Europe has always been a big travel hotspot. Destinations like Paris, Venice, London, Rome, and Barcelona have enchanted visitors for ages. But as travel becomes more and more accessible, travelers are beginning to venture outward—and explore new places.
Of course, these less popular spots have always had their fair share of visitors. But as more people set out to find adventure, these unique travel spots have their own appeal.
Whether you’re setting off on a plane or securing your gear to the top of the car with Vault Cargo lashing straps, these five European destinations should be on the top of the list if you’re looking for a unique experience.
Bypass a trip to the French Riviera in favor of a trip to Portugal—a country that is definitely underrated. Algarve is one of Portugal’s most popular spots, offering a temperate Mediterranean climate and the white sand beaches of Lagos are stunning.
Cliffs and coves decorate the coastline, creating gorgeous vistas and hidden spots to explore as you go. Break away from the Algarve beaches and you’ll find plenty of beach bars, restaurants, and shops to keep you busy throughout the trip. Head inland to encounter some more unique spots like historic villages with stone castles and hiking trails that wind past wildflowers, meadows, sprawling hillsides and groves of trees.
Another coastal region, Eastbourne is not somewhere most people frequent when they head to the U.K. But that doesn’t mean that the small town doesn’t have anything to offer travelers. A local pier hosts a variety of annual events while Victorian hotels line the beachfront. These interesting buildings are a great place in which to create a base for the trip. Eastbourne is known for its culture, home to a variety of art galleries, theaters, music venues and cinemas throughout. Around town, you’ll find activities like miniature golf and laser tag as well. Not far from here, travelers can visit Beachy Head, where they can view unspoiled beauty in the form of seaside cliffs, a lighthouse, and surrounding farmland.
Greece has an endless supply of stunning islands to visit, and Rhodes is no exception. Like everywhere in Greece, you’ll find a lot of history and anthropological landmarks here. The Old Town portion of the city, dating back to Medieval times, has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With narrow alleys, gates and busy town squares within, a trip to Rhodes is like stepping back in time. Visit the cobblestoned Street of the Knights or pay a visit to nearby Museum Square, where you’ll find a blend of museums, churches, and cafes. Outside of Old Town, you’ll find an aquarium, a paradisiacal garden, a national theater, working harbors and more.
Costa Brava, Spain
Situated on the Spanish coastline, this region stretches up to the French border. Like all regions of this colorful country, culture reigns supreme. Part of Catalonia, Costa Brava is home to an endless array of museums and art collections. It also served as a popular spot for artists to paint on location; Picasso and Dali both painted in Costa Brava. Aside from culture, guests will experience the beautiful beaches, which often have some rough terrain but also small bays. Several rivers also wind through the area, emptying into the ocean along the coastline. Visit charming villages, hills in the sprawling backcountry or even local little-explored caves.
Although a good deal of Turkey lies in Asia, part of it is located in Europe so it has a home on this list. The must-visit area of Dalaman recently saw the addition of an international airport, but it has kept its small-town charm without a tourism boom. As such, it’s a nice place to disappear for a while—without crowds or tourist traps. Get an authentic Turkish experience exploring Dalaman. The nearby Dalaman River is a popular spot for white river rafting adventures while paragliding is common in this area. The blue water of Sarsala Koyu beach—and the shade provided by the mass of trees on shore—also makes for a relaxing afternoon.
There are plenty more, like destinations in the north of Spain, and many spots in Eastern and Central Europe, like Cesky Krumlov, in the Czech Republic, or Bucharest, Romania. Any more to add to the list?