In search of something extraordinary this year? Look no further, as we present to you a curated selection of Europe's best-kept secrets. Escape the cliché and discover a world of hidden treasures. From colourful towns to serene islands and medieval marvels, these destinations promise an unforgettable holiday experience in Europe.
Menton: A Dazzling Gem of the French Riviera
Nestled in the enchanting region of Provence-Alpes Cote d'Azur, Menton captivates with its magical allure. The city's ochre and pastel-coloured buildings, infused with the scent of citrus fruits, create a stunning mosaic that defines the charm of the French Riviera. Apart from its exceptional gardens, sandy beaches, and vibrant houses, Menton boasts a subtropical micro-climate, ensuring sunshine throughout the year.
More than just a hidden gem for tourists, Menton is a city of art, history, and passionate individuals. Immerse yourself in the local culture, relish leisurely strolls through fragrant fruit and vegetable stalls, and indulge in the culinary delights offered by local artisans. Discover a preserved Eden where nature, art, and the warmth of the Mediterranean intertwine.
Volosko: Croatia's Best-Kept Secret
While exploring Opatija, one of Croatia's most beautiful destinations, venture beyond the comforts of your wellness hotel to uncover Volosko. Tucked away in the Kvarner Gulf, this fishing village embodies the soul of the sea. Volosko entices visitors with its delectable, fresh seafood served in charming restaurants. Wander through its narrow alleys, discover artists' studios and galleries, and be captivated by cultural performances.
Don't miss the opportunity to walk along the Lungomare Seaside promenade, linking Volosko to Opatija, and marvel at the Maiden with the Seagull sculpture—a perfect spot for a romantic proposal. Choose to stay in Volosko or opt for the luxury accommodations of Opatija, the Montreux of the Adriatic. Indulge in the elegant ambience, wellness offerings, and the irresistible allure of chocolate.
Durbuy: A Sustainable Haven in Wallonia, Belgium
Acknowledged by the European Commission for its commitment to sustainable tourism, Durbuy stands out as a must-visit destination for hikers, food enthusiasts, and wellness seekers. As one of the smallest cities in the world, Durbuy epitomises the harmonious coexistence of history, nature, and flavours. Its medieval town invites you to wander through cobblestone streets, while the surrounding region offers an extensive network of walking trails.
Immerse yourself in the vibrant colours and fragrances that fill the 41 villages and hamlets of this rural oasis. With 45 restaurants and numerous picnic areas, culinary indulgence is guaranteed. From kayaking and mountain biking to golfing and climbing via ferrata, Durbuy offers a wealth of outdoor activities. Surrender to exhaustion and find solace in the comfort of the area's luxury hotels or charming B&Bs.
Cies Island: Galicia's Natural Paradise
Seeking respite from the bustling cities of Barcelona, London, Paris, and Berlin? Look no further than the Cies Islands in Galicia, Spain. Designated as a Nature Reserve for nearly half a century, this archipelago offers an idyllic haven for nature enthusiasts. Comprising Monte Agudo, O Faro, and San Martino, the islands boast some of Spain's most stunning beaches, including the renowned Ronda Beach.
Revel in the untouched beauty of this Romanesque paradise through family hikes, relaxing beach visits, or private yacht cruises. Whether you choose to camp on the islands or stay in nearby Vigo, be prepared to embrace a day immersed in unspoiled wilderness.
Visby: Sweden's Medieval Gem
Yearning for something new and off the beaten path? Bid farewell to the familiar and set your sights on Visby, Sweden's best-kept secret. Renowned as one of Europe's most picturesque fortified towns, Visby exudes medieval charm. Lose yourself in the cobblestone streets, explore the city walls, and bask in the splendour of the Baltic Sea.
Visby enchants visitors with its saffron pancakes and the truffles that grow on the island, making it a true culinary delight. Nature, culture, and relaxation converge on the beaches of Gotland Island, offering an enchanting experience that feels straight out of a fairy tale.
Chioggia: The Authentic Alternative to Venice
If you've already explored Venice with a previous partner, Chioggia presents itself as a private and authentic alternative. Often referred to as "little Venice," this town offers proximity to all the tourist attractions of its more famous counterpart. Experience the authentic lifestyle of the locals as you visit the Museum of Adriatic Zoology, unwind on Sottomarina Beach, or explore Forte San Felice.
During summer, a boat connects Chioggia to Saint Mark's Square, allowing for easy access to Venice while enjoying a quieter and more affordable base. Located just 25 kilometres from Venice, Chioggia offers a tranquil retreat for those seeking a break from the tourist crowds.
Anthéor: A Serene Haven on the French Riviera
Nestled amidst the Esterels massif, Anthéor beckons travellers with its tranquil ambience and breathtaking views of the Mediterranean. Situated between the elegant seaside resorts of Saint Raphaël and Cannes, this hidden gem remains one of France's most beautiful secret destinations. Embark on a scenic journey along the Corniche d'or, an awe-inspiring road that meanders along the coast.
Anthéor offers nature enthusiasts the perfect retreat to revel in the beauty of unspoiled surroundings and the bliss of a hidden existence.
Alcala del Jucar: Spain's Village of Enchanting Beauty
Alcala del Jucar, one of Spain's hidden gems, unveils its historic charm in the Albacete Province. Explore the village's old town and embark on an ascent to the castle, where a panoramic view of the region awaits. For those seeking a more leisurely experience, capture the perfect photo of the village, bridge, and castle from the vantage point near "Puente Romano."
Whether you're on a road trip or planning a getaway from Valencia, Alcala del Jucar promises an authentic and captivating journey filled with delightful gastronomy and a captivating ambience.
Portmeirion: Wales' Italian Delight
Transport yourself to an Italian village nestled in the heart of Wales. Portmeirion, the vision of the visionary Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, is a captivating testament to his love for the Mediterranean style. Over the course of 50 years, Williams-Ellis crafted this colourful village, which continues to enchant visitors with its architectural wonders. Stroll through its vibrant alleys, which have provided inspiration to artists and filmmakers alike.
Experience the captivating connection between Portmeirion and the Beatles, who frequented the village and celebrated birthdays within its walls. Many of the houses have been transformed into hotel rooms, allowing guests to immerse themselves in this architectural marvel. Entrance fees contribute to a charitable trust supporting social reintegration projects within the community.
Baleal: Portugal's Coastal Paradise
Located just an hour's drive from Lisbon, Baleal awaits as a hidden gem on Portugal's coastline. Although connected to the mainland by a tombolo, this tiny island exudes a true sense of escapism. Renowned as a haven for surfers and bodyboarders, Baleal's kilometres of pristine beaches also cater to families seeking tranquillity.
Savor the delights of local cafes and restaurants, soak up the sun, and revel in the natural beauty of this coastal paradise. With its proximity to Peniche, known as the mecca for surfers, and the awe-inspiring waves of Nazaré, Baleal promises an unforgettable holiday experience. Discover the finest beaches and hidden gems that Portugal has to offer.