14 Gorgeous European Towns You (Probably) Haven’t Heard Of

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Visit the little Norwegian town of Bergen for some breathtaking Insta-worthy views.

Europe is home to some of the world’s most beautiful destinations and most happening hotspots. Everyone wants to visit oh-so-popular sites like London’s Big Ben, Paris’ Eiffel Tower, or the Leaning Tower of Pisa. However, Europe has so much more to offer than the handful of places that we see in popular culture on a regular basis.

We scoured the Old Continent and found a few absolutely gorgeous places that you should plan to visit next time you head out on a Euro trip. These offbeat destinations will not only help you discover a side of Europe that you have not seen before but they will also provide you with an authentic taste of local culture.

1. Bergen, Norway

Sergey Norin / Flickr

Juan Antonio Segal / Flickr

TimOve / Flickr

Located in the mountains of southwest Norway, Bergen is the Scandinavian escape you’ve been dreaming of. A perfect balance between city and mountain life makes Bergen an optimal European destination. For dazzling views of Norway’s landscape, take a cruise around the famous fjords or hike in the surrounding mountains.

For delicious dinner options and for some much-needed shopping, head over to Bryggen, Bergen’s historic wharf. The city hosts numerous events throughout the year. The most popular ones include the Bergen International Festival taking place in October and music lovers’ favorite Bergenfest that takes place in June.

To visit Bergen, take a bus to Oslo and then choose from a variety of tours that run between the two cities.

2. Hallstatt, Austria

Jiuguang Wang / Flickr

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Pixabay

A fairytale has come to life in the mountains of Austria. This small village, seemingly thought up by Walt Disney himself, radiates charm.

The town boasts spectacular views from the shores of Hallstätter See to the Welternenlick Skywalk. Disconnect from any communication devices you might have while exploring this Austrian hideaway and you will feel like you will never want to leave.

You can easily reach Hallstatt by taking a local bus from Salzburg.

3. Odense, Denmark

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Nigel Swales / Flickr

Two hours east of the hustle and bustle of Copenhagen is one of Denmark’s smaller cities, Odense. Among other things, here you can take a trip down memory lane into your childhood by visiting the home and museum of Odense’s native Hans Christian Andersen.

The city’s most popular attraction, Egeskov Castle, is one of Europe’s best maintained estates. Visitors can tour it’s spectacular halls and gardens, and maybe catch one of the dozens of events the castle hosts each year.

You can use Wanderu to book your ticket to Odense.

4. Colmar, France

Kiefer / Flickr

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This little town in France is an offbeat European destination you’ll be glad you visited. Known as Little Venice, Colmar will capture your heart with its broad canals, colorful houses and blooming flowers.

Whether you plan to catch a boat ride on the canal in the summer or visit the Christmas markets in Old Town during the winter, this truly charming town should be at the top of your bucket list.

The best part is that there are many affordable bus options that will take you to Colmar.

5. Annecy, France

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JohnPickenPhoto / Flickr

Troels Fiig / Flickr

Guilheim Vellut / Flickr

Annecy is a lakeside French town you may not have known about but one that should definitely be a pin on your map. A perfect spot year-round, Annecy mountains serve as hiking trails in the summer and beautiful ski trails in the winter.

Annecy also rivals Venice with its old town, La Vieille Ville, featuring a canal lined with bars, shops and pastel-painted houses.

Annecy is easily accessible by bus from Barcelona, Spain and Gliwice, Poland.

6. Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

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Nikola Atanasov / Flickr

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is the perfect winter getaway. These Bavarian towns turned ski resort and site of the 1936 Winter Olympics appeal to ski lovers of all ages.

Use your time while you’re in town to climb up Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany. Just imagine the views from up there. You don’t even have to go all the way up to take in and enjoy the breathtaking natural landscapes that will be revealed to you. Additionally, Aiplspitz and Wank Mountains have some of the best skiing and hiking trails in the country, so if you’re an outdoors lover, this is definitely a must-visit area.

Using Wanderu, you can book a bus ticket to get to the winter wonderland that is Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

7. Kotor, Montenegro

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Sitting on the shores of the Gulf of Kotor, this Balkan town is a great vacation spot. You’ll never grow bored with water sports in the Bay of Kotor and walking tours through the Old City. This is the perfect summer vacation you’ve been waiting for!

You can book a bus to Kotor, Montenegro and explore the town firsthand.

8. Verona, Italy

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Romeo! Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo! This Italian town featured in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet may not be as popular as Florence or Rome but it should be. If you’re looking to learn some Italian history, take a walk through the city’s medieval old town. After that, you can spend the rest of the day swimming and sailing at Lake Garda, the largest in Italy.

You can book a trip to Verona from various places in Italy and throughout the rest of Europe.

9. Lake Bled, Slovenia

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If this oasis wasn’t already #1 on your bucket list, it is now. Surrounded by the most beautiful scenery in Europe, you can spend the day swimming, boating and exploring the island in Lake Bled.

If you’re like us and can not wait to get to Lake Bled, book your tickets today!

10. Lorch, Germany

Mark Strobl / Flickr

Robert Brands / Flickr

Win_Photography / Flickr

If you’re a wine-o and love the charm of small towns, don’t pass up the opportunity to check out Lorch, Germany. Visitors can explore dozens of world class vineyards and castles scattered throughout the Rheingau wine region. Nearly one hundred hikes in and around Lorch offer some of the most beautiful and peaceful views in Germany.

As always, you can use Wanderu to book your bus tickets to Lorch for your Riesling-filled vacation.

11. Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

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We’re willing to bet that the first place anyone thinks of when they heart Czech Republic is Prague. However, while significantly smaller, Český Krumlov rivals the capital as the must-see destination in the Czech Republic.

The city exudes character with its towering castle, while the medieval architecture and cobblestone streets encapture the rich history of this Eastern European nation.

On Wanderu, you can find bus trips to Český Krumlov from Berlin, Paris, Vienna and many other places!

12. Poznán, Poland

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arturatur / Flickr

Only three hours from Berlin and Warsaw, Poznán is a stop you’ll want to make on any Euro trip. Lined with bustling restaurants and bars, Old Market Square is the root of the city’s lively atmosphere.

Tall monuments, breathtaking cathedrals, and sprawling museums offer a glimpse into Poznán’s past and why it’s one of the most historic sites in Poland.

Book your tickets to Poznán to explore one of Europe’s best kept secrets.

13. Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

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Flavio Ensiki / Flickr

Luxembourg’s capital city seamlessly combines old and new. Its Old City encapsulates centuries of history while new, modern architecture ties it to the 21st century.

Luxembourg City is built around the Alzette and Pétrusse rivers, creating a unique landscape that adds to its eclectic ambiance.  

You can use Wanderu to book your bus or train tickets to Luxembourg City for an unforgettable trip.

14. Appenzell, Switzerland

Peter / Flickr

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Surrounded by rolling hills, Appenzell is a stunning Swiss town that serves hikers in the summer and skiers in the winter. The Appenzell Bahnen scenic railway provides transportation to surrounding towns.

A highlight of visiting Appenzell is venturing to the Berggasthaus Aescher – Wildkirchli, a restaurant built into the side of a mountain. Visitors must take a cable car and hike to the entrance – talk about earning what you eat! The stunning views and once-in-a-lifetime experience make this meal unforgettable, though.

To get there, take a bus to Zurich and then book a guided tour to Appenzell.

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About the author
Abigail Flavin

Abigail Flavin

As a university student, Abigail has seldom found herself in the same place for too long. Growing up in a small town, she takes advantage of any and all opportunities to travel. Having already explored parts of Europe and the Southeast Pacific, the next adventure is right around the corner.
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