While many traditional sites are struggling with overtourism, Lonely Planet has focused on lesser-known but equally beautiful locations in Europe
Europe is an unlimited source of discovery and it would take a few lives to experience everything the continent has to offer. But while certain destinations are so over-explored that tourism destroys them, other locations remain untouched.
“There is growing concern over the increase in tourism to popular European destinations, particularly over the busy summer months, so with this list, we wanted to show that there are a wealth of incredible alternatives to discover across Europe,” said Tom Hall, spokesperson and editorial director for Lonely Planet.
As the ultimate location for this year, the experts have chosen the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy. Being the home of spaghetti bolognese (officially known as ragú), parmesan cheese, prosciutto di Parma, or Modena’s balsamic vinegar, it is no wonder why this is definitely the best place to eat in the country.
Emilia-Romagna region, Italy
“Whether you’re looking for a cultural city break, spectacular scenery or a buzzing foodie destination, there is something for every taste,” Hall said.
“You can find all of these things in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, which flies under the radar compared to some of Italy’s bigger hitting destinations, while the other picks showcase some of the places that in-the-know European travellers are excited about right now.”
While featuring the capital of Albania, Tirana, and the self-proclaimed republic of Kosovo, the experts wanted to emphasise the difference between popular sites and emerging destinations that have undergone outstanding development over the past few years.
“Tiny Kosovo, wedged between two mountain ranges in the heart of the Balkans, has somehow stayed below the radar of most travellers. But with the country celebrating 10 years of (albeit disputed) independence in 2018, that looks set to change,” the publisher said.
Tirana, sitting between the Albanian Alps and the Adriatic sea has gone through a major transformation thanks to its former mayor – currently the prime minister of the country. He focused on encouraging cycling instead of car transport and developed the city’s greenery.
Wine tasters should definitely give a chance to the Slovenian valley of Vipava, that could be easy to mistake to a rustic Tuscan idyll, and beach lovers should head to Greek islands of Small Cyclades or Spain’s northern coastal of Cantabria, that offers forested mountains with hiking trails as well.
Romantics seekers are more than welcome in Provence, where the cities like Marseille or Aix-en-Provence will show them the true French art de vivre.
If you have had enough of overcrowded Amsterdam, take an hour-long ride to Leeuwarden, the capital of the Friesland region, number three in the listicle. Canals, cobblestone lanes, the town features all sorts of excitement.
Sometimes overshadowed by the other two Baltic countries, Lithuania also has a lot to offer. Its capital Vilnius was named number eight for this year.
“Its fascinating yet sometimes harrowing history remains palpable, from its splendid Baroque Old Town to painful memories of a WWII-era Jewish ghetto, but this is a city with a youthful energy, and it’s on an undeniable upswing,” Lonely Planet said.
Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom
The Scottish city of Dundee has caught the attention of travellers thanks to its creative scene that increasingly attracts some of the UK’s most visionary talent.
“Perched at the edge of Craig Harbour, architect Kengo Kuma’s angular concrete structure, which draws inspiration from the contours of a Scottish cliff face, will be the country’s leading centre for design, showcasing 300 years of innovation,” the magazine said.