Six little-known holiday destinations for a quiet getaway
As the weather heats up and with Covid restrictions largely scrapped, it’s time to start thinking about those well-deserved summer getaways. Perfect for culture, sightseeing or simply lazing in the sun, we’ve rounded up some of the best-kept secret holiday destinations worth visiting this summer.
Juan-le-Pins is a relaxed and laidback, traditional French resort, known for its long sandy beaches, outdoor eateries and trendy cocktail bars. It’s much more peaceful than the bustling Cannes further along the Cote d’Azur, so it’s perfect if you want some real relaxation.
For the ultimate luxury experience, visit F Scott Fitzgerald’s former villa turned boutique hotel, Hotel Belles Rives, with options to stay in their deluxe sea-view suites or simply spend the day at their famous beach club. If you’re looking for something slightly more affordable, there are great options in the centre of town, such as the AC Hotel by Marriott Ambassadeur Antibes and Hotel Le Sud.
For a more active holiday, head to Ireland’s rural county, Tipperary. This beautiful destination is home to mountains, rivers, lakes and farmland. The beautiful untouched scenery that has inspired people for centuries and history will make you sit back in wonder. This Irish countryside is a location worth paying a visit to this summer.
Step back in time with a trip to the iconic medieval and Celtic collection of ruins, the Rock of Cashel, and stay at the Georgian mansion hotel, Cashel Palace, for rooms with direct views of the historic site. The newly refurbished hotel offers a relaxing countryside retreat for guests, with impressive dining options at The Bishop’s Buttery and Mikey Ryan’s Bar and Restaurant, along with a choice of luxury treatments in the hotel’s deluxe spa.
The Greek Islands
When one thinks of the Greek islands, places like Mykonos and Santorini – with their eye-watering price tags – are often the first that come to mind. But with 227 inhabited islands to choose from, combining a few in one trip is the perfect way to explore Greece’s hidden and untouched beauty.
Evia is the second-largest Greek island after Crete, and yet it remains largely unknown by international tourists. Loved by mainland Greeks, the island has a rich history and offers a real mixed bag when it comes to its landscape. There are sandy beaches, steep cliffs, waterfalls and rocky coastlines that provide more than enough to explore.
Milos and Skiathos also offer great options; Milos is often overlooked in favour of other big-name islands but the volcanic island comprises peaceful fishing villages and tranquil coves, whilst Skiathos is made up of as many beautiful sandy beaches as you could possibly visit. Stay at the family-run Atrium Hotel in Skiathos for a tranquil atmosphere and Salt Suites and Executive Rooms for a luxury, indulgent mini break in Milos.
Forget household names like Rome, Venice and the Amalfi Coast for a moment – some of Italy’s most charming destinations lie off the beaten track. Puglia sits in the southeastern part of Italy, making up the heel of the country’s boot-like shape. It has remained largely untouched by mass tourism, but the region boasts several standout locations worth a visit.
Valle d’Itria is one of Puglia’s most attractive areas and includes picturesque towns like Martina Franca, Locorotondo and Ostuni. The villages are surrounded by rugged coastline, ancient olive groves and centuries-old farmland, making it one picture-perfect getaway you won’t want to miss. Winding alleyways and whitewashed houses common to the Puglian landscape make up the streets of Ostuni, otherwise known as the White Pearl.
Sea lovers should head to the region of Salento where the hills of the Valle d’Itria end. Leuca is a town full of history, beautiful sandy beaches, and dramatic coastlines, offering everything you need for an ideal Mediterranean getaway. Messapia Hotel and Resort features panoramic sea views, a large pool and a spa.
Austria attracts its fair share of visitors over the winter season, with it being a popular European skiing destination, but it’s got a lot to offer all year round, particularly through the summer months.
Alpbach has been voted Austria’s most beautiful village, and it’s not hard to see why. Surrounded by meadows and dramatic forests that make up the Gratlspitz peaks, the town itself is filled with shuttered chalets and flower-filled balconies, giving it a traditional feel that looks feels like stepping straight into a child’s fairy story.
There’s more than enough to do in this town, including lake bathing, guided hiking tours, fishing, cycling, boat trips and seeing the local museums. You can also visit the nearby Neuschwanstein Castle – the inspiration behind Sleeping Beauty’s castle and one of Germany’s most popular attractions. Stay in Hotel Alphof or the deluxe Natur and Spa Resort for an adventurous summer stay.
If you’re looking for a trip to the Middle East, compared to its ostentatious neighbours like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the capital of Oman is a breath of fresh air. Known for its palatial architecture, beautiful souks, superb seafood and mesmerising terrain, there’s more than enough to keep visitors occupied. The port city is backed by the Hajar mountains, meaning your day can consist of desert trekking at dawn and sunset cruises around the Gulf of Oman spotting dolphins.