Destinations in Slovakia, Spain and Iceland have been named Lonely Planet`s top three must-see destinations in Europe this year, ONA reports citing The Irish Times.
Its Best in Europe 2019 ranking puts the High Tatra Mountains, in Slovakia, top of the list. The range – the highest in the Carpathians – has 25 peaks over 2,500m (8,200ft); sitting in the Unesco-protected Tatra biosphere reserve, it features canyons and waterfalls, alpine meadows, and lakes, and is home to brown bears, lynxes, martens and wolves.
Madrid is second on the list, Lonely Planet particularly praising the Spanish capital`s emphasis on sustainable living, bicycle lanes and rental schemes, and wide footpaths – but not forgetting tapas and cocktails on Calle Ponzano.
Third place goes to the Arctic Coast Way, in Iceland. The country’s first official touring route, which is being launched in June (and may have been inspired by the success of Ireland`s Wild Atlantic Way), “traces 900km of untouched and remote coastline and is your chance to experience captivating extremes, heart-pounding elemental drama and tranquil escapes from modern life, all with welcoming villages along the way”, according to Lonely Planet.
The closest destination to Ireland is Shetland, in Scotland. The archipelago of 100 or so islands, 650km northeast of Co Donegal, comes sixth. The guide praises its “awesome coastal trails, wicked wildlife watching, and fabled fish and chip shops” and suggests visitors “spot otters and orcas from craggy headlands, then ease into the evening at one of Lerwick’s local pubs” or experience the Viking-inspired Up Helly Aa festival, which “bursts into fiery life each January”.
Lonely Planet’s top 10 summer destinations in Europe
1. High Tatras, Slovakia; 2. Madrid, Spain; 3. Arctic Coast Way, Iceland; 4. Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina; 5. Bari, Italy; 6. Shetland, Scotland; 7. Lyons, France; 8. Liechtenstein; 9. Vevey, Switzerland; 10. Istria, Croatia