Europe’s most undervalued cities

When we talk about cities that have been undervalued, we mean that the place is recognized below its fair or real value. But it can also be defined as being valued less than it could or should be. Generally, travelers when planning a trip think of those cities that are well known for their architecture, gastronomy, museums, culture or activities. 

However, there are other cities that are not so well known in Europe that go unnoticed or that have not been considered to visit; perhaps due to lack of information, communication channels or propaganda, but that still have a unique beauty, sometimes even dazzling, that can exceed the expectations of many; as well as its monuments, culture and gastronomy. 

For this reason, this article presents some of these underrated cities on the European continent, to be taken into account in an upcoming vacation, either as a couple, family or solo. 

Undervalued cities to Western Europe:

In the Province of Castilla y León, Zamora, in Spain:

The city has the largest number of Romanesque churches of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries on the European continent; about 24 of them approximately. At the same time, it has a good number of modern buildings, after Barcelona and Melilla. The Santa Iglesia Catedral, with its Byzantine style dome, the Romanesque tower and the cloister, where the museum with the collection of Flemish style tapestries is located, is very well known. 

During the Holy Week Zamora is characterized by its impressive celebration. In addition to its excellent cuisine, also little known, among it is the Zamoran rice, a dish that combines pork and paprika, cooked in the oven; but it is not the only thing, its tomatoes are also very famous.

Another interesting fact is the wine production of the wineries of Toro, on the banks of the Duero River, at the level of the famous Numanthia estate of LVMH. A wine region that many will be able to visit thanks to the high-speed AVE trains, which leave from the city of Madrid and take only one hour to reach the province of Zamora. 

In the Occitania region of France, Narbonne:

Located towards the south of the French country, close to the Pyrenees, with a landscape, gastronomy and proximity to the beach that until now has gone unnoticed. Narbonne is a city, but also a commune in the department of Aude. Usually, when the south of France is mentioned, Toulouse, Montpellier, Marseille, Arles or the French Riviera immediately come to mind. 

It is known for a coastal tourism area, the famous beaches, its different landscapes, including shallow lagoons and some wooded plateaus. It is also known for the Gothic style Cathedral of San Pastor and San Justo, whose construction began in the thirteenth century but was never completed. Also nearby is the Archbishops’ Palace, with two interesting museums: the art museum and the archaeological museum.

Also in Narbonne is the Horreum, a set of subway labyrinths, which functioned as a warehouse of the Romans at the time when it was a port; dating from the first century BC. Nor should you miss the Roman Museum Narbo Via, which focuses on antiquities of the Roman past. It also has the Natural Park of Narbona, where you can appreciate the flamingos or go horseback riding. 

Undervalued cities to Central Europe:

Bern, capital of Switzerland:

The city is crossed by the river Aar, and its old town of medieval architecture since 1983 was listed as a World Heritage Site. This old part is full of colonnades, fountains, boutiques, ateliers, bars, restaurants, cafes, among others. By 2009 it earned the 9th place of the city with the highest quality of life on the planet. Bern is a manageable city, small, open and friendly people, enjoying the water of the river.

It does not have an international airport, but it does have sufficient rail connections. A region with a lot to offer, such as the Mönch, Eiger, Schilthorn and Jungfrau mountains. Also, its traditional festivals such as Chásteilet and any kind of outdoor activities. 

In the winter season in Berne Oberland ski competitions are held. It has 350 km of slopes, 200 km for winter walks or hiking and also excursions with the famous snowshoes; and to the high region of the Canton of Bern a short walk, among others. 

On the Istrian peninsula, Opatija, Croatia:

Opatija, known as the Adriatic Riviera, is considered the cradle of tourism in this country; not only for its beautiful architecture, but also for the 30 km that are located between the coast of the Gulf of Kvarner and the slope of the Učka mountain range; being in its time very visited by the Austro-Hungarian elite, especially since the late nineteenth century, being the health center until the 1st World War. 

Opatija has a lot to see, such as the 15th century Church of St. James and its monastery, and the Church of the Annunciation, for its architecture. Also Saint. James Park, home to the Opatija Botanical Garden, which houses more than 150 species of plants that come from some distant countries. In addition to the Fountain of Selena and Helios, representing the moon and the Sun. 

In this city nature is the main protagonist, and we can not fail to mention the Ucka Natural Park, famous for its flora and fauna. A 1 hour drive away is the Risnjaky National Park, with forests full of truffles of this peninsula of Istria and beautiful beaches of the island of Krk. 

Also, for art lovers, there is the coastal sculpture of “The Young Woman with the Seagull” and in Veprinac, medieval buildings and some prehistoric ruins. 

Undervalued cities to Eastern Europe:

Greece’s 2nd largest city, Thessaloniki:

Thessaloniki or Thessaloniki is a port city belonging to the country of Greece, on the Gulf of Thessaloniki, on the Aegean Sea. Its history preserves evidence of Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman civilizations, especially around the city Ano Poli. The ruins of the palace of the Roman emperor Galerius, dating back to the 4th century, and the Rotunda, the oldest building in the city, which has been both a church and a mosque, can be seen. 

In Thessaloniki there is enough culture and art to visit for several days. We find ancient ruins, museums from classical and contemporary art, imposing Byzantine walls, majestic churches, but also elegant squares, stores, promenades, among others. 

It does not have the great charm of Athens, but it does have many entertainment venues, cultural events such as the International Film Festival, bus or ferry rides to reach the nearest beaches. After the 1917 fire in the center of the city, it was rebuilt in the 20th century in a European but modern style. Its population is energetic, young and optimistic. 

On the coast of Poland, Gdańsk:

Gdansk is a Polish port city on the Baltic coast. In the center, rebuilt after World War II, are the facades of the Long Market, which now houses restaurants and stores. 

Very close to this market is located the Fountain of Neptune, a bronze statue of the God of the sea, which has been a symbol since the seventeenth century, alluding to the relationship that this city has with the Baltic Sea. The city has a lot of history to tell, as well as an excellent gastronomy. For example, the museum of the 2nd World War, which is said to be the most complete.

Gdansk has been the nucleus of the amber trade worldwide and has been known since Neolithic times, which allowed the construction of a walled enclosure at the beginning of the 11th century; stores in the city continuously sell this fossilized resin.

You can also visit the Westerplatte memorial, on the peninsula of the same name, where a military fortification was located, acting as Poland’s resistance during World War II. Likewise, the castle in Malbork, the largest in the world in terms of extension and the best preserved on the European continent. 

In terms of more contemporary history, there is the Europejskie Centrum Solidarnosci museum or European Solidarnosci Center, which is also a library and research center for the exhibition of the trade union struggle and anti-communist opposition in Eastern Europe. Finally, if you prefer, you can take a boat ride on the Baltic Sea, a real spectacle. 

Posted in Europe.