Lago di Fusine, Italy

Best Hidden Gems in Europe That You Must Visit

February 29, 2024

Europe is huge and diverse, which means there are always new places for travelers to discover.

In this article, we have collected some of the attractions that are relatively lesser-known European destinations. Places that are real hidden gems.

Some places have become more visited in recent years, while others still preserve their hidden character. What they have in common is that they are all located in some of the most hidden places in Europe, and all of them are among Europe’s most beautiful sights.

We tried to collect hidden gems from the widest range of Europe, so wherever you plan your next trip, you can easily find a hidden gem for yourself on our list.

So here is the list of the best hidden gems in Europe.

1. Colomares Castle, Andalusia, Spain

Also called Castillo de Colomares in Spanish, the monument, in the form of a castle, dedicated to the life and adventures of Christopher Columbus. It is a building that is barely 30 years old.

Without doubt, the Colomares Monument is one of the most photogenic buildings we have ever had the opportunity to visit.

It also contains the smallest church in the world, covering an area of just 1.96 square meters. Its park offers fantastic views of Benalmadena and the Costa del Sol.

2. Virje Waterfall, Soca Valley, Slovenia

Virje Waterfall is located next to the town of Bovec in the Soca Valley. Virje Waterfall is a small waterfall in the middle of the forest, with water cascading over mossy rocks into a small emerald lake. The waterfall is fed by the Glijun stream.

We can safely say that it is one of the most beautiful waterfalls we have ever seen.

The car can be parked not far from the waterfall, from where a slightly steep but short path leads down to the waterfall. Some people try to swim in the lake, even though the water is very cold all year round.

3. Eltz Castle, Germany

Eltz Castle (or Burg Eltz) is a medieval castle in the Rhineland Palatinate region of Germany. This impressive castle is located deep in the forest, not far from the town of Koblenz.

Eltz Castle was built in the 12th century and was the home of the Eltz family. The castle has been preserved in its original medieval architectural style. The building consists of several smaller wings and towers, which beautifully combine Gothic and Renaissance stylistic features.

Eltz Castle is famous for having survived the Second World War intact and having never been destroyed. This exceptional state of preservation contributes to the fact that visitors can admire the artistic details and interior decoration of the medieval castle to this day.

The road to the castle is also impressive, with a winding path leading to the castle, and visitors can experience magnificent views along the way.

4. Seebensee, Tyrol, Austria

Seebensee is a lake in the Tyrol, near the small town of Ehrwald, high in the Austrian mountains. You will have to leave the car in the parking lot in Ehrwald. From there you can either walk or take the cable car up to the next point. From there, you can only continue on foot or perhaps by bicycle. The Seebensee is about 3.5 km from the upper station via a gravel road. There are some steeper sections, but it’s basically not difficult terrain. Near the lake, there is also a lodge with a restaurant serving local dishes. The lake is surrounded by huge rocky mountains and the water has a beautiful clear green color. It is one of the most beautiful lakes we have ever visited in Austria.

If you still have energy, beyond Seebensee is another, perhaps even more beautiful lake, called Drachensee. However, there is a brutally steep, difficult and rocky road up to the top, requiring hiking equipment. It is recommended only for those with experience and endurance, but the views are worth the effort.

5. Giethoorn, Netherlands

Giethoorn is one of the most beautiful and romantic towns in the Netherlands. It is often referred to as the “Venice of the Netherlands”, as a network of canals and bridges form the city’s transport routes.

Giethoorn is located in a rural, less visited part of the Netherlands, surrounded by small villages and vast fields. It is a very relaxing place to visit to get recharged.

It is a unique experience to cruise along the quiet canals, passing charming houses and narrow streets, admiring the unique landscape.

Giethoorn offers visitors a wide range of activities. In addition to strolling, you can take a boat trip on the canals or hire a boat and explore the surrounding areas. Museum Giethoorn is located in the central part of Giethoorn and is also worth a visit. And there are many cafés and restaurants in the area where visitors can relax and enjoy the local cuisine.

6. Buna Spring, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The source of the River Buna is one of the most unique natural wonders of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Buna Spring is located near the village of Blagaj, a hidden little village in the south of Bosnia and Herzegovina, not far from Mostar.

The spring is actually located in a cave, from which crystal-clear water flows, contributing to the stunning scenery.

The other spectacular part of the Buna Spring is the famous Dervish House, an Ottoman Dervish monastery located a few steps away from the spring. The monastery building is built into the rock wall and overlooks the Buna Spring. Visitors can tour the monastery and learn about Ottoman history and religious traditions.

Furthermore, visitors can explore the spring by boat or walk in the beautiful surroundings. There are also restaurants and cafés near the Buna Spring where visitors can enjoy the local cuisine.

The Buna Spring is a magical place, boasting stunning natural beauty and cultural attractions. The crystal clear waters, the cave and the spectacular Dervish House combine to make this one of the most fascinating attractions in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

7. Oeschinensee, Switzerland

Oeschinensee is an alpine lake with breathtaking beauty in the middle of Switzerland, about an hour from Bern. The bright blue lake is surrounded by high, usually snow-capped mountain peaks.

The lake can be reached from the village of Kandersteg, mostly by cable car. After the cable car, there is a short hike down to the lake. If you want to take photos of the lake from above, a steep hiking trail will take you to the best photo points above on the mountainside.

The lake can also be reached on foot, but the road is very steep. Bicycles are not allowed in the area at all, and the terrain is difficult on foot, so we recommend taking the cable car and then walking.

8. Zrmanja Canyon, Dalmatia, Croatia

The Zrmanja Canyon in Croatia is a picturesque site in a hidden location in Dalmatia, near Zadar. This canyon was formed by the Zrmanja River and contains a fascinating natural landscape.

The Zrmanja River flows from a small village east of Zadar and is surrounded for most of its length by steep cliffs. The place is so spectacular for the vibrant colors and clear waters of the river and its surroundings.

The Zrmanja Canyon area offers many opportunities for nature lovers. Visitors can kayak or raft down the river and explore the canyon’s stunning scenery.

It is a place where you can connect with nature and immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Dalmatia, Croatia.

9. Lake Sorapis, Dolomites, Italy

Lake Sorapis is not on our list because it is unknown, but because of its location. Lake Sorapis lies deep in a remote part of the Dolomites, in the middle of the forest, accessible only on foot. In fact, Lake Sorapis is a huge favorite of visitors to the Dolomites. It is quite difficult to reach, an approximately 8 km long hiking trail leads up to the lake, which can be very steep and of poor quality in some hiking sections. However, the round trip of 16-17 km is absolutely worth it, because the view is really like what you can see in the pictures.

Lake Sorapis is the best accessible from the SR48 road via the 215 hiking trail. This is the route with the smallest elevation gain, but believe us, it’s challenging enough for most people. However, the scenery makes up for it.

10. Mont-Saint-Michel, France

Mont-Saint-Michel is one of France’s most unique attractions. This fabulous island and town on the coast of the Normandy region.

Mont-Saint-Michel stands at the top of a high, rocky hill that rises from the coast. The town has been gradually built up over the centuries on the hilltop, and in the Middle Ages it was home to an abbey. The buildings are in medieval style, and you can explore the town through narrow streets. The views of the sea and the surrounding countryside are stunning.

Mont-Saint-Michel is about 1 km off the coast and becomes visible as an island at high tide. The coastline is dotted with sandy areas and marshes, home to a rich variety of wildlife.

The only access by car is to the nearest village, from where the island can be reached by bus or on foot.

In Mont-Saint-Michel, visitors can enjoy walking trails through the town, explore the shops and restaurants and admire the fabulous views.

11. Geroldsee, Bavarian Alps, Germany

Geroldsee is a small, quite hidden lake near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in Gerold, Krün. It all feels so private that we almost don’t dare to advertise it. But because we think the Geroldsee is one of the most photogenic places in the Bavarian Alps, it had to be added to the list.

The small mountain lake with its chalets and rocky mountains in the background is a breathtaking sight. The best photo spots are on the grassy hillside opposite the lake.

As written, Geroldsee is a pretty secret spot and the locals like their peace and quiet. You can leave your car in front of a guesthouse on a street called In Gerold. Although this is a pay car park, no other places are allowed. The lake is about a 1 km walk from the car park.

12. Fusine Lakes, Tarvisio, Italy

The Fusine Lakes are located in a hidden place in the northeastern corner of Italy. The Fusine Lakes are a pair of two lakes near the Italian-Slovenian border, both with fantastic views of the Slovenian mountain peaks, such as Slovenia’s third-highest peak, the Mangart. Internationally, they are not as well known as other Italian lakes, such as those in the Dolomites, although their beauty is no less.

For us, the Fusine Lakes are one of our personal favorite destinations in the Alps because they are relatively easy to reach, not expensive, and we believe the place has a healing power on the soul.

In the Fusine Lakes area you will find almost all the beauty of the Alps: picturesque colorful lakes, breathtaking rocky peaks, trickling streams and waterfalls, clean air, silence, interesting flora and fauna.

The easiest way to get to the lake is by car, there’s a daily fee on the road before the car parks, which is a few euros. There are several car parks along the lake, we think it’s best to stop at the first lake and walk to the lakes from there. The first lake is right next to the road, the second lake is a little further away, where you have to walk a short distance along the mountain paths for the best views. There is also a direct road and parking area to the second lake, but the best views are not from there, rather from the other side, which can only be reached on foot.

13. Prachov Rocks, Czechia

Prachov Rocks is a magical and unique natural attraction in the Czech Republic. This area of fabulous rock formations is a hidden gem in a region called Ceský Rai (‘Bohemian Paradise’).

Prachov Rocks is famous for its stunning rock formations, which showcase the characteristics of the area. The high and steep rock formations, the narrow paths and stairs, the natural galleries fascinate visitors.

Prachov Rocks is popular not only for its natural beauty, but also for its many opportunities for outdoor activities and adventure lovers. In addition to hiking and rock climbing, the area has a number of cycle paths that allow you to cycle through the beautiful surroundings.

Prachov Rocks is a real natural gem in the Czech Republic, well worth a trip to discover.

14. Pink Lake of Torrevieja, Spain

A relatively unknown place in Spain is the pink salt lake of Torrevieja. Its uniqueness and lesser-known status also place it on our list.

The pink lakes are exclusive locations that are rarely found anywhere else in the world. The pink color of these lakes is usually due to their high salt content.

The easiest access to the pink lake is from the east side, not far from the parking lot “Las Salinas, Baños De Barro”. From the street, a short walk will take you to the lake, which often has salt on the shore and the water of the lake is various shades of pink. The lake is also used for swimming, although we don’t recommend it – and we don’t know if it’s allowed.

15. Cetina river spring, Croatia

The source of the Cetina River is one of the most beautiful karst springs in Croatia. The lake-like formation is located near the town of Cetina, north of the town of Vrlika.

The eyelid-shaped limestone cavity has a depth of at least 150 meters and its crystal-clear waters make it a spectacular sight. The area is made up of high mountains and river valleys, making it a recommended detour on a trip.

The village of Cetina, where the spring is located, is a quite hidden place, accessible only by car and difficult to get to. So plan your trip well and leave enough time for it.

The Cetina River Spring has been getting more and more fame on social media in recent years. Although there are several photos on social media of people swimming in the water, it is otherwise highly not recommended because of the water temperature.

16. Velika Planina, Slovenia

Velika Planina also made our list not because of its low visitor numbers, but because of its hidden location. In the middle of the Slovenian mountains, a long drive from everything, you can find the Velika Planina plateau.

Velika Planina is a breathtaking destination, especially in spring. The enormous, all-encompassing fields of crocuses that bloom in April and May are the reason for the plateau’s popularity.

The Velika Planina plateau is not easy to reach. You can go by mountain lift or by car. We prefer the car, but recommend it only for experienced drivers, as the road uphill is bumpy and narrow in places.

One more thing to be prepared for: the flowers bloom slightly differently every year. So we use webcam recordings to see when to go. When most of the snow has melted, that’s when the crocuses come out, that’s when you have to travel there to see most of the crocuses.

Velika Planina can be visited during the rest of the year, but there are no spectacular flower fields, so spring is the best time to visit.

17. El Torcal de Antequera, Andalusia, Spain

Another Spanish attraction on our list is El Torcal de Antequera.

El Torcal de Antequera is a nature reserve in the Sierra del Torcal mountain range located south of the city of Antequera, in the province of Malaga.

It is known for its unusual landforms, and is regarded as one of the most impressive karst landscapes in Europe.

From the Mirador Las Ventanillas lookout you can see the coast and the city of Malaga. And hiking among special rock formations is the perfect way to relax in nature for mountain lovers.

18. Cascade de Sillans, France

The Cascade de Sillans or Waterfall of Sillans is a 42-meter-high waterfall in the Var region of France and one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Provence. This waterfall is located in a hidden natural area and offers stunning views and a peaceful atmosphere.

Walking paths allow visitors to enjoy the surrounding woodland and the beautiful views. There are also picnic areas near the waterfall where visitors can relax and enjoy being close to nature.

The surrounding lush green landscape and the sound of the waterfall combine to create a magical atmosphere. Cascade de Sillans is a place where visitors can find tranquility and enjoy the natural beauty.

19. Großer Ödsee, Austria

Großer Ödsee is a small lake in a very hidden place in Austria. It is located near the Almsee, a few kilometers away by car on a forest road. The car has to be parked at an intersection, which is saved on the map under “Parkplatz Kreuzung”. From here you have to walk up a few hundred meters up a hill, where you will find the Großer Ödsee on the way. The lake has a smaller neighbor, the Kleiner Ödsee, which is also worth a visit if you are in the area. Be careful, though, because there are lots of snakes in the area (we also found a few), so you need to be careful when you leave the gravel paths.

20. Theth National Park, Albania

Theth National Park is located in Albania and has stunning landscapes and natural beauty. The national park is located not far from Shkoder, in the Shala River valley, and despite its remote location, it is one of the most interesting attractions in Albania.

Theth National Park is a place where nature can be experienced directly. Visitors can hike in the park, explore mountain trails and streams, and admire the surrounding mountains and waterfalls. The park also includes traditional Albanian villages where visitors can get an insight into authentic local life.

In Theth National Park, tourists can try a variety of activities such as hiking, cycling, climbing or picnicking. The park also offers accommodation and restaurants, allowing visitors to spend longer hours in the area.

21. Kravica Waterfall, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Kravica Waterfall is located in the south of Bosnia and Herzegovina and is a stunning natural landmark. This beautiful waterfall is located on the Trebižat River, near the village of Studenci, close to the Croatian border. Kravica Waterfall is one of the most impressive waterfalls in the region and a real hidden gem.

The maximum height of the waterfall is about 25 meters, and its width makes it even more spectacular. The water has a turquoise tone, which creates a beautiful sight among the lush greenery and surrounding rocks. The landscape is particularly breathtaking at sunset.

The area around the Kravica Waterfall also offers places for picnics, walks and relaxation. Lookout points in the area provide the best panoramic views of the waterfall and allow visitors to admire this natural wonder up close. During the summer months, visitors can either swim in the river or hire a kayak for adventures.

This waterfall is a real gem in Bosnia and Herzegovina, well worth exploring for nature lovers.

So this was the list of the best hidden gems in Europe. All highly recommended places for tourists. We hope you manage to visit as many of them as possible.

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