Late Summer Travels: A Truly Relaxed Time Out

The English summer has the unfortunate downside of, well, not being very summery, really. Oh you get the odd day when the sun is shining, the weather is nice, and you might think it’s finally here: summer in all its splendour. But that’s nothing more than the universe playing humorous tricks on us puny humans, trying to induce a false sense of security before raining down on our hopes and dreams with cloudy skies and chilly northern winds.

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The wise among us are aware of that. We’re on to the universe’s scheming ways, so as soon as we can manage to get away, we’re off on out little boats (they’re metaphorical boats, mind you) and off to Europe, for some winter sun where the beaches are glorious, and the food is sublime. For most Brits, this will mean the south of Portugal, Spain, France, Greece and even Turkey.

And don’t get me wrong, pick up a car hire in Malaga and you won’t lack for choice of how to spend your holidays. However, there’s a big downside to this southern migratory escape route. It’s been found out. It’s been discovered and can never be undiscovered, and now every year, from June to September, one can hardly move in most Southern European cities for fear of stepping on someone’s toes. It’s all stunning and slightly hectic and undeniably European (the bits you can spot amidst the crowds, at any rate), but it’s hardly very relaxing; being one of Europe’s most popular summer destinations.

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If you’re looking for something a bit more peaceful, Eastern Europe particularly is full of amazing destinations, made even more amazing by the fact they’ve so far been largely ignored by the hordes of sun-seekers currently occupying the beaches of Western Europe as if they’re trying to conquer the place. It’s not that there isn’t a tourism industry in these countries. There is, and it’s alive and well, but they’ve not yet been overrun by tourism to the point of becoming hollow husks of their former selves. Last minute city breaks are a clever  option in these countries.

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The Czech Republic is a good example. Prague is, quite possibly, the most gorgeous city in Europe, but there’s far more to the country than simply its capital, however lovely. Pick up a car hire in Prague and head off to Southern Bohemia, famous for its picturesque lakes, relaxing hiking trails and scenic views. Southern Moravia is the perfect destination for wine lovers, and Central Bohemia is a great place for kayaking, canoeing and windsurfing.

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Poland and Romania are also great options, both of them filled with beautiful cities, a rich culture and sunny beaches – almost a mandatory feature for those planning their summer holidays. Close to both Italy and Greece, Croatia is often overlooked in favour of its most famous neighbours, but it’s just as lovely and full of attractions as its most crowded competitors. So if you’re looking to have a relaxing time on your holidays, it’s worth keeping in mind that, more often than not, when travel agents say popular, what they really mean is crowded.

About the author, Melanie Taylor
This may sound predictable but I love to travel, exploring different cultures and learning all types of great things. My goals change all the time; the most recent being to learn a traditional recipe from each place that I have visited. I was lucky enough to live in Sydney, Australia for 5 years, across from a heavenly beach, “why did you leave”, I hear you all cry; well in the wise words of Dorothy, “there’s no place like home”. I have been working for the car hire specialist Auto Europe for 7 years now and I love my job!





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