22 of the Most Incredible Places in Europe You’ve Probably Never Seen

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Photo credit: Sobrecroacia.com
Photo credit: Sobrecroacia.com

The Old Continent is known for its classic city destinations. There’s Rome, London, Paris, Amsterdam and enough gorgeous cities to keep you snapping photos, shopping for souvenirs and tasting gourmet foods until you board the plane back home.

But there are so many places in Europe that often go under-appreciated or even unvisited. Check out these incredible destinations and day trips that can turn your typical European vacation into the most memorable travel experience yet. You can often find travel deals
to all these destinations so don’t wait to plan your next getaway.

#1. Taormina, Italy

Spend a few days in Taormina or make it your vacation destination. The coastal views, public gardens and scenic hikes are enough to make any trip spectacular.

Italy
Photo Credit: Dennis Jarvis

#2. St. Albans, England

Shop at the St. Peter’s Street market and visit the nearly 1000-year-old St. Albans Cathedral, then head down to what is claimed to be the oldest pub in England — Ye Olde Fighting Cocks.

Photo credit: Peter aka anemoneprojectors - camera busted!
Photo credit: Peter aka anemoneprojectors – camera busted!

#3. Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland 

The translation of this city’s name means “many fountains,” and you’ll be amazed at the 72 waterfalls throughout the Lauterbrunnen Valley.

Photo credit: Spencer T.
Photo credit: Spencer T.

#4. Kvarner Islands, Croatia

Outdoor enthusiasts find that the Kvarner Islands rival (or even surpass) any Caribbean destination when it comes to gorgeous waters and world-class dive spots.

Photo credit: greenmarlin
Photo credit: greenmarlin

#5. Carnac, France

Travel back to roughly 4500 BC at this sacred destination featuring the Carnac Stones carved from local rock by the pre-Celtic citizens of Brittany.

Photo credit: Tc7
Photo credit: Tc7

#6. Ardennes, Belgium

Rocky cliffs, gray stone architecture and French wines define this culturally diverse region of southeastern Belgium.

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Photo Credit: Willy Verhulst

#7. Sperlonga, Italy

The ultimate European beach destination — Sperlonga isn’t far from Rome, and the clear waters and warm sand add even more appeal to the already adorable beach town.

Photo credit: Andy Hay
Photo credit: Andy Hay

#8. Hay on Wye, Britain

Eccentric Oxford scholar Richard Booth declared Hay on Wye a “book town” in the 1960s and named himself the King of Hay soon after. King Richard’s castle now serves as a massive secondhand bookstore that simply must be seen.

Photo credit: addedentry
Photo credit: addedentry

#9. Isola del Giglio, Italy

Already booked your tickets to Italy? Don’t miss a visit to Isola del Giglio — a charming, simple and utterly gorgeous isle of the Tuscan archipelago.

Photo credit: @Michael
Photo credit: @Michael

#10. Cotswold Way, England 

There’s no better way to stay fit on vacation than cruising the historic bridleways and footpaths of Cotswold Way.

Photo credit: GOC53
Photo credit: GOC53

#11. Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

40,000 basalt columns poke out of the ocean at the base of the basalt cliffs in Northern Ireland. Take a day trip to see what volcanic activity from well over 50 million years ago can do — and don’t forget your camera.

Photo credit: tm-tm
Photo credit: tm-tm

#12. Hvar, Croatia

Hvar’s diverse culture and cuisine make your days spent inside cathedrals and cafes just as wonderful as those spent admiring the sea.

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Photo credit: Jason Drury

#13. Kladska, Czech Republic

A short drive from Marienbad, Kladska is a small town that leaves a big impression on the few who decide to explore it.

By Chmee2 (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo credit: Chmee2

#14. Helsinki, Finland

From natural wonders to boat rides, beers and nightlife, once you visit this happening city by the sea, you may never want to leave.

Photo credit: Claudio.Ar
Photo credit: Claudio.Ar

#15. Lipari, Italy

Crystal blue seas and black obsidian mountains make way for some of the world’s best guided hiking tours in Lipari.

Photo credit: Thilo Hilberer
Photo credit: Thilo Hilberer

#16. Riga, Latvia

Riga is the largest city in Latvia, and with a population of roughly 800,000, it can be argued that the city offers more enchanting Art Nouveau facades than it does people.

Photo credit: David Holt London
Photo credit: David Holt London

#17. Cappadocia, Turkey

The closest thing to Neverland — the naturally eroded rock formations in Cappadocia look like something out of a fairy tale.

Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn
Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn

#18. Barbizon, France

Less than an hour’s drive from Paris lies this elegant city rich in art history and old country charm.

Photo credit: Renaud Camus
Photo credit: Renaud Camus

#19. Vilnius, Lithuania

Tourist shops, tasty restaurants and sneaky courtyards make Vilnius an ideal day place to spend a few days taking in the culture of Lithuania.

Photo credit: David Holt London
Photo credit: David Holt London

#20. Danube River Delta, Romania

2,200 square miles of willow trees, swampland and canals have created one of the best places in the world for bird watching at the Danube River Delta.

Photo credit: Austin Donisan
Photo credit: Austin Donisan

#21. Catalonia, Spain

A day trip from Barcelona to Catalonia will give you a look inside the lives of the historic Catalan people. And if you visit in the fall, you can hunt over 5,000 types of mushrooms that are said to grow in this hilly region.

Photo credit: wallygrom
Photo credit: wallygrom

#22. Vals, Switzerland 

Every vacation deserves a visit to the spa, and there’s no better place to be pampered than the world-famous spas and resorts in the Vals Valley.

photo credit: Coso quello Alto
Photo credit: Coso quello Alto

 

About the Author: Courtney McCaffrey

Courtney McCaffrey is a travel writer and editor based in Wilmington, N.C, Mexico and around the world. In addition to writing, she lives for travel - seeing new places, experiencing new cultures and surfing new waves.

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