When it comes to Europe, there are a lot of places to go, but the well-trodden path has remained the same for quite some time. Paris, Rome, Barcelona, London… If you want to see the European destinations that locals choose to travel to and get a taste of the local life—so far off the beaten track that no one has even heard of the destination—look no further. We have the European travel itinerary for you.
Ever wanted to go on a bike tour through underground wine caves? Well in Saumur, you can. What is not to love about a town where the campsites have their own spa facilities, castles are aplenty, and wine even more so. Less of a wine-growing region, more a winemaking town; Saumur’s grapes are grown in the surrounding Loire Valley. They are then fermented in the wine tunnels under the city using the traditional method to create award-winning sparkling wine, like nothing you have ever tasted.
The better-known Croatian destinations can get overly busy, so for a real taste of local life, head to Rab. Away from the hustle and bustle of Croatia’s main islands and towns, Rab is equal parts tranquil, beautiful and culturally interesting. If you only visit one island in Croatia, make it this one. Croatia has the best of both worlds, fab Mediterranean food and wine, but with an Eastern European price tag. Just a short ferry ride from Rijeka on the mainland, Rab old town boasts a picturesque harbour with cobbled winding streets lined with market stalls. Explore the island by bike, swim in a crystal-clear secluded bay, or grab a beer in a street-side café and watch the world go by.
Herm, Channel Islands, UK
Home to the Mermaid pub—which has probably the best beer garden in the world—the 2km long island is beauty like you have never seen before. With no cars or even bikes on the island, you can stroll down the peaceful lanes which are just bursting with wildlife. Herm is one of the smaller islands that makes up the Channel Islands archipelago, just a few miles from France, but officially part of the UK. Think long summer evenings, white sandy beaches, puffin colonies and lanes lined with colourful wildflowers. If you are visiting in June or September make sure to check out the annual Herm Ale & Cider festival.
La Massana, Andorra
Andorra is a tiny Catalan nation squished into the mountainous region between Spain and France. In the winter, a hub for snow sports and in summer, an adrenaline junkie’s paradise; with kilometres of biking, hiking and climbing. The sleepy town of La Massana gives you direct access to the Vallnord mountain region and the ski areas of Pal-Arinsal. If you love rioja, tapas and snowboarding, you will not want to miss this off your European itinerary. Andorra offers great value accommodation, activities, food, drinks and shopping. The tax-free shopping haven (and capital of Andorra), Andorra Le Vella is just a short drive from La Massana. As well as shopping, the capital houses Caldea, one of Europe’s largest thermal spas.
Abergavenny, Wales, UK
If you haven’t been to Wales, add it to your European bucket list. It may not have the beautiful weather of the Mediterranean, but the lush rolling hills and moody skies complement each other and make cosying up by a roaring fire after a day of exploring, oh so appealing. Discover quaint and sleepy towns, Michelin-star restaurants, epic hiking trails, hidden caves, impressive mountain ranges, and even more impressive star gazing. Plus, if you love history, you will love this! You can stay in a genuine 18th-century castle, complete with turrets and breathtaking valley views! It literally doesn’t get much better than that.
Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain
Famed for their scrumptious honey rum (ron miel), enyesques (tapas) and year-round sunny weather, the Canary Islands are a must visit! Located just off the African coast in the Atlantic Ocean, but officially a Spanish territory, these volcanic islands have an epic landscape and are great for all things outdoors. From hiking to windsurfing and everything in between. Fuerteventura is the second largest of the islands, known for its 150km of amazing beaches and its Majorero goat’s cheese.
Love crêpes and French cidre? You should go to Dinan immediately. Almost definitely Brittany’s cutest (and most well preserved) medieval town—think Diagon Alley from Harry Potter. The fortified historic centre boasts three kilometres of 13th-century ramparts, riverside cafés, and all the cheese and wine you can dream of. Avoid the summer crowds of the Dordogne, Loire and Rhône; sip your vino undisturbed along the banks of the lesser-known La Rance river.
This beach town on the stunning Cornish coast is home to quaint tea rooms, traditional English Pubs, epic coastal walks and fantastic surfing. Stroll along the canal, stop for a traditional Cornish pasty, a cream tea, or enjoy a pint of Cornish Ale from the Bude Brewery. Whether you choose to stay in a cute British cottage à la Kate Winslet in The Holiday, or a quirky treehouse, Bude is a lesser-known town, ideal for a truly British experience.
St Wolfgang, Austria
Everyone is familiar with Italy’s great lakes. But we think we have found somewhere better. A tiny town in the Austrian lake district, St Wolfgang is nothing if not charming. With cobbled streets, traditional Austrian restaurants, and an almost magical atmosphere. In winter enjoy a day out in the snow, either up the nearby mountains or snow-shoeing more locally. In summer hike, bike or laze all day by the lake. After a day of taking in the sites, enjoy an Austrian tipple, a spot of yodelling and a game of Hammerschlagen (Austrian Nails) at one of the local bars.
Feature Image: Tuula Vintage