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Take a look at some of these countries and you will find that most of them pale in comparison to their mighty neighbors! Then there are others that continue to bear the branding of a scarlet letter thanks to past global conflicts.
None of them stand a chance when it comes to competing with the food scene in France, the charms of England, or the gorgeous coastline bordering Italy yet there is something about these less visited travel destinations in Europe that make them worth a visit.
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10 Less Visited Travel Destinations in Europe That You Must Visit
An archipelago that lies halfway between Iceland and Norway, Faroe Islands is home to the shaggy sheep while also boasting a burgeoning music scene that is complete with a summer festival score that features foreign as well as Faroese artists. No larger than eight times the size of Washington DC, the islands are an array of colorful glass-roof cottages and painted fishing boats.
The harbor town of Torshavn is the largest town and the capital city of the country. Rolling green fields, steep rocky cliffs, shaggy Faroese sheep, deep fjords, ample hiking opportunities, expansive beaches, and art galleries are just some of the tourism highlights on offer in the country, making it one of the most underrated destinations in the region. Travelers should take note of the fact that they should visit this place only during summer to experience the best of its natural beauty.
Are you a war buff looking for a new place to explore for some insightful war trivia? It might be a good idea to spend your holiday in Guernsey, one of the two principal districts of the Channel Islands that lie off the French coast of Normandy.
Though not a part of the United Kingdom, its status as a British Crown dependent means that Guernsey’s defense and international relation requirements are handled by the UK. Cost of living in the country is too expensive so that could possibly explain why most European tourists choose to leave this scenic destination out of their travel plans.
The must-see attractions of Guernsey include the south coast bay of Moulin Huet and Cobo Bay Beach along the western coast. This place is well known for its shallow waters and nearby restaurants apart from the coasteering, kayaking, and surfing experiences on offer. The Guernsey North Show and Battle of Flowers take place every August featuring parades of flower-based floats and an outdoor fair.
The Finland that you come up against will depend largely on the season that you choose for visiting this country. Nevertheless, irrespective of the month of your visit you are sure to find something pure and exciting in the Finnish air.
Towering forests with speckles of picture-perfect lakes in the middle characterize Suomi which is home to some of the best canoeing, hiking, and kayaking options in the region though Finland remains one of the less explored travel destinations in Europe. There is more to Finland than just vast expanse of pristine wilderness.
The southern areas have an abundance of vibrant cities while the capital city Helsinki is an electrifying urban space complete with world-renowned music scenes and designs. The place is a spectacular ensemble of beautiful architectural buildings, island restaurants, and quirky bars.
The country is also home to some of the most beautiful castles in Europe with Olavinlinna Castle and Hameenlinna Castle being of great historical significance as the most atmospheric and oldest castles, respectively, in the country. The “Northern Lights” can be seen from Finland which is another tourist attraction for many.
As one of the more fledgling nations in the area, having gained independence only in 1991 after numerous failed attempts, it comes as little surprise to note that Estonia does not feature strongly on the list of popular travel destinations in Europe.
However, thanks to its unique positioning this place is the perfect getaway for the history enthusiast, the party lover, the wanderer, and the nature lover with enough of everything to keep all of them occupied while on vacation. It is also a cheap country to visit which makes it the ideal spot for backpackers.
Estonia offers as many as 2000 islands to explore, dwarfed only by the staggering count found in Finland. Most of the islands have a rural, rustic charm about them and this is evident in the manner of their present upkeep. Some of them even come with their unique attractions such as the summer festivals in Hiiumaa and the unique scene of old ladies riding motorcycles in Kihnu. Many may beg to differ but this place definitely ranks as one of the more beautiful countries in Europe that have made significant progress and development in the past couple of decades.
Another gem of a place but less visited travel destinations in Europe, Malta is the largest and most well-known of islands that form an archipelago. Holding a strategic position in the Mediterranean Sea, the country has been under different rulers in its long history with each one has left a mark somewhere in the cultures, traditions, and beliefs of this island nation. The ancient architecture, archaic temples, and relics that hark back to a bygone era represent the kind of setting that history buffs would love to find themselves in.
Beach lovers will also consider Malta to be among the most underrated destinations in Europe. A summer by the Mediterranean Sea offers unparalleled entertainment for deep-sea divers and swimming enthusiasts, making it the perfect setting for various summer festivals. The spring or autumn seasons are the best times to visit as the sun turns friendlier during these periods compared to the harsh conditions during summer.
Gibraltar does not enjoy a particularly developed tourism scene and is often taken in as a detour visit for those on a vacation to Spain. However, that is not to say that it should be left out entirely from the travel plan for a tour of this country is unique in its own way. Those who are curious about exploring the unknown will have a remarkable time if they choose to visit what is among the less frequented travel destinations in Europe.
The caves and tunnels offer adventurous spots for a lot of exploring, especially those that are meant to be out of bounds for tourists. The Rock of Gibraltar which happens to be the primary attraction of this place has an absolute labyrinth running inside with secret internal roads and tunnels. There is a strong but almost invisible military presence in this place that prevents untoward incidents from occurring.
San Marino is the fifth smallest of 196 countries in the world. A landlocked country surrounded by Italy on all four sides, San Marino is roughly half the size of San Francisco. However, this is not a place to be dismissed outright as there are numerous points of interest that tourists would love to visit. The Fortress of Guaita, a dramatic 11th-century fortress on top of one of the three peaks that overlook the capital city of San Marino is probably the biggest draw of all. A visit to Mount Titan, stroll through San Marino National Park, the Piazza Della Liberta, and the scenic views from Cesta Tower rank among the other attractions of this country.
Most of the tourists to San Marino are from Italy with visits being largely half-day affairs. It is only in rare instances that tourists plan to stay at the city itself with accommodation being fairly expensive.
Once a part of USSR, Slovenia separated from Yugoslavia and gained independence in 1991 thus ending its time behind what was once known in political circles as “The Iron Curtain.” An earthly paradise characterized by snow-capped peaks, Venetian-style coastlines, and turquoise-green rivers, Slovenia is an enrichment of natural treasures combined with harmonious architecture, sophisticated cuisine, and charming rustic culture.
Be it the subterranean magic of the caves of Skocjan and Postojna, the soaring peaks of the Julian Alps, the short but sweet Adriatic coast, or the sparkling emerald-green rivers and lakes, Slovenia has it all. Little wonder then to see its name featured regularly among the list of most beautiful countries in Europe to spend a vacation in!
With more than half of the total surface covered in forest, Slovenia also ranks as one of the greenest countries in the world. As a tourist, you might be forgiven for thinking that everything of beauty in this green nation is a thing of natural elegance but that is not entirely true.
Man’s intrusion is at times to good effect with the picturesque Lake Bled being the perfect example – a dramatic castle looming above and a tiny baroque chapel lends completeness to the whole set. Beautiful architectural buildings of various styles – art nouveau splendors of Ljubljana, the Gothic church of Gorenjska, Venetian harbor towns along the coast – richly filled museums, and a vibrant culture are some of the highlights of this little-known country.
Montenegro offers the perfect combination of the beach-holiday-hiking-experience that most tourists can only dream of. Even for those who have not had this dream, they should consider making the most of what this place has to offer.
Among the less popular travel destinations in Europe, the months of July and August are the best time to visit Montenegro with the weather being dry and sunny and the country resembling its busiest state. The beaches are filled to the brim, restaurants and bars serve customers round the clock, and all activities are in full swing!
Montenegro is one place where you can relax on the beach in the morning before heading off for a stroll and exploration of the town as you prepare for a hike later in the day. This is a cheap country to visit with lodgings and meals being priced fairly low compared to most of the other nations featured on this list. Apart from the symbolic swimming and hiking experiences, paragliding, raft skiing, and biking options are also available during specific seasons.
Often termed as the Lilliput among nations, Luxembourg is unlucky too often get the short end of the leash due to its tiny stature compared to the relative giants surrounding it in the shape of Italy, France, and Belgium. Nevertheless, it remains a charming country with a compelling, laid-back capital that sits pretty perched on top of steep cliffs.
There are three official languages in this country – French, German, and Luxembourgish. It is worth making an overnight stay at Luxembourg while those going on a road trip or trekking cross-country should at least consider spending a few hours enjoying a picnic in the gorgeous countryside.
Not every country featured in this list of less visited travel destinations in Europe is here because of faults of its own. In some cases, tourism is not the prime point of focus for the decision makers who wish to concentrate more on other areas of development.
Nevertheless, all of these nations are becoming increasingly mainstream as far as tourism is concerned and it will probably not be long before they make the grade to feature in the elite group of travel destinations in Europe alongside some of their more prominent neighbors.
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Founder of Pretty Wild World and one of the leading experts in Europe travel, the Nordics, and Scandinavia Destinations.
Evan Kristine has been mentioned in big publications such as The Huffington Post and the Thought Catalog has been sharing her useful travel tips and hacks to the world for more than five years now.
Nowadays, she is a full-time traveler exploring and documenting her journey around the world providing you the next best travel idea for your great next adventure.