Real globetrotters who have been to numerous places all over the world share one problem: they’re hard to impress. One location after another, it takes a while until they finally start to look alike. All pages of travel guides are already marked, yellowish and reread hundreds of times. Besides, tourists are everywhere, and they keep speaking of the same destinations. Someone just came back from Paris, another person goes to Rome, while this group of young backpackers is getting ready to hit the road and party in London. Even in Europe, the very developed continent, there are still places that have remained unknown like well-hidden treasures.
Incredibly beautiful, 18 of the Faroe Islands are scattered in the North Atlantic Ocean, between Norway and Iceland. What first draws a visitor’s attention, are the magnificent mountains, countless sheep feeding on the green grass, brightly painted cottages and turf-roofed churches. The sceneries are breath-taking, dramatic fjords and enchanted villages stay in the memory forever. Even a traveler who’s seen it simply must be charmed with a unique beauty of Faroe Islands, especially that even though this little country is such a gem, tourists rarely reach it. These pieces of land make a perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle, but without being entirely cut off the civilization. Technology is doing great, islands are well connected with road tunnels and can easily be reached from UK or Scandinavia.
Muhu Island, Estonia
A perfect getaway, the Estonian island of Muhu is known as “a place where time rests.” This may be understood in two ways. First of all, the people of Muhu take care of their traditions. They have kept everything that’s valuable and nourished their culture for centuries. The landscapes have remained the same: enchanting and natural. Secondly, Muhu Island is so tranquil it makes you forget about clocks and calendars. It’s the third biggest island in Estonia, situated over 2 kilometers from the larger Saaremaa. For luxury-seekers, there are a few excellent hotels and some of Estonia’s finest restaurants.
Bosnia & Herzegovina, even though gorgeous, isn’t as touristy as its famous neighbors. While most people head to Croatia and Montenegro to enjoy their coastal regions, Bosnia & Herzegovina remains quieter. Mostar still has its darker side reminding of the war and all tragic events that took place in the city over twenty years ago, yet there’s lots of beauty in this town as well. Its cultural icon, The Old Bridge, stands proudly between medieval towers creating one of the most remarkable sceneries in Balkans. With the bridge and the rest of its enchanting old town, Mostar is a lovely city and can astonish even the kind of traveler who’s seen it all.
This small archipelago is a very special mixture: it officially belongs to Finland, but its residents run their affairs without asking the “motherland” for permission. They have an independent parliament, their flag, and stamps. The fact Ålanders speak Swedish and have a special tax status in the European Union only adds to the geopolitical uniqueness of the islands. There are some fantastic beaches attracting holiday-makers from nearby countries, but in general Åland Islands are rather sleepy, quiet and delightfully tranquil.
A small town situated in the legendary region of Transylvania, Sighisoara is truly magical. A mixture of fairy-tale and nightmarish horror story, its colorful houses and pretty narrow streets make it look sweet, but the Vlad Dracul House reminds It’s a place where Vlad Ţepeş (also known as The Impaler or Dracula), one of the world’s most famous malicious characters, was born. Because of its unique historical value, the town has been recognized by UNESCO and included on the list of World Heritage Sites. Each year in July, amongst the city’s fortified walls, Medieval Festival of the Arts takes place.
Łódź isn’t pretty. It’s not the kind of town that steals your heart away as soon as you enter its gates. It’s harsh and edgy, but there’s something intriguing in its complicated character. Once you build a relationship with this city, it’s going to last. Łódź will keep surprising you: with the amazingly vivid cultural life, the fascinating festivals, the film scene and vibrant night-life. Łódź is the center of Polish film industry, and it’ll not let you forget about it, as you’ll probably keep meeting students from the local film academy and hang out in cinemas. Don’t get mislead by this city’s industrial look and do your best to explore it.
Because of its stunning location and rich history, much of Greece is very touristy. As a traveler who’s seen it all, you’re probably slightly fed up with the loud crowds of tourists, and the last thing you dream of is ending up among them.
But wait for a second and don’t cross Greece off your list. There are still places across this fascinating country where tourism, even if it exists, is rather unimposing. Ikaria is a perfect example. Visit this picturesque island where the pristine gems of nature still aren’t outnumbered by tourists. Chat with the locals, enjoy the gorgeous beaches, hike, walk, drive around and eat as much as you can, because the Greek cuisine is heavenly.
A wonderful article!! Thanks for showing up and highlighting some of the under rated and unknown, yet most beautiful places in Europe.
One of my personal favourite stops is Mostar. As you mentioned it offers so much in terms of experience with its architecture, scenery, food and items for sale, but so many reminders of its sad past. You never quite get over seeing a house riddled with bullet holes or seeing that most of the souvineers you can buy are made from the surplus of left over bullets and shells from the Yugoslav War, but as you mentioned it definitely is a place that needs to be visited by the traveller who has done the main stay cities.