We all know the main landmarks of European countries that everybody wants to see. The canals of Amsterdam, the Eiffel tower and the Louvre in Paris, and the Tower of London. But there are so many other things to see while traveling around on the old continent, things that are rarely covered by travel guides and tourist routes. Some of them are crowded and loud, but there are a few that allow people to get away from the madding crowd, if even for a few days.
Here is a quick selection of some that you will surely want to try while in Europe.
1. Meteora, Greece
Meteora – meaning “middle of the sky” or “suspended in the air” – is the second most important monastery complex of the Eastern Orthodox religion in Greece. It has six monasteries built on natural rock pillars that were formed over 60 million years ago, in the Paleogene period. Access to the monasteries is difficult, and intentionally so, and usually requires large nets to haul people and things up on the pillars, or climbing many stairs to reach them. But the difficulties are worth it: the unique scenery is breathtakingly beautiful, and unique.
2. Milia, Crete
Milia is one of the hidden gems of the island of Crete, a perfect place for a mountain retreat. Lodging in this area is available in traditional – and authentic – stone cottages, it has miles after miles of forested trails for walking, and a super healthy local cuisine.
Milia was abandoned after World War II, but purchased later by a group of locals, and transformed into what it is today. The new owners used local artisans to restore the original structures. Terraces were installed to prevent erosion, and the heating and electricity is assured by wood burning stoves and solar panels. Milia is a piece of the old Crete, a setting perfect for chilling out away from civilization (although it is at a hour-long drive distance from the coastal town of Hania).
3. Kjerringøy, Norway
A perfect destination for those in search of being closer to nature. The village is located in the Nordland county of Norway, on a peninsula above the arctic circle. It is remote – it can only be reached by ferry, and it is surrounded by fjords and a white sand beach. It is a wild, yet serene place from an era when human interaction was much more important. It has one of the best preserved trading posts in Norway, traditional boat building workshops, organic foods produced locally, and lots of traditional dishes to taste.
Walking around the forests on the hills of Milia, or climbing the stairs to the monasteries of Meteora will allow you to forget about all the craze and stress of the modern world and focus on the magnificence of nature. And if you grow tired of the silence, you can always return to WiFi, smog, traffic and the latest casino bonuses at Red Flush Casino