5 Underrated Destinations in Europe to Visit in 2024

Look beyond the clichéd postcard portrayals of Europe, and a world of hidden treasures unveils itself – a trove of undiscovered beauty and historical richness that lies off the well-trodden tourist paths. Join us on a journey through five underrated and must-visit European destinations, where history is not just a backdrop but an integral part of the cultural tapestry.

Plovdiv, Bulgaria: A haven for history buffs

Roman theatre in Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Roman theatre in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Plovdiv, an ancient city cradled by the Maritsa River, stands testament to the endurance of history. History truly abounds here where unearthed artefacts, from pottery fragments to ancient coins, provide tangible links to Plovdiv’s storied past. Among these archaeological marvels is the Nebet Tepe, an ancient hill that has witnessed the rise and fall of civilisations, offering panoramic views of the city below. Be sure to visit the Roman Theatre, a magnificent amphitheatre carved into the city’s heart that echoes with the cheers of ancient spectators. Stroll through the narrow alleys of the Old Town, where vibrant houses lean inwards allowing you to traverse a living museum of architectural styles spanning centuries. Plovdiv’s streets echo with tales of Thracian, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman influences, creating a mosaic of cultures that has withstood the tests of time. 

Did you know? Hidden within the labyrinth of the Old Town, a secluded courtyard harbours a centuries-old tree, a silent witness to the city’s triumphs and tribulations.

Stay at the Hotel Hebros, a merchant’s home in the historic Old Town.

Durres, Albania: A coastal jewel

Redon Staue, Durres, Albania

Durres, stoically gazing over the azure Adriatic, is a city where ancient ruins sit harmoniously with the vibrancy of modern life. The Amphitheatre of Durres, a colossal arena where gladiators once clashed, transports visitors to the tumultuous days of Roman entertainment. In the heart of the city, the Archaeological Museum unfolds the pages of Albanian history, showcasing artefacts that bear witness to centuries of cultural evolution. Delve deeper into the city’s narrative by exploring the Venetian Tower. This medieval fortress guarded against maritime invasions, or wander through the labyrinthine streets of the Old Town, where Ottoman-era architecture and vibrant markets reveal the city’s diverse past. Durres, known as Epidamnos and Dyrrachium in ancient times, served as a crucial link in the Roman road network, connecting the East with the West. 

Did you know? Stories abound of a secluded coastal cave, rumoured to have harboured pirates during eras of maritime turbulence, adding an intriguing layer to Durres’ past.

Stay at the Adriatik Hotel, a family-friendly five-star stay on the Adriatic Sea.

Øksendal, Norway: A natural wonder

Nestled within the embrace of the Norwegian countryside, Øksendal unfolds as a tranquil sanctuary where nature and history entwine. Worth a visit is the Øksendal Church, which stands sentinel amidst fjords and mountains, echoing tales of centuries past. Beyond its historical charm, Øksendal is a haven for nature enthusiasts, offering a retreat into Norway’s unspoiled landscapes.

And nature does take centre stage here, showcasing towering mountains and crystal-clear fjords. However, Øksendal is not just a destination for tranquillity; it’s a paradise for winter sports enthusiasts. Nearby ski slopes offer thrilling adventures against a backdrop of snow-covered peaks, providing an exhilarating contrast to the serene landscapes. And the magic doesn’t end when the sun sets. Øksendal is also a prime location for witnessing the ethereal Northern Lights. Far from city lights, the night sky transforms into a canvas painted with hues of green and violet, a celestial spectacle that adds a touch of enchantment to the region’s already serene tranquillity.

Stay at Phillipshaugen Lodge, a 19th-century lodge set in the stunning mountain valley.

Saka, Estonia: Coastal Opulence and Clifftop Elegance

Saka, a coastal jewel in northern Estonia, seamlessly marries refined elegance with the call of natural grandeur. For those seeking adventure, Saka is a hiker’s paradise. Traverse scenic trails that wind through the nearby forests, revealing breathtaking vistas of the Estonian landscape. 

Moreover, the region boasts a wealth of nearby attractions. Visit the imposing Narva Fortress, a testament to Estonia’s historical fortifications, or explore the tranquil halls of Kuremäe Convent. For a unique experience, witness the contrast of industry and nature at Kiviõli Ash Mountain or be captivated by the cascading beauty of Kivisilla Waterfall.

Did you know? Over 50% of Estonia, with a land mass of over 45 thousand square kilometres, is covered with forest.

Stay at Saka Manor, a 17th-century home poised atop dramatic cliffs that command panoramic views of the Baltic Sea.

Kotor, Montenegro: Where Medieval Marvels Meet Coastal Splendor

Nestled at the southern tip of the Adriatic, Kotor is a special spot where medieval marvels seamlessly blend with the breathtaking coastal views. As you tread the cobblestone streets of the UNESCO-listed Old Town, you step into a labyrinth of architectural wonders, each stone whispering tales of centuries past. Beyond the charming façades lie gems like the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon – one of the oldest churches in the Balkans – and the Maritime Museum. The city’s ancient walls, a marvel in themselves, encircle the Old Town, revealing the strategic prowess that protected this coastal gem from invasions. Perched majestically on the mountainside, the Kotor Fortress stands as a sentinel overlooking the city. As you ascend its winding paths, the fortress reveals breathtaking panoramic views of the bay. Kotor’s strategic location made it a hub of trade and naval power, and the fortress walls seem to retain the whispers of seafaring adventures and conquests.

Did you know? In 1979, a devastating earthquake struck the city of Kotor and caused significant damage to many of its historic buildings. However, with the help of international organizations and the government, the city was successfully restored and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Stay at Hotel Cattero, a four-star escape built within historic walls.

So as you plan your travels for 2024, consider venturing beyond the well-worn paths. These destinations are not just locations; they are living narratives waiting to be uncovered. Europe’s hidden histories promise a journey through time, culture, and the untold stories that make each cobblestone, cliff, and fortress a treasure waiting to be unveiled. Embrace the charm of Europe’s underrated destinations and unearth the historic gems that lie beneath the surface… let’s go!


Love what you read? Share with your community:

Read more

Related Stories

Bryggen in Bergen. Colorful houses along the waterfront with mountains in the background.

My Town: Bergen

A city guide to discover Bergen and the UNESCO site Bryggen, enjoy local cuisine, or discover hidden treasures. An unforgettable experience that will leave a lasting impression.


No booking Available for this hotel :)