Hike to the mountains’ hidden hamlets
Why go? As the winter snow melts, the rustic refuge of Le Monal becomes inhabited once more, for three short months. This 16th-century hamlet can only be reached via a footpath that winds through larch forests, over glacial streams and across alpine meadows. On arrival, Monsieur will greet you with locally farmed persillé goats cheese and a génépi aperitif, if you’re lucky.
Where to stay: Le Refuge du Monal sleeps 12 people; half-board costs €45 pppn.
Getting there: easyJet flies to Grenoble (from £100 return; 1hr 50), 160km away. Drive towards Sainte Foy; park at L’Echaillon and hike from there (30mins).
Dine on Manx delicacies
Why go? Taste the Isle of Man’s famed miniature scallops, known locally as Manx Queenies, and join the hunt for a £5,000 golden Queenie treasure at this fishy festival. Other gourmet goings-on include cooking lessons and an introduction to Manx marine history. The festival runs 29 June-1 July 2012.
Where to stay: Relax in sought-after hotel, The Sefton (Douglas), which has a tropical atrium and water gardens, as well as a fine-dining restaurant and spa; rooms from £90.
Getting there: Flybe flies from several UK airports to the Isle of Man. The airport is 16km from Douglas.
Get away to the Great Plains
Why go? Debrecen is an ideal base for exploring the undiscovered side of Hungary. In the north of the city, the Great Forest has thermal pools, nature trails and an interesting Calvinist history. Just to the west sits wild, UNESCO-listed Hortobágy National Park, a living heritage museum of Great Plains and Puszta cowboys, while the largest thermal spa complex in Europe is in nearby Hajdúszoboszló.
Where to stay: Stop Pension is well located in the town centre; doubles from £28.
Getting there: Wizz Air has just launched a new, three-weekly Luton-Debrecen flight; from £50.99 one way.
Walk inside a volcano
Why go: Take a journey to the centre of the earth! From now until 31 July, Thrihnukagigur volcano, near Reykjavík, is open to visitors for the first time. It’s a 40-minute hike to the top of the crater, then a 120m descent to the bottom in an open cable lift. There are four departures each day; trips last 5-6 hours, including an hour in the magma chamber, and cost 37,000 krona (£185) pp. For more information, see www.insidethevolcano.com.
Where to stay: Snorri’s Guesthouse is a friendly option, near the centre of Reykjavík; doubles from £70 in summer.
Getting there: Iceland Air flies from Heathrow, Manchester and Glasgow to Reykjavík from £209 return.
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