.Annabelle Thorpe, editor of 101 Holidays, tells us how to get off the well beaten track.

This year, there’s a new buzzword in travel, ‘over-tourism’ – where big tourist draws like Barcelona, Venice and Mallorca are swamped with visitors and local governments are going to war against Airbnb. Many of the Greek islands are similarly busy, and by the time the schools break up, great swathes of the Med are seething with people, making a few days away feel like rush hour in London, rather than a relaxing break. So where can you go to achieve some real peace and quiet this summer? Here is our pick of the best places for a proper dose of R&R.

Here Annabelle Thorpe of 101 Holidays tells us how to get off the beaten track.

1. Off-grid UK
If you want to avoid crowds, it’s best to give Cornwall a swerve during the summer months, and the Cotswolds can be equally crowded. The beauty of the Lake District, however, is that even in August there are quiet spots to found; avoid Windermere and head instead to the western side, to tranquil Wastwater and Buttermere. Rather than stay at a hotel, rent a cottage.

Or head north to Scotland, where the long summer evenings stretch well into the night, and islands such as Harris, Jura and Iona offer a true sense of escape. If you want to explore the mainland too, plan a road-trip – pop into a whisky distillery or two and discover some of the best places for seafood.



If you want to be by the sea, but without the hordes, you could rent a lighthouse, or head to the quiet countryside and coast of Suffolk, where the vast skies create a wonderful feeling of peace. If you’re looking for somewhere to take a big group of friends of family, renting a castle or country estate usually guarantees tranquillity – they tend to come surrounded by acres of private land!



2. Laid-back Europe
It is possible to head to Europe in the summer months, and not be overwhelmed by people. Swap the Algarve for Portugal’s southernmost Alentejo region, where you may come across Portuguese holidaymakers on the glorious beaches, but very few Brits. Similarly in Spain, Galicia in north-west Spain offers traditional fishing ports, spectacular scenery and some of the country’s best beaches. Or head to Madeira, where the mountainous island is criss-crossed with levadas – ancient walking trails, and lushly beautiful gardens.



Sicily also has its quiet corners in the summer months; head for the north-east corner of the island, in the hills behind the traditional resort of Gioiosa Marea, where life goes on much as it has done for generations. And as Croatia gets busier, it’s tranquil southern neighbour, Montenegro offers unspoilt beaches, crystal clear water and picturesque towns such as Kotor and Budva.

Closer to home, in the Channel Islands, Jersey boasts wonderful white-sand beaches, walking and cycling trails and a unique Franco-English atmosphere. See this collection of hotels and apartments.

3. Stress-free Scandinavia (and Iceland)
Even in the summer months, the Scandi countries rarely feel crowded, and although the sea is a touch chilly for a dip, there are some wonderful coastal areas and mountain retreats. Head to Norway to experience the magical midnight sun, and the spectacular fjordland scenery, with white-water rafting, scenic rail journeys and hiking all on offer. Beach lovers should head to picturesque Gotland in Sweden, famed for its pristine sandy shoreline and elegant Hanseatic towns. Or discover Iceland on a fly-drive trip - explore mountains, waterfalls and volcanoes and stay at rural boutique hotels, tucked away in the lunar landscape.



4. Further afield
If the budget stretches, the glorious white-sand beaches of the Seychelles are never over-run with tourists; the archipelago’s exclusive (and expensive) status means visitor numbers are always delightfully low. And it’s harder to get much further away from the crowds than Ecuador’s unique Galapagos Islands - a wildlife paradise at the very ends of the earth, where the beaches are crowded with seals and sea lions rather than sun-worshippers.



5. Active breaks
A walking holiday is a fantastic opportunity is to escape the crowds, discovering quiet corners of some of Europe’s most popular regions, including Provence and Tuscany. A cycling holiday in the heart of the Austrian Lakes is another option, with additional activities on tap such as boat trips, water sports and sight-seeing from fairytale Baroque palaces to ice caves.



The Alps are not just for skiing. Villages and resorts that throng with skiers in winter are refreshingly tranquil in summer with long hours of sunshine and low humidity. An Alpine break offers walking, mountain-biking, paragliding and lake swimming. And if its inner calm you’re after, a yoga break is an ideal way for a complete holistic detox – choose from Spain, Morocco, Italy – or even Asia.

August 2018