4 off the beaten track destinations you should visit in Europe this year
What makes an ideal summer break? Is it the excitement of a location unspoiled by mass tourism? Is it the convenience and accessibility of a major resort?
Often, we crave the best of both. With their combination of thriving centres and close proximity to some more secluded spots, these four coastal destinations strike a satisfying balance. Promising sun and intriguing sights, they’re perfect for a last minute summer trip.
Zante, Greece (pictured above)
The Ionian Islands in Greece might be a famous party destination, but venture north or west on Zante and you will find some gems outside the buzzing resorts. The mountainous Volimes villages are central to the island’s craft and agricultural production. At stalls and shops along the streets, you will find vendors selling honey, spices, and all sorts of handmade craftwork. Southeast of Volimes is Zante’s stunning Shipwreck Cove, renowned for the bright blue waters surrounding it. The cove is best reached by boat from Port Vromi, which itself is worth a visit. Small but scenic, it is less swamped by tourists than the island’s other sights.
Steeped in history and archaeological treasures, Nessebar is located on a rocky Black Sea outcrop on Bulgaria’s coast. The new town is home to plentiful modern shops and restaurants, but the old town is the real sight to see here. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it boasts a remarkable array of medieval churches. Take a tour through time as you move from the 6th Century Basilica of the Merciful Virgin, to the 14th Century Christ Pantokrator Church, or the impressively preserved St Stephen’s Church, which brings together 600 years of murals and architectural design.
Along the Algarve region’s golden coastline, Alvor offers an idyllic and relaxing getaway. With high temperatures expected throughout the summer, Alvor’s two beaches invite you to lounge in the sun on them, and as a historical fishing village, you can expect excellent seafood restaurants. If you fancy exploring the wider area, Trigana and Alvor Boat Trips both offer excursions to nearby points of interest, most notably castle town Silves on the Arade River.
The rugged backdrop is the crowning feature of Marmaris, on Turkey’s ‘Turquoise Coast.’ A thriving hub of restaurants, shops and bars, there is lots to do within Marmaris itself — including a wealth of spa options where you can experience the traditional Turkish bath. If you want to escape the throng to enjoy the splendid coastal landscape, Marmaris is a great base for exploration. The nearby Bozburun Peninsula is stunning and secluded, with lovely waters for swimming, an open air market on Tuesdays, and an experience more authentically Turkish than its busier neighbours.
Blending history and culture with the reliability of a tried-and-tested destination, these four coastal spots have plenty to offer, so why not start planning your next trip? And if these don’t quite grab you, there are several other spots you can make your summer getaway to.
Images by Nanagayei, fusion-of-
horizons, Josemico and Roel Van Deursen, used under Creative Commons licence
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