Europe houses some of the most amazing destinations to travel to when compared to other parts of the world. From romantic Paris to historical Rome, gorgeous Venice and even half Asian half European Turkey. But what about the other less heard of locations that are kept secret from travellers by the locals themselves? These amazing, hidden gems that have yet to be discovered that are probably just a stones throw away from where we actually stand?
Well, let us share with you some of these treasure troves, and make sure you visit them the next time you’re off jet setting to Europe! We can tell you it’s well worth the extra time and effort!😉
1. The Azores Islands
Credit: Abspires40 on Flickr
The Azores Islands is an unspoiled paradise located off the coast of Portugal that consists of nine islands, all surrounded by beautiful sapphire blue and emerald green lakes, colourful hydrangeas and azaleas, volcanic caverns, 15th century churches and sprawling sunrises.
Credit: Adamina on Flickr
Credit: Norlando Pobre on Flickr
Liechtenstein is a tiny, tiny country located between Austria and Switzerland but don’t be fooled! Despite its size, it is also one of the richest countries in the world! A fairytale come to life, think mountain ranges and whimsical castles embedded deep in the Alpine wilderness! A perfect place for skiing and a winter wonderlandddd!😁
Speaking of winter wonderlands, here are 8 more reasons Switzerland is the place to be for a magical winter!
3. Bruges, Belgium
Credit: Wolfgang Staudt on Flickr
Another extremely picturesque fairytale medieval town come to life, Bruges is located in the northern part of Belgium, and is gorgeous with its cobblestone lanes and canals, historic churches and old school charm. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage City that has retained its Middle Ages roots in today’s modern world!
4. Cordoba, Spain
Welcome to what was once the capital of Islamic Spain, and home to one of the world’s greatest Islamic buildings; the multi arched Mezquita (also known as Cordoba’s great Mosque). It is located in the center of Andalusia in Spain, and declared a World Heritage Site. Be sure to explore the narrow streets of the Jewish Quarter (old Juderia) and Muslim quarter while you’re there for a true look at culture and history.
Here is a 8D7N itinerary for Spain!
If you’re interested in more European Islamic history, check out these 10 amazing landmarks!
5. Sintra, Portugal
A beautiful Portugese town located in the pine covered hills of the Serra de Sintra, Sintra is known for its beautiful heritage buildings, exotic gardens, extravagant residences and glittering palaces. It even houses its own UNESCO World Heritage center- the Sintra Vila and is famous for its Portugese culture and history.
6. Portree, Scotland
Credit: Vadim Kurland on Flickr
Portree is the main town on the Isle of Skye, and is a bustling port featuring a number of spectacular views and seafood restaurants (yums!) across the bay! It is listed as one of the most beautiful small towns to visit in Europe, and is isn’t difficult to see why!😉 The power of tiny but extremely beautiful places!❤️
Credit: Iesse on Flickr
7. Manarola, Italy
One of the famous scenic villages of the Cinque Terre coast in eastern Liguria, Manarola is the oldest and second smallest town that houses a church; San Lorenzo, and features picturesque buildings dotted down the ravine that lead down to a small harbor below. It features no beach, but has some of the best swimming holes all around! Urgh- so, so beautiful!
Credit: Laurent Castellani on Flickr
8. Maastricht, The Netherlands
Credit: Bert Kauffman on Flickr
Maastricht is one of the oldest cities in Holland, and is a lively and energetic place that mixes the best of Europe- from Spanish and Roman ruins, to French and Belgian twists in architecture, your senses will be shocked (in a good way, of course!) as it really is an affluent culture center! No trip to the Netherlands would be complete without visiting this amazing town!
Credit: Bert Kauffman on Flickr
9. Meteora, Greece
Literally translated as ‘Middle of the sky’ or ‘in the heavens above’- Meteora is the perfect name for a collection of monasteries perched on rock pillar 1300 feet above ground, built by the Greek Orthodox Church in Greece. Visitors are allowed to come and visit the last 6 of these amazing monasteries today, but be warned that the site is a wee bit difficult to access! But by golly this is one jaw dropping site that will be worth all the hassle! (Do dress modestly though, as it is still a religious place!)😁
10. Lugano, Switzerland
Known as the “Monte Carlo of Switzerland”, Lugano is the largest town in the region of Ticino, bordering Italy. It is one of the most important banking centers in Switzerland, and offers many chic boutiques, Mediterranean-style squares and arcades that sit by the northern side of Lake Lugano. It is a city of art and architecture, and is often visited by celebrities and the elite crowd when the camellia’s are in full bloom.
11. The Cinque Terre, Italy
Encompassing five different, but equally glorious towns where small houses are surrounded by nature, namely Manarola, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare- this is the place to go to for an utterly relaxed atmosphere, and natural contrasts of vineyards, olive groves and citrus orchards, not forgetting the pristine blue waters down below. A truly harmonious mix of man and nature! <3 Pick and choose a town, or just visit them all!❤️
12. Kotor, Montenegro
Despite the name Kotor (our Malay speaking friends should know what this means!) there’s actually nothing ‘kotor’ about Kotor at all! Instead, it is located along one of the world’s most beautiful bays and is a city of traders and famous sailors. Kotor is a middle-aged maze of museums, Venetian palaces and Medieval architecture- making it a UNESCO World Heritage site!
Credit: Wagon16 on Flickr
A village in Herzegovina, in the southern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina is Blagaj, a haven of peace and natural harmony. The famous Blagaj Tekija is a majestic sight among visitors- as it is a Dervish monastery situated at the base of a cliff next to the source of the river Buna.
Credit: Lasserbua on Flickr
14. Graciosa Island, Canary Islands
The perfect place to go if you’re looking for solitary beaches, silence and beauty, tranquility and nature at its best. There are no tarmac roads here, only serene beaches and volcanic mountains- the most serene of the entire Canarian Archipelago!
Credit: LisArt on Flickr
15. Lofoten, Norway
Known for its small fishing villages, Lofoten offers amazing attractions such as the famous northern lights and midnight sun, majestic mountains and long, surf swept beaches.
If you can’t fit Lotofen into your schedule to see the northern lights, here are 10 other locations to find the magnificent Aurora Borealis and Australis!
It is one of Norway’s best sites for surfing, and it also has a strong connection to the Viking Age! Pack your surf boards and get ready for some awesome waves! Surfs up!
Don’t all of these places look absolutely breathtaking? So maybe for your next trip to Europe, you’ll skip the usual spots and take a detour to any of these equally (if not more) gorgeous places instead! They’re just like fairytales come to life! We hope you have a very happy journey (and a very happy ending)!😊