Hidden Gems of Europe

There are certain holiday destinations that never seem to go out of fashion; but are you curious to find those lesser known gems with unique charm? From picturesque Alpine villages to less explored islands in Croatia, these overlooked locations await discovery!

Mdina exudes ancient European charm from its fortresses straddling the city center to its historic architecture, giving it an air of authenticity that may even remind you of something from Game of Thrones! You might recognize some filming locations there too!

1. Doolin

Doolin, Ireland is an idyllic Irish village known for its traditional music and outdoor adventures. Situated close by is UNESCO Geopark of Doolin is Burren, a striking limestone rock landscape.

The spectacular Cliffs of Moher can be found nearby, as is a ferry port for Aran Islands. Killiagh Medieval Church and Doolin Cave offer visitors stunning scenery – two other highlights are Killiagh Medieval Church’s ghostly beauty and Doolin Cave with its huge free-hanging stalactite as highlights in this region.

2. Kotor

Kotor, an impressive coastal city that was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site with its impressive medieval old town surrounded by scenic fjord-like scenery, boasts an impressive medieval old town replete with impressive medieval old town architecture, reconstructed galley museum to honour its seafaring past and an ancient castle offering panoramic views.

As you would expect, the beaches here are mostly rocky and not ideal for sunbathing, though head north towards Budva for larger sandy spots.

3. Tapolca

Alonnisos Island offers idyllic beaches, bars and restaurants without many tourists. Enjoy climbing its mountains and discovering its quiet villages on this hidden treasure of an island paradise.

Sibiu, one of Europe’s hidden gems, offers visitors a breathtaking medieval city without the crowds. Admire its picturesque architecture and palaces while experiencing its Bohemian flair; plan an outing to Lake Cave as well.

4. Monopoli

Romania is home to one of only 12 World Heritage Sites designated by UNESCO; for history enthusiasts this destination offers the ultimate treat. The old town resembles an authentic medieval museum where you can stroll cobblestone streets while admiring beautiful pastel-colored buildings.

Romantic Trani looks like something out of a movie set. With postcard-perfect houses, patios and museums reminiscent of movie sets; an exquisite castle and beach offering incredible sea views are just a few highlights to enjoy here.

5. Zagreb

Zagreb is a city rich with centuries-old traditions, culture and an exceptional cuisine ranging from hearty stews to plum dumplings – offering something delicious for both body and soul.

At its center is an exceptional ground-level solar system constructed entirely out of sculptures! Locals enjoy long coffee-fueled conversations in cafes. Museums and galleries boast world-class collections for art enthusiasts while theaters showcase productions for enthusiastic theatregoers.

6. Karlovy Vary

Charles IV’s tale of Karlovy Vary discovery reads like an episode from Beverly Hillbillies: while out hunting one day, he suddenly noticed bubbling water that led him back home to Karlovy Vary.

This unique town stands as one of Europe’s most alluring secret gems, boasting world-renowned Czech liqueur Becherovka and Carlsbad wafers (or Karlovarske oplatky). Furthermore, Karlovarska boasts several thermal springs which are said to offer therapeutic relief from various ailments.

7. Tallinn

No matter your mode of travel – plane, train, bus or ferry – arriving from Stockholm or Helsinki it takes only an hour or so to reach this hidden gem of northern Europe. Its medieval Old Town, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site by UNESCO has walls encasing 66 defensive towers for your protection.

At its center is an inviting square, where merchants sell wares with lively shouts of competition; climbing to its tower rewards visitors with breathtaking views.

8. Kutna Hora

Kutna Hora’s Gothic Church of Saint Barbara is one of the city’s most beloved landmarks and features on many postcards from Kutna Hora. You’ll find it just off Palacky Square – easily visitable during a stroll around its centre.

Kutna Hora was once known as the silver treasury of Bohemian kingdom and it’s well worth visiting this stepped medieval village, added to UNESCO World Heritage List in 1995.

9. Bodo

Bodo serves as one of Norway’s main airport hubs with direct flights to Oslo and across Northern Norway, and marks the terminus for Nordland railway line.

Saltstraumen, an impressive natural phenomenon with one of the strongest tidal currents on earth, provides ample entertainment in the city centre.

Kjerringoy trading post should not be missed, as this historic landmark remains one of the best-preserved in Denmark.

10. Etretat

Etretat’s iconic cliffs have long been one of its main draws, drawing visitors from near and far alike. Boasting three natural arches and the Hollow Needle or L’Aiguille offshore rock formation, Etretat boasts just 1,200 residents living within its borders.

Courbet and Monet were inspired by this amazing landscape to paint it. Henri Matisse painted one of his beloved works of the Pier which can be seen today at Baltimore Museum of Art.

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