Wanting to visit some places in Europe that are off the beaten path with fewer tourists? I’ve compiled a short but sweet list for some hidden travel locations when visiting Europe sure to tick off a box for every traveler on your list. From amazing beaches, waterfronts, cultural landmarks, and historical towns, this list is sure to please everyone!
European Hidden Travel Locations
Isles of Scilly – England
The Isles of Scilly are for anyone wanting a unique, adventure-packed place. You have a lot of places to move around and are away from very busy tourist areas. This location sure has a lot! This is great for beach lovers and campers.
Just off the coast of Cornwall, this cluster of small islands is an escape from the mainland. No matter how you travel to the islands, it would be an adventure bringing beautiful sights. You can fly by helicopter or small plane and arrive by sea by ferry or a small cruise ship.
The area allows you to island-hop around to the uninhabited and inhabited islands around to explore. This is a definite must to really see what each of the islands has to offer. Take your time to travel around to the multiple beaches that the islands have. You will find they are littered with very little crowds.
Spend a night in the Star Castle, originally a fortress built to defend against the Spanish Armada and pirates. You can eat in one of their two restaurants, one in the conservatory or in the castle.
There is also a winery in the area and camping is very popular for this beautiful location. There are a few camping options from tents to glamping locations. One of the biggest destinations in the area is the Abbey Gardens with one of the most magnificent gardens in the UK that allow sub-tropical plants to thrive year-round due to its warmer climate.
While more expensive to get to this spot, the different accommodations options really help you out while being able to maximize your time here. Definitely recommended for anyone wanting a different travel experience than hostels in Europe.
Only 25 km from Lisbon and accessible by train we have Sintra, Portugal. Although it is a popular day trip for nearby tourists, this town has so much to offer that it should be considered for a much longer stay. It is a luxury dining destination on the Portuguese Rivera. Sintra is most likely the most expensive place to visit on this list. Keep it in consideration due to the number of castles and other locations in the area. A must for any foodie or history buff.
One of the main attractions to this area is the inverted tower in Quinta de Regaleira. It is on the estate known as the Palace of Monteiro the Millionaire. In addition to the tower, it has a large garden, extensive tunnel system, a chapel, Waterfall Lake, and Leda’s Cave. You could spend all day visiting the sites in this one location.
In addition, the area also boasts tons of nearby beautiful castles to visit. You really can’t go wrong to visit this location. If you are looking for a beach day trip in between castle hopping, it is about an hour to Sao Martinho, a popular local beach area. It has a very calm sea due to the bay the beach is located in but also includes popular ruins as well.
Off the beaten path, Ribadesella is away from Spain’s packed resorts that have become an eyesore. This late 19th, and early 20th, century village boasts mansions with beautiful colors with some small beachfront resorts and medieval design.
The area is separated by the Rio Sella’s estuary, and popular for surfing, sailing, and kayaking. It is also an old fishing harbor with wonderful seafood. Cider is a very popular drink with local breweries across the area in the local pubs and restaurants.
A popular place to visit is the Unesco World Heritage site of Cueva de Tito Bustillo that includes prehistoric cave drawings which are some of the oldest cave drawings in the world. The site has a limited amount of visitors allowed, so be sure to book in advance.
This city has a beautiful mix of beaches, cliffs, and natural views. There is a 28km coastline with over 20 beaches and coves throughout. A must-visit for any foody, beach, history, and architectural lover. With so many beaches you will definitely find a hidden travel location.
The fourth-largest city in Germany and the biggest location on the list is Cologne. It is one of the lesser main cities of popular tourist attractions in comparison to Berlin, Munich, and Frankfurt but is definitely the most cultural. This beautiful city is included on this list due to its wide variety of cultural activities and the sheer volume of attractions. It is perfect for foodies, art lovers, history buffs, and cultural experiences.
From its 12 great Romanesque churches to its cultural center, over 100 galleries, and 3 dozen museums, any history buff would be happy to roam about the city for days. The city also has Roman remains, medieval churches, and baroque palaces.
It is known for its fragrances, mustard, and chocolate. There are perfume houses where you can attend a workshop to create your own fragrance. You can take a Rhine river cruise any time of the day for more sightseeing on the river or take the cable car to have a bird’s eye view of the city.
The city is well known for the love locks padlock bridge. It also includes a national socialism documentation center memorial city that has a museum and a research center from the World War II-era that still has the prisoner cells in the basement. You can still see the prisoners writing on the walls of the cells.
You can really bask in the culture of Cologne.
Close to Nice, and just 30 km from the Italian border, this village is known for its deep bay. It has one of the deepest natural harbors of any port in the Mediterranean sea and cruise ships often stop in here. Don’t let the cruise ships deter you, however. You can sail and deep-sea dive, but Villefranche-Sur-Mer also has a citadel with three museums.
This village is a great alternative to Nice, Cannes, or Monaco with similar climates and less popular beaches. The houses are painted in beautiful pinks, oranges, and yellows. Great for any photographers or to add color to your Instagram feed.
The beautiful waterfront is lined with restaurants and cafes. A short walk nearby also boasts amazing eateries with just as good views away from the cruise ship folks.
Murals by Jean Cocteau in the Chapelle Saint Pierre is a must-see. You can also find the Old Port de la Dares. It has boats moored from the 17th century that was built for the galleys. The village also has popup markets for every shopper.
European Hidden Travel Locations
What would be your first hidden travel location on this list? Have you been to any of these places? Let me know in the comments below!
Did you know I’m a travel agent? If any of these places sounded like they would fill your bucket head over to my travel agent section and let me know! I can get started on planning your DREAM vacation!
Or you can head over to my travel section to read about different places. 🙂