Everyone’s heard of the huge European destination cities that attract all of the tourists – Paris, London, Madrid. However, there are several hidden gems in this continent that can put some of the larger areas to shame. Without the crowds of eager tourists and the inevitable let down after the hype, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the beauty of a Europe you’ve only dreamed of.
These five European destinations are sure to have your wanderlust kicking into overdrive.
Located on the southern coast of Ireland, this Irish city and county maintains all of the green charm the country is known for. In Cork, there is definitely something for everyone, from the Jameson distillery to Blarney castle to the Drombeg stone circle. Right next to the actual city of Cork, you’ll also find Cobh, which is one of Ireland’s colorful harbor towns and home to final departure port of the RMS Titanic.
If you’re interested in experiencing a little magic (this county does have its own stone circle and plenty of fairy gardens), then make sure to add Cork, Ireland to your European destination checklist.
Nestled along Lake Bled, this resort town is the type of gorgeous out-of-the-way European town you’ve never heard of, but have to visit. On a large cliff overlooking the lake, there is Bled castle – an 11th century structure that’s beauty rivals its surroundings. This town is gorgeous any time of year, whether you’re looking for a winter wonderland, or a warm paradise.
With a network of underground caves nearby, and an ancient hub of the Venetian empire, this is a must to check off for your European destination.
A small village located in Austria’s Salzkammergut mountain region, Hallstatt is a fairy tale come to life. The 16th century houses and gothic architecture are what make this town so quintessentially old-European. Beyond the buildings, a funicular connects this town to ancient salt mines and lakes. This village is one of Austria’s oldest and most photographed villages, and is perfect for both winter and summer vacationers.
Whether you’re hoping to take in the natural scenery or lakeside life, this quaint village is the perfect relaxing European destination.
Isle of Skye, Scotland
Sitting on the west coast of Scotland, this isle is connected to Scotland’s coast by a rugged bridge. The Isle of Skye is famous for its host of medieval castles and natural loches – the perfect destination for anyone who loves the outdoors. You’ll discover several breathtaking views here, along with a rich history dating back to the Jacobite Rebellion and the infamous “Bonnie Prince Charlie.”
If you’re looking to truly relax and commune with nature and the creatures she has created, the Isle of Skye is the only European destination for you.
The locale of the song by George Ezra, the capital of Hungary connects Buda and Pest via a 19th century bridge – hence the name, Budapest. This capital is home to jaw dropping cathedrals and basilicas, as well as old-fashioned thermal baths, a practice that goes back to the traditional Hungarian mineral bathing. Despite being one of the largest cities in the European Union, this capital is often overlooked for other options.
If you wish to travel to Paris, but lack the budget, make a trip to the “Paris of Middle Europe” – you’ll find that this is the only European destination worth having.
Whether you’re more interested in nature walks or city life, there’s a European destination on this list for everyone.