Insanely Gorgeous, Under-the-Radar European Destinations

Insanely Gorgeous, Under-the-Radar European Destinations

The value of the dollar against the euro is the highest it’s been in years, making now the perfect time to take that trip you’ve been meaning to plan. But instead of the usual suspects (lookin’ at you, London and Paris), why not try one of these under-the-radar spots that are far less crowded but just as beautiful?

TORUN, POLAND

This riverfront Gothic city is way less crowded than Warsaw and Kraków, has a thriving theater scene and–fun fact–was the birthplace of Copernicus. Another must-see? The gingerbread museum. (Which, weirdly, Torun is famous for.)

MANAROLA, ITALY

Go to Manarola, the oldest and second smallest of the Cinque Terre towns, for fresh ​seafood from the Ligurian Sea, sweet Sciacchetrà wine and some peace and quiet (no cars are allowed). To get there, take the Pisa Centrale train from any of the Cinque Terre towns, which costs less than $10 and runs multiple times per day.

 

IKARIA, GREECE

There must be something in the water on this Grecian island, where residents typically live to 100. Visit during the summer for panagiria, the huge festivals celebrating various religious holidays, which happen once or twice a week between May and October.  

HALLSTATT, AUSTRIA

Sometimes called “the pearl of Austria,” this picturesque village is essentially car-free and surrounded by salt mines, which make for fascinating tours.

ALESUND, NORWAY

While in Alesund, visit the Atlantic Sea Park at Tueneset, the biggest saltwater aquarium in northern Europe. Visit in December for next-level skiing in the  Sunnmore alps.

KOTOR, MONTENEGRO

The coastal town of Kotor is actually a submerged river canyon. It’s super-secluded, surrounded by limestone cliffs and has one of the best-preserved medieval old towns in the world.  This little guidebook can help you navigate the ​local ​Austro-Hungarian fortresses.​

PIRAN, SLOVENIA

Narrow streets and Gothic alleyways wind through this historical Slovenian town sitting at the tip of a thin peninsula. Pack your ​flats: The town is so tiny, you’ll want to make the 30-minute walk from end to end. 

PORTO, PORTUGAL

Though it’s the second largest city in Portugal, Porto is often overshadowed, tourism-wise, by Lisbon. A lively cultural scene and even livelier-colored buildings should make you reconsider. Check out the Mercado do Bolhão, a massive indoor market where you can pick up culinary delights from freshly-baked breads to fish that were probably swimming in the Atlantic hours earlier.