Nothing compares to the thrill of traveling. It’s a chance to explore the world from a new perspective and experience new cultures. Many people get to taste foreign cuisines for the first time and hear new music. An added bonus is always the new friends you make along the way. While there are a number of famous locales that are on most peoples’ bucket lists, there is something to be said for the off-the-beaten-path places. They are untarnished by tourism and offer just as many enlightening experiences.

Trier is the oldest city in Germany and dates back thousands of years. There are many Roman remains to admire, as it was a substantial trade route back in the day. Its cathedral and church were given UNESCO World Heritage status in the 1980s because of their cultural and historical significance. Wine and beer drinkers will have the time of their lives here. The Rieslings from the Mosel wine region are unparalleled and the craft beer scene is rapidly growing in popularity. Hauptmarkt Square will delight all your senses with its various market stalls and floral displays. 

Aside from Italy’s obvious gorgeous landmarks, there are many other, lesser-known places to explore, such as Genoa. Genoa’s port and bay are illuminated by a lighthouse called La Lanterna which has long been recognized as the iconic symbol of this pink- and yellow-colored harbor city. The old quarter in Caruggi is filled narrow, cobblestone streets and the richness of real locals. Plenty of architecture is here to be admired as well, including cathedrals and churches from the 17th century. In addition, the Labyrinth quarter holds the stunning palatial National Gallery, Christopher Columbus’s childhood home, as well as Italy’s biggest aquarium. 

If Macedonia peaks your interests, located halfway between Athens and Belgrade is Skopje. In addition to being the capital and largest city of the Northern Macedonia region, it is also the main focal point of the country’s political, economic, cultural, and academic societies. The blend of Christian and Muslim cultures is evident everywhere, from the food to the architecture. The Old Bazaar marketplace is filled with quaint little shops that have been passed down through generations of families. Aside from the National Gallery, there is also a Museum of Contemporary Art with donated pieces from artists around the world. 

The city of Coimbra, Portugal is home to the oldest university within Portugal. Established in 1290 in Lisbon, the University of Coimbra moved several times before finally settling in 1537. Located along the Mondego river, Coimbra is a romantic city. Lucky visitors in the Spring can catch the Fado music festival, as well as seeing the country’s biggest botanical garden displays and the Roman ruins anytime they visit.