Europe’s Hidden Gems

When people think about traveling throughout Europe, they think about the ‘big draws’ such as Rome, Barcelona, and Paris. What people fail to realize is that when it comes to beauty and charm, bigger is not always better. These are just a few of the hidden gems scattered throughout Europe that offer great sights, without having to deal with as many tourists.

Haarlem, the Netherlands

When most people think of the Netherlands, they think about the raw draw that Amsterdam offers. However, Haarlem offers some sights and sounds that you should put on your must-see-list. For starters, some of the finest works of Dutch master Frans Hals was painted here. You can also visit the Grote Kerk van St. Bavo and stare at the massive church organ that a young Mozart once played at. Finish your trip at the bustling ‘Grote Markt’ (translates into Large Market) and you will understand that the Netherlands has more to offer than just Amsterdam.

Łańcut, Poland

Considering its heritage, it should be no surprise that Poland is home to a number of different castles. However, the castle that you find in Łańcut is exceptionally impressive. The castle offers a breathtaking amount of detail. When you take a tour throughout, you will see polished ballrooms and chandeliers that are larger than most humans.

A visit to the Łańcut Synagogue is also worth your time, primarily because the town of Łańcut has a rich Jewish history. Despite the fact that the exterior is unassuming, the interior features a baroque masterpiece of colorful frescoes and dazzling pillars.

Lugano, Switzerland

When looking at the holiday region of Ticino in the south of Switzerland, you cannot overlook Lugano. Primarily because it is the largest town in the region, and because Lugano offers plenty for everyone. It is the third most important financial center in Switzerland with business centers, banking options, and conference centers and offers sacred buildings, villas, and parks.

Lugano offers guests the cachet of a small town with the advantages of a world-class city, all this while presenting its own type of Mediterranean flair.

Amiens, France

The town of Amiens rarely gets any tourist visitors, despite the fact that it has a cathedral that is twice the size of the legendary Notre Dame in Paris. The cathedral itself has intricate stonework that is sure to impress, but parents keep in mind that some of the carvings are relatively gory (one of the recurring themes happens to be the severed head of John the Baptist).

While you are there, be sure to try the Macarons d’Amiens. The recipe is simple, egg whites, sugar, almonds, and honey, but you are going to be impressed with how amazingly intricate the taste can be with only five simple ingredients.

The Cinque Terre

If you want to see one of the best-preserved semi-natural and natural areas of the Mediterranean, the Cinque Terre offers you that opportunity. There are geomorphologic and historical reasons why the creation of major roadways and excessive housing development have been forbidden, meaning that you get a unique landscape that is unlike anything most places in the Mediterranean can offer.

There is a reason that this has become an increasingly sought after location both for foreigners and Italian tourists alike. There is an extensive network of paths to explore, architecturally interesting locations, and of course the crystal clear sea.

Burg Satzvey, Germany

Even though nearby Bonn and Cologne often receive tourists, this fairytale castle does not receive a great deal of visitors. Even the most jaded traveler is going to enjoy the quaint setting, moat, walls, and the design of the medieval castle itself. If you go around the wintertime, you will see that the castle grounds are transformed into a medieval-style market that offers countless little trinkets while mulled wine is being served by the mug.

Zadar, Croatia

Even though it has more than 75,000 inhabitants and it serves as the political, cultural, economic, and administrative center of the region, Zadar does not receive as many tourists as it deserves. It is located directly in the heart of the Adriatic. It is possible to explore the untouched nature and particularly intended coast. As an archipelago, it offers five national parks, three nature parks, 300 smaller islets and rocks, and about 24 bigger islets.

Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

It may appear strange at first to list the capital of a (somewhat modest) country as a hidden gem, but Luxembourg City certainly does deserve more attention than it receives. It offers some of the slickest modern art around and an intellectual and multi-lingual population. The city overlooks forests, valleys, and gorges, and you can cycle your way through the city streets. If you have an interest in modern art, be sure to swing by the MUDAM Luxembourg.

Trieste, Italy

This city in northeastern Italy was once one of the oldest parts of the Habsburg Monarchy. Back in around the 19th century, it was one of the most important ports in Europe. In fact, after Prague, Budapest, and Vienna, this prosperous seaport became the fourth largest city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

It is still an important hub in the region for both literature and music. In fact, it is still one of Italy’s richest regions because the Port of Trieste remains a great location for shipping. It also offers financial services and shipbuilding.

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