This all-but-unknown micronation might surprise those who thought they knew Western Europe. On the far west of Europe, the starkly beautiful region of Connemara is cut off from Ireland by the 25-mile barrier of Lough Corrib. The town of Balzers is home to a beautiful church and a spectacular Gothic castle. Other not-to-be-missed attractions include Malta’s historic fortified city of Mdina and the Megalithic Temples of Malta — 11 ruins that collectively are considered the oldest freestanding structures on earth. Montenegro shares commonalities with its Adriatic neighbor to the north, Croatia, but manages to stay out of the tourist spotlight. Formerly part of Yugoslavia until it gained independence in 1992, Bosnia borders Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro, and is one of the best budget-friendly countries in Europe (hotels, restaurants, and cultural attractions are less expensive than in nearby capital cities). From the Balkans to the Baltic Sea, here are our picks for the 10 best (mostly) undiscovered places in Europe. Enter Coimbra, a university city that was once a capital. Porto Palermo, Albania Nestled among rolling green hills just south of the town of Himarë is Porto Palermo. Now Watch: 7 Amazing and Affordable European Destinations, Often overlooked by its Central European counterparts, Slovenia — a small, welcoming country bordering Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Croatia — is starting to grab Europhiles’ attention. But the most noteworthy attraction here is the Vaduz Castle (Schloss Vaduz). Most trips will start in Athens, the nation’s capital and an important hub for exploring the iconic Acropolis. Unexplored areas around the world also include small islands, such as Pitcairn Island off of New Zealand, and Palmerston Island in the South Pacific. Though there are touristy areas on the main island, parts of the country are very rural and quiet. The city boasts a relaxed seafront setting, along with great dining and coffee culture. Its castle of the same name is perched atop a steep cliff above the lake, but there’s much more to see. Historians believe that the nation was inhabited since the early Neolithic era. The country boasts a wide range of museums, historic sites, gorgeous churches. The thriving capital of Skopje (and birthplace of Mother Teresa) has innumerable fountains and monuments, an impressive fortress, as well as an Old Bazaar tucked into narrow streets. © All Rights Reserved. The coast is full of jinks and tricks, a hopeless maze of inlets, peninsulas and small islands and the fickle climate can turn from blazing sunshine to grey, soaking mist in minutes. The expansive countryside is home to medieval villages, rivers, lakes, and the dramatic Dinaric Alps for outdoorsy activities. One of the most beautiful and undiscovered places in Scotland is Eilean Donan castles. Landlocked, it is surrounded by Italy’s stunning Emilia-Romagna and Le Marche regions near the Adriatic Sea, making it an easy day trip from cities like Bologna or Florence. The Seven Rila Lakes is a group of glacial lakes situated in the Rila Mountains, about two hours away from Sofia by car. Yet, it remains one of the most unexplored places in Europe in terms of tourism. One of the highlights of Coimbra is the awesome festivals the town hosts each year. Rugged mountains and recreational areas likes Durmitor National Park and the temperate forest of Biogradska Gora provide hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Good news for those who want to explore all three islands: Malta has an effective ferry and bus network. Places That Aren’t on Your Bucket List (But Should Be), 9 Underrated European Cities You Want to Visit. And if an island is still beckoning, there’s Corfu — a 75-minute ferry from Igoumenitsa on the mainland’s northwest side. Today, there are new non-stop flights from other European hubs as well as modern trains and well-maintained highways throughout the picturesque landscape. Malta’s main island is home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the capital city of Valletta. Destination Seeker 2020. Outside the capital are fewer crowds. Its center offers museums commemorating local history, like the 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, an event that sparked World War I. The country has 30,000 people and is home to three defensive fortresses perched on Mount Titano’s slopes. Meanwhile, Plovdiv is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world and the second-largest city in Bulgaria. Nestled in the grey area between Europe and Asia is the country of Georgia. On the Baltic Sea between Lithuania and Estonia, Latvia stands out from these two Baltic states thanks to a stronger German influence, despite the fact that 45 percent of the country speaks Russian. With only 650,000 residents, the main draw of this country is its sparkling coastline set against dramatic mountains. The Greek mainland is often overlooked by travelers in favor of the more popular Greek islands to the south, which is exactly what makes it so special. It offers plenty of diversity, from stunning Adriatic beaches and snow-capped mountains to pine-forested countryside and architecturally grand cities. A few miles further is a fortified island village connected to the mainland by a narrow causeway called Sveti Stefan, now owned by a luxury resort, Aman. And don’t leave out a visit to the Ostrog Monastery, a stunning site carved in a near-vertical mountain cliff. Further south is graceful Budva — the country’s hot tourist spot — home to trendy restaurants and nightlife. Eilean Donan, Scotland. Then there are the stunning monasteries, hiking and skiing opportunities, and the Marvelous Bridges — natural marble bridges formed by erosion in the Rhodope Mountains. For example, if you are in the area during May, anticipate being a part of the Burning of the Ribbons, or Queima das Fitas. While Europe has plenty of mountains, some ranges are more travelled than others. Visitors will also find the widest waterfall in Europe here, as well as pine-covered dunes along the unspoiled coastline. Tallinn is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe and the entire town has even been accorded a UNESCO Heritage Status! When beaches get busy with Eastern Europeans, there are inland towns and villages where Montenegrins go about their daily lives.


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