Europe's Utopian secrets: Some of Europe's most underrated countries

Tripoto

Credit: Kai Pilger

Photo of Europe's Utopian secrets: Some of Europe's most underrated countries by Ayushee Chaudhary

Call it the after effect of the classic DDLJ or the countless Instagram posts and picturesque shots on the silver screen, Europe has managed to be a constant in every traveller’s list without losing its charm any bit. But Europe’s mesmerizing landscapes, endearing culture, captivating architecture and much more is not just limited to France, Italy, Switzerland and the likes. There’s much more that Europe’s treasure trunk has in store for its visitors. Here’s a list of some of the most underrated countries in Europe that must be on your list, the next time you visit this ornate continent, if you wish to surprise yourself and sneak away from the most crowded tourist spots.

Spellbinding natural charm in the snow-crowned Alps and rich olive valleys, Slovenia stores stories carved in historic towns, castles, and churches. With exclusive food, wine, fresh honey, and drinks to savour your taste buds along with outdoor opportunities to get your heartbeat racing; it is a tourist's delight sitting between Croatia and Austria, unspoiled by the expanding tourism.

Credit: Pohjakroon

Photo of Slovenia by Ayushee Chaudhary

Things to See and Do: Dive into a scene from your childhood fairy tale book at Lake Bled where a church nestles at the cliff top and explore the surrounding caves; go hiking at Triglav National Park; discover the cultural capital of Ljubljana; ski in the Kranjska Gora and raft across Soca River; sleep in a prison or sunbathe on a beach.

Flight cost: Round-trip fares start from ₹45,000 onward. Book in advance and fly to Ljubljana from New Delhi to get the best price.

Daily Budget: Average daily expenses can go up to ₹5,880 a day, inclusive of local transportation, entertainment and food. Accommodation starts from ₹3,300.

Where to stay: G Design Hotel Ljubljana, ₹6,912; Boutique Skipass Hotel Kranjska Gora, ₹7,377; Hotel Cubo Ljubljana, ₹14,808

With soaring mountains, swift rivers, vivid gorges and picturesque coastline on the Adriatic Sea, Montenegro's beautiful landscapes are anything but a humdrum affair with the country being a haven of adventures. Nestled in its old towns from another time altogether and a thriving nightlife, still at a well-maintained distance from mass tourism, this country with emerald hills is reasonable compared to Western Europe.

Credit: Roemi

Photo of Montenegro by Ayushee Chaudhary

Things to do: Admire the strikingly beautiful Kotor Bay; expose yourself to wilderness at Durmitor National Park; go sailing, hiking or cliff jumping in this tiny country with nearly 200 miles coastline; experience the best of both worlds at Budva while you stroll through the archaic town during the day and groove into the nightlife by the end of the day.

Flight Cost: Round-trip fares start from ₹55,000 onward. Book in advance and fly to Podgorica from New Delhi to get the best price.

Daily Budget: Average daily expenses can go up to ₹4,600 a day, inclusive of local transportation, entertainment and food. Accommodation starts from ₹1,880.

Where to stay: Hotel Laguna, Vojislavljevica 72, ₹2,374; Franeta Apartments, Blaža Jovanovića 9, ₹1,907; Modern & Modest Flat 2, Podgorica, ₹874

Home to some of Queen Elizabeth II's happiest years, Malta is an islet nation located in the south of Sicily in the Mediterranean with each of the charms of Italy and Greece, only on a lesser price with a limited crowd. Known for the hospitality and generosity of its people, this gorgeous island is one of Europe's five smallest countries. With the unique architecture that's a treat for the eyes, Malta is a perfect combination of adventure and laze. The second official language being English, it makes communication easier and the facility to rent a car and go around the country is an add on for commuting.

Credit: Kirkandmimi

Photo of Malta by Ayushee Chaudhary

Things to do: Scuba dive in turquoise seas, devour Sicilian seafood and sip limoncello in the capital palazzos, know the country's history as you boat ride through the caves at Blue Grotto; get your adrenaline rushing with the various adventure activities like cliff jumping, snorkeling, etc.

Flight Cost: Round-trip fares start from ₹52,000 onward. Book in advance and fly to Malta from New Delhi to get the best price.

Daily Budget: Average daily expenses can go up to ₹5,000 a day, inclusive of local transportation, entertainment and food. Accommodation starts from ₹3800.

Where to stay: Boho Hostel, Dun Guzeppi Xerri, ₹1,135; Mario Giovanna Guest House, Rabat Road, ₹2,436; Barrakka Suites, 4 Battery Street, ₹9,219

Known for its crystal-clear lakes and rivers, the landlocked country of Belarus is truly Europe's secret treasure which you must explore on your trip to Europe. Located in between Russia and Poland, the country offers abundance nature which is still untouched. With one-third of the country's territory still covered by forests, this is a nature lover's paradise and the perfect dose of tranquility you need. The country also boasts of a rich cultural heritage and history, several significant landmarks, delicious food, and friendly people; all of it in a pocket-friendly retreat.

Credit: Neufal

Photo of Belarus by Ayushee Chaudhary

Things to See and Do: Gaze at the modern architectural ensembles, emerald boulevards and beautiful parks as you stroll down the clean scenic country; break away from the modern city vibe at the Orthodox Church outside of Minsk; spend the day engaging with heritage at the Mir castle or Nesvizh palace; explore Belarus' history and culture at the UNESCO heritage sites.

Flight cost: Round-trip fares start from ₹52,000 onward. Book in advance and fly to Ljubljana from New Delhi to get the best price.

Daily Budget: Average daily expenses can go up to ₹1,400 a day, inclusive of local transportation, entertainment and food. Accommodation starts from ₹800.

Where to stay: Agrousadba Meyana Farmhouse, Central Street 6 ₹877; Villa Rosa, Ilicha Street 150, ₹1,566; Hermitage Hotel, Bobruyskoe Direction, ₹2,790

Surrounded by Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, and Belarus; Latvia lies at the center of the Baltic states. Be it the rich natural beauty, the cultural uniqueness, the architecture, the history or its, Latvia awaits a traveller' expedition. You can laze around the country at its beaches or visit its fast-paced capital, party whole night or just gasp at its fascinating culture, Latvia is full of breathtaking medieval towns, castles and natural beauty.

Credit: Mailgres

Photo of Latvia by Ayushee Chaudhary

Things to See and Do: Unravel the treasure amid beautiful Gauja Valley pines; go deep downtime through Latvia's exclusive cultural practices; explore the Rundale Palace gardens, modeled after Versailles; rejuvenate while you swim in the blue Baltic waters after a night in Liepaja; get a glimpse of the Cold War era radio telescope at Irbene Radio Astronomy Centre

Flight cost: Round-trip fares start from ₹40,000 onward. Book in advance and fly to Ljubljana from New Delhi to get the best price.

Daily Budget: Average daily expenses can go up to ₹4,000 a day, inclusive of local transportation, entertainment and food. Accommodation starts from ₹2,000.

Where to stay: Riga Lux Apartments-Ernesta, ₹3,189; Baltic Suites, ₹5,094

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