Home #WHERETONEXT Europe Europe, but Without the Crowds

Europe, but Without the Crowds

A selection of trips to off-the-beaten-path destinations in Europe so you can explore the iconic continent far from the crowds this summer and fall.

Can you travel to Europe during high season anymore and still enjoy it? It is predicted that travelers will continue to flock to Europe’s most popular destinations this summer and fall with places like Rome, Barcelona, Paris, and others expected to see record breaking numbers of tourists – especially considering the 2024 Olympics are being held in Paris throughout the peak of summer! Both international and domestic tourism is on the rise across Europe with May through September traditionally being considered “peak” travel season – although this surge is spilling over into the shoulder seasons more and more each year.

If you can’t travel in a true shoulder season or want to avoid the more “standard” destinations, there are still plenty of hidden gems throughout Europe to explore. Wilderness Travel is a company that specializes in exactly this, leaning on over 40 years of experience and relationships to curate adventures that help travelers beat the crowds and enjoy the best culture, adventure, and natural beauty that Europe has to offer in places that have somehow escaped the spotlight. To enjoy the best destinations in Europe with the least chance of encountering a crowd, Wilderness Travel suggests Northern Greece, the Fjords of Northwestern Iceland and Eastern Greenland, Georgia’s Caucasus Mountains, Italy’s Aeolian Islands, and England’s Jurassic Coast and Channel Islands.

Walking England’s Jurassic Coast and Channel Island’s

On this 9-day, utterly unique England walking tour, enjoy some of Britain’s most ancient and intriguing settings—famed Stonehenge, the cliffs of the Jurassic Coast, Dorset’s rural landscape, and the exquisite Channel Islands with their fascinating fusion of French and English cultures. After a visit to Stonehenge, head to Dorset to hike along the World-Heritage-listed cliffs of the coast. In the sunny Channel Islands, with their cobbled lanes and aquamarine seas, hike Guernsey, Sark, and Jersey, soaking up the Anglo-Norman heritage and vibrant foodie scene of these English Channel islands, which are closer to France than England. Throughout the journey, overnight in historic hotels of character including a 13th century coaching inn.

Hidden Villages of Northern Greece

A 12-day journey through lesser visited northern Greece, venture into vibrant cultural tradition which can still be found in Zagoria, a place where stone-built villages perch above the Vikos Gorge. Discover this realm on hikes along shepherds’ paths and across arched stone bridges that span the gorge. Explore the famed monasteries of Meteora, following the monks’ footpaths through these airy medieval sanctuaries, built in the 13th century. The grand finale of this expedition is an incredible hike up Mt. Olympus, storied home of the gods, where guests gaze over the ancient world from the summit. A key feature of this journey is culinary exploration, guests will fuel their hikes by sampling seasonal delights of northern Greek cuisine including famed wines of the region.

Hiker’s Journey to the Caucasus

An 11-day exploration of the Georgian mountains, Hiker’s Journey to the Caucasus is an extraordinary adventure where, as trip leader Eka Tchvritidze describes “the mountains meet heaven.” In wild Tusheti National Park, with its untamed alpine beauty and ancient stone towers, hike lodge-to-lodge traveling through slate-roofed villages guarded by 17th century watchtowers. Two of the villages have UNESCO “living museum” status for their cultural heritage, and at Wilderness Travel selected guesthouses, where feasting is a cherished tradition and way of life, guests will be welcomed with songs, poems, and hearty toasts. Descending to the Kakheti region, discover Georgia’s age-old wine-making tradition and taste a delightful cuisine with influences from Eastern Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Enjoy a human-powered journey through the incredible country of Georgia, where one may feel like the only visitor for miles.

Hiking the Fjords of Greenland and Iceland

On this 11-day exploration of Iceland and Greenland, enjoy the peace and tranquility of some of the wildest landscapes on the planet while exploring remote corners of Northwestern Iceland and Eastern Greenland. Adventurous full-day hikes provide jaw-dropping views of sheer granite mountains and dramatic fjords carved by ancient glaciers. In Iceland, discover the gloriously quiet Westfjords region, with its massive seabird colonies, stepped waterfalls, and dramatic mountains sheltering tiny fishing harbors and villages where Icelandic culture thrives. On Greenland’s extremely isolated eastern coast, learn about culture and the land from Inuit, hike rugged and spectacular trails used for generations by hunters, and cruise through channels filled with icebergs. In this realm of elemental beauty and wilderness, savor the rarity of pure silence and the spell-binding light of the Arctic summer far from the heat and heaving masses of mainland Europe.

Hiking Italy’s Volcano Trails

On this 11-day journey through Southern Italy, explore the lesser-visited, but nonetheless stunning, Aeolian islands of Stromboli, Panarea, and Lipari, hiking majestic volcanoes, including Vulcano (after which all other volcanoes are named). After a hike on the crater rim of Mt. Vesuvius and a visit to ancient Pompeii, ferry to the Aeolian Islands, believed by the ancient Greeks to be the home of Aeolus, the king of the winds. Conditions permitting, hike to the summits of the volcanoes Stromboli and Vulcano, while coastal walks on Panarea and Lipari deliver Roman ruins and vivid views of the blue Mediterranean. The surreal moonscapes of the highest volcano in Europe, Mt. Etna (10,500′), which dominates the Sicilian skyline and serves as the memorable backdrop for the final hikes of this journey. This scenic journey highlights the best that Southern Italy – the Mezzogiorno – has to offer with its palm-fringed bays, shimmering aquamarine seas, seaside villages, mouth-watering cuisine, and dramatic volcano-isles.

To beat the crowds and enjoy your European getaway, look to destinations far beyond the beaten path. The above are just a few examples of Wilderness Travel’s meticulously planned and expertly crafted journeys designed to get you there.