Best Hidden Gems in Europe: 31 Amazing Spots to Visit

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Are you looking for some mesmerizing hidden gems in Europe to visit on your next trip? Europe is full of hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered.

We asked some top travel bloggers who’ve travelled far and wide to uncover some of Europe’s best kept secrets. From the stunning lakes of Switzerland to the captivating beaches of Greece, here are just a few of Europe’s hidden gems that you should consider visiting.

hidden gems in europe

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Hidden Gems in Greece

Greece is a country of beautiful beaches, ancient ruins and delicious cuisine. But there is so much more to explore beyond the popular tourist destinations.

If you dig a little deeper, some truly magical and unexpected places await, with secret coves and villages, remarkable art galleries and museums, secluded monasteries, local markets and much more.

On our longer trips to Greece, we’ve uncovered some truly hidden gems, even amongst popular tourist spots.

Here are some gems to visit in Greece recommended by travel bloggers:

Naxos, Greece

naxos, greece, huidden gems in greece
Alike Beach

Naxos is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets and a fantastic destination to visit in the summer when other, more popular destinations are overcrowded and overpriced. 

Together with Santorini, Mykonos and Milos, Naxos is one of the Greek islands in the Cyclades, boasting pristine beaches and lots of Cycladic charm.

If you’re a beach lover, you will love Naxos island. Some of the most beautiful beaches of Naxos include the gold-sanded and family-friendly Plaka and Agios Prokopios beaches, the lively Agios Prokopios beach and the pristine and secluded Alyko and Hawaii beaches. 

Don’t forget to include Naxos town in your itinerary – home to the imposing ancient Greek monument – La Portara, historic white-washed alleys, quaint churches, and an old Venetian castle perched on a hill.  

TIP: If you’re a firstcomer and wondering where to stay in Naxos, choose Agios Georgios, which is a fantastic beach near Naxos town boasting excellent restaurants, shops and convenient bus connections with the rest of the island.  

The easiest way to get to Naxos is a fast ferry from Piraeus Port in Athens, which takes 3 hours and 30 minutes. 

By Mal from Raw Mal Roams

The Athenian Riviera, Greece

athens riviera

Visitors of Athens will be surprised to know that the historical capital boasts one of the most beautiful coastlines in the Mediterranean.

The Athenian Riviera stretches all the way from the port of Piraeus until the southernmost tip of Cape Sounio – dotted with numerous sandy, blue-flagged beaches, quaint family-taverns, luxurious resorts and a vibrant nightlife.

Its close proximity to the city center of Athens makes it one of the best up-and-coming destinations in Europe. The Ellinikon built on the site of Athens’ old international airport is set to become one of the best urban development projects in Europe.

The coastal neighborhoods of the Athenian Riviera such as Vouliagmeni and Glyfada – combine the luxurious Mediterranean charm with a safe environment and beautiful sandy beaches which are perfect for a family getaway.

Athens International Airport is only a short 20-minute drive from the southern neighborhoods of the Athenian Riviera making it an ideal destination which can be easily reached from all major European destinations. 

For those looking to combine a visit to the Greek capital with some island hopping, – the Athenian Riviera is definitely the place to be. 

Recommended by Elena, The Athenian Riviera

Chania, Crete

Island-hopping in Greece brings up the same few touristy names over and over–– like Santorini, Mykonos, Hydra, and Corfu.

Crete often flies under the radar. And the cultural capital of the island, Chania, is one of the most beautiful and exciting hidden gems in all of Europe.

The island is a huge summer destination. There are tons of beaches in Chania, like Stavros Beach, Nea Chora Beach, and Marathi Beach. These beautiful shorelines are great for all types of travelers, but the convenient amenities and clear water for snorkeling are especially nice for families with small children.

Once you are finished at the beach, the Old Venetian town in Chania is bursting with fascinating history, delicious restaurants, leather shops, and gelato stands. You can even walk to the Lighthouse of Chania or take a day trip to the archaeological site of Aptera!

Travelers’ Tip: The best authentic Creten food in town is at To Steno, which has just a handful of local dishes on a rotating menu.

How to Get there: You can either take a ferry or book a flight from Athens to Chania. Flights tend to be cheaper and quicker than the ferry, but if you are driving through Europe, it’s possible to take your car with you on the ferry to Chania.

Recommended by Caleb, Pazook Travel Journal

Hidden Gems in Italy

With its stunning landscapes, rich culture, and diverse destinations, Italy is a paradise for anyone seeking adventure. But some of the most rewarding experiences come not from the bustling cities or well-trodden tourist trails – but from exploring its hidden gems.

Bari, Italy

bari italy, hidden gems in italy

To many intrepid families, Italy remains a popular place to travel. Travelers flock to Rome, Florence, and the Amalfi Coast… But the so-called heel of the boot, the Puglia region, remains undiscovered and untouched.

When I first visited Bari, the biggest city in the Puglia region, I was shocked to find we were some of the few tourists in the area. This stunning part of the country is home to medieval castles, pristine waters, and lots of history. That’s what makes it one of the best hidden gems in Europe.

One of the best parts about visiting Bari is, hands down, the food. You’ll still see Italian nonnas sitting in the streets, making their own pasta. That’s why, if you travel to taste new foods, you’ll have to set aside some time to try the delicious and authentic restaurants in Bari.

On the menu? Lots of fresh seafood, local olive oils and homemade pasta, including the popular pasta shape orecchiette.

Travelers tip: If you’re visiting during the summer, consider taking a train down to Monopoli to see some of the region’s most breathtaking beaches. It’s a little taste of local life, and it’s one of my favorite places in Europe.

To visit Bari, fly into Bari International Airport and take a regional train to get into town. From there, you’re right in the downtown area.

Written by Samantha Tatro , Undiscovered Path Home

San Marino, Italy

san marino, italy

A wonderful hidden gem in Europe is the microscopic nation of San Marino – the oldest nation on earth. San Marino was established in 301 AD as an area to flee from spiritual prosecution.

It’s fully enclosed by Italy and offers unparalleled views of the countryside. Located three hours south of Venice, most people get to San Marino by car. 

The best thing to do in San Marino is to explore the towering castle at the peak of Monte Titano. The castle is a symbol of the nation and is worth exploring. On the mountaintop are three towers- originating from the 11th century!

The earliest structure, Guaita, was constructed during the 11th century and still stands. Cesta, the second tower, stands on the greatest peak and houses a museum with more than one thousand weapons going back to the Medieval Time. Montale, the third tower, is the smallest and isn’t accessible to tourists.

Other museums in San Marino include the National Museum, the Basilica de San Marino, and the Torture Museum 

For dinner with a view, get fire-grilled pizza at Ristorante Il Beccafico. You’ll have panoramic views of the Italian countryside.

Visiting San Marino, a hidden gem in Europe, will be sure to give you an unforgettable experience.

Recommended by Pamela, The Directionally Challenged Traveler

Alberobello, Italy

Alberobello, Italy, hidden gems in italy, hidden gems in europe
Trulli of Alberobello

Magical Alberobello is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its well-preserved tiny trulli houses (trullo, sg. trulli, pl.). Adorable trulli houses are ancient domed dry stone houses. They were poor farmers’ homes and convenient agricultural storages from the 14th to the 19th century. 

Today lovely Alberobello has about 10.000 residents and about 1.600 trulli houses. These days visitors can sleep in boutique trulli hotels, dine in trulli restaurants, sip smoothies in trulli bars, and buy in trulli shops. Families with kids particularly enjoy Alberobello. Sleeping in a miniature trullo house seems like sleeping in a hobbit home, and eating in a trullo restaurant appears like dining in a hobbit restaurant. 

Dreamy Alberobello looks like a hobbit town. And naturally, kids love it! There are so many fun things to do in Alberobello, Italy. Take your kids to Alberobello. This cute town will put smiles on their faces. 

Alberobello is one hour drive from Bari and about one hour and ten minutes drive from Matera in southern Italy. 

PRO TIP: You can see Alberobello in a few hours. However, don’t visit it on a day trip! Sleeping in a unique trullo house is a must-do! So, plan to spend at least two days and one night in Alberobello. 

Recommended by Milijana, World Travel Connector 

Taormina, Sicily

hidden gems in europe, hidden gems in sicily

Built into a hillside overlooking the sparkling blue Mediterranean, the charming city of Taormina is one of Europe’s hidden gems. Taormina has lovely beaches, delicious restaurants, and high-end shopping, but its crowning jewel is the Teatro Antico.

This Greek-turned-Roman theater, built directly into the hillside, looks out across the town at the glorious Mount Etna. A tour of the Teatro Antico is a must when visiting Taormina, but go early to avoid the hot afternoon sun.

While the Teatro Antico is the main historic sight in Taormina, the city warrants a visit for many other reasons. Located a one-hour’s drive north of Catania, Taormina is a less hectic location to base yourself for exploring eastern Sicily.

This is especially nice if you’re visiting Sicily with kids. From Taormina, you are an easy day trip from top destinations such as Mount Etna, Catania, and Messina.

To get to Taormina, fly into the Catania airport and drive one hour north along the highway.

Reccomended by Tamar, World by Weekend

 Val di Noto, Sicily

val di noto, hidden gems in italy

One of the best hidden gems in Europe is the UNESCO heritage ensemble of the Late Baroque Towns of Val di Noto in Sicily. Comprising 8 small towns that were completely rebuilt after the devastating Sicily earthquake of 1693, Val di Noto is an absolute must-have on every Sicilian itinerary.

The towns of Val di Noto are exemplary of a unique architectural form that took birth during the rebuilding efforts. It was called Sicilian Baroque and fuses the rich ornamentation of mainland baroque architecture with interesting local elements such as grotesque masks and winged putti.

It is fascinating to take a walking tour in this region and be amazed at the magic that the architects have created.

The most popular towns of Val di Noto are Ragusa, Modica, Catania, and Noto. Modica is also famous for its special Modica chocolate while Ragusa has a strong connection with the renowned Italian TV series, Inspector Montalbano.

The beach is not very far away either. Walking is the best way to explore Val di Noto towns which can be hilly, so be sure to pack a good pair of shoes.

The easiest way to get to Val di Noto is by flying to Catania Airport and taking a taxi from the airport to your city of preference. Travelers usually stay in Ragusa for a couple of days and explore the rest on day trips by car, bus, or train. 

Mondello, Sicily

mondello, sicily

If you’re after a hidden gem in Italy, head to the beautiful beachside village of Mondello, located just 10 kilometres from Palermo, Sicily.

Once a fishing village, Mondello is elegant, filled with stunning historic Art Noveau villas, stunning panoramas and a beautiful white sand beach with crystal clear water.

Mondello is a fantastic hidden gem with minimal international tourists. There are many things to do for all the family, including visiting the impressive pier and having lunch at one of the many restaurants that specialise in seafood caught by the local fishermen.

Stroll to the nearby Capo Gallo Nature Reserve where you can swim in idyllic secluded sandy coves, and head up Monte Pellegrino (‘Pilgrims Mountain’) which separates Mondello from Palermo.

Travellers tip! – Monte Pellegrino is 606 metres high and here you will not only discover the best spot to watch the sunset near Mondello, but also see the shrine to Santa Rosalia – the Patron Saint of Palermo!

To get to Mondello take the 806 bus from Via della Libertà in Palermo for €2, it should take around 30 minutes. Alternatively, if coming from Palermo Airport, Mondello is conveniently just a 20 minute taxi ride from the airport.

Recommended by Catrina, 24 Hours Layover

Read More: Palermo with Kids

Hidden Gems in the UK

The UK is a country full of surprises! From iconic cities to enchanting countryside, it’s a place you can explore endlessly.

But if you look beyond the obvious tourist attractions, there are some real hidden gems to be found in the UK. Whether you’re looking for quintessential villages and charming towns, rugged coastal landscapes or picturesque national parks, there’s something special waiting around every corner.

The Killiney Hill walk, Dublin

walk in the uk, hidden gems in the UK, hidden gems in dublin

Killiney Hill is located in the leafy suburb of no other than Killiney. It’s a short 2.9km loop walk that is ideal to take on a lazy Sunday when you want to stretch your legs.

Offering families who make the walk up to the top breathtaking coastal views and a vast area for children to run around and get their daily dose of fresh Irish air.

While up top, numerous landmarks are waiting to be spotted, such as the Obelisk and the Pyramid of Dublin. Legend says if you walk around each level and stand facing Dalkey island when you reach the top and you make a wish, it comes true.

There are several ways you can get to the Killiney Hill walk, but the most convenient for families is by taking a car there and parking at the Killiney hill car park.

If you don’t have that luxury, you can also take Dublin buses 7 and 7A from various pockets on the south side of the city centre.

Top tip – take the Killiney Hill Car park trail route, as it’s the most convenient and easy to find.

Recommended by Adam, Where in Dublin

Dolgellau, Snowdonia


Europe is full of amazing places that you should consider visiting, but none are as stunning as Dolgellau in Snowdonia!

Dolgellau in Snowdonia National Park is a hidden gem in Europe that you should definitely consider visiting with kids. Located in North Wales, the town offers a wealth of activities and attractions for families to enjoy. 

From its beautiful natural surroundings to its abundance of outdoor adventures, Dolgellau makes for an excellent destination for those looking for something a little different from the usual tourist spots. 

You will find so many amazing places to explore here including Cadir Idris, Cymer Abbey and Fairbourne Railway. With so many great walks, outdoor activities and historical spots to visit, there is something for everyone!

The best way to get to Snowdonia is to drive. This will allow you to get a true taste of Wales and see the very best sites Snowdonia has to offer. Just remember to pack a raincoat as no matter what time of year you visit, it will probably rain.

Recommended by Lowri, Many Other Roads

Peak District National Park

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Located in the heart of England is the stunning Peak District National Park. Whilst the national park is well-known amongst locals, it can be a bit overlooked by visitors from abroad due to its close proximity to other popular places such as the Lake District.

However, what many might not know is that the Peak District was the first national park in the UK. The 550 square mile national park is filled with picturesque towns and villages such as Castleton and famous country houses like Lyme Park.

There are endless scenic hiking trails, woodlands and reservoirs, making the Peaks a fantastic outdoorsy destination.

You’re guaranteed an unforgettable time whether you’re a history lover, photographer, hiker, cyclist or rock climber. Most importantly, if you’re after that true British countryside experience, then it’s really the perfect place to visit.

Luckily, the national park is located near many big cities such as Manchester. These big cities are easily accessible by multiple modes of transportation.

From there, you can take local trains and buses to reach the park. Alternatively, you can always hire a car and explore the area that way.

Recommended by Kitti and Jon, Kitti Around the World

Dean Village, Scotland

dean village

One of the most adorable hidden gems in Europe lies just a few minutes walk from the bustling city center of Edinburgh, Scotland. 

If you’re visiting Edinburgh for a day or two, walking around the city, specifically into some of the lesser-known parts, can be a great way to show your family a more authentic Scotland.

Dean Village is a charming and tranquil place, characterized so often by the beautiful old buildings that have lasted for years. You’ve likely seen photos of these buildings, left behind in the town that was once a burgeoning milling community. 

Part of what makes Dean Village so stunning is that it lies upon the Water of Leith. The famous Dean Bridge is a popular Instagram spot overlooking the water. Feel free to wander around this small town and enjoy the history and architecture. 

The easiest way to get to Dean Village is to head to Prince’s Street in New Town, Edinburgh. From here, turn onto Queensferry Street and keep walking until you see the Dean Bridge.

Just be aware- taxis generally don’t travel this far out, so you’ll want to plan enough time to walk both ways!

Recommended by Taylor, Traverse with Taylor

The Mourne Mountains, Northern Ireland

The Mourne Mountains in Newcastle, Northern Ireland are a hidden gem. The Mournes are a hidden gem because when people visit Northern Ireland, they head to the Causeway Coast, visiting the Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-A-Rede Ropebridge etc.

These attractions are good, but most of the locals head somewhere else.

The Mourne Mountains in particular are amazing to visit; they are the tallest mountains in Northern Ireland. Slieve Donard, the highest mountain, is only 850m, so it is a very doable hike for people of all abilities.

You can be the highest person in the whole country for a moment!

Newcastle, the nearest town, is a small seaside town with lots of arcades, ice cream shops and restaurants. It is a typical seaside town with lots to do for the whole family; you can even walk an alpaca, one of the best animal experiences in Northern Ireland!

It’s only about an hour away from Belfast, so you can easily drive there or get public transport. One of the best things to do in Newcastle is to enjoy a pizza on the beach with a view of the mountains in one eye and a view of the sea in the other!

Recommended by Josh, A Backpackers World

Hidden Gems in Ireland

Ireland is a land of infinite charm and beauty. From the rolling green hills of its countryside to the vibrant culture of its cities, this island country offers something for everyone.

Let’s uncover some of these off-the-beaten-track locations in Ireland and discover what makes this magical country so unforgettable!

Tramore, Ireland

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Set along the southeastern coast of Ireland is the small seaside town of Tramore, a hidden gem that is perfect for families.

There is a long stretch of beach in Tramore with a small boardwalk area complete with rides and fair-style treats, and the town is quintessentially Irish.

If you follow the beach towards the south, you’ll find small tide pools and streams that are just waiting to be explored.

Within the town of Tramore is a small Japanese garden dedicated to the late Irish travel writer, Lafcadio Hearn. The garden is a very special spot in Tramore, and they have wonderful cakes and tea if you have time for a break after roaming the grounds.

If you get hungry, head to Seagull Bakery in the center of town. This little bakery serves sourdough treats and has sandwiches, baked goods, and great coffee. Try to get there early for the best selection, there can sometimes be a line around the block!

When packing for Ireland, always plan for slightly chillier weather than the temperatures suggest. Be aware that there are strong tides in the Irish Sea, so be sure to only swim in areas with an active lifeguard on duty to keep everyone safe.

Recommended by Amber, Amber Everywhere

Dingle, Ireland

Dingle, Ireland is truly one of the best hidden gems in Europe, and for a number of reasons. Located along the southwest coast of Ireland (a quick drive from Killarney), the Dingle Peninsula is one of the few areas in Ireland where it’s common to hear the Irish language.

Dingle Town itself is so charming and really family friendly. So it’s a great place to bring the kids as well as plan that multi-generational trip you’ve been thinking about.

Nature is the big draw to Dingle. The town has a beautiful harbor where you can charter tours to go dolphin spotting (they even have a statue right in the center of the harbor honoring their favorite dolphin).

But beyond dolphins, you might also catch sights of basking sharks, whales, seals, and a wide variety of birds.

There is kayaking, hiking, cycling, and even surfing. And if you have really little ones there’s a great oceanarium too (just in case you don’t want to get out into the water). And there are tons of great local places to eat (check out Murphy’s Ice Cream shop) and listen to music.

Recomended by Kelie,

Hidden Gems in The Netherlands

From its vibrant cities to the beautiful countryside, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in The Netherlands. Here are the hidden gems to visit in The Netherlands:


For a great hidden gem to visit in Europe, head over to the quaint town of Nuenen, Netherlands.

Nuenen is easily accessible by car, bus and train, as it’s located about 124km away from Amsterdam.

This small town is where Vincent Van Gogh lived and painted for 2 years of his life. Numerous places around the city inspired or were featured in his work.

All these years later, traces of Van Gogh’s presence can still be seen in Nuenen today. These traces add up to 23 stops on a family friendly cycling route around the city.

Cycling route maps can be found on the Vincentre Museum’s website. The museum itself is the first stop on your route. If at all possible, it’s best to ride the Van Gogh Roosegaarde Cycle Path after sundown.

It’s sprinkled with a glow in the dark pattern meant to resemble Van Gogh’s famous “Starry Night” painting.

Enjoy your time in beautiful Nuenen!

Recommended by Chelsea, Adventures of Chels


Outside of the Netherlands and Germany this beautiful island in the Northwest of the Netherlands is not well known. Texel is the largest island of the Wadden islands. The Wadden islands is a group of islands on the coast of the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark.

Texel is a perfect place for families to visit. It has beautiful beaches on all sides. Perfect to go swimming or to have a day at the beach.

Another fun thing to do as a family is to go cycling on Texel. There are 140 kilometers/87 miles of biking lanes on Texel. Enough for endless days of biking around. It’s a relatively flat island and there are many biking opportunities.

Tips for attractions to visit with kids are the Lighthouse De Cocksdorp and the Schipbreuk- en Juttersmuseum Flora. The latter is all about beachcombing. It has a scavenger hunt for kids throughout the museum.

Texel can be reached by ferry. The ferry departs from the city of Den Helder. Den Helder can be reached by car or train from Amsterdam. 

Recommended by Cosette, KarsTravels.

Best Hidden Gems in Germany

Germany is a country full of surprises! It has a diverse landscape, rich culture, and fascinating history that make it the perfect destination for an unforgettable trip.

From its vibrant cities to its charming countryside, here are the hidden gems in Germany just waiting to be explored.

Hamburg, Germany

One of the best hidden gems in Europe is the city of Hamburg, Germany. Although it is the second largest city in Germany, with many attractions, it is often overlooked for cities like Berlin, Frankfurt, and Munich.

Hamburg has a lot to offer, however, and is especially great for kids.

Hamburg is easy to get to, with its own international airport. Once you’re there, it is a very walkable city but also has a fantastic public transportation system.

We recommend downloading the “hvv App” so you can buy all-day tickets. We recommend the app because it’s cheaper if you buy them there than buying them in person.

There are a lot of free things to do in Hamburg, which is great if you’re traveling on a budget.

Hamburg’s Museum of Nature encompasses three museums, all of which are free. They are the Museum of Zoology, the Museum of Mineralogy, and the Museum of Geology and Paleontology.

Hamburg is also home to the Speicherstadt district which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the world’s largest complex of warehouses, spanning an area of 260,000 square meters. Hamburg also has a chocolate museum, zoo, and many parks and outdoor spaces.

Reccomended by Vicky, Buddy The Traveling Monkey

Hidden Gems in Europe – Spain

Spain is a country filled with all kinds of incredible sights and experiences, but sometimes you have to venture off the beaten path in order to find some of its greatest gems.

Here are a few hidden places that will offer you unique experiences that many others miss out on:

Salamanca, Spain

Located Northwest of Madrid, near the border of Portugal, this UNESCO World Heritage Site dates back to the 1100s and is full of history and charm making it a great under the radar destination for history buffs of all ages.

Salamanca is known as the Ancient Golden City, as many of its’ buildings are made from a rare form of sandstone giving the entire city a golden hue as the sun sets.

The city is full of stunning cathedrals, palaces, and is even home to one of the oldest universities in Europe. When visiting, be sure to stay at least one night in the city center so that you can see the historic monuments light up come nightfall.

The easiest way to get to Salamanca is from the capitol city of Madrid via train. The train ride is less than two hours, costs around $30 per person, and shows off Spain’s countryside which helps keep the kids entertained.

Keep your eyes peeled, you may even spot hot air balloons rising into the sky from your train window!

Recommended by Tess, Traveling Tessie

Europe is a vast and beautiful continent, full of all kinds of incredible sights to explore. Here are a few more hidden gems that you won’t want to miss out on:

Sovata, Romania

A truly unique hidden gem in Europe is Sovata, which is found in the salt region of Transylvania Romania (discover more cities in Transylvania here). The town is tucked away in the sprawling Carpathian Mountains providing numerous things to do for families in Sovata and beyond.

Visitors head to Sovata for a chance to soak in the curative mud pools found in Bear Lake Natural Reserve. While some of the lakes require an entrance fee, there are a few rustic places in the reserve to enjoy for free.

Don’t miss a chance to take the daily shuttle to nearby Praid to hike in the otherworldly Salt Hill Nature Reserve.

The entire area is known for wild brown bears, so there are private tours that offer opportunities to see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

With kids, make sure to spend some quality time at the underground Salt Mine Praid. The Salt Mine feels like an amusement park and has everything from ping-pong tables, badminton courts, arcade games, a ropes course, and more. For the parents, find a cafeteria and restaurant pouring local wines.

Sovata can be reached by a small, local bus from the medieval hilltop village of Sighisoara or from Targu Mures, which has frequent buses throughout the day.

Recommended by Megan, Packing Up the Pieces

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is one of the most interesting yet underrated capitals in Europe where you can learn a lot about the recent history as well as about different cultures.

Some of the most important events of the 20th century took place here and you can still find the remnants (literally) on the street of Sarajevo.

This is where World War 1 has started, Sarajevo also went through the longest siege in modern history (almost four years during the Balkan war in the 1990s).

The city was the host of the Winter Olympic Games in 1984 and until today you can find some remnants of this event, including the abandoned bobsled track that you can walk on.

What makes Sarajevo so interesting is the mix of cultures that you can experience there.

When wandering around the Old Town you suddenly go from one world to another, changing scenery from the Austria-Hungary legacy to the Ottoman one.

One of the best things to do in Sarajevo is climbing to one of the hills to admire the stunning panorama of the city – be sure to do it around the sunset to see the landscape in the soft orange glow and to listen to the muezzins call to prayer.

Unfortunately, getting to Sarajevo isn’t very easy. There are direct flights only from a few places in Europe and the Middle East. You can also take the bus from neighboring countries. 

Reccomended by Kami, My Wanderlust

Helsingor, Denmark


Helsingør, or Elsinore, is a small port city in the northeastern tip of Denmark. While Helsingør is merely 39 kilometers north of Copenhagen, it may fall out of tourists’ radar, however, Helsingør is a wonderful location for a day trip from Copenhagen.    

Helsingør has a few wonderful attractions that are of interest to different types of travelers.

First, the iconic landmark, Kronborg, is a historic stronghold that was built in the 15th century, and the castle was the backdrop of William Shakespeare’s drama, Hamlet.

There are four museums in the city, including the City Museum, Skibsklarerergaarden, Shipyard Museum, and M/S Maritime Museum of Denmark, showcasing all about the city’s history as a port city.  

For architecture lovers, drop by Saint Olaf’s Church, an old and striking church that was built in 1559, and the Culture Yard, a modern cultural center that is a lively restoration of the old shipyard.

For art buffs, the “Wall Speaks” project was developed in 2012 with 10 frescoes and artworks scattered in various parts of the city.  

The best way to visit Helsingør from Copenhagen is by train. The train ride takes about 45 minutes from Copenhagen’s main station, the train ride also passes through Louisiana, one of the most visited contemporary art museums in Denmark.  

Reccomended by Kenny, Knycx Journeying  

Planning a trip to Copenhagen? Discover the best Copenhagen hotels for families

Ericeira, Portugal

Ericeira is a true hidden gem in Europe. Although it has been on the radar of many digital nomads who like to settle down here once they are having kids, it is still relatively unknown to most regular tourists.

Aside from that, it is also well known among surfers since Ericeira is the only World Surfing Reserve in Europe!

Ericeira is a small Portuguese fishing village with gorgeous cobblestoned streets and white and blue-colored houses.

It is located around 50 kilometers from Lisbon and its coastline is dotted with some incredible beaches.

It’s a perfect spot to enjoy water activities like swimming and surfing but also to use as a base to explore some nearby attractions in the region like the UNESCO-protected cultural heritage town of Sintra, The Mafra Palace, and the Cascais-Sintra natural park.

Getting to Ericeira is relatively easy considering its close location to the capital. The metro and a public bus can get you from the airport to the center of Ericeira but you will need a car to get around so it’s best to rent one at the airport!

Recommended by Annelies, Travelers & Dreamers

Tavira, Portugal


Chances are you’ve heard of Faro, Albufeira or Lagos in Portugal. But do you know the quaint town of Tavira?

If you wish to avoid mass tourism during the high season in the Algarve, Tavira is a place to visit! From Faro, it’s only 45 minutes by train, and Tavira is easily reached by car.

There are plenty of things to do during your holiday. Tavira has a castle with a stunning garden, and you’ll enjoy views over the town and the nature reserve Ria Formosa.

In the city centre, you’ll discover an ancient bridge and some of the best restaurants in southern Portugal. Tip: don’t forget Camera Obscura at Torre de Tavira. The former water tower offers a 360 projected view of the city!

A ferry will take you to Ilha de Tavira, an 11-kilometre-long island which is part of Parque Natural da Ria Formosa.

Other nearby beaches, such as Praia do Barril (including an anchor graveyard!), Praia da Fuseta, and Praia de Cabana, are well worth a visit.

There are also plenty of day trips and tours to Faro, the Benagil cave, Cabanas, and the rest of the Algarve. Families and couples alike love staying in this region all year round! Enjoy your holiday!

Recommended by Marga, Discover Portugal

Lake Lucerne, Switzerland

lake lucerne

An absolutely beautiful lake nestled right at the base of the Swiss Alps, Lake Lucerne is a fantastic location to visit with family.  With a multitude of cities, including Vitznau and Lucerne, it is easily accessible by the variety of boats that crisscross the lake each day. 

For city lovers, Lucerne has an abundance of history, restaurants, and experiences for everyone.  One of the most beautiful bridges, the Chapel Bridge, is the oldest wooden footbridge in Europe, with a history dating back to the 17th century. 

During the warmer months, thousands of flowers run alongside the bridge, providing a backdrop for beautiful pictures.

For those wanting to do more outside exploring, particularly hiking, heading to Vitznau is a great way to then hop on the cogwheel train (Rigi Bahnen) at the base of the mountain and take it up to Rigi Kulm. 

Rigi Kulm is a great starting point for an entire day of hiking, and this point provides an amazing 360-degree view of the land below.

The best way to get to Lake Lucerne is to take a train or vehicle to Lucerne and use buses, or better, boats to travel around the lake.  Lucerne is easily reached by train from the airports in Berne and Zurich. Read more about travelling from Zurich to Lucerne here.

Recommended by Diana, Travels in Poland

Strasbourg Cathedral, France

Located in eastern France lies a true hidden gem in Europe, Strasbourg.

With its picturesque canals and rich history, this charming Alsatian city is full of things to do.

For the most charming neighborhood, head to La Petite France. Here you find rows of colorful half-timbered houses.

And while it might seem haphazard, these colors were once used to identify both the type of business and the religion of the household. Today, the goal is to have a different color than your neighbor.

Of course, no Strasbourg itinerary is complete without visiting its Notre Dame Cathedral. From the elaborate sculptures to the ornate stained-glass windows, it’s easy to see why this Gothic masterpiece took over 300 years to build.

Then, inside the church, there’s the astronomical clock. It was built by a team of mathematicians, artists, and technicians and tells the time, date, and position of the planets. Arrive at half-past noon and see the clock come to life!

The easiest way to get to Strasbourg is to fly into Paris and then take the train. From Charles de Gaulle airport, direct trains run regularly and take two hours.

Hrunalaug Hot Springs, Iceland

Hrunalaug is probably the most picturesque of all hot springs in Iceland. In summer the surroundings are the greenest green you may get, while in winter everything is in fairytale-like white colors.

Often, you will meet here shy sheep looking at you bathing in the hotpot and eating their grass. There is a cute wooden shelter right next to the hot spring, making it even more authentic and traditional.

There are several different pools with various temperatures. The hottest one is the one closest to the wooden shelter. It’s also the smallest but very cozy.

The funny fact is that in the past, farmers used these hot springs for cleaning their sheep. Nowadays there are no sheep in the hot springs anymore, rather curious visitors. Don’t worry though, it’s completely safe to bathe in here.

Hrunalaug is located next to the town of Flúdir, pretty close to the famous hot SPA called the Secret Lagoon. The Secret Lagoon is much fancier and more crowded, though, compared to Hrunalaug.

You can reach Hrunalaug all year round by any car. In winter, take care though, the last part of the road may be icy and snowy. Hrunalaug is just a 5-minute walk away from the car park.

A traveler’s tip: If you want to avoid other visitors, come in a shoulder season, between October and April, and in off-peak times, like early in the morning or late in the evening.

Recommended by Igor, Epic Iceland

Reykjadalur Hot Springs, Iceland

Reykjadalur Hot Springs are tucked away in the highlands of Iceland, less than a 45 minute drive from Reykjavik in the tiny town of Hveragerði. 

To reach the hot springs, you’ll need to hike along a moderate, yet family-friendly trail, through impossibly green mountains.

Along the way, you’ll pass jaw-dropping waterfalls, Gatorade blue hot pots, and steaming hot springs (“Reykjadalur” means “steam valley”, after all!). You’ll even see plenty of adorably weathered Icelandic sheep, roaming around the lush hillsides. 

Eventually, you’ll reach a thermal river with a wooden boardwalk by it, with a few vertical dividers for privacy. Your best bet will be to put on your swimsuit directly under your hiking gear before you hit the trailhead- the dividers don’t hide much, plus it’s usually quite chilly in Iceland! 

You can enter the river using wooden steps from the boardwalk and wad around until you find just the right temperature. Once you do, sit back and relax in the steamy waters, as you enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Land of Fire and Ice around you.

Recommended by Jessica, Uprooted Traveler

Bern, Switzerland

The capital of Switzerland, Bern, is a fantastic city to visit all year round with your family. The old town of Bern received the UNESCO World Heritage status for its well-preserved medieval townscape. Sandstone houses, cobbled roads and colorful water fountains await you on a stroll through the city center.

The Zytglogge, an age-old intriguing clock tower, will enchant young and old with its moving figurines. The city of Bern is also known as a home for brown bears and a visit to the bear park in the old town is a fun family activity.

Discover the daily outdoor market with the kids, take a memorable family picture at the turquoise blue Aare river side or visit other attractions in Bern.

Take the funicular up to the Gurten mountain peak and enjoy a walk across the green meadows with a backdrop of the Swiss alps with your family.

You can get to Bern by train or by car from Zürich or Basel. Switzerland is known for its world-class railway connections and parking is a commodity in Bern, so it is advised to travel to Bern by train.

Reccomended by Paul, Paulmarina

Liberec, The Czech Republic

Situated about one hour from Prague, close to the borders with Germany and Poland, Liberec is one of the Czech Republic’s best-kept secrets.

Apart from the several attractions that the city of Liberec has to offer, the Liberec region is home to the Crystal Valley and the Bohemian Paradise, both perfect for a family adventure.

Renowned for its glassmaking traditions, the Crystal Valley has been exporting Bohemian crystal since the 18th century. You can visit several family-run workshops to learn everything about the art of glass blowing, see unique glass crafts and even buy some.

Don’t miss the Museum of Glass & Jewellery in Jablonec nad Nisou, with the largest public collection of glass Christmas ornaments in the world.

Situated in the heart of Bohemia, the Bohemian Paradise is home to spectacular sandstone formations. One of the best things to do with kids in the Bohemian Paradise is to walk along one of its fantastic trails.

The Cold Passage, a narrow 125-metre-long passageway among dramatic sandstone formations, is a fine example of the natural beauty of the Liberec region.

You can get to Liberec by bus from Prague. However, the best way to explore the Crystal Valley and the Bohemian Paradise is by renting a car.

Recommended by Maria, It’s All Trip to Me

Perast, Montenegro

Hidden in the Bay of Kotor, next to highly frequented starlets like Kotor and Budva lies the little unassuming fishing village of Perast.

A plethora of 17th-century Baroque palaces and churches await the adventurous few who take the time to visit. Though tiny, there is plenty of things to do in Perast.

Pop into the Perast Museum to brush up on your maritime history or take the kids for a swim in the pristine waters surrounding the little village.

A short 10-minute boat ride away brings you to the beautiful artificial Lady of Rocks islet opposite Perast.

Pay a few pennies to visit the church and museum on the island before heading back to the village. Have dinner or a cheeky nightcap on the waterfront in one of the many local Konoba that line the shore.

How to Get There: To get to Perast, simply pop on the BlueLine bus or drive the few kilometres from Kotor in your (rental) car.  If you are travelling with a family and want to explore the bustling Bay of Kotor, consider using Perast as a basis for your adventures.

Zakopane, Poland

If you’re thinking of visiting Eastern Europe and looking for a hidden gem, consider Zakopane, Poland. This small mountain town is located in the majestic Tatra Mountains, making it an ideal spot for families looking to spend some time in the great outdoors.

The area offers visitors plenty of activities both indoors and outdoors. For example, those seeking adventure can explore the trails in the mountains, which often lead to unbelievably blue waters.

Meanwhile, parents looking for some relaxation can visit one of the thermal pools in the area and take a break as their kids play at the in-house water parks.

For those interested in visiting, the small town is only accessible by bus or private car transport. And don’t forget to bring a jacket, since the area can get quite chilly due to its altitude changes.

Overall, Zakopane is a wonderful place for families to visit if you’re looking for somewhere that allows you to explore the beautiful outdoors.

Recommended by Kristin of Global Travel Escapades

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Sylvie Simpson is the founder of European Cities with Kids. For the past 6 years, she has been travelling all over Europe whenever she has the chance, both solo, for work and with her daughter. Sylvie is on a mission to help people make the most of city breaks in Europe with kids and helps over 50,000 readers per month plan and make the most of their trips in Europe with kids.