It can feel hard to get off the beaten path in Europe. However, it is possible to do that. Here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Find a reason to go beyond the touristy neighborhoods.
One of the biggest benefits of being a vegetarian traveler is that it can cause you to venture outside the city center in search of some amazing vegetarian restaurant you’ve read about online. Cultivate interests that give you a reason trek out to some of the less touristy neighborhoods. Even in cities like London and Paris you can get off the beaten path this way.
2. Take a river cruise.
If you have the means to do it, you can get off the beaten path by doing things that are a bit different than the herd e.g tranquil river cruises take you to cities like Dusseldorf, Cologne, Bamberg, Linz, and Melk, in addition to the more touristed places like Vienna and Budapest.
3. Live like a local in a lesser known city.
If you can afford to stay a month or more, do it! Especially recommended is doing that outside of the major capitals.
Blogger Talon and his son from 1 Dad, 1 Kid recently spent 3 months living in Romania. They had a very affordable experience, on par or even cheaper than living in places like Thailand or Central America.
4. Travel with a small child or act like you do.
The families we know who travel with toddlers or primary school age children travel very different than most people. Since young children aren’t going to spend all day walking up steps at cathedrals or visiting museums, traveling with kids causes you to do more “normal” things like visiting playgrounds or going to the movies. This can lead to a more relaxing trip.
5. Do less research.
Doing less research and more bumbling around can help you get off the beaten path. Sometimes it’s nice to go to a random stop on the metro and just walk around. The best feeling is finding an awesome restaurant/cafe, hotel, or sight, without having read up about it first.
6. Talk to people.
Ask on Facebook and find out if your cousin went to school with someone who nows lives in X city. Arrange to meet up. Ask local people for recommendations or try out options like Couch Surfing.
7. Visit during a time the weather is good for walking.
You’ll get out and explore a lot more if it’s not too hot or too cold to spend hours out wandering.
8. Hike with a local hiking group.
This is a great way to get out of the city limits. Hiking groups will often arrange shared transportation and hiking with people allows long conversations rather than just “where are you from? where have you been? where are you going?”
9. Rent a bike.
Renting a bike can give a completely new perspective on the same environs. You’ll get a different perspective compared to either being in a vehicle or being on foot.
10. Visit during an event you’re interested in.
For example, if you’re a nerd, go to a local Comic-Con type event. If you’re into music, go to a local music festival. If you’re a writer, go to a local book/writing festival. Whatever you’re interested in, find out a way to incorporate that into your travels.