Five Lesser Known City Breaks to Get You Off the Tourist Trail

You’re hot, tired and irritable. You’ve spent all afternoon queuing for various attractions. You barely saw them in the end anyway, because there were too many jostling heads in the way. Sound familiar?

There’s no denying the allure of the big tourist cities Paris, Rome and London to name but a few. But there’s also no denying the fact that they might not be for you if you don’t like crowds. There is such a thing as a relaxing city break, but you will have to deviate from the tourist trail. Here are five lesser known destinations not to be missed.

1.    Basel

Basel is Switzerland’s third biggest city, located astride the picturesque Rhine River. It boasts historical buildings dating back to the Middle Ages and is a centre of art and culture with numerous theatres and museums. The city offers a unique multi-cultural experience with suburbs in France, Germany and Switzerland.

Well worth a visit is the cathedral with its red sandstone walls, multi-coloured roof tiles and twin towers. Basel’s zoo is also a popular destination for families.

2.    Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is known as the ‘pearl of the Adriatic Sea’ and it’s easy to see why. This walled city in Croatia is nestled by the coast at the bottom of a steep mountain. Originally medieval, the old town seems to have remained suspended in time.

A visit to one of the nearby sparsely populated islands is well worth it. And the lush green island of Mljet is a beautiful place to spend the day. Dubrovnik is renowned for its fish and sea food, which is best sampled in traditional local restaurants.

3.    Kiev

The picturesque capital of Ukraine has a growing reputation as a holiday destination. Dating back to the 5th century, the city is known for its golden domed buildings and acres of landscaped parks. There is plenty to do with museums, a cathedral, theatres, and the world famous Kiev Opera and Kiev ballet. Don’t miss the Cave Monastery, which is perched on the hills above the banks of the Dnieper River.

4.    Seville

The Costa Del Sol is the quintessential holiday destination in Spain, but travel only a couple of hours North West and you will reach the beautiful Andalucian settlement of Seville. Once at the heart of the Moorish Empire the city is full of exotic influences and culture. Famed for its world class tapas, a visit to a tapas bar is a must. The Royal Alcázar is not to be missed for a real taste of Mediterranean history.

5.    Ljubljana

Set mid-way between the Alps and the Mediterranean, the capital of Slovenia is hugely underestimated as a travel destination. It is packed full of history with an impressive old town, a cathedral and a castle overlooking the city. A boat trip on the Ljubljanica River offers stunning views of the city and mountains. It is also possible to ski in winter, adding an extra dimension to your city break.

Deviating from the traditional city break tourist trail is an extremely rewarding experience. These lesser known holiday destinations have just as much charm and history as many of the more popular alternatives. Can you recommend any city breaks that others might not think of?

A travel writer for Hotelopia - I love skiing and snowboarding but I hate the unavoidable goggle tan.

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