Every year it's always the same story: from Easter onwards (although let's face it, most us have already begun looking since January) we start to fantasize about our summer holiday destination. However, in between absorbing tips from relatives and friends, pouring over stories on Instagram and travel blogs, time passes and flight prices inveitabley begin to rise. Thinking outside of the long established and far flung destinations, what's the answer to that fateful question: where shall we go on holiday?
For the eternally undecided, those who like to book at the last minute, those who don't want to give up the beach holiday or those who prefer a breath of cosmopolitan Europe to digging their toes in the sand, here are 9 lesser known summer destinations (although perhaps not for long). From the more folkloristic Spain to studenty Coimbra, from an unexpected view of Germany and surfing France in France, here are our summer holiday tips.
Picturesque, buzzing and romantic, Bordeaux is one of those French cities that you never forget. At just over an hour from the coast, Bordeaux is an excellent strategic point for those seeking a relaxed and relaxing holiday. If do go, don't forget to rent a board and try your hand at surfing, after all you'll also be close to Cap Ferret, a cult destination for sea and extreme sports lovers. Foodie tip: don't miss the cannelés bordelais, the small soft tasty cakes.
2. Seville, Spain
Photo: Giuliana Pizzi
Seville is an open-air painting; and between Plaza de Espana and the thousand and more tapas, the city is always a solid destination. However, it's not recommended in the height of summer - temperatures can be exhausting - it is however a perfect city for those who prefer to go on holiday in September. Among the olive oils, preserves and jamòn, Seville is certainly a foodie destination. Foodie tip: try the galettas de aceite, a perfect souvenir to take home.
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One of the most popular destinations of 2018, the Israeli capital is a magical city that continues to attract curious foodies. Not only is it mystical, with timeless views, Tel Aviv is also very "gourmet." Between the falafel, hummus, Shwarma, Shakshouka and so on and so forth, Tel Aviv deserves a place of honor on the top places to visit list this year. If you have a passion for honey, don't miss on its typical sweets: baklava.
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At 800 km from the coast of Portugal lies Funchal, a small town - as well as capital - of the Madeira archipelago. Aspra, volcanic, this city that is slightly more than 100 thousand inhabitants, is a destination chosen by many for the summer holidays. The summer months are in fact the most suitable to enjoy a swim in the Atlantic Ocean, which is otherwise too cold or impervious. The natural pools are also an interesting attraction, particularly the one located above Porto Moniz. This is also a super foodie destination: in Madeira, in fact, the famous, lovable and perfect wine is produced, especially at aperitif time. Between fish and crustaceans, Funchal will never let you go hungry.
5. Antwerp, Belgium
A port city of medieval origin, Antwerp is a real treat. Flemish and Renaissance architecture make the birthplace of the painter Paul Rubens the perfect destination for culture lovers. With a beautiful and lively musical scene, Antwerp will also not disappoint those looking for international festivals and concerts of worthy note. And the typical unmissable Belgian dish? Moules-frites, mussels in a light stew, of course accompanied by a generous dose of fries. Bon appétit!
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Less touristy than sister city Marrakech, Fez is found in northeastern Morocco. Characteristic and charming with its winding streets and markets (souks), Fez certainly deserves to be taken into consideration on planning a trip to Morocco. In addition, the Moroccan, Mediterranean, spicy and tasty cuisine is an excellent excuse to opt for this lesser known but definitely magical city.
7. Liepzig, Germany
For some time Leipzig has been called the "new Berlin". The cost of living, the cheap rent and a cultural movement, make Leipzig the ideal destination for those looking for a cultural holiday in the green of Saxony. Between artist's studios, Markplatz, the colorful market of the center, the church of St. Nicholas and the Tapetenwerk (former carpet factory recently converted into an immersive art center), this German city is perfect for an escape from the Saharan temperatures of the months summer. The cuisine, notoriously crucial and devoted to meat, will amaze you with its vegetarian offerings. Don't miss the Leipziger Lerche, a pastry made with shortbread, jam, walnuts and almonds, which you find in the best pastry shops in the city.
When it comes to Holland, thoughts immediately turn to Amsterdam, its "forbidden" attractions and romantic canals to cycle along. But for an immersive holiday in the most rural part of Holland, you can not but dedicate a day (or two if you want) to the Zaandam windmills. Just 15 minutes by train from Amsterdam, this small town has always come out of the fairytale world. Brightly colored and curated she looks like she came out of a Wes Anderson movie. Between a photo and a break, don't miss the Uitsmijter, a typical Dutch dish, perfect for the summer, based on bread, cheese and meat, served with fried eggs.
We return to France, and the banks of the Garonne where Toulouse, a typically French student town, is located. Colorful, romantic and perfect for an alternative escape, Toulouse is just a few hours from Barcelona (making it perfect for the best road trip). Two hours from Perpignan, Toulouse is also the perfect compromise if you are looking for a holiday that can give you sea, river, mountains and much more. The official pink city, consumed in every possible way, Toulouse is a French jewel to visit at least once.
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