Pack your bags, because odds are you are going to be hit by an unstoppable wave of wanderlust. The pros at Lonely Planet have utilized their own brand of travel witchery to pull together the 10 finest under-the-radar destinations in Europe for 2018.
This year’s list takes direct aim at the issue of overtourism, or mass tourism, which devastates sailors in communities such as Reykjavik, Iceland and Florence, Italy. Some cities are even considering visitor caps daily to curb the problem.
Topping Lonely Planet’s 2018 list for underrated European destinations would be your Emilia-Romagna region in Italy, which is frequently overlooked in favor of more popular regions like Tuscany, Campania and The Veneto.
That is Lonely Planet’s sixth iteration of this wanderlust-inspiring list, which rounds up Europe’s hottest up-and-coming nations, regions and cities. This year’s record is meant to inspire travelers to visit lesser-known gems throughout the continent while encouraging more responsible tourism, according to Tom Hall, Lonely Planet’s editorial manager.
“There’s growing concern over the growth in tourism to popular European destinations, especially over the busy summer months, and on this list we wanted to show there are a wealth of incredible choices to discover around Europe,” Hall stated. “Our specialist writers cross the continent and have discovered some of Europe’s most outstanding, underrated and overlooked areas that are worth planning a trip ”
Whether you’re trying to find a lesser-known equal of Tuscany’s vineyards, or wish to spend some one-on-one time with the excellent outdoors, there is something on Lonely Planet’s list for everyone.
Check out the top destinations under:
1 Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Emilia-Romagna May Be the best destination on this listing for foodies. The region includes Bologna (the birthplace of ragu), as well as Parma, the home of prosciutto di Parma. Parmesan cheese was also created in the area.
Learn more about Emilia-Romagna.
2 Cantabria, Spain
antabria is a region on Spain’s northern coast. It’s an unexpectedly wild landscape of mountains, sandy beaches and small villages like Santillana del Mar and Comillas.
Learn more about Cantabria.
3 Friesland, the Netherlands
Most people head straight to Amsterdam when seeing the Netherlands, but the state of Friesland is an up-and-coming travel destination worth your time. The region’s capital, Leeuwarden, is a small city with flourishing cafes, shopping and canals lined with historic houses. It’s also the European Capital of Culture in 2018, so the city is going all out with a schedule of installments, events and festivals.
Learn more about Friesland. It’s the world’s second-newest country and also boasts Europe’s youngest median inhabitants. Each summer there’s the Dokufest movie festival in Prizren, which attracts international movie buffs. For the more outdoorsy people, there’s plenty of hiking around the country’s peak-laden landscape.
Learn more about Kosovo. You can unwind in a magical town with hidden coves and explore the region’s hip Aix-en-Provence and occupied Marseille, filled with pubs, restaurants and a vibrant art scene.
Find out More about Provence. The upcoming introduction of Scotland’s very first design museum, the V&A, will display 300 years of innovation, and redevelop the city’s historic waterfront. The angular concrete construction brings inspiration from Scottish cliff sides, and will fuel a creative scene that they hope brings some of the UK’s most visionary gift.
Find out More about Dundee.
7 Small Cyclades, Greece
The Small Cyclades are scattered in the Aegean Sea between Naxos and Amorgos. For travellers who want a flavor of what life was like in Greece years before, the islands of Iraklia, Schinousa and Donousa are must-visits. They’re known for their one-taverna beaches, slow lifestyle and feeling of timelessness. Koufonisia, a developing destination among tourists, has magnificent beaches and pristine main road lines with restaurants and cafes.
Learn more about the Small Cyclades. From its Baroque Old Town to memories of a WWII-era Jewish ghetto, it is a city that is begging to be seen. A regenerated artists’ neighbourhood, Užupis, fuels a young energy around the city, and there is even a booming craft beer scene worth exploring.
Find out More about Vilnius.
9 Vipava Valley, Slovenia
The Vipava Valley, with its terracotta hamlets and gothic spires, looks like something straight from Tuscany, however this picturesque setting is situated along Slovenia southwestern border. The valley is best explored by bike, where sailors direct biking trips to wineries for tastings and discussions with the winemakers.
10 Tirana, Albania
irana is a great travel hub, even since it sits between the Adriatic Coast and the Albanian Alps, even though the city itself provides you plenty of reasons to hang out and stay awhile. Its drab buildings were painted in primary colours, a indication of the town’s rejuvenation, and an increasing number of residents are trading in their cars for bicycles.
Find out More about Tirana.