Published on May 31st, 2017 | by Sun Gold Soap0
Five Underrated Holiday Destinations in Europe
Italy, Spain and France have dominated the tourism industry for decades. Other countries are known for individual cities that stand out as popular getaway destinations – Vienna, London and Prague are notable examples. Whilst it’s easy to see how these locations have become favourites amongst travellers, there’s no doubt that some lesser known but equally amazing places are being overlooked. If you’re willing to stray from the commercial path of mainstream tourism, then consider visiting one of these underrated gems for your next holiday.
If you want to be transported back in time to an era of vikings and epic legends, there’s no better place than in Iceland. The incredibly unique wilderness and sweeping landscapes of this island are like illustrations straight out of a fairytale storybook. Photographers, geologists, astronomers and hikers will all rejoice equally at the wealth of beauty to be found here. Whether you’re excited to see volcanoes, ice glaziers, viking ruins, or simply looking to do some troll hunting – this safe and stable country is an immensely welcoming place to visitor. On top of that, Iceland has in recent years made a name for itself within innovative and avant-garde accommodation. Start your authentic Nordic journey in the spellbinding island of Iceland.
Best places to visit: Reykjavík, Blue Lagoon, Akureyri, Skaftafell
Best time to visit: September, October, November
The land-locked Slovakia is home to majestic landscapes of luscious colours, with enchanting castles upon hills and gorgeous towns at the bottom of them. The beauty of this Slavic state is criminally overlooked and hugely deserving of more admiring visitors. Besides a unique cuisine, fascinating history and breathtaking national parks filled with caves and waterfalls; Slovakia offers an exciting nightlife scene in Bratislava. Before you hit the cosy bars for a local beer at night, walk the atmospheric streets of the capital during daylight hours, where you can grab a bite to eat in the form of ‘parené butchy’ or ‘lángoš’ – national sweet dishes popularly eaten as street food.
Best places to visit: Bratislava, Tatra Mountains, Zilina
Best time to visit: April, May, June
Notable events: Bratislava Jazz Days Festival, Unlocking of Orava Castle
It’s difficult to not fall in love with the magic of Malta. Whilst the island is no stranger to tourism, Malta does tend to get overlooked in favour of Greece, Sicily or Croatia. Yet, the Maltese archipelago has so much to offer that you simply won’t find elsewhere. The multicultural island has a high concentration of historic remnants of past occupations, Mediterranean beaches, an unbeatable party scene and an immensely welcoming culture. English is an official language here, allowing you to get around with much ease. Prices for everything from food to accommodation is incredibly cheap, and there is no shortage of exciting and fun events all year around. If you’re looking for a sunny holiday in a romantic location, Malta should not be missed.
Best places to visit: St Julians, Valletta, Mdina, St Paul’s Bay, Birgu, Marsaxlokk
Best time to visit: March, May, September, October
Notable events: Battle of Malta Poker Tournament, Isle of MTV Concert, Firework Festival
The gorgeous and peaceful towns of Belgium make for excellent family-friendly destinations. Walking the clean and quaint cobble streets of Bruges is an almost dream-like experience., whilst Brussels offers an equally enticing environment, with its opulent architecture and cosmopolitan atmosphere. The coffee house culture is strong in Belgium; a country which delights in offering its visitors a plate of traditional waffles or Belgian chocolate cake paired with a creamy mocha. Outside the cities you’ll find beautiful forests filled with lakes and cottages, windmills and horses. Soak up the cosy warmth of this culture when visiting in the winter – if you’re lucky enough, you might even get some snow.
Best places to visit: Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp, Ghent, Dinant, Namur
Best time to visit: March, April, May, December
Notable events: Brussels Museum Night Fever, Bruges Christmas Market, Carnival of Binche
England’s rebellious neighbour is fast becoming a home to some of the UK’s trendiest cities. In Edinburgh, an artistic and youthful scene is flourishing, manifesting itself through creative events, alternative coffee shops, flea markets and live music. Glasgow, meanwhile, remains a cultural hub of history, art and architecture. The country’s stormy and dramatic moors have inspired poets for centuries (who have been equally fond of the country’s beer fixation). The Scots are proud of their heritage, and you’ll see how wonderfully their traditional way of life blends into modern society when you visit the country.
Best places to visit: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Highlands, Skye, Aberdeen, Loch Ness
Best time to visit: New Year, May or September
Notable events: Highland Games, Edinburgh Summer Festival
Before you pack your bags for another trip to France, remember that the offbeat path sometimes results in the most memorable experiences, and consider instead one of Europe’s more underappreciated places of beauty.