Are you planning next year’s holiday? Do you dream of going somewhere a bit different in Europe? Here are seven beautiful, interesting destinations that are off the beaten track and so may not have been on your radar…
Written by Samantha Young
Møn Island, Denmark
Only a short drive from Copenhagen you’ll meet the grassy fields, deep forests and beautiful beaches of Møn Island. The windswept chalk cliffs of Møn are stunning, giving way to secluded coves and rocky inlets that will be sure to light up Instagram. The island is home to small Danish towns and villages largely untouched by tourism. With its Neolithic graves and medieval churches littered with paintings, this is the kind of haunting place that attracts artists and writers. Although there is some limited public transport, it is best to take a car to this remote destination.
Located on the southern side of the Peloponnese mountains, Mystras was once one of the most important towns in Greece. It is now a gorgeous ruined town with many astounding Byzantine churches full of architectural flourishes and frescoes. Alongside the ruins, the modern village of Mystras has been built to cater for travellers. Alongside breath-taking medieval ruins, the area also has many walking paths that will be a delight for hikers. The Palace of The Despots and the impressive monasteries here are big highlights.
Bruges, the capital of West Flanders in Belgium, is a truly dreamy setting. Its medieval charm and tranquil waterways have earned the city the nickname of the ‘Venice of the North’. It is a good place for an action-packed city break as everything is situated within walking distance of each other. Get to know Bruges by walking the waterways and stumbling across crowdpleasers like the Chocolate museum. The city’s art collection includes works by Michelangelo.
Santorini is one of the most stunning and intriguing islands in Europe, with a history that dates back to ancient times. Some people even believe that this was the site of the fabled city of Atlantis. Nowadays, Santorini plays host to tourists looking to walk around its lovely whitewashed streets which are filled with traditional houses. The towns of Oia and Fira are particular favourites. The beaches of Kamari and Perissa are considered the perfect place to watch the unparalleled Santorini sunset.
Travel to the Spanish region of Andalucia and head for the hills to the picturesque town of Ronda. The town is probably best known for an incredible bridge – Puente Nuevo – that spans the 100 metre wide El Tajo gorge. Ronda’s historic Old Town is a charming place to spend an afternoon. The town’s bullring was the place where modern bullfighting was invented.
The Dalmatian Riviera is home to many iconic destinations, but none quite as beautiful as Hvar. An important port in the Middle Ages, Hvar is now home to a cultural and cosmopolitan population. The city is a treasure trove of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture, including the oldest public theatre in Europe and the impressive cathedral of St Stephen. It is reputedly the sunniest place in Croatia too!
This Dutch university city is great to cycle around. Its history can be traced back to the third century AD and it was an important trade centre for Northern Europe in the Middle Ages. The city has some unusual museums including one devoted to comics and another devoted to tobacco. Because Groningen is full of students this means it has a great nightlife too. The Eurosonic music festival takes place here every year.
Go off the beaten track next year to one of these exciting destinations. Just pick one and go…
Samantha Young is a passionate writer and traveller who loves to discover new things and experience different cultures. She has written this article about offbeat European travel destinations in conjunction with Thomson holidays.