Dreaming of an exciting vacation in Europe? Well, then it’s probably the right time to get more specific as well. This beautiful continent may be considerably smaller and humbler in size; however, it certainly knows how to make up for its lack of scale and massiveness. Whether you prefer a hike in the mountain to enjoy mesmerizing mountain views or a leisurely stroll through colorful fields of lavender, the following places will surely inspire you to start packing for a trip. These gorgeous European locations, as you will see a few lines below, have got the full potential to upstage some of nature’s finest spots.
From gorgeous lakes and rose gardens to dramatic limestone cliffs and beautiful wine valleys, today we'll touch upon the ultra-diverse and picturesque side of Europe.
Well, admittedly, it’s never easy to pick a charming vacation spot that will fit the bill for you and your partner. Therefore, we’d love to help you out by talking you through 20 of Europe’s most fantastic places.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to see the real beauty of these lesser-known gems in Europe that are absolutely worth the long-haul flight from North America.
20 Ksamil Beach, Albania, Boasts The Cleanest Waters In Europe
At first, Albania may not evoke images of stunning coastlines or exceptional architecture, but you'll be surprised to discover the country's fantastic Ksamil Beach, located just north of Greece. Admittedly, the Albanian coastline is unique; however, it truly resembles the ones in Croatia and Greece. But other than that, Ksamil Beach has got no problem attracting first-time visitors with its pleasant pebbly beaches and azure waters. In fact, Ksamil Beach boasts some of the bluest and cleanest waters you've ever seen.
As beautiful as it promises to be, the Albanian Ksamil Beach may still be running under the radar, but it's already giving good indications of getting its proper moment in the sun.
19 Go On A Culinary Journey In Tuscany, Italy
The entire Tuscan region is a genuine masterpiece, painted by the skilled hand of an Italian artist. Indeed, Italy is not just another pretty European country; it's home to surreal landscapes, world-class art museums and a whole lot of other picturesque spots you'd surely love to explore one day. Admittedly, the scenic region of Tuscany also serves as a beautiful representation of that.
From its sweeping landscapes and hilltowns to majestic Duomos and Plazzas, the picturesque region of Tuscany goes in perfect harmony with Italy's fiery character.
This sun-baked, vine-lined region is similarly rich in slices of culinary heaven as well, and that makes it the perfect vacation spot, regardless of the season.
18 Lagos De Tristaina - The High-Mountain Lakes In Andorra
Well, there's no doubt that you've seen equally beautiful lakes like these before. But what these high-mountain lakes in Andorra can offer you is a jaw-dropping combination of perfectly fresh water and gorgeous, almost surreal views.
Already excited to get there? Well, then be ready to take on the slightly challenging hiking trail, known as Estanys de Tristaina, located near the French border.
Following this three-mile route may seem like forever, but we promise you that it will take you to one of the world's most beautiful places.
Exploring these dazzlingly beautiful lakes is your reward for your bravery and adventurous spirit to come here.
17 The 1,000-Year-Old Tatev Monastery, Armenia
This impressive monastery in Armenia has been around for a thousand years, and it still catches the attention of architecture lovers from all around the world. Not only has it endured an epic history that's just as dramatic as its hilltop setting, but it has survived destructive earthquakes as well.
This ancient, yet legendary monastery, would often get ransacked but even that massive earthquake, which shook things up a few centuries later, failed to bring it down. Legend has it that the curious name of the monastery, nestled amid clifftops, was given by the mighty Father - "Tatev" means "little star."
16 Alpbach - The Most Charming Village In Austria
Situated in the western parts of Austria, this charming place has been referred to as one of the most beautiful villages in Europe.
Although we believe that Hallstatt could also make a good rival here, maybe the locals do know better. Anyway, this gorgeous village excites first-time travelers with lush green fields, peaceful atmosphere, and stunning landscapes. The area of Alpbach has also been recognized for its virtually perfect snow-caked ski runs and breathtaking hilltops.
For the protocol, the charming village of Alpbach was the filming location for "The Sound of Music" - nice, right?
15 Mir Castle Is A Dream Come True For Castle Lovers
Before we talk you through its best features, let's just keep staring blankly at this marvelous 16th-century castle in Belarus for a few moments. Seriously, the ancient Mir Castle was built in an impressive Gothic style, and it's nicely combined with the elaborate Belarussian architectural designs and shapes. Frankly, it's such a surprise that the facade turned out so pretty. Also, more Renaissance touches were later added to the structure, making it all the more beautiful to explore. Get inside the castle, and you'll be taken off guard for the 2nd time in a row. This unique Mir Castle is now home to a treasure trove of history, covering its aristocratic and "ghetto" origins during the World War II.
14 Flanders Fields - The Most Symbolic Place In Belgium
There's a good reason why this colorful location in Belgium is often referred to as the most symbolic one in the country. This poppy field is now known for keeping deep memories of the war that once raged through this beautiful European country. Today the entire area of the Flanders Fields is dotted with vivid red flowers and the image they evoke is of the World War I.
Although Flanders Fields isn't exactly a place where you can sit back, relax and feel great - it's a cemetery after all - but this profoundly symbolic location is also synonymous with the relentlessness, bravery, and sacrifice of the soldiers.
13 The Spectacular Pliva Waterfall In Bosnia-Herzegovina
It does look like it's been photoshopped, right? But no, this surreal Pliva Waterfall is just as fabulous in person as it is in the pictures. This fantastic waterfall, located right in the center of Jajce, plunges into the River Vrbas, and it's one of the most beautiful sights you may ever see.
This place is quite easily accessed since it's only about two hours away from the small, yet charming town of Sarajevo. If you happen to be here in the first week of August, you may be able to marvel at its sheer beauty without being surrounded by crowds of curious travelers.
12 The Seven Rila Lakes In Bulgaria Will Take Your Breath Away
Wondering if it's true? Well, ask any Bulgarian, and they'll surely agree with this statement, then nod their head, the wrong way, of course. But all jokes aside now - the Seven Rila Lakes are not only entirely symbolic for all Bulgarians, but all of these glassy lakes sit at over 8,000 feet above sea level. Additionally, the stunning Rila Lakes happen to enjoy the attention of many Swiss mountaineers and hikers, who come here to traverse and explore this unique meandering region. If this sounds like an exciting experience to you too, then get ready to run into rugged and majestic bodies of water. Indeed, a day's trek in the Rila Mountains will help you understand the meaning of life.
11 The Beautiful Plitvice Lakes & Krka National Park In Croatia
You've never heard anyone say something like "Egh, Croatia is unattractive," have you? Well, there's a pretty decent reason for it, and this gorgeous national park in Croatia will be the proof of what the European perfection looks like.
But while this series of waterfalls are gorgeous, you should also pay a visit to the nearby, yet a little humbler in size Krka National Park. Additionally, you can even swim at Krka National Park - pretty cool, right?
But other than that, both of these fantastic locations in Croatia will excite the heart and mind with scenic landscapes and tranquility.
10 The Aphrodite's Rock (Petra tou Romiou) Is Your New Favorite Place In Europe
How about exploring the mysterious side of Cyprus? Well, according to the Greek mythology, this extraordinary place is where the Goddess of Love was born. The legendary tale of the beautiful Aphrodite makes this place even twice as surreal and unique. The Greek folklore tells the story of a woman, named Aphrodite, who was born amid the churning waters of the sea.
Interestingly, this boulder also marks the exact spot of her birth. Well, this certainly makes sense, especially when you think of the rough and wild waves crashing against the rocks. By the way, swimming is ill-advised here although the locals believe that those who are brave enough to do it will be blessed with eternal beauty and prosperity. You see, the Greek mythology is always quite compelling, isn't it?
9 Moravia's Emerald Vineyards Are Not To Be Missed
It's always greener on the other side, remember? Well, this is precisely true for Prague's magnetic and quite underrated fields of vineyards. The capital city of this gorgeous country always takes credit for the beauty of the Republic of Czech; however, Moravia's area is no less spectacular whatsoever.
From emerald landscapes to delightful vineyards, which seem to stretch on for miles, this fantastic location does seem like a great idea for a peaceful European getaway.
Now that you've seen what this beautiful place looks like, settling down in Moravia doesn't sound like an insane idea, does it?
8 Skagen Is Home To Europe's Most Beautiful Sand Dunes
What if you could wander through Denmark's most beautiful areas with sand dunes? Frankly, you could, but you need to watch out for Denmark's Rabjerg Mile which is home to the most massive wandering dunes in Europe. For decades, this bohemian nation has been drawing inspiration from the Skagen's marvelous scenery, picture-perfect sunsets, and colorful fishing boats. As for the Rabjerg Mile and its dunes, they've been known to move a little every year. Indeed, Denmark has got a full package of unique locations that are worth checking out, and these dunes are only the beginning of this journey.
7 Tallinn, Estonia - Where Old And New Collide
First-time travelers to Europe are always more drawn to the jam-packed metropolises rather than to the smaller towns. As a result, they're truly missing out on some of the world's most beautiful hidden gems. An excellent example of that is Tallinn, Estonia's capital city. Don't say anything yet - we already know that Tallin may not sound as exciting as Paris; however, Tallin can also offer super modern glass skyscrapers, majestic manor houses, and gorgeous palaces. Also, Tallin happens to be one of the continent's best-preserved walled destinations where you've got much of everything.
6 Finnish Lakeland (Järvi-Suomi) Is The Mother of Lakes
Many years ago, the continual shifting of continental glaciers created one of the most beautiful natural masterpieces in Finland and around the world: Jarvi-Suomi, or also known as the Land of Lakes. This natural gem is not only a magical place, but it happens to be Europe's largest one as well. This Finnish Lakeland boasts an endless maze of thousands of streams, lakes, rivers, ponds, and islands. Interestingly, Finland is home to nearly 200,000 lakes, and there's not a single one that's less than brilliant. Well, this can perfectly explain why Finland is rightly called the Land of the Lakes.
5 The Fairytale Garden In Giverny, France
The Monet's garden of roses in Giverny, France, is not only a surreal location, but it's also the real-life setting for a few of Claude Monet’s most appreciated works. Apart from its stunning rose arches, willows and water lilies, Monet's garden is also known for its well-preserved bridge, favored by most travelers.
Backlit by the morning light, this beautiful bridge is precisely where tourists love to stop and pose for a string of photos as well.
Besides being the birthplace of the impressionism in France, Monet's garden is every bit as gorgeous as it is in watercolor.
4 Ushguli Is The Highest Settlement In Europe
Ushguli is the highest settlement in Europe with a population of nearly 200 people. Don't mind the numbers though; this extraordinary village sits at over 7,100 feet above sea level - meaning that it's officially the highest settlement in Georgia and Europe. This tiny, yet charming place is well worth the ride for its endless range of wall-to-wall views of the awe-inspiring Caucasus Mountains. What's more, Ushguli makes quite an idyllic spot for those interested in hiking or horse-riding all the way to the stunning and surreal Shkhara glacier. So, if this sounds like something you cannot wait for, then get your body and mind ready for a one-of-a-kind trip to Ushguli in Georgia. This unique village shows us exactly how to live above the clouds.
3 The Surreal Neuschwanstein Castle In the Bavarian Alps of Germany
If you do believe in magic as well, then you'd surely love to spend a few hours at the fairytale castle of King Ludwig II. This splendid building can be found only a few km from the Tyrolean border, and it's also known as the New Swan Stone Castle.
But before it became a much-loved tourist attraction in the Bavarian Alps, this Disney-like structure had been the superb recreation area of the young King Ludwig II. The king spent most of his adolescence precisely at this majestic castle in Bavaria.
Previously known as the New Hohenschwangau Castle, today this grand building happens to be one of the most beautiful places in Bavaria, Germany.
2 The Spectacular Venta Rapid Waterfall (Ventas Rumba) In Latvia
Located in Latvia, the impressive Venta Rapid Waterfall presents a playful mix of deep-blue waters and a sheer cascade that runs over green moss and rocks. The peaceful atmosphere makes it twice as enticing, especially if you're a nature lover.
This under-the-radar waterfall will hardly fit in your camera frame, though, since it's 6 feet high and about 360 feet wide.
Apart from being a friendly family location, the Venta Rapid - or also known as the Ventas Rumba in Latvia - seems to be the perfect idea for a leisure weekend with your loved ones.
1 Chemin de la Corniche, Luxembourg
A stroll down the charming streets of Chemin de la Corniche is a marvelous experience that's simply unmissable. This lovely promenade is not only a fantastic way to explore a tiny part of Luxemburg, but you'll be able to enjoy the view of beautiful river canyons, alongside the city's impressive fortress, known as the Wenceslas Wall.
If you plan on coming here during the winter, you'll be impressed to see lovely ice-tipped houses which look as though they've jumped out of a storybook.
Hailed as the continent's precious balcony, Chemin de la Corniche does look like a beautiful landscape painting, favored by many travelers.
References: nctraveler.com, thrillist.com, placesyoullsee.com, eternalarrival.com