Europe's charms are no secret to travelers, but there are still many places across the continent where the crowds are sparse, yet the incredible experiences are limitless. Explore beautiful villages in the mountains of Northern Greece, admire the jagged mountains and coastlines of Norway's islands above the Arctic Circle, or tilt at windmills in Spain's land of Don Quixote. No matter your interests, traveling to these lesser-known regions is sure to be a unique adventure.

From the Arctic to the Mediterranean, we've rounded up five amazing itineraries that showcase a lesser-known side of some of Europe's most popular destinations. In these places, you'll be able to immerse yourself in the continent's rich culture and history and explore its incredible landscapes without the crowds or high prices. If you're after an authentic experience rich in local life and unspoiled nature, check out the destinations below, or ask your local specialist for more ideas.

#1 Enchanting Northern Greece and Corfu - 14 Days

Rooftops of Thessaloniki

Rooftops of Thessaloniki

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Athens, Fly to Thessaloniki Thessaloniki
Day 2 Explore Ano Poli Thessaloniki
Day 3 Pella and Vergina Royal Tombs, Drive to Kalabaka Kalabaka
Day 4 Explore Meteora Kalabaka
Day 5 Travel to Ioannina Ioannina
Day 6 Dodona Sanctuary and Theater Ioannina
Day 7 Travel to Zagori Zagori
Day 8 Zagori Bridges and Villages Hike Zagori
Day 9 Zagorian Cooking Workshop Zagori
Day 10 Zagori Villages to Corfu Corfu
Day 11 Corfu Food Tour Corfu
Day 12 Corfu Jeep Safari Corfu
Day 13 Odyssey Tour Corfu
Day 14 Return to Athens, Depart  

Experience the lesser-known side of the country with this two-week trip across Northern Greece. You'll go from Greece's second city of Thessaloniki to living like the proverbial pasha in lakeside Ioannina, then up to the clifftop monasteries of Meteora. Continue on through the stone Zagori mountain villages to wrap up your journey on the shores of Corfu in the Ionian Sea, where you'll follow in legendary traveler Odysseus's footsteps. Read more

#2 Arctic Norway Summer Road Trip - 12 Days

Summertime adventures stay golden above the Arctic Circle

Summertime adventures stay golden above the Arctic Circle

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Tromsø Tromsø
Day 2 Explore Tromsø in Summer Tromsø
Day 3 Tromsø - Drive to Senja Senja
Day 4 Hiking Free Day in Senja Senja
Day 5 Ferry to Andenes - Explore Andøya Island Andenes
Day 6 Hike the Queen's Route Andenes
Day 7 Drive from Andenes to Bø
Day 8 Explore Vesterålen
Day 9 Drive to Finnsnes, via Sortland, Setermoen & Bardufoss Finnsnes
Day 10 Ferry from Finnsnes to Tromsø Tromsø
Day 11 Explore Tromsø Like a Local Tromsø
Day 12 Depart Tromsø  

This 12-day road trip starts from Tromsø, Norway's 'Gateway to the Arctic', where—in May, June, and July—the sun never sets on these gorgeous views. From here, you'll steer yourself through the rugged landscapes of Senja island and partake in active outings before ferrying across to another less-populated island (Andøya) where spotting whales is practically a guarantee. Hike a coastal trail before heading back to the lively city of Tromsø for a few more nights of Scandinavian fun. Read more

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#3 Food & Wine in Italy's Piedmont: Turin, Alba, & Barolo - 8 Days

Hilltop Town, Piedmont

Hilltop town, Piedmont

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Milan, Transfer to Turin Turin
Day 2 Turin Walking Tour Turin
Day 3 Visit Sacra di San Michele Abbey Turin
Day 4 Turin to Piedmont Countryside Barolo
Day 5 Barolo and Barbaresco Winery Tour Barolo
Day 6 Piedmont Countryside to Alba, Walking Tour Alba
Day 7 Truffle Hunting from Alba Alba
Day 8 Goodbye Italy  

Experience the slow food movement, which originated in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy, with this 8-day itinerary. Turin is the historic capital of the region, where you'll explore the city center, palace, and piazzas with a local guide. Then head out to the rural Barolo wine region, stay in a hilltop town, and visit renowned wineries. The final stop is the city of Alba, where you will go hunting for rare white truffles. Read more

#4 Ireland's Wild Atlantic Adventure - 12 Days

Ireland's highest sea cliffs, located in southwest Donegal

Ireland's highest sea cliffs, located in southwest Donegal

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Dublin Dublin
Day 2 Exploring Dublin Dublin
Day 3 Rathcroghan Mayo
Day 4 Ballycroy National Park Mayo
Day 5 The Ox Mountains Sligo
Day 6 Lough Gill & Sligo Sligo
Day 7 Benbulben Donegal
Day 8 Slieve League Donegal
Day 9 Glenveagh National Park Donegal
Day 10 Tory Island Donegal
Day 11 Sligo's Megalithic sites Dublin

The emerald landscapes and rugged cliffs of Ireland have always held a magical allure. Traveling off-the-beaten-path, this guided tour covers some of Ireland’s quietest and least-visited sites in the west and northwest. Over 12 days, you'll hike, boat, kayak, learn history, see live music, and hop over to a tiny Gaelic-speaking island—and it all starts in Dublin, one of western Europe's most charming cities. Read more

#5 Spain Off-the-Beaten-Path Road Trip: Madrid, La Mancha, & Extremadura - 10 days


The famous windmills of La Mancha

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Madrid - Evening Tapas Tour Madrid
Day 2 Private City Tour - Discover Madrid's Royal Legacy Madrid
Day 3 Pick up Rental Car - Drive to Toledo - City Tour Toledo
Day 4 Drive From Toledo to Valdepeñas - Explore La Mancha Valdepeñas
Day 5 Wine Tour of La Mancha Valdepeñas
Day 6 Drive From La Mancha to Mérida - Guided City Tour Mérida
Day 7 Drive from Mérida to Cáceres - Tour Old Town Cáceres
Day 8 Drive to Trujillo - Guided Tour Trujillo
Day 9 Drive to Madrid - Stop at Monfragüe National Park Madrid
Day 10 Depart Madrid  

Get lost in La Mancha on a  10-day road trip in this historic region in central Spain. It begins in Madrid and from there you'll travel south to the arid plateaus famous for being the homeland of the fictional character Don Quixote. Between wine tours and visits to national parks, you'll head to the Extremadura region and tour medieval cities like Cáceres, birthplace of the conquistador Francisco Pizarro. Read more