ADVERTISEMENT

‘The perfect place to unwind’: Travellers recommend their favourite uncrowded destinations in Europe

You might not get to see iconic landmarks or eat in raved-about restaurants, but you’ll find space, peace and a few surprises.
You might not get to see iconic landmarks or eat in raved-about restaurants, but you’ll find space, peace and a few surprises. Copyright Christian Burri
Copyright Christian Burri
By Rebecca Ann Hughes
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button

You might not get to see iconic landmarks or eat in raved-about restaurants, but you’ll find space, peace and a few surprises.

ADVERTISEMENT

Destinations across Europe are battling overtourism - visit Venice and you’ll have to pay an entry fee, book for Amsterdam and you’ll be asked to take a quiz about your holiday activities, head to the Canary Islands and you might see graffiti telling tourists to go home.

It’s no surprise then that many travellers are seeking out lesser-trod alternatives away from the crowds.

You might not get to see iconic landmarks or eat in raved-about restaurants, but you’ll find space, peace, lower prices and a few surprises.

Here are the best places for escaping the crowds, according to users of Reddit’s travel forum.

Greek islands: Discover the secret to a long life on Ikaria

If you’re not keen on becoming part of the selfie-stick-waving, sunset-seeking two million that visit Santorini and Mykonos each year, there is no shortage of alternatives.

There are dozens of Greek islands that see far fewer tourist arrivals but still offer the holy trinity of whitewashed buildings, beaches and clear water.

For one commenter on r/travel, Ikaria should be on your radar.

The Aegean island is also one of the world’s exclusive Blue Zones where one in three residents make it into their 90s.
The Aegean island is also one of the world’s exclusive Blue Zones where one in three residents make it into their 90s.Vasiliki Theodoridou

“Gorgeous landscape in a wild, rugged kind of way though there are still some beautiful beaches, incredible uncrowded hot springs too,” says the user.

The Aegean island is also one of the world’s exclusive Blue Zones where one in three residents make it into their 90s.

Follow the locals and indulge in a Mediterranean diet of fresh fish, vegetables and beans washed down with a glass of local goat’s milk. Check out more Greek islands for foodies.

Don’t forget the Greek mainland has plenty of beautiful beaches, less crowds and friendly locals. Read our full guide to the Greek mainland.

England: Explore untamed nature in North Devon

Cornwall on England’s southwestern tip is struggling with unsustainable tourist numbers bringing parking problems, environmental damage and pressure on the area’s infrastructure.

But head a little further north along the peninsula and you arrive in North Devon, another coastal beauty with far fewer visitors.

North Devon is another coastal beauty with far fewer visitors.
North Devon is another coastal beauty with far fewer visitors.Veronica White

“It’s quite isolated and doesn’t have good transport connections to the rest of the region, let alone the country,” says one Redditor.

“But that’s part of what makes it beautiful. The coastline has some enormous cliffs and heights, as well as pristine beaches, lush woodland and valleys. It’s like the Oregon of the UK.”

If you’re looking for a luxury stay, the award-winning Watersmeet Hotel is famous for its spectacular views of the rugged coastline and easy access to renowned surf spot Woolacombe.

Czechia: Swap tourist-flooded Prague for Brno

Plagued by rowdy tourism, a district in Prague has recently suggested it might bring in a ban on inappropriate stag and hen party costumes.

So leave behind the drunken revellers in the capital and explore Czechia’s more serene second city Brno.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It’s the quaintest, most charming little city with lots of cheap but very good cafes and restaurants - the perfect place to unwind,” says one commenter.

So leave behind the drunken revellers in the capital and explore Czechia’s more serene second city Brno.
So leave behind the drunken revellers in the capital and explore Czechia’s more serene second city Brno.Laura

“It’s not on most tourists’ radar (everyone goes to Prague) and I hope it stays that way.”

You’ll find an architectural cornucopia of lavish Austro-Hungarian palaces, pastel-painted townhouses and the medieval Špilberk Castle.

Albania: Go hiking in the remote Theth Valley

Albania’s coastline has been gaining popularity as a cheaper alternative to Croatia, but its northern mountain ranges remain relatively under the radar.

Deep in the so-called Accursed Mountains are walking routes that take you through soaring rock formations, flora-filled forests and remote villages.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The Theth Valley was jaw-dropping amazing scenery, crystal blue rivers and beautiful mountains,” says one Redditor.

Deep in the so-called Accursed Mountains are walking routes that take you through soaring rock formations, flora-filled forests and remote villages.
Deep in the so-called Accursed Mountains are walking routes that take you through soaring rock formations, flora-filled forests and remote villages.Linda Gerbec

“Great food and kind, welcoming locals, and very few tourists. One-of-a-kind destination and I would recommend visiting before it gets super popular.”

Read our full guide for how to hike the Valbona to Theth hiking route.

Share this articleComments

You might also like