If you are planning to travel to Europe this summer but want to get off the beaten tourist track and experience something totally different, why not explore some of these beautiful unspoiled European destinations?
Procida – Italy
While its neighbouring islands of Capri and Ischia are popular with tourists from all over the world, quiet little Procida is authentic and picturesque. Lacking the glitz and glamour of its bigger siblings, its historical heart boasts pretty pastel painted buildings in yellow and pink, and the island is scattered with groves of fragrant citrus trees that scent the air. Despite its diminutive size, there are some wonderful places to stay on Procida, including traditional family run B&Bs, gorgeous boutique hotels and the impressive 5 star La Suite Hotel and Spa which has its home in a converted 18th century residence. Visitors can enjoy panoramic views from the island’s highest point, the 16th century Castello d’Avalos, take a scenic boat trip from the harbour, or even try their hand at scuba diving in the sparkling waters.
Porquerolles – France
The French Riviera has long been a mecca for tourists, however the island of Porquerolles has escaped much of the commercialism that has overtaken many of the mainland resorts. Located between St Tropez and Toulon, just off the Mediterranean coast, this idyllic destination still has unspoiled beaches thanks to its strict environmental laws, and remains car-free for a more relaxed pace of life. Devoted to olives and vines, Porquerolles is free of any invasive building projects, with only the port village itself being developed. Visitors can enjoy the views from the 16th century Fort Ste-Agathe, listen to a free concert during the summer months at the Église Ste-Anne, or spend the day snorkelling at the Parc National de Port Cros, the first marine national park in France. The port itself offers a wealth of activities for tourists to try, including speedboat and kayak rentals, however it is important to check that your travel insurance policy covers you for watersports if you want to take to the glittering seas.
Paleochora – Crete
Although Crete is one of the most well known tourist destinations in Europe, Paleochora on its south west coast remains relatively unknown. Just 48 miles south of Chania, this low key resort is virtually untouched by overseas visitors, and boasts secluded bathing spots, unspoiled beaches and pretty villages hidden in a rocky gorge. Family run B&Bs provide ample accommodation for the few tourists that pass this way and the resort has a genuine village atmosphere thanks to its delightful local tavernas and understated restaurants. Although the stunning beaches of this little-visited coastline are the focus of a stay in this area, there are boats that offer day excursions to Elafonissi, as well as an open air cinema during the summer months showing newer releases as well as weekly showings of Zorba the Greek which was filmed in this region.