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Photograph: TUI Lakes & Mountains | Lake Como, Italy
Photograph: TUI Lakes & Mountains | Lake Como, Italy

Five reasons why everyone’s switching up their holidays and heading to lakes and mountains

Get in on all the action with these destinations you can discover with TUI Lakes & Mountains

Written by Time Out. Paid for by TUI Lakes & Mountains

Is it just us, or is everyone booking a lakes and/or mountains getaway at the moment? As curious travellers, we’re always looking to go off the beaten track. And while summer holidays are usually spent by the sea, sometimes something a bit more exciting – and perhaps even more scenic – is what we really need. After all, there are only so many times you can weave your way through pool floaties precariously balancing a couple of beers, sun cream and a beach towel in your arms. With this in mind, we’re encouraging you to book a holiday you’ll never forget – filled with picture-perfect views, blooming gardens and glistening lakes – via TUI Lakes & Mountains. Places like Lake Garda, Lake Como, North Macedonia and the Austrian Alps are becoming hot properties, and with good reason. Have a look at our reasons why everyone’s booking lakes and mountains holidays… 

You can get your fix of sun and sand at lakeside beaches
Photograph: TUI Lakes & Mountains | Lake Garda, Italy

1. You can get your fix of sun and sand at lakeside beaches

You don’t need to be in the Med to lounge by glittering water. These gorgeous locations have pristine shorelines and crystal-clear waters for when you want a dip. In Italy, you’ve got Lake Molveno, which offers a gorgeous beach, surrounded by ten acres of green meadows. And Jamaica Beach in Lake Garda (which happens to be Italy’s largest lake) is accessible via a cruise on the San Nicolò, available to book via TUI Lakes & Mountains. Further afield, North Macedonia’s Lake Ohrid – Europe’s oldest lake – comes decorated with lakefront restaurants, bars and cafés. One of the best ways to experience it is by actually getting out onto the water. So rent a kayak to paddle out and explore for yourself. Or, why not book a boat tour? These are great because you’ll benefit from a knowledgeable local guide.

You can dine like the locals
Photograph: TUI Lakes & Mountains | North Macedonia

2. You can dine like the locals

European cuisine is vast and exciting. Whether you’re looking for fresh fish sourced from local lakes, heartwarming Alpine comfort food or lip-smacking desserts, you will not be disappointed. Austrian wine is really having a moment, too, with incredible varieties of red and white to try. Heartier local dishes include Austria’s knödel, a doughy dumpling stuffed with meat or fruit. Or the classic Wiener schnitzel, made with veal, chicken or turkey that is battened, breaded and fried (far superior to a chicken nugget). Or you’ve got North Macedonia’s cockle-warming bean dish tavče gravče. For those with a sweet tooth, Lake Garda is renowned for its top-tier gelato, perfect for refreshing yourself after a day of exploring by boat. Been hiking the mountains of Austria? Enjoy thick, chopped-up pancakes, otherwise known as kaiserschmarrn, mixed with rum-soaked raisins and topped with fruit compote. If it’s good enough for Kaiser Franz Josef I, it’s good enough for us. 

Time Out says: ‘Ristorante Salice Blu (in Bellagio, Lake Como) is perfect for special occasions. Owner and Head Chef, Luigi, entertained guests the entire night with his devilish humour and knowledge of various Italian cooking processes and produce – he has his very own truffle hunting dog!’ - Corrin Pearson, Creative Solutions Strategist.

Get to know the area with family-run guesthouses
Photograph: TUI Lakes & Mountains | Lake Como, Italy

3. Get to know the area with family-run guesthouses

These towns and villages are full of tradition and steeped in culture. To immerse yourself more fully, stay in a family-run guesthouse or a hotel hand-picked by TUI Lakes & Mountains. For example, there’s the dreamy Hotel Chalet Swiss which is a 160-year-old chocolate box chalet owned by the Klopfer family. The hotel comes decorated with unparalleled personal touches, such as the old chairlift in the garden, which comes from the resort where Rene Klopfer grew up. In Italy, have a dreamy mountain stay at Hotel Tyrol in Selva in the Dolomites, where you can expect epic views and cuisine inspired by the Ladin language and culture of the area. Heading to the Italian lakes instead? Hotel Eden in Garda sits pretty on a hilltop spot, with unparalleled views over terracotta roofs to the lake beyond that you can enjoy from a hot tub. And speaking of views, over in the Austrian Alps there’s the stylish Hotel Seehof in Zell am Zee, located just 50 metres away from the lake promenade. In the heart of Hinterglemm, Hotel Glüecksschmeide packs a punch with its classic Austrian charm. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve been dropped into a movie.  

Enjoy picture-perfect views from lakes to churches
Photograph: TUI Lakes & Mountains | Lake Ohrid, North Macedonia

4. Enjoy picture-perfect views from lakes to churches

It doesn’t get prettier than this. TUI’s Lakes & Mountains locations are absolutely cracking. There will be many moments where the scenery will absolutely blow you away, from the mountain tops that pierce Switzerland’s blue sky to the sparkling waters of Lake Garda. The whole of Ohrid, North Macedonia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but if you walk up to the Church of St John at Kaneo, you’ll get some seriously knockout views. Or, if you’d like to sit and soak up the sights, the Ojstrica viewpoint in Bled, Slovenia is particularly special. Follow the trail up from Zaka bathing beach and you’ll stumble on Slovenia’s most popular photo opp, where the walkway comes peppered with benches.

Time Out says: ‘See Lake Garda from the water. There are lots of rental spots where you can hire easy-to-drive boats. It's not super cheap, but treat yourself and feel like James Bond for the day (you can take a picnic with you to save on lunch costs). If you're feeling less bougie, you can get ferries across the lake, allowing you to explore different towns for just a couple of euros.’ - Charlie Liddington, Head of Creative Strategy & Live. 

Have a holiday for the mind
Photograph: TUI Lakes & Mountains | Lake Bled, Slovenia

5. Have a holiday for the mind

Of course, the most important thing about all of these destinations is their serenity. It’s unlikely that you’ll be surprised by a bus-load of tourists when you try to go for a hike, though we can’t promise anything. Because really, is there any better way to clear your head than a stroll along a lakeshore, tasting regional flavours or filling your brain with newfound knowledge? We think not. These trips are all about rewarding yourself with a stress-free experience that will leave you feeling completely refreshed. 

Time Out says: ‘Lake Bled is one of those places where you can't actually quite believe your eyes, it's that pretty. From the crystal blue waters to the snow-peaked mountains, it's blissfully relaxing – and has some of the tastiest sausages I've ever eaten! Take a sunrise hike to the Ojstrica viewpoint for a jaw-droppingly beautiful vista. She's a steep climb, but watching the sun appear over the mountains is an amazing moment. You can treat yourself to a delicious custardy Bled cake for breakfast after, you'll have earned it!’ - Charlie Liddington, Head of Creative Strategy & Live. 

Ready to explore TUI Lakes & Mountains? Let’s do this.

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