The best country escapes around the world

Sunflower in travelling hotspot Thailand

While city breaks can be exciting, sometimes you may wish for a more relaxing getaway in the countryside. A country escape allows us to slow down a bit as we surround ourselves with nature, friendly locals, and charming towns.

Take a journey with us as we explore some of the world’s best holidays in the countryside where you can breathe in fresh air, stroll along rivers, lay in fields of wildflowers, or simply unwind amongst woodlands and rolling hills.

In order to relax even more on your country escape, be sure to put travels worries aside by purchasing protective travel insurance that will safeguard you against a wide range of travel mishaps.


cotswolds

Cotswolds, England

There are few areas of England as charming as the Cotswolds. Blessed with rolling hills and lush meadows, you’ll find stone villages, delightful towns, and beautiful gardens. It is no wonder the Cotswolds have been recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Cotswolds covers a wide area, spanning 5 counties with areas that each have their own unique identity. Walk along an endless offering of footpaths and bridleways as you pick wildflowers and admire historic stone walls, palaces, and castles.

The area is filled with lovely B&Bs and cottages to stay at and you can find delicious little cafes and restaurants that will fill your stomach with local cheeses, meats, and fresh produce. Notable attractions include the scenic Hidcote Manor Garden and the Prince of Wales’s Highgrove Estate.


nikko

Nikko, Japan

Far from the bustling towns of Tokyo and Osaka, Nikko offers a more relaxing Japanese holiday destination. Set amongst the natural beauty of Nikko National Park, this rural oasis is filled with beautiful shrines set amongst the woodlands. Not to be missed is one of Japan’s most lavish shrines, Toshogu, with its intricate wood carvings and gold leaf.

Take a scenic boat ride upon the waters of Chuzenji Lake where you can admire bright cherry blossoms in the spring and vibrant foliage in autumn. See some of Japan’s most stunning waterfalls such as Kegon and Ryuzu or take a riverside stroll along the Kanmangafuchi Abyss, flanked by botanical gardens and stone statues.


provence

Provence, France

It is hard not to fall head over heels for this storybook region of southeastern France. Now is a perfect time to take in the beautiful lavender fields or shop the markets in search of locally made olive oils, fresh baked breads and pastries, fine soap, and wide array of handicrafts.

Dine on authentic French bouillabaisse and admire the 440m long Cours Mirabeau promenade with its stunning trees and fountains. You will also discover some of the best-preserved Roman ruins in Europe which include the Pont du Gard aqueduct, Arena of Nîmes, and the Roman Theatre of Orange.

This region is also where great artists such as Picasso, Matisse, and Van Gogh found inspiration and where many of their creations can be viewed.


franconia

Franconia, Germany

Set in northern Bavaria, this region will no doubt transport you into a real life fairytale. Witness colourful houses adorned with red tiled roofs in towns like Sommerhausen and Bamberg.  Take in part of the 350km Romantic Road which allows you to experience typical Germany culture and sights.  You will find numerous timber framed villages, river valleys, and castles to explore.

Whether you chose to walk through the forests and farms of romantic towns or rent a bike to ride the quiet country roads admiring historic vineyards, the Franconia region is sure to offer you a bit of peace and relaxation.  The region is located at the geographical heart of Europe and you’ll find a variety of wonderful cities to choose from including Nuremburg and Würzburg.


douro-valley

Douro Valley, Portugal

So enchanting is the Douro Valley that it has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The region can be accessed by week-long cruises, navigating the switchback roadways through steeps hills, or by scenic train ride. Dine on exotic cuisine such as lamprey, salt-cod pie, boar, partridge, and baby goat.

Explore the deep canyons along the Douro River as well as other natural areas for wildlife and incredible landscapes. Also be sure to take in the road from Regua to Pinhao, often referred to as the world’s best drive. You will encounter countless historic villages, castles, and churches, many of which date back to the 12th century.

Once offering only simple lodging, the region now offers luxurious countryside accommodation where you can enjoy organic farm fresh cuisine, world class spa service, and a yoga/wellness retreat.