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Hidden Gems: Beautiful European Vacation Spots With Almost No Tourists

Vacations are a wonderful thing, aren’t they? Sleeping in, rolling out of your plush hotel bed, exploring new places and trying new food, and all on your own time. Unless you happen to travel to a tourist-heavy destination, that is. 

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Some of the most beautiful places in the world become muddled with tourists which can really put a damper on your trip. Just try getting a photo of the Pyramids of Giza or the Great Wall of China without a horde of sightseers photobombing your picture. On top of that, more tourists mean longer lines and higher prices.

We’ve got some good news for you though. There are plenty of gorgeous destinations around the globe that are just waiting to be explored. Although these cities are often overlooked by travelers they have plenty to offer. From peaceful, romantic getaways to cultural and culinary excursions, these vacation spots have a little something to fit anyone’s tastes.

 

Debrecen, Hungary

When it comes to beautiful Hungarian destinations, Budapest is at the top of the list. Hungary’s capital city is jam-packed with so much famous art, rich history, and impressive architecture it’s no wonder they get all the tourist attention.

A little over 100 miles east of Budapest lies Hungary’s former capital, Debrecen. Although it’s it Hungary’s second-largest city, the tourist traffic remains remarkably low. Don’t let that fool you though. From the city’s Kossuth tér, home of the incredible Calvinist Great Church and Grand Hotel Aranybika, to the quaint shops and cafes in the Old Town, Debrecen has something for everyone.

 

Bern, Switzerland

Although it is the capital of Switzerland, travelers often just pass through Bern on their way to Zurich for a culture-packed getaway or Geneva for a ski trip in the Alps. There’s plenty to do and see in Bern, however.

When the temperatures rise in the summer, follow the locals down to the River Aere to cool off. There you can enjoy swimming, rafting, and paddleboarding in the warm Swiss sun.

Other things worth a visit include a hike to the top of the Gurten where you get to experience a picturesque view of the entire old city, Altstadt. Or if it’s a more relaxing vibe you’re in search of, take a stroll through the Museum of Fine Arts where rare works by Picasso and Paul Klee can be found.

 

Trondheim, Norway

Norway’s third-largest city, Trondheim, sits right on the edge of the fjord of the same name. Despite its size and the deceptively colorful structures lining the waterway, Trondheim has a population less than 200,000 people, making it a quiet, yet beautiful, vacation destination that is easy to navigate.

Aside from the vibrant, glistening scene found at the harbor of the city’s natural fjord, there is some lovely architecture to be discovered. One of the most famous is the stunning gothic church, Nidaros Cathedral which was built over the burial site of King Olav II, who became the patron saint of Norway.

For the ale-hounds out there or anyone who likes good times with good company, Trondheim also has several excellent microbreweries. If a pub crawl is your type of thing, we recommend starting at Trondhjem Mikrobryggeri.

 

Orange, France

When you think of France chances are, the first thing that comes to mind is Paris. Perhaps Nice or Lyon are on the list and deservedly so. These cities are full of wonderful food, culture, and breathtaking architecture. There’s plenty more to see in France than the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower though.

About 30 miles north of Avignon and it’s famous Papal Palace, sits the city of Orange. With significantly less tourist traffic, Orange is much easier to navigate than larger cities making it a wonderfully relaxed vacation spot.

Some of the city’s main attractions include the Orange Museum, set in a beautiful 17th-century mansion, and the towering Roman Theater, which was built in the first century C.E. Both are well worth a visit.

 

Ankara, Turkey

As far as Turkish cityscapes go, Istanbul typically gets all the attention. With its rich history serving as a focal point of several ancient empires, and so many historical remnants from cultures past, it’s no wonder Istanbul takes all the credit.

This city formerly known as Constantinople is not the only place deserving of a visit. Turkey’s capital city, Ankara is filled with art, history, and architecture minus all the tourists blocking the views.

Key stops include Antikabir the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the first President of the Republic of Turkey and the Museum of the War of Independence. The Kocatepe and Hacı Bayram Mosques are also a must-see while in Ankara.


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Destinations

A Must See Desert Oasis In Southern California

Think of the desert and your mind conjures up images of dry dusty lands full of cactus and crawly things. But there is a desert oasis in Southern California that will completely transform your vision of what a desert setting looks like. At Whitewater Preserve you will find…

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Think of the desert and your mind conjures up images of dry dusty lands full of cactus and crawly things. But there is a desert oasis in Southern California that will completely transform your vision of what a desert setting looks like. At Whitewater Preserve you will find 2,851 acres of streams loaded with trout, untouched wilderness and winding trails leading you into the mountains. Just north of Palm Springs and surrounded by the San Gorgonio Wilderness this is one desert destination that you will want to add to your bucket list. The rich habitat hosts the endangered Southwest willow flycatcher and Bell’s vireo, and provides the opportunity to see migrating summer tanagers and vermilion flycatchers. The canyon, an important wildlife corridor between the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains, has a robust wildlife population. 

 

 

This desert oasis is a perfect place for a nature adventure, whether by yourself or with the family. The Whitewater Trout Farm’s historic building has been transformed into a Ranger Station and Visitor Facility. This is the best place to start your adventure. Here you can get a trail map and checklists to help identify local flora and fauna. Although there are many hiking trails, some are not always safe to access. The Ranger Station will have information on any trails that have limited access. After you have spent some time exploring, enjoy the refreshing water at the shaded picnic area. 

 

 

Visitor facilities include individual and group picnic areas and camp grounds that sit in the shadow of steep cliffs where bighorn sheep are often spotted. Fishing is available, but limited to organized catch and release programs for children, in which all the equipment is supplied. There are a variety of hiking trails at Whitewater Preserve, you will find something for everyone. There are paver paths around the pond, perfect for the elderly, and a trailhead leading to the Pacific Crest Trail for the more experienced hiker. No matter what trail you take you will be out in the sun so make sure to bring a hat and use your sunscreen.

 

 

Whitewater Preserve is open daily year round from 8 am to 5 pm, closing only on certain holidays or in the event of dangerous weather conditions. Permits for camping, backcountry trip parking and after hour hiking are available at the Ranger Station during open hours. 

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Destinations

The Prettiest Small Town You’ve Ever Seen

About sixty miles east of Krakow, Poland is the ancient village of Zalipie, one of the country’s top tourist attractions, and the prettiest little town you will ever see. The small wooden cottages of this charming village are painted with scenes of nature and local folklore. Considered…

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About sixty miles east of Krakow, Poland is the ancient village of Zalipie, one of the country’s top tourist attractions, and the prettiest little town you will ever see. The small wooden cottages of this charming village are painted with scenes of nature and local folklore. Considered one of the most picturesque villages in Poland, Zalipie is surprisingly not overrun by tourists.  

 

The tradition started more than a century ago when the female residents began to paint their homes with floral motifs to cover up soot smudges and other faults around their home. Not having access to the materials needed for the project, these ingenious women made their own equipment. The paint was made with the fat from the dumplings they cooked, and hair from the tail of their cows was used for brushes. The women had to repaint their cottages each year, they did this after the Feast of Corpus Christi when they weren’t as busy with the farm work. This unique habit was passed down from one generation to another, and is continued to this day. One woman in particular became obsessed with the tradition. Felicja Curylowa lived from 1904 to 1974, she decorated every surface of her cottage inside and out. After her death the beautiful house was turned into a museum. 

 

Zalipie is a massive painting full of color and history, the entire village is painted. The best time to visit is in the spring when they hold their Painted Cottage Competition. This competition started after the end of World War II in an attempt to cover up the damage done by the war. Visiting this quaint village is a great way to escape the busy life of large cities, to relax and simply enjoy the art. It’s a delight you must see for yourself.

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Destinations

You Can Stay In SpongeBob’s House

At the Nickelodeon Hotel & Resorts in Punta Cana you will find the resort’s signature dwelling, a replica of SpongeBob SquarePants’ pineapple house that is above the sea. If you are a fan of SpongeBob you will delight in this surprisingly luxurious Bikini-Bottom inspired villa,…

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At the Nickelodeon Hotel & Resorts in Punta Cana you will find the resort’s signature dwelling, a replica of SpongeBob SquarePants’ pineapple house that is above the sea. If you are a fan of SpongeBob you will delight in this surprisingly luxurious Bikini-Bottom inspired villa, brimming with unbelievable amenities. 

Simply called “The Pineapple”, visitors to this SpongeBob themed villa will be immersed in the world of SpongeBob SquarePants. With an entryway that is a perfect replica of Sponge Bob’s TV home and measuring nearly 2,300 square feet the villa includes three bathrooms, two bedrooms, a loft style living room, a garden, a play area, and an infinity pool. With a hefty price tag, the villa houses up to six people. But the high price is worth it considering the incredible service that is provided to the guests. Served by a private butler, guests are ensured that the villa meets every need. From the very beginning of the vacation the private butler is available to take care of every need including arranging of your tailor made activities, whether it is a moonlight beach dinner, wine tasting, or maybe an in-suite pizza party. For a closer look and more information head on over to the Nickelodeon Resort Punta Cana website.

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