This year discover three European cities (just slightly) off the beaten path Europe is a patchwork of countries, cultures, landscapes and climates. A visit to this part of the world presents an endless array of potential destinations, all within relative proximity. But while almost every European vacation results in photos from tourist hot spots such as London, Paris, Rome and Barcelona, there are a few cities that aren't yet on the radar of everyone armed with a passport
A land known as a hotbed for contemporary design, historic architecture and high fashion, Sweden is so much more than ABBA and blonde tresses. The capital of the Scandinavian nation, Stockholm is a cosmopolitan city with a maritime vibe where sophisticated cocktail lounges and hotels sit steps from enchanting castles. While in town, discover the picturesque Gamla Stan (Old Town), Haga Royal Park, City Hall (Stadshu-set), Kungliga Teatern (Royal Theatre), Kungliga Slottet (Royal Palace) and the 700-year-old Storkvrkan, the city's oldest church. Learn about Stockholm's Viking past with visits to Valkommen till (National Museum) and historic sites such as Anundshog, Bjorko Island and Birka, Sweden's first city. On the water, take a boat tour down the Royal Canal, fish in Stockholm Sound and kayak in Stockholm Archipelago; at night, sample Sweden's renowned gastronomic offerings, catch a game of ice hockey at Globen or kick up your heels at a hip nightspot in Stureplan or Kungsgatan (ultra-stylish duds, not included).
Prague The capital city of Czech Republic has come into its own as a mecca for museums, art galleries, opera, theatre, ballet, symphony and live jazz. Filled with centuries-old castles, grand cathedrals and winding cobblestone streets, it possesses an undeniable Old World vibe. While in town, linger over a mug of local brew or hot mulled wine in a sidewalk café, stroll through Vojan Park, then travel by boat along the Vlatva river under the pedestrian-only Charles Bridge, which — at over 600 years old — is home to numerous statues and monuments. Dive into the city's history with visits to the 1100-year-old Prague Castle and the surrounding Baroque quarter, Mala Strana; and explore the stunning Stale Mesto (Old Town Square), Wallenstein Palace, the Art Nouveau-style Municipal House, National Museum and the Centre for Modern and Contemporary Art. After your sojourn in the city, take. a jaunt through the Bohemian countryside to Cesky Krumlov, a UNESCO World Heritage town that looks as though it popped out of the pages of your favorite childhood storybook.
The capital city of Scotland, Edinburgh is dripping in history and culture. Along Royal Mile, step back in time with a visit to Edin-burgh Castle, the city's crown jewel and home to the annual Edinburgh Military Tattoo. While you're in the neighbourhood, explore the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen's Edinburgh digs; take in city views from Outlook Tower; visit the Scotch Whiskey Heritage Centre; and explore historic sites such as Gladstone's Land, Heart of Midlothian and Mary King's Close. For a history lesson, meander through the National Museum of Scotland or, on Carlton Hill, discover the National monument and City Observatory. Later in the day, bundle up in a wool sweater and take in the stunning views from Arthur's Seat, then watch a rugby game in a. field of leaves and cozy up in a pub with a tumbler of scotch. If you have ime for a day trip? Head north through rolling green hills to the Old Course at St. Andrews, the birthplace of golf.