‘Blissful and extraordinary’: readers’ favorite locations in Europe | Europe holidays


Lakeside seashores, France

Lake Vassivière within the Limousin has one thing for everybody. We discovered one in all France’s largest synthetic lakes whereas on a donkey-trekking vacation (however that’s one other story!). The lake has 5 pretty sandy seashores with protected swim areas, seashore cafes and kayak rent. There are walks and cycle paths, however the actual gem is the lake’s island, with its lighthouse, a sculpture park and a chateau that’s now a restaurant. Entry is by way of a footbridge, free water taxis or by canoe. We stayed in a superb yurt on a donkey farm three miles away (about €400 for per week). Je ne regrette rien …
Angela Luke

A lush and fruity oasis, Sicily

Citrus heaven, Sicily.
Citrus heaven, Sicily. {Photograph}: Lynne Collis

If you climb down the trail to the luxurious Kolymbetra gardens, your pores and skin breathes in aid after the arid warmth of Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples. We’d seen entry to the gardens was free with a Nationwide Belief card, however we had been the primary guests to current one. The receptionist was delighted, and made us very welcome. The gardens are an oasis of citrus crops, from lemons the scale of grapefruit to bergamots, tangerines of each form, kumquats and ugli fruit. The paths are steep and uneven however superb.
Lynne Collis


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Guardian Journey readers’ suggestions

Each week we ask our readers for suggestions from their travels. A collection of suggestions will likely be featured on-line and will seem in print. To enter the most recent competitors go to the readers’ suggestions homepage

Thanks on your suggestions.

The crystal-clear waters of a Swedish island

Beach huts and boats at Asperö, Gothenburg
Seashore huts and boats at Asperö, Gothenburg. {Photograph}: Mikael Utterstrom/Alamy

Asperö, one of many islands within the archipelago off the coast of Gothenburg, was our base for an extremely quiet and peaceable keep. We rented a small cabin near the water – the views had been gorgeous and the water crystal clear, albeit shockingly chilly. There are not any vehicles, and locals get round on their very own two ft or utilizing humorous little motorised trailers. The island is reached by way of a daily native ferry, and a tram line connects the coast to town centre.

Falling in love with Palma de Mallorca

Palma de Mallorca with a view of the cathedral.
Palma de Mallorca with a view of the cathedral. {Photograph}: Alex/Getty Photos

In 2011, I started a collection of journeys to Palma de Mallorca and fell in love with town. From the Paseo Maritimo to the Arab quarter, there are such a lot of locations to remain, eat and wander – all with a distinct neighbourhood really feel. The golden stone of the cathedral glowing within the sundown is great seen by the masts of luxurious yachts. There are vacationers, however it is a working metropolis with buses stuffed with locals. Enterprise past the residential districts for a seashore day in Ses Illetes or drink within the fabulous views from Castell de Bellver.
Janet Dean

Beavers and wild boar within the Czech Republic

The flower garden of Kroměříž castle, Czech Republic.
The flower backyard of Kroměříž citadel, Czech Republic. {Photograph}: Marcin Lukaszewicz/Alamy

The charming village of Rusava, within the south-eastern Czech Republic, is an ideal spot for nature lovers. Keep at Resort Rusava (from £62 an evening), which overlooks a valley within the Hostýn-Vsetín mountains. The realm is nice for mountaineering by pine and beech forests and alpine meadows. Farther afield is the Poodři wetland space, simply west of Ostrava, which is teeming with hen life. To the south is Soutok nature reserve, the most important within the nation. It’s the very best reserve I’ve ever visited and I noticed eagles, beaver and wild boar. For some tradition, Kroměříž is just half-hour away and is known for its stunning Unesco world heritage website citadel and gardens.
Rob Dalziel

Blissed-out in Romania’s Bear Lake

Bear Lake, Sovata, at dusk.
Bear Lake, Sovata, at nightfall. {Photograph}: mauritius photos GmbH/Alamy

Floating within the saltwater of Romania’s heliothermal Bear Lake is probably the most blissful and extraordinary expertise. It’s deep (18 metres in locations) and, unusually for a salt lake, fringed with bushes. When you hop within the water to drift, it’s completely peaceable … and terribly heat. The highest layer consists of candy water flowing from close by streams, and the deeper you go, the hotter the water: at one metre it reaches 35C. Some guests come searching for cures for infertility or rheumatism; or, you may simply bob about like a cork, no matter nonetheless many papanasi cheese doughnuts you consumed within the close by cafes the evening earlier than.

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Eye-popping Kastellorizo, Greece

Kastellorizo, Greece
A water taxi to Kastellorizo, Greece. Photograph: Jayne

Take the ferry from Rhodes (or from Kas in Turkey) to Kastellorizo (also known as Megisti or Meis), among the most eastern of the Greek islands. There are gorgeous, well-priced rooms at Hotel Megisti, plus plenty of other apartments or hotels to choose from. Swim from the little beach on the far side of the basilica or catch a water taxi to tiny St George’s island for a day of swimming and snorkelling. When the day trippers have left, head to one of the many harbourside tavernas, which serve up super-sparkly fish, fresh salads and slow-cooked lamb. Keep an eye out for inquisitive loggerhead turtles that reside in the bay, which will probably pop their heads out of the water to see what’s on your plate.

Relaxing in thermal spa waters, Hungary

Lakeside next to the pier on Lake Balaton.
Lakeside next to the pier on Lake Balaton. Photograph: Peter Forsberg/Alamy

Lake Balaton is under two hours by train from Budapest. It provides a tranquil escape from the capital where thermal spa waters and endless seafood eateries line the lake. It’s where Hungarians go to escape busy city life, and where my grandparents spent their summer holidays while my mother and aunt were growing up. I travelled there in 2019 with a friend and stayed with a local family on their farm. Cycling every day, delving into the family’s organic produce and enjoying the relaxing water felt like a lockdown in the most wonderful way possible, before the real daunting one the following year.

Honey brandy and history in Sarajevo

Traditional Lukomir village in Bosnia.
Traditional Lukomir village in Bosnia. Photograph: Sulejman Omerbasic/Alamy

History, culture and natural beauty join hands in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s charismatic capital, Sarajevo: that’s what keeps me coming back. Cradled by dramatic mountains, we spent one day hiking out to visit Lukomir village, where a traditional lifestyle can still be seen. Back in the city that evening, we dropped into the Zlatna Ribica bar (the “golden fish”) to sharpen appetites with ludicrously cheap glasses of medovača, a delicious honey brandy. Later, we walked via the Latin Bridge to see the spot where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in the incident that sparked the first world war. Then we had dinner in the cheerful Aščinica ASDŽ cafeteria, with its generous portions of traditional Bosnian dishes.

Winning tip: a treasure hunt in a Massif gorge, France

Sainte-Enimie. Photograph: Sergi Reboredo/Alamy

The highlight of our trip last autumn to France’s Massif Central was the spectacular little town of Sainte-Enimie, nestled in a crook of the Gorges du Tarn. We dropped down into the amazing gorge – dramatically revealed after the approach across the high plateau to the north – via the hermitage hewn into the rock above the town. The walk around town felt like a treasure hunt of hidden alleyways and evidence of the community’s history since the seventh century – a wonderful surprise on what was a last-minute detour! The rest of the gorge is stunning and merits a holiday on its own. We plan to return for a full week of active adventure.
Matt Elliot

A picture in this article was changed on 16 June 2023. An earlier version showed Lake Hévíz in Hungary, rather than Lake Balaton.

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