Advice Needed

Old May 25th, 2021, 08:39 PM
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Advice Needed

As a new member to the Fodor's family, I am excited to post my first question, and I am sure it will be the first of many.

After a an almost two year hiatus from travelling due to COVID, my husband and I (we are both in our early 50's), will be travelling to Europe for eleven days in early September. We have travelled extensively over the last decade or so but are very confused about where to reserve. We are looking for a more relaxing vacation, with some days spent travelling by car for short day trips to beautiful villages, having a few days at a gorgeous beach or at the pool, good food and wine, and a more laid back atmosphere. We do not mind driving from our arrival airport and plan on having the car the entire time we are away.

We are leaning towards Italy and, although we have seen various regions in the past, we are hoping for some advice for some 'off-the-beaten'path' type places that can check all the boxes. As well, if you have any other suggestions outside Italy, please let me know. Hopefully, the responses can help other members here as well.

Your help would be most appreciated.

Thank you.

Kim
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Old May 26th, 2021, 01:04 AM
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September is a lovely time to visit Italy but it will be a little cooler than high summer. In some parts of Italy the beach umbrellas will still be out in others the beaches will be pristine and clean with not a single beer bar left.

I'm going to assume that Tuscany is a bit too chocolate box for you (though it has beaches) and the Riviera is too commercial. I'd look further south at say Marche or Puglia. Marche is a little known and some great hiking, small towns etc. Puglia is far more Southern (in terms of state of mind) but some wonderful small coves, towns etc.

Along with general agriturismo (farm stay) https://www.agriturismo.it Puglia has the concept of Masseria which are fortified farms (often walled with a pool and an in situ restaurant. Not a bad way to spend a few evenings.

Which sent me randomly to this https://www.agriturismo.it/it/agritu...977/index.html looks great, never been.

Last edited by bilboburgler; May 26th, 2021 at 01:18 AM.
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Old May 26th, 2021, 04:57 AM
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Welcome, overtherainbow. Have you looked at Menton? In a way, it's like a "lite" Nice/Monaco. I'll post my trip report separately.
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Old May 26th, 2021, 05:54 AM
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Here's the TR:
Trip Report from Menton and Lyon

Looking forward to reading about your trip.
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Old May 26th, 2021, 07:14 AM
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From your tags it looks like you are considering Croatia (but Italy is not tagged, so I'm confused). The Istria region sounds like it would be perfect for you. You also tagged Greece, and the Peloponnese would also cover your requirements. Many parts of Italy would of course. Marche is a great suggestion. The southern part of Tuscany would as well. I don't think we can call Puglia off the beaten path anymore, but it would also work.
Italy is so easy, I often just start searching airfares and let that guide me. Of course it depends on where you are flying from, but I have often been able to get to smaller Italian airports at a similar cost to major ones, with only one place change--so check them all!
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Old May 26th, 2021, 07:35 AM
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Luckily the Italian government has developed both great train systems but also great internal flights. So flying on is dead easy.
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Old May 26th, 2021, 05:00 PM
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Sicily would tick all of your boxes. And 11 days is just a short visit to Sicily . . .
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Old May 26th, 2021, 05:17 PM
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Hub and I took a local bus from Palermo to Mondello. Do Google its bath house. Based upon one visit, a sweet vacation town, with lemons as large as oranges at the market area.
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Old May 27th, 2021, 02:08 AM
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I think Sicily is also interesting, but in September it will still be busy-ish and since it has something fantastic like half of Italy's Unesco world heritage sites I don't think off-the-beaten track is in the job-description. Would it be a good holiday, almost certainly.
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Old May 27th, 2021, 02:57 AM
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Peloponnese/Mani Peninsula would be great. Cyprus would to some extent but it is not off the beaten track.
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Old May 31st, 2021, 04:20 AM
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Thanks so much for your helpful replies. I guess I should have listed the places in Europe we have visited (never by cruise, which we really dislike):

France: Paris and the South of France, including Arles and Nice
Spain: Barcelona and Valencia
Croatia: Dubrovnik and the surrounding area
Montenegro: Kotor and the surrounding area
Germany: Munich, Berlin and their surrounding regions
Greece: The Peloponnese, the Mani Peninsula, Naxos, Rhodes and Athens
Slovenia: Ljubljana and the surrounding area
Italy: Trieste, Lake Como, Venice, Verona and the Veneto region, Bologna and the Emilia-Romagna region, San Gimignano, Florence and the Tuscany region, Urbino, Ascoli Piceno and the Le Marche region, Rome, Naples, Tropea and the Calabria region, Lecce, Otranto and the southern Puglia region, Scicli, Palermo, Favignana and other parts of Sicily and Noli and the surrounding Italian Riviera.

So, knowing this, any thoughts of 'off-the-beaten' path places that will check all of the boxes, including nice beaches, medieval villages, a laid-back atmosphere and interesting day trips from our one or two places we will base ourselves (we will have a car the whole time)?

We were thinking about Corfu and Crete in Greece, Malta, Bari, Italy, and in Croatia, the Istrian Peninsula, Split and/or Zadar and one Croatian island?

Any other places along either coast in Italy, including the southern parts of Sicily, would be ok as well.

Thanks for taking the time. I really appreciate it.

Kim

Last edited by OverTheRainbow; May 31st, 2021 at 04:25 AM.
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Old May 31st, 2021, 09:24 AM
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You are casting your net far too wide for a trip that is only eleven days long. That time period is good for just two destinations, no more.
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Old May 31st, 2021, 10:06 AM
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Corsica, lots of beautiful perched villages, lots of beautiful beaches, food is great (mainly consisting of the Corsican trinity of meat, chestnuts and cheese), laid back atmosphere, very mountainous interior, it is a gem of an island. Google images of Bonifacio. Day trips to the Scandola is recommended with a lunch stop in a village only accessible by boat.

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Old May 31st, 2021, 10:10 AM
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Thanks balthy. Great idea. Definitely worth some research.

kerouac, I did not mean I was going to all of the places I listed as considerations on this one trip, but as a choice between them.


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Old May 31st, 2021, 12:23 PM
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You can't compare city visits to seaside resorts or Greek islands or Italian charm... You have to tell us what really interests you! And you know that you can come back to other places on subsequent trips.
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Old Jun 1st, 2021, 03:42 AM
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The north coast of Crete is heavily touristic. Chania is quaint but feels too quaint if you know what I mean. Heraklion is a major port and the gateway to Knossos and the resorts sprinkled over much of the rest of the north. . But if you go over the central mountain, things quiet down. We stayed in a small resort in Zaros and loved it, but Heraklion was just an hour away. Ruins, beaches, lots of walking potential . . . others tourists are around but its not slammed like the north.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2021, 01:45 PM
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Thanks Ian. I will look into the south of Crete as well.

kerouac, I really appreciate your advice and the time you have taken to help but like I said in my previous posts, I am looking for "'off-the-beaten' path places that will check all of the boxes, including nice beaches, medieval villages, a laid-back atmosphere and interesting day trips from the one or two places we will base ourselves (we will have a car the whole time)". Any places you can recommend?


Last edited by OverTheRainbow; Jun 2nd, 2021 at 02:06 PM.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2021, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by OverTheRainbow View Post

We were thinking about Corfu and Crete in Greece, Malta, Bari, Italy, and in Croatia, the Istrian Peninsula, Split and/or Zadar and one Croatian island?

Kim
You've got great ideas there! I'm not sure why you're looking for more. Upper Croatia is marvelous even though they don't have the sandy beaches.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2021, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by OverTheRainbow View Post
Thanks Ian. I will look into the south of Crete as well.
To get you started, here is a report about our southern Crete time: Lost in the Goat Paths of Crete
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Old Jun 3rd, 2021, 10:21 AM
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Love the idea of Crete or Corsica! Glad you came to Fodorís with your questions. There are some good people with great ideas on the forum. Let us know what you decide. Iím off to Croatia on June 24th. Thrilled. Happy planning.
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