Are you looking for some hidden gems in Europe to enhance your next trip abroad? We have done the research for you into off the beaten path locations in Europe, so you do not need to look any further!
Europe is a sprawling continent steeped in history and natural beauty. While there are many places tourists flock to, there are even more hidden gems in Europe to be discovered. If you are tired of the same old sights and crowds or want to gain a new perceptive on a certain country or city, then you should take time to visit some new and unique locations.
25 Magical Hidden Gems In Europe
Kizhi Island, Russia
Found in Lake Onega in the west of Russia, Kizhi Island is one of the hidden gems in Europe since it is far from typical tourist spots in Russia. The island can be reached from St. Petersburg by taking an overnight train.
The trip will be worth it, though, as you are greeted by unique, wooden, onion-domed churches dating from the 18th century. The preserved Church of the Transfiguration and the Church of the Intercession are UNESCO World Heritage sites. You will also be amazed by the Church of the Resurrection of Lazarus, which is the oldest wooden church in Russia.
Cima Cadin di San Lucano, Dolomites, Italy
Next, we move on to Italy, where you can find the Cima Cadin di San Lucano peak in the Dolomites mountain range in northern Italy. This craggy, 2,839-meter peak is one of the many hidden gems in Italy.
The Cima Cadin peak is just south of the more popular Tre Cime di Lavaredo peak and since it draws less crowds, you will have less people to avoid as you hike or pose for photos. With dramatic views and perfect photo backdrops, you really need to check out Cima Cadin di San Lucano while in the Dolomites.
Scola Tower, Porto Venere, Italy
Another of the hidden gems in Italy is located in Porto Venere, one of the beautiful Cinque Terre villages. Here, off the coast on a small island, you can find the Scola Tower, a 17th century military building that now stands in ruins.
To reach the tower, book a boat tour or hire a private boat to get you there. Spend your time on the island exploring the old fortress and enjoying the views of the bright blue water that surrounds it. And of course, take plenty of photos!
Blue Grotto, Capri, Italy
On the island of Capri in the Gulf of Naples, you can find the Blue Grotto, a magical cave where the water appears to glow neon blue. You simply must take a boat ride through the cave to fully appreciate it. In a wooden rowboat, you will need to lay down in order to clear the cave entrance, and then you will be able to relax in the blue-tinted darkness while your trusty skipper does all the work guiding the boat. You will feel as if you are floating through heaven as you rock gently back and forth while you listen to your skipper sing in Italian. This is one of the hidden gems in Europe great for adventurers.
Santuario Madonna Della Corona, Spiazzi, Italy
Italy is truly a country of hidden gems and yet another can be found just outside the city of Spiazzi, under an hour’s drive north of Verona. Here, you will find a church built onto the cliff side of Mount Baldo. Yes, you read that right! It might have been precarious to build, but Italian architects know how to go for the wow factor.
The Santuario Madonna Della Corona is a relatively simple looking church, but it is the location that blows this hidden gem in Europe out of the water. It has been tucked onto the mountain since 1530 and is a beautiful site to get views of the mountains.
Pilgrimage Church Maria Gern, Bavaria, Germany
If you are looking for hidden gems in Germany, you need to take a trip to the Pilgrimage Church Maria Gern in the town of Bavaria in the south of the country not far from the Austrian border. Nestled among rolling hills and with a dramatic mountain backdrop, this small, pink and white church is worthy of being on a postcard. This lovely church was built in 1709 and a better location could not have been chosen for it. When searching for the best angle to photograph the building, be careful not to trespass on any of the nearby private land.
Devil’s Bridge, Kromlau, Germany
The Devil’s Bridge, or Rakotzbrucke, in Kromlau is another of the hidden gems in Europe found in Germany, this time near the Polish border. The bridge dates back to the 1860s, and legend has it that the architect had to make a deal with the devil in order to build it.
The bridge is a great stop for photographers because when the water and lighting is right the curve of the bridge reflects in the water below to form a perfect circle. Whether you think it looks like something out of a fairy tale or an eerie ghost story, the Devil’s Bridge is worth a visit.
Bastei Bridge, Rathen, Germany
Another German bridge on our list is the Bastei Bridge in the small town of Rathen, about an hour’s drive from Dresden. This is a popular tourist spot due to its scenic views, hiking trails, and historic significance.
The current, 77-meter long bridge was built in 1851 and stretches through a collection of unique rock formations. If you like pretty views and walking through nature, this is one of the hidden gems in Europe to consider visiting.
Seegrotte, Hinterbruhl, Austria
Seegrotte is a cave system and grotto created from a flooded mine near Hinterbruhl, Austria and is not a hidden gem in Europe for the faint of heart. If you are not afraid of the dark or cramped areas, consider taking a boat tour of this historic and natural wonder.
If you are visiting Vienna, Seegrotte makes for a great day trip from the Austrian capital since it is not very far from the city. The Castle Liechtenstein is also right up the street, so you can visit both locations on the same day.
Saint Michael’s Mount, Cornwall, England
Saint Michael’s Mount in Cornwall in the south of England should not be confused with the famous Mont Saint Michel in France, though the two are very similar. Saint Michael’s Mount is a small tidal island that can be reached by a causeway when the tide is low or by boat if it’s not.
The island is home to a quaint village and is topped by a medieval castle. If you are in the area, Saint Michael’s Mount is a interesting and unique place to visit. Since it is Europe off the beaten path, you will not have to be shoulder-to-shoulder with other tourists.
Sky Garden, London, England
In the famous London skyscraper known as the Walkie Talkie you can find a modern, lush green space called the Sky Garden. With floor to ceiling glass walls and a cafe, the Sky Garden is the perfect place to get a gorgeous view of the city and a bite to eat. It is like a sky-high park perfect during all seasons and weather.
Also, did we mention it is free? Just make sure to book a time slot in advance because only a certain amount of people are allowed to visit each day. Visitors are allowed up to one hour to enjoy the cool atmosphere.
As Catedrais Beach, Galicia, Spain
The As Catedrais Beach on the northern coast of Spain is a one of the hidden gems of Europe perfect both for people who want to relax in the sun and sand or photographers who seek unique landscapes to capture.
Interestingly, As Catedrais Beach translates to “Beach of the Cathedrals”, which comes from the many amazing arch-shaped rock structures found there. It is truly one of the best beaches in Spain!
Because of the extreme popularity of this site, you must book a permit to visit if you come to the beach during peak season. However, the permit is free, just make sure to get it in advance! If possible, visit during low tide to get the best views of the arches.
Bohemian Switzerland National Park, Czech Republic
This Czech national park is one of the hidden gem in Europe for nature lovers. Spanning 31 square miles, this beautiful park is full of both natural and man made sights worth discovering. There are gorges, rock arches, and even castles to be found as you hike through this forested area.
Make sure to visit the Pravcicka Brana as well. With a height of 16 feet, this natural arch is the largest sandstone arch in Europe. Because of erosion, no one is allowed to walk on the arch anymore, but it is still a great thing to see in person.
Giethoorn is an adorable village that could be described as the Venice of the Netherlands. Like the Italian city, there are no roads here, but canals cut through the lush gardens and cute thatched houses and farms. When you visit, you need hop in a boat to truly appreciate the town.
If you join a tour group or rent a car, you can easily visit Giethoorn as a day trip from Amsterdam. Your fun day out will allow you to see the Dutch countryside away from the city as you enjoy one of the hidden gems in Europe.
Verdon Gorge, Provence, France
The deepest gorge in France is the Verdon Gorge, which can be found in the Verdon Natural Regional Park in the south of France, a little over two hour’s from Nice by car. This is another one of the secret places in Europe perfect for people who like to relax and enjoy natural wonders at the same time. To make the most of your visit to Verdon Gorge, rent a small boat and float leisurely through the gorgeous green water as you admire the surrounding cliffs and forest scenery.
Montmartre Vineyard, Paris, France
Hidden in plain sight just a few blocks from the Sacre-Coeur church in Paris, the Montmartre Vineyard is one of the tastier hidden gems in Europe. This small vineyard was planted in 1933 and the harvested grapes produce around 1,000 to 1,500 bottles of wine each year.
This cute and well placed vineyard is not open to the public except during October when there is an annual festival when the grapes are harvested. If you are in the city at the right time, try to visit this Paris hidden gem.
Another hidden gem in France is the clifftop village of Rocamadour in the Causses du Quercy Natural Regional Park. This scenic town is a great stop on a road trip of France, especially if you seek religious sights. This town is known from drawing in pilgrims from around the world who want to see the many religious buildings located there.
Even if you are not religious, Rocamadour is still one of the best hidden gems in Europe. The mountain views are awe-inspiring and the way the village is built up the cliff is both a photographer’s and architect’s dream.
Dunluce Castle, Northern Ireland
On the north coast of Northern Ireland is the picturesque, medieval Dunluce Castle sitting on a craggy clifftop overlooking the sea. Sounds like the quintessential Irish castle, right? This off the beaten path Europe location is not far from the popular Giant’s Causeway, so both could be visited in the same day. Whether you love Irish history or awesome photography opportunities, Dunluce Castle is sure to be a great stop on a road trip of Ireland. Also, if you are a Game of Thrones fan, you may recognize the castle from the show, so try to work it into a Game of Thrones filming locations itinerary.
Downpatrick Head, Ireland
Jutting into the Atlantic Ocean near Ballycastle, Ireland, is a short, very flat, and grassy peninsula with beautiful cliffs and cool rock formations poking out of the sea. These formations include sea stacks, which are comprised of layers of rock in different colors. Downpatrick Head is a worthy destination for people who love beautiful nature scenes, bird watching, or taking pictures of hidden gems in Ireland away from the crowds more popular locations draw. There are many churches and historical sites in the area as well if you want more to do on your trip.
Deck Of Cards Houses, Cobh, Ireland
If you are looking for super cute architecture, then look no further than the Deck Of Cards Houses in Cobh, Ireland. This series of brightly colored houses with St. Colman’s Cathedral standing tall in the background simply cries to be added to your Instagram feed. There is a small park near the houses that will give you the best views of the houses.
Cobh is in the south of Ireland and can be visited as a day trip from the larger city of Cork, which is only about a 45-minute drive away. Both cities are great stops on an Ireland road trip as well.
Church of St. Elizabeth, Bratislava, Slovakia
The Church of St. Elizabeth, or the Blue Church, is a secret place in Europe found in Bratislava, the capital of the Slovakia. This baby-blue, art nouveau style church is too cute to miss if you are in the area. It was built in the early 1900s and its tall clock tower along with its color helps the church to stand out among the surrounding buildings. Take time to stop by and snap a picture to add a pop of color to your vacation photo collection and be able to prove you saw another of the hidden gems of Europe.
Mulafossur Waterfall, Gasadalur, Faroe Islands
Mulafossur Waterfall in Gasadalur on the Faroe Islands has become a common photo goal, but due to its location is is still an off the beaten path spot in Europe. The Faroe Islands are halfway between Iceland and the United Kingdom and while it is starting to become a more popular tourist destination, it is not crowded with people.
The remote Mulafossur Waterfall could easily be called one of the best waterfalls in the world. The over 30-meter tall falls cascade into the ocean below with a rugged mountain in the far background. If you have the chance to visit the Faroe Islands, you have to see this natural wonder!
Studlagil Basalt Canyon, Iceland
Iceland is full of amazing landscapes and while there are a lot of highly visited ones, there are also a lot of hidden gems in Iceland. With amazing basalt columns and vividly colored water, Studlagil Basalt Canyon is drop dead gorgeous, but not as crowded by tourists as some of the other canyons in the country. Formed by the glacial river Jokulsa a Dal, the Studlagil Basalt Canyon is found in the east of Iceland and shows how mighty natural erosion can be. Check off this Europe hidden gem the next time you have a chance.
Mulagljufur Canyon, Iceland
Mulagljufur Canyon is another jaw-dropping canyon in Iceland you should stop by on your Iceland road trip. The canyon is just off the Ring Road, not far from many other notable locations, such as the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. Though it is barely off the beaten path, it is still one of the hidden gems in Europe.
The beautiful landscape of the Mulagljufur Canyon is made up of rugged, mossy cliffs and features a 100-foot waterfall as well. It is the perfect place to stop for a photo shoot.
Heimaey Stave Church, Westman Islands, Iceland
The last of the hidden gems in Europe on our list is the Heimaey Stave Church found on the Westman Islands of Iceland. This secret place can be reached by taking a ferry to the islands and is so worth the extra trip. The Heimaey Stave Church is one of the best churches in Iceland due to its uniqueness. It is the only completely black church in the country. The church was gifted to Iceland by Norway in 2000 to celebrate 1000 years of Christianity in Iceland. This moody location is super photogenic, so make sure to visit is if you can!
Now that you have an idea of some of the many hidden gems in Europe, you can be sure to visit a few the next time you get a chance. Europe is a continent full of secret places for those willing to explore a little off the beaten path. Taking time to see these sights will give you a better perspective of the world as well as creating more fun travel stories to share with your friends and family.