Summer vacations don't have to mean sea and beach. Here are some destinations for a summer vacation amidst mountains and lakes for hiking and scenic lovers!
A hiking vacation in the Dolomites is ideal for nature lovers. The landscape of this area is unique! The hut-to-hut trails in the Dolomites can be challenging, but the effort will be rewarded by overnight stays with delicious food, comfortable beds, and breathtaking views!
Basque Highlands, Spain
In the Basque Country, you'll have the opportunity to hike through gorgeous mountain landscapes (with great food and wine, especially the local idiazabal sheep cheese). Starting from the mountain village of Aránzazu, excursions include the Urbia Valley, the San Adrian Pass and the Aralar Natural Park, among ancient ruins, lakes, forests and shepherds' huts. Nearby you can also visit San Sebastián, just 40 minutes away by train.
In the Vorarlberg region you can enjoy the typical Austrian landscape as the sun sets over the valleys and mountain peaks. Here you can hike and bike, see the Lünersee crater lake, the medieval town of Feldkirch, and visit Bregenz on Lake Constance (ideal for water sports).
Walking from village to village in the breathtaking Svaneti region of the Caucasus will remind you of the Alps. The food is delicious and cheap, and the locals are welcoming. You can explore the area by starting in Kutaisi, with its farmers' market, before heading to Mestia, famous for its watchtowers, and the Shkhara Glacier.
In summer, Lake Annecy, one of the cleanest in Europe, is a fascinating destination for swimming and water sports enthusiasts. Try wake surfing, similar to wakeboarding but on a larger board. Across the lake you'll find Chateau de Menthon, a fairytale medieval castle atop a 200-meter rock. If you go in August, you'll also enjoy the fireworks display over the water organized for La Fête du Lac.
With some of the most unspoiled landscapes in Europe, ancient pastoral traditions and a nickname for effect, Albania's so-called cursed mountains are the perfect place for a wilderness vacation. These peaks, which stretch between the borders of Kosovo, Albania, and Montenegro, are easily explored thanks to a hiking trail designed especially for visitors.
La Palma, Canary Islands
The wildest side of the Canary Islands: La Palma is one of the hilliest and least developed islands in the archipelago. The volcanic craters, deserts and forests have a unique charm, accompanied by its small black sand beaches. Here you can alternate excursions in the breathtaking landscape of the island with a relaxing bath.
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