Europe as a whole is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and that’s for good reason. It has so much culture and history dating back centuries, from ancient Roman ruins like the Coliseums to more modern wonders like the Eifel Tower. It’s a center of high fashion and has great, diverse cuisine – which is unique to each country. We all know about cities like Rome and Paris, as these generally top people’s lists of places in Europe they’d like to visit. However, what about some less known cities, the so-called “hidden gems” of the continent? If you want to get away from hordes of tourists and experience a more authentic side of Europe, some of these enthralling but less-visited cities are perfect for you.
Ronda is a small city (it has a population of around 35,000) in the region of Andalusia, the southernmost division of the Spanish country. Ronda is famous for its unique and striking geography – the town sits on a plateau, with cliffs that overlook a range of mountains. The elevation of the city offers a great chance to take in beautiful landscapes and breathtaking sunsets. American writer Ernest Hemingway, who fought in the Spanish Civil War, was in love with the town. Same goes for the American filmmaker Orson Welles.
The Puente Nuevo, or “New Bridge,” which spans a canyon around Ronda, is truly a sight to behold. The series of bridges which surround the city due to its unique geographical location are one of the most enticing things about Ronda. Ronda is also known for its old town, called La Ciudad, which is where Orson Welles spent much of his time. The city played important role in the development of modern bullfighting. So definitely check out the Plaza de Toros de Ronda, which is the oldest bullfighting ring in Spain. The Arab Baths which lie beneath the city are another popular attraction. They were built by the Moors and are some of the most well-preserved medieval baths in whole Spain.
Lungern is a true beauty of Switzerland. In this small town (population of just over 2,000), you’ll be surrounded by snow-capped mountains and have a great view overlooking the large and gorgeous Lake Lungern, one of many beautiful lakes for which the Swiss countryside is known. The town is the most highly elevated in the Swiss canton of Obwalden, lying about 750 meters above sea level. Lungern offers the romantic and idyllic view of Switzerland which many of us envision when we think of the country. If you’re looking to see the natural beauty of the Swiss Alps region, then the cozy town of Lungern and its surroundings are just for you.
Lastly, we’ll have a look at city of Rijeka, located in Croatia. Rijeka is the largest of the three cities listed in this post and is the third largest city in Croatia. It is known for vibrant culture and for being selected as one of two European Capitals of Culture for 2020. The city lies on the coast of Adriatic Sea. This strategic position made it highly sought-after by various powers over the past centuries and so made its ownership switch hands quite a bit. For this reason, the city has multiple cultural influences (there’s even a community in the city which speaks a dialect of the Venetian language to this day).
Famous sights in Rijeka include Trsat Castle, a 13th-century fortification; Our Lady of Trsat Church, which attracts thousands of pilgrims each year; and St. Vitus Cathedral, an impressive Gothic church completed in 1344 and dedicated to the patron saint of the city. Rijeka has something for everyone, though, and is famous for its bustling nightlife and the large commercial Tower Center, with clubs, stores and great restaurants. Because of its size and large number of attractions, renting a car is a common practice among the visitors in Rijeka.
Europe in itself is huge and beautiful continent, rich with cultural and natural wonders. But sadly way too many places are left unexplored or simply ignored. It’s a shame really, as these three cities are just a tip of the iceberg. But still, this can be seen as a chance for more curious world travelers to visit some unique destinations on the old continent.