5 Little-Known Attractions in Europe Any Traveler Will Love

When you hear the word "travel" or "travel abroad" most people instantly picture their dream destination. Maybe it's a sugar-sand beach in Puerto Rico and you're sipping a rum cocktail, or perhaps it's a crisp morning in Paris where you're savoring a café au lait and a view of the Eiffel Tower. Maybe your favorite film was Gladiator, and you've always dreamed of taking in the storied Colosseum in Rome.

For me, traveling abroad means Europe – a continent with countless historic destinations, beaches, vineyards and ski-slopes all within driving distance of one another.

But who needs another article that lists all of the best-known points of interest in Europe?

You already know about the Tower of London, Big Ben, and the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. So here's my list of 5 little-known attractions and points of interest in Europe that any traveler will love.

1. Strawberry Hill, London
In such a large and diverse city as London, there are sites to see aplenty, and that includes several museums big and small. But one of particular note is Strawberry Hill. It's actually a Gothic castle built by Horace Walpole in 1749—for those looking for an interesting read, Horace Walpole is the author of the first-ever Gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto. Fans of the book will love this point of interest, but this is one little-known European destination that will appeal to everyone. With tons of rooms, a garden, and a section featuring the history of this beautiful property's restoration, it is definitely an experience to add to your travel list.

2. Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, Paris
This beautiful park in Paris is one of the biggest in the city—and yet, it's one of the best-kept secrets which international tourists don't know about! This serene park features an expansive layout filled with trees, lakes, "caves and waterfalls, a suspended bridge, and a high viewpoint." If you're traveling to Paris during the summer when tourism is in full swing, this makes a remarkable site to get away and enjoy the city like a local: it's perfect for individuals and families alike. And, after a nice day in the park, maybe you could enjoy a little book browsing at Shakespeare and Company.

3. Park of the Aqueducts, Rome
Rome is a beautiful and historic city well-known for many things—food, ancient Roman ruins, Trevi fountain, and much more. It's one of the most popular cities in all of Europe, and it's easy to see why. But there's a part of ancient Roman history you might not think of when you visit modern Rome: the aqueducts. Many ruins of ancient Roman aqueducts still stand, and stretch on for miles outside the city, and even savvy travelers might not know that they're still in use! Sure, there are some modern touches which have been added, but enjoying the Parco degli Acquedotti is a terrific way to take some cool photos and experience part of Roman history that most tourists skip.

4. Ulm Minister, Ulm
If you're visiting Germany, and you have the time, it's worth renting a car for a day to take a trip to one of the best-kept secrets in the area. There is a town about an hour and a half away from Munich called Ulm, and this historic village houses a large gothic cathedral called Ulm Minister (pictured at the top of this article), and this church is famous for having the tallest steeple in the world. Known as "The Finger of God," this historic church will test your constitution if you choose to climb its 768 stone steps to the tippy-top.

There are lots of cool historic (and beautiful) structures within easy driving distance of Germany, including two of King Ludwig II's famous castles, Neuschwanstein (pictured below) and Linderhof. Both can be reached from Munich in less than two hours by car.

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
Pixabay / jh146

5. Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Athens
Well-known for its rich history and ruins, culture, flea markets, street art, and hospitality, there are plenty of things not to be missed in Athens, Greece. But I bet with thoughts of the Acropolis dancing in your head, you didn't know about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, located near the Parliament building in beautiful Syntagma Square. Every hour (especially on Sundays), the tomb plays host to a traditional performance with the changing of the guards. Two guards are stationed at the tomb 24/7, so when they change guards every hour, it becomes a demonstration for everyone to enjoy. It's a real treat!

Joe Hessert has lived in Southern Maine for most of his life, and works in the marketing department at Auto Europe Car Rental. He earned his MFA at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and writes about business, marketing, and travel for numerous publications. You can learn more by visiting joehessert.com or connect with him on Twitter or Linkedin.