Monday, 30 June 2008

5 unique places to visit in Europe this summer

For all those people who are planning on visiting Europe this summer, we have selected five places that are more than worth your time. While many Europeans have already discovered these places, people from other continents often stick to the standard tourist destinations. Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Venice and Athens are definitely great places to visit, but a trip of a few days to one of those regions will enable you to experience Europe on a different level. Even if you have already booked a holiday, finding accommodation in one of those regions will often prove to be easy. The five locations below are not in any order of importance:

1. The Lake District in Northern Italy
2. The Baltic States
3. Normandy, France
4. Prague, Czech
5. The Croatian coastline

1. The Lake District in Northern Italy is a beautiful place to visit. The Dolomite Mountains and forested hills surround most lakes, while small villages and big cities close by give you an insight in the true Italian life. While Rome is a historic and architectural landmark, the Lake District offers you the chance to cool down in one of the beautiful lakes, the hear the church bells on the other side of the water, to hike high in the Dolomite Mountains and to see a less touristy side of Italy.

2. The Baltic States are a fairly unknown place in Europe, and the same goes for the landscapes. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are not places where you go sunbathing; it are rather places where you go to relax, to explore, for a very affordable price. The former Soviet countries are not only a chance to see heritage from the USSR; the countries have developed their own national identity and offer beautiful landscapes and parks. Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is a great place to see how Baltic people enjoy life with great music and food, and a great place to see different styles of architecture throughout the city. A visit to the Lahemaa National Park, also in Estonia, will allow you to see wildlife that is lost in most countries nowadays. The forested islands and authentic villages also draw a perfect image of nature and culture in harmony with each other.

3. Normandy is located in the northwest of France, and was the landing stage for one of the most important battles in World War II. Normandy is not as simmering hot as the Côte d'Azur, but shows you rather a rough side of the French coastline. The heritage from World War II found along the beaches in Normandy not only gives you a better prospect of the history of Europe, but also gives you the chance to see the place to which numerous movies and games have been dedicated. Dieppe and Caen are important regional and national cities of art and history, and are a great addition to a trip to Paris, which is not that far away.

4. Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, is one of the most beautiful cities in the old Eastern Europe. Prague is another unique place in Europe, and when you find yourself crossing the Charles Bridge, surrounded by street artists and vendors, it will be hard not to feel the great vibe Prague offers. From this bridge, you will be able to see the Old Town on one hand and the Prague Castle on the other. Czech has a convenient weather during summer, and is not as hot as some of the more southern cities in Europe, The modern architecture combined with the castle and World War II Gestapo Headquarters building are only a glimpse of the variety the city has to offer, which is one of the many reasons Prague has earned its place in this list.

5. The Croatian coastline is by far not as well known as the Italian, Spanish and Greek ones. This is a shame; Croatia offers you one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. The 1,200 km of Adriatic coastline brings more and more tourists to Croatia, with numerous landmarks such as the Dubrovnik port town as ideal places to visit when you're tired of tanning for a few hours. Even though most people probably don't know the exact location of Croatia, the country is closer to the touristy part of Europe than you may think. With Italy just across the Adriatic Sea and Greece and Austria not too far away. The Croatian coastline makes for another unique place to visit, away from the hordes of tourists.

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