Hidden Gems in Europe Your Squad Needs to Discover ASAP This Summer

Hidden Gems in Europe Your Squad Needs to Discover ASAP This Summer

Grab your squad and get ready for an epic adventure in Europe!

What time is it? SUMMERTIME! If you’re a fresh graduate itching to FINALLY travel the world, summer is the perfect season to explore Europe. It’s sunny and lively with plenty to see and do! But if you’re looking for a truly unforgettable vacation, why not skip the touristy usuals and escape to these hidden gems in Europe with your squad instead? We’ve done all the work for you – just pack your bags and get going!

1. London, United Kingdom

Mention London, and the first things that come to mind would be the Big Ben, London Eye, Buckingham Palace or Westminster Abbey. Of course these are all must-visit essentials for the first-timer. But once you’ve covered all these main sights, and satisfied your inner shopaholic with a shopping spree at Oxford Street and Camden Market, it’s time to venture beyond the facade of the city.

Camden Passage

Image credit: Camden Passage

An absolute haven for street market lovers, Camden Passage is a car-free street filled with antique markets, vintage and contemporary shops, quaint cafes, bars, and more! You can explore the main market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, or for bookworms, head to the book market held at Pierrepont Arcade on Thursdays and Fridays. From vintage clothes to interesting collectibles and bric-a-brac, you’ll find an eclectic mix of lifestyle, household and fashion items all here! Pick some out as quirky souvenirs for your loved ones, or get matching outfits for the squad perhaps?

Isabella Plantation at Richmond Park

Image credit: (top) Kent Wang, (bottom left) Alex Lomas, (bottom right) Laura Nolte

Say hello to a colourful floral extravaganza at Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park! Discover azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias and more in full bloom especially from end April or early May, as you take a languid stroll around the gardens. Clear blue skies and crisp fresh air coupled with ponds and streams within the garden will refresh and rejuvenate the senses, away from the crowds that you’ll usually find at London’s top attractions. Sounds like the perfect afternoon plan?

Get your cameras ready because you won’t be able to resist snapping away here! And the best part? Entrance is completely FREE!

Evans and Peel Detective Agency

Image credit: Evans and Peel

For an epic night out, you’ve got to check out one of London’s best secret speakeasy bars. Getting in isn’t that simple, at Evans and Peel Detective Agency, you’ve got to first make a reservation by submitting a “case”. Upon arrival, the “detective” (doorman) will question you about it, before leading you through a secret bookcase to the 1920s candlelit heritage bar. How’s that for a unique bar experience in London?

2. Paris, France

A 2.5-hour high-speed train journey away from London, Paris is another must-visit European city for many. From the Eiffel Tower to the Arc de Triomphe, Louvre and the Champs-Elysees, the City of Lights never fails to impress each time you visit. But that’s not all.

Rue Crémieux

Image credit: Sharon Vanderkaay

Known as the most colourful street in Paris, Rue Crémieux is a beautiful and refreshing sight of private houses, unlike the usual grey concrete buildings that pervade the Parisian cityscape. Reminiscent of Burano in Venice, this is a great place to snap that iconic squad photo or your outfit of the day!

La Conciergerie

The first prison in Paris, La Conciergerie was home to hundreds of prisoners during the French Revolution, who were taken to be executed on the guillotine all around Paris. One of the most famous prisoners was none other than Marie Antoinette, who spent her last days in this prison. Explore the Prisoner’s Gallery, Marie-Antoinette’s Dungeon, and more, and learn more about the French Revolution as you peruse through mementos and exhibits dating back to that period. It’s a truly eye-opening experience that gives you a different perspective of Paris for sure!

The Catacombs

Image credit: Sharat Ganapathi

Did you know that beneath the bright lights of Parisian streets, lies an enigmatic labyrinth of carefully arranged skulls and bones? The ossuaries contain almost six million Parisians who lived in the 18th century, as well as graffiti and inscriptions on the walls that date back to the French Revolution. A network of old caves, this eerie, subterranean world holds more than 2000 years of history within its depths. The tunnels are chilly, so remember to bring along your jacket when you visit!

Switching from your home currency to the British Pound and then the Euro is bound to be a hassle. Furthermore, the exchange rates at airports and train stations are always so poor!

Well, guess what? You can solve this problem simply by opening a DBS Multi-Currency Account (MCA)! With an MCA, you won’t have to pay any foreign exchange fees. Plus, you get to buy currencies at your preferred rate when the exchange rates fall, and pay directly in that currency using your DBS Visa Debit card. We’ll show you how it works:

STEP 1: Keep a lookout for the best time to exchange your currency

Keep your eye on the exchange rates of the British Pound and Euro and wait until the value drops to your preferred rates before exchanging your Singapore Dollar for them online*.

Tip: Once you’ve planned out where you’re headed to, you can also set up a FX Rate Alert on the latest DBS/POSB digibank app, to get notifications when your preferred rate is met! Simply log in to digibank app > Select ‘Transfer’ on the menu > FX Rate Alert

On top of the British Pound and Euro, your MCA account allows you to pay directly in these foreign currencies as well: Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Hong Kong Dollar, New Zealand Dollar, Norwegian Kroner, Japanese Yen, Swedish Kroner, Thai Baht and US Dollar.

STEP 2: Transfer funds into your MCA to secure your desired rates

Don’t forget to transfer funds into your MCA so as to lock in your desired rates! Your exchange rate will be locked in at the time of Funds Transfer, and will not be subject to any future fluctuating market rates.

STEP 3: Whip out your DBS Visa Debit Card and you’re ready to go!

If you’re a new DBS/POSB customer, every new MCA account comes bundled with a complementary DBS Visa Debit Card. With this card, you will be able to make cashless transactions in Europe on the go.

Sounds convenient, doesn’t it? The MCA is applicable in most countries that accept the major foreign currencies, making traversing Europe and the world a breeze.


3. Barcelona, Spain

Zona de banys del Fòrum

Image credit: Barcelona Tourism

There’s more to Barcelona than just Antoni Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces! Ideal for swimming and sunbathing, the Forum is a relaxing area where you can still have that refreshing dip you’ve been longing for, without the claustrophobia of crowds. You can jump, dive, or simply step into the waters at the bathing area. Plus, it’s a truly unique place that caters to everyone, even those with special needs or disabilities!

Thanks to the absence of sand, people with wheelchairs need not struggle to reach the sea directly. There’s even a hydraulic chair lift that aids them in entering or leaving the water, and an assisted bathing service for those with reduced mobility. Pretty cool, huh! So grab your swimsuits and jump in with the squad on a sunny day in Barcelona!

Biblioteca Pública Arús

Image credit: BPA

Harry Potter fans, you’ll definitely fall head over heels with this public library, decked out in leather-bound books, a cozy ambience and even a replica of the Statue of Liberty! Indulge your inner bookworm with more than 80,000 volumes of books, manuscripts, music scores and more.

Bunkers del Carmel

Image credit: Biblola

Want to know the best spot for a panoramic view of Barcelona? The ruins of Bunkers del Carmel offer a mesmerizing glimpse of Barcelona’s charming skyline, especially during sunset. Watch as the city lights sparkle in the horizon, contrasted against the night sky. Dating back to 1938, this remote slice of serenity is an absolutely stunning place to soak in Barcelona’s beauty. Bring some wine and cheese along for a picnic with the squad unlike any other, under the canopy of stars in the sky!

4. Pamplona, Spain

Running of the Bulls

Image credit: Pamplona Fiesta

Have you ever heard of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona? If you haven’t, it’s definitely something worth ticking off the bucket list with your squad! Experience the thrills and adrenaline rush with the Pamplona Fiesta, happening this July 6th to July 14th. If the mere thought about navigating your way through a stampede of raging bulls which average 1,300 pounds in a narrow and crowded alley doesn’t get your heart thumping, I don’t know what else will!

For those who prefer to watch in safety and comfortably from the sidelines, you can choose to rent one of the strategically located balconies to bask in all the excitement and action. The locals would be more than happy to share their culture and homes with you. For a truly exhilarating and invigorating experience you’ll remember for a lifetime, head to Pamplona with the squad to catch this incredible festival for yourselves!

5. Rome, Italy

Image credit: LPLT

To explore Rome on a more unusual and whimsical note, pop over to the Quartiere Coppede, nestled in the Trieste district. This corner of Rome features a spectacular mash of Baroque, Greek, Roman and Medieval Art Nouveau palaces with intricate, artistic and fantastical design work. It’s even been used as the setting for a number of movies! Overall, it has an ethereal Victorian beauty that makes it a great off-the-beaten-track sightseeing spot.

Il Gelato di Claudio Torcè

Image credit: Claudio Torce

You can’t leave Italy without having multiple servings of gelato, that’s for sure! And of the best-kept secrets is none other than Il Gelato di Claudio Torcè, which serves all-natural, artisanal gelato in incredibly unique flavours! How does Habanero, Rice Pudding, Celery, Carrot, Gorgonzola, Ginger or Szechuan Pepper flavoured gelato sound? Definitely for those with adventurous taste buds. Try out one different flavour each with the squad, so you all can get to share and taste a greater variety of flavours!

And before you set off on your European adventure, don’t forget to download the DBS Lifestyle app which lets you activate your card’s magnetic stripe! It’s just so convenient. Simply download the app, look for Card Services under the More tab, and select your card. It’ll automatically be activated when you travel, and de-activated when you’re home! Download now!

6. Venice, Italy

Libreria Acqua Alta

Image credit: Dage

For a Venetian experience unlike any other, visit the Libreria Acqua Alta bookshop. It’s one of the more interesting bookshops in the world, featuring stairs constructed entirely out of old books, a canal in its backyard, and cats randomly traipsing around the store. Sift through bathtubs and gondolas filled with all kinds of books, and be entranced by the haphazard historical beauty of this bookshop that’s truly one-of-a-kind.

7. Capri, Italy

Cliff jumping at grottoes

Image credit: (left) Chelito, (right) Michael Costa

The sunny island of Capri in the Bay of Naples is known for its rugged landscape, upscale shopping and its refreshing limoncello. But it’s also a great place for a little adventure! Head out to the famous Blue Grotto or the lesser known Green Grotto, both of which boast crystalline waters framed by tall, rocky cliffs. Take the leap from cliffs as high as 85 feet above water level! The experience is indescribably exhilarating, so we’ll let the pictures do the talking. Summer’s the best time to take the plunge, so grab the squad for a jump you’ll never forget!

Worried about travelling around in Europe? Then make sure you’re always prepared while travelling. TravellerShield Plus travel insurance is the ideal choice.  Travel with a peace of mind and check out their latest promotions on their page today!

8. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Game of Thrones Walking Tour

Image credit: Miroslav Vajdic

Fans of the hit TV show Game of Thrones will not want to miss this: a walking tour of the places where the show was filmed! Knowledgeable guides will take you on a journey (the extended tour is 6 hours long) through major filming locations such as towns, harbours and ‘combat arenas’, all while providing fun facts and behind-the-scenes anecdotes! Relive your favourite scenes as your explore the grounds and feel as if you’ve stepped right into Westeros.

Raring to explore the hidden gems of all these charming European cities? If you’re going to travel around Europe pretty often, why not apply for the DBS Altitude Card? Enjoy 3 miles per S$1 spent on online flight & hotel transactions (capped at S$5,000 per month), 2 miles per S$1 on overseas spend (in foreign currency), and 1.2 miles per S$1 local spend.

So whenever you spend, you’re actually saving up for your next trip! Learn more about the privileges of the DBS Altitude Card on their page today!

9. Amsterdam, Netherlands


Image credit: (left) Jo Jakeman, (right) Pedro

The world’s only floating flower market is fragrant all year round! Since 1862, Bloemenmarkt on the Singel canal has been home to Amsterdam’s finest flower sellers, all operating from houseboats, and is one of the city’s principal flower suppliers. Tulips, geraniums, narcissus and more make it a gorgeous riot of colour. You can even buy flower bulbs to take home!

10. Berlin, Germany


Image credit: (left) Jan Bommes, (right) Internauten Basis

If you’ve got an inkling for the weird and wonderful, this abandoned amusement park in Berlin might just be the thing for you. Spreepark has been abandoned since 2001, and is closed to the public although you can book weekend tours which are accompanied by a guide. Nevertheless, plenty of locals and tourists have explored it on their own for a unique experience in Berlin unlike any other. The abandoned rides and village set-ups make hauntingly beautiful backdrops for your squad photos too!

So what are you waiting for? Get your squad together for a summer vacation like no other!

Brought to you by DBS.

Singapore dollar deposits of non-bank depositors and monies and deposits denominated in Singapore dollars under the Supplementary Retirement Scheme are insured by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation, for up to S$75,000 in aggregate per depositor per Scheme member by law. Monies and deposits denominated in Singapore dollars under the CPF Investment Scheme and CPF Retirement Sum Scheme are aggregated and separately insured up to S$75,000 for each depositor per Scheme member. Foreign currency deposits, dual currency investments, structured deposits and other investment products are not insured.

About Author

Rachel Lee
Rachel Lee

Rachel loves to write, travel, and of course, write about travel. She believes that you can find beauty and wonder in the little things, in any little corner of the world. If you can't find her at a desk with her head stuck in a book or up in the clouds, she is probably dancing or even more probably checking the fridge.