Millions of tourists flock to European capitals like Paris and Rome every year.
You cannot go wrong with these classics, but why play it safe? Going off the beaten track is a rewarding endeavor. There are still many underrated places to visit, which are not besieged by crowds.
They are well-kept secrets: relatively cheap and utterly charming. You probably never heard of them, although that’s about to change.
We picked three overlooked holiday destinations you can add to your bucket list right away.
1. Lake Bled, Slovenia
Slovenia is renowned for its unspoiled natural beauty.
The best proof is Lake Bled, a fairytale sanctuary tucked in the Julian Alps. It allows visitors to escape the hustle and bustle of cities. Everything from family camping to lone backpacking is a fair game there.
A small, bluish-green island is a centerpiece, which you can visit via rowboat or paddleboat. A postcard-worthy church atop it blends seamlessly with the dreamlike landscape.
There’s also castle clinging high up on a hillside. It offers a breathtaking view of the whole lake. And it’s just one of many attractions around.
One can also find hiking trails, wine cellars, and quiet swimming spots. Indeed, Lake Bled seems to have it all. It’s even easy to reach from capital Ljubljana’s International Airport (35 km).
2. Gdansk, Poland
Gdansk, the pearl of Eastern Europe, is steeped in history and culture.
It served as a coastal merchant hub and a medieval stronghold. Nowadays, numerous monuments and museums spark attention alongside trendy bars and restaurants. The vibrant cityscape and waterfront beckon from the moment you arrive.
Old Town exploration is the hallmark experience you cannot miss. There, you can navigate narrow, stone-paved streets and observe picturesque architecture. Every corner reveals a new fragment of the city’s impressive history.
Another point of interest is the nearby coast of the Baltic Sea. It’s a hotspot for soaking in the sun and hugging the waves. Two other noteworthy cities (Gdynia and Sopot) are also nearby. They form a vast tri-city area.
There’s a lot to see across the board. Thus, spending at least several days on this adventure is advisable. This 3-day itinerary will give you a clearer idea of how to go about it.
3. Vardzia Cave City, Georgia
Vardzia is an underground cave monastery that appears as a fantasy dwarf fortress.
Located in Southern Georgia, it was built in the golden age of fabled Tamar, the “mountain queen”. It’s dug out of solid rock and hidden on the slopes of Erusheli Mountains.
Once a holy city, today it’s maintained only by a small group of monks. Yes, its glory days may be long gone, but the glimpses of it are all around you.
A system of caves stretches on for half a kilometer and encompasses 19 different tiers. One can visit three hundred apartments and halls in a maze of tunnels. Fortress walls and irrigation system with terrace farms are still visible.
It helps Vardzia is just one hour ride from the town of Akhaltsikhe. If you need help getting around, use this handy tour guide Georgia website.
Criminally Underrated Places to Visit and Cherish
Mainstream tourists are constantly raving about popular European destinations.
We cannot deny their appeal, but there’s a lot more to be discovered. Namely, the continent offers plenty of surprises for a more intimate travel experience.
Aforementioned underrated places to visit deviate from the norm. Some of them may appear as nothing more than tiny blips on the map. Yet, they represent corners of pristine and untold beauty.
In the age of internet and social media, the secret cannot last forever. So, you might want to hit the road sooner rather than later.
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