5 Underrated Alternatives To Popular Destinations In Europe This Summer

Planning a trip to Europe this summer? Check out these underrated alternatives to popular destinations for lower crowds and cheaper prices!

This summer is going to be one of the most crowded on record for travel in Europe.

According to travel insurance company Allianz Worldwide Partners, the number of Americans traveling to Europe this summer will surge 55% higher compared to last summer.

Allianz also revealed the most popular destinations in Europe for American travelers. These hotspots are guaranteed to be crowded and expensive this summer.

Instead, consider these underrated alternatives that offer that same European charm with fewer crowds and more affordable prices.

The Cotswolds England

1. London Alternative: Oxford

There’s truly no city comparable to London, but if you’re looking for a more low-key place to stay in England that’s still close to the city, Oxford is a great choice.

This historic university town is just 50 minutes from London on the train but feels a world away. It’s laidback yet there are plenty of things to do. It also makes a great base for exploring the Cotswolds, one of the most beautiful regions in England.

Here are some more underrated cities in the UK to visit instead of London.

Oxford England

2. Paris Alternative: Lyon

As the third largest city in France, Lyon feels very similar to Paris without the sky-high prices and massive crowds. Located 2.5 hours southeast of Paris by train, Lyon is a great place to base yourself on a trip to France.

There are tons of things to do in this vibrant city, which dates back over 2,000 years. Being close to the border with Switzerland, you can also visit places like Annecy, France or Geneva, Switzerland on a day trip from Lyon.

Check out these alternatives for more French cities to visit instead of Paris.

Lyon France

3. Dublin Alternative: Cork

Dublin is the third most popular destination in Europe for American travelers, but the city of Cork in the south is a great alternative.

It’s the second-largest city in Ireland after Dublin, but it’s just one-tenth of the size, giving Cork a more laidback atmosphere. However, there’s still plenty to do in Cork, which is known as the foodie capital of Ireland.

Cork is also a great base for exploring the southern part of Ireland, which includes highlights like Blarney Castle and the famous Blarney Stone.

Cork Ireland

4. Rome Alternative: Naples

The capital of Italy is a sprawling metropolis that is home to some of the most famous ruins in the world, including the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. It’s a city that is both elegant and chaotic, and during the summer months, it can be unbearably hot, crowded, and expensive.

Although it’s no less chaotic, Naples is a great alternative to Rome. Located less than 1.5 hours from Rome by train, Naples is an even larger city on the coast. Although the city can be a bit gritty, it’s extremely affordable.

It’s one of the best food destinations in Italy (famous for having the best pizza in the country) and it’s a great base for exploring the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, and the islands of Capri, Procida, and Ischia.

Back view of beautiful girl with hat sitting on wall looking at stunning panoramic view of Procida Island, Naples, Italy

5. Reykjavik Alternative: Oslo

Summer is the peak tourist season in Iceland, which is famous for its breathtaking natural scenery.

However, if you want to avoid the crowds of Iceland, head over to Norway instead. Much like Iceland, you won’t want to spend much time in Norway’s capital Oslo. It’s a good place to fly into and spend a day or two, but the real beauty of the country lies far beyond the city.

Norway is similar to Iceland in being known for its natural beauty, including dramatic fjords and mountains. Iceland and Norway are similar in price (as in, they’re both expensive) but Norway is much larger and less crowded during the summer.

sunrise over the lofoten islands norway

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