8 European cities that a non European should really consider visiting

I know that Europe can be perceived as “very far away” from other continents, so that when you have the opportunity to come in the Old Continent you think that it will take years before you’ll be able to come back again.

And I am also aware that, once you’ve gone through 20 hours flight you don’t want to miss Rome, Paris, London, Berlin and all those cities that you’ll eventually be able to talk about having visited them.

But all non Europeans should also consider that:

  • Europe is quite small, and moving from one main city to some other peripheral area is not a big deal
  • True European style and pace of life is out of the main capitals,
  • There are cities that you’ll remember forever for their welcoming attitude, their beauty and… because their history is crucial in European development and civilization! 

So let’s go and list some cities that are not capital or, if they are, they are the main cities of countries not still known enough by non Europeans (and also by European, I have to say!).

Porto, Portugal

porto - in my suitcase - www.sabrinabarbante.com

This is a must destination for wine lovers! Porto is a very romantic and crepuscular city, where you can enjoy a very mediterranean pace of life!
The name of the whole national (Portugal) comes from this city, that was there before the nation was politically settled. Did you know that?

Also read:

3 wineries to taste a good Port wine in Oporto


Nimes + Avignone, France

Times european cities to visit

First of all, allow me su suggest you to visit the whole Provence and Camargue area. The scent of lavender will be a part of you for the rest of your life!
The scent of lavender is my very first memory of Nimes, where I stayed for a while.
This small but amazing city is just a few hours train from Paris; its cozy atmosphere is dressed up with a lot of local events and concerts.
Talking about events, Avignon is the city of the Theatre, hosting every summer a festival much loved by the theatre fans from all over the world.
Avignon is the city where, in the 14th Century, the Pope lived for 70 years because of political struggles in the Rome and Italian territory. You can still see in this enchanting city, the history tracks of that period.



Lecce, Italy 

The whole area of Salento is definitely something worth visiting, and I’d say South Italy in general. Salento is very appreciated for its sea and coast, even if the main city, Lecce,  is untouched by the sea (actually Lecce is 10 km far from the coast).
If you like art and if you have visited Rome with her puzzling baroque style, Lecce will leave you breathless with her local baroque, called barocco leccese, made with a peculiar smooth yellow stone, making building look like sandy gold.


duomo-lecca by night


Belgrade + Novi Sad, Serbia

Differentty than the above listed cities,  Belgrade is actually a capital: it’s the capital city of Serbia. But we must admit that unfortunately Serbia is still not one of the most visited countries in Europe, and that’s a shame since all the Balkans area is so important in the whole West modern history.

Today Serbia is a country whose economy is growing but it still preserves strong local aspect, that you can perceive in its music, food and art.

You can also enjoy the amazing Novi Sad, with less evidences of the recent war (Serbia was Bombed in 1999 by the NATO in the Allied Force operation) than Belgrade.



I have a gift for you: Download for free my very short novel “The Serbian Wedding” 

Belgrade - The Serbian Wedding

Belgrade – The Serbian Wedding

Warsaw, Poland

varsavia sirena

There’s such a great cultural life in this city (Chopin’s native town) based on concerts, theatre (also open air shows)!

The Old Town (Stare Miasto) has been a UNESCO Heritage since 1980. It is good to know that it was almost completely rebuilt after the German occupation and particularly after the Warsaw Uprising, one of the longest  civil resistances in the world, the longest of the Second World War. The poor Polish people awaited the arrival of the Russians that actually abandoned them to devoted to more profitable war fronts. The greatest war strategists in Europe’s history were only a handful of scoundrels. Some civil populations were the only heroes.

You’ll be amazed by the green and waters of Park Łazienki and by the Multimedia Fountains park shows in Summer, the best period to fully enjoy the local culture at its best.

If you are a legends and myths fan, read about the Warrior Sirens of Warsaw. 

Sofia, Bulgaria

Why should you visit Sofia?
Over than the huge green spaces, over than the great great great wines and lively local life, the main square hosts a synagogue, a mosque, a catholic church and and orthodox church; they are all active and old, and in their beauty and different rites, they make this city one of the loveliest I’ve seen in the last year.

Mosque, Sofia by night

Mosque, Sofia by night

In general, when you plan your trip to Europe, try to get out of the common path! This continent has so much for you to discover!


  • Dế Việt

    this article is good for who travelling every year. Last year i was wend to Europe but travelling in Europe can actually be a lot expensive.

  • Eugenia

    What a great list of cities to visit in Europe! Each of them so beautiful and unique! Love the photo with a lavender field, hope one day I can go to the Nimes and see it with my own eyes!


    Seriously, everywhere in Europe just looks dreamy and beautiful. I really look forward to travelling there with my family one day, hopefully soon! xo

  • lojainne

    Europe is beautiful! loved this cities! especially Porto Portugal

  • Tiina A

    I’m a European but not visited those places except been to Warsaw for a couple of times. At the moment I live basically in the middle of Europe and yet I always choose to visit the same cities.

  • Борка Шаула

    I was in Novi Sad and Belgrade too, since I live in Serbia! I was so suprised when I read this and you didn’t make any mistake at all! Serbia is such a beautiful country and for the nature lovers I recommend they visit mountains Tara, Zlatibor and Kopaonik. I promise you will have a great time!

  • Ana De- Jesus

    Porto or rather Portugal in general is beautiful and no I am not just saying that because I am biased! ( I am Portuguese)

  • lex

    poland ans serbia will do for me if i were to make that trip… am non european but african and yes these trips will be amazing if i ever get the chance to… italy too will be nice.

  • Subhadrika Sen

    Loved your list. entire Europe is on my bucketlist . Maybe someday I will be able to visit it. I would love to go to Vatican and Rome and Brussels.

    • Sabrina - In My Suitcase

      Brussel is amazing and… the best “forbidden” food such as chocolate, fried, beer were there! (If you go to Brussel, don’t forget Brugges… I should have put it in my list!)

  • Empire

    These are some really great cities I one day plan to visit! I would also recommend Vienna (it’s my happy place) and Ljubljana, Slovenia 🙂

  • Kimberly C.

    Lovely post and photos. I live in the U.S., but was born and raise in Holland. I’ve traveled all over Europe, and I agree, there are some beautiful must-see places. I would add Budapest to the list because it’s gorgeous.

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