Eight Landscapes You Wouldn’t Expect in Europe

From dramatic ice caps and jewel-toned lakes to remote islands covered in verdant jungle and volcano craters, explore The Continent differently.

5 min

Author: Jemima Forbes

If you thought European destinations were all about snowy mountains, lush vineyards, and romantic rolling hills, think again. The region is definitely one of our top travel destinations to visit and absolutely jam-packed with countries featuring singular and unexpected landscapes. Why not discover a different Europe the next time you visit by adding one or more of the following enchanting locations to your bucket list?

Furnas, Sao Miguel, Portugal

8 Furnas, Portugal

While many associate Portugal with its sun-streaked Algarve coastline and cosmopolitan cities, few picture it as a region home to lush green jungles and bubbling volcanoes. To see this sort of scenery, you’ll have to head to the Azores. Around 1,000 miles west of Portugal, this dreamy archipelago is a paradise for outdoor and adventure lovers. 

One of the most distinct landscapes you’ll encounter in the Azores is at Furnas on the main island of Sao Miguel. It’s a huge dormant volcanic crater dotted with steaming hot springs, many of which have been turned into therapeutic thermal spas.

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Svartifoss Waterfall in Iceland

7 Skaftafell, Iceland

Iceland is a country that never fails to amaze with its distinctive and often desolate scenery. In fact, you could be on another planet entirely if you book a vacation to incredible Skaftafell

Forming part of Vatnajökull National Park on the country’s southeast coast, Skaftafell offers a stunning backdrop of craggy volcano peaks and glittering glaciers that have been molded into works of frozen art over millennia.

Depending on the time of year you visit, you might spot meadows dotted with colorful wildflowers, tumbling waterfalls framed by lava columns, or magnificent ice caves straight out of fairytales.

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Skógafoss Waterfall

Wonders of South Iceland

7 Days:
$ 3,290 / person

Discover southern Iceland, from its unique landscapes and sandy beaches to national parks, glaciers, and clear blue lakes. Cruise in the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, witness Gullfoss Waterfalls and embrace the outdoors at Vik in the Katla Geopark.

Iceland Tour

Road Trip: Highlights of the Ring Road

9 Days:
$ 3,690 / person

Drive down Iceland’s 800-mile Route 1 or Ring Road that encircles the island, exploring some of the top-billed attractions in the country. Discover Husavik and Dettifoss Waterfalls, volcanic landscapes, national parks, and nature baths, and also make scenic stops to hike and walk off the beaten path as you wish.

Plitvice Lakes National Park

6 Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

If you thought Canada’s lakes were impressive, wait until you visit Croatia! The balmy Adriatic country is typically a popular spot for sailing holidays and days spent on idyllic beaches. 

Away from the coastline though, you’ll find a nation brimming with forest reserves, magnificent mountains, and glassy bodies of water. Plitvice Lakes National Park lies at the very heart of Croatia and is famous for its magical lakes and waterfalls.

There are 16 lakes in total which are all connected by a network of cascades tumbling down into a limestone canyon. You won’t believe the bright turquoise, emerald, and cerulean shades of the water! The vibrant hues change depending on the time of day and the level of minerals present in the rocks. 

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Breathtaking view in the Plitvice Lakes National Park .Croatia

Highlights of Northern Croatia and Slovenia

10 Days:
$ 3,590 / person

This tour introduces you to the rich culture, cuisine, and natural beauty of Croatia and Slovenia. Discover the medieval history of the two nations, explore the Plitvice Lakes and Lake Bled, and also experience the slow food culture of Istria.

Aerial view at famous european travel destination in Croatia, Dubrovnik old town

Croatia Uncovered

13 Days:
$ 4,590 / person

Take in the absolute highlights of Croatia on this personalized, private tour. Explore ‘Game of Thrones’ shooting locations in Dubrovnik with your personal guide, discover the stunning Austro-Hungarian architecture of Zagreb, and relax in quaint coastal towns by the Adriatic Sea and the dramatic Dalmatian Coast.

5 Mallorca, Spain

Spain is easily one of the top travel destinations in Europe. As well as exploring culture-packed cities and diverse countryside on the mainland, why not hop over to Mallorca?

The Mediterranean island is a paradise for those after a relaxing getaway in the sun, with many of its golden beaches reminiscent of coves featured in Caribbean travel brochures! Beyond the sand, you’ll also find dramatic mountains and charming towns dotted with Byzantine, Roman, and Medieval ruins. 

Mallorca is equally as popular for an active vacation as it is for R&R. In particular, its excellent roads and miles of gorgeous scenery make it a prime destination for cycling.

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Beautiful woman dancing flamenco near the fountain

Best of Spain: Flavors, Flamenco and Fiestas

12 Days:
$ 6,190 / person

Discover the highlights of Spain on this private tour. Beginning in cosmopolitan Barcelona, delve deep into Catalan art and culture with a personalized visit to landmarks by Antoni Gaudi such as La Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell.

Assorted Spanish food set Paella seafood platters, grilled seafood

Simply Spain

7 Days:
$ 3,190 / person

Discover Spain’s three major highlights on this classic tour! Beginning in the capital city of Madrid, take in an eclectic blend of tradition and modernity as you explore the city on a guided tour and visit its world-famous museums.

Meteora monastery, Greece

4 Meteora, Greece

Greece’s landscapes really are the stuff of legends, especially if you make your way to Meteora

The UNESCO World Heritage site sits at the heart of the country and within the region of Thessaly. Picture sandstone rocks protruding from the earth topped with several ancient and ornate Eastern Orthodox monasteries.

Meteora has been a sacred destination for centuries and it’s not uncommon for Orthodox Christians to plan pilgrimages to the magnificent region. Visit one of six holy sanctuaries on foot to admire breath-taking vistas and inspect myriad relics dating back to the Byzantine era. 

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Best time to visit Greece

Greece: Luxury Honeymoon

12 Days:
$ 8,090 / person

Experience the magic of Greece, from its olive gardens to its beautiful beaches, whitewashed island retreats like Santorini, and buzzing centers of culture and cuisine. From the capital city Athens to the stunning Cyclades, this luxury Greece trip is for connoisseurs!

Highlights of Greece tour

Highlights of Greece

10 Days:
$ 3,290 / person

Take in the top three destinations on this tour of Greece’s highlights. Discover the ancient ruins of Athens, from the towering Acropolis to the Temple of Zeus, and spend time exploring its vibrant neighborhoods and markets at your own pace.

Greece private trip: Tasty Greek food with salad, fried potatoes and fresh olive oil at Oia in Santorini

Flavors of Greece

10 Days:
$ 4,390 / person

Delve into the delicious flavors and food culture on the mainland as well as at classic islands on this Greece private trip. In Athens, explore the majestic heritage sites such as the Acropolis as well the local food culture on personalized excursions.

3 Mount Etna, Sicily

If you’ve never seen a volcano up close, book a vacation to sunny Sicily. The Italian isle is an oasis for beach lovers and those obsessed with delicious, homemade gastronomy.

One of the best things to do in Italy has to be soaking up the lunar-like landscapes of monumental Mount Etna. The unmissable peak sits on Sicily’s east coast and measures over 10,000 feet high! It’s Europe’s largest active volcano and constantly on the verge of erupting, with ash plumes and lava clouds not unusual sights.

While you’ll be able to see Mount Etna on the horizon from many points in Sicily, it’s best viewed up close. Why not take the cable car up to its summit and embark on an exciting guided hike around some of its craters?

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Enchanting Travels Sicily Vacation

Sicilian Cuisine and Heritage

8 Days:
$ 4,290 / person

Experience a historical and culinary feast on this tailor-made Sicily vacation! Beginning in Palermo, discover a mecca of ancient architecture, imposing buildings, rich art and culture, and a vibrant food scene.

Enchanting Travels Italy Tours Wonderful Italy. The small haven of Amalfi village with a turquoise sea and colorful houses on the slopes of the coast

Southern Culture and the Amalfi Coast

9 Days:
$ 4,590 / person

Be enchanted at Italy’s southern coast where centuries-old history comes together with a stunningly dramatic landscape, preserved coastal towns, and haut monde culture! Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site, discover one of the jewels of the Mediterranean at swish Positano.

Enchanting Travels Italy Tours Panoramic aerial view at San Giorgio Maggiore island, Venice, Veneto, Italy

Highlights of Italy

10 Days:
$ 2,490 / person

Explore the absolute highlights of Italy! Discover the imposing Vatican City, centuries-old Roman ruins, piazzas, and foodie districts in Rome.

2 Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

Walk in the footsteps of giants, or at least along a stone pathway large enough for them to stroll along, with a trip to the Emerald Isle.

Ireland and Northern Ireland are best associated with rich green landscapes and gorgeous Medieval castles. Much of their scenery is caught up in Celtic myths and legends, including the otherworldly Giant’s Causeway. 

Found on Northern Ireland’s north coast, it’s a series of 40,000 huge columns of basalt stone which, from afar, look like a highway for giants! The natural phenomenon is backed by steep cliffs and offers uninterrupted views across the wild Atlantic Ocean.

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Fanad light house on the north coast of Donegal Ireland. This was taken just before sunset

Grand Tour of Ireland

16 Days:
$ 10,890 / person

Embark on a comprehensive tour of the Emerald Isle! Beginning in cultural Dublin, take a heritage walk through its famous landmarks and take in a traditional dinner accompanied by live entertainment at a proper Irish pub!

Enchanting Travels-Europe Tours- Hairy Scottish Yak on the road, Isle of Skye

Scotland: Heritage Cities and Loch Ness

10 Days:
$ 2,890 / person

Explore Scotland’s largest urban sprawls and experience the countryside and famous Loch Ness on this private tour. In Edinburgh, acquaint yourself with Highland history as you walk down the Royal Mile and explore the Old Town.

Enchanting Travels UK & Ireland Tours Westminster palace and Big Ben, London, UK

Classic England

12 Days:
$ 10,290 / person

Discover the classic highlights on this private and tailor-made England tour. Beginning in London, explore landmarks such as Big Ben, Buckingham Castle, the London Eye, museums, art galleries, and vibrant food and cultural scenes on privately guided tours.

1 Franz Josef Land, Arctic Circle, Russia

Transport yourself to a real-life Winter Wonderland with an adventure in Franz Josef Land.

Nestled at the edge of the Arctic Circle and within Russia, it’s one of the closest points to the North Pole in Europe and a must-see for fans of polar exploration. The sub-zero archipelago is named after a former Russian Emperor and made up of nearly 200 tiny islands that are covered in ice and snow for much of the year.

Sail through Franz Josef Land on a once-in-a-lifetime Arctic cruise and glimpse sheer glaciers, bell-shaped mountains and the remains of research stations once occupied by some of the world’s most intrepid explorers. The region is also well-known for its plethora of wonderful wildlife – think polar bears, walruses and flocks of arctic seabirds. 

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Feeling inspired by these unusual and utterly unique sights? Get in touch with our travel experts and start planning a dream vacation to one of these top travel destinations across Europe.

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