Ask a Flight Attendant: Fave Under-the-Radar Destinations in Europe
Location: Rīga, Latvia
This hidden gem is my homeland and an art nouveau lover’s paradise. To stay, there’s a wonderful airbnb converted from an old hemp storage unit into a rustic loft. Fun to go during summer solstice — women wear circlets of flowers and men wreaths of oak leaves. They party until the sun comes up with a large bonfire and lots of music. Be sure to visit Birini Castle, a beautiful property with lakes and storks and an amazing outdoor museum. On the way back stop at Ralkalni, where the shop sells candied fruits and berries and there’s an alpine slide for kids (though that didn’t stop me).
Location: Delft, Netherlands
Delft is located between Rotterdam and The Hague. Known for its “Delft Blue” earthenware, it’s a hugely appealing city for those interested in the Dutch history. The famous painter Johannes Vermeer also lived here. You can tour the Royal Delft factory where many items are still hand painted. It’s much smaller in size than Amsterdam but still has a canal, walkability, and charm that is worth seeing. You can get there from Amsterdam by taking a train from Amsterdam Central Station directly to Delft!
Location: Lapad Bay, Croatia
Dubrovnik, Croatia, although incredibly beautiful, is very touristy. I asked one of the hosts of the hostel where the locals go to the beach and her eyes lit up as she asked me, “Are you up for an adventure?” She told me to take the local bus outside the city limits. When I asked her where I should get off, she told me to simply ask the bus driver when we were at the post office, “and then just walk until you see the beach.” Sure enough, after I walked off the bus and down a pathway, the Cypress trees opened up to the most beautiful, crystal clear water. There was a trail that lined the water, dotted with platforms for diving and ladders on the rocks for easy access to swimming. It was well worth the adventure.
Location: Ghent, Belgium
The northwest city of Ghent is less touristy than Bruges or Brussels and full of great history. The medieval Castle of the Counts known as the Gravensteen is amazing and the main square is full of eateries, local shops, and vendors. Try the freshly made cuberdon candies from one of the sweets sellers. And don't miss the Tierenteyn mustard shop, an old apothecary style shop where the mustard is still sold out of big barrels.
You know how it goes. You buy a charm that you adore. You wear it on your favorite chain and everybody asks you all about it. Then one day, the light hits your necklace just right and BAM! What’s that??? A little detail like an itty-bitty picture or a punny quip you never saw before. You might have noticed that we have a major thing for details. And the only thing we like more is sharing them with you.