There’s something awfully familiar about Europe, even to those who haven’t been there yet. The continent has been a muse for many and a dream for most. Its famous buildings and romantic waterways have had the world coming to it since time unknown. But, it is not defined by just the metallic opulence of Paris and the architectural genius in Rome. It is defined by the small unknown stops that are missed when rushing from one must-see to the other. The tiny, reclusive places that don’t end up in most lists. That is the Best Travel destinations in Europe we like experiencing at Tripoto.
So, if you feel that the Eiffel Tower is nothing more than a pretentious pile of scrap and the Big Ben is a waste of time, then we think you might like Tripoto’s alternative guide to experiencing Europe. Read on.
1. Trakai, Lithuania
We love lakeside towns. There’s something hopelessly alluring about them. Right from the calm waters to the vibrant sunrises. The sleepy Lithuanian town of Trakai is all that and more. Squeezed between two lakes and an easy drive from the capital, Vilnius, this cluster of castles and wooden huts is an easy city getaway for the locals. The region comes under the protected status of the Trakai Historical National Park and is one of the few places to catch glimpses of the Karaite culture.
The Trakai Castle in Lake Galve, a 14th century Gothic construction with traces of Renaissance influences, is the major draw in this area. Follow that up with a visit to the Trakai History Museum before heading to the bespoke camping areas at Slėnje, 5 km out of the town.
2. Brno, Czech Republic
Czech Republic’s second-largest city, Brno is everything Prague doesn’t want to be. A city that has mastered the art of balancing the old and the new; the young and the old. At first glance you might think of this University town as another city racing towards modernity with its glassy facades and new-age designs, but stay a while longer and you’ll start noticing the subtle undertones. A lazy pullback into the Moravian way of life. The city’s history will slowly start showing itself in its castles and cathedrals.
Spend time at the Špilberk castle and the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul before experiencing the Functionalist architecture at Villa Tugendhat. The ossuary under St. James Church is another draw for piqued minds. After a day of landmark-hopping, visit Náměstí Svobody, the city’s nerve center and revel in the city vibe with a glass of wine.
3. Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
Lying on the tourist-trodden trail between InterLaken and Jungfrao, this fairy-tale town deserves more than an impatient stopover. Lauterbrunnen is one of Switzerland’s largest conservation areas, scattered with expansive trough valleys and thunderous waterfalls. It is also a favorable spot for mountain biking and hiking. Picture chancing upon lonely mountain inns around unexpected hilly bends.
We recommend gaping at the spectacle that is the Trummelbach Falls, our favorite out of the 72 falls in the region.
4. Roskilde, Denmark
Steeped in Viking culture, Roskilde, 35 km from Copenhagen, is a highly decorated ancient town situated in one of Denmark’s most scenic areas, the island of Zealand. It is one of Denmark’s oldest cities and served as an important Viking trading post, and the seat of the Danish crown for a long time.
Roskilde is a cultural fiesta for anyone interested in the legendary Viking traditions. Start with the Roskilde Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the burial place for many Danish Kings and Queens. The Viking Ship Museum and the Roskilde Museum are good stops for getting all the info. you might possibly need about the area’s traditions. If you are visiting during late June or early July, then head to the infamous Roskilde Festival for some legendary antics and a Rock n’ Roll overdose.
5. Hallstatt, Austria
Considered to be the oldest still-inhabited village in Europe, Hallstatt lies in a picturesque setting surrounded by the Deachstein mountains and the shores of the Hallstätter See. The village was a hotbed for salt production back in the day and you can catch glimpses of its salt-production days by visiting the world’s oldest salt-mines. Also, visit the Beinhaus for an intriguing display of decorated skulls exhumed from the village graveyard.
Hallstatt is also the world’s first cloned village with a full-scale replica in Huizhou, Guangdong in China.