Some places in Europe in summer can get crowded - take the Cinque Terre or places like Venice, Rome or Paris. But even in such a populated continent as Europe there are places to be found that are wonderfully quiet and waiting for you to be discovered. So where in Europe can you go to get away from the crowds?
Here are ten ways to see Europe away from the tourist hordes.
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - backroads and capital cities
While much-loved Tallinn's Old Town can get crowded, the extensive forests, pretty islands and sparsely populated countryside of these three tiny countries make for a great place to recharge your batteries. While Estonia has firmly embraced Europe, much less developed Latvia offers lakes, woods, beaches and a captivating history. Outside its baroque capital, Lithuania has splendid coastal wetlands and remnants of its dark past as well as its enduring faith. Cycle the Baltics or Discover the Baltics are great tours. For an expert led discovery of the three capitals and Helsinki, consider A&K's The Baltics & Helsinki.
Norway - the fjords on foot or by rail
One of the most beautiful countries in the world, Norway is a land of fjords, mountains and glaciers, endless forests and midnight sun. Hiking and scenic drives are around every corner, while the cities display a Scandinavian sophistication and flair for design. One of the best walking trip is Walking the Fjords while Arctic Circle and Fjords by Rail trip has you travel the length of the country, including the spectacular Oslo to Bergen railroad.
Iceland - a circumnavigation
Volcanoes covered by ice loom over a verdant green coastline,, glaciers grind their way to the ocean, geysers erupt and the northern lights dance in the sky. And while you won't have the place to yourself, a short walk will make you feel like you do. For t he budget conscious there is Iceland Discovery while the most comprehensive tour is Grand Tour of Iceland. If you really want to get into otherwise unreachable places, the Circumnavigation of Iceland promises to be an adventure of a lifetime.
Ireland on foot
While the Ring of Kerry is a popular circuit toured by coachloads of tourists, we do things a little differently. We explore the best of the area on foot, away from the crowds as we journey along a network of ancient paths which weave between the main points, on the long-distance track known as the Kerry Way. If you want to see more than just the southwestern tip of the country, Hiking the Emerald Isle is a splendid trip.
Portugal - the other Camino
Considered the most spiritually connected pilgrimage route, following the path St James' body took to its resting place at the site of Santiago de Compostela, this quiet stage offers a wealth of history. From the lively city of Porto, the walk north travels through small hamlets, past eucalyptus and pine woods, over ancient bridges and through larger market towns dating back to Roman times. The Portuguese road - Porto to Santiago
Spain - cycle the backroads
La Rioja - land of ancient hills where walled hilltop towns stand guard over undulating vineyards. Cycle across the gentle rolling countryside seeking out ancient monasteries, tasty tapas and best wines. Cycle La Rioja. If cycling is not your thing, on Secret Trails of Medieval Spain you venture on a fantastic journey along secret pilgrims’ routes, all the while exploring rich mediaeval heritage and enjoying the typical warm Spanish hospitality.