Find out what are the most beautiful places in Europe to visit in 2019. The New Year is approaching and you should be deciding on your next holiday. To get your hands on the earlier deals. Not everyone wants a holiday full of tourists everywhere you go. You can end up queuing for attractions and restaurants.
I have compiled the best-unseen places waiting for the crowds, with a helping a hand from 10 travel experts to share their hidden gems in Europe. Read about their first-hand experiences in parts of Europe that are not yet flooded with tourists. I am sure one of these places listed will shortly be your new favorite hotspot. In 2019 to visit. Find out the best holiday destinations to visit in Europe in 2019.
With the help of 10 of my fellow travel bloggers, I have listed the must-see European destinations in 2019. They are in no particular order.
1. Ljubljana, Slovenia
Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia is a relatively unknown destination compared to the other European capitals. The city is a mixture of different cultures as it is in the crossroads of the Germanic, Mediterranean, and the Slavic world.
Nowadays, Ljubljana is a bustling city offering its visitors a variety of attractions. The crown of Ljubljana is its castle sitting on top of a hill accessible by a funicular. The views from up there are majestic. Other points of interests in the city include the many bridges across the Ljubljanica river, the beautiful churches and especially St Nicholas Cathedral built in gothic style, the many art nouveau buildings, the beautiful town hall, the numerous museums, and the central market.
You can also spend the afternoon cruising down the river or people watching at one of the many cafes and restaurants along the banks of the river. I spent two days in Ljubljana and absolutely fell in love with its compact size and livens, it is a destination I would happily return in the future.
2. Budapest, Hungary
History. Architecture. Food. Wine. Spas. Affordable. If any of those are why you travel, then Budapest is a must see in Europe. Budapest has been inhabited since the Stone Age and has a deep and interesting history. It has three UNESCO World Heritage sites—the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrassy Avenue—though all three of these are really areas with many sites. You could spend days in the Buda Castle area alone. Roman, Turkish, Gothic architecture can be found all over the city. And, the Dohany Synagogue’s combination of Jewish, Moorish and Catholic elements is unique and tragic. The Holocaust Memorial and Shoes on the Danube are important and pay tribute to the lives lost.
Budapest is a destination for food and wine lovers. From Ruin Bars in the Jewish Quarter to 4 Michelin starred restaurants to Street food Karavan, Budapest is a great culinary experience. Don’t miss the Great Hall Market which has been in Budapest for 100 years and sells some of the best sausages you will ever taste. Hungary and Budapest are also famous for thermal baths. The Buda and Pest side of the city have spas that will have you feeling refreshed and pampered.
Lastly, Budapest is affordable and it is easily reached by air or bus. From Vienna, Budapest is a 2.5-hour train ride. London to Budapest is a short 2-hour flight. Numerous low-cost airline flies to Budapest. And, food and lodging are much cheaper than many European Cities. Budapest is rising on the tourism radar, so catch it now before it becomes overflowing.
3. Wrocław, Poland
This is one of the most beautiful places In Europes that you need to visit in 2019. When most think of traveling to Poland, the cities at the top of the must-see list are typically Warsaw and Krakow. A lesser known, but equally beautiful and charming town that you should consider adding to your Polish itinerary is Wrocław! As the fourth largest town in Poland, and considered by some as the ‘Venice of Poland’ (because the city is built between islands and connected by many bridges) it’s easy to see why the city is growing in popularity.
The most unique experience to enjoy here is a scavenger hunt around the city for gnomes – popular figurines placed through Wrocław. Many don’t know the history behind the figurines, which originated as anti-Soviet resistance symbols. The gnome population has since exploded, estimating that there are now hundreds of gnomes placed throughout the city. As you hunt around for gnomes, make sure to stop by the Old Town square (Rynek in Polish) for the heart of the city, known for its gothic architecture and colorful buildings. Around the square, make sure to also visit the Town Hall and St. Elizabeth’s church for beautiful panoramic city views.
Another perk of this city is that many of the main attractions can be easily explored by bike (the city is very bike friendly), tram or walking – just make sure they are cobblestone friendly shoes! Come for the gnomes, architecture, gardens and the history, but also make sure to stay for some perogies!
4. Leiden, Netherlands
Have you heard of “Leiden” before? Most people haven’t, but it’s one of the most historically significant cities in the Netherlands. Aside from being Rembrandt’s birthplace, it is known as the battleground for various sieges and attacks throughout history, including the siege of 1420 and the Dutch revolt against the Spanish in the 1570s. It is also famous for its Pilgrim settlement before they ventured over to the Americas.
The 1570s Dutch revolt was super important though, as Leiden now celebrates the victory annually in October. Leiden University, the oldest university in the Netherlands, was also a byproduct of the siege. William of Orange established it in 1575 to award the city for its resistance against the Spanish.
Aside from Dutch history, Leiden also has attractions celebrating the history of other countries, such as the National Museum of Antiquities (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden). The museum has tons of artwork from ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece. The city actually gives Amsterdam a run for its money. With a variety of cool museums, including the Naturalis Biodiversity Center and Leiden American Pilgrim Museum amongst many more.
The historic city center is also one of the best parts of the city. With cute canal homes, the ruins of a castle, unique city gates, and Dutch windmills, there is a lot to explore. The city center also hosts to the Leiden Market every Wednesday and Sunday, be sure to stop there for a quick bite!
Leiden is a unique city in its own rite and is often overshadowed by the more famous and touristy Amsterdam, but it’s well worth a visit in 2019!
5. Laxenburg, Austria
There are many places to visit in Austria, but one place to add to your bucket list is Laxenburg. Mother nature is starting to change clothes, the winds have been blowing cooler, the trees are slowly turning orange and yellow, and the sun sets a bit earlier. Have you considered where to go this autumn?
Austria’s towns and cities are equally beautiful this season, but Laxenburg, a town 20-30 minutes away from Vienna, takes the cake for being the most picturesque. Laxenburg is most famous for the Laxenburg Park/Castle Grounds which houses a number of castles and museums, a vast English park, ponds, and an island. It is an ideal destination for a day-trip from the Austrian capital if you want to get away from the busy city life and stretch your legs some more.
One of the more popular castles in the park is the Franzensburg, a moated castle on the island, and as an additional adventure while exploring the place can be reached through a ferry ride across. The Franzensburg also has a museum, dubbed as the “little” treasure house of Austria as it exhibits paintings of important painters, sculptures, interiors, and furniture, as well as weapons from the 12th to the 19th century. The life-size paintings and sculptures (some were made from marble) are really impressive and it somehow illustrates the lifestyles of the former Austrian rulers (in 30 rooms on two levels).
Old couple by the mini lake:
In summer, the park allows boat rentals paid by the hour (electric-powered, row, and paddle boats), it is a calming experience as swans and ducks would definitely swim along while you paddle around. There’s also a small area for horseback riding, a huge playground for younger kids, a lilliputian (miniature railway) to take you around if your feet get tired – the area can be wholly covered by walking. In winter, the lake gets frozen, so it’s possible to ice skate, too!
There are a number of restaurants and cafés in Laxenburg serving authentic Austrian dishes in a very traditional setting, but they’re not as expensive as those in Vienna. What you pay for 3€ worth of gelato in Vienna could only be priced 1€ in Laxenburg, a steal! Visiting Laxenburg is like having a vacation within a vacation, you can enjoy the peace and quiet while drinking in the beautiful scenery, it might inspire you to write a book as it did me.
6. Segovia, Spain
Segovia, in Spain, is a small city that lies close to my heart and one that could be a great shout if you are looking for somewhere a little out of the way, but not too far, packed with history and cool things to look at. The city is just a 45-minute high-speed train ride from Madrid in the foothills of the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains.
The iconic symbol of the city is the Aqueduct de Segovia, and when you lay eyes on it, you’ll understand why. Slicing through one of the towns main plazas. At its tallest, it stands 30 meters high and built with no concrete. A stunning feat of engineering. Aside from the aqueduct, Segovia is home to an impressive gothic cathedral.
The Segovia Alcazar, a castle that has never been defeated (quite a boast in Spain considering its history) Interestingly they also claim that the cylindrical towers were the inspiration behind Walt Disney’s fairytale castle (but then quite a lot of castles claim the same thing, so take that with a pinch of salt).
Finally, in case you need another reason, it wouldn’t be a Spanish town without an iconic food dish. Segovia is the home of cochinillo. Whole roasted, suckling pig cooked in a special coal oven. The locals take great pride in this dish, and after a quick taste, you’ll see why it’s delicious.
7. Northern Portugal
There are lots of places to visit in Portugal, but one place you must go to is the Northman part. Portugal is mostly known for its two biggest cities Lisbon and Porto and for its beaches with Algarve being the main holiday destination. Northern Portugal is overlooked by many tourists and it’s a real pity – there are many wonderful places to discover there.
We got a chance to explore that part of Portugal while walking the Coastal Route of the Portuguese Camino https://stingynomads.com/portuguese-coastal-camino-stages/ from Porto to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Why Northern Portugal is a must visit the place? First, because of its fantastic scenery – picturesque valley of the Douro River; beautiful coastline with many hidden beaches and cozy fishermen towns.
Second, because of the local people who are not spoiled by thousands of tourists like in more popular areas; here you get a very personal approach to be it a small local café or a hotel. Third, for those who like history, there are plenty of old towns with Roman bridges, gothic cathedrals and cobblestone streets to explore.
Forth, Northern Portugal is cheaper than the south. Everything from accommodation to Menu del Dia (a set meal) and a cup of coffee in restaurants costs less. There are many interesting places to visit in the region with the following highlights; the Douro Valley, Braga, Ponte de Lima, Viana do Castelo and Montanhas Mágicas.
8. Matala, Crete, Greece
Our vote for best unknown European destinations to put on your bucket list in 2019 goes to Matala. A tiny beach town on the southern side of the island of Crete. You can get to Matala by driving 3 hours from Heraklion, Crete’s capital and even this drive are magical. Taking you up through the mountains then down into a valley plateau of vineyards on the other side.
We found Matala to be magical for three main reasons. Firstly it’s two amazing beaches, a golden sand main beach and a red sand clothing-optional beach that is only accessible by a 1km hike down a steep cliff.
Secondly the main historical attraction the Roman Burial Caves which are hewn into the sandstone cliff bordering one edge of Matala’s main beach, and which you can climb all around in for only €3. A short drive away is the lesser known sister site to Knossos: Phaistos.
And finally, this tiny, walking-only town boasts vestiges of hippie culture, as it was a popular hippie haunt in the sixties and seventies. Joni Mitchell famously stayed here in 1971 and wrote a song about her time here! The town today retains a laidback feel, artisanal shopping and reggae tunes played in its bars at all hours.
9. Black Sea Coast, Turkey
Far from the all-night parties, bikini-clad women, and super yachts of the Mediterranean, Turkey’s Black Sea coast is one of the most enchanting secrets in Europe. Filled with stunning natural scenery it’s a wonderland just waiting to be discovered. And it’s the ideal destination for people who like to avoid the usual tourist traps
The Black Sea region is a fascinating part of Turkey with heaps of things to see and do. The most famous sight-seeing attraction is Sumela Monastery that seems to poke out of the sheer cliff face surrounding it. Less dramatic, but just as enchanting are the charming harbourside hamlets boasting ancient fortifications, deserted beaches and seaside villages.
For nature lovers, this is a real paradise with mountains, alpine pastures and glassy lakes surrounded by dense forests. The soaring mountains are a lush backdrop to the seaside villages speckled along their base. And the hinterland is home to some of the country’s most tantalizing and authentic villages.
People seem to be more relaxed in this part of Turkey, and you won’t find any hard-nosed carpet sellers here. Women keep an eye on soccer-playing kids. while the men till the fields and have endless conversations in the local tea house.
A journey along the Black Sea coast is a trip to one of the best European destinations you never knew existed. Find out what things to buy in turkey?
10. Lake Garda, Italy
Lake Garda is located in northern Italy, just a stone’s throw from the city of Verona. Lago di Garda is Italy’s largest lake, though it’s often overlooked in favor of the more popular Lake Como. Which sits about three hours to the west. The shores of Lake Garda are peppered with quaint villages—think cobblestone streets, narrow alleys with laundry hanging out to dry in the Italian sun, friendly locals, historic fortresses—and the views are stunning no matter which town you choose.
I’ve had the pleasure of spending long weekends at several different Lake Garda villages. It’s difficult to choose a favorite locale. The northern part of the lake is lush and mountainous; you might consider visiting Malcesine to hike up Monte Baldo for spectacular views over the lake and surrounding Italian Alps. Prefer a more Mediterranean feel to your lake experience? Head south to beautiful Sirmione. where you’ll find Roman ruins, thermal baths, and a medieval castle rising from translucent turquoise waters.
While Lake Garda lends itself nicely to relaxation, it’s also a paradise for outdoor activities. Kitesurfing, paragliding, hiking, cycling, sailing—you name it, you’ll find it here. I love a nice morning hike followed by the rest of the day spent lakeside, sipping Aperol spritz and watching passersby. If you are heading to Italy check out this Italy Itinerary.
Larger towns like Riva del Garda, Salò, and the lake’s namesake village, Garda, offer plentiful shopping opportunities from independent labels and name brands alike. You’ll find boutiques, art galleries, antique shops, and small markets in nearly all lake villages. Making the cliché statement “there’s something for everyone” especially true when it comes to Lake Garda.
The food scene, of course, is fantastic. Fresh, simple, regional dishes abound. Fish and vegetables [rightfully] tend to be the star of the show, but you’ll also find wonderful cheeses, charcuterie, pasta dishes, pizza, and certainly wine. If you’re familiar with Lugana, Valpolicella, or Amarone, then you’ve probably already heard of this lake. Well done!
Lake Garda is one of my favorite places anywhere in the world. I’m fortunate to live in southern Germany where a drive down to Garda only takes about six hours, and Catching my first glimpse of the lake through the mountains never gets old. This is truly a special destination, perfect for a memorable Italian experience without the crowds or checklist tourist sites. IS one of the many Italian lakes holidays. you need to go to.
Get the best Italy 10 Day Itinerary.
If you are going then find out what do for two weeks in Europe trip/
Please add your comments about what beautiful places in Europe you want to go and visit. Also if we left a place out. comment below why it should be added to the list.