It’s summer. You’re in the city. The air is stale and the heat has driven most the locals away. Of course, you can stick around and enjoy having the likes of Paris or Milan to yourself – or you can do like the locals and take off to the countryside or the coast for the month of August. Read on for our picks on where to escape to when Europe’s cities reach a boiling point.
| Milan – Cinque Terre |
From Milan you have no shortage of getaway options; Lake Como, Verona and more Italian splendor is all at your fingertips. Might we recommend though a Mediterranean escape in Cinque Terre.
The area of the Italian coastline known as Cinque Terre is actually made up of five separate villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Trains and rugged footpaths connect the former fishing villages, which are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From Milan, take ItaliaRail to Monterosso, the largest of Cinque Terre’s villages.
Wherever you choose to stay though, the best way to see Cinque Terre is by starting at Riomaggiore and moving your way north. In Riomaggiore you can join other daredevil visitors by jumping from the rocks into the clear water in the bay. The next stop is Manarola, connected to Riomaggiore by the Via dell’Amore. By the time you reach the next village of Corniglia, you’ll be ready for lunch. Corngilia is the only village in Cinque Terre not to have access to the sea, but what you lack in water you make up for in views. Stop in for classic Italian food at A Cantina da Mananan (Via Fieschi 117) and walk off the pasta as you make your way to Vernazza, and then Monterosso. Once in Monterosso, you’ll have earned the dip in the sea at the sandy beach.
| London – Bristol |
Hyde & Co
Contrary to popular belief, London is not the only city worth seeing in England, and in fact many creative young Brits are trading in the hustle and bustle of London life for the quieter town of Bristol. Take a respite from the big city to see the thriving cultural scene developing in this western English city.
Getting to Bristol from London is easy, with train journeys under two hours. If you’re lucky enough to arrive on a sunny summer day, enjoy Bristol’s outdoor spaces like the sprawling expanse of green known as The Downs. Pep yourself up with a perfect espresso from Full Court Press.
If you’re a fan of art, you’ve come to the right place; Bristol is home to both renowned institutions like Arnolfini and cutting edge spaces like Hangfire. After a day of cultural enrichment, wind down at speakeasy-style cocktail bar Hyde & Co.
| Paris – Corsica |
Many Parisians head south to the Mediterranean come summertime – do one better by getting off the mainland and heading to the island of Corsica.
From Paris, you can either fly directly to Corsica with carriers like EasyJet or its own airline, Air Corsica; the little island surprisingly has four airports, with Ajaccio being the largest. You could also break up the trip with a stop at the Côte d’Azur by taking the train to Nice, and then a ferry to Corsica.
The southern half of the island is more developed and popular with tourists, while the north is slightly more off the beaten path; both are equally worth visiting. In the north, sunbathe on the Plage de Saleccia, near the village of Saint-Florent. In the more glamorous south, dine at high-end hotels like Casadelmar, overlooking Porto Vecchio.
| Madrid – Rioja |
Madrid may be empty and scorching hot come summer, but Spain’s beaches are clogged with tourists from around the world. You could join them in on the beach in Barcelona or party in Ibiza, or go against the grain and take the opportunity to visit Spain’s famed Rioja region.
From Madrid it’s a three-and-a-half hour train ride to Rioja’s capital, Logroño, with passages available through Renfe. From there you have access to many of Rioja’s smaller villages, including Haro, home to many of the region’s top winemakers. Rioja is best known for red varietals like tempranillo, but if it’s too warm for vino tinto, go for a bright and crisp white or rose.