Most people think that a nearby holiday home or cottage in a place like Tuscany is the best place to sunbathe – but the towns below are havens of tranquillity and soul-lengthening contemplation. From quiet mountain villages to ancient cities cut off by high mountains, it’s worth splashing out to tick them off the travel bucket list. See: • ‘Lonely Planet’s most beautiful seas and lakes’
Sitting on an isolated hilltop just south of the Catalan seaside town of Palma, one of the area’s greatest treasures, Migoya is one of the region’s least-known and most scenic areas. Situated on the river Llasa between Pontevedra and Mecanic, Migoya’s 4km track, which takes visitors past a gorge and snakes through golden deep forests, can be reached on foot or by boat. The village of 15-20 houses resembles an almost lost pilgrimage scene.
Image: Mike Rud
Maorin River-front villa ‘Romania’s hidden gem’ … Photograph: Alamy
Greece’s landlocked town of Scopissa has more in common with The White Desert of New Mexico than with pretty Plaka. The river that snakes along its calm and peaceful cobbled streets came to form the river that led to the town – meaning that its water is usually pure and clear. Pretty Scopissa is a nature lover’s paradise, with oaks and olive trees lining the quiet streets.
Greece’s landlocked town of Scopissa has more in common with The White Desert of New Mexico than with pretty Plaka.
Indigenous to the Australian Pacific islands, Kosrae is as much a bay as a place and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is the only island in Cook’s Gulf (north-west of Brisbane) that isn’t surrounded by water. Numerous white-sand beaches, old cypress tree, shophouses and dips in the pebbles at night can be enjoyed. Boats to the peninsula can be hired from its colourful marina (right).