Where to escape the crowds in Europe this summer

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Destination Europe

Americans are going big on international travel in 2023, and London, Paris, Rome and Dublin are the hottest tickets.

It’s not been the easiest season for Europe itself though. Amsterdam is banning cruise ships. The Acropolis is limiting visitors. Tourists in Italy have been blamed for toppling a statue and silencing town bells. And the wildfires in Greece have prompted the country’s prime minister to offer free Rhodes vacations in 2024 to everyone whose trip was affected.

On top of the general cost-in-living crisis, journey prices are shooting up, so it’s not a bad idea to bookmark our smart ways to save money in Europe. Consider cruises, trains and last-minute stays (but definitely not last-minute plane travel).

Vacation hideaways

So where’s a body go to get some peace and quiet now that half the planet’s on the move?

Well, Slovenia, Montenegro and Italy’s Aeolian archipelago are some of the lesser explored places in-the-know Europeans go to escape an influx of American tourists. And while there’s no such thing as an undiscovered corner of the Mediterranean, Marbella, in the Andalusia region of Spain, isn’t really on most US travelers’ radars. That could be set to change, though, as United Airlines has just introduced new direct flights from the States. Wise travelers will get there before everybody else does.

Our final pick is in Turkey. The Aegean coast has long been a sun ‘n’ sand favorite, but while there are popular beach towns such as Bodrum and Alaçatı, two of the region’s most gorgeous spots are the little-known seaside town of Ayvalık and the nearby island of Cunda.

Our animal friends

A zoo in eastern China denied suggestions that some of its bears are people in disguise, after video circulated on social media of a sun bear standing on its hind legs, waving to the crowd in a suspiciously human-like manner.

In North America, meanwhile, bears were also getting up to people-like behavior, such as the one found having its own private Californian pool party and the bear filmed dragging golf clubs into woods outside Vancouver.

Greener travel

The climate crisis is threatening some of our planet’s greatest wonders. UNESCO this week recommended Venice be added to its heritage danger list while Australia’s Great Barrier Reef remains under “serious threat.”

Travelers trying to be more carbon-conscious aren’t being helped by the heavier cost of a greener lifestyle. In July, a Greenpeace report found that train fares in Europe are up to 30 times more expensive than plane tickets.

NASA is working on a couple of projects that could make air travel more fuel-efficient as soon as the 2030s, though. Take a look here at what could be the next generation of sustainable flight.

Round the world by land and sea

In October 2013, Danish man Torbjørn “Thor” Pedersen left his job, girlfriend and family behind and set out on a mission to visit every country in the world without flying. In May this year, he completed his 203rd and final country, Maldives, and returned home. Here’s how he did it.

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