8 of Europe’s Best Kept Secrets: Discovering the Lesser Knowns

Updated On December 12, 2022
8 of Europe's Best Kept Secrets: Discovering the Lesser Knowns

Traveling is perhaps one of the most fruitful experiences.

For example, if you’re in Florida, you get to visit new places, experience new dishes, and explore new resorts in Orlando and other tourist spots like Disneyland. 

But when you look beyond the hotspots, you can truly experience the authenticity of a region.

Consider Europe, one of the most beautiful travel destinations.

Most travelers think Europe is just about France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Scandinavia.

But Europe has many lesser-known nations that deserve to be highlighted as well!

You should definitely visit these eight obscure European countries!

Off the Beaten Path: Exploring 8 Europe’s Lesser Known Nations

1. Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a nation in southeastern Europe on the Balkan Peninsula. Its landscape includes medieval villages, lakes, rivers, and the rocky Dinaric Alps.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is most remarkable for its East-meets-West atmosphere, which stems from its Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian past.

Apart from the small Neum, it lacks coastal towns but more than makes up for it with flowing rafting streams, waterfalls, and cheap skiing in its primarily mountainous terrain.

Don’t miss Mostar’s historic bridge, Sarajevo‘s lively city center, and the stunning northern region.

2. Lithuania

Lithuania, the southernmost of Europe’s Baltic nations, is a former Soviet bloc country bordered by Poland, Latvia, and Belarus.

Its capital, Vilnius, near the border with Belarus, is famous for its historic Old Town.

Kaunas, with its bright white churches, is another charming city formerly the country’s capital.

There is vibrant nightlife in Vilnius and along the coast, plenty of space for outdoor activities in the unspoiled national parks, and several good beaches, as well as a dramatic contrast between city life and rural poverty.

3. Macedonia

Macedonia is a landlocked Balkan country featuring mountains, lakes, and ancient towns built in Ottoman and European styles.

It is one of the most affordable European countries, with bedrooms starting at less than ten dollars per night.

Skopje, the capital, has a very high reputation in the nightlife scene. 

It is well-known for its large Old Bazaar neighborhood and old structures that have been converted into museums.

Ohrid is a southern city on the same-named lake, with a medieval townscape and a hilltop fortress.

Ohrid Bay is one of the country’s most attractive (and touristic) locations.

4. Kosovo

Once a war-torn country, that is now very peaceful.

Its existence, however, remains contentious because Serbia refuses to recognize its independence.

In contrast, the majority of the rest of the world does.

Pristina, the capital, may not have the finest reputation.

Still, there are many other things to see in the country, such as the 700-year-old Decani monastery. 

Another monastery worth seeing is the bright red orthodox monastery in Pec.

Rugova Gorge, a beautiful canyon with stunning vistas, is the most famous natural wonder.

5. Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein is another of Europe’s four micro-states that you’ve almost certainly never heard of.

It is a 25-kilometer-long German-speaking principality located bordering Austria and Switzerland

Liechtenstein is a dream come true for anyone who adores the Sound of Music and prefers to live in an Alps mountain village.

It’s famous for its medieval castles, alpine vistas, and communities connected by routes.

All you can and should do is marvel at the beauty around you.

6. Albania

Albania is located on the Balkans’ shoreline.

It is an unfamiliar destination for many individuals, but it does not have to be.

Albania is a lovely country with an intriguing history and culture that dates back thousands of years.

It’s a safe and inexpensive vacation, and with more airlines set to provide low-cost flights, it’s about to become significantly more accessible.

There are numerous castles and ancient sites around the country.

It’s widely recommended for its stunning, desolate beaches, meager travel prices, and friendly people.

It’s generally best to fly into Tirana and visit the beaches of Himara, Dhermi, and Ksamili.

7. Andorra

Andorra is a minor sovereign principality in the Pyrenees highlands between France and Spain.

This country is well-known for its ski resorts and tax-free status, which encourages duty-free shopping.

Its charming villages and hamlets, dotted along the main road that runs through the area, are replete with Romanesque churches and residences created in a distinct, regional style and maintained by the nation’s isolation. 

Meritxell Avenue in Andorra la Vella‘s capital boasts excellent boutiques, jewelers, and various retail centers.

Pal, a medieval town with an 11th-century church, is well worth a visit.

8. Estonia

Estonia is a Northern European country that surrounds the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland. Its diversified terrain includes rocky beaches, old-growth forests, and numerous lakes, with over 1,500 islands. It was once a part of the Soviet Union and is filled with castles, churches, and hilltop strongholds.

Estonia is geographically and historically comparable to Latvia and Lithuania, yet it is culturally separate.

Finland is its closest ethnic and linguistic neighbor.

Estonia is a relatively developed and prosperous country.

Tallinn‘s capital is undoubtedly not hard on the eyes, with its lovely medieval structures, but don’t forget to visit Lahemaa National Park and the university city Tartu as well.

To sum up, Europe is full of exciting and unique places to visit that are often overlooked in favor of the continent’s more famous destinations.

2 Comments on 8 of Europe’s Best Kept Secrets: Discovering the Lesser Knowns

  1. F
    Finnegan says:

    Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and add these eight European countries to your travel bucket list!

  2. b
    bentley says:

    Europe may be known for its popular countries, but there are hidden gems like Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lithuania, Macedonia, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Albania, Andorra, and Estonia that offer a rich cultural experience at an affordable price.

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