red houses, Norway
Tuscany, Italy
Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco, Italy


Beyond the Beach in Europe

Spend time in Europe's green spaces and connect with nature.

Summer holidays often mean long, lazy days on the beach, and while there’s nothing wrong with this, Europe can give so much more. Beyond the typical beach break are destinations that can invigorate you with back-to-nature activity or enrich by cultural experience. Here are ideas for summer among mountains and fjords, hilltops and meadows.

"Delve deeper into Europe and be rewarded with wilderness, wide-open spaces and dramatic mountains. Step away from the crowds and enjoy a quieter side to Europe."

Sarah Ward Hedges

Personal Travel Designer

01488 689700 Read Sarah’s profile
Norwegian fjord, Norway




Summer in Norway is a breath of fresh air, literally. Daylight stretches far into the evening, so time spent in the enveloping forests and fjords takes on a surreal, suspended quality. Mossy woodlands with every variation on the colour green are incredibly peaceful and the sounds of nature surround you.

The real draw is the fjords though: majestic panoramas of mountains and narrow water channels. It’s easy to sit back and stare, but the scenery is just too good not
to experience. Challenging hikes take you up and out onto dramatic jutting promontories that give uninterrupted views over the fjords. The tranquil water is perfect for boat trips and kayaking, passing by waterfalls that tumble with spray so clean you can fill your drinking bottle.

Where to Stay

Turf-topped hotel Storfjord has a traditional wood-panelled Norwegian design with a contemporary edge, located in a mossy forest overlooking the fjords.

"Daylight stretches far into the evening, and the craggy coastal landscapes are ideal for exploring on foot."
La Bobadilla, Spain

Andalucía - Spain



Andalucía’s wild interior will surprise any visitor who steps back from the southern beaches of Spain. The craggy landscape is made up of serrated peaks, where white-washed settlements cling to mountains like a dusting of snow. Hiking is a great way to enjoy rural Andalucía, past olive, orange and almond trees. Nature lovers may be lucky enough to see ibex, Iberian lynx or fallow deer.

Thrill-seekers can take to mountain bikes or gallop on horses to feel the rush as meadows and shallow streams pass at speed. Head to parque natural Sierras de Cazorla for a refreshing swim in the emerald lake or admire Segura de la Sierra, a small mountain community topped with a medieval castle.

Where to Stay

Set within 350 acres amid the Loja mountains, white-washed La Bobadilla is the perfect place to relax in a cluster of white-washed houses and courtyards. This is southern Spain at its finest. Families will love suites with gardens and a kids’ club, pool and playground.

"Here, tradition prevails, a million miles from life as you know it."
Dolomites, Italy

The Dolomites - Italy



This is the holiday for adventurous families looking to bond over activities on the soaring peaks, scented meadows and river-tangled valleys of the mighty Dolomites. Known for its great skiing, in summer the region comes into its own as an epic playground for altitudinous adventures surrounded by crisp mountain-fresh air.

Cable cars smoothly take you to new heights over herb-filled countryside, where you can hike to mountain huts for an Italian picnic of panini, pancetta skewers and polenta under shady pine trees. Take a dip in clear natural pools and sunbathe on the grassy slopes. Come down via a specially designed bike track that switches back through woodland paths with a dazzling backdrop of jagged peaks.

Where to Stay

Deceptively charming, Ciasa Salares is a family run alpine hotel which will win you over with Michelin-starred dining, its considerable wine cellar and an artisan chocolate room, complete with dipping fountain.

"Enjoy professionally guided hikes into some of the world’s most beautiful mountain landscapes."
Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco, Italy

Tuscany - Italy



Stand atop a hilltop in Tuscany. For miles, you’ll see chartreuse-green hills with gold-hued villages balanced on top like royal crowns. Swathes of sunflowers and meadows of poppies are dotted with needle-like Cypress trees. Tuscany is an absolute beauty. But there’s more than just pleasing scenery. Connect with culturally rich Tuscany and its customs.

Learn about its wine, especially the montepuliciano grape, which holds its own in the worldwide wine industry. Inspect ancient vines and atmospheric cellars on a wine-tasting tour. Experience Tuscan culture during festivals, and join locals celebrating. The Palio di Siena festival is a thrilling bareback horse race dripping with pageantry, where processions and communal dinners fill the neighbourhoods.

Where to Stay

Lay your head at Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco. Expect luxuriously tasteful bedrooms, fine dining and a 4,000-acre estate that has its own winery, church, chapel and spa.

"Try a cookery course, often taking place in a home, to make panzanella or artisan pasta."

Have questions? Our knowledgeable team of experts are on-hand to take your call or if you prefer by Zoom. Talk to us about your holiday dreams or challenge us with your travel conundrums.

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