As travellers, we always aim at seeing the very best and experiencing the most we can in the duration of our holiday. We stick to the beaten path, the tourist trail and take clichéd photos in front of the Eiffel Tower and / or the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Interesting places in Europe
Take a day trip or a weekend trip to a smaller, more isolated locations and discover interesting places in Europe. Here are five places perfect for weekend stops while travelling that you may not have considered before:
The second largest city in Iceland has so much more to offer than what people assume! Skip skiing in high level tourist places and opt for marvelling at the wonderful scenery in Iceland instead, famous for its hot springs and native wildlife. You can get a connecting flight from Reykjavik to Akureyn – and there you will find hot lava fields, waterfalls by the dozen, mountains and hot spring geysers. Visit Myvatn nature baths and take a soak, you deserve it. When in Iceland, always marvel at the scenery as it is quite unlike any other in the world. Lava fields are gifted with moss growing over them, and small flowers in the spring time and so the rugged terrain of steep rocks becomes a beautiful green landscape, and it changes in winter, too. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, take a trip to the island of Grimsey, where you can swim with the birds that outnumber people, 1000 to one.
Cinque Terre, Italy
A string of five towns that cling amazingly to the harsh cliff of Liguria, this is a place sure to wow any traveller. The best way to get between the towns is to walk or travel by electric bus, so invest in a travel card (they’re only five euros a day) to get unlimited use of footpaths, elevators and buses amongst the villages. Visit Monterosso, Vernazza, Corrigilia, Manarola and Riomaggiore and locate the small, hidden beaches between the towns. Climb the heights of the cliff to find the five scenic sanctuaries above the towns, offering a stunning view of the surrounding areas. Don’t forget to enjoy the food of the area, always sure to please. In the secluded beaches, you will find high rocks, great for diving! Just be careful to make sure there are no submerged rocks.
Voted Europe’s capital of the year for 2013, Marseille is a picturesque port city – laid out on an open river, with a labyrinth of cobblestone streets and artesian shops. Climb to the city’s highest point and see not only a spectacular view but arrive at the grand building of the Basilisque Notre Dame de la Garde. The evening is best spent at a restaurant beside the port and harbour, where diners only experience the finest and freshest seafood and local wine. Marseille is known for its ranging ethnicity, as it is the second largest city in France (and the largest in size) so you have plenty of choice when it comes to eating out – try everything! If you’re more inclined to travel in style, why not make the most of the port in Marseille and organise a yacht or sail boat? You can hire a two cabin sail or yacht boat for about 1500 Euros, roughly $US2000. Why not sail to your next destination?
Located in the central area of Tuscany, Saturnia is a town famous for wellbeing and spas. The most notable landmark are the natural springs, an area where some 800 litres flow per second into a large natural pool. The water is sourced from below ground, sulphur making it warm. The natural pool then forms into a small waterfall, the water gushing into smaller pools below. Whilst in Saturnia, you should visit the church of Santa Maria Maddalena, and the Roman Gate on the Via Clodia to indulge in the rich history of the area. Saturnia is the perfect place for a romantic weekend or day trip. Make the most out of visiting this area of Tuscany by enjoying all that the winding city streets have to offer; go to the marketplace and buy fresh food, or eat alfresco in the city centre. Most of the towns in the area of Tuscany are surrounded by rolling rural hillside, so travel between the towns to see the most of what the area has to offer.
Porto & the Douro Valley, Portugal
Known as the Arts capital, this vibrant and bohemian city sits alongside the Douro River. Behind the quaint city, in the area known as the Douro Valley, there are hillsides filled with some of Portugal’s best vineyards. Start your visit at the Ribiera, the area beside the river; great for dining out, and then take your time wandering through the labyrinth of the city. Make sure to visit the Livraria Lello, an old bookshop where you can enjoy a coffee or glass of port; it was voted one of the most beautiful bookshops in all of Europe, and it even has a spiral staircase. Art enthusiasts should ensure a visit to the Soares dos Reis and the Centro Portugues de Fotografia, the Portuguese Photography Museum.