Off the beaten track – exploring Europe’s hidden gems
It’s pretty obvious why some places are holiday destinations. Spain offers a glorious combination of sunshine and sandy beaches, Rome is the hub of the ancient world’s greatest empire and Paris is a million different things to a million different people.
If the thought of holidaying in the busy hot spots of Europe fills you with dread, do not fret. There are still plenty of authentic destinations left to explore. Ever considered a holiday to Swiss Alps? How about the Black Forest? Read on to find out why you may want to rethink your next holiday.
Lake Annecy, in the Rhône-Alpes region, is one of the most beautiful areas of France. The lake is one of the largest in France and is surrounded by attractive towns and villages with a backdrop of glorious alpine mountains, reflections shimmering gently in the clean waters of the lake.
The Rhône-Alpes is renowned for its haute cuisine, so if you are a keen foodie, this is definitely the place for you. The region boasts five three-Michelin star restaurants along with 60 restaurants with at least one Michelin star.
The region is also a hub for sports enthusiasts, with a wealth of water sports on the doorstep and endless walking opportunities in the French Alps. Below the snow-capped peaks, the foothills are adorned by pine forests and alpine meadows, linked by quiet footpaths and meandering roads leading to charming villages, small market towns and eventually down to bustling Annecy and the shimmering waters of the lake.
To get the full flavour of this tantalising region, book a stay at La Ferme de la Serraz.
Deep in central France, the Cévennes National Park is an unspoilt mountain area perfect for nature lovers and walkers. The area is covered by thousands of miles of footpaths, looping through tree covered slopes, dry stone terraces, isolated hamlets and a wealth of flora and fauna.
Must-dos during a stay in the area include visiting the Pont du Gard, an outstanding Roman aqueduct, built by the Romans to supply water to Nîmes. On a warm day, combine exploration with a cooling swim in the river Gard.
Take a drive along the corniche road between Pont d’Arc and St Martin. The road offers spectacular views of the Gorges de l’Ardèche, carved out of limestone by the waters of the Ardèche River.
To fully explore the area, stay at Camping Val de Cantobre on the south west edge of the Cévennes National Park, close to Millau, or Camping Château de Boisson, located at the south east edge, close to Alès.
Pace yourself in Switzerland
Interlaken is one of the oldest resorts in Switzerland. The town is famed for its superb views towards the Jungfrau massif, and a train trip up to the highest train station in Europe, the Jungfraujoch is an absolute must.
Dizzying peaks and glimmering lakes dominate the Interlaken landscape, making it a popular Swiss holiday destination. There is plenty of opportunity to escape into the mountains and set your own pace – from gentle hikes and cycle rides to adrenaline-pumping adventure sports.
Camping Manor Farm in Interlaken is the ideal base to explore this stunning country. With a glorious lakeside setting and views to the Eiger Mountain, the campsite is just 27 miles from the capital, Bern.
Black Forest magic
The name conjures up images of dense woodland, spectacular scenery, tasty cakes and the traditional wooden cuckoo clock. The Black Forest embodies all you might expect of a German picture book holiday.
This beautiful region is especially popular with walkers and cyclists. Marked trails run through the woods and past sweet smelling meadows to picturesque villages with flower-filled window boxes and welcoming cake shops!
Special highlights in the Black Forest include the beautiful town of Freiburg, the bathing town of Baden-Baden and watching a carnival (‘Fasnet’) in villages, where ancient 400 year old customs are still alive.
For your stay in the Black Forest, try Campingplatz Kinzigtal in Steinach. Just 20 miles south east of Strasbourg, the campsite makes a small and friendly base for your excursions.
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