Few things beat a European summer. From country hopping by train to sitting outside cafes on vibrant cultural city streets to finding secret beach coves in the Mediterranean . We love travelling in Europe and we are constantly on the look out for off the beaten track places to head to next. We love secret beaches, exploring local culture and tasting new and exciting foods. Here are 8 places which have been on our radar recently. Perhaps they’ll give you some inspiration for where to head to this summer if you’re looking for a getaway that’s a little different!
A few years ago, it was Croatia buzzing on everyones lips. Now, that secret is well and truly out and we’re looking for the next cheap but beautiful European getaway to try instead. We’ve heard some buzz about Albania for a while now, and from our research, we can see why. The country is located just south of Croatia, and borders Greece. It has a long untouched coast line, beautiful mountains, medieval cities and a unique culture. With every picture we see of Albania we are more and more intrigued.
2. Riga, Latvia
One of the things Europe does best is cities. There’s so much history across the continent as well as beautiful architecture and happening cultural scenes. Call me a hipster, but what I really enjoy when visiting new cities is seeing the creative parts of a city. I love checking out new cafes, weekend markets and night life scenes. A few years ago I had the pleasure of visiting Bucharest in Romania and found a flourishing arts scene which really drew me into the city. Riga is another city I’d love to explore. With it’s huge central market and blossoming alternative culture scene, it seems like it might just be my kind of place.
3. Faroe Islands
Located somewhere in the middle of the ocean between Scotland and Iceland (but officially part of Denmark), the landscapes of the Faroe Islands seem to sit perfectly between the two destinations. Until a few years ago, most people had never even heard of this mysterious place, but then some Instagrammers went wild for it and slowly, so is everyone else. We’d love to trek across these rolling hills, capture the quaint communities and see what else the islands have to offer.
More info: Visit Faroe Islands
4. Naples, Italy
Another off beat city which has captured our attention is Naples, a city in the South West of Italy, and is frequently used as an airport hub by tourists visiting the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii. But it’s the city itself has really got us excited. Rough around the edges, a little crazy, cheap and close by to stunning countryside and coast line – it sounds just like our kind of place. Plus, we would never turn down a trip to return to Italy simply because of the food!
Just North of Albania, Montenegro is another spot we really couldn’t miss off this list! With a sparkling coast line and rugged mountain backdrop, it looks breathtaking. It’s a tiny country, but seems to pack a whole lot in. You can explore the historic streets of Kotor, swim in the oceans around Budva and visit the beautiful Durmitor National Park.
Another tiny European country which I’ve been hearing more and more about these days, Malta is an island which sits below Sicily and just above Northern Africa. This blend of cultures already intrigues us so much, as does the blue lagoons and old towns which occupy the islands of Malta. The country looks like a little slice of paradise, with some intriguing cities and villages to go with it.
7. Off the Beaten Track Greece
It’s hard not to love Greece. The people are friendly, the food is incredible and the beaches are some of the best in the world. But it can be a little over run with tourists, particularly on those islands with hundreds of direct flights from Western Europe all summer long. But we’ve heard a secret that there’s still plenty of Greek Islands which are a little more untouched, and we’d love to check them out this summer. Kythnos, Kikladhes, Hydra and many more are names you may never have heard of but which may be the perfect summer getaway if you’re looking for something a little different.
8. Porto, Portugal
Lisbon was the European city of 2016 (we visited and loved it) but perhaps it will be Porto which will be stealing our hearts in 2017. The city is the second biggest in Portugal, and is known for its laid back atmosphere and beautiful architecture. We love the energy of Portugal, and are intrigued to discover more of this country.
Have you ever visited any of these places? Let us know any other off the beaten track places in Europe you’d love to visit!
Annapurna Mellor is a travel photographer, writer and co-founder of Roam Magazine. She fell in love with Asia shortly after graduating and has since spent extensive periods travelling and photographing in India, Nepal, Myanmar and many more. She shoots regularly for brands and publications and her work can be found in National Geographic Traveller Magazine, Lonely Planet, Suitcase and The Guardian. When not on the road, she is based in Manchester, UK.