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15 Upcoming European Cities You Have to Visit Now before Everywhere Else

15 Upcoming European Cities You Have to Visit Now before Everywhere Else

Europe is the second most popular international destination for Americans, after North America (Mexico and Canada) itself. This means that many of the most common cities visited will include Paris, London, Rome, or maybe even Copenhagen if you want to deviate from the norm. However, have you even taken a gander at visiting somewhere like Paphos in Cyprus, or maybe even Riga in Latvia? Chances are high that you haven’t.

Many seasoned travelers would agree that you are missing out on the Europe of your dreams by only visiting the tourist traps you feel you have to see. Today, we will attempt to change your perspective of European travel, and open up your horizon to 15 upcoming european cities off the beaten path to many tourists.

1. Utrecht, Netherlands

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    While Amsterdam is still the choice city for individuals looking to visit the Netherlands, visitors to the country may want to consider Utrecht City, Netherlands. Built along a canal, Utrecht has a high student population to keep the city young while also undergoing a series of growth. Despite this, the city is still with great historical character, a shopping centre, museums, and cobbled streets that make it impressionable to any age group.

    2. Edinburgh, United Kingdom

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      London is always the association made when one says they are going on a getaway to the United Kingdom. However, if you are looking for a change of scenery to taking in the United Kingdom, Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh can offer you the development and entertainment that comes with a major capital while also offering stunning countryside greenery and the famous Edinburgh Castle.

      3. Siena, Italy

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        Most tourists to Italy attest that an Italian vacation isn’t complete without visiting the capital city, Rome. However, for those looking for something new and refreshing, Siena is the city you will fancy. Located in the Tuscan region of Italy, the largest nearby city is Florence. The city centre is the main aspect of the city and the most beautiful with the red stone roofs. However, you don’t have to museum hop all day. Siena is growing as a centre for shopping as well.

        4. Marseille, France

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          Despite Marseille being the second largest city and most visited city in France, it’s no doubt that Paris is the star of the show with their 24 million visitors a year, compared to Marseille’s two million. However, as a port city, Marseille offers the visitor a nice selection of seafood, unique shops, and museums. Voted Europe’s Capital of Culture for 2013, Marseille’s French identity and Greek influence brought by the city’s pioneers make it truly one-of-a-kind.

          5. Maribor, Slovenia

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            Ljubljana may be Slovenia’s most popular destination, but the city of Maribor should also be a city on your list for your Slovenian getaway. The district of Lent specifically is the centre of attention for Maribor, including stunning architecture, the world’s largest grape vine, and a myriad of ways to relax with well-known spas scattered around the city, including the Fontana Terme Maribor.

            6. Bibury, England

            Bibury, England by kevinmcgill

              London gets all of the headlines as the tourist destination for those visiting the United Kingdom. However, Bibury can be a great weekend trip for those looking to relax and take in the best of nature that the Britain has to offer. Featured in various paintings and artwork, Bibury doesn’t draw tourist in through tons of restaurants and tourist activities. It presents itself the way it is and the tourist come. From horseback riding to the picturesque Arlington Row, Bibury is ready for you to discover it.

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              7. Palmanova, Italy

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                As you can see in the photo above, the city’s plan is beautifully designed to form the shape of a hexagon. This is formed to lead to the city square, the Grand Piazza, that features the city’s famous cathedral known as the Duomo Digale. Palmanova, being a fortified city since the early 1590s, has a historic and somewhat medieval charm that is unmatched and under appreciated in Italian tourism.

                8. Ronda, Spain

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                  Ronda is a good tourist destination, especially for those taking in the rest of Andalusia, but it still has a rustic charm that has kept it from being damaged by overproduction and rapid tourism. The gorge, pictured above, is the main attraction of the town in terms of sightseeing. This doesn’t mean that the only thing you will be doing is taking pictures of it. You will find that restaurants are centred nearby, it makes for a nice walk, and events are regularly held. If you are looking for a well-preserved destination in Spain’s southern region, Ronda could be that place.

                  9. Tallinn, Estonia

                  ESTONIA  - TALLINN OLD TOWN

                    Being the capital of Estonia, tourism as a whole in the country still isn’t the most active compared to other European countries. This doesn’t mean that the city doesn’t come with the European flair that you’d want from a city. Being added to the UNESCO World Heritage site back in 1997, the city has not only be preserved, but has improved greatly over the past eighteen years. You’ll have your fill of restaurants in the Old City, with many specializing in traditional Estonian cuisine. From the Kumu Art Museum to the Seaplane Harbour, and even a couple of nightclubs sprinkled in, you’ll certainly have a ton of places to choose from to visit.

                    10. Muhu Island, Estonia

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                      Along with the capital city of Tallinn, an even more unique part of Estonia that isn’t necessarily in the tourist scope just yet is Muhu Island. The gap is apparent between the way of life and traditions of those in Muhu and those in the mainland Estonia. I’d equate it to residents of Hawaii and those who live in the mainland United States. The island features many farm buildings, museums, places to stay and eat, as well as a jazz festival in the middle of the summer.

                      11. Lodz, Poland

                      Facade of Manufaktura Shopping Centre by Adam Jones

                        For being one of Poland’s largest cities, Lodz has been overshadowed by the capital Warsaw in some respects. Regardless of this being true, Lodz is filled with a history that is most notably including World War II and the Jewish ghettos built around the city. If you are looking to visit a city that doubles as a thriving metropolis and look at the past, Lodz is the Polish destination for you.

                        12. East Anglia, United Kingdom

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                          East England is one that isn’t always featured as a tourist enclave. It is relatively unknown for its beach lifestyle that isn’t normally associated with the United Kingdom. In some respects, it makes someone feel as if they are in Nantucket or another city in New England, United States. Like any other seaside city, you will find that East Angilla is a great place to go crabbing, and take in seasonal festivals and concerts including the Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival in September.

                          13. Formentera, Spain

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                            Formentera may not be the top European spot for those living abroad, however for Europeans this is the hot spot for those looking to soak up some rays. Off the coast of Spain, on the Balearic Islands, Formentera is known for being a beach city with a low pace lifestyle, and even some sunbathing with your top off at one of the many nude beaches in the city.

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                            14. Lewis Island, Scotland

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                              The Isle of Lewis is the destination for individuals looking for the most traditional Scottish culture one can find in modern-day Scotland. Along with very traditional architecture and cultural traditions, Lewis is also recognized as a protective area of Scotland due to the variety of flora and fauna that grace the region. Popular sites of the Isle of Lewis include ancient ruins and sites like Calanish Standing Stones, Gearannan Village, and the St. Columba’s Chapel, among many others.

                              15. Turku, Finland

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                                Helsinki is the most popular city for tourists in Finland. However, Turku is another location that, while not always in a tourist’s scope of view, is important to see. The former Finnish capital offers the most for visitors during the Winter holiday season; however, during other times of the year, you can find a variety of museums, two music festivals (Turku Music Festival and Ruisrock), and the famous Paavo Nurmi Marathon held in the summer.

                                Which European city, not mentioned above, do you feel should be discovered by tourists? Let me know in the comments below.

                                Featured photo credit: BBC via ichef.bbci.co.uk

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                                Last Updated on September 28, 2020

                                The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                                The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                                At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

                                Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

                                One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

                                When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

                                So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

                                Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

                                This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

                                Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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                                When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

                                Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

                                One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

                                Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

                                An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

                                When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

                                Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

                                Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

                                We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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                                By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

                                Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

                                While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

                                I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

                                You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

                                Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

                                When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

                                Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

                                Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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                                Con #2: Less Human Interaction

                                One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

                                Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

                                Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

                                This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

                                While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

                                Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

                                Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

                                This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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                                For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

                                Con #4: Unique Distractions

                                Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

                                For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

                                To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

                                Final Thoughts

                                Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

                                We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

                                More About Working From Home

                                Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

                                Reference

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