Travel Closer to Home: Shortest breaks across Europe

Edwardian village of Seaview
Edwardian village of Seaview

Do you have to shorten your window to travel? Or want to stay a little closer to home? For those that are based in the UK and Europe, here are some of the very best really short breaks in Europe.

GREECE | Mount Olympus Guided Walk

The refreshing water holes of the Ennipeas Gorge on Mount Olympus |  <i>Kate Baker</i>

A landscape of mighty plateaus, ridges and gorges, Mount Olympus was Greece’s first ever National Park, with its lower flanks protected as a World Biosphere Reserve. Expect spectacular vistas as you trek to various peaks – there are 52 in total – and depending on weather conditions you may even make it to Mytikas (‘nose’), the mountain’s highest peak at 2,918 metres.

• Join this 4-day guided walking holiday in Greece for a short break in Europe


UK | Isle of Wight Cycle

Taking a break above Alum Bay

Pick up your hire bike at the traditional seaside resort of Ryde, the largest town on the island, and let your holiday begin! Ideal for anyone looking for a short town-and-country cycling break, the circular route is undulating and distances are kept fairly short, giving you time to stop and explore. Highlights include sophisticated Cowes, world famous for its regatta; the astonishing brick-built Quarr Abbey; and taking the cycle path to Freshwater Bay, which follows an old railway line.

• Join this 5-day self guided cycling holiday for a short break in the UK’s Isle of Wight


FRANCE | Alsace Wine Route Cycle

Cycling in Alsace, France |  <i>Ewen Bell</i>

With colourful wood-timbered houses, winding cobbled streets and tiny wine bars and cellars, the pretty towns and villages of the Alsace in France ooze romance. No wonder this is where you will find Kaysersberg, recently voted as France’s new ‘Favourite Village’!

• Take this 5-day self guided cycling holiday in France for a short break in Europe within easy reach


AUSTRIA | Cycle Linz to Vienna

Hofburg Palace in Vienna |  <i>Lilly Donkers</i>

Recapture the romantic atmosphere of the ‘The Sound of Music’ as you follow the winding route of the mighty Danube, cycling past castles, Benedictine monasteries and ancestral vineyards en-route to grand Vienna. This family friendly itinerary starts at Linz, where you can treat your children to a slice of Linzer torte, the oldest cake in the world – the first recipe dates from 1653!

• This 5 days self guided cycling holiday in Austria makes for a fantastic quick trip in Europe


IRELAND | A Taste of the Wicklow Way

Upper and Lower lakes Glendalough |  <i>John Millen</i>

Situated on the outskirts of Dublin, County Wicklow is home to a network of unspoilt mountain trails that cut through what is arguably the greenest part of the ‘Emerald Isle’. Following a series of way-marked paths, it attracts walkers from across the world eager to experience this stunning patchwork of landscapes. Think of country estates, heather-covered granite mountains, picturesque valleys, rolling green hills and tranquil forests.

• Opt for a 5-day self guided walking holiday in Ireland for a short break away


GERMANY | Berlin Wall Trail Cycle

Cycle past old East German watchtowers on the Berlin Wall Trail |  <i>Brad Atwal</i>

A ‘live’ history lesson (with a twist!) for everyone in the family... Once a symbol of division, the Berlin Wall provides today an alternative way to explore one of Europe’s most dynamic capitals. Soak in Germany’s fascinating history as you follow the 100-mile loop Wall Trail along the former border line, on what once were patrol roads.

• This 5-day self guided cycling holiday in Germany makes for an interesting break in Europe


FRANCE | Burgundy Highlights

Roof Tops of the 'Hospice de Beaune' in Bourgogne, France |  <i>Roger Bernardo</i>

From Dijon in the north to Santenay in the south, the Route des Grands Crus runs through many of the great appellations of Burgundy wine, hence the name of the route. Punctuated by nearly 40 picturesque villages and little towns, it is divided into two sections: the Côte de Nuits is the land of the great red wines, while the Côte de Beaune is where Chardonnay reigns supreme.

• For a short break just across the Channel, consider this 4-day self guided cycling holiday in France


TURKEY | Cappadocia on Foot

A small town in the rocks of Cappadocia |  <i>Erin Williams</i>

For millions of years the volcanoes of the Central Anatolian Plateau erupted to create unique rock formations and fairy chimneys. Through the centuries, different civilisations carved out houses and churches within these rocky pillars and the eventual underground cities left behind a natural and historical legacy which continues to be a focal point for visitors to the region. Interspersed amongst these relics is a living culture of traditional villages, spectacular river valleys and rural settlements.

• Learn more about this 5-day self guided walking holiday in Turkey


UK | Exploring the Cotswolds

Old Post House, Stanton |  <i>Tom McShane</i>

An itinerary specially crafted for those who want a soft introduction to walking in the English countryside. Highlights include the medieval wool town of Bourton-on-the-Water, the picture perfect village of Guiting Power, the atmospheric ruins of Hailes Abbey (destroyed under Henry VIII) and the still inhabited Sudeley Castle.

• 5 days self guided walking holiday in England


FRANCE | Provence Alpilles by Bike

The quaint town of Les Baux, Provence |  <i>Rachel Imber</i>

Fields of lavender and poppies, old olive groves and vine covered hills, orchards brimming with fruit and crumbling farmhouses… Ideal for those short on time, the 5-day itinerary takes in the sublime images of Provence, an inspiration for artists for centuries. The trip joins in Arles, where Vincent van Gogh lived in the late 1800s, while splendid churches, medieval castles and picture-book Montagnette villages along the way provide the perfect excuse for frequent stops.

• 5 days self guided cycling holiday in France

For more travel inspiration to European destinations such as the islands of Greece, the Balkans, the UK's popular Coast to Coast route and more, browse the website of our friends at UTracks.


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