9 underrated European beautiful cities we have visited in 2017

Now that 2017 is coming to an end, I have been reminiscing on some of the stunning places we have travelled to during this year.

Yes, we’ve have been to big  touristy cities like Paris, Amsterdam, Athens, Venice, London… and we love each and every one of those cities, but then again, there are those outstanding less popular cities that can still manage to take our breath away. And we were not the only ones: big travel bloggers and travel channels are saying the same. if you don’t believe us **please believe us** we’ll refer you to the biggest names in the travel industry… all for a good cause!

Belgium:

When most people decide to travel to Belgium, Brussels and Bruges are often the destinations they choose to visit. We are not saying you shouldn’t, on the contrary we would advise you to visit those cities but to add to your trip two Belgian cities which Erwin and I are very fond of : Ghent and Antwerp.

1-GHENT

We love it so much we took our friends Rima and Eddy last week. I have previously written an article on why you should go to Ghent. Not to repeat myself, please check it out here.

“Truth to be told, Ghent is the least touristy of the four Belgian cities. I still don’t understand why a city that enchanting is still kept hidden from the average traveler. But then again, less tourists means we’ve got the city all to ourselves!” Jesse In Wonderland.

The Thrillist agrees about Ghent being one of those Belgian cities which are overlooked.

Sure, the quaint canals of Bruges are some of the best in the world, but that Belgian burg’s been getting its due ever since Colin Farrell was banished there for killing an altar boy. Ghent, by comparison, is virtually unknown in the US, and strikes the balance between sleepy, Flemish town, and bustling, modern city, thanks to its trendy shops on Vlaanderenstraat, fantastically well-preserved medieval architecture, and Glass Alley, possibly the world’s smallest red light district. And let’s not forget the scenic canal rides — yes, Ghent has canals too. This is Europe, after all.

2-ANTWERP

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The statue outside the Antwerp Town Hall is called Brabo. According to the legend, a mythical giant called Antigoon lived by Scheldt river and demanded a toll from all those who cross the river. If anyone refused to pay, Antigoon would sever one of their hands and throw it to the river. Brabo, a brave soldier, cut off the giants hand and tossed it to the river. That's what the name of the city of Antwerp comes from:Antwerpen was derived from Dutch words which meant"throw a hand" #belguim#antwerp#wanderlust#firstmonthanniversary#center#mustdo#beautifulday#love#happyplace#happyus#hubbywifey#erwinjesse#roadtrip#tourism#iamtb#travelbloggers#travelblog#jesseinwonderland#Visamiddleeast#NotATourist

A post shared by Jesse_Erwin (@lavieaubel) on

Antwerp is in the top 10 cities to visit in 2018 according to Lonely Planet. If Lonely Planet says it, it must be so…right?

“Once northern Europe’s greatest city, today Antwerp is one of its best-kept secrets. Flanders’ unofficial capital is laden with historic riches and home to world-class arts and design, and this year it’s showing its cultural chops with a celebration of its Baroque heyday. Inspired by the city’s most famous resident, Rubens, Antwerp Baroque 2018 will feature Flemish Masters rubbing shoulders with modern talent in a calendar that spans parades, concerts, street art, multimedia shows and workshops. Not that Antwerp’s residents need an excuse to unleash their creativity: the city, especially its former docks, is flush with pop-up bars, farm-to-fork joints and architectural showstoppers”… Lonely Planet

The Netherlands

When most people decide to travel to The Netherlands, Amsterdam is often the city they choose to visit. I would advise to add to Amsterdam two other cities which are not very far away: Rotterdam (Amsterdam rival city) and Utrecht.

3-ROTTERDAM

Rotterdam is catching up on Amsterdam as the most popular place in the Netherlands, according to a new report by branding experts Hendrik Beerda and Utrecht University.
Rotterdam scored 11 in the top European travel destinations in 2017

“Rotterdam is a young, dynamic global city, continuously renewing itself at a rapid rate. Sparkling skyscrapers, an impressive port, trendy restaurants and food markets, renowned museums and awesome festivals are the direct result of the can-do mentality of the Rotterdammers.

Full of energy and innovation, Rotterdam reinvented itself after the bombing of the Second World War. It broke with the past and chose modern architecture. The motto: light, air and space, was ground breaking for that time.

For a first participation in this competition, this cosmopolitan and modern city has attracted a very large number of travellers who place it in their top 15 favourite destinations in Europe”. European best destinations

 

 4-UTRECHT

According to Goeuro, the Berlin based travel search engine, Utrecht is the most beautiful canal city in Europe. We do agree that it’s stunning so much that we bought an apartment there and can’t wait to move by mid next year.

“The canals of Utrecht have something unlike any other inner-city canal in the world: wharfs. These are flat areas at canal level on which boats can dock and unload their cargo. The wharfs lead on to traditional cellars that have mostly been adapted to serve as houses, shops and restaurants.

During summer, people greet you from the terraces next to the water while enjoying a beer in the sun. The canals make for a great picture from the streets, but the views are most spectacular from the water itself in a canoe, a boat, or on a tour through the water on a waterbike. Floating leisurely down the Oudegracht in autumn, as the late afternoon sun filters through green and red leaves, and you will see why we’ve chosen Utrecht as the most beautiful canal city”. GoEuro

Spain

5-VALENCIA

When most people decide to travel to Spain, Barcelona and Madrid are often the cities they choose to visit. Valencia is often portrayed their two ugly sister **Totally untrue** Erwin and I are blown away but the striking beauty of Valencia. And we are not the only ones.

Travelettes considers Valencia their new favorite european destination.

“Maybe it was because I had so few expectations or little time to think about it, but Valencia won my heart by storm. The Spanish seaside town literally had everything I could have wished for: parks, great cafes to work and read in, passionate artists who are up for talking to strangers (me), a lively street life, awesome food – and a chill atmosphere. There’s a sense of freedom in the air which may come from its Southern location but I hadn’t felt that in a while, so spending four days there in winter fuelled my batteries on so many levels”. Travelettes

According to Oyster, Valencia is overshadowed by the cities of Madrid and Barcelona.

“Most trips to Spain take a similar route: Hitting Madrid or Barcelona for a dose of culture (hello, Gaudi!) or circling around the Costa del Sol for a beach getaway. Nothing wrong with that! But travelers willing to step off that well-worn path can be treated to this sunny spot, a coastal city known as the birthplace of paella, that sizzling dish of rice, seafood, and meat that’s Spain’s answer to American barbecue” Oyster

Even Travel and Leisure agrees with Valencia being one of the most underrated cities in the World.

Visitors to Spain’s third largest city, an architecturally rich cosmopolitan port on the Mediterranean, in a single stroll can amble past the Baroque facades and splashing fountains of the Plaza del Ayuntamiento to the Gothic spires of the Silk Market, the Art Nouveau lines of the Mercado Central, and the mélange of styles in the photogenic Plaza de la Virgen. Across town at the City of Arts and Sciences expect to be wowed by the futuristic imaginings of hometown architectural guru Santiago Calatrava. This space-age complex houses, among other attractions, the Oceanografic, an aquarium home to 45,000 undersea creatures. Travel and Leisure

6-LANZAROTE

To avoid repeating myself, I will refer you to the article we written about the 12 reasons Lanzarote should be your be next travel destination

Telegraph agrees with me: Lanzarote is one the 15 best summer holiday islands in Europe.

“This may surprise you, but Lanzarote in the Canary Islands is turning into a rather upmarket destination. Don’t expect anything glitzy or flashy though; this quiet revolution is all about staying in chic, eco-friendly places and spending your days cycling, walking, surfing or sampling the local wines”. The Telegraph

Lonely Planet considered Lanzarote 2 best valued destination for 2018.

Over the past decade, in-the-know independent travellers are increasingly heading to Lanzarote. Awaiting them is a well-developed infrastructure that makes it a doddle to find affordable lodgings, food and car rental. There’s plenty of no-nonsense holiday fun, but Lanzarote also revels in its uniqueness. The moon-like scenery of Parque Nacional de Timanfaya, unspoilt beaches of Órzola and black-sand wineries of La Geria reward those who come here for more than a traditional seaside break. In one small package you can explore César Manrique’s artistic and architectural footprint, follow stunning hiking trails, and enjoy unexpected and jaw-dropping views along many drives around Lanzarote. Lonely Planet

Portugal

7-PORTO

When most people decide to travel to Portugal, Lisbon is the city they decide to visit. And in fact, Lisbon is stunning but so is Porto.  In fact, Porto was voted European best destination 2017.

Never has the choice of the winning city been so unanimous among travellers from all other the world. It is with the votes of worldwide travellers from 174 countries that Porto wins this European title again for the third time (2012, 2014, 2017). Travellers from the USA, the United Kingdom, France, Denmark, South-Africa, South Korea, Ireland and Canada, among others,… voted Porto in the first place in this competition.

Porto is exceptional in more ways than one and the “Cidade Invicta” (unvanquished city) is history, is architecture, culture, gastronomy, trade, encounters and discoveries, will seduce you. European best destinations 

Germany

8-DUSSELDORF

There is Berlin , Munich and the Bavaria area, but there are two other lively cities as well: Dusseldorf and Cologne.

“What I love most about Düsseldorf is that it is not a city that thrives on tourism. Not a lot of people know where to go and what to in Düsseldorf and maybe I should have left it that way. But Düss is such a precious hidden gem with so much to offer, and I honestly believe it is a shame to keep it undiscovered. That is exactly why I wanted to share it with as many as I can, after all doesn’t sharing equals caring”! Jesse In Wonderland

Travel Pulse agrees with me about Dusseldorf.

“Dusseldorf, one of Germany’s most underrated cities, is known for many things, including its standing as an economic and cultural hub, its numerous and impressive art collections and its beer … and not necessarily in that order.

Of the many things Dusseldorf is, there is one thing that it isn’t. Dull. Travel Pulse

Travel and Leisure considers Dusseldorf to be one of the most Underrated cities in the World.

Voted the city with the best quality of life in Germany, this metropolis just north of Cologne on the Rhine River offers a fashionable welcome to visitors. Its congress center hosts some of Europe’s major trade shows, while its chic Königsallee, a tree-lined shopping street fondly called the Kö, is home to every designer boutique imaginable. To sample Düsseldorf’s less stuffy ambience, head to Old Town, where each night crowds of young locals descend to slurp huge steins of pilsner and feast on pork knuckles. Travel and Leisure

9-COLOGNE

Cologne is richer in diversity, and more vital and lovable than virtually any of Germany’s other big cities. The “Cologne way of life” is highly infectious – and that’s reason enough to pay Cologne a visit! European Best Destinations

According to the Telegraph, Cologne is underrated.

Arguably the most attractive city in Germany (though Munich and Dresden are welcome to dispute this), Cologne sits regally on the banks of the Rhine. This is all part of its appeal. You can find a raft of excellent eateries along the waterside drag of Am Frankenturm and superb modern art at the Museum Ludwig (museum-ludwig.de), while the cake is iced by the Dom – the cathedral which was once the world’s tallest building.” The Telegraph

So, now that that you heard more voices advocating for these stunning cities, will you visit them?

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