There are many things that Finland does well - saunas, vodka, the hippo-like Moomins - but arguably it's the country's wild landscape that shine brightest. Nicknamed the 'land of a thousand lakes' (although it would be more accurate to say 188,000 lakes), Finland is blessed with natural good looks. Saimaa, the largest of the country's lakes, lies to the east while to the north is Lapland (more on that later), a winter wonderland high above the Arctic Circle. Read more about Lap up Finland's Finest
With attractions to charm even the most demanding traveller, the Greek region of Thrace will fascinate you with its wild beauty, breathtaking scenery and unique Byzantine, Ottoman and medieval heritage. The region of Thrace sits to Greece's east, at the gateway of the exotic north. This is a land of jaw-dropping landscapes, with the majestic Rodopi mountain range standing guard over the Nestos and Evros rivers, as well as richly diverse wetlands, lush forests and white-sand beaches. Read more about Explore Thrace's Natural Wonder
Nestled in the lush Hampshire countryside is the peaceful town of Stockbridge, an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Stockbridge has fresh air, scenic walks and some of the UK’s best sparkling wine. You can shelve any idea of being on a diet, as local, seasonal produce is big on the menu here, so the food is incredible.
Pack your walking boots for a country ramble. Stroll around Stockbridge Marsh next to the River Test to spot water voles scampering along the riverbanks, or wander vast and hilly Stockbridge Down for sweeping rural views. Read more about A Weekend in Stockbridge, England
For me, being beside the seaside is synonymous with feeling happy in that slightly hypnotised way that sparkling blue oceans bring on. Happy and hypnotised is not how I'm usually feeling when I find myself in East London, so the fact that I can step on a plane in London's grey downtown and find myself in a chic seaside resort an hours later, is perhaps Deauville's biggest selling point. Read more about Visit Normandy's Chic Coastal Resorts for Some Sand-and-Sea Therapy
Dubbed the 'jewel of the Adriatic', Dubrovnik's old town (or Stari Grad) is set within city walls built from the 13th century onwards. A Unesco World Heritage listed site, it is made up of cobblestone streets, forts and museums. Despite being bombed heavily by Yugoslav forces in 1991, the city has been well preserved and is Croatia's prime tourist destination. Read more about Take a City Break to Dubrovnik, Croatia
The Camino de Santiago de Compostela, known in English as The Way of St James, on the north-west tip of Spain, might just be the ultimate active break. For more than a thousand years, tourists and pilgrims have been walking this route to the Cathedral of Santiago to visit the grave of the apostle Saint James ('Sant Iago' in Spanish). Read more about Trek to the Cathedral of Santiago, the Grave of the Apostle Saint James
The coastal town of Essaouira has attracted a wealth of celebrities including Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix, over the years, thanks to its chilled-out hippy vibes, bohemian shops, sandy beaches and burgeoning arts scene. I was Gorging myself on an extravagant meal and I soaking up the relaxed atmosphere, when I decided then and there that I want to learn to cook like a Moroccan.
I choose sleek yet authentic L'Atelier Madada, a cooking workshop in the lofty grounds of boutique hotel Madada Mogador, to learn the craft. Read more about Learn to Cook Moroccan, in Essaouira
Cork, on the southern Irish coast, is home to plenty of great bars and an atmospheric old gaol. The city is a great base for exploring the nearby harbour (the second biggest in the world, after Sydney) and picturesque towns, along with Blarney Castle and its famous stone. Cork Harbour is well worth a visit. Boat tours, run by Safari, depart from central Cork and cruise slowly up the River Lee before reaching the harbour, where the skipper revs up the motor and makes you appreciate the waterproof clothing provided. Read more about Spend the Weekend in Cork, Ireland
The afternoon call to prayer rings out across Hierapolis, Pamukkale, as a Russian wallows in the area’s famous hot pools. His nubile companion frolics nearby - slithering through the water like a porpoise, spitting it up and letting it hit her on the head. Her laughter is in pleasant contrast to the echoing message of the muezzin. From where I sit, with a glass of Turkish brew Efes in hand, it's a great view. Read more about Visit the Ancient Roman City of Hierapolis and Float Above Cappadocia
It wouldn’t feel that strange to bump into a sprite on the Isle of Skye. With its lush glens and ghostly peaks, this Inner (Hebridian) island is otherworldly. Arriving is like stepping into the pages of a fantasy novel, except it’s populated by real friendly locals, as well as crowds of hikers - in the summer months. If you are not afraid of a little unpredictable weather? Visit off-season to get this amazing place to yourself. Read more about A Weekend in Isle of Skye