Lonely Planet names top summer destinations in Europe

Sledging in the High Tatras in February.

Sledging in the High Tatras in February.

If the road to overtourism is paved with Travel guide books, then venerable publisher Lonely Planet can give itself a pat on the backpack for trying to steer vacationers off the beaten track.

Announcing the 2019 iteration of its annual top European summer destinations list, LP has chosen a handful of lesser known places to accompany more classic getaways.

Occupying the winning spot is the High Tatras mountains in northern Slovakia, on the border with Poland. Highlights include the highest peak in the country, the 2,655-meter Gerlach, as well as the Štrbské Pleso glacial lake and incredible wildlife watching, with brown bears, lynx and wolves roaming the area.

Also on the list is the tiny country of Lichtenstein, which can be hiked around in a weekend. The 75-kilometer Lichtenstein Trail opens this year as part of celebrations to mark 300 years as a sovereign nation. National Day on August 15 will be a key date in the festivities.

For those looking for beach time, Lonely Planet’s list includes Croatia’s northern Istria region, known for clear waters, great wine and Roman history. Then there’s the Italian port of Bari, which LP describes as a once down-at-heel city enjoying a renaissance.

The remote Shetland Islands, located some 170 kilometers off the north coast of Scotland are recommend for their coastal hiking trails. Visitors might, however, want to wait until January to experience the fiery Viking-inspired Up Helly Aa festival.

Iceland makes the list, but the advice is to venture away from the sights of the famous Golden Circle route close to Reykjavik but instead head to the Arctic Coast Way in the north of the island.

For food and drink fans, Lonely Planet lists Lyon in southeast France, and Vevey, Switzerland, a lakeside town that will host the Fete des Vignerons wine festival in July.

The three-week event comes to town just once every 20 years, with shows, parades and concerts alongside wine tastings.

Rounding out the list are the Spanish capital of Madrid, feted for its buzzing nightlife and sustainability initiatives, and Hercegovina, where visitors can visit medieval towns, the karst wind tunnels at Vjetrenica and the famous Stari Most bridge in Mostar.

Lonely Planet Best in Europe 2019

High Tatras, Slovakia
Madrid, Spain
The Arctic Coast Way, Iceland
Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bari, Italy
Shetland, Scotland
Lyon, France
Liechtenstein
Vevey, Switzerland
Istria, Croatia

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