Europe is a beautiful continent, and has some of the best destinations in the world. However, most travellers prefer the larger cities, but they are missing on some of the most exhilarating yet undiscovered ‘treasures’ of Europe. From tiny yet stunning mountainous landscapes, to quaint remote villages, from food to drinks, and other such hidden aspects, we ‘take’ you on a journey to these hidden gems.
- Cuddled and snuggled between rolling jade hills, south of Himarë town is the Albanian village of Porto Palermo. The 18th century castle stands stately and overlooks the pristine and shimmering bay. The well-maintained expanses of this castle are open to visitors, and afford an unobstructed view of the picturesque coastline. The castle was formerly a Soviet submarine base, but now its strong walls, and gates, and the tunnels and barracks are what attract visitors. These interior structures were built by the might Ali Pasha of Ionia.
- One of the largest and possibly one of the most significant complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries is Meteora in Greece. It is second only to Mount Athos. These monasteries are on the north-western edge of the Plain of Thessaly, near the Pindus Mountains and Pineios River, and are built on natural pillars of sandstone rock. Its natural beauty and mystique is what makes this place so intriguing and alluring for visitors. The Meteora is on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list too.
- Brimming with visually stunning views, cobbled and stone-paved streets, artistic passageways, and other natural sights, is the hidden gem of Sainte- Agnès in Southern France. It is a small yet charming seaside village atop a mountain, affording visitors an unobstructed yet enthralling view of the Mediterranean vistas. From the top of the mountain visitors can see the remains of a chateau from the 9th For those who want adventure, this place is ideal since reaching there requires braving 8 miles of narrow, winding, and treacherous mountain paths. A car is possibly the most suitable way of getting here.
- One of the most interesting of the undiscovered ‘treasures’ of Europe, is the city of Lugano, Switzerland. Lugano brings together several elements, combining them into a harmonious whole, thereby seeming to have a unique culture. It is the largest holiday region in Ticino, with seemingly unlimited possibilities and things to do and see. It is also the third most important conference, financial, business, and banking centre in Switzerland. However, its claim to fame is its many varieties of flowers, myriad parks, picturesque villas, and buildings that are sacred to the people there. Despite offering visitors the feel of a world-class city, Lugano’s culture continues to be untouched, and unaffected by outside influences.
- Coimbra, in Portugal is now a university town brimming over with historical sights. It boasts of one of the oldest academic institutions in Europe – The University of Coimbra. It is the first and only Portuguese speaking University, up to the 20th century and has its special blend of tradition, modernity, and innovation with a contemporary feel. Coimbra bustles with energy and life through its local traditions, and many festivals. Visitors can treat themselves to authentic music and food in the many cafes and bars, and tour the ancient cathedrals in the city. The main two festivals are held in May and July – the eight day-long fiesta, the Burning of the Ribbons (Queima das Fitas) in May, and the Festas da Rainha Santa in July complete with street music and an elaborate fireworks display.
Harried city dwellers and modern day travellers seek a few ‘hidden days and nights’ and these undiscovered places in Europe afford them this opportunity. There is no denying the allure of discovering the soul of a place through its intimate cafes, meandering streets, traditional culture, and spirit stirring landscapes. We are so excited to take you on this trip and we have some more such destinations for you – coming soon.