It is unfortunate that just about every tourist that plans a trip to Europe ends up with the hordes of others all congregating in the same places. It happens in Italy just as it does in France, Turkey, and Greece. It seems like if you go to Europe in the summer that you have to simply put up with masses of tourists.
Luckily, this isn’t exactly the case. You can find a lot of hidden gems that take you away from the tourist hotspots so you can eat pizza like a local, or drink some ouzo in peace. It takes a little bit of research and a little more time but the reward is that you’ll end up with the vacation of a lifetime.
1 – Grado, Italy
Everybody loves the quaint canals of Venice but not everybody loves the crowds. Luckily, there is another miniature Venice not far away in the upper Adriatic called Grado. It is very similar in that it is situated in a lagoon and has a grand canal.
It is easily accessible by car but the best way to get there is to rent a boat from a company like 12knots that you can see here so you can come in by sea and see it in all its splendor.
Grado was once part of the Venetian Republic so it boasts a lot of the same type of architecture, some paleo Christian basilicas, and fantastic sunsets from the beaches. The other rewards are fantastic seafood fresh from the lagoon that costs a fraction of what you would pay for the same dish in Venice.
2 – Tarifa, Spain
Poor Tarifa, Spain is usually passed over by the tourist hordes on their way to Andalusia. This is great news for the traveler looking to get off the beaten path because this way you can explore a typical Southern Spanish town and beaches without too many people around.
It has a very laid-back feel that isn’t nearly as commercial as other beach towns in the area. If you love water sports then this is the ideal location as it is famous for its kitesurfing and other water-based activities.
Whale watching is also an option for those that love to see nature in all its splendor. Its proximity to the Strait of Gibraltar makes it an ideal launching point to see the whales as they enter and exit the Mediterranean.
3 – Evia, Greece
While the masses of tourists clog up the tiny streets of Santorini, you can enjoy all the same charms of the Greek islands by sticking to Evia, Greece. It’s a sleepy little island that offers unparalleled relaxation in Greek style so you can enjoy your ouzo in a piazza and watch the locals go about their day.
The southern end of the island resembles the Cyclades islands but is a short trip from Athens. You can find loads of small, quiet beaches to while away the day and then head into the towns at night for some delicious and affordable grilled seafood.