December 7, 2023

Olympia Travel Tips

Maniac Travel Update

‘We’re dreaming of white sands and skyscapes’: readers’ holiday plans for 2023 | Europe holidays

‘We’re dreaming of white sands and skyscapes’: readers’ holiday plans for 2023 | Europe holidays

Spring in the shadow of Mont Blanc, France

I am planning my dream holiday to the Alps for spring. Environmentally friendly transport is important to me and Chamonix can be reached by train from London (allowing for a quick sightseeing stop in Paris). I plan to spend my days hiking, climbing, trail running and exploring the breathtaking trails and peaks of Mont Blanc. The Alps are a dream destination for anyone looking to embrace their adventurous side or simply indulge in the rich hot chocolate of the region.
Eleanor Warren

Night train from Paris to Vienna

Lipizzaner horses in Vienna.
Lipizzaner horses in Vienna. Photograph: Panther Media/Alamy

The overnight train from Paris to Vienna in November is our dream holiday. A day in Paris (lunch plus a museum) before getting on the Nightjet (overnight train) to Vienna at 7:30pm armed with picnics and films (tickets start at €30 one way.) Arrive Vienna 10am Saturday ready to explore the funfair on the Rathausplatz before taking the train to Bratislava for an André Rieu concert (we are taking our own plastic tiaras). It will be glory. Sunday-morning train back to Vienna for the Lipizzaner horses (more emotional joy tears) and then it will be time for Sachertorte, schnitzel and the Sigmund Freud museum. Naturally, we will be reading Eva Ibbotson throughout. Then back on the train Monday evening to arrive in London Tuesday.
Samantha David

A trip to Britain’s ‘most stylish hotel’, Morecambe

Art deco wonder, the Midland Hotel.
Art deco wonder, the Midland Hotel. Photograph: Liz Garnett/Alamy

The cost of travelling to my dream destination for 2023 is a modest £13 return by rail and will take less than two hours from my home in the Ribble Valley. The more relevant cost is whether to have afternoon tea like Georgy Malenkov, who was briefly leader of the Soviet Union in 1953, or stay the night, like Alma Cogan, Coco Chanel, Wallace Simpson and Noël Coward, in Britain’s most stylish hotel. I don’t expect the Midland at Morecambe is on everyone’s radar, but this art deco wonder is sensational and largely unknown.
Martin Charlesworth

Armenian hike

Yerevan. Photograph: Zoonar/Alamy

The Transcaucasian Trail now stretches for more than 500 miles across Armenia and into Georgia, so this summer I’ll be testing thru-hiking sections starting from Dilijan national park, after having acclimatised to the 40C lowland heat in the buzzing coffee shops of Yerevan, where freshly squeezed pomegranate juice (the fruit being a national symbol) is available from street vendors for little more than 500 dram (just over £1).

Secluded beach, Northumberland

Sugar sands, near Longhoughton and Howick.
Sugar sands, near Longhoughton and Howick. Photograph: RA Kearton/Getty Images

I plan to visit Sugar Sands beach. It sounds as though it should be on a Caribbean island but it’s actually in beautiful Northumberland. It’s a secluded beach which you access via a path through a farm (there’s an honesty box.) There are no facilities, but there is a gorgeous horseshoe-shaped swathe of sand that is sheltered and has beautiful views, no matter the weather. I discovered this beach last year while dog walking from Boulmer, just a little further up the coast.
Fiona Wilson

Wild beauty of the Inner Hebrides

Walkers on Islay.
Walkers on Islay, one of the Inner Hebrides. Photograph: Jonathan Porter/Alamy

I’m trying to reduce my carbon footprint so I’ll be exploring the Inner Hebrides this year, instead of flying abroad. Having already fallen in love with the Outer Hebrides, both as a solo traveller and with friends, I’m ready to discover some of the smaller islands. This year, I’ll be taking my new husband who is yet to experience the wild beauty of Scotland. If the Inner Hebrides are anything like their larger neighbours, we can expect to see awe-inspiring landscapes, wildlife galore and a sense of something mystical that I just can’t put my finger on.
Julianne Joyce


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By train to Marrakech, Morocco

The Atlas mountains shimmer above Marrackech.
The Atlas mountains shimmer above Marrackech. Photograph: Nick Fox/Alamy

This time of year I dream of heading south; I keep on going until I reach Marrakech and its colour. But no sudden instant sunshine shot for me: I want to steadily move towards the warmth watching the landscape unfold and the temperature climb. Take a Eurostar to Paris, change and head on a TGV to Barcelona before overnighting and moving south to Algeciras. Then it’s a ferry to Tangier before taking Moroccan rail connections to the red city itself, at the edge of the snow-capped Atlas. February is when the contrast is at its most delicious. has the details.

The sands of Anglesey

Benllech beach features on our tipster’s walk from Red Wharf Bay.
Benllech beach is just to the west of Red Wharf Bay. Photograph: John Martin Davies/Alamy

We’re dreaming of white sands, beautiful countryside, endless sea and skyscapes – and they’re all available close to home in north Wales. Our favourite is Red Wharf Bay on Anglesey – miles of sand with a backdrop of salt marshes, sand dunes and wooded hills. Space to roam and discover shells, birds and sea creatures. The blue waters are shallow and safe to swim. We love to walk to Benllech and back then dine at one of three excellent restaurants with fabulous views of the bay.
Susanna C

In Byron’s steps, Malta

Valletta. Photograph: eye35/Alamy

I would love to visit Valletta and retrace Byron’s steps, climbing the many steps of the city, taking in the architecture and history. It would be amazing to hear the cannons fired in the Barrakka Gardens and find the British red phone box close to Victoria’s Gate (if it’s still there). And to cruise round the harbour and creeks would complete the visit.
Donna Niman

Winning tip
Wildflowers and Saint Bernards, Engelberg, Switzerland

‘Where reality exceeded my imagination’ … Engelberg.
‘Where reality exceeded my imagination’ … Engelberg. Photograph: robertharding/Alamy

It is more than 50 years since I visited Engelberg. That trip, my first abroad, introduced me to experiences I had glimpsed only in Heidi and The Chalet School books. The reality exceeded my imagination and was full of firsts. A night train from Calais. Warm rolls and blackcurrant conserve in Basel. Our YH accommodation in an idyllic Swiss chalet. Sleeping under a duvet. Cows wearing bells. Green pastures carpeted in wildflowers. Snow-capped mountains. Barry the Saint Bernard. The Rhône Glacier. Engelberg inspired a lifetime of richly rewarding foreign travel. I’d like to recreate that original journey and return with gratitude.
Ruth Shade

Please use the comments below to share your own holiday ideas for the year