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9 edge-of-the-earth panoramas to explore this summer in Europe

No need to fly to the Maldives to dive into turquoise water or go to the United States to climb the red rocks.

Are you dreaming of exotic scenery, of swimming in transparent water, of rock climbing red mountains? No need to go far. Dizzying cliffs, lunar landscapes, turquoise coves, extravagant palaces, villages straight from a science-fiction film: Europe is overflowing with out of the ordinary panoramas that we thought we could only find at the end of the earth. Discover our 9 exceptional places to not miss this summer, less than 3 hours from Paris and London. Change of scenery guaranteed.

At the edge of the Landes de Gascogne, an immense golden crest stands at 106 meters high in altitude: it is the Dune of Pilat. After a vertiginous ascent in this lunar landscape, we come across a magnificent view over the Arcachon Basin and the immense pine forest, a paradise for paragliding enthusiasts. If you are a lover of beautiful things, go down the slope to La Co(o)rniche, a mythical restaurant attached to the dune where you can enjoy a seafood platter and “Les Terres Blanches” white wine.

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Set down your luggage facing a breathtaking view onto the Basin with its mysterious Banc d’Arguin and its majestic dune.

Hidden in the heart of the hills just an hour from Lisbon, Sintra is a city of much charm, where successive palaces and mansions become more and more sumptuous. Do not miss the Pena Palace: a former monastery renovated by Baron Ludwig Von Eschwege in the 19th century. It became a motley and colorful palace, mixing Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Climb onto the terrace of this fairy-tale castle and let yourself be caught up by the view of Sintra and the pine forests that surround the city.

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In this house perched above the extravagant palaces of Sintra, enter into an out of the ordinary fairy tale.

In the south of the Island of Beauty, discover the Lavezzi Islands archipelago. Its crystal clear waters equal those of the Maldives. With its expanses of white sand, its turquoise sea and its abundant seabed, it is the ideal place for water sport lovers as well as sunbathers. Find a small, secluded and wild cove for a picnic with your family and a lazy day in an idyllic setting. 

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In this minimalistic refuge, perch above the Mediterranean Sea and the rocky chaos of the Lavezzi Islands.
 
 

This arid landscape without villages nor roads appears suspended in time: only a few goats and a handful of stelae punctuate the infinite horizon. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Pythia arise from behind a rock to make her prophecies. Venture onto the heights of Mount Zeus, and go in search of the famous cave in which the supreme God of the Greek pantheon would have been born.

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Live in total harmony with nature in this rustic and raw sanctuary between sea and mountains on the neighbor island to Paros.

Nestled between the white cliffs of the massif that stretches between Marseille and Cassis, the calanque of En Vau is the most majestic on the coast. A paradise for kayaks and climbers, the cove is the ideal place to practice extreme sports. Go on the winding path down to the turquoise cove or opt for a morning of climbing – the high cliffs offer a splendid view onto the creeks and the pines that cling fiercely to the vertical cliff.

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In this familial farmhouse, follow the rhythm of the provençal life just next to the Calanques’ lunar landscapes.

Considered the capital of trulli, Alberobello is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The houses and churches are built from dry stone, topped by the typical conical roof painted with a religious or magical symbol. Do not miss a visit to the Sovrano trullo, the only trullo with an extra floor, still furnished with its period furniture. At noon, stop for a panzerotto, a specialty of the region. 

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Between the amazing troglodyte style houses of Puglia, discover ultra-modern Greek architecture, hidden amongst tall palm trees.

An interesting geological formation hidden in the forest of Provence, the Ocher Trail reveals a blood-red landscape similar to that of the mountains of Arizona. Venture into an open-air quarry and admire the thousands of surprising rock colors. Two different trails allow you to explore the area during a family hike.

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Near the ocher landscapes of Roussillon, spend time peacefully under the hundred-year-old plane trees of this traditional farmhouse.

After a few days in Saint-Tropez, a lunch at the legendary Sénéquier café and a piece of delicious tarte tropézienne, it’s time to get away from the city and reach Les Salins beach. Encircled by the turquoise sea and the green pines, it is a wild interlude during a sophisticated coastal holiday, a trip to the heart of the Caribbean. 

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Live with your feet in the water between an idyllic pool and a beach the color of the Caribbean sea at the end of the garden.

Go in search of Atlantis beach, missing from most island maps and unknown among tourists. Once you have accomplished your quest, walk across the beige rocks, some of which have taken the form of a ship petrified in stone. This ancient quarry of Sa Pedrera was renamed “Atlantis” after a commune of hippies passed through. The beach possesses a mystical and spiritual energy. 

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In this zen-like cocoon, dive into a serene world full of pastel colors, before setting out to attack the secret and mystical world of Atlantis.