Skip To Content
  • Time To Travel badge

People Are Sharing Their Favorite Hidden Gem European Destinations For Escaping All The Tourists

"It's a place that's known by Europeans, but it's practically unheard of among Americans. It's cheap, stunningly beautiful, and has perfect weather year-round."

Chances are you already know all about the major European vacation spots — places like Paris, London, Tuscany, Barcelona, and more. Maybe you've even visited a few of them.

Monteriggiori in Tuscany Italy
Aluxum / Getty Images

But the European continent is full of more off-the-beaten-path destinations. Whether you're looking for a beach vacation, a rustic mountain getaway, an urban adventure, or anything in between, these underrated spots are begging to be explored. Best of all, you won't be surrounded by a ton of tourists.

1. Albania

People and boats on a beach in  Shkodër, Albania.
Getty Images

"I love Albania. I traveled solo as a female for three weeks and had no issues. It was one of the most beautiful and unspoiled countries I've ever visited, and I am itching to go back. I particularly loved how friendly the people were. They went out of their way to help." —u/Ambry

"You're getting beaches that are equally as beautiful as those in Greece, but you can visit for a third of the price." —u/ABrotherAbroad

2. Riga, Latvia

The Residence of the three brothers in Riga, Latvia.
Getty Images

"It's the best-kept secret in Europe." —u/Joll-·

"I did a big trip around the Baltics last September, and Rīga was my absolute favorite place I visited." —u/5440_or_fight

3. Ardèche Valley, France

A gorge known as the European Grand Canyon in Ardèche.
Getty Images

"It's a different side to the South of France that most people don't know about. I visited for two weeks and went rock climbing, kayaking, and visiting the small towns there. It was absolutely beautiful, and almost everyone we met were local French people." —rachelsg1210

4. Istria, Croatia

Rovinj, a town on the Istrian peninsula in Croatia.
Getty Images

"This Croatian peninsula borders Italy in the Northern Adriatic Sea. It never seems to get as much love as the south (Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, etc.), but it deserves it." —u/deleted

5. Malta

Pristine Gnejna Bay in Malta.
Getty Images

"Malta is known by Europeans, but it's practically unheard of among Americans, and it's a fantastic place to visit. It's cheap, stunningly beautiful, and has perfect weather year-round. Once you go slightly off the beaten path from the main attractions in Valletta, you'll hardly see any tourists." —u/elijha

6. Orvieto, Italy

A quiet street in Orvieto.
Getty Images

"It's located in the Umbria area and built on tufa. Their Duomo, built in the gothic style, is one of the most beautiful in Italy. There's an underground tour, and you can climb up and down a very cool, deep well. The city is an absolute delight." —christinam423fd8d61

7. Romania

A UNESCO World Heritage Site in Transylvania, Romania.
Getty Images

"It's especially beautiful in the fall. It's very grey and foggy and completely fills the gothic stereotype, but in such a great way. It's amazing if you want to explore abandoned places and landmarks. Of course, there's also Dracula's castle and the winding Transfagarasan mountain road too!" —maysoonsheikh

"Romania boasts cheap, great food, amazing landscapes, and impressive architecture. I absolutely loved visiting." —u/tronsom

8. Ghent, Belgium

Bikes near a canal in Ghent, Belgium.
Getty Images

"In Belgium, Bruges is always packed with tourists. Go to Ghent instead. It's incredibly charming and has all the aspects you'd want in a great travel experience, especially around Christmastime with the markets." —nikkim19

9. Utrecht, Netherlands

A bridge along a canals surrounded by narrow buildings in Utrecht.
Getty Images

"It has a very Dutch feel with canals and typical narrow houses, without all the  tourists from Amsterdam, but with all the same benefits (English speakers, places open late). Also, from Utrecht, you can basically take the train to everywhere in Europe." —Cookie Cutter

10. Republic of Georgia

A meadow and mountains in Svaneti, Georgia.
Getty Images

"The country is incredible. There's hiking, mountains, beaches, amazing yet cheap food, affordable transportation, and excellent budget accommodations. It’s not overpopulated by tourists either (at least not yet), and it has an interesting mix of Asian, Middle Eastern, and Russian culture." —u/s_i_m

11. Bulgaria

Karadere beach in Bulgaria.
Getty Images

"It's such an underrated country. It has mountains and cities and the sea. It's gorgeous and very affordable." —abruneau16

12. Aljezur, Portugal

Praia de Odeceixe in Aljezur, Portugal.
Getty Images

"I think in general, Portugal is overshadowed by Spain, France, and Italy. It’s affordable, artsy, offers great food, moderate year-round weather, and has a coast lined with amazing beaches. Aljezur is a small coastal town between the Algarve and the Alentejo that embodies everything that I love about Portuguese beach towns: nice local restaurants with live bands, amazing sunset views, nature walks, surfing, and a laid-back vibe. You won’t find a McDonald’s or Starbucks here, which is part of the charm." —u/jettyyyyy

13. Bergen, Norway

A harbor with colorful houses in Bergen, Norway.
Getty Images

"Norway as a whole is so beautiful, safe, and clean. The Norwegian people are so friendly, and every building is just gorgeous. The city of Bergen in particular is easily one of my favorite places in the world." —u/Thartperson

14. Minorca, Spain

Boats in the serene blue water in Menorca.
Getty Images

"If you're thinking of going to Mallorca, consider instead traveling to Minorca, a neighboring Spanish island in the Mediterranean. It's really beautiful and much more quiet." —JahneKess

15. Wales, United Kingdom

Llanddwyn Lighthouse with Snowdonia mountains in the backdrop.
Getty Images

"It boasts the majestic mountains of Snowdonia National Park in the north, the dramatic coastal cliffs of Pembrokeshire in the west, and the beautiful beaches of Gower in the south." —Kitseykat

16. Slovenia

An iconic view of Lake Bled in Slovenia.
Getty Images

"The country is like a fairy-tale city full of castles and quirky old folktales. The scenery is gorgeous, and you can see the entire country in a short visit. The people are also unbelievably friendly. Despite all of this, most Americans never think to visit." —u/sarasmirks·

17. Friuli, Italy

Devil's Bridge in Friulli.
Getty Images

"It's located in northeastern Italy near the border with Slovenia. It boasts so much culture, history, amazing food, and friendly locals, but there are almost no tourists to speak of. Not to mention San Daniele prosciutto. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it." —u/mapryan

18. Klitmøller, Denmark

The sea and the sky in Klitmøller, Denmark
Getty Images

"I recently studied abroad in Denmark, and my class went to a small town called Klitmøller, aka Cold Hawaii on the North Sea. It's a super-cool place to surf and eat lots of seafood." —Kelss2019

19. Northern Spain

Cies Islands off the coast of Galicia, Spain.
Getty Images

"Madrid, Barcelona, Andalusia, and the resort towns of Spain get so much attention, but the northern region is really underrated. Basque Country, Asturias, Cantabria, and Galicia are incredibly beautiful and much cheaper to visit than similar places in Europe. Picos de Europa National Park is a great place to visit: You can drive from rural mountain towns to quaint beach towns in less than an hour." —u/digitall565

20. Thessaloniki, Greece

A church on a hill in Thessaloniki, Greece.
Getty Images

"It's got it all. Great history, awesome food, a vibrant nightlife, and exciting destinations you can explore nearby like Chalkidiki and Mount Olympus." —u/mantouvallo

21. Rennes, France

Colorful buildings and a cafe in a square in Rennes, France.
Getty Images

"I personally think Paris is overrated, but Rennes is awesome. It's a city filled with students, and it isn't touristy at all. In Paris, you have to be careful to avoid the many tourist trap restaurants, but in Rennes the food is great, and literally every meal I had was amazing." —u/SendTheBoat

22. Isle of Skye, Scotland

A lush, jutting mountain landscape on the Isle of Skye.
Getty Images

"Traveling there made me feel like I was on another planet entirely. It was absolutely incredible." —u/Derman0524

23. Basque Country, France

A beach scene in Biarritz, France.
Laurent Dambreville / Getty Images/EyeEm

"I was blown away the first time I saw the coastline in French Basque Country. Biarritz in particular is breathtaking. The water is as blue as the Caribbean Sea, and there's amazing weather, an awesome surf culture, friendly people, plus lots of great restaurants and bars. On top of all that, you have the scenic Pyrenees Mountains hovering in the distance." —u/spacegurl2021

24. Kraków, Poland

Town houses in the Main Square in Krakow, Poland.
Getty Images

"When visiting eastern Europe, most people choose to visit Prague, Budapest, or Vienna, but Kraków is a great city. In fact, it's the only European city I've returned to for a second trip." —u/nefastvs

"Kraków is probably my favorite city in Poland. It has tons of amazing historical sites, beautiful city scenery, and plenty of hidden gems if you like going off the beaten path. The nightlife is also great for people who enjoy that sort of thing." —u/Laturnich

25. Glasgow, Scotland

Lush trees and a bridge in Glasgow.
Getty Images

"People said Glasgow is just an old, industrial city, but I found it to be so much more than that. Between all the greenery and the history, it was possibly my favorite stop on a recent trip." —u/LadysPrerogative·

26. Yerevan, Armenia

A mountain landscape and ruins in Yerevan, Armenia.
Getty Images

"Armenia has most of the allures as it's more popular neighbor, Georgia. It's a lot less traveled by tourists, and as a consequence it's cheaper and quieter. Yerevan in particular is a very interesting city." —u/slightly_offtopic

Do you have a favorite underrated European destination with all of the charm and none of the crowds? Tell us in the comments below!

Sign Up For The Bring Me! Newsletter!

The latest travel tips, off-the-beaten-path experiences, and inspiration delivered to your inbox.

Newsletter signup form