Europe is a magical continent, filled with beautiful architecture and interesting history, but there is so much more to see than just the Eiffel Tower and the Colosseum.
Get off the beaten track and see some more of what Europe has to offer thanks to Babbel, the shortest path to learning a new language.
Overlooking the Duoro River, Porto is Portugal’s second largest city. Wander through its alleys, filled with street art and restaurants, as you absorb the history of the World Heritage city. Porto is also the birthplace of port wine, making it a must-see destination for any wine lover.
Language Tip: Saying thank you in Portuguese differs if you’re a man or a woman. For men it’s Obrigado and for women thank you is Obrigada.
Must Do: Give Porto’s signature sandwich, the francesinha, a go – the Portuguese version of a fried ham and cheese sandwich. This local delicacy is best enjoyed at the award-winning A Cantarinha Café. Also be sure to visit the beautiful neo-gothic Livraria Lello Bookshop, rumoured to be JK Rowling’s inspiration for the Hogwarts’ library!
Immerse yourself in the medieval charm of Sighisoara, Romania, with its pastel coloured buildings and stony lanes. The merchant houses, cafes, hotels and craft shops are surrounded by fortified walls, with Saxon villages such as Viscri and Biertan just a short drive away. Known as the city of tours, Sighisoara has nine beautifully preserved towers making it an extra special place to visit.
Must Do: Sighisoara is the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler - the inspiration behind the tale of Count Dracula. Found in Citadel Square, the ground floor of Vlad’s birthplace is a restaurant, and the first floor is home to the Museum of Weapons. A small tip to the restaurant staff will get you a peek at Vlad’s bedroom too!
A beautiful East German city, and the capital of the Saxon region, Dresden is a must-see destination for anyone wanting to see quintessential Germany. Filled with museums and classic architecture, Dresden is rich with history and culture. What makes Dresden so fascinating is that even though the buildings look like they are 18th century originals, almost all of the city was wiped out in the Second World War, and was completely rebuilt in the 90’s to its original design!
Must Do: Dresden has such a rich history (Geschichte in German) to discover. Take a free walking tour around the city, and learn about the city’s beginnings as the Saxon kingdom, while exploring its beautifully rebuilt icons, such as the Frauenkirche (Lutheran church).
See the picture perfect views of Bled for yourself, with the stunning emerald-green lake, medieval castle and surrounding Julian Alps. The lake itself was formed from a melted glacier after the Ice Age, and is of tectonic origin, meaning that it is surprisingly warm to swim in – up to 26°C! Amongst the crowds of honeymooners, outdoor enthusiasts and families, take time to relax and take in the picturesque scenery before discovering all that Bled has to offer.
Must Do: Hire a bike and ride around the lake (6km) while taking in the amazing views. Finish the ride off with a treat; the famous Bled Cream Cake! Over 12 million pieces of this culinary delight have been sold in Bled. The cake is best enjoyed at the Park Restaurant and Café - sit on the terrace and overlook the inviting lake whilst indulging in your local delicacy!
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
People tend to forget that there is much more to The Netherlands than just Amsterdam. Rotterdam is a beautiful city, filled with conflicting historical and ultra-modern architecture, making it a visually fascinating city. It is also a cultural hub, with delicious food, awesome street art and wonderful museums.
Must Do: Visit De Markthal, Rotterdam’s incredible indoor market, which is commonly referred to as the Dutch version of the Sistine Chapel. Not only is it filled with incredible Dutch food and produce, it is the most stunningly designed market you’ll lay your eyes on!
Cork, known as the ‘real capital of Ireland’ to some, has so much to offer. Despite being badly hit by the economic recession, Cork is reinventing itself, with artisan coffee bars and a developing hipster scene, all whilst maintaining its snug charm, with cosy pubs and live music. Above all, Cork’s proud locals make it a must see destination.
Must Do: Make your way out to Blarney Castle (15-minute drive) and kiss the Blarney Stone. Legend has it, anyone who kisses the stone is granted the gift of the gab, and the power of eloquence. Be sure to sum up your courage though, as kissing the stone involves lying on your back and leaning out over a ledge whilst holding onto railing! Eek! The gardens surrounding the castle are also worth a visit, especially the poison garden featuring plants that could kill!
The perfect cross between tradition and modernity, Split offers shops, bars and restaurants amongst its historic walls. Nestled between mountains and the Adriatic ocean, Split provides a stunning backdrop for a sun-soaked holiday while exploring all that the easy-going town has to offer. Split is also known as the sporting capital of Croatia, with the most Olympic medal winners per capita.
Must Do: In a town full of people who love their sport, be sure to involve yourself in a local ball game - Picigin. Head down to the Bacvice Beach where you will find lots of people playing. The aim of Picigin is to keep the ball in the air for as long as possible, and there are no winners in this game, making it fun for everyone!