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(Article By Olivia-Petra Coman)
Traveling around Europe in spring will always be a good idea. If you disregard the tried and tested destinations and go for the underrated ones, you will hit the jackpot.
The prices are lower, and the crowds are fewer. The locals will also be genuinely interested in you and your reasons for visiting.
So, where will your steps lead you on your Europe travels?
Underrated European Countries to Visit for Spring Break
Here is our list of underrated European countries you should visit during spring break. Just be warned: with so much to choose from, a single destination may be impossible to select!
This varied country is gorgeous in any season. Why is a trip in spring so special?
Well, for all water sports lovers, Albania is — tacky as it may sound — paradise. Focusing on that, you’ve got whitewater rafting and kayaking on turquoise Osumi (class 2–3) and foamy Vjosa (class 3–3+). You can relax either amidst the white houses of Berat or by savoring the incredible traditional sweets in Përmet.
More experienced kayakers may take a ferry up north, crossing Lake Koman, and tackle Valbona River (class 5) — a solid River God candidate for many paddlers (and you should go there before a hydropower plant destroys it).
You’ve got sea kayaking on the Albanian Riviera — from the small town of Sarandë, through the fishing village of Dhërmi, and on to Divjakë (a natural reserve, where the lucky ones can even spot Dalmatian pelicans), the Ionian Sea is azure, and the Lagoon of Karavasta is waiting. Beginners through experienced paddlers welcome.
Even more, there’s a fantastic playground for kitesurfers and windsurfers provided by the north coast. There is also the horseshoe-shaped beach of Velipojë is perfect to this end. What else? You will make many friends, Guaranteed.
Though technically not Europe proper, Armenia sits at the crossroads, blending both worlds into a spectacular destination. Southern Armenia is fascinating, centered around the Silk Road, which orangeish crossed hundreds of years ago.
There are the typical Armenian churches (as the first Christian nation in the world) — Geghard, Noravank, or Khor Virap (to name a few), the fruit and vegetables that rarely tasted better, or the longest cable car ride in the world (about 11 minutes) at Wings of Tatev.
You will be welcomed as a respected and valuable guest. So, you will surely have at least one companion to share a glass of pomegranate wine or of fine brandy.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina, BiH for short, is one of my greatest loves and could surely become yours, too. There are many regions and activities to explore and try, so I will only focus on its northwest.
My favorite river in the whole world flows close to the Croatian border — it is called Una, and you should not miss it. Be it rafting, kayaking, or having a meal overlooking its banks, feel its energy. It is special.
You could also choose either Bihać or Kulen Vakuf as a base. Wander through the ruins of Ostrovica Fortress, or have a short walk from the latter. The views will be glorious either way yo go.
Head to Cazin, too, immersing yourself in the legends of Ostrožac Castle.
When you decide to leave to Sarajevo, stop at Jajce for those old walls and the waterfalls. Farther south, there’s conservatory Travnik, where a break for dessert is mandatory. I’d go for the crempita.
Georgian people will surprise you through their hospitality, ‘too good to be true’ you’ll think. Old Tbilisi will be full of contrasts — on the one hand, there are the abandoned houses, some of them barely standing. Then, readily perceivable, there are the sulfur bath rooftops, an old tradition that keeps itself fueled by the locals and foreigners alike.
Almost equally distanced to the east and west of the capital city and easily reachable are Signage and Uplistsikhe. The first is a cobblestone town, surrounded by an impressive historical wall part of the 18th-century fortifications and dotted with typical houses, separated by long corridors.
The next countryside getaway is a rock-hewn town having emerged between the 8th and the 9th century and resembling a citadel.
With such a magical atmosphere, try hanging on to one thought: Georgia claims to have been the first wine producer in the world. That said, you must honor the heritage with at least one glass of Saperavi. Also, if you are lucky enough to find churchkhela (the famous walnut-soaked-in-grape-juice candy), devour it!
Albeit not globally-recognized, this country is something different than most expect. It is a breath of fresh air, located miles away from commercial Europe.
Kosovo still boasts historical hammams and mosques, together with medieval fortresses, which could be best observed in beautiful Prizren, but also a wild nightlife, with hip-hop clubs and jazz bars, in modern Prishtina.
Furthermore, If you’re aiming for a nature escape, head to Rugova Canyon, to the west. And don’t even think of leaving the country without first trying its staple dessert — the light, fluffy, and refreshing trileqe. You’ll be sorry if you do!
If you happen to be blessed with an exceptionally warm spring, you will find temperatures in Moldova even higher than those of the neighboring countries. Consisting mostly of plains and plateaus, the country is well suited for agriculture — vineyards included — and easy to explore by car.
The old-age charm of Chişinău is replaced by joy and curiosity as you transit part of Cricova’s 120 km of underground galleries and taste some of the most distinct wines that will ever fill your glass.
For a taste of Moldova’s history, travel north to Soroca Fortress or head east to Lalova. A memorable experience of the nations’ breathtaking countryside and famous organic products is sure to follow.
Also, don’t forget that Moldovans have a sweet tooth — their candies, cakes, and pies stand as evidence. Missing out on all of these would be a pity.
Which are the favorite sites of my native Romania through the season of rebirth? Maramureş, in the extreme north of the country, with its mellow green hills, undying traditions, and wooden churches.
Orşova and the Danube Gorges, as the mighty river, enters the country — an area with a Mediterranean-feel, dotted with waterfalls and unforgettable views.
Apuseni Mountains, with smooth but rewarding treks, typical cuisine, and surprising adventure caves.
Also, consider a stop by the infamous castle of Vlad Teppish (better known as Dracula) while your visiting. However, the country is so varied that you can practically never go wrong.
And don’t be afraid to get lost; there will always be someone to help you out. That is part of the magic of Romania.
Still, one of those is in the extreme north of Kola Peninsula, with Murmansk as a base. This will leave you exploring ghost villages like Teriberka at the Barents Sea. Or, the moose-filled Russian Lapland, where you can even meet Father Frost if you’re lucky.
Even more, you may find snow throughout spring, but those white nights will be worth the low temperatures. An additional highlight will be interacting with native Saami tribes and their reindeer.
Another one is the enclave of Kaliningrad — deep in history, fine cuisine, endless plains, old-school submarines, and the Curonian Spit. Forget the language barrier or the media coverage and plunge into one of the most people-friendly trips that you’ll ever take.
Southern Ukraine is a myriad of hills and kind hearts. The road through Khust and the Ukrainian side of Maramureş take you farther on to Mukachevo and one of the best-preserved medieval fortresses in Europe: Palanok Castle. The way to the majestic walls is paved with gingerbread and jasmine-scented soaps, handmade by locals, in a mix of cultures, yet not of identities.
If you prefer traveling west, Chernivtsi is a superb university town with cobbled downtown alleys. History lovers will be pleased to know that two more fortresses of great importance lie just north of the former Bukovinian capital: the 14th-century one in Khotyn, overlooking Dniester River, and the Ruthenian-Lithuanian one in Kamianets-Podilskyi, a real wow especially if its bright red towers are seen lit at night.
Whatever else you do, don’t forget to try the chocolate-covered plums and apricots. Even more, if you enjoy alcohol, the vodka is a must — it’s the best I’ve ever had.
Visiting Underrated European Countries
So, there you have it. Nine of the most underrated European countries worth taking a trip to during your next spring break (or any time for that matter!)
What more can be said?
Just remember to always keep your wits about you, be safe, and travel smart.
And, of course, most of all: enjoy your visit to the most underrated European countries this spring!
What’s YOUR favorite European country to visit? Let us know in the comments section.
Have a great trip to Europe!
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