“I was gobsmacked at the beauty of the English coast” when I travelled round Cornwall in a VW campervan, says Naomi Hazelmere in the Daily Mail. Beaches such as Kynance Cove sport “aquamarine waters and white sands that wouldn’t be out of place in Ibiza” – but these are no secret, so expect them to be busy. Hazelmere’s favourite beach of the trip was a cove two miles over the cliffs from Kennack Sands. The long walk puts off most tourists, so it was deserted while she went “snorkelling in the crystal-clear waters around the cove, thanks to some hardy swimming wetsuits” that held off the icy water.
It’s not all about “sea swimming and coastal rambles” though. “One of the biggest draws of a holiday is the chance to sample local cuisine”, and visitors to this area can enjoy Cornish pasties, local cider and “beautifully simple” crab sandwiches while taking in the spectacular sea views. “Every Brit should try a staycation once, there is far more beauty on our local beaches than many of us give this island credit for.”
Slovenia: tiny but very diverse
On the map, Slovenia looks minute: “a mere postage stamp compared with the rest of the continent”, says Kate Springer in Condé Nast Traveller. Yet what it lacks in size, “it makes up for in medieval architecture, stylish alfresco cafes, and hit-the-brakes-pretty scenery”. Most travellers begin in the capital of Ljubljana, where riverside bars bring the cobbled streets and baroque buildings to life. “From there, it’s all glassy mountain lakes, rolling vineyards, mountains of prosciutto, fresh cheese, and castles.”
About 1.5 hours northeast of Ljubljana lies Ptuj, the country’s oldest city, with its bright red rooftops and medieval architecture. Don’t miss the 19th-century Vinag wine cellar, a 200,000-square-foot labyrinth “that will impress even the most jaded of oenophiles”. Meanwhile, must-see locations to the southwest include the Skocjan Caves, a Unesco world heritage site, and the dramatic Renaissance-era Predjama Castle. “Tiny, picturesque, and very diverse,” Slovenia is “perfect for a road trip.”
Transylvania: much more than Dracula legends
Our holiday was an “exercise in pure spontaneity”, says Rhiannon Edwards in The Daily Telegraph: “a very loose plan for a road trip through Transylvania”. The area is best known outside Romania as the legendary home of Dracula, but the “gorgeous” countryside has much more to offer tourists. In Cluj-Napoca, the region’s unofficial capital, the “dark, gothic and imposing” St Michael’s Church is a “real scene stealer”, while the former salt mine of Salina Turda is “a subterranean cave of epic proportions” – complete with “illuminated jetty and boating lake”, it “has more in common with a Star Wars set than a museum”.
Later, in the tiny town of Cund, we tramped up “a dark mud track aiming for a small light in the distance” to eat excellent local food at the Valea Verde restaurant. “Potato soup, cheese curds, honey and homemade bread, a main dish of duck, and a rich cake” were all “grown, raised, or baked within a mile” of where we were sitting. The next stage was a day trip to Sighisoara, “a citadel originally built into a rock face by the Transylvanian Saxons in around 1280”, before taking “a beautiful road with views over wild flower meadows to castles and churches” to the walled town of Brasov in the Carpathian Mountains. After that, it was quite a shock to head to “gritty Bucharest” for the flight home.
A campervan for this century
“Travellers yearning for a psychedelic road trip can soon relive the nostalgia of a Volkswagen campervan – without the environmental impact,” says Cailey Rizzo in Travel + Leisure. Volkswagen is set to release a 21st-century version of its classic Microbus. The ID Buzz will be fully electric and capable of producing 369 horsepower with a range of about 300 miles on one charge. It should also be capable of autonomous driving, thanks to a series of scanners, sensors, and cameras. Launch is scheduled for 2022. Time to “start planning groovy road trips”.