There are two ways of exploring new areas while traveling.
You can go to a big city, stay there and enjoy what that city has to offer. Even though big cities usually have an abundance of things to do, they can be cold and chaotic. If you are planning to accomplish a lot of things then you need to plan a longer stay to see everything, which is of course one option.
The other option is to choose a smaller but gorgeous town and use it as your base to explore the surrounding areas, including smaller villages and other nearby towns. The latter requires a mode of transport such as a car, a train, or even long distance buses. When choosing this destination, make sure that it is the most stunning and the most interesting place in that area. From there you can rent a car and have daily trips to nearby cities.
Just make sure you make the most of your trip by doing some pre planing. It is a big disappointment to travel to an area and miss important sites around it.