So, you’ve done the Lake District, explored the highlands of Scotland and enjoyed the delights of London – what next? Well, it’s time to discover all the countries a stone’s throw from the UK. We start in France.
This Republic is the closest mainland country to the UK, and it’s the perfect start. Jumping on the Eurostar you can get to Paris and Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre in two and a half hours. But, the city of love isn’t all that France has to offer. Jump back on the train to historic Lyon to find museums, parks and cathedrals in plentiful numbers. On the way back up, stop at Nantes for the giant elephant and the stunning Castle of the Dukes.
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If you don’t want to head back up to the north of France, or you’re thinking of another place to hit on the Eurostar, give Switzerland some consideration. Known for the Alps, there is far more to the country than skiing and mountain walking. The shores of Lake Geneva are a must see, especially the Chateau de Chillon that is found in the Swiss Riviera at the town of Montreux. Did you know that the country is also home to the largest waterfalls in Europe? You do now, and the Rhine Falls near Schaffhausen are worth a trip.
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We follow the path down into the stunning Mediterranean country of Italy. Milan is found at the north and, although not really a tourist hotspot, the fashion capital is a beautiful stop. The rolling countryside of Florence is a joy to behold, with the leaning tower of Pisa an obvious landmark. You can’t go to Italy without seeing the Colosseum and Vatican City, so Rome has to make the list. A relative unknown that’s worth a visit is one of the country’s sub-alpine lakes – Lake Orta. A tiny spot, it is a relaxing and peaceful place to enjoy the beauty of Italy.
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We finish with an alternative. Dubrovnik should be your first port of call – no pun intended. The city is on the country’s Adriatic Sea coast and is a walled city that is a World Heritage Site. A growing tourist destination, it’s been put in the world’s top 10 for both fairy-tale Valentine’s Day proposals and medieval walled cities. A stop in the capital, Zagreb is a must, but don’t forget the coastal town of Zadar. The hidden gem boasts a number of museums and restaurants that gives tourist a real unique trip.
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Photo credit: I'm George