From the ignored Croatian capital, Zagreb, to the Norman port of Le Havre, which celebrates its 500th anniversary, Lonely Planet selects the ten European destinations worth discovering this year. Selected by the experts (editors and travelers) of the publisher, the Best in European destinations list highlights ten countries, regions or cities that, although they have so far gone unnoticed or underestimated by international tourism, are increasingly valued by travelers more European destinations Places that are worth discovering before mass tourism does.
The good Croatian life
With a central European appearance and relaxed life, this Zagreb has remained eclipsed by the beauty and spectacular nature of the Croatian coasts and natural parks. But it is worth discovering the Austro-Hungarian air that is breathed in some corners (they will remind us of Vienna or Budapest), as well as the surprising examples of typical Soviet architecture.
The streets and squares are full of cafés with pleasant terraces where their inhabitants indulge in one of their favorite rites: coffee at all hours. Renovated in recent years with street art, galleries, creative spaces, and increasingly careful gastronomy, in 2017 the long-awaited terminal of the Zagreb airport was inaugurated, with a large number of new routes that make it even easier to get away to the capital Croatian.
Essential experiences in Zagreb: stroll among its churches and baroque palaces; visit the Museum of broken relationships, dedicated to romances and love breaks; get closer to the old Orient Express station; try the fresh products that are sold in the Dolac market, as well as the craft beers that have become fashionable; ride the funicular (the shortest in the world) to the top to visit the oldest neighborhood and, of course, have a coffee in one of its many terraces, especially on Saturday mornings, the weekly peak of this custom coffee maker it is known as the spica.
The sunniest Sweden
Gotland is one of the most charming regions in Sweden. The Swedes have known for a long time (it is one of their favorite European destinations for summer holidays) and now the charms of this island of the Baltic Sea among international tourists are beginning to be known. Bucolic and quiet, it is the largest and sunniest in the country.
Fishing villages that seem detained in time, sandy beaches and cliffs, mysterious forests and some historic enclaves of great interest, such as Visby, the capital, a well-preserved example of the commercial city of the Hanseatic League, founded in the 10th century, with more than 200 stores and merchants’ houses behind its walls.
In addition, this June will host the Biennial Games of the island, perfect excuse to explore the island by bike on its roads without traffic. Those who once saw the children’s series Pippi Longstocking (PippiLangstrung) will recognize its landscapes; It was filmed in Gotland.
In Gotland, 90 kilometers from mainland Sweden and easily accessible by ferry and plane, it is imperative to wander around renovated Strandpromenaden (beach promenade), a five-kilometer walk and cycle path that runs along the north coast of Visby passing in front of towers, forts, ruins, and beaches. In summer the city is set for its Medieval Week, with its squares and streets transformed into markets that host knight tournaments, magicians, historical readings, musical performances, and plays.
The new Spanish attraction of the international traveler
Galicia remained until now apart from the great Tourist currents that visit Spain every year, behind the warm beaches of the south, the Levante coast, and Catalonia. But more and more international travelers are discovering the charms of this secluded north-western region.
The Camino de Santiago has done much to make Galicia is known to the rest of the world, but also the growing desire to discover more authentic landscapes beyond the sun and the beach. And Galicia is a different alternative to the rest of the country, with its own language, its own music, its impressive architectural heritage, its fishing villages, its hundreds of beaches, and great gastronomy based on the excellent products of the sea and the land. In addition, Cambados is the European City of Wine in 2017.
In addition to spectacular cliffs, such as Cabo Ortegal or Cabo Fisterra, on the Costa da Morte, the photogenic landscapes of the RíasBaixas or historical cities full of historical heritage (and good tapas) such as Lugo, you have to start discovering the national park of the Atlantic Islands, especially its maximum jewel, the archipelago of the Cíes. Without forgetting to savor, probably, the best seafood of European destinations, a basic ingredient of the Nova CociñaGalega, or discover the stone art of its walls, the Pazos, cruzeiros like Hío, or the biggest hórreo of all, in Carnota. Among its cathedrals, that of Santiago de Compostela, a masterpiece of Romanesque art, it has been welcoming millions of pilgrims who have arrived, from many points of the continent, for more than a millennium.
Adventure and exploration in the heart of the Balkans
International tourism begins to arrive in Montenegro, especially aboard the cruise ships that cross the Bay of Kotor, on the Adriatic coast. Less known is the north of the country, a region for adventurers with hardly any tourists. At least for the moment. The most launched can raft in the Tara Canyon, the deepest in Europe, within the national park of Durmitor, world heritage, or explore more unknown natural reserves.
The great jewel is the national park of BiogradskaGora, nestled in the folds of the BjelasicaMountains, with a serene, solitary, and unspoiled environment. Its main attraction is Lake Biograd, although there are also very attractive paths that cross one of the most important extensions of virgin forest that are conserved in European destinations.
For those who seek history and culture, the destination is the monasteries perched on cliffs such as Ostron or in the spectacular Morava valley. One of the great charms in this almost lost corner of Europe is to visit towns where daily life remains far from the rest of the continent.
The new cool destination of England
In the north of England, north of Manchester and near York, the city of Leeds has spent the last decade reinventing itself to become a mecca for lovers of craft beer and nightlife. But Leeds, a traditional, gray industrial city that has definitely converted its Victorian center and the charismatic Mill District, now filled with boutiques, cafes, and restaurants, is also an increasingly famous art center; for many, even an alternative to London to spend a different weekend.
Each May, the city hosts the Leeds Indie Food for two weeks, which makes it the gastronomic reference in the north of England. And this year, moreover, in a special way, it coincides with the reopening of the main art gallery in the city and the 50th anniversary of the Caribbean Carnival of Leeds, one of the most authentic and veterans in Europe, before the one in Notting Hill.
Leeds, formerly the big city of Yorkshire, presided over by mills and factories, has converted its industrial soul with new cultural enclaves, brunches in breweries, pop-up events, and flourishing gastronomy in renovated cafés and markets. It is worth discovering Holbeck, an industrial wonder of the 19th century and the first legal red-light district in Great Britain. Now it welcomes pubs and unconventional attractions, art centers, or studios. Another gem: the reformed Kirk gateMarket, wrought iron, which was created in 1884 by the giant Marks & Spencer, and which today is one of the largest covered markets in Europe.