4 Hidden Gems in Europe

author: Raluca Tirnovean
date: October 24, 2016

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Certainly, the famous destinations in Europe have to be visited at least once in a lifetime. But sometimes we need to get off the beaten track to see more of the places we love so much. Here’s o list of 4 hidden gems in Europe:

One of the hidden gems of Portugal: Santana, Madeira

If you ever find yourself travelling to Portugal, make a stop on the northern coast of the Madeira Island, in the beautiful village of Santana. Here, you can spend a delightful vacation in what were once the farmers’ houses.


Incredibly well preserved, the small thatched triangular houses are distinguished by the white painted walls, the red doors and the blue windows’ frames. For centuries, the houses that now accommodate tourists, used to serve as stables and dwellings.

The whole area is covered in peace and the stunning rocky landscape is coloured by the countless palm trees, flowers and fruits. Here, you’ll get in touch with the local customs and if you’re lucky you might get to attend one of the traditional carnivals or music festivals.

A Nordic hidden gem: The Lofoten Islands, Norway


Far above the Arctic Circle, in the Norwegian Sea, there’s a magnificent world that never stops amazing those who set foot here, on the Lofoten Islands. Nature creates a true spectacle: with imposing mountains, deep fjords and seabirds flying over the glaciers.

The area is strongly connected to the Viking Age. The largest Viking longhouse ever was found on these untamed islands. 83 meters long, it is now a living museum and can be visited by the ones who wish to connect with that era.

Those who travel here have the chance to live unique experiences in the heart of nature, such as hiking, skiing, fishing, eagle spotting, ocean rafting or scuba diving. The long beaches are perfect for surfing and the calm waters within the fjords are utterly fit for kayaking and canoeing.

All around the year, the Norway sky will amaze you. From May to July, you can experience the 24h long daytime and the midnight sun. Then, between September and April, the night sky is ruled by the stunning northern lights.

The region is famous for the small fishing villages off the beaten track. Guests are welcome to stay in the old fishermen’s cabins, known as Robu, eat stockfish made from spawining cod and be directly in touch with the local customs.

A hidden gem in the Balkans: Lake Ohrid, Macedonia


Macedonia might not be one of the most popular destinations, but it certainly has a lot to offer. One of the most interesting places in this beautiful country has to be the Lake Ohrid. Located between Macedonia and Albania, this is one of the oldest and deepest lakes in Europe.

Worldwide it is very important for the unique ecosystem preserved in its deepness. Most of the plants and animals living in Lake Ohrid are to be found only here: the Ohrid trout, two types of eel and the bleak whose scales are used for making the famous Ohrid pearls.

Those who decide to make a stop at the Lake Ohrid have no chance to leave disappointed. Besides swimming and sunbathing, there are plenty of activities to enjoy: hiking on the nearby mountain trails, scuba diving beneath the Bronze Age houses in the Bay of Bones, paragliding, horse riding or kayaking on the lake.

Macedonian traditions and customs are well preserved in this area, therefore, the spirit and the food are most certainly authentic.

A hidden oasis of peace: Raven’s Nest, Transylvania


In the heart of the mountains, off the beaten routes of Transylvania, you’ll find a genuine rural retreat.  Here, the views are unique, the air is fresh and the clear, cold water comes straight from its spring.

You are welcome to enjoy the peace that covers the private village, the stunning views and the clean air outdoor. Whether you like hiking or you rather prefer relaxing in the hammocks, at Raven’s Nest you can do both.

Everything here is authentic: By the fire, or up on the deck you may have a taste of the Romanian wines or local artisanal beers; guests are accommodated in traditional houses that are centuries old and have been refurbished for a perfect comfort; and the food is cooked after archaic Romanian recipes with only natural ingredients from the local producers.

Raven’s Nest is the perfect point to begin visiting Transylvania. Some destinations are within walking distance, while some are a shorter or longer drive away. However, wherever you wish to travel our hosts are more than happy to guide you on your Transylvanian adventure.

Without any doubt, not only Europe, but the world is full of such hidden gems. It might take a lifetime to uncover them all, so you must agree that there’s no time to waste.

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