We all know that no cities are rated the same. Imagine someone disliking Paris, or even someone who chooses London over New York. Everyone has their own preferences, and preferring one location over another is perfectly admissable, however objective beauty cannot be denied.
Let’s take a quick look at the ten most underrated cities of Europe. We will simply provide a run-through of cities worth visiting, and leave the actual visiting to you.
The cities will be listed by population, starting from the least inhabited, in order not to play favourites.
The top 10 most UNDERRATED CITIES in Europe
#1 Karlovy Vary, Czechia
When it comes to ancient buildings, most of the Czech Republic (more recently known as Czechia) is very well preserved. Aside from Prague being the obvious example, this small, fairytale-like city also boasts a wonderful uniformity of architecture. Tastefully built around around the river, this thermal town is surrounded by tall, green hills on both banks. Rows of art nouveau buildings are reminiscent of a movie set in the late 19th century.
#2 La Coruna, Spain
Located on the isolated north-west corner of the country, this magnificent maritime city easily wins the hearts of many. Thanks to its unique buildings with glass fronted balconies, the city earned the nickname ‘The Crystal City’. What’s more, the city features a hill with winding roads, several sandy beaches as well as an ancient Roman lighthouse. Is that good enough?
#3 Zurich, Switzerland
Switzerland is pretty much renowned for the beauty of its mountains, rather than the beauty of its cities. That said, the most inhabited Swiss city is a real gem, combining a wonderful lake with its elegant suburbs climbing over the hills. On the other hand, the Old Town is a labyrinth of narrow streets, churches, balconies, walls and museums.
#4 Gdansk, Poland
While Poland features other, more popular cities (namely, Krakow and Warsaw), the ancient Free City is a whole different story. Its monumental aesthetic features include channels, tall houses with triangular roofs, baroque fountains, gothic churches and old barns along the riverside. Despite being largely rebuilt after WWII bombings, its everlasting charm remains undisputed.
#5 Liverpool, England, UK
Although a lot of people have been recently speaking about Manchester, its fiery rival city (not only in the world of football) on the banks of the Mersey is absolutely stunning. The list of bizarre monuments to visit includes the two cathedrals on the hill. This city is also home to The Beatles, and we can follow in their footsteps either at the museum dedicated to them or at the immortal locations where their songs were written.
#6 Lyon, France
Milan’s sister city Lyon never gets the recognition it deserves, since Paris tends to outshine it in every aspect. Lyon also features a hill, or rather several hills. The same goes for rivers: two of them – the Rhone and the Saone- can be found here. The town also features the same elegance as the ‘ville lumière’. You will inevitably fall in love with its long, charming tree-lined avenues.
#7 Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Amsterdam may stand undefeated, but this city in Southern Holland has nothing to do with stereotypical dutch cities. A few select decentralized neighborhoods feature old houses with picturesque canals. If you’re travelling to the Netherlands, the city’s wonderful mixture of bridges, port facilities, skyscrapers and parks make Rotterdam an unmissable destination.
#8 Belgrade, Serbia
This city lies at the confluence of the Sava and the Danube. It is also located in a country which is isolated from the rest of Europe. This explains why it has never achieved the popularity it deserves – this is unfair, considering the huge potential of this wonderfully decadent city. Belgrade features beautiful hills that slope downwards towards river banks, old fortresses. The austere influence of the Habsburgs combined with an incredibly vibrant nightlife.
#9 Hamburg, Germany
This beautiful city is hidden behind the largest port in Europe. Hamburg offers a large variety of urban landscapes including a massive lake lined by charming villas surrounded by gardens; the canals of the warheouse district, the monumental elegance of the city center’s open spaces, St. Pauli’s nightlife and the village-like atmosphere of the Altona district are just a few examples.
#10 Kyiv, Ukraine
Despite Ukraine being overlooked due to the ongoing conflict in the Donbass region, this vibrant capital remains confident of its image. Like other underrated capitals, the city also boasts two basic elements which alone make it a fascinating destination. A river and a hill. Throw into the equation typical Soviet monumental architecture, churches with bulbous domes and food market stalls. The result: a charming place standing between two worlds.