To the sea….or not?

When you think about holidays, what is it you dream of? An expanse of azure sea, backed by a white sand beach? Palm trees and sunloungers? These are seductive images, ones which cause millions of us to pack on to flights and into the beach resorts of southern Europe each year. But holidays don’t always have to be by the coast…and nor do holiday homes. If you love holidays, but aren’t so keen on getting sand in your clothes and salt in your hair, consider buying a holiday home away from the beach.

Lakes and Rivers

If you’d still like to be by the water, but are happy for that water to be salt-free, consider a home by a lake or river. Some of the most attractive areas of Europe are on the shores of lakes. Take the Italian lake district: Lake Garda and Lake Como are huge, offering the chance to take part in watersports and enjoy an evening stroll along the waterside, without all the usual coastal cliches. Or head to the riverside: France in particular has some wonderful holiday areas around its major rivers, such as the Ardeche and Dordogne, where walking, fishing and canoeing are among the draws.

Mountains and Forests

Europe’s mountains and forests are often stunning, and often in the same place. Once, most of Europe was forested, now, it’s the mountain forests that most often remain. Take Germany’s Black Forest: a land of fairytale castles and wooded peaks. Head into the Alps or Pyrenees to experience old-fashioned hospitality at its best, and enjoy winter sports, trekking, climbing and mountain biking. Or just sit back and enjoy the views, far away from the hustle and bustle of the Mediterranean.

Towns and Cities

Europe has much to offer in the way of natural beauty as well as the man-made. A holiday home in one of the continent’s great cities can be a wonderful way to experience another culture, and in a buzzing city like Barcelona or Berlin, you’ll never get bored. If big metropolises aren’t your thing, explore smaller towns and inland villages and get to know how the locals really live.

Buying a home away from the beach might require a little more imagination than just picking a brand new beach-side villa, but it can often be so much more adventurous. You could end up with an old mountain farmhouse to restore (in which case make sure you get good overseas building insurance), a luxury city apartment, or anything in between. Whatever you choose, you’re sure to have at least as much fun with it as the crowds on the beaches.

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