This would probably be the most sensible year to avoid the crowded popular tourist hotspots in Europe and head to somewhere a bit more unique. I got the lowdown on 6 special countries to visit from some top travel bloggers. Whether it’s going on a tour of Croatia, or lying on the beaches of Portugal, these are some fantastic ideas for a European holiday that’s more out of the ordinary.
Switzerland by Miss Tilly and Me
Switzerland is a beautiful country to visit. The air is so clear and the country is so clean. Although many people choose to go to Switzerland in the winter for skiing, it is just as much fun to go there in the summer. You don’t have to be a skier, to have an adventure holiday there, because there is so much to do. Switzerland has a few different airports that are easy to get to. There is Basel, Bern, Geneva, Zurich, St Gallen Airport, Lugano Airport and Sion Airport, as well as many other smaller airports. We choose to travel to Basel because it covers Switzerland, Germany and France, we get the best of all worlds. There are many cities for shopping in Switzerland, as it is a tax-free shopping area, you can save a lot of money. But the best places to visit are the smaller towns like Interlaken, where you can climb mountains on cable cars and mountainside trains. Or you can sail on a boat across the lakes of Brienz and Thun, where you see wildlife in the forest side. The lakeside is filled with houses that you would expect to find in fairytales, written bygone by authors. You can stay in many different accommodations in Switzerland from bed and breakfasts, youth hostels, hotels and tent cities. The hostels and tent cities are the best for meeting like-minded people to have an adventure and travel with.Croatia by Places of Juma
Croatia is definitely one of the most beautiful countries to visit in Europe! Whether it’s gorgeous beaches, magnificent coastal towns, medieval mountain villages and imposing national parks, there’s plenty to see in this amazing destination. This beautiful Balkan country enchants with the most beautiful landscapes and also the people are incredibly warm, hospitable and always extremely helpful. Another point, why Croatia is so amazing! There are so many amazing and unique things to do in Croatia, and you can’t see all the highlights of this destination at once. However, Istria should definitely be on your bucket-list. This region is home to some particularly pretty towns and the hinterland with its wine hills is also charming. Another must-see are the coastal cities like Split and Dubrovnik, both of which have UNESCO cultural heritage sites. Also, let’s not forget the gorgeous islands in Croatia. Over 1,000 islands and islets make this destination a true vacation paradise!Poland by My Feet Will Lead Me
Poland is one of the most underrated European destinations there are, overshadowed by more popular and romanticized destinations. As a whole, Poland came as one of the biggest surprises to me in my travels. I fell in love with each area I visited in this diverse country. The stunning medieval city of Krakow with its massive old square and original architecture that survived WW2 is a great place to start. From the Jewish quarter of Kazimierz, to the giant salt mine, the stunning Wawel Castle, and a day trip to Auschwitz concentration camp, there is so much to see in and around Krakow. On the other hand, Warsaw’s unique history of being mostly destroyed during WW2 and then the reconstruction of the old town during communism provides a stark contrast with much of Warsaw’s more modern, communist architecture. Beyond the unique and beautiful cities of Poland with fairytale like squares, Poland has the dramatic Tatra Mountains bordering Slovakia for year round activities for outdoor enthusiasts. The town of Zakopane and the Tatra mountain region are a unique experience of traditional highland culture that defines that region. Poland is significantly more affordable than most popular European destinations, the food is delicious and diverse, and the cities and mountains are so much more beautiful than expected. Poland was one of the greatest travel surprises I’ve had in years and I cannot wait to return.Norway by Travelletters
Norway – The country of the deep fjords, high mountains and green valleys. But Norway is also a country of mystic history of the Vikings and trolls. We are also a country of weird food like brown cheese and fermented fish. Although some will say that Norway never takes a stand on important matters in politics the country has one of the best social welfare programs in the world. We do pump oil to the moon and back, but we have also one of the most environmentally conscious people in the world. Yes, we are an expensive country because it costs to preserve our nature and freedom to roam for all. And when you come to Norway, I guaranty that along with worlds most spectacular nature you will get fresh air and clean water right out of the tap, in every corner of our long, but narrow country. Also, did you know that while in Oslo you can go swimming in the fjords in downtown or going downhill or cross-country skiing by taking a metro 40 minutes out of the city centre?Slovakia by The Diary of a Nomad
Slovakia is definitely one of the most interesting and unique places to visit in Europe. While most tourists head over to the capital of Bratislava, some of the best places to visit in Slovakia are the lesser-known medieval towns and fairytale castles scattered all around the rest of the country. Bojnice Castle, Orava Castle, and Spis Castle are three of the most beautiful and fascinating castles in Slovakia, and they’re all very visitor-friendly, complete with audio guides to help you understand what you’re seeing. Slovakia has a total of 180 castles, so you’ll also find tons of other smaller hidden castles as you drive around the country. Another unmissable place to see in Slovakia is the Tatras Mountains, an incredible place to go for hikes, nature walks, and skiing. These mountains are considered the national treasure of the country, as the hiking routes there offer some truly spectacular views! Be sure to also stop by Bardejov and Kosice in Eastern Slovakia. Kosice has an incredible restaurant scene, and foodies will be spoilt for choice! Portugal by Wander & Luxe
Madeira, Portugal is one of the most unique places to visit in Europe. The island itself is incredibly picturesque and has so much to offer its visitors. From adventure activities, scenic vantage points and delectable cuisine – there is something for everyone. And not to mention the weather which is appealing all year round thanks to the subtropical climate. The landscape and vegetation will fool you into thinking you are in Hawaii whilst the colonial buildings in Funchal echo those of Singapore from the same era. This incredible island is the home of Cristiano Ronaldo and the place where Winston Churchill used to holiday. Madeira is a must visit destination for those who enjoy a little bit of everything on their travels and get a thrill from exploring different places.
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