Thinking outside of the box for your next trip abroad? Europe is brimming with holiday destinations that are a little off the beaten track and will delight in ways you didn’t expect.
Here are just two of our most favourite hidden gem destinations in Europe.
Rothenburg and the Tauber Valley – Bavaria, Germany
The fairytale town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber sits in the heart of Bavaria with medieval architecture and narrow cobbled streets straight from a postcard. A visit to this walled citadel is much like stepping back into the Middle Ages. Soaring spires, imposing towers, Neo-Gothic churches and quaint timber-framed cottages huddle together inside the ancient town walls.
Nothing much in the old town has changed in centuries and a break in Rothenburg will inspire even the most un-sentimental sorts, lying as it does on Germany’s Romantic Road. The Franconian town overlooks the Tauber River Valley, itself a gentle landscape that tourists often miss. The lush greenery of the valley is dotted with vineyards, rolling hills and dense forest. It is said that Tauber Valley produces Germany’s best Silvaner wines.
There’s no shortage of things to do and see in Rothenburg ob der Tauber either. How about a visit to the Mediaeval Crime Museum to witness unspeakable instruments of torture and learn about how the prominent Albrecht family put witches to trial. There are also art galleries, independent shops and wonderful places to eat before finishing the evening in one of Rothernburg’s wine taverns.
Remember, you will need travel insurance to visit Germany. Part of the Schengen Area, applications for entry visas have this as a mandatory requirement.
Antheor – Saint-Raphaël, France
Overlooked by the Esterel massif, Antheor is nestled on the French Riveria between the better-known chic resorts of Saint Raphaël and Cannes, both of which can be easily reached from the beach-fronted town. Antheor sits on the fabled Corniche d’Or, considered one of the most beautiful road trips in France. The tiny coastal town is dominated by its 1860s railway viaduct. The nine arches stretch between the deep red mountains that surround Antheor with the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean providing a stunning contrasting scene.
Somewhat off the beach seeker’s radar, Antheor’s sandy and pebbly stretches are mostly frequented by locals with sheltered coves and rocky inlets making for lovely swimming spots. For a good stretch of the legs, the Plateau d’Anthéor trail is a little over four miles and affords stunning coastal mountain views, carpets of wildflowers and assorted wildlife and bird spotting opportunities. In the town of Antheor itself, visitors delight in its secluded seafood restaurants and Mediterranean bistros. Best of all, Antheor is a beautiful base to explore the wider delights of the Côte d’Azur.
When travel restrictions have been removed, the UK government has recommended that all visitors to France obtain travel insurance for a trip to Europe. That’s the best way to ensure a visit to this hidden surprise in the South of France does not turn into a nasty one.