Our most recent T+L Twitter Chat covered the best “secret” spots to visit in Europe, when you’re looking to skip the tourist attractions and head off the beaten path. Our panel of travel experts shared insider tips on unknown destinations, the best shopping spots, tourist-free beaches, and travel trends.
For some of the most underrated destinations in Europe, our panel recommended Olomouc in the Czech Republic (@indietravel), Slovenia (@The PluckyOne), Matera in Southern Italy (@YoungAdventures), and Le Pays Basque in southwestern France (@purpletruffle).
When asked about trends happening in European travel, our experts agreed that travelers are following more adventurous paths. Many are leaning towards experiential traveling (visiting a city and learning a skill), rather than just focusing on typical tourist attractions (@indietravel). Travel website Hipmunk noticed that travelers are taking more non-traditional routes and visiting countries and cities that are off-the-map, while T+L’s News Director Luke Barr has seen more travelers looking for affordable options.
Tips for under-the-radar European shopping neighborhoods ranged from streets known for being foodie destinations to design-focused districts. Chef Tony Mantuano heads to Cola Di Rienzo in Rome for tourist-free food shops, while Purple Truffle Travel Agent visits the lesser known Roman neighborhoods of Testaccio, Pigneto, or Garbetella. Luke Barr frequents the design district of Switzerland’s Zürich West, while Hipmunk heads to Berlin's Mitte neighborhood for its distinct and trendy shops.
The best beaches in Europe are secret spots of sand that can still claim to be tourist-free (shhh!). Our experts’ favorites ranged from Indie Travel visiting Malta; Young Adventuress visiting Antipaxos, Greece; Luke Barr visiting the Atlantic Coast of Lisbon and Comporta; and T+L Editor Peter Frank hitting the incredible Agios Sostis on Mykonos.
There were two questions though that our panel of experts seemed to all agree on: follow the locals to find the best foodie spots in Europe and when describing Europe in only three words, “food” and “wine” are two of the most important (and maybe not so secret?) nouns to remember.
Gabrielle Blitz is the Associate Social Media Editor at Travel + Leisure.