7 Off The Beaten Path Cities To Visit In Europe

Every young American dreams of a visit to Europe. The gap year in college. The graduation gift post-High School. The second honeymoon or ultimate family vacation. Whatever your travel aspirations, it probably involves at least one trip to Europe.

And while the crown jewels of the Continent are certainly worth visiting – every person should see Paris, London, Rome and Budapest at least once – there are other, lesser known hot spots that deserve equal attention. Here are 7 such locales for your next European vacation.

1. Lake Bled, Slovenia


Slovenia? Absolutely. Nestled near the town of Ljubljana, Lake Bled is a perfect representation of Alpine beauty. A picturesque lake between rolling hills. Islands housing stopovers and boating between them from serene shorelines. This is a fantastic place to visit for anyone seeking a European experience without the hustle and bustle of a major city.

2. Kvarner Islands, Croatia


Croatia is filled with beautiful locales, fewer tourists than its western neighbors and a range of different types of tourist towns to fit your mood. The Kvarner Islands is just such a place – and while it can be crowded in the summer, come in May or September for serene, quiet country life.

3. Andorra


Hidden in a mountain pass in the Pyrenees on the France-Spain border is Andorra, a tiny nation with a ski resort, spa and a surprisingly metropolitan city filled with modern amenities and old world charm.

4. Beaujolais, France


While not producing the caliber of the world’s best wines from Burgundy or Bordeaux, Beaujolais is one of the most exciting and compelling wine-countries in France. Filled with old churches, lovely little towns and some of the best food in the country, the wine may not be as good, but everything else is better.

5. County Cork, Ireland


Nothing is more beautiful than Ireland in the spring and summer and County Cork is a fine example, including Skibbereen – one of those classic Irish small towns you can’t help but fall in love with.

6. Riga, Latvia


A surprisingly big city located in the heart of Latvia, Riga is home to 800,000 people and boasts a huge range of different attractions that are perfect for anyone interested in a European big city, Baltic sensibilities and a slightly smaller tourist population.

7. Vaduz, Liechtenstein

You’ve probably heard of Liechtenstein, but few people visit. Located between Switzerland and Austria, you have the Rhine river, trails galore and one of the most enticing cycling routes in Europe. If you enjoy the outdoors and want a unique, engaging place to explore on your vacation, this is where to go.

There are thousands of hidden hamlets, unexpected villages and more dotting the European landscape – the next time you are in Europe, take a step outside the usual and visit one of them.

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Susan Petracco writes for TravelGuideline.net, and enjoys travels with her husband and children.