Have you ever been let down by an over hyped destination? Has your perfect photo ruined by unruly crowds? Check out this list for some underrated and overlooked gems in Europe! Plus check out some destinations we bet you haven’t heard of before.
After an island that isn’t completely full with tourists? Check out Rhodes. A small Greek Island with an amazing mix of history, beaches, and nightlife, it’s not to be missed! Think Rome and Athens mixed with the typical greece islands for Rhodes vibes. You can explore the Temple of Apollos, old medieval castles, Roman ruins, and Byzantine mosques. OR relax on one of the many, many beaches! For those water sports enthusiasts out there, you can try your hand at windsurfing, or explore the crystal clear waters. What isn’t there to love about Rhodes?
The third largest city in Spain, Valencia is relatively quiet when compared to its more well-known counterparts. But just a short trip away from Barcelona is a city bursting with beaches, history and some wicked nightlife. You can spend the day exploring on bike, shopping at the Peruse La Lonja, the oldest silk market, or admiring the Plaza de la Virgin’s architecture. At night you can drink sangria and party with the locals at the rooftop discotecas. Sleep. Then repeat. If you’re lucky (or plan your trip well), you might catch Las Fallas in March. It’s the biggest party in Valencia and the town is literally set ablaze!
Maastricht, the heart of Europe. Literally. Sure it may not be as romantic as Paris, but it sits smack dab in the middle of Europe. Further evidence? The city has both Spanish and Roman ruins, AS WELL as French and Belgian ruins. Moving on. Maastricht is rumoured to have more pubs per square metre than any other city in the Netherlands, making it the perfect city for a night out! Bonus – the city is a famed student town, which means everything will be kinder on your wallet. During the day you can explore the seriously insane underground tunnels, made up of over 20,000 passages that have been used as shelters during sieges and bombings. If being underground it not your scene, then have a wander around town and admire the architecture.
As the cooler, more relaxed of the Nordic main cities (but don’t tell the others), Copenhagen doesn’t get enough love. Here you can spend the day exploring the picture perfect towns of Nyhavn or embracing your inner child at Tivoli amusement park. Be prepared for a long night out partying with the locals though! Things don’t pick up until 1am and most people carry on drinking until 9am with a visit to morning bars. Spend the day sleeping off the previous night (rather morning), or spend the day at the sweating at the sauna, before jumping into a freezing lake in true scandinavian fashion. Did we mention Freetown Christiana? It’s an independent neighbourhood started by hippies back in the 1970s, and well worth a visit.
What has the all the perks of Prague, Budapest, AND Vienna, but without the insane crowds? Bratislava! Well… maybe not all the perks, but it’s still pretty cool and is wedged right in the middle of the three cities (making is super easy to visit). Bratislava has something for everyone – hiking and biking trails, cheap beer, and a bucketload of museums! You can start of the day by exploring the picturesque old town, maybe go for a hike if you’re keen. At night there’s never a shortage of activities, whether you want to try a local brew at the beer hall, sip cocktails on a rooftop bar, or gatecrash a stag do. Alternatively, you can hang out at the public restrooms, where the old bathrooms have been converted into cute little pubs. It sounds weird, but still worth seeing!
The hills are aaaaaaalive with the sound of Mozart? Home to both Mozart AND the Sound of Music, Salzburg is a picture perfect, postcard town. The scenery, skyline, and history are sure to send you spirits rising, along with the music! While Salzburg is popular with tourists, if you take a step back there’s tons more to see. For both history lovers and beer fiends, take a wander to the local monastery where the monks brew their own beer for a tasting. For explorers, go for an adventure up Untersberg Mountain, or take the cable car for a cruisy day out. There’s definitely more to Salzburg than its musical past!
Get your glasses (your wine glasses that is) out and prepared to be wowed by Porto. The home of Port (a sweet, fortified wine), the town is another postcard worthy destination. Visiting Porto is like stepping back in time, you can get a taste of old world Europe as you wander down the river, visit the food markets, and explore the streets! Alternatively brush up on your architecture and visit the Porto cathedral, one of the city’s oldest monuments.
Take a step back London and be ready to get your Geordie on. Featuring legendary nightlife (Geordie Shore anyone?), history, and some awesome views, Newcastle doesn’t get enough love. Home to some seriously cool art displays, ancient castles, and old-school theaters, Newcastle is a big melting pot of old and new. You can spend the night living it up at one of the clubs, or take it easy at a pub, drinking ale and listening to local bands. Walk off the hangover the next day with a stroll down the river and check out the Sunday markets. Before leaving spend some time embracing culture and check out the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art or watch a movie in the original Art Deco interior.
An island? In Germany? Definitely not what we were expecting when it comes to this country, but sometimes what you need is a step back from reality. In those times you head to Rugen! Home to a national park for all you nature lovers, where you can hike to your heart’s content. For those that want to explore the island, but without the hiking or excessive sweating, hop in a hot air balloon for great views! OR you can cool down and go for a dive exploring the many shipwrecks surrounding Rugen. If you’re not keen on exploring, head down to the beach and get your tan on!
Isle of Arran
Featuring Stonehenge’s younger siblings, the Isle of Arran is home to its very own stone circle(s). While not as large as Stonehenge, these circles still have that element of mystery, plus no crowds! Besides, the Isle of Arran has so much more to offer than just stone circles. The island is chock full of adventure activities, you can brave chilly waters while kayaking, or bundled up and go caving! If you want to explore above ground, simply hire a bike or walk it if you’re up for a challenge. The Isle of Arran is considered Scotland’s scenic crown, so you’re bound to find some epic views!