This natural park south of Valencia is a secluded peninsular of lagoons, rice fields and beaches, packed full with birds, tranquility and a wonderful sense of space. As a delta, the area is flat and perfect for cyclists of any ability. Many people visit in spring and autumn for the bird migrations, but there are plenty of resident birds to see in summer and winter too.
This small corner of Spain just south of Almeria encompasses a range of different landscapes, in one day you can walk through sand dunes and on wide sweeping bays, play on rocky shores, climb mountains and sit by salt water lagoons bird watching. The scenery is stunning and this is a fantastic area for walking without seeing another soul all day or cycling on quiet lanes. Stay in San Jose, a bustling village, for some nightlife, if you still have the energy at the end of an active day.
The Donauradweg is 2,875 kms long, from the source of the Danube in Bavaria in Germany, through Austria, Hungary and beyond. Many people break this long route down into holiday size chunks and guides and maps are available to help you plan this. The cycling is achievable for anyone with some cycling experience and suitable for families. The cycling is mostly on quiet lanes and dedicated cycle routes. taking you through pretty villages and along the banks of the river. You can organise your own holiday or plenty of holiday companies will hire bikes for your trip, book hotels and organise luggage transfers.
Russell Hafter will organise a made to measure holiday for you along the Donauradweg and has plenty of experience and useful local knowledge.
Useful for maps and guides.
If cycling through alpine meadows and fragrant pine forests, alongside glacial rivers, with lunch at a typical gasthof with a view over the alps sounds appealing then this Bents Tours cycling holiday is for you. The cycling can be quite demanding, varying from 29 to 56 kms of hilly terrain, but there is no sense of rushing, as you have all day and your luggage is carried from hotel to hotel, so you can travel light. Bents Tours provide good bicycles and have plenty of experience of organising cycling holidays, so you can relax and enjoy.
Our first European cycling holiday included our 15-year-old son and the Freewheel holiday in Austria was ideal for a family unsure if this type of holiday was for us. The scenery was beautiful, the hotels were luxurious and many had swimming pools for teenagers who still had energy to spare at the end of the day, the longest day's cycling was 33 kms, manageable for anyone of reasonable fitness and the organisation was good. Cycling days are broken up with rest days, giving you a break from the saddle and the nine night holiday finishes in the lively city of Salzburg.
Breton Bikes have been providing cycling touring holidays for over 20 years. They offer a variety of excellent routes and you can choose between camping and hotel options. We chose the hotel option on their Carnac or Bust tour. We stayed in small family run hotels, each one individual and comfortable. The cycling is between 24 and 51 kms on quiet Breton lanes, tow paths and cycle routes. After the tranquility of central Brittany and stopping for lunch in the village cafe and not a tourist attraction in sight, it is something of a shock to arrive in the relative bustle of shops and bars on the coast. Breton Bikes is run by an English couple who are also cyclists and live and work in central Brittany. They provide you with all the equipment you need, including fantastic bikes and back-up.
Lynn and John run two self-catering properties in beautiful and peaceful area. The tiny village has only eight residents and is a picturesque spot. The welcome is very warm, there is plenty of information about things to do and Lynn and John will answer any queries. Plenty to do nearby, walking, bird watching, hilltop towns and castles to see.
This large open air pool in Austria's second city is a beautiful and lively place to be on a summer day. The pool has a gravel floor, trees for shade, a pleasant view and usually a few ducks paddling between the swimmers. The pool is a bus ride from the enchanting city centre with its astonishing mixture of modern and older buildings and is next door to Camping Central (free entrance for campers). The pool also has trampolines, a separate naturist area and table tennis. Early morning and evening swimming is possible from 06.00 until dusk. Prices vary depending on the time of day; for example, Euro 5.70 for an adult for a full day. Graz has six swimming pools, as well as a river beach in the city centre; so it is ideal for a watery holiday.
The pool is on Martinhofstrasse.
Leave the crowds of the main Yosemite valley and travel up to the stunning sub-alpine meadow area of Tuolumne Meadows. An easy walk of 2.4 kms along the river, surrounded by alpine flower meadows takes you to the Soda Springs; hidden in a wooden shack the water tastes just like gin and tonic!
Follow the road 13 miles east to Lee Vining and Mono Lake; a huge salty lake and an oasis in the dry Great Basin. With strange shaped tufa rock formations in the lake and a backdrop of extinct volcanoes, this is a bizarre, but threatened place; the excellent visitors centre tells the story. Stay in Lee Vining for a real frontier experience; spend some time bathing in one of the many hot springs and visit Bodie, a wild west ghost town.
Park at Lembert Dome Parking area, or take the shuttle bus, for the start of the Soda Springs walk. Highway 120 to Lee Vining opens in the spring. Bodie is north of Lee Vining.
For lots of information about the history of the lake and the area.
Google map: tinyurl.com/3ysljby
The Deutsches Museum is dramatically situated on an island (Museumsinsel) in the centre of Munich. This unique and popular museum brings science and technology to life for adults and children. Even if you don't speak German, you can enjoy a visit here; much of the information is in English and there is no shortage of hands-on opportunities. At 73,000 sq mtrs and 50 exhibition areas there is something for everyone and one visit is never enough.
The Alpine Coaster at Hoch Imst, above Imst in the beautiful western Tyrol, claims to be the longest alpine roller coaster in the world. All the fun of tobogganing, but in the sunshine. A memorable day out is to walk through the Rosengarten Gorge from the town centre, which takes you through a rocky ravine with waterfalls to Hoch Imst; rest and enjoy the alpine views on the cable car up the mountainside, take a short hike to the stunningly positioned Muttekopf Hutte for an alpine lunch on the terrace; return down the mountain side at speed in control of your own toboggan on the Alpine Coaster. A fantastic day out in a beautiful area. Other days can be taken up with the sculpture trail at the next village of Tarrenz, visiting the spa pools for a refreshing paddle and visiting the town's Carnival museum.
Imst-Gurgltal is in the western Tyrol, Austria.
The Sieben Muhlen ( seven mills) is a small museum set on the hillside above the river Salzach. The museum is run by the local community which has raised the money to restore the line of seven pretty wooden mills which tumble over each other on the steep hillside. Each mill has an exhibition inside (in German), on different grains, how the mills work, their part in the local community etc, with plenty of opportunities for being inter-active and hands-on. You'll probably have it to yourself and there are working water wheels to watch and wonky wooden channels full of rushing water to follow and the top mill has a surreal mystical theme that has to be seen to be believed; the Austrians never fail to surprise you!
Pfarrwerfen is near to Werfen, which can be reached by train from either St Johann im Pongau or Salzburg.
We spent 12 months in 2009 and 2010 travelling around southern Europe in our VW campervan. On our blog is a full list of all the camp sites we stayed at, as well as other useful information for anyone planning a similar trip and lots of photos of the beautiful places we saw in Italy, Slovenia, Austria, France, Spain and Portugal.
The walk from the swing bridge at Aberchalder, at the northern point of Loch Oich to Fort Augustus is a fantastic introduction to this moody and magnificent Caledonian canal; completed in 1822, 12 years late, it was never a commercial success. The walk of around five miles will take you past pretty spot of Kytra Lock, a good spot for a picnic or a rest and on to the picturesque staircase of five locks at Fort Augustus, always buzzing with activity as boats go up and down. Fort Augustus has plenty of places to find refreshments and the Abbey to visit; from here you can either return on the towpath or take the bus back to Aberchalder. The walk from the swing bridge at Aberchalder, at the northern point of Loch Oich to Fort Augustus is a fantastic introduction to this moody and magnificent Caledonian canal; completed in 1822, 12 years late, it was never a commercial success. The walk of around five miles will take you past pretty spot of Kytra Lock, a good spot for a picnic or a rest and on to the picturesque staircase of five locks at Fort Augustus, always buzzing with activity as boats go up and down. Fort Augustus has plenty of places to find refreshments and the Abbey to visit; from here you can either return on the towpath or take the bus back to Aberchalder. Aberchalder Lodge sleeps 12 and is a splendid and comfortable Scottish shooting lodge with views over the loch. (01828 640000, aberchalder-estate.co.uk)
Aberchalder is on the A82, approximately five miles from Fort Augustus.
Campeggio Priori is a small camp site and has none of the bells and whistles of the larger sites around Lake Garda. It is a peaceful oasis right in the heart of this lovely town, only five minutes walk from the lake or the cable car, with shops right outside the site's gate. The on-site facilities are excellent, and there is also self-catering accommodation. You can stroll from your tent or campervan through the cobbled, narrow streets and be sitting in a bar by the lake in minutes.
Chez les Roset is a beautiful self catering house (sleeps 4) in the stunning and peaceful valley, Valgrisanche. The house is full of charm and character and from the balcony you have a view of mountains and a glacier, as well as Planaval, a picturesque village. Excellent walking in the area and a highlight at the end of the valley is hearing the marmots whistle and spotting the bundles of fur among the rocks on the hillside.
The only place to stay in Munich. Stylish, high quality accommodation, excellent breakfast and just round the corner from a fabulous Indian restaurant. Surprisingly reasonably priced luxury.
Cool on a hot summer day or dry on a rainy day and loads of fun. Walk the 426m underneath the Elbe through the two narrow and tiled tunnels (or you can still drive through). The cars and people go up and down in lifts and the marine-related embossed tiles you see along the route are charming. Built in 1911, it was an engineering marvel in its time.
Lifts located in the domed structures next to the Landungsbrücken
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