Summer is always a great time to visit Europe: long days, beach-worthy weather and sales! But if you want to avoid bumping elbows with hoards of American tourists with cameras, we have some lesser-known but just as wonderful European destinations for you to visit.
If you’re headed to Europe this summer, forget London and Paris and check out some of these other wonderful destinations to visit with the family.
Gibraltar is actually its own country, just off the southern coast of Spain. Gibraltar offers much for families by way of hiking, swimming, and of course, exploring the famous Rock of Gibraltar. Its maze of tunnels makes it an unforgettable experience for children. Gibraltar resident and mom Alice Usai advises researching your restaurant choices thoroughly before a trip to Gibraltar as some are great, but many are not!
Located in the Italian region of Sicily, Siracuse is an absolutely rewarding place to spend a few days in. One of the largest Greek colonies outside of Greece, Siracuse is still home to some of the most ancient and well-kept Greek structures such as Ear of Dionysus and the Roman Amphitheater. Those looking for more baroque traditions can spend the day walking around the quaint island of Ortigia, located in the heart of Siracuse. Finally, for the kids, spend a day at the Fontane Bianche, where you’ll encounter some of the widest and most pristine beaches in all of Italy.
Dubrovnik has gained popularity as a trendy European destination over the last few years, but it’s still not on everyone’s list so now’s a good time to visit. Facing the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik is a gateway to nearby islands (we loved Lokrum, a short ferry ride away) and a popular stop for cruise ships. The old town in Dubrovnik is wonderful to walk around, with cobble-stoned alleyways and open squares. It offers a beautiful backdrop to the city no matter which part you are staying in.
For a small town, Salzburg has a lot to its name as the birthplace of Mozart and the setting of the world-famous Sound of Music. Take the Sound of Music tour and visit all the famous sites, such as the two homes that played the Von Trapp residence and the gazebo that was the spot of multiple romances in the movie (and has been moved a couple of times within the city). The Mozart museum located at his birthplace is intimate and interesting, housing the maestro’s early instruments and several letters between him and close family members. Finally, don’t forget to try the Austrian delicacy dessert: crisp apple strudel!
Second only to Paris in its gastronomic prowess, Lyon is actually known as the gastronomic capital of France. In the old town you can treat yourself to the best of medieval and Renaissance architecture, while the contemporary city is dotted with art galleries, museums and parks. Eat your way through and around this gorgeous city while you visit world-renowned landmarks such as the Lyon Cathedral, the Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls, and the Parc de la Tete d’Or.