Europe is a major summer destination for all types of travelers – from the history lovers, to the adventure junkies, to the culture and arts lovers. The only problem is that tourists tend to visit the same places over and over again, often not focusing on some of the lesser known attractions.
Europe is a treasure trove of cities and towns that exceed all expectations with their rich histories, their unparalleled sceneries, and the historical aspects of those places. That’s why in this article I wanted to focus on lesser popular destinations – these eight gorgeous destinations in Europe should definitely be added to your bucket list.
8 Gorgeous Destinations to Visit in Europe During The Summer
What makes Ginosa an incredible destination is the fact that it owes a lot of its gorgeous terrains to its geographical location and rich history. Ginosa sits on a beautiful terrain that cuts through the landscape making the historical and natural part of the town, making both history and nature intertwine together. You’ll be able to really feel the intensity of the Greek influences and even explore excavations that date back to the Bronze Age.
The city has a very distinct character today – from historical structures, to gorgeous sandy beaches! Make sure you check out the Peucetian Funerary Structure where you’ll find the oldest remains of human habitation in Ginosa, and the Troglodyte Village is a place where people back then cut their homes into the rock, turning them into an incredible scene of archeological mastery.
Another striking landmark is the Norman Castle with beautiful views of the surrounding ravines, and the Chiesa Matrice church which holds a special place in the history of Ginosa. Apart from the museums and the history, there is a great beach with long stretches of sand, colorful sunbeds, and plenty of chance to participate in some water sports. Find out more about Ginosa and the nearby towns in our post The Lesser known Puglia: What to See and Do in 4 days
Killarney in the UK is often under-looked when compared with giants like London and Dublin, but it’s one of the places you should visit in the UK! The enchanting islands are some of Ireland’s most scenic destinations – with gorgeous soaring mountains, a sense of mystique that permeates through the islands, and unparalleled scenery. Whether you want to spend your time taking part in the most quintessential Irish city or you want to explore the nature (including some mythical-inspired attractions) – Killarney pretty much has something from everyone. The first ever national park in Ireland is located there – so expect over 25,000 acres of incredible scenery that is suitable for all nature lovers out there.
It’s the ultimate place to ride a horse through the greenery, enjoy your time by the lake, take in panoramic vistas from Ladies Views and even kayak through the water surrounded by greenery.
Apart from the scenery, there are plenty of mansions to explore and of course…the lively evening pubs that are hard to compete with.
Fowey, Cornwall, United Kingdom
Fowey combines everything that is breathtaking together to create a unique travel destination. It has the medieval and Georgian buildings that act as backdrops to outstanding natural beauty and it has a very distinct history that is evident in its streets, shops and harbor.
You would definitely be spending your time there strolling through medieval castles, Edwardian houses, old sailing ships and much more.
For a bit of an oomph added to your trip, take a ferry all the way to Pulruan for gorgeous gardens backed by cliffs. If you don’t want to venture too far off, then St Fimbarras church ticks all the right boxes.
Matera, South Italy
Matera is a literal jewel in southern Italy that will make you feel like you’ve been transported right back into the Holy Land. The city has actually been named as the European capital of culture – and for good reason.
Ancient streets end in natural caves (that, may I add, date back to 7000 years ago) and the town has been the set for some of the best movie scenes from how beautiful it is.
You can go on two different tours – one that will take you through the Bari countryside where you’ll get to explore Alberobello and the canyon city of Matera together (book this tour here). You can also go on a tour that will take you through Sassi di Matera, the archeological wonder that has been beautifully adapted to the terrain. You’ll also get to explore the medieval part of town called Civita, or stop at the museum of Casa Grotta. Also check out our guide to One Day in Matera.
Melnik, Czech Republic
Melnik may be small but its backdrop is nothing short of magnificent. If you like some Czech homegrown wine, you will absolutely fall in love with this place. At the Melnik Chateau, which dates back to the 16th century you can visit an impressive 11th century wine cellar where you can savour a delightful Pinot Noir produced from 50 year old vines. In fact traces of wine making in Melnik go all the way to the 9th century.
Where else could you go for ubiquitous castles, gorgeous rivers that flow through rolling valleys, and original Gothic houses – all at the same time. If you visit Melnik, I recommend climbing up the Saints Peter and Paul church which has an observatory tower, the views from here are worth it.
Kutna Hora, Czech Republic
A medieval city that has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kutna Hora lures you in with its amalgamation of historical sights and wow factors.
Think medieval mines, patrician residences, and cathedrals with tall ceilings and giant frescoes that’ll make you stop in your tracks. Admire the crown jewel of Kutna Hora, St. Barbara’s Cathedral which welcomes you with its grandness upon arrival. It was built in the 1300 for the miners of the area.
The alley of remarkable Baroque statues, 13 sculptural groups depicting saints positioned on the wall is one of the highlights of Kutna Hora.
Here you will discover the Sedlec which is the oldest part of Kutna Hora and is home to some of the most important landmarks — one of which is the Cemetery church of All Saints with the Ossuary, one of the oldest holy fields in Central Europe.
Relics from the graves (over 40,000 people) where brought inside the church and are still here to this day. Learn more about this part of Czech Republic in this post: 4 day Central Bohemia Itinerary: The Castles of Czechia
One thing about Spain remains true – the country is filled with one surprise after the other. Segovia is something straight out of a fairytale (you’ll also see why in a second!). Nowhere else in Spain will you see such a nod to Roman grandeur effortlessly blending with Spanish history and architecture.
Art is also everywhere in Segovia – so far that Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty’s castle is a direct inspiration of Segovia’s Alcazar castle.
Who would have known? Segovia is warm, welcoming, set against warm hues and is filled to the brim with all sorts of attractions. From the Jewish quarter, to Alcazar, to the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo to the incredible food scene.
You can also go on a tour that combines both Toledo and Segovia together, so you can truly get a feel of all that Spain has to offer.
Sandham, Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden
My final recommendation for you is also one of the best. The island of Sandhamn is a town that literally buzzes with life.
At first, you’d think it’s just another idyllic village – but the peaceful natural state is contrasted with a vibrant party scene during the summer, war memorials and art galleries that’ll give you that perfect mixture of history and fun.
Find out more about this wonderful small settlement in the central-peripheral part of the Stockholm Archipelago: Sandhamn: The Island of Sand
Yes, there is London, Paris and Rome, and yes they’re great. But there’s always something innately wonderful about venturing off to off-the-radar destinations. We hope that these 8 Gorgeous Destinations will trigger your wanderlust.