18 Incredible Places to Visit in Europe After Lockdown
Updated: Dec 2, 2020
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I don't know about you, but I'm very ready to start travelling again - when it's safe to do so of course. Coronavirus put a serious dent in some of my travel plans, but during lockdown I took the time to work on my website and write some new blog posts, so it wasn't all a negative experience. Researching new places to visit in Europe has definitely expanded my already lengthy bucket list, but I can't wait to start exploring some of these places soon. I love visiting old cities in Europe and getting to explore their historic streets and attractions.
I've put together a collection of European destinations that I think would be perfect to visit once lockdown has finished. Some I've visited before, and would highly recommend travelling to if you're hoping to do some social distanced travelling. Others I've come across while doing some research and they look like the perfect European destinations to explore if you're wanting to stay away from the mainstream, busy tourist ares. There are definitely a lot of unique places to visit in Europe, so dust off that camera and start packing! Keep reading to find out what spots made my list of 18 incredible places to visit in Europe after lockdown.
Where to Visit in Europe After Lockdown
1. The Cilento National Park is a fantastic alternative option to visiting the Amalfi Coast. The gateway to the national park is Agropoli, which is where we stayed at Baia di Trentova for three fantastic nights. Cilento has a lot of stunning villages to visit, numerous walking trails, and if you have a car, taking a coastal drive is something I would highly recommend. If you're wanting to visit some historic sites in Italy, the ancient ruins at Paestum are only a short drive from Agropoli. The Cilento National Park is one of the best hidden gems in Europe in my opinion, and is the perfect Italian getaway if you want to be along the coast but maintain that all important social distance.
2. If you're planning a trip to Spain and don't want to be stuck in the middle of crowds in the big cities like Madrid, take a day trip to Consuegra. We actually did a road trip to Toledo and Segovia from Malaga, and stopped at the famous windmills of Don Quixote on the way back. There's also a 12th century castle perched between the row of windmills which is just begging to be explored. The Castilla-La Mancha landscape is one of the most iconic landscapes in the whole of Spain. The 12 windmills all have their own names based on characters from the novel, and two of the windmills are still in working order, so you can go inside and see how their inner mechanisms work for a small fee. Other than that, it's free to walk around the windmills at Consuegra! Add this to your list of places to visit in Europe after lockdown if you haven't already. It's incredible, and you won't be disappointed.
3. The north of Spain has some pretty spectacular sites to visit, and my bucket list for this area is forever growing. The Lakes of Covadonga are breathtaking, and will fulfill all of your social distancing needs. This is another hidden gem in Europe, but it's growing in popularity, and is especially popular with tourists during peak season. So, if you find yourself in the region of Asturias don't forget to come here. The area is accessible by both car and foot, and there are several walking trails to choose from as well. The lakes are located in the Picos de Europa National Park, which was created in 1918, and is one of the best national parks in Spain.
4. Planning a trip to Scotland? Forget Edinburgh, and head to the Isle of Skye. It's considered to be one of the best backpacking places in Europe, and attracts visitors from all over the world because of its rugged landscape, and every corner of it really is beautiful. Skye is a very unique place to visit in Scotland, and it's incredibly easy to social distance here. This is one of the best places to go hiking in Scotland, and if you love nature this will quickly become your favourite destination. For unbelievable views, I would highly recommend heading to the Old Man of Storr and the Quiraing. These are both very popular tourist destinations on Skye, but since you'll be hiking in the great outdoors you don't need to worry about the crowds at all.
5. Speaking of hiking trails in Scotland, if you find yourself visiting the eastern Scottish coast, perhaps for a round or two of golf in St Andrews, take some time to walk along the Fife Coastal Path. It's considered to be one of the best walking routes in Scotland, and offers beautiful views of the coastline as you pass through Scottish fishing villages and coastal terrain. I consider this to be a true hidden gem in Europe, and the few times I've walked part of this trail I've hardly come across any other walkers. If you don't have the time to walk along the coastal path, you can plan a mini road trip and stop off at some of the main points of interest along the Fife Coastal Path instead.
6. If you love visiting European castles as much as I do, add Malbork Castle to your list (if it isn't already there). It's a 13th century Teutonic castle located in Poland, and is the world's largest castle based on land area. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is the perfect day trip from Gdansk. It was damaged during the Second World War, but was restored using detailed documentation from earlier restoration projects. I haven't had the opportunity to visit this fantastic European medieval castle yet, but you can rest assured that when I travel to northern Poland this will be one of the first places I head to. It may be a very popular tourist attraction, but it's big enough that you should be able to distance yourself from other people easily enough. I can never say no to a medieval castle!
7. Bratislava is a highly underrated European capital city, which means it's also a lot less crowded - perfect for socially distanced travel! Bratislava's old town is only small, so it's very easy to explore on foot. It's also a very budget friendly city to visit, so whether you spend a day in Bratislava or longer, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much money you won't be spending. Many of the main attractions in Bratislava are free or cost very little, and there is an amazing selection of cafes and restaurants serving only the best traditional Slovakian dishes to fill your belly with.
8. I'm sure you will have come across a photo or two of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina during your travel research. It's most famous for its stunning UNESCO World Heritage bridge, Stari Most, which was commissioned by Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century. Today's bridge is a reconstruction of the bridge that was destroyed in the Bosnian War, but it was built using the same techniques as the original. Other than visiting the bridge, walking through the surrounding medieval streets which are filled with shops and market stalls is an absolute must. It's a city built on the peaceful coexistence of Muslim Bosniaks, Orthodox Serbs, and Catholic Croats, which you can see as you walk around the city.
9. I'm so excited to get back to travelling so that I can finally visit Romania! There are a lot of fascinating points of interest in Romania to explore, especially if you're a fan of Vlad the Impaler and the origins of Dracula. One city that really catches my eye is Sighisoara. It's located in Transylvania, and Sighisoara's walled old town is one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. Sighisoara is also one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe, and one of its top tourist attractions is the original home of Vlad the Impaler! This is definitely one of the more unusual places to visit in Europe, but it's incredibly rich in history, one of the most colourful places in Europe you'll ever visit, and did I mention the ties to Dracula? I think I did, but I'll say it again just in case you skipped over that part. Romania is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, and I don't think it's given enough credit with tourists.
10. Another country I can't wait to visit once lockdown is over is Latvia. Latvia's capital city, Riga, is obviously very popular with tourists, but have you ever heard of Sigulda? This little European hidden gem is only an hours drive from Riga, and boasts stunning scenery as well as an impressive medieval castle - Turaida Castle. There's actually quite a lot to do in and around Sigulda, and it's considered to be one of Latvia's top destinations for adventure seekers. Is there any better way to social distance than by going on a hike through the Gauja National Park, after exploring a 13th century medieval castle? In my opinion, no. So, if you're planning a trip to Riga in the near future and have a day to spare on your Latvian itinerary, a day trip to Sigulda would be a fantastic option.
11. Estonia is growing in popularity, and after visiting Tallinn this past summer it's easy to see why it's one of the best cities to visit in Europe. If you find yourself in Helsinki and have some extra time, hop on the ferry and take a day trip to Tallinn, I promise you will fall in love with its medieval streets. But Tallinn aside, there are a number of other gorgeous cities to visit in Estonia, as well as numerous national parks that are the perfect destination if you want to maintain that all important social distance from other tourists. Most people head for Tallinn, so on my next trip to Estonia I will definitely be exploring some of the more remote places the country has to offer.
12. Helsinki has so far been one of my favourite European capitals to visit. It gives off a very relaxed atmosphere, and the food scene is incredible. But if you want to experience a bit more of the Finnish nature without travelling too far from Helsinki, I'd recommend heading to Tuusula. It takes only an hour by train or 30 minutes if you're driving, and is paradise for anyone who loves walking and cycling. We spent 2 nights along Lake Tuusula at the gorgeous Pescator Villas, which are perfect if you're travelling in a larger group. Tuusula has always attracted Finnish artists and writers, and you can find a number of cultural museums dotted around the area which are worth visiting. Tuusula is a great place in Europe to visit in the summer months so that you can enjoy all of the water sports on offer, and cycle around in a comfortable temperature.
13. Oslo is an ideal European city to visit after lockdown, because a large majority of its main attractions are actually outdoors. It's not the cheapest city to visit, but you can definitely do Oslo on a budget if you plan ahead, so don't worry! I spent 4 days in Oslo, and walked pretty much everywhere, except when I took one of the ferries to The Viking Ship Museum. It's very easy to social distance in Oslo, and there are numerous parks for you to explore too, such as the famous Vigeland Sculpture Park. One of my favourite attractions in Oslo was the Gol Stave Church, which you can find in the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History - a large outdoor museum where you can quite literally walk through Norwegian history. It covers a large area, and I hardly came across anyone else while I was there, which was great for photos. If you're wondering where the best places in Europe to travel alone are, Oslo is one of them!
14. If you love nature, the Plitvice Lakes National Park should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Europe after lockdown. It's one of the largest and oldest national parks in Croatia, and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. There are different trails you can take through the national park, and even though it's a top tourist destination, you should have no problem keeping away from groups of people here. While most tourists are heading to the popular coastal destinations in Croatia, I would be more than happy to take a day trip to the Plitvice Lakes and see this stunning bit of nature. The park itself isn't cheap to get into, but it's a once in a lifetime experience so I have no doubt that it's worth every penny. Croatia is one country that I really do need to explore more, having only visiting Zagreb in the middle of winter a number of years ago.
15. Møns Klint looks like an amazing spot to visit in Denmark, especially if you're wanting to social distance from everyone else while travelling. These white chalk cliffs are located on the Danish island of Møn in the Baltic Sea. I didn't realize this when I visited Copenhagen, but it's only 2 hours from the capital! Day trips from Copenhagen really don't get much better than this if you're a nature lover. The cliffs themselves stretch for 6km and the area around the cliffs are a mixture of woodlands, ponds and pastures which are all just waiting to be explored. If you prefer to get out on the water, there are boat rentals available and you can even book one of the boat tours which will provide you with more detailed information about the cliffs and the surrounding area. This island looks like an ideal place to visit in Europe after lockdown.
17. Another fantastic island to visit in Denmark is the island of Fur. It's located near the northern tip of Denmark, and is incredibly rich in history. There has been inhabitants on the island since the Stone Age (including the Vikings), and in the 17th century the entire island was used as the King of Denmark's hunting estate. The big draw to the island are the imposing cliffs, which look stunning with the sun shining on them. The island is also known for its abundance of fossils. You obviously can't take a day trip from Copenhagen to this island, but if you're planning a trip to Denmark and are heading up north, you should add the island of Fur to your travel itinerary. This is definitely one of the more unique, must-see places in Europe.
18. I would love to give you a specific part of Iceland to visit, but the entire country is breathtaking so you really can't go wrong wherever you choose to go. We spent 5 days in Iceland in May, touring mostly around the southwestern part of the country, and hardly came across any large crowds except for the odd tour group or two. Social distancing is definitely not difficult to do in Iceland. One thing I would recommend is that you rent a vehicle while in Iceland, so that you have the freedom to drive wherever you want and can do things on your own schedule. Since we visited Iceland in May, we were able to drive to locations very late into the evening because the sun didn't set until 11pm, which was incredible because by that time the tour groups had left and we had the main attractions all to ourselves!
This list could just go on and on, but hopefully my list of 18 places to visit in Europe after lockdown has increased your eagerness to start travelling again. If you do intend to travel to Europe in the near future, make sure you stay safe and check each country's travel advisories before visiting so you're fully prepared and know what to expect. You may also need to book tickets for the main tourist attractions online in advance, so double check that as well.
I would love to hear from you if you have any recommendations on unique or historic places to visit in Europe. Please feel free to leave a comment on this post, email me, or get in touch via Instagram!