Choosing the best places to visit in Europe can be difficult, but not impossible. There’s history and culture worth learning about on every street corner; breathtaking landscapes waiting just outside any hotel window. And then there are beach holidays which offer plenty of fun activities. This list of Europe’s top hidden gems will inspire you to explore some of the lesser-known places on your next trip.
Terme Di Comano, Trentino, Italy
Northern Italy‘s Terme di Comano location is recognized for its mineral-rich hot waters. People mostly visit here for health breaks and to take advantage of the medical properties of the water.
Visit here if you’re feeling run down, stressed, or psychologically exhausted. You’ll find an oasis of tranquility in this part of Trentino, surrounded by majestic mountains, emerald lakes, and deliciously hearty food.
When it’s time for winter activities, it’s an entirely different environment from the summer months. So if you want to see the region’s natural beauty at its peak, I suggest visiting in late spring or early fall.
Bauduen, Provence–Alpes–Côte d’Azur, France
Bauduen is a small slice of heaven that few people know about. It’s an ideal location for visiting the Gorges du Verdon, but Bauduen is also a wonderful place to spend a few days relaxing in nature.
It’s a great place for families to enjoy the activities given by the nautical center, the astronomical observatory, or the “Art in Toys” museum for children. One of France’s most stunning villages is Bauduen.
The Croatian Town of Rovinj
The historic town of Rovinj sits on a peninsula. Our favorite part about the city was seeing all of the brilliantly colored buildings, fishing boats, and narrow pedestrian roads. A refreshing swim in the peninsula’s crystal-clear turquoise seas should be a highlight of your itinerary here.
Tourists are familiar with Rovinj, which may become crowded in the summer, although it’s not as popular as Dubrovnik or Split.
Mittenwald is a peaceful town that seems like it belongs in a fairy tale. Yet, given its closeness to Germany’s thriving car industry, you may be surprised to know that Mittenwald has remained one of Europe’s best-kept secrets and most undervalued spots.
Mittenwald is known for its long history and tradition in the violin-making industry. One reason it’s known as “The Village of a Thousand Violins” is because of its abundance of musical instruments. Mittenwald’s name properly reflects the town’s beautiful and rhythmic qualities.
The Republic of San Marino
Is your heart yearning for a trip to Europe’s meandering cobblestone streets? The only place to look is in the tiny country of San Marino. It is by far one of the best places to visit in Europe and most definitely underrated.
Italy’s peninsula used to be a politically disjointed collection of nations until the late nineteenth century. Since the Roman Empire, the boot-shaped continent has not been unified. Only in the late 1800s, led by Giuseppe Garibaldi and other important revolutionaries, Italy’s several states came together under a single monarchy. Only a small number of states remained independent once the unification process was complete. One of them was the Republic of San Marino.
North Macedonia’s Capital City of Ohrid
When it comes to Europe’s hidden beauties, Macedonia is a must-see. It’s well worth your time to visit Ohrid in the country’s westernmost region, which is a little-known gem.
Ohrid is often referred to as the “Pearl of North Macedonia” by locals. Swimming and sightseeing are two great ways to spend a day in the city. St. John the Theologian, a historic church with sweeping views of the lake and surrounding mountains, is one of the greatest spots to get a glimpse of the area. It was created in the early 13th century and has exquisite paintings and Byzantine-style construction.
Zermatt is more pricey than the other European locations on our list. But, because of its location, which is surrounded by towering snow-capped mountains, luxurious resorts, and cozy cottages in the middle of an idyllic alpine landscape that’s worth every Swiss Franc, you can’t go wrong.
When it comes to ski resort towns, Zermatt is well-liked among the well-heeled social set. So this is it if you’re looking for an iconic European holiday destination and one of the best places to visit in Europe.
Troodos Mountains, Cyprus
Cyprus is a favorite seaside vacation destination for Britons. A week of sunbathing, swimming, and relaxing, with a little bit of partying thrown in for good measure.
Mount Olympus, Cyprus’ tallest peak, is situated in the Troodos Mountains in the middle of the island. This mountain range is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets, in my opinion. The Troodos Mountains provide winter skiing in addition to summer hiking and cycling.
Kazimierz Dolny is a great place to visit if you’re a fan of art. It’s like a never-ending art gallery on the streets. Artists and painters gladly set up businesses to sell their work at art galleries that you can find on almost every street. Streets like this are lined with colorful houses and stores, which is only fitting. Because of this, Kazimierz Dolny is known as one of Central Europe’s most important art centers.
Also, in Kazimierz Dolny, there is a Holocaust Memorial Wall. The good and the terrible of our town’s lengthy history must be recognized. Just a short walk from the city’s core, the Holocaust Memorial Wall serves as a site of solace and contemplation.
Saxon Switzerland is a great destination for those who like hiking and nature. At roughly 200 meters high, the rock formations date back a million years. They’ve always been a popular destination for travelers and visitors, so much so that a wooden bridge was built in 1824 to make it easier to get about.
Later, the Bastei Bridge was built out of sandstone and replaced the bridge in 1851. It has the appearance of something straight out of a fairy tale.
One of Catalonia’s most beautiful towns, Siurana, may become crowded during peak tourist season, but it’s worth the wait. It’s possible to have the town to yourself if you come during the week.
The sights are fantastic, with steep drops all around and breathtaking vistas of the vivid blue reservoir below are some of the high points of the excursion. The hamlet itself is charming, with its historic stone buildings and cobblestone streets. There is no surprise why this is one of the lesser-known best places to visit in Europe.
Calella de Palafrugell, Spain
If you’re looking for a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Calella de Palafrugell is the place for you. In addition to its sandy beaches, rocky coves, outstanding seafood restaurants, whitewashed houses along the waterfront, and fishing boats moored on the coast, the town displays ‘low key as a way of life.’
Located on the coast of the Costa Brava, Calella de Palafrugell is a charming community because of its preserved architecture.
It’s hard to believe that Piran is just 47 kilometers (29 miles) long, yet it’s a treasure trove of medieval charm and coastal beauty.
Tartini Square overlooking the harbor and the Church of St. George are only two of its many enticing features. However, Piran’s Walls are the city’s principal draw. They provide stunning views of the Old Town’s red-roofed buildings.
Triglav National Park, Slovenia
Europe has been recognized for its lesser-known cities and villages, so here’s a wonderful nature escape. Our only national park and biggest protected area are Triglav National Park. Triglav, the tallest peak in Slovenia, is situated in the eastern portion of the Julian Alps.
In the Julian Alps, this is the place to go if you want to go off the beaten path. Take a stroll around Triglav National Park’s hiking trails, where natural beauty and cultural legacy collide. It’s easy to understand why this national park has been a source of inspiration for centuries as you explore the lakes, streams, mountains, and towns.
A prominent ski resort in Switzerland, the town of Saas-Fee is open all year round. However, it’s usually quiet in the summer, so it’s a real hidden treasure for an outdoor adventure.
At the observation platform, people are mesmerized by the breathtaking vistas, and in Allalin Restaurant, the world’s tallest revolving restaurant, you can sip frothy hot chocolate. If you are looking for one of the best places to visit in Europe, Saas-Fee should be on your list.
Theth is a small alpine settlement in the Albanian Alps near the Montenegrin border. The atmosphere here is so genuine that you get the impression that time has stopped still.
Hiking in the nearby mountains, swimming in the nearby waterfalls, and feasting on the local cuisine are just a few enjoyable activities in this isolated community. Numerous walks are available, however, some say that the Theth-Valbona Pass climb, which takes you to Valbona, is the region’s most picturesque.
For this reason alone, a journey to Croatia should include a stop in Primosten, one of Europe’s most lovely hidden gems. With its quaint old town, this once-fishing community certainly has something for everyone. On a peninsula, it’s a great setting. This area has a distinct atmosphere, thanks to the little streets and gorgeous ancient buildings.
Not only is Primosten’s historic center fascinating, but the area’s stunning coastline and beaches are as well. There is a lot of turquoise in the water in this area, and it’s also extremely clean.
One of Europe’s best-kept secrets, Sonogno, is tucked away at the mouth of the Verzasca Valley. Just being in this little village is like taking a trip back in time. Several restaurants, stores, and a museum can be found in the town’s central plaza, which has well-preserved historic stone homes. Sonogno’s old stone oven, which is still in use today, is another historical element of the community.
Fuente de Piedra, Spain
One of Europe’s biggest pink flamingos population may be near Fuente de Piedra. In this lagoon, almost 30.000 birds congregate every spring to breed, and 15,000 chicks are produced yearly. To see the chicks and their parents in action, visit Fuente de Piedra in late April when the chicks have hatched.
Fuente de Piedra is a must-visit location for birdwatchers since the lagoon is home to more than just flamingos. Depending on the water levels, various migratory birds arrive at this location at different times of the year. In order to see the birds up close, visitors may walk around the lagoon’s pathways, but they are not permitted to come any closer to the nesting places. Every day, guided tours are offered at the center’s visitor center.
Casandra Karpiak is a travel writer and owner of Savoteur. A Toronto native with Danish roots currently residing in British Columbia, her travel writing has been seen on The Associated Press wire, MSN, FOX, CBS, NBC, Entrepreneur, 24/7 Wall St, Times Daily, and many more. When she’s not traveling, she can be found at hockey arenas all over BC cheering on her two young sons.