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Hidden gems in Europe- 10 underrated towns in Europe that look like they came out of a fairy tale

Hidden gems in Europe- 10 underrated towns in Europe that look like they came out of a fairy tale

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Europe really does have a lot to offer and there are a lot of magical places to see. However, most travelers always head to the mainstream locations, like Amsterdam, Paris, and London and many of them aren’t even aware that Europe has even more beautiful places that aren’t that famous (many people don’t even know they exist). And that’s why I wrote this article. To show you some of the best hidden gems in Europe you probably won’t find on the tourist map.

10. Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy

Civida hidden gem Italy

Civita di Bagnoregio is one of the most remote towns in Italy. This ancient small town managed to keep its identity and remain relatively isolated from the rest of the country throughout the years and visiting will make you feel like going back in time. Today, the town has only 14 permanent, year-round residents! The only way to reach the town is by taking a 30-minutes hike up to the hill. If you want to find out more about hidden gems in Europe, check out my articles about places in Italy off the beaten track, this list of hidden gems in Spain and these secret places in France.

9. Volendam, Netherlands

A charming fishing village that also gets forgotten by travelers. As a matter of fact,  Volendam is only 45 minutes away from Amsterdam! The authentic looking houses in this city are neatly arranged in rows that form a straight line. They look incredibly similar and even their windows are more or less at the same height. Just like in a fairytale! For a different and interesting perspective of the city, check out this article about visiting Volendam with a motorhome.


8. The Meteora, Greece

If you think all there is to see in Greece is Athens, Thessaloniki, and a bunch of islands, you’re wrong and the Meteora is a prime example of this. The name of this monastery complex translates into English as ‘Middle of the sky’, or ‘in the heavens above’, which is exactly where this complex is located. The Meteora was built in the 11th century and is one of the most important Orthodox monasteries in Europe. The sandstone megaliths on which the six monasteries were built go as high as 1,800 ft (550 meters). Amazing!

7. Piran, Slovenia

Located somewhere where the Alpine and Mediterranean world cross, Piran really has it all. This is just one of the few cities on the short Slovenian coastline, and it’s certainly worthy of the nickname ‘The Pearl of the Slovenian coast. The city is so beautiful that a lot of people say it’s the most amazing city in the Mediterranean.

underrated european cities

6. Lake Resia, Italy

Between the borders of Italy, Switzerland and Austria hides the story of the most famous Italian drowned city. After World War II, the city of Curon was flooded when the building of a giant dam went wrong and today, the only visible remnant of Curon is the Romanesque bell tower of a church. Interestingly, people say that they can still hear the bell ring, even though it was removed decades ago.

5. Lofoten Islands, near the border between Europe and the Arctic

These islands are located in the picturesque tundras of Norway, just around 100 miles from the Arctic circle. This is probably one of the most photogenic places you will ever see in your life. Literally, anyone can be a photographer at Lofoten. This hidden gem of Norway is filled with jaw-dropping landscapes, If you like the mountains and you’re a fan of trekking, then Lofoten islands will blow you away.

lofoten islands hidden gems in europeand :

4. Ohrid, Macedonia

is the jewel in Macedonia’s crown. Not only the amazing lake is one of the oldest ones in Europe (over 2 million years old), but the city is also really amazing with a rich history. Known, as the Jerusalem of the Balkan, at one point in history, Ohrid had 365 fully functional churches.

Related: check out some more hidden gems of the Balkan Peninsula.
underrated european cities

3. Kizhi, Russia

Kizhi is just one of Lake Onega’s 1600 islands. However, it’s by far the most popular one among tourists. The reason is the Transfiguration Church, which looks like it’s it came out of a Harry Potter movie. Not only is this the largest open-air museum in the country, but it’s also a unique monument of the local wooden architecture.

kishi lake omega

2. Melissani Cave, Greece

Also known as the Cave of the Nymphs, Melissani has a lake inside of it, and when you step outside you will see nothing, but lush green forests. The roof of the cave is partially open, thus allowing sunlight to enter the cave. The sunlight reflects the crystal blue lake, making the whole cave looks like it is lit with blue light. This, on the other hand, makes boats seem like they are floating in the air.

hidden gems in Europe

1. Vatnajokull Ice Caves, Iceland

A list of the best hidden gems in Europe can’t be complete without at least mentioning the Vatnajokull Ice Caves. This wonder of nature is located inside an Icelandic glacier. The caves are older, but the ice first appeared a few centuries ago. After that, the weight of the ice has pressed out all the air of the cave, resulting in texture and colors that are out of this world. The interior of the cave, filled with ice shaped like jewels gives a sight that you couldn’t even imagine seeing in a fairy tale. Just one of the many reasons to visit Europe in the winter.

hidden gems in europe

If you are planning a trip to Europe soon and are looking for some interesting places to visit also check this comprehensive Europe itinerary. Also, check out this list if you’re looking for some more fairytale-like looking towns in Europe.

Helpful resources for traveling to Europe


Are you looking for some accommodation options in Europe? Use this coupon and get up to 55% off on your next stay.

For car rentals in Europe, you can save up to 20% by using my AutoEurope coupon.

If you’re looking for a cheap flight this Qatar Airways discount offer (available only througj affiliates) to get a great discount on your flight to Europe.

If you’re looking for a discount on travel insurance, feel free to use my World Nomads discount code.

Did you like this of hidden gems in Europe? Do you have some more places to add to this list? Share your thoughts in the comments!

hidden cities in europe

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Tuesday 17th of September 2019

Such a useful post! thanks for sharing your amazing experience. I am planning a trip and seek for some hidden around Europe now. Definitely should add some of these stops to my list. Love this article!

Passport Symphony

Sunday 22nd of September 2019

Thank you, Mai, I'm glad you could get some inspiration from this article

Sinjana Ghosh

Thursday 17th of January 2019

What a fantastic list. Each of the places look straight out of fairytale. Volendam was initially on our list for Netherlands but we had to let go of it because of my bad health on that day. Hope to visit again.

Passport Symphony

Monday 21st of January 2019

Thank you, Sinjana and I hope you get the chance to visit Volendam again. It's a lovely town.


Wednesday 16th of January 2019

I’d never heard of any of the places off the beaten path in Europe. There really are so many amazing places in Europe that I can’t even imagine how you chose these ten. I’m fascinated with Iceland and I want to visit in winter. But even the gorgeous town in Russia with its church and the monastery in Greece show some amazing churches. I like that some of these places are hard to get to, meaning they won’t be overrun with visitors. I can’t imagine living in a town with just 14 people though!

Passport Symphony

Thursday 17th of January 2019

I'm glad you learned about some new places from this post, Annick. I hope you get the chance to visit some of them in the future

Jane Dempster-Smith

Wednesday 16th of January 2019

Oh No. My bucket list just grew by 10 more destinations. This is a great article and one that I will definitely bookmark for future reference. Now which one will I travel to first? Thanks for sharing.

Passport Symphony

Wednesday 16th of January 2019

I'm glad to hear that, Jane. I really hope you get the chance to visit some of these places soon


Tuesday 15th of January 2019

Superb list! Searching for the best underrated places, isn’t that what most travelers and bloggers do the most? Lofoten is the one on your list that I’d add to my ever growing bucket list, thanks!

Passport Symphony

Wednesday 16th of January 2019

Thank you, Per and I hope you make it to Lofoten soon. It's spectacular!