Looking for a vacation destination that isn’t too hard to reach, isn’t overrun by tourists, and isn’t overly expensive? Consider some of Europe’s hidden gems – smaller, lesser-known nations that boast rich histories and stunning landscapes without the crowds and the prices you’ll find in France, Germany, Spain, or more well-known destinations.
While there’s merit in visiting virtually any country in Europe for a week or two, here are five countries you’ll want to add to your must-visit list before they become too popular!
Situated in the Mediterranean Sea, just south of Turkey, Cyprus is far from mainland Europe, so it doesn’t come to mind when soon-to-be tourists are choosing their European travel destinations. With incredible beaches, excellent local cuisine, tons of resorts, and a fascinating history to learn and explore, you’ll have plenty to keep you and your family busy, and thanks to the affordable prices on the island, you won’t feel too bad indulging in all the country has to offer.
Latvia doesn’t rank very high on many tourists’ must-see lists, but you may be surprised to learn just how much this country has to offer. You’ll find gorgeous Gothic architecture, bustling markets, and plenty of things to see and do in Riga, the country’s capital, which can serve as a perfect home base for your trip. You can easily take day trips from the city throughout the country to view nearby castles and beautiful views, like those found in Sigulda.
This Eastern European nation is slowly building its reputation as a destination worth visiting, but those who visit know it’s already well worth the trip. While the country’s most well-known tourist stop, Lake Bled, is certainly worth a spot on your itinerary, you’ll find there’s a surprising amount to see and do across the nation. From impressive peaks and forests perfect for hiking and skiing to cities filled with restaurants, nightlife, shopping and plenty of welcoming locals, you’ll find it hard to have a bad time here.
This tiny European nation is tucked away between Germany, Belgium, and France. Easily overshadowed by its larger, more well-known neighbors, little Luxembourg still has plenty to offer tourists and travelers passing through. City-lovers will appreciate the charm and history to be found in Luxembourg City. Home to incredible museums, gardens, architecture, and an Old Quarter that’s been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you’ll have plenty of fun here before heading out into the countryside to admire medieval castles, sweeping hills, and stunning scenery.
Poland may have more name recognition than the other countries on this list, but isn’t a major tourist hotspot, making it well worth a spot. Visit Warsaw, the capital largely rebuilt after the devastation of WWII, or check out Krakow, which managed to escape the conflict with its Old Town district largely unscathed. Poland’s natural beauty makes it a great place to enjoy the great outdoors hiking, skiing, biking, or boating, and you’ll fill up at the end of a fun day on classic Polish dishes – and, of course, plenty of beer.
While you really can’t go wrong taking a trip anywhere in Europe, you’ll definitely want to check out these five countries before they become too popular. Spend a little time planning a trip to one of these nations or another lesser-known destination and make your next trip one that’s slightly off the beaten path!