We don’t all want the same thing from a holiday – some of us worship the sun, others retreat to a dark room to avoid it. Happily, whatever your climate taste, there will always be a trip with your name on it. So, if you are seeking a certain season and don’t want to travel halfway round the world to enjoy it, here are our favourite European destinations.
Spring in Tirol, Austria: To experience a fabulous variety of scale, from charming little villages to awe-inspiring huge mountains, book yourself a trip to this beautiful Alpine region. If you’ve seen the clip of Julie Andrews proclaiming ‘the hills are alive with the sound of music’, you will have seen the sheer beauty of the place – and spring is the time to come and witness it for yourself. Whether you take a cycling tour around the pretty Alpine villages, hike high up in the hills, plunge into one of the many shimmering lakes, or feast on the culture of the historical capital Innsbruck, you are soon likely to find yourself singing the region’s praises from that same mountain top.
Summer in Tarifa, Spain: The Costa de la Luz is one of the most overlooked stretches of Spanish coastline and, sitting at the south end, where the Med meets the Atlantic, is the fishing town of Tarifa. While it still enjoys fabulous sunshine, its position makes the weather a little more temperate – and provides the added bonus of a vibrant surfing scene; it is thought to be the best windsurfing spot in the world. If water sports are not your bag, the beach is also renowned for its wildlife; stepping away from the sand, you can enjoy the Moroccan-inspired cuisine, or you can take in the region’s history, rich with Moorish, Saracen and Roman influences.
Autumn in Île de Ré: With summer behind us, this is the perfect time to explore Île de Ré, a tiny island off the west coast of France, famous for bicycles and oysters. It is a favourite summer holiday destination for the French so it can be a busy place; but when the crowds have headed back to their offices, and when a little of the heat has gone out of the days, you will have space and freedom to explore vast sandy beaches, heady pine forests, prolific oyster farms, traditional vineyards, and gourmet restaurants in the capital’s Saint Martin. By using the 100km of flat cycle tracks, what better way is there to take in the autumn air?
Winter in the Bavarian Alps: When the snow falls in the Bavarian Alps, there is no scene on earth more like a fairy tale. Join a rail tour and gaze out of the window at the wintry landscape: mountains, forest, meadows, all laden under a blanket of white. And no trip would be complete without a visit to the most famous of King Ludwig’s castles: the fantastical Neuschwanstein Castle, 17 years in the making and resplendent with pinnacles and turrets.