Europe is known far and wide for its tourist attractions. When you mention tourism in Europe, everyone immediately thinks of Paris, London, or Vienna. But Europe has so much more to offer. If you are tired of crowded streets and want to visit more peaceful cities that also have something spectacular to offer, how about heading to some of these 10 lesser known European destinations?
The old provincial capital of Tyrol lies at the junction of two major traffic routes between Germany and Italy, and between Austria and Switzerland. Innsbruck still retains its medieval core – a historic old town with narrow, winding streets and tall houses in the late Gothic style.
No matter where you are in this city, mountains dominate in every direction. For skiing, there are over 500 kilometers of trails and numerous ski resorts that you can choose from near the town. Visit Innsbruck because of the amazing views of the mountains, fairytale buildings and some of the best ski resorts in Europe.
Located 1.56km above sea level, Davos in the Swiss Alps is a bustling, sometimes impatient city, known for its fresh air and excellent snow cover. It has been attracting skiers for generations, but during the summer the snow retreats, revealing bare surroundings and the city gets a new shape.
Its altitude and long sunny days have eased the suffering of patients with tuberculosis in the 1900s; thus it’s reputation as a health resort is cemented. With approximately 700,000 visitors a year, famous visitors include Robert Louis Stevenson, who finished “Treasure Island” while he was in a sanatorium in 1882, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was one of the first persons in Davos to ski there in 1894.
This rainforest is located on both sides of the Polish-Belarussian border, and is one of the last and largest remaining parts of the vast ancient forest that once extended across the European lowlands. The border between the two countries goes through this forest. The forest is home to around 800 European bisons (the largest mammal on the continent), and you can still see deer, wild boar, elk, deer, wolves, foxes, lynx and other fauna here.
Mostar remains the most beautiful city of Bosnia and Herzegovina. An icon of the Bosnian war, the Old Bridge was destroyed in the bombing in 1993. Many years after it sank to the bottom of the Neretva River, it is said that people still feel a sort of anguish, as it was a symbol of the city. After more than ten years, a beautiful stone bridge was rebuilt and now adorns Mostar once again, as it did four centuries ago.
The largest and most famous monastery of Bulgaria, Rila is located in the wooded valley of the Rila Mountain. A popular attraction for Bulgarian pilgrims, expect it to be crowded with visitors in summer. We recommend heading over during the low season, where you can also hike the nearby mountains in peace.
Founded in 1927 by the hermit Ivan Rilski in 927, the monastery has helped in the preservation of Bulgarian culture and religion during the Ottoman Empire. It was declared for a national museum in 1961 by the communist authorities, and since 1983 has been listed on the UNESCO World Heritage.
A city in western Bohemia in the Czech Republic, and capital of the Pilsen region. With a population of over 165,000, the city is an important cultural, economic, transport, commercial and industrial center, known primarily for Pilsner Urk beer and the machine factory Skoda. Plzen’s historic city center is dominated by a slim tower of the Gothic Cathedral of St. Bartholomew – with its height of 102 meters, this tower is the highest church tower in the Czech Republic.
The Danish Beaches
While the Danish coastline itself is one long sandy beach, there are some popular beaches in Denmark which easily overshadow all the others. If you don’t want to stray too far from the Danish capital, visit the Amager Strandpark, the beach just outside of Copenhagen; Middelfart Marina is also a popular beach for families on the Danish island of Funen.
In the southwestern part of Jutland, near Esbjerg, you can choose between two large sandy beaches: Nymindegab Strand and Henne Strand. Bisnap beach is near the northern end of Jutland, just outside of the town of Hals, and the sheer size of the beach makes it worth the visit. All these beaches have high sand dunes and beautiful waves of the North Sea, as well as the blue flag for water quality.
A trip to Tallinn, Estonia, is not complete without a visit to the magnificent and grandiose Kadriorg Palace, built by the Russian Tsar Peter the Great for his wife, Catherine I, in 1718. A wonderful example of Tsarist extravagance, and also home to the foreign art collection of the Art Museum of Estonia.
Old Town in Tallinn is one of the most popular sites in Estonia, known for its romantic cobbled and narrow streets, including the famous passage of St. Catherine. The old town is also a home to great tourist attractions such as the Estonian Open Air Museum, Olaf Church and Temple of Alexander Nevsky.
One of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea, Paros is perfect for sightseeing the surrounding island due to its excellent connection by ferry. The beaches, nightlife and accommodation on Paros are above average, and many tourists return year after year. Paros also has a massive resort, a beautiful old city, and charming rural villages. Many visitors also head to the smaller island of Antiparos – 1km southwest of Paros – by car ferry or an excursion boat.
From its majestic position on a cliff overlooking the crescent bay and surrounded by the Taurus Mountains, Antalya offers everything you need for a perfect beach holiday in Turkey.
Discover the unique shopping and the fine Turkish cuisine in the old city center Kaleiçi and explore several ancient sites near the town; enjoy the many water sports and two long beaches – Konyallti and Lara; and see more than 5,000 priceless archaeological objects in the Museum of Antalya. In addition to swimming and cruising in the Gulf of Antalya, you can also dive over the wrecks of combat aircrafts and a variety of ships from World War II near the coast.
Top image: Mostar by Ebs Els