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European Cities to Visit That Are Not Capitals

by Allie Moore

Apr 26, 2015

Antique Architecture of Lyon, France © Prochasson Frederic | Dreamstime

Destination

Paris, Rome and London are obvious choices when planning a European getaway, but smaller, lesser-known cities are slowly overshadowing their larger cosmopolitan counterparts. Take the road less traveled and explore these hidden gems.

 

Lyon, France © new seemak | Dreamstime

Lyon, France © New Seemak | Dreamstime

 

France: Lyon

This budding culinary capital of France is often overlooked due to its small size and distance from the more popular French city of Paris. However, this city is just a quick train ride southeast of France’s capital and makes a perfect weekend getaway. Visit in May for the city’s electronic music and art festival.

 

Clerigos Church in Porto, Portugal © Sean Pavone | Dreamstime 49926391

Clerigos Church in Porto, Portugal © Sean Pavone | Dreamstime

 

Portugal: Porto

Just north of Portugal’s capital sits its second-largest city with an incredible arts scene and the world-famous beverage, port. Porto’s architecture, seaside views and charming citizens make it a must-see alternative to Lisbon.

 

Architecture Rotterdam Cube Houses, Holland, Netherlands © VanderWolf Images | Dreamstime 33531505

Architecture Rotterdam Cube Houses, Holland, Netherlands © VanderWolf Images | Dreamstime

 

The Netherlands: Rotterdam

Modern art, stunning architecture and a laid back attitude are just a few of Rotterdam’s charms. The cutting-edge designs of its buildings set among the classic Dutch landscapes offer a juxtaposition that can only exist in the Netherlands.

 

The Historic Haga District of Gothenburg, Sweden © Rolf52 | Dreamstime 35536023

The Historic Haga District of Gothenburg, Sweden © Rolf52 | Dreamstime

 

Sweden: Gothenburg

Thanks to its northern location, the summer is the best time to visit this Swedish city when the sun is out until 10 p.m. Less posh than Stockholm, Gothenburg has a thriving creative scene filled with re-purposed buildings, cozy cafes and cobblestone streets.

 

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