Want an authentic European vacation while keeping the same vibe of the most popular European cities? Look no further than these alternative cities.
1) London → Edinburgh
Although London is my favorite city in all of Europe, the prices and congestion are just not worth the hassle sometimes. If you’re looking for a “British” vacation with a Scottish twist, look no further than Edinburgh. The architecture, history, buildings, culture, and food make it a top-notch destination in Great Britain for a fraction of the price.
2) Paris → Brussels
Paris, the city of love, is a stunning city with adorable, unique neighborhoods. You know what isn’t stunning? The prices and (sometimes) smell of the city. Avoid it and hop on a train to Brussels. Not only do I consider Brussels a mini Paris, but you have easy access to Bruges and Ghent, two of the most underrated cities in all of Europe.
3) Amsterdam → Berlin
I love Amsterdam. The canals, the reflection of the buildings on the water, and the quirkiness of the residents. Looking for a similar, unique city? Check out Berlin. An insanely cheap capital city rich in politics, history, and culture that encourages and embraces quirkiness.
4) Vienna → Budapest
Want a similar city as Vienna without all the high prices (and cold weather)? Check out Budapest. With architecture and culture influenced by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, there is a similar feel between the two cities. However, with an additional Turkish influence in Budapest, the city has a slightly different, but great, feel to it. Don’t miss the famous Turkish baths in the city!
5) Copenhagen & Stockholm → Reykjavik or Tallinn
Copenhagen and Stockholm are two of the prettiest, yet most expensive, cities in the entire world. While you should definitely visit these cities one day, save your money and head to Tallinn. The city is rich in history and culture yet remains unknown to most tourists. Plus, it is such a walkable city. Want something more outdoorsy, take a flight to Reykjavik and drive around the Golden Circle.
6) Barcelona → Lisbon
Just as warm as Barcelona, but much cheaper, Lisbon is still a relatively unpopular city in Europe, especially with Americans. Located on the Atlantic Ocean and close to many day trips, Lisbon is the perfect alternative to busy, bustling Barcelona.
7) Bonus: Almalfi Coast → Croatian Coast
Everyone heads to the Almalfi Coast. While gorgeous, why don’t you head to the less-crowded Croatian Coast? While Dubrovnik is quite popular, head to the cities of Opatija, Split, and Hvar. The water is a mixture of blues while the seafood is mouth-watering. Plus, Croatia is insanely cheap!
While I love London, Paris, Amsterdam, Vienna, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Almalfi, it is nice to experience similar cultures without the touristy aspects of these major cities. Of course, you should definitely visit these cities at some point. However, if you’re yearning for a more low-key, authentic vacation, I suggest visiting Edinburgh, Brussels, Berlin, Budapest, Reykjavik, Tallinn, Lisbon and Croatia.