Less Crowded European Destination Worth a Summer Visit 3 min read
Everybody loves Europe in the summer. In fact, we all love Europe in the summer a little too much. During the few short months of truly hot weather on the continent, Americans flock to Europe in the millions. Good luck seeing the Trevi Fountain or enjoying your visit to Buckingham Palace amongst throngs of people.
So where does that leave travelers who want to visit Europe in the summer but without all the chaos of popular hot spots like France, Germany, Italy, Spain or the U.K.? Even once up-and-coming countries like Portugal and Croatia have now become heavily crowded during the summer months.
Luckily, Europe has many other destinations that still fly under the radar of the tourist masses. Countries like Albania, Lithuania and Slovenia are not only incredible in their own ways, but they’re also much lighter on the summer crowds.
Albania: For the beautiful beaches
Whether you want to visit Europe for the fascinating history, the diverse culture, the jaw-dropping nature or the delicious food, it’s Albania for the win.
Albania isn’t simply overlooked in favor of its neighbors (like Greece to the south and Italy across the sea), it’s not even on most Americans’ radars to begin with. And it’s a shame. This safe and friendly country has everything you could want out of a summer destination.
From the mountains of the Julian Alps to the pristine beaches, this country is ripe for exploration. If you’re short on time, prioritize visits to beaches like Himare, Gjipe and Dhermi.
Lithuania: For the quirky cities and sights
According to Lituania.travel, less than 55,000 Americans visited Lithuania in 2022 and the country saw just 1.1 million tourists overall for the year. If your idea of an epic European vacation is to discover one-of-a-kind places, then bump Lithuania to the top of your list.
The quirky capital, Vilnius, has everything you’d expect from a European capital. Castles, grand churches, lush parks and a pedestrian-friendly Old Town are all as expected. But what’s great about Vilnius, and the rest of Lithuania, is the unexpected. Within Vilnius, you’ll find the self-declared independent republic of Užupis. Užupis is a bohemian artist’s society with loads of whimsical charm and fascinating history.
Beyond the capital, head to some of the country’s other unique destinations. Trakai is a picturesque castle on a lake. The Devil’s Museum in Kaunas is as creepy, albeit entertaining, as it sounds. The Hill of Witches is a forested outdoor museum of wooden sculptures in one of the country’s most laidback destinations.
Slovenia: For the lakes and mountains
Slovenia isn’t at the top of most Americans’ minds when it comes to European summer destinations, but it should be. Especially for travelers who love inland nature, the lakes and mountains of Slovenia set it apart from the rest of Europe.
Lake Bled and its church-topped island are perhaps the most well-known image of Slovenia’s national parks. But beyond Lake Bled you’ll also find plenty of lesser-known destinations with equally jaw-dropping nature.
Head to Lake Bohinj, a favorite summer getaway of Slovenians. The massive lake here is perfect for water sports of all kinds. Or venture to the mountain town of Bovec which looks straight out of a fairytale and is home to white water rafting, climbing, hiking and kayaking.