Europe is a fairytale castle; a classical education; a voyage through history, which is why you need to get out and visit these magical hidden villages now. Magnificent menus, rich historical backgrounds, secret cobblestone streets, endless olive groves and medieval churches – forget places like London and Paris, head to these small European wonders to discover the continent’s soul instead. It’s totally worth the detour.
This rather spectacular Turkish town (if you can call it a town) was established by early Christian settlers thousands of years ago. All the homes here are literally carved into the rock – the luxury five-star hotels too. Best thing about the place? You can go on a hot-air balloon ride over the rest of Cappadocia at sunrise. #instagramporn.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Colmar is home to a unique blend of French and German architecture and is the definition of a ‘true hidden gem’. Super colourful, trendy and cultural, there’s oodles to do in this stunning part of the Alsace region. Book your plane tickets now.
Legend has it that the locals used to throw suspected witches off the Ronda’s famous bridge. The town is also home to Spain’s first bullring and is close to some of Andalusia’s prettiest beaches.
Bergen began life in 1070 AD. Surrounded by mammoth mountains and fjords, (including Sognefjord, the country’s longest and deepest fjord) it’s an ideal place for sweet panoramic views and no-frills hiking trails.
This Austrian lakeside beauty has been continuously dubbed the prettiest lakeside town in the whole entire world. It’s also a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site.
Ask anyone what they think one of the most gorgeous towns in England is and they’ll probably say Bibury. The small village in the Cotswolds is full of old-world charm, delightful stone cottages and some of the most excruciatingly divine streets in England!
Built around a Disney-esque 14th-century chateau, Annecy is hands down the most beautiful little towns in Europe. Not only is the lake every Instagrammer’s dream, but adrenaline junkies can take a punt on the nearby French Alps too. Oh, and the food is amazing!
A colourful ancient village in southeastern Poland, Zalipie is definitely the country’s must go-to tourist destination – not because of its five-star hotels, but because of its small adorable wooden cottages, which are covered in tonnes of adorable flowers.
You’re probably noticing that France is riddled with beauteous micro towns – they can’t help if they’re so good at them. Since 2003, this French charmer has been recognised as one of France’s most beautiful secret hidden gems. Think cutesy pink buildings, lots of flowers and very, very fine wines.
One word: Santorini – this should be enough to get you high off wanderlust. Nestled on top of a rather epic cliff, Oia is a hotspot for spectacular ocean views and legendary sunsets.
Sintra is just emotional – a real jewel in Europe’s glittering crown. Those who dare to lose themselves in its majestic historical heritage, luxuriant nature, cosmopolitan culture and gastronomy might just never leave the place. In other words, go now. NOW.
Got the travel bug after reading this? Check out these airlines that will give you a free layover to one of these amazing countries!
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
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It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.