Top 31 best non-tourist places to visit in Europe
Why not travel somewhere different on your next holiday with our top 31 best non-tourist places to visit in Europe. It seems most people travelling Europe go to the tourist hot spots such as Rome, London, Venice, Santorini and many other popular cities. However I hope this list will inspire you to try something new and go off the beaten path and see some the less travelled destinations around Europe.
Let’s get started…
#1. Siena, Italy
Take a step back to medieval Tuscany, Siena is probably one of Italy’s most beautiful medieval cities. Making it a ‘must do’ trip even if you are in Tuscany for just a couple of days. A visit to the inside of the beautiful Gothic Duomo in Siena is highly recommended.
#3. Cappadocia, Turkey
Cappadocia is known for its distinctive fairy chimneys, tall, cone-shaped rock formations clustered. Cappadocia is a landscape that you will have never witnessed before in your lifetime. Thanks to its beautiful landscapes and great weather conditions Cappadocia is famous for its hot air balloon festival and the views are simply breathtaking. Cappadocia is a destination not to be missed.
#5. Ljubljana, Slovenia
Ljubljana, is a perfect example of this blend of German, Mediterranean, and Slovenian culture. The old town is a blend of Baroque, Renaissance, and Art Nouveau buildings, watched over by a medieval castle. Cut through the gardens of Tivoli Park to the National Museum of Contemporary History for a history of modern Slovenia
#6. Lucca, Italy
Lucca is a city on the Serchio river in Italy’s Tuscany region. Lucca is the perfect destination for a day trip from Florence. There’s a lot to do and see also in the surroundings of Lucca. Make sure you check out Versilia and its beaches, the Apuan Alps and the splendid Garfagnana with its small characteristic villages as Barga.
#7. Bolonga, Italy
Bologna is the lively, historic capital of the Emilia-Romagna region, in northern Italy. While the crowds of tourists flock to Venice, Florence and Rome, Bologna remains relatively quiet in comparison. This mediaeval university town is charming, historic and fun to explore.
#8. Tolmin, Slovenia
Tolmin is a small town in northwestern Slovenia. Tolmin, named the Alpine Town of 2016, is the largest town in the Soča Valley. It is located in the picturesque confluence of the Soča and the Tolminka. Be sure to check out Tolmin Gorges, Triglav National Park and try white water rafting on the Soca River.
#9. Wrocław, Poland
Wrocław is a city on the Oder River in western Poland. It’s known for its Market Square, lined with elegant townhouses and featuring a modern fountain. Also on the square is the Gothic Old Town Hall, with its large astronomical clock.
#10. Sarajevo, Bosnia
Nestled among dramatic peaks, a bustling and welcoming city. War took its toll, with the 1992-1996 siege hitting hard. But the lively, diverse, museum-rich city has been almost entirely reconstructed. Don’t miss Bijambare caves, set in thick forests and amid lakes to the north of the city, or Bosna Springs, from which the country takes its name. Site of 1984’s Winter Olympics, Sarajevo offers spectacular skiing on Mount Bjelasnica Jahorina.
#11. Azores, Portugal
The Azores, an autonomous region of Portugal, are an archipelago in the mid-Atlantic characterised by dramatic landscapes. With whale watching, diving, hiking and host of other adventure sports on offer, the Azores are a great destination for adrenaline junkies
#12. Lublin, Poland
Lublin is the largest city in southeastern Poland, with a thriving cultural and academic scene. It’s also a main transport hub, with excellent road and rail connections to all parts of Poland making it a great destination to visit while in Poland for travellers.
#13. Zadar, Croatia
Zadar, a city on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast, is known for the Roman and Venetian ruins of its peninsular Old Town. Most tourists flock to Dubrovnik leaving Zadar a somewhat untapped gem, it is a great hub for visiting Kikra National Park and Plitvice National Park to see the stunning waterfalls.
#14. Bretagne, France
Brittany is one of the great historic provinces of France. The most Atlantic of France’s regions, Brittany is proud of its Celtic heritage, that sets it apart from the rest of France. From here you can take day tours to Normandy, Saint Malo and Mont St Michel.
#15. Haarlem, Netherlands
Haarlem is a city outside of Amsterdam famous for its ancient buildings, cobbled streets and winding waterways, the medieval city of Haarlem is one of the most photogenic destinations in the Netherlands. It’s the center of a major flower-bulb-growing district, and famous for its tulip fields.
#16. San Sebastian, Spain
San Sebastián is a resort town on the Bay of Biscay in Spain’s mountainous Basque Country. The Old Quarter’s narrow, winding streets are full of bars and restaurants, and in the modern city, sidewalk cafes are all around. The city specialises in seafood
#17. Koper, Slovenia
Koper is a charming seaside hub with a picturesque old city core and quaint villages on its outskirts. From Koper you can take day tours to Ljubljana, Postojna Caves and Lake Bled making it a great hub to see more of Slovenia.
#18. Berat, Albania
Berat is a city on the Osum River, in central Albania. It’s known for its white Ottoman houses climbing up the hill to its castle, earning it the title of ‘town of a thousand windows’ and was added to the Unesco World Heritage sites in 2008. However, tourism is on the increase and Berat has managed to retain its easy-going charm and friendly atmosphere making it a recommended destination.
#19. Perugia, Italy
Perugia is an Italian city and the capital of the Umbria region. It’s known for its defensive walls around the historic center. if you have a sweet tooth, visit during the Eurochocolate festival, held in October, when the entire town reportedly smells of chocolate.
There are some beautiful picturesque villages in Umbria that you can visit from Perugia such as Montefalco, Spello, Assisi, Todi and Gubbio. So its probably worth hiring a car here if your planning on travelling around.
#20. Zagreb, Croatia
Zagreb, Croatia’s northwestern capital, is distinguished by its 18th- and 19th-century Austro-Hungarian architecture. The unique blend of medieval towers, 19th century palaces, open-air markets, and ancient cathedrals, make Zagreb the perfect city to explore. Zagreb is also another great hub if you are wanting to visit Krka National Park and Plitvice National Park
#21. Belgrade, Serbia
Belgrade is not on many people’s holiday list due to wars of the 1990s and the NATO bombing campaign and prefer to stay away. It may not be the most picturesque European cities, however Belgrade you will find a captivating, lively city, with some surprisingly quaint streets and a certain charm. It is worth going to see Belgrades most significant landmark the Beogradska Tvrđava.
#22. Kotor, Montenegró
The beautiful country of Montenegro only became an independent nation in 2006. The entire old town area declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kotor is situated in a secluded tip of Boka Kotorsky Bay offering an idyllic retreat from the modern world which few people get to experience. Take a wonder down winding streets, its medieval old town has several Romanesque churches, palaces, cathedrals and dine on gorgeous Mediterranean food.
Often forgotten about by tourists Luxemburg has plenty to offer and is famous for its brewery. While you’re here, you can also visit Vianden Castle which built between the 11th and 14th centuries. In the city centre make sure you take the Wenzel Walk which is a two hour signposted walk, taking in the sights of the historic buildings, churches, towers and cobbled streets.
#24. Utrecht, Netherlands
This ancient and historic city houses many buildings going back to the early Middle Ages. Utrecht is small enough to explore walking but don’t worry there is plenty of things to keep you entertained. If you fancy a beer make sure you head down to Oliver a Belgium beer bar which boasts 70 different beers and great food.
#25. Puglia, Italy
Puglia is known for its whitewashed hill towns, centuries-old farmland and picture perfect Mediterranean coastline making it a great destination to go on holiday. It hosts stunning countryside and some of the prettiest beaches in Italy. Be sure to visit Alberobello’s Trulli for an unforgettable visit.
#26. Galway, Ireland
Most holiday makers travel to Dublin however they are missing a trick not visiting the lesser known Galway. A heaven for people who love good food and music, head down to Quay Street for a wide variety of pubs and restaurants which host a selection of traditional live Irish music.
From Galway you can take day trips to see Limerick, Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands and Dublin. Make sure you check out ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ and Connemara National Park.
#27. Salina, Italy
Salina is one of the Aeolian islands, a cluster of seven volcanic islands in the far south of Italy. Salina boasts a lush landscape from its natural freshwater springs and offers incredible views of the twin volcanos of Salina. A great place for exploring, hiking and swimming in the crystal clear waters. There is lots of quaint little streets to wonder around and gorgeous walks along the water front.
#28. Tallinn, Estonia
Tallinn is one of the best preserved medieval towns in the whole of Europe. It’s a small city, and the tourist areas are safe and easily explored on foot. You will be surrounded by medieval charm and tradition with every turn. Make sure you visit Toompea Hill for some stunning views of the city, the old town and Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.
#29. Granada, Spain
Granada is a city in southern Spain’s Andalusia region, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s known for grand examples of medieval architecture dating to the Moorish occupation. Do not miss a visit to The Alhambra so be sure to book in advance, the downside is that it does get very busy as its one of the main attractions to see.
#30. Dresden, Germany
It’s hard to believe that a city as beautiful as Dresden was all but wiped off the map by Allied bombings in 1945. However Dresden is filled with forests, gardens, parks and is full of history making it a great city break that is not as busy as places such as Berlin and Munich.
There are lots of museums, cathedrals and beautiful architecture to absorb. Make sure you visit the ‘Panometer’ for a 360 degree impression of Old Dresden or Dresden in 1945 after the bombings.
#31. Aubeterre-sur-Dronne, France
Aubeterre-sur-Dronne has been officially listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France and it has an amazing underground church hewn out from the rock. In the centre of the village is a lovely picturesque square filled with shops, bars and restaurants.
Just up one of the little roads near the square there is a viewpoint which looks out over Aubeterre, check out our Instagram picture from our visit here. Just outside the village you can swim in the river and there is a nice park perfect for picnics.