Busabout shares the top off-the-beaten-path destinations in Europe
Although classic, tourist hot spots such as the Eiffel Tower and Colosseum can get crowded. Busabout understands this and aims to offer an alternative and stress-free way to travel Europe, Southeast Asia and the United States. Busabout’s marketing manager, Jessica Clarke, shares 10 destinations in Europe that are all within easy reach using the travel company’s Hop-on Hop-off travel network.
1 Not keen on Krakow? Try picturesque Zakopane
Although Krakow is beautiful – and its town square, salt mines and close proximity to Auschwitz make it a huge drawcard for tourists – Zakopane still offers incredible landscapes and the feel of small-town Poland. The village is nestled in the foothills of the Tatra Mountains and is popular with hikers and nature enthusiasts year-round. Picture wooden houses and chalets lining the residential roads, and a cobbled main street packed with stalls, traditional restaurants and cosy bars.
2 Trade the canals of Amsterdam for the canals of Bruges
Amsterdam will always be cool, however, Belgium’s south still offers the beauty of the canals and cobbled streets – without the crowds and clichéd images. The area has less tourists, incredible medieval architecture and plenty of opportunities to explore the myriad waterways by boat and bike. In addition, Bruges does chocolate, and does it really well.
3 Been to Barcelona? Then head for San Sebastián
With an array of gold-sand beaches and surf spots, lush hillsides with incredible views and a packed cultural calendar to rival larger cities, San Sebastián holds its own. After hitting the surf or soaking up the rays, indulge in local cuisine – after all, the city has a reputation as one of the world’s greatest dining locations and visitors will be spoilt for choice with uber-cool seaside cafes, traditional restaurants and pintxos bars around every turn.
4 Swap the beer halls of Munich for the castle of Neuschwanstein
There’s a lot more to Munich than frosty steins, Oktoberfest and huge plates of pork knuckle. If the hallmarks of the Bavarian capital are less revered, the fairy-tale-like surrounds of Neuschwanstein offers a world of exploration. A couple of hours from Munich, the 19th-century castle is set on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau in southwest Bavaria. There are also plenty of beautiful walking trails, including the seven-kilometre hike around Lake Alpsee.
5 Nice is nice but have you seen Monaco?
The world’s second-smallest country (bested by the Vatican), Monaco is situated on the French Riviera and the quarter of Monte Carlo has earned its reputation for glitz and glam. Expect high-rise hotels, imposing casinos and rows upon rows of super yachts where the rich and famous come to play. While there, make a pit stop at the bordering Le Rocher, which has retained its original Old Town and winding medieval lanes.
6 Go from the Austrian capital of Vienna to the Austrian Alps in Grunau
For an Austrian experience away from the bustling city, switch Vienna for Grunau im Almtal. This small, picturesque village in Austria is surrounded by some of the most incredible scenery of crystal-clear tranquil lakes, dense green forests and numerous hiking trials in summer while in winter, cold sports and activities reign supreme.
7 Explored Venice? Head over to Burano
Venice is a bucket-list destination for many people yet, just a short boat ride away, lies the island of Burano. Often overlooked by visitors to the city of Venice, the little island is a mere 40 minutes away by vaporetto (water-bus) and is well worth the trip. In fact, it could be the highlight of any trip to Italy. The island is home to just 3 000 inhabitants and is known for its incredibly colourful fishermen’s cottages. Pure Instagram gold.
8 Switch Ljubljana for scenic Lake Bled
Ljubljana may be the capital of Slovenia but it is Lake Bled where jealousy-inducing photographs and adventurous activities are. Less than an hour away from the big city, Lake Bled does not draw nearly as many crowds as it deserves. Hike up to its castle, catch the Pletnaboat to the island in the centre of the lake, swim in emerald waters alongside duck families or speed down the mountain on a summer toboggan track – no matter the pursuit, Lake Bled has it covered.
9 Ditch Zurich and hop over to jaw-dropping Lauterbrunnen
The Swiss cities of Zurich and Geneva draw tens of millions of visitors annually. Yet when it comes to Switzerland, nothing beats the natural beauty of the Alps. Still relatively unknown to the average traveller, Lauterbrunnen is an enchanting village set in a deep valley and surrounded by thundering waterfalls. A train ride up to Jungfraujoch – also known as the Top of Europe – proffers views for days.
10 Cinque Terre? Check. Onwards to Lake Como
The colourful buildings of Cinque Terre are cute but Lake Como serves up a dish that’s a lot more unique. Set in northern Italy’s Lombardy region, this resort town sits in the shadow of the snow-capped Rhaetian Alps and won’t be nearly as busy as some of its big-city neighbours. The city of Como is home to stunning Renaissance architecture as well as a funicular that takes the effort out of travelling up to the mountain town of Brunate. Idyllic shorelines, beautiful gardens and historic buildings seal the deal.