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The 10 Must-See Places in Europe Nobody Told You About

26th April 2014 Posted by: Naomi Todd

SURE, you can go up the Eiffel Tower. Of course you can queue for the Colosseum. And yes, you can take a tour of the Tower of London.
But there are hundreds of other stunning and interesting places in Europe that don't get anywhere near as much attention. One of the great things about studying in Europe is the relative closeness of so many diverse countries and the possibility of getting a cheap fight for a weekend getaway.Here is our top 10 list of unmissable sights that you may not know about yet. And the best bit is that many of them are free.......well, except for the cost of getting there!

1. Plitivice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Among the first natural parks to be registered on the UNESCO World Heritage list, the beautiful Plitivice Lakes are an ideal day trip from the Croatian capital, Zagreb or from the country's emerald coastline. If the 16 lakes aren't enough to entice you, then how about the stunning waterfalls and the woodland full of wildlife, including wolves, boars and rare birds?

2. Tour Montparnasse, Paris, France

What do you recognise in this stunning panoramic photo of Paris? The Eiffel Tower, right?
Sadly, this world-famous iconic structure is the one thing you won't get in your photo if you go up the Eiffel Tower itself! So why not avoid the queues and souvenir sellers and go up the Tour Montparnasse instead? At 210m, this office skyscraper is slightly shorter than the Eiffel Tower, but a lift to the top floor will cost you less too. And just look at the view!

3. German Christmas Markets in Berlin, Bruges, Basel, Bath and lots of other places

Nothing will get you in the festive spirit quite like a traditional German Christmas market - even if it's not actually in Germany. The smell of hot chestnuts, grilling sausages, gingerbread and hot spiced wine fills the air. And the stalls are all selling beautiful wooden toys, tree decorations and other hand-crafted gifts. The medieval city of Frankfurt has one of Germany's oldest markets, but the idea has now spread across the continent with German-style markets springing up in many historic towns and cities. In the beautiful city of Bruges in Belgium you can go ice-skating and indulge in some fine Belgian chocolate, beer or mussels and chips!

4. Memorial of the Berlin Wall, Germany
 

For more than 28 years, the Berlin Wall divided a city,a country and the world.
Along with the much longer heavily fortified frontier between East and West Germany, it came to symbolise the "Iron Curtain" that split the Democratic West from the Communist Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. 
The wall was finally torn down on November 9, 1989, but one piece has been conserved as a memorial to the victims of division. Situated in the closely-knit community of Bernauer Strasse - which was carved in two by the barrier - it is far from Berlin's eclectic nighlife and effortlesly cool neighbourhoods but well worth the detour. 

5. The Icehotel /Northern Lights, Sweden

OK, so this one will stretch most student budgets. But if you want to visit the coolest place on earth, it's got to be the Icehotel in northern Sweden. Completely rebuilt every year from fresh snow and ice with help from designers, it has beds and chairs made of iceblocks, an ice bar with glasses made from ice and even an ice church, popular with marrying couples.
This part of Sweden, within the Arctic Circle, is also one of the few places where you can witness the aurora borealis (Northern Lights), a spectacular natural light show caused by charged solar particles in the atmosphere.

6. Parc Güell, Barcelona, Spain
 

A great excuse to walk off all the tapas you will have consumed whilst in Barcelona, Gaudí's outdoor retreat gives you a totally free insight into the enigmatic artist's creative vision. A brilliant lazy Sunday activity, the park's location also gives you a birds-eye view of the city below, including Gaudi's more famous creation the Sagrada Família church with its pointy spires, queues and entrance fee.

7. Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

A melting pot of European and Asian culture, Istanbul is one of the up-and-coming cities in Europe. One of the many jewels in its crown, the Suleymaniye Mosque is a great alternative to the more touristy Blue Mosque and was designed by the same architect who drew up the Hagia Sophia, making this attraction a must-see during your time in Istanbul.

8. Pantheon, Rome, Italy
 

Marvel at Roman ingenuity with this showcase of ancient architecture. A nice alternative to other famous Roman tourist sights with few queues as well as no entrance fee, the Pantheon is also the final resting place of the famous Renaissance artist Raphael.

9. Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh, Scotland

On a (rare) sunny day in Edinburgh, there is no better activity than to climb up Arthur's Seat, the remains of a 350million-year-old volcano rising up from Scotland's beautiful capital city.
The ascent, which takes about 45 minutes, is more demanding than a walk in the park but the views from the top are worth it. Some say the peak is named after the King Arthur of legend.

10. Ruin Bars, Budapest, Hungary

While Ruin Bars are not meant to be a tourist attraction as such, they give a fascinating insight into Hungarian culture..
What is a Ruin Pub exactly? It's an abandoned building that is used as bar, restaurant, social space, music venue, art gallery etc. It's a great way to unwind, especially after a long day of sightseeing.

 

Where would you like to go? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter.
You may also like: Cheap travel around Europe for international students

 

Photography: Plitvice Lakes by Clark & Kim Kays, View from Tour Montparnasse by Getfunky, Berlin Wall Memorial by Michael, Icehotel by Bjaglin, Parc Güell (and cover photo) by MorBCN, Suleymaniye Mosque by Black Dots, The Pantheon by Alex Proimos, Arthur's Seat by Kim Traynor, Ruin Bar by _Chris UK 

 


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