Try An Escape To These Picturesque Villages This Summer 2016
What tops your wish list of summer holiday delights? How about crumbling hilltop villas, endless fields of lush green, serene cobbled pathways and glistening ocean views? All this, and more, awaits in picturesque villages across the globe. Spend your holiday discovering unique treasures on a retreat from the city, by escaping to one of these charming destinations.
Pastel, cliffside houses, wine and a sparkling harbour greet visitors to Riomaggiore, near La Spezia. One of the five villages that make up Cinque Terre, the postcard- perfect town is a popular base to explore the region, with a quaint jumble of shops, restaurants and apartments bordering the steep decent to the beach. What is there to do? Sip on the local Sciacchetra wine by the sea, hike through the mountains and dine under the stars.
Home to movie stars and artists, the village of Gordes spirals prettily around a hilltop, with panoramic views and alluring stone buildings. The winding alleys hide restaurants, cafes, bakeries and galleries, the fortified castle offers historical intrigue and the surrounding valley is blessed with honey, lavender and liqueur producers.
Grindelwald is best known as a fantastic base for skiing in the Jungfrau region, but summer highlights the Alpine’s lush, green magnificence. The town radiates country charm, with ringing cowbells, storybook cottages and scenic hiking trails. When you’re not spellbound by the all-encompassing views, you can visit a spa, take a trip to the Jungfraujoch, check out the sports centre or simply restaurant hop to indulge in Swiss cuisine.
Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
Though it suffers from the weight of day-trippers from Prague, if you stay for a few days in the fairy tale village of Cesky Krumlov, you’ll see the magic emerge. The UNESCO World Heritage site looks like it was created by an artist’s brush, from every charming angle. Apart from enjoying countryside views, the meandering cobbled paths and the rushing waters of the Vltava River, you can browse through quaint shops, people watch from cosy restaurants and explore the castle complex.
When you really want to get off the beaten track, Sapa is a land of cascading rice fields, towering mountains, lush valleys and colourful hill tribes. The town itself caters for tourism with hotels, restaurants and attractions, but you’ll want to spend your time visiting open-air markets and hiking or biking through the dramatic scenery.
When only a lakeside escape will do, the immaculate shores of Lake Bled, in north western Slovenia, is calling your name. Rising from the centre of the emerald green waters is a tiny island topped with a picturesque church – perfectly framed by the village ringing the lake. Discover Bled Castle, nearby hiking trails and waterfalls and get addicted to the local sugar topped, cream and custard pastry.