Europe’s best hidden gems recommended by you
From the Eiffel Tower to the Colosseum, there are some things in Europe that you just have to see. But when the crowds get too much, there’s plenty worth venturing off the beaten track for.
Traveling by train makes it easier to discover places you would’ve otherwise missed, so we asked our community of Eurailers to share their favorite hidden gems that they’ve stumbled upon in their travels across Europe – and we’ve got lots more of our own, too.
Our top 3 hidden gems in Europe
1. Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
Why Eurailers love it: “Medieval Europe comes alive through this hidden gem. It’s like being transported back in time.” – Ann
This spectacular South Bohemian town is one of the most picturesque in Europe. Climb up and explore the impressive Baroque and Renaissance architecture of the castle complex, and stop to admire the postcard view over the river and across the roofs. Wander the cobbled streets, and duck into artisan shops and galleries.
How to get there: It’s possible to visit as a day trip from Prague, with one direct train a day, or a simple change in České Budějovice (home of the famous Budvar beer) – but it’s worth staying longer if you want to explore more of the town and the surrounding hills and forests, or do some kayaking up the river.
2. Lenk im Simmental, Switzerland
Why Eurailers love it: “I attended the AlpKultur days where cows, donkeys, and goats were adorned with flowers and honored. Switzerland’s got the right idea!” – Mary
Against one of the most beautiful mountain backdrops in the alps lies the Swiss village of Lenk. Hike through picturesque alpine scenery to the region’s many waterfalls, and take a cable cars for incredible mountain views. Get up close and personal with a Simmental cow, and make sure you taste the famous milk and cheese that characterise the region.
How to get there: There are plenty of easy train connections from Zurich, Basel, Geneva, and Bern. Most routes require a change in Zweisimmen to catch a regional train which gets to Lenk im Simmental in under 20 minutes. It’s doable as a day trip from Bern, but to get the full alpine experience it’s worth staying for a night or two.
3. Rzeszów, Poland
Why Eurailers love it: “Market Square is among the finest squares in Eastern Europe – it is vibrant, yet peaceful.” – Christine
Often overlooked by tourists, Rzeszów is a small but lively city in south-east Poland. Its large student population means it comes alive at night, with plenty of food, drink, and nightlife to enjoy without burning through your budget. Spend the day exploring the old town with its well-preserved synagogues and churches and watch the world go by in Market Square. Head underground for a guided tour of the old tunnels beneath the square, then surface again in time for a lively evening in the many bars, clubs, and restaurants.
How to get there: Rzeszów is easily reached by train from most major cities in Poland – it’s just over 2 hours direct from Kraków. Stay overnight to soak up the friendly vibes and make full use of Market Square’s many bars.
Ready to take the tracks less traveled?
See more of our favorite hidden gems across Europe – where will you go next?