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Getting Away from It All…

  • November 4th, 2007
  • Posted by EUEditor

pielachtal.jpgSuggestions for travelers: think about these ten best European rural tourist destinations, away from the main rush.
Leaving aside such well-discovered pleasures as the Black Forest, Camargue or Cotswolds;winners of a competition just announced promise mountain air in idyllic surrounds like Austria’s Pielachtal (picture) ; some true remoteness in corners of Greece; an heritage experience in Southern Italy or a visit to Latvian riverlands.

The “ten best rural tourist destinations” were given “European Destinations of Excellence” awards at the annual European Tourism Forum, in Portugal (26.10.07).

The promotional awards are intended to showcase destinations where “commercial success goes hand in hand with social, cultural and environmental sustainability.”

The European Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen said they would “enhance the visibility of several non traditional destinations.”

For all those thinking of a trip and looking for some rural enjoyment on the circuit, here are the “ten best”, with their citations:

Austria: Pielachtal, Dirndl is the valley’s trademark

The Pielachtal is a valley in the Alpine foothills of the province of Lower Austria. Its culture, nature, way of life, handicrafts and specialty foods are combined to form a network of innovative offers. The Dirndl, or Cornel, popularly known as a cherry, is cultivated as the valley’s “trademark”.

Belgium: Durbuy, the smallest city of the world

The community Durbuy is situated in Wallonia in the Ardennes, and consists of 40 small villages. Durbuy is registered as “city” since the Middle Ages for its efficient justice and trade organization. Thus the old town of Durbuy became “the smallest city of the world”.

Croatia: Sveti Martin na Muri, preserved natural heritage

The district of Sveti Martin na Muri is located in the North, close to the tri-border with Slovenia and Hungary, where the River Mura enters the territory of Croatia. The destination has been profiled as a rural as well as a spa destination. It has a thermal spring of medicinal water and is the largest and one of the most beautiful spas in Croatia.

Cyprus: Troodos, A relaxing break away from cosmopolitan coastal resorts

Troodos has five distinct regions, grouped around Mount Olympus. The area offers an abundance of things to do and see: walking or cycling through forest nature trails, attending local village festivals, experiencing the local traditional cuisine and discovering the cultural treasures of UNESCO World Heritage sites are among the main pursuits.

Greece: Florina, Conciliating tourism and rural environment

The region of Florina is located in Northern Greece in West Macedonia. Geographically, it consists of mountainous and semi mountainous areas and lowlands. The mountains of Varnoutas, Vernon and Voras contain the ski centre and European Alpine routes whose peaks reach out to the fertile valleys and the six lakes of Prespes.

Hungary: Örség, Characteristic landscape in harmony with nature

The Õrség region is located in the most western corner of Hungary. The unique landscape is characterized by a variety of natural beauties: hills and valleys, deciduous and coniferous woodlands, green hayfields, moors, springs and streams. Besides these beauties, the unchanged folk traditions and customs, traditional crafts and the products of self-sufficient farming and lifestyle also attract visitors.

Ireland: Clonakilty District, amenities of natural beauty

The Clonakilty District is situated on the coast in South West Ireland. There are many amenities of natural beauty which are easily accessed. In addition to an abundance of activities on land and sea, music sessions and fresh local produce there are also a full range of heritage sites, galleries, pubs, walking routes and fishing points.

Italy: Specchia, Tradition meets innovation

Specchia is located in Southern Italy (Province of Lecce, Puglia Region). It is a site of great natural and cultural value and an important centre for the rural economy in the region. Specchia is a shining example of a place where tradition meets innovation. For example, there is the Protonobilissimo castle, which dates back to the XV century, as well as a public access Centre for advanced digital services.

Latvia: Kuldiga, The Latvian Venice

Kuldiga town in the Kurzeme region with its historical part and Valley of the River Venta is known as “The Latvian Venice”. Its tourism recourses are based on its historical and cultural heritage and the Venta River which is one of the largest and most picturesque rivers of Latvia. “Ventas Rumba” is the widest waterfall in Europe (240m).

Malta: Nadur, Scenic beauty which are unique and rather rare

Nadur is situated on the easternmost hill of the island of Gozo, Malta’s sister-island. Fresh fruit such as apples, peaches, pears, plums, oranges, lemons and melons from the fields of Nadur are distributed around Malta and Gozo. Nadur also has a plenty of cultural heritage and offers a number of areas of scenic beauty which are unique and rather rare.


EC, “The ten best European rural tourist destinations”, IP/07/1624, 29.10.07
Picture: google, leader-austria