The 15 Greatest Hidden Gems in Europe to Keep away from Crowds

Must read

In recent times, summer season in Europe has introduced the more and more adverse impacts of mass tourism, however there are nonetheless hidden gems in Europe. Off the crushed path Europe cities, islands, and areas do exist with out crowds.

Each peak European journey season appears to convey extra unlucky points, growing the rift between locals and guests and prompting calls to curb vacationer numbers. 

Overtourism has long-lasting penalties, growing the property and rental costs, driving locals away from their hometowns, and turning historic facilities into dwelling museums.

Within the course of, the cultural coronary heart of those locations all too usually appears to get misplaced.

In case your dream European trip contains crusing the canals of Venice or wandering the streets of Florence in solitude, you’ll seemingly discover the truth pales compared to the fantasy.

Until you go to throughout the off season, you could end up amongst hordes of vacationers attracted by low-cost European journey packages. 

However whereas customer numbers to those crowded hotspots appear to extend yearly, there are nonetheless many hidden gems in Europe that stay off the crushed path.

There are numerous stunning underrated European cities the place few vacationers know to enterprise, with ample pure, cultural, and historic sights and a fraction of the crowds you’ll discover in European cities like Barcelona, Rome, and Paris.

From the Arctic to the Mediterranean, we’ve pored over the map and give you our 15 of one of the best hidden gems in Europe. 

READ MORE: The 30 Greatest Locations to Spend Christmas in Europe


Greatest Hidden Gems in Europe Information

(Organized geographically)

  1. Greenland
  2. Iceland’s Westfjords
  3. Svalbard (Norway)
  4. Gotland (Sweden)
  5. Shetland Islands (Scotland)
  6. Jersey (Channel Islands)
  7. Brittany (France)
  8. Oberammergau (Germany)
  9. Galicia (Spain)
  10. Sardinia (Italy)
  11. Sicily (Italy)
  12. Azores (Portugal)
  13. The Black Sea
  14. Transylvania (Romania)
  15. Istria (Croatia)

READ MORE: 15 Causes Accountable Tourism Is Higher for Everybody


Europe hidden gems - Greenland Northern Lights
Greenland Northern Lights

1. Greenland

There are roughly 90,000 annual guests to Greenland– a far cry from the 20 million vacationers who journey to Venice yearly.

Contemplating the truth that Greenland is Europe’s largest island, your probabilities of being caught in selfie-stick-brandishing crowds there are slim to none. But Greenland is a must-visit for lovers of nature and of the Arctic. 

It’s value a go to in winter to expertise the Polar darkness, and for the excessive probability to see Northern Lights in Kangerlussaq (the place they seem roughly 300 nights every year).

In summer season you may have enjoyable round the clock below the midnight solar, having fun with journey actions together with kayaking in iceberg-filled lagoons and exploring the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Website (and one of many world’s few rising glaciers). 

Greenland can also be distinctive in Europe as a result of it’s the one place the place you may find out about Inuit tradition.

Qaanaaq, previously often called Thule, is an Inuit city situated at 77.4° north, making it one of many northernmost inhabited locations on the earth. It’s residence to round 700 folks, and vacationers can find out about their tradition and traditions. 

READ MORE: Arctic Animals: 30 Species of Arctic Birds, Mammals & Whales

hidden gems in Europe -Couple at Dynjandi Waterfall Iceland
Couple at Dynjandi Waterfall Iceland

2. Iceland’s Westfjords

Iceland is one other place that’s usually talked about when speaking about overtourism.

Its issues vary from guests flocking to a canyon as soon as featured in a Justin Bieber video to locals enraged after seeing vacationers utilizing their gardens and fields as bathrooms. 

Bot most Iceland tourism is concentrated within the southern a part of the nation, within the neighborhood of Reykjavik and the well-known “Golden Circle.”

If you wish to keep away from throngs of vacationers, head to the northwestern peninsula often called the Westfjords, which you’ll be able to go to on small ship cruises. 

Reaching the area from the capital can take near half a day, and the roads to get there aren’t nice.

However you’ll be rewarded with roaring Iceland waterfalls like Dynjandi, 1000’s of Iceland birds similar to puffins in Latrabjarg, and free-range Icelandic Horses in addition to many unbelievable pure swimming pools and scorching springs.

READ MORE: Experiencing Genuine Icelandic Tradition

hidden gems europe - Polar Bear in Svalbard Norway
Polar Bear in Svalbard Norway

3. Svalbard (Norway)

Do you’ve a knack for distant locations? No different European hidden gem will make you’re feeling on the sting of the map fairly as a lot as Svalbard, the Norwegian archipelago that lies midway between the North Pole and continental Norway. 

In summer season, Svalbard is stuffed with wildlife. Polar bears outnumber residents two to 1, and you may additionally come throughout seals, walruses, whales, arctic foxes, and extra. 

Nature is Svalbard’s foremost draw: There are limitless glaciers, mountains, massive expanses of tundra and sea cliffs, that are inhabited by quite a lot of migratory birds.

But it’s additionally a spot for historical past lovers, the place it’s potential to go to a seventeenth century whaling station and not too long ago deserted coal mines, just like the Soviet settlement of Pyramiden. 

Touring Svalbard by yourself might be very harmful. At these latitudes, nature may be very wild and the hazard of a polar bear assault may be very actual.

However there are expedition cruises to Svalbard each summer season, with a concentrate on wildlife and discovering polar bears. 

READ MORE: The Norse Gods: An Intro to Viking Mythology & Key Websites in Norway

European hidden gems - Gotland Sweden
Gotland Sweden

4. Gotland (Sweden)

Positioned within the Swedish a part of the Baltic Sea, Gotland was beloved by well-known movie director Ingmar Bergman. He spent the final 40 years of his life in Fårö, a tiny island situated simply north of Gotland.

It’s a well-liked vacation spot for vacationing Swedes, nevertheless it’s all however unknown amongst different nationalities.

Gotland is a superb place for individuals who want to unplug fully, spending days in a secluded cabin within the forest and sometimes strolling to the seaside for a refreshing dip within the sea. 

Those that wish to go sightseeing may also discover loads to do in Gotland. Visby, the most important city, is UNESCO-protected as a result of it’s the best-preserved medieval city in Nordic Europe.

You can too go to the distinctive raukar (limestone sea stacks discovered on seashores everywhere in the island), see wood church buildings and medieval windmills, and even attempt to spot the endemic Gotland Pony.

READ MORE: 10 Issues We Love About West Sweden


hidden gems of Europe - Sumburgh Lighthouse Shetland Islands
Sumburgh Lighthouse Shetland Islands

5. Shetland Islands (Scotland)

You’ll discover the enchanting Shetland Archipelago on the distant fringe of the UK’s map, 12 hours by ferry from the northern tip of Scotland. 

Not many individuals courageous the stormy seas to achieve this archipelago made up of 100 islands, solely 16 of that are inhabited. 

Common sights embrace St. Ninian’s Isle, the place you may go to the most important tombolo (two-sided seaside) within the UK; the Sumburgh Lighthouse, with its colonies of migrating birds (together with puffins!); and the ocean cliffs of Eshaness.

We additionally suggest visiting the ruins of croft homes, the place native Shetlanders used to reside earlier than famine induced large migrations within the nineteenth century.

The distant feeling of being “in the course of nowhere” is among the foremost attracts that leads intrepid vacationers to the Shetland Islands, and also you’ll have few others to share this fascinating place with. 

READ MORE: The ten Greatest Locations to Go to in Scotland

hidden European gems - La Hougue Bie, Jersey Channel Islands
La Hougue Bie, Jersey, Channel Islands

6. Jersey (Channel Islands)

The island of Jersey could also be diminutive in dimension (simply 5 by 9 miles), nevertheless it contains a big number of sights, each pure and historic.

When you’ve deliberate a brief keep within the Channel Islands, you could shortly end up planning a return go to. 

Its northern coast is known for dramatic sea cliffs, that are surrounded by fields of fern and heather.

The southern half feels extra genteel, with lengthy sandy seashores and sheltered bays the place you may recognize the world’s excessive tides. For a singular expertise, stroll on the seabed at low tide, when the island doubles in dimension!

Jersey affords a number of castles to go to, in addition to La Hougue Bie, a passage grave relationship again to Neolithic instances.

It’s additionally potential to go to bunkers and museums relationship again to the time of German Occupation throughout World Struggle II, together with the Jersey Struggle Tunnels, a museum situated in {a partially} constructed underground hospital.  

READ MORE: Lovely European Birds: A Information to 10 Endemic Species

hidden gems Europe summer -Dinan in Brittany France
Dinan in Brittany France

7. Brittany (France)

Far-off from the chaos and crowds of Southern France in summer season, Brittany is one other one of many nice locations in Europe to discover. 

Positioned in northwest France, this area nonetheless retains a powerful Celtic tradition and lifestyle. It’s residence to scrumptious seafood and round 1,740 miles of shoreline, so that you received’t ever have to fret about overcrowding.

The city of Saint Malo is one among Europe’s best-preserved fortified cities, or you may go to quaint villages like Dinan and Rochefort. 

This space’s windswept seashores are excellent for taking lengthy coastal walks or bike rides, or you may head inland to go to castles or megalithic websites.

One other enjoyable purpose to go to Brittany is to go island-hopping within the Gulf of Morbihan, the place you will discover 40 islands, a lot of that are wonderful birdwatching locations.

READ MORE: 5 Bizarre Meals the French Take into account Delicacies

off the beaten path Europe -House in Oberammergau Bavaria Germany
Home in Oberammergau Bavaria Germany

8. Oberammergau (Germany)

Oberammergau is a sleepy city in Germany’s Bavarian Alps that basically springs to life as soon as each decade.

In 1633, the inhabitants made a vow: In the event that they had been spared from the plague that was ravaging Europe on the time, they’d write and produce a play in regards to the life and dying of Jesus Christ, and repeat it as soon as each 10 years. 

After 300+ years, the once-a-decade custom of the Oberammergau Ardour Play nonetheless continues right this moment.

It usually takes place from Could to October, with greater than 100 performances of the 5-hour Ardour Play happening in an out of doors theatre. 

Some tour operators manage a tour of Switzerland, Austria, and Germany that features the Ardour Play in Oberammergau, plus unmissable European hidden gems similar to Zermatt, a pedestrian-only city with views over the mighty Matterhorn Mountain. 

READ MORE: German Christmas Cookies- Lebkuchen Recipe (aka German Gingerbread)


coolest places in Europe - Santiago de Compostela Cathedral
Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

9. Galicia (Spain)

Think about inexperienced, rolling hills, mist and low clouds, fluffy sheep grazing within the fields, wild sea cliffs, and the sound of bagpipes within the air. Now guess, what place I’m speaking about? 

You may be pondering of Eire or Scotland, however the place I’m referring to is Galicia, a area in northwestern Spain overlooking the Atlantic Sea. 

The perfect-known place in Galicia is undoubtedly Santiago de Compostela, the top level of the well-known Camino de Santiago mountain climbing path.

You may take a day journey from Santiago to Fisterra, the place pilgrims of yesteryear lastly noticed the ocean after their limitless pilgrimage throughout Europe.

Or head additional off the crushed monitor to charming Muxia to go to its gorgeous cliffside chapel. 

Galicia can also be recognized for its scenic wild seashores. Top-of-the-line-known seashores is As Catedrais, or The Cathedrals. While you go to, you’ll instantly see why!

READ MORE: 90 Christmas Traditions Across the World (with Enjoyable Christmas Details)

Cagliari Sardinia Italy
Cagliari Sardinia Italy

10. Sardinia (Italy)

Sardinia is one among Italy’s two foremost islands, situated about 186 miles from the mainland.

Its distant location signifies that most worldwide vacationers to Italy don’t trouble visiting, and so they really don’t know what they’re lacking!

Sardinia is residence to an array of spectacular colourful seashores– some sandy, some rocky, some with distinctive quartz micro-pebbles. However all of them boast pristine waters which can be excellent for scuba diving or snorkeling. 

Cagliari, the most important city on the island, is a nice place to find, with a captivating historic heart.

The inside of the island is the place you may nonetheless discover stays of the mysterious Nuragic inhabitants, which predated Roman instances.

When you’re into mountain climbing you may try and cowl Selvaggio Blu, a week-long trek alongside a very gorgeous stretch of coast, spending the nights on abandoned seashores. 

READ MORE: The 30 Greatest Unique Islands to Go to (World Journey Bucket Record)

Agrigento Sicily, Italy

11. Sicily (Italy)

Sicily is Italy’s largest and southernmost island. Not like Sardinia, the place tradition survived largely untouched for hundreds of years because of its isolation, Sicily was very a lot a cultural crossroads.

What you see there right this moment is the results of centuries of fixing palms, from the Phoenicians to the Greeks, from the Arabs to the Normans, the Swabians, and the Spanish. 

Lovers of artwork and historical past will probably be spoiled in Sicily.

Western Sicily, particularly round Agrigento, is residence to Greek ruins that rival the Parthenon when it comes to magnificence.

In jap Sicily you may tour the gorgeous Baroque cities of Siracusa and Noto. 

You may’t miss visiting Mount Etna, the largest volcano in Europe. If one volcano isn’t sufficient for you, make a journey to the Aeolian archipelago to see Vulcano, with its effervescent sulphur swimming pools, and Stromboli, which erupts each hour. 

READ MORE: 20 Beautiful Santorini Pictures That Will Make You E book a Journey to Greece

most underrated countries in Europe - Terceira Azores Portugal
Terceira, Azores Portugal

12. Azores (Portugal)

The Azores are technically a part of Portugal, however they’re situated over 620 miles away from the European mainland. 

This archipelago is made up of 9 volcanic islands, every with one thing distinctive to supply.

As an example, Corvo (the smallest island) is definitely an extinct volcano, whereas Terceira is thought for its colourful capital and Pico is dominated by the mountain of the identical title (which is the very best in Portugal.) 

A visit to the Azores is good for many who love nature and mountain climbing.

Nevertheless it’s not so nice in the event you’re on the lookout for regular sunshine, because the climate fluctuates significantly and there tends to be numerous rain.

Bonus level: The Azores are an incredible whale-watching vacation spot!

READ MORE: 8 Issues To Do In Portugal For Nature Lovers


Sumela Monastery near the Black Sea
Sumela Monastery

13. The Black Sea

The European cruise business is essentially centered across the Mediterranean Sea. However whether or not it’s island-hopping in Greece or crusing the Dalmatian coast, summer season within the Mediterranean affords loads much less elbow room than we’d like. 

Fortunately, there’s one other unbelievable European hidden gem that lends itself to cruising with out all of the crowds.

Straddling Jap Europe and Western Asia, the Black Sea borders six nations– Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, and Turkey. 

Cruising 0n a circumnavigation of the Black Sea affords vacationers a possibility to discover timeless cities like Istanbul and Odessa, in addition to pure beauties just like the Danube River Delta. 

There are additionally historic websites such because the Ottoman homes of Safranbolu and Sumela Monastery (close to Trabzon), in addition to the seaside resorts of Sochi in Russia and Batumi in Georgia.

This is part of the world the place few Western vacationers ever care to enterprise, nevertheless it’s riddled with riches for intrepid vacationers to find! 

READ MORE: 50 Methods to Have fun New Yr Traditions Across the World

unknown countries in Europe - Voronet Monastery Bucovina Romania
Voronet Monastery Bucovina Romania

14. Transylvania (Romania)

The historic area of Transylvania spans a part of Central Romania, the place it’s bordered by the Carpathian Mountains on the east and south and the Apuseni Mountains within the west. 

In fact, Transylvania is primarily often called the house of Vlad the Impaler, who is healthier often called Depend Dracula in Bram Stoker’s basic horror novel.

You may nonetheless go to Bran Citadel, the house of the mysterious Vlad. However Transylvania additionally has much more to supply. 

Guests also can stroll the historic cities of Brasov and Sibiu to find that Outdated World ambiance of slim cobblestone streets and steeples piercing the skies (minus the vacationers).

Then head to the mountainous Maramures to go to the UNESCO-protected painted church buildings, and Voronet Monastery, the best-known painted church within the area of Bucovina. 

READ MORE: 25 Enjoyable Christmas Eve Traditions Across the World

Rovinj in Istria Croatia
Rovinj in Istria Croatia

15. Istria (Croatia)

Positioned in Croatia, however far-off from bustling Dubrovnik (one other well-known sufferer of mass tourism), you’ll discover Istria.

This charming, heart-shaped peninsula sits on the crossroads between Italy and the Balkans, the place you may breathe the Venetian affect in delicacies and structure and discover wild Mediterranean nature. 

Istria was a part of the Venetian republic for over 500 years earlier than it was taken over by the Habsburg Empire. Wandering round cities like Labin and Rovinj right this moment, you could suppose you’ve all of the sudden been transported to Venice. 

However the true marvels of Istria are discovered within the countryside, the place there are alternatives to go mountain climbing and biking, discover vineyards and olive groves, and luxuriate in journey actions like paragliding.

You’ll discover just one factor lacking…. the hordes of different vacationers!  –by Margherita Ragg for Inexperienced Journey Media, featured picture of Saint Malo Brittany, France. All pictures by way of Canva

BIO: Margherita Ragg is a contract author from Milan, Italy. She is enthusiastic about wildlife, ecotourism, and out of doors journey actions. She runs the favored nature and journey journey weblog The Crowded Planet along with her husband Nick Burns, an Australian journey and wildlife photographer.



- Advertisement -spot_img

More articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest article