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Summer Holiday in Europe: Travellers Share What their Holidays Were Like

When winter hit, it felt like everyone knew someone who was heading for Europe to get some sun.

Over June and July, social media feeds were filled with people living it up in Sicily or Santorini, London or Lyon.

At the same time, we heard of deadly heatwaves, cities overwhelmed with tourists and countries asking visitors to stop crowding certain spots.

So, what was it like for Kiwis and other travellers who escaped winter for a Europe trip?

Herald Travel asked readers to share details about their 2023 Europe holidays.

Aucklander Isabella said she was currently in Rome after visiting popular spots such as London, Paris, Porto, Barcelona, Belgium and Santorini.

She had no regrets about travelling Europe during the peak season, but admitted some cities had been busy.

“Certain areas have been crowded for sure. The Acropolis in Athens was a big one for tourists. Same with the Sagrada in Barcelona,” she said. However, Isabella added it hadn’t taken much effort to find quieter spots and genuine experiences.

“It might take an hour’s walk (yes, in the 37C heat), a ferry, or a 30-minute bus. This was definitely important in Santorini. We managed to wake early and go to beaches that were empty for a few hours in the morning before others came through just after midday.”

As for the cost of travelling, Isabella said planning ahead had been crucial for saving money.

“I planned my trip down to a T, which has been awesome for copping those tickets for certain things that almost always sell out closer to the time (with inflated prices too!).”

Krista said her week-long vacation in Mallorca had been “a dream” and she and her husband already wanted to return.

“We were on the island for seven days and travelled around to the different locations. There was hiking and beaching, great food and stunning views,” she said, and she found no issues with crowding or high prices.

However, Chris, a Brit living in Auckland, said his six-night stay in Madrid and Barcelona had been busy with fellow visitors.

“Both cities were busy, but Barcelona definitely more so, to the extent that we couldn’t do a couple of the things we wanted in Barcelona because of the volume of tourists,” he said.

On the plus side, Chris said both cities were good value for money compared to other places in Europe, the weather had been warm and the restaurants were amazing.

The weather had also sat around 30C, which gave him a good dose of sunshine before spending three and a half weeks in Britain, which had been grey and cold.

Emma also said the UK had been “rainy and depressing” during her travels around York, Cardiff, London, Oxford and Dorset.

“The weather is really horrible and honestly feels like it is putting a damper on tourism,” she said, adding that York and London were busy but felt less busy than previous summers she had visited.

Hawkes’ Bay resident David said his trip around Portugal and Italy had been incredible, and full of “great weather, better food and even better wine”. However, he said the only very busy destinations were places on the beaten track.

“Some places were very stacked with tourists,” he said, referencing Porto, Rome, Positano, Pisa, Florence and Cinque Terre as busy with visitors. Meanwhile, spots like Napoli, Ortiga, Cefalu, Palermo and Barolo were “much more local and real”.

“Locals were really nice outside of tourist hubs. Avoid Rome and Amalfi, Pisa and Venice, and you’ll have a fantastic time in Italy,” he said.

Aucklander Alicia, who recently moved to London, said a recent week-long trip to Crete had been relatively quiet, but very hot.

“Crete got up to 40C one day,” she said. “It was fine heat-wise if you could stay by a pool and cool down, but that meant we couldn’t do any exploring or long walks.”

Meanwhile, in London, the weather had been stormy and cold.

Source : NZHerald