Retirement

Ranked: The 18 Best Hidden Gems In Europe, According To A New Report

Looking for the best places to travel in Europe? So is the rest of the world.

As the summer season kicks into high gear across Europe, popular destinations are grappling with an unprecedented influx of visitors. From Venice (which has just started a controversial tourist tax) to Spain’s Canary Islands (where the locals are planning mass protests), iconic landmarks and locations are straining under the weight of overtourism record-breaking crowds.

So the new list of 2024’s Best Hidden Gems in Europe from European Best Destinations couldn’t come at a better time.

This new ranking shines a spotlight on 18 under-the-radar destinations that promise to whisk travelers away from the tourist throngs and into the heart of authentic European culture. The list is based on votes by more than one million travelers from 172 countries.

From secluded villages tucked away in the mountains to lovely untouched beach towns, these 18 hidden gems offer a glimpse into a world rarely seen by the average traveler.

1. Villajoyosa, Alicante, Spain

Experience a kaleidoscope of colors in Villajoyosa (which means “the jewellish town” in Castilian). Here, vibrant houses line the shores in a nod to the town’s seafaring heritage, and the Mediterranean waters are crystal-clear.

2. Ares del Maestre, Castellon, Spain

Perched atop a rocky hill, Ares del Maestre offers panoramic views and a journey through centuries of Spanish history. Wander through narrow cobblestone streets and explore ancient castles.

3. Primosten, Croatia

Escape to the sun-drenched shores of Primosten along Croatia’s Dalmation coast. Here, you’ll find pristine beaches and azure waters. You can indulge in fresh seafood, stroll along picturesque promenades and discover why this coastal paradise is still Croatia’s best-kept secret.

4. Bokodi Floating Village, Hungary

On Lake Bokod, floating chalets that belong to local fishermen offer a peaceful retreat amid breathtaking natural beauty. Explore winding waterways, sample local delicacies and unwind in the serenity of this hidden Hungarian gem. Some of the chalets are private, but others are open to visitors.

5. Naantali, Finland

In Naantali, a little town in southwestern Finland, you can delve into the whimsical, colorful world of the Moomins—characters created by a Finnish author in 1945. This this enchanting seaside town even has a theme park dedicated to the Moomins called in Muumimaailma.

6. Bour, Vagar Island, Faroe Islands

Discover the rustic charm of Bour, a tiny village on the windswept shores of Vagar Island. Wander through verdant landscapes, marvel at panoramic ocean views and immerse yourself in the timeless beauty of the Faroe Islands.

7. Blavand, Denmark

Blavand is a a Danish gem where wartime bunkers have been transformed into sculpted symbols of peace. Here, you can ride horseback along sandy beaches and explore coastal dunes.

8. Ulm, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany

In the picturesque city of Ulm, where historic landmarks and modern amenities coexist in perfect harmony. Marvel at Gothic cathedrals, stroll along cobblestone streets and savor Bavarian cuisine.

9. Aljezur, Algarve, Portugal

With its rugged coastlines and golden beaches, Portugal’s Aljezur has a laid-back vibe and a tranquil beauty. Don’t miss the local wines.

10. Dartlo, Georgia

Dartlo—a remote Georgian village—is the crown jewel in the untamed mountainous Caucasus landscape. It’s home to pristine wilderness and ancient stone towers.

11. Castro Urdiales, Cantabria, Spain

Castro Urdiales is a medieval Spanish port town steeped in maritime tradition. Wander through cobblestone streets, explore ancient fortresses and soak up the sun on sandy beaches.

12. Landmannalaugar, Iceland

In Iceland, Landmannalaugar is recognized for its otherworldly beauty, full of rhyolite mountains and steaming hot springs. It’s also a haven for outdoors lovers with its volcanic landscapes.

13. Cicmany, Slovakia

The Slvoakian town of Cicmany is like a fairytale, a land of painted houses, ancient traditions, picturesque streets and folk art.

14. Pico Island, Azores

In the volcanic paradise of Pico Island in the Azzores, you’ll find dramatic landscapes, lava caves and vineyard-draped hillsides with world-class wines.

15. Pont en Royan, Auvergne Rhône-Alpes, France

Pont en Royan is a picturesque cliffside village where you can dive into crystal-clear rivers and soak up panoramic views.

16. Wuppertal, Germany

You can soar above the cityscape of Wuppertal—a unique German town—on the iconic Schwebebahn, a suspended monorail that offers breathtaking views of the landscape.

17. Le Puy en Velay, Auvergne Rhône-Alpes, France

In France, Le Puy en Velay is a pilgrimage site steeped in history and tradition with ancient architecture and sacred spots.

18. Staithes, North Yorkshire, England

A former fishing village on Yorkshire’s dramatic coastline in England, Staithes now attracts travelers thanks to the North York Moors National Park. You can hunt for fossils, explore coastal trails and eat tons of fresh seafood.

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