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These European hidden gems are perfect for a last minute summer getaway

Discover the perfect inspiration for your vacation with our guide to Europe's lesser-known summer getaways and where to stay

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Midway through the summer, you might still be pondering your holiday options or yearning for another sun-soaked adventure. Look no further! We’ve rounded up a stellar collection of lesser-known European destinations that are perfect for a memorable and easy-going holiday. These hidden gems remain untapped by mainstream tourism and are bound to pique your friends’ curiosity.

Consider the captivating allure of Tropea in Italy, or the untouched beauty of Rab in Croatia, amongst other intriguing destinations. These places, brimming with authenticity and charm, offer unique retreats that will linger in your memories long after your suntan has faded.

But we’ve gone one step further – we have also selected the crème de la crème of accommodations in each locale. Picture yourself luxuriating in the understated elegance of Villa Paola in Tropea, or immersing in the historical charm of the Imperial Hotel in Rab. The choice is yours to make.

Comporta, Portugal | Patrick Langwallner
Comporta, Portugal | Patrick Langwallner

Comporta, Portugal

Imagine a paradise with secluded golden beaches, scenic surf-spots and playful dolphins in diamond-clear waters. It’s not a remote island or a figment of your imagination, but a reality in Comporta, a quaint fishing village in southern Portugal. A refreshing change from the bustling tourist hubs of the Algarve, Comporta offers an authentic and serene coastal experience. At Praia da Comporta, enjoy hip seaside clubs that could rival those in Ibiza, with their laid-back vibes and enticing blueberry caipiroskas. As dusk settles, the village brims with life in modern restaurants and local bars. Before tucking into just-caught seafood and crisp salt-cod fritters, peruse the charming shops on Rua Dom Afonso Henriques and Rua do Secador, where a delightful array of embroidered kaftans and silky cushions can be found, ready to be stowed away as precious souvenirs of your escape.

Fly to: Lisbon Airport, which is roughly 1 hour and 20 minutes drive from Comporta.

Sublime Comporta

Stay at Sublime Comporta

Experience tranquillity in nature’s cradle at Sublime Comporta. This exquisite hotel, with its contemporary design, sits amidst a 17-acre woodland adorned with wildflowers. It boasts romantic rooms, cosy cabanas and a captivating pool. Let your evenings unfold by the fire pit, and don’t miss the opportunity to savour the delectable Portuguese cuisine made from locally sourced ingredients.

Website: sublimecomporta.pt
Address: EN 261-1 Muda, CCI 3954, Grandola 7570-337, Portugal

Kythira, Greece | Amy Jolly
Kythira, Greece | Amy Jolly

Kythira, Greece

Tucked away south of Peloponnese, the island of Kythira is a Greek gem often overlooked by the tourist masses. Belonging to the Ionian island group, Kythira is the epitome of Greek charm, boasting Venetian-style architecture, serene golden beaches, and an enchanting natural landscape. Embrace the leisurely pace as you explore popular spots like Avlemonas, Agia Pelagia, Chora and Kapsali, or embark on a drive off the beaten path to discover cliff-top villages, hidden beaches, and historic monasteries. The Venetian Castle in Chora offers an unmissable panoramic view of the Aegean Sea and southern coasts of Peloponnese, creating an awe-inspiring spectacle at sunset. Visit the breathtaking monasteries of Agia Moni, Agia Elesa and Myrtidiotissa, and admire the church nestled in the cave of Agia Sofia. Your adventure isn’t complete without a visit to the deserted village of Paleochora, and a refreshing dip at Lagada beach, rounding off the idyllic experience Kythira offers its visitors.

Fly to: Athens International Airport, then take a domestic flight to Kythira Island National Airport. The flight duration is approximately 1 hour.

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Stay at LIDEA Boutique Hotel

LIDEA Boutique Hotel encapsulates Kythira’s unique character. Enjoy luxury, tranquillity and traditional Greek hospitality in its stylishly decorated deluxe rooms, featuring king-size beds and double sofa beds. A harmonious blend of cosmopolitan charm and excellent amenities, it guarantees an unforgettable stay imbued with high-quality service.

Website: lidea.gr
Address: Ποταμός 802 00, Greece

LIDEA Boutique Hotel
San Sebastián, Spain | Ultrash Ricco
San Sebastián, Spain | Ultrash Ricco

San Sebastián, Spain

Nestled in Spain‘s Basque country, the compact coastal city of San Sebastián exudes an enchanting allure. Renowned for its belle époque architecture, a relic of its regal past, the city offers urban beaches and a gastronomic feast. Boasting the world’s second-highest number of Michelin stars per capita, San Sebastián is a food lover’s paradise. You can hike the paths of Monte Urgull for panoramic city views, surf at Zurriola beach, or marvel at the modernist architecture of the Kursaal Convention Centre. And for the adventurous, a swim to the Isla de Santa Clara in the bay is a must.

Fly to: Bilbao Airport. From here, it’s approximately a 1-hour drive to San Sebastián.

Akelarre
Akelarre

Stay at Akelarre

Perched on the hills outside San Sebastián, Akelarre hotel is an epitome of exquisite design, Michelin-star dining and breathtaking views of the Bay of Biscay. This hotel, alongside Pedro Subijana’s iconic restaurant, caters flawlessly to gourmands, wine aficionados and design enthusiasts. Admire the sophisticated architecture by Mecanismo, with materials as rich and carefully curated as the cuisine served.

Website: akelarre.net
Address: Padre Orkolaga Ibilbidea, 56, 20008 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain

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Tropea, Italy | Massimo Virgilio
Tropea, Italy | Massimo Virgilio

Tropea, Italy

Discover the sparkling jewel of the Calabria region, Tropea, an awe-inspiring seaside town in the Mediterranean largely untouched by international tourism. This ancient city perches on towering cliffs, offering panoramic views over broad sandy beaches and azure waters. It’s part of the Coast of the Gods or “la Costa degli Dei”, famous for its stunning landscapes and clear turquoise sea. Tropea offers a rich cultural history influenced by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Normans and Arabs. Swap the crowded and overpriced beaches of the Amalfi Coast for Tropea’s spacious, sandy offerings. Experience an authentic Italian beach vacation replete with breath-taking scenery and history.

Fly to: Lamezia Terme International Airport, which is roughly a 1-hour drive away from Tropea.

Villa Paola Tropea

Stay at Villa Paola

Exuding tranquillity, Villa Paola is a historic 16th-century convent turned idyllic retreat in the heart of the “Costa degli Dei”. Twelve elegant rooms merge vintage charm with modern comforts, with the standout Eremita Suite offering a private Turkish bath and stunning views of the 18th-century cloister and Tropea’s blue sea.

Website: villapaolatropea.it
Address: Contrada Paola, 89861 Tropea, Italy

Rab, Croatia | Boudewijn Boer
Rab, Croatia | Boudewijn Boer

Rab, Croatia

Step into the pristine beauty of Rab, a Croatian island nestled in the Adriatic Sea. Stretching 22km, Rab is home to almost 9,500 residents and boasts the towering peak of Kamenjak, standing at 408 metres. The contrast of Rab’s landscapes is stunning – the barren, karst terrain of the northeastern side juxtaposes beautifully with the verdant oak forests of the southwestern region, some of the last in the Mediterranean. The island’s ancient history traces back to 360 BC, when it was referred to as ‘Arba’ by its original Liburnian inhabitants, meaning ‘dark, green forest’. Experience Rab’s blend of natural beauty and rich cultural heritage for an unforgettable escape.

Fly to: Zadar Airport. From here, Rab is about a 2-hour drive and a short ferry ride away.

Stay at Imperial Hotel

Unwind at Imperial Hotel, an adults-only haven steeped in history since 1927 and positioned near Rab’s lively beach and serene town park. Its sumptuous suites offer king-size beds, soothing baths and a six-pillow selection. Savour Mediterranean cuisine at Veritas restaurant, sip exclusive cocktails at the Gin Bar, enjoy the Finnish or bio sauna, and take a refreshing dip in the outdoor pool.

Website: valamar.com
Address: M. de Dominisa 9, 51280 Rab, Croatia

Imperial Hotel
Folegandros, Greece | Despina Galani
Folegandros, Greece | Despina Galani

Folegandros, Greece

Immerse yourself in the serene beauty of Folegandros, an enchanting Cycladic gem. Its captivating landscape blends wild nature with the tranquil ambience of a blissful retreat. Chora, the island’s village, enchants with its quintessentially Cycladic architecture: whitewashed houses, azure-domed churches and narrow alleys adorned with colourful doors and windows. Majestically perched atop a hill, the whitewashed Panagia church commands breathtaking views over the Aegean Sea. Experience the golden hues of the sunset transforming the landscape into a magical spectacle. Venture into Kastro, the charming Venetian quarter, or take a dip in the crystal-clear waters of Agali and Ambeli beaches. For the adventurous, the island serves as a perfect base for exploring the Cyclades, with convenient ferry connections to Mykonos and Santorini.

Fly to: Santorini Thira National Airport, a 4-hour ferry ride away from Folegandros.

Avaton
Avaton

Stay at Avaton

Experience the epitome of minimalist luxury at Avaton hotel, nestled within the captivating landscapes of Folegandros. This eco-friendly sanctuary, situated amidst a traditional olive grove, perfectly complements the Cycladic environment while providing breathtaking Aegean Sea vistas. Avaton’s Diamond Suites exude elegance and tranquillity, equipped with a king-size bed, a spacious lounge area, an exquisite double free-standing bathtub and a private balcony that overlooks the magnificent seascape. Conveniently located just 750 meters from Folegandros village, Avaton offers the perfect balance between privacy and accessibility.

Website: avatonfolegandroshotel.com
Address: Χώρας, Folegandros 840 11, Greece

Procida, Italy | Jack Ward
Procida, Italy | Jack Ward

Procida, Italy

Procida, an enticing, modest island nestled in the Bay of Naples, remains relatively undiscovered, despite its cinematic allure and distinctive vibrancy. Celebrated as Italy’s Capital of Culture in 2022, this delightful destination houses an eclectic blend of traditional pastel-hued dwellings, unspoiled nature, historic sites, and peaceful beaches. Maintaining its inherent tranquillity and rich heritage is a point of pride for the locals, even as the island gains recognition. The island’s allure ranges from exploring the colourful waterfront of Marina Grande, indulging in local delicacies on Via Roma, to savouring panoramic views from Terra Murata, the island’s historical centre. From secluded sandy stretches to verdant nature reserves, Procida offers a slow travel experience devoid of ostentatious glitz, making it a truly captivating destination.

Fly to: Naples International Airport, a 40-minute ferry ride away from Procida.

San Michele Boutique Hotel

Stay at San Michele Boutique Hotel

Beautifully located in Marina Corricella’s lively fishing village, San Michele Boutique Hotel promises mesmerising Mediterranean Sea views. With 12 uniquely designed rooms offering modern amenities such as smart TV, air conditioning and free Wi-Fi, guests are assured a comfortable stay. Beyond the room, experience an atmosphere of tranquillity, making this hotel more than just an accommodation – it’s a haven of peace and comfort on the captivating Italian coast.

Website: sanmicheleprocida.com
Address: Via S. Rocco, 61 bis, 80079 Procida, Italy

Cadaqués, Spain | Guzmán Barquín
Cadaqués, Spain | Guzmán Barquín

Cadaqués, Spain

A delightful confluence of allure and inaccessibility, Cadaqués, on Catalonia’s Costa Brava, maintains its distinctive charm despite its fame. Its captivating beauty tells a story of resilience, shaped by a history marked with piracy, adversity, isolation and the relentless Tramuntana wind. The tenacious spirit of the locals, known as Cadaquesencs, is embodied in their transformation from wine and olive cultivation to embracing tourism, led by renowned native son, Salvador Dalí. Although the recent COVID-19 pandemic tested the community’s resolve, it further solidified their bond, exemplified by the town’s motto, “Nos amb nos” (Us with us). Rich with artistic and literary connections, Cadaqués continues to inspire and attract visitors, even while maintaining its offbeat air of exclusivity.

Fly to: Girona-Costa Brava Airport, roughly a two-hour drive from Cadaqués.

Stay at Villa Gala

Bathing in privacy and timeless elegance, Villa Gala stands as a unique treasure in a captivating natural setting. This charming boutique hotel features 14 rooms, each boasting enchanting sea and village views. Enjoy the tranquillity of sea-view terraces, lush gardens and a stunning pool. Savour locally-inspired cuisine at their restaurant while relishing the captivating views from the terrace.

Website: hotelvillagala.com
Address: C. Solitari, 3, 17488 Cadaqués, Spain

Villa Gala
Kas, Turkey | Polina Kuzovkova
Kas, Turkey | Polina Kuzovkova

Kas, Turkey

Kas, Turkey, is an enchanting coastal town nestled in the less-visited part of the country’s Turquoise Coast. Renowned for its captivating architecture and traditional charm, Kas enchants visitors with its vibrant yet tranquil atmosphere. Wander its cobblestone streets adorned with flowers, explore 14th-century Kral Mezarı (Lion’s Tomb) and the ancient Greek-style theatre, Antiphellus, or embark on a scenic road trip through winding mountain roads for breathtaking coastal views. Dive into history with a boat tour to the sunken ruins of Kekova, and round off the day with a tranquil sunset dinner at the Kas peninsula. Don’t miss the beautiful Kaputas Beach, a sandy cove framed by cliffs and dramatic turquoise waters.

Fly to: Dalaman Airport, around a 2-hour drive from Kas.

Peninsula Gardens
Peninsula Gardens

Stay at Peninsula Gardens

Perched on the rugged coastline of the Kas peninsula, Peninsula Gardens hotel offers its guests a unique Turkish Riviera experience. The 18 opulent rooms and suites boast sea views, private decks and most have plunge pools. Guests can unwind in private cabanas at the beach or beside the infinity pool. Turkish cuisine is served in the restaurant, and the wellness centre provides a variety of treatments.

Website: kaspeninsulagardens.com
Address: Selahattin Sönmez Caddesi Andifli Sokak No:6 Çukurbağ Yarımadası, 07580 Kaş/Antalya, Türkiye

Mellieħa, Malta | 
Paul Sebastian Saliba
Mellieħa, Malta | Paul Sebastian Saliba

Mellieħa, Malta

Tucked in the northern part of the main island of Malta, Mellieħa is a charming hilltop village that overlooks the island’s largest sandy beach, Mellieħa Bay. This tranquil village is beloved for its distinct character and rich panoramas of fertile valleys, creating a picturesque slice of Maltese life. Mellieħa’s close proximity to numerous bays and beaches makes it a preferred destination for sun seekers. Beyond the sun-soaked coastlines, Mellieħa offers an array of amenities including diverse eateries, welcoming hotels, and small shops. It’s also conveniently situated near Ċirkewwa, making it easy for visitors to catch a ferry to the neighbouring islands of Gozo and Comino. Despite its peaceful ambiance, Mellieħa bustles with locals, tourists, and expats during summer, all basking in the warm Maltese sun.

Fly to: Malta International Airport, about a 30-minute drive to Mellieħa.

Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Malta Golden Sands

Stay at Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Malta Golden Sands

Immerse yourself in the lavish comforts of the Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Malta Golden Sands. Framed by the beautiful Golden Bay Beach, the resort tempts with its elegant rooms, gastronomic delights and sumptuous spa services.

Website: radissonhotels.com
Address: Golden Bay, Mellieħa MLH 5510, Malta

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