Looking to visit Europe but are thinking that you might like to try somewhere a little different? It can be quite overwhelming at times given the many fantastic options that this continent has to offer. But part of the joy that travelling brings is discovering new places, cultures and the sense of adventure that comes with it. So if you are deliberating whether or not to ditch that idea of visiting Paris, or Rome in favour of somewhere a little lesser known, here are my suggestions for five alternative European travel destinations.
Located along the Istrian Peninsula, this beautiful, little town is the jewel in Croatia’s crown. Often noted for its similarities to Italy, Rovinj offers plenty of charm to go along with its striking good looks. Although small in stature it has plenty to offer and is perfect for those who are looking to unwind whilst relaxing and enjoy a slower pace of life. The old town is where those similarities with Italy shine through the most as a labyrinth of picturesque alleyways, with pastel coloured houses and quaint shops, all align themselves around the fishing harbour. Add to this the unrivalled sunsets that seem to linger for an eternity, fantastic cuisine that has a hint of Italian influence, small but beautiful beaches, a host of hiking trails and you have a destination in Rovinj that should be on everybody’s travel list.
Tucked away in this corner of Switzerland is a mountain range that not only dazzles but is a must for those who have been bitten by wanderlust and are seeking adventure. Stunning scenery and spectacular hiking trails all mean that a date with this Swiss beauty is one that I would highly recommend. With a broad range of trails catering to all level of hikers, this is the perfect place to visit if you need to disconnect from modern day living and the stresses that accompany it, whilst at the same time are looking to enjoy the great outdoors and the serene simplicity that nature brings. Alpstein is located approximately ninety minutes away from Zürich and due to the country’s efficient rail network is very easy to reach. There are also plenty of accommodation options available in the surrounding towns and villages, all within a close proximity to the hiking trails.
Nestled between Belgium, France and Germany, lies the diminutive, but quite spectacular Luxembourg. Perched up high and surrounded by rolling fields, this part of the world known for its wine tasting has a sophistication to accompany its beautiful looks. Luxembourg City is the country’s capital and it is here that you will find yourself with plenty of history to explore along with many fine dining options and boutique shops. Evening walks are a joy as the city combines beautiful architecture with plenty of greenery, whilst at the same time offering up some striking views. A little further a field from the capital you will find a broad range of hiking trails for those that are seeking a little more adventure, along with a host of charming towns and villages that are often accompanied by medieval castles.
If you are looking for the perfect getaway then head for the city of Shakespeare’s star- crossed lovers and you won’t be left disappointed. Not only is Verona stunningly beautiful, it is also a place that will reel you in with its undeniable charm. With a historical amphitheater, a beautiful city centre, enchanting old town, fantastic dining options and a medieval fortress that provides views over the city as far as the eye can see, making Verona a must for anyone visiting Italy. One of the problems when deciding where to visit in Italy is that it has so many beautiful places to choose from, but I believe Verona could be the pick of them all. Now I’m sure that there are those who are thinking what about Venice, Rome, or Florence and you would be quite right for thinking that they warrant a place on your travel list. But there is just something magical about Verona that will pull you in from the moment you arrive and will leave you longing to visit again long after you have left.
Forever the bridesmaid but never the bride and a city that quite regularly gets overshadowed by its more glamorous neighbours. Not considered to be the first name that springs to people’s minds when considering a trip to Belgium, Antwerp has a unique flavour with a mixture of ingredients that are all present as an edgy undercurrent takes hold of you and thrives in Belgium’s second city. Be prepared to be gripped by a city that is a world apart from fairy tale Bruges but packs a working class punch that manages to elevate Antwerp onto a whole new level of coolness, making it in my view a must if you just so happen to be visiting Belgium. With a vibrant entertainment, fashion and shopping scene to compliment its many art galleries, impressive architecture and museums, Antwerp does a fantastic job of combining the past with the present in an effortless way. You will also be spoilt for choice should you choose to simply unwind and relax as you can lose yourself in the intricate, cobblestone streets in Belgiums second city and pull up a chair at one of its cool coffee houses or eateries whilst relaxing as you watch the world pass you by.
Have you visited any of these places? What travel destinations are on your current travel list? Let me know in the comments below.
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