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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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Eva Lantsoght

Eva is a university professor and a professional structural engineer. She writes about achieving excellence and success in life on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on October 14, 2019

10 Simple Ways To Increase Metabolism Without Working Out

10 Simple Ways To Increase Metabolism Without Working Out

When it comes to increasing your metabolism, getting a good workout a couple of times a week is only one of many players. If you’re not a fan of lifting heavy stuff, then you’re only expending extra energy for that, say, one hour of that specific day. But what about the remaining 23 hours? How can you make sure you’re burning blubber all throughout the day? Here are 10 simple ways to increase your metabolism without working out.

1. Stand More

Many health practitioners claim that sitting is the new smoking. We sit in the office, we sit in the car, we sit when we get home. It’s not only terrible for your health and posture, but you require a lot less energy when seated. So, a good way to ignite the furnace a bit is to stand as much as possible through out the day. You work in an office? Put two boxes under your keyboard or laptop. There are many free solutions to making a standing desk—so you have no excuses. When you’ve gotten used to standing while working you will quickly find that it’s easier to stay engaged as well—you’re less inclined to drift away mentally. In fact, this post was written standing.

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2. Gamify Your Life

Toys such as the Fitbit or Nike Fuelband, or apps like Argus, can help you increase your metabolism by giving you an incentive to walk more. Argus, and other apps like it, use the accelerometer in your smartphone to measure your steps and let you know when you’ve hit your daily goal. Fitbit and the Nike Fuelband do the same, but have a host of other functions to make being healthy a tad more fun.

3. Eat Your Veggies

Fibrous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli increase your metabolism by putting your digestive system on overdrive. It just simply requires more energy to break down the tough fiber of these nutritional powerhouses. You’ll also start feeling like a rock star from the overload of vitamins and minerals from eating more vegetables.

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4. Eat Protein

This is one of those rules that’s not to be misunderstood. While it does boost your metabolism to eat more protein, it should be instead of other foods, not on top of other foods. If you’re stuffing your face with a chicken breast when you’re not hungry just to boost your metabolism, you’re doing it wrong. Of the three macro-nutrients—fats, carbs and protein—protein is the one that requires the most energy to break down. So, if you switch out some of those cheese sandwiches with a few hardboiled eggs you’re on the right path.

5. Drink Loads Of Cold Water

Drinking a few glasses of ice-cold water in the morning can boost your metabolism quite effectively. Your body expends energy on constantly staying in homeostasis when it comes to temperature, so if you chug a bunch of icy water you’re making your body expend more energy on keeping itself at the same temperature. Using temperature to expend more energy is called thermogenesis and it’s one of the most efficient ways of cranking up your calorie burning—more on this further down.

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6. Spice Up Your Meals

Spices like cayenne, chilli, ginger and turmeric ignite your metabolism and make your meals a bit more exciting. If you make it a habit to add a little bit of spice to each of your meals it can be a habit that turns you into a fat-burning furnace.

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    7. Drink Caffeine

    No, drinking loads of coffee is not bad for you. The sugar and heavy cream you could be inclined to chase it down with might be though. Caffeine helps mobilize—that is, get rid of—adipose tissue, or fat. It also helps athletic performance, and some individuals report it to have appetite-curbing effects. If you’re very sensitive to stimulants, try not to have caffeine too close to bedtime though, as it can mess with your sleep.

    8. Plan Your Meals Around Exercise

    I know the title of this post says “…Without Working Out” but this trick technically is more a nutritional trick than an exercise-related one. When you’ve exerted yourself and, hopefully, broken down some muscle fibers, your protein synthesis, or the rate at which you build muscle, increases. So, having heavy meals after a workout will make sure those calories get stored in the right places. This is one of the reasons it’s a good idea to get a heavy session in before the Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

    9. Do Intermittent Fasting

    It’s long been said you should always eat a heavy breakfast as it kick starts your metabolic rate. There hasn’t been any study proving this though. There have only been behavioral studies correlating obesity with breakfast skippers, but it’s always been a case of confusing correlation with causation. It’s not the fact that you skip breakfast that makes you fat; it’s the poor food choices you make throughout the rest of your day. Studies have shown that fat burning increases the longer you get into a fast, obviously depending on the body fat level of the individual. In fact, in one study lowered metabolic rate did not occur until 60 hours into a fast. Intermittent fasting is very much one of the bigger wins when it comes to increasing your metabolism.

    10. Use Cold Exposure

    For some reason it’s been common knowledge for a while that sweating increases metabolic rate. Scientist have known for a while though that the opposite is actually true; exposing yourself to cold temperatures increase your calorie burn significantly. Just slight shifts in your home temperature can mean pounds lost or gained when you gather the numbers yearly. How else do you think swimmer Michael Phelps is able to eat 12,000 calories a day? Obviously, he swims hours each day, but it’s not just the exercise he gets from swimming that allows him to consume such quantities of food, it’s also the amount of energy the body has to expend to keep itself at its baseline temperature in the cold water. So, taking ice-cold showers, decreasing the temperature of your home, or swimming in cool pools will help you burn a lot more calories.

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