( Shutterstock ) Smuggler's Cove, Zakynthos, Greece
Europe's Secret Summer Hot Spots
JUNE 26, 2013 Caroline Morse, Smarter TravelEurope is popular in the summer for a reason: the days are longer, the sun is shining and everyone's in a vacation mood. Unfortunately, it's also peak season, when tourists swarm the continent, prices skyrocket and hotels are booked up far in advance. So leave the well-trodden tourist trail behind and discover these 10 secret European summer hot spots instead!
Smuggler's Cove, Zakynthos, Greece
Sail right past all the Greek islands that attract the cruise ships in the summer and find your own slice of private paradise on Zakynthos island's Smuggler's Cove. The unspoiled Navagio Beach has white sand and clear waters that are perfect for snorkeling. You won't take boring, typical beach pictures here — there is a shipwreck right in the middle of the beach, making this island unique. When the boat (which was carrying smuggled cigarettes) wrecked and washed ashore, it gave the cove its name.
The small European island of Malta is an undiscovered treasure on its own — and its sister island, Gozo, is an even better-kept secret. The name of this Mediterranean island on the Maltese archipelago means "joy," and you'll be full of joy once you see how uncrowded it is. Fly into Malta and then take a ferry to Gozo. You'll be free to explore hidden gems like Calypso's Cave — rumored to be the very cave Homer refers to in "The Odyssey" — and the Azure Window, a rock arch that is nature's frame for the Mediterranean.
Island Of Vis, Croatia
Leave the tour buses walled up in Dubrovnik and head to Vis, Croatia's most remote island. The two-hour ferry ride from Split will be worth it, as you'll be rewarded with amazing natural beauty, fantastic restaurants and cultural heritage. Get active with sea kayaking, hiking, sailing or caving, or lounge on the near-deserted beaches and then treat yourself to some fresh fish and local wine, as vineyards are abundant on the island.Read more: Yahoo Travel