Finding a fresh place to travel to can be tricky. You don’t want to retrace old steps, but gambling on a destination you’re 50/50 about also doesn’t suit you. Well, don’t worry – that’s where we come in. To help you dig beneath the surface of less tourist-heavy destinations, we’ve bundled together five top-notch hidden gems across some of the Europe’s most popular countries.
Old town walls, sepia-hued buildings and Renaissance remnants all make the city of Lucca an Italian idyll. It’s trapped between Tuscan hillsides that bloom into vibrant vineyards come summertime. It’s also compact enough to explore on foot or by hiring a bike – that might be a nice twist to your usual getaway!
The grand Gothic cathedral, Aqueduct of Nottolini and the medieval clock tower are among the knockout historic sites, so make sure you tick off the lot. Piazza Napoleone – designed by Napoleon’s sister – is where the locals gather to eat, drink and shop. Dig into just-baked focaccia, farro soup and the favourite after-dark tipple, China Massagli.
You can’t beat a break in Bergerac. It’s a medieval market town that’s more low-key than most of its French siblings, but that doesn’t mean it’s strapped for things to do.
Aside from having bags of personality, pretty terraces, bubbly squares and French bistros can be enjoyed at a lazy pace. You can savour flavours of river trout, rich pâtés and locally-sourced truffles, alongside your standard cheese boards. Thanks to various lush vineyards in the region, a full-bodied glass (or two) of red won’t be hard to come by. Plus, you could even fit in a day trip to the must-visit Dordogne!
You’ll be tempted by Tivat if you’re into the finer things. It also sets you up in a fab base for an active holiday. This part of Montenegro is nothing short of luxurious, with rows of gleaming super-yachts and chic boutiques lining the marina. It’s a great bet for a glam getaway that you can team up with adventurous outings.
Once you’ve ticked off the local sights and shops, and wined and dined in the excellent water’s edge eateries, it’s worth travelling around the wider area. The Black Lake, Lake Skadar and Durmitor National Park are among the rugged but scenic showstoppers. The UNESCO-listed Kotor Old Town and fascinating Cetinje Monastery are also gems worth seeing.
TripAdvisor rated Rovinj one of its Top Destinations on the Rise in 2018, and we’re sold. Blending Croatian charm, Italian features and Mediterranean touches, this resort has the lot.
Wander through the forest and plonk yourself down on Golden Cape Beach, where a fusion of rocky patches and sandy swathes come together. The cobbled old town and magical main square unfurl into a web of quaint shops, cafés and traditional trattorias.
Of all the resorts in the Algarve, Silves is one of the less bustling choices. Forget buzzing Albufeira or swanky Vilamoura – Silves is calm, cultural and calling your name.
Make a start at the well-preserved old castle, adorned with Arabic-style architecture. The gorgeous gardens surrounding the complex provide breathtaking panoramas of the area. Make sure you add the cathedral, Roman bridge and a wine tour to your agenda. Foodies, step this way for classic Portuguese seafood fishes and grilled piri-piri chicken. Mmm!
Posted: 4th Jun 2019.