The Europe alternatives you should consider

Europe is full of amazing locations to visit on vacation. We love the contrast of breath-taking mountaintop views to cities that hundreds of years old. After travelling Europe multiple times, including over 6 months full time, we have picked up a unique view on some of the more underrated and ‘hidden gem’ locations in Europe. We have visited many of the ‘popular’ locations and also some unheralded destinations, often finding the less travelled places even better than their more acclaimed counterparts! Therefore, we put together this guide to help spark your inspiration and thoughts about alternative Europe travel destinations.

The Europe alternatives you should consider for your next holiday!

Visit Lake Bled over Lake Como

Big call? Maybe. However the charming Lake Bled in Slovenia is one of Europe’s top hidden gems! The picturesque lake sits nestled in the Julian Alps and is only 30 minutes from the Ljubljana Airport. Lake Bled has picturesque views, great walks and hikes, cute restaurants, fun activities and even better.. it’s quieter and cheaper than the Italian alternative! If you’re after impressive resorts and hotels.. maybe head to the fancier Lake Como, however if you want a true hidden gem in Slovenia, located not far from Venice and Ljubljana, then consider Lake Bled! See our guide to Lake Bled here!

Head to Puglia over the Amalfi Coast

If you follow 2 Cups of Travel you will know how much we love Puglia! The southern Italian charm, the laid back feel, the cheaper prices, the charming small towns, the more ‘authentic nature’… choosing Puglia over Amalfi Coast has so many perks! While the Amalfi Coast is definitely impressive, you will pay for it! Puglia is soon to be one of the hottest tourist destinations, and for good reason, but it is still underrated and cheaper than many parts of Italy. There’s numerous day trip options, and the crown jewel of Polignano A Mare is truly impressive! Take a look at our guide to Puglia here!

Island hop to Vis over Brac or Hvar

The Croatian islands are all truly stunning! Think ‘world best’ beaches, charming coastal towns, vibrant nightlife, boat tours, and great seafood! Having sampled all 3 of these islands, we preferred Vis to Brac or Hvar. Sure, Hvar has a more impressive old town and nightlife.. but it’s far more expensive and ‘touristic’. Yes, Brac has the world famous Zlatni Rat, but it’s also expensive. Vis Island is a little harder to reach (3 hours from Split via ferry) and feels a little bit more untouched. A perfect place for couples or families, it boast stunning coastline, great restaurants and bars, and lots to do! See highlights and recommendations from our stay in Vis here!

Explore Granada over Seville

The Andalusia region of Spain is filled with many great towns and cities, however Granada was our favourite! While Seville boasted sensational tapas, Granada has amazing culture, a more charming old town, and the impressive Alhambra! While we encourage you to visit both, we found Granada to be the pick of the bunch! Check out our recommendations for Granada here!

Check out Budapest or Prague over Paris

Another big call, but one we feel is justified. After visiting all 3 of these big European cities, we can say we think Paris is overrated. Is it impressive? Sure. Does it have a lot to do? Yes. Does it have amazing croissants? Definitely. However, Paris is crazy busy, expensive, staff in restaurants and establishments can often be a little abrasive, and we generally think it doesn’t match the public perception.

We propose you visit 2 of the other big cities in Europe that we think don’t get enough love.. Budapest and Prague! Both of the cities boast incredible history, architecture, and a lot to do! The food in both is amazing, particularly in Budapest, and they both have excellent coffee culture! When planning your next big Europe adventure, we encourage you to look outside the box and head to Budapest or Prague!

Relax in Antiparos over Paros

The Greek Islands are bucket list destinations for many, and justifiably so. Think white washed houses, cute streets overflowing with bougainvillea, great seafood, clear water and awesome views! We visited a number of the Greek Islands, and noticed that the ‘less touristy’ ones felt more authentic! While Paros offers ‘Instagram worthy’ views and top restaurants/bars, we preferred the neighbouring Antiparos. Located a short ferry from Paros, this sister island was calmer, home to more Greek tourists (always a good sign if the locals holiday there), and had one of our favourite restaurants in Greece. Even if you stay in Paros, we recommend you head to Antiparos for a day trip, if not stay a few nights! See our visit to Antiparos here!

Consider the Albanian Riviera for your beach holiday over Croatia/Amalfi/Greece

The stunning beaches of the Albanian Riviera truly surprised us! While we loved the Croatian coastline, it is busy and getting more expensive as tourism booms. Similarly, parts of the Greek Islands and touristy Italy (e.g. Amalfi Coast) are very expensive and crazy busy in peak summer. Want to try something different? Head to the budget friendly Albanian Riviera. With beaches as good (or better) than anywhere in the world, we think Albania deserves a mention when considering a beach holiday. Plus.. it’s crazy budget friendly! While it may lack a few of the comforts of your super touristic locations, it makes up for it with great prices, less crowds and more sense of exploration and adventure. See our guide to the Albanian Riviera here!

Copenhagen over other big European cities in summer

Copenhagen (and Scandinavian cities) have a different vibe than other European cities. We found the Danish capital more sophisticated, stylish, and generally a little bit ‘cooler’ than some of the other locations. The weather in summer is temperate, and can be a good escape from the heat waves that sometimes hit southern Europe. With long summer days, great cuisine, sensational coffee culture and heaps to do and see, Copenhagen is one of our top cities in Europe! See our guide and thoughts on Copenhagen here!

Lake Ohrid over Como or Lucerne

Lake Ohrid, North Macedonia’s hidden gem, is a true ‘off the radar’ destination! Situated adjacent to Albania, and away from the tourist crowds, Lake Ohrid is a great summer holiday destination. Boasting beautiful lake views, history, great food and crazy budget friendly prices, we urge you to consider a visit to Lake Ohrid over more popular lakeside destinations like Como or Lucerne. You’ll save a lot of $$. Take a look at our top picks for Lake Ohrid here!

Kas and the Turkish Riviera over Greece

The Turkish Riviera is underrated! We called the picturesque beach town of Kas our home for a week and absolutely loved it! Boasting water that was a clear as anywhere in Europe, amazing food, friendly locals, and budget friendly prices.. we urge you to consider checking out the coastline along the south of Turkey! See our top recommendations for Kas here!

Stay in Edinburgh over London

London is a popular tourist destination, however we definitely preferred it’s northern neighbour, Edinburgh. Boasting a much more impressive old town, equally good coffee/cafe culture, more budget friendly, and close to beautiful outdoor areas, Edinburgh was one of our favourite cities in Europe! While London has a lot to offer, it’s very expensive! Consider checking out Edinburgh if you visit the UK. See our guide to Edinburgh here!

Base yourself in Leiden over Amsterdam

Amsterdam is one of the most popular tourist destination in Europe. Filled with postcard worthy views, great cafe culture, lots of amazing museums and culture, plus good food, it’s easy to see why. However, Amsterdam is busy, expensive, and can be very touristic! We preferred the nearby smaller (yet no less beautiful) town of Leiden. We called Leiden a ‘mini Amsterdam’, but with less tourists and a little more budget friendly. See why we loved Leiden here!

Visit Portugal over Spain

We LOVE Portugal! Offering just about everything you could want for a Europe trip. Think history, culture, vibrant artistic streets, amazing food, beaches, day trips and more! Portugal is truly one of our favourite places in the world, and we think it is the cheaper, less touristic and ‘better’ option compared to it’s neighbour Spain. If you are set on Spain, try to tack on a visit to Portugal as well! See our top tips when visiting the capital of Portugal, Lisbon!

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