4 European Cities and Towns to Visit This Year
Cambioing is all about authentic travel experiences and we are firm believers in off the beaten track, one-of-a-kind encounters that you won’t find in a typical tourist guidebook. While we love cities like Dublin, Krakow, Rome and Paris, it’s when staying in the smaller cities and towns that you will find the local experiences that most weekend tourists miss. Here are our top picks for alternatives to the big cities this year!
1. Ardmore, Ireland
Okay so we’re just a little bit biased, as the GoCambio head office is located in Ireland, but we simply couldn’t resist promoting the country that the GoCambio team calls home. The Emerald Isle’s seaside towns are full of authentic experiences for travellers looking to experience the real Ireland. Ardmore, in County Waterford, southern Ireland, is a cosy little town where you can take a breathtaking hike along the Atlantic coastline during the day and mingle with locals at the corner pub at night.
In the warmer months you can go swimming, kayaking or surfing at the beach. Whales can often be seen from the Ardmore cliffs. The Ardmore Cliff Walk, a favourite with locals and tourists alike, takes you up along the cliffs, past ancient ruins, and takes around an hour to complete. It’s a great way to take some time out, experience the fresh sea air and get some inspiration. We did come up with the idea for GoCambio while out walking this path, so its inspiring qualities have been tried and tested by experts! If you’ve got a bit of extra cash on you, don’t miss dinner at the Cliff House Hotel, which boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant!
2. Gdansk/Gdynia/Sopot, Poland
With their history, magnificent architecture and hedonistic nightlife, the popularity of Warsaw and Krakow is certainly not overrated. But consider making a trip to one of these three cities that make up a tri-city area in the north of Poland instead. Right by the Baltic Sea, these three cities are only a ferry ride away from Denmark and Sweden, which make them the perfect launching pad for a trip to Scandinavia. But they have charms of their own that are well worth sticking around for.
Image Credit: Wally Argus
Gdansk is the largest of the three and certainly the most beautiful in terms of urban architecture. It’s old town boasts beautiful old buildings, yummy restaurants and a happening nightlife. Sopot is a spa town which is a great place to relax and unwind. It’s beautiful pier reaches out into the Baltic Sea but if you venture there make sure you wrap up warm as it can get quite windy. Sopot also houses several Polish craft beer bars and local restaurants. One wacky attraction you cannot miss is the Krzywy Domek (crooked little house), constructed to look like something out of Alice in Wonderland. You’ll feel like your eyes are playing tricks on you!
And if you’re planning a trip to Poland and want to get some TEFL teaching experience at the same time, why not check out our awesome offer in partnership with Angloville, AngloTEFL, where you can teach English and gain a sponsored TEFL certificate with PremierTEFL and observed teaching practice in the picturesque Polish countryside.
3. Palermo, Italy
Rome, Venice and Florence are enduring favourites among travellers to Italy, and while it’s hard to match their awe-inspiring architecture and elegance, there are plenty of other cities worth visiting that will give you glimpses of the regional Italy. Down south you’ll find beautiful Mediterranean weather, hospitable people and delectable regional cuisine.
Image Credit: Bengt Nyman
Sicily hosts the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy, and many of them can be found in its capital city, Palermo. Ask your Host to take you on a walking tour of the city and show you the multitude of palaces, cathedrals and churches. A hike up Monte Pellegrino will reward you with spectacular views of the surrounding area and the Tyrrhenian Sea. Don’t leave Palermo without trying some of it’s street food, including the well-known Arancina – a deep fried risotto ball usually filled with cheese, bechamel sauce and some ham. Better yet, cook your own Arancina with your Host while you help them with their English. It will be a fun (and delicious) way to share your language skills and get to know them better.
4. Limoges, France
While we love Paris, we like to spread the word about lesser known destinations in France. Located in the heartland of France, Limoges has historic medieval quarters, cathedrals, museums, delectable food, stunning countryside and a thriving nightlife. You can read more about why this is a city you need to visit from our French Country Manager Anais.
So this year, instead of heading for the big cities, why not consider one of these smaller alternatives instead and give yourself a more local, authentic travel experience. Be sure to let us know if you have any favourites of your own to add to our list!
About the Author: Clarissa Hirst is a Content Writer and Editor at GoCambio. A born-and-bred Australian, Clarissa currently calls Sweden home. She’s travelled to over 40 countries, loves learning foreign languages, and her passion is inspiring others to learn about and explore the world around them. She hopes to one day speak fluent Russian and ride the Trans-Siberian railway. You can learn more about Clarissa on her website!