So you think you have ‘done’ Europe? If your Europe story, like most ‘well travelled’ Indians, starts from London, goes through Madrid / Barcelona and ends in Paris; then take a look at this list of destinations. Beautiful and slightly off the grid, these cities are climbing the popularity charts slowly but surely, thanks to the curiosity of the European traveller who is starting a new travel trend. Skyscanner, ran through its searches in Europe and found out the new destinations that has the locals flocking in hordes. Know more about these here.
Spain is so been there done that, especially after the Zoya Akhtar movie that made La Tomatina a household term. But make Spain a conversation starter again, include one of these Spanish destinations!
1. Malaga, Spain
Malaga with its countless tapas bars, cathedral spires rushing into the skies, a grand castle and Mediterranean port city aura; makes for an incredible Spanish city holiday. Its drab, industrial looking first impression is a bit discouraging, but a keen traveller will soon discover that Malaga is a city steeped in culture and heritage. Take a look at some of the top things to do in Malaga.
- Watch the sun set over Malaga from the 14th century Gibralfaro Castle
- Visit the Picasso Museum at the beautiful 16th century Palace of Condes de Buenavista; dedicated to Malaga’s star son Pablo Picasso
- Check out the unfinished 15th century cathedral La Manquita, perfect in its incomplete form
- For stunning views of Gibralfaro Castle and Alcazaba, take a walk around Peir I Port neighbourhood
- Book yourself a guided tour of the Conception Botanical Gardens – lush, green and quiet
- Relax in the steamy semi-darkness of a hammam
Best time to visit Malaga: Summer months, from June till September, are considered the best time to visit Malaga. That is if you are a beach bum and want to make the best of the beaches in the sunshine. But if you are more the shopping and enjoying your seafood kind of a traveller, then winter months are good too – December in fact, with Christmas festivities, is perfect!
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Photo credit: vittorio sciosia
2. Alicante, Spain
Another Spanish destination that is not Barcelona is the stylish port city of Alicante. Mix its sandy beaches made perfect with Alicante’s mild climate, with some culture – sample historical monuments, museums, great food and local festivals. Here are some must do things while in Alicante.
- Climb up to the 9th century Santa Barbara Castle for the best views of Alicante and around
- Visit the oldest functioning church in Alicante, the Santa Maria Church
- Spend an evening walking on the never crowded Explanada de Espana
- Do your sun, sand and sea time at the Guardamar Beach
- Take a day trip to Guadalest – one of the funkiest villages in Spain
- Wake up to marching bands of a local festival – check out Alicante’s annual festival schedule and plan your trip around one
Best time to visit Alicante: An all year destination, Alicante gets as little as twenty rainy days a year. Though summer, May through October, is considered the best time to visit Alicante; it is pretty much a wide open choice.
Read more: Why 2015 is the best year to be in Singapore
Photo credit: camera_obscura [busy]
3. Tenerife, Spain
The ideal year round climate and unending beaches give Tenerife the beach lounging, lap dancing, beer guzzling image it is known for. But there is so much more to this island than natural beauty inspired holidays. Check out the history and culture stash in Tenerife.
- Visit the Guimar Pyramids and museum on the same site
- Take a ‘mummy’ tour at the Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre as you check out the history of the Canary Islands
- Sunbathe on a ‘fake’ beach – lounge on the manmade Playa de Las Teresitas; the sand here was brought from the Sahara!
- Plan a trip to the Basilica of Candelaria
- Visit the Teide National Park
Best time to visit Tenerife: Though there is a ‘low’ season in Tenerife, there is no off-season here. Everything is open throughout the year – Tenerife has glorious weather for all 365 days!
Read more: Must-visit destinations this July
Photo credit: Marko
4. Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Tiny and eclectic, this home-to-an-artist town is as quaint as they come. It is as if artist Fernando Llort used it as a canvas. You can actually check the whole town out in a single, delightful view from the sea. Some things to do while in Palma.
- Take in beautiful landscapes – do the Serra de Tramuntana drive
- Climb Mallorca’s crags – it is a great rock climbing destination
- Get awestruck by Gaudi’s creativity – don’t miss the Cathedral by night
- Do the Castell d’Allaro castle climb
- Wander through the lavish Almudaina Palace
Best time to visit Palma: Like any typical Mediterranean destination, July and August are considered the best months to visit Palma de Mallorca.
Photo credit: Gatanass
5. Lanzarote, Spain
Dramatic Lanzarote – with its extreme volcanic landscape and pretty black beaches, has it all worked out for a perfect holiday. Take a look at what is there to keep you busy.
- Don’t miss the dormant volcanic sites at Timanfaya National Park
- Go underground to the Green Caves
- Bargain at Lanzarote Sunday market
- Schedule some beach time at Playa Famara Beach, or any of the 99 other beaches!
- Don’t miss going museum hopping
Best time to visit Lanzarote: Lanzarote may be visited any time of year, depending on what you want out of your vacation. A ‘season’ visit would ideally be in July and August, but if you want to experience a quiet and laid back Lanzarote, book yourself for the month of May or June.
Read more: 9 travel itineraries under INR 100,000
Photo credit: Marko
It is not just Spain that is helping us make a list of alternative European destinations – the European traveller is out exploring too.
6. Dublin, Ireland
Charming and multi-hued Dublin – lose yourself in its Victorian pubs and pretty Georgian town houses and the required modern city touch. The slow paced Irish capital is very inviting with its multiple shopping and sightseeing opportunities . Take a look at some of what there is to do in Dublin.
- Get clued in to all there is to know about this world famous beer brand at the Guinness Storehouse
- Visit the largest cathedral in Ireland – Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
- Understand Ireland’s history at a former prison – take a tour of Kilmainham Gaol
- Check out one of the most famous books in the world – the Book of Kells – at Ireland’s most prestigious university, Trinity College
- Do the Dublin literary pub crawl tour – sample Dublin’s enviable literary heritage along with a few pints
Best time to visit Dublin: Travel to Dublin in the summer, June to August, for the best weather. This will also guarantee the highest prices for flights and accomodation and a lot of rush. Be prepared for a bit of rain – it always rains in Dublin. Not a fan of spending big? Plan your Dublin visit in May or September.
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Photo credit: Andhi
7. Faro, Portugal
Faro – yes, the same Faro you fly into before you are whisked off to fancier destinations. This little transit city actually has a lot of innate charm that goes unnoticed. Take a look at some of what the southern Portugese city has to offer.
- Get out some beach time at Praia de Faro
- Discover what is left of the Old City; Cidade Velha’s cobbled streets will take you way back
- View Faro from The Se, or cathedral
- Visit the Municipal Museum
- Do a church tour – nothing like a bunch of beautiful white buildings
Best time to visit Faro: Faro is another all year destination with its mild temperatures. Early summer is best given that the air will be fresh and the sea warm enough for a dip.
Read more: 7 cruises in the world to board
Photo credit: Carlo Scherer
8. Dalaman, Turkey
Dalaman had to ‘happen’. With those beaches on the blue Aegean, it was only a matter of time before this region made its mark on the tourist map. Here’s what should keep you busy.
- Choose a trekking route between Fethiye and Antalya
- Drop off a few years with a rejuvenating mud bath
- Check out loggerhead turtles on Iztuzu Beach
- Paraglide for the best views
- Get some beach time on Sarigerme Beach
Best time to visit Dalaman: Early spring till late autumn is the best time to visit Dalaman. October is good if you are looking for some peace and quiet.
Photo credit: Naomi