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Unusual facts for planning your next European holiday

From opera concerts on a vast lake to long-distance walking trails through traditional Turkish villages, Europe has something for every taste and now is the perfect time to visit. We take a look at some of Europe’s most bizarre and wonderful facts and attractions.

1. Austria is home to the World’s Largest Floating Stage

For a month every summer, Austria’s Bregenz Festival takes Europe by storm. It’s a celebration of all things operatic and a visual spectacle that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The focal point of the festival is a gigantic stage which floats on Lake Constance. Each year the stage is constructed using various props and surrealistic designs that reflect the festival’s theme. With seating capacity for 6 980 guests this floating stage is said to be the largest of its kind in the world.

Bregenz Festival (photo credit - bregenzerfestspiele.com, A).reduced

2. Ernest Hemingway was a Frequent Visitor to Spain & Loved Bullfighting

Known as the home of modern bullfighting, Ronda has got to be one of Spain’s most dramatic cities as it sits perched above a deep gorge that cuts through its centre. Along with villages such as Zahara, Grazalema and Montejaque, Ronda forms part of the ‘white villages’ of southern Spain’s Sierra de Grazalema. Visitors come from afar to stroll through its cobble-stoned streets, marvel at the oldest bullfighting ring in the country and feast on tapas in historic plazas. Ronda’s many charms famously attracted celebrities such as author Ernest Hemingway, who spent many summers enjoying and observing the local bullfighting traditions.

Cliff face in Ronda, Spain (photo credit - On Foot Holidays).

3. Turkey’s Lycian Way Rivals the Camino de Santiago

When it comes to iconic long-distance walks in Europe, the Camino De Santiago tends to top the charts, but there are many other routes to consider. Take Turkey’s Lycian Way, which has been rated by the Sunday Times UK as one of the world’s top ten walking routes. Covering 540km, it hugs the southern coast of Turkey and takes you past ancient archeological sites such as Phaselis and Mount Olympus as well as unforgettable red-roofed villages and turquoise seascapes. You’ll be immersed in off-the-beaten-track adventuring, mingle with the locals and enjoy nature at its best.

The Lycian Way in Turkey (photo credit - On Foot Holidays).

4. Porto is a Hub of Architectural Wonder

Porto, Portugal’s second largest city after Lisbon, may be best known for being the home of port, but it’s also a notable centre of architectural excellence. The Porto School of Architecture is considered one of the best architectural schools in the world and has produced renowned contemporary architects such as Álvaro Siza Vieira. Porto also boasts a number of impressive Baroque-style churches dating back to the 1600s and various bridges that are best explored on a Douro River cruise. Other notable architectural influences seen in the city include neoclassicism, Islamic styles and modernism. There’s more to the city than just architecture though, as visitors also come from afar to marvel at the golden hills, traditional villages and quiet charms of northern Portugal.

Riverfront in Porto (photo credit - On Foot Holidays).reduced

Know before you go:
All of these attractions can be seen and experienced on multi-day, self-guided walks offered by On Foot Holidays. Accommodation, luggage transfers and select meals are included. Website: www.onfootholidays.co.uk/ Phone: +44 (0) 1722 322 652/ Email: walks@onfootholidays.co.uk

Franki Black

Franki Black is a travel writer with a healthy appetite for outdoor adventure, quirky places and meeting people from around the world. She's worked in a Costa Rican jungle, on yachts in the Caribbean and in the African bushveld. Read more about Franki’s adventures at www.women4adventure.com and follow her on @women4adventure

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