Discover 6 of Europe's hidden gems

Discover 6 of Europe's hidden gems

If you're looking for somewhere a little bit different for outdoor adventure - but still within Europe - then we've six top suggestions.

ROMANIA

The Carpathian Mountains, which stretch for over 1,100km make this a hiking and cycling paradise. You can visit Dracula's Castle in deepest Transylvania or discover Romania's Delta, where the Danube meets the Black Sea. It's "the largest and best preserved delta in Europe” according to UNESCO and home to over 300 species of birds.

Unexpected treat: Dubbed 'the best driving road in the world' by Top Gear, the Transfagarasan Highway [main image above] is equally awe-inspiring for cyclists and tops any Tour de France climb as its hairpins twist and turn for 90km between the two highest peaks in the Carpathians.
Romania trips + overview
 

NETHERLANDS

Tulips and windmills
This is perfect for your first cycling holiday as it's so flat and safe, with over 32,000 kilometres of mainly traffic-free bike paths. Laura Janssens of Boat Bike Tours says: "If you want to see some classic, typical Dutch icons at their best - windmills, clogs, dikes and historical cities - then head for the area north of Amsterdam (Noord-Holland). It's full of tulip fields, wooden shoe factories, mills, cheese farms, cows, traditional costumes, smoked eel and fresh salted herring."

Unexpected treat: "That would be Waterfietsen!" says Laura. "They are those fun pedal boats for a different type of cycling. They’re in almost all the cities which have water nearby. Or give blow karting a try at one of Holland's wide beaches."
Netherlands trips + overview
 

NORWAY

Norway road and fjords
Think postcard-perfect villages nestled in deep green fjords, mountains towering high above the sea, all illuminated by round-the-clock daylight in the summer months meaning there's all the time you need to explore, whether by foot, boat or bike.

Unexpected treat: "Norway is such a fantastic place to ride a bike and so different from all other destinations, especially in the fjords where you cycle over bridges, from island to island, with incredible landscapes as the backdrop. It should be on every cyclist's bucket list, and you can also find one of the most beautiful climbs in the world here; Trollstigen," says Thomas Desonay of Altitude Training Cycling Camp.
Norway trips + overview
 

GREECE

Greek island of Karpathos
"Pretty much everywhere in Greece you'll encounter an archaeological site, Byzantine ruins, chapels and villages lost in time but few people know that 80% of Greece is mountainous, creating the perfect adventure playground. You can enjoy your favourite outdoor activity in unique landscapes and in good weather almost throughout the year," explains Loukia Leonidou of Trekking Hellas.

Unexpected treat: "For people who love island hiking, two undiscovered and unexplored gems are the islands of Kythera and Karpathos. You'll get stunning coastal hikes, breathtaking views, amazing wildlife and beautifully-preserved villages."
Greece trips + overview
 

SLOVENIA

Mountain biking in Soca valley
Head to the Soča Valley which is a superb location for outdoor sports. It's home to Triglav national park, the only one in Slovenia and named after its highest peak, which also features on the national flag. Mountain biking and hiking are excellent ways to explore - and e-bikes are also popular if you want to make it a little more leisurely.

Unexpected treat: The Soča river is one of the most stunning rivers in Europe, yet relatively unknown. It's also one of the very best for whitewater rafting and kayaking.   
Slovenia trips
 

AUSTRIA

Whitewater rafting in Austria
While already well established, Austria is still relatively under-used by a UK audience as there can't be many better year-round outdoor destinations. It's known for its winter skiing - superb snow conditions, excellent weather and legendary resorts are all prime reasons for going. But it's in spring and summer, when they are transformed into multi-activity centres, that you can really unearth some gems of a holiday.

Unexpected treat: Make a splash by trying out whitewater rafting - the glacier rivers provide the perfect environment and there are options for all levels, from gentle paddles to full-on adrenaline rushes.
Austria trips + overview
 

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