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Europe's Must-Visit Hidden Gems

7 mins. read
Published in the Sunday Gujarat Samachar on 28 April, 2024
I was recently having a discussion with some of Veena World’s Tour Managers when we decided to play a game. The game was to list down some of Europe’s hidden gems which we felt are must-visit destinations. When this game was mentioned, I got super excited. And why not? Europe, with its rich mix of cultures, history, and landscapes, has long been a beacon for travellers from around the globe. Iconic cities like Paris, Rome, and London draw millions each year, captivated by their timeless beauty, monumental landmarks, and deep-rooted heritage. The fascination and attraction of these destinations is undeniable. Yet, this time, we decided to venture beyond the well-trodden path to unveil Europe's undiscovered gems.
So today, let’s go on a journey that takes us through some interesting locations that promise experiences as enriching and enchanting as their famed counterparts. For today’s article, I decided to list down four destinations that in my opinion, should definitely be on everyone’s bucketlist! Let’s begin!

Liechtenstein: A Princely Alpine Hideaway

Liechtenstein, a microstate nestled between Switzerland and Austria, is a country, spanning just 160 square kilometres. Given its small size, it is often overlooked by travellers drawn to its larger neighbours. Yet, it offers a unique blend of natural beauty, regal history, and modern culture. Surrounded by the majestic Alps, Liechtenstein is a haven for adventure enthusiasts and those seeking a calm retreat from the bustling cities of Europe. Its capital, Vaduz, is famed for its modern art, museums, and the Prince's castle, which looms over the town.
Speaking of its key attractions, the top one here is Vaduz Castle. Perched atop a hill, the castle is the residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein. Though not open to the public, its imposing presence and the surrounding vineyards make for a picturesque visit. There is also the Liechtenstein National Museum where you can dive into the country's history, culture, and natural environment.
The best time to visit Liechtenstein depends on your interests. Summer (June to August) is ideal for exploring the outdoors, with long, sunny days illuminating the beautiful landscapes. Winter (December to February) transforms the country into a snowy wonderland, perfect for skiing, snowboarding and other adventure sports in the Alps. Lately, Indian travellers have started exploring Europe in the winter and if you are one of them, Liechtenstein should definitely be on your list.

Bruges, Belgium: A Medieval Marvel

Nestled in the northwest of Belgium, Bruges is a medieval city cradled by a network of canals, cobblestone streets, and an architectural panorama that has remained largely unchanged since the Renaissance. My favourite attraction here is the Belfry of Bruges, which involves climbing the 366 steps of this iconic 13th-century bell tower. Those who are brave enough to complete the climb are rewarded with panoramic views of the city's red rooftops and the bustling Markt square below.
Another thing to enjoy while here is a boat tour through the city which offers a unique perspective on Bruges' beauty, gliding past age-old bridges and pastel-coloured houses that seem to rise directly from the water. Bruges is also renowned for its artisanal chocolatiers. A visit isn’t complete without sampling handmade Belgian chocolates or visiting the Choco-Story museum to learn about chocolate making.

Copenhagen, Denmark: Tradition amidst modernity

While Copenhagen is more known than the previously discussed destinations, it possesses unique aspects that still categorize it as one of Europe's hidden gems. With its colourful harbours and bicycle-friendly streets, Copenhagen offers a harmonious blend of historical charm and forward-thinking modernity. The city is renowned for its design scene, culinary innovation, and quality of life.
Beyond the iconic Little Mermaid statue and the amusement parks, Copenhagen's soul lies in its vibrant neighbourhoods, each telling its own story through cobblestone streets, centuries-old buildings, and the laid-back Danish way of life. Among them, one truly stands out - Nyhavn, a picturesque harbour area known for its brightly coloured townhouses, historic wooden ships, and bustling bars and cafes. The Tivoli Gardens, one of the world’s oldest amusement parks is another famous one, offering a magical blend of rides, games, musicals, ballet, and major concerts. The best time to visit Copenhagen is during the late spring and summer months (May to August) when the weather is warm, and the city is alive with outdoor cafes, green parks, and waterfront activities.

The Dolomites, Italy: The Undiscovered Mountains

The Dolomites, a stunning mountain range located in northeastern Italy, are a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for their breathtaking beauty, unique geological composition, and the sheer vertical walls and peaks that seem to touch the sky. This majestic mountain range offers not just spectacular views but a host of outdoor activities, making it a paradise for adventurers, nature lovers, and those seeking solace in the beauty of the natural world.
The Dolomites are characterized by their distinct pale mountains, which at sunrise and sunset, glow in shades of pink and orange due to the unique mineral composition of the rock. Perhaps the most iconic symbol of the Dolomites are the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. These three towering peaks offer accessible hiking trails that provide stunning views of the surrounding mountains. There is also Lago di Braies, a lake famed for its crystal-clear waters and the dramatic mountain backdrop. It's a perfect spot for a leisurely walk or a rowboat ride.
The Dolomites are a year-round destination, each season offering its unique allure. Summer (June to August) is ideal for hiking, climbing, and paragliding, while winter (December to March) transforms the landscape into a premier skiing destination.
In our journey through Europe's hidden gems, we've travelled cobblestone streets in the fairy-tale city of Bruges, discovered the princely charm of Liechtenstein, immersed ourselves in the vibrant culture and sustainable future of Copenhagen, and stood in awe of the majestic peaks of the Dolomites. These hidden gems of Europe remind us that adventure and discovery don't always lie in the grandeur of famous landmarks or the bustling streets of well-known cities.
Sometimes, they're nestled in the serene landscapes of a mountain range, in the quiet elegance of a medieval town, or in the warm embrace of a community living at the edge of the world as we know it. So the journey doesn't end here; it's merely a gateway to countless other undiscovered gems waiting to be explored, each with its own tales to tell and secrets to share. If you can think of such places, I would love to know about them. So do write to me at Until next time, keep celebrating life!
April 27, 2024


Neil Patil
Neil Patil

Founder & Director, Veena World

More Blogs by Neil Patil

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