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30 May, 2024
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Unveiling Europe's hidden gems for 2023: 10 affordable and underrated destinations

Explore lesser-known European treasures that offer budget-friendly travel experiences with's top picks for 2023

Source: Schengen Visa Info

Step off the overcrowded destinations that one can find all year and opt instead for unique destinations that have it all; beauty, serenity and, in most cases, more affordable prices. has compiled a list of ten destinations in Europe that can be visited this year, which have more economical prices and more exclusivity in terms of numbers and services to choose from.

1. Setenil de las Bodegas, Spain

This is a small southern town surrounded by cliffs, and it is known for being the town under the rocks. The restaurants and cafes at this place are really located under an enormous rock formation, which is topped by Nazari Castle.

On the other hand, the Church of La Encarnación is special to the Spaniards as it was built in the early 1500s to embody late Gothic architecture. The Church of La Encarnación is a simple and peaceful location, providing a glimpse of what life used to look like in more ancient times across the small Spanish villages.

This destination is Anadalusia’s best-kept secret and is tucked away between Sevilla and Grenada.© Víctor Martín | Unsplash

2. The Algarve, Portugal

This is a unique destination in the Iberic country and is known for lovely turquoise beaches and white-washed rock formations. It is much cheaper, and despite getting recognition recently, it remains a relatively unknown destination in the Mediterranean.

The destination is lesser known also than its Mediterranean counterparts, meaning that tourists seeking beach resorts, clubs and restaurants should opt for other destinations but equally beautiful to French, Italian and Spanish rivieras.

The Algarve is located some 155 miles (250 km) south of Lisbon, while other towns and cities recommended to visit include Lagos, Faro, Tavira, and Albufeira.© Victor Martinez | Unsplash

3. Brisighella, Italy

This is a fairytale town in the southern part of Bologna, and despite its beauty, it has kept a low profile. The town is rich with history and culture for tourists to enjoy, while hills, which contain a castle, a church and a clock tower, surround the place.

Some of the most common activities to do at Brisighella are hiking, especially during the summer, while eating is also highly recommended as there are world-class wines, extra virgin olive oils and gelatos to have a taste at local restaurants.The Clock Tower of Brisighella, Italy© Ekaterina Spirina |

4. Mittenwald, Germany

They have it all here in Mittenwald! History, nature, and great food but not tourist crowds. This town is one of the best-hidden gems and underrated places in Europe, which looks like a town from the children’s movies; totally cozy and picturesque.

It is characterized by vibrant energy at every turn, beginning with its colorful architecture while many of the homes and shops in town are over 250 years old, but so well maintained that they can be mistaken for being built recently.

The town is so lovely that the loudest noise one can hear is either the gentle steam in the center of a lovely violin played by locals.© Daniel Dumbrava | Unsplash

5. Varna, Bulgaria

For locals, this isn’t a new destination, but foreigners have yet to learn about this beautiful destination in the Bulgarian country.

It is a seaside destination that also has historical and cultural attractions, earning the interest of those that love to explore such sites. There are many restaurants, cafes and bars for those that instead want to enjoy the nightlife in the town.Varna, Bulgaria© Aleksandar Todorovic |

6. San Marino

The European micro-state is located on the top of a mountain and looks down to the scenic views of the Italian landscape.

The destination is acclaimed by the UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is a lovely place with narrow streets packed with cafes and shops.

In addition to its beauty, the geopolitical proximity to the Italian countryside makes it even more dreamy. © Lorenzo Castagnone | Unsplash

7. St. Gilgen, Austria

One of the prettiest lakes in Austria is located near this tiny village, and it has everyone stunned by its beauty. During the wintertime, it is a popular destination for skiing, while in the summertime, it attracts hikers.

The most famous mountain for skiing overlooks the town and lake, showcasing a lovely winter picture for those seeking the thrill, while the boundless greenery and Alpine lakes make the view more unforgettable for those visiting the town during the summertime.  © Paul Pastourmatzis | Unsplash

8. Basel, Switzerland

Located in the heart of Europe, this destination is known for its beautiful sights, with the Rhine River flowing through the town and ideal for a scenic summer swim.

Except for the natural beauty, the city is also known for museums and cultural attractions, and art exhibitions are very common to encounter while strolling the streets.© Arsim Ala | Unsplash

9. Achill Island, Ireland

It is a slice of paradise located on the west coast of Ireland, and it is home to the most breathtaking landscapes in Europe if not the whole world.

Fans of nature, culture and a good pint of Guinness, the typical Irish beer, this island should be on your next bucket list. As it is an underrated destination, visitors won’t have to deal with those tourist crowds bocking up all the best sights and enjoy their daily stays in peace.© Rizby Mazumder | Unsplash

10. Pag Island, Croatia

The northern part of Pag Island is known for its beauty and sprightly nightlife scene, while some are mesmerized by secluded beaches for those that love to have serenity.

Pag Island is just 35 miles (56 km) north of Zadar, Croatia, equating to roughly a two-hour bus ride. The coastline is relatively calm with its shallow coves and crystal clear water. Top beaches include Zrce Beach, Strasko Beach, and Spiaggia di Rucica.© Marino Linic | Unsplash


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