When it comes to travel breaks, Europe is hugely diverse – in every corner lurks a culture to discover, a picturesque landscape to explore or a beautiful historical building to unearth. When it comes to deciding where to head to you might just be tempted just to stick with all the usual tourists haunts. Although if you’re looking for something a little under-the-radar, then these are some of best up and coming destinations in Europe you’d be foolish not to add to your 2017 travel list…
Malta, that tiny archipelago nestled in the central Mediterranean Sea (between Sicily and the North African coast) offers year-round sunshine, warm and clear blue seas, golden sands and a plethora of historical monuments so no wonder it’s increasing in popularity. You may or may not realise that Malta has a greater density of historic sites than any other country. Seriously, you are spoilt for choice here!
Whether you’re on the hunt for prehistoric temples or intriguing Medieval towns, this Southern European Island has something to suit all tastes. Thanks to its pristine seas, Malta is also the perfect place for a spot of diving, sailing yachting and snorkelling.
The beautiful Latvian capital is one of our favourite under-the-radar city destinations and is practically bursting at the seams with art, culture, an intriguing history and architectural splendour. In 2014, it was voted as a European Capital of Culture and the Old Town has a lovely atmosphere filled with quirky cafes and eateries, unique boutique shops and some lively but tasteful bars. The number of UK tourists visiting Riga shot up by almost 50% in 2014, and that number is sure to rise as more tourists discover what a fabulous city destination it is!
When travelling to Austria, Vienna will probably be on your hit list but the vibrant, cosmopolitan city of Graz, located just a few hours to the South-West, is a great alternative. This increasingly popular city perfectly combines traditional and modern features, ensuring there is something for everyone. Futuristic buildings sit alongside ancient clock towers and mausoleums, and you’ll probably never tire of getting lost in its maze of cobbled streets. Alternatively, opt for a European river cruise and hit many Austrian cities in one trip!
Estonia’s second-largest city is centred around university life. Although Tartu isn’t your typical student city. It’s home to the biggest science centre in the Baltic region, while its beautiful Old Town is packed with Medieval landmarks and awe-inspiring educational structures. Head for a cafe to sample traditional Estonian fayre or for those with darker tastes, visit KGB Museum to see how their prisoners were treated. The numbers of both domestic and foreign tourists increased from 2015 to 2016 so the city has an increasingly buzzing atmosphere.
With scorching sunshine, a cosmopolitan vibe and a fine array of historical monuments, Seville’s treasures are being discovered by more and more visitors. The compact cobbled streets hark at a time from centuries past, while the multitude of tapas and cocktail bars provide you with an authentic taste of Andalucian living – not much more you can ask for!
The buzzing student population really brings the Slovenian capital to life – especially at night. Despite a student-focused population, Ljubljana has managed to keep its wonderful charm, and the European Commission even awarded it the title of Green Capital of Europe 2016. This city may be compact, but it still definitely packs punch. Whether you’re sampling the city’s sights and sounds by strolling down the Ljubljanica River or kicking back and unwinding in one of its elegant parks, this unique city makes a fabulous, under-the-radar city destination for 2017!