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Unusual summer destinations in Europe

Updated : May 19, 2019 08:40 AM IST

This summer, drop the European cliches from the itinerary. Pick the unusual, the unexplored and the not-so-talked of destinations in Europe. Here’s a quick pick of 6 summer cities that not many have travelled to.

Lake Bled is one of the best holiday spots in Slovenia. Whoever said small is beautiful must have surely seen Lake Bled, a tiny lake that has all ingredients of an unusual destination: a 1,000-year castle perched high on a hillside, a church bell consecrated by the Pope that grants wishes, hiking trails, wooded walkways, hidden swimming spots and Bled Cream Cake to die for. Of course, it is quiet and serene. Hire a paddle boat, row your own paddleboard or book a seat on a Pletna (the large boat that can seat up to 20). For one of the best views of Lake Bled, hike to Mala Osojnica. <strong>Fact file:</strong> Drive from Ljublijana is 40 minutes. Take the train or bus (hourly departures) from Ljublijana. Average hotel price/day for two: $99; average meal price $25/ day.
Lake Bled is one of the best holiday spots in Slovenia. Whoever said small is beautiful must have surely seen Lake Bled, a tiny lake that has all ingredients of an unusual destination: a 1,000-year castle perched high on a hillside, a church bell consecrated by the Pope that grants wishes, hiking trails, wooded walkways, hidden swimming spots and Bled Cream Cake to die for. Of course, it is quiet and serene. Hire a paddle boat, row your own paddleboard or book a seat on a Pletna (the large boat that can seat up to 20). For one of the best views of Lake Bled, hike to Mala Osojnica. Fact file: Drive from Ljublijana is 40 minutes. Take the train or bus (hourly departures) from Ljublijana. Average hotel price/day for two: $99; average meal price $25/ day.
Corniche in Luxembourg is often called Europe’s most beautiful balcony. UNESCO World Heritage monuments, numerous museums and squares, medieval castles, hiking/mountain biking trails. Luxembourg is spiffy and the world’s only Grand Duchy. It has the highest GDP as well as alcohol consumption in the European Union. If you want to get from one side of the country to the other, it’ll take 1-2 hours and you’ll pass by about 500,000 inhabitants. Wherever you go, do stop at Corniche, often called the most beautiful balcony in Europe. <strong>Fact file:</strong> The best way is to take the train. InterRail Benelux Pass offers 3/4/6/8 day travel within Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Those under 26 years of age get a discount. Average daily price for travelling: $166; average meal price $78 per day. You can rent bikes for free anywhere in Luxembourg City for 30 minutes.
Corniche in Luxembourg is often called Europe’s most beautiful balcony. UNESCO World Heritage monuments, numerous museums and squares, medieval castles, hiking/mountain biking trails. Luxembourg is spiffy and the world’s only Grand Duchy. It has the highest GDP as well as alcohol consumption in the European Union. If you want to get from one side of the country to the other, it’ll take 1-2 hours and you’ll pass by about 500,000 inhabitants. Wherever you go, do stop at Corniche, often called the most beautiful balcony in Europe. Fact file: The best way is to take the train. InterRail Benelux Pass offers 3/4/6/8 day travel within Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Those under 26 years of age get a discount. Average daily price for travelling: $166; average meal price $78 per day. You can rent bikes for free anywhere in Luxembourg City for 30 minutes.
Zagreb is a perfect blend of old-world charm and modernism. Forget Friday nights, remember to doll up on Saturday mornings. Because in Zagreb the Croatian capital, Saturday mornings are not for sleeping in. It is to get glam and get a coffee downtown. Remember, the timing. It has to be done between 10 AM and 2 PM. Like the dragons, it’s the hub of Zagreb culture. Spend the remaining hours, walking through the Old Town, the Museum of Broken Relationship, take the world's shortest streetcar funicular system; eat paprenjak, an aromatic biscuit; and enjoy free wifi in the City Centre. <strong>Fact file:</strong> There are no direct flights from India but it has good flight connections within Europe. Check Croatia Bus schedule for bus routes from other European cities. Average daily price for travelling: $65; average meal price $14/ day.
Zagreb is a perfect blend of old-world charm and modernism. Forget Friday nights, remember to doll up on Saturday mornings. Because in Zagreb the Croatian capital, Saturday mornings are not for sleeping in. It is to get glam and get a coffee downtown. Remember, the timing. It has to be done between 10 AM and 2 PM. Like the dragons, it’s the hub of Zagreb culture. Spend the remaining hours, walking through the Old Town, the Museum of Broken Relationship, take the world's shortest streetcar funicular system; eat paprenjak, an aromatic biscuit; and enjoy free wifi in the City Centre. Fact file: There are no direct flights from India but it has good flight connections within Europe. Check Croatia Bus schedule for bus routes from other European cities. Average daily price for travelling: $65; average meal price $14/ day.
Cesky Kromolov’s setting seems straight 0ut of a fairytale. Known for its architecture and art of the significant old town, Cesky Krumlov is built around a windy river at the foot of a giant castle and seems a pretty setting for a fairy tale. One of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe, meander along the bridges and cobblestone streets. Visit the Eggenberg Brewery, Minorite Monastery and the exquisite Church of St. Vitus, and do not miss the Ceský Krumlov Castles wonderful Baroque theatre, which was built in 1682 and still has stage equipment and props dating from the 18th century. If you have a day to spare, drive to Kutna Hora to gaze at Sedlec Ossuary, a church completely made of human bones. <strong>Fact file:</strong> The train ride from Prague takes about 2 hours. The bus rides will cost about $8 one way. Average daily price for travelling: $52; average meal price $18/ day.
Cesky Kromolov’s setting seems straight 0ut of a fairytale. Known for its architecture and art of the significant old town, Cesky Krumlov is built around a windy river at the foot of a giant castle and seems a pretty setting for a fairy tale. One of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe, meander along the bridges and cobblestone streets. Visit the Eggenberg Brewery, Minorite Monastery and the exquisite Church of St. Vitus, and do not miss the Ceský Krumlov Castles wonderful Baroque theatre, which was built in 1682 and still has stage equipment and props dating from the 18th century. If you have a day to spare, drive to Kutna Hora to gaze at Sedlec Ossuary, a church completely made of human bones. Fact file: The train ride from Prague takes about 2 hours. The bus rides will cost about $8 one way. Average daily price for travelling: $52; average meal price $18/ day.
Riga is known as Europe’s stage party capital. In Riga, the clock goes for a toss. Sleep during and wake up in the evening for a night out in Europe’s stag party capital. Here, the taxis are red, the landscape green, the building facades sculpted to art nouveau perfection, the harbour bustling, the music folksy, the drinks heady and the jewellery amber. Ancient trolley buses chortle down curly tracks, zeppelin hangars now serve as Europe’s largest closed market; there’s an Old Town and it is cheap beer/food that brings tourists to the yard. <strong>Fact file:</strong> Riga has good air links from major European cities. Average daily price for travelling: $69; average meal price $22/day.
Riga is known as Europe’s stage party capital. In Riga, the clock goes for a toss. Sleep during and wake up in the evening for a night out in Europe’s stag party capital. Here, the taxis are red, the landscape green, the building facades sculpted to art nouveau perfection, the harbour bustling, the music folksy, the drinks heady and the jewellery amber. Ancient trolley buses chortle down curly tracks, zeppelin hangars now serve as Europe’s largest closed market; there’s an Old Town and it is cheap beer/food that brings tourists to the yard. Fact file: Riga has good air links from major European cities. Average daily price for travelling: $69; average meal price $22/day.
Bergen is the gateway to one of the most scenic landscapes in Europe. Sitting smug on Norway’s southwestern coast and surrounded by mountains and fjords, Bergen is known for colourful wooden houses on the old wharf, the Fløibanen funicular, Edvard Grieg House where the renowned composer once lived and Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the world’s oldest symphony orchestras. The best way to see this UNESCO World Heritage City and a European City of Culture is to do a fjord cruise. It is also a haven for gourmands - in 2015, Bergen earned the UNESCO title City of Gastronomy. <strong>Fact file:</strong> Direct flights from European cities are available. You can take the train, ferry or cruise from Oslo or Flåm or drive along the scenic fjords and coast to Bergen. Average daily price for travelling: $109; average meal price $31/day. <strong>Check city-specific average travelling/food costs at www.budgetyourtrip.com. If you are travelling to several cities in Europe, buy Eurail Global Pass (www.eurail.com) which offers unlimited travel to 31 countries. Price for the second class ticket: 3 days within a month ($252), 7 days within a month ($388). Travellers below 27 and above 60 years of age get a discount.</strong>
Bergen is the gateway to one of the most scenic landscapes in Europe. Sitting smug on Norway’s southwestern coast and surrounded by mountains and fjords, Bergen is known for colourful wooden houses on the old wharf, the Fløibanen funicular, Edvard Grieg House where the renowned composer once lived and Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the world’s oldest symphony orchestras. The best way to see this UNESCO World Heritage City and a European City of Culture is to do a fjord cruise. It is also a haven for gourmands - in 2015, Bergen earned the UNESCO title City of Gastronomy. Fact file: Direct flights from European cities are available. You can take the train, ferry or cruise from Oslo or Flåm or drive along the scenic fjords and coast to Bergen. Average daily price for travelling: $109; average meal price $31/day. Check city-specific average travelling/food costs at www.budgetyourtrip.com. If you are travelling to several cities in Europe, buy Eurail Global Pass (www.eurail.com) which offers unlimited travel to 31 countries. Price for the second class ticket: 3 days within a month ($252), 7 days within a month ($388). Travellers below 27 and above 60 years of age get a discount.
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