Advising its reader to "Ditch your guidebooks and venture to these lesser-known gems", leading travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler has published a list of the 22 most 'underrated' cities in Europe that should not be overlooked by tourists.
"And while we wouldn't dare tell travellers to skip some of the world's most noteworthy cultural and culinary hubs, Europe is filled with surprising destinations that will far exceed your expectations—not only because you may never have considered them in the first place."
In order to pull together its list of the most underrated European cities, which range from tiny towns in Sweden to lesser-known capitals in the Baltic states, Conde Nast Traveler tapped its network of travel specialists and European-based writers.
According to the luxury and lifestyle travel magazine, although the cities that made the list may take up fewer pages in your guidebooks than other hotspots, you will find these places possess just as much natural beauty and must-visit attractions as their more famous counterparts.
In seventh place on the list of the most underrated cities in Europe, is the beautiful city of Thessaloniki, Greece.
Located on the Thermaic Gulf, at the northwest corner of the Aegean Sea, Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece after Athens, renowned for its festivals, events and vibrant cultural life.
According to the author, "Thessaloniki may still be losing out to Athens when it comes to tourists, but Greece's second city is well worth a visit.
"Come for the world-class food scene—Thessaloniki was named Greece's first 'City of Gastronomy' by UNESCO in November 2021—and stay for the fun, creative vibe (owing in part to the large student population). While its historical offering is perhaps a little less grandiose than the Acropolis, it is no less rich: think a well-preserved Roman forum, the frescoes of the Rotunda, and Ottoman hamams.
"What many people don't know about the city—and, indeed, I was unaware of until I actually lived there—is its rich multicultural heritage. In the early 20th century, for example, Thessaloniki had the largest Jewish population in Europe, and the legacy of this Jewish community (particularly when it comes to architecture) is all around, if you know where to look.
"All of this while maintaining a decidedly relaxed outlook—Athens residents will often jokingly use the term 'halara' in relation to Thessaloniki, denoting the city's chilled-out atmosphere and slower pace of life."
Here is the complete list of Conde Nast's 22 Most Underrated Cities in Europe:
Ohrid, North Macedonia
Skanor and Falsterbo, Sweden
Villa Real de Santo Antonio, Portugal
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