When most people think of Europe, most think of the medieval cities and towns, castles, small cafes, rolling vineyards and culture around ever corner. However, for those outdoorsy types who want to see more of nature and experience the great outdoors in a more active manner, there are some great places to see. Here is a list of 5 underrated must-see natural wonders in Europe.
Spain – Las Médulas
Las Médulas in Spain is a fascinating landscape made by a combination of a landslide and Roman mining. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, it was once the largest and most important gold mine in the Roman Empire. The remarkable rock formations and rich vegetation are a great photo opp. Visit the archaeological classroom to learn about ancient Roman mining techniques and the way they shaped the landscape and life of those in nearby towns.
Portugal – Alentejo
As the largest wine region in Portugal, Alentejo boasts some of the most unique landscapes in Europe. Often called the Tuscany or Provence of Portugal, the land is wheat fields, cork oak forests, wide open meadows and small villages. Visitors can sample local dishes of seafood, or sip on the mild tropical-tasting wine of the region. Get away from the crowds with little-known beaches that are great for enjoying the Portuguese sun or surfing.
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Slovenia – Lake Bled
In the middle of Lake Bled in Slovenia is an island steeped in legend and rumored to be a place for healthful rejuvenation. Take a ride on a traditional boat, called a pletna, which have been rowing to the center of the lake for centuries and visit the Assumption of Mary Church on the island. If you would rather stay on land, walk along the hiking trail around the center of the lake. For some of the best views of the lake and surrounding mountains, Bled Castle is worth a trek.
Latvia – Gauja National Park
At Gauja National Park in Latvia you get a little bit of everything- natural springs, caves, cliffs, historical monuments, and a great place for boating, cycling, skiing, and hiking. At over 220,000 acres, you will need more than one day to explore everything. Those who wish for a panoramic view can hop on to a cable car and soar above the tree tops and over the Guaja River valley. The bravest can bunjee jump from the cable car itself just above the river below. It is a truly spectacular way to enjoy nature.
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Spain – Formentera
Sun worshipers will love the pristine white sand beaches and crystal clear blue waters of Formentera- a Balearic island off the coast of Spain. Skip the crowds and clubbing scene in Ibiza and instead truly unplug on the sun-bleached beaches where fewer people laze about. Pro-tip: While this island has ferry service, there is no airport.
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If world-class shopping, sidewalk cafés, and braving crowds in the city aren’t your style of vacationing, grab your backpack and go on a nature adventure. Discover the varying landscapes that Europe has to explore. The natural wonders in Europe run the gamut of alpine forests, caves, ethereal lakes, and the sunny Mediterranean coast, there is something to offer every adventurer.