While Europe has long been a popular travel destination, it still has plenty of hidden gems to be explored.
Lonely Planet recently released its Best in Europe list, which highlights the top 10 European destinations travelers should visit in 2016.
The list, which was selected by Lonely Planet’s travel experts, includes a mix of destinations that are currently trending, hidden gems that are set to become travel hot spots, and longtime favorites that are offering new experiences for travelers.
From the majestic Dordogne region of France to Greece’s oft-overlooked Peloponnese region, here are 10 European destinations to put on your travel radar this year.
10. Northern Dalmatia in Croatia is ideal for nature lovers, with a breathtaking scenery that includes the Velebit mountain range and many dramatic waterfalls. Along the coast, you’ll find beautifully-preserved medieval towns, while there are various islands with villages and coves to discover.
9. Texel is the largest of the Dutch Wadden Sea Islands in the Netherlands. Still a relatively under-the-radar destination, Texel has a variety of wildlife reserves, villages, and deserted beaches to enjoy. Travelers can take part in everything from boat cruises and skydiving to summer festivals.
8. While Tenerife, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, does draw in crowds who stay at its all-inclusive resorts, its eastern coast is much less explored. Here, visitors will come across tranquil fishing villages, beach towns, and a low-key atmosphere where they can interact with locals.
7. Explore the open countryside of the Extremadura region, one of Spain’s best-kept secrets. Known for producing some of Spain’s most beloved cheeses and jamón, Extremadura offers travelers a wide variety of historical attractions and natural sites to explore. Every March, its Jerte Valley becomes home to two million blooming cherry blossom trees, which make for a stunning display.
6. Take a relaxing trip to Warwickshire, England, where you’ll be treated to views of lush hills dotted with lovely towns. This year, you can see the restored 22-ton trebuchet at Warwick Castle, or commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, who was born in one of its towns.
5. In Lviv, Ukraine, you’ll find a wide array of architectural gems, a range of top-notch hotels, and playful local restaurants to dine in. The city is also a hot spot for festivals — 100 events will take place here this year, ranging from festivals celebrating coffee to parties where you can enjoy live jazz.
4. The Dordogne region of France is a paradise for food lovers who will come across everything from truffles and foie gras to walnuts, plums, and some of the best goose-liver pâte around. For a culinary treat, wander through the many outdoor food markets and bistros that line its breathtaking villages.
3. While the famed canals of Venice, Italy, are not unknown, this year the city will be commemorating the 500-year history of the Venetian Ghetto, the area where Jews were compelled to live under the Venetian Republic. Destinations like the Ducal Palace are opening new exhibitions, while showings of Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice” are being held in the ghetto for the first time in history.
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2. Set to become the European Capital of Culture and European Region of Gastronomy next year, the Danish city of Aarhus is filled with art galleries, awe-inspiring architecture, and top-notch restaurants. It’s considered one of the top shopping destinations in Scandinavia, and is in close proximity to beaches, harbors, forests, and fjords.
1. While travelers often overlook The Peloponnese in Greece, the affordable region is filled with stone villages that house classic temples, palaces, Byzantine cities, and ancient fortresses. Its natural setting of gorges, white-sand beaches, clear waters, and soaring mountains can be explored via foot thanks to the recent opening of the Menalon trail. Expect plenty of incredible food and wine.