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These Are The Top 5 Hidden Gem Destinations In Europe To Avoid The Summer Crowds

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We’ve all heard the news about European countries not wanting tourists to overcrowd their streets this summer, and while locals’ concerns are certainly different from ours, we can all agree that spending your days fighting chaotic crowds in the middle of the scorching heat isn’t a good time for anyone.

That’s why more and more travelers looking to explore the transatlantic wonders these upcoming months are heading off to smaller, lesser-known hubs that still bring that European charm in its most authentic form.

Woman overlooking Kotor, Montenegro

But since these places usually go so under the radar, it’s hard to find just what’s worth visiting and what’s not.

In an effort to help indecisive travelers out, language learning app Italki just released a report on Europe’s best-hidden gems – a ranking created by analyzing criteria like climate, number of restaurants, number of landmarks, things to do, and so on.

After all was said and done, these were the five cities that scored the highest:

5. Valencia, Spain

Valencia, Spain

Out of all the places that made it to today’s list, Valencia is probably the best-known, so if you’re feeling apprehensive about going somewhere you haven’t even heard of before but still want to avoid the summer crowds, this is the place to go.

Nestled in the sun-kissed shores of the Mediterranean, the city possesses that iconic Spanish beach charm but without all the fuss of more popular hubs like Barcelona, Ibiza, or Palma de Mallorca; it’s really a win-win situation.

Beyond the gorgeous beaches, though, Valencia also promises an incredible blend of medieval wonders and modernist masterpieces, so culture seekers, start planning those long sightseeing sessions now.

Let me help you start.

Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, Barrio del Carmen, and Mercado Central are not to be missed.

4. Sintra, Portugal

Pena National Palace, Sintra, Portugal

While we all know how popular Portugal has gotten this past year, few actually grasp how much beauty and culture there is to take in beyond the ultra-popular hubs.

And Sintra is the perfect example of that.

Known as Portugal’s fairytale capital, Sintra somehow manages to live up to its name.

With colorful palaces, enchanting forests, and ornate gardens, this is the ultimate destination for those looking to get inspired (though, in my experience, there’s a much better chance you’ll be left speechless).

Take some once-in-a-lifetime pictures at Palácio Nacional da Pena, the Moorish Castle, and Quinta da Regaleira – entry to most places costs less than $15 and the views are unlike anything else on Earth.

3. Matera, Italy

Matera, Italy

Now that places like Venice, Rome, and Milan have gotten so overcrowded you can’t even have a peaceful getaway during the off-season, it’s become that much more important to think outside the box when it comes to planning a summer getaway.

And for that, Matera is the perfect choice.

No, you won’t get the typical Italian beachside experience here (though plenty of beaches are just a short drive away) but when you catch a look at the ancient cave dwellings and the imposing Belvedere di Murgia Timone that overlooks the entire city, you won’t feel like you're missing out on anything at all.

2. Kotor, Montenegro

View Of Kotor Bay In Kotor, Montenegro

Moving over to a wildly underrated Balkan destination, Kotor, Montenegro, promises the type of towering limestone cliffs and sparkling waters you’d expect from much better-known hubs but at a much lower price point (and fewer crowds.)

The UNESCO World Heritage-listed town has more to offer than just its dreamy beaches, though.

Between all the ancient walls, Venetian palaces, and Orthodox churches, city trippers and history lovers will have the time of their lives here.

1. Valletta, Malta

Valletta, Malta

Last but certainly not least, we have a city that has quickly become one of my favorite places in the world.

I’m telling you right off the bat that Valletta, Malta’s jaw-dropping capital, isn’t the best destination for beach lovers – Mellieħa is a much better pick for that.

However, thanks to the otherworldly blend of Italian, Arab, and British influences, the landscape is truly second to none.

Whether it’s the Caravaggio paintings inside St. John's Co-Cathedral, the panoramic views of the Upper Barrakka Gardens, or the liveliness of the square surrounding Triton Fountain, there’s something about Valletta that just leaves you in awe.

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