Beyond such well-known places as the Eiffel Tower, the Roman Coliseum or the Parthenon in Greece, in Europe, there are still “secret” places that still have a little discretion, but have nothing to envy in beauty and history to the most visited. And it is that today, it is increasingly easy to find through travelers and social networks magical places that we never thought were so close to our adventurous spirit.
Whether you like daring places full of nature or remote villages with a special or romantic atmosphere, this list will complete (or even change) your next plans to go out to see some of the most beautiful places in Europe.
1. Algar de Benagil, Portugal
In the town of Benagil, the southernmost region of the Algarve and in an area of small coves washed by the waters of the Atlantic is this amazing cave that looks like something out of a dream.
Its only entrance is through the sea, it has a little beach inside of fine sand and as if that were not enough, its natural vaulted ceiling has a hole in the center where the sun and air enter. It also has a viewpoint at the top where people can walk and see the bottom of the cave
It is recommended to visit this cave from the closest beach in Algarve Whether by boat or by kayak as the waters are cold even in summer (but still swimmable), the perfect time is around noon, so that the light enters the “oracle” directly and warms the entire cave.
2. Pingvallavatn Lake, Iceland
Its name comes from the nearest city Þingvelli and from the suffix tan which means «water», which would be translated as Lake of Þingvelli, it is Iceland’s largest natural lake (84km²). Curiously, its waters come from the Langjokull glacier and end up joining the hot springs in Vellankatla.
The best activities are hiking along the slopes of the Hengill volcano, which is where the origin of the lake comes from, and scuba diving, being classified as one of the best places for professional diving through its tectonic plates, which divide the continents of America and Europe, and its 114 meters deep.
It is not for nothing that this place as a whole as Þingvelli National Park has been named a World Heritage Site, here is the perfect place to marvel at the Northern Lights that can be seen in the sky for much of the year, as well as the migrations of different birds.
3. Melissani Cave, Greece
Known as “The cave of the nymphs” because in Greek mythology it was said that these beings lived far from mortals in this cave that is in the Ionian Sea, precisely on the island of Kefalonia, near the Sami population.
Its salty waters have the characteristic of being turquoise, which with the combination of the sun, that the interior is painted in unique colors and you can also see it in depth with complete clarity.
Forget to Melissani Cave, it is necessary to take a small rowboat driven by a gondolier and you can visit other nearby caves, such as the Drogarati cave. Keep in mind that the price of the trip is around seven euros and in summer there is a lot of demand, however, once you are on the island, it would be a sin not to go and meet them.
4. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
This peculiar castle located in the Bavarian Alps was built by Ludwig II of Bavaria “The Mad King” Due to the dreamy and romantic way that prompted him to build another castle and a dream palace that is characterized by an architecture that more than being functional present whimsical and fantasy forms.
Neuschwanstein Castle It is one of the most important tourist attractions in Germany (approximately 1.4 million visitors a year and 6000 a day in summer), entrance tickets cost around 12 euros and are available in the town of Hohenschwangau, on the slopes of the castle mountain.
It is an excellent option to see the horizon from above, which also during a snowy season the exterior of the building looks spectacular.
5. Rio Tinto, Spain
Located in the province of Huelva, Andalusia, the reddish color of this particular river is due to a combination of heavy metals such as iron, copper, zinc, and arsenic together with little presence of oxygen and high levels of acidity reveal their original color. However, despite what many might believe, living things such as microbes, bacteria, fungi have been found inside, and even endemic flora species grow on the banks of the river.
Throughout its 100 km. long are tourist attractions such as the Rio Tinto Mines, where the Mining Park is located, which includes a museum and a railway that seems to come out of the past and that makes a tour of different tourist parts such as mines, hills, lakes, and houses from the Victorian era, its approximate price is from 11 to 18 euros depending on the package taken.
6. Garajonay National Park, Spain
This declared forest World Heritage Y Biosphere Reserve It is located far from the Iberian Peninsula, on the island of La Gomera in the Canary Islands and its name comes from an ancient legend of love and tragedy of an indigenous Guanche couple, Gara and Jonay, a princess from La Gomera and a young man from Tenerife.
The main forest of the park is formed by dense tree vegetation named laurel, which would come to be a «jungle of laurels». These species are considered a living fossil because they are the last subtropical forests that abounded in Europe millions of years ago. The flora and fauna of the park are quite diverse and more than 2000 species have been found with some significant number of endemic species unique to the island.
The visit of the Garajonay Park is free for all audiences and is equipped with trails, visitor information centers, viewpoints, recreational areas, rest and dining areas as this infrastructure is required for its more than 500,000 people who visit the site each year.
7. Svalbard, Norway
Its name means “cold coasts” and with good reason, because this archipelago it’s almost on the northern tip of the planet and here day and night only occur once a year, lasting six months each. The place is so huge (63,000 km) that in more than two thirds we can find glaciers, national reserves, bird sanctuaries, national parks and protected areas for environmental research.
As a curiosity, tell you that here is the World Seed Bank, a place where thousands of cultivated seeds are saved in the event of a global catastrophe. It is also good to know that on the island More polar bears live than humans.
In the past, it was used to hunt both land animals and whales and although it is now prohibited, outside the main populations it is mandatory to carry a weapon and know how to shoot it in case of an attack by polar bears and arctic foxes that sense the presence human in his sanctuary.
To get to this place it is necessary to take a flight from Oslo to Longyearbyen (the most important city in the archipelago) as well as carry your passport with you.
8. Tunnel of Love, Ukraine
As if from a fairy tale, very close to a town called Klevan, there is a railway from a wood factory that has shaped a peculiar tunnel from the plants that grow on the sides, giving an effect as if it had been made by man in its entirety but in a natural way.
Millions of couples visit this tunnel each year and there is never a legend that says that if you make a wish while going through the tunnel it will come true. At any time of the year, this place impresses, whether you want to see it in spring when the plants bloom or on a winter afternoon where everything is covered in snow, it is recommended to visit it around noon to better appreciate the depth from side to side of the tunnel.
9. Mont Saint Michel, France
On top of a rocky islet of the Normandy region, there is this imposing monument that was declared a World Heritage Site that receives more than three million tourists a year and is only three and a half hours from Paris.
To get to Mont Saint Michel, You must park a kilometer and a half away and from there take a free bus to get to the abbey where we will find inside passages and small alleys, as well as restaurants, shops, museums and of course the main monastery that at its tip that reaches 170 meters it rises a statue of the archangel Saint Michael to which the temple is dedicated.
Admission costs around nine euros and for citizens of the European Union under the age of 26 it is free, it is worth staying a long time to watch the tide rise and fall in the bay.
10. Hallstatt, Austria
Perhaps translated as “Place of salt” due to its proximity to salt mines and declared natural landscape World Heritage, in this small town that looks like a miniature, its buildings and streets create an experience like being in another era and time has not passed due to the good state of conservation.
No wonder that Hallstatt is continuously voted how one of the most beautiful towns in the world. The main attractions are the main square, the parish church, the Rudolf Tower, the Ossuary, etc. The town is located on the shores of Lake Hallstättersee in Austria and you can take a boat ride, fish, visit waterfalls, the mining area, and other nearby towns.
You can get there from Salzburg by car on the road or take the train and then take a ferry that takes you to the town, any time of the year is good to visit it but in winter the access is a little slower due to the snow.
11. Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland
Declared a World Heritage Site, this authentic underground city is one of the activities that’s up what to see very close to Krakow. Its tourist route extends more than three kilometers underground where we find active salt deposits, historical exhibitions, chapels, sculptures and bas-reliefs made of blocks of salt, an underground lake, a restaurant and a cathedral which is the main attraction, where even the chandeliers are sculpted in salt.
The descent is somewhat heavy since they are approximately 300 meters on steps and the entire visit lasts about two hours when climbing many people gather but with a little patience it will be worth the whole tour.
The entrance costs (84 zlotys, about 21 euros) and can be reached here through a tour with a guide, bus, train or own car, it should be noted that the price for taking photos is ten zlotys.
12. Giants Causeway, Ireland
On the north coast of Ireland, you will find this wonder of nature sculpted by the contact of lava with ocean water. Legend has it that the road was created by 2 rival giants to pass over the columns and fight each other. The area has more than 40,000 basalt columns They have a curious hexagonal shape located on different levels. forming steps naturally. The area was declared a World Heritage Site in 1986.
The place is about two hours from Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland. Upon arrival in the area, you have a paid parking (almost always full) and from there you can make the visit on foot. The most recommended to visit it in summer because the weather in other seasons is cold and very windy that does not allow you to fully enjoy the road and the views from cliffs near it.
13. Trolltunga, Norway
Few places in the world can be found so impressive, remote and dangerous at the same time, such as the case of Trolltunga (or the language of the Troll,) because this pointed rock protrudes 700 meters horizontally of a 1,100-meter high mountain which generates a feeling of being in the middle of nowhere, it also gives us a magnificent view of the valley where Lake Ringedalsvatnet rests.
Perfect for vertigo lovers and definitely not recommended for those who suffer from the heart, as someone has already lost their life when falling to the precipice, so it is mandatory to take extreme precautions and wear good footwear, warm clothes and a lot of energy since the route is almost 20 km. there and back and takes about 9 hours, it is recommended to go in the morning by car to leave it as close as possible and from there to start walking up.
14. Lofoten, Norway
Although these islands are at the top of the arctic circle its climate is relatively mild during most of the year due to the Gulf Stream, but in winter the snow covers the mountains leaving a spectacular panorama.
This archipelago offers various activities such as sport fishing where you can fish cod to later dry it and eat it; surfing on its long beaches, kayak tour the fjords, climb in its majestic mountains or simply be fascinated and take pictures of its landscapes, seabirds, otters and even moose, here too you can see the northern lights between the months of September to April.
They can be easily reached by sea via boat or ferry; By air, either by plane or by land by bus or private car, the latter is recommended because all the islands have a connection of underwater bridges and tunnels to each other and it is worth traveling to know the picturesque fishing villages.
15. Peterhof Palace, Russia
Half an hour from Saint Petersburg and right on the coast of the Finnish Gulf is the Peterhof Palace, which together with its outdoor garden, has been declared a World Heritage Site. The beauty of this ancient tsar residence is such that they have even compared it to the Palace of Versailles. The exterior architecture of the palace stands out for its baroque and neoclassical style, on the inside its rooms and corridors speak only of the excessive luxury that distinguished the tsars of the time
Animals such as squirrels, ducks, butterflies, and bees can be seen among the plants and flowers of different species and colors throughout the garden where they can also be seen more than twenty fountains and waterfalls that impress due to the creativity with which they were built, some with statues of gold, others with an impressive design that plays with the rays of the sun and water creating interesting and unique effects.
16. Kotor, Montenegro
Known as Montenegro’s best secret, this medieval city a World Heritage Site is surrounded by walls that were built 1500 years ago and are still standing, in addition to guarding a beautiful bay with beautiful natural features such as beaches, mountains, and cliffs.
Among the attractions of Kotor are the small port, its cathedrals, its picturesque streets, houses of Gothic architecture, palaces or the main square. It is a perfect place for those who like to spend a moment of rest enjoying the good Mediterranean climate and good food with a clear influence from Italy, Hungary, and Turkey.
You can get here from different European airports that offer flights to Tivat Airport, which is five minutes from the city, or by car via the highway and different available roads.
17. Nördlindgen, Germany
This peculiar town built in the middle of a crater meteorite in German Bavaria and its circular shape can be seen from the sky, its red-roofed houses and medieval architecture, as well as picturesque streets enclosed in a walled system with defense towers, give the impression of being in another time.
It is a calm place that can be known entirely on foot. Among its attractions are the Church of San Jorge with its 90-meter high tower, small squares with bars, cafes and desserts originated from the town in the form of a meteorite,
As an interesting fact, many of its buildings are made of stones with small fragments of diamonds They were created at the moment of impact, in addition to the fact that the facades of the houses are in such perfect condition that some scenes from the movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” were recorded here.
18. Geysir & Strokkur, Iceland
Geysir is considered the father of the geysers for being the oldest known and the one that expels the highest water in the world, so much so that even this natural phenomenon earns its name because of him.
Both Geysir and another called Strokkur that exposes water every five minutes are in the same geothermal area in the Haukadalur valley, Iceland. Currently, due to some soulless tourists throwing objects inside, the only asset is the Strokkur.
To get here you can take a guided bus tour from Reyjavik or by car from anywhere in the country. It should be noted that the site has a small hotel as well as parking lots, a restaurant, a café, bathrooms, and a gift shop as well as hot springs and streams nearby.
It is recommended to go by day to take advantage of the sun’s rays and take stunning photos with rainbow effects.
19. Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Iceland
Of all the waterfalls we can find in Iceland, this is surely the most spectacular Due to its sixty meters of fall and a circular path that allows you to walk and see it from all sides and even from the internal part of the cavern where the water comes out, causing a rainbow effect if the sun’s rays hit from the front or a veil effect bridal, because you can see the width of the white fall of the choppy water, not to mention an endless and peaceful sound of it.
It is reached by car through Highway 1, access is free and it has parking that is a few meters walk from the attraction, it is recommended to visit it in the morning to have time to go around before more tourists arrive.
20. Ivanovo Rock Churches, Bulgaria
This attraction is a set of cells, churches, chapels, and monasteries that were carved out of the rock about the year 1320, although currently many of these buildings are no longer present.
In the interior of these churches between passageways and wooden stairs frescoes and ancient medieval inscriptions from the 1200s and 1300s can be found in several of its churches so this place becomes interesting for people interested in sacred art mainly. The place has balconies from where you can see the nearby depressions.
They are located 16 kilometers from the town of Ivanovo and you can park your car when you reach the foot of the cliffs, there is a place to buy brochures and detailed information about the place, which is also World Heritage Site since 1979 by UNESCO.
21. Meteora Monasteries, Greece
Translated into Spanish they would be the «Monasteries suspended in the air or in the sky» and as its name says, it refers to the great height (600 meters) in which these structures are found.
Built on boulders so incredibly that it seems that the monastery and the stone are part of a single piece so it is not surprising that this attraction deserves the appointment of World Heritage Site.
The cost to enter the place is three euros and it is recommended to take a 17-kilometer guided circuit tour from the city of Kalambaka. Inside these monasteries, we find rooms with ancient skulls, large wooden barrels. In addition to monks who move between these buildings and a somewhat rudimentary but impressive cable car to see.
22. Santorini, Greece
This Greek island is listed as one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean and it is not for less, because it’s famous panoramic dotted with blue and white of many of its buildings and houses make a perfect combination with the blue water of the bay.
Here you can do everything, sunbathe on its black volcanic sand beaches, visit villas, stay in small charming hotels, go out and taste the Greek gastronomy, have a good wine or simply walk through the picturesque streets of the island’s villages.
Every year millions of tourists come from all over the world looking for a moment of relaxation and adventure because you can also dive, fish or kayak.
It is an unmissable place and perfect for a honeymoon previously planned because the costs of any service are very high although first-rate and that will surely be worth it.
24. Cinque Terre, Italy
It is not so difficult to decipher the meaning of its name and it is that in this place we find five wonderful towns: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, each with a special charm and incomparable from the others.
Multicolored houses, local boats and luxurious yachts floating in its blue waters, fine sandy beaches, small squares with colorful cafes and umbrellas, mountains, cliffs and millions of tourists is what characterizes the Cinque Terre of Italian Tuscany.
In fact, This destination is so popular that the Government of Italy decided to limit the entry of tourists. only one and a half million per year with the reason for returning the tranquility and traditions that were being threatened. It was not for less than this attraction was part of the list for being a World Heritage Site.
24. Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
East National Park declared a World Heritage Site It is the most important in all of Croatia as no other is compared in beauty or in the number of attractions it has.
Here we find waterfalls, waterfalls, lakes, streams, and streams, all-natural and with the peculiar characteristic of presenting a turquoise color in the water that is what most captivates visitors as it allows them to observe the bottom of the lakes, something very difficult to find everywhere. In addition, the park is rich in wild flora and fauna, since here it is home to firs, beech and pine trees as well as animals like brown bear, owl, wildcat, lynx among others.
The cost to enter varies by season but is between 15 and 25 euros approximately, it is worth arriving early or even camping the night before to take advantage of each of its attractions throughout the day because the park is immense and its time to closure is at sunset.
25. Timanfaya, Spain
Located in the island of Lanzarote of the Canary Islands, this beautiful geological national park is distinguished by having around 25 volcanoes, many of them inactive and others of low activity but that still make an impression, because you can feel the heat emanating from the depths of the earth and that even the people of the place takes advantage of it to make barbecues and roast meat.
Before reaching the entrance of the Timanfaya Park you can take a ride on a dromedary and once inside, you can do a guided tour by bus for nine euros, the latter highly recommended as it lasts relatively little and its guides make it interesting since they play adventure music and explain in a fun way while touring between volcanoes, fine sands, fumaroles and reddish colors that seem from another planet to finally reach an area where you can see a geyser expel pressure jets of hot water.
26. Quinta da Regaleira, Portugal
This place is also known as Palacio da Regaleira and inside it has beautiful natural and man-made attractions that have led it to be named a World Heritage Site, which has increased its popularity and with this, its number of tourists per year.
For only six euros you will be able to get to know a forest that at first is as well cared for as a garden but as it moves away from the farm its vegetation and foliage become wilder; a deep well that was used for Masonic initiation rites; spiral staircases, grottos, ponds, caves, towers, fountains, stone sculptures, passageways and everything with an artistic or mystical touch given by its spiritual architect Luigi Manini.
To get to this place only it is necessary to move from Lisbon to the center of Sintra, park your car and start walking up the hill where this majestic place is located.
27. Alhambra, Spain
We talk about one of the most beautiful monuments in the world. Its name comes from the Arabic and means “Red fortress” and it is precisely this place in its time was one of the most important military centers of Granada, its walled system that seals the entire city, watchtowers, access gates, parade ground, and the palaces pose on the hill of Sabika offering an important strategic point and an incomparable view of everything around.
It is the only existing Andalusian palatial city in the Islamic world which is in good condition thanks to its constant use through time and this can be seen in its walls, columns, ceilings, floors, gardens, rooms, and sculptures that are finished with textures and lattices so meticulously elaborated and with materials so precious that can only be fit for a king.
The most striking is the Nasrid Palaces, the residence of the Kings of Granada and built between the 13th and 14th centuries by the Hispano-Arab governors of Al-Andalus.
Not for nothing, this place has been declared a World Heritage Site and It is one of the most visited attractions in all of Spain with more than two million people a year. The entrance price is fifteen euros and it is recommended to book in advance.
28. Castellfollit de la Roca, Spain
Perched on the edge of high basalt columns at the foot of impressive cliffs is this peculiar town of Girona with one of the best panoramic views in Europe.
The basalt cliff has an average height of about 50 meters, almost a kilometer long and the Fluvià river descends calmly at its base.
In Castellfollit de la Roca we find old buildings that are still standing and that give evidence of the resistance of the volcanic stone over time as the Church-museum of San Salvador, where there are a privileged viewpoint and the houses that its inhabitants have built for centuries.
You can walk between squares and narrow streets of medieval origin and spend the afternoon discovering the nature of the green nearby panorama. Access to the place is completely free and can be reached by car from practically any part of Catalonia, deviating a little along the road that connects Olot and Girona.
29. North Cape, Norway
This promontory or cliff is at the foot of the sea from one of the northernmost points of Europe. Here the cold waters of the Arctic Ocean and the Atlantic meet and the sun sets once a year during the months of May, June, and July.
The place is imposing, the natural beauty of the North Cape It is discovered by observing how well maintained it is since it is a sanctuary for many species of migratory birds as well as marine animals. Possible activities include the dog sled ride, the fishing of exotic but rich crabs or the snowmobile excursions or walking to the different points of this Cape to appreciate the cliffs.
It is worth mentioning that northern lights (between autumn and spring) the midnight sun (in summer) They are one of the main attractions for tourists. Getting to the North Cape is not easy and the cost of a trip to Norway is not usually exactly cheap.