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Where Europeans Go When American Tourists Invade Europe

If you’re thinking that every American you know is in Europe this summer (or heading there this fall), you could be right.

“For the majority of American travelers, this is the first year that they travel unrestricted by the restrictions of the Covid ”, said Dolev Azaria, founder of Azaria Travel based in New York.

“And with this pent-up demand, the most popular destinations in Italy, France and Greece, such as the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Tuscany, the French Riviera, St. Tropez and Mykonos are seeing record demand.”

For her discerning European clients, Azaria says her agency is recommending that they “make the most of places like Indonesia, and especially Bali, in its nascent opening season” as a way to escape the current hordes of tourists in the most popular places in the world. continent.

Within Europe, she points clients to the French island of Corsica – a “more realistic, laid-back version of its Italian neighbour, Sardinia” – and Montenegro’s 295-kilometer (183-mile) coastline over some of the most trodden beaches and islands. from Croatia.

THE CNN Travel contacted other travel agents, experts and European residents about where to go to escape the summer masses in Italy, Spain, France and Croatia – among other European countries popular with American travelers – if you are looking to go where every world is not.

Camargue, France

International tourists gravitate to the yacht-filled waters of the famous Côte d’Azur and famous cities like St.Tropez, Nice and Cannes. But the south of France is much more than the predictable places.

Marianne Fabre-Lanvin, co-founder of the Souleil Vin de Bonté range of French organic wines, points to Camargue – a wild region of vast, empty beaches where white horses roam – for a quieter escape east of Montpellier.

Accommodation ranges from a rustic stay on a traditional bull or horse farm called the manade to the five-star boutique hotel version of a stay at Le Mas de Peint.

“Camarga is not crowded. There are very, very long beaches in this area, so you are alone on the beach if you wish, even in the peak summer months,” says Fabre-Lanvin, naming La Plage de l’Espiguette as a favorite. During the summer, a sustainable beach club, L’Oyat Plage, even appears on the sand, designing the kitesurfing ensemble.

Alentejo, Portugal

Zambujeira Alentejo Portugal

When Arlindo Serrão wants time on the Portuguese coast, away from the tourist crowds of cities and the most popular beach destinations in the extreme south of the country, he leaves Lisbon for a special section of the Alentejo coast.

“People are calling the Alentejo ‘Europe’s best kept secret,’ but I don’t know how long it can stay that way,” said Serrão, founder of Portugal Dive.

The Alentejo offers long stretches of uninterrupted beach and incredible wines and seafood without the hordes that descend on the Algarve’s best-known beach destinations.

Here, south of the Tróia Peninsula, the beach stretches for about 45 km and the outposts of Comporta and Melides are “the perfect places to stay and relax from everyday life”, says Serrão.

For an unspoiled stay, the rooms, suites and villas at Sublime Comporta are surrounded by pine and cork oaks and imposing wild dunes.

In addition to its spectacular beaches, the region is known for being the biggest wine producer in Portugal and for having the most marked walking trails in the country.

“For me, it’s a place of peace in a raw part of Portugal,” says Serrão.

Coast of Light, Spain

Spain’s Costa da Luz rewards intrepid travelers who know how to head beyond the Mediterranean.

Spaniards leave their hot, sweltering cities in the summer to relax on the coast, where everyone (or their abuela) seems to own a humble second home or apartment.

The Mediterranean beaches around Barcelona in northwestern Spain and the sands along the Costa del Sol in the south of the country fill sunbathers like sardines, but you’ll have more breathing room if you head for the coast. windier Atlantic coast, says Manni Coe from Andalusia. tourism company with headquarters TOMA & COE.

The 121 kilometers (75 miles) of south coast facing the Atlantic between Tarifa and the Guadiana River, close to the Portuguese border, have “a little cooler temperatures, were not massively developed and are a hidden gem,” Coe says.

Highlights include the pretty fishing village of El Rompido, the excellent food scene in the city of Cádiz, and the wild beaches around Huelva (between Mazagón and Matalascañas). The area is also a magnet for kitesurfing.

Aeolian Islands, Sicily, Italy

Sicily’s laid-back Aeolian archipelago beckons with an uncrowded appeal that the Amalfi Coast or Capri can’t match.

Made of seven main volcanic islands strung like a necklace in the deep turquoise waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea off Sicily’s north coast, the Aeolian Islands are hardly lonely during Italy’s sultry summer. But their relative remoteness means they are nowhere near the American masses of Positano or Capri.

“The Aeolian Islands are far from the idea of ​​islands that Americans might have,” says Dario Ferrante of Absolute Sicilia, adding that visitors don’t come here for white-sand Caribbean-style beaches, but for active vacations, including hiking in the Stromboli volcano with a guide.

Ferrante names the island of Salina as his favorite for a vacation, but he says the islands of Filicudi and Alicudi offer the most remote and rustic experience (the latter has no cars – just donkeys to haul your luggage).

He also points to the north side of the Etna volcano as one of the most beautiful and undiscovered areas in Sicily. It is just 40 minutes from the popular beaches of Taormina.

“It’s perfect for total relaxation, trekking and wellness and a paradise for wine lovers and foodies alike,” says Ferrante.

Zadar Archipelago, Croatia

Zadar Croatia

The coast and islands around Zadar, Croatia, offer a “a world apart” experience of busier spots to the south such as Split, Dubrovnik and the island of Hvar, suggests Alan Mandic of Croatian travel agency Secret Dalmatia. .

The car-free Adriatic islands of Silba and Olib in the Zadar archipelago have fabulous beaches that look almost like the Caribbean, he says. You can even stay at a lighthouse on the western cape of the larger island of Dugi Otok.

“These are the places we go when we want to avoid crowds in general,” says Mandic. “You won’t really see any Americans there.”

Pelion Peninsula, Greece

european summer

With such a spectacular coastline and mountains to explore, Greeks often vacation in their own country during the summer, says Andria Mitsakos, founder of luxury lifestyle brand Anthologist.

And while international summer masses may find it hard to look past the iconic postcard-white and blue backdrops on crowded islands like Santorini and Mykonos, Mitsakos says he often heads to the mountainous Pelion peninsula on the eastern side of the Aegean Sea, from mainland Greece for a stay more under the radar.

The lush, verdant peninsula, with the Pagasetic Gulf flanking its western shores, is dotted with coastal and mountain villages, with fresh seafood around every corner.

There are beaches all over the peninsula, but if you only hit two, Mylopotamos and Fakistra on the Aegean side are the must-see spots. They are tucked away in natural bays where the waters lap the coastal cliffs like turquoise that has been liquefied under the dazzling sun.

coastal albania

Far less panned by tourists than neighboring Greece to the south or Italy on the Adriatic, Balkan Peninsula country Albania is still a well-kept secret among seasoned travelers — but unlikely to stay low for long.

“Croats and Europeans in general are discovering the coast of Albania,” said Mandic of Secret Dalmatia. “It’s fabulous, it’s incredibly cheap. The food, the history, the hospitality, the nature, the beaches, it’s all here.”

Among the beaches to explore along what has been dubbed the Albanian Riviera are Ksamil, near the Greek border, and Himare and Dhermi further north, where you can feast on cheap prawns, grilled octopus and fresh fish caught straight from the Sea. Ionic while looking at its bright expanse.

Source: CNN Brasil

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