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Northern lights, wild flamingos and golden eagles: readers’ favourite holidays of 2021 | Travel

Successful tip: Wild flamingos, pine woods and paella in Spain

A simple 12-mile (19km) cycle south from Valencia takes you to the sand dune seashores of El Saler and the Albufera nature reserve. I stayed two nights within the Parador de El Saler resort, which appears on to the Mediterranean sea and is surrounded by pine forests. The character reserve means the realm has few buildings and is full of birds. I cycled to a birdwatching centre 10 minutes from the resort to see flamingos. Albufera is legendary for its very shallow salt-water lake and there are sundown journeys in conventional flat-bottom boats. There are a lot of eating places serving paella (cooked outdoors over fires constructed from orange-tree branches). I cherished the seashore and the forest.
Sarah

Diamond seashore and northern lights in Iceland

The Jökulsárlón glacier in southern Iceland.
The Jökulsárlón glacier in southern Iceland. {Photograph}: Marco Bottigelli/Getty Photographs

A go to this month to Jökulsárlón glacier in Iceland was well worth the effort. The drive from a small city, Vik, to the glacier by means of an unlimited expanse of snow-covered plains gave an exhilarating feeling of being on one other planet. Small icebergs that had cracked away from the glacier and been chucked on to the contrasting black volcanic sandy seashore glittered like diamonds – a unprecedented spectacle. Vik is idyllic, with snowy mountains on one facet and the black sand seashore on the opposite. The aurora watched from a hilltop church’s grounds was a spectacular show of colors.
Radhamanohar Macherla

Larger than eagles within the Hebrides

Ceapabhal hill and saltings on the Isle of Harris.
Ceapabhal hill and saltings on the Isle of Harris. {Photograph}: Studio-Annika/Getty Photographs

Ceapabhal, recognized regionally as Toe Head, looms wherever you might be on the Isle of Harris. It solely took me 15 years of visiting the Outer Hebrides to pluck up the braveness to climb it. The views from the highest are panoramic: the topaz waters and powder-white sands of virtually each seashore on the island sparkle under. From my elevated place, feathers glowed golden within the sunshine. For the primary time, I had the privilege of wanting down on not one, however three magnificent raptors. Huge golden eagles swooped beneath me earlier than hovering on thermals into the clouds.
Vanessa Wright

Fairytale waterfalls by Loch Lomond

The Falls of Falloch, just north of Loch Lomond.
The Falls of Falloch, simply north of Loch Lomond. {Photograph}: Angus McComiskey/Alamy

Throughout our journey on the West Highland Way there was one place the place I wanted I might keep longer. The north finish of Loch Lomond stole my coronary heart with its dramatic panorama of placid lake and imposing mountains. We stayed in Beinglas Farm campsite, a quiet, pleasant place with a bar, store and good breakfasts. Strolling away from loch you come to the Falls of Falloch pretty rapidly, and many different small waterfalls apart from which have a fascinating, fairytale high quality. Take a dip within the little swimming pools in case you are courageous: the water is as clear as a mirror.
Philippa Hughes

Cheese pies by the facet of Morecambe Bay

Rock-cut tombs outside St Patrick’s chapel, Heysham, Lancashire.
Rock-cut tombs, considered pre-Norman, outdoors St Patrick’s chapel, Heysham, Lancashire. {Photograph}: gtimages/Alamy

Biking and strolling have led us to find native gems. Glasson Dock, a port that point forgot, should be your starting point. Cycle up the gravel-and-tarmac outdated railway line alongside the estuary to Lancaster (about 5 miles). Cross the Lune on the elegant Millennium bridge and then head in the direction of Morecambe. Just some hundred metres from this wonderful and well-used cycle observe is Susan’s Pies – our favourite is cheese and onion. Resist consuming now however flip alongside the coast to Heysham, the place you’ll be able to eat within the graveyard of Grade I-listed S Peter’s church close to the a lot older ruins of St Patrick’s chapel and its rock-cut tombs, overlooking the well-known bay.
Martin Charlesworth

Bracing Cornish salt water for the soul

The unheated seawater pool at Bude in Cornwall.
The unheated seawater pool at Bude in Cornwall. {Photograph}: Nik Taylor/Alamy

We had an totally great lengthy weekend with household in Cornwall, the place we have been inspired to partake of their common exercise of an early-morning dip in Bude sea pool, an outside swimming pool constructed the Thirties among the many pure dramatic rock formations of the cliffs. The unheated seawater is refreshed with each excessive tide, and taking the plunge is a extremely really helpful to invigorate the soul and make you are feeling really alive.
Johanna Ogden

Laid-back tenting in Cornwall

With its palm bushes, subtropical crops and placing coastal views, Henry’s campsite in Helston, Cornwall, transported us to a vibrant and bohemian world the place for one week all we wanted was frequent sense, flip-flops and a pitcher of cider. Mornings have been straightforward, with a gradual wander as much as the farmhouse for espresso and a croissant (dodging free-range chickens and youngsters en route), adopted by sunny days spent wandering the coastal paths, stopping at seashore bars and swimming in hidden coves. Our evenings ended completely with dwell music, fire-pit marshmallows and watching the solar soften into the ocean.
Hayley Kenney

Amarante, Portugal’s greatest saved secret

The church and bridge of São Gonçalo in Amarante, Portugal.
The church and bridge of São Gonçalo in Amarante, Portugal. {Photograph}: Luis Pina Images/Alamy

Amarante is a small, quaint village within the north-east of the nation. I used to be taken right here on a shock journey by my associate and was pleasantly shocked by the unbelievable choice of eating places and cafes. Our journey was spent taking brief walks by the river and exploring the good tourist-friendly metropolis of Porto, 35 miles away. For these searching for a problem, I might suggest Paiva Walkways in Aveiro for its 12km mountainside path by means of the gorgeous hills of Arouca. All in all, every week away in September value us £200 every, which, when you think about the price of different European getaways, is an absolute steal.
Mariah Sowa

Stroll on water in Diss, Norfolk

Anglers fishing Diss mere in the centre of Diss, South Norfolk, East Anglia, England, UK.JKTMDE Anglers fishing Diss mere in the centre of Diss, South Norfolk, East Anglia, England, UK.
The mere at Diss, teeming with fish. {Photograph}: Graham Turner/The Guardian

Having visited twice on brief breaks this summer season, we at the moment are massive followers of the market city of Diss in south Norfolk, with its historic “Heritage Triangle”, house to an abundance of unbiased outlets, and its mesmerising mere. Amongst Diss’s many engaging historic buildings is the imposing neoclassical Corn Corridor, nonetheless partly used as a corn exchange till the Nineties and now an arts venue. The central six-acre mere, teeming with fish, was as soon as considered the waterfilled crater of an extinct volcano. We loved stress-free on the lakeside decking of the Waterfront Inn and strolling over the water on the floating boardwalk.
Sharon Pinner

Rediscovering the delights of Dovedale

Tourists crossing River Dove on stepping stones in Dovedale Derbyshire peak district national park England
A pure place to begin … the stepping stones in Dovedale. {Photograph}: eye35.pix/Alamy

Dovedale in Derbyshire was shut sufficient to our faculty in north Birmingham for it to be the placement of all our subject journeys, armed with measuring wheels, notepads and generic juice cartons – however I don’t assume I appreciated its magnificence again then. The stepping stones are a pure place to begin, however stroll in any route and the vistas are stellar, the hill of Thorpe Cloud being the star. With out the category clown as a distraction, Lion Head rock actually does look feline, and beautiful Milldale turns into reachable with out lecturers who simply wish to get again for joyful hour. This quiet time of 12 months is ideal. Take pleasure in sizzling meals and a film on the cosy Northern Light Cinema in Wirksworth, a couple of 40-minute drive away.
Antony T

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