Europe has plenty of well-known tourist destinations. Its biggest cities draw shoppers, party-seekers, and tourists who want to appreciate both culture and history. There are castles, museums, beaches, vineyards, and a number of other interesting types of attractions found on the continent. But sometimes it is best to appreciate this popular part of the world by getting away from the crowds. Europe boasts some amazingly attractive remote destinations that have great natural beauty. If you want to escape the sometimes-crowded tourist trail and find some peace and quiet in some of Europe’s remote destinations, here is where you need to go.

Northumberland, UK

Northumberland, UK

Photo: Dave_S. / Flickr

Northumberland sits on England’s coast, not far from its northern border with Scotland. This place can be reached easily from the hub city of London, but it feels quite remote. People can walk for miles on nearly deserted beaches and also visit historic sites like the famous Bamburgh Castle. Northumberland is a great place to find an authentic English village experience. A number of islands off the shore are also worth exploring. The combination of its quiet and remote feel and the relative easy with which tourists can reach it from London make Northumberland a great place for a vacation for travelers who do not want to follow the tourist trail.

Causeway Coast, Norhtern Ireland

Causeway Coast, Norhtern Ireland

Photo: psyberartist / Flickr

This stretch of scenic seaside in Northern Ireland has earned a reputation for its beauty and remote feel. Despite the panoramic views of the sea that are available all along the Causeway Coast, the region is not overrun with tourists. It is still possible to head into the towns to shop or enjoy a pint with the local people without coming across other tourists. The most popular attraction is Giant’s Causeway, a collection of naturally-formed rock columns that came into being when a volcano erupted during prehistoric times. Giant’s Causeway is now considered a world heritage site.

Abisko, Sweden

Abisko, Sweden

Photo: gudi&cris / Flickr

This town, in Scandinavia’s northern Lapland region, is a hub for tourists who want to visit this austere, but beautiful and attraction-filled, part of Sweden. The biggest attraction in this far-flung place is the aurora borealis, the geomagnetic storms that light up the Arctic sky during the fall and wintertime. This is also a great place for wintertime sports, with the long cold season making it possible to enjoy a skiing or dog-sledding adventure in the Scandinavian wilderness. The sun does not set during the summer, meaning it is also possible to enjoy this area when the weather is warmer as well.

Bialowieza Forest, Poland

Bialowieza Forest, Poland

Photo: vlod007 / Flickr

The large Bialowieza Forest is located in Poland, though it also spills over the border into Belarus. This is one of the last old-growth forests in Europe and is protected as part of one of the continent’s largest national parks. Its tall and old trees and unique species, such as the European buffalo, make this a great destination for nature-lovers. Certain parts of this forest are popular with tourists, with activities like horse-drawn carriage rides making it easy for visitors to see the towering trees up close. However, this is a very large forest, so it is quite easy to explore off the beaten path and get away from the crowds.

Scottish Highlands

Scottish Highlands

Photo: jalodrome / Flickr

The rugged and remote Highlands of Scotland are filled with natural attractions. From the cool waters of the lochs to the hills, mountains and forests, this is a paradise of sorts for nature-lovers. The landscapes are rugged, but this only serves to add to the feelings of remoteness that characterize the Highlands. A number of lengthy trails, some over a hundred miles long, are highways for adventure-seeking visitors who want to spend days or even weeks exploring the natural landscapes on foot.

Madeira, Portugal

Madeira, Portugal

Photo: Mal B / Flickr

Madeira sits in the Atlantic Ocean, only 300 miles from Africa and 600 miles from Mainland Europe. It officially is part of Portugal, but feels very remote. This is actually a nice island to visit. It has warm temperatures throughout the year and plenty of natural attractions, including stunning inland highland areas with towering cliffs and green slopes. Most of the eastern portion of the island is a nature preserve, so people can really get a feeling of remoteness by heading here, away from the resorts that are found on the coastline.

Do you have some remote spots in Europe that you would like to share? Tell us your recommendations int the comments section.

Josh Lew
Josh Lew
Josh Lew has traveled widely in Asia and the Americas. He has contributed to popular travel sites like Gadling and Brave New Traveler and currently writes a weekly travel column for MNN. His work has also appeared on the websites of CNN and Forbes Magazine.

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