Europe is a continent that comprises of 40 odd countries; yet the most visited ones are France, Italy, Austria and Germany. If you want to go beyond the conventional and try exploring some offbeat places that have incredible culture, history and unique natural characteristics, these are the ones that you must consider. By Team T+L
1. Tallinn, Estonia
If you’re looking for a fun vacation with family with a mix of things to do, there’s no better place than Tallinn. The town has an incredible old-world charm; it’s one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe. For history enthusiasts, a visit to Vanalinn, Toompea, Seaplane Harbour Museum, Patarei Prison, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, and Town Hall Square is a must. The beach bums can choose from the islands of Aegna, Kumbli, and Krasuli that all have gorgeous promenade and sandy beaches that offer a rewarding experience during the summer. It’s perfect for families who are looking for a fun vacation with a mix of things to do.
2. Zadar, Croatia
While the most famous place in Croatia currently is Dubrovnik, thanks to the Game of Thrones connection, Zadar is the one that takes the cake. It has a great laid-back vibe, one that’s perfect if you want to relish every bit of the place at your own pace. The old town streets were laid out by the Romans, and instantly transport you to a bygone era when you walk through them. To explore the Roman and Venetian influences on the architecture, visit the Franciscan Monastery and Church, Church of St. Donatus, Zadar Cathedral, Church of St. Donatus, and the Roman ruins from World War II. The highlight of the sleepy town is the ‘Sea Organ’ — a musical instrument, which transforms the sounds of the waves into melody, and the ‘Greeting to the Sun’ is a glass monument that captures daylight and lights up with the solar power at night.
3. Bled, Slovenia
The landscapes of Bled in Slovenia look straight out of a fairytale; clear blue skies, and the earth carpeted with flowers and lush greenery. If you want to avoid tourist-heavy places like France and Italy, give Bled in Slovenia a chance. The most famous attraction of Bled is the emerald green, glacial Lake Bled. And just overlooking that lake is the iconic Bled Castle perched among the Julian Alps. This town in Slovenia is also known for its vanilla and cream pastry and the Triglav National Park, great for outdoor activities.
4. Niš, Serbia
Serbia’s third-largest metropolis is the birthplace of the Roman emperor — Constantine the Great. A city of lively contrasts, Niš embodies the combination of an exotic East and an elegant West. During the day, the city is best explored through its museums and sites of great historical importance such as: Mediana archaeological site, Niš fortress, Ćele kula or ‘The Skull tower’ that are reminders of the Ottoman dominion. While at night, you can grab posh cocktails at packed-out bars in antiquated alleyways, catch a happening live music scene, or swing by the pop-up markets and summertime funfairs.
5. Lanzarote, Spain
For the modern, independent traveller, Lanzarote promises to be a great find. It’s one of the Canary Islands with a stark and otherworldly landscape. The black and reddish volcanic rocks coupled with great beaches and a tranquil atmosphere is what describes Lanzarote best. The environmental value of this island got it the status of a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1993. Lanzarote’s long, sunny days is the reason travellers flock to the island for cycling, running, swimming and water sports. Another great way to know the island is to visit its wineries and wine cellars and try their delicious Malvasia wines. An unmissable attraction is the Timanfaya National Park, created by the volcanic eruptions in the 1730s.