A getaway to Europe usually conjures images of cute towns, historic cities, castles & ruins - but people often overlook the sheer oversight of nature that the continent has to offer. With its broad spectrum of climates and cultures, the European continent has some nature to offer everyone - no matter your preference.
With all the stress of the office, sometimes a bit of a break from the world is exactly what we need. From rolling hills to rocky cliffs, snowy mountains to sandy beaches, here’s a list of some of Europe’s finest offerings for those looking to get away from it all and soak up all of nature’s beauty.
1. Germany: Black Forest
Germany’s famous Black Forest is known for being the inspiration behind many of the most famous Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales, and with just one look at the landscape, it’s easy to understand why. The dense evergreen forest covers a large area of the German countryside, and is packed with things to explore, such as spas, vineyards, and hiking trails. If you want to get away from the world and step into a fairytale, the Black Forest is a perfect nature-filled getaway.
2. Ireland: Connemara
Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle, and for good reason. The entire island boasts a lush, green landscape that is perfect for any nature-lover looking for a peaceful and refreshing escape. Connemara, however, is a particularly precious jewel in the island’s offerings. Connemara is situated in the west of Ireland, straddling the Atlantic coast. It is packed full with rivers, lakes, rolling hills, mountains, bogs, and heathland. If you’re looking to travel around an area that boasts a wide variety of natural beauty, Connemara makes for the perfect long weekend.
3. Italy: Tuscan countryside
Italy is famous around the world as a tourist destination - millions flock each year to soak up its fine weather, delicious food, and unbeatable selection of wines. While the cities of Italy are perfect for culture and history lovers, the countryside is teeming with natural beauty just waiting to be savoured. The central region of Tuscany, in particular, is a favourite among travellers looking to revel in natural beauty. Picture rolling hills, terracotta rooftops, and expanses of pine trees nestled among expansive vineyards. Best of all, after a day of hiking or exploring, you can settle down and tuck into some delicious Italian cuisine.
4. Norway: Svalbard
If you like the idea of completely disconnecting from the world and immersing yourself in a landscape that feels like it could belong on another planet, Norway might just well be the destination for you. Svalbard is a remote archipelago of glaciers that is beautiful to visit, especially during summer. It stays light for most of the day, meaning you have even more time on your hands to enjoy the epic glacial scenery. This area also offers a look into how people manage to thrive in some of the world’s most remote conditions, as it is one of the world’s most northern inhabited areas, nestled between Norway and the North Pole.
5. Portugal: Madeira
Madeira is an autonomous region of Portugal that is famed for its beautiful nature around the world. It is an archipelago, comprising 4 islands off the northwest coast of Africa. The main island is volcanic, and as a result boasts a lush landscape of green and rugged hills. In addition to the beautiful green hills, Madeira is lined with impressive cliffs, pebble-stone beaches, and peaceful riverside settlements. For a relaxing island getaway, there are few more unique options than Madeira.
6. Croatia: Cavtat
If your idea of perfect nature involves crystal blue water, then the Adriatic coast of Croatia may be the spot for you. Cavtat in particular is a perfectly situated town along Croatia’s Adriatic coast that is known for its beaches, clear water, and many ancient Illyrian necropolises that dot the area. You can soak up the Adriatic sun against the background of the relaxed Cavtat harbour, which is lined with trees and is perfectly watched over by a beautiful range of mountains that lines the shore.
7. Crete, Greece
Yet another beautiful island in Europe to round off this list. Crete is Greece’s largest and perhaps best-known island, boasting thousands of years of rich cultural history. And while the island’s culture is fascinating, Crete’s natural beauty warrants a visit all on its own. Epic mountain ranges dot the inland of the island, while the coast is lined by an array of stunning beaches with clear, blue water. As Crete is a medium sized island, it’s perfect for anyone looking to get a mix of beautiful nature and small town life.
Feeling the itch to travel and get out into nature? Try one of these European getaways.