Off the Beaten Path in Europe
Collected by Jenna Francisco, AFAR Local Expert
Europe is my favorite continent; in fact, I wish I had a whole lifetime that I could devote just to exploring it because, to me, every corner holds something worth discovering.
08199 Montserrat, Barcelona, Spain
We took the train out of Barcelona, heading north to the Monastery of Montserrat. After exiting the funicular railway, we found the light to be shining through the portico walkway, leading us to a wonderful church with heavenly music from the boys...
151bis Rue de Rennes, 75006 Paris, France
If small, intimate boutique hotels with a strong personality are right up your alley, then there is no doubt that this little jewel of the 6e arrondissement will be a good fit for your next stay in Paris. Less than 40 rooms, a cozy lobby, a...
Izraelská 712/1, 130 00 Praha 3 - Žižkov, Czechia
The New Jewish Cemetery is a little ways out of the center of Prague, right near the Zelivskeho metro station. It is beautiful and green, and oh so quiet compared to the busy winding streets of the main city. Although the most famous feature there...
Nový Svět 76/1, 118 00 Praha 1-Hradčany, Czechia
Prague is a historic city with ornate architecture but is now notorious for its crowds of tourists. This is one part of Prague that provides a glimpse of how the city used to be--quiet, quaint, and beautiful. When I first found this neighborhood,...
Wolvenstraat 9, 1016 EM Amsterdam, Netherlands
"9 Streets" (De 9 Straatjes) is a charming, picturesque shopping area in the heart of Amsterdam's canal district. Located between Leidsestraat and Raadhuisstraat, this area is named after the nine side streets connecting the main 17th-century...
Spui 12, 1012 XA Amsterdam, Netherlands
We woke up on day two, intending to wander around, grab lunch and then spend the rest of the day in the park. However, our host suggested a book market only open on Fridays. Within minutes of the suggestion, we were out the door, armed with...
Prinsengracht 315, 1016 GZ Amsterdam, Netherlands
One could argue that the Pulitzer Amsterdam isn’t actually one hotel. Before 1960, each of its 25 buildings was an individual, 17th- or 18th-century merchant canal house. Painstaking renovations over the years have guaranteed that each room...
Horní nám., 779 00 Olomouc, Czechia
There's a great historical tradition in the Czech Republic with astronomical clocks. Prague's "Orloj," located on Old Town Square, has been ticking and putting on a show since 1410. One hundred fifty miles east in the handsome Baroque-clad city of...
Vězeňská 1, 110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město, Czechia
A few steps from Prague's beautiful Spanish Synagogue, in the middle of Dusni Street where the city's most famous writer used to live, a headless, handless and footless giant supports a much smaller Kafka riding on his shoulders. The artist says...
Zámek 1, 692 15 Mikulov, Czechia
If you're a lover of wine, then forget about the Napa Valley and Bordeaux, and instead head to Moravia, located in the southern part of the Czech Republic. By all means visit the wine museum in the castle, but then head into town to enjoy a few...
Kammerhofská 18, 969 01 Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia
Banska Stiavnica is a beautiful little mining town 4 hours by bus from Bratislava. The drive through the forest and winding roads is a treat for the eyes. I wanted to take photos at every turn, but decided to just soak in the view. There are a...
Plaza de San Miguel, 1, 28005 Madrid, Spain
The Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid is one of the best places to go for a little of everything local, or tapas-style shopping. They are always busy. Whether you are looking for ham or oysters, fresh fruits or desserts, coffee or wine, they have it...
1 Passage du Grand Cerf, 75002 Paris, France
It had been years since I last stumbled upon the Passage du Grand Cerf in the 2nd, a long and narrow gallery of creative shops. Though I wasn't the only shopper, part of me felt like I had happened upon an untouched jewel. If I share this spot...
Kiehnwerderallee 1-3, 12437 Berlin, Germany
Groentenmarkt 3, 9000 Gent, Belgium
On the Groentenmarkt in Ghent you'll find this wonderful shop that sells its own freshly made mustard. All you have to do is pick out your favorite container and they will fill it from a barrel standing beside the counter. Their mustard is strong...
R. do Ouro, 1150-060 Lisboa, Portugal
The Santa Justa lift and its adjacent platform offer direct sight lines into downtown Lisbon. You can look down at Rua Áurea as it bustles with locals and tourists alike, observe residents of nearby apartments reading or enjoying a chat out on...
Horní Bečva, 756 57 Prostřední Bečva, Czechia
We could not have imagined a winter wonderland as picturesque as the one in Pustevny. Tucked away in Northeastern Czech Republic’s Beskedy Mountains, we arrived at night by car to this mini ski village of gingerbread houses. We stayed in the cozy...
Paseo de las Delicias, 61, 28045 Madrid, Spain
The train museum in Madrid is housed in an old railway station—one of the first in the city from the 1800s. The space is really amazing with about 50 trains from the late 1800s up til the 1960s—among the largest rail collections in Europe. One of...
12 Rue Perrée, 75003 Paris, France
The limited-edition Nikes and kiosk of independent magazines (Corpus, Out of Order, System) at this brilliantly edited multibrand boutique in the upper Marais recall the city’s renowned concept shop Colette. But its abundant natural light, and...
R. Barbosa do Bocage 5, 2710-567 Sintra, Portugal
Just 45 minutes from Lisbon lies the mystical, castle-filled hilltop town of Sintra, also a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its rich history. One such castle is the Palace of Quinta da Regaleira. Gothic in style, from its outer structure to its...
Via Montebello, 58, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
During my last stay in Florence, I wanted to learn more about the artisan trades, and Bruscoli was recommended to me by a local. I am so glad it was. As I walked along the Arno River on my way to the workshop, I had no idea what an extraordinary...
36, R. do Alecrim, 1200-014 Lisboa, Portugal
This is a quiet place to explore on Rua do Alecrim, Lisbon. It is located near one of Sant'Anna's showrooms (authentic tile) and a few other gorgeous places. This street was one of my favorites in the city.
De Wallen, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Many people in Amsterdam seek out the Riijksmuseum, with its fine collection of Dutch and other art. However, my insiders tip for the neighborhood near this museum is to simply stroll through it and look at all of the beautiful houses. This one in...
1060 Vienna, Austria
The Naschmarkt is absolutely one of the things you have to experience during your stay in Vienna! Locals call Vienna’s largest inner-city market the “city’s stomach." The market is a unique place for strolling, admiring, discovering, and sampling....
About a four hour train ride outside of Madrid, Cuenca is a gorgeous but little known town built into a jagged cliff wall. Take this red bridge over a gaping gorge to reach the Old Town and "Las Casas Colgadas," or the hanging houses. There's even...
Aleja Hermanna Bollea 27, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia
Mirogoj has been called an outdoor museum. With an eclectic mix that includes a neo-Renaissance arcade, towering cupolas, decorative gravestones of varying sizes, shapes and colors, it is definitely a place not to be missed.
Sněmovní nám. 1, 767 01 Kroměříž, Czechia
I found Kroměříž when it was almost too late. I had been living in another small city in the Czech Republic for 15 months and, as soon as I realized I really would be leaving, panic set in and I started looking for a new place to settle. That's...
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