Europe's Hidden Gems

Old Apr 7th, 2009, 03:39 PM
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Europe's Hidden Gems

In April 2010 my mom and I are planning a 2 week trip. I've travelled in France, Italy, the UK, Monaco, and Luxembourg. Last year we went to Italy and loved it, but now we want to do something a little different. We would like to go somewhere fairly warm (we're from Wisconsin, so that's not that hard!) but maybe somewhere less touristy. We love seeing all the historical sights, natural scenery, and we also love shopping and just wandering the streets and sitting in a cafe.

A few ideas we've had are:

Greece and the Greek Islands
Corssica and Sardinia

Any other ideas and/or information would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
srquinn00 is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2009, 04:26 PM
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In April, Sicily. Enjoy the spring flowers.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2009, 04:31 PM
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What kind of shopping do you like? The Kolonaki district of Athens is fantastic for cafe lounging and terrific fun shopping, and of course there are the fantastic historical sights nearby. Lots of tourists in Athens, though, and no natural beauty, but since you are going for two weeks, natural beauty shouldn't be hard to find once you get out of Athens.
zeppole is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2009, 04:46 PM
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Croatian coast is lovely but rather touristy.
( as most places with" historical sights, natural scenery, and we also love shopping and just wandering the streets and sitting in a cafe. "

I would not venture to Bulgaria.
danon is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2009, 05:33 PM
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As Zeppole has recommended I also think Greece sounds good for you. Spend some time in Athens to see some historical sites and then head to the Peloponnese which is very beautiful in parts. You would also have time to visit an island or two.
cathies is online now  
Old Apr 7th, 2009, 05:58 PM
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Croatia can be untouristy slightly inland, especially in April. It is far less touristy than guidebooks would have you believe (but you sometimes have to look). It has history, natural scenery, hilltop villages, excellent food and so on.
travel2live2 is offline  
Old May 19th, 2009, 10:01 AM
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To me, all the places you mention are fairly touristy, except maybe Bulgaria (away from the Black Sea). Of course, it does depend what time of the year you go and what towns you visit. Slovenia and northern Croatia are lovely and not too touristy outside of July/August, and could easily be combined in a 2 week trip.
JToronto is offline  
Old May 20th, 2009, 08:55 AM
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I would second Cathies suggestion regarding Athens and then the Peloponnese. Its far less touristy, has plenty to see and is quite affordable.
katina_l is offline  
Old May 20th, 2009, 02:09 PM
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All the places you are considering can be touristy, or they cannot - depending on where you go. There is no European country that can be called "touristy" as a country. Thus if you select some less-visited spots in any of the places you naemd, you will be fine. But you have to do a little planning, and you have to decide what you want to do or see. My own way of visiting a country is to go to the smaller villages rather than the big cities, although the big cities are a must sometime in your life if you enjoy travel. I like to combine one well-known city, which will be touristy by definition, with lots of lesser places that all have their own charm.
Wayne is offline  
Old May 25th, 2009, 05:04 PM
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Spent a couple of days in Varna, Bulgaria last fall. It was an incredibly friendly place with wonderful restaurants and helpful people. The Cyrillic alphabet is quite a challenge, but the tourist bureau had a wonderful card with translations that helped us quickly get the drift. The city is on the Black Sea and has lovely beaches and very interesting churches. We would recommend this area to anyone with an interest in exploring out of the way places.
gpotvin is offline  
Old Jun 18th, 2009, 02:10 PM
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I have a lot of opinions for Bulgaria since I have been living here the last 2 years. Sofia is ok....but to really enjoy Bulgaria leave sofia. Near Bourgas they have this resort called Sunny Beach. Its a decent place if you like sitting in the sun during the summer. Full of Hotels, restaurents etc.. Varna is also a very nice town. The center is really cool, easy access to the beach, nice people etc..

Bulgaria has a lot of mountains. A couple of mountain resorts are Bansko, Razlog, and Pomporovo. Lots of beautiful hiking, skiing.

I'd really really really recomend that you see Veliko Turnovo and Plovdiv. Veliko Turnovo was an ancient capital of Bulgaria. The old town is built on this hill that is surrounded by a river. The streets are very narrow. Very medival looking. It has lots of small museums, and a fortress that is fairly big.

Plovdiv I like because its a very fun "hip" town. The center is very beautiful. Lots of good restaurents, a few museums, good cafes.
derickfarmer is offline  
Old Jun 23rd, 2009, 03:30 PM
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Brugge, Belgium is a lovely place but might not be as warm as you would like in April. At any rate, it is charming and the chocolate is outstanding!

I have been to Greece twice and fell in love with Crete and Rhodes. Crete has a beautiful country-side so I'm sure you would be able to find a relaxing town close to a larger city (Chania or Iraklion). The beaches are also beautiful and the historical value is priceless.

I was in Kusadasi, Turkey last November to see Ephesus and would love to go back. Ephesus is highly recommended. You could stay on a Greek island close to Kusadasi and possibly ferry over? This would require some research.

Please keep us posted on what you decide to do.

Best regards.
Rene_Lea is offline  
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