‘Beautiful lakes and majestic mountains’: tips from readers in Europe

For a few more Dolomites, Italy

Alleghe in Belluno, 80 miles north of Venice, is a picturesque town on a beautiful lake, framed by the majestic Eastern Dolomites. We found the streets charming, the local cuisine exceptional and enjoyed exhilarating walks where we hardly met another soul. Alleghe was the perfect base for exploring one of Italy’s most enchanting and unspoilt regions.
Lorna Jong

Rock Windows and Waterfalls, Slovenia

Kranjska Gora in the Julian Alps has some excellent peaks for thrill seekers. Try Prisank (2,547m) and look out for the amazing rock window on the way up. Mala Mojstrovka (2,332m) has great views and is easier to climb. We loved the hike to the emerald pools of Zelenci and visited the Martuljek waterfall, which runs through a beautiful forest. We relaxed on the shores of Lake Jasna, enjoying the 360-degree views and eating delicious creamy Kremna-reina cake at the cafe by the lake. Then we cycled to the northeast of Italy on the fantastic off-road trail.

Tips from Guardian Travel readers

Each week we ask our readers for recommendations from their travels. A selection of tips will be featured online and may appear in print. To enter the latest competition, visit the Readers’ Tips homepage

The cursed but beautiful mountain peaks of Albania

The Albanian Alps, or Accursed Mountains, offer dramatic peaks, bucolic pastoral valleys and icy turquoise rivers. While many tourists opt for a short visit to hike the 11-mile Theth to Valbona pass, we spent five days in Theth, staying at the delightful and homely Bujtina Vellezerit Grrela (doubles from £49 B&B), which serves excellent traditional Albanian food. Theth is relatively undeveloped and is a relaxing base from which to recover from the challenging mountain walks. Exceptional views and warm June evenings spent watching swallows and fireflies against the backdrop of the peaks were truly memorable.

Monasteries on the Lake, North Macedonia

At Lake Ohrid, one of Europe’s deepest lakes, we recently spent a glorious few days exploring the monasteries and ruins that line the waterfront. We had lunch on a restaurant’s wooden veranda, which juts out so you can dip your feet in the clear water, and ended the day with a tasting at a local winery. From the domed churches to the delicious plates of grilled vegetables, lamb, and fresh sheep’s cheese, North Macedonia has a unique blend of Balkan and Mediterranean influences. Sofia

Solo on Lake Bracciano, near Rome

Lake Bracciano, an hour’s drive north of Rome, was the perfect place to relearn how to enjoy (really enjoy) a solo holiday after completely losing my travel mojo during the pandemic. Motorboats are banned and the water is cool, clear and perfect for swimming, paddleboarding and lazing around. The three sleepy lakeside towns – Bracciano, Anguillara, Trevignano – have a dazzling array of restaurants and aperitivo spots. I felt nurtured by the locals, who were eager to hear my tips for visiting the islands of Scotland (where I’m from) and patient with my broken Italian. I’m already planning my return.
Eala said

Inspired by Newby in the Italian Apennines

We explored the mountains of Italy’s Emilia Romagna region, inspired by Eric Newby’s book Love and War in the Apennines, in which he recounts his experiences hiding from the German army on mountain farms during World War II. We followed in his footsteps into the mountains south of Parma, walking through wooded areas to see the main manger (ridge), from where you have a fantastic view of the Ligurian coast. The paths are well marked and we stayed in one of the reefs (alpine huts) run by the Club Alpino Italiano (from €55,- half board). The food is seasonal and local: think mushrooms, polenta, homemade pasta and cold cuts.

On the way to the border with the local train, from Slovenia to Italy

To get from Lake Bled to Italy, you might be tempted to head back to Ljubljana and take a fast train or bus to Trieste. Instead, take one of the most scenic journeys in Slovenia: the regional train from Bled Jezero station (on the western side of the lake) to the Slovenian town of Nova Gorica on the Italian border. The 90-minute journey, which cost us just €7.30 per person, took us from Lake Bled through the Bohinj Valley, with views of the Julian Alps and the emerald waters of the Soca River. Once in Nova Gorica, it’s a 20-minute walk to cross the border into Italy at the pretty town of Gorizia.
France Li

Glacier stay near Chamonix

Chamonix is ​​best known as a ski resort, but it is just as charming in the warmer months. From the village of Les Praz, on the outskirts of Chamonix, we walked through the peaceful forest, stopping several times to enjoy the breathtaking views of lush greenery against the snow-capped mountains. In the forest we discovered Chalet de la Floria, at 1,350 metres, where we enjoyed an omelette and cake myrtle (blueberry pie). The next day we took a cable car up to the ice cave in the Mer du Glace glacier. It was breathtaking: the cold was intense, there were impressive ice sculptures and we learned fascinating details about the history of the glaciers.

Gliding over Lake Lugano, Switzerland/Italy

Lake Lugano is shared by Italy and Switzerland and last summer we found a wonderful way to explore both sides. We took the gleaming white Swiss public ferry Navigazione Lago di Lugano for £20 a day return. We set off from Porto Ceresio in Italy at 10.30am and the ship glides over super smooth waters, crisscrossing the lake, stopping at stone-built villages and stopping alternately in Switzerland and Italy, including the wonderful open-air miniature museum Swiss Miniatur in Melide. The whole journey offers views of pine-clad slopes and distant snow-capped mountains. Arriving in Lugano after just over an hour, we explored the pretty town and even had a dip in the lake. We returned at 7pm to watch the sunset.

Winning tip: such larks in Interlaken, Switzerland

My husband and I took our four-year-old son on his first adventure abroad, traveling via Amsterdam to Interlaken via overnight ferries and trains. We arrived tired from the journey to see the beautiful turquoise waters of Lake Thun glistening in the early summer sun. Just east of Interlaken is another beautiful lake, Lake Brienz. Over the next few days, we explored the surrounding mountains and hiked to Murren from the Lauterbrunnen cable car. It was an unforgettable adventure for all of us.

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