Are you getting tired of hearing about all the same old holiday destinations in Europe? Paris, Rome and London are all great in many ways, but there is only so much to see and do in each of them and if you have been before it is time to try out some other places. If you have visited the timeless classic cities and are looking for new city break options then here are fifteen ideas to get you started planning your next trip. Some you may have heard of, others you may not, but all of the following are either too little known or unfairly overlooked in favour of more famous cities in their respective countries – which one will you decide to visit next?
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Porto is an ancient city with its roots in Roman times and a rich cultural history still reflected in the city's oldest districts, such as the Ribeira. It is known for being the home of Port wine, though it should also be well known for its contemporary arts and music scene. Often people will go to Lisbon instead, though cheap flight options are making more people consider Porto as an alternative option.
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This is both cheaper and more on trend than Stockholm. Hip cafés and art venues dot the city's charming and elegant streets and hipsters throng the artisan shops. There are a variety of museums and historic attractions for that cultural fix, and islands nearby to satisfy the explorer in you. This is a great place for artists and eccentrics to come to soak up the creative atmosphere.
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Freiburg is the sunniest town in Germany and one of the smartest. This is not just a University town, this is also one of the most eco towns in Europe. Bicycles and solar panels are everywhere and the city's historic core and surrounding woodland make this the perfect place for a holiday on foot. So leave the car behind and travel by public transport to this greenest of German cities.
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This pretty university city is youthful yet sophisticated. There are are number of fascinating historical sites here including a Cathedral and a range of tunnels below the ground. Maastricht also has a range of fine restaurants and plenty of bars. As you would expect of a University city, Maastricht has a respectable nightlife and enough going on to entertain even the most avant guard and urbane of visitors.
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Ghent is very much a modern city but the bustle of modern life has a very historical backdrop. Here you can see the Gravensteen Castle, the Belfry and St. Peter's Abbey and walk along the canal to see some very charming architecture in the city centre. This cosy little city is one with which it is easy for visitors to fall in love.
Granada, Andalucia, Spain
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The Andalucian city of Granada is most famous for the Alhambra, an ancient Moorish palace and citadel. Outside this tourist hotspot, the rest of Granada is a youthful city with a complex multicultural history and a vibrant mix of people, all of which makes this a very interesting, cosmopolitan city – a melting pot of cultures and people in which it is enthralling to spend some time.
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Bucharest was once called 'Little Paris' and with its wide boulevards and elegant facades it is easy to see why that was the case. This is, today, a big, bustling city with some of the country's best museums, plenty of nice green spaces and a buzzing nightlife.
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This port is a little rough around the edges and that unpolished aspect is a big part of its appeal. Genoa is a hilly maritime city with colourful buildings from a variety of time periods, narrow cobbled streets and palm trees. While some parts of the city are thoroughly modern, other parts will transport you back to the Middle Ages.
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Few people known anything about Moldova, let alone its capital city. Moldova is, unjustly, the least visited country in Europe with fewer than 20,000 people visiting, on average, each year, and often far fewer than that. Chisinau's buildings are mostly soviet era and unpreposessing but the city has plenty of green spaces and parks and is a good base from which to explore this pretty, largely rural, wine producing country.
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The delightful historic city centre of Bratislava features a castle and an unspoiled 18th Century old town with a number of quaint, cosy cafés, bars and restaurants. The River Danube flows picturesquely through the city.
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This quirky little city is the capital of Funen, the third largest island in Denmark. This story book town is famous as the birthplace of Hans Christian Anderson, which just makes this place even more quaint. Visit the open-air Funen museum here, or the zoo, or simply wander the picturesque streets.
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Glasgow is often overlooked by visitors from abroad. Perhaps they have only heard of the capital city of Edinburgh, though Glasgow is in fact the largest city in the country. Glasgow today is a vibrant cultural powerhouse of a city with a huge number of museums, entertainments and other attractions.
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Lovely Ljubljana is a quirky and pretty city that melds several cultures together, including elements of the Germanic, Slovenian and Mediterranean cultures. See the quaint and picture perfect streets all nestled beneath an imposing mediaeval castle.
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This Gothic walled city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a fantastic escape from the crowds of Warsaw and Krakov and has plenty to see and do in its own right. This city was founded by Teutonic knights and was the birthplace of Copernicus.
Brno, Czech Republic
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If you feel a bit overwhelmed by the stag-do crowds of Prague then come here to enjoy the Czech culture and the historic sites in a rather more serene environment. Cultural activity and entertainments abound.
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