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    Europe

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Albania

Albania

While visitors to Albania must still prepare to walk some seriously uncharted paths, to dismiss a country that brags a pleasantly unpolished Mediterranean coast and fascinating Ottoman and Roman heritage (tangible and not) would be a major lapse in judgement. It took Albania many years to recover after Communism, hardships of yesteryear being forgotten by Albanian people as some of the ubiquitous war bunkers become transformed to hostels and cafes, and the capital of Albania – Tirana – begins to slowly bud as a tourism destination.
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Austria

Austria

Monumental like the Schönbrunn Palace itself, Austria champions its artistic legacy and carries on establishing cutting-edge galleries, museums, and an increasing number of additions to the cultural scene – in the capital and beyond. It is a country of unspeakable natural beauty, the idyllic region of Salzkammergut containing Austria’s arguably most scenic town, Hallstatt. Hiking and skiing are pursuits for the great outdoors, while the famously convivial café culture lives on in cities small and large.
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Belarus

Belarus

Despite its location in the geographic centre of Europe, the former Soviet republic of Belarus has only recently begun to cautiously open its doors to international travelers. The few days’ visa-free allowance is more than enough to venture into Minsk – the capital city that breathes Soviet nostalgia – and beyond, to the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Mirsky and Nesvizh Castles, passing through the vast natural expanses of fields, blue lakes and primeval forests (the Belovezhskaya pushcha, still inhabited by European bison) en route.
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Belgium

Belgium

Seamlessly fusing the old and the new, Belgium stays in tune with the times while not letting go of its Medieval poise. Hip cafes and design boutiques mingle with UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the cities (most notably in the iconic Bruges, once world’s most important commercial hub), the North Sea offers up attractive sandy beaches, while the country’s south remains idyllically rural. Beer flows ceaselessly here, paired with the Belgian national dish “moules-frites” (mussels and fries), followed by a dessert of celebrated Belgian chocolates.
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Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

The historical centres of Sarajevo and Mostar, along with the rural countryside of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the beautiful mountains, medieval castle ruins, rafting rivers and rushing waterfalls offer endless opportunities for exploration. Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the best value destinations of Europe, with affordable prices for accommodation, food and even the possibility to have a budget friendly skiing holiday. The country’s atmosphere is characterised by a unique blend of East and West; the horrors of the civil war of the 1990s still hold a prominent place in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s history, but it now well and truly is a safe and fascinating destination to travel.
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Bulgaria

Bulgaria

A unique blend of nature and history draws in foreign visitors to Bulgaria. Its landscape, that is marked by seven mountain ranges, fascinates nature enthusiasts and makes Bulgaria the perfect destination for hikers, mountain bikers and skiers. From rough mountain ranges with granite cliffs, long sandy beaches with crystal clear waters, to bustling city nightlife, religious art, and ancient fortresses and ruins, Bulgaria boasts a diversity in culture and activities that is waiting to be experienced.
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Croatia

Croatia

Croatia’s momentum as one of the world’s top vacation destinations shows no signs of slowing down. With a burgeoning infrastructure and more flight connections than ever since its inclusion in the EU in 2013, it has never been easier to visit. Croatia combines astounding natural beauty – in the form of towering mountains and crystalline water along the rocky Adriatic coast – with rich cultural and historical heritage in cities like Dubrovnik, Split and the capital, Zagreb. Add to that the wide selection of water sports and outdoor activities (from sailing and scuba diving to mountain biking and rock climbing), a surging festival scene and exciting and innovative cuisine, and it’s not hard to see why Croatia was the most Googled travel destination of 2016.
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Cyprus

Cyprus

Cyprus offers a diverse landscape with sandy beaches, meadows, and valleys that are as rich as the island’s culture. Learn more about the complex history of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities that, although significantly different in some of their beliefs, will forever be intertwined and share common values such as high regard for family and hospitality. Experience the local cuisine with its diverse meze dishes, hummus, kebabs and baklava and explore Cyprus’ cycling routes, beaches, and cultural monuments.
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Czech Republic

Czech Republic

While Prague remains the undisputable crown jewel of Czech cities, those who venture beyond its magnetic Medieval old town will luxuriate in ailment-curing thermal springs of West Bohemian Karlovy Vary, gape at the creepy Bone Church in Kutná Hora, delight in supreme Czech beer in Pilsen (or nearly any other town, for that matter: Pilsner Urquell certainly deserves its regalia, but multiple microbreweries have risen to rival the celebrity brand), and discover the laid-back region of Moravia with its animated, youthful capital of Brno.
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Denmark

Denmark

Denmark feels, at times, as close as it gets to a real-life fairy tale, and with its narrow cobbled alleys and teeny old houses – with doors that are barely high enough for an average Dane to fit through without hunching – often looks like Andersen’s narratives brought to life. It seems no less miraculous that a country that once produced the ravaging Vikings is now at the forefront of progressive thinking, simultaneously remaining dedicated to cultivating the universally sought-after, elusive “hygge”.
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Estonia

Estonia

With closer historic ties to Finland than its Baltic neighbour states, Estonia is a nation of just over a million residents who preserve and actively propel the country’s distinctive culture: the Estonian Song Festival belongs to UNESCO’s Intangible Heritage and Tallinn, the capital, holds northern Europe’s best-preserved Medieval Old Town (today also part of UNESCO World Heritage), which remains standing after decades of Soviet rule. Beyond Tallinn lie vast natural expanses, islands bearing trace of Viking presence, castles, lakes and charming Estonian towns.
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Finland

Finland

Finland is, quite simply, a fascinating destination, boasting pristine forest and lake country, fascinating rocky archipelago landscapes, world-class design, one of the most innovative and sophisticated food scenes in Europe, and a privileged position for those wishing to gape in awe at the Northern Lights (visible sometimes up to 200 nights per year in northern Lapland). Also known for its regular quirky events, such as the air guitar, phone-throwing and wife-carrying world championships, as well as Sauna Day (celebrated twice yearly), you never quite know what to expect in the land of a thousand lakes.
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France

France

The world’s most visited country has plenty to show for its indisputable appeal. The vivid lavender fields of lyrical Provence, the swanky French Riviera (Côte d'Azur), the rocky heights of the north and the romantic charm of its city streets have all captured myriad imaginations – and rightfully so. With its internationally renowned wines and a cuisine that was the first to become part of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage, it’s no wonder France remains a potent magnet for even those travelers who have already summited the Eiffel Tower.
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Hungary

Hungary

Beyond the at once stately and gritty capital of Budapest lie Hungary’s hidden treasures: Lake Balaton (favored by holidaymakers) and the thriving cities of Debrecen and Szeged, along with the enticing wine region of Eger and attractive old towns of Pécs, Sopron, and Kecskemét. There are about 300 natural thermal springs in Hungary, and a number of medicinal resorts and sanatoriums to match. Folk culture lives on in Hungary (embroidery, music, and dance in particular), and traditional food is a matter of national pride.
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Iceland

Iceland

Iceland’s unique geological conditions grant it a rugged and otherworldly beauty unlike anywhere else on the planet. A hotspot for volcanic activity, it is a true land of ice and fire, with stark landscapes that hide geothermal hot springs, massive, slow-moving glaciers and gushing geysers, all made even more impressive when seen in the light of the midnight sun or the mesmerizing aurora borealis. Iceland’s natural splendour is matched by the warmth of its small but charming population, whose cultural hyperactivity fills the country with hauntingly beautiful music, stunning art and an enthusiastic and optimistic approach to life.
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Ireland

Ireland

Centuries of ancient stories surround the third largest island of Europe, Ireland. Historic mementos can be found everywhere, from prehistoric monuments to castles, ruins and the cities of Belfast and Dublin that are steeped in history. Ireland’s landscape offers a diversity that is matched by no other: from green rolling hills to majestic mountains and a dramatic coastline, this island has it all. If you are lucky, you might even be able to catch some Northern Lights in the Northern Headlands. Head down to a pub and enjoy a cold beer with the locals, as there is no better way to get to know the true soul of Ireland than a chat with its inhabitants.
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Italy

Italy

The majesty of modern Italy, successor to one of the mightiest empires ever known, is made immense by its exciting collection of outstanding works of art (some by Michelangelo and Botticelli), ancient ruins and historic spots (Italy contains more UNESCO World Heritage sites than any other country in the world), internationally revered cuisine, first-rate wines, the rolling hills of Tuscany, postcard-ready Amalfi Coast, and islands small and large, with buoyant Sicily and beach-enveloped Sardinia taking center stage.
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Kosovo

Kosovo

Despite what the media may have some believe, Kosovo is a safe country to visit that welcomes with a unique blend of medieval art, untouched nature and exceptionally friendly locals. Kosovo’s countryside in the heart of the Balkans, with its picturesque mountain ranges, tranquil lakes and cascading waterfalls that appear out of nowhere is truly worth visiting, alongside the beautiful cities of Prizren and Pristina – two stops you should not miss. Another bonus is the very reasonable pricing for accommodation, transportation and food, which all make Kosovo one of Europe’s most inexpensive countries. Discover Europe’s newest country and explore a destination that is definitely off the beaten track.
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Latvia

Latvia

Of the three Baltic states Latvia is, perhaps, the one that carries most Soviet heritage – a large chunk of its population speaks or understands Russian (although numbers have been declining in recent years), and its seaside resort town of Jūrmala remains dear to both resident and vacationing Russians. Riga, the animated capital, is recognised for its charming Old Town and Art Nouveau architecture. Beyond lie vast natural expanses of forests and lakes, and the must-visit Gauja National Park with its towns of Cēsis and Sigulda, known for their castles.
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Macedonia

Macedonia

The complex history and multi-faceted culture of Macedonia are influenced by Greek, Roman and Ottoman heritage, all of which come together in a unique way. The incredibly rich nature of this small country has made Macedonia a popular destination for travelers, the area around Lake Ohrid enjoying a special popularity. Mountain ranges, hiking trails and national parks shape the landscape of Macedonia alongside the up-and-coming city of Skopje. In the capital of Macedonia, you can immerse yourself in the culinary and cultural facets of the country and explore the charming old town and modern parts of the city.
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Netherlands

Netherlands

With its iconic windmills and canal houses, the Netherlands is surprisingly agrarian for a country known for its cutting-edge innovation and futuristic design – nearly two thirds of its territory are given over to plant cultivation, which is best exemplified by its world-renowned tulips. The Netherlands is a cyclist’s paradise, too: the entire country (not just Amsterdam) is cut across by endless kilometres of cycling paths, with special long-distance routes designed for extended biking tours. Beyond the boisterous capital dotted with social “brown cafes” lie the enticing cities of Utrecht, Leiden, Rotterdam, and more.
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Norway

Norway

The extraordinary beauty of Norway ranges from its coast, with its deep fjords, to densely forested mountain ranges, otherworldly ice fields and pristine glaciers. The wildlife is diverse, with the possibility to observe whales as well as cross paths with reindeer or moose. Norwegian cities may be few in number but burst with cosmopolitan energy and culture. The elegance of Scandinavian design is not only felt in the homes of Norway’s residents but reflected in art museums, landmarks and architecture. With a bit of luck and under the right weather conditions, it is possible to catch the Aurora Borealis in many parts of Norway. This spectacular natural event will touch you deeply and will become a memory you will never forget. Watch the dancing rays and catch the northern lights in Norway.
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Poland

Poland

The country arguably most affected by Europe’s bitter 20th century bloodshed, Poland has by no means let go of its past, but strides steadfastly into the future. Warsaw is the ever-evolving, young capital, while Kraków is the former royal center containing fine examples of Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau architecture. Pursuits in nature abound (the country is interspersed with hiking trails across hills and forests), the food is hearty and cheap, and the people tremendously welcoming.
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Portugal

Portugal

Once a mighty empire that stretched from South America to Africa to the Pacific, Portugal is currently the oldest nation in Europe with the same borders, which speaks to its rich and storied past. With a high quality of life and relatively low cost of living, it is one of the best value travel destinations in Europe. It boasts a staggering natural diversity that one wouldn’t expect to find in such a small territory, and with its dynamic and youthful cities, like Lisbon and Porto, idyllic beaches in the Algarve, and picturesque expanses of wine country, there is no shortage of reasons to visit Portugal.
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Romania

Romania

Bathed by Europe’s second longest river, the Danube, Romania is an increasingly popular, though still largely undiscovered, tourist destination. It boasts a variety of landscapes, from the Black Sea to the Carpathian Mountains that stretch across the country from top to bottom. Following the Danube eastwards towards the Black Sea, you will come across the Danube Delta, the best preserved of its kind on the continent. It is home to an astonishing total of 23 ecosystems, that present a wealthy diversity of extraordinary animals and vegetation. If you are in the mood for the perfect city break, the capital – Bucharest – has you covered. Here, beautiful Orthodox churches are thrown in together with hip cafés and trendy art galleries. Wander the streets of the Romanian capital, discover the vestiges of socialism and gaze up at the staggering Palace of Parliament. Although, if you’d like to plan a holiday trip to a truly hidden gem pay a visit to the city of Timisoara, a criminally underrated destination not far from the Serbian and Hungarian borders. With far more than its fair share of pleasant and flowery gardens, pretty squares and gorgeous buildings, Timisoara will give you plenty to do and see.
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Russia

Russia

There has never been a better time to unravel the mystery of Russia, the world’s largest country, a nation that, in many ways, defined the course of 20th century's world history. Bohemian Saint Petersburg is a journey into tsarist imperialism, monumental Moscow still breathes a Soviet aesthetic, and those who wish to dig yet deeper must embark on an expedition into the Russian Far East along the Trans-Siberian Railway, via the growing regional centres of Yekaterinburg and Novosibirsk, and the world’s largest lake, Baikal.
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Serbia

Serbia

Serbia, the landlocked country historically set at the crossroads of Europe, remains largely undiscovered even by domestic travelers – a state of affairs bound to change given Serbia’s many attractions and residents’ famously welcoming spirit. The Serbs know how to put on a good party, and Belgrade, the capital, along with animated Novi Sad, are the two to look out for in that regard. Beyond lie cultural Niš, oriental Novi Pazar, idyllic Zlatibor and Serbia’s many mountain and spa resorts.
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Slovakia

Slovakia

Right in the middle of Europe lies Slovakia, a testament to how the smallest of countries can often also be the most attractive. Trek the snowy Tatras Mountains, the tallest of the Carpathian range, with breathtaking summits that have the ability to fill any Slovakian with pride. Come and see Spiš Castle for yourself, one of Europe’s largest fortifications; an architectural combination of power and might dating back to the 12th century. With a cosy population of around 450,000, Bratislava is one of Europe’s most compact capitals. The Danube graciously flows past its old quarter and the city’s stylish bright buildings reflect the sun off of their proud facades. Get to know the pleasant pubs and hear the locals nattering away at the tables of charming cafés in the background. Slovakia is a country of astounding natural beauty and its capital, Bratislava, a city of pretty plazas, red rooftops and fine ales.
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Slovenia

Slovenia

At the crossroads of the Slavic, Germanic and Mediterranean cultures lies a bite-size country that boasts staggering diversity in terms of landscapes and attractions. It is a country of spectacular beauty, endless possibilities and perhaps the world’s creamiest dessert. Slovenia’s manageable size and good infrastructure mean that you can see just about the whole country in a matter of 5 days, though you’ll surely end up wanting to stay longer. From the pleasant capital, Ljubljana, to striking Lake Bled, to lazy seaside Piran, to mountain-incrusted castles and extensive networks of spellbinding Karst caves, there is no end to the wonders to be found in Slovenia.
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Ukraine

Ukraine

Visiting Ukraine is an experience you will be unlikely to soon forget – the country presents a different guise depending on whether you choose to explore its golden-spired capital city of Kiev, journey through the Carpathians, visit the western gateway of Uzhgorod and enchanting, dreamy Lviv, or even make your way south towards the Black Sea and party until dawn on Odessa’s sandy beaches. Modern Ukraine is young and ambitious, moving steadfastly into the future and welcoming of those who venture to Europe’s far east.
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United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Once the beating heart of the greatest empire the world has ever known, the UK is still, in many ways, the centre of it all. It remains one of the world’s major players in terms of art and culture, finance and business, innovation, creativity and travel bliss. There are countless wonders to discover in the evocative English countryside, the hidden history of Wales’ many castles, Scotland’s rich cultural heritage, and the charm and troubled past of Northern Ireland. And not to forget the metropolis itself, London, a multi-layered and diverse patchwork of cultures, languages and people, and one of the most exciting and influential cities in the world.
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