Soak up the atmosphere of medieval castles, climb the rocky shores of picturesque fjords, or simply admire the fabulous architecture and unspoiled nature.
- Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
On the territory of the reserve, there are caves, turquoise reservoirs, and forests, where you can meet wild animals and rare birds. Picturesque landscapes stretch for almost 30 hectares, but the most fascinating is the lakes and cascade of waterfalls. Due to the natural features of the place, new rapids appear here every year, and the views are constantly changing.
Plitvice Lakes Park is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. And if you are planning a vacation in Croatia, do not forget to look into this piece of paradise. By the way, swimming in reservoirs is prohibited: there were enough accidents. But you can walk along the wooden paths along the lakes and go boating.
How to get there. From Zagreb, Zadar or Split you can get there by regular buses, some routes involve transfers. From anywhere in the country, you can independently get there by car, and in large and tourist cities – take an excursion.
When to come. The park welcomes visitors all year round and is beautiful in any season. However, in winter only one entrance to the reserve is open, and part of the territory is inaccessible.
- Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
If not live, then almost everyone saw him on postcards or photographs. Neuschwanstein was built from 1869 to 1886 by the order of King Ludwig II. He went into huge debts to build a fairytale castle, but he himself lived in it for a little less than six months.
It is curious that the place intended for the solitude of one person became the property of hundreds of thousands of people: seven weeks after the death of the king, it was opened to visitors.
The monumental structure can be seen from afar: Neuschwanstein rises on a rock, which even had to be made eight meters lower to make the construction possible in principle.
The castle has over 100 rooms decorated with stories from Wagner’s works and urban legends. The throne room is distinguished by a special wealth of decoration and splendor. And from the observation deck, you can see the Alps, lakes, nearby villages, and the neighboring more modest castle – Hohenschwangau, in which Ludwig II spent his childhood.
How to get there. There is a regular train from Munich to Füssen station. Next to it is a bus stop that will take you to the trail to the castle. You can also get there by car or with an excursion group.
When to come. Any time of the year, but it is better to buy tickets in advance.
- Castles of Loire, France
The Loire Valley is a fabulous place. Dozens of castles and palaces of the Middle Ages and Renaissance eras are located on its expanses. Once here, in a picturesque place among stone buildings, flowering gardens, and vineyards, you seem to be transported several centuries into the past.
There are many castles, but they are located quite far from each other. Therefore, if you do not have much time left, you should pay attention to the most famous ones, for example, Chenonceau, Blois, Chambord, Amboise, Chaumont-sur-Loire, Saumur, or Cheverny. All of them are open to the public.
Part of the vast Loire Valley from Sully-sur-Loire to Chalon, which is of the most significant cultural value, is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
How to get there. By car from Paris to the valley, it takes about 3 hours. You can also get there by train from Austerlitz Station. You need to get off at Blois station, and from there you can take a circular bus to several castles.
But it is still more convenient to move around in a rented car: you yourself choose which places you want to visit. An equally good solution is to simply take a tour.
When to come. You can admire the castles of the Loire at any time of the year.
- City of Venice, Italy
Some complaint about the ubiquitous smell of mud, others about the crowds of tourists and the garbage left by them, while others complain about sky-high prices. But all this can be endured to see a truly unusual and romantic city.
Yes, it is not without flaws. But to stop by here at least for a day, ride along the canals on a gondola (and if you’re lucky, listen to songs performed by gondoliers), walk along narrow streets paved with cobblestones, and visit the famous Piazza San Marco. Most likely, you will not need more time, so you can safely continue your journey through Italy.
How to get there. You cannot get around by car in Venice. But you can get to the city by car, you just have to leave it in a multi-story paid parking lot.
There are international airports not far from the city, from where you can also get to Venice by taxi or car.
When to come. It depends on what you want. If you are planning a relatively quiet holiday, it is best to avoid the dates of the Venice Carnival. In 2019, it started in mid-February and will end in early March. Dates usually fall between the end of January and mid-February. Check before traveling.
- Rock Preikestolen, Norway
10 thousand years is the age of the Norwegian shelf. Over 600 meters from the Preikestolen Observation Deck, you can enjoy magnificent views of the picturesque fjord. This majestic place is of course considered one of the most beautiful places in the world.
If you go further and climb a little higher, you will come to the Kyёrag plateau. It is famous for the huge Kjøragbolten cobblestone, stuck between the rocks, which, as tourists write, can be climbed without special equipment. But be extremely careful: the giant stone is located almost a kilometer above the ground. You shouldn’t risk your life for a beautiful photo.
How to get there. The Preikestolen campsite can be reached from the nearest large city, Stavanger. It is also easy to get there: there is an airport, railway station, port, and bus service.
The ferry, which runs regularly, can take about an hour from Stavanger to the bus transfer point. And already by ground transport get to the start of the route. Or rent a car straight away and head out of town to the cliff on your own.
When to come. Best during the summer months. In winter, climbing can be dangerous for untrained tourists.
What to consider. In general, the route is within the power of a healthy person. But be prepared for steep, long climbs. And if you are not sure that you can handle it, consult your doctor in advance.
Be sure to prepare comfortable hiking shoes and warm clothing. The travel time to the Preikestolen viewpoint depends on your physical fitness.
- Province of Lapland, Finland
The homeland of Finnish Santa Claus, Joulupukki, is famous for its winter snowy landscapes, the northern lights, and beautiful deer. Here, in addition to stunning landscapes, there are also ski resorts, so you can combine outdoor activities and travel into a fairy tale. You can hardly find such an amount of the purest white snow in a stuffy metropolis.
It is worth coming here for those who love nature but are not afraid of frost – in winter the temperature drops to 50 degrees below zero. If you’re traveling with kids, check out the Santa Claus Residence. There will be many tourists, but the kids will remember the trip for a long time and, perhaps, will believe in a fairy tale and enjoy the New Year a little longer.
How to get there. you can get there by train and car, or fly by plane.
When to come. Lapland is especially beautiful in winter, but get ready for an abundance of tourists. In summer you won’t see snowy landscapes, but you can enjoy white nights.
- Aletsch Glacier, Switzerland
The Bernese Alps, of which Aletsch is a part, are protected by UNESCO. The Aletsch glacier is the largest in these mountains; it stretches for 23 kilometers. Here you can walk along the cliffs surrounded by tons of ice, gorges, and waterfalls and breathe in the fresh Alpine air.
Nearby – a ski resort, which is suitable for lovers of skiing and snowboarding. But even if you are not fond of these sports, you should know: it is simply beautiful, clean and fresh here. And also just crazy views of the Alps open in front of you.
How to get there. The Jungfrau-Aletsch glacier region can be reached by train from Zurich in about five hours.
When to come. Unfortunately, the glacier is melting. Therefore, as soon as possible. Travelers come here in winter and summer: in the warm season they can enjoy the views, and in the cold season they can also go skiing.
What to consider. For a comfortable and safe trip to Aletsch, you need comfortable and warm shoes and clothes.
Better to join the excursion group. The surface in the mountains is rather slippery, there is a risk of injury through negligence. Experienced guides will be able to provide first aid and help you get to the medical center.
- Trolltunga rock, Norway
It is also called “the troll’s tongue”. In beauty and scale, it is similar to its neighbor – the Preikestolen rock. A long ledge on Mount Skjeggedal rises above the lake, and the observation deck offers fantastic views of the cliffs and mirror-like waters.
If you don’t have enough adrenaline, pack your backpack and head to Norway for crazy emotions and spectacular photos.
How to get there. From Oslo or Bergen, you first have to get to the city of Odda by bus. From there – take a taxi to the village of Tisdale. Here you will begin your ascent to Trolling. The length of the route is 12 kilometers, the road just upward will take about 5 hours.
When to come. The most favorable weather is from June to mid-September. The rest of the time, climbing to the “troll’s tongue” can be dangerous.
What to consider. The path to the observation deck is long and tricky in places, so make sure you have comfortable and warm shoes and clothing.
- Blue Lagoon Resort, Iceland
The popular geothermal resort is a unique area. The milky blue waters are surrounded by solidified lava, their temperature reaches 40 ° C, and the composition is rich in minerals. The bottom is covered with white clay, which is added to masks and skin and hair care products.
The complex has saunas and baths. Many people come here for health purposes, so there is also a clinic for visitors, where you can consult with specialists.
How to get there. The lagoon is located 38 kilometers from Reykjavik. You can get to it by taxi, regular bus or together with a tourist group.
When to come. The Natural Spa welcomes visitors all year round.
- Lake Bled, Slovenia
The turquoise lake is surrounded by forests and mountains, tranquility reigns here, and the air is clean and fresh. In the middle of calm water, there is a small island of the same name with a chapel. Bled Castle, built over 10 centuries ago, rises on a cliff near the coast. From its height, a picturesque view of the lake and its surroundings opens.
If there are a few gorgeous views, you can enjoy medieval architecture and visit the museum within the walls of the castle.
How to get there. The most convenient way is by bus from Ljubljana (45 kilometers) or by car.
When to come. In summer you can sunbathe, swim, and take a boat ride. In winter, combine a trip to Lake Bled with outdoor activities and take a look at the nearest ski resorts.