As the summer holidays begin, we give you 5 destinations to avoid the crowds, save some money and still have a wicked time.
Sadly since the Brexit vote, the exchange rate is bad and flights from Britain to European destinations have gone up 20% in price but they’re only going to get more expensive so make the most of it while you can with these great breaks.
Slovenia’s and Europe’s green capital is the perfect weekend break. Full of museums and an idyllic winding river, it’s small enough to walk around but large enough to still run out of time to see everything.
Make sure you go up the funicular to Ljubljana Castle for stunning sunset views before heading back down to the buzzing bars and university nightlife. ZMavc Bar, Shooters Club or Cirkus are the go to places to dance the night away.
Surrounded by beautiful hills, lakes and the expansive Tivoli Park, it’s a great starting point to explore a much-underrated country. If you fancy some Italian coast it’s also not far from the gorgeous city of Trieste.
Often overlooked in favour of its more well known, southern neighbour Split, Zadar really is a jewel of the Croatian coast. Stroll around the historical old town and Roman ruins, popping into a church or two to explore and escape the midday sun.
Take a sailing boat out to discover the picturesque islands and pretend for a day you’ve joined Europe’s elite as you snorkel in crystal clear waters. If you’d rather stay on land, sit with locals near the city centre and enjoy the ocean view whilst listening to the ‘Sea Organ’ (yes it’s a real thing).
Chill out in Ledena or The Garden Lounge bar during the day or at night - compared to most of the city their quite expensive but still totally worth it.
From there Maraschino Bar is a cool spot and then end your night in Arsenal. It's a music venue that's hosted everyone from Lil' Kim to Sister Sledge but make sure you check their program in advance. In some places here bottled beers can be cheaper than bottled water, who can argue with that?
Brno, Czech Republic
Avoid the embarrassing British stag and hen do's in Prague and head to the less explored Brno, which still has plenty to offer. Either fly direct or drive for less than 2 hours from the capital. Get a photo with the Brno Dragon and then stand under the statue of the horse outside the St. Thomas church, looking towards the horse's head to get an amusing, pleasant surprise.
If architecture’s your thing, visit the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul or walk up to Spilberk Castle to get an impression of the scale of the city. Head further out to Villa Tugendhat or Veveri Castle for two very different but equally impressive buildings.
As night falls back in the city drink fantastic, cheap beer in one of the stock exchange bars or there’s one that delivers your drinks by toy train! With a recent ban on smoking introduced in bars in the Czech Republic, they’re much more pleasant now too. Two Faces Music Club is the place to go after dark.
Estonia’s charming capital on the Baltic Sea is quickly becoming a popular European destination. Tallin’s mix of recent modernisation and diverse cultures along with its amazing coastal walks means it’s on more and more travellers’ radars.
The dramatic old town is a UNESCO world heritage site, Tallin has plenty of Soviet history too and is also surprisingly often dubbed the Silicon Valley of Europe. At the top of the TV tower on the city outskirts, you can see Finland on a clear day.
By night, visit the very cool, yet traditional Von Krahl pub and theatre for some authentic Estonian life. For a more unique experience, Depeche Mode Baar is an entire bar dedicated to the band. Head to Club Hollywood or Club Studio for a more mainstream night out.
Brace the cold to visit in the winter and experience their incredible, fairy-tale Christmas markets or wait until July 2019 to see the Estonian Song Festival in which one of the venues is an old power station in the heart of the city.
Last but by no means least, is a German city known for its big businesses as well as its art and fashion scenes, in which the iconic River Rhine snakes through. As with all of these cities and most across Europe, Dusseldorf offers a great blend of the old and the new.
Savour a stein of Altbier in Alstadt, before walking along the river, stopping along the way to admire the western side’s contemporary design. It’s quite a posh and fancy city and therefore a little more expensive but there are hidden gems to find within it. Rudas Studios for example always has good nights happening.
Dusseldorf is easy to get to by plane from the U.K or even driving through the Netherlands post-ferry. It’s also seriously close to other industrial yet hip cities like Cologne and Dortmund.
So what are you waiting for, make an undiscovered destination in Europe your choice this summer!