When you hear the word ‘Europe’ you automatically think of places like London, Paris, Berlin or Rome. Many people would think immediately of the very discovered locations across the continent that have become more discovered as time has gone on and travel has become more and more available to everyone, not just the very well off. So how can you catch a slice of undiscovered Europe when it feels like every inch has been traversed by tourists time and again? Check out these top three undiscovered gems of Europe.
Slovenia is fast becoming one of the next hottest European destinations for those looking for something other than another photo of Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower or the Arc d’Triomphe. With amazing natural scenery including Lake Bled – an impressive alpine lake with picturesque island and castle in the middle of the water – the Julian Alps, caves throughout, impressive Mediterranean coastline and gorgeous valleys such as the Savinja and Salek Valley. The capital city, Ljubljana is a welcoming, beautiful city with a perfect town centre that is primarily pedestrianised, making it easy for travellers to get around by foot. Enjoy one of many backpacker friendly bars or cafes in the centre, and wonder for yourself why more people don’t come to this unique gem of Europe.
Word is out – Albania is in. This formerly very closed off country has in recent years started to develop a booming tourist infrastructure with many hotels and restaurants popping up all over the place. The typical tourist trail includes Tirana, the capital city, along with the coastal cities of Vlore and Sarande. Don’t miss Ksamil – an area that gives the Caribbean a run for its money in terms of beaches and beauty. For a more alpine experience, head inland to lake Ohrid on the border with Macedonia. This large lake offers some pristine imagery and opportunities for hiking, swimming and boating in the summer for the nature lover. Add to this that Albania enjoys beautiful weather for a large majority of the year, including a summer that sees temperatures still into the 20s into November, along with easily affordable hotels and restaurants, so it’s a budget lover’s dream come true!
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)
This part of the Balkans is an impressive, landlocked country north of Greece and borders the other Balkan nations of Bulgaria, Serbia and Albania. The countryside itself is beautiful, dotted with churches and villages and general natural beauty in the form of hills, plains and valleys. Lake Ohrid is arguably one of the most beautiful locations in the country and is one of the highest rated tourist attractions. This is the same Lake Ohrid as mentioned under Albania – and both sides are stunning and worth a visit, but be warned that the tourist aspect makes at least FYROM’s Ohrid more expensive than other places in the country.
There you have three untouched, undiscovered gems of Europe that are usually not on many people’s hit lists for checking out when they’re in the area. To really shock your friends and family with amazing travel stories, check them out while they’re still unique and charming, before mass tourism makes them another common theme you hear about.