8 European Destinations We’d Love to See This Summer
If you’re looking for a more authentic experience of European culture, wishing to avoid crowds of tourists, or perhaps trying to save a little money, consider adding one or more of the following eight destinations to your travel itinerary when planning your vacation in Europe.
Riga has much to offer history buffs, especially those with a particular interest in conquest, as Latvia was ruled by various foreign powers from the 13th century until it regained its independence in 1991. However, those with a Bohemian bent will also find a lot to love about Riga, as it boasts a thriving alternative and youth culture scene.
With a metropolitan population of over one million, Porto is the second largest city in Portugal. Located in northern Portugal on the Atlantic coast, it enjoys an Oceanic, warm-summer climate. Like most of the Iberian peninsula, Porto fell under the control of Moorish invaders during the 8th century, and their influence can still be observed in the culture and architecture of Porto to this day.
Obscure Greek Islands
Greece is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, which can be a double-edged sword for the cultural explorer as many tourism hotspots may cater specifically to foreign guests. Fortunately, in addition to the mainland, Greece is made up of a myriad of small islands, many of which have yet to be really discovered by tourists. Despite being off the beaten path, the people of relatively unknown islands such as Hydra and Lefkada are friendly and hospitable, and the Mediterranean scenery of the islands is breathtaking.
Naples, located in the south of Italy, has a bit of a shady reputation. It is not regarded as a popular tourist destination which, if you’re looking to avoid crowds of tourists, is all to the good. Located in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, Naples is only a 30-minute train ride from the doomed ancient city of Pompeii. For a nominal entrance fee, architecture enthusiasts can enjoy the beauty of the ancient cloisters of the Chiostro di Santa Chiara in Naples, and the city also boasts the best pizza in Europe, if not the whole world.
Those interested in roughing it should head toward Montenegro, a small country on the Adriatic Coast where camping is allowed almost anywhere. Montenegro also boasts spectacular mountain vistas, an easily navigable transportation system, and an incredibly welcoming populace.
Malta is a small island country southwest of Italy. Due to its warm Mediterranean climate, it is recommended to visit either early or late in the summer to avoid the hottest days of the year. Despite being relatively untouched, English is widely spoken in Malta. If you’re looking to shop in Malta, get there early as most shops close in the afternoons.
Officially part of Denmark but located in the northern Atlantic between Iceland and Scotland, the Faroe Islands may be Europe’s best-kept secret. The islands’ hidden gems include the beach of Fjallavatn and the Forest of Kunoy.
Albania is a mountainous country located on the Adriatic Sea just north of Greece. Whether you’re interested in hiking in the mountains or lounging on the beach, Albania can accommodate you. Having survived nearly fifty years of oppression under a brutal Communist regime, Albania also boasts a wealth of fascinating history, and travel in Albania is relatively inexpensive.
There’s a time to visit the iconic destinations of Europe, such as Paris or Rome, but that time may not be during the peak tourist season in the summer. Instead, consider venturing off the beaten tourist path where you can enjoy not only the beauty and culture of the continent but the relative peace and serenity it can offer as well.