The Europe Nobody Knows About: Remote, Beautiful And Tourist Free

Cheaper, quieter and possibly more beautiful

It's almost summer in Europe making it the perfect time to visit. The sun is shining, the sky is vast and blue and the scenery absolutely magnificent. On the not so positive side of things, prices are sky rocketing and crowds not just doubling but tripling and more. So what to do?

Travel expert James Thornton says there are options - and they're damn good ones too.  “Over-tourism has become a real issue in many of the world’s most beautiful cities and it’s impacting the experience for both locals and for travellers," says Thornton, CEO of Intrepid. "This has led to growing tensions among locals and tourists on the over-crowded streets,” he says.

But like we said, there are options. “It’s about making choices that benefit not only the tourists but also the local people while respecting their cultures, economy and the environment too," says Thornton.

Here are some lesser-known destinations to consider.

North Cyprus

Croatia has long been a popular hotspot for tourists – especially since Game of Thrones graced our screens. But if you’re looking for historic architecture and idyllic swimming spots – but without the hordes – then the sun-kissed northern coastline of Cyprus is for you.

Northern Cyprus has all the charm of Croatia. Image: Getty.
Calabria and Sicily

There’s no denying Venice is one of the most romantic countries in the world, and as such has topped people’s bucket-lists for decades. But for the ultimate lovers’ experience without the masses, visit Italy’s vibrant south, complete with dramatic coastline, azure waters, and delicious seafood.

Southern Italy is the ultimate lovers' destination. Image: Supplied.
Portugal and Azores

Escape the madding crowds of Spain in favour of neighbouring Portugal, and discover a food and wine scene that rivals the world’s best. While there, go island hopping or hiking around the picturesque Sao Jorge or Faial Islands in the Azores. And don’t forget to try the port!

Portugal is a great alternative to Spain. Image: Getty.
Finnish Lapland

Move over Iceland, this is as close as it gets to a real winter wonderland. Located in Finland’s northernmost region, Lapland is well known for its pristine peaks, snow-dusted woodlands, and natural phenomena such as the Northern Lights. You can even visit Santa’s workshop in Rovaniemi.

Experience a winter wonderland in Finland. Image: Getty.

If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to spend time under the Tuscan sun – but without the tourists, now’s your chance. Nestled between Romania and Ukraine is the charming little nation of Moldova, which is increasingly being known for its unspoiled countryside and superb wine tours.

Moldova is is increasingly being known for its unspoiled countryside. Image: Getty.
Tatra Mountains

Sidestep the Alps in favour of this lesser-known mountain range. Situated in the Carpathian Mountains and encompassing Poland and Slovakia, the Tatra Mountains have a similar landscape to the Alps but are significantly smaller. It’s the perfect destination for skiing, hiking and rock climbing.

The Tatra Mountains are Poland's version of the Alps. Image: Getty.

Feature image: Getty.