Best Destinations to Live Like a Local

A tourist is a person who travels to visit a place for pleasure, to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of their daily life, a traveller is someone who considers their trip as a journey, to learn as much as possible, to embrace cultures and experiences. A traveller like a local is keen to merge with locals to experience their culture and get a taste of their local cuisine. Read our top destinations to live like a local in Europe.

Aix-les-Bains France

The tiny French spa town settled at the foot of The Alps. The town is perched on the edge of the Lac du Bourget, France’s largest freshwater lake, which is home to beautiful sandy beaches offering all sorts of watersports in summer. It is a purely picturesque town with year-round views of the snowcapped mountains Chaîne de Belledone. Despite being a 7-hour drive the views are worth it, we recommend staying at The Hôtel Le Manoir, set in a woodland park and has a full spa to use at your leisure. The hotel is just a few minute’s walk from the shops and restaurants of Aix-les-Bains. Don’t miss the Saturday morning food market in the town centre to really dine like a local! 

Padua Italy

To really escape the tourist areas, you must be prepared to travel out of the way. A day’s drive from Calais this small town is set an hour from Venice. It is home to Italy’s second oldest University. A medieval marketplace town it is home to canals, porticoes streets, churches and daily markets. We recommend trying the Trattoria al Porteghi. Completely off-the-tourist-track, this graciously run trattoria serves local and southern Italian dishes which are not to be missed. We say ditch the heels and uncomfortable shoes and make sure you are in your best walking shoes to tackle the cobbles. Padovans love cycling so to truly live like a local hire a bike and explore these beautiful streets.

Porto, Portugal

If you think you have done Portugal and not stopped in Porto, think again. Taking a couple of leisurely days to drive from Calais it is the perfect destination for a proper European road trip. Set in a stunning back drop of 18th and 19th-century buildings, new indie bars and restaurants and a laid-back vibe, it’s hard to find anything to dislike about Porto. It’s walkable centre is a maze of cobbled streets and balconies. Where ever you are in Porto you will always find a new view by looking upwards. We recommend planning ahead and booking in for lunch at Brasão Cervejaria, its rustic vibe will give you a true Porto experience, the food is that good it has locals queuing up, now that’s always a good sign!

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