Travelers have often romanticized Europe, especially those from the United States.
Films such as The Sound of Music and Chasing Liberty portray Europe as a beautiful land of history, art, and culture. And the movies aren’t far off.
Countries such as France, Germany, and Spain have attracted visitors from all over the world. And recently, Europe has been breaking visitor records.
However, tourists aren’t all flocking to the Louvre in Paris or the Colosseum in Rome. Three unsuspecting countries have been trending when it comes to European travel.
While countries like Prague, Hungry, and Portugal have grown in popularity over the years, these aren’t the countries that are bringing in the most tourists.
If you’re curious about which countries are taking the spotlight by having the highest increase of nights spent, here are the top three trending European countries.
This island in the Mediterranean Sea offers three astounding things that make visitors not want to leave: sun, history, and welcoming locals.
With an average temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit, visitors can enjoy the stunning beaches year-round.
Tourists often gravitate to the Maltese coast to swim in the crystal blue waters and explore under the sea for some of Europe’s best places for diving.
But more than just the sexy beaches and beautiful coastlines, Malta brings over 6,000 years of history to its pretty exterior. Valletta, the capital city, feels like an interactive museum.
The area holds such cultural importance that its city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After admiring the cathedral and palace in the city that is all above ground, you can head below.
The Valletta tunnels were initially built as a defensive strategy but, over the years, evolved into a more advanced tunneling system for storage, waste removal, and more. Now, the tunnels are a way to step into the past and see the city from a new perspective.
Some popular places to explore include:
- Comino’s Blue Lagoon
- Megalithic Temples
- Golden Bay
- Mosta Dome
Cyprus is another island cradled by the Mediterranean Sea, a gem of a country that visitors can’t get enough of.
Situated near Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon, it draws upon these neighboring cultures to create a culture and cuisine that is unique as well as familiar.
Known as the Jewel of the Mediterranean, this country offers tranquil beaches and lush pine forests for visitors who fancy the land or the sea. Because the island is relatively small, it’s possible to travel across the whole island by car. You can visit the less-traveled Northern part of Cyprus.
Locals are known to have year-long celebrations. In fact, there are around 40 festivals celebrated throughout the year. Some popular events include the walnut festival, Agri Cyprus fair, Cyrus Rall, and Memetçik grape celebration. However, one of the largest festivals is the Limassol Wine Festival.
Some places you’ll not want to miss include:
- Ayia Napa for the nightlife
- Troodos Mountains
- Akamas Peninsula for a more secluded destination
In the middle of Hungary, Ukraine, Poland, Austria, and the Czech Republic is the humble country of Slovakia.
While this landlocked country doesn’t offer beaches like Malta and Cyprus, it does offer other unique attractions.
If you travel to this European country, you will undoubtedly encounter magnificent castles, flourishing nature, and an abundance of culture.
From the 9th century up until the 19th century, Slovakia received numerous attacks, and many of the castles were destroyed.
However, some ancient buildings don’t lay in ruins and still stand firm for visitors to come and admire their strength and beauty.
In addition to seemingly impenetrable castles, Slovakia has a soft side regarding its vast landscape of lush green mountains. For those who like to wander in nature, there are many hiking trails to explore for inexperienced and expert-level hikers.
Some of Slovakia’s top places to explore include:
- Devin, the oldest fortress in Slovakia
- Chichmany, a quaint mountain village
- Okhta Cave is one of the four aragonite caves in the world
- Bardejov is the oldest city in Slovakia.
If you want to visit these countries before the end of the year, make sure you use the Google Flights tool to know when to buy your ticket at the best price.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com