Key Highlights

Discover the unexpected with these unique city destinations:

  • Reykjavik, Iceland: Explore otherworldly landscapes, vibrant nightlife, and the chance to witness the Northern Lights.

  • Dubrovnik, Croatia: Wander through a charming old town, visit nearby islands, and enjoy pristine beaches along the Adriatic coast.

  • Copenhagen, Denmark: Experience happiness in this pedestrian-friendly city filled with historic charm, contemporary design, and top-class cuisine.

  • Bologna, Italy: Delve into the city's impressive history, vibrant culture, and unrivaled gastronomy amidst its medieval architecture and lively streets.

  • Antwerp, Belgium: Discover rich architectural heritage, bustling ports, medieval squares, and indulge in Belgian culinary delights.

May 25, 2022

5 Offbeat City Adventures

If you're weary of the usual tourist-packed cities on everyone's travel bucket list, it's time to explore some hidden gems across Europe. For those ready to venture beyond the typical destinations, there are countless options for an unforgettable city break. From the stunning landscapes of Reykjavik in Iceland to the charming, lesser-known Bologna in Italy, here’s everything you need to know about five of the most memorable cities for a quick getaway.


For a city break with a difference, Reykjavik, Iceland's charming capital, is hard to beat. This majestic, mysterious Arctic island is brimming with natural wonders – from glaciers and waterfalls to geothermal lagoons, volcanoes, and bubbling mud pools – offering otherworldly landscapes that are a visual feast for the senses.

Plan your trip between September and mid-April, and you might witness the breathtaking Northern Lights, as the ethereal aurora borealis lights up the night sky in greens, blues, yellows, and pinks. If not, you can always enjoy whale watching or, if your energy levels dip, indulge in a day of relaxation in one of the city's natural hot springs.

But there's more to Reykjavik than just Insta-worthy landscapes and skylines. Despite its small size, Reykjavik's nightlife is vibrant and lively, and architectural gems like the striking Hallgrimskirkja church add to the city's unique charm.

Northern exposure at its finest!


Summer may be over, but Dubrovnik's sublime location and fine weather ensure this Croatian gem remains warm until late October, making it an ideal destination for a city break that combines culture and leisure.

The city's main attraction is its charming, pedestrian-only old town, filled with aristocratic palazzi and elegant Baroque churches, all enclosed within sturdy medieval fortifications. If it looks familiar, that's because it's a popular filming location for productions like Game of Thrones, as well as the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII and Robin Hood: Origins, both shot within its UNESCO-listed walls.

Beyond the old town, there’s plenty to explore. Sightseers can take a cable car to the top of Mount Srdj for breathtaking panoramic views of the city or hop on a boat to visit the nearby islands of Elaphiti, Korcula, and Mljet. Culture enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Homeland War Museum and the excellent Museum of Modern Art.

Add in the pristine beaches and calm blue waters of the Adriatic, numerous wallet-friendly eateries serving top-notch seafood, and a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets, and you have the perfect city break.

Majestic and Mysterious, now isn't it?


There’s a reason the Danish capital is regularly voted the happiest city in the world, and even a brief visit will reveal its many charms—though, unfortunately, not its prices, as Copenhagen is one of Europe’s most expensive cities.

Flat, built around waterways, and with a compact downtown area, Copenhagen is very pedestrian-friendly and easy to navigate on foot. Even better, many of its tourist attractions — including the historic central area, the autonomous hippie neighborhood Christiana, and the hipster hub Vesterbro — are within easy walking distance of the City Hall Square and Central Station, where you'll find a very helpful tourist office.

Visually, Copenhagen is a delight. Many of the city’s most impressive buildings date back to the 17th century golden age, but there’s also a wealth of chic contemporary design. Beyond architecture, visitors can enjoy excellent museums, top-class restaurants (Copenhagen is home to the renowned, two-Michelin-star Noma), vibrant nightlife (its jazz bars are a huge draw), and colorful markets.

See? There’s a reason the Danes are so happy.


It may not boast the glamour of Rome, the breathtaking beauty of Venice, or the style of Milan, but gritty yet graceful Bologna, the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region, is undoubtedly one of Italy’s best-kept secrets. Significantly less expensive than the country’s more famous destinations, Bologna has an impressive history that is immediately evident. Home to Europe’s oldest university, the city is conveniently laid out on a medieval grid, characterized by miles of terracotta porticoes and stunning red stone arcades.

A trip to Bologna wouldn't be complete without visiting the famous Fountain of Neptune, enjoying an early morning espresso while overlooking the romantic palazzos and towering basilicas, and leisurely browsing the thriving contemporary art scene in the city’s Saragozza neighborhood. These experiences offer a genuine taste of the city's unique blend of historical charm and vibrant modern culture.

As Italy’s unofficial gastronomic capital, Bologna is not recommended for those watching their weight. From classic trattorias and osterias favored by the Bolognesi to high-end restaurants, there’s no shortage of eateries to indulge in some wholehearted Italian decadence.

La Dolce Vita? Absolutely.


Messrs. Farrell and Gleeson may have made Bruges Belgium’s most talked-about city (for perhaps the wrong reasons), but for the discerning traveler, Antwerp is well worth a visit.

As a trading behemoth from 1500 to 1650, the Flemish city’s status as an international powerhouse is still evident in its rich architecture, including the palatial turn-of-the-century Antwerpen-Centraal train station. The bustling port, filled with boats of all shapes and sizes, also reflects this storied past.

Culture vultures will find themselves spoiled for choice, likely heading straight to Antwerp’s medieval heart. Here, amidst labyrinthine streets, the bustling Grote Markt (Great Market Square) stands as a deservedly popular attraction. The proud Flemish heritage is also evident in the city’s gritty docks district and, in particular, at Rubenshuis, the home and gardens of the great master Rubens.

No Belgian experience would be complete without a feast of moules-frites (mussels and chips), washed down with one of the country’s famous Trappist beers, and followed by a dessert of Belgian waffles.

Bon appétit!