If you are the type that would rather avoid the most crowded locations.
If you’re planning a visit to Europe this summer then you’re probably planning to visit Europe’s most iconic cities, such as London, Paris or Rome. While these cities are certainly must-see metropolises full of culture and history, some people may also find them to be unbearably crowded in the summer months, with millions of tourists flocking to them to experience firsthand.
While visiting the big European capitals are certainly a worthwhile and putting up with the inevitable hordes of tourists and endless queues, Europe also offers a huge amount of amazing locations for every taste that are often overlooked by most travelers. If you are the type that would rather avoid the most crowded locations, then we have put together a list of destinations that are sure to make your trip an unforgettable experience!
1. Baden-Baden, Germany
While Baden-Baden is known primarily as a fashionable spa town for the rich and famous, it is truly so much more than that. The wonders of Baden-Baden were first discovered by the Romans and created a settlement there after being drawn by its majestic thermal springs and grandiose views of forested mountains.
It wasn’t however since until the 19th century that Baden-Baden was adopted as a favorite hangout place of Europe’s high society, including Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Tchaikovsky and Queen Victoria, who were attracted to its curative waters, luxury hotels, concert halls, horse races and, of course, the hugely iconic Spielbank Casino – Germany’s oldest casino and one of the most famous in the world. You can read more about why Spielbank Casino is so famous in this excellent VikingSlots article about the best casino travel destinations.
All of these amenities made Baden-Baden known as Europe’s “Summer Capital,” and luckily for us it’s been incredibly well-preserved to this day, allowing tourists a chance to experience the old world luxury for themselves.
2. Tuscany, Italy
Tuscany is considered the birthplace of the renaissance and after one look at its breathtaking landscapes it’s not very hard to see why. From its majestic Apennines and Apuan Alps, to the rolling hills of Val d’Orcia and Pisa, the sublime beaches and sea cliffs of the Etruscan Coast and, of course, the famed Chianti wine region, Tuscany boasts an embarrassment of natural riches whose variety few places on earth can equal.
But Tuscany’s amazing nature is only the beginning, as its charming hilltop villages, World heritage hamlets, iconic churches, museums and art galleries filled with work from the renaissance masters are a true wonder to behold.
If you are looking to go on long hikes, bathe in hot springs, indulge in clear water sandy beaches, surround yourself in iconic art and architecture or simply indulge on some of the best food and wine that mankind has to offer, then Tuscany is a destination you cannot afford to miss.
3. Dubrovnik, Croatia
One of the few remaining walled medieval cities in the world, visiting Dubrovnik is truly like entering into a fairy tale. Overlooking the pristine blue waters of the Adriatic Sea, this port city accumulated great riches in trade, leading to the construction of luxurious aristocratic palazzi, style Baroque churches and concert halls, all within the walled, car-free area of Old Town.
It’s the city’s amazing medieval architecture and fantastic views that have led numerous sites across Dubrovnik to be featured heavily in huge popular TV and film productions like Game of Thrones and Star Wars: Episode VIII. While certainly not as busy or considered a tourist mecca like Paris and Rome, Dubrovnik has certainly become a hugely popular staple of the cruise ship crowds during the summer months, so we recommend that you visit the city before July or after August.
4. Budapest, Hungary
It’s probably safe to say that the Hungarian capital is home to more history than all of the other cities featured on our list combined. In fact, the famous Danube river known to have nestled human settlements dating all the way back to the Stone Age!
All this history is evidenced by its countless castles, churches and landmarks featuring the best of the old world Roman, Gothic and Turkish architectural styles, which means plenty of sightseeing opportunities for tourists. From its countless art and history museums, to its centuries-old iconic spa houses and opera houses, to hilltop castles and underground churches, Budapest is truly one of the most culturally rich cities in Europe.
If you’re also looking to get some R&R between your sightseeing, Budapest is also known for its amazing markets, delicious restaurants and, perhaps most of all, for its raucous nightlife – including the world famous Ruin Pubs. If you want to learn more about Ruin Pubs and their history, you can read more in GoToHungary’s great article on the subject.
But perhaps best of all, Budapest is one of the most affordable vacations spots in all of Europe. You will find that hotels, taxis, food, drinks and entertainment are significantly cheaper here than in nearby capitals like Vienna and Prague.
5. Valencia, Spain
While most people looking for sun and sand in Spain will immediately gravitate towards Barcelona or Mallorca, Valencia offers just about everything you’ll find from those cities – minus the crowds, of course.
A short train ride south from Barcelona, Valencia is the perfect city to discover by bicycle or even by foot. The city can easily be explored from east to west through the Jardines de Turia. Valencia’s own 9km-long Central Park passes through fountains, orange groves and medieval bridges along its route, taking in the greenery and amazing architecture throughout the city.
Perhaps the most well known aspect of Valencia is its culinary prowess, boasting some of the best Spanish wines, sparkling cavas and Tintos de Verano (red summer wines) you’ll ever try, as well as the mythical Paella Valenciana, the delicious rice-based dish made from rice grown locally in the region.
Valencia offers travelers the entire package: beaches, nightlife, art, history, music, culture, architecture, and a culinary and wine experience that you won’t soon forget.
What’s your favorite destination in Europe? Share with us in the comments.