5 Underrated Cities in Europe

Cities You Must See Once In Your Life

Can Yucel, Writer

Photo by @myedinburghdream

Edinburgh, Scotland

With its unique architecture, Edinburgh is the most fascinating city in the world. You can feel the 17th century era in the city. Tall, sharp, faded buildings match with the always wet, dark sidewalks and streets, and pale, dark cloudy weather. While walking around the city, shades of black, grey and white create a depressive feeling along with the old slow-rock music that comes from established, local stores. Visitors feel the melancholic and gloomy mood of the city. The city is like it was designed for a movie, or it’s a city from a Charles Dickens book. 

If you love architecture like me, Edinburgh is one of the cities that you must see. When I was there, I was fascinated by the magnificence of the buildings around the city. The city has an exclusive feeling. What I suggest is when you go to the city, check into the place you’re going to stay, leave your stuff, and go walk around the city. Follow the hills and crags. You don’t need a map or a route, just walk randomly. It’ll make you feel that unique feeling of the city.


Warsaw, Poland

For me, Warsaw is the best place that represents the Eastern Bloc. Even if it’s been 30 years since the collapse, you still can feel the effect of the Soviet Union in the city. Big, wide buildings and their colored but faded look still keep the soul of communism alive. Just like the other big cities in Eastern Europe, Warsaw is also built around a big, large city square. The city has a unique feeling that represents the 20th Century. Cold and dry weather of the city with people wearing thick, long coats creates the feeling of the late 19th century. 

Besides, Warsaw is a modern city, and Warsaw is important for the modern art culture. Especially in cinema, Warsaw has a huge reputation for its filmmakers, such as Krzysztof Kieślowski, Agnieszka Holland, Roman Polanski and Andrzej Wajda. And this makes Warsaw one of the biggest cinema cities in the world.

When I was in Warsaw, I could feel the synchronicity between the city and modern art. Everything that makes the city is also a small art piece by itself. What makes the city special is, even those pieces are perfect independently; and when they come together, they create a wonderful city.


Photo by @tylerpaduraru

Venice, Italy

Venice is a different city. The city is built on a group of 118 islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges. What makes Venice special is it’s one of the smallest cities in Europe, even though there are lots of places to visit in the city. If you like doing cultural trips, Venice is a perfect place to visit. 

The city still represents the Medieval Era and the Renaissance. The art and architecture of the 16th Century is still alive in the city. However, nowadays, the city is facing huge problems because the columns that the city was built on are too old and most of them are rotten because of the small waves that hit the walls and the columns every second. The city needs a big restoration project, and the local government has just started to work on that. So if you want to visit this beautiful city, hurry up because we might lose it in the future. These restorations might kill the ambiance of the city, and we might not see the city as we see now.

I went to Venice at the worst time. It was July, the city was too crowded, the weather was killing me, it was around 32 degrees and the humidity was around 90 percent. During the summer it is also almost impossible to get into the museums in the city. Even if you get in, it will be too crowded, and it will be very hard to walk around inside the building. However, I was lucky enough to travel wherever I want in the city, and I had a good plan to avoid the crowd. I had fun while traveling.The only suggestion that I can give you is, try not to visit the city in summer.


Saint Petersburg, Russia

“The most intentional and abstract city.” Dostoevsky describes the city with these words.  I agree with him because the city is so plain with its wide and large square, and the buildings are imposing but also not that tall. The architecture of the city is a mix of neoclassical modern structures and Soviet baroque structures. This mix creates a perfect harmony in the city. Light-colored buildings and the light, pink and orange colors of the weather match perfectly. One of the most special things about the city is “White Nights”. In summers, because of the proximity to the North Pole, nights are only 2-3 hours. 

The weird thing about the city, every tourist that goes to Saint Petersburg loves the city, but the Russian people don’t really like the city. When I realized that I asked myself this question “Would I live in this city?”  The answer was no. The city is almost perfect when you visit the city, but when it comes to staying there and living, there are not many things to do. The city is far away from everywhere. In winters the weather is almost -20 degrees and unlike summers the sun is up only 2-3 hours in a day. So, I recommend that you visit the city in summer, and you must experience the White Nights at least once in your life.


Photo by @sg_prophoto

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest has some of the most beautiful architecture in the world. The cities that were built under the influence of the trend “Art Nouveau” such as (Istanbul, Paris, Prague, Budapest…) have something special that gives inspiration to artists in their architecture. There are very important authors, poets, artists, sculptors that were born and grew up in these cities. And when you go to one of these cities, you can feel the reason. 

Other than that, one of the things that makes Budapest special is the effect of the lighting on architecture at night. In the daytime, architecture is perfect, but when you go downtown and see those buildings at night, you’ll see that it’s something different than anything that you’ve ever seen in your life. The marble shines, and it seems like crystal. You can see these effects on some parts of Istanbul, Prague, or Paris. However, they are not as obvious as in Budapest.

What I want to add about Budapest is that the city is hard to describe. You need to go and discover the city by yourself. You don’t need a map or a path to follow because wherever you go in the city you can find something to do. The city is just waiting for you to discover it. You won’t regret it.