Rich in history, architecture and nature, it’s no surprise that Europe draws in masses of tourists every year. If you’re desperate to explore the continent but can’t stomach the crowds, we’ve got you covered with our roundup of alternative holidays to Europe. From the wild beauty of Croatia’s Istria region to the majestic landscapes of Iceland, we can recommend some of the best hidden-away spots for an off-the-beaten-track trip.
The Wild Coast of Sweden
Summer in Sweden is a great option if you’re in the market for an alternative holiday to Europe. Spend your time here exploring remote fishing villages with their red boathouses and charming little hotels; kayaking around idyllic archipelagos with only the local seals for company; and feasting on traditional Swedish food - the perfect indulgence after a day in the wilderness. End your trip in Stockholm, the country’s trendy capital, for a hit of culture and the chance to stroll through the colourful streets of the old town before you head home.
Family Summer in Iceland
Iceland is one of our all-time favourite destinations when it comes to alternative holidays to Europe. Ideal for adventure-loving families, a trip to Iceland is filled with unforgettable experiences in nature, from walks along black sand beaches to drives along breathtakingly beautiful coastal roads and whale watching cruises out to sea.
Unwind in Istria
Look beyond the Dalmatian Coast and Dubrovnik - Croatia’s classic destinations - and head north towards the border with Italy for a serene stay in Istria. Still relatively undisturbed by mass tourism, this picturesque peninsula is overflowing with handsome historic cities and beautiful nature. Soak up the tranquility of the region as you wander along cobblestone streets in its medieval towns; feast on delicious cuisine including truffles - a local speciality - in traditional restaurants; and unwind with a seaside break on the idyllic Krk Island.
Turkey’s Lycian Coast - also known as the Turquoise Coast - is a prime spot for an alternative holiday to Europe. Beginning in Gocek, a beautiful little town on the Turkish Riviera, wind your way along the coast, stopping off in some of the region’s prettiest coastal towns and enjoying a slower pace as you set off on idyllic cruises; stay in charming hotels with views of the sea; and visit ancient castles, monuments and tombs, some dating back as far as the fourth century BC.
On the Trail of France’s Best Wines
Venture into the rolling hills to experience France’s sublime landscapes and seek out some of the country’s best wines. Explore sunny vineyards in Reims, Epernay and Champagne; sit back and relax with a glass of bubbly in hand as you float along the Marne on a private cruise; and learn about (and taste) some of Burgundy’s best vintages accompanied by an expert oenologist. Top off your trip with a delicious dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurant and a stay in a 19th century country manor for a luxurious getaway far from the bright-lights and busy streets of Paris.
Island Hopping in the Cyclades
Enjoy a taste of the laid-back Mediterranean lifestyle with an island-hopping holiday in the Cyclades - a gorgeous group of Greek islands known for their beautiful beaches, ancient sites, and pretty blue-and-white stucco towns. Enjoy serene stays on the islands of Sifnos and Milos and spend your days strolling around sleepy fishing villages; cooling off with dips in the sea; and feasting on local produce - everything from homemade olive oil to tomatoes picked fresh from the garden.
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