There are many classic European city breaks – arty jaunts in Paris, food comas in Rome, big ones in Berlin. But the continent also holds hundreds of off-the-beaten-track cities – buzzing with culture, historic architecture, incredible food and diverse communities – that are, for a lot of us, still waiting to be discovered. Here are ten such European cities, all nominated at this year’s World Travel Awards for the title of Europe’s Leading Emerging Tourism Destination. From the capital of Azerbaijan to an ancient cave town in southern Italy, these are the European city breaks that should be top of your wishlist for 2021.
This Black Sea resort town should be top of your list to visit. The second largest city in Georgia is a modern metropolis surrounded by stunning countryside and dotted with unique historic landmarks.
2. Baku, Azerbaijan
The capital of Azerbaijan is a dynamic coastal city where a medieval walled city and ancient buildings sit neatly alongside modern high-rises. And it’s hosted Eurovision!
Photograph: Szymon Mucha / Shutterstock.com
3. Bydgoszcz, Poland
A pretty city in northern Poland, Bydgoszcz has a city centre dominated by rivers and waterways and dotted with unusual architecture.
Photograph: Rolf G Wackenberg / Shutterstock.com
4. Derry, Northern Ireland
There are decades of history to be discovered in Derry, Northern Ireland’s second city (sometimes known as Londonderry). A walk around the outside is a good place to start – it’s the only completely walled city in Ireland.
5. Kutná Hora, Czech Republic
A beautiful town east of Prague, Kutná Hora holds Unesco World Heritage status thanks to the gothic Church of St Barbara and baroque cathedral.
6. Ljubljana, Slovenia
The capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana is a green and lively place crowned by an imposing medieval castle.