Experiencing a new destination outside of the norm, feeling a sense of adventure and originality – hey, ain’t that what adventure’s all about? The best thing is that you don’t even have to travel far at all if you’re looking to adventure into the unknown. Take a look at these incredible destinations that deserve a whole lot of love and look forward to an unforgettable holiday!
If you want to experience the excitement of a more obscure destination, then you don’t even have to fly all the way to Asia, Africa or South America. Why? Well, there’s plenty of unknown destinations in Europe that offer exciting possibilities for all sorts of adventures and antics. Since we’re so close to everything that Europe has to offer it seems a bit crazy to think that there are still lesser-known corners of the continent that are still waiting to be discovered.
Up until now, these hidden gems have only really been visited by enthusiasts and backpackers. But of course nothing stays a secret forever. In our fast-moving and well-connected world, the most beautiful locations don’t escape people’s radars for long. So you should quickly grab your backpack and join me on a journey to the final undiscovered destinations in Europe – before it’s too late!
Bosnia & Herzegovina – the bridge between east and west
After the three-year war in Bosnia ended in 1995, the country began to open itself up to the world more and more. Today, Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the trendiest backpacking destinations in Europe. But not everyone knows this! The neighbouring countries of Croatia and Montenegro score points as coastal resorts and often hog most of the limelight. However, the diverse landscapes, wild mountain ranges and deep forests make Bosnia and Herzegovina a top destination for adventurers. If you are looking for a bit of downtime on the beach, you could explore Bosnia’s coast in a day if you wanted. The coastal strip is only 20 kilometres long. The capital, Sarajevo, seems to be on everyone’s lips at the moment. So if you are looking for an undiscovered destination for a city break in Europe, Bosnia and Herzegovina is the place for you!
3 highlights you have to see in Bosnia and Herzegovina:
The bridge of Mostar: You’ll have probably already heard of Stari Most, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, even if you’ve not yet considered Bosnia and Herzegovina as a travel destination. The bridge not only connects the two districts of Mostar, but it also symbolises the bridge between Christianity and Islam.
Sarajevo: A capital city that is full of history and culture. The most famous historical event was the assassination in Sarajevo, which served as a catalyst for the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. Museums, theatres, churches, mosques and other historical buildings make Sarajevo a destination which is rich in diversity. It is perfect for city travellers who will particularly love the oriental flair of the old town.
Neum: In the town of Neum, Bosnia and Herzegovina meets the Adriatic Sea, whose beaches are no less beautiful than those in Italy or Montenegro. Bosnia and Herzegovina can also be a beach holiday!
Albania – crystal-clear lakes and pristine nature
Since the fall of the communist regime, Albania is really starting to really come into its own. While the neighbouring countries of Greece and Croatia have been tourist strongholds for a long time, Albania is still on the way to establishing solid tourist infrastructure, so as a result it’s quite a far cry from the mass tourism that’s established in Spain or the Greek Islands for example. However, what Albania lacks in infrastructure, it definitely makes up for it with its secluded beaches, historic sites and welcoming people. The Poles and the Macedonians have been holidaying on the Albanian Riviera for years. However more and more tourists from other European countries are beginning to recognise the beauty of this country. I’d say you’d best hurry! ;)
3 highlights you have to see in Albania:
Butrint: There are traces of the Romans, Greeks and Ottomans in Albania – all of which can be admired in Butrint National Park. An amphitheatre, old residences and relics from the past are displayed here and give an insight into life in ancient civilisations.
The Blue Eye: The mountain lake, Syri I Kalter, is one of the most popular sights in Albania. Tourists even take day trips from Greece to come and see the ever-sparkling spring waters and swim in them.
Bunkers: Sounds a little strange at first I admit, but throughout the whole of Albania there are over 17,000 former communist military bunkers – adventurers will love seeing what’s hidden inside them!
Montenegro – an Adriatic beauty
Admittedly, Montenegro isn’t as big of a secret as it used to be, since more and more holidaymakers are discovering the Balkan state for themselves. The ever-increasing number of hotels and developed roads is vastly expanding the potential for tourism. Even so, holidays in Montenegro are not as en vogue as holidays in Greece and Italy. But this is a good thing – it’s your chance to explore this gorgeous country and enjoy relative peace and quiet as you do so! Even in the off-season, Montenegro can still be regarded as a true secret destination in Europe.
3 highlights you have to see in Montenegro:
Bay of Kotor: Just for the view of this bay alone, a trip is worthwhile. The town of Kotor is also definitely worth seeing. Its medieval charm forms a great contrast to the luxurious yachts and cruise ships that fill the marinas.
Durmitor National Park: The Durmitor National Park is the perfect location for hiking, skiing, and simply enjoying nature. The park is home to the Tara River Canyon – the deepest canyon in Europe.
Budva: The pretty seaside town is the perfect location for a few days of relaxation and simply lying on the beach.
Romania – fairy-tale towns and brooding castles
A holiday on Romania’s Black Sea coast is a bit outdated now, no? Well, perhaps, but there’s much more to Romania than the 225-kilometre long coast, on the Black Sea. Just like Bosnia and Herzegovina, this country also only has a relatively small coastline. This draws more and more focus to the inland aspects of the country. Various cultural influences have shaped Romania’s cities over the years. As a result, they have a very unique variety and richness to them which you definitely won’t find elsewhere in Europe.
3 highlights you have to see in Romania:
Timișoara: Many people have probably heard of this city only because Ryanair flies there. It’s about time that changed! Timişoara is also known as Little Vienna because it’s full of magnificent, historical buildings, which are decorated in the most beautiful pastel tones. Lavish, vivid parks give the city that true Vienna feeling. Timişoara has been named as the cultural capital of Europe for 2021, together with a city in Montenegro. This shows just how attractive the city is!
Transylvania: Transylvania is a region in central Romania, and one of the most famous places in the country. In my opinion, it should definitely find its way onto your bucket list because of its eerily beautiful flair. Thank Dracula for that! In fact you can visit Bran Castle, a beautiful medieval castle that’s said to be his home. A further destination is also the city of Sighișoara in Transylvania, which is full of cute little cottages painted in all sorts of bright colours.
Iași: Just 20 kilometres from Moldova, lies Iaşi. This city is also known as the birthplace of Romanian culture. The university town is home to many important museums such as the impressive Palace of Culture. It’s definitely worth seeing!
Slovenia – from the Alps to the Adriatic
The country with the greatest biological diversity in Europe is, at the same time, one of the smaller countries of our continent. This biodiversity is accompanied by an incredible variety of landscapes – in a way, a round-trip in Slovenia is kind of like a small trip around Europe in itself. A beach holiday on the Adriatic today, hiking in the Alps tomorrow, and a long walk through ancient forests the day after. Sounds awesome, right? This has not gone unnoticed by globetrotters. Slovenia is now increasingly becoming a major player in the tourism industry.
3 highlights you have to see in Slovenia:
Ljubljana: Although Ljubljana, the beloved capital of Slovenia, seems almost impossible to pronounce, the city is not as exotic as the name suggests. Ljubljana once belonged to Austria, France, Italy and even the German Empire – its multiple ownership is a reason for its unique character. Today, the city is probably best described as the ‘Mediterranean Austria’. It sounds crazy, but it’s really beautiful and quite different from other European capital cities. It’s also definitely one of the greenest capitals in the continent as well.
Bled: Slovenia’s most famous lake is located just a few kilometres from the Austrian border. Lake Bled is famous thanks to its beautiful monastery perched on top of a small island in the middle of its waters. When you add to that a beautiful backdrop dominated by the towering peaks of the Julian Alps in the distance, you can image just how magical this place is!
Piran: It’s no secret location, but a trip to the coastal town of Piran, is an absolute must on a trip to Slovenia, whose canals and the architecture are reminiscent of Venice. The location of the old town, on a high point of land that juts into the Adriatic Sea, is also absolutely spectacular.
As you can see, there are many unexplored locations in Europe that are just begging to be explored, and the best thing is that you won’t be flying that far to get there either! Have you ever visited one of these countries? If so, do you have any more secret tips for other adventurous travellers? Which country is next on your list?
Craving more inspiration? Check out these other less known destinations and plan your next adventure…
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