PIX: 7 amazing destinations to explore in Europe
Here are some of the best places in Europe to chill out and get your groove back -- slowly, leisurely and enjoyably.
Slow travel' is a an attitude and practice that allows travellers to enjoy a journey as much as the destination, to engage more fully with communities and to experience life as it is led by local residents, rather than merely working through a must-see list.
Heck, we have enough to-do lists to deal with when we're not on vacation. We don't need those on holiday too. Slow travel is about making conscious choices. It is about deceleration rather than speed. It is not about wasting time. Rather, it is about knowing how to spend time wisely.
So is slow travel the same as checking into a five-star resort, lounging by the pool and doing nothing? Well, no. It's not about doing nothing in protected environments. Also, it is not about money or privilege. It is simply about not going with the crowd.
Take to the back streets of a city; linger awhile and try to understand what makes a community tick; skip coffee at popular franchises and stick to locally owned cafes; eat regional produce and use local buses.
Although it can be done anywhere, Europe is a great place to start. The infrastructure -- easily available villa rentals, public transport, car rentals etc -- makes things hassle-free. And the landscapes and local communities are varied enough to keep you engaged for a long period of time.
So here are some of the best places in Europe to chill out and get your groove back -- slowly, leisurely and enjoyably.
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Contributed by Aashish Gupta, founder of Yellowleg.com -- The Discerning Traveller's Bookstore.
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Algarve is one of the most popular family holiday destination in Portugal.
Stunning beaches, top-class golf courses, nature reserves, and an excellent climate (even winter temperatures rarely drop below 15-degrees Celsius), Algarve makes for an ideal getaway. For accommodation, plenty of villas, guest houses and holiday resorts are available in all budget ranges.
Image: Algarve, Portugal
Photographs: Pufacz/Wiki Commons
Costa Brava, Spain
Costa Brava, located on the coastal region of northeastern Catalonia in Spain is a land of amazing natural beauty.
Charming coastal towns, rugged cliffs, sandy beaches and bays and breathtaking views, this holiday destination has plenty to offer.
Its cystalline waters make it an underwater paradise, and its art galleires and museums most notably the Theatre Museum in Figueres, Spanish artist Salvador Dali's home, make it an art lovers delight.
You can explore the walled towns and the Gothic architecture, indulge on cheese, olive-oil, honey and wine, and take a stroll through the streets and shop for ceramics.
Image: Costa Brava, Spain
Photographs: Bocachete/Wiki Commons
This Mediterranean region is jam-packed with extraordinary experiences -- a swim beneath a Roman aqueduct, a hike on the rugged Cathar trail, a sip of Languedoc wine at a vineyard, a taste of creamy Roquefort inside the cave in which it ripened. This is THE south of France that you need to experience.
Image: Languedoc, France
Photographs: Toprural/Wiki Commons
Corsica in France is a herb-filled mountainous island lying off the coast of Italy. It's cracked and dusty roads, laid-back coastal towns, citadels and hilltop villages attract visitors.
With plenty of outdoor activities in the rugged outdoors and some great beaches, it is easy to lose yourself for at least a couple of weeks in this French island on theMediterranean Sea.
Image: Corsica, France
Photographs: Bj.schoenmakers/Wiki Commons
Glorious landscapes that haven't changed since the Renaissance.
World-famous wine, traditional Tuscan food.
Jewels of architecture from the medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods.
And a countryside that's simply breathtaking.
All these and more make Tuscany an ideal destination to explore at leisure.
Image: Tuscany, Italy
Photographs: Type17/ Wiki Commons
The largest of the Ionian Islands, these islands are the greenest and most fertile of all the Greek island groups.
They are characterized by olive groves and cypresses. With a history as interesting as the landscape and culture, this one is perfect for a slow holiday.
Image: Corfu, Greece
Photographs: Georgios Pazios (Alaniaris) /Wiki Commons
A charming mid-size city, sitting where the Reuss river flows out of Lake Luzern, with a striking alpine panorama as a backdrop, it could lay claim to being Switzerland's tourism capital.
But don't let the hurried tourists fool you.
Luzern makes for an excellent home-base for exploring Central Switzerland on day trips, but it is also a great place to simply wander its charming traffic-free old town, picture-perfect wooden bridges, or to settle down with a good book by the lake.
Image: Luzern, Switzerland
Photographs: Francisco Antunes/Wiki Commons