Famous cities, beaches and sights all over the world attract tourists and sun seeking travelers. The list of hot spots is never-ending, but for those who look a little deeper, there are still places that few travelers think of, or find their way to.
We have made a list of “hidden” places which all have something in common: they are only a few hours away from Scandinavia by plane and they all offer a break from the buzzing tourist hotspots. Choose one of these instead, and opt for a relaxing, authentic location, where locals choose to enjoy their holiday time.
In the Middle East you will find a place travelers call “a bit of Paris, a bit of Berlin, a bit of the Orient. Ancient, yet young, posh and bohemian”. That’s Beirut, the capital and largest city of Lebanon, particularly famous for its fascinating food scene.
Beirut is also a city of many layers. At Place de l’Etoile you could be forgiven for imagining you’re in Central Europe – enter the huge Mohammed Al Amin mosque though and everything changes. The red ceiling and its gigantic chandelier opens a window into a completely different world. History is present wherever you go. There are excavations portraying the Roman city, while archaeological findings have dated back much further in time, including to the Neolithic period, around 6000 BC.
Directs flight with SAS from Scandinavia to Beirut starts from 699 DKK / 1149 SEK / 799 NOK
In the southwestern corner of France, you will find Biarritz, one of the top surfing hotspots in Europe. The small seaside resort is renowned for its foaming waves, great surf atmosphere, and beautiful turn-of-the-century charm.
The city is also famous for being a “hidden jewel” for both the Francophiles, who adore the French cuisine and avantgarde lifestyle, and for travelers, who enjoy coastal breezes and sunny patios. Don’t forget to order fish grilled over hot coals, a favorite dish amongst locals in Biarritz.
Directs flight with SAS from Scandinavia to Biarritz starts from 499 DKK / 609 SEK / 599 NOK.
Most travelers have heard of and tasted plenty of lovely Italian dishes, but few have visited the place where some of the famous dishes originate from – Bologna in Italy. The city, located in the northern part of the country, is home to the little knots of egg pasta made from a dough rolled out so thin it’s almost see-through, the world-famous tortellini which are usually stuffed with meat or a seasonal filling.
After the tortellini, you can move on to the second-most important local dish: traditional Bolognese sauce, served with fresh tagliatelle. The famous sauce is called ragù here. Enjoy the famous dishes at some of the charming places in the well-preserved historical centre, which are unique thanks to a careful restoration and conservation policy. In between the meals, it is worth visiting one the oldest universities in the world, the University of Bologna, established in AD 1088.
Directs flight with SAS from Scandinavia to Bologna starts from 1049 DKK / 1009 SEK / 1299 NOK.
Genoa, Italy’s largest sea port, is the gateway to the Riviera for some travelers, however it is also famous for its important, historical and architectural sights – Genoa has historically been one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean. Even though Genoa is the sixth-largest city in Italy, not many travelers find their way (yet) to this fascinating city which is the birthplace of many famous Italians, e.g. Christopher Columbus… and the pesto sauce.
Parts of the old town of Genoa, Le Strade Nuove and the system of the Palazzi dei Rolli, are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Remember to make time to enjoy the authentic street food at the city’s ancient port.
Directs flight with SAS from Scandinavia to Genoa starts from 499 DKK / 709 SEK / 599 NOK.
During recent decades, Sarajevo has been synonymous with war, but the city and its people are now changing the narrative. A new wave of energy has transformed the fascinating and beautiful capital – which offers great food, and in contrast to most other capital cities, accommodation at remarkably low prices.
Travelers seeking historical war sights can still visit the bridge over troubled waters – the Latin Bridge across the Miljacka River which was the site of the infamous assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand that ultimately led to World War I. The narrow town centre is also worth a visit with mosques, Catholic and Orthodox churches, and synagogues, a nod to Sarajevo’s huge diversity and the origin of the nickname the “Jerusalem of Europe.”
Directs flight with SAS from Scandinavia to Sarajevo starts from 499 DKK / 609 SEK / 599 NOK.
The sea around Sardinia is emerald green and the beaches are reminiscent of those you find in the Caribbean, but here they are surrounded by rugged limestone cliffs and mountains.
Some tourists find their way to the beaches of Sardinia, but it’s mostly Italians who are the ones to visit this unique island in the Mediterranean. It takes less than four hours to drive from one end of the island to the other, but it tends to take longer as it is hard not to stop and try the local pasta and seafood restaurants dotted along the coast.
Directs flight with SAS from Scandinavia to Sardina (Costa Smeralda / Olbia) starts from 699 DKK / 909 SEK / 799 NOK.
Even though Toulon is located right next to the busy Côte d’Azur in France, its gorgeous beaches, which are considered as some of the nicest in Provence, have not been conquered by thousands of tourists (yet).
Toulon has an artistic past. It was a favourite of famous artists such as Jean Cocteau and Sir Cecil Bacon in the 1930’s, and much of the city’s architecture speaks of its Art Deco past.
For those travelers seeking nature experiences, a trip to Mount Faron is in order – the red cable car takes you 584 metres to the top, is the only one of its kind in the Mediterranean. Also, don’t forget to visit the traditional Provençal morning food and flower market Cours Lafayette. There is something for everyone, and it’s one of the best places in Toulon to see the dynamic, multicultural mix of locals that make up this city.
Directs flight with SAS from Scandinavia to Toulon starts from 499 DKK / 609 SEK / 599 NOK.
For decades, true travelers have enjoyed the authentic Italian city of Verona, located in the northeastern part of the country. This medieval town is well known for its many archaeological sites, famous opera, and some even say this is where Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was set.
A mix of quiet small plazas and buzzling streets with local shops and food markets makes Verona a unique destination to explore the everyday life of Italians and still get time to relax and experience the famous culinary scene of Italy.
Directs flight with SAS from Scandinavia to Toulon starts from 499 DKK / 709 SEK / 599 NOK.