Orhei Monastery at sunrise in Moldova Republic (Shutterstock)
List Words : Team Wanderlust | 12 August 2019

9 exciting trips through undiscovered Europe

Think the continent has been done to death? Think again. These trips will take you to some of Europe’s most exciting - and under-visited - corners, introducing you to a whole new world of adventure...

1. Celebrate Independence Day in a country that doesn’t officially exist

Statue of Vladimir Lenin in Tiraspol (Shutterstock)

Statue of Vladimir Lenin in Tiraspol (Shutterstock)

If you’re looking to visit somewhere really off-the-beaten-track in Europe, you can’t beat this trip to Moldova and the self-declared independent state of Transnistria with Regent Holidays.

Timed to coincide with Independence Day celebrations in Transnistria, you’ll witness an Old School Soviet-era military parade in the capital, Tiraspol, before hopping back to Moldova to spend a few days sampling the local wine in Chisinau.

You’ll also have plenty of opportunity to meet local people in both countries, learning about their culture and history over delicious meals.

Trip: Independence Day In Transnistria

Who: Regent Holidays

Type: Small group

When: Aug to Sept

How long: Six days

How much: From £1,115 (inc. flights)

2. Eat your way around Montenegro

Cooking in the Montenegrin mountains (Evaneos)

Cooking in the Montenegrin mountains (Evaneos)

Combine your love of fine food and unique cultural sights on this truly tasty tour of Montenegro with Evaneos. Each day, you will experience a different side of this magical Balkan country and sample a local dish unique to it.

After hiking in the Durmitor National Park, for instance, you will picnic by the lakes in Pošćenje and enjoy a meal of freshly prepared spring trout and organic vegetables, grown and caught there.

After a visit to Tara Canyon and the medieval town of Pirlitor, you’ll try a local dish called kačamak on a farm famous for cheese-making. In the Kucke mountains, you’ll pick mushrooms as you walk before spending a night cooking and sleeping under the stars.

What a great way to discover the tastes of Montenegro – as well as its picturesque villages, some ancient monasteries and welcoming locals.

Trip: Montenegro: Culinary And Hiking Discoveries

Who: Evaneos

Type: Small group

When: Departures throughout the year

How long: Eight days

How much: From £880 (exc. flights)

3. Hike, bike and raft through one of Europe’s smallest countries

Observation deck on Roc Del Quer, Andorra (Shutterstock)

Observation deck on Roc Del Quer, Andorra (Shutterstock)

Head to the tiny mountain country of Andorra for an action-packed week of adrenaline-fuelled fun in the Pyrenees with Intrepid.

Nestled between France and Spain, Andorra’s beautiful surrounding landscape is perfect for all kinds of adventures. You’ll hike up mountains, cycle through valleys, white water raft, try zip lining and more in this small yet stunning European adventure land.

Highlights include cycling the historic Iron Route and the scenic trails of Port de Cabús, white-water rafting some of the Pyrenees' most challenging rivers,and zip lining across the beautiful Cortals Valley.

And spending your downtime exploring the quaint town of Soldeu, sitting at an impressive elevation of 1,710m above sea level.

Trip: Andorra: Hike, Bike & Raft

Who: Intrepid

Type: Small group

When: May to Sept

How long: Eight days

How much: From £532 (exc. flights)

4. Explore the mountains, villages and beaches of Corsica

Palombaggia beach in Corsica (Shutterstock)

Palombaggia beach in Corsica (Shutterstock)

Discover a Europe of wild mountains, ancient villages and empty Mediterranean beaches on this 8-day adventure in Corsica with Exodus.

Caught between France and Italy, Corsica is a land of dramatic beauty with its own cuisine, culture and language. It offers an extraordinary variety of terrains, with gorgeous sandy beaches just 40km from the island’s famous pink granite peaks.

You’ll be based in the village of Bocognano, where a quaint mountain railway gives easy access to some of the island’s best walking routes, mountain passes, rock pools and pine forests. From the central highlands to the sea, Corsica is full of delightful surprises.

Trip: Mountains & Villages Of Corsica

Who: Exodus

Type: Small group

When: May to Sept

How long: Eight days

How much: From £879 (exc. flights)

5. Take a Soviet-style journey from Minsk to Kaliningrad

All Saints Church  as the sun sets in Minsk (Shutterstock)

All Saints Church as the sun sets in Minsk (Shutterstock)

Go on a Soviet-inspired adventure as you travel through some of the former Soviet Union’s most idiosyncratic states with Regent Holidays.

Starting in Minsk, the Soviet-style capital of Belarus, you’ll travel to the little-visited Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, travelling through three very diverse former communist states.

Staying in three-star central hotels, and travelling by bus, train and private transfer, you’ll visit the old town of Klaipeda, wander around the old town in Vilnius, discover Kaliningrad's amber museum and fall in love with the fishing village of Nida.

Trip: A Journey From Minsk To Kaliningrad

Who: Regent Holidays

Type: Tailor-made

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: 14 days

How much: From £1,095 (inc. flights)

6. Explore the undiscovered Balkans in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mostar under the Balkan sun (Shutterstock)

Mostar under the Balkan sun (Shutterstock)

Forget your preconceptions and get ready to embrace one of the most fascinating countries in Europe on this spectacular walking and cultural holiday in Bosnia and Herzegovina with KE Adventure Travel.

It’s true. Bosnia and Herzegovina suffered terribly during the Balkan Wars. But it has risen, phoenix-like, to became a European destination with it all. 

You’ll hike up Maglić, Bosnia’s highest peak, and through stunning wilderness areas in the Bjelasnica Mountains and Sutjeska National Park. You’ll stay in the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage city of Mostar, wander through Sarajevo and enjoy wine-tasting in the old town of Trebinje.

Enjoy its timeless landscapes, fascinating history, delicious cuisine, vibrant cities, primeval forests, rich cultures and hospitable locals before the crowds arrive.

Trip: Undiscovered Balkans - Bosnia and Herzegovina

Who: KE Adventure Travel

Type: Small group

When: Jun to Sept

How long: 8 days

How much: From £975 (exc. flights)

7. Take a walk through North Cyprus

Kyrenia Castle in northern Cyprus (Shutterstock)

Kyrenia Castle in northern Cyprus (Shutterstock)

Discover the turbulent history, extraordinary landscapes and hearty cuisine of North Cyprus on this eight-day walking tour with Exodus.

Since its separation from the rest of the island in 1974 (officially recognised only by Turkey), North Cyprus has remained a hidden gem of the Mediterranean, welcoming far less visitors than the south. 

The result is that you get some of the most amazing archaeological remains on the island to yourself, as well as superb walking trails through unspoiled areas, bursting with flowers and wildlife.

Add in the relaxed local Turkish Cypriot culture, and this is a walking and sightseeing tour not to be missed.

Trip: Walking In North Cyprus

Who: Exodus

Type: Small group

When: Departures throughout the year

How long: Eight days

How much: From £499 (exc. flights)

P.S. Travelling between northern and southern Cyprus can be tricky at times. Check the UK Foreign Office's official travel advice if you decide to extend your stay in Cyprus.

8. Celebrate an Orthodox Christmas in Ukraine

Celebrating Orthodox Christmas in Lviv (Shutterstock)

Celebrating Orthodox Christmas in Lviv (Shutterstock)

Celebrate a truly spectacular Orthodox Christmas in snow-covered storybook towns on this wonderfully wintery adventure through Ukraine’s Carpathian Mountains with Peregrine.

From the cobbled streets of Lviv, you’ll travel to the furthest edges of Western Ukraine to experience a snowy Orthodox Christmas in the highlands.

Here, the Hutsul people remain remarkably traditional in dress and custom, and you’ll get to spend an Orthodox Christmas with them – eating, drinking and living with them in a traditional farmhouse.

So many magical moments – none more so than an unforgettable Orthodox Christmas Eve dinner with your hosts, complete with candles, carols and more.

Trip: Orthodox Christmas in Ukraine

Who: Peregrine

Type: Small group

When: Jan

How long: Seven days

How much: From £1,420 (exc. flights)

9. Follow an ancient shepherd’s trail through Kosovo and Albania

Albanian Alps on the Via Dinarica  (Shutterstock)

Albanian Alps on the Via Dinarica (Shutterstock)

Discover a network of old shepherd trails as you traverse through high alpine mountains and taking in vibrant forests and glacial lakes on this walking holiday through Albania and Kosovo with Exodus.

You’ll explore the southern part of the Via Dinarica, a trail spans nearly 2000km across Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Serbia, Albania and Macedonia.

Here, in the mountains encircling Albania and Kosovo, it is at its most remote and wild, dotted with picturesque mountain villages inhabited by agricultural communities, where farming practices and traditional shepherd life have been preserved for generations.

Expect breathtaking views as you cross remote borders, with plenty of time to soak up the traditional shepherd mountain life along the way.

Trip: The Best Of The Via Dinarica

Who: Exodus

Type: Small group

When: Jun to Sept

How long: 13 days

How much: From £1,599 (exc. flights)

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