Five secret summer escapes

Escape the crowded tourist hot-spots by travelling off-the-beaten-track to some undiscovered areas of Europe.

From secluded Spanish beaches to a Portuguese retreat and Gothic Italian palace…

 

  1. A Secluded sandy beach in Menorca

Open your eyes to the picture-perfect Mascarelleta Beach and you could be mistaken for thinking you’re in the Caribbean islands. The shallow waters give the Spanish bay a tropical turquoise hue – an Idyllic sunbathing spot for those long hot afternoons.

Popular with locals but unheard of by many British tourists, the white sandy shores are uncrowded with the most breath-taking views of the island from an elevated cliff point between the two beaches of Macarella and Macaralleta.

While it takes some effort to trek to the top, you won’t be disappointed.

Nearby Hotel Rural is a seventeenth-century manor house surrounded by colourful gardens and wild birds – an idyllic location for those who like to explore on foot.

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A secluded sandy beach in Menorca. Image source: Squats not sweeties

 

  1. A gothic Italian palace

An elegant Venetian villa dating back to the late 12th century, Domus Dotti no.5 is the oldest guest house in Treviso – an undiscovered north-east Italian town, home to endless secret squares and waterways.

It’s easy to miss, tucked away on a quintessentially Italian side street, but step inside and the grand gothic palace interior will be a welcome surprise.

Just 20 minutes from Venice via a direct rail link, the picturesque town of Treviso boasts stunning architecture centred around Piazza Dei Signoiro – the place to go for food, drink and shopping.

It’s easy to get lost wandering the narrow alleyways – but you’ll discover something new on every corner and it’s guaranteed you’ll fill your camera roll in less than a day.

While it can’t compete with the glamour of Venice, it’s certainly worth a wander.

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A Gothic Italian palace. Image source: Jessica Fogarty

  1. A transformational retreat in the Algarve

A secluded spot, nestled away in the Portuguese mountainside; The MacDonald Monchique Resort and Spa offers a unique retreat-style getaway.

Ideal for couples who want to escape the noise and tourists typically associated with the Western Algarve, this luxury venue boasts spacious rooms with panoramic views of its unspoilt surroundings, high-end dining, an indulgent wellness spa and an Activate Breathwork experience.

The guided multi-sensory experience takes guests on a deep journey to relaxation – a revitalizing and empowering tool of self-healing.

Even if you’ve tried out various yoga and meditation experiences – breathwork won’t compare. Those who have tried the experience have varying stories to tell; some finding spiritual insight and emotional balancing whilst others experience detoxification.

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A transformation retreat in the Algarve. Image source: MacDonald Monchique Spa

  1. Far East massage at the Turkish Baths

Explore the South West Coast of Turkey at Royal Asarlik Beach Hotel. Boasting a rooftop restaurant, two outdoor pools, Turkish baths and two private beaches; this hidden gem is far enough away from the hustle and bustle of Bodrum centre but close enough if you want to explore.

Relax in luxury, try a Far East Massage and gaze out to sea from the sixth-floor restaurant overlooking Royal Asalik Beach – you’ll feel like a VIP.

Nearby Bodrum Marina is among the most sophisticated marinas of the Aegean and Mediterranean Sea; while the bustling weekly market is the best place to bag a bargain featuring textiles created from the region.

 

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Crystal clear water in Turkey. Image source: Discover Mugla

  1. Mykonos, no longer a mystery

Once regarded as one of the poorest, deserted islands in Greece, Mykonos has reinvented itself to become one of the most cosmopolitan destinations in the country – the secret is out!

White-wash buildings, golden sandy beaches and cobbled streets with treasure troves of Greek handmade jewellery, designer clothes and quirky independents – there’s plenty to admire.

Mykonos town, Little Venice, is a painter’s paradise – the buildings overhang the water just like in Italy, the water is crystal clear and windmills create the perfect backdrop.

Looking out to the sunset from the infinity pool, stylish Hotel Cavo Tagoo sets the standard.

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Hotel views from Mykonos. Image source: Cavo Tagoo Mykonos

 

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