Lonely Planet Reveals the Best European Summer Destinations
PHOTO: Mani in the Peloponnese region of Greece. (photo courtesy of Thinkstock)
Headed to the Peloponnese region in Greece or Aarhus, Denmark, or Venice, Italy? Then you are headed to what Lonely Planet has identified as some of the top destinations in its list of 10 locales to visit in Europe this summer.
The complete list of 10 hidden gems includes Peloponnese, Greece; Aarhus, Denmark; Venice, Italy; the Dordogne, France; Lviv, Ukraine; Warwickshire, England; Extremadura, Spain; East Coast Tenerife, Canary Island; Texel, the Netherlands and Northern Dalmatia, Croatia.
If you are concerned that, apart from Venice, Italy, these destinations seem obscure, the well-traveled writers at Lonely Planet insist that they are the destinations with the most buzz; are the most overlooked, are the spots poised to be the next traveler find; or are perennial favorites with something fresh in 2016.
“Lonely Planet’s Best in Europe 2016 list offers up our recommendations for travelers seeking an authentic experience in Europe this summer — whether they’re looking for local recommendations, or hoping to absorb some traditional life while away, these destinations should be on any traveler’s wish list this summer,” the writers said.
So why should travelers rush to amend their summer travel plans to include Aarhus or Lviv? Here are some reasons why:
Usually dwarfed by Athens’ ancient attractions and Greece’s popular archipelagos, the Peloponnese region has something different to offer and some ancient sights of its own. Get a taste of history visiting Olympia, Mycenae and Mystras or take advantage of the opportunity to hike the new Menalon trail and visit the Nemean wine region.
READ MORE: Greece’s Tourism Never Went Away
Denmark’s second city, Aarhus, boasts cool neighborhoods and head-turning architecture and it will serve as the European Capital of Culture in 2017. Other reasons to visit include an array of new public spaces, big-name museums and Michelin-starred restaurants.
This year, the city is commemorating the 500-year history of the Venetian ghetto, an island in the heart of the city that turned its cramped quarters into a place thriving with Jewish culture and innovation.
The Dordogne, France
There must be a reason why British Airways started up direct London-Bergerac flights this month, right? One reason: A new replica of the Lascaux caves in France, Lascaux IV, will open in June of this year and aims to recreate the original space in caves.
This Central European city has largely been unaffected by the unrest in the country, as has most of the western parts of Ukraine. It’s the festival capital of the country, and is brimming with architectural treasures. Why 2016: A favorable exchange rate is making this the year to visit.
Stratford-Upon-Avon in Warwickshire and the surrounding area are commemorating 400 years since Shakespeare’s death — but if that’s not enough, visit to expereince the stunning countryside in the region dotted by castles, historic markets and experience an unhurried lifestyle.
Looking to explore a relatively undiscovered part of Spain? Extremadura is where you are going to want to head. Here, visitors will find Roman ruins in Merida, medieval jewels and hillsides that could rival Tuscany. And, the region that was just Spain’s gastronomic capital in 2015 now boasts a host of new culinary experiences.
East Coast Tenerife, Canary Islands
Beyond the revelry of Tenerife, the East Coast Tenerife offers volcanic moonscapes, slow-paced fishing villages and dramatic cliffs. The Anaga mountains are so far off the beaten path that locals still stare at tourists and English speakers are rarely found.
Texel, the Netherlands
Loved by German and Dutch travelers, Texel is mostly unknown to the rest of the world. It is the largest of the Netherlands’ Wadden Sea Islands and offers wildlife reserves, deserted beaches and pine forests. In the summer, it's home to a number of festivals as well as the world’s largest catamaran race.
Northern Dalmatia, Croatia
Zadar is the heart of Northern Dalmatia and equally as stunning as its more popular southern counterparts — Dubrovnik and Split. The region offers soaring karst mountains, waterfalls and a glittering sea. The region also serves up some pristine natural areas, ideal for nature lovers.
If these destinations aren’t off the beaten path enough for you, then you will want to download Lonely Planet’s free e-book, Secret Europe.
More by Janeen Christoff
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