Europe is home to many world-famous attractions, from the Eiffel Tower of Paris and Rome’s Colosseum, to the Berlin Wall and Gaudi’s unfinished La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. These spectacular landmarks are iconic for a reason, but they’re also usually packed with tourists. Whether it’s because you’ve already ticked Europe’s biggest attractions off your bucket list, or you’re just keen to experience something different, it’s often good to escape the crowds and get off the beaten track. So here is a list of some low key places/cities you should definitely try out.
Gorges du Verdon, France
A location very popular with tourists in the summer months, also known as Verdon Gorge meaning “Gorges of green” in French. A location formed through erosion and fracturing of the limestone deposits in an area that was covered by sea some 200 M years ago, It got its name from the turquoise water that flows throughout the gorge. It is a location not too far from the iconic and well known French Riviera, and a perfect place to spend a hot sunny day especially during the summer. Getting is quite easy, its a days trip from the French Riviera. The closest town to the lake entrance is Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. When you arrive there, you will want to drive six kilometers out in the direction of Lac de Ste-Croix until you reach the bridge called Pont du Galetas. Oh and also, if you fancy a challenge or an adventure bring your climbing gear and hiking shoes. There are over a thousand routes for climbers. If you would prefer a chill and less adventurous day I would definitely recommend renting a boat and finding your way around the wonderful and beautiful Lac de Sainte-Croix also while taking pictures.
We all know Montenegro is one of the youngest countries in the world and gained independence in 2006 but what you might not know is that it is one of the most beautiful countries on planet earth and Kotor is surely the highlight if you are looking to take a travel tour anytime soon because places like the “KOTORS’S CASTLE OF SAN GIOVANNI”, “THE ADRIATIC SEA” and the Roman Catholic church called “OUR LADY OF THE ROCKS”. No trip to Kotor is complete without a visit to Our Lady of the Rocks (an old church made on rocks and although it has been renovated, now has a travel navigation light at the end of the island and also a museum, it definitely gives you a feel of what its like to live in the 16th century), and it is one of the best things to do in Kotor. The church was made obvious by a large number of people visiting the island and draws quite a lot of crowd today but despite that, it was still a wonderful spot. You can get to Kotor easily from either Dubrovnik (two hours by car or bus plus time to cross the border) or from Bosnia-Herzegovina. If you’re coming from Dubrovnik by bus, try to get on the first bus of the day since there is a separate line for buses at the border. If there are several buses ahead of you, you may need to wait an hour or more. Click here to find out more about Kotor.
Lake Bled also known as Bled Jezero, located West of Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital is arguably the most famous location in Slovenia. It is known for its mind-blowing colors varying from blue to green to emerald, natural wonders like the Vintgar Gorge and Savica, and has its own Castle established right on a precipice above the lake. Some of the best things to do in lake bled includes: Watching the sunrise over Lake Bled, taking a Plenta boat across the romantic Bled island, biking around lake bled, tasting the famous Lake Bled cream cake and of course, visiting the Lake Bled Castle. It is relatively easy to get to and it is very close to the airport of Slovenia.
Algarve, Portugal, is arguably one of the best beach vacation destinations in Europe. If you want a culturally rich, peaceful beach destination, where to enjoy amazing food, wine, and coffee, then Algarve, in Portugal is the place for you. I promise you won’t be disappointed. T Algarve, especially around Sagres and Tavira, the surroundings are more attractive, with laidback resorts and low-key development.
The best time to visit is in either the spring (March to June) or fall (September to mid-October) when temperatures are warm, prices are low and there are fewer crowds. Getting to Algarve is as easy. The bus ride from Lisbon to Algarve takes about three hours while the bus ride from Seville takes about two hours to get to Algarve. There are also trains that connect Lisbon to most Algarve towns.
I also have to add that nothing compares to driving around Algarve and although during the high season you may have problems finding a place to park, The roads are very good and driving is easy. That said, there are few other beaches and lagoons in Portugal apart from Algarve that can be worth visiting. For instance, you can visit the Obidos lagoon if you want a windy spot or have a go at water sports such as kite surfing. In addition, if you want to try learning how to wing foil in Portugal, Obidos lagoon might be the perfect place to do so.
Fall is a great time to visit if you’re looking to experience some of Portugal’s famous wine.