5 underrated (and cheaper) European holiday destinations

We’ve all dreamed of going to Paris, London, Santorini… but these holiday destinations can get pretty crowded and pricey because they’re so popular. Here are some great alternatives:

1. Croatia

Croatia is a relatively small country next to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and pretty near to Austria and Italy.

In our opinion, it’s a totally underrated holiday destination.

The popular island of Hvar in Croatia. Look how pretty that is! Photo:
Croatian National Tourist Board – Hrvoje Serdar

Imagine sunny beach days, clear waters, and beautiful, quaint European towns chock full of heritage and culture (without the tourist chaos of Italy).

St. Anastasia’s Cathedral in the seaside city of Zadar. Photo:
Phant / Shutterstock
The beaches spill right into the Adriatic Sea. Photo: Paul Prescott / Shutterstock

Fun fact: part of Game of Thrones and Star Wars 8 was filmed in the city of Dubrovnik.

2. Portugal

You’ve probably heard of Spain, but do consider visiting the neighbouring country of Portugal.

The stunning capital city of Lisbon. Photo: Alamy
Hitch a ride on one of Lisbon’s picturesque trams and see the city. Photo: Alamy
Grab a bite of one of their famous Portugese egg tarts. Photo: Bon appetit

Portugal is steeped in history and culture (and good food!). Additionally, it’s relatively cheaper compared to many of its western European counterparts.

It’s also got some really lovely beaches you can check out!

3. Poland

There’s a lot to do in this vibrant country, and you can take your pick.

Picturesque cities like Kraków and Gdańsk vie with energetic Warsaw for your urban attention. Elsewhere, woods, rivers, lakes and hills beckon for some fresh-air fun.

Lonely Planet
Wawel Castle in Krakow is a pretty popular destination. Photo: Polish Tourism Organisation

And you’d be surprised at the amount of things you can eat, from pierogi to bagels (which were invented in Poland!)

Pierogi is a dumpling typically stuffed with fillings like potato or cheese. Photo: Epicurious

4. Luxembourg

Luxembourg is a pretty small landlocked country sandwiched between Belgium, France, and Germany. Its capital city was once a walled fortress, and even though most of the wall is in ruins now, the city is still incredibly beautiful.

Luxembourg City. Photo: Thinkstock

There are plenty of shops, ranging from high-end to small family-run shops nestled throughout the winding streets for you to explore!

5. Hungary

Hungary is incredibly beautiful. Its capital, Budapest, is full of things to do and see.

The thermal baths are a must-visit. There are multiple in the city of Budapest, and locals and tourists alike love soaking in the heated pools.

The Szechenyi Baths. Photo: Offbeat Budapest

There are also multiple attractions in the city, from museums to gorgeous architecture.

Photo: Airpano Budapest

So if you’re planning for your next trip abroad and have been dying to visit Europe (but don’t really want to visit super-popular places), these countries offer more unique experiences, and have just as much wealth in beauty and culture on offer!

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