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Five lesser-known European destinations to re-start travel away from the crowds

Published: 07/01/2021   /   Updated: 01/31/2022

Research from bespoke travel company Audley Travel shows that over 41 percent* of American travelers surveyed are planning a trip to Europe within 18 months. The operator is therefore sharing its recommendations for lesser-visited European destinations that are the ideal choice for clients wishing to travel across the Atlantic, while staying away from the crowds.

1 Western Peloponnese, Greece

Audley recently extended its offering in Greece, launching trips to the Western Peloponnese — an ideal choice for clients wanting a lower cost way to experience Greek culture and the beaches away from the crowds. Audley recommends visiting in June or September.

Costa Navarino is on the west coast of the Peloponnese with long, sandy beaches and the choice of larger resorts or smaller boutique seafront properties. Monemvasia is a unique Byzantine island fortress town where Audley recommends taking a walking tour of the old town, followed by a wine tasting experience.

An eight-day self-drive tour costs from $3,150 per person (based on two sharing). The price includes rental car, accommodation and excursions. 1-866-934-1960 /

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2 Fjords, Norway

For travelers seeking an outdoor adventure far from the crowds, Audley recommends visiting Norway’s fjords in September. Highlights in Lustrafjord include traditional experiences such as a mountain goat farm visit with the chance to learn about the local production of cheese and how to make traditional Norwegian flatbread. Active clients can enjoy hiking on Nigardsbreen Glacier and a cycling tour to visit Norway’s oldest stave church.

In UNESCO-protected Geirangerfjord, clients can hike to a mountain farm and take a cruise on the fjord to see the Seven Sisters Waterfalls.

A 12-day Family road trip through the fjords costs from $5,490 per person (based on four sharing). 1-866-851-6204 /

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3 Istria, Croatia

This north-western region of Croatia can feel more Italian than Croatian, as it is home to Italianesque ports from its time under the Venetian Republic and one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheaters. Visitors also enjoy UNESCO-protected Byzantine art and vineyards reminiscent of Tuscany.

Suggested highlights include exploring the medieval fishing town of Rovinj, attending a summer concert in the Roman amphitheater in Pula and taking a boat trip around the forested islands of Brijuni National Park, discovering their Cretaceous dinosaur footprints. Also recommended is exploring the sixth-century Euphrasian Basilica in ancient Roman town Poreč.

Audley recommends visiting in April or October to explore away from the crowds.

A nine-day tour ‘Discover Northern Croatia’ costs from $6,320 per person (based on two sharing). The price includes transfers, accommodation and excursions. 1-866-966-9162 /

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4 Dordogne, France

The riverbanks of the Dordogne are the ideal place to see elaborate chateaux and handsome clifftop towns. Audley recommends visiting in the off-season month of October. The Dordogne is a fantastic choice for clients who appreciate fine wines (in nearby Bordeaux) and local produce as well as history lovers who will enjoy the famous prehistoric cave paintings at Lascaux.

Audley recommends spending time in the medieval town of Sarlat-la-Canéda, with activities including canoeing down the river, shopping for local produce (specialties include goat’s cheese, walnuts and prunes) at the market, or joining a guided wine tasting at a local vineyard.

A 10-day tour ‘Highlights of Bordeaux & the Dordogne’ costs from $4,420 per person (based on two sharing). The price includes transfers, accommodation and excursions. 1-866-928-0207 /

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5 Swedish Lapland

In Swedish Lapland, Europe’s last wilderness, Audley’s clients can enjoy an off-season trip in August, September or October to hike through the nature reserves and explore pine-covered mountains and rivers.

Audley can arrange for clients to hike with a Sámi guide (the Sámi have lived in Lapland since prehistoric times and their way of life is remarkably unaffected by the passage of time), meet the reindeer herds, learn about the culture, traditions and lives of the Sámi, as well as enjoy a traditional meal — all under long daylight hours.

A 13-day tour ‘Highlights of Swedish summer’ costs from $7,585 per person (based on two sharing). The price includes transfers, accommodation and excursions. 1-866-574-8053 /

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Notes to editors

*Audley compiled 1,446 survey responses in April 2021. The respondents included people who have traveled, booked or inquired about trips with Audley as well as those who had expressed an interest in information from Audley.