With the days getting warmer and staying brighter for longer, the most welcomed season of the year is just around the corner. This summer, instead of visiting the regular go-to destinations in Europe, consider the below cities that still feel a little ‘untouched’ while maintaining that European summer sparkle you’ve come to know and love.
A short hour’s bus ride from Croatia’s famous Dubrovnik, Kotor has one of the best preserved medieval old towns in the Adriatic Sea and is a UNESCO world heritage site. Spend your day’s getting lost in the maze that is Kotor’s old town which is entirely surrounded by 9th century city wall’s completely intact. The magnificent Bay of Kotor is enclosed by the Orjen mountains to the west, and the Lovćen mountains to the east; painting a spectacular landscape of colours and textures which will leave you speechless. Feel like cooling off? The water in the bay is crystal clear and I recommend a little dip if you need to refresh yourself after the steep climb to Castle of San Giovanni (Tvrđave Kotora). Alternatively, jump on a bus to nearby Budva for your more traditional beaches which are surrounded by bars and clubs, or visit peaceful Sveti Stefan for an excellent photo opportunity.
Korčula Island is the sixth largest in the Adriatic Sea with a length of almost 47km. The island is very well connected in the summer months with daily ferries running from Split and Hvar and public and private coaches departing from Dubrovnik regularly. Be sure to book your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment from overbooking on the day. Korčula is alive with tradition and history – the local Croatian population even claim (with not much evidence) that the island is the birthplace of Marco Polo. Be sure to take a pit stop at the open-air Massimo’s Cocktail Bar which is perched at the top of the Zakerjan Tower and overlooks the stunning Adriatic Sea’s Peljesac Channel. Ladies, ensure you’re wearing something to cover yourself under your dress, as this bar is only reachable by climbing a very steep and narrow ladder to the top. Don’t worry; your cocktails won’t be compromised by having to pass through the narrow archway, your waiters job is made simple by a pulley system that quickly transports your delicious cocktail from ground level to the rooftop. The island also sports some gorgeous beaches on the side of Vela Luka and little spots to jump off the rocks into the clear blue water outside the Korčula city walls.
Golfo di Orosei, Sardinia
Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean and spans across 24,100 square kilometres of strikingly diverse landscapes. Within the mid-east coastal area of Sardinia lies the region of Golfo di Orosei which is characterised by spectacular beaches and grottos backed by steep and rocky cliffs and a nature reserve which make land access almost impossible aside from a couple of beaches. This area is by far one of Italy’s best-kept secrets and is not overrun by construction or mass tourism. The best way to explore this coastline is by boat, ensuring you access to all the little coves and beaches not accessible by foot. All hiking and rock climbing enthusiasts will have a field day in this region of Sardinia with the numerous tracks ending at your private beach paradise.
This summer, consider a trip to Bari, the center of the Puglia region in Italy. You can find Puglia at the heel of Italy’s ‘boot’ and it is a city far more authentic and untouched by tourists compared to its more northern competitors. Take a stroll through Bari’s historical and dense old town and watch the Nona’s on the streets carefully crafting hundreds of tiny traditional orecchiette. Bari is an excellent base to explore the region from with incredible sights such as Matera, Alberobello and the charming and historical coastal town of Polignano a Mare all less than an hour away by car and train. If you’re in the region, don’t miss out on taking a drive down the eastern coastline to Lecce where you will find the stunning Grotta della Poesia (which I’m sure has taken over your Facebook or Instagram feed at some point). If you’re getting a little sick of jumping off rocks or attempting a delicate walk across scorching hot pebbles, then I suggest a trip to nearby Torre Dell’orso for a gorgeous long, sandy beach with crystal clear aqua blue water.
If you haven’t already, I hope you have the chance to visit these four areas of Europe before the secret is out and they become overrun with tour busses and cruise ships! Comment below if you’ve visited one of the above suggestions or you have more to add to the list.
Psst. Do(n’t) tell!
About the author
Hi, i’m Emily. Born in Sydney, made in the world. I’m addicted to travelling and love throwing myself into exciting and sometimes delicate situations and experiences to ensure I always come out with the best stories and make the most of my adventure. I’m currently living in bustling Dusseldorf, Germany and can’t wait to find out where the world will take me next! Follow my adventure on Instagram or Snapchat.