We’ve become more and more demanding about finding the next hidden gem and avoiding crowded tourist hotspots. Luckily, Europe has plenty to see that isn’t yet on every traveller’s radar. Check out these worthwhile destinations…
Perhaps one of the most underrated cities in Eastern Europe, but also one of the most beautiful. Any city with an Old Town gets our attention, and Bratislava’s is really something to brag about. Quaint cafes line its many streets, and this is also one of the best places to experience the warm hospitality of the local people. Of course, there are many famous points of interest like the UFO bridge and the eponymous castle on the hill, the Blue Church or a day trip to Devin, just outside the city – you could easily spend a week or so here. For efficiency and cost-saving, get yourself the Bratislava City Card, which at around €20 for a three days will get you access to all public transportation, lots of free museums, discounts at restaurants and shops, and so much more. Bratislava is also relatively cheap in comparison to its European counterparts with decent AirBnB stays near the castle starting from roughly €20 a night – bonus! With a low budget requirement and so much to see and do – Slovakia’s enchanting capital will charm you in a more humbling manner.
Fly to: Bratislava with Pegasus Airlines from Doha via Istanbul.
While still often chaotic, Tirana is an incredibly interesting and pleasant city to visit. Decades of Stalinist rule left Tirana grey and grim, lacking in both infrastructure and services, but after the collapse of communism in 1992, things have changed dramatically. Being Albania’s cultural, entertainment and political centre, Tirana has a unique, beguiling buzz that sees the locals be very welcoming and friendly towards foreign visitors – having been isolated from the rest of the world for the latter half of the 20th century, many are curious about the inflow of travelers. There are museums, monuments, and plenty of parks, but there are also rainbow painted housing estates that add brightness to a once monochrome cityscape. Day trips to the seaside, countryside walks in Mount Dajti National Park, an opulent opera house and a treasured 18th-century mosque, Albania has diverse appeal for those looking to infiltrate the soul of a city.
Fly to: Tirana with Pegasus Airlines from Doha via Istanbul.
We can hear some of you saying “huh, where?” – but, pay attention! Belarus is a landlocked European gem with elaborate palaces and cheap accommodation. Bordering Russia to the east and Poland to the west, the country is a great link between Asia and Europe, though one of the least visited. Yes, it’s a lot of concrete dotted with some green, but the history of this country runs deep. Some of the places to get up close and personal to Belarus’ past in Minsk include the Belarusian Great Patriotic War Museum, Independence Square – one of Europe’s largest and where you’ll find The Supreme Soviet of Belarus, the Church of St. Simon and St. Helen and Minsk City Hall – and Victory Sqaure, where military parades take place and also where newly married couples pose for their wedding photos.For a day trip, you can head over to Mir Castle or Nesvizh Palace. This UNESCO heritage sites are perfect to dive deeper into Belarus’ history and culture.
Fly to: Minsk with Qatar Airways and Belavia from Doha via Prague.