World-leading travel authority, Lonely Planet has revealed the most exciting European destinations to visit this year. Lonely Planet’s Best in Europe 2018 list is compiled annually by the travel company’s European experts, revealing their picks of the most exciting and underrated destinations to visit across the continent. This year’s list directly tackles the hot topic of ‘overtourism’, aiming to inspire travellers to discover some of the best lesser-visited regions, alternative city breaks and hidden gems, beyond Europe’s busiest tourist hotspots.
Lonely Planet’s Best in Europe 2018:
- Emilia-Romagna, Italy
- Cantabria, Spain
- Friesland, the Netherlands
- Provence, France
- Dundee, Scotland
- Small Cyclades, Greece
- Vilnius, Lithuania
- Vipava Valley, Slovenia
- Tirana, Albania
- Emilia-Romagna in Italy took out the top spot as Europe’s number one destination this year. The region is often overlooked in favour of more popular areas but is increasingly carving out its reputation as the nation’s number one destination for food lovers. The birthplace of ragù, prosciutto di Parma, balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese, its foodie legacy can be explored at Bologna’s newly opened FICO, the world’s largest culinary theme park.
2. The Spanish region of Cantabria, a land of wild, sandy beaches, mist-shrouded mountains and enchanting villages.
3. Friesland in the Netherlands, a region of beguiling landscapes whose lively capital Leeuwarden is this year’s European Capital of Culture.
4. Kosovo, the world’s second-newest nation boasts Europe’s youngest median population – and it’s their vitality fuelling the countries development. The regions hiking trails showcase the nation’s peak-laden landscape while each summer more and more movie fans venture to Dokufest, an acclaimed film festival.
5. With fields of lavender, olive groves, charming towns and turquoise coves it’s no wonder Provence, France made the list.
6. Scotland’s Dundee, a city, reinvigorated by new cultural openings including the newest branch of the V&A.
7. The Small Cyclades are home to seductive beaches and whitewashed streets lined with delicious restaurants and cafes.
8. Vilnius in Lithuania is thriving with new creative spaces, an up-and-coming craft beer scene and a smattering of new Nordic-inspired restaurants that rival many across the Baltic Sea.
9. With vineyards stretching across rolling hills, Vipava Valley in Slovenia is becoming the land of boutique wineries.
10. Nestled between the Adriatic Coast and the Albanian Alps, Tirana is becoming a hustling and bustling metropolis.
Lonely Planet’s writers explored the globe for 45 years in search of hidden gems and amazing new travel experiences. Best in Europe 2018 is the sixth iteration of the agenda-setting list, which picks out Europe’s hottest up-and-coming countries, regions and cities.