As the relentless crowds flock to major tourist sites in cities like Paris and Venice, travelers need to face the truth — we’re wearing each other (and the cities we’re visiting) out. It’s a struggle common across Europe, but that doesn’t mean all of Europe has been overtaken by legions of tourists. There are plenty of exciting destinations that may not be new, but they are emerging as exciting destinations worthy of a visit. Plus, the crowds haven’t gotten to them yet.
Vipava Valley, Slovenia
Just two hours from Venice, the Vipava Valley is a haven for adventurous travelers looking for room to explore. This little corner of Slovenia was recently named by Lonely Planet as one of Europe’s best destinations, and now is the perfect time to visit the valley before the crowds catch on.
Rent a car and drive through this countryside to find plenty of adventurous things to do, from easy-going bike rides through vineyards to stand-up paddleboarding on the Vipava River. And of course, frequent stops at some of the valley’s boutique winemakers like Lepa Vida and the Burja Estate are a must. Pepper your wine tasting with gastronomical stops to try locally produced staples like honey, cherries and olive oil. For a bit of history, you can stop by the Kostanjevica Monastery and visit the Bourbon crypt, where members of the noble French family were buried following their exile after the French Revolution. Today, the monastery is an art museum and, from the platform outside the church, visitors enjoy clear views of the Italian city of Gorizia.
Where to stay: In the Vipava Valley, camping and farm-stays are the way to go, but if you prefer a hotel, check out the Majerija. This 300-year-old guesthouse has built all its guest rooms underground so as not to disturb the idyllic countryside with new developments.
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