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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Guardian readers

What a summer!: readers’ favourite holiday discoveries of 2022

Hrísey island.
Low-rise village, high-rise landscape … the mountains of northern Iceland loom up behind Hrísey island. Photograph: Zoonar GmbH/Alamy

We wrapped up well, Iceland

We visited the low-rise, one-village island of Hrísey during our round-Iceland tour. It sits in the Arctic-facing inlet of Eyjafjördur, 20 minutes by ferry from Árskógssandur, north of Akureyri – the fourth largest town in Iceland. We wrapped up well for the crossing, before following a 6km trail around the south of the island. There was a warm welcome from the islanders we met, but the birds were the star attraction. Ptarmigans thrive here at sea level – they seemed almost tame. We encountered fascinating history too: fish-drying racks, antique tractors and the wonderfully named Shark-Jörundur house, built in 1885-86 using timber from Norwegian ships that ran ashore at Hrísey in 1884. We gained such a sense of the old way of life here.
Paul Gamble

Seals and mountains, County Down

View to the Mourne Mountains from Murlough national nature reserve.

Avoiding chaotic airports, we took the ferry to Belfast and stayed at a cottage in County Down. We visited Murlough Bay a 282-hectare (700-acre) NT nature reserve near the majestic Mourne Mountains. Sandy paths traverse hummocks of heather, with carpets of wildflowers leading down to a wide expanse of beach, which faces south-east. To the north, seals bask round the bay while the Mournes dominate the skyline in the south. The place is blissfully quiet and a paradise for marvelling at beautiful shells. Fresh air and freedom.
Bridget Mellor

Nautical and knowledgable, Salcombe, Devon

Salcombe Maritime Museum, Salcombe, Devon

Salcombe Maritime museum, which we visited while staying at nearby East Portlemouth, proved a gem. It’s a small museum made up of two rooms in a building packed with exhibits ona mainly nautical theme including photos and artefacts from shipwrecks. There are also exhibits and tales from the second world war and interactive displays for children, including a dressing-up box. There was a really knowledgable guide on the front desk and the place is free to enter.
Tracy Evans

Beautiful B&B, Auxerre, France

Villa Ribière, Auxerre, France

Planning our trip home from the French Alps, we decided to stop overnight at the halfway mark. In Auxerre, we found the most beautiful B&B we’ve ever stayed in. At Villa Ribière, on Rue Hippolyte Ribière, we received a warm welcome from Bathilde, and were shown into a gorgeously decorated suite for us and our daughter. We enjoyed a wonderful breakfast in the morning in the charming dining room (the garden in better weather) before heading off. We can’t wait to return.
Nicky Dodd

Paris by bike

Paris, Place de la Republique

My older kids (17 and 21) and I are visiting Paris on a budget. We had expected to get around by walking and using the Métro but the Vélib’ Metropole bike hire app has been a revelation. Most of Paris is reasonably flat and you can hire a conventional bike for €5 for 24 hours (€10 for an electric bike). We’ve been able to take a tour of the major sites without breaking the bank and have enjoyed it immensely, not to mention that we’ve worked off the lovely cheeses and wines. There are separate cycle lanes in most parts of the city and the stands to collect and return the bikes are dotted around at roughly 300-metre intervals.

Cranberries and dunes, Frisian Islands, the Netherlands


For our holiday, we took the ferry from Harlingen and pedalled along the cycle paths of Vlieland on a tandem. Everyone cycles as visitors are not permitted to bring cars. Mostly made of sand dunes, the island is an attractive and tranquil nature reserve. Cranberries grow here – having been discovered on a beach on neighbouring Terschelling in 1845 by a local man as he walked along the dunes; they had apparently been blown off the deck of an American ship. You can pick them from mid-September. Most restaurants serve delicious savoury and sweet dishes with the tart fruit. We went twice to hotel-restaurant De Herbergh van Flielant for lovely meals in the one village, Oost-Vlieland, and meandered back to the campsite after sampling gorgeous dessert wine.
Monique Gadella

Family adventure, County Antrim

Rathlin island

Staying in the north of Northern Ireland with my parents, my brother and our respective children, we took a trip to Rathlin Island. It started with a reasonably priced and very scenic 30-minute ferry trip from Ballycastle, sweeping into the harbour of the small island. This was followed by a walk to one of the lighthouses, a bird sanctuary, a small sandy beach amply provided with picnic benches from which to watch the construction of various sandcastle masterpieces, a pub serving Guinness and a swing park. It made for a wonderful day with family.

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Latvian sea breeze

Jurmala Beach
Jurmala Beach. Photograph: Boris SV/Getty Images

Riga was our discovery of 2022. The old town is flat and brilliant to explore, with car-free streets, wooden houses, medieval churches and trendy cafes. A nice family meal for four was about £25. There are lovely Latvian sea breezes coming off the Baltic to keep everyone nice and cool. It’s a short €1 train ride to Jurmala beach, where the sand and sea (the water temperature is generally a couple of degrees higher than off the UK south coast) are superb: you can have a picnic on the beach and sunbathe and swim in comfortable temperatures without the crowds or heat of the Med. We’re going back next year!
Bill Cox

Solo female holiday in Norway

Female hiker with backpack walking on landscape against mountains, Norway

There’s more than a little magic in eating a sandwich at 1,516 metres, sitting on curly white lichen – “reindeer food”– with 12 female friends who only yesterday were complete strangers. I’m on my first solo holiday post-divorce, feeling simultaneously nervous and brave. Some had never walked up a mountain before, others were uncertain if they still could, yet we conquered Ruten, Rundhø and Sprenpiggen as well as our innermost fears and supported each other all the way up and down. I booked the trip with Walking Women.
J Courtney

Hanseatic marvel with extra marzipan, Germany

Cafe Niederegger
Cafe Niederegger. Photograph: Richard Sowersby/Alamy

On a family road trip to Billund in Denmark we had an awesome stopover in Lübeck. I love marzipan and so I was always going to make a beeline for the Café Niederegger. A marzipan coffee with a slice of Othello cake was absolutely amazing and quenched any need for marzipan (for a day at least). Plus there’s a whole wonderful Hanseatic city to explore.
Darren Atkinson

Please use the comments to share details of discoveries you’ve made on your summer jaunts, wherever they’ve been

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