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Seven Less Traveled Cities to Visit in Europe

Seven Less Traveled Cities to Visit in Europe

Rome, Paris, London — these are among the typical stops for every traveler coming to visit Europe. If you are looking for the big museums and major attractions, these go-to places are indeed your first choice. But if your goal is different, if you strive to get a sniff of true Old World charm away from the masses of tourists and in the company of the locals, then you might try a different approach.

As parts of Europe were destroyed during the wars and the population boomed in the subsequent decades, you can run into ugly towns and neighborhoods that simply consist of nothing more than concrete midrises and grocery stores. However, by getting off the train or bus in just the right town, you might find a quiet, less traveled pearl that is waiting for your attention.

1. Epernay, France

Get away form Paris and go to the Champagne region to indulge in as much bubbly liquid as you can hold. Epernay or Reims would typically be your first choice when it comes to visiting the champagne houses, but when you’re in the neighborhood, do stop by Vitry-Le-Francois. In summer, their food fairs can be in full swing, and you might be able to score bottles of champagne for just two food tickets and blend in with the locals.

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2. Aarhus, Denmark

University city Aarhus, the second largest town of Denmark, might not have all the sights and wonders of Copenhagen, but it gives you a good glimpse of the Jutland peninsula (the rest of Denmark consists of islands).

Grab a bike, tour around this lovely city, spend the afternoon in one of the many coffee places while enjoying Danish rolls, and then enjoy a typical dinner while having a Tuborg or Carlsberg. The Danish surely make life look effortless.

3. Girona, Spain

Just an hour outside of Barcelona lies one of the major cities of Catalonia. With its cathedral, fortifications, and the beautiful houses painted in hues of red and ochre along the Onyar river (Cases de l’Onyar), Girona combines Catalan industriousness with Mediterranean charm. Girona makes a perfect day trip from Barcelona or the Costa Brava, but can also be a great location from which you can explore Catalonia and the Costa Brava in their entirety.

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4. Lier, Belgium

Only 15 minutes by train from Antwerp and 30 minutes from Brussels, this tiny historical city combines a Unesco world heritage beguinage (which still has inhabitants, unlike the museumized beguinage in Bruges), the wonderful works of watchmaker Zimmer (including the Zimmer tower and the wonder clock), cobblestone streets, delicious cuisine, and independent fashion boutiques.

Explore the sights, walk the green belt around the city (de vesten), enjoy a free concert on a summer evening, discover the banks of the Nete river, and then settle down on the Zimmerplein to drink a Belgian beer and enjoy a steak with fries (at Brasserie Louis, for example) — discover the Burgundian attitude that still lingers in Belgium.

5. Koblenz, Germany

Where the Rhine and the Moselle confluence, this lovely Rhineland city is a gem close to the more frequently visited Aachen and Cologne.

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Offering great boat tours on the rivers, a cable car going into lush green hills, historic churches, and a beautiful castle, Koblenz can offer you all the pleasures of traveling the Rhineland, where you can enjoy cooled draft beers or fresh local white wines.

6. Utrecht, The Netherlands

Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague are the largest touristic cities in the Netherlands, but when you go slightly more to the East of the country, you can discover lovely, laid-back Utrecht. This city is again a great place for visiting historical places, sampling great local food and drink, shopping in the many stores, and hanging out along the canals.

7. Diekirch, Luxemburg

With only over 6000 inhabitants, Diekirch really is the smallest city on this list. Luxemburg in itself is too often forgotten by tourists or dismissed as simply a place for getting cheaper gas or doing some fishy banking by their neighboring countries. However, set in luscious hills like the south of Belgium, Luxemburg combines great cuisine with a very friendly atmosphere. Diekirch is mostly known for it’s brewery, so take your hiking boots to explore the hills and then relax with a great beer. How else would you go and explore Europe?

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What are your favorite lesser-known cities in Europe?

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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