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It’s that time of year when we reveal our top ten destinations in Europe, as decided by Lonely Planet’s experts. The countdown starts right here, by the shores of the Adriatic…

10 Istria Croatia

There’s something regal about Istria’s heart-shaped peninsula, with its limestone riviera, grand monuments and abundant ine produce. Perhaps that’s why the Romans, Venetians and Austro-Hungarians tussled over this beautiful, fertile land for centuries. Today, you can ly direct from all over the UK. Begin with the history: Pula’s Roman amphitheatre and Poreč’s Unesco-listed mosaics. Then laze, with dozens of beautiful beaches to idle on, from Mulini, with its relaxed atmosphere and beach bar, to secluded Felsen Strand. Diversify with a gourmet cycle tour during spring, music festivals in summer, and trufle-hunting excursions come autumn.


The Istrian peninsula is surrounded by the Adriatic, inhabited by more than 400 species of ish. The main ishing ports on the west coast include Fažana, Novigrad and Rovinj (pictured), where the daily catch includes anchovies, sardines, red and grey mullet, scampi, shrimp, spider crab, octopus, squid and sea urchins. Traditionally, ish is prepared very simply, grilled with olive oil, so its quality is to the fore.

Konoba Astarea is a good place to try freshly grilled seafood, where you can watch your choice being cooked. over an open ire. The ish is all caught by local ishermen that morning or the previous evening. A highlight of the menu is the deliciously delicate and simple scallops, grilled with olive oil, konjac root and wine (+385 52 774 384).

For something a little more sophisticated, make a pilgrimage to Konoba Batelina on the outskirts of Pula, run by father and son team Danilo Skoko and David Skoko. Father Danilo is a isherman, and 60 per cent of the seafood served in the restaurant comes from his morning catch. The menu changes according to what’s available that day, and the restaurant closes in August, when local ishing doesn’t have the capacity to sustain it. Son David is the chef, and became famous locally ater appearing on Masterchef (dinner only; +385 52 573 767).

9 Vevey Switzerland

Vevey will be popping even more corks than usual when the Fête des Vignerons kicks off in July. Held once every generation – every 20 years or so – this three-week festival is one of the biggest and oldest of its kind, an all-singing, all-dancing ode to bountiful harvests, wine-growing culture and grand cru grapes. Expect costumed shows, cowbell-clanging parades, alphorn concerts and, above all, the chance to sample local pinot and chasselas at pop-up stalls and open-door cellars. It’s not just its wine pedigree that makes this Swiss town so appealing. On the edge of Lake Geneva (pictured), the tiny Old Town is crammed with places to eat, serving everything from 20-course tasting menus to cheap and cheerful fondue. You can work off lunch with a swim in the lake or a walk along the edge of the vineyards.

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