Ten top towns in Europe you've never heard of
Rahvusvahelised uudised 04 Aug 2010  EWR
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Done Venice, Paris and London? Ticked off Prague, Budapest, Berlin and Dubrovnik? It may be time to delve a little deeper on your next European adventure. Here are some of the best under-the-radar towns and cities you should know about, writes David Whitley.

1. Ohrid

Where? Macedonia.

Lake Ohrid is sandwiched between Macedonia and Albania, almost forming a bowl in the middle of surrounding mountains. The lake is surrounded by pretty holiday villages and monasteries (noticeably more so on the Macedonian side than the Albanian) but the major town of Ohrid itself is the real treat.

It has always been a popular resort among eastern Europeans but the rest of the world is just cottoning on. It'd be easy enough to just enjoy the boat trips and beaches but head up into the forests and along the cliff tops and you find numerous photogenic forts and churches.

Ohrid is also fairly lively in the evening, as twilight promenades morph into a cafe-terrace eating and drinking culture where the volume inevitably ramps up.

Oh yes, and it is dirt cheap as well - don't expect to pay much more than $2 for a beer.

Local secret The beaches closest to Ohrid can get crowded - many locals prefer to head to those outside the Sveti Naum monastery on the south-western side of the lake, just across the Albanian border. It's quieter and has fabulous views of the town across the lake.

More information ohrid.com.mk.

2. Kutna Hora

Where? Czech Republic.

Often done as a day trip from Prague (it's only an hour away), Kutna Hora is worth a bit more time. It's a lot more laid-back than the Czech capital - and delightful to stroll around when the sun comes out.

You could happily spend a couple of days ambling by the river and through the squares, stopping every few hours for a hearty meal and a giant beer in a pub garden.

But it's the quirky attractions that give Kutna Hora an appeal beyond being pretty and having a cool gothic cathedral. The most famous of these is the Sedlec Ossuary - a chapel made almost entirely from the bones and skulls of monks.

There's also the Alchemy Museum inside the visitor information centre and an old silver mine. Both are odd but fascinating.

Top tip The train station is near the Sedlec Ossuary - four kilometres out of town - while the bus station is central. If visiting Kutna Hora as a day trip from Prague, you're better off taking the train in and the bus back or vice versa.

More information www.kutnahora.cz.

3. Kuressaare

Where? Estonia.

Estonia's Baltic Sea islands have long since been discovered by the Finns and Swedes, who pile over on the ferries, but the rest of the world is yet to catch on.

The biggest island - Saaremaa - mostly feels as though it is stuck in a time warp. It's an island with an independent character, where forests and windmills predominate.

Kuressaare, the main town on Saaremaa, is livelier and with good reason. It's a gloriously picturesque town dominated by a large, well-preserved castle dating from the 13th century. It's possible to hire a row boat and go splashing about in the moat around the castle.

Kuressaare is also a big spa town in which sleek, modern resorts are replacing the grim Eastern bloc sanatoriums.

Don't miss Turn up in July for the Castle Days festival. It's full of mediaeval pageantry, jousting tournaments and old-style feasting.

More information www.saaremaa.ee

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