September 2, 2014

Monte Carlo, Monaco

Europe is one of the most culturally diverse continents on the planet, with countless incredible experiences to be had in any one of its fifty countries. But for a holiday you'll never forget, why not visit one of Europe's lesser-known little gems. When my family and I go on holiday together, we love nothing more than to explore the unknown, and discover what lies off the beaten track. With Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, it takes just 35 minutes to cross the Channel, making it easier than ever to explore the continent. So take a look at some of my recommendations of the best of Europe's little gems to get you inspired for your next European getaway.

Monaco

It may be one of the smallest countries in the world, second only to Vatican City, but Monaco certainly packs a punch. It is less than a square mile in size, yet home to over 36,000 people, making it the most densely populated country in the world, and there is plenty to keep its residents and visitors alike busy!

By far the most famous area of Monaco is Monte Carlo, and in particularly its Casino, which is definitely worth a visit if ever you dreamed of being James Bond growing up - over 18s only are allowed in, however. For a fun day out with the kids, head to the Musée Océanographique de Monaco, where you can marvel at the underwater life of the Mediterranean. Highlights include the 6m-deep lagoon with sharks and coral reef, the tactile basin where your kids can touch and feel the fish, and the rooftop terrace with panoramic views over beautiful Monaco - not to be missed!

San Marino

Surrounded in its entirety by Italy, San Marino is the third smallest country in Europe and the world's oldest sovereign state, dating back over 1,700 years. It is also the last remaining state of the old Italian peninsula before it became a unified country in the 19th century.

Little-Gems-of-Europe-sanmarino image
San Marino

The highlight of this little enclave has got to be a visit to the Castello della Cesta. Built in the 13th century atop Monte Titano, 750m above the city of San Marino, the castle boasts some breathtaking panoramic views out towards the Italian coast. You can also pop into the museum of medieval armaments, whilst you're there. If you and you kids are looking for a souvenir of your visit to San Marino, you will find yourselves absolutely spoiled for choice - the streets of San Marino are packed with shops selling kitschy trinkets to take home with you. Alternatively, you can pop into the tourist office and get your passport stamped to remember your visit!

Liechtenstein

'Doubly landlocked' Liechtenstein is the fourth smallest country in Europe, and the sixth smallest in the world. But despite its small size, it is absolutely jam-packed with natural beauty, nestled in between Switzerland and Austria, so if you and your family love the great outdoors, this is the country for you!

 Little-Gems-of-Europe-Liechtenstein image
Schloss Vaduz, Liechtenstein

If your kids have vivid imaginations and a love for fantasy realms, Liechtenstein is sure to inspire them. Head out for a family walk along the beautiful Walser Legends Trail, which has been specially designed to tell stories along the way. There are signposts taking you in various directions to discover different legends along trails dotted with carvings of mythical creatures, teaching you about the Walser communities. What's more, Liechtenstein itself is still ruled by a Prince who lives in the Gothic Schloss Vaduz castle, making it something of a real-life fairy tale setting!

Exploring Europe with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle

With a journey time of just 35 minutes, Eurotunnel Le Shuttle is the quickest, most convenient way to cross the Channel and explore Europe. And with up to four services an hour, running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, you are guaranteed to find a travel time to suit you!  There are no baggage limits either, so whether you're planning a camping trip or a shopping spree, you can enjoy your holiday hassle free. So pack your bags, load up the car, and set off on your European road trip adventure!

Photo Credits:
Monte Carlo, Monaco © Herry Lawford
San Marino © fdecomite
Schloss Vaduz, Liechtenstein

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