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Europe's lesser-known (but totally must-see) hotspots

Published March 28th, 2016

Paris, Dublin, Munich, Vienna, Rome, Prague, Amsterdam, Barcelona. All totally deserving of their status as must-visit destinations on any Europe trip. But if you’re keen to drop some names of some of Europe’s lesser-known but equally scenic/pumping/traditional/cultural hotspots, from Avignon to Zadar, here’s some of the hidden gems and emerging destinations to know about right now. No need to hire your own mountain goat herder or swarthy sailor to get there either – Busabout can get you there, no sweat!

Baguette to go, s'il vous plait! (Image: Getty)

 

Avignon

You’ve heard of Provence, right? Avignon is your gateway to the gastronomic paradise and postcard-perfect scenery of the Provence region. Live out your provincial French daydreams in this laidback and oh-so-pretty UNESCO heritage town. And don’t forget to ‘gram all the gooey cheesy deets!

The view of the Old City of Budva . (Image: Getty)

 

Budva

Boasting the best beach culture in the Balkans – how can it not, it even sounds like a beer – Budva is known for its bay islands and nightlife and a fave destination for Russians and Ukrainians on vacay. There’s 17 beaches along the 21km Budva coast, plus plenty of beachside bars....

This famous dolphin sure is a fun guy (see what we did there?) (Image: Getty)

 

Dingle

This charming town in the Derry Peninsula is the twinkle in smiling Irish eyes. Did you know that this coastal area in County Kerry has its own dolphin, or that there are even dolphins in Ireland? Fungie the resident bottlenose dolphin even has his own Twitter account @fungiedingle


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Autumn in Gruenau = amaze (Image: Getty)

 

Grüenau

Sounding more like a Swiss cheese than an Austrian alpine village, Grüenau may not have the recognition Salzburg (of Sound of Music fame) has, but take a dip in the crystal-clear lakes and take in the stunning scenery and you’ll be singing in the meadows here too!

The Etruscan caves in Orvieto. (Image: Getty)

 

Orvieto

North of Rome and south of Florence, Orvieto is much more than it first appears. The Umbrian town was built atop a massive volcanic rock with sheer cliff faces, but the real dramatic scenes are underneath the surface in the labyrinth of caves and hidden tunnels.

Chill out in Paros. (Image: Getty)

 

Paros

Here’s one Greek island that may not be on your radar, but it should be. Paros is a great spot for relaxing and discovering the real Greek island lifestyle and culture. On the Busabout Greek Island Hopper, you’ll sail to the island’s best beach and eat squid and sea urchins – fresh from your boat.

Holy Toledo! (Image: Getty)

 

Toledo

Holy Toledo! Literally! With a mixed religious heritage of Judaism, Christianity and Islam faiths, the Spanish city of Toledo has a suitably peaceful vibe, and plenty of stunning architecture to snap in the old centre. It’s also the home of El Greco, the Spanish artist famous for his moody paintings.

Your sun-powered dancefloor in Zadar. (Image: Getty)

 

Zadar

This Croatian city is close to the world-famous island of Pag (just a 30-minute bus trip or ferry ride away and known for its wild beach culture and music festivals). Zadar may not be as picture-perfect as Split, but it’s full of character from the ruins to quirkier attractions like the Sun Salutation outdoor art installation.


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Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.