Do they still exist? Those hidden parts of Europe which are insider tips, and (whisper it) still relatively undiscovered by the tourist crowds? You bet they still exist! We say: yes! So this week, we’ve got insider tips for five destinations for you to discover!
Insider Tip No. 1: Holiday in Lithuania
Although Lithuania may be the largest of the three Baltic states, it’s probably safe to say it’s still uncharted territory for most people. Which is a shame, if you ask us because it’s a country with vast amounts of fascinating visits and activities to offer!
It’s something akin to paradise for treasure-hunters, for example: despite the fact that Lithuania’s Baltic coastline is only 99 kilometres long, it offers something very special – because you can go fishing for amber there. “Lithuanian Gold”, as the fossil resin is often called, is very popular in jewellery production. It’s not just amber that’s highly desired: the Lithuanian national dish, Cepelinai – or Zeppelins – is also much-loved. If you’re on holiday in this part of the world, make time to try these potato dumplings, which can be filled either with minced beef or curd cheese.
Five places you can’t afford to miss out on when you’re next in Lithuania:
- ○ Trakai, and its Island Castle
- ○ Klaipeda and its waterside promenade
- ○ Vilnius, with its Baroque heart
- ○ Kaunas, with its comfortable Old City
- ○ Šiauliai, and the Hill of Crosses
Insider Tip No. 2: Holiday in Montenegro
We really enjoy this small country in the Balkans. Mediterranean flair collides with some very unusual rural highlights here, with the whole thing garnished with a serious serving of joie de vivre! The first things you should be sure to check out while here are the country’s deep blue Adriatic, the powerful mountains in the background and fjord-like coastline.
When it comes to beauty and amazing weather, Montenegro is every bit as lovely as neighbouring Croatia; the only difference, perhaps, is that you won’t have to deal with the tourist chaos in Montenegro. This insider tip doesn’t even get crowded in high season. No matter whether you’re looking for a relaxed beach holiday or an exciting adventure trip, therefore, you’ll soon realise this is the perfect destination for you. With the deepest gorge in Europe, the highest mausoleum in the world, a monastery built into a cliff and so much more, your voyage of discovery in Montenegro will begin when you step off the plane just an hour and 15 minutes after leaving Vienna – and after that, there’ll be nothing stopping you!
Five places you can’t afford to miss out on when you’re next in Montenegro:
- ○ Kotor, with its picturesque boka, or bay
- ○ Cetinje, with all the flair of a former capital
- ○ Budva, and the breathtakingly beautiful Adriatic beyond
- ○ Ostrog, with its monastery on a mountain
- ○ Herceg Novi, with its jaw-dropping (in a good way) cuisine
Insider Tip No. 3: Holiday in Cyprus
Cyprus is far from your typical Mediterranean island: with its mix of exciting history, passionate locals and varied landscapes and lifestyles, the destination is something very special. Not many people have really discovered Cyprus just yet, so you can relax and take a comfortable holiday here while exploring the interior of the island as well.
Cyprus also makes the perfect year-round destination thanks to its super-mild climate: those lucky Cypriots get around 340 (!) days of sunshine a year on average, and you can swim in the sea from May to November. If you’re a lover of high culture, then the winter months are the best time to visit the island – its museums and wide variety of archaeological sites are open all year-round.
Five places you can’t afford to miss out on when you’re next in Cyprus:
- ○ Paphos, if you want to take a journey into the past
- ○ Limassol, with its colourful harbour
- ○ Aya Napa, with its dream bays that could be in the Caribbean
- ○ Bellapais, with its rural touch
- ○ Omodos, for its very special wines
Insider Tip No. 4: Holiday in Poland
We all know the cities of Warsaw and Cracow, of course. But which of us has discovered rural Poland as a holiday destination, we have to wonder? The best way to do this is to get a rental car and start out on your voyage of discovery from Warsaw. We particularly like the region south-east of the capital: a trip there is a great way to explore the numerous small villages, bigger towns and amazingly beautiful landscape.
Poland’s celebrated national dishes are also particularly good in this area, in our humble opinion; with pierogi (filled dumplings), barszcz (soup made from beetroot), bigos (stew with sauerkraut, cabbage, meat, sausage, mushrooms and much more) and gołąbki (stuffed cabbage) as good as this, lovers of fine dining will have plenty to do while in Poland.
Five places you can’t afford to miss out on when you’re next in Poland:
- ○ Kazimierz Dolny, with its unique view of the Vistula
- ○ Lublin, with its comfortable Old City
- ○ Sandomierz, with its sleepy character
- ○ Krzyztopór, with its impressive castle ruins
- ○ Zamosc, with its brightly coloured house façades
Insider Tip No. 5: Holiday in Romania
Most holidaymakers tend to underestimate Romania, and the country is rarely perceived as an exciting travel destination as a result. That’s a great shame, though, because you’ll not just find vast numbers of charming towns there, but also any number of unique visits you’d be genuinely hard-pushed to experience anywhere else.
These include the Danube Delta: the mighty river flows into the Black Sea on the Romanian coast, and its delta is home to over 300 different bird species. That means any ornithologists amongst you can do your thing morning, noon and even night! For nature-lovers, spring is the perfect time of year to pay the region a visit. Alternatively, you could venture out to the seriously rural regions of Romania, and exchange your rental car for a horse and carriage, like so many of the locals still do every single day.
Austrian Airlines flies non-stop from Vienna to Sibiu and Iasi, as well as the Romanian capital Bucharest, often referred to as the “Paris of the East”.
Five places you can’t afford to miss out on when you’re next in Romania:
- ○ Iasi and its imposing architecture
- ○ Bukovina, with the murals in its monasteries
- ○ Berca and its mud volcanoes
- ○ Lacul Rosu, and its water sports activities
- ○ Hunedoara, with its castle straight off a Hollywood film set
So have we been able to get your feet itching and try out some new destinations? Book the flights for your next trip here: