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Escape: As Europe eases lockdown, Metro rounds up the best travel secrets from locals

Baroque formation: Liechtenstein City Palace… in Vienna

Vienna, Austria

Silia Eleftheriadou, freelance photographer and travel blogger, theviennesegirl.com

One step beyond: Vienna’s Strudelhofstiege staircase

Most tourists who come here spend their time in the first district but head to the 9th district, an easy walk away. Look for the Liechtenstein City Palace (palaisliechtenstein.com), the first major example of a building constructed during Vienna’s high baroque age. Nearby is the Strudelhofstiege, a beautiful outdoor staircase in Art Nouveau style. Both places are charming and not crowded.

My top tip: End your walk in La Mercerie, at Berggasse 25, an amazing French bistro located in the area.

Lisbon, Portugal

Guilherme Nunes, photographer and instagrammer, @gnunes

Lisbon is a city with many hills — seven, to be specific — and therefore there are many great viewpoints. But there are also many ‘hidden viewpoints’ across the city. Visitors can experience one while having a beer at Park (a rooftop bar in a garage, Calcada do Combro 1200), or another at the café of the Garagem theatre (above, teatrodagaragem.com/en). You’ll get a terrific view if you stop for a snack at Madame Petisca (madamepetisca.pt) or have a drink to the sound of good music at Rio Maravilha at lxfactory.com.

My top tip: If you want something stylish head to the rooftop bars at Bairro Alto Hotel (bairroaltohotel.com) or Hotel do Chiado (hoteldochiado.com).

Paris, France

Yanique Francis, travel blogger, myparisianlife.com

One of my favourite secret spots is Le Tambour (pictured), at 41 Rue Montmartre, because it used to be the restaurant of an old hotel. The staff are friendly, the evenings boisterous and the interiors are like a museum to Paris history, with old bus seats, street signs and knick-knacks.

My top tip: See Paris with a local guide and tell them your interests.

Zagreb, Croatia

Nina Lalic, blogger, spottedbylocals.com

Park Gric, at the southernmost part of the medieval Upper Town, is a hidden gem. It offers a unique chance to walk along the original medieval city wall and is the perfect place to sit and enjoy the green oasis in the old neighbourhood, complete with a stupendous view of the skyline.

My top tip: Visit Zagreb during late spring when it’s not overcrowded.

Rome, Italy

Veronica Stia, chief experience officer, gadventures.com

Just steps away from the Colosseum sits the neighbourhood of Monti, which has many stylish shops and restaurants set up by artisans. It’s the perfect place to spend a day strolling along cobblestone streets.

My top tip: Head to the gorgeous Piazza della Madonna dei Monti to enjoy a gelato in the sun.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Tea Snajdar, travel blogger, culturetourist.com

Go to the hofjes, hidden courtyards filled with lovely small gardens and located behind some of Amsterdam’s old canal houses. Begijnhof (Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 373, above) is the most famous but there are many that not even many locals know about. Two of them, located at Jordaan neighbourhood, Van Brienen Hofje (Prinsengracht 89-133) and Zon’s Hofje (Prinsengracht 159-171), are very enchanting.

My top tip: Take a private, open boat canal cruise.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Marija Curavic, contributor, godubrovnik.com

One spot you probably won’t find in your tour guides is a guillotine located inside the Dubrovnik Old Town — don’t worry, it’s only a replica of one from centuries ago! It’s located on Od Pustijerne street, next to one of the entrances to the City Walls. The guillotine is surrounded by green plants and is the favourite gathering place for local cats — a perfect rest stop.

My top tip: Take the short boat trip to the pretty island of Lokrum, where you can stroll round a monastery.

Athens, Greece

Dimitris Hall, blogger and insider guide, spottedbylocals.com

Despite sitting just below the Acropolis, most tourists would never find Syntrimmi (Amfiktionos 33, above), my favourite bohemian cafe/bar in Athens. It’s in a century-old old shared residence with a lovely atrium and tall ceilings. Its welcoming atmosphere and smiling staff make every coffee, glass of strong raki or very affordable traditional dish that much better.

My top tip: Visit in spring, when the bitter orange trees are in blossom.

Moscow, Russia

Ilya Sokolov, blogger for spottedbylocals.com

The tallest freestanding structure in Europe does not attract enough attention, as it’s located quite far from the city centre but I would recommend combining the trip to Ostankino Tower (tvtower.ru, above) with a visit to VDNKh park — the letters stand for the Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy — where the stunning Worker And Kolkhoz Woman monument is located. The tower, which was conceived as a lily flower, also looks like a space rocket.

My top tip: Go underground to explore the lovely stations on the Metro network.

Berlin, Germany

Gareth Hamilton, director of marketing, Europe, gadventures.com

Head to the past: Industrial ruin porn at the former sanatorium

Just 45 minutes away by train from central Berlin is the former sanatorium of Beelitz-Heilstätten, used as a military hospital during WWII. Now a big complex of buildings in the forests, you can join tours to explore the abandoned buildings, enjoy a treetop walk around the former surgical wards or explore the various barefoot paths built for kids (baumundzeit.de).

Branch out: Enjoy a treetop walk at the former sanatorium of Beelitz-Heilstätten

My top tip: Klunkerkranich (klunkerkranich.org) a car-park-turned-rooftop bar, offers great views of the city.

Cologne, Germany

Julia Krakau, blogger, spottedbylocals.com

The Aachener Weiher park in Cologne’s inner green belt is one of the most popular meeting places for young people. The Museum of East Asian Art (museum-fuer-ostasiatische-kunst.de/) on the west side of the pond is my all-time favourite place for art followed by coffee with cake. Exhibitions are never overcrowded and I love to sit on the terrace right next to the water.

My top tip: Leave the city centre and head for one of the lively, authentic districts like Sülz or Ehrenfeld to discover local squares, cafés or owner-run shops.

Rijeka, Croatia

Iva Sušic, blogger, spottedbylocals.com

Ten minutes by bus, or 20 minutes on foot heading east, and you’ll find yourself in the neighbourhood of Pecine. Six beautiful pebble beaches, a mile-long promenade and a hidden balcony for a private sunset is all you need for the perfect holiday.

My top tip: Rijeka is a walker-friendly city, so stroll around as much as you can.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Simon Larsen, photographer and Instagrammer, @simonlarsen

Table service: Café culture in Vesterbro

Copenhagen is divided into several neighbourhoods, all having their own special, charming little areas. My favourites are Vesterbro, a quieter district stuffed with cool cafés and design stores, and Nørrebro, which is very culturally diverse and where you can eat anything from ramen to tacos. It’s best to navigate the city by bike.

My top tip: Locate some Copenhagen-based Instagrammers with interests similar to yours and plan your trip that way.

Porto, Portugal

Camila Aldrighi, blogger, spottedbylocals.com

You can find one of the city’s hidden gems right in the city centre: Confeitaria do Bolhão (confeitariadobolhao.com/). Located right next to Mercado do Bolhão and Rua Santa Catarina, you can enjoy inexpensive, non-touristy café prices and experience how the locals do it.

My top tip: Come in the summer to feel the city’s vibe at its strongest.

Stockholm, Sweden

Lola Akinmade Åkerström, editor in chief, slowtravelstockholm.com

Sweden’s super-photogenic capital spreads across 14 islands, so to really take in the city’s beauty, I love having lunch with a view at my favourite spot, Swedish restaurant Fåfängan (fafangan.se). It’s a gazebo-style restaurant that sits atop its very own hill (a light hike), with spectacular panoramas over the islands of Djurgården, Gamla stan, and Skeppsholmen.

My top tip: Take a three-hour brunch cruise with Stromma (stromma.se), sailing between Stockholm’s islands.

Seville, Spain

Cat Gaa, blogger, sunshineandsiestas.com

Under the shadow of Las Setas on Calle Regina — the world’s largest wooden building and a futuristic set of mushrooms -are hip eateries, craft breweries and clothing collectives. Venture a bit past the end of the narrow road on a Thursday morning and you’ll find the Mercadillo El Jueves (41220 Burguillos), a kitsch weekly market. Dusty bullfighting jackets, heavy religious statues and Expo ’92 memorabilia can be found by digging into crates and boxes.

My top tip: Eat like a local — find the most crowded tapas joint and don’t be afraid to stand at the bar.

Dublin, Ireland

Ali Dunworth, food blogger, thatalice.com

One of the things I love most about Dublin is its proximity to the sea. The city centre sits in the middle of Dublin Bay, which is flanked by coastline and colourful, seafront towns. Dun Laoghaire on the south and Howth on the north are easily accessible by public transport for harbourside walks, fish and chips and swims for the brave.

My top tip: Head a little further north to Skerries for a scenic seaside day out.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Auður Ösp, tour organiser, iheartreykjavik.net

One of my favorite spots in Reykjavík is the Einar Jónsson sculpture garden (lej.is/en/museum/garden/). Jónsson was Iceland’s first sculptor to put his mark on the city with his outdoor art pieces. The sculpture garden is behind the Einar Jónsson Museum and is free to roam around. It’s also a great place to have a summer picnic with your friends.

My top tip: Do a walking tour -there’s so much more to Reykjavík than just the main shopping street.

Spotted by Locals is a series of blogs and apps (on iPhone & Android) by handpicked locals in 80+ cities in Europe, the Middle East & North America; See next week’s Escape for our locals guide to long-haul destinations…