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The coast or the cliffs? How to choose between a mountain or seaside break

A beach holiday. A mountain holiday. How to decide between the two? Both the beaches in Europe and mountains in Europe offer some exceptional perks and glorious experiences for those who visit. We’ve compiled some of their highlights to help you make an informed decision on where to go next.

Perks of a mountain break

1.   It’s a great workout… with amazing views

There are loads of athletic activities you can get up to in the mountains. From hiking with the most stunning views to discovering hidden nature trials with the whole family, there are a wealth of wonderful ways to exercise your legs, open up your lungs and work those muscles. The Dolomites are a particular treasure when it comes to mountains in Europe – a gorgeous, speckled grey range interspersed with glittering lakes and dramatic ridges. If you head here, make sure to book a room at Hotel Angelo Engel, which comes complete with a beautiful spa. It’s the perfect way to relax after adventuring.

2.   Mountains in Europe are often synonymous with skiing

If you love skiing, chances are you’ve already been to the mountains in Europe loads of times. And if you haven’t… what have you been waiting for? Skiing is an exhilarating activity, and there’s no better place to do it from than Les 3 Vallées: the world’s biggest ski area, based in the French Alps. Zip down snow-covered slopes before discovering its many quaint villages and ski towns, sandwiched in-between nights at the incomparable Hotel l´Hélios & Spa: a five-star hotel filled with open fires, chalet-style rooms and dreamy food.

3.   There’s no better place to switch off

High above level ground and in stark contrast to the cosmopolitan bustle of Europe’s cities, a trip into the mountains is a wonderful way to disconnect with routine and reconnect with your soul. Close to our historic and multi award-winning hotel, Kurhaus Bergün, you’ll love the tranquillity surrounding Piz Corvatsch: a Swiss mountain resplendent in a cloak of green trees. You’re spoilt for choice here, though, with other ranges and hiking areas including La Spinatscha, Piz Ela and Corviglia all just a short drive away.

Perks of a seaside break

Sunset on the Ocean wild beach stormy weather. Praia da Adraga sandy beach with picturesque landscape background, Sintra Cascais Portugal Vitality of blue energy and clear ocean water

1. Beaches in Europe are fun for the whole family

A beach holiday is a crowd pleaser, so if you’re travelling with a large travel party, it’s a great place to pick for your escape. You won’t be short of options, either. Europe is absolutely filled with white, sandy beaches and aquamarine seascapes, including Zlatni Rat, otherwise known as the ‘Golden Horn’. This iconic beach in Croatia leads to a point, hence the name, and between its food court, kid’s corner, beach amenities and more, it’s an epic place to spend time with your loved ones. Afterwards, take the short journey to Puteus Palace to savour some luxury treatment and sample delicious Brač and Croatian specialities.

2. You can try a range of watersports

While exploring beaches in Europe, there’s a world of wonder to be discovered beneath the waves. Across Santorini’s islandsyou can go scuba diving, snorkelling, and swimming, and traverse across the water via everything from a sailboat to yacht and surfboard, too. Engage with the sea in a variety of ways during an unforgettable trip on this most beloved of Greek islands, famed not only for its sands but for its sunsets and hospitality, as well: both of which you’ll get the best of at Aigialos Hotel Santorini, voted the ‘Most Romantic Historic Hotel’ in 2014.

3. You’ll be able to unwind and focus on you

Beaches in Europe often feel like nature’s spas. They’re hotspots of sun, close to aeons of salt water, and their soundtrack of softly cooing birds and lapping waves can transport even the most highly-strung of us to a state of complete zen. Throughout Sintra in Portugal, you’ll find several beautiful beaches to discover and destress in, like Praia da Adraga and Praia Grande. Back in Lisbon, a night or two at Hotel Britania should be on your agenda, just a stone’s throw away from the airport and local train stations.

Can’t choose? Enjoy both!

If the perks of both beach and mountain holidays appeal to you, then you’re in luck. There are some amazing spots across the continent where you can benefit from both!

In Ireland’s wild Connemara, you’ll find coastal locales like the Whitestrand Green Coast neighbouring Connemara National Park, which is home to some magnificent mountains. No need to choose between your flip flops and your hiking boots – you can pack both, and enjoy even more activities besides at Renvyle House Hotel & Resort, which has its own private beach and freshwater lake, as well as outdoor hot tub and much more.

Another place where you’ll be able to strike this balance is in the charming city of Taormina, Sicily. Not only is sublime Isola Bella just a short boat ride away – offering beaches and historic ruins in equal measure to explore – Mt Etna, one of the highest volcanoes in the world, can also be seen here. Mix your varied days with nights at Hotel Villa Schuler, where boutique elegance is delivered alongside luscious greenery in the form of their on-site botanic gardens.

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