Get off the beaten path in Central Europe
Enjoy culture and cuisine in Ljubljana
One of Europe’s smallest capital cities, Ljubljana is sure to make a big splash in your summer plans. A fan favorite when it comes to under-the-radar old towns, Slovenia’s crown jewel is a must for history buffs, architecture fiends, and foodies. It’s also the gateway to some pretty gorgeous countryside.
Start your visit by exploring the old town on foot (and by boat!) with a local guide to get the inside scoop on the city’s past. Once your hunger for history has been satiated, dig into traditional bites on a tour fit for a foodie. Eat struklji, drink teran, and be merry. After you’ve checked the top sites off your bucket list, pay a visit to some regal real estate and green space. Between channeling your inner monarch at Ljubljana Castle and cycling around Tivoli Park, exploring Ljubljana will keep you — and your camera — busy.
And if you need a break from the hustle and bustle, no problem. Alpine resort vibes (and crystal-clear waters), are less than an hour away at Lake Bled. This guided tour will have you setting sail, climbing up to Bled Castle, and savoring sweet treats. Oh, and don’t worry about choosing the perfect filter when it comes to ‘gramming your trip. This little slice of Slovenia is so pretty, you won’t need one.
Explore Croatia’s capital and countryside
Next stop: Zagreb. Often overlooked simply because it’s not on the coast, the underrated Croatian capital is the perfect place for travelers looking to take it easy. A trip to Zagreb promises winding streets, strong coffee culture, and plenty of gorgeous landmarks. The best way to discover the city? Hitting the pavement (well, cobblestones) on a walking tour. Discovering Zagreb with a local is great because you’ll get insider knowledge you won’t find anywhere else. History buffs interested in going below the surface (literally) can venture underground on this tour and learn about the Croatian fight for independence.
While Zagreb offers plenty to eat, see, and do, some of its best-kept secrets lie outside the city limits. If you want to chase waterfalls, head to Plitvice Lakes National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the ideal destination for nature lovers.
Travelers with a little more time on their hands should head for the coast. This day trip to Istria will take you through Pula, Rovinj, and Porec. The Roman influence is so strong in these towns, you’ll swear you’re in Italy. That’s because, until 1947, Istria was a part of Italy. These days, a trip to this gorgeous region means exploring ancient amphitheaters, strolling along the beach, and digging into the region’s delectable cuisine.
Soak in Budapest’s baths (and soak up the vibes)
Budapest is never a bad idea. A city with something for everyone, it’s quirky, picturesque, and utterly original. Where else will you find Baroque facades alongside Art Nouveau beauties and Bauhaus abodes? From taking a dip in the city’s iconic thermal baths to cruising down the Danube (cocktail in hand), this delightfully ‘grammable destination is one for the books.
Get to know both sides of the metropolis (Buda and Pest) on a cycling tour before stopping to smell the roses. Which, in this case, means devouring lángos on a culinary walking tour. But watch your appetite. If you want to wiggle through Budapest’s longest cave system on a geological adventure, you won’t want to be too full. If active endeavors aren’t on your schedule, opt for a laidback dinner cruise with your special someone. Sit back, relax, and let candlelight and the Danube do the work.