‘Not all those who wander are lost’: so said J.R.R. Tolkien in his masterpiece, The Lord of The Rings. Taking off-radar paths and ending up somewhere completely unexpected can truly capture your soul. And the beauty of Europe is the ease at which you can travel to these smaller or less-touristy areas. Whether you’re jumping on trains, taking the bus, driving, or hopping aboard an ever-expanding list of flights, here are some of the most spectacular hidden gems to add to your wanderlist in 2019.
1. The Deep Mani: Greece
Where to stay: The Guardian describe it as ‘a gorgeous place that pays full attention to local history and tradition, both in its buildings and food’. Renovated warehouse Kyrimai – with its glorious period features and deluxe amenities – certainly has the accolades to verify such a statement, winning the Historic Hotel Gourmet Award last year, as well as our ‘Best Historic Hotel by the Water’ award in 2013.
2. Kutna Hora, Czech Republic
Where to stay: In less than an hour and a half, you can be wrapped in the luxurious arms of Chateau Liblice. This 17th-century destination stay is worth travelling for… you’ll be sleeping in a castle, for a start. Rooms are a perfect blend of old-world charm and modern luxe, beautiful Bohemian cuisine is served in the award-winning restaurant and the spa facilities will swaddle you in ultimate relaxation.
3. The Loire Valley, France
Where to stay: You can’t move for chateaux in the Loire, but Chateau de l‘Epinay truly has the edge. A fine example of 13th-century architecture and garden design, it’s been modernly revamped with a luxurious spa and fresh, romantically styled bedrooms.
4. Bergen, Norway
Where to stay: Award-winning Solstand Hotel & Bad is just 30 km from downtown Bergen, dating back to 1896. Directly on the shore of Bjørnefjorden, there’s a silent splendour; a calm, nourishing energy, that fills the air here. It might be down to the life-giving spa experience, or it could be the sensational seasonal Nordic cuisine. Perhaps it’s the fresh fjord air gently blowing into the cosy bedrooms, or the private garden leading to a quay with boats you can take out. You’ll have to let us know.