5 Overlooked Countries in Europe Everyone Should Visit

5 overlooked countries in europe everyone should visit

I’m in the midst of planning a trip to Europe (I really can’t keep away) and someone asked me the other day “why are you going to Europe? Don’t you think it’s a bit unsafe now?” And it’s actually a question I’ve been receiving a lot recently. People seem to be confused as to why I want to travel back.

I wont deny Europe has been facing some serious image problems over the past year with a lot of travelers concerned about their safety. There’s been terrorist attacks, refugee issues, and uncertainty from Brexit. Not to mention France took quite a hit as the highest visited country in the world.

But terrorism is a global phenomenon and there is so much that Europe has to offer. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Europe is completely safe because I don’t have the right to do so. I can’t speak for everyone, I can only tell you why I’m deciding to put aside those issues and continue to travel. Travel is not about lying on a beach to me. It’s about connecting with locals, exchanging views and stories, learning about hope and conquering fears. It’s about coming together with other travelers and communities.

It doesn’t matter where in the world you’re going, there will always be some form of safety concern when traveling. Travel isn’t seamless but it’s the most rewarding thing in the world.

That being said, I know I’ve previously shared Europe’s underrated cities, but over the past few months I’ve done so much research into off-the-beaten-road destinations that I have to share what’s new on my radar. Here are the 5 most overlooked countries in Europe that you wont find on many people’s itineraries.

bosnia-and-herzegovina

1. Bosnia & Herzegovina

It was only a few years ago that I really heard about the wonder and delights of this beautiful country. Sadly this place is still recovering from the war that ended over 20 years ago, but I have been urged by bloggers and friends that it’s somewhere I cannot miss. It’s filled with abandoned warehouses, airports, and buildings with sniper rooftops that you’re free to explore (although I have heard rather creepy stories!)

On the other hand, it also boasts awe-inspiring waterfalls, swimming spots, street art, a medieval town that comes alive with market stalls, caves, and the Dervish House that has remained untouched throughout the war. There is still SO much beauty in this country that I personally CANNOT WAIT to see with my own eyes.

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2. Croatia

Since The War of Independence (1991-1995) and the subsequent break-up of Yugoslavia, Croatia’s tourism has really suffered. I will admit that it’s gaining some attraction recently due to very large foreign investments into the tourism board, but it is STILL one of the most underrated countries. It doesn’t get half the attention and tourism it deserves as most tourists make a quick pit-stop along Croatia’s Adriatic coastline (usually only Dubrovnik) before hightailing it down to Greece. I’d say Croatia is probably my favourite country I’ve visited so far and it offers a lot more than the popular islands of Hvar and Dubrovnik. It’s filled with ancient walled towns, stunning national parks, waterfalls, an incredible nightlife, hidden beaches, and rolling vineyards. If you’re planning a trip, make sure not to miss Plitvice Lakes National Park, Makarska, Mljet, Peljesac Peninsula & Zagreb.

Read more: 10 Reasons to visit Croatia’s Dalmation Coast

malta

3. Malta

I really have no idea why Malta has only recently come into my interest but I’m so excited to explore this little country next year! I’ve only heard good things about it – friendly locals (apparently they love tourists as it’s not very tourism driven), stunning beaches, prehistoric sites, glistening waters, and a very relaxed lifestyle. And because of it’s small size, you can base yourself in one town and still see the entire country!

romania

4. Romania

Romania is most well-known for it’s fortified churches, monasteries, and medieval towns and castles that stand amid a pristine landscape. I have heard on several occasions that visiting Romania is like stepping back in time. There are villages in Transylvania that have remained almost unaffected by modern civilization, including Brasov, Sighisoara and Sibiu. They still look the same as they did centuries ago! Plus, Romania is a great budget destination as hotel and food prices are incredibly low compared to other European countries.

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slovenia

5. Slovenia

I do feel like pictures speak for themselves when I mention Slovenia. In particular Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, doesn’t receive nearly as much recognition as it should. I’d easily call it one of Europe’s best kept secrets. You can find towering mountains, underground waterfalls, caves, and elegant cities. And let’s not forget one of it’s most beautiful attractions, Lake Bled, a turquoise lake embellished with a steeped church on a tiny islet, against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. Such a dream.

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Now it’s your turn! Have you visited any of these places or are they of interest? Where in Europe should I be adding to my bucket list that not many people know about?

  • Ashley Christabelle

    Oh yes, there are sooo many countries that many people haven’t heard about/visited and I’m dying to go to these five countries now. Bosnia sounds like an exciting trip, I would be interested in visiting abandoned airports and former sniper locations!!!

    http://www.ashrealasitgets.blogspot.com

    • I’ve heard SO many good things about Bosnia!! How cool does it sound?! xx

  • Peppermint Dolly

    Great list! The pictures you’ve featured are really lovely!

    Rebecca
    xx
    http://www.peppermintdolly.com

    • Thanks so much Rebecca!! xx

  • Around Colours

    I’m from Europe and I had no idea some of those countries were so beautiful! Sadly the only european country I’ve visited besides my own is Spain… But hopefully that’ll change one day!

    Marta – http://www.aroundcolours.blogspot.com

    • Oh you’re so lucky to live in Europe, you can just catch a train around!! It’s a 24 hour journey at minimum from Australia :( I’m visiting Spain next year & I can’t wait!! xx

      • Around Colours

        You’re going to Spain? You should stop by Portugal for a little bit while you’re there, if it’s not too far away from where you’re staying. We would be happy to welcome you!

        • Aw that’s so sweet of you – thank you! I was set on Portugal (it’s been on my bucket list for the longest time – Lisbon looks like a dream!) in my itinerary but when we went to book flights, it clashed with some events we already locked in :( So sad. xx

  • Devyn

    These countries look so stunning! Hopefully I manage a trip to them one day.

    Devyn – http://www.therosetintedchapter.wordpress.com

    • Don’t they?! I hope you do too, Devyn :) xx

  • I’ve been to Croatia and it’s probably the prettiest place (after Santorini) that I’ve visited! I really want to see more of Eastern Europe too x

    http://www.wonkylauren.com

    • I agree!! Santorini is hard to beat! I’m dying to explore more of Eastern Europe – so many uncovered gems xx

  • missgetaway

    Slovenia is one of my favourite countries. Partly because I basically grew up their (as my grandparents are from Slovenia) and partly because OH MY GOD that scenery! I’m going to Malta in 2 Weeks and I’m so pumped. It’s supposed to be gorgeous.

    Love, kerstin
    http://www.missgetaway.com/

    • Slovenia looks absolutely gorgeous!! I’m trying to fit it into my trip next year :) OH SO jealous you’re going to Malta in 2 weeks… you’re going to have the best time! xx

  • Omg I live in Bosnia (Sarajevo) and I hope you’ll come here and visit some place. :)

    Charming Coco

    • I’m dying to visit!! It looks like the most amazing country. I’m hoping to fit it into my Europe trip next year… fingers crossed!! :) xx

  • I’m planning a trip to Croatia next year, but I’d love to add Malta and Bosnia & Herzegovina to that list. I’ve heard so many good recommendations for all these countries :) And I definitely agree that the threat of terrorism should never stop you travelling. Excited to see more travel posts x

    Mel // izzipenelope

    • Ooh when are you going to Croatia? I’ll be there next year too :) thank you so much Melissa!! xx

      • My friends and I are thinking of going sailing mid-June! When are you planning? x

        • Oh yes do the sail!! I’m sailing the yacht week the last week of July. Seriously one of the best weeks of your life!! xx

  • Beautiful destinations there, thanks for the inspiration! Yet, Croatia is not as overlooked as you might think. Yet, highly reccomendable to visit. Would also suggest Montenegro to that list.

    • Thank you Julian!! Where are you from? I know from Australia most people hardly consider Croatia to visit unless it’s Dubrovnik! It’s such a beautiful country. Definitely Montenegro too – that place looks like a dream :) xx

      • Yes, probably a bit different for Europeans. I’m from Germany and I know of many people who go or have been there. Its just a great area down there.

  • It’s actually strange to think that people outside of Europe are scared to travel here now – but I can totally see why! Nevertheless, it is such a beautiful place and I’m in love with all of your photos. I am planning on going to Croatia next summer. xx
    Jessie | allthingsbeautiful-x

    • It’s so sad!! Tourism (and prices) dropped dramatically this year but at least it’s being built back up and Europe is still my favourite place on earth! I’ll be in Croatia next summer too – so exciting!! xx

  • Brooklyn

    I want to go to every country you just listed, especially Croatia!

    http://www.justbeingbrooklyn.com

    • Croatia is the most beautiful place!! Highly recommend doing the yacht week too :) xx

  • When I travelled Europe, I was lucky enough to spend two weeks in Croatia and Slovenia as my friend who I was travelling with had family in both countries, and they were hands down two of my favourite countries I visited (up there with Greece). The people were SO friendly, the food was amazing and very affordable, and there’s so much history! And Lake Bled – omg! So, so amazing. I didn’t get to see anywhere in Southern Croatia, we were staying up north, but I’m sure it’s just as beautiful as where I stayed.
    And now I need to check more out about the other places you’ve talked about!

    Brodie | Brodie Jay

    • Oh I am SO jealous!! Croatia is beautiful beyond words. I can’t even explain how badly I want to see Lake Bled! Seems so unreal xx

  • Croatia and Slovenia are both near the top of my list!! I would love to go to any of these countries!

    xx Chelsea
    http://www.organizedmessblog.com

    • Croatia is just beautiful! I’m dying to visit Slovenia!! xx

  • Emily B

    I want to go to Croatia so so so bad!
    x Emily || http://www.lifestyleofemily.com

    • Croatia is the most beautiful place!! I hope you get to visit soon Emily! :) xx

  • Alisha Ricki

    Wow! They’re all so beautiful!
    – Alisha Ricki
    http://www.alisharicki.com

    • Aren’t they?! I’m obsessed!! xx

  • Taste of France

    I think the city you refer to in the first one is Mostar. The 16th century Stari Most bridge was destroyed in 1993. It was a terrible moment in the war. The bridge was rebuilt later.

    • I was only naming countries but yes that is the city of Mostar! xx

    • Taste of France

      Ah. You mentioned “this medieval city.” I’m glad it has rebounded from the horrors of war.

      • Oh you’re right! Sorry about that, fixing it now :)

  • I recently went to Slovenia, an absolutely beautiful place from the caves to the coastline. I think Croatia is next on my list!

    – Natalie
    http://www.workovereasy.com

    • Desperately need to visit Slovenia!! Croatia is just beautiful!! xx

  • Serbia! I’m surprised to not see it in your list! My brother visited this year and he loved it!

  • Melanie

    Make sure to visit Blue Lagoon (Comino) and Azure Window (Gozo) when you visit Malta. I’ve been there this summer and it was amazing.
    Oh, and the plitvice lakes in Croatia are amazing too!

    • Thank you so much for the recommendations Melanie!! Will definitely be adding them to my itinerary :) so excited! Oh yes, the plitvice lakes look incredible!! So sad I missed them last time I was in Croatia! xx

  • I’ve visited 3/4 of Europe but has never been to these countries. I am adding stars to my google map asap!

    And well, there’s nothing wrong with worrying about your security. Everyone should be careful, but it doesn’t mean you have to stay at home and lock yourself up. Unfortunate events can happen anywhere anytime. People should live fully and with an open-mind.

    Thanks for the post! xx

    • Couldn’t agree more!! You should always be very cautious when traveling no matter where you are :) xx

  • This is such a great list…I’ve been to 4/5 (just missing Romania!). I’d definitely add Bulgaria to this list though :) I lived there and absolutely LOVED it…mountains, hiking, beaches, and everything in-between :)

    • Thank you Jordan!! I should’ve made it a top 10 because I definitely would’ve included Bulgaria!! It sounds SO beautiful, I’d love to visit one day :) xx

  • I feel so lucky to come from the Balkans, since almost all destinations are so close! Definitely agree about Romania and Slovenia – beautiful places. I’m yet to visit the others but this blog post made me excited!
    I wanted to add Bulgaria to your list – I may be partial (since I come from there) but it’s such a small place that has literally everything – beaches, mountains, skiing, lakes .. Plus it’s cheap!

    Mili | The Pink Traveller

    • I’ve heard so many amazing things about Bulgaria!!! Desperately need to visit! You’re so lucky to be from such a beautiful place :) xx

  • well, a lot of tourists are visiting Croatia and Slovenia so I wouldn’t put them on this list:)

    • Really?! I think Croatia is starting to become more well known (mostly for Dubrovnik and Hvar though) but definitely not Slovenia, at least not coming from Australia. Where are you from? :) xx

  • Lynne Nieman

    Love these although I’d say Croatia is not so overlooked any more. Nice photos!

    • I think a lot of people just stop at Hvar and Dubrovnik! I was saying there’s many more islands to discover in Croatia :) Where are you from? It’s not a very popular destination coming from Australia unless you’re doing yacht week! xx

      • Lynne Nieman

        I’m from the US. And it is becoming more popular here although I agree that many folks do go to Dubrovnik, Hvar, Rovinj and Plitvice Lakes. And I know there’s more. But it’s not as off the radar as it used to be!

  • Dunja

    Great list! I’d add Serbia :)

  • sky

    Yay! 3 of my favorite destinations are on the list: Croatia, Bosnia&Hertegovina and, of course, Romania. I’m glad to see people are starting to appreciate the area of Europe more!
    http://www.romaniatourstore.com/

    • There’s so many hidden gems!! Are you from Europe? :) xx

  • Cheryl Scobie

    Just a pity that they’re so cruel to the dogs in Romania so I wouldn’t be keen to promote & give my money to these type of countries with that going on!

    • It is so horrible and cruel. I can’t even bring myself to read about it and it honestly makes me sick. But sadly there are terrible things happen in a lot of countries, and just because I choose to visit doesn’t mean I support it in any way. xx

  • Rebecca Fletcher

    Croatia and Bosnia looks beautiful!

    http://www.beautylifebecca.blogspot.co.uk

    • Croatia is a dream! Can’t wait to visit Bosnia for myself one day. How beautiful does it look!! xx

  • Loved this post! I’m actually Maltese, so glad you mentioned Malta haha! Hope you enjoy exploring it next year! :)

    Rachel | Beauty and the Bird

    • Haha aw that’s so cool! I CAN’T WAIT :) so excited!! Do you live there or have you ever been? xx

  • Looking forward to visiting ALL of these countries. What beauty and history!

    http://www.sphereofdin.com

    • Thank you!! Me too!! Can’t wait to cross them all off my list :) xx

  • Croatia is so popular now, definitely not overlooked. I think I’d replace it with Montenegro (which is top of my Europe list right now!!). :) I want to go everywhere on this list though!

    • YOU WILL LOVE IT! Monte is sooo beautiful Try places like Kotor, Bar, Budva (party central haha)

    • Montenegro is so beautiful, I should’ve added it to this list but after lonelyplanet named it as the top destinations of 2016, I thought I’d do Croatia. It is definitely not popular when you’re coming from Australia… many people overlook it here or just choose to see Hvar & Dubrovnik. Where are you from? :) xx

  • thanks for recommending these places. i’ve wanted to visit Croatia for so long but I need to start saving money!

    Abigail Alice x

    • Croatia is the most beautiful place… worth every penny saved!! :) xx

  • I’ve visited Croatia twice now and I seriously don’t understand how it can be so underrated, its absolutely stunning! Not to mention the insane music festivals which are beginning to get increasingly popular. Also on the topic of safety I really don’t think people should live in fear, it only slows you down. :-)

    • Right! It’s so beautiful…. and it has so much to offer! I visited around ultra festival in Split and it was insane. The locals hate it but it brings so much tourism haha! Totally agree with you there – you’re never going to be 100% safe, doesn’t mean it should stop you :) xx

  • You should check out Albania or Montenegro all in the same area as these. They are all so gorgeous. I am going back next year and Croatia is first stop than to the mother land aka Montenegro.

    Life is just Rosie
    Instagram

    • Ooh yes I’d love to see Albania. Montenegro just looks like a dream, I was going to add it to this list (and probably should have!) xx

  • Croatia is one of my favourite places :) though it’s definitely getting more expensive now more people are visiting it haha

    Jasmine xx

    Jasmine Talks Beauty

    • I’m glad it’s becoming more popular but it’s annoying that prices are also increasing!! But it is still cheap in comparison to a lot of places. :) Although, totally not cheap to fly from Australia haha! xx

  • Jelena Djordjevic

    If you want to visit Serbia, and not only the capital, I will be your tour guide and you can be my guest

    • Aw how sweet! I would LOVE to visit one day soon :) xx

    • SUNIL

      I wish visit serbia, pls advise the good season

  • Katy Hope

    Totally agree that Croatia is underrated. We went there for our honeymoon and loved it! The food is delicious (think similar to Greece) and the scenery is stunning. Our favorite parts were Hvar and the Kornati islands. http://www.hopepostkids.com

    • A honeymoon in Croatia?! How dreamy!! Hvar is a favourite of mine too, I’m yet to visit the Kornati islands! I found the food so similar to Greece as well – so delicious xx

  • Ieva/www.simplyieva.com

    I wanna visit them all! :)
    I think you should add Lithuania to your list. It’s full of history with the capital city of Vilnius that has a stunning old town and the Baltic Sea with soft sandy beaches on the west coast of the country…

    • Sounds so beautiful!! I was actually going to add Lithuania… should’ve made a top 10 post haha! xx

  • Amber Holyoake

    Awesome recommendations! When I finally make it back to Europe I want to visit some of the less travelled cities, so this post is great :)
    http://www.wethelostgirls.com

    • Aw thanks so much Amber!! Hope you get to see a few :) xx

  • Lauren Milankovski

    My husband grew up in Macedonia before emigrating to Australia when he was 10. We’ve been back twice together, once taking our children, and it really is beautiful. While there, we mainly stay in Bitola with family, which is beautiful, but have also visited Lake Ohrid, which is just magical. Eastern Europe is definitely on the top of my travel wish list.

  • I’ve heard fantastic things about Croatia. Latvia would be a nice addition to the list. This is a wonderful post!

    – Cailin from http://SassyDove.com

  • Ludo

    I’ve lived in Croatia, Slovenia and Poland, and travelled in Serbia, Czech Republic and Romania…the Balkans are a gem for those who want to discover a completely different way of life. Bosnia and Hungary are next on my list!

  • Claire Blumenthal

    Great list and AMAZING PICTURES! I look forward to traveling to europe this summer and hope to hit some small hidden gems as well as the known places.

  • Simo Mosi

    Amazing Pictures 👍

  • Alana @bookskidstravel.com

    This is a great list! I am dying to go to Croatia. Bosnia wasn’t even on my radar because I associate it with war, but I am going to look into it. Thanks!