Luxury and lifestyle travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler has published a list of the 22 most underrated European cities, created by travel experts and writers living in Europe, as a way to sway travelers away from the already busy and uber-popular Paris and Rome. The list thus shines light on ‘surprising destinations that will far exceed your expectations’ instead.
The list includes small towns in Sweden, lesser-known places in the Baltic states, and, not so surprisingly – two cities from Croatia and one from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Namely, Trogir and Opatija have been named two of the most underrated cities in Europe.
“Located on a tiny island, Trogir’s Old Town is bursting with charm. Its narrow, ancient streets form a labyrinth lined with medieval town houses. The lively seafront promenade, lined with cafes and restaurants, is abuzz with activity on a summer day. The town also boasts many beautiful and well-preserved buildings from its age of glory between the 13th and 15th centuries. In 1997, its profuse collection of Romanesque and Renaissance buildings earned it UNESCO World Heritage status.
Browse the market, stroll along the Riva, or explore a Venetian fortress—Trogir packs a lot into a small package! Located only about 30 minutes from Split, it is also a perfect alternative for travelers that want to see and enjoy Split but prefer not to stay in a big city. The historic seaside town of Sibenik, Krka National Park, and the ancient ruins of Solin are also located within easy reach,” writes Wanda S. Radetti, President of VisitCroatia.com – Tasteful Croatian Journeys.
Radetti continued about Opatija:
“Although today it is often overlooked in favor of cities like Dubrovnik or Split, it is Opatija in the north that is the cradle of tourism in Croatia. Nicknamed “Vienna by the sea” due to its handsome Belle Époque architecture, the Opatija Riviera, a 30-kilometer stretch of land nestled between the wooded slopes of Mount Ucka and the rocky coastline of the Kvarner Gulf, was once the most visited seaside resort of the Austro-Hungarian elite. The area was hailed as a health and wellness retreat, its unique micro-climate offering the ideal ingredients for therapeutic and restorative travel. Still today, Opatija continues its tradition as a center for wellness, attracting visitors seeking to relax and rejuvenate at its numerous spas, enjoying unique treatments and therapies.
Even aside from being a health retreat, Opatija offers much to travelers. The city boasts a number of grand cafes, well-maintained public gardens, tidy beaches, fine hotels, and excellent restaurants. Opatija’s privileged position at the eastern corner of the Istrian Peninsula also makes it the ideal jumping off point from which to explore other areas of Croatia. Within an one-hour drive, you will find yourself in the truffle rich forests of Istria, the green mountains of Risnjak National Park, or the pebble beaches of the Island of Krk.”
The list also includes Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ohrid in North Macedonia, Tirana in Albania, and places in France, Sweden, Portugal, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Austria, Italy, Poland, Ireland, Greece, England, Norway, and Spain.
You can read the full list on Conde Nast Traveler.
For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.