Many reasons make Europe the most visited continent in the world. Versatile landscapes, architecture, history and food are just some of the elements that draw visitors worldwide. With 44 countries to choose from, there is a nation for everyone to love. While most tourists flock to the most popular destination, you might want to explore these 10 overlooked countries in Europe instead.
Let’s be honest when most people think of European countries that make for great tourist destinations, they often think of France, Spain and Italy. There is a reason why these countries are on top of the most visited countries in Europe list. Most popular also means more crowds and higher costs, so why not explore other options?
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While many tourists visit Greece each year, most head straight over to explore the Greek islands. As many use Athens as the starting point, it is one of Greece’s most visited cities, while the rest of the country remains unknown to many visitors. That’s why it makes it on the list of underrated countries in Europe.
As home to one of the oldest civilizations in the world, the birthplace of democracy and culture that influenced others for millennia, Greece is a fantastic tourist destination. Discover ancient temples, astounding archaeological sites, idyllic coastlines and amazing food as you explore this Mediterranean gem.
If you like to learn more about Greece, check out Athens, home of the Parthenon!
Explore a land of extinct volcanos, imposing mountains, caves, gorges, lakes and rocky coastlines. Whether you’re island hopping, visiting ancient temples or the extraordinary sandstone towers of Metéora, indulge in Greek cuisine, make new friends, and you’ll find yourself deep in love with Greece. There are so many reasons to visit Greece!
If you’re looking for a place with incredible food, friendly people and stunning landscapes that won’t break the bank, you should definitely add Georgia to your list. While it’s largely unknown to many tourists visiting Europe, this country’s history spans over 8,000 years. It is also one of the oldest wine regions in the world, so if wine is your lingo, this is the place for you.
Sitting at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Georgia was one of the old Silk Road’s main routes. The country’s cultural heritage has been influenced by its many invaders from the Tatars, Mongols, Turks and Arabs, and the Soviet Union in more recent history. Georgian food is also a delightful mix of culinary influences, filled with cheeses, meats, dumplings and vegetables.
Interested in staying in Georgia? You might be able to do so with a Digital Nomad Visa!
Culture, history and architecture lovers will rejoice while touring Georgia’s cities and sites. From the Black Sea coast to the Caucasus Mountain Range, it’s an outdoor lovers’ paradise. Explore the stunning view of the mountains, lakes, canyons and hiking trails, or indulge in one of the natural hot springs, sulfur baths and spa resorts across the country.
Portugal tends to live in the shadow of its popular neighbour Spain. While it often is omitted from the itineraries of people visiting other countries in Europe, those who come here often fall in love with this beautiful country.
With a wide range of offerings, Portugal has a lot to offer for every taste. The stunning coastline and pristine beaches are a dream destination for any sun worshipper. Culture lovers can rejoice by visiting old castles, palaces and historic fishing towns. Portugal is also an excellent place for foodies, with an outstanding selection of fish, wine, oil and cheeses. It’s worth adding to any culinary lover’s list.
Want to read more about Portugal? Check out 72 Hours in Porto!
Beyond the cities lies a rugged landscape perfect for hiking and other outdoor activities. From the mountains in the north to the rolling plains in the south lie wild forests, valleys and rivers. Here you can also admire the abundance of vineyards as well as cork, fig and olive trees.
Although tourism has been rising steadily, Romania still barely makes it on the itineraries of most people travelling to Europe. This means more opportunities to explore the country and culture without battling the crowds. While vampires and Dracula might come to mind when you think of Romania, in reality, it is a picturesque country with a vibrant culture and friendly people.
Here you’ll discover charming medieval towns with cobbled stone streets, stunning landscapes and vibrant cities. You can also discover the country’s fascinating history and traditions through a vibrant folk culture and numerous museums dedicated to various crafts. As the Carpathian Mountains take up a large part of the country, you’ll find painted monasteries and stunning castles dotting the rocky hilltops.
Whether you live for the outdoors, love to explore cities and towns, or look for new foodie destinations, Romania has it all. Your next adventure awaits you in Romania, from the forested hills and mountains to the beach resorts on the Black Sea coast and everything in between.
Tourists are slowly making their way to Poland and the country continues to surprise those that arrive. Many visitors often come with the sole purpose of learning about the past and paying their respects to those that have perished during the war. However, while Poland’s history is dark and often tragic, there is much more to this country for visitors to explore.
Discover historic towns with cobbled stoned streets, medieval architecture, stunning castles, and legends kept alive even today. If you love the outdoors, there are many options for you to explore. Poland offers various landscapes suited for all adventures, from the Tatra Mountains in the south to the lakes, forests, and the north’s Baltic Sea.
Want to know more about Poland? Read 10 Fun facts about Poland!
With hearty food choices, friendly people and unique cultural attractions, this country might not stay under the radar for much longer. This is a destination that won’t break the bank, and that’s a great reason to add Poland to a list of countries in Europe to visit on your next trip.
Many tourists heading to Europe often overlook Austria in favour of its more popular neighbours, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. Don’t make the same mistake and add it to your list of European countries to visit next.
As the centre of classical music and culture in Europe, Austria is a world-class destination. From Vienna’s architectural gems and museums to the historical charm of cities like Innsbruck and Salzburg. Visitors can follow in the footsteps of composers like Wagner, Mozart, Liszt and Beethoven and explore the extensive art collections accumulated by the Hapsburg royal family over its long reign.
Beyond the cities lies the natural beauty of Austria. Stunning lakes with charming villages, breathtaking mountains and hills where you can live out your Sound of Music fantasies. Whether you want to hit the slopes, hike or explore museums, Austria is the place for you.
While many visitors to Europe might not be familiar with Latvia, it’s a country you want to visit before others discover it. While Latvia’s history goes back many centuries, it only became known to many after it re-gained its independence from the Soviet Union. Today, it’s a vibrant and welcoming place for visitors looking for less touristy places.
With an abundance of natural resources, Latvia is one of the greenest countries in the European Union. It is a perfect place for outdoor lovers who want to explore forests, lakes and bogs or access the beaches along the 500 km coastline.
Enjoy reading about countries in Europe? Check out the Guide to Riga, Latvia’s capital!
Culture and history lovers will swoon over the castles, palaces and medieval towns scattered all over the country. The Latvian capital of Riga is a treasure trove of museums, concert halls and architecture, particularly its Art Nouveau district. If you want to go beyond the city, many charming towns await you.
If the crowds descending on Croatia aren’t your thing, head to Montenegro instead. This tiny Balkan nation packs a big punch for its size and will charm you with its natural beauty. From the stunning coastline of the Adriatic to the imposing mountain and lakes, Montenegro is one of the countries in Europe you should visit sooner rather than later.
Visitors will quickly discover a charming country with vibrant nightlife, friendly people and outstanding food. As Montenegro’s history goes back to the 6th century, there are numerous art galleries, museums, archeological sites, churches and monasteries to explore. Culture lovers will rejoice at the variety of options before them.
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In Montenegro, you can party in Budva, enjoy the sunshine on the Bay of Kotor’s beaches or kayak Europe’s deepest river canyon, the Tara Canyon. Instead of asking for reasons to visit Montenegro, you should be asking why haven’t you visited yet.
While Malta is a familiar destination for many Europeans, it’s not as well known to others. This small island nation’s history stretches back 7,000 years. Ruled by the Arabs, the Normans and the Aragonese with traces of the Phoenician, Carthaginian and Roman influences, Malta is a jackpot for history lovers.
If beaches, ocean and sunshine are your jam, Malta delivers in spades. With 300 days of sunshine, azure waters, grottos and sandy beaches, you can spend as much time in and on the water as you desire. Be sure to break it up by attending one of Malta’s lively festivals and party with the locals.
Due to its position in the Mediterranean, Malta is a great destination all year round. Don’t forget to sample local cuisine to complete your Maltese experience. Why battle the crowds at other destinations when you can enjoy the beauty that is Malta?
If you’re looking for a unique and remote destination that is a perfect place for an adventure, head to the Faroe Islands. While most people flock to Iceland, you can experience breathtaking cliffs, waterfalls and dramatic coastlines with fewer crowds by exploring one of the 18 volcanic islands that make up this autonomous country.
The Faroe Islands, located in the North Atlantic Ocean, are a perfect destination for nature lovers. Here you can explore the outdoors while admiring the wildlife and picturesque villages. If epic hikes, puffins and sheep call your name, you will feel at home here.
With several festivals throughout the year, the Faroe Islands are also known for the local music scene. Whether you visit during summer or in the winter, you won’t be disappointed. It will be a destination that will make your friends jealous.
A final word on overlooked countries in Europe
With so many countries in Europe to choose from, it’s hard to decide where to go next. However, if you look past the most popular destinations, you will discover new places that are just as appealing.
As more people discover these overlooked countries, they too will become overrun with visitors. That’s why you should add them to your list now. After all, there is some pleasure in discovering hidden gems before everyone you know.
Travel Planning Resources
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- Flights: Find the best flight deals on Kiwi.com (my new go-to for flights) or WayAway (and earn cashback!).
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Don’t forget to check out my travel resource guide for all my fave resources to help you plan your trip.