Friday, May 29, 2020 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

Europe’s Best Hidden Gems

If you want to avoid overcrowded destinations and head to one of the best-kept secrets list among travelers, this list will deliver just that. Like other hot spots, these hidden gems offer some of the same quality as more well known places with the benefit to find solitude.

Meteora, Greece

Meteora and the surrounding area are perfect for all sorts of outdoor activities. From beautiful hikes to soft adventures or rock climbing. You can also visit the hermit caves and jail caves. If you like to explore the nearby towns on foot. Meteora is for you. The biggest and most visited monastery, in a glorious setting with fine views across the surrounding landscape, the Great Metéoron was founded by Athanasios the Meteorite in 1356 and enlarged in the second half of the 14th century. Warning, the museum does get very busy in peak season.
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Bonn, Germany

Follow the life of Beethoven and explore the Altstadt on these 90-minute English-language walking tours. Offers popular boat trips several times daily up the Rhine to destinations that include Königswinter. Bonn is said to be “The Gate to the Romantic Rhine”, and for all of these reasons it is for sure worth visiting this beautiful city. Traditional bars, breweries, wine taverns and restaurants with ethno food or sophisticated scenery places are waiting.
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The Cinque Terre, Italy

Historical and geomorphologic reasons have forbidden excessive housing development and the creation of major roadways. In the 5 towns along the coastline, vibrant colorful houses and old vineyards cling to steep terraces, fishing boats bob in harbors and trattorias turn out seafood delicacies along with the Liguria region’s famous sauce, pesto. If you’ve already done the hike and are looking for a picturesque place to relax in February, you might find the perfect room in the Cinque Terre when it’s not completely overrun.
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Monschau, Germany

Monschau must be really something when even we Germans vote it to the top of the must-see lists. Monschau is a delightful place nested in the hilly forests of the High Fens region. There is the Coffee Roasting Company of Wilhelm Maassen, where visitors have watched coffee roasting since 1862. You’ll also find a glassworks factory, a 19th century Mustard Mill, a Printing Museum, a Local History & Culture Museum. Monschau is no ordinary town, more a place of eternal beauty, grace, and charm.
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Santorini, Greece

Every tour I’ve taken on Santorini has been great and I’ve never had a bad experience. You must hike from Fira to Oia. The views are incredible. The hike takes somewhere between 2 and 5 hours depending on your speed. Don’t forget not to miss Perissa, the best swimming beach on Santorini. If the beaches is not your thing, be sure to explore the Santorini countryside. Nearby is the famous Red Beach below a spectacular red cliff wall. The beach is accessible along a path from the town of Akrotiri. It is generally marketed as a romantic destination – popular with honeymooners, couples, and celebrities.
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Cambridge, England

Cambridge, one of the best known of England’s universities, was founded in the mid-13th century and today boasts some 10,000 students. Bike tours are great way to see as much of the city as possible in a short period of time. You must have a pint of real ale in The Eagle pub. It’s amazing. From there, you can go and have a glass of wine at the roof top bar at The Varsity . Another place to visit is Kings College Chapel. This is open most days with access from the north door. It has the largest fan vault in the world and some of the finest medieval stained glass.
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Kotor, Montenegro

The Montenegrin town of Kotor came as a pleasant surprise. The old town of Kotor has a great number of monuments of the medieval architecture: churches, cathedrals, palaces, and museums. You can explore The Old Town. While in Kotor, your can visit the cathedral Sveti Tripun. This Roman Catholic cathedral is the largest and most beautiful structure in the area. You’ll find lots of pizza stops in places like the Old Town and Perast, and for cheap prices. The price drops dramatically when you’re away from the tourist hub. Kotor doesn’t have an airport but it is easy to drive there. The roads are well maintained and hug the coast at times. Relax and enjoy some beautiful views.
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Zadar, Croatia

Zadar is the second largest city in Dalmatia and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe. One of the best things Zadar has to offer is the sea organ. The magic that is the Sea Organ, known as the Morske orgulje in Croatian is mesmerizing. The city of Zadar is easy to reach by land, sea and air. It has a great traffic infrastructure throughout which it is directly connected to other bigger cities of the Republic of Croatia and Europe. You cant miss Kalelarga, also known as the Wide Street, is the main and most famous street in the city of Zadar.
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Bonifacio, Corse-du-Sud

Bonifacio, the city built on a cliff. The town, perched on a narrow promontory, overlooking the Mediterranean. Probably one if the coolest cities I’ve seen. After a 1000 years of development human structures start to take on the forms of nature. Bonifacio is a commune at the southern tip of the island of Corsica, in the Corse-du-Sud department of France. The port, typical, it attracts many visitors, making Bonifacio the most visited city in Corsica.
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Trieste, Italy

In a Quiet Corner of Italy… Trieste, the capital city of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region in northeast Italy. Trieste is a mysterious and puzzling place. The 13th-century Trieste Cathedral is constructed on the remains of a Roman structure from the 1st century A.D and it’s an absolute must see. There is also the largest square in the older part of Trieste is the Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia, facing onto the harbor. You can choose one of the many restaurants in Trieste and you can find some really really good ones, known for their fresh seafood. Don’t be afraid to ask a local.
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On this list, most are not often the go-to destinations for tourists which makes great for a relaxed, non overcrowded experience while still enjoying the excitement and the wilderness of these true amazing hidden gems.

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