The London Eye. Eiffel Tower. Guinness Factory. Big, iconic landmarks that are a huge draw for travelers considering the Highlights of Europe trip. But what about the hidden gems? Learning the lesser-known history of a destination, finding a hole-in-the-wall bar or restaurant and blending in like a local are how the best travel memories are made. Check out some of the lesser-known highlights of Europe here…
Liverpool – Come Together in Liverpool
Sure, London has all the name recognition when it comes to England, but there’s more to Liverpool than just the soccer team. Liverpool, England holds a special place in music history. It is home to the venue where The Beatles were first discovered. The Cavern Club, formerly a jazz-only club, hosted The Beatles (then called The Quarrymen) in February 1957 and the rest is history. Unfortunately, the original Cavern Club was torn down to accommodate subway reconstruction, but The New Cavern Club, constructed from 15,000 bricks recovered from the old location, opened its doors in 1984 and remains open to this day.
London Cuisine – We’re not in India anymore
The untrained traveler may associate London cuisine with fish and chips, meat pies and tea and crumpets. In reality, the Indian food scene is hot (pun intended)! Britain and India have an interesting relationship dating back to the 16th century when trade routes were established between the two countries. The outputs are delicious! From IPA beers, gin and tonics as well as chutneys, curries and rice dishes, India made their mark on the British food and beverage market. So, while in London, hit up a curry house for true local fare.
Seine River Hangout – Bourdeaux and chill?
One of the joys of traveling is getting thrifty and saving moolah. Skip the bars and overpriced clubs, grab a bottle of wine and chill on the River Seine. With views of Notre Dame, Musée d’Orsay, or the Eiffel Tower depending on where you park yourself, there isn’t a bad seat in the house. This is a favorite activity of local young people throughout the city, so come equipped with enough Bordeaux, baguettes and brie to share, and perhaps you’ll make a few amis (friends).
Florence Aperitivos – Hangry? Not here.
Live like a local and stay up past your bedtime. While in the States it is customary to eat dinner in the early evening, try having a snack before dinner instead when in Florence. As the sun starts to set, find a cafe and order a spritz (aperol, white wine and soda), chill out and let the small plates come to you. Generally, when ordering a beverage, you are also presented with a complimentary small plate of snacks to hold you over until actual European dinner time, around 10pm. It’s impossible to get hangry in Florence.
Tibidabo – Can you take me higher? (First Creed reference since 2002)
Over 1,000 feet above the base of Barcelona stands the Tibidabo Mountain, accessible by cable car. From the top, not only do the incredible views reach all the way to the coast, but there are also sights to be seen on the mountain itself. The Sagrat Cor Church is located adjacent to the Tibidabo Amusement Park, because that makes sense. Tour the church’s impressive architecture throughout the building and its crypt before taking a ride on the iconic Red Airplane of Tibidabo. Built in 1928, the airplane is a replica of the first flight that flew from Madrid to Barcelona and is still in use today. A trip to the top is worth it even for those afraid of heights.
Whether you’re looking for the main attractions or a more off-the-beaten-path experience, you can find it on Highlights of Europe.