Everyone knows there are some pretty awesome natural landscapes in Europe, with everything from Mediterranean paradise islands to fairy-tale forests and epic alpine scenery; but there are undoubtedly a bunch of natural wonders you’ve never even heard of, too. Here are some of the most underrated natural wonders on the continent.
Located south of Sweden in the Baltic Sea, the Danish island of Bornholm boasts beaches with sand so fine it’s said that Napoleon used to ask that his hourglasses be made with it.
Las Médulas, Spain
The unusual shape of Las Médulas is a result of the mining techniques used here by the Ancient Romans to extract gold from the mountains.
If the Algarve is Portugal’s most famous coastline, the Alentejo is entirely underrated, despite its epic beaches and stunning backcountry, which is home to millions of cork trees.
Mullerthal Region, Luxembourg
Nicknamed ‘Little Switzerland’, the Mullerthal region of Luxembourg is characterised by a picturesque hilly landscape and quaint villages, as well as rather surprising rock formations.
Lake Bled, Slovenia
Like something straight out of a fairy tale, Lake Bled harbours a small island, on which stands the Church of the Assumption and not much else. Hop on a local gondola or pletna and take a ride across the water to this most enchanting hideout.
Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
The Plitvice Lakes, an incredible network of some 16 lakes joined by jaw-dropping waterfalls, are one of nature’s most incredible wonders. They also provide a diverse habitat that is home to many species of plant and wildlife, such as brown bears, wild cats and eagles.
A rugged archipelago located between Norway and the North Pole, Svalbard is one of the world’s northernmost inhabited areas. The majority of the islands are made of glaciers and fjords and are home to Arctic foxes, polar bears and reindeer.
Also known as ‘Finnish Lakeland‘, this region of Finland is home to some 55,000 lakes, including Lake Simaa, the fifth-largest lake in Europe.
Seven Rila Lakes, Bulgaria
Remnants of the glaciers that once covered this region of Bulgaria, the Seven Rila Lakes area is one of Bulgaria’s most stunning natural landscapes. Each of the seven lakes sits lower than the previous one, and they are connected by small cascading streams, but you’ll need to be braced for some bad weather and storms to admire them.
Brimham Rocks, England
You won’t believe your eyes when you see the incredible formations at Brimham Rocks in Yorkshire, England. A combination of water and wind erosion have left some rather puzzling shapes at this National Trust site.
Bigar Waterfall, Romania
Known locally as the ‘miracle of Minis Canyon’, the Bigar Waterfall is an incredible feature of the Mina River in Romania. Covered in a blanket of moss, the waterfall is composed of hundreds of cascading streams, which cover it in what looks like a halo of light and water.
As Catedrais Beach, Spain
Meaning ‘beach of the cathedrals’ in Galician, the As Catedrais beach gets its name from the way the rock has been carved out by water over time to create a system of archways that are reminiscent of a church.
Durmitor National Park, Montenegro
The largest natural park in Montenegro, the Durmitor park boasts the deepest gorges in Europe, along the Tara River. Dense pine forests are home to hundreds of native species of bird, mammal and insect in this UNESCO World Heritage-listed park.
If Ibiza is famous for its crazy nightlife and clubbing scene, Formentera is its much more well-behaved little sibling. This dreamy Mediterranean island is picture perfect, thanks to its azure waters and white-sand beaches.
Đavolja Varoš, Serbia
Anywhere that has earned the name ‘Devil’s Town‘ has to be worth visiting. This unusual rock formation in Serbia arose through a centuries-old process of erosion, which was accelerated in the last century as a result of forests being cut down.
Lauterbrunnen Valley, Switzerland
Like something straight out of The Sound of Music, the Lauterbrunnen Valley is endlessly picturesque, thanks to its green valleys, snowy peaks and charming alpine villages.
Gauja National Park, Latvia
A beautifully preserved natural park rich in important historical monuments, the Gauja Natural Park is one of Latvia’s national treasures. Natural springs, sheer cliffs and enchanting caves appear alongside medieval castles and ancient ruins.