Top 10 best cities in Europe for travel snobs

With so many travellers heading for the most popular destinations time and time again, many other great cites get missed. Besides, the busy main European capitals and tourist-heavy areas don’t always give the most realistic impression of the country’s everyday life. A much more authentic or interesting experience can sometimes be found if you explore just a little further afield. Here (in no particular order) are our collective favourite Top 10 best cities in Europe for travel snobs…

1. Porto, Portugal

Top ten best European cities for travel snobs, Porto, on

Although one of the cheapest cities in western Europe, Porto is nothing like as popular with visitors as Lisbon or of course the Algarve. Once shabby, the hilly river-side city is now most definitely chic; with pastel coloured buildings, a pretty harbour and wide boulevards. Its cut-price culture is also a big draw, with traditional Portuguese cuisine and locally produced beer being amongst the biggest bargains. Make sure you include a trip to the nearby Douro Valley, Portugal’s wine region. As well as being a beautiful world heritage site, it’s one of the few places in the world where grapes are still trodden by foot. See other best places to visit in Portugal.

2. Dresden, Germany

Top ten best European cities for travel snobs, Dresden on

Berlin isn’t the only cool city in Germany. The more compact Dresden runs a very close second. Dresden – just like Berlin – is a city whose cheap rents and open-minded culture has attracted artists by the bucket load. The older part of the city features iconic baroque architecture and world class museums and in the newer side you will find colouful avant-garde buildings, a constantly evolving cultural scene and some of the best nightlife in Germany. See other best spots to visit in Germany and modern hotels in Berlin.

3. Salamanca, Spain

Top ten best European cities for travel snobs, Salamanca on Photo

This is a lively student city that many tourists seem to pass by. Salamanca although, is undoubtedly beautiful with a medieval charm, a mix of Plateresque and Renaissance styles and one of the grandest squares in Spain. The city was for four centuries the seat of one of the world’s most prestigious universities and now the still thriving student population gives Salamanca a youthful, happy vibe. Choose from one of the many great bars, cafés and restaurants on offer to sample some of the city’s ‘joie de vivre’ for yourself. You may also like beautiful places to visit in Spain.

4. Verona, Italy

Top ten best European cities for travel snobs, Verona on Photo

The mythical home of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet makes an ultra-romantic city break all year round. Often thought to be one of the best cities in Europe to visit, Verona is exceptionally beautiful and much more peaceful than Rome. A comfortable blend of the old and new; historical architecture, amphitheaters, and traditional opera sit side by side with contemporary designer boutiques and modernist Michelin-starred eateries. Highlights include ‘Juliet’s house’ which features the sweet – but sadly fake – famous balcony. See other beautiful places in Italy.

5. Marseille, France

Top ten best European cities for travel snobs, Marseille on Photo

Not always thought of as one of the best cities in Europe, Marseille has since ditched its seedy reputation and high-crime rate in favour of a new era of sophistication. In fact France’s second-largest city has done so well in turning around its fortunes that the city is to be named European Capital of Culture in 2013 – seeing off fellow French rivals Bordeaux, Lyon and Toulouse. The city has a lot to offer the visitor, including a Mediterranean climate (perfect for exploring the rocky coastline) a fusion of different cultures, lively street markets and Algerian souk-like bazaars. Also visit the island chateau fortress made famous by the novel “The Count of Monte Cristo”, which is located just off the coast of Marseille.

6. Aarhus, Denmark

Top ten best European cities for travel snobs, Ron Mueck sculpture, Aarhus

Trendy, arty and youthful, Denmark’s second city easily competes with Copenhagen as a great destination for an European city break. The once forgotten about Aarhus is now enjoying a resurgence in popularity thanks to its thriving cultural and art scene and lively student population. Stand-out areas include the historic Latin Quarter and the busy waterfront Vadestedet where you’ll be spoilt for choice for great bars, restaurants and cafés. Oh and don’t even think about leaving without sampling the live music scene – many top Danish acts originate from here.

7. Tallinn, Estonia

Top ten best European cities for travel snobs, Tallinn on Photo

Tallinn is not exactly what you’d call an undiscovered secret but the increasingly popular Estonian capital is a real treat. Pretty medieval old town? Check. Winding cobbled streets complete with great shops and bars? Check. Impossibly beautiful and friendly locals? Check. Just make sure you avoid the summer months when you’ll be unable to move for large ‘stag’ groups on the hunt for cheap beer.

8. Utrecht, Netherlands

Top ten best European cities for travel snobs, Utrecht on Photo

Amsterdam has its famous coffee shops and legendary nightlife but Utrecht is perfect for those looking for a more subtle taste of Dutch life. The oldest city in the Netherlands, Utrecht has a lot to offer including an attractive medieval quarter, great shops and large number of festival events – the city hosts the country’s annual Jazz and Film Festival amongst many others. Architecture and history fans will also appreciate nearby Kasteel de Haar (one of the most beautiful castles in Europe) and the Rhijnauwen Fort which can be reached via a 145 km long cycling route.

9. Bath, England

Top ten best European cities for travel snobs, Bath on Phot

Bath enjoys its fair share of visitors  – it’s hardly uncharted tourist territory – but its southwest location means it’s not on everyone’s list for a European city break. The small town is known for its Roman Spa past, Georgian buildings and UNESCO heritage site status. Sophisticated but with a faintly bohemian air, Bath is justifiably proud of its beautiful architecture and great range of independent restaurants – many of which have several awards to their name.

10. Warsaw, Poland

Top ten best European cities for travel snobs, Warsaw on Photo

While many are seduced by the old world charm of Krakow, Poland’s fast-developing capital is sometimes overlooked. Though devastated by the Second World War, the present-day Warsaw has a distinctly progressive vibe. The immaculately preserved old town offers aesthetic appeal and the Jewish ghetto and Pawiak Prison is an important and poignant visitor site that shouldn’t be missed. Warsaw also does the cultural thing very well and you won’t have to search far for music events, theatre productions or art-house cinemas. For those looking to step up a gear, Warsaw’s nightlife is unrivaled in Poland.

We also have posts on… 

19 thoughts on “Top 10 best cities in Europe for travel snobs”

  1. Wroclaw Poland is another beautiful city in Poland, less known than Warsaw and not yet filled with tourists so its still an authentic experience

  2. Great article, Many peoples ask which are the the best cities to travel in Europe. We spend our days thinking about the best places to go, the sky’s the limit. You’ll want to start your European exploration by visiting some of these incredible cities first.

  3. My friends went to Salamanca, Spain last year and they enjoyed everything. I hope I can go here too and will surely try the other cities. Please post more.

  4. Excellent post. It is great to get some off-the-beaten-path recommendations for European city travel. Thanks a lot.

  5. Great snaps! I liked Krakow but I guess it is less snobby. Bratislava is nice for a day or two, as is Klaipeda in Lithuania – look for the Curonian Spit there, perfect for cycling.

  6. I’m so glad u picked Aarhus, I lived near Aarhus for about one year. It’s a great city. Me & my hubby wanna travel to around Europe this summer. Thx for the blog…we’re thinking Marseille! And It’s not so far from the French Riviera! :))

  7. Glad you picked Utrecht, definately my favorite city in NL. Try Groningen in the north for legendary student nightlife!

  8. Beautiful pictures and I love this blog. Will definitely visit the website more often and tweet about this post to my mates.

    Thanks for sharing and happy Blogging!!

    Happy easter

  9. Hey, where’s Oslo? 🙂

    Actually, this is a very interesting list. I really like most of these cities. And that photo of Dresden is very, very cool!

  10. So nice to see other European cities featured besides the usual ones. Of the ones listed I’ve only been to Dresden, but loved it.

  11. What a great list, some great cities in Portugal, Spain, France and Italy I may not have considered otherwise.

    Thank you

  12. Wow Becky – what a great list of cities that I might not have otherwise thought of as places to go next! I’ve heard Aarhus is amazing…may have to explore soon!

    Thanks for a great post!


Leave a Comment