Europe’s Hidden Gems: 7 Places to Visit This Summer

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Europe’s Hidden Gems: 7 Places to Visit This Summer

Tired of the usual European tourist traps? Feel like you’ve been there, done that with all the usual suspects of the old continent? Sure, visiting the Louvre and Big Ben sounds fantastic, but let’s be honest, we’re all secretly yearning for a dash of the unknown.

So, if you’re itching for that fresh-off-the-beaten-path vibe, we’re about to uncover seven hidden gems you won’t find in the glossy pages of your typical travel brochure.

Overview of Europe’s Hidden Gems

Europe is a fabulous mixture of culture, history, and amazing food. But we’re not serving up the overcooked Prague, Barcelona, and Rome today. Nope, we’re feasting on some under-the-radar destinations that are full of nice little surprises. Think quaint countryside towns, forgotten windows to history, unexpected foodie havens, and beaches where your footprints might be the only ones in the sand.

1. Ohrid, Macedonia

Ohrid, Macedonia

The first stop on our tour de secret is Ohrid, a charming lakeside town in Macedonia. This place is soaked in history, nestled on the edge of the oldest lake in Europe. It’s known as the ”Jerusalem of the Balkans” for a reason – it once boasted 365 churches, one for each day of the year.

While there, make sure to check out the iconic Church of St. John at Kaneo for some stellar lake views and the Samuel’s Fortress to get a hint of that Byzantine flavor. This ancient fortress offers an incredible panoramic view of Ohrid and its lake – it’s like stepping into a postcard. And let’s not forget the lake itself, the perfect spot to cool off during those scorching summer days.

2. Bled, Slovenia

Bled, Slovenia

Next up is another beautiful lakeside town, this time in Slovenia – Bled. This place is a nature lover’s dream. Think sparkling lake surrounded by majestic mountains and a medieval castle perched up high. And the local cream cake ”kremna rezina” is basically happiness in pastry form. Just wait until you try it. And the best part – this magical place is relatively crowd-free!

3. Matera, Italy

Matera, Italy

Third on our list is Matera. Nestled in the southern region of Basilicata, this Italian gem isn’t your typical pizza-pasta town. Known for its unique ”Sassi” or ancient cave dwellings, Matera is a fascinating journey through time. And yes, you can actually stay in these caves (don’t worry, they’ve got Wi-Fi). All the mysterious charm without giving up our common comforts. Brilliant!

4. Aveiro, Portugal

Aveiro, Portugal

On the fourth spot, we bring you Aveiro. Often dubbed as Portugal’s Venice, Aveiro is more than just charming canals and colorful ”moliceiros” boats. It’s also got a beach that’s a bonafide paradise for surfers. Don’t forget to try ”ovos moles,” the local sweet delicacy.

5. Aarhus, Denmark

Aarhus, Denmark

From the very south, we travel up north to Aarhus, Denmark’s second-biggest city that’s been playing second fiddle to Copenhagen for too long. It’s not just full of pretty, vibrant houses and Viking history. This compact city is an artsy playground, boasting an open-air museum and ARoS, one of the largest art museums in Northern Europe. Its rainbow panorama walkway is more than Insta-worthy. Aarhus’ food scene is making some serious waves as well, so make sure to book a table at one of its many restaurants and experience ”hygge” as a local Danish.

7. Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

Next on our whistle-stop tour of Europe’s underappreciated spots is Kotor in Montenegro. If you’re a fan of medieval architecture and stunning landscapes, then this fortified town is your go-to. Located in a secluded part of Boka Bay, Kotor’s got a labyrinth of cobbled streets, boutique shops, and cuddly cats. Yes, you read it right. This town is famous for its feline residents. You might even call it ‘purrfect’!

8. Eger, Hungary

Eger, Hungary

We’re rounding out our list with Eger, a hidden jewel in Hungary’s crown. This charming town offers an exciting blend of history and wine. Discover its castle, thermal baths, and minaret left behind from Ottoman rule, then wind down in the ”Valley of Beautiful Women,” the heart of Eger’s wine region. Try the local ”Bull’s Blood” blend; it’s a wine adventure that will surely leave you with some fond memories.

Travel Tips and Hacks

A quick PSA before you set off. These places aren’t your run-of-the-mill tourist traps, so remember to respect the local vibe. Off-peak seasons are the best for finding great deals on flights to get there and also avoiding any semblance of crowds. And as always, pack light, go with an open mind, and make the most of public transport where you can. Oh, and learning a few local phrases will always earn you big smiles.

Wrap Up

So, those are the seven hidden gems in Europe that are waiting for you to discover. Pack your bags, charge up your cameras, and get ready to start exploring. Your next adventure awaits in the low-key corners of this extraordinary continent.

Sarah Kaminski

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