8 Incredible Hidden Gems in Europe You Didn’t Know Existed

8 Incredible Hidden Gems in Europe You Didn't Know Existed

Spending a summer is a dream of many, and millions of travelers worldwide flock there every year to visit iconic destinations like Barcelona, Rome, or Santorini. Sadly, those beautiful spots become busier than usual, and all the lines can get pretty exhausting.

So what to do if you still want to experience the fairytale-esque Europe but avoid the busy crowds? To get the most out of your trip, we’ve got a few tips for you. Here are the 8 incredible hidden gems in Europe to visit in 2024.

Santuario Madonna Della Corona, Spiazzi, Italy

Carved into the Monte Baldo Mountains in northern Italy, Santuario Madonna Della Corona is a hidden gem that will simply take your breath away. For long, the sanctuary has been a popular destination for spiritual pilgrimages, but you will enjoy it even if you’re not religious.

It provides panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and villages, and a peaceful atmosphere – perfect for taking a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Around, you will also find many scenic hikes and nature paths.

Thanks to its location, it makes a great day trip from Verona or Lago di Garda. It’s best accessed by car, but there are also some public transport options.

Tavolara Island, Sardinia

If you’re planning a trip to Sardinia, don’t forget to include Tavolara Island in your itinerary. As a part of the Protected Marine Area, it boasts pristine beaches and excellent conditions for snorkeling, diving, and boat tours. 

The island is also renowned for its great hikes. The most popular trail starts at Spalmatore di Terra beach and takes you to Pratone viewpoint. However, note that the terrain of Tavolara is rather challenging and all hikes require a guide and equipment, as most include a bit of rappelling and ferrata.

Love cinema? Aim to arrive mid-July, when the island becomes alive with the yearly Tavolara Film Festival. On the other hand, for hiking, we recommend you come in spring or fall to avoid the heat.

Islet of Vila Franca do Campo, Sao Miguel, Azores

Bubbling volcanoes, lush nature, and quiet lagoons with turquoise waters. A vacation in the Azores already sounds fantastic. But there is one spot that stands out among others – the Islet of Vila Franca do Campo. 

It’s set just off of the southern coast of São Miguel island. It’s shaped like a rocky ring with a lagoon in the middle, which makes it a great place for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. The best part? Not many people know about it yet, which will turn your visit into an enchanting and serene beach experience.

Saturnia Hot Springs, Italy

If you find yourself in Tuscany this summer, don’t miss the ​​Saturnia Hot Springs. This natural spa is set in the idyllic Tuscan countryside just a short drive from the spa town of Saturnia and is ideal for a rejuvenating retreat.

Don’t worry, visiting Saturnia Hot Springs won’t break the bank. Just the opposite – you can soak in the thermal waters and its healing properties completely for free. However, if you’d like to take your experience a bit further, you can treat yourself to a night in one of the exclusive resorts. The area is also known for its excellent dining options.

Elafonissi Beach, Crete, Greece

You don’t have to go all the way to the Bahamas to visit a pink sand beach. You will also find one in Crete, and it’s called Elafonissi Beach. What gives this seashore its iconic color are the washed-up remains of pink seashells mixed with soft sand. The waters there are unbelievably clean and warm, perfect for wading, swimming, and even observing colorful fish and sea turtles.

Note that this less-known piece of paradise is getting noticed. For the best experience, we recommend you come early in the morning, so you can have it to yourself. 

On your way back, you can pop to the nearby Kedrodasos Beach, which is about a 10-minute drive away. Be careful, it’s rather rocky and the stones can be slippery, so you might need a good pair of sandals instead of flip-flops.

Bastei Bridge, Germany

Not much of a beach bum? We’ve also got something for outdoor enthusiasts. Bastei Bridge is a fascinating natural wonder set in Saxon Switzerland National Park in Germany (yes, the name is misleading indeed). It overlooks the Elbe River and offers stunning views of various rock formations and deep forests, and has a certain historical significance.

It was built on the grounds of a wooden bridge that was part of the Neurathen Castle, and you can explore its remains as well while there. Many hiking routes lead to the bridge. They’re suitable for all levels and have different lengths. Simply choose the one that best fits your schedule. At the park, there is also a souvenir shop, toilets, and a restaurant to refuel.

Studlagil Basalt Canyon, Iceland

Iceland is famed for its unparalleled natural beauty. And Studlagil Basalt Canyon could easily be the most mesmerizing attraction there is.

The canyon is about 500 meters long and surrounded by up to 30 meters high basalt columns. Their volcanic origin gave them a dark color, which contrasts well with the bright blue river. All that creates a dramatic landscape worth a photoshoot or two. 

Several hiking trails surround the area, and each of them offers a different view of the canyon. Thanks to its remote location, untouched natural beauty and solitude are guaranteed, and you’re likely to spot local wildlife, such as native birds and reindeer.

Meteora, Greece

The word Meterora means “suspended in the air” and that’s exactly what this place is about – it’s a complex of historic monasteries set atop tall rock formations and will provide you with an unforgettable experience.

It was established by monks seeking solitude and spiritual refuge. Today, it serves as a place to meditate, hike, and savor the panoramic vistas. You can also learn about the history of Meteora by exploring the monasteries, or through guided tours and museum exhibits.