Several first-time travelers from all over the world dream about visiting Europe. Seasoned travelers also can’t get enough of this continent such that they keep coming back to the different spectacular countries on this side of the world. Some of the most famous tourist destinations in Europe are Italy, France, and Spain, which also belong to the largest counties in the continent. Nevertheless, more and more tourists are now eyeing to visit even the smallest nations in the region. Below are some of these small European countries that you need to include in your travel bucket list.
There are three islands encompassed in the Republic of Malta and these are Malta, Gozo, and Comino. The territory of the republic merely spans 316 square kilometers, but its location is perfect for those who love the blue Mediterranean sea. With its location at the south of Sicily and east of Tunisia, the country experiences relatively good weather all year round, with hot summers and mild winters.
When you are in Malta, make sure to visit its ancient capital, Mdina, which sits on a scenic hill at the heart of the island. You can also tour Casa Rocca Piccola that has been used in the past by the aristocrats in Malta or explore Fort St. Elmo which was a focal point in the Siege of Malta that transpired in 1565. Otherwise, you can go reef and cave diving in Comino or go on a day trip to Gozo.
If you intend to explore the seas through diving, make sure that you are up for the challenge it brings. You can visit divesmartgozo.com to gain a better understanding of the skills needed for fun, incredible, and safe diving. Once you acquire excellent diving skills, you can even share your knowledge with others and help them have an enjoyable under the water experience too.
If you want to get the best views across Malta, visit the Upper Barrakka Gardens where you can look out across the famous ‘Three Cities’ of the country. After this, you can stroll down into the center of the capital city of Valletta. History buffs never miss a visit to the Lascaris War Rooms whenever they are in the country. These are tunnels underneath the Upper Barracca Gardens, located 45 meters below ground.
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is one of the most popular tourist spots in Europe, perhaps because of its superb weather conditions. The cool summers and gentle winters make it ideal for travelers to visit any time of the year. It is a small country with a territorial land area spanning only 2,586 square kilometers bounded by Belgium, France, and Germany.
One of the best things to do in Luxembourg is to wander around the Old Quarter which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Make sure to visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, built by the Jesuit priests in the 17th century, as well as the National Museum of History and Art in the old town center. If you are fond of castles, you will delight in visiting the Valley of the Seven Castles that spans over 24 kilometers, featuring Mersch, Schoenfeld, Koerich, Hollenfels, Septfontaines and two castles in Asembourg all built in the medieval period.
On the other hand, you can also indulge in watching a concert at the Philharmonic of Luxembourg, which is one of the premium concert venues in Europe. However, you should not pass up the opportunity to visit the Upper-Sûre Natural Park, which is home to the famous Upper-Sûre Lake. This lake is one of the top leisure spots in Luxembourg where people flock together especially during the summer months.
For a laid back weekend afternoon, take a stroll around Parc Merveilleux in the town of Bettembourg, six miles away from Luxembourg City. This is also an amusement park where you can play arcade games and find various playgrounds. Another tourist hot spot in the country is Berdorf which is the best destination for rock climbers and nature lovers. This area covers over 3000 acres of forest land.
Kosovo is the newest country in Europe which is bordered by Serbia, North Macedonia, Albania, and Montenegro. It spans a territorial land area of 10,882 square kilometers and it is home to nearly two million people. A fun fact is that almost 40 percent of the country’s population is under the age of 25, proving that this country is not only small, but it is indeed young. Another interesting fact is that Mother Theresa lived in a small village in Kosovo during her teens.
While in the country, also make sure to pay homage to the Newborn monument in downtown Prishtina, which was created to mark the independence of the country granted in 2008. Kosovo is a stunning country that is home to numerous beautiful mosques that you can visit. Aside from these mosques, it also takes time to visit the fortress in Prizren. It is one of the most picturesque places in Kosovo, where you can get to enjoy stunning views of red-tiled roofs and the Bistrica River running through the city.
There are also various cafes and bars on the side streets of Prishtina where you can hang out with the locals and enjoy the local cuisine. It is also here where you can enjoy and absorb the coffee culture of the locals. Kosovo people can spend a couple of hours over a cup of espresso or cappuccino while having a good conversation with their friends. Make sure to delve into the nightlife of the city too, and drink as much rakia as you can handle.
To wrap things up, think about visiting Malta, Luxembourg, or Kosovo the next time you are considering having a European vacation. Even if these countries are small, for sure you will not run out of things to do, food to eat, and places to visit. It is in these countries where you will experience mouthwatering local dishes, as well as timeless history, culture, and natural beauty. Thus, your vacation will truly be worthwhile.