Thursday, February 19, 2015

My Favorite Car-Free Islands in Europe

Who doesn't love islands? But I'm quite particular, favoring those that harken to an earlier time, when cars didn't exist as the primary means of transportation. Yes, I search out car-free islands because it's these landscapes where I can feel free to explore in a pollution free environment, without the squealing of brakes or the honking of horns, where I can depend on human-powered locomotion to visit historic sites or just peacefully prowl around coves, hamlets and green spaces. You never know what you'll discover when you're not in a rush.

I recently wrote an article for National Geographic Traveler - Intelligent Traveler  on my favorite car-free islands in Europe.

Comino Island - Photo by Bill Kasman, Flickr

These are some of my finds on my top five:

Buyukada, Turkey Grand villas, some with gingerbread detailing, line the lanes that weave down to the south end of the island, which is largely draped in emerald hues from dense pine forests.
•  Hydra, Greece - A two-hour climb brings hikers to the Monastery of Prophet Elias that hovers above the capital. A much shorter jaunt is the coastal walk to Vlychos Beach, an ideal destination for families.

•  Veliki Brijun, Brijuni National Park, Croatia - Dinosaur footprints, such as the imprint of large carnivores similar to Theropodshave been discovered all over the island.

•  Ile d'aix, France - The northeast portion is especially lovely, blanketed with thick pinewoods and rimmed with two jewels: Baby Beach and Yellow Sands Beach. 

•  Comino Island, Malta - Hiking through the wildflower-speckled landscape, a path courses to an isolated, rubble-ridden area, a perfect setting for the 17th century St. Mary's Tower that withstood sieges far beyond what the archipelago's other towers tolerated.

10 comments:

Brette said...

I'm kind of crazy about having a car. I like to be able to control where I go, when and how fast. That being said, I imagine it must be very relaxing in a way!

Sheryl said...

You really get around! What a wonderful way to take in all the sights, without the distraction, noise and pollution of automobiles.

Jane Louise Boursaw said...

We have a car-free island in Mackinac Island, a couple hours north of us here in Michigan. It really is relaxing to not have the motors and engine noises.

Roxanne said...

I didn't realize there were so many car-free places. I thought ... maybe a few.

merr said...

I love to go anywhere a car is not needed!

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Brette, I understand. Many feel that way. I'm kinda the anti-car traveler. I love to see things up close and personal and I find it harder to do when driving.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Sheryl, Car-free islands and car-free cities are definitely my thing. It's such a pleasure to not jump in a car when I want to get around.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Jane Louise, I've visited Mackinac years ago. Loved it!

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Roxanne, There are dozens of car-free islands and cities or sections of cities to explore.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi merr, Agreed!