European ‘off the radar’ towns that surprised us!

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Europe is full of so many delightful ‘hidden gems’ waiting to be uncovered. While social media and the internet has helped to shed light on many of these locations, there’s still numerous towns that receive far less attention than they deserve! We have visited Europe multiple times, including full time for over 6 months, and encountered many towns that completely surprised us! Our ‘2 Cups of Travel’ blog has been based around many of these ‘lesser known’ locations, helping provide insight into these destinations to help inspire and plan your next Europe holiday! This blog details 16 of our favourite ‘off the radar’ towns in Europe!

Off the radar towns in Europe that you should add to your list!

Ostuni [Puglia, Italy]:

The white washed southern Italian town of Ostuni is a hidden gem. Known as La Città Bianca (the ‘White City’), this town is filled with charming alleyways, great views, and far less tourists than the Instagrammable Polignano a Mare. It is easily accessible for a day trip from nearby Puglian towns, but staying a night like we did allows you to experience the charm of the town. Take a look at our tips for Ostuni here!

Gordes [South of France]:

The charming Gordes is truly stunning, and well worth the day trip. The small cobblestone town is located on a hilltop with breath-taking views over the valleys below. Arrive early to beat any tours, and make sure to wander down the small stress to see the best views! See more about why we love Gordes so much!

Uzes [South of France]:

Uzes is a little less popular than some nearby towns in the south of France, but we think it should definitely be part of your road trip! A beautiful main square, cute coffee shops, and leaf lines streets, definitely check it out! See our South of France guide!

Coimbra [Portugal]:

The charming university town of Coimbra is as historic as it is beautiful. Definitely one to consider visiting, either for a day trip (close to Lisbon or Porto via train), or for a short stay. Think old buildings, great food, Fado (traditional Portuguese ballads) and more! We think Coimbra is a true hidden gem of Portugal. Take a look at our Coimbra guide here!

Corniglia [Cinque Terre – Italy]:

Cinque Terre is one of the most picturesque regions of Italy, with tourists flocking to the gorgeous hilltop towns. Out of the 4 towns, Riomaggiore, Vernazza, and Monterosso are the most popular, however, we urge you not to skip the less well known Corniglia. Yes, this town is the hardest to reach.. think 100s of stairs to the hilltop town, however, don’t it it stop you! Boasting beautiful views, a great hidden beach, a top gelato shop and less crowds. See our thoughts on Cinque Terre here!

Monteriggioni [Tuscany, Italy]:

There are so many incredible towns in Tuscany that you could spend weeks (or even months) exploring them all. We visits a few over our day trips in the region and were pleasantly surprised by the tiny Monteriggioni! This miniature walled town is wonderfully well preserved, and it’s main square, lined with cute cafes and restaurants, was a definite highlight. See why you should visit Tuscany here.

Komiza [Vis, Croatia]:

Komiza is located on our favourite island in Croatia, Vis! The main town on this picturesque island is ‘Vis Town’, which is a popular base to stay (we stayed here). However, located on the other side of the island is the calmer Komiza. We visited for a day trip, both commenting that we would happily return to stay in this charming region. It’s a little harder to reach, but well worth the effort. See why we loved Vis so much!

Zadar [Croatia]:

Zadar is another truly underrated town along the Croatian coast! Receiving less interest than the popular Split, Makarska, Dubrovnik (and others), Zadar is a great addition to a coastal road trip. Close to less popular islands, nearby some of the national parks, and within touching distance of the capital (and main airport) of Zagreb, we think this is an underrated town that surprised us and deserves more attention! See our guides to Croatia here!

Himare [Albania]:

The entire Albanian Riviera is underrated, but not for long! Surging in popularity due to social media posts which have displayed the incredible coastline! Additionally, Albania has cheap prices and lots to do. Himare was our favourite along the coast, and is a little harder to reach the Ksamil (from Corfu) or Vlore (from Tirana). We think it’s worth the effort! See why we loved Himare and our top picks for your visit here!

Gjirokaster [Albania]:

Another Albanian gem that is we fell in love with! Gjirokaster is a 1-2 hours inland from the coast and is a well preserved, Ottoman inspired, hilltop town with great views, awesome food, and a wonderful atmosphere. It’s the perfect addition to your Albanian itinerary. Take a look at our guide to Gjirokaster here!

Sofia [Bulgaria]:

The Bulgarian capital of Sofia isn’t usually one of the first locations on your travel bucket list, however we think you should consider a visit. We arrived with no expectations, and left pleasantly surprised by amazing food, great cafe’s, striking street art and lots of history. Take a look at our Sofia adventures!

Burgau [Portugal]:

The Portuguese town of Burgau is truly underrated and a definite ‘hidden gem’! A small whitewashed town with clifftop views over a stunning expanse of beach! Offering Greek island views, Burgau will definitely impress! See our highlights and moments for Portugal here!

Brasov [Transylvania, Romania]:

Our visit to Transylvania was a Europe highlight and Brasov was one of our favourite stops! We made this gorgeous town our base for our road trips in the region, and loved the atmosphere, cafe’s, restaurants and more! Brasov is well located, and is definitely an underrated location we think you should look into visiting! See why we loved Brasov here!

Kas [Turkish Riviera, Turkey]:

The entire Turkish Riviera is underrated, and we loved our week stay at the relaxed town of Kas! Filled with awesome cafes, restaurants, and home to beautiful clear waters, Kas is worth a visit. It may not offer as much ‘action’ as some of the other towns, but it makes up for it with charm, atmosphere, and relaxed vibes. See our recommendations for your visit to Kas here!

Leiden [Netherlands]:

Leiden is the ‘mini Amsterdam’ that should definitely be on your radar! Located a short train ride from the popular Netherlands capital, Leiden offers charm, calmer vibes, stunning canals and great hospitality! We stayed in Leiden during out visit to Amsterdam, using it as a base for day trips whilst also enjoying spending some time in the town itself. Underrated? Yes! See our guide to visiting Leiden here!

Hornbaek [Denmark]:

Want a coastal break in a tiny fishing town where the locals visit? We did, so we sought out the charming town of Hornbaek and weren’t disappointed. A relaxed atmosphere, beautiful coastal feel, open beaches, charming harbour and friendly locals! Hornbaek is truly where the Danish spend the summer! See a few moments and tips from Hornbaek here!

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