Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Wed November 11 2015

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  • Worldwide Scott | November 11, 2015 11:00 PM ET

    4 Underrated and Oft-Overlooked Regions of Europe

    4 Underrated and Oft-Overlooked Regions of Europe

    PHOTO: The Saxon Switzerland. (photos by Worldwide Scott)

    European regions like Tuscany, Provence, Bavaria, Dalmatia, The Bernese Oberland, and their respective cities, towns and villages are perennially our most prominent European fantasies. And for good reason too, because they are home to some of the most idyllic landscapes, food and architecture anywhere on the continent.

    But there's definitely more where they came from.

    Now, just to be clear, I'm not saying the aforementioned places aren't amazing, because they are. And I'm not saying the places I am about to list are totally off-the-beaten-path either, they aren't — they're popular too.

    I'm saying that maybe, just maybe, there are some places that offer a little bit of the same magic as those oft-fantasized places, and maybe it's about time they get a little more light shined upon them, starting now.

    The Saxon Switzerland, Germany

    Located in Eastern Germany, not too far from Dresden, The Saxon Switzerland is chock full of gorgeous rolling hills, chalky rock formations and the meandering Elbe River. Legend has it that the area got its nickname from two Swiss travelers who waxed poetic in a postcard sent back to Switzerland about how the region reminded them of home.

    While you aren't going to find any cloud-scraping Alpine peaks here, you will happen upon scenic villages, endless hiking opportunities — Painter's Way being one of the highlights — and lots of otherworldly rock formations, perfect for scaling. In addition, The Saxon Switzerland straddles the Czech Republic border, making day trips to the Czech Bohemian Switzerland (noticing a theme?) an added bonus.

    Piedmont, Italy

    If I blindfolded you, treated you to a feast of red wine and risotto, then took off your blindfold to reveal a lush, hilly landscape crowned with towns and vineyards — in addition to wondering what I was up to, where in Italy would you guess I had brought you? Probably Tuscany or Umbria, right?

    Well, you'd be wrong, because I would have taken you to Piedmont and served you rice from Vercilli — some of Italy's finest — and poured you a Barolo, one of the world's most-loved wines and Piedmont's local favorite. The region has it all, yet still feels like it's just yours when you are there. Home to hundreds of foodie-tourism focused B&Bs that specialize in giving you a literal taste of the area, the buzzing capital of Turin, and even a stretch of Lake Maggiore's shoreline, Piedmont possesses a combination you'll fall in love with.

    The High Tatras, Slovakia

    After Slovakia and The Czech Republic went their separate ways, the latter may have appeared to acquire the better of things with Prague, but Slovakia's High Tatras rivals the grand city for beauty. It is easily one of Europe's most beautiful — and least talked about — mountain ranges.

    The High Tatras are one of the only true Alpine stretches of the Carpathian Mountains, and they make for a jaw-dropping mountain escape. Home to more than 20 peaks of over 2,500 meters; the scenery here is straight out of a fantasy movie trilogy. The mountains are home to dozens upon dozens of clear lakes that, when frozen in winter, can be strolled on with the appearance of walking on glass. Throw in world-class skiing and cozy resort towns full of chalets and the High Tatras will have you in high-altitude heaven.

    The Ardennes, Belgium, France and Luxembourg

    Stretching across three countries in Northwest Europe, The Ardennes is famous for its rolling rivers, World War history and picture-perfect towns topped by castles. And you really can't ever go wrong with that combination. The Ardennes are the furthest north that Latin Europe extends its influence, and a trip here, especially from Holland or Germany will make you feel like you have traveled much further than you truly have. Hiking, canoeing, and Belgian brewery touring are favorite activities in the Ardennes, and if you really want to do it right, stay in one of the dozens of chateaus that have now been turned into hotels.

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Worldwide Scott The Adventures of Worldwide Scott

Worldwide Scott Born in the U.S.A like Springsteen but trying to see the world like Pitbull, Worldwide Scott is the voice behind the hard-hitting travel site of the same name. Employing a groundbreaking strategy of visiting destinations, coming home, and then writing things about them on the internet, Worldwide Scott only tackles the tough questions that other writers wouldn't dare touch: Is travelling fun? Are there pretty places in the world? Do people in other countries wear clothes? Does Europe really exist? And if so, what's the beer like there? Stick around, he's going places.
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