When someone says ‘holiday in Europe’ to you, you likely think of France, Spain or Germany, and not only that, but you probably think of baguettes, beaches, buildings and little else, respectively as well. But, whilst each of those destinations has its humdrum city centres and been-there, done-that, worn-the-horrific-t shirt tourist beaches, Europe is in fact a continent full to bursting with impossible, mouth-dropping landscapes, untold diversity, eye-narrowing unbelievably fascinating history, vibrant modern and traditional culture, and fiercely differing climates. All in all, there’s a holiday destination in Europe no matter what kind of audacious misadventure you’re planning, or even if you just want to see somewhere different. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the best, most peculiar places in Europe that you could holiday at today!
Despite being the capital of its country, Oslo is still one of the least-holidayed to destinations in Europe, and whilst its exterior is a compact city that is slowly shedding its traditional skin and becoming a highway for modern business and posh public transportation, its rich and deep-delving culture can still be found through-out. Most notably, the Vigeland Sculptor park that contains 212 enigmatic sculptures, for most of which their creator has kept the true meaning a safely guarded secret, insisting that its interpretation is what you make of it. With this and the fascinating historic buildings in the Norsk Folkemuseum, as well the truly incomparable experience that is the midnight sunshine, there’s an abundance of culture to be as absorbent as possible about in Oslo.
Whilst not the most unheard of for holiday destinations, there are some truly spectacular sights to see in and around Avanos. Whilst the city itself is famous for its relentless production of earthenware pottery, something that is still entirely relevant today, there are many other interesting avenues to the area, not least of which is the Hair Museum.
The museum was launched in 1979 by a potter, who allegedly intended to raise interest in his ceramic classes. Quite how he came to conclusion that a hair museum was the natural shoe-in for pottery, we may never know, however today it features in the Guinness Book of Records for housing the largest collection of hair, and to question such an achievement would most certainly be considered splitting hairs. (I’ll get my coat.)
Other than an assortment of carefully arranged follicles, Avanos is also located near to the Özkonak Underground City. Discovered by a farmer trying to find out where the devil all his water was draining off to, the ancient underground spider web of tunnels connects hundreds of in-mountain rooms, and as a whole, the city could house around 60,000 people for a period of three months. An astonishing sight to see and absolute must should you venture to Turkey.
This ski-destination in Finland is slightly on the desolate side, with its population per square kilometre a mere 0.78; the real attraction, other than the perpetual skiing necessity, is the marvel that is the Lainiotie Snow Village. During the winter months, a village made entirely of ice and snow is constructed, covering 220 thousand square-feet and made with specially designed equipment, the Snow Village is usually finished by the end of November and includes wondrous hotels and restaurants and is littered with astonishing, expertly crafted sculptures. Not only that but the largest ice dome in Europe is also a feature of the village, and with a chapel, the destination is becoming increasingly popular as a place to tie the knot.
With its incomparably beautiful aesthetics, and an experience you’ll struggle to find anywhere else in Europe, a holiday to the snow village is certainly worth making something special of.
Finally, and I promised myself not to include anything from the aforementioned big three, but a special mention must be made for the captivating catacombs of Paris. The infamous burial ground that stretches out underneath Paris is available and waiting for you to explore today. The history and legendary stories will all be discussed as you walk the half mile that is said to date back to 2 B.C, with its ancient demeanour and lingering ghost stories, there’s an amazing day of excitement to be had at this often-overlooked Paris attraction.
So there we have it, four unmistakably excellent reasons to try somewhere other than Benidorm for your summer get away! Be amazed, enlightened, a little more world-wary and most of all, have an unforgettable holiday.
This article was written by Rob Vicars on behalf of Stonehills. If you’re looking to stay out in Europe in the coming months, Stonehills have a beautiful array of state of the art holiday apartments France that could be the ideal base for all your continental adventures.