The American dream never interested me, the all night parties of the Austral-Asia backpacking trail didn’t beckon; I have always found consolation in the secret nooks and crannies that the continent has to offer.
Quiet and peaceful, there are so many destinations in Europe that promise breath-taking beauty coupled with a sense of awe and fresh perspective that I am often in pursuit of.
Although I find that travel can soothe the mind, so can the relentless glasses of wine that they seem to be so well versed at making on the continent, and with this is in mind, I would advise anyone to stay vigilant at all times regardless of the destination and travel companion! Below I have shared some of my favourite hidden gems that are nestled in Europe.
The mountainous craggy islands of Lofoten, Northern Norway hold nothing but raw beauty. Be warned – this destination is not one for the beach dwellers; the splendour of Lofoten is best appreciated from the sea or the summits, and there is truly is an activity for everyone.
Furthermore, the winter offers the famous northern lights while the summer offers the erethreal midnight sun, a truly magical hidden Scandinavian gem.
Another rocky island, this time in Greece. Kastellorizo is a remote and historical area of Greece that has far less visitors than its far more rowdy counterparts (hoorah!). The party atmosphere of the bar and clubs won’t be missed as you soak up the history and culture that the harbour-side town are steeped in.
The neo-classical architecture is jaw dropping, littered with wrought iron balconies for soaking up the balmy sun on drawn out evenings.
Located in the Dordogne region of France, St- Genies-de-Fontedit (to call it by its whole name!) that plays host to the awe inspiring 12th century Church of Notre Dame de l’Assomption. St Genies is a rural regional, offering plenty of outdoor activities such as horse riding, canoeing or truffle hunting.
Or for the more architecturally conscious, an unyielding amount of historic Chateaus adorn the area within a 20 km radius. St Genies very Chateau is now a restaurant, offering traditional French cuisine that has received excellent reviews.
A medieval German town that is beautiful all year round, Monschau truly comes alive during the festive season. Between March and December- that’s 10 months of the year- they have a House of Christmas that sells all things Christmas over 3 floors!
The traditional buildings in Monschau enhance the feel of the town, they are slate clad and timber framed, and as dusk descends, the Christmas lights switch on and the authentic festivity can be felt throughout every shop, restaurant and gallery, leaving you with a sense of magic that you will want to return to feel year after year.
Although Leece is actually one of Italy’s more famous destinations, its one that I couldn’t leave off of the list. Often described as ‘Florence of the South’ as it is tucked right into the heel of Italys boot it has a natural habitat for country lovers and beach dwellers alike.
Prepare yourself for all things Baroque in Leece, adorned with gremlins and cherubs the buildings can’t be described as anything but stunning – and there are plenty of them to visit! Probably the liveliest destination on the list, Leece is a university town with plenty to offer in terms of shops, bar and restaurants and is perfect for a weekend getaway.
So hear you have it, my 5 most favourite European Cities that you must pack your bags and head to before the year is out!