Planning some European travel this year? You’re not alone. The region’s popularity continues to grow, with tourism numbers continuing to soar. As the Chinese middle class continues to expand, the price of flights continues to go down, and the world becomes smaller than ever, locals in some cities are making their displeasure with tourists known.
For this reason, a number of places I’ve always wanted to visit are no longer on my bucket list. I was recently travelling in New Zealand and went the church by the lake in Tekapo. What was once a gravel road is now paved, and it was impossible to get a photo without crowds of tourists. Selfie sticks were everywhere, and there were three tour buses in the parking lot. For this reason, I can now better understand why some locals are sick and tired of ducking around crowds of tourists on their way to the supermarket.
However, there are plenty of places in Europe where tourists are more than welcome, where locals are in need of tourist dollars, and where you’ll get to have a different less crowded experience. Here are some places you can get off the beaten track in Europe:
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Bosnia is a place where you’ll find excellent accommodation, beautiful mosques and churches, and a unique vibe. In Konjic, you’ll find beautiful bridges and stunning scenery. Best of all, you can grab cheap flights here and explore for a few days.
In Slovenia, you’ll get great bang for your buck, while also seeing some of mother nature’s finest work. Ljubljana is one of cutest capital cities you’ll see anywhere, and you can spend days wandering down alleys, drinking coffee, and window shopping. Lake Bled is just a short train ride away, or you can hire a car and make it a road trip. Be sure to check out the castle overlooking Lake Bled, and try some of the local Bled Cake while you’re there.
If you’re wealthy, you’ve probably already visited Hvar. And if you’re backpacking, you’ll be pleased to know that the scene here is currently changing. What used to be a playground for yacht owners is now popping up on the travel radar for people who love Scuba Diving. There is now a ton of affordable guesthouses, especially if you’re visiting outside of peak season. Take the ferry from Split, see the views from the castle, attend a beach party, or go swimming in the incredibly clear waters.
Wherever you travel this year, don’t forget to take travel insurance. It’s possible to get super cheap travel insurance now, and well worth being covered. I’ve used travel insurance multiple times, for everything from a fried laptop to a stolen iPhone to emergency surgery. You’ll never regret purchasing travel insurance, but you’ll sure regret it if you don’t.