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  • Three Budding European Cities to Visit in 2024

    Europe is filled with incredible travel opportunities, from the metropolitan beaches of Barcelona to the quaint and historic canals of Amsterdam. These classic destinations remain popular amongst international tourists, but there is a rising demand for less mainstream places. Often, these spots can be cheaper – but no less charming. 

    Whether you’re looking to expand your culinary horizons or simply soak up the sights and sounds of a different region, you’re spoiled for choice in Europe. Consider adding these three hidden gems to your continental travel wish list and blaze your own tourist trail. 

    Batumi, Georgia

    Eastern Europe is home to its fair share of premium holiday destinations, but one that’s perhaps yet to get the credit it deserves is Batumi in Georgia. It sits on Georgia’s western Black Sea coast, giving visitors the chance to combine beach days with cultural experiences that are bound to make you question why it’s taken so long to visit. Plus, the year-round subtropical climate means that all of Batumi’s delights can be enjoyed in pleasant weather conditions. Home to lakes, mountains, botanical gardens, national parks, medieval architecture, and plenty more, besides, a travel itinerary in Batumi truly writes itself. 

    There’s lots to love about this city, but its incredible diversity is undoubtedly one of the more enticing traits. This profound blend of cultures has permeated into the city’s food scene, which celebrates both local specialties and international fare. You’ll be spoiled for choice with highly acclaimed restaurants right across the city, where you can sample and savor some of the traditional dishes synonymous with this beautiful country. 

    Ljubljana, Slovenia

    Bordered by heavy-hitters in the tourist scene like Italy and Croatia, the tiny nation of Slovenia is often overlooked by holidaymakers. However, in the very heart of the country, you’ll find one of Europe’s more quaint capital cities that is only just starting to make a splash in the competitive landscape of continental tourism. It has all the characteristics of a typical European capital: plenty of traditional buildings, a castle, a charming river complete with traversing bridges, and lots of historical points of interest. 

    Don’t be fooled by the city’s tranquil appearance, though – it also boasts a lively nightlife scene to rival its more well-known neighbors. With over 50,000 students living here, there is a youthful vibe that comes to the fore as the sun goes down, with plenty of bars and restaurants serving up local tipples into the early hours, as patrons spill out onto the tables and chairs that line the canal. To clear your head the next day, what better place to go than the world-famous Lake Bled? With regular buses connecting the capital to the town of Bled, you’ll even have time for a lie-in. Just remember to bring cash for the bus station. 

    Sustainable travelers will be interested to hear that Ljubljana also boasts incredibly strong eco credentials. With lots of pedestrianized streets, transport emissions are kept to a minimum, and it’s been recognized as a leading city in green tourism for many years.

    Braga, Portugal 

    Nestled in the northwestern corner of the country, Braga is more than deserving of its place on this list – but don’t just take our word for it. Portugal’s fifth-most populated won gold at the recent World Travel Awards in the emerging destinations category, meaning it’s unlikely to fly under the radar for too much longer. 

    Though it doesn’t break the top 30 of Portugal’s largest cities by area, packed within its relatively small borders are plenty of experiences and opportunities that are sure to headline your travel journal. Hundreds of years’ worth of history are crammed into Braga’s many religious buildings. From Congregados Basilica to Sameiro Sanctuary, a simple stroll through the city will bring you up close to some truly spectacular structures – an unplanned day can often be the most fulfilling. 

    If you prefer your holidays to be a little more regimented, prioritize scheduling a visit to the UNESCO-listed Santuário do Bom Jesus do Monte, which has been an important pilgrimage destination since the 14th century. And, if you’ve got a day spare, Braga sits less than an hour’s drive away from the city of Porto. While this all-singing, all-dancing city can’t claim to be one of Europe’s ‘up and coming’ regions, this bustling metropolis is well worth tying into your itinerary if you have the time. 

    Europe’s Hidden Gems

    We’re all protective of our holiday time. We want to ensure that the time spent away from home is worth the money and meets all of our travel expectations. While these three destinations may not have received as much attention as some of their next-door neighbors, they’re sure to only fuel your wanderlust and leave you dreaming of your next escape before you’ve even arrived home.

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