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Favourite European waterfront village in August?

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Mar 27th, 2018, 09:43 AM
  #1
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Favourite European waterfront village in August?

Hi travel pros,
I'm looking for suggestions for a seaside or lakeside village or small town or an island that offers natural beauty, culture, interesting architecture and good swimming possibilities for August. I'd prefer to rely on walking or public transit, if possible, and would like to use the location as a base to explore from. Some of my past favourites include Korcula, Rovinj, Naoussa, Antiparos, Lake Annecy, Lake Como, Salema, the Cinqueterre villages and Capri, but I'd like to try somewhere new to me. I'm considering Malta, Corsica, Montenegro, Vis, etc., but would love some input. I'm not interested in high-rises or the bar scene. I'll be flying out of Geneva.
Thanks in advance.
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Mar 27th, 2018, 08:58 PM
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Depending on how you're weighing things. Think about Greece. Rhodes for example has the old town. The beaches aren't that great IMHO but the water is warm. You can take day trips to nearby islands. Or if you want a gorgeous beach then the area around Cartagena Spain . The old town is nice but the best beaches need a car. Or if the beaches aren't that important Barcelona. kms of urban beaches which are okay but a city that answers most of your other requests. You could also take the train to nearby towns for nicer beaches.

But I'm sure you know August in any place fitting your requirements is going to be packed with people.
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Mar 27th, 2018, 09:23 PM
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Hi swanny65,

I have a friend working in Montenegro, and she tells me that there is no public transport to speak of at all. You may want to investigate that further. My friend says even the roads outside of Podgorica are awful, so she flies if she has to go somewhere beyond the city. For the city itself, she drives.

Since you're going in August, I'd think about heading north -- northern Germany or Denmark.

Hope you find a great spot, and have fun as you plan!

s
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Mar 27th, 2018, 09:26 PM
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They are some great suggestions!!
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Mar 28th, 2018, 12:16 AM
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Bodensee
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Mar 28th, 2018, 08:18 AM
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Thanks, Nick. I haven't been to that part of Spain yet, so I'll give that a look. I'll bookmark your suggestion for Rhodes when I do a longer trip to Turkey in a year or two. I've been to Barcelona and agree the beach is great, but it's a little bigger than I was hoping for. I'm trying to find something akin to Cadaques just north of there, which I loved for its geography, white-washed homes and Dali connections. Vis and Brac are rising to the top, but the travel connections back to Paris, where we fly out of, are proving a bit challenging. In the end, it might just come down to renting a car and exploring more of France, such as the Loire Valley with a side trip to Brittany. You can't go wrong spending more time in France.
Really appreciate your input and suggestions.
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Mar 28th, 2018, 10:09 AM
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If you liked Cadaques, check out Collioure or any beach to the east or west of it (Argèles-sur-Mer, Banyuls, Narbonne-Plage, maybe even as far as Sète). Easy train line across the south of France all the way to Avignon. You could make travel connections back to Paris easily either via Montpellier or Toulouse.
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Mar 30th, 2018, 09:59 AM
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Brittany has some nice seaside towns too - maybe a bit chilly waters at times. Suggest taking trains out of Paris to wherever in France you want to drive around - some from CDG Airport go right to Brittany or Loire or south of France. Pick up rental car at stations - book trains early as possible for super low fares - www.oui.sncf - easy now folks say to book your own discounted tickets on - www.seat61.com has loads of great info on doing that; general train info and where to go BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com.
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Mar 30th, 2018, 11:09 AM
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If you are flying out of Geneva airport, you can fly non-stop to Kalamata in Greece.

Last edited by kitbag; Mar 30th, 2018 at 12:08 PM.
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Mar 30th, 2018, 11:51 AM
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I second Collioure and would add Llafranc further south on that coast. Consider also places on the North coast of Spain, in particular my favorite Ribadesella though Santander and Castro Urdiales are are also nice as is San Sebastian, St. Jean de Luz and Biarritz (latter two in France rather than Spain.) The beaches in Camogli near Genoa in Italy get crowded but the area is delightful and the town as well as its neighbors Santa Margherita Ligure, Rapallo and Chiavari are swell as well. Positano, Amalfi and surrounds are pretty decent as well.
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Mar 30th, 2018, 11:55 AM
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Or get way far away from the madding crowds and go to someplace like St-Ferréol:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bassin_de_Saint-Ferréol

You'd need a car, though. In fact, at the time of year you'd want a car for ANY waterside venue that's not going to be mobbed.
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Mar 30th, 2018, 12:17 PM
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at the time of year you'd want a car for ANY waterside venue that's not going to be mobbed.

I'm not sure I understand this comment, but there are many lovely historic villages along the Med or situated on lakes in Europe that are still relatively unknown to mass tourism but where there is no need for a car because they are easily reached by train, ferry or taxi, and having a car would be an expensive hassle, since these old historic villages are mainly pedestrianized or just not car friendly, period.
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Mar 30th, 2018, 12:25 PM
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Like where?
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Mar 31st, 2018, 06:50 AM
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Hi, everyone,
Sorry for the late response. I didn't get a notification for the recent posts for some reason.
Yes, great suggestions and info. Many thanks! Prior to reading these, I'd started to settle on Switzerland. I'm set to do the Mont Blanc circuit in late July, so in the end, I thought it made the most sense to stay close by to my end point in Chamonix and check out some the villages and lakes a train journey away before heading home via Paris. We've spent some time in Lake Annecy in the past and loved it for its hiking, swimming and biking opportunities. So maybe Vevey on Lac Leman (Geneva) and onward from there.
I've just come back from exploring New Zealand by campervan for two months, and while it was fantastic, we were on the move every day. So for the next trip, I'm starting to think it might be best to take a breather from driving and settle in some base towns for a week at a time.
You've all given me some fabulous ideas. Time to do some more research.
Thanks again!
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Mar 31st, 2018, 10:09 AM
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swanny 65. Can you do a trip report for your 2 months in New Zealand. That is on my list and any guidance would be appreciated, thanks!
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Mar 31st, 2018, 11:10 AM
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Any place nice on the "waterfront" stopped being a village at least 50 years ago, unless you consider cities of 30,000 people to be villages.
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Apr 1st, 2018, 04:48 AM
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Take the train to Locarno, Switzerland and then the boat to Cannobio, Italy for a nice lakeside experience.
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Apr 1st, 2018, 06:24 AM
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How about the Atlantic coast of Portugal?

I have a friend working in Montenegro, and she tells me that there is no public transport to speak of at all.
Not true, at least about the coast. I traveled there using buses, but the coast is likely to be be crowded in August.
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Apr 1st, 2018, 07:20 AM
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Thanks again, everyone. More great ideas. I've finally decided to focus on Switzerland, so I'll start a different thread. (Thanks for the Cannobio, suggestion, Huggy; I'll look into that.) I love all the suggestions. Some of them I've enjoyed already (Bodensee, Northern Spain, Portugal) and others I definitely plan to explore in the future -- Rhodes, Kalamata, Colliere, Llafranc, St-Ferréol, etc. -- so thank you for sharing.
Deladeb, I'm so focused on the next trip that I'm not sure I'll have a chance to do a trip report on the last, but feel free to reach out to me with questions on New Zealand. We did loads of hiking, from day hikes to multi-day tracks, survived two cyclones and a ton of rain and spent 40 days (of 60 total) in a tiny van (no loo, no fridge, no standing up) and still stayed married. It was a crazy adventure, and we loved it. Good luck!
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Apr 2nd, 2018, 03:30 AM
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I can second this one. Lovely area.
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