It turns out, after years of vacationing to different areas, that some of the best memories come from the hidden and quite locations not many people have heard of before and also happen to be the Best Untapped Destinations. The empty white, sandy beaches. The cobblestone streets where you are the only tourist. These experiences truly immerse you in another land and culture without the touristy traps. Once the general public finds out about an amazing destination, it’s only natural that the large influx of travelers morph that destination in some way. Menus begin having English captions and suddenly street vendors are selling impostor goods in an attempt to appeal to the American spender.
Thanks to Travel + Leisure, we have compiled a great list of untapped European destinations for you to advantage of before everyone finds out! Put these Best Untapped Destinations on your bucket list and get ready to have a genuine and authentic travel experience like no other.
The ancient but well preserved village of Italian-speaking Giornico with its stone houses, vineyards and chestnut forests, is located in the Leventina Valley (Canton Ticino) in southern Switzerland. Architecture buffs will enjoy the seven churches, including the beautiful 12th century Romanesque Church of St. Nicholas. To fully appreciate it, drive north 35 miles from the popular lake resort towns of Ascona and Locarno and find the turnoff for Giornico, a stone relic of 14th-century Europe hiding off the main road. Down in the valley and rests a trickling little river crossed by two arching stone bridges. Take a gander at the impressive views of scenic road and rail routes, rock faces and waterfalls. Grotto dei due Ponti, a family-run restaurant serves dishes like spezzatino (meat ragoût) with polenta and overlooks the river.
Wedged between mountains and the bay, Kotor is a medieval maze of museums, churches, cafes and Venetian palaces. This is a perfect example of why some of these are some of the Best Untapped Destinations. It’s a delightful marriage of the past and present. Children race down cobblestone roads toward centuries-old school houses. Lines of laundry flap from wrought-iron balconies. At night, Kotor’s spectacularly lit-up walls glow as the streets buzz with live music and castle-top clubbing. The wealthy British are scrambling to scoop up real estate in Kotor. The locals (dark-haired, green-eyed people of the Black Mountains which is where Montenegro gets its name) have opened restaurants to introduce visitors to the local fare.
Ancient poets, fertile countryside, draping Cypress trees, neverending vineyards and olive groves…this truly is the gem of Tuscany. Bolgheri boasts castles straight out of a Disney tale, like the castle of the Gherardesca Counts of Bolgheri, near Piazza Santa Teresa. The churches are majestic as they are serene, such as the church of Saints Giacomo and Cristoforo, the oldest in the area. Carducci, author of the famous and timeless Rime Nuove, wrote beautiful poetry about the lines of Cypress trees, now numbering more than 2,500 and the only local vegetation that buffalos won’t eat. Take a bike ride over through the gentle hills of the hinterland and you will see the coast and the sea. In nearby Bibbona only 5 miles away, you’ll find the Relais Sant’Elena, a 15-room estate with canopy beds and pasta-making classes.
This medieval wool town has extraordinarily well-preserved Tudor buildings and is unofficially labeled the prettiest town in England. It’s tiny – the population hasn’t ever exceeded 2,000 – yet it is the 14th-richest town in England. This is thanks to its wool making. Lavenham has a long history of fabrics. It was at one point exporting its fabrics as far as Russia making its wool merchants so rich that in 1487 Henry VII fined some of them for being ostentatious.
After the war, the area become impoverished for over 300 years, leaving the residents unable to afford architectural upgrades to stone and wood. After hundreds of years, the architectural style became fashionable again and is a strong draw for tourists as it feels like a step back into time.
Let us know what you think about some of the Best Untapped Destinations in Europe right now. Have you heard of them or visited any of these?
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