We can all agree that gazing up at Paris’ Eiffel Tower or visiting Italy’s Colosseum for the first time is a thrill. However, it’s more soul-satisfying touring with lesser crowds and more magic moments. Here are 5 off the beaten path Europe destinations for your next trip:
Sandwiched between the Marsamxett and Grand Harbour is the fortified city of Valletta, the Maltese capital. You can explore this fabulous Maltese capital without much of a stretch as it’s a little city. Valletta is known for its varied attractions - and with new additions, it has been named Europe’s Capital of Culture.
Bursting with history, Valletta is regarded as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Start your tour at Saint John's, which is a history-rich and eye-catching church that showcases the success of the Maltese Knights. In the 16th century, the Knights safeguarded Europe and the Catholics from the brutal attacks by the Ottoman Turks.
Explore the cathedral’s opulent, flamboyant Baroque interior. You can then walk down Republic Street to explore the immense Grand Master's Palace. Lastly, don’t miss a visit to the Upper Barracca Gardens. Valletta’s inner streets are packed with great stories and buildings. The Parliament buildings, the Manoel theatre, and St George’s Square all deserve exploration.
Coimbra and Óbidos, Portugal
Coimbra is the place for you if you’re looking to supplement your beach time in Portugal with some astonishing history and breathtaking architecture that span nearly a millennium.
This Portuguese town is characterized by its lively city center, the remarkable churches, and the Roman architecture. Enjoy educational highlights at one of Europe’s oldest universities, established in 1290. You’ll definitely love the University’s spectacular library.
Coimbra is home to some awe-inspiring churches such as the Igreja de Senhor da Pedra. Walk down the stone-paved streets and narrow streets and explore the striking white-washed buildings.
Step back in time by visiting the medieval walls of Óbidos and take in the atmospheric scene of a medieval village. Splurge and spend the night at Coimbra’s Pousada de Óbidos, one of the town's main attractions.
From the golden-hued churches to stunning natural beauty and incredible cuisine, Zadar guarantees you a unique and memorable holiday experience. Located in the north of Croatia, this intriguing city is rich in history, culture, and nature in equal measures.
Enjoy a tour through the city’s old streets before stumbling upon the first Sea Organ, one of Zadar’s contemporary architectural achievements. Soak up the Sea Organ’s haunting sounds right on the solar-powered public dancefloor. A short distance from the historic city you’ll explore plenty of nature and emerald waters of Plitvice lakes without the tourist vibe.
Famous for the Venetian and Roman remanants of its Old Town, make a visit to the Forum - the city’s major meeting place. Rest in the shadow of a Roman column, where criminals were chained and publicly humiliated. Oh, and make sure you try out the city’s ultra-fresh fish or Maraschino, a locally-made cherry liqueur.
Piran’s proximity to the sea and its rich history draw magical scenes and unsurpassed charm. Commonly known as the Venice of Slovenia for its enviable location on the Adriatic coast, the city offers a more relaxed alternative to other destinations.
As part of the small Slovenian shoreline, the beaches are popular, and with the stupendous Portorož beach nearby, it makes for a great blend of history and sun lounging. The area nearby the city feels totally different, with olive groves, vineyards, and a quaint vibe.
Comprised of red rooftops and white-hued buildings, a tour to Piran will make you feel like you’ve walked right into a picturesque postcard. Walk through the old town on the charming narrow streets. At the town’s main square, you’ll be greeted by the statue of Giuseppe Tartini, a renowned composer and virtuoso violinist.
Naxos Island is one of Greece’s hidden gems and it’s worth a visit during your tour. It’s located only an hour from Mykonos and a few more from Athens.
The island boasts mouthwatering local delicacies, ancient hilltop villages, Byzantine history, and countless natural sand beaches. Thus, you’ll have plenty to explore in this less-visited treasure. You’ll surely fall in love with this island filled with all shades of blue under the sun.
An easy and perfect place to start exploring Naxos’ charm is the old town. Wander down the seafront promenade; the place is packed with vibrant cafes and shops that have spectacular sunset views.
With such a diverse landscape, Naxos grants a little more adventure compared to a standard, poolside island retreat.