It goes almost without saying that Europe is full of incredible places. But a lot of those places are also kind of obvious. Barcelona, Venice, Amsterdam, the Amalfi Coast… yes, they’re amazing. But the problem is that everyone and their mums want to go there, meaning many of the continent’s capitals, cultural hubs and beauty spots are majorly overcrowded and eye-wateringly expensive. Some of these major travel destinations have even started saying that they want tourists to stay away.
But for every place that’s bursting at the seams with visitors, there are a host that are unfairly overlooked: places where you can spend hours and not see another tourist, or at least low-key alternatives to the regular holiday hotspots. So here’s what we’re suggesting: this summer, save yourself the neck crane trying to glimpse the Mona Lisa. Skip the Vatican queues. Step out of the Sagrada Família crowds – and travel to some of the continent’s lesser-known destinations.
From the Balkans to the Baltics, from the North Atlantic sea to the Adriatic coast, we’ve tapped up seasoned travel writers and local experts to uncover Europe’s underrated cities, islands, regions, beaches, towns, lakes – and everything in between.
Looking to venture outside of Europe? Read our guide to the most underrated destinations in the world.
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