Every day we get plenty of messages and questions from you. We love it and try to answer every single one inquiry we get. However sometimes we miss a few due to the hurry we’re in… The subjects of the messages differ depending on the season. In autumn and winter you ask for places for exotic vacation, you inquire about vaccinations, weather in Thailand, what to see in Cambodia and where should you stay in Singapore. In spring the vacation becomes the main subject. And then we get a whole lot of questions which should be easy to answer, yet often turn out to be the most difficult for me 🙂
‘We’re planning vacation in Europe with my husband and children, We want it to be warm, so that the kids are happy, and with a safe beach’. What now??? There’s plenty of answers to this kind of question and it all depends on your preferences. Maybe you like large resorts and sandy beaches, but you get hordes of tourists with that too. Maybe intimate bays hidden from the world? Cities or villages? Spanish tapas or Greek salad? Italian mozzarella or Portuguese cheese? I usually don’t know that… I try to recommend places we’ve been to and liked it there. And so after answering yet another message about holiday destinations I decided to give you a few recommendations for a European summer. Most of the places aren’t located far from Poland, most are safe, familiar but often visited the other way. Ideas designed so that everyone can find something interesting. Ideas tested by us over the years. Trips I would be happy to repeat!:)
Shall we go??? 🙂
1) PORTUGAL – ALENTEJO REGION AND LISBON
For most of the vacationers, Algarve beaches are the most popular destination when it comes to Portugal. On one hand it’s hardly surprising since there’s plenty of beautiful places with amazing cliffs submerged in water. On the other hand, Algarve must be the most touristic place in whole Portugal, with crowds, lots of huge hotels and the whole resort vibe we usually run away from. That’s one of the reasons we fell in love with Alentejo! Even though it covers 1/3 of Portugal’s surface, there’s just 10% of the population living there. It’s quiet, local and authentic. There are some tiny towns, cool, family-run hotels and tiny restaurants with great food.
If you like beaches you won’t be disappointed either (try Porto Covo for instance). They’re much less populated and wilder than on Algarve coast. We recommend combining the visit to Alentejo with 2-3 days in Lisbon. It’s got its great vibe is full of life, spacious squares, tiny streets and attractions for kids and adults alike. In order to see Alentejo, you should buy a ticket to Lisbon (check Wizzair for that matter!) and then rent a car and have a go around the towns and beaches of Alentejo. One of the most beautiful places in the region – Marvão is located just 240 km from Lisbon.
A perfect idea for all those who love peace and quiet, little villages, nicely cooled red wine, siesta and plenty of sun! 🙂 More reasons to go to Alentejo can be found HERE. Also, check our guide to Lisbon and our subjective culinary guide to it HERE!
2) GOZO AND MALTA
Malta is a well-known destination, however it can still be amazing and provide great conditions for relaxation and sunbathing as well as some cool sightseeing spots. Due to the size of the island it’s easy to see by car, even if you don’t like driving too much. However, we’re not really recommending Malta but a nearby Gozo. It’s also a good place for those looking for peace and an exile from the crowds. Gozo is still visited by most of the tourists from Malta for a one day trip which makes its little towns look lazy and sleepy and hot. It’s a perfect place for those who love lying in the folding bed by the pool or on the beach and would like to go for 2-3 small trios – one around Gozo (14 km long and 7 km wide) and 1 or 2 trips to Malta.
On Gozo you will also find some great local food with plenty of fish and seafood, intriguingly tasting cheeses and one of the best tomatoes we ever had! We keep thinking about them even though it’s been 3 years since we’ve been there!!! 🙂 More about Gozo’s cuisine – HERE!
Look for flights to Malta and for a house for rent on Gozo (on sites like www.holidaylettings.co.uk ,HomeAway or HomeToGo), preferably with other family you know. We managed to find one with a terrace and a swimming pool on the roof and a jacuzzi downstairs. Perfect! See Gozp by car and take a one day trip to Malta (by ferry – it’s just 6 km!) in order to see Valetta, Sliema or Marsaxlokk. More about Gozo’s advantages – HERE. What we saw on Malta – HERE. Also, be sure to check out Mdina and fishermen’s village called Marsaxlokk.
3) NORTHERN FRANCE, NORTHERN SPAIN
Northern parts of France and Spain are a good destination for one or two trips depending on the amount of time you have and your curiosity level during sightseeing. If you have just a few days go for Normandy or just Spanish Basque Country with amazing and addictive San Sebastian. But if you’re planning a long 2-3 weeks vacation, you can go for a road trip around the North. We did during our month-long trip around Europe in 2011. We loved the cities of Normandy, seafood, charming Brittany and picturesque Basque Country in northern France. In Spanish Basque Country ( I used to live there for six months once!) we indulged ourselves with pinxtos (Basque tapas), we visied San Sebastian and Bilbao before we headed to Castro-Urdiales, a medieval city of Santillana del Mar and Combarro in Galicia which looks a bit like scenery for a movie about witches.
Prepare for some extra hours in the car, but if you make a decent plan it will surely be an unforgettable holiday!:) Perfect for all good food lovers and opponents of too hot holiday destinations – the weather in the North tends to be moody 🙂 PS. Apart from beautiful places to see and specialties to buy, you will find plenty of places to go sunbathing and surfing too!
4) SOUTH ITALY – A ROD TRIP
A copy of our first perfect vacation – in 2009,a few months after we met. A cheap flight to Rome and then a trip to Positano on Amalfi coast in a rented car, a visit to Naples, sunbathing in Positano, amazing Italian food and some more driving afterwards. We left for charming Trani near Bari and then to Gallipoli in the end of the Italian boot. We found delicious food everywhere, sunny weather too (even though it was September!) and beautiful places to see. Homes carved in stone in Matera were really impressive. We spent some of the best evenings walking the streets of Tropea and Scilla and finally we got to Sicilly. We took a ferry from Palermo to Naples and then returned to Rome.
I won’t show you too many pictures because I couldn’t find all of them but believe me or not – after all these places we’ve seen in the last 7 years, this is still one of the most beautiful journeys we made! 🙂 I can obviously provide more specific information and you can read more about Positano HERE – we managed to get back there in autumn 2015 🙂
5) BALKANS – ROAD TRIP
A road trip once again but you’ll have no problems finding places to go sunbathing in Croatia or Montenegro. Add magical Mostar and Pocitejl, intriguing cities such as Sarajevo and Skopje, lakes, mountains, a bit of everything. I recently wrote why Balkans are a good holiday destination HERE. It’s a perfect place if you don’t like popular destinations with crowds and huge hotels (just be careful in some of the resorts in Montenegro!;)). It’s a perfect destination if for various reasons you prefer driving on your holidays instead of flying. We left Warsaw in the evening and reached charming Croatian Rovinj in the early morning. A great place for a first checkpoint! More entries from our Balkan trip can be found HERE.
So what? Are you coming? 🙂 Which idea sounds the most intriguing??? 🙂