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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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!