Europe Magazine - November 2021

EUROPE MAGAZINE / NOVEMBER 2021

Photo copyright: Roesnaes Shelter, Daniel Villadsen - Visit Denmark.

SINK INTO A RURAL RESPITE IN EUROPE

SINK INTO A RURAL RESPITE IN EUROPE

Photo copyright: Alexander Hall, Visit Sweden.

TABLE OF CONTENTS SINK INTO A RURAL RESPITE IN EUROPE

Rural travel in Europe is just the ticket for a restorative, interesting yet low-octane break. Nowadays, options are broader than ever, so you can finely tune the activity and comfort levels of your trip. Lodging choices range from glamping to rustic to luxury level, in traditional cottages, chalets, country inns and on working farms. You can dine simply on fresh, local country fare, and find some of Michelin’s 1-star winners in the countryside, too. See how many new grape varietals you can name by the time you return home! For entertainment and activity, rural Europe offers almost endless trails for walking, hiking, cycling – and winery tours! Nature parks abound for birdwatching, trekking, and spotting animals, while those who like hunting and fishing can find great places to enjoy their sport. Museums of history and culture explain local history and culture; watch artisans make handcrafts. Numerous Green tourism programs identify businesses operating with earth-kind practices. Check tourist office websites to find out what symbols to watch for and find out all you need to plan your restful, rural stay in Europe.

Estonia: TheCharmof EstonianWine

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Europe: Exploring the rural wonders of Europe 04

Portugal: Wine pairs with Portugal Italy: South Tyrol Wine Tourism

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Romania: Rural Romania

Greece: A Journey to Flavorland Denmark: A taste of Denmark

Switzerland: Swisstainable Experiences

Poland: Flavors of Rural Poland Croatia: Serene Rural Escapes

Slovenia: Slovenia GREEN

Poland: Flavors of Rural Poland Spain: Get in touch with nature Cyprus: Heartland of Legends Serbia: Visit Zasavica in Serbia Belgium Wallonia: Belgian Hospitality Germany: Local.German.Flavors Ireland: Ireland’s rural gems Bulgaria: Rural tourism in Bulgaria Czech Republic: Moravian Wine Experiences BelgiumFlanders: Long walks, a bite and a sip

PLAN YOUR TRIP SAFELY

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EUROPE MAGAZINE / NOVEMBER 2021

NORTHERN EUROPE

ESTONIA

Photo copyright: Mart Vares, Visit Estonia.

THE CHARM OF ESTONIAN WINE DISCOVERING NEW WINES IN THE ESTONIAN COUNTRYSIDE

When you think of Europe’s wines, Estonia may not be the first country that comes to mind, yet the countryside is dotted with generations-old farms and wineries. While you may be used to more conventional viticulture, Estonia has a unique take on wine that stands out as one of its rural charms. Wine the Estonian Way While most wines are made from grapes, the Estonian tradition is to use local fruits, berries, and flowers. Some of the most common bases include dandelion, rhubarb, primrose, rowan, and blackcurrant. The Estonian way of winemaking goes back to the Middle Ages, and these distinct practices were passed down from generation to generation. That’s why, even though modern style wineries began opening in the 1920s, everything in Estonian winemaking is a family business. When you visit, a warm and personal reception is guaranteed. Experiencing wine and country at the same time Showcasing this less well-known part of Estonian culture is the Wine Route Tour, which brings you out of the cities and into the heart of the Estonian countryside as you tour 19 wineries. This route covers all of Estonia and shows off the country’s stunning landscape and rural elements that most visitors don’t see.

Keeping to Estonian values, these wineries base all their products on local ingredients so that each wine has a unique taste according to the soil and the crop. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that such a fabulous experience was awarded the Tourism Marketing Act award for Estonia in 2021.

What is Estonian Wine? The Wine Route Tour

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EUROPE MAGAZINE / NOVEMBER 2021

VISIT EUROPE

EXPLORING THE RURAL WONDERS OF EUROPE

EXPLORING EUROPE’S FARMLANDS

And wash it all down with fresh milk from the farm. Don’t worry about having to find a nearby hotel. You can stay right on the farm in one of the cottages. If the tiny Ethnic Villages of Serbia aren’t vibrant enough, go next door to Montenegro. Throughout the country you’ll find villages tucked away next to lakes, rivers and lush forests. In the village of Lipovo, you can pick wild berries in the morning, spend the afternoon fishing at a nearby lake, learn to make homemade cheese and end the night sipping locally made (and very strong) brandy. Then, retreat to a room in a bed and breakfast to ensure you have everything you need for a quaint, quiet stay under the starry skies. Of course, if you’re looking for a place more secluded, your next stop is Hungary. The country’s folksy countryside is best explored in multiple stops. Go horseback riding at the farmland of Ecopark Bükkösd. You can also go hunting for deer and wild boar if you’re feeling adventurous. Other stops include Felsőszenterzsébet and Hollókő. Hollókő being the place where you can truly sit back in awe of the beauty found in the European countryside.

Away from the excitement of cities like Paris, Barcelona and Florence is a place a little quieter. It’s somewhere you can stretch out your legs and breathe in the freshest air in Europe. It’s the European countryside and farms. Nearly every country is speckledwith picturesque fields, bountiful farmlands and sweet serenity. Whether your heart and soul is drawn to farmlands or you want your vacation to go beyond the tourist cities, the European countryside is where you belong. Start your rural adventure in Serbia. The quiet country is at it’s quaintest in the tiny villages peppered in the middle of nowhere known as Ethnic Villages. Step into one of the small cottages and smell the hand carved wooden features throughout. Then indulge in a feast of locally grown strawberries, mushrooms and more.

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EUROPE MAGAZINE / NOVEMBER 2021

EUROPE

Photo copyright: Aureus Virid, Szekszard Vineyards, Hungary,

Then, it’s off to Poland, where you can learn more about the natural countryside living in Europe. Spend the day picking berries, sampling local honey and even trying your hand at cheese making. Sheep’s milk is the main ingredient for many of the local cheeses, an important part of the country’s cuisine. If you want a more relaxing experience, try fishing at a nearby lake or river. It’s a great place to pitch a tent and take in the great outdoors. But there are plenty of hotels, cottages and bed and breakfasts for a more pampered stay. Finally, be sure to stop in Romania, where centuries- old customs are still the standard of doing things. Wherever you stop, the friendly locals welcome you with open arms and bountiful farms. With over 2,500 boarding houses, there’s always room to stay. You can learn the ways of the generational families by woodcarving, haymaking, and working the land alongside locals. It’s a place where your vacation gets hands-on and becomes a one-of-a-kind experience for any visitor. Stay in one of the boarding houses for an authentic European stay. All along the way, you’ll see wild horses, local flora, and small farms sprawling across the hills. Take a road trip or backpack your way through it all to make your own

adventure. You can stay in bed and breakfasts, camp nearby farm villages or stay right inside a local cottage. You never know what new surprise awaits you over the next hill or around the next bend. Enjoy the land. Relax in the countryside. And, wherever you stop along the way on your rural trip, take it all in.

COVID-19 information I am #NaturallyCurious Experience the Rural Wonders of Europe

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EUROPE MAGAZINE / NOVEMBER 2021

ITALY

SOUTHERN EUROPE

Photo copyright: IDM Alto Adige/Tiberio Sorvillo.

SOUTH TYROL WINE TOURISM TRAVELING WITH THE BOUQUETS AND FLAVORS OF WINE

South Tyrol with its orchards and vineyards - and the Dolomites in the background - offers unforgettable days when wine cellars are at their busiest. You can enjoy all this by staying in one of the 23 Vinum Hotels: centers that combine their hospitality offeringwith taste experiences to be enjoyed where wine is made – not to forget the importance of gourmet cuisine – a skillful blend of past and future, tradition and innovation. There are endless opportunities for things to do in the valleys where international grape varieties are grown (including chardonnay, Riesling and sauvignon) together with increasingly popular native varieties such as lagrein, marzemino and teroldego. Another key to access the world of wine and culture in South Tyrol is the WinePass. Valid for 7 days and consigned on arrival in one of over 150 affiliated facilities, this card allows you to take advantage of special discounts for guided tours at wine cellars on the Wine Route, accompanied by the owners. We recommend a visit to at least one of the 90 sites dedicated to culture (also affiliated with the WinePass), such as the Archaeological Museum of Bolzano, the home of Ötzi (the Neolithic man preserved in the ice),

or the Messner Mountain Museum, dedicated to the history of mountaineering. Many activities await you in the open air, from days in the swimming pool and strolls along the River Adige to being suspended among the trees in the many adventure parks set up in the woods.

Vinum Hotels South Tyrol WinePass South Tyrol

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EUROPE MAGAZINE / NOVEMBER 2021

PORTUGAL

SOUTHERN EUROPE

Photo copyright:Alentejo Promotion Office, Visit Portugal..

WINE PAIRS WITH PORTUGAL DISCOVER PORTUGAL: WINE ROUTES IN THE COUNTRYSIDE

When travelling throughPortugal, youwill soondiscover there is a right wine for each moment. A wine to enjoy while exploring Portugal’s culture and heritage. A wine to relax with after a day at the beach, surfing or having an adventure in nature. A wine to taste, in wineries and cellars with the stamp of tradition or the signature of contemporary architects. The history of wine in Portugal is long: it is known that wine was already being produced in this territory in 2,000 BC, but it was with the Romans that it gained importance. From the 14th century onwards, it took on a new breath of life as trade expanded. In the 18th century, the vision of the Marquis of Pombal, who created the first demarcated wine region in the world, the Douro, made Port wine one of Portugal’s greatest ambassadors. To learn more about this nectar and the people who have perfected it over time, take the Wine Routes of Portugal. In the north and center of Portugal, the climate is generally mild and the landscape varies between plateaus, valleys, and mountains; in the south, wide plains dominate the broad horizon. In addition, the

geological characteristics of the soil, the types of land, the properties of the water and the willingness of producers to innovate are reflected in the supply of different, superior quality wines from all over the country. On each route and in each wine region, you’ll discover a little more of Portugal, gaining experiences that will remain in your memory.

Portuguese Wine Tourism Portuguese Wine Routes Wine Tourism in Portugal

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EUROPE MAGAZINE / NOVEMBER 2021

ROMANIA

RURAL ROMANIA

ENJOY THE COUNTRYSIDE AS IT ONCE WAS Perhaps the best place to start exploring Romania are the rural areas, far from civilization and close to unspoiled nature. In the villages hidden in the valleys of the mountains and highlands, time flows differently, at a more settled tempo. Here traditions and folk art are carefully preserved from generation to generation, and the warmth of the people will make you return over and over again. There are many enchanting rural areas in every part of the country; here we will mention a few of the destinations distinguished with the EDEN Award (European Destinations of Excellence). Chioar Land, located in the southern part of Maramureş County, is an old cradle of culture and civilization, its traces carved in wood and stone. The wooden and stone

churches are the jewels of this area, a testament to the esthetic sense, harmony and spirituality of the Romanian people. Two of the eight UNESCO churches of Maramureş are in Chioar. These churches, together with other churches in Chioar Land, are included on the Route of Churches of Northern Transylvania. The Transylvania Highlands are situated acres three counties: Brașov, Sibiu and Mureș. The scattered villages on the hills have preserved their old charm, and hold precious historical monuments. In this area are over 600 patrimony sites, including over 90 Saxon fortified churches, castles and manor houses, wooden churches or Brâncoveanu style churches, of which five are UNESCO sites. What’s more, 500 km of marked routes for cycling crisscross the highland area. Romanian gastronomic heritage is characterized by great cultural and ethnic variety thanks to the Romanian, Saxon, Hungarian, and Rroma people. Famous regional products come from the bakery, beekeeping, the butcher, and dairy products from cow or buffalo milk. A special initiative in this region are events called Transylvania Brunch. They take place from April through September in various villages, usually on the last Saturday of every month.

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EUROPE MAGAZINE / NOVEMBER 2021

EASTERN EUROPE

Photo Copyright: rasinari.travel

Neamţ Land , in Moldavia, is known for numerous monasteries, medieval fortresses, museums and the memorial houses of major Romanian writers. The local gastronomy also enchants the visitor with its variety and richness of flavours. No one forgets the tart soups called ciorba, soured with borș, which is made from fermented wheat; tochitură moldovenească (pork stew with polenta, egg, sausage and salted cheese) or desserts like poale-n brâu (sweet cheese pie). Buzău Land features authentic rural life at the crossroads of the three Romanian historical regions: Moldavia, Transylvania, and Wallachia. This area is famous for the exquisite wines produced here, sweet and perfumed, from the tămâioasa, a Romanian grape variety. Visitors interested in handcrafts can watch goat hair weaving, egg painting, pipe- making and playing, traditional Romanian sewing, and pottery and wood crafts, in the villages of: Beceni; Vintilă Vodă; Săruleşti; Mânzăleşti; andMărgăriteşti. The Time of Manmuseum in Mânzăleşti is also a must-see. Transylvania’s Mărginimea Sibiului is a pastoral world where footpaths lead you from the heart of the village

to the shepherds’ camps in the Cindrel and Lotrului Mountains. The tradition of pastoralism shaped local foodproduction,making the cheesemadehere a symbol of Romanian gastronomy. Numerous local museum’s exhibit special collection. The one in Sibiel has the biggest glass icon collection in Europe; in Rasinari, a collection of pottery, painted furniture, household and craft objects; and in Galeş, an impressive collection of traditional garments.

EDEN Destinations of Romania

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EUROPE MAGAZINE / NOVEMBER 2021

GREECE

SOUTHERN EUROPE

Photo copyright: GNTO/P. Merakos.

A JOURNEY TO FLAVORLAND DISCOVER AND RELISH GREEK WINES

Wine production is an age-old process in Greece, a tradition dating back to the Bronze Age in Crete and across the Aegean Sea. Crete offers a variety of excellent dry and sweet wines made from the local vilana, vidiano, malvazia di candia, liatiko, tomeiko, and kotsifali grapes as well as from foreign varieties. The local assyrtiko, athiri and aidani varietals growing in Santorini’s volcanic soil result in exceptional dry and sweet wines. The Peloponnese is another ancient winemaking area. Visit the NE Peloponnese and savor the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) Nemea red wine, made from agiorgitiko grapes. The Achaia district to the west boasts three top-quality sweet wines that you must try: muscat & mavrodaphne from Patras and Rio’s muscat. Other areas worth visiting are Mantineia in central Peloponnese – try the local white PDO moschofilero – and Monemvasia in the southeast, where tasty PDO white, red and sparkling wines are vinted.

Central Greece is famous for its retsina, a dry resinous wine made from the local savvatiano and roditis varietals. Further north, explore the large wine- producing vineyards and wineries of Thessaly and Macedonia, where red wine is king! Local varieties yielding excellent wines are xinomavro, krasato, stavroti & negoska. To the west, mountainous Epirus, in the Zitsa area, offers impressive dry white and semi- sparkling PDO wines made with debina grapes. Take part in guided tours and enjoy your food and winetasting in wineries across Greece.

Dinner Party Wines Wines of Crete Wines of Santorini

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EUROPE MAGAZINE / NOVEMBER 2021

DENMARK

NORTHERN EUROPE

Photo copyright: Thomas Høyrup Christensen - Vestkysten.

A TASTE OF DENMARK COME AND DISCOVER DENMARK'S FOODIE WONDERS

Wine from Denmark? Why not? Denmark is famous for its beer – but wine? As we say in Denmark: why not? An official wine-growing country since 2000, Denmark is also the northernmost grape- growing country in Europe. In the four wine key regions, Jutland, Funen, Zealand and Bornholm, you can find wineries that have won international prizes. So why not visit Dyrehøj Vingård, Denmark's largest winery, and get a taste of Danish wine? Street food in the countryside Have you heard about street food in the countryside? In Denmark, we care about organic and local food – so you’ll find roadside food stalls selling local products in our rural areas. We also have farm shops selling organic, local, seasonal foods, such as fruit, vegetables, eggs, dairy products and wine. Two famous farm shops are Birkemosegaard and Aarstiderne, both in Zealand. Oyster safari in the Wadden Sea Another local food event you shouldn’t miss is an oyster safari on Rømø in the Wadden Sea. We love our oysters, and going on an oyster safari is a fun experience where you dig up the shellfish from the sand and eat them on

the beach. To celebrate our love for them, we have an oyster festival every year.

7 reasons to try oysters in Denmark Visit Aarstiderne's farm shop Explore Denmark's vineyards

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EUROPE MAGAZINE / NOVEMBER 2021

SWITZERLAND

SWISSTAINABLE EXPERIENCES

LOSE YOURSELF IN SWITZERLAND’S RURAL AREAS Switzerland is synonymous with impressive mountains, mystical forests, and wild gorges. Nature touches us when we leave it untouched. We have always cared deeply for nature and have assumed a pioneering role when it comes to sustainability – not only in terms of the landscape, but also in terms of exceptional infrastructure. Various options make it easy to explore the country in an eco-friendly way. Explore the country by foot, on two wheels, on public transportation which takes you to the most rural places, or stay at one of the numerous certified sustainable service providers. 9000 trains travel daily on the approximately 3000 km of

the Swiss Federal Railway network. Even smaller and more remote places are accessible by public transport, allowing you to enjoy nature up close, experience local cultures authentically, and enjoy consuming regional products. Sleep on the peak Feel closer to the stars by sleeping in one of the eco- friendly accommodations in the Swiss mountains. At these higher elevations, everything feels a little more intense and the conditions are perfect for spectacular views beyond the horizon and into space. One of these lodgings is the eco-capsule on Mount Titlis in Engelberg, in the canton of Obwalden. It is a smart, self-sustainable micro-home that allows you to experience a mix between staying in a remote place and enjoying the luxury of a hotel room. Best of all, you will have Mt. Titlis all to yourself. Other unique accommodations are the eco-chalets located in Choëx, a village in Valais. The chalets are supplied with spring water and built with wood from the local forest. Here you can admire the fabulous view of the surrounding peaks and enjoy a fresh regional breakfast delivered every morning via the “Food Truck”.

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EUROPE MAGAZINE / NOVEMBER 2021

CENTRAL EUROPE

Photo copyright: Switzerland Tourism.

Swiss Nature Parks Genuine natural experiences, fascinating stories and glorious landscapes are just waiting to be discovered in the Swiss nature parks. The Swiss Parks are exceptional places where locals are dedicated to maintaining the magnificent scenery, sustainable regional economies, and lively traditions. Throughout Switzerland you will find 19 Swiss Parks, which cover 12.7% of the country. One of them is the Swiss National Park in the Engadin in the canton of Graubünden. Besides being able to experience 80 kilometers of hiking paths, nature trails and excursions for children and families, one can also see ibexes, chamois and marmots as well as countless other wild animals. Founded in 1914, the Swiss National Park is the oldest one in the Alps. Taste of Switzerland Swiss cuisine combines influences from the German, French and northern Italian cuisines. However, what is not as well-known is that Switzerland is also a center of natural gastronomy with a strong focus on regionality and sustainability. The Kartause Ittingen, a monastery in the canton of Thurgau, is a benchmark for regional indulgence. Seasonal produce is cultivated at the monastery and used to create 0-kilometer menus,

as they source all of their ingredients from cultivating their 100 hectares of land. Another gastronomical experience to seek out is the educational wine trail along the Bisse de Beitra in the Visperterminen in the Valais region, which leads to the St. Jodern Wine Cellar. Considered to be the highest vineyard in Europe, it offers a combination of magnificent views of the Matterhorn as well as the chance to find out more about local wine culture.

Sustainable experiences Swiss Nature Parks Eco Accommodations

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EUROPE MAGAZINE / NOVEMBER 2021

POLAND

CENTRAL EUROPE

Photo copyright: NTO.

FLAVORS OF RURAL POLAND DISCOVER AMAZING ASPECTS OF THE POLISH COUNTRYSIDE

The Polish countryside and Polish cuisine are perfectly paired pleasures, harmonizing seamlessly with the slow life and slow food trends popular among tourists. With idyllic, charming landscapes yet boasting modern, often luxurious accommodation, the Polish countryside is great for a holiday in natural surroundings, exploring some extraordinary tourist attractions, and experiencing the unique flavors of regional and local products. For a taste of rural Poland, choose one of the many culinary routes designed from a desire to highlight distinctive local cuisines, unusual traditions, and special ways of producing food. All the trails feature lots of delightful places and allow you to meet wonderful, hospitable people. Poland’s many regions offer several dozen rural culinary trails covering fascinating sites in the countryside. There's winemaking, too, which has been developing more rapidly in recent years than in any other time in our history. Małopolska and Podkarpacie, in south- eastern Poland, are large grape-growing regions, while the cradle of industrial vine cultivation, where it has

continued the longest in northern Europe, is Lubusz Land. Fans of enotourism simply must travel along the Lubusz Trail of Wine and Honey, combining the tour with participation in Poland’s biggest winemaking event, the Zielona Góra Wine Festival. Other enotourism routes are also well worth taking. Explore the unique assets of rural Poland and its exceptional culinary appeal!

Flavors of rural Poland

Poland Travel Polish food, drink and culinary tradition

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CROATIA

CENTRAL EUROPE

Photo copyright: Saša Pjanić.

SERENE RURAL ESCAPES IT IS TIME TO (RE)UNITE WITH NATURE

“I lie down on the grass. I feel like I am Brother to the sun, to the wind, to the water. You can only hear my sigh: I am Trapped in freedom.” The verses by Dragutin Tadijanović, a famous poet born in Brod–Posavina County, perfectly depict his beautiful home county, distant from the main roads, crowds, and noisy cities. Imagine being lulled to sleep by silence and peace to be awakened only by birdsong and the crowing of a rooster. No discordant noise, no smog. In the villages of Brod–Posavina County, you can experience life as it once was. Warm and hospitable people, traditional architecture, and the incredible atmosphere of the villages set in gorgeous landscapes will make your getaway a perfect detox from an urban lifestyle. Eco-Ethno village Stara Kapela Stara Kapela is a special rural tourism gem, located in the heart of Brod-Posavina County, in a small valley between gentle hills. Forget the ringing of your phone here, because there is no signal. The only sounds you will hear are the sounds of nature. You will be able to sleep in old country houses, completely

furnished in authentic Slavonian style with furniture from generations past. After a day of hiking, cycling, hunting, or fishing, you will certainly enjoy delicious, locally grown food in one of the traditional restaurants, as well as exceptional Slavonian wines. In the evening, just sit back and relax next to a crackling of fire.

Stara Kapela Eco-ethno tourism of the region Rural tourism in Croatia

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EUROPE MAGAZINE / NOVEMBER 2021

SLOVENIA

SLOVENIA GREEN

THE BEST OF GREEN EXPERIENCES & GASTRONOMY Slovenia is one of the world’s leading green countries. Back in 2016 it was declared the first green country in the world by Green Destinations and according to the Good Country Index ranks fourth among 154 countries in terms of its positive contribution to the planet and the climate. It boasts vast forests, rich biodiversity, numerous protected areas and parks, exceptional water wealth and high-quality drinking water. As such, it offers an array of exciting eco-friendly and sustainable experiences, which help preserve nature for the generations yet to come. This article will guide you through the very best of sustainable and green stories in Slovenian tourism and inspire you to discover them by yourself.

Since the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism (GSST) is an important tool for recognizing good practices of sustainable tourism on a national level, it is important to explain the concept first. The Slovenia Green label currently has more than 120 members from seven different categories including destinations, accommodation providers, parks, sights, travel agencies, beaches, restaurants, and other food providers. The label is awarded to providers that meet high sustainable standards defined in the GSST, thus acting as a great tool for identifying the best sustainable practices in tourism. Let us guide you briefly through the best parts. In 2021, Slovenia holds the European Region of Gastronomy title, and the sustainably oriented restaurants and other food-related establishments deserve a special mention. Thanks to its natural resources, clean environment and rich culinary tradition, Slovenia fulfils all conditions for the development of sustainable gastronomy, which has already been promoted by numerous restaurants and tourist farms that now hold the Slovenia Green Cuisine label. In addition to these designees, six Slovenian chefs and restaurants were awarded the Michelin Green Star in 2021: Gostilna Krištof, Gostišče Grič,

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EUROPE MAGAZINE / NOVEMBER 2021

CENTRAL EUROPE

Photo copyright: Slovenian Tourist Board, Ciril Jazbec.

Gostilna za Gradom, Gostilna Mahorčič, Vila Podvin and Hiša Franko. They earned this award by using local and sustainably produced ingredients and responsible waste management. Another important segment of the green story of Slovenia are green-oriented accommodation providers: restored homesteads; pretty log cabins and houses that are a testament to local traditional architecture; estates; and villas. All feature comfort, coziness and rustic furnishings with modern touches that together create a uniquely welcoming space, all taking you back in time. Among them are Houses of Slovenian Istria, Alpik Chalets in Bohinj, alpine huts on Velika planina, the Pannonian Village, Šenk's Homestead, Škrabec Homestead, Tešnak Homestead of Adventures, Pr' Gavedarju, House of Marica, Kambra, Vila Planinka, Astra Montana, Danica Guesthouse, Triangel Hotel, Pension and Guesthouse Lajnar. Last but not least, the green story of Slovenia would definitely be incomplete without Slovenian farm stays, which are known for being well-kept, having friendly hosts and offering excellent food directly from their gardens, and offering a perfect getaway from the daily hustle and bustle. Each of them tells a very special

green story which will warm your heart. Among them are Želinc Farm Stay in Cerkno, Urška Eco Farm, Marjanca Farm Stay in Rogaška Slatina, Breg Farm Stay in the wine-growing region of Goriška Brda, and Trnulja Estate, set in the Ljubljana Marshes. Welcome to Slovenia: the green, boutique country in the heart of Europe, offering 5* experiences 365 days a year.

Perfect holidays with green providers Green story of Slovenia Green & safe reasons to choose Slovenia

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SPAIN

SOUTHERN EUROPE

Photo copyright: (C) Turespaña.

GET IN TOUCH WITH NATURE ENJOY A RURAL GETAWAY IN SPAIN

When winter is just over the horizon, there’s nothing better than a rural getaway in Spain. You’ll find so many quiet, tranquil places where you can lose yourself. Here are a few ideas for some initial inspiration: Cabrales, Asturias As well as producing one of the best blue cheeses in the world, its privileged position right in the middle of the Picos de Europa makes this little town a great place to enjoy some incredible views and hiking routes such as the Cares trail. You’ll find this haven of peace in the heart of nature. El Bierzo, León In this region you can visit some spectacular landscapes, for instance Las Médulas, created by centuries of the Romans’ mining for gold. Don’t miss the capital, Ponferrada, a heritage city. A key point on the Camino de Santiago, it boasts an enormous 12th- century Templar castle. You’ll also find pretty little villages such as Molinaseca, Peñalba de Santiago, and Villafranca del Bierzo.

Noia, A Coruña You will find this small town with a medieval feel very close to Santiago de Compostela. See the oldest collection of tombstones in Europe, stroll along cobbled streets and cross the Ponte Nafonso bridge. You can also visit the Church of San Martiño, a medieval gothic gem in a style reminiscent of the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. These are only some of the many towns in inland Spain that for you to explore on your rural holiday.

For more information about Spain

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CYPRUS

SOUTHERN EUROPE

Photo copyright: Nicos Louca.

HEARTLAND OF LEGENDS WHERE EVERY MEMORY OF CYPRUS IS TRULY AUTHENTIC

As more people around the world start to plan their holidays again after this long, trying period, everyone is looking for something different that will last and be of value, something that will surely offer exciting and memorable moments. This desire for quality experiences has driven us here in Cyprus to satisfy this growing need by designing something unique, just for you. The “Heartland of Legends” route brings visitors close to Cypriot nature and gives them the opportunity to become familiar with local traditions and the Cypriot way of life. It consists of a main route, which passes through rural, mountainous, and remote areas, while several smaller thematic routes spring from it, taking you in different directions and showcasing traditional products, local crafts and myths and legends linked to the rural areas of Cyprus.

Practical information as well as a variety of suggestions on what to do are available at different sites along the routes. They offer not only a variety of attractions and places of natural beauty, but also accommodation, restaurants, small businesses, communities, and other places that offer different and alternative experiences.

Heartland of Legends Visit Cyprus

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SERBIA

VISIT ZASAVICA IN SERBIA

HAVE FUN IN A PLACE WHERE INDIGENOUS SPECIES LIVE

international importance since 2009. Calm and tame, it has enabled the survival of over 600 plant species, among which the white and yellow water lilies are most recognizable. Due to the wetland ecosystem, the animal world is dominated by amphibians, reptiles and fish. Many species are protected, and some can only be seen here, such as the Mrgud fish (Umbra krameri or the European mudminnow). It is interesting that this unusual species is able to survive in the mud even when its habitat dries up. Beavers and otters give a special value to this area. Zasavica is included in the list of Important Bird Areas (IBA). Artificial platforms have been set up at 10 selected locations in order to create the best possible nesting conditions. For fans of photo safaris, boating through Zasavica is a real pleasure because nature will never leave you indifferent. The visitor centre is the central tourist place of the reserve. From the 18-metre-high tower, there is a view of the pasture of 300 ha and the widest part of Zasavica. Tours of the reserve by the tourist boat Umbra also start at the visitor centre. A boat ride will give you the opportunity to meet all the species that live in Zasavica in a natural environment. You will be impressed by the

In the rural landscape between the rivers Sava and Drina, that’s where Zasavica lies – the Special Nature Reserve where you will fully return to nature and experience its true values. But you will also be surrounded by the products of human hands in the visitor centre, unusual cheese made from donkey milk or organic products made from pigs of the mangulica breed. So, let’s get down to our little exploration! Located in the vast plain east of Belgrade, Zasavica is one of the last originally preserved wetlands in Serbia, which has been included in the Ramsar list of wetlands of

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EUROPE MAGAZINE / NOVEMBER 2021

SOUTHERN EUROPE

Photo Copyright: Special Nature Reserve Zasavica.

otter swimming between the water lilies, while on the shore you will enjoy the view of the pond birds. The reserve is the keeper of the genetic resources of old indigenous breeds of animals, such as mangulica pigs, Podolian cattle and Balkan donkeys, which walk freely through pastures fromMay to November and can be watched during walking tours of educational trails through the reserve. Culinary specialties are a hit among visitors to Zasavica. There is mangulica and Podolian stew, goose stew with wide noodles or fish on talandara and desserts that you can try in the reserve restaurant “Bircuz kod Dabra”. As a souvenir, bring home local delicacies: sausages, kulen, ham and mangulica bacon. There are few places in the world where you have the opportunity to try and buy donkey milk cheese. You can do that in Zasavica! A small amount of donkey milk and a very complex production give this cheese the epithet of the most expensive in the world. Not far from the Zasavica there is a camping site “Zasavica”, one of the youngest, but also one of the most modern and best-equipped camping sites in

Serbia. It has a capacity of 42 motorhome (caravan) pitches. The camping site is ideal for nature lovers because Zasavica offers a plenty of nature and active programs. Rest, recreation, sailing, watching and study of nature in the reserve, as well as educational programmes for pupils and students through one-day and multi-day stays and professionally prepared programmes and activities, are the ideal way to get acquainted with the richness of Zasavica.

Tourism Organisation Sremska Mitrovica Special Nature Reserve Zasavica National Tourism Organisation of Serbia

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EUROPE MAGAZINE / NOVEMBER 2021

BELGIUM WALLONIA

WESTERN EUROPE

Photo copyright: Fabrice Debatty.

BELGIAN HOSPITALITY SO MUCH MORE THAN BEER

Beer may be Belgium’s national brew, but it's the country’s vineyards that are booming and there are now 46 vineyards in Wallonia alone. In the 16th century, every town had its own vineyard, but Belgian wine was never firmly on the map. Now, thanks to hard work and investment from a few enthusiasts, it’s a luxury product increasingly making European neighbors sit up and take notice. Acreage for vineyards has increased from 150 to 550 hectares in Belgium in the last ten years alone, resulting in 1.5 million liters of new wine flowing from the region. The main reasons for the demand include agricultural products that fetch a good price, and climate change, which is creating favorable weather conditions for viticulture. Belgian winemakers are now producing award-winning wines. Broader appeal for tourists appeal is also a large contributing factor; culture, landscape and history around these vineyards can turn a Wallonian winetasting trip into a stunning cultural adventure, juxtaposing lively cities with rural landscapes in the

blink of an eye. Namur, Dinant and Bastogne all fit this description. Citadels with hidden secrets, the birthplace of Adolf Sax and the saxophone, scene of battles and war history are among the many reasons to go. Nearby geoparks such as Famennes Ardennes, with its magnificent caves and unrivalled biodiversity spanning 900 km, or the Plaines de L’Escaut Nature Park’s majestic forests, meadows and agricultural landscapes also entice visitors.

Discover our wine and Spirit routes Visit Wallonia

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EUROPE MAGAZINE / NOVEMBER 2021

BELGIUM FLANDERS

WESTERN EUROPE

Photo copyright: Visit Limburg.

LONG WALKS, A BITE AND A SIP LIMBURG: UNSPOILED NATURE AND GASTRONOMY

A sampling of beautiful landscapes and a wealth of delicious gastronomic assets, too; the Flemish province of Limburg has it all. Treats not only for your eye but also for your taste buds. 12,000 hectares of unspoiled nature with extensive pine forests and meadows of purple flowering heather and sandy dunes. Large pools bear witness to a long history of gravel and sand extraction. High peaks offer fabulous views, and in the middle of all this live many rare animals. The Hoge Kempen National Park is never boring. This beautiful natural park in Limburg sparkles with its fauna and flora, and there’s more. The Hoge Kempen just begs to be discovered. No fewer than 440 kilometers of trails await your hiking shoes, while cyclists and mountain bikers can also get their blood pumping here. The Hoge Kempen is a dream for becoming one with nature and fill your lungs with fresh air. Once your lungs are replenished, your other organs will have earned a bit of sustenance too, because Flanders’ typical gastronomic culture is available to enjoy all around its first national park. Good taste is in our

DNA, after all. Be amazed by the nectars of Limburg from its vineyards, breweries and distilleries. Discover unique regional products and find the restaurant of your dreams – because after a long walk, you deserve some delicious sustenance.

Hoge Kempen National Park Gastronomy in Limburg

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EUROPE MAGAZINE / NOVEMBER 2021

MONACO

ECO-FRIENDLY MONACO

GREEN AND LOCAL

design. It will feature luxury apartments and villas, a seafront promenade, a marina, public parks, and e-bike stations. Public vehicles are either electric, hybrid, or biofuel. You will certainly meet locals if you ride the electric city bus or MonaBike – the Principality’s electric bike- sharing service. Over 20% of Monaco’s territory consists of parks and gardens. The Exotic Garden (closed for renovation until 2022), the Princess Grace Rose Garden, the Little Africa Gardens, the St. Martin Gardens, and the Japanese Garden are among the best known, but Monaco features other green spaces. The Monaco Heritage Tree Trail – part of the “Monaco makes a commitment against deforestation” initiative – gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy the Principality’s green heritage. Not to be missed is the new discovery St. Martin Gardens Biodiversity Trail, dedicated to the fauna and flora of the site. Visitors can also walk the Via Alpina – Europe’s most popular and awe-inspiring network of hiking trails connecting eight countries. One of the trails departs/arrives in Monaco’s Palace Square via the Exotic Garden and La Turbie, France.

EXPERIENCES IN THE PRINCIPALITY

Monaco is not just a destination, it is the experience of a lifetime. For over a century, the Principality has been an aspirational symbol of luxury and glamour, and renowned for its safety. What the country lacks in size it makes up for in history, culture, entertainment, and character. Today, it is reinventing itself while preserving its environment. Monaco is a multifaceted country serving as a model for sustainable development. Once complete in 2025, Monaco’s new eco-district, Mareterra, built as an extension of the Principality’s existing coastline, will have an environmentally conscious, pedestrian-only

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EUROPE MAGAZINE / NOVEMBER 2021

SOUTHERN EUROPE

Photo copyright: Monaco Government Tourist and Convention Authority.

Craftedfromlocal, jewel-likebitteroranges,L’Orangerie de Monaco is the premium orange liqueur handmade from the trees that line the streets of the Principality. Visit the atelier for a tour and tasting, and learn all about the distillation process, from tree to bottle. The Carruba liqueur (by the owner of L’Orangerie) comes directly from the fruits produced by the carob tree – the national tree of Monaco – known for its medicinal properties. A newcomer to the Principality is “La Maison du Limoncello” located in Monaco Ville, where you can enjoy a taste and learn more about the famous Italian lemon liqueur. Executive Chef Marcel Ravin of the Michelin-starred Blue Bay restaurant grows most of his vegetables in the onsite organic garden run by local urban farming company Terrae. To meet locals and experience Monaco differently, visit the open-air and covered Condamine Market where the large esplanade wakes up every morning to the colors and fresh aromas of fruit, vegetable, and flower stalls. Taste freshly baked culinary specialties, such as barbajuan or fougasse, while drinking espresso in a unique atmosphere. Experience local life on Port Hercule, where you can enjoy an organic craft beer

brewed at the Brasserie de Monaco while admiring the superyachts. Savor oysters farmed at Les Perles de Monte-Carlo—an oyster bar located at the very tip of the Fontvieille pier. Take a stroll along the newly renovated Larvotto beach and boardwalk. Visit One Monte-Carlo: a recent, unique, and ultra-modern district by Monte- Carlo SBM featuring a high-end shopping experience, residential space, a conference and event center, and a dine-in and take-out eatery by Chef Ravin. Whether you are looking for a solo or romantic break, a friends’ or family getaway, a gourmet or revitalizing experience, Monaco is FOR YOU. At last!

A Sustainable Getaway Visit Monaco – FOR YOU At Last

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EUROPE MAGAZINE / NOVEMBER 2021

GERMANY

CENTRAL EUROPE

Photo copyright: DZT © Julia Nimke.

LOCAL.GERMAN.FLAVORS EXPERIENCE A RURAL TASTE SENSATION IN GERMANY

What defines German cuisine? Ask this question in fifty different places in Germany, and you’ll get fifty different answers. While meat often gets top billing in southern Germany, the north traditionally has more in the way of fish dishes. Between the two are countless different iterations of German fare that spark new trends and are being transformed with innovation and passion into new creations. Lower Saxon Asparagus Road When you're next in Germany, visit the source of this “White Gold”, as it's also fondly called here. This vegetable is not just rich in flavor, but also in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Feel the magic of asparagus season on a tour along Asparagus Road. Meet the farmers selling their produce directly from their fields, take part in the little asparagus festivals or follow tempting menus from nearby inns, enticing you with asparagus dishes. Stuttgart's wine scene: contemporary indulgence in traditional style. Fresh Riesling, classic pinot noir or trendy sauvignon blanc - these fine wines have a long tradition in the

Stuttgart region, but a fresh breeze is blowing through the vineyards. 17 young winemakers are taking the reins and continuing their family winegrowing tradition, some of them two or three generations down the line. They are developing new trends, expanding grape varieties and developing delicious cuvées for your enjoyment. Enjoy traditional craftsmanship with modern influences and pay a visit to Stuttgart's stylish wine bars.

On a journey of taste through Germany Indulge in Germany's wine region

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EUROPE MAGAZINE / NOVEMBER 2021

IRELAND

WESTERN EUROPE

Photo copyright: Tourism Ireland.

IRELAND’S RURAL GEMS MAGICAL IRISH COUNTRYSIDE

Come and explore the best of rural Ireland!

No trip to Ireland is complete without the songs and stories of traditional Irish music. Experience some of Ireland’s best tunes at the Doolin Music House; soak up the atmosphere at the House of McDonnell in County Antrim; or enjoy a cozy session in Matt Molloy’s in County Mayo.

Enjoy the wonders of wildlife at Lough Boora Discovery Park in County Offaly, explore the savage beauty of Connemara National Park, step back in time at Glendalough in County Wicklow and lose yourself in the wild spirit of the Mourne Mountains in County Down. Looking for an eco-friendly experience? Forage and feast by the seaside in County Waterford with local expert, The Sea Gardener. Get back to nature on an immersive forest bathing experience in Slieve Gullion Forest Park in County Armagh, complete with guided meditations and nourishing local, seasonal food. Fancy a taste of Ireland? Take a tour around Wicklow Way Wines and you'll see the commitment to sustainable food and drink production. The wine is made using only foraged fruit, or fruit from approved growers, and the leftover fruit pulp is repurposed into compost. Cork Food Trails takes in the city’s artisan delights with a local as your guide. Want to get stuck in? Book a cooking session at Tracey’s Farmhouse Kitchen in County Down and learn how to bake cakes and Irish soda bread.

Who's ready to make some memories here in Ireland?

Ireland's food and drink Sustainable Ireland Music in Ireland

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EUROPE MAGAZINE / NOVEMBER 2021

BULGARIA

RURAL TOURISM IN BULGARIA

EXPERIENCE BULGARIAN VILLAGES LIKE A LOCAL Rural tourismis thebestway toget toknowthe traditions of Bulgaria. By staying in a village house, tourists can become acquainted with traditional Bulgarian lifestyle and culture. Bulgarians’ hospitability, the unique local cuisine, well-preserved folkways, crafts, architectural- historical reserve settlements and beautiful surroundings all contribute to make rural tourism in Bulgaria memorable. Usually, guests are accommodated in a house built in the 19th or early 20th century. Part of this rich experience is the delicious food that hosts prepare, with vegetables picked fresh from the garden and

seasoned with herbs gathered in nearby forests and fields. There are many interesting things to do in the villages: visitors can help prepare traditional dishes; take part in farm work; ride horseback to visit nearby landmarks; pick herbs, forest berries or mushrooms; or ride a mountain bike along country roads and eco- trails. Tourists might also milk a cow, cut hay, prepare yoghurt, help make white and yellow cheese, or put up jam. Traditional dishes are served, folksongs are sung, and local legends shared. Some villages offer lessons in pottery making, icon painting or folksongs and dances, as well as demonstrations of sewing and embroidering. Almost every village family engages in distilling rakia and making wine. The Bulgarian countryside abounds with wineries that have earned international recognition. Wine production has over a thousand- year long tradition in Bulgaria. The ancient Thracians, who populated the land in ancient times, worshipped the gods Zagreus and Dionysius and used wine during their religious rituals. Nowadays, Bulgaria is a proud producer of fine quality wines, some of which are made from unique varieties of grapes, impressing wine connoisseurs worldwide.

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SOUTHERN EUROPE

Photo Copyright: Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Bulgaria.

Visitors can find rural guesthouses all over the country. In the Balkan Mountains region there are many such opportunities, in villages such as Apriltsi, Shipkovo, Ribaritsa, Medven, Zheravna, Ichera, Gradets, the villages in the Elena Balkan Mountain, and elsewhere nearby. Zheravna is among the villages that have preserved the true spirit of the National Revival. Nowadays most old houses have been restored to their original form, and a stroll through the old streets gives the sense of lives characterized by pride, hard work and harmony. You can walk among almost 200 houses surrounded by stone walls, under the shade of old trees. Restaurants in Zheravna are known for their delicious meals; sit down in the cozy salon of an old house, appreciate the ancient beams, relax with a glass of good wine, and choose a meal that delights many senses. You can also try a Bulgarian treat, white jam, which is a completely new experience, and coffee cooked over hot sand. One of the most interesting aspects of Zheravna is when it hosts the great International Festival of Folklore Costumes. Surrounded by centuries-old pine forest, hundreds of people gather, dressed in authentic folk costumes, some of which are over 150 years old. During the festival, it is forbidden to bring or use cell

phones and other objects from modern life, including plastic products. If you would like to take part in this incredible time travel, you can ask the local people to find a costume for you and have an amazing experience. Zheravna is among three candidates from Bulgaria nominated for the UNWTO Best Tourism Villages Initiative award, along with Koprivshtitsa and Tryavna.

Zheravna Reserve Bulgariatravel.org

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