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7 Rising-star European destinations

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Hot spots on the horizon

Venice, Paris and Prague are fabulous, but there's more to Europe than those old favorites. We're sharing our picks for some up and coming must-visit spots in Europe that rival the traditional choices.

To get the scoop on where to go on our next European jaunt we caught up with Fulvia Montresor, Senior Director, International at Hotwire. She shares six up and coming can’t-miss destinations worth putting on your must-visit list.

1

Krakow, Poland

Krakow, Poland

Step aside, Prague, it’s Krakow’s turn in the spotlight. Montresor tells us that Krakow is similar to Prague in historical interest, but is much more affordable to visit. “As one of the oldest and most culturally important cities in Poland, visitors will delight in the array of activities,” she explains. Some recommended sights to check out include Wawel Castle, a remnant from the Renaissance; Old Town, one of Krakow’s oldest districts and the center of Poland’s early political life; and the Jewish Quarter, the setting for Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List.

2

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Steadily gaining in popularity over the past several years, Dubrovnik, situated on the Adriatic coast, is poised to break out this year. “Dubrovnik offers some of the best coastal views in Europe, making the seaport a popular tourist destination,” says Montresor. She suggests visitors seek out the Walls of Dubrovnik, limestone walls that date back to the 13th century which were used to keep the city safe during its formative days. Best of all, it’s another affordable destination, she says, “Guesthouse options and apartment rentals are budget-friendly for those traveling on a dime.”

3

Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn is the oldest capital city in northern Europe and well worth a visit. Known for its winding cobblestone streets and medieval buildings, the city has been listed as an UNESCO Heritage Site, which Montresor says is atypical for a city that used to be part of the Eastern-bloc. "Tallinn has also been named one of the top ten digital cities in the world by Australian publication The Age," she adds. "It currently serves as home to Skype’s founders, and is renowned for its extensive public Wi-Fi network."

4

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana, Slovenia

If you haven’t heard of Ljubljana, the heart of Slovenia, you will soon. The diverse city is packed with things to do for a variety of different types of travelers. “Ljubljana offers a huge selection of cultural sights, from rows of ornate houses to iconic castles and bridges,” says Montresor. “Travelers interested in outdoor adventures can head to the Julian Alps, which are conveniently nestled nearby and offer skiers better deals than neighboring resorts in Italy and Austria.”

5

Seville, Spain

Seville, Spain

Barcelona and Madrid might be the go-to spots in Spain, but don’t discount Seville. “The city offers amazing architecture and museums that are definitely worth visiting, like the Seville Cathedral, Casa de Pilatos and the Flamenco Museum, and with a temperate climate year-round, there’s no reason not to venture to this southern Spanish city,” says Montresor. It’s also a unique location thanks to the history and culture. “In Seville, Spanish and Moorish histories collide to create one of the most unique cultures in Spain.”

6

Bruges, Belgium

Bruges, Belgium

Even if you didn’t see In Bruges, the crime caper starting Colin Farrell that took place in this gorgeous city, just looking at photos will make you want to go. “The ancient and ornate city is an architectural and artistic wonder featuring a plethora of notable statues, churches, monuments and gardens,” affirms Montresor. One must-see she suggests is the Belfry Tower, with its 47 bells and panoramic views of the city. Bruges also offers something for foodies in its delicious Belgian fare — including waffles, chocolate and craft beers at every turn — Yum!

7

Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Not just the birthplace of port wine, this beautiful coastal town is built on a hill where breath-taking views abound. “Full of charm and little winding streets, Porto has also been named an UNESCO heritage site,” Montresor tells us. “Take in the enchanting baroque architecture of the Torre dos Clerigos during the day and then head to the Fez area when the sun sets on the Atlantic coast to enjoy some exciting nightlife.”

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What are your favorite European cities? Share in the comments below!

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