Secret Instagram spots in Europe? Surely that’s an oxymoron, considering the app has eight hundred million monthly users.
You’re right. I can almost guarantee you’ve seen every single one of these places on your Instagram feed at some point, either through @girlvsglobe or one of my Intagrammer “colleagues”.
But the actual location of these places is often quite hush hush. You know it’s a street somewhere in London or a rooftop in Prague, but that’s about as useful as a waterproof towel.
Now, I know there’s been a lot of backlash against Instagram recently. Many people think it’s ruining the way we travel and bemoan the good old days when everyone used to spend their holidays wading through thorny undergrowth on a deserted island.
I’m just joking around – in many ways I agree with the sentiment. But this post isn’t about extolling these locations’ virtues. Sure, they’re beautiful. But most of them are besieged by tourists so instead of ambient noise you get the off-key clicking of a thousand shutters.
I’m writing this post to pull back the veil and show you where these seemingly hidden, elusive spots really are. It’s a way for me to let you in on a few industry secrets. I got the inspiration from Trover, a travel planning platform that allows you to discover hidden gems all around the world. People add their favourite spots in every city and it makes travelling like a local super easy!
Below I’m sharing seven of my favourite Instagram spots, all of which I’ve visited myself. But you should check out my Secret Instagram Locations Trover list to which I’m continually adding new places, 99% of which you’ll no doubt recognise from scrolling through your newsfeed.
1. St Luke’s Mews, England
St Luke’s Mews in Notting Hill is one of the most Instagrammed little streets in London. It’s hardly a surprise – I mean, look at it! When you visit please keep in mind that people live here and be respectful of their privacy.
Several of the houses now ask for a £1 donation per camera – you just throw the money in throw the letter box and they donate it to a local charity. This is voluntary of course, but a small price to pay for all the likes you’re sure to get.
I was there just last month and included it in my 24th birthday vlog (have you subscribed to my channel yet?). I highly recommend you watch it to see what St Luke’s Mews looks like in real life.
2. Sultan Cave Suites in Cappadocia, Turkey
Cappadocia isn’t technically in Europe, it’s in Asia. But because Turkey tiptoes a line between the two continents I’ve decided to include it. I’d be doing you a disservice if I omitted a place this picturesque because of a technicality.
It’s hard to find a spot in Cappadocia that isn’t breathtaking. As if the moonlike surface dotted with towering fairy chimneys wasn’t enough, the hot air balloons make you feel like you accidentally stumbled onto a Disney film set.
But even in an area so blessed with visual beauty, one spot has won the hearts of Instagrammers worldwide. The Sultan Cave Suites are located in Göreme and are one of the area’s most renowned hotels. Their room prices start at €80 which seems pretty reasonable to me, considering you’ll literally be sleeping inside a lavishly decorated cave.
But you don’t need to stay at the hotel to witness one of the most spectacular sunrises of your life from their rooftop! Despite looking serene and private the terrace gets very busy, so keep that in mind. If you’re visiting in the winter bring thermals – mornings in Cappadocia can get frosty.
3. Eltz Castle, Germany
Eltz Castle (Burg Eltz) is one of the most picture perfect castles I’ve ever seen. Comfortably nestled in the hills above the Moselle River, it’s one of those locations that looks even better in real life than it does in photos. And it looks pretty incredible in photos!
This medieval castle is still owned by the same family that lived there in the 12th century, thirty three generations ago. You know what? I completely get it. If this was your house, you’d make damn sure nobody ever took it away from you.
Visit early to beat the crowds and if you have time, go for a hike in the surrounding forest. It’s a great way to find a unique vantage point, like in my photo above.
4. Hotel U Prince in Prague, Czechia
Prague is a photographer’s dream. Unfortunately that makes it nearly impossible to snap an image of the city that stands out in a sea of lookalikes. We sneaky Instagrammers have found a way… although now I’m telling the world about it so we’re back to square one!
When I first started travelling I used to fill every minute of my day with sightseeing. Five churches and two castles in one day? No problem. But now I prefer to sit back, step away from the crowds and really breathe in the atmosphere. The rooftop bar at Hotel U Prince is the perfect spot for a bit of people watching and day dreaming.
The food is a little expensive, but the cocktails are reasonably priced – and where else are you going to get this vantage point over Old Town Square?
5. Glenfinnan Viaduct, Scotland
My letter from Dumbledore never arrived, but I found the Hogwarts Express! This Harry Potter filming location is called the Glenfinnan Viaduct and it’s in the Scottish Highlands.
Make sure you look up the train timetable so you don’t miss it as it only passes through several times a day. I hadn’t done my homework before my first visit which meant no flying cars, dementors or chocolate frogs for me.
I caught the train on my second try a few years later and it was a scene I won’t soon forget. If you, like me, love this scenery you can read more about my favourite places in Scotland here on the blog. I lived in Glasgow for a year and, although I didn’t fully appreciate it then, I miss it now!
6. Burano near Venice, Italy
Burano is becoming more and more popular thanks to Instagram, but many people still miss out on this incredible experience when visiting Venice. It’s just a 40 minute boat ride away and *so* worth the trip!
Aside from being a photographer’s paradise, Burano is also known for its lace making and fishing industries. Don’t miss out on the chance to grab some fresh seafood if you’re an omnivore. Vegans, don’t worry – it is possible to find plant-based food here too.
If you want to beat the crowds make sure you get the first boat in the morning or stay late into the afternoon. You can watch the video above for a few more useful tips as well as general information about the island.
7. Rainbow Stairs in Istanbul, Turkey
Not only are these rainbow steps in Istanbul pretty, there’s also a lovely story behind them. Retired forestry engineer Huseyin Cetinel spent four days and $800 transforming this massive staircase into a beautiful rainbow.
When asked why he did it – was it an LGBTQIA+ statement, a political message? – he said: “I didn’t do it for a group or as a form of activism. I did it to make people smile.” We need more people like Huseyin!
I really hope you learned something new through this post, featuring some of my favourite Instagram spots in Europe. If you did I’d love it if you saved the image above on Pinterest or shared it on social media. It helps me out more than you might think.
If you enjoyed this list have a look at my Secret Instagram Locations Trover list. You’ll find dozens of other picture perfect places on there – I hope you like it!
What are your favourite Instagram spots, in Europe or elsewhere? Share your top picks in the comments below, I’m so curious!
Disclaimer: This post is kindly sponsored by Trover, but as always all opinions are my own. I really love the platform so I highly encourage you to check it out.