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We think Europe is a stunning continent and have a blast looking for off-the-beaten-path destinations there. The continent is home to many landscapes and cultural traditions, including ancient towns, beaches, mountains covered with winter, and verdant forests.

These places are gems, and the convenience of getting there is one of their best features. Even the smallest towns in Europe are linked together by an extensive network of trains and roadways. We’ve selected 5 destinations that will put a smile on your face and make you want to pack your bags and go there immediately.

1. St. Gilgen, Austria

St. Gilgen, Austria

Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts like yourself who like activities like hiking, picnicking, kayaking, and just being one with nature.

In Europe, there is always something fresh to learn or see. St. Gilgen is a little-known jewel in Austria. It has mild summers with only a little rain sometimes, plenty of green grass, plenty of clear, blue lakes, and rich cultural history.

Only a short distance from Salzburg, the gorgeous scenery of the Salzkammergut region starts. The town of St. Gilgen is one of the most picturesque in the area. Those who like outdoor activities and the great outdoors will find this place excellent. Its beautiful, unspoiled alpine peaks and post-glacial lakes will captivate you.

St. Gilgen, Austria

Take a stroll around this lake town, and you won’t even think of the Disney village Hallstatt anymore. Hallstatt has suffered from the effects of over-tourism in recent years. The lack of tourists is St. Gilgen’s most significant selling point. There are beautiful timber structures with magnificent floral displays, and the crowds are less.

Stunning scenery and the absence of people make the lakes and streets of this picturesque village ideal for a stroll. Another option is to take your reading material onto the pier and listen to the gentle waves of the lake. You may now appreciate why St. Gilgen is one of Europe’s most extraordinary destinations.

2. Bilbao, Spain, in the Basque Country.

Bilbao, Spain

The perfect place for linguists and foodies who like traveling and exploring new cultures.

What kind of images comes to mind when you think about Spain? Possibly the tapas, flamenco, and bullfights of Spain. These are not products that can be purchased in Bilbao. Basque culture is what you’ll discover instead. Basque, the language of the Basque people, is unrelated to any other language in the world. Weird, right?

Bilbao, Spain
The Basque is one of the earliest surviving Indo-European peoples. Although the area was invaded by the Romans, Visigoths, Moors, French, and even the Spanish as late as the Middle Ages, it managed to avoid conquest because of the surrounding mountains’ isolation. Bilbao is gourmet heaven, so if its distinct culture isn’t enough to attract your curiosity, get your stomach ready. The number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the Basque Country is higher than that in Paris.

3. Wengen, Switzerland

Wengen, Switzerland

An excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts, photographers, skiers, and golfers.

Yash Chopra’s movies showed Indian audiences some of Switzerland’s beautiful scenery, but those scenes hardly scratched the surface. You’ll be awestruck by the snowy peaks, glistening lakes, and tiny towns dot the landscape.

Wengen, Switzerland

Wengen, in the bright Lauterbrunnen valley, is one such fantasy setting. The fact that automobiles are prohibited inside the confines of this little community is perhaps its most attractive feature. Thus, you won’t have to worry about fighting the crowds when crossing the street. You’ll be intoxicated by the sight of the timber-clad chalets, winding roads, verdant rolling hills, and morning mist rising from the snow-peaked Jungfraujoch.

The peaceful ambiance will quickly win you over. You’ll want to pull over and snap photos in every single alley. Don’t fret if all you want to do is sit back with a mug of hot chocolate and take in the scene. In Wengen, you can get what you’re seeking at local cafés.

4. Sintra, Portugal

Sintra, Portugal

An excellent spot for anyone interested in scenery photography, exploration, or leisurely paces.

Suppose you board a train in Lisbon and immediately enter mysterious woods, utterly oblivious to the urban landscape you just left behind. You get off the train at the station and find yourself in a magical world straight from a fairy tale. Sintra welcomes you with verdant scenery, seemingly unending gardens, and a charming old town. In the middle of everything lies a magnificent palace with white walls, bright yellow trim, and orange roof tiles. There is a striking fusion of Gothic, Manueline, and Mudéjar styles.

Sintra, Portugal
Observe the adjacent hilltop now. The trace of a castle built in the 10th century may be seen above the city and the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, which borders the city on three sides. After reaching the top of the stone stairs, you may stroll the whole length of the walls. You’ll also see the enchanting Pena Palace.
Sintra, Portugal
Because it is such a stunning example of Romantic architecture from the 19th century, Pena Palace is sure to be a palace experience like no other. Its priceless grounds surround it as it rests above a hill. From the palace’s rear, you can see the equally impressive Quinta da Regaleira rising out of the lush countryside.

5. Normandy, France.

Normandy, France
A paradise for foodies, photographers, and anyone interested in local history. Normandy is Europe’s greatest undiscovered treasure. The area has deep historical significance for Europeans. Normandy has long been a brilliant light in geopolitics, from King William’s bid on the English crown to the allied armies storming the beaches. Don’t worry if you aren’t a huge history buff. The breathtaking scenery of Normandy is sure to catch your attention.
Normandy, France

Make a detour to see VEULES-LES-ROSES, one of France’s most picturesque villages. You’ll immediately see why so many French artists and authors have found inspiration there. You will be mesmerized by the picturesque canals and the rows of charming half-timbered buildings that border them.

Like the rest of France, the Normandy region has distinct culinary traditions. The eateries will serve organically produced veggies and freshly caught fish. An apple-based liquor called Calvados is used as a beautiful digestive in the local specialty, which also features smooth Camembert cheese.

Normandy, France
The residents of Normandy are more approachable than those of other well-known French cities. You’d be shocked at how fast and straightforward it is to make acquaintances within this group. The faces of Mathis and Pierrick always seem to pop into our heads whenever we think about Normandy. From these, we gleaned a wealth of information regarding the Normandy landings. As such, without further ado, we recommend that you put Normandy at the top of your list of extraordinary European destinations.

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