In exactly 7 weeks, I’ll be getting on a plane to Africa. Counting down the days?! Who? Me?!? I have no return ticket, no idea about when I’m coming back to Europe and no plan whatsoever. I figured it was best this way, ’cause the whole time I thought I needed a plan, it was driving me nuts. The plan changed more often than my head could follow, so I threw it out the window. Now everybody else thinks I’m nuts… And me, I’ve never felt better in my whole life. 

The biggest adventure of my life awaits, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t gonna miss ‘home’ at least a little bit. So today it’s time for a little tribute. Not to those super touristy spots that everybody knows already – sure most of them totally deserve the attention, but they get more than enough credit already. Nope, I want to show you the lesser-known spots, the ones you might have never even heard of before, but that will probably amaze you even more. 

Hidden gems in Europe - Lake Komani, Albania - Best unique places to visit
Hidden gems in Europe - Cutar, Spain, Andalusia - Best unique places to visit
Hidden gems in Europe - Piva Canyon and Durmitor national park, Northern Montenegro - Best unique places to visit

MY FAVORITE HIDDEN GEMS IN EUROPE

Tolmin Gorge, Slovenia

Hidden gems in Europe - Tolmin Gorge, Slovenia - Best unique places to visit

Located in the southern part of Triglav national park, Tolmin is one of those places where at some point you might start doubting that you’re actually still in Europe. The moss-covered rocks and narrow passages give it something mysterious, and the water is actually as blue as in the picture.

d

There’s several possibilities if you want to hike to the gorge, or you can just drive to the entrance and walk from there. The path inside the park is well-maintained and not very difficult, but it’s mainly stairs so probably not suitable for everybody.

d

I totally recommend combining your visit with a drive through Triglav National Park, as this place actually deserves its own spot on this list. Quiet and breathtaking, what else do you want? It’s not super far but with the winding roads and all the stopping you’re gonna want to do it does take several hours to get from the north of the park to Tolmin, so make sure to leave early to reach Tolmin well before sunset, as the light dissapears quite early in the gorge itself.

Berat, Albania

This place… Not only is it stunning, but on top of that my first moments in Berat were so memorable that they deserve a post of their own, so a little bit of patience please! OK OK I’ll give you a sneak peak… It might have involved an Albanian police officer, a way to steep and slippery road, a car with no brakes and bald tires, a Lili screaming ‘I am not moving this fucking car ever again, I’m too young to die! ‘ and a Dan Flying Solo trying to calm down the cop in his best Albanian whilst snapchatting it all…

Add a guesthouse inside a 13th century castle and a day trip to an amazing little waterfall and you know it’s gonna be a winner!

Hidden gems in Europe - Berat, Albania - Best unique places to visit

Hallerbos, Belgium

Tens of thousands of bluebells bloom every year in the Hallerbos in Belgium, transforming it into a landscape you’d only expect to find in a fairy tale. Who wouldn’t want to live happily ever after in a place like this?

Hidden gems in Europe - Hallerbos, Belgium - Best unique places to visit

Tellaro, Italy

I guess everybody’s heard of Cinque Terre by now and you’ve probably even been or at least have it written down somewhere very high on your bucket list. You’re absolutely right! If this was a top 10 of not-at-all-hidden-gems-in-Europe, Cinque Terre would be my number one. Without a shadow of a doubt. But it’s not – a top 10 of not at all hidden gems – so instead, let me introduce you to Tellaro.

Only a short journey away from Cinque Terre, I actually made a spontaneous sex sound when I first saw it. Yyyyep, it’s THAT beautiful! You can read all about that awkward moment right here.

 Get ready to fall in love…

Hidden gems in Europe - Tellaro, Italy - Best unique places to visit
Hidden gems in Europe - Tellaro, Italy - Best unique places to visit
Hidden gems in Europe - Tellaro, Italy - Best unique places to visit

Piva Canyon and Durmitor national park, Montenegro

I don’t get it. Knowing how tiny Montenegro is, how the hell are there not more people going to the north?!? Jawdropping and barely touched, this area belongs on every bucket list. Check out my full post about Piva Canyon and Durmitor National Park and start planning!

Hidden gems in Europe - Piva Canyon and Durmitor national park, Northern Montenegro - Best unique places to visit
Hidden gems in Europe - Piva Canyon and Durmitor national park, Northern Montenegro - Best unique places to visit
Hidden gems in Europe - Piva Canyon and Durmitor national park, Northern Montenegro - Best unique places to visit

Cútar, Spain

One of the cutest little towns I’ve ever seen! I ended up here on my way to the slightly more visited town of Comares – taking the small roads, of course! – and couldn’t help but stay a while. Cútar is small and I don’t even think there’s a hotel, but if you combine it with some of the other white villages of Málaga, it makes for an awesome day trip!

Hidden gems in Europe - Cútar, Andalusia, Spain - Best unique places to visit

Butterfly valley of Petaloudes, Rhodes, Greece

Beautiful nature and butterflies everywhere, that’s what you get in the Valley of the Butterflies in Rhodes. Most people visit the park, which is not that unknown or hidden and has an entrance fee, but there’s a few places outside of the actual park that are just as beautiful and where you can wander around freely and – most of the time – alone. Just ask the locals, they’ll tell you where to go.

In order not to disturb the butterflies, try to be as silent as possible and keep some distance. 

Hidden gems in Europe - Butterfly valley Petaloudes Rhodes Greece - Best unique places to visit

Konjic, Bosnia and Herzegovina

It started with a look at google maps, and one of my friends saying ‘Hey, this is a cool name for a town, let’s go there! ‘… I know exactly 2 people in the whole world who’ve heard about Konjic. They were both with me when I ended up there… They also both pronounced the words ‘I don’t think 1 night is gonna be enough ‘ at exactly the same time as me, more or less 5 seconds after we’d arrived. Here’s why…

Piran, Slovenia

You’d think you were in Italy, but no, this is Slovenia. Located at the tip of a narrow peninsula and almost completely surrounded by water, this place is what strolling-along-the-water-dreams are made of. The colorful houses, the tiny fishing harbor, the sunsets and the tiny alleys complete the picture marvelously.

Hidden gems in Europe - Piran, Slovenia - Best unique places to visit

Lake Komani, Albania

The road to Lake Komani is bad. In fact, most of the time, to road to Lake Komani isn’t even a road, but more like a collection of holes in what appears to have been a layer of asphalt at some point. It takes almost 3 hours coming from Shköder, which is only about 50 km away, but it’s worth every second.

Arriving at Lake Komani is one of those BAM in-your-face experiences, and the views during the boat tour are beyond amazing. Check out my full post about Lake Komani for a lot more information and plenty more pictures!

Hidden gems in Europe - Lake Komani, Albania - Best unique places to visit

Segura de la Sierra, Andalusia, Spain

Located all the way up a hill, the drive to Segura de la Sierra alone is worth a trip to Spain. It’s literally olive-tree-heaven, and once you reach the town, the views are beyond amazing. A perfect place to spend the night after a day driving and hiking through the Sierra de Cazorla in the north-east of Andalusia.

Hidden gems in Europe - Segura de la Sierra, Sierra de Cazorla, Andalusia, Spain - Best unique places to visit

Durbuy, Belgium

Yep, another one from my dear home country. The locals that live in Durbuy like to call their town the smallest city in Belgium and sometimes even in the world. This isn’t entirely true, but with only around 400 people living in the city center, it’s definitely tiny. And cuuuuu-hute!! Although pretty well-visited by people from Belgium and its neighboring countries, I’m pretty sure nobody else has ever heard of it, and I can assure you that that’s a shame!

I’ve visited Durbuy several times ‘back in the days’, but strangely I don’t have any pictures. But no worries, this website has got you all covered!

SO WHICH ONE'S YOUR FAVORITE?

Have you been to any of these? What did you think? Or do you know any other small European towns and places that are missing? I definitely have a few more on my bucket list, like all the little islands in Scotland or cute towns like Karlovy Vary in Czech Republic. Tell me all about it in the comments… and maybe make me want to come back for more! 

222 thoughts on “EUROPE, I’M GONNA MISS YOU – My favorite hidden gems in Europe”

  1. You are absolutely right. I haven’t even heard of any of these places. These are really not the run of the mill countries that people visit ( except Italy and Belgium) so thanks for broadening the tourist map. Good luck with your adventures in Africa. I’ve only visited the typical tourist spots and that too years ago but Africa is a beautiful place.

  2. Next time when you are in Europe let me know. You have to come and visit Poland – we have a lot of hidden gems and just wonderful places to see 🙂
    Krakow (my city) is one of them 😀

    best,
    Kasia

  3. Pingback: 15 Stunning Day Trips from Ljubljana, Slovenia

  4. Pingback: The 20 most beautiful small towns in Europe [as ranked by locals]

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  6. Hi Lili

    I found your blog through Pinterest, while searching information for our next roadtrip Montenegro – Albania. I was so surprised to find out that you are even from Belgium (like I am)! Last year we have done Slovenia and Cinque Terre in Italy, so I can really affirm this list. Also, a pleasure to read that many of your ‘gems’, we will visit this year. Looking forward to it!

    Thank you so much for your blog

  7. Hey Liesbeth, i’m wondering why you haven’t traveled to Iran yet? The diverse landscapes of Iran and its culture is more attractive and rich than any you’ve seen! can’t wait to see you in Iran.

    Thanks

  8. I like your list of hidden gems. Last year we visited Montenegro (Durmitor and Kotor), Slovenia (Piran) and plans for Albania this year.
    Serbia should be your next destination next time you are in Europe. Friendly people and beautiful nature are the best reason to visit Serbia – Tara National park, Zlatibor, Kopaonik, etc..

  9. It’s amazing that you’ve visited these not-so-popular places in Europe, I love doing that too. I need to explore Balkan countries like Slovenia, Montenegro or Bosnia more myself. I’ve been there for a short (waaay to short) road trip and I need to go back! 🙂

  10. I am a big fun of bosnia & herzegovina and i was really astonished by the Mostar bridge!
    It is true, that nobody writes about these beautiful places, except you:)
    Keep on going, and safe travels !

  11. Amazing post! I have to admit that I have never heard of most of these places. So, new European places to add on my bucket list. Thanks! 🙂 I think Lake Komani would be my favorite of these places because your photo of it is just gorgeous 🙂

  12. The first time I visited Europe my plane landed in Paris, the second time was Milan, can’t stop thinking about the those places among many other cities in Europe, you’re article gave me inspiration to start writing about those cities again.

  13. I really love Europe and I definitely miss this amazing place! I haven’t been through some of these places so maybe on my next European getaway I will add this on my to go place!

  14. I love Montenegro and have been there roughly 6 times now and it is somewhere that seems to be off many people’s radar as it were. Great to see you included it! Love your blog by the way. Paul

  15. I agree that most of East-Europe is highly underrated. People have not seen Bosnia and Albania as premium travel destinations before 2015ish…however, they are excellent places to travel these days. Beautiful, sunny and CHEAP!

  16. Butterfly valley of Petaloudes, Rhodes, Greece, what an amazing place and experience. So incredible to find such a green place on the Edge of the Aegean Sea. Thank you for posting this!

  17. Oh boy… All of these places make me want to kick myself for being more of a “beaten-path” traveler. Thanks for the suggestions and keep enjoying the wonderful world!

  18. I love reading this list! You’ve been to some really great, not so standard places in Europe. I’ve just returned from travelling through Slovenia en I could not agree with you more. It’s just amazing!!

  19. In word you can’t explain the Europe beauty…Europe is always famous for their amazing places and for natural beauty. Cutar, Spain is one of my favorite place…..
    I’ll definitely visit in the future.I’ll put in my bucket list.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

  20. very beautiful images for travelers.I always look for blog like this on the internet with which I can enhance my skills. You shared very well about travel we also describe our opinion about Travel. I read your full blog and it was very informative, and helped me a lot. I always look for blog like this on the internet with which I can enhance my skills.

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  22. Hi Lili I like your story. Do that make you happy and you are on this track. Keep on moving. Wish you Good luck.

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  23. First off, the photos look astoundingly surreal and out of this world! It’s like the sceneries were only captured to be viewed in a movie screen! Beautiful art of nature plus great photography equals these masterpieces! Thank you for sharing these beautiful places with us even though its only through virtual but you made us inspired and motivated to work our asses off to even just visit one out of these many wonderful places!

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  27. Very helpful and informative. Keep up the good work. Well-compiled and laid out
    It’s so refreshing to always learn new and fresh information from this blog
    Great so valuable for a frequent traveller like me. You so make information readily available. Thank you

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  35. Ouf, what a great list of REAL hidden gems in Europe. I mean, most of what (we 😉 ) travel bloggers call hidden gems are already well known but this selection is excellent. I have been to most of the countries mentioned above but have never heard of most of those places. Once I am back home in Europe, I will definitely check a few of those out. Great stuff!

  36. Hey Lili,
    Great Post. I am also planning a vacation to Europe. This blog is gonna help me a lot. Thanks for sharing these beautiful places in Europe. Gonna come back to this site again.

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