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20 nice holidays in Central Europe | Travel

Slovenia

Friendly farm keep

The hamlet of Kupljenik is simply an hour’s drive from Slovenia’s Ljubljana airport but it surely feels a world away. Surrounded by meadows, Dolinar farmhouse affords easy double rooms with rustic wood furnishings in addition to bigger residences. Outside, crickets chirp at sundown, the Sava river is filled with trout and company may help milk the goats ought to they want (they make the farm’s natural goat’s cheese and curd), and even take part with haymaking. On Lake Bled, a 10-minute drive away, anglers can attempt their luck for pike, carp and lake trout.
• Double rooms from £44 B&B, condominium for 4 £70 an evening, dolinar-krainer.com. Flights as earlier

Ride the Julian Alps

Photograph: Saro17/Getty Images

One of the fun of biking round Slovenia’s north-west is having the craggy limestone backdrop of the Julian Alps. Inntravel has a brand new self-guided biking tour right here this summer season, staying in three- and four-star lodges (one with a spa) and taking in Lake Bled and Vintgar gorge and ending up in Radovljica, which has a beekeeping museum. Local beekeeping traditions are a spotlight, tying in with the latest UN declaration, on Slovenia’s initiative, of an annual World Bee Day (20 May).
• From £798pp together with six nights’ B&B, 4 dinners, bicycle rent, maps, notes and baggage transfers however not flights, inntravel.co.uk. EasyJet and WizzAir fly to Ljubljana from Gatwick, Luton and Stansted

Countryside wellness

Urška Eco Farm infinity pool

Urška Eco Farm

In Slovenia’s rural areas almost every part that comes out of the kitchen is “local”. At Urška Eco Farm, a 40-minute drive from Maribor, the main focus is on gradual meals. In the kitchen, Vilma, the cook dinner, seems strudels and pies, dairy merchandise embellished with edible flowers and home made cottage cheese. Vegetarians and vegans are notably effectively catered for. Wellness can also be a spotlight right here, with Turkish baths, a Jacuzzi and a hay bathtub. The bedrooms are merely embellished with stable wood furnishings and little touches like felt slippers.
• £47 per individual half-board, metija-urska.si. Flights as earlier

Croatia

Kayak, hike, bike

Plitvice Lakes national park

Plitvice Lakes nationwide park. Photograph: Sebastian Condrea/Getty Images

Sea kayaking within the Elaphiti archipelago, biking in Krka River nationwide park and mountain climbing within the Plitvice Lakes nationwide park all go into making Croatia considered one of Europe’s greatest outside locations. Huck Finn Adventures, a neighborhood outfit who abide by their motto “see them as they are, leave them as they were,” has a summery Best of Croatia multisport journey, packing in all the above, and extra, over eight days.
• From £1,090pp together with lodging, most meals, tools, park entrance charges and transfers, however not flights, huckfinncroatia.com. Several airways fly to Dubrovnik from UK airports

Cycle Istria

Rovinj old town and harbour.

Rovinj previous city and harbour. Photograph: Alamy

The Istria peninsula’s coast lures crowds of sunseekers, however travel inland and it’s extra about hilltop villages and cobbled streets. It can also be a culinary paradise – with resh seafood, white truffles and premium olive oils are the norm. Inntravel has a brand new self-guided hotel-to-hotel biking journey this summer season, taking within the coast and villages reminiscent of Brtonigla, and medieval Buje, earlier than ending up at Rovinj, with its baroque palaces, and Pula, well-known for its Roman heritage.
• From £895pp for seven-nights’ B&B, three dinners, cycle rent, maps and notes and baggage transfers, however not flights, inntravel.co.uk. Jet2, easyJet, Ryanair and TUI fly to Pula from a number of UK airports

Coastal tenting

Camping Glavotok, Croatia

Camping Glavotok, on the island of Krk, is a straightforward 30-minute drive from Rijeka airport, courtesy of a highway bridge. The website is understood for its rustic setting, and the pitches with the most effective sea views (263-280 and 327-334) are booked as much as a 12 months prematurely. This summer season, there’s nonetheless loads of availability for shady woodland pitches. A typical day at Camp Glavotok may contain exploring a rocky seaside within the morning, strolling by way of a forest reserve within the afternoon and hanging out at a low-key seaside bar at night time.
• From £16 an evening for 2 adults with their very own tent, coolcamping.com. Ryanair flies to Rijeka from Stansted

Cottage for 2

Kameni Dvori - Holiday Village Konavle Vineyard Cottage, Croatia

Kameni Dvori is a dinky stone home sleeping two amid inexperienced meadows within the Konavle Valley, close to Dubrovnik. Owned by brothers Duro and Ivo, the cottage has plenty of green-minded touches: electrical energy is sun-powered, geo-thermal power powers the aircon, and company are invited to assist themselves from the vegetable backyard. From right here, there are views of 1,200-metre Mount Sniježnica and the close by vineyards that the southernmost tip of Croatia is understood for. It’s additionally completely positioned for biking and strolling routes.
• From £52 an evening, responsibletravel.com. Several airways fly to Dubrovnik from UK airports

Czech Republic

Three-country tour

Prague.

Prague.

Families who need to combine some city exploration right into a rural getaway may like Families Worldwide’s eight-day Prague and Tatras Adventure (for kids aged eight and over). It begins within the Czech capital earlier than heading on an in a single day practice to the Carpathian mountains of Slovakia, then on to the fort of Spis, a cycle journey to historic Kezmarok and rafting by way of Dunajec gorge. Crossing the Polish border, it takes in Niedzica fort and rafting within the Dunajec gorge.
• From £1,099 (£999 youngsters) together with B&B and actions, however not flights, familiesworldwide.co.uk. Fly to Prague and again from Kraków

Mountains in summer season

Mumlava waterfalls in Krkonose National Park, Czech Republic

Mumlava waterfalls. Photograph: Alamy

In the winter, skiers descend on the northern Czech city of Harrachov, close to the Polish border, however in the summertime it’s all about strolling and biking. From the city there are dozens of trails and the deafening Mumlava waterfall – one of many nation’s largest – is an effective spot to chill off. Given the wintertime snowboarding scene, there are many mountain lodges to remain in and the small 15-bedroom chalet-style Harrachovská Hacienda has direct entry to cross-country and biking trails, a Finnish sauna and loads of availability this summer season.
• Doubles £54 B&B, harrachovskahacienda.cz. Fly to Prague or Wrocław, Poland, each a two-hour drive from Harrachov

Across Europe by practice

The Brandenberg Gate, Berlin.

Berlin’s Brandenberg Gate. The Hungaria, considered one of Europe’s longest-running categorical providers, goes from the German capital to Budapest, by way of Prague.

Sometimes it’s extra enjoyable to take the practice. From London St Pancras, it’s simple to travel to central Europe, with a practice to Brussels after which onwards to Prague or Budapest (see seat61.com for step-by-step directions). Or get another person to do the organising: Vacations By Rail’s new 11-day tour stays in lodges and travels partly on the Hungaria, considered one of Europe’s longest-running categorical providers, from Berlin to Budapest. The tour goes by way of the Swiss mountains and throughout the Hungarian plains.
• £1,795pp. Departs 11 October, worth consists of all practice travel, together with Eurostar, and half-board lodging, holidaysbyrail.com

Spa life

Bohemian BathsKARLOVY VARY, CZECH REPUBLIC

The spa city of Karlovy Vary. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The spa city of Karlovy Vary in western Bohemia, filled with sizzling springs and grand colonnades, has lured luminaries reminiscent of Beethoven and Goethe over time. There has been a constructing growth in recent times, however there are good mountain climbing trails in surrounding pine forests, and the promise of revitalising spring waters in your return. Be positive to cease on the Soviet-era Hot Spring Colonnade, as soon as named after cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, to see the spectacular spurting geyser in its foyer.
• Stay simply steps from the Colonnade within the centre of city at Egerlander Hof (doubles £50 B&B). Trains from Prague take simply over three hours

Poland

High Tatra trek

Polish Tatras Trek

Between Poland and Slovakia, the High Tatras has a number of the most interesting wilderness in Europe and is home to wolves, brown bears and golden eagles. It additionally affords alpine-style adventuring at a fraction of the price of Scandinavia or the Alps. KE Adventure has an eight-day cross-border hut-to-hut trekking journey taking in Poland’s highest peak, Mount Rysy – which Lenin is alleged to have climbed – earlier than dropping into Slovakia and travelling by practice to the mountain resort of Starý Smokovec.
• £685pp together with transfers, lodging and meals however not flights, departures June to September, keadventure.com. Jet2, easyJet, BA and Ryanair fly to Kraków from a number of UK airports

Byways and bison

European bisons in Białowieża national parkPOLAND

Białowieża nationwide park. Photograph: Getty Images

Once a royal looking floor and now a Unesco biosphere, Białowieża nationwide park, north-east Poland, is greatest recognized for its bison. Europe’s largest land mammal has been efficiently reintroduced, having died out right here in 1919, and lives alongside elk, lynx and wolf. Tours are simply organized, together with to the oldest part of the park (which is strictly protected). Book by way of the native Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society workplace. Guides are £45 for as much as three hours.
• Stay at Unikat Guest House (doubles £30pn B&B), a five-minute stroll from the park. Several airways fly from the UK to Warsaw, 220km away

Paddle energy

Paniewo lock PolandABDTEN Paniewo lock Poland

Photograph: Alamy

Poland has tons of of kayakable rivers and hundreds of paddle-friendly lakes. Augustów, an outdoorsy city by Lake Necko within the north-east, is an alluring base for good-value kayaking excursions; there’s additionally an previous yacht membership that has been restored and transformed right into a resort. It’s in style with Warsaw citybreakers in the summertime – and August sees a weird competition of home made boats on the Netta river – so it pays to e-book lodging effectively forward.
• Szot rents kayaks from £6 a day. Doubles at Hotel Szuflada from £35B&B, with free bike rent. Fly to Warsaw

Hungary

Grape escape

Vineyard in Tokaj at sunset, Hungary

Vineyard in Tokaj. Photograph: Alamy

The small city of Tokaj, within the foothills of the Carpathian mountains in north-east Hungary, is legendary for tokaji, one of many world’s most interesting candy wines, wealthy with nectar-like marmalade, fig and cinnamon flavours. Naturally, Tokaj is awash with vineyards, farms and villages. Underneath all of it is an interesting and historic community of deep, cool wine cellars.
• The 13-room Torkolat guesthouse (doubles €42 room-only) within the historic centre of Tokaj has its personal 200-year-old wine cellar, and might advise on native vineyards to go to. Wizz Air flies from Luton to Košice, Slovakia, a 1½-hour drive from Tokaj

Where eagles dare

Pair of European Bee-eaters.

European bee-eaters. Photograph: Varesvuo/Nature Picture Library/Getty Images

Hungary has glorious wilderness areas, from the good jap steppe to the woodlands of the Buda Hills. In late summer season, birdwatchers collect within the nationwide parks, notably the northern karst-rich Bükk and Hortobágy within the east, as Hungary’s breeding birds are joined by returning passage birds from northern Europe. Naturetrek has an eight-day birdwatching tour that visits three of the nation’s nationwide parks, the place it is best to spot the good bustard, imperial eagle and bee-eater.
• £1,695pp together with lodging, flights, meals and skilled information, departs 7 August, naturetrek.co.uk

Expert eco-lodge

Floating hide at Kondor Ecolodge, Hungary

Floating conceal at Kondor Ecolodge

As a base for seeing Hungary’s plentiful wildlife, Kondor Eco Lodge, 50 miles south of Budapest airport, has a lot to supply. Run by knowledgeable naturalist couple, who lead excursions specializing in topics reminiscent of macro pictures and wildflowers, the lodge has en suite rooms in thatched homes and a restaurant serving Hungarian specialities. In the encompassing forests and gardens are birdfeeders and wildlife-rich ponds.
• £95pp a day together with full-board lodging, skilled guiding and transfers, however not flights, kondorecolodge.hu. Seven airways fly to Budapest from numerous UK airports

Slovakia

High-stakes mountain climbing

Paradise National Park, Slovakia

Paradise nationwide park

Walkers in Slovakia’s Paradise nationwide park are in for a number of adrenaline rushes. Along 185 miles of marked trails, there are metallic ladders, ledges, catwalk bridges, creepers and chains throughout ravines and canyons, and beneath all of it tons of of caves. Much Better Adventures has a three-day strolling holiday within the park, mixing mountain climbing in gorges and thermal swimming pools with lunch stops at mountain huts. Hikers mattress down on the family-run Hotel U Leva, in a restored medieval constructing within the Unesco-listed city of Levoča.
• Three days from £309 together with breakfast, lodging, native information and airport transfers however not flights, muchbetteradventures.com. Several airways fly from the UK to Kraków, the journey’s assembly level

Go on a bear hunt

brown bears roaming the Carpathian mountains, Slovakia

Despite casualties from looking, there are a number of hundred wild brown bears roaming the Carpathian mountains, and these animals are the main focus of Tatra Photography’s four-day journey to Slovakia. Accompanied by knowledgeable wildlife photographer, the group will collect in new custom-built hides within the early morning, when bears is likely to be feeding, and once more late within the night, observing and photographing them.
• £1,199pp, departing on eight or 11 October, the worth consists of flights from London to Kraków, transfers, half-board, pictures tuition and workshops, tatraphotographyworkshop.com

Slo’ meals

Salaš Krajinka, Slovakia.

Salaš Krajinka

Northern Slovakia’s Liptov space is legendary for its people traditions, geothermal parks, caves … and cheese. Salaš Krajinka, in Ružomberok within the decrease Liptov, is a well-liked family-run farm and chalet restaurant with pastoral views of shepherds and sheep grazing and milking. No preservatives go into the hand-formed cheese and the bakery sells recent truffles and potato bread. Lunch for 2 within the restaurant prices round £25.
• Hotel Kultura (doubles £63 B&B) in Ružomberok, a 10-minute drive away. Wizz Air flies from Luton to Košice (two hours’ drive) and to Bratislava (three hours’ drive); Ryanair flies to Bratislava from a number of UK airports


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