Destinations Across Europe For People Who Hate Crowds, According To Travelers

A European adventure is a dream for many travelers, but it could quickly turn into a nightmare for those who don't enjoy crowds. The continent is a popular choice of vacation location — so much so, that unfortunately, over-tourism in numerous destinations has become the norm. This has huge implications for travelers as the increased number of visitors means more people to contend with for hotel rooms, spots on tours, and crowds while strolling the streets. That doesn't exactly set the stage for a fun and relaxing trip.

So if you hate crowds, especially on vacation, check out the 12 European destinations below. All fly safely under the radar of the masses and are nowhere near as in demand as the Parises, Romes, and Londons of the world. However, that doesn't mean any are less special: In fact, many travelers say these locations are often more special because fewer people know about them. We've completed hours of research on Reddit and Tripadvisor forums, where travelers have posted their best recommendations for uncrowded places in Europe (more on that at the end of the article). We made sure that all destinations listed have plenty to offer visitors, from sites and museums to rich history, amazing food, and natural landscapes that take your breath away.

The Julian (Slovenian) Alps

The Balkans are steadily becoming a more popular region in Europe, particularly Slovenia. The country is known as a great "starter" country in the region because it feels more similar to Western Europe (well-maintained infrastructure, English widely spoken, etc.) than other Balkan countries. Hoffmad8 on Reddit says "Slovenia in general is way underrated" and dolcevita42 on a separate Tripadvisor forum echoes this sentiment, writing that the entire country — even the capital, Ljubljana — is very laidback and uncrowded.

You'll enjoy an off-beat destination that has an interesting mixed atmosphere that's somewhere between Austria and the Balkan Mediterranean. However, outside of major destinations like Lake Bled, you'll also enjoy the untouched beauty of the country, particularly in the mountains. The Julian Alps are in the north of the country and have amazing hikes, stunning lakes, and wonderful vistas, all without the crowds of their French, Swiss, German, and Austrian counterparts. The country is also compact enough that you can see a lot in a short amount of time, although a car is usually recommended for the best experience. Redditor Mrs Armitage writes in a forum asking for hidden gems of Europe that "Lake Bohinj in Slovenia is one of the most beautiful things I've seen in my life."


Want to explore the long and storied history of Europe but without the long lines and exorbitant prices of Berlin, Paris, Athens, and Rome? Try out Poland, a great budget-friendly country that tells the story of both Western and Eastern Europe. Even today, it remains a location where the two sides of Europe meet, making it a fascinating destination. Wander Medieval castles and stunning cities like Krakow, try unique food like pierogi (Polish dumplings) and Barszcz (beetroot soup), and take it all in with fewer fellow tourists than on the other parts of the continent.

Better yet, the country remains relatively quiet come summer, when the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts of Spain and Portugal explode with visitors from all over. In a Reddit discussion where the OP asks for recommendations for "relaxing, non-crowded summer destinations in Europe" Poland was noted by more than one Redditor. And if you're looking to swim, don't worry — Poland does have a coastline, and the town of Gdańsk frequently topped travelers' advice.


London, the southern coast, and even the charming English countryside in the Cotswolds see a decent amount of visitors throughout the year. But don't let the crowds deter you from planning a fantastic adventure around the U.K. If you're looking to get off the beaten path and away from crowds — Cardiff and Wales in general come highly endorsed by many on Travel Reddit and Tripadvisor forums.

The country is home to some of the best beaches in the U.K. The water is as turquoise as the Caribbean (when the sun is out) and the cliffs above white sand beaches beg to be hiked for days. Additionally, the hiking, walking, and cycling paths are as good (and often more scenic) as those in England. And yet, it is not often thought of by those planning a trip across the pond. Thus, Wales is often a "surprise" discovery for many, like Reddit user Rokee44 who wrote "Mind. Blown. Any description of Wales does not do it justice, and a week wasn't even close to enough to dent it. We hiked mountains, ate gelato in Italian villages, enjoyed beach days, and had awesome pub food that rivaled Irelands." Visit Wales and your mind will be blown, especially once you realize you have it all to yourself!

Northern Croatia

Croatia hasn't been a "hidden gem" for quite some time, but outside of Dubrovnik and the Dalmatian coast, you can still escape the worst of the hordes of people. Those in the travel forum space especially tell travelers looking for advice to check out the north of the country. Sure, it doesn't have the coastline you see all over Instagram or the ramparts that surround the city of Dubrovnik, but that's part of the charm. And it also doesn't have all the people of those social media spots either!

The country's funky capital, Zagreb, is home to hip bars, a top-notch cafe scene, beautiful architecture, and some of the most interesting museums in Europe. You could spend a week wandering the pedestrian-friendly downtown, perusing the farmer's markets, and sampling some of the best coffee in the Balkans. But we (and our Reddit and Tripadvisor sources) highly recommend that after a few days, you rent a car and head to the Istria Peninsula. This stretch of land that sits a few hours southwest of Zagreb, right up against Italy, feels distinct from the rest of the country. Enjoy the best of Italy and Croatia; colorful towns, mouth-watering food (this is truffle country, after all), a scenic coastline, and all without bumping elbows at every turn!

The Netherlands, outside of Amsterdam and the tulip fields

Amsterdam never really was a "hidden gem," but it did used to have fewer visitors than its current record-breaking numbers. But if you're willing to venture a bit further out and avoid flower fields during the spring, you'll be rewarded with cute towns that you'll have all to yourself. The country has so much to offer outside of the popular capital city, so jump on a train, rent a car — or better yet, a bike — and get out and explore!

Utrecht is a fantastic town: Motchan13 on Reddit called it "Like a little Amsterdam without all the Amsterdam." Also nearby are Delft, Waterland, Haarlem, and Rotterdam, all picturesque and absolutely worth a trip. One of the best-kept secrets (at least outside of Dutch and German visitors in the know) is the Netherlands' Atlantic coast, filled with adorable seaside towns that are reminiscent of New England and the Oregon coast. You can surf, sun tan, or run with your dog, all without the masses of vacationers in the Mediterranean.


Estonia is great because it feels so different from a lot of the continent, but not in an overwhelming way that can be stressful for inexperienced visitors. The country, particularly the capital city, Tallinn, frequently came up on Travel Reddit and Tripadvisor forums when would-be travelers asked for less popular destination recommendations. Numerous people on both discussion forums cited Estonia as beautiful, easily navigable for English speakers, affordable, and still a quiet place. Summer was noted as a popular time to visit, but mainly for people from neighboring countries. No massive international hordes here!

Additionally, the Christmas markets in December have often been named some of the best in Europe by numerous publications. So if you want a holiday trip to see the postcard-worthy decorated stalls, but aren't a fan of holiday crowds (which congregate at many European city holiday markets), Tallinn is a great alternative trip. And you'll have the pleasure of seeing a Christmas Market covered in snow — not usually the case at popular ones like Strasbourg and Munich.

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Many commenters on Tripadvisor and Reddit credited the country as being a huge surprise, in the best way. A lot of travelers included the country as part of a larger trip through Croatia and perhaps other Balkan countries. However, almost all lamented that they didn't allow more time in Bosnia & Herzegovina, and said that a future trip was definitely on their wishlists.

Sarajevo might just be one of the best capitals in Europe. It's full of history, fantastic coffee, and friendly people. Once you've wandered the Old Town and hit up at least a few of the many museums, head to the surrounding mountains for a hike or a scenic cable car ride. For the next stop on your Bosnia & Herzegovina adventure, take the train to Mostar for one of the most beautiful rides of your life — through epic mountains and across high-up trestles. And to make the experience even better, you'll have plenty of empty seats on board to spread out and ride in comfort. The national parks are also gems and the little slice of coast in Neum will be a respite if you've been battling large numbers of visitors in Croatia.

Czech Republic outside of Prague

Prague once was a favorite "less-touristy" destination, but that's not the case anymore. If you're looking for an uncrowded getaway after a few days in Prague, try elsewhere in the country, as recommended by travelers via Reddit and Tripadvisor. The smaller city of Brno in the east is a great day trip or base, with nowhere near the number of visitors of the capital city. It's also en route to Vienna, should you be coming or going from Austria, and makes for a great lunch or coffee break stop.

SXFlyer suggests on Reddit that travelers visit, "All the pretty and tiny towns in the Czech Republic. People always go only to Prague, and maybe to Český Krumlov, and that's it. But what about Kutná Hora, Třebíč, Telč, Olomouc? Or the beer capital Plzeň (Pilsen)?" They've essentially planned your next Euro trip, without crowds! Additionally, all of these destinations come with the added bonus of being very, very cheap, like Prague used to be. These days the country's capital is up there with major European cities as far as popularity and cost, but the rest of the Czech Republic is still pleasantly affordable. Just remember the Czech Koruna is used here, not the Euro.


Kosovo is one of Europe's youngest countries, founded just over a decade ago in 2008. It is solidly off the main tourist trail in Europe, but those who do make it to the small country in the Balkans only have positive things to say. Redditor SnakesParadox writes, "I had the best time in Prizren a few years ago. Completely caught me off guard from what I was expecting." And fellow Redditor bookwormduck says of a group trip they took to Kosovo, "We all had very low expectations (no offense), but we ended up absolutely loving it."

There is so much to see in the hip capital, Pristina, full of amazing cafes and parks. Prince Coffee House is a must — you'll see no Starbucks in Kosovo. Prizren is the official cultural capital and feels more like an Ottoman Empire-era town: Don't miss hiking up to the fortress. And if you love the outdoors, Peja is a must-visit. One bizarre (but positive) thing about visiting the country that multiple travelers report is the Kosovars love for the U.S. It's perhaps one of the few places in the world where you almost always receive a positive response after revealing your nationality as an American. You'll see random American flags everywhere and there's even a Bill Clinton statue in the capital, Pristina.


Brussels is a city that doesn't receive much love from many visitors as it doesn't have the obvious charm and beauty of, say, Paris. Due to this, travelers often discount all of Belgium, but we (and many on travel forums) are here to advise you not to do this. The country and yes, even commonly called "boring" Brussels, is a great place for a trip, especially if you hate crowds. The Grand-Place and surrounding bars and restaurants in the capital city can be crowded during the day, but stay the night and enjoy a different, calmer ambiance. That is, if you visit outside the holiday season, as the Christmas markets are busy, but among the best in Europe.

Outside of Brussels, smaller cities like Ghent, Antwerp, Leuven, and Liege make for lovely surprising finds. And Bruges is a must-see — just stay a night or two to avoid the worst of the day-tripping crowds. Our recommendations are highly endorsed by Redditors. FriendofYoda writes in a forum asking for less-touristy European cities, "Brussels, we had great fun there on a budget." Additionally, CitizenTed recommends "Antwerp, Belgium. Not too many tourists and lots of cool things to see and do." And finally, no car rental is necessary, as pointed out by Glassmall5991, who wrote, "The train system in Belgium is so good that if you stay in one of the cities, you can visit all of them ... super easily."


One of Europe's smallest countries is often overlooked by travelers, so you'll have the whole place to yourself. Seriously, you can wander the Grund (lower part of Luxembourg City's Old Town) on a summer Saturday with no hordes of people to contend with, even at the best viewpoints. The locals might insist it's busy, but that's just because it's not dead like in winter. Multiple forums on Travel Reddit agree that the country makes for a nice, if quiet, stop. It's a great place to break up a longer road or train trip through the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and/or France.

As of February 2020, all public transportation in the country is free, which will help your budget in this notoriously expensive destination. And don't limit yourself to just the fairytale capital city. Take a train or drive north for nice (and uncrowded, unlike the Alps) trails and bike paths. If you have time, check out the Valley of the Seven Castles, where you'll rarely have to queue for entry.

Provence away from the Cote d'Azur

Everyone dreams of a South of France getaway — the rainbow-colored buildings and the postcard-perfect beaches certainly sound quite appealing. However, everyone in the world wants this vacation, and you'll be unpleasantly surprised if you're expecting a quiet coastal getaway. Luckily, Provence is huge and you can enjoy fewer people in many parts of the region.

In another forum where the original poster asks for tips for lesser-visited parts of France, many people recommend the region, outside of the clichéd coastline and popular towns of Nice, Monaco, Cannes, and Cassis. As ImperatorRomanum83 put it, "There are dozens of beautiful little villages to explore." Hike in the Ardèche, including the famous Gorge, and wander cute towns like Aubenas and Viviers. Sample nougat in Montélimar before continuing east towards the Alps with a stop in lovely Nyons. Alternatively, head south and check out the Pope's Palace in Avignon and the Roman arena in Arles.

Our methodology

The destinations above were chosen based on recommendations from two main sources. First, we searched Travel Reddit for "uncrowded/less crowded destinations in Europe" and made a long list (with many more destinations than listed here) of places around Europe where Redditors said they experienced fewer crowds. We then read through the various discussion threads again and noted destinations that continually came up in traveler's recommendations.

We compared these endorsed selections with those found on various Tripadvisor "Euro trip" discussion forums. We scoured those looking for lesser-frequented locations and added them to our Reddit list once a place had been mentioned more than just a time or two. We also cross-checked destinations that were commonly recommended on both sites.