Summer is just around the corner and you might be one of the many people who just haven’t had the time to get round to booking a holiday yet. Never fear – last-minute bookings are straightforward and exciting, and they often take you to places never before considered. If you’ve got Europe in mind, take a look at these off-the-beaten-track, up-and-coming destinations and see what deals you can find. You could be off on an affordable and entertaining break in no time at all!
Image by Dennis Jarvis via Flickr
1. Bulgaria – Plovdiv
Nestled in between Greece and Istanbul, Bulgaria maybe the lesser known neighbour but it is an equally good host. You could head to the sunny resorts along the Black Sea coast, or, soak in the fascinating culture in the city of Plovdiv. Wander along the cobbled streets and take in the Roman, Byzantine and Thracian influences. Explore the Roman amphitheatre, ruins of Eumolpias and Church of Sveta Bogoroditsa.
Image by Sue Tupling via Flickr
2. Croatia – Korcula
With Dubrovnik fast becoming a holiday hotspot, you should escape tourist crowds by heading to Korcula island – you can get there by ferry from the mainland! The picture-perfect landscape is built up with red roofed houses, medieval squares and quaint churches, set against dense, green forests. Visit St Mark’s Cathedral, the House of Marco Polo and Land Gate.
3. Croatia – Istria
Shared with Italy and Slovenia, Istria is a triangular peninsula with cute villages and hilltop settlements. Walk through the cobbled piazzas of Rovinj and Novigrad, check out Roman relics in the port of Pula and make your way inland to wander around pretty hilltop towns such as Motovun and Groznjan.
Image by Vera & Jean-Christophe via Flickr
4. Iceland – Reykjavik
The perfect blend of Nordic charm, natural beauty and cosmopolitan lifestyle, Reykjavik is the world’s most northerly capital city. Enjoy a picnic in front of the Parliament building at Austurvöllur, pay a visit to Reykjavík Art Museum, or catch some live music as part of its vibrant nightlife. Iceland’s capital is also a UNESCO City of Literature, so take a pen and paper along, in case you get inspired.
5. Malta – Mdina
Small in size but perfectly formed, Malta has a big offering of destinations for the perfect getaway. Mdina is a city on the island with a history that stretches over 4000 years. The ancient walled city displays fine examples of medieval and Baroque architecture and you should go to the catacombs, St. Paul’s Grotto and the Domus Romana Roman villa.
Image by dr_zoidberg via Flickr
6. Malta – Valletta
The capital of Malta, Valletta (or The Fortress City), has cosmopolitan offerings in a hugely interesting, historical setting. Take in the beautiful gardens, such as The Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens and Hastings Gardens. St John’s Co-Cathedral and Museum is also a must see, with its beautiful Baroque art.
Image by Trish Hartmann via Flickr
7. Montenegro – Kotor Bay
Nestled in between Croatia and Serbia, Montenegro is a small country with Adriatic Sea coasts. The Bay of Kotor is a UNESCO World Heritage site, offering relaxed fishing spots and a mountainous landscape to get the adrenaline pumping. As its popularity increases, so do the region’s hotel and dining options.
Pick any of these destinations and you’ll have plenty to tell all your friends when you talk about the European gem you discovered this summer. Do you have a well-kept holiday destination secret that isn’t on the list? Share it below!