Hidden Gems You Must Visit in Europe

Hidden Gems You Must Visit in Europe

Europe is a tourism attractor. Its colorful cities and villages captivate our curiosity and ignite our inner explorer. History aficionados appreciate Europe’s ancient architecture, while outdoor enthusiasts are enraptured by its diverse landscapes. And if you’re a gourmet, it’s simple to consume your way through Europe’s secluded treasures and cosmopolitan cities equally. Local ingredients and delicacies vary from village to village, so you will never grow weary of the infinite culinary options that these distinct locations to visit in Europe have to offer.

Due to inexpensive airfare and social media hoopla, it seems that every square meter of this magnificent continent has already been trampled over. This raises the question: are there any hidden treasures in Europe left to explore?

1. Setenil de las Bodegas, Spain

Setenil de las Bodegas is a small hamlet in southern Spain that’s engraved into the mountains. This means that the residents here quite literally dwell under a boulder.

The dwellings in town are completely whitewashed, providing a striking contrast from the dark cliffs towering overhead.

What to see and do

Aside from its scenic cliffside location, Setenil de las Bodegas also features a pair of noteworthy attractions. Two enthralling sites include Nazari Castle and the Church of La Encarnación. Each are immensely distinctive, and cement the town’s reputation as one of the best underrated locations to visit in Europe.

Nazari Castle, which rises at the summit of the slope, was formerly an Arab fortress dating back to the 13th century. This medieval fortress was one of the last Moorish strongholds before the Christians retook the Iberian Peninsula in the late 1400s. All but one of the castle’s original turrets were demolished after the last siege. However, it’s still worth making a short halt for the spectacular vistas of the picturesque town below.

2. The Algarve, Portugal

9 Reasons to Book a Trip to the Algarve, Portugal

Located in southern Portugal, the Algarve is among the distinctive locations to visit in Europe. While the French, Italian, and Spanish Rivieras take most of the limelight, I believe Portugal’s sliver of paradise in the Algarve can give each of those locations a run for their money.

What makes the Algarve one of the finest locations in Europe to visit

This region borders the Atlantic coastline and offers rugged landscapes and desolate beaches that you won’t find anywhere else. Whitewashed villages and towns are dispersed between sandy harbors and beaches, and you won’t have to break the bank to stay there.

The Algarve is much affordable and lesser known than its Mediterranean counterparts. Having said that, the region is much less developed for tourism, so if you’re anticipating touristic enclaves of beach resorts, clubs, and restaurants all over, you’re better off visiting those aforementioned locations.

3. Perast, Montenegro

Just north of Kotor, one of the most gorgeous cities in Europe, lies a modest coastal village called Perast. It’s inexpensive, charming, and presumably untouched. As such, it’s one of the finest European concealed treasures that you should visit in 2023.

Between the 15th and 18th centuries, Perast was a strategic port between the Ottoman Empire and Venetian Republic. With a population of 274 people and only one main street, it’s impossible to fathom that this minuscule town was once at the crossroads of these formidable empires.

What to see and do

More recently, Perast has attracted visitors with its medley of churches, regal palaces, and adjacent islets.

With 16 churches in total, Perast arguably has the most churches per capita in the globe. The most majestic among them is St. Nikola Church, a Baroque masterpiece that dates back to the 17th century. The town is also surrounded by scenic mountains, which guard over the port below. With so much scenery and character, it’s no wonder that Perast is one of the most underrated cities to visit in Europe.

4. Tethe National Park, Albania

National Parks in Albania and Why You Must Visit - Elite Travel Albania

If you’re searching for one of the most distinctive sites to visit in Europe, add Theth National Park to your priority list! This neglected vacation location is situated in the center of Albania, and it is a true sanctuary for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.

What makes Theth National Park so special? Firstly, it’s home to some of the most magnificent landscapes you’ll ever set your eyes on. The park is located in the Albanian Alps, and it is home to lofty peaks, crystal clear rivers, and extensive forests. Theth National Park is also home to a rich and diversified abundance of fauna, including uncommon varieties of birds and creatures that you won’t find anywhere else in the globe.

What makes Theth a unique location to visit in Europe

But what really sets Theth National Park apart is its diverse cultural history. The park is home to a number of traditional Albanian communities that have been handed down for generations. These villages offer a view into the unique way of life of the Albanian people, and you’ll have the opportunity to interact with the locals and learn about their culture and traditions.

5. Brisighella, Italy

Brisighella is a medieval fairytale hamlet just south of Bologna. It’s immensely stunning and endearing, yet it’s somehow managed to maintain a low profile. You undoubtedly haven’t heard of it, which is why it deserves a place among Europe’s finest concealed treasures.

What to see and do

Brisighella is a secret destination with a dense history and authentic culture. It’s nestled between three magnificent hills, which contain a fortification (La Rocca), a clock tower (La Torre), and a church (Il Monticino). These structures date back to the 14th, 16th, and 18th century, correspondingly.

6. Mittenwald, Germany

Mittenwald travel - Lonely Planet | Germany, Europe

Mittenwald is a peaceful village that appears to be lifted from the pages of a Grimms’ fairytale. It may come as a surprise that Mittenwald has remained one of the finest concealed jewels and underrated locations in Europe, particularly given its proximity to Germany’s robust automobile industry.

What to see and do

Mittenwald is one of those quintessential German villages that everyone should visit and experience. It’s chock-full of vibrant vitality at every turn, beginning with its flamboyant architecture. Many of the residences and stores in town date back over 250 years, but you’d assume they were built yesterday.

When you’re planning a visit to Mittenwald, you’ll want to allow yourself ample time to meander through the Altstadt, or Old Town. Timeless tradition is on full display on every street, particularly the Obermarkt (the main street). Colorful residences, stores, and murals are interspersed among the town’s pedestrian-friendly pathways. It’s a wonderful spectacle.

Read Also: The Least Visited Countries In The World

7. Varna, Bulgaria

Unlike the first 2 hidden jewels on this list, Varna is more of a cosmopolitan European city than a small village. Nevertheless, it has managed to remain out of the limelight thus far. Here’s why you should visit Varna, one of the finest secret places and underrated cities in Europe:

Varna is a seaside resort town bordered with stunning beaches and a vibrant cultural scene. Locals consider it the Jewel of the Black Sea, yet most people outside of Bulgaria haven’t even heard of it. Kristin, a teacher and blogger who has resided in Europe and visited all corners of the continent, recently traveled to the coastal city of Varna:

What to see and do in this European concealed gem?

In addition to its seaside appeal, Varna is also overflowing with historical and cultural attractions. A vast Roman bath complex and archaeological museum straddle the city center, as do many eccentric restaurants, cafés, and nightclubs. As a gorgeous seaside destination and cultural capital, Varna is known in Bulgaria for its entertainment.

8. San Marino

San Marino: All You Must Know Before You Go (2024) - Tripadvisor

Itching to explore meandering cobblestone streets and eternal European charm? Look no further than San Marino.

Before the 19th century, the Italian Peninsula was a politically fragmented agglomeration of nations. The boot-shaped landmass hadn’t been united since the days of the Roman Empire. It wasn’t until the 1800s when Giuseppe Garibaldi and other prominent revolutionaries sought to unite these nations under the Kingdom of Italy. When the dust settled and unification was mostly accomplished, there were only a scattering of states that evaded this coalescence. San Marino was one of them.