TOP 5 EUROPE DESTINATIONS

-To visit before 2025-

Relative to the other continents, Europe is often underwhelmed in the topic of dream travel destinations. Only Rome’s Colosseum is included in the contemporary “Seven Wonders of the World”.  However, we believe there are ever more wonders to unravel. Below we have compiled a list of top 5 “under-the-radar” European destinations we plan on visiting before 2025. These destinations are in no particular order.

Montenegro (Kotor)

…Take a windy cruise ride drawing you closer and closer to Splendour!

The Adriatic Sea is home to some of Europe’s most beautiful and renowned destinations. Befitting of the former but maybe less of the latter is the coastal town of Kotor, Montenegro; a secluded getaway situated in the namesake Gulf of Kotor (also not too far away from Dubrovnik, Croatia).

Looking through the keyhole of history, Kotor was once part of the Republic of Venice; a great maritime power stretching across both sides of the Adriatic culminating in 18th century. Hence, unsurprisingly, it’s home to many fortifications which add significant heritage to this jewel of South East Europe and rather appropriate of its UNESCO World Heritage site designation in 1979.

Beyond the cultural heritage, it is the intrinsic natural beauty of the whole Gulf which makes it make our list. Taking a windy cruise ship into the gulf with the contrasting glimmering dark blue waters of the Adriatic and steep dull grey limestone cliffs of Kotor would be an enchanting experience and indeed it is a popular destination for Cruise Ships

Top Activities: Sight Seeing, Adriatic Cruise

Interesting Fact: For the Geographically astute of you, the Gulf of Kotor is in fact a Ria- partially submerged river valley

Slovenia (Lake Bled)

… As picturesque as anything can get!

Another South East European Country- welcome Slovenia into our list.  For my fellow football lovers- Slovenia to you may be only be synonymous with Goal Keepers Jan Oblak or Samir Handanovic but Lo and behold the treasure that is – Lake Bled.  The Alps play a signification factor in the landscape of most of the countries around central Europe. This holds true for Slovenia with its steep topography. Now in Slovenia on the whole, there are many interesting sites to discover including marvelously bending Ljubljanica river in its equally tongue twisting capital Ljubljana but paramount of all is Lake Bled.

Lake bled is situated at the foothills of the Julian Alps in the north west of Slovenia. Bled Island sits in the middle of the lake with a 17th century old pilgrimage church dedicated to the assumption of Mary. Bled Castle is also located at the edge of the lake and medieval in origin. Simply put, the scenery is picturesque , the church on the island in the middle of the lake with the Alps draped in the background- a sight to behold.

Spain (Basque Country- San Sebastian)

…Life is meant to be enjoyed!

Spain features on this list – but not the obvious Barcelona, Madrid or Valencia.  We have opted for the Basque Region and San Sebastian bordering the Bay of Biscay.  The golden beach and distinguishable Santa Clara Island- rest easy on the eye. However- the main attraction for this coastal town is gastronomy. San Sebastian is jam-packed with Michelin star restaurants, bars and pinto’s which all compliment the easy-going lifestyle of the city dwellers and place to enjoy and kick back late into the night.

Spain (Andalusia, Córdoba)

A City of the Ages – from the Romans to the Muslim Conquests to the Reconquista!

Andalusia has a special place in my heart having visited the autonomous community during my Geology degree to study the Sierras (Mountain Ranges). The Sun shines brightly within the region and all you can set your eyes upon is illuminated.

There are many a city you could pick from in Andalusia, all would be overwhelming. We have opted with Córdoba- in our opinion unparalleled in it’s history and significance to the area. If you span through the most populated cities on earth throughout history, by the 10th century Córdoba would appear. This led me to research the area and I was blown away by its heritage. The Moorish architecture in this part of Europe is truly breathtaking and this imperial city was the capital of the Caliphate of Córdoba.

The Iberian equivalent to Istanbul and Jerusalem. The city is steeped with Roman, Islamic and Christian heritage which make it a truly fascinating place to explore; least to say in one of the hottest locations in Europe. The different religions and beliefs have sparked great tragedy in our human history but Córdoba is a prime example of the beauty that can be created by coexisting, despite our differences, in harmony.

The city is located in it’s eponymous province of Córdoba- north central Andalusia.

Top Activities: Roman Bridge over the Guadalquivir, River, Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba, Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs, Medina Azahara (many more)

Interesting Fact: The entire inner city is a UNESCO World Heritage site. During it’s time as a major Islamic centre Córdoba was a world leader in education in mathematics, philosophy and manufacturing. Located within a River Valley it is bordered to the north by Sierra Morena where inhabitants where able to mine many resources such as coal lead and zinc enabling the city to be self sufficient along with it’s agriculture.

Switzerland (Ticino, Lugano)

…The movie star’s next door neighbour!

Special shout to a friend from sixth form for bringing my awareness to this dreamy getaway. The glacial lakes of Northern Italy are a spectacle to behold- Lake Como; a European paradise enjoyed by many including the rich and famous. However, just 38km west, across the Swiss-Italian border lies another mystical retreat – Lake Lugano.

Lake Lugano is much smaller in comparison to the to the other Italian giants. This, we believe further augments that special, personal experience of absorbing the tranquility and beauty of the landscape, all from the various hilltops and peaks; accessible via funicular railway (training up the mountainside).

Lugano is located in the Italian speaking – southernmost canton of Switzerland, Ticino.

Top Activities: Boating, Various Water Activities, Hiking, Museum and Villa Exploring

Interesting Fact: Nobel Prize winner in Literature Hermann Hesse wrote many of his famous works in the region and the Herman Hesse Museum can be found in the nearby city of Montagnola.

How beautiful are these destinations!

Thanks for reading and happy travelling! If you would like more information or help, send us a direct message on @jumpintothemap on Instagram!

(WE DO NOT OWN ANY OF THE PICTURES IN THIS BLOG)

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