Europe’s best hidden gems to discover by leisure vehicle

A view of the town, with the water beyond

Having access to a caravan or motorhome represents a unique opportunity to get off the beaten track, eschewing Europe’s most famous destinations for charming hidden gems.

In order to find out which ones are really worth visiting, the online language learning platform italki analysed a number of metrics to produce definitive rankings.

These included number of landmarks, average rating of sights, safety score and the average summer temperature of each destination.

Iker Uriarte, head of marketing for Europe at italki, said: “Before you leave, take some time to get familiar with the culture and history of your destination. Learning about these aspects beforehand can elevate your travel experience and help you better understand where you’re visiting.”

While Valletta in Malta came out as the best ranking hidden gem in italki’s survey, it’s fairly inaccessible and hard to get to with a caravan or motorhome, since it’s on an island.

Kotor, Montenegro

Montenegro’s Kotor, however, which was in second position, is on mainland Europe and therefore easy to drive to, even if you’re towing a caravan.

In fact, you could take a particularly scenic route, stopping off in France and Slovenia, as well as enjoying some of the most picturesque spots on the Croatian coast.

Once you arrive in Kotor, the city boasts 1,790 things to do and 31 landmarks, according to italki’s analysis, with an average temperature of 19°C in the summer.

Situated in an enviable position overlooking the bay, you can explore Kotor’s medieval town, winding streets and Romanesque churches.

Matera, Italy

Driving down through Italy to reach Matera is the sort of road trip that dreams are made of, with the chance to visit a number of hidden gems along the way.

The city, which was built on a series of natural caves, scored 80.4 out of 100 in terms of safety, has 513 things to do and 28 points of interest.

Spend your time discovering the maze of frescoed limestone churches, palaces and monasteries, before indulging at Matera’s famed Michelin-starred restaurants.

Sintra, Portugal

Perhaps you would prefer to take your leisure vehicle on the ferry across to Spain and drive through the Iberian Peninsula to Portugal.

Not far from Lisbon geographically, Sintra is like a fairytale compared to the bustling Portuguese capital, with its palaces and gardens perched atop its lofty hill.

With 13 landmarks to visit, according to italki, it packs a punch in a small space, with Pena Palace, the Moorish Castle and Monserrate Palace among the top things to do.

Valencia, Spain

Often overlooked in favour of Barcelona or Madrid, Spain’s Valencia took the fifth spot in the survey, with 883 activities and 52 landmarks.

The official home of paella and close enough to the sea that you can walk to it via the Turia Gardens from the city centre, Valencia punches above its weight as a destination.

From the historic centre, where you can wander the central market and explore the cathedral, to the modern City of Arts and Sciences, there’s plenty of interest to enjoy while pitched up near Valencia.


Photo credit: Unsplash/Faruk Kaymak