The remote and gorgeous town of Aschau im Chiemgau—an hour from Munich in Bavaria’s extreme southern corner on the border of Austria—is fast becoming a retreat for Central European urbanites in search of a digital detox.
This former Venetian vassal state on the azure Adriatic has traditionally slipped into hibernation mode come winter. Yet in recent years, it’s attracted some attention as an off-season long weekend getaway.
Surfers and golfers descend on this sun-kissed town teetering off the southwestern tip of the Algarve. (Its many golf courses include the 18-hole Boavista, designed by Howard Swan, and Espiche, located in an ecological preserve.)
Deep in the Ardennes on a woodsy bend of the Semois River, this medieval town has become increasingly popular with naturalists who come for fishing and foodies who come for the bone-warming Belgian food.
Once a popular spa getaway for well-heeled Londoners, Cheltenham fell out of favor with the rise of its trendier neighbors Daylesford and Chipping Norton. But with the opening of No. 38 The Park, the historic town in the northern Cotswolds is back in the spotlight.
You don’t come to this tiny village in the Swiss Alps to ski. Instead of perfectly groomed pistes, you’ll find a wonderland for design buffs. Built from sparkling gray blocks of Vals quartzite, Pritzker Prize winner Peter Zumthor’s austerely beautiful Therme Vals houses a warren of steamy hammams and flower-strewn pools
Two hours from Barcelona in Andorra’s northwest corner, this Catalonian ski resort has no shortage of pistes and cozy bordas, traditional stone restaurants where tender lamb and beef are cooked on an open grill. Winter activities here in the Pyrenees, as in many European resort destinations, center on skiing and snowboarding.
With its snow-covered peaks, café-lined town square, and red-hot après-ski scene, this mountain resort in northern Sweden is the Aspen of Scandinavia. There are more than 100 powdery ski runs, or you can navigate the slopes by snowmobile or dogsled: Explore Åre and Camp Åre are two top outfitters that can arrange tours.
Most visitors who come to the jagged, skyscraping peaks of northeastern Italy stay at a traditional hotel in the Badia Valley. But Adler Mountain Lodge is luring more design-inclined skiers to the lesser-known Alpe di Siusi region to the west.
Jutting west into the North Atlantic Ocean, the Snæfellsnes peninsula is Iceland at its most stunning: moss-blanketed lava fields, misty fjords surrounded by craggy cliffs, and a towering volcano crowned with a glacier that dates back to the Ice Age.