Top 15 Hidden European Gems To Visit This Summer


There’s nothing quite like visiting a lesser-known travel destination that your friends and family have never heard of.

While iconic destinations like Paris and Rome rightly draw in millions of visitors each year, the true gems often lie off the beaten path. There are hidden gems in Europe that many travellers overlook – it’s a continent filled with quaint villages, undisturbed natural wonders and rich histories waiting to be discovered.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with visiting the tourist hotspots – they’ve got to be visited to tick them off the bucket list, right? But away from these, if you’re an adventurer at heart looking to visit places full of history coupled with one-of-a-kind, authentic experiences, you’re in the right place.

By reading this article, we’re sure there will be something for everybody (but stay away tourist hotspotters!), especially if you’re after:

  • Picturesque and remote nature settings.
  • Romantic backdrops in rural settings.
  • Enchanting towns rich in history and culinary delights.

15 of the best hidden gems in Europe

It was a tough task whittling it down to just 15 unique destinations that we recommend you visit. So that’s why we asked some of our Personal Client Managers to help us.

We hope you agree that these hidden gems offer a taste of Europe that eludes the average traveller. Prepare to discover the sheer beauty, rich histories and truly unique destinations that await you.

So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get into it!

A row of buildings by a marina in Procida, Italy

1. Procida, Italy

Located in the Bay of Naples, Procida is a small and vibrant island famous for its colourful marina and serene environment. Near to Naples and the other Phlegraean Islands, it offers an authentic taste of Italian island life.

  • Things to do: Wander through the Marina Corricella, visit the Terra Murata historical complex, and relax on Chiaia Beach.
  • For those who: Love exploring colourful, tranquil coastal towns with rich cultural heritage.
  • Best time to visit: May, June, September, October. These months provide comfortable weather and fewer tourists.

2. Dinant, Belgium

This picturesque town is set along the River Meuse in Wallonia. Known for its breath-taking scenery and the striking collegiate church, Dinant is close to the city of Namur.

  • Things to do: Explore the Citadel, enjoy a river cruise, and visit the Maison Leffe for beer tasting.
  • For those who: Appreciate a mix of natural beauty and historical sites.
  • Best time to visit: May, June, September. Ideal for enjoying outdoor activities in mild weather.

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An aerial drone shot overlooking Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic.

3. Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

A charming historic town in South Bohemia, Cesky Krumlov is known for its stunning castle and old town architecture. It is also relatively close to Prague.

  • Things to do: Visit Cesky Krumlov Castle, watch a performance at the revolving theatre, and raft on the Vltava River.
  • For those who: Seek a romantic backdrop with cultural and outdoor activities.
  • Best time to visit: May, June, September. The weather is pleasant, and there are fewer tourists than in peak summer.


An aerial drone shot overlooking The Azores, Portugal.

4. The Azores, Portugal

A group of nine volcanic islands in the mid-Atlantic, known for lush landscapes and marine life. São Miguel, the largest island, serves as a gateway to the archipelago.

  • Things to do: Whale watching, visiting volcanoes and thermal springs, and hiking.
  • For those who: Love nature and adventure in remote, unspoiled settings.
  • Best time to visit: May, June, September. Ideal for mild weather and outdoor activities without the peak season crowds.


The picturesque town of Colmar in France

5. Colmar, France

Situated in the Alsace region, Colmar is famed for its well-preserved medieval architecture and proximity to the Vosges Mountains.

  • Things to do: Explore the “Little Venice” district, visit the Unterlinden Museum, and try local Alsace wines.
  • For those who: Enjoy exploring enchanting towns rich in history and culinary delights.
  • Best time to visit: April, May, June, September, October. Avoid the crowds and experience the local wine harvest.


An aerial shot of the Northern Lights in Lofoten Islands, Norway.

6. Lofoten Islands, Norway

This stunning archipelago lies within the Arctic Circle and is celebrated for its dramatic peaks and traditional fishing villages.

  • Things to do: View the Northern Lights or enjoy the midnight sun, kayak between the islands, and visit the Lofotr Viking Museum.
  • For those who: Are passionate about breath-taking natural environments and cultural history.
  • Best time to visit: May, June, July. Experience the phenomenon of the midnight sun and enjoy outdoor activities in the Arctic light.


The cobbled streets of Alberobello in Italy

7. Alberobello, Italy

Located in Puglia, Southern Italy, Alberobello is renowned for its trulli, traditional drystone huts with conical roofs. It’s a unique example of Italian folk architecture.

  • Things to do: Tour the trulli, visit the Trullo Sovrano, and taste local olive oil.
  • For those who: Are fascinated by traditional architecture and Italian rural culture.
  • Best time to visit: May, June, September, October. Enjoy cooler temperatures and fewer crowds.


An aerial shot of Piran, Slovenia.

8. Piran, Slovenia

This seaside town on the Slovenian coast of the Adriatic Sea is known for its medieval architecture and maritime history. It’s close to both Trieste in Italy and Rovinj in Croatia.

  • Things to do: Stroll through the town’s historic streets, visit St. George’s Church, and relax at a seaside café.
  • For those who: Appreciate historical towns with beautiful sea views and a relaxed atmosphere.
  • Best time to visit: May, June, September. The weather is pleasant, and it’s less crowded than the high summer months.


An image of Ronda, Spain.

9. Ronda, Spain

Perched in the mountains of Andalusia, Ronda is famous for its dramatic views and deep historical roots, including the oldest bullring in Spain.

  • Things to do: Walk the Puente Nuevo bridge, explore the old town and the bullring, and enjoy local wines.
  • For those who: Love scenic, historic towns with a sense of adventure.
  • Best time to visit: April, May, September, October. These months offer mild weather and smaller crowds.


An island showing Bled, Slovenia.

10. Bled, Slovenia

Located in the Julian Alps, Bled is best known for its iconic lake, island church and medieval castle.

  • Things to do: Row out to Bled Island, visit Bled Castle and try the famous Bled cream cake.
  • For those who: Are drawn to picturesque natural beauty with a rich historical setting.
  • Best time to visit: May, June, September. Enjoy pleasant weather and fewer tourists.


An aerial shot of Tavira, Portugal.

11. Tavira, Portugal

Located on the southern coast of Portugal in the Algarve, Tavira is known for its preserved Roman architecture and beautiful river setting. It offers a more authentic and quiet side of the Algarve.

  • Things to do: Explore ancient churches and the castle ruins, take a ferry to Tavira Island with its unspoiled beaches, and enjoy the local cuisine in riverside restaurants.
  • For those who: Prefer less commercialised beach destinations with a rich historical background.
  • Best time to visit: May, June, September. The weather is warm but not overly hot, perfect for beach activities and sightseeing without the crowds.


A picture of Hallstatt, Austria

12. Hallstatt, Austria

This picturesque village is nestled between the dramatic Dachstein Alps and the serene Hallstätter See in Austria. Known for its production of salt, dating back to prehistoric times, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

  • Things to do: Take a boat on the lake, explore the ancient salt mines, and walk the Skywalk offering stunning views over the town.
  • For those who: Are interested in picturesque landscapes and historical exploration.
  • Best time to visit: May, June, September. These months offer comfortable weather and fewer visitors, allowing for a more relaxed experience.


Medieval buildings in Ghent, Belgium

13. Ghent, Belgium

Situated in Flanders, Ghent blends medieval architecture with a vibrant contemporary cultural scene. It’s less touristy than Bruges but equally rich in history and charm.

  • Things to do: Visit St. Bavo’s Cathedral to see the Van Eyck brothers’ altarpiece, enjoy a boat tour on the canals, and explore the bustling Friday Market.
  • For those who: Enjoy arts and culture in a lively, historic setting.
  • Best time to visit: May, June, September. The weather is pleasant, and cultural events fill the city, offering an immersive experience without the peak season crowds.


A drone image of Kotor, Montenegro

14. Kotor, Montenegro

This fortified town on Montenegro’s Adriatic coast is famous for its stunning fjord-like bay, medieval architecture, and dramatic mountain backdrop. It’s a blend of natural beauty and historical depth.

  • Things to do: Climb the fortress for breath-taking views, explore the Old Town’s labyrinthine streets and historic churches, and enjoy a boat tour to the nearby Blue Cave.
  • For those who: Are fans of historical sites combined with spectacular natural scenery.
  • Best time to visit: May, June, September, October. The weather is ideal, and the absence of summer crowds makes it easier to enjoy all that Kotor has to offer.


Green grass with residential buildings in Visby, Sweden

15. Visby, Sweden

Visby, located on the island of Gotland, is known for its well-preserved medieval town walls and rich Viking history. It serves as a living museum with its cobblestone streets and ancient buildings.

  • Things to do: Walk the medieval walls, visit the Gotland Museum to learn about the island’s Viking past, and enjoy the local festivals, especially the Medieval Week.
  • For those who: Are interested in medieval history and festivals in a picturesque island setting.
  • Best time to visit: June, July, August. The summer months are warm, making it perfect for enjoying the outdoor activities and festivals, particularly the vibrant Medieval Week in August.

Multi-trip annual travel insurance for holidays in Europe

By reading this blog and getting this far, we assume you’re a keen adventurer looking to explore Europe (that’s what we like to see). You’ll know it’s more than packing a bag and setting an itinerary.

You might be considering visiting multiple destinations in one trip, or visiting a few throughout the year. If that’s you, there is something that we strongly suggest you consider getting: multi-trip, annual travel insurance.

An annual travel insurance policy will cover you for any of the holidays you go on for the year – no matter how many times you go. By going on multiple holidays, it is much more cost effective than a single trip insurance policy, not forgetting the additional benefits you’ll get for travelling in the UK all year around too!

By discussing your travel plans with us, we can advise which policy is suited to you and gives you the best level of cover.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also like our Guide to Travel Insurance.

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