It’s no secret around here that we love our summer trips to Europe. We’ve been doing it for over a decade and we’ve been to 20 countries so far. What might be a bit of a secret, though, are some of the lesser-known and off the beaten path locations we’ve discovered while visiting some of the larger more popular cities. These are the hidden gems that often get overlooked on a map. I’m not saying a city like Paris doesn’t deserve multiple visits (we’ve been more than once and will continue to go back because we adore Paris), but there’s a certain amount of enrichment a side-trip or day excursion can bring to your experience.
If you’re considering a European vacation, then consider some lesser known locales. For one, there will be fewer crowds which means: getting THE photo of your trip is much easier, lines are shorter, restaurants and cafés are less crowded, and you can hopefully avoid those massive tour groups. Prices may be lower as well. For example, going to a beach club in a smaller town means renting chairs and an umbrella for a full day won’t cost you an arm and a leg. This is great for budget travelers who still want a luxe experience.
5 Hidden Gems in Europe to Travel to This Summer
Considering the Cinque Terre? Go beyond with Bonassola.
Skip the crowds in Monterosso and hop on the train to Bonassola (a quick 10 minute ride). You’ll enjoy the same beautiful clear blue water minus the noise. It’s a more relaxing day at the beach, especially if you choose the right beach club. For a low daily rate, we found Bagni San Giorgio was the best spot for a couple of chairs, an umbrella, and access to a café for food and drinks.
Inject some nature into your travels with a trip to Schaffhausen.
Schaffhausen has an adorable Old Town but an excursion to the Rheinfall is completely breathtaking. This is Europe’s largest and most powerful waterfall. It’s a majestic landscape abundant with wildlife, and an easy day trip from Zurich.
Venture down the Alsace Wine Route to Ribeauvillé.
About a half hour by car from Colmar is the medieval town of Ribeauvillé. Grab a tarte flambée for lunch (a regional favorite similar to a flatbread) and sample some great Alsatian wines. It has a similar fairy tale feel like Colmar but can be much less crowded.
Bike ride from Bruges to Damme.
Rent a bike and take an easy ride to Damme from Bruges. It’s a fun day trip where you’ll pass windmills and sheep farmers along the way. Visit the Church of Our Lady and grab lunch and a Belgian brew before heading back to Bruges.
Go from surf to turf on the island of Naxos with a visit to Halki.
The Greek islands are popular and populated with tourists. Naxos is a little less so and it offers a glimpse at traditional Greek village life in addition to amazing beaches. Take a bus up to the village of Halki. The former island capital is a fun place to spend an afternoon. There are many places to grab a frappé with a mountain view. Take a quick tour of the Kitron distillery, where the liqueur is made from Citron leaves.
Are you planning a trip this summer? Where are your favorite hidden gems to travel to?
Xo – Erin
5 Hidden Gems in Europe to Travel to This Summer appeared first on CathedralsandCafes.com. All images taken by me. Please credit with permission.
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