JC Travels: Best hidden gems in Europe for a long weekend
Ah Europe, a continent which I finally feel like I’ve made a good stab at exploring! This months travel link up topic was hidden gems, so I got to thinking about what I could write about. I eventually thought I would pull together my favourite long weekend destinations in Europe which are a little different. Not your standard capital cities or beach destinations! One of my favourite things about living in London is the ability to get out onto the continent so easily. Living in NZ, any trip to Europe would be a weeks long endeavour, but now, give me £50 and I’ll be on a plane and over there in a matter of hours! So where should you go if you fancy a long weekend in Europe, somewhere a little different?
I saw a guidebook on Porto the other day and it just reminded me of how great a city Porto is! I think of it so favorably – not only is it cheap to get to and stay, but it is so beautiful. The architecture, the bridges, the rivers and the beaches – all of it is pretty stunning. Combine that with it being the home of port and you have the perfect spot for a long weekend which I don’t think many people consider. Grab some margaritas and a spot in the sunshine and you’ll not regret going.
I think Montenegro is one of those places that will soon be on the radar, but for now, it’s a real hidden gem! Tucked underneath Croatia, it has some of the most spectacular scenery in Europe whilst still remaining relatively untouched. I really enjoyed all of Montenegro (and it is tiny so you could do it in a weekend!) but Kotor was my favourite. The famous walled city had a gorgeous old town and if you hike up the wall gives amazing views out over the bay. Get here before it gets too well known!
[Blog post: A Mesmerizing day in Montenegro]
Another hidden gem was the city of Ljubliana, in Slovenia. Only a short flight away from London, it’s a city which has one of the best vibes in Europe – full of greenery, new bars and cool restaurants. The food here is totally epic – along with the history of the country itself. I recommend doing a day trip to Lake Bled whilst you are there – easily one of the most iconic and beautiful places in Europe.
[Blog post: Visiting Lake Bled, Slovenia]
Tucked at the bottom of Germany is the home of castles – Bavaria! We flew in via Munich and then rented a car to drive down to the rolling landscape surrounded by the alps. Tucked into the mountains were the epic castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenshwangau – two places you need to add to your bucket list if they aren’t there already. Take some time to wander along the alpine lakes and indulge in some delicious German food and you have a pretty perfect long weekend right there.
[Blog post: Exploring Castles in Bavaria, Germany]
Coming closer to home, I think a lot of people think you need to jet off for a long weekend, without realising that one of the best city breaks is up North in Scotland! Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities in the whole world – it has an amazing feeling in the city, full of independent bars and restaurants mixed in with the Scottish government and amazing historical architecture. We did one of our favourite food tours here, though I’d love to go back just to hang out and drink more whisky of course.
Prague, Czech Republic
Finally another Eastern European gem – one I think that gets overlooked in fear of stag and hen dos! Prague was one of my fave cities in Europe and one you can visit on a total budget. It is full of cool tech, hipster bars and epic architecture. I was so fascinated by the history here and especially loved getting out of the city into the surrounding areas. If you love beer then this is definitely a good option – full of breweries and the beer is super cheap.
[Blog post: Weekends away – Prague]
Hopefully some of these have given you some inspiration for some hidden gems to visit for a long weekend in Europe. I’m definitely keen to get some more on this list so if you have a hidden gem then let me know in the comments!
Which hidden gem do you want to visit?
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