3 up and coming European holiday destinations

Step beyond the call of Paris and Madrid, and away from the overcrowded Greek islands or Mediterranean riviera – plenty of other locations across Europe are becoming increasingly popular with international visitors.

Get ahead of the crowds, reach for the guidebook and read about our favourite up-and-coming destinations in Europe now.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Nestled between Croatia and Italy, Slovenia’s capital city Ljubljana is one of the smallest in Europe, with a population of just under 300,000 people.

It’s considered one of the most exciting new destinations on the food scene, with an increasing number of cafes and restaurants serving not just Mediterranean and Eastern-inspired dishes, but many other international cuisines too.

Ljubljana is steeped in history thanks to its former position as a key city in the Roman Empire, and this is best explored not just by visiting its wonderful city centre, but travelling by tourist boat around the Ljubljana River Canal, which will take you through some of the most beautiful parts of the city.

It’s also one of the greenest and leafiest capitals in Europe, with plenty of public parks to visit. The Ljubljana Botanical Gardens are a popular destination for visitors and are a must-visit.

Helsinki, Finland

Scandinavian vacations will generally take you to Stockholm, Copenhagen, Reykjavik or even Oslo, but Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is quickly becoming a popular choice for visitors to Northern Europe.

In 2018, Helsinki invested heavily in its arts and culture sectors, making it a hub of cutting edge cultural excursions that you might have attributed to other Scandinavian capitals before.

Some of the highlights include the free guided walking tours, experiencing an authentic Finnish sauna at one of the city’s many spas and sampling some authentic Finnish food, like ruisleipa (rye bread) and lohikeitto (salmon soup).

Sibiu, Romania

Though travellers familiar with Romania will tend to stick to Bucharest, Sibiu is quickly becoming a favourite of historically-minded visitors.

Found in the famous Transylvania region of the country, the city has many accolades to its name, including being named the 2007 European Capital of Culture and ranked as Forbes’ 8th Most Idyllic Place to Live in Europe.

There’s a distinctly Germanic feel to Sibiu. You can explore its Upper and Lower Town areas for the best attractions, though the further into the city you go, the less touristy things become and the more authentic the experience.

It also makes a great starting point for visitors looking to explore more of Transylvania and some of Romania’s most recognisable landmarks.

If you’re ready to head to an up and coming destination, make sure you’re covered with travel insurance for Europe, which includes COVID-19 cover at no extra cost.