
If Lubeck is “The Venice of the North,” Nantes has been called “The Venice of the West,” due to its position at the confluence of many waterways (Loire, Erdre, Sèvre, Chézine rivers) and canals. Located in the area of Historic Brittany and capital of the western Loire Départment, l’Île de Nantes is a 3-mile-long island that has been transformed from docklands to an urban playground, through a wide urban renewal. Some buildings are new, such as the dramatic Palais de Justice. Many others are historic, including warehouses converted into cafés and studios. Nantes is famous for its "Art de Vivre," and is home to the Théâtre Graslin, which has one of the best French symphony orchestras.
3. Brighton, England
On the southern coast of England in East Sussexshire, we can find the former Brighthelmston’s settlement, nowadays known as Brighton. Visiting the center, you can find the famous Royal Pavilion, built between 1787 and 1820 as a residence for the Prince of Wales, the future King George IV. Purchased from the city of Brighton in 1850, this unusual pseudo-Oriental building now houses a museum, while the nearby stables were converted into a concert hall. Besides the Brighton Pier (built in 1899, also known as Palace Pier), a large marina, the aquarium and the racecourse, this beautiful English city is rich with theaters and museums.
4. Utrecht, The Netherlands
Originally, the city was a Roman fort of auxiliary troops, around 47 CE. The fort was located on the river Rhine, which at the time marked the boundaries of the Roman Empire. Nowadays, from the urban point of view, Utrecht is the typical Dutch city, with high Expressionist buildings on the canals. The town center is small enough to be explored on foot, but rich with artistic and cultural resources. The Rietveld Schröder House, the home of Dick Bruna, St. Catherine convent, the Central Museum and the Museum of Speelklok musical instruments are just a few of the interesting landmarks of the city.
5. Granada, Spain
This southern Spanish city was founded by the Romans under the name of Illibris. The center lies at the foot of the Sierra Nevada, between the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the Andalusian hinterland. It is famous for its Spanish-Middle Eastern charm. The marvel of Granada is undoubtedly Alhambra, the impressive Moorish fortress full of ornate palaces surrounded by wonderful gardens, such as Generalife and Albayzín. The Alhambra complex was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Granada also boasts a Renaissance cathedral dating back to the 16th century, containing numerous testimonies of a thousand-year history.
6. Salzburg, Austria
Finally we cannot leave out the home of one of the most famous musicians of all time: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Artistically known for its typical Gothic feature of Nordic footprint, while being at the same time inspired by the gorgeous Italian Baroque architecture, Salzuburg belongs to UNESCO Heritage. Among the main buildings of the city, there are the Salzburg Cathedral (Salzburger Dom), Hohensalzburg Castle which overlooks Old Town (one of the largest castles in Europe), Salzburg Residenz, the magnificent former residence of the Prince-Archbishops, and University Church.