Europe may seem like the epitome of all places magical. Everyone wants to see the city of lights, ride on boats that cross the canals of Venice, or visit the tulip fields in Amsterdam.
But little do people know that the European continent hides the most magical of places–places that people often overlook or don’t know about and are actually even more beautiful..
So, open your eyes to the secrets of Europe!
Dubbed as the Estate of the Salt Chamber, Salzkammergut is home to rolling hills, alpine lakes and towering mountains. The oldest salt mine in the world can be found in the village of Hallstatt, a UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage site. Despite its challenging appearance, Salzkammergut is actually a popular hiking and cycling site. Be sure to try a new water sport in one of its 76 lakes!
The walled town of Kotor is located just at the foot of the bay where you can have a great view of the Mediterranean Sea. The walls around the old town of Kotor, all up to 15 meters wide and 20 meters high, used to be fortifications crafted into the natural shapes of the slopes. Also a UNESCO World Natural and Historical Heritage Site, Kotor is known for its old churches (built in the 13th-19th centuries), the Sea Gate which has the icon of Madonna and Child etched on it, and all the stories about how the town was formed.
Sitting right on the Mediterranean Sea, Bonifacio easily takes your breath away (literally) as it is a city of cliff-tops about 230 feet above the harbor. The cliffs in the old town of Bonifacio go with narrow streets, medieval buildings and small cafes, all Instagram-worthy. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to take a panorama of the coastal scenery where houses are perched on top of the cliffs and caves dominate the rocks below.
Lauterbrunnen gives a whole new meaning to the word ‘paradise’ because of its green valleys, lush meadows, mountain inns and 72 astounding waterfalls. ‘Lauter Brunnen’ even means ‘many fountains.’ The most famous of these is Staubbach Falls; standing at 300 meters, it is the highest free-falling waterfalls in Europe. If you’re up for something cooler, travel through a tunnel lift to see the Trummelbach Falls in the Black Monk mountain where 20,000 liters of water per second drop over ten glacier falls.
Why not try something different on an island and skip your beach trip? Muhu is the third largest island in the Baltic Sea and is known to have old windmills and real thatched cottages that you can see for yourself. Just be careful and cautious not to startle deers, moose and birds that might wander in your cottage. If you’re up for more, visit the local churches and see the pagan tombstones that depict the Tree of Life. Be sure to try out fishing on the island’s famous fishing grounds!
Channel your zen in Bled and take in their beautiful alpine places, mild climate and thermal springs. Much like the country’s Tagaytay, Bled has an island in the middle of the lake, where a temple for the Slavic goddess of love and fertility, Ziva, peacefully dwells. Add the Vintgar Gorge and the Bled Castle in your zen adventure, too by taking a stroll on the bridge that follows the path of the gorge or getting lost in the view from the castle that stands mightily on top of the mountains.
Literally meaning “suspended in the air,” Meteora holds the biggest monasteries in Thessaly. Six sit on top of hundreds-of-feet-high sandstone pillars. Also a UNESCO World Heritage site, Meteora is the best place to go on a retreat and take a break from everything. It also serves as a pilgrimage to all Christians around the world. You can go and hike (and reach greater heights) or simply catch the sunset and enjoy mother nature’s wonders.
Skip your usual European trips and discover the potential of these secret magical places!