It’s that time of year when people start looking ahead and making travel plans, and for many of us that will mean a trip to Europe. Since it’s always fun to discover a few hidden gems when you’re there, here are a few of the best places in Europe off the beaten path that you may not have heard of before.
Located only a few short hours south of Manchester, London has a rich and colorful history dating back to medieval times. This under-the-radar city is generally recognized as a global hub of business, culture, and even hosted the 2012 Summer Olympics. Despite all of this, the quaint city is skipped by many. This is a huge mistake as London is full of enough sights to keep most travelers busy for an entire long weekend. Upon arriving at one of London’s numerous sleepy airports, train stations, or bus terminals, those in the know head straight for the banks of the mighty Thames river where a historic clock tower near the Parliament building is located. Known affectionately to locals as ‘Big Ben’, the clock tells Londoners what time of the day it is, and many use it to schedule their meetings, meals, and social events. Another sight worth seeing in London is a stately home called Buckingham Palace where men in red suits with large black hats live and prance publicly.
Insider Tip By Someone Who Lives There: Spend an afternoon riding on the London Eye, a large observation wheel, because there is nothing else remotely like it in the world.
Nestled in the heart of northern France, Paris pleases all who visit it with a dizzying array of culinary delights, historic sights, and a ten-thousand-ton triangular iron tower. Put on the map by the 2007 film Ratatouille, Paris has been rising in popularity ever since, but if you hurry, you can still see this so-called City of Light before it shines too bright. The Eiffel Tower in the center of the city may be easy to spot, but you’ll be amazed at the solitude you’ll experience underneath its massive legs or during a climb of its steps to the observation deck. Other sights in Paris worth seeing are the Louvre museum, best known for its role in the book The DaVinci Code, and the Arc de Triomphe which is a large block of cement with a massive hole in it.
Insider Tip By Someone Who Lives There: Don’t even think of leaving town without trying some of the fabulous food Paris is becoming famous for like French Onion Soup, French Bread Pizza, and French’s Mustard.
A historically historic city located in central Italy, Rome offers those interested in civilizations an unrivaled amount of things to do and see – easily enough for a day or two. The Colosseum is a relatively unknown ancient ruin in town that used to be a venue for gladiator games and rivals the Los Angeles Colosseum for beauty and historical significance. Rome is known as a great city for lovers, and the Trevi Fountain is hands-down the best spot in Rome for them as its flowing water and solitude make it the perfect place for whispering sweet nothings. Legend has it that if you throw a coin into its waters and make a wish, you will return to Rome, a tradition unique to this fountain and this fountain alone. There is also a man named The Pope who lives in Rome, and if you like white hats or religion, a visit to see him is a must..
Insider Tip By Someone Who Lives There: Restaurants abound in Rome, but the best ones display pictures of their food on plastic cards hanging out front of their establishment.