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Are you looking for some unique places to visit in Europe?
If you’re looking for some real unusual places to visit in Europe, then you’re in the right place. Now don’t get me wrong, a weekend in the beautiful city of Prague is never to be sniffed at. But sometimes you want to go a bit deeper, venture into the weird and wonderful, and find the really cool places to go in Europe. Europe is full of unique places to travel – think museums, tombs, mines, places of outstanding natural beauty, castles, bars, quaint towns, seasonal spectacles and many more hidden gems! So to give you all the travel inspiration you need to plan your next European itinerary, I’ve compiled a list of 16 of the absolute best unique places to visit in Europe that you must not miss!
1. Wieliczka Salt Mine
If you’re looking for the epitome of unique places to visit in Europe, then Wieliczka Salt Mine is for you! You might be wondering what’s so special about a Polish Salt Mine… well it depends how long you’ve got, but we’ll keep it short here. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the size of Wieliczka Salt Mine is incomprehensible – it covers an area of 245km and reaches a depth of 327m! Deep beneath the ground, you’ll find various salt passages, grottoes, chambers, saline lakes and sculptures.
But what makes visiting Wieliczka Salt Mine one of the most unusual things to do in Europe is the intricate salt carvings that live within its chambers, with St Kinga’s Chapel being the most mind-blowing place to visit within the mine. Located 101m below ground level with the ability to facilitate 400 people, St Kinga’s Chapel is an extravagant space carved entirely out of salt (sculptures, religious artworks and chandeliers included).
The tourist route in Wieliczka Salt Mine which spans 3.5km and reaches a depth of 135m will allow you to visit a mere 2% of the mine! Bear in mind that in order to start the tourist route, you will first need to descend down 800 steps! And if you’re wondering how to get to Wieliczka Salt Mine from Krakow, it’s an easy journey which takes under 20 minutes on the train – just get the train to Wieliczka Rynek Kopalania and walk across to the salt mine!
Located in the southwest of Turkey, Pamukkale is a unique spectacle and natural wonder of Europe! Formed over thousands of years by calcium oxide rich waters which have flowed down the cliff-side and left behind their bright white deposits, Pamukkale is a complex of travertine’s which boast mineral rich waters for bathing!
Pamukkale makes for one of the best places to visit in Europe in summer, when a dip in the warm calcium pools can be enjoyed beneath the heat of the Mediterranean sun and Turkey’s Cotton Castle appears whiter than white! Adjacent to Pamukkale you will find the ancient ruins of the Roman city of Hierapolis – perfect for the history buffs!
Tip: Pamukkale is located in an arid area, which can be stifling during the summer months. So make sure you use plenty of sun cream and keep hydrated!
3. Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle is no hidden gem. But given it’s fairytale appearance and magical Alpine setting, visiting is still one of the most unique things to do in Europe! Located in Bavaria not far from the fortified town of Fussen, Neuschwanstein Castle is perched atop of a hill and was built in the 19th century by King Ludwig II. Overlooking the beautiful Hohenschwangau Valley and blue waters of Alpsee, Neuschwanstein Castle was the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom!
Tip: If you want the postcard perfect snap of Neuschwanstein Castle, the best uninterrupted vantage point for this is from Marienbrücke (Mary’s bridge).
4. Jurassic Coast
Located on the south coast of the United Kingdom you will find one of the most unique places in Europe – the Jurassic Coast. Starting in Exmouth (Devon) and ending near Swanage (Dorset) at Old Harry Rocks and spanning a whopping 95 miles, the Jurassic Coast is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that holds 185 million years of Earth’s history.
Boasting some of the most dramatic and breathtaking coastal scenery in the whole of the UK, the Jurassic coast is world renowned for its sheer beauty, geological features and fossilised prehistoric remains! There are an abundance of breathtaking views along the Jurassic Coast, but some of the must-see sights are Chesil Beach, Durdle Door, Portland Bill and Lulworth Cove! And it’s bursting at the seams with pretty seaside towns like Lyme Regis, Weymouth and Swanage, making it a great UK staycation or holiday destination in itself!
Tip: Be careful when walking along the Jurassic Coast as the cliffs are dangerous and can be prone to collapse. Stick to the coastal paths that span it’s length and steer clear of the edge.
5. Anne Frank House
Located in central Amsterdam, the Anne Frank House brings to life the tragic story of the Frank family and their years spent living behind the revolving bookcase in the Secret Annex. In July 1942, the Frank and Van Pels family went into hiding to escape persecution, and were later joined by Fritz Pfeffer. But devastatingly, they were discovered on 4 August 1944 and sent to concentration camps, with all sadly dying except from Otto Frank. If you’re looking for things to do in Amsterdam, then without a doubt the Anne Frank House must be on your list. It’s a truly sobering and educational experience that’s bound to bring a tear to your eye.
Tip: If you’re planning on visiting the Anne Frank House whilst in Amsterdam, then book your tickets in advance. Unsurprisingly, the Anne Frank House is one of the most visited places in the city, and slots can fill up quickly.
6. Scottish Highlands
Home to some of the most enchanting scenery, the Scottish Highlands are not just one of the most unique places to go in Europe because of their setting, but because it is (probably) one of the only places on earth that you can experience all four seasons in one day! Full of rugged mountains, lochs, waterfalls, rivers, wildlife and remote crofters cottages, a road trip through Scotland is one of the best ways to see the Highlands! Some of the prettiest places you must see are the Cairngorms National Park, Glen Coe, and the northwest coast of Scotland! And Spring makes for a magical time to visit, when pinks, yellows and oranges appear in the undergrowth!
7. Perast, Montenegro
A quaint picture-perfect village perched along the shoreline of the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro, Perast is one of the hidden gems in Europe that is perfect for those looking for a quiet vacation spot! Many find themselves in Perast to visit the curious island of Our Lady of the Rocks, but the tiddly town itself makes for one of the most underrated places to visit in Europe. A seemingly untouched little place full of churches, stone houses and old palaces, Perast is a traditional fishing village with a rich maritime history that’s built around one main waterfront road!
From Perast, you can also see the Island of St George sitting directly opposite Our Lady of the Rocks, which houses a Benedictine Monastery and cemetery. One of the best things to do in Perast is to climb the Bell Tower of St Nikola Church, as this affords the most spectacular views over Perast and across the Bay of Kotor!
Tip: If you’re looking for a lunch spot in Perast, I can vouch for the pizza and beer at Palace Jelena Perast. Plus, the view across the Bay of Kotor is sublime, especially if you perch yourself on a waterside table.
8. Ancient Lycian Tombs in Dalyan – one of the most unique places to visit in Europe!
Cut into the cliffside along the Dalyan River, you will find one of Turkey’s most intriguing sights – the Ancient Lycian Tombs. The Ancient Lycian Tombs of Dalyan are temple-like in appearance and were mind-blowingly carved in to the sheer cliff-side in the 4th century BC as resting places for elite members of society who lived through that time.
You cannot go into the tombs, so they are seen best from afar by cruising the Dalyan River, where you can also admire the stunning scenery of the blue waters, dense reeds and jagged mountains. The Ancient Lycian Tombs of Dalyan certainly make for one of the most unique places to travel in Europe given their mystical and curious nature!
9. Budapest’s Ruin Bars
One of the most quirky places to visit in Europe can be found nestled in amongst the streets of Budapest – the ruin bars. Budapest is famous for it’s ruin bars, which are sociable watering holes located in dilapidated old buildings. They are usually filled with a jazzy mishmash of decorations, bric-a-brac and furniture. And one of the finest examples of these is Szimpla Kert. Located in a former stove factory, full of wacky items and boasting a vibrant atmosphere, a night out at Szimpla Kert is one of the best things to do in Budapest! Szimpla Kert is one of the oldest and most famous ruin bars in Budapest, and wandering through the bar with a cold Soproni (Hungarian beer) in hand will provide endless enjoyment in itself!
10. Fairytale towns of Germany
Who would have thought that you can stroll through the pages of a fairytale in real life? Well visit some of the most beautiful small towns in Germany and childhood dreams can come true – think medieval old towns full of half-timbered wonky houses, lined with cobbled-streets and colourful flower boxes, and dotted with market squares adorned with trickling fountains.
The storybook towns of Germany make for some of the most unique places to visit in Europe. From the world famous Bavarian town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber to the Rhine-side town of Bacharach to the lesser-known lanes of Ladenburg, Germany’s charming old towns should be at the top of any European bucket list. And what better way to visit them than on a road trip of Europe?
11. Comino Island
Located in between Malta and Gozo, Comino is a little island which is car free and mostly uninhabited (aside from it’s one hotel, making it the perfect destination if you are looking for unusual places to stay in Europe)! Measuring just 3.5 square kilometers, Comino Island is now a barren landscape with an abundance of wild herbs and flowers, and a jagged coastline. But it was once a base for Mediterranean pirates!
It’s most famous attraction is the Blue Lagoon – an expanse of crystal clear azure water where marine wildlife is plentiful! If you are planning your itinerary for Malta, a day trip to Comino Island is the perfect addition especially if you are a nature and snorkelling lover! Sea Adventure Excursions offer fantastic day trips from Malta to Comino (and Gozo if you wish to see both which I recommend you do). And their boat not only has a glass bottom to view the marine world from, but a slide too!
Tip: The Blue Lagoon can become very crowded in the peak months of July, August and September. So if you want to avoid the masses and enjoy the tranquility of the island, then travel to Comino outside of these times.
12. The Dwarves of Wroclaw
If you are looking for quirky things to do in Europe that are going to unleash your inner child, then you must visit the Polish city of Wroclaw (pronounced vrots-wahf). Across the perfectly-preserved fairytale Old Town and beyond, you will find a population of around 300 bronze dwarves depicting various professions and tasks – firefighting dwarves, banking dwarves, a Statue of Liberty dwarf, a motorbiking dwarf, and a sleepy dwarf (and the list could go on)!
These friendly bronze gnome-like figurines are hidden in plain sight all across the city, and one of the best things to do in Wroclaw is to use the dwarves to do a self-guided walking tour around the Old Town! The dwarves of Wroclaw clearly make the University-city one of the most unique places to visit in Europe!
Tip: If you are considering visiting Wroclaw, you should definitely go during the festive season. Wroclaw boasts one of the best Christmas markets in Europe, making it one of Europe’s most magical Christmas city break destinations!
13. The murals of Stein am Rhein
Tucked just inside Switzerland and near to the German border, the town of Stein am Rhein is one of Europe’s most unique places given the elaborate murals that are depicted on the external walls of the buildings in the medieval Old Town! Illustrating various scenes and tales, the colourful murals bring the cobbled streets of the Old Town to life.
Not only is Stein am Rhein famous for it’s painted facades, but it’s population of charming half-timbered buildings and picturesque location on the River Rhine too! Some of the best things to do in Stein am Rhein are to see the Rathaus, lose yourself in the quiet backstreets off the main square, or sit for a while with a frothy coffee and enjoy the lively atmosphere of this quirky Swiss town!
Tip: Stein am Rhein makes for an easy day trip from the German city of Konstanz. All you need to do is walk across the border from Konstanz into Switzerland, and get the train from Kruezlingen to Stein am Rhein which takes just under 30 minutes – the perfect addition to any itinerary for Germany!
14. Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Located in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the charming town of Mostar is one of the few places on the continent where east collides with west, making it one of the most unusual places to visit in Europe! Mostar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has an enchanting cobble-stoned Old Town, which you’ll find spread across lanes and alleys either side of the aqua waters of the Neretva River.
Most famous for it’s tall arched bridge (Stari Most) which brave souls use as their diving board, Mostar makes for one of the best summertime city breaks in Europe! The unique eastern influence can be seen intertwined with western life everywhere you look, such as in the delicious food served in the Millhouse restaurants and the trinkets sold on the market stalls! And if you want to travel cheaper in Europe, Mostar is a good option because being located in eastern Europe it is a budget friendly destination!
15. Longleat’s Festival of Lights
Located in the English county of Wiltshire, Longleat Safari Park is more than just a zoo. Famed for it’s array of wildlife and Safari drive through, Longleat hosts one of the most spectacular seasonal events – the Festival of Lights. Every year (usually) from November-January, Longleat transforms it’s grounds into a magical setting, coming to life with interactive light installations!
Each year is a new theme (so don’t expect to see the same installations as in the above photos), like Myths and Legends and Fairytales, and the seasonal extravaganza turns the Safari Park into one of the most unique places to visit in Europe! And visiting around Christmas time affords you the opportunity to wander through the impressive Longleat house when it’s all dressed up for festivities too!
16. London’s Little Venice
Just a short distance from the hustle and bustle of Paddington, Little Venice is a quiet Amsterdam-esque area which must be visited on any itinerary for London! Located where the Regent’s Canal meets the Grand Union Canal, the neighbourhood boasts many waterside cafes, expensive London townhouses, and narrow boats. One of the most unique things to do in London is to take a narrow boat trip from Little Venice up to Camden Town with the London Waterbus Co Ltd, to allow you to experience the tranquility of London’s very own Venetian waterways from a traditional canal boat!
17. Krimml Waterfalls
Being Europe’s highest waterfall, it goes without saying why Krimml Waterfall is one of the most unique places to visit on the continent. At 380m high, the sheer volume of water that thunders over the edge of the mountain side is just breathtaking! Set in the stunning Hohe Tauern National Park in Austria, which is dotted with lakes, mountains and Alpine pastures, Krimml Falls is best viewed by hiking up the Waterfall Trail – a 4km walkway which takes you to various vantage points up the mountainside, before eventually reaching the top! Krimml Fall indisputably makes for one of the best things to do in Austria and most unique places to visit in Europe!