5 unusual European destinations
Europe is an incredibly exciting continent to visit, with a whole host of beautiful beaches, dazzling cities and picturesque landscapes that could easily tempt even the fussiest of travellers. It’s no surprise that Europe has often been ranked as one of the most visited continents in the world, with London being named as the world’s most visited city once again in 2015. Other European cities including Paris, Venice, Barcelona also continue to be incredibly popular with tourists from across the world. But what if you want to break the mould? Europe has tons of unusual and interesting places to visit lurking within its midsts. Here we’ve rounded up five.
Croatia has been experiencing a huge boost in tourism in recent years, but Zadar is often overlooked in favour of cities like Dubrovnik. Sitting on the Dalmation coast, Zadar is a wonderful mix of modern touches and cultural sights, from quirky little cafes to Roman ruins and high quality museums. Set on it’s own small peninsula, Zadar has its own little character that makes it well worth a visit. It’s the perfect place for experiencing all that Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast has to offer without being swamped by the crowds that flock to some of the more well known cities in the country.
Sintra is a Portuguese city that is steeped in history, offering some of the most impressive architectural and natural sights in the entire country. From its position on the central western coast of Portugal, not far from Lisbon, Sintra can be found within the forests of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, a protected area of exceptional natural, architectural and historical beauty. The centre of the area, Sintra-Vila, is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with many describing this wonderful place as looking like a scene set in a fairytale. However, tourists are becoming to cotton-on to its wonder, so don’t wait around too long when it comes to planning your visit.
Meteora is home to one of the biggest, most important complexes of Greek Orthodox monasteries in the whole of Greece. Meaning ‘suspended in the air’ or ‘middle of the sky’, the complex features six monasteries which are built on natural sandstone pillars, near the Pindus Mountains in central Greece. Many tour organisations offer trips from Kalampaka, the nearest town, offering the opportunity to enjoy private tours, hiking, rock climbing, or a trip to witness one of the beautiful sunsets. Meteora is a truly unique sight that has to be seen to be believed.
Porto Santo Island, Portugal.
Porto Santo Island is a small island located in the Atlantic Ocean, north of Madeira. The thing that really makes Porto Santo stand out is its beaches - it features over 9km of white sandy beaches along its sparkling coastline. For many, Porto Santo still has the appeal of an undiscovered paradise, with far fewer hotels, restaurants and attractions than many other European beach resorts. This makes it ideal for those looking for a quiet break in the sun. However, don’t be put off if laying on a beach isn’t your thing - the rugged interior of the island is perfect for exploring; it has an excellent golf course, as well as being perfect for other sporting activities such as diving and horse-riding.
Lofoten is a truly magical-looking archipelago in the county of Nordland in Norway. According to Lonely Planet the beauty of the place is simply staggering, with the unique Arctic light and picturesque landscapes attracting artists from across the world to appreciate its inspirational beauty. Located far above the Arctic Circle, the wild northerly outpost is well-suited to those who are looking to explore nature, perfect for scuba diving, hiking, kayaking and surfing; Lofoten is one of the world’s northernmost surfing paradises and one the best sites in Norway to enjoy the pastime.