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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

Ukraine: An Underrated Tourist Destination In Europe

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When many people think of taking a European vacation they probably imagine strolling along the Seine with their lover, or seeing Michelangelo’s David in Florence. I mean, those are both two amazing things to do. However most people would even consider traveling to Ukraine. It is a country at war, the winters tend to be unbearable, and Eastern Europeans have a reputation of being unfriendly. All that being said, Ukraine is still an underrated tourist destination and one that should be on travelers radar.

What Is There To Do In Ukraine?

Ukraine is a large country. In fact, it’s the largest country entirely in Europe. This means that there is something for everyone! From adventure travelers to those just looking to relax, you can spend months exploring the country and still not tire of things to see and do.

If you are looking for a city break you can’t skip out on the capital of Kyiv, nor the cultural capital of Lviv. For adrenaline junkies you can go skiing in Bukovel, or white water rafting in Vorokhta. And if you are just a good old nature lover then camping by the sunken city of Bakota or the uninhabited Dzharylhach island could be for you.

5 Amazing Places To Visit In Ukraine

1. Lviv – A Beautiful City In Western Ukraine

The cultural capital of Lviv has a storied history. From being the capital of the kingdom of Rus to a part of Poland, the pearl of the Austrian Empire to the gem of an independent Ukraine. There are so many things to do in Lviv almost anyone can have a great time.

For dining I highly recommend a trip to the most popular restaurant in Lviv, Kryivka. This restaurant in a bunker under Rynok square is themed, but don’t let that put you off. The walls are papered with interesting artefacts from one of the most tumultous periods in Lviv history. Youc an see old military medals, propaganda posters, and plenty of old (non-functioning) weapons.

2. Bakota – A Less Than Easy Place To Go Camping Like A Local

The site of a submerged city, Bakota, is currently a reservoir connecting to the Bug river. This is a very popular camping spot for Ukrainians and there are plenty of activities you can do. I like to just relax and enjoy nature, but you can go boating, fishing, or hiking the cliffs around the area.

You will need a car to get there as public transportation doesn’t really exist, but that just means you’ll have to do a bit of car camping.

3. Dzharylhach Island – The Largest Island In The Black Sea

Dzharylhach Island is an uninhabited island in the Kherson region of Ukraine that is another beautiful place to camp. You can only get there by taking a ferry from the mainland, and there are no accommodations other than tents. Rest on the soft white sand or play with the dolphins that come very close to shore.

If you do spend some time there you have to try the island specialty – stingray borsch! This soup is made daily by the shanty little cafe near the pier. And don’t forget to see the sunset by the famous Dzharylhach Lighthouse!

4. The Pink Lake – One Of The Most Unique Places In All Ukraine

Located on Arabatska Strilka, about 6 hours by bus from Kherson City, is one of my absolute favorite places in the whole country. Officially named Henichesk Lake, this natural pink lake is an amazing sight to behold.

The color is due to a non-harmful bacteria that thrives in the high salt content of the lake. Many people even take salt home to cook with it, I know I brought a few kilos back! Make sure to wade out as far as you can go so you can see the most naturally pink section.

5. Kyiv – The Capital Of Ukraine

No list about places to see in Ukraine would be complete without Kyiv. A capital going back all the way to Kievan Rus, the city is a mix of classic Eastern European architecture and ugly Soviet commie-blocks. However don’t let the ugliness deter you. The city is lively and fun if you know how to do it right.

Spend some time at the Bukta food center on the Dniper river, or hit up an amazing pool party in the warm months. Walk through beautifully manicured parks and see the Mariinsky Palace, or visit the Pechersk Lavra – an historic cave monastery filled with the bodies of Orthodox saints.

About the author:

Alona Tiunina is a travel blogger from Ukraine who has been to (almost) every region in the country. When she is not traveling she enjoys binge watching Netflix and scouring airline tickets for her next trip.

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Destinations

Visit the Quieter Side of the Caribbean

 Let’s get away from the crowds and find a vacation spot that is just as beautiful and affordable while we visit the quieter side of the Caribbean.

 

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Summer vacation is around the corner and now is the time to start planning your beach trip. If you are thinking Caribbean then you most likely are looking into Cancun, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, the three most popular destinations. These places are awesome, cheap and beautiful but also the busiest, so maybe a quieter destination ids for you.   Let’s get away from the crowds and find a vacation spot that is just as beautiful and affordable while we visit the quieter side of the Caribbean.

 

Costa Rica

If surf is your goal then Costa Rica is your paradise. Considered the best surfing in the world, with warm waters and consistent breaks all year long, Costa Rica needs to be on your list if you like water activities. Costa Rica straddles both coasts with the Caribbean side being the calmer side with smaller waves and thicker jungles. The Caribbean side is generally cheaper than the Pacific side and much more laid back.

 

Honduras

Honduras isn’t on most people’s lists because the city of San Pedro Sula is currently the murder capital of the world but its well over an hour away from the beaches. This beautiful country sits right on the Caribbean Sea and boasts some of the most beautiful beaches around. Check out Roatan, the largest island off the coast and a major vacation hub. You can fly direct from major US cities like Houston, so no need to worry about the crime riddled central cities.

 

Panama

Nobody thinks of Panama when booking Caribbean vacations but that is their fault. This Central American country boast some of the region’s most secluded private islands and luxurious retreats. Find the above water villas you’ve been searching for with unspoiled marine life just waiting to be explored. Panama has some awesome wildlife and plenty of sanctuaries you can explore and enjoy all that nature has to offer. Panama also has a rich history so you can see some really cool ruins.

 

Trinidad and Tobago

Tourists still under utilize the only actual Caribbean islands on this list, Trinidad and Tobago.   The country isn’t focused on tourism like the other Caribbean nations so they don’t offer as much variety of resorts as the other islands. Trinidad is the business island and Tobago is the pleasure center of the two, so I advise you stay on Tobago. These islands have those authentic laid back vibes you’ve been searching for.

 

Belize

If you want the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the region than look no further than the Barrier reef off the coast of Belize. The largest barrier reef in the Northern Hemisphere is full of marine life and intense coral reefs. Belize also has some radical Mayan ruins you can check out that are located deep in the lush rainforests. There are plenty of guided hikes and activities to keep you entertained and more than enough sandy beaches to relax on. Belize is nestled between Mexico and Guatemala, so it’s easy to get to and affordable.

Try one of these less traveled paths and your vacation will be filled with chill Caribbean vibes.

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Destinations

Luxurious Private Island Escapes

Steer clear of all the tourists, long lines and other common vacation annoyances and instead party like a rock star on your own private island.

 

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We’ve all dreamt of being marooned on a desert island filled with coconuts and privacy, but we all can’t be Robinson Crusoe. Being trapped on a desert island is actually a nightmare, but what isn’t, is staying on one of these luxury private island resorts. Steer clear of all the tourists, long lines and other common vacation annoyances and instead party like a rock star on your own private island.

 

The Meridian Club

This ultimate all-inclusive resort will show you what luxury is really all about as you bask in the beautiful Caribbean sun in Turks & Caicos. The Meridian Club offers everything a regular all-inclusive would offer but they do it with sophistication and class. You won’t need cash because it’s a cashless experience, in fact you won’t need anything when you cruise around the archipelago. Just be prepared to smile, a lot. You can stay here for as little as $900 per night, which in the grand scheme of things, it’s pretty affordable.

 

Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino

The Renaissance Aruba isn’t your typical private island resort, because it’s not on a private island at all. Instead, this luxury resort has its own private island you can book and enjoy some truly quiet time. The 40-acre private island has two separate sides, a family and adult side. You can feed flamingos, hang in hammocks, drink tropical beverages or check out the nude beach. You can get a room for around $175 a night, so jump on that.

 

Necker Island

The ultimate in private resorts is Necker Island, owned by billionaire Richard Branson and used by the super elite. This destination has it all and you and 33 of your closest amigos can stay here for only $80,000 a night. Sounds affordable… for a prince. Recently former President Obama recently stayed here and was seen frolicking with Branson in the ocean. What is paradise worth, well apparently it’s around 80k, but not to worry, I’ve found some more affordable options as well.

 

Affordable Islands

Pelican Beach Resort

Actually sitting on top of the largest barrier reef in the Northern Hemisphere is the Pelican Beach Resort in Belize. This resort has the best location possible for underwater exploration as it literally rests on a lush coral reef system with some of the best dive spots around.   For under $300 for two guests a night you can stay on this semi-private island with meals included, sounds like a deal to me. Highlights include the guided nighttime snorkeling tours where you’ll get to see the ocean like you’ve never seen before.

 

Nangyuan Island Dive Resort

This group of three tiny islands in the Gulf of Thailand is one of the best spots on Earth for underwater exploration.  These three islands are actually linked by pure white sandbars so all three are accessible by foot. For as little as $100 USD a night you can have your own private little island to call your own. The snorkeling and scuba diving here is incredible with sea caves, whales sharks and sea turtles to keep you entertained and mesmerized. This tropical location has 15 unique dive sites so you won’t get bored and your mind will be overloaded with stimulus.

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