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Undiscovered Destinations: 21+ Hidden Gems of Europe

One of the best things about travel blogging is that we get to share some of the more undiscovered destinations with fellow travel lovers. The thing is, that usually means venturing beyond my home continent because sometimes it feels like most European destinations are all well-known already.

Hopefully this post proves otherwise. And while I won’t overlook the more popular tourist destinations like Maspalomas or Amsterdam, I do love finding somewhere that still feels undiscovered by the average tourist.

Which brings me on to this list! After spending a few months in Europe this summer, I realised that there are still a lot of undiscovered destinations to explore. So I asked the people who know best – my fellow travel bloggers – to share their favourite hidden gems in Europe.

Here are some of the most underrated spots to explore (before everyone else does!). How many will you add to your Europe bucket list?

Belarus

European Destination Minsk Belarus

Minsk

The term “off-the-beaten-path” gets thrown around too much, but in the case of Minsk, the reclusive capital of Belarus, it might just be spot on. Only a handful of foreigners ever stretch their Eastern Europe travel itinerary to Minsk, a fact that’s immediately noticeable as you wander around unimpeded by the crowds of visitors that swarm other European capitals.

Of course, a lack of tourists is only part of Minsk’s appeal. Thanks to a weird fascination with the Soviet Union and dystopian books & movies, I’ve never visited a city where I’ve found a more interesting architectural palette than Minsk. You’ll often hear writers describe Minsk as a “Soviet time capsule,” and as you uncover the Socialist architecture spread throughout the city—from the Orwellian buildings of Independence Square to the realist military monuments of Victory Square—it’s easy to see the comparison.

Where the analogy fails is that, aside from its swathes of obvious socialist city planning, Minsk dazzles with a slew of leafy parks, a 19th-century historical riverside suburb, and elegant European boulevards (named after communist strongmen, of course) lined with buzzing cafés & restaurants. Simply put: Minsk is a surprisingly pleasant city.

What’s kept most travellers away from Minsk in the past (aside from less-than-squeaky-clean politics) has been a restrictive visa regime. Recently though, Belarus has loosened their policy, allowing citizens of 74 countries to visit visa-free for up to 30 days through Minsk National Airport. If you’re keen on discovering a relatively untrampled part of Europe, there’s no better time than now to tame your curiosity with a trip to Minsk.

Submitted by Ryan at Treksplorer

Bulgaria

European Destination Rila Bulgaria

Rila

The highest mountain range in the Balkans, Rila, is located in southwestern Bulgaria – a perfect destination if you love undiscovered gems and breathtakingly beautiful nature. Whether you have plenty of time to explore, or just a free day to visit, there are certainly options to fit your schedule. As we had less than a full day to explore the area during our Bulgaria itinerary, we opted to visit as a daytrip from Sofia. It was easy to find comfortable and affordable transportation, and we had enough time to hike the Rila mountains to see the magnificent Seven Rila Lakes. These are the region’s most famous glacial lakes and they are the perfect choice for inexperienced hikers who still want a little bit of adventure.

Next time we go back to Bulgaria, we hope to hike around this area for at least a week, as there is plenty to see! One of our goals is to climb the highest peak in the Balkans, Musala, and visit the Rila Monastery, an UNESCO World Heritage Site that is over a thousand years old. There is a lot to explore in the country, but the mountains were the most magical part of our trip.

Even though more and more people are visiting the Balkans, the reality is that Bulgaria is one of the most underrated spots in Europe. If you love friendly people, delicious food, and beautiful scenery, we’re sure it is a country you will fall in love with, just like we did. For all its history and unique landmarks, it is a must stop on a trip around the continent!

By Maria and Rui from Two Find A Way.

Croatia

European Destination Sibenik Croatia

Sibenik

Although Croatia has become a popular destination in Europe, one spot that is often overlooked is Sibenik. This is surprising considering Sibenik is the only city in Croatia to boast 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – St. James’ Cathedral and St. Nicholas’ fortress.

With tourists generally favouring a visit to Split or Dubrovnik, Sibenik is certainly one of the most underrated spots in the country. For many travellers in Croatia, a trip to Krka National Park to swim in the majestic Skradinski buk waterfall is a must, and is often done as a day trip from Split. Yet Sibenik is actually the closest city to Krka, which is just 10 kilometres away. On top of that, the incredible Plitvice Lakes National Park is just a 2-hour drive away.

Sibenik itself is known for its 4 fortresses, all of which have something different to offer and add character to the city. St Nicholas’ fortress is unique in that it is built at sea, with only a narrow path linking it to the mainland. Barone fortress has brilliant panoramic views from 80 metres above the city. St. Michael’s fortress is located right by the Adriatic Sea and has views of St. James’ cathedral. St John’s fortress is 115 metres above the city so offers even more great views. That one may be of interest to Game of Thrones fans as a small part of the show was filmed there.

It’s clear to see that Sibenik has a lot to offer, from its fortresses to its old town to its proximity to Krka and Plitvice National Parks. For some reason though, travellers haven’t quite caught on yet – so get there before everyone else does!

By Sam and Natalia from Something of Freedom. 

Czech Republic

European Destination Brno Czech Republic

Brno

When people think about travelling to the Czech Republic the first two things that come to mind are Prague and Beer. But this stunning country in Central Europe is much more than that, and on our last trip there we discovered Brno and fell in love with the city. Brno has a beautiful old town, amazing restaurants, first-class wines and fairytale castles.

Brno is located in the South Moravia region, and it can be easily reached by flights or by train, it’s just a couple of hours from Prague or from Vienna, Austria. There are many interesting things to do in Brno and around, from cultural tours to learn about the city’s history and unique architecture, to day trips to vineyards and medieval cellars for wine tasting. The city is booming with nice restaurants, trendy and artistic cafes and shops. It’s the perfect travel destination for food lovers and if you like a good cocktail you will be impressed by the bar scene and the creative mixologists you can find in Brno.

A trip to Brno is packed with fun, and the best part is that it won’t ruin your budget. There you can find accommodation and places to eat for all style of travelers and pockets. We spent 3 days in Brno and South Moravia region during winter, and although it was beautiful to see the city covered in snow, it wasn’t the best time to visit the vineyards. So if you want to explore the wine plantations my suggestion is to plan your gateway to Brno during spring.

By Nat from Love and Road.

European Destination Olomouc Czech Republic

Olomouc

Move over, Prague. Olomouc is similarly stunning, yet not touristy at all! Even though I love Prague and chose it as my home, I still think Olomouc might score higher on a few aspects of travel-worthiness. Especially if you’ve been to Prague already and are looking at what other cities to visit in the Czech Republic, Olomouc should be in your Top 3.

So what is it about Olomouc? Imagine a UNESCO-protected Old Town, a series of original Baroque fountains, an astronomical clock, lots of students and a laid back way of life. Doesn’t it sound wonderful enough? Every traveller I met who has been to Olomouc was seriously awestruck by it. I love how in Olomouc you can just stroll around the city centre without having to take the public transport (which is still fast and easy). Everything is within a walking distance.

If you love an old charm of lovely towns combined with a trendy development respecting the historical values, you have a magical mix called Olomouc. So while the city center speaks history, there are enough awesome cafés serving the best brews, quality boutique hotels, bistros and restaurants with delicacies such as ramen or artisan fries. There’s another thing that makes Olomouc unique – the local smelly cheese called Olomoucké tvarůžky (or Olomoucké syrečky). The soft cheese smells horrible but for many the taste is perfect. Not for me, though! Try it at your own risk :)

By Veronika from Travel Geekery.

Finland

European Destination Rovaniemi Lapland Finland

Rovaniemi

Rovaniemi is a small town situated right on the Arctic Circle in Finland – but it’s actually the largest city in Europe in terms of land size! A massive portion of that is covered in beautiful forest that’s perfect for exploring in the summer under the Midnight Sun. During winter it transforms into a winter wonderland with every snow related sport you can think of.

One of Rovaniemi’s claims to fame is that is is the official home of Christmas and there’s plenty of seasonal joy to experience year-round! A highlight has to be visiting Santa Park Arctic World, which is a Christmas theme park where you can meet the real Santa Claus, attend and graduate from Elf school, take a spin on the magic train, visit the Ice Princess in her ice cave at minus ten degrees Celsius and post a letter from Santa’s official post office.

A visit to the official Arctic Circle should also be on your must-do list – in reality it’s a line drawn on the ground, but a great spot to get those Insta perfect snaps of you jumping in and out of the Arctic Circle! For those with an adventurous palette, there are some interesting dishes to try including a hearty reindeer meatball stew or the stunning superfoods of the region – wild bilberries and cloudberries. Finnish law states it’s ‘every man’s right’ to take the berries, so feel free to help yourself while hiking.

During the long winter months, it’s one of the best places in the world to experience the Northern Lights. Other activities include ice floating in a lake in a special suit while looking at the lights, viewing the stars from a snowmobile, taking a husky or reindeer pulled sled-ride, or cross-country skiing under the stars.

By Kylie from Our Overseas Adventures.

France

 

European Destination Corsica France

Corsica

Corsica and the 4th largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is part of France, and a sought-after holiday spot for French people. However for travelers from other countries, it is often overlooked. This is very surprising to me considering how magnificent and varied the island is. There is something for almost everyone:

· Beautiful white sand beaches with turquoise waters

· Mountain peaks going as high as 2706m which means deep gorges and valleys

· Scenic Vineyards

· Ancient Citadels and towers

· Charming hilltop villages

· Good food and wine (it is France after all…)

· Giant boulders of different colors, sometimes reminding people of the Seychelles

· And hiking, canyoning, diving… for the most active travelers

The areas I love the most in Corsica are the cliffs: the pink Calanques dePiana plunging 200m into the sea (a UNESCO Heritage site) and the white limestone cliffs in the South, with the Citadel of Bonifacio standing just on the edge of them. Nature is magnificent!

Corsica has 4 small airports and several ports welcoming ferries from France and Italy. So it is not difficult to get there. There is a large choice of accommodation and it’s well-adapted to receiving travellers. Roads are winding but generally in good conditions. And, there is no way to get bored: views are blowing you away at every turn!

By Claire from ZigZag on Earth.

 

European Destination Limoges France

Limoges

Limoges is located in the centre of France and a short flight from the UK. It’s not a destination I’d considered visiting before but a cheap flight tempted me to book a trip. Limoges isn’t a French city that you regularly hear people talk about so I wasn’t expecting much from my trip other than lovely French food and wine but I was pleasantly surprised.

There are plenty of things to do in Limoges. You can start your trip by exploring the stunning old historic part of the city with its amazing French architecture, plus plenty of cute bars and cafes. Maybe stop for a coffee or glass of wine or explore and get lost in the little streets and see where you end up. Limoges Cathedral is another stunning building and you can also go round the back to the gardens overlooking the river around the back. Don’t miss out on crossing the historic 13th-century bridge called Pont Saint Etienne over the river. Perfect during the daytime for walks along the river or in the evening the bridge is lit up and very photogenic.

Limoges is also famous for one thing that makes it unique – porcelain! There are plenty of porcelain shops, but also museums and factories to find out how the porcelain is made. One museum you could visit is the Musée Adrien Dubouché, you can see examples of beautiful porcelain made years ago Limoges is certainly one of the most underrated cities to visit in France and makes a perfect weekend break.

By Becky from Becky the Traveller.

European Destination Nantes France

Nantes

Nantes is a French city located at only 2 hours from Paris by TGV which does not see many international tourists. However, Nantes is a very interesting and creative city with many cool things to see and do. Nantes is crossed by the River Loire and when the weather is good, it is nice to walk along its banks, busy with cool terraces and outdoor bars. Also, the city has a beautiful architecture, with Haussmanian buildings, nice fountains adorning the main squares and covered passages with beautiful shops like the ones in Paris.

Also, you will want to come to Nantes to see Les Machines de l’Ile. This is a group of quirky machines located in the former shipyards of the city, which are a combination of Jules Verne’s imagination (born in Nantes) and Leonardo da Vinci’s invention. There are many machines but the most spectacular ones are the Giant Elephant and the Carousel of the Sea World. The Giant Elephant is a wandering machine who likes to go around the shipyards and spray people with his trunk while the Carousel of the Sea World is a huge concrete structure with 3 levels: the seabed, abyss and sea surface. In the Carousel of the Sea World, people can ride these creatures but also move parts of them, which is very cool! Finally, don’t miss Nantes’ local food, with crêpes, galettes, and many delicious cakes like the “gateau Nantais”!

By Elisa from World in Paris.

Georgia

European Destination Svaneti Georgia

Svaneti

While Europe has plenty of mountains, some ranges are more travelled than others. Nestled in the grey area between Europe and Asia is the country of Georgia. Given that most people don’t even know the existence of this country, its beautiful mountains to the north are still largely unexplored by foreign tourists. The most stunning section of Georgia’s mountain scenery to visit is in Svaneti.

For most of history, Svaneti has been isolated from the rest of the world due to the environment that surrounds it. During the winter months, it was impossible to get in or out of the area until they built an airport not too long ago. Due to this fact, much of the region still retains many of the rich traditions and culture that makes this slice of Georgia unique from the rest.

For centuries, locals would migrate up to the high pastures found in Svaneti and graze their livestock and this still happens to this day. With more and more tourists coming into the region every year, it gives the local population just one more reason to continue to make the journey into the mountains each summer.

The main reason for venturing up here is to go trekking up into the mountains. The most popular trek in the area is the four day adventure that takes you from town of Mestia to the mountain village of Ushguli. The route takes you through some incredible alpine scenery that would rival anything you could find in Switzerland. Add in the equally beautiful little villages, with their medieval towers and stonework homes, and you have yourself a recipe for one of the greatest hikes you could possibly do in Europe.

By Eric from Once Upon A Backpack.

 

Germany

Taiwanese tea ceremony and tea shop at Shennong Lounge in Dusseldorf Germany

Dusseldorf

Here I’m going to throw in my own discovery of the summer: Dusseldorf. Despite being one of the biggest cities in Germany, Dusseldorf still doesn’t get the credit it deserves – especially when it comes to food!

When I headed to Dusseldorf in June, I expect a typical German city and lots of traditionally German food. But instead of sausages, bread and cheese, we cooked a full Filipino meal, snacked on sushi and sipped award-winning gin. And with cooking classes, baking workshops and even a Taiwanese tea ceremony, we didn’t just try the food. We experienced it.

If, like me, food is one of your favourite reasons for travel, you need to add Dusseldorf to your list. Apart from being the most underrated foodie destination in Europe, it’s a truly unique city bursting with passion and innovation.

Read more about the food in Dusseldorf.

European Destination Rostock Germany

Rostock

If you are looking for off-the-beaten-track places to visit in Europe, consider Rostock, a small town on the Baltic Coast in northern Germany. If you are on a Baltics Cruise, you may have a stop at Warnamunde, from where Rostock is just 20 minutes away by train. Or if you are visiting Berlin, plan a day trip to Rostock: it’s just about two hours away by fast train.

Rostock has a rich history. It was part of the powerful Hanseatic League, and actually built ships that sailed the Baltic Sea. It is also home to one of Europe’s oldest universities. Because of its location, Rostock was the object of desire for many a nearby nation: Denmark and Sweden both occupied it at points in time, and the French occupied it for a period of time as well.

Start your visit to Rostock with a walk around Neuer Markt, the town’s pretty main square. Note the six beautiful gabled houses on the square, lovingly restored to their original beauty after the square was destroyed in WWII bombing. Nearby is the brick Town Hall, now sporting a Baroque facade. Stop for a pastry and a drink at a bakery on the square, before you continue your exploration.

By Dhara from It’s Not About The Miles.

Greece

European Destination Syros Greece

Syros

Syros is a true hidden gem in Europe. Part of the Cyclades group of islands, it is not very well known and often overshadowed by its more famous sister islands Mykonos and Santorini. Syros is, in fact, the administrative capital of the Cyclades, and it is just as charming and unique. It’s for a reason that it is known as the ‘Lady of the Cyclades’ and ‘Nymph of the Aegean Sea’.

The advantage the Syros has is that as it has managed to remain a bit of a secret, it has kept the true Greek island way of life and has not been spoilt by tourism. Syros feels very much off the beaten path, and this is one of the things I love the most about this charming island.

The island used to be an important trading centre, and this can be seen in the still grandiose capital Ermoupoli. The impressive Neoclassical mansions of the district of Vaporia give their past away.

But my favourite area in Syros has to be the fortress-like Ano Syros, the original settlement in the island. Getting lost in its alleyways feels like going back in time to a world where yiayias sit outside their front doors watching the world go by. A world that forces you to slow down, take in your surroundings and live the moment.

By Teresa from Brogan Abroad.

Ireland

European Destination Sligo Ireland

Sligo

If you are searching for the perfect Irish destination that is beautiful but not swarming with tourists, then you really should visit Sligo. Located in the northwest of Ireland, this coastal county really does have it all. From picturesque beaches moulded by the North Atlantic Ocean, to scenic mountain walks and forest trails, you’ll be spoilt for choice. And of course, after all that exploring, you can recharge and experience the charm of traditional Irish pubs while listening to traditional music.

We recommend spending some time on the coast, which makes up a small section of the Wild Atlantic Way. One of the most popular beaches to visit is Strandhill beach. Not many people know this but it is one of the best beaches in Ireland for surfing. If you want to give it a try, there are lessons available to people of different skill levels but you could also try a seaweed bath instead. It’s supposed to relieve stress and is really good for your skin too.

The thing that we really love about Sligo though is the fact that it really is a hidden gem in Ireland. It is so beautiful that you expect to see tourist buses pulling up at all the sights, but there are times when you have them all to yourself. One of the most breath-taking spots we visited was at the Gleniff Horseshoe. It is a six-mile loop of narrow winding road surrounded by the most incredible mountain views with cascading waterfalls, and sheep grazing on the luscious grass. When we arrived we were the only ones here and we had the place to ourselves. This is part of the charm of Sligo – you feel like you’re experiencing the best keep secret in Ireland.

By Lizzie and Dave from Wanderlust And Life.

Italy

European Destination Bologna Italy

Bologna

Lots of people travel to Italy to eat amazing fresh pasta, but why not travel to the place where fresh handmade pasta was invented and have your own hands on experience? I’m talking about experiencing a Le Sfogline class in Bologna in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. Le Sfogline literally translates as “The ladies who pull the pasta by hand” and the two sisters who run the small pasta shop in Bologna have been working at their craft since 1996 and have taught the likes of Rick Steves, Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver.

Learning the art of handmade pasta is truly an incredible experience to have. You will learn everything from how to make tortellini (Little portions of pasta stuffed with meat) and tortelloni (larger and stuffed with ricotta). As well as some of the other cuts of fresh pasta….you’d be surprised how much pasta they make from one dough!

If cooking classes aren’t your thing there are of course plenty of food tours available in Bologna. You can taste the likes of world famous foods from the region like Tagliatelli Ragu, Mortadella, Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan cheese), Prosciutto Crudo Di Parma (Parma Ham), and of course some of the most creamy and decadent gelato in the world.

Bologna is relatively unknown to tourists – but this won’t last for long. So get there while everything is still traditional and delicious.

By Tommo and Megsy from Food Fun Travel

European Destination Trentino Italy

Trentino

Trentino, in the North of Italy, is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Europe. It has a lot to offer to those who visit and yet is incredibly underrated. A top skiing destination in the winter months, Trentino literally blooms in the summer months, when it hosts a variety of festivals. The most famous one is I Suoni delle Dolomiti, where concerts take place every day in the open, in the middle of the forest. It’s free to attend for everyone, showcasing the best musicians from around the world.

Sharing the Dolomites with the bordering Alto Adige, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia, Trentino is a fabulous destination for nature lovers and anyone who enjoys hiking, biking and climbing, and being close to nature. There are plenty of hiking trails in the Dolomites, either short (yet rewarding ones) such as the Alta Via dei Monzoni, which goes along World War I trenches; or longer ones such as the trails in the Brenta.

But there’s more. The villages of Trentino are beautiful places to explore. The food is simply delicious, plus there’s many small yet interesting museums to discover more about the culture and history of the region, as well as good art galleries. To top this off, the food and drinks (wine, as well as grappa) are delicious. Those who wish to pamper themselves can do so at the fantastic QC Terme, which offers plenty of treatment rooms. The views around Val di Fassa from the spa are simply stunning!

Last but not least, Trentino is a great destination for families and it is very pet friendly, with plenty of places to stay able to accommodate pets as well.

By Claudia from My Adventures Across The World.

Luxembourg

European Destination Mullerthal Luxembourg

Mullerthal

When it comes to outdoor adventure destinations in Europe, Luxembourg rarely if ever features very highly. Perhaps it’s overlooked because it’s one of the smallest countries in Europe, or maybe people simply associated Luxembourg with the city and nothing else. Whatever the reason, the result is that Luxembourg is something of a well kept secret when it comes to places to visit for outdoor activities in Europe.

Beyond its well known city, there is lush green countryside for miles, and the terrain is surprisingly hilly in places. The Mullerthal region, my suggestion for outdoor activities, is even marketed as ‘Little Switzerland’. This is a great place to head for if you fancy hiking and cycling. A number of well marked trails lead throughout the region, forming one longer circuit known as the Mullerthal Trail, but there are plenty of others as well.

Due to its central location, Luxembourg and in particular the Mullerthal region make a great destination for a long weekend break. There’s plenty of campsites to choose from, as well as other accommodation to suit all styles and budgets. For outdoor activities, you can choose from hiking, cycling, kayaking, and even scuba diving – yes, really!

Take your own outdoor gear, or hire it when you’re there. Whatever you choose, you’ll certainly come away from the Mullerthal region of Luxembourg feeling you’ve discovered something new and hidden right in the heart of Europe. Interested in finding out more? Take a look at my guide to outdoor adventure in Luxembourg here.

By Dave Briggs of Dave’s Travel Pages.

Netherlands

European Destination Utrecht Netherlands

Utrecht

Utrecht is a hugely underrated city in the Netherlands. This hip, university city is one of the oldest Dutch cities but has a modern and quirky vibe about it. There are lots of cool eateries, canal side bars, attractions and beautiful outdoor places to discover here. It’s also only 30 minutes away by train from touristic Amsterdam and offers a little respite from the crowded Dutch capital.

Spend a day wandering around the beautiful medieval centre and grab a drink alongside the unique split-level canals amongst the hordes of university students and historic architecture. Top attractions include climbing the Dom tower, exploring the canals on an electric boat, biking and visiting the multitude of museums and galleries. 3 days in Utrecht is an ideal amount of time to see all the delights the city has to offer before exploring the rest of the Netherlands.

By Pip from Pip and the City.

 

Portugal

 

The Alentejo

While Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve attract millions of visitors every year, the Alentejo generally goes unnoticed. Most of the people that do visit the Alentejo visit Évora. But outside of Évora, the rest of this region tends to be very non-touristic.

Despite the region’s relative lack of tourism, there’s plenty to see and do in the Alentejo. It’s a well-known wine region, both within Portugal and increasingly internationally. It produces some of the best wine Portugal has to offer. There are a number of fantastic wine hotels dotted across the region, and many of the wineries are open for tastings and visits.

The Alentejo is also a fairly undiscovered beach destination, especially when compared to the nearby Algarve. Carvalhal, Odeceixe and Vila Nova de Milfontes are three beaches that are worth visiting while you’re here. But the best way to discover this part of Portugal is simply to get in the car and just see where you end up. Most of the region is incredibly rural. As well as wine, it’s primarily known for the production of cork, olive oil, and dairy products. This rural landscape is perfect for walking, although be sure to avoid the summer months. Temperatures in July and August can get close to 50 °C.

While this area is certainly not cosmopolitan, there are a few small cities and towns where  you could consider basing yourself while you’re here. There include Évora, Beja, Serpa, Estremoz, Elvas, and Portalegre. Alternatively, there are plenty of great guesthouses and small hotels dotted throughout the countryside that are perfect for just getting away from it all.

By James from Portugalist.

Slovakia

European Destination Banska Stiavnica SlovakiaBanska Stiavnica

Most people probably have never heard of Banska Stiavnica, Slovakia but this UNESCO listed city is one of the most charming places in Central Europe. Hidden in the valleys in the middle of Slovakia it’s one of the oldest and the most important historical mining towns in Europe. Dating back to the Middle Ages, Banska Stiavnica looks like it was taken straight from a fairy tale! Winding, cobbled lanes, colourful houses and churches towering above the city make it super picturesque. A short walk away from the centre you’re taken out to nature with lots of hiking opportunities. You might even find some old mining remnants on the hills around. On a clear day you can see even Tatra mountains or the highest peak in Hungary – Kekes – from there!

Unfortunately it’s not too easy to get to Banska Stiavnica. There are only a few trains a day and a journey from either Bratislava or Kosice takes a few hours. If you travel by car it’s much easier and you will have a really scenic ride! But Banska Stiavnica is worth the effort and I’m sure you will love the place as much as I did!

By Kamila from My Wanderlust.

European Destination Bratislava Slovakia

Bratislava

When most people travel to Eastern Europe, they visit cities like Vienna, Budapest, and Prague – all beautiful and absolutely worth visiting. There is a nearby city, though, that doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves. Bratislava, Slovakia is perhaps one of the most under-rated cities in Eastern Europe for travellers. From the famous UFO bridge and the eponymous castle on the hill, to the Blue Church or a day trip to Devin, just outside the city, Bratislava has so much to see and do that you could easily spend a week here.

Cafes line the streets in the old town, which is beautiful during Christmas. The wine here is like no other in Europe because of the soil composition. The people are some of the most welcoming you’ll meet anywhere. When you go, I recommend buying the Bratislava City Card. At roughly 20€ for a three-day pass, you’ll get access to all public transportation, a ton of free museums (plus many with discounts of up to 50%), discounts at restaurants and shops, and a lot more. It’s easily worth double the price for things you’d likely do there anyway.

And the bonus is that Bratislava is cheap! A pint of local beer is 1.60€ – sometimes cheaper. An inexpensive meal at a restaurant, about 6€. My AirBnB, in an expensive part of town near Bratislava Castle, was 20€ a night for a great room!

With so many different options and possibilities, Bratislava offers plenty of things to keep you busy without putting much of a dent in your travel budget.

By Michael from The Round The World Guys.

Spain

European Destination San Sebastian Spain

San Sebastian

Many travellers come to Spain and head straight to Madrid or Barcelona. But for true culinary travelers, the Basque Country in northern Spain is a true treat. It’s home to numerous Michelin Star restaurants, one of the best art museums in Europe in Bilbao, and a unique food destination in San Sebastian. Although Spain is known for tapas, San Sebastian is known for pinchos, or pintxos in the local Basque language.

Pintxos are small portions, normally served on a stick or skewer. And, there is a science to enjoying pintxos in San Sebastian. A San Sebastian pintxos tour is one of the best ways to learn about this unique dining city. Even if traveling independently, it’s a lot of fun to try a few pintxos at a bar and then hop to the next bar. The goal is to visit several of them in one night. This is a different way of eating and is a must-visit destination in Europe.

By Amber from With Husband In Tow.

Side view in Albarracín, Spain

Teruel Province

Spain is one of the most visited countries in the world, but there is a region there that receives much less attention from travellers than it would deserve. We’re talking about Teruel Province, situated in the Northeast of the country. The lack of tourists is quite surprising if we consider the concentration of beautiful villages and interesting landscapes we can find there.

We can start the list of the major things to visit in Teruel with the capital of the province, called Teruel as well. It’s probably the least touristic provincial capital in Spain, although it has some of the most beautiful examples of mudéjar architecture. You can’t miss the Tower of the Church of San Salvador, a UNESCO World Heritage Site or the Escalinata, a modernist staircase. The major highlights of Teruel Province are the charming villages that you can visit there. Albarracín with its medieval walls, narrow cobbled streets and picturesque churches, is probably the most famous of them, but it’s also worth checking out the Valderrobres, Calaceite or Mora de Rubielos.

Teruel also holds some breathtaking natural scenery; you can explore the Protected Area of Pinares del Rodeno, an amazing combination of a pine tree forest and giant rocks of red sandstone. This natural area is also known for the ancient cave paintings of hunting and gathering scenes you can check out following different itineraries.

By Gábor from Surfing The Planet.

Ukraine

European Destination Kharkiv Ukraine

Kharkiv

One of the most underrated cities in Europe is Kharkiv, Ukraine.  Many people don’t give much thought to visiting this large Ukrainian city located near the border of Russia. But when they do end up going, they are pleasantly surprised and wonder why more people aren’t heading out to Ukraine’s second most populous city. Kharkiv used to be the capital of Ukraine and is now known for industry, its stately buildings, and university life.  Before I went out to Kharkiv, I wasn’t sure what to expect… but I found heaps of cafes, bars, and friendly people.  It made me wonder why Ukrainians in the west and other foreigners shun this amazing city!
Kharkiv has a little something for everybody.  There is ornate Soviet architecture, well-kept green parks, and the gastronomy of the city is even starting to gain recognition.  The problem used to be that Kharkiv was disconnected from the rest of Ukraine, but now high-speed trains have connected it easily with the current capital, Kyiv.  Discount airlines have moved their way into Kharkiv and are now flying there from several locations in Europe, increasing tourism to this deserving city.
Since I first went to Kharkiv, I have recommended it to several other bloggers and travellers and not a single one hated their time there. In fact, they all loved it and said it was easily one of the most underrated destinations in Europe.  If your Europe itinerary allows it, be sure to put Kharkiv on your agenda.  It will surprise you and show you a piece of Ukraine that you didn’t know existed!

By Megan from Megan Starr.

United Kingdom

European Destination Peak District UK

The Peak District

When people think of England they perhaps think of Buckingham Palace, red phone boxes, historical towns like Bath or Cambridge, or fish n chips at a traditional seaside town like Blackpool or Brighton. But for me, it’s the green, rolling countryside that’s the true England. Overlooked by so many travellers is the Peak District nestled in the heart of the country with it’s stunning landscapes, drystone walls and quaint villages.

With the kids dressed in puddle suits and wellies, we love nothing better than a family walk in the Peak District. Our favourites are the Nine Ladies Circle through Stanton Moor Peak or the walk starting next to The Robin Hood pub in Baslow, with spectacular views from Birchen Edge. Alternatively, hire some bikes and ride the Monsal Trail or Tissington Trail. We always try to visit Blaze Farm in Wildboarclough for a free walk around the farm and a taste of the scrummy A2 ice-cream. Or head over to Chatsworth House to marvel at the grand gardens. However, the best thing to do after a long walk across the dales is to warm up in front of a fire at one of the many old and characterful pubs with your favourite tipple and some home cooked food.

By Jenny from TraveLynn Family.


Phew! That’s a pretty long list of some of the most undiscovered destinations in Europe – turns out there are quite a few hidden gems, after all! It just goes to show that there’s always somewhere new to add to your list. The question is, which one(s) will you be adding to yours?


Undiscovered destinations hidden gems in europe

Undiscovered destinations hidden gems in europe
Undiscovered destinations hidden gems in europe

UNDISCOVERED DESTINATIONS IN EUROPE hiddens gems of europe

 

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