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The best European under-the-radar destinations to travel to by road

With its uncrowded roads, pretty traditional towns and miles of unspoilt scenery, Europe is seemingly made for an incredible road trip. If you’ve already hit the continents’ major cities and tourist spots, here’s our collective favourite non-touristy travel destinations to explore by car instead…

The Auvergne, France


Unbelievably the whole of this region remains firmly under the average tourist’s radar. It’s a remarkable mountainous area with remote, wild and unspoiled rural landscapes punctured by The Allier River. Visit for extinct volcanoes, the deeply ravined Cantal mountains and the forest of spectacular darkly wooded pinnacles surrounding Le Puy.

Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain


The eternally sunny port city of Tarragona definitely should be receiving more attention than it’s currently receiving. Located on the Costa Dorada (Golden Coast), 60 miles southwest of Barcelona it’s a fascinating mix of relaxed Mediterranean beach life, Roman history and cobbled medieval alleyways. History fans will also love the wealth of Roman ruins, including a seaside amphitheatre.

Bergamo, Italy

Bergamo Italy

While most head for Rome, Venice or Milan there are many other beautiful and traditional places in Italy that are overlooked. Bergamo – located in Lombardy – is one of those places. Enjoying a privileged position overlooking the Bergamo Alps, the picturesque city is known for its fine dining, art, medieval Renaissance and baroque architecture as well as its breathtaking views.

Appenzell, Switzerland


One of Switzerland’s prettiest places this is where a traditional way of life still lives on – think cowbells, rural customs, and bell-shaped barns dotted all over the rolling pastures. Located 95km east of Zürich, the area offers excellent hiking opportunities, folk festivals and plenty of yodeling.

Heidelberg, Germany


One of the few German cities that wasn’t destroyed in World War II, but yet it remains a fairly undiscovered travel destination. Located on the River Neckar in south-west Germany it’s Old Town is a very pretty place with all the usual traditional German cliches of beer steins, cuckoo clocks and narrow cobblestone streets. Also, visit for the important historic sights; the medieval Old Bridge, Knight St. George House and the Heidelberg Castle.

Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled in Slovenia

Although this lovely place is becoming increasingly more popular with travellers in the know, it still has quite a way to go before it becomes a famous European beauty spot. It’s a picturesque, almost fairy-tale esque town in northwestern Slovenia’s most famous for its views of the lake. The beautiful lake has its own islet on which a small pretty church sits. Beyond it you can see the gothic Bled Castle that is perched on the cliff’s edge – perfect for photo opportunities.


Born in England, with a few family roots from Bavaria, and a heart in Scandinavia I've always been a bit of a restless soul. My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I've lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up over 40 countries on trips and living in Dublin, South East Asia and Australia. I'm a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, easy-on-the-eye travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds and all things Scandinavian - from cloudberry liquors to Scandi Noirs. When not wandering the world, you'll find me walking my rescue dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Laines on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about returning to my all time favourite places in the world; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Thailand and the frozen landscapes of a wintry Iceland. Follow Becky on Twitter and Google+.


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