Taking a great vacation in Europe doesn’t have to be one of those cliché and overdone experiences. Believe it or not, there still exist many places to be discovered that are not the traditional backpacking across Europe routine. As a travel writer, I love to travel regardless of the destination; however, we also get this desire to encounter the new.
This is partly because we are faced with a very real challenge of finding something interesting to write about that is different than everything else that’s out there. This can bring on stressful moments of near panic when you are facing that blank computer screen and have an equally blank mind.
Having recently gone through a moment like this, I decided to start researching hidden gem destinations in Europe to find new places and new story angles that we haven’t been to or written before.
These are of course places that are completely different than the major touristy things that usually draw people to a certain place. Whether you are a travel writer or merely someone with wanderlust looking for something a little out of the ordinary, these “hidden destinations” are sure to give you many great ideas, and they also offer some of the most picturesque scenery in Europe.
You definitely want to be on either Instagram or Pinterest to show off all the amazing pictures you’ll be able to take! Best to look at this guide comparing the two image sharing platforms if you think there’s only time for one in your life.
The Meteora is a community of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in central Greece built on top of rock pillars. It is really something completely unique to behold and seems to be so peaceful and serene, cut off from everything. Nothing says the pursuit of spiritual elevation like resting atop high, vertical cliffs at 400m (or 1,200ft) up.
The Cinque Terre, Italy
Slightly more touristy than a monastery community, but certainly much less than other areas of Italy like Venice or Rome, Cinque Terre is a Mediterranean paradise. The beautiful little fishing villages seem to rise out of the water, with their happy, pastel-colored houses acting like a welcoming banner to anyone arriving from the sea.
Being listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, these quaint and historic medieval fishing villages are no longer so secret, but they are worth seeing nevertheless.
Porto Santo, Portugal
Some have called them the “last ‘undiscovered’ resorts in Europe,” as this island includes both mountainous regions with rocky cliffs, as well as a beautiful expanse of white sandy beach.
Located 43km (26 miles) northeast of Madeira, the island can be reached by ferry from there, which takes about two hours, or you can take a 15-minute plane ride into the island’s newly expanded airport.
And of course if beaches are your thing, then Majorca or Mallorca – one that Goats on the Road has seen before – is one place that you want to go. This gorgeous island off the coast of mainland Spain, known for its impressive beaches, has many hidden jewels, some of which are actually hidden beaches that are just off the beaten path and worth checking out.
Especially since they are almost empty and away from all of the other high-traffic, tourist areas, these hidden beaches are a wonderful way to get that relaxing beach vacation without all of the other people around.
If mountains and crystal clear water are more your thing, then Bled in Slovenia is a good option for you. Set on a glacial lake bed, this resort has a gorgeous view of the Julian Alps reflecting in the water.
The town is a unique setting, with its iconic small white church that rests on a small island in the middle of the turquoise glacial lake, makes for a stunning view from the Bled Castle, perched high up in the Julian Alps, looking over the whole scene.
It certainly gives a traveler that feeling of crisp clean air, stress-free ambiance, and that they can really get away from it all here.
Another destination for the mountain lovers and those longing after crisp, clean getaways, Lofoten in Norway could also be of interest to you. Quite off the beaten path because of being located north of the Arctic Circle, this tranquil little fishing village looking out on the sea is a vacation destination without any hustle and bustle.
This is the type of trip you take to be at peace, gain a little perspective, and to enjoy the unparalleled natural beauty all around you. Visit between September and April and you will also get a chance to see the Northern Lights in all their wonder.
What are your favourite hidden treasures in Europe? Share with the Goat community in the comments below!