Where to Avoid the Crowds in Europe This summer

With travel very much back on the agenda for 2022, we’ve looked at a handful of places to head to where you can escape from the crowds for a dose of space and serenity

Isle of Skye, Scotland

The largest of the Inner Hebrides really is a world apart from the British mainland yet one accessible without any of the crowds or queues of airports. A world-class destination for walkers, hikers and climbers, it includes interesting scrambles and challenging climbs on its Trotternish and Cuillin ridges, while the Cuillin Range embraces 12 Munros (peaks above 3000ft/914m). A much-loved outing is to the Fairy Pools tumbling down from the Cuillin Mountains in a series of waterfalls, one with an underwater arch that is sometimes visible.

Skye is also a superb place for wildlife spotting, from white tailed sea eagles, otters, seals, whales and dolphins to red deer. History abounds here too, with must-sees including the castles of the MacDonald and MacLeod clans. 

Formentera, Spain

Just 40 minutes by ferry from Ibiza, the Party isle’s little sister is a far more relaxed affair, with heavenly beaches that are regularly voted among the best in Europe and even the world. It’s also easy to get around, on foot, by bike or by scooter, with charming villages to happen upon and excellent restaurants to stop off at for authentic Mediterranean dining including the freshest local seafood.

There are a few hotels on Formentera, ranging from the homely to boutique designer properties, or alternatively the island is a great place for a villa holiday

The Azores, Portugal

Perched out in the North Atlantic, this protectorate of Portugal is an off-the-radar outdoor playground with kayaking, SUP paddle-boarding, canyoning, coasteering, hiking and biking all on offer to those who wish to embrace its compelling landscapes of sulphuric pools and grottoes, thermal waters and extinct volcanoes.

The whale- and dolphin-watching are also brilliant here, and there are fascinating wildlife museums in the islands’ old whaling stations. Other cultural attractions bear witness to the islands’ Spanish, Flemish and North African influences dating from periods of colonisation.

Hvar, Croatia

This Adriatic island is centred on the port town of the same name, with a Renaissance-era cathedral, a hilltop fortress and 13th-century wall to explore. But there are also blissful beaches such as Dubovica to discover, along with inland lavender fields, ancient olive trees and vineyards that add a fragrant touch.

Hvar can be reached from Split and Dubrovnik by ferry or catamaran and in turn offers boat trips to the nearby Pakleni Islands, which have their own secluded coves and beaches.

Gozo, Malta

Malta’s tiny little sister has a sleepy pace of life, spectacular flowers in springtime and intriguing architecture including churches with splendid domes and steeples. It also has what is arguably the best beach of Malta’s three islands, gorgeous Ramla il-Ħamra (‘Red Sandy Beach’), with protected dunes and a couple of cafés and stalls for refreshments. Backed by a green and fertile valley, its perfect for snorkelling.

Head to the Gozo Museum of Archaeology to see statuettes and other prehistoric objects from the Ġgantija Temples, which are Gozo’s real star turn. The oldest freestanding structures in the world, these UNESCO-listed monuments were constructed between 3600 and 3200BC, by – according to local legend - a race of giants.

To book your peaceful European break, get in touch today. You’ll benefit from full financial protection and a 24-hour duty office ready to assist you before, during and after your trip.

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