It’s hard to believe that a single corner of Europe remains unturned. One might be led to think that mass tourism to central and southern European countries like France, Italy, and Spain has meant that every inch of the continent has been explored, and there are few hidden gems left.
But you’d be wrong. Yes, Europe will always be a hotspot for tourists worldwide, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go off the beaten track and try something completely different. Going to lesser-visited countries and investigating alternative things to do in very popular countries will reward you with fewer crowds and something authentic.
Sete Cidades, Azores, Portugal
Sete Cidades is one of those pinch-me moments. This double lake is like nothing you’ve seen before, and it calls its home a dormant volcano on the edge of Sao Miguel Island. Best enjoyed from the Kings Lookout, this easily tops the seven Natural Wonders of Portugal.
For those who want to get off the beaten track, there’s no country quite like Greenland. Qaqortoq is the country’s southernmost city and merges with a beautiful fjord home to a few whales. A true remnant of the Viking era, this city is unlike any other.
Villa Romana del Casale, Italy
History buffs unite for this unique slice of Italian history. UNESCO has labeled this Roman monument the best place to see mosaics from the Roman era. And if you think this is in Rome, think again. You’ll find Villa Romana del Casale in Sicily, the perfect sun-kissed stop on an Italy tour.
Often overlooked by its bigger sibling, Vienna, Graz is Austria’s second biggest city and the capital of the Styria region. Small in size but big in personality, Graz is proudly Styrian and boasts plenty of traditions and customs that date back centuries. A wonderful city break, if ever there was one.
Vipava Valley, Slovenia
Slovenia itself is often overshadowed by its neighbors Italy and Austria. Still, the country offers travelers a bit of everything, from world-class mountain biking, road biking, hiking, and epic water sports. Vipava Valley is a welcome prospect after a day’s adventures with private wine producers tucked away in the picturesque vineyards.
Barcelona and Madrid aren’t the only options for a Spanish city break. León is home to a bustling food scene, easygoing tapas bars, and a laid-back vibe away from all the crowds.
The Georgian Caucasus Mountains
Connecting Georgia and Azerbaijan, and therefore Europe and Asia, these mountains offer some of the rawest wilderness on the continent. With some hills reaching over 5,000 meters, this is one for avid and experienced adventure lovers.