14 Best Offbeat Places In Europe
Europe has some incredible holiday destinations and most are popular with tourists around the globe. From cities like London, Paris and Rome to party destinations like Ibiza, Barcelona, Split, and Amsterdam. There is so much to see and do in Europe that one holiday is definitely not enough to experience it all. But if you’ve already done the tried and tested or you just want a holiday that is different then this list is just what you need.
In the heart of some of Europe’s lesser-known destinations lie towns and villages that are unexplored and breathtaking in their beauty. These are just a few suggestions to get you started, but by all means, do some more research and find the perfect offbeat destination in Europe that suits you!
1. Saaremaa, Estonia
Sarremma is the largest island in Estonia. It has a unique feel and old word charm that draws tourists from all over. It is known for its Bread, Beer, and Windmills. The highlights of Saaremaa are the quaint villages with thatched roof houses and stoned fences. The must visit sights are the iconic 13th century Kuressaare castle, the windmills at Angla and the group of nine unique Kaali meteorite craters. Do sample the famous sweet and sour bread and the delicious home brewed beers that are famous throughout the island.
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2. Vaduz, Liechtenstein
The beautiful capital city of this tiny European nation is located on the river Rhine. Vaduz is a hidden gem where one can experience the comforts of a modern European city and explore historic monuments while enjoying the feel of a small town or village. The most famous sight here is the Vaduz Castle, which can be seen from almost any point in the city and is home to the reigning prince of Liechtenstein. There are also museums, churches and several vistas of natural beauty in and around the city.
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3. Vallnord, Andorra
Located in the northern-most valley of Andorra, Vallnord is home to three different ski resorts of Europe: Arcalis, Arinsal and Pal. All three offer skiers a variety of superb quality skiing. Visitors need only a single pass to access all three resorts. Arcalis, which is in the Ordino Valley, is perhaps the best as the snow remains until late in the season. Arinsal and Pal are located above the parish of La Massana. Both resorts are linked by a cable car and Pal is accessible via gondola lift from the town center of La Massana. A haven for skiiers looking to venture to unexplored slopes, Vallnord is a must visit.
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4. Belgrade, Serbia
Belgrade, the capital of Serbia has a gritty feel owing to its colourful history. A city that may not be conventional in its beauty but has a rich culture and takes immense pride in it. A chaotic past with a bright future is the essence of what Belgade hast to offer. Located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, one can expect some beautiful sights. The nightlife in Belgrade is very vibrant with a host of bars and restaurants including the floating restaurants on the Sava.
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5. Ghent, Belgium
Ghent is said to be one of Belgium’s best-kept secrets. The winding canals and medieval city center of Ghent are what is best known for. It is small and cozy, yet vibrant and fun. Most tourists only visit for a day or skip it altogether, but there is much to see and many things to do in Ghent. The architecture of the city is spectacular and walking down the street one almost feels like you’ve stepped through a time portal. Filled with churches, castles and beautiful historic buildings, Ghent is akin to a living-breathing painting. The local cuisine here is also delicious and you must try the freshly baked mastel also called "Saint Hubert bread".
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6. Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
The city itself is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list so you can be assured there are many historic marvels to visit here. Easily accesseible by road from Brussels or Paris, this small offbeat European city must feature on your list in 2017. The fortifications of the city are a must visit as is the Gothic Revival Cathedral of Notre Dame. Other interesting sites include, The AM Tunnel (an underground art gallery), the Grand Ducal Palace and the beautiful Adolphe Bridge.
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7. Giethoorn, Netherlands
If Hobbits were in charge of building Venice, then Giethoorn is what it would look like! Often referred to as the Venice of the North, this small town has no roads at all, only a series of canals and wooden walking bridges. The unique design of the twon in such that most homes sit on their own small island and are only connected by a bridge or canal. Spend a day or more exploring this beautiful and peaceful town with a laidback canoe or uo;whisper boat”. There are also three museums to visit and the shipyard, where the Giethoorn punt is built and there are several quaint cafes and restaurants.
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8. Bornholm, Denmark
An artist’s delight, the sunny island of Bornholm is located in the Baltic Sea. The beautiful island is a holidaymaker’s dream, with pristine white beaches, lush green forests, and dramatic chalk-cliffs, Bornholm has something to offer everyone. The must visit sights here are the island’s four 12th-century round churches and Bornholms Kunstmuseum. It is also known for its fishing villages, artisan food industry and glassware. From the month of Aug-Oct a lot of places are closed to it is best to plan your trip before or after.
9. Siofok, Hungary
Most people that know these things head to Sziget for the famous music festival, but the not so secret party destination in Hungary is definitely Siofok! Located on the southern shore of Lake Balaton, the well kept beach stretches for 17km and is a favorite among tourists in the summer months. The party scene here is vibrant and most clubs and bars are on till the wee hours of the morning! The nightlife here is said to rival that of Ibiza, so if you’re looking for a fun alternative then Siute;fok is where you need to be! It has rightfully earned the title "party capital of Hungary"!
10. Nazaré, Portugal
A seaside town, it consists of three neighbourhoods: Praia, Sítio and Pederneira. Nazaré is a popular tourist destination, famous for its beach. It has a large surfing community and is touted as one of the best surfing spots in Europe. The nightlife here is also quite lively and tourists party till all hours of the night. A good time to visit apart from summer is during New Year’s Eve when the entire beach lights up with firecrackers and the party goes on till dawn.
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11. Brasov, Romania
Centrally located, Brasov is an ideal base city from which to explore the rest of Romania. Although, the city itself has several tourist attractions that are a must visit. Flanked by the Carpathian Mountains, there are some great hiking trails worth exploring near Brasov. The town is really pretty too with a distinct medieval ambiance. It is home to the largest Gothic Church in Romania, The Black Church, which is a must visit. The summer months are warm here and see a lot of tourist activity, but winters get their fair share of visitors too. The Poiana Bra?ov is a popular ski resort frequented by many Europeans.
12. Mariánské Lázně, Czech Republic
A popular spa town since the mid 19th century, the 100 mineral springs here are the main attraction. Krížový pramen (Cross Spring) - is the most famous spring of Mariánské lázne. The spring here are known to have healing qualities and aid in curing kidney disorders the nerves, the digestive system as well as skin ailments. The waters are used for both drinking and baths. The beautiful town has various other sights worth visiting too. The famous Sining Fountain is a major attraction here and has been serenading tourists for years.
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13. Sveti Stefan, Montenegro
Stevi Stefan is an island resort southeast of Budva in Montenegro. Now known as the Aman Sveti Stefan, it is a popular destination among those looking for a secluded holiday. There is a small isthmus that connects the island to the mainland, which provides access to the beach as well. Apart from the main beach, Milocer Beach and Queen’s Beach are also part of the coastline. While Sevti Stefan is lmited to resort guests, the other two can be accessed by paying a small fee.
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14. Kuldiga, Latvia
The perfect place for a romantic getaway! Kuldiga is home to the Venta waterfall, which is the widest waterfall in Europe at 240 meters. The town itself is charming with beautiful old architectural structures. Must see apart from the famous waterfall is the Brick bridge, The Riežupe Sand Caves and St Catherine's Church.
There is beauty and wonder in the most remote corners of the earth, all you have to do is find the time to explore. An offbeat destination guarantees a fun, relaxed holiday with some spectacular memories!
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