We’ve all got a list of places we really want to visit at some point in our lives: New York, Mexico, Europe, Australia and New Zealand are just a few that spring instantly to mind. Yet, the world is a vast playground of astounding destinations just waiting to be discovered so why settle for the typical travel bucketlist? Take a look at some of these exquisite European hidden Gems and discover that you don’t have to travel far to have the holiday of your dreams.3327387_a7e8819f[1]

Clifden, Ireland

When people think of an Irish break, they usually picture a Guinness-fuelled getaway in Dublin, and although the Irish capital is certainly a fun place to go, it has nothing on the picturesque vistas of the town of Clifden. Formerly known as the Capital of Connemara, Clifden perches on the West coast of Galway in the Emerald Isle. This small town boasts spectacular beaches with pristine white sands, coral bays and translucent blue waters. It is the ideal place for hikers and cyclists as there are numerous trails leading you past castle ruins, historic monuments and across hilly terrains. The nights in Clifden were made for “the Craic” and traditional music is played every night in many of the pubs that sit on and around the town’s main square and locals are more than happy to chat away about the town’s intriguing history over a pint or two of the Black Stuff and a steaming bowl of freshly prepared Irish stew. The Emerald Isle is a true gem of a holiday destination, and in my opinion, Clifden is the rarest, most spectacular jewel in the Celtic crown.

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Gibraltar

This overseas British territory is a beautiful island brimming with stunning sights, interesting history and many fascinating attractions. Witness the beauty of the semi-wild tail-less, Barbary Macaques; monkeys who wander free in the Queen’s Gate area of the island. Travel back in time when you enjoy a tour of the Great Siege Tunnels which proved invaluable during the 18th century attack by the French and Spanish who attempted to reclaim Gibraltar from the British. The island is also a beautiful place to explore with glorious weather and an abundance of shops and restaurants providing an idyllic backdrop for your holiday. Gibraltar is also the home of the LadyLucks Roulette Masters Tournament and if you are looking for a night filled with glamour and excitement, an evening at one of the island’s casinos is most certainly the activity for you. If you feel the need to brush up on your knowledge of roulette and other games before you attend the “real life” roulette tournament, you can always hone your skills online to gain the confidence you to experience the thrill of the real thing.

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Lofoten for the Northern Lights

Norway is a place of incomparable beauty and the archipelago of Lofoten is one of the most stunning destinations you could ever wish to see. During the winter months, visitors to the area may be fortunate enough to witness the glory of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights as they are also known. The sweeping waves of colour appear against the inky black of the night sky in the most Northern countries of the world and Lofoten is known for hosting appearances from the phenomena frequently. Mountain ranges, azure waters and verdant banks provide the backdrop to your getaway and there are numerous activities to enjoy during your stay. Unleash your inner photographer by embarking on a specialised photography expedition, or strap on your crampons for a day of mountaineering. Whatever you choose to do during your stay, once you have discovered this particular European hidden gem, you will want to return again and again.