Big cities often mean big crowds, big queues, and big budgets. You don’t want to spend your entire summer vacation waiting in line in the hot sun to get into that amazing museum. That’s why, by using our Europe trip planner tool, you can very easily discover more off the beaten path locations. Avoid the crowds and make the most of your summer vacation with our list of the best alternative city getaways for 2018. There are so many incredible places to go – you just might not have thought of them.
1. Go to Vienna instead of Berlin
Vienna is the classical music capital of the world, and for good reason. Mozart, Brahms and Beethoven are just a few of the musical geniuses who called Vienna home, and their presence can still be felt throughout the city. Vienna is not only a city of rich musical heritage, it’s a city that oozes culture. From museums to theaters and concert halls, to smaller fringe venues, if you’re a culture vulture this is the place for you. Summer in Vienna will be less expensive and less packed than a trendy city like Berlin, but it will not be lacking at all. In addition to its unique culture, the city is brimming with hip modern cafes and bars, sprawling parks and historical sites. There’s something for everyone to enjoy in this magnificent European capital on your trip to Austria.
2. Go to Prague instead of Paris
Imagine yourself walking along a picturesque river, crisscrossed by eclectic bridges, surrounded by history… Are you in Paris? No, you’re in Prague! Prague’s charming colorful buildings, exquisite architecture and breathtaking scenery will leave you satisfied and culturally inspired. You can spend days just wandering the city, watching the sunset from the Charles Bridge, exploring the castle, and getting lost in the Old Town. In the evening, kick back at one of its great bars and enjoy an authentic Czech supper washed down with some local beer. A fabulous end to a fabulous day!
3. Go to Budapest instead of Krakow
Culture, history and castles. Wine, food, spas, and beer. What more could you ask for in a vacation? Another of our alternative city getaways is Budapest. Take a trip to the Hungarian capital for the summer of a lifetime. Sample authentic local treats (especially the pastries), drink local wines, explore the countryside, and best of all, treat yourself to a day (or four) in one of the country’s renowned spas.
4. Go to Dublin instead of London
Summer in London is noisy, crowded, hot, and expensive. Take the path less traveled and hop on over to the next island – Ireland. Head to the capital, Dublin. It has all the perks of a major city, and is also near some amazing hiking and nature reserves. Make friends in a pub over a pint of Guinness. While you’re sipping your pint, make sure you’ve picked a spot where you can hear some traditional music for a truly authentic Irish experience. All around Dublin there are little towns that also deserve a visit – see what else you can find with our Europe trip planner tool.
5. Go to Lisbon instead of Southern Spain
Entire cities pick up and relocate to the Costa del Sol (the south coast of Spain) for their summer holidays. Avoid the rush, but still enjoy gorgeous sunny beaches on your trip to Portugal. Lisbon’s ecclectic architecture, wealth of historic sites, and great museums make this city truly special. Cool down after a day of exploring at the idyllic beaches, where you can relax on the sand or enjoy some water sports. Dance the night away in this vibrant city, known for some of Europe’s hottest nightlife.
6. Go to Dubrovnik instead of the Greek Islands
If you’re looking for the perfect mix of ancient history and idyllic beaches, look no further. Take a trip back in time as you walk the cobbled streets of Croatia’s stunning capital city. Recognize some of the pictures below? You’re probably a fan of HBO’s Game of Thrones – King’s Landing is filmed in Dubrovnik. Learn about actual Croatian history, or take a Game of Thrones tour. Discover other small towns near Dubrovnik for a day-trip using our Europe trip planner tool.
7. Go to Reykjavik instead of Stockholm
Take advantage of every moment of your summer vacation by heading north to the Land of the Midnight Sun. In Iceland in the summer you can enjoy up to 20 hours of daylight. That gives you tons of time for exploring Reykjavik’s museums, parks, theaters, and bars. Iceland’s capital is just a short ride from some of the most spectacular nature in the world, including some of the world’s most unique beaches – some with black sand.
8. Go to Sicily instead of Rome
If you’re dreaming of Italy, your thoughts probably wander to Rome. But what is it that you want out of your Italian vacation? If the answer is delicious food, quality wine, and soaking up some art and history, look no further than Sicily. This island has everything that you’d want from Rome, but without the crowds, noise and cost. Not only does Sicily have all of the things that make a trip to Italy special, it also boasts pristine beaches, sprawling vineyards, and stunning nature. Go for a gorgeous hike, and then treat yourself to some vino Italiano, and delicious aranchini, a Sicilian specialty.
9. Go to Ljubljana instead of Brussels
Both are European capitals, set on the water, with charming architecture and lovely locals – why hasn’t Ljubljana caught on as a trending travel destination yet? Discover Slovenian history through world-class museums and magnificent architecture. Make sure to check out the amazing Predjama Castle, which is actually built into a cliff-side cave. Did you know that Slovenia also boasts beautiful vineyards and fine wine? No trip to Slovenia is complete without a visit to the town of town of Bled, which is under an hour from the capital. For the perfect summer afternoon, take a stroll through this romantic town and then a boat out to the island in the middle of the lake.
10. Go to Kotor instead of Athens
Last but not least on our list of Europe’s best alternative city getaways, we have Kotor. Trade the Acropolis for Acruvium with a trip to Montenegro. Historians believe that the city of Kotor is built on Acruvium – a city that is older than Homer. Discover ancient history around every corner, surrounded by towering mountains, golden beaches, and bright blue water. The weather is great, the locals are friendly, the food is to die for, and there are no crowds.
Do you have any other recommendations for alternative city getaways? Use our Europe trip planner tool for some inspiration.
So there you have it, these alternative city getaways are truly just as beautiful as the big, busy cities of Europe. Get to them this summer before the crowds do – and when you do, let us know what you think – comment below.