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Ask a Travel Agent: Beach holidays without extreme heat

I’m planning to take my family on holiday to southern Spain this summer during the school holidays, but we’d like to take the train from London over a couple of days and I’m confused about how best to book it. Because it’s the school holidays I’m keen to book as early as possible, but I understand some train tickets aren’t available until a couple of months out. I don’t want to miss out on accommodation by waiting until nearer the time we’re due to go, what can I do?

A new regular feature from Charitable Traveller Magazine, our team of experts answer your travel queries. In the hot seat this month is Melissa Tilling, founder of Charitable Travel

As temperatures continue to rise in the Med, where do you suggest for a summer beach holiday that will likely be cooler than southern Europe? And if I can travel there by train, then even better!

Miranda Newton

Melissa: For a summer beach holiday with cooler temperatures than southern Europe, consider exploring beach destinations in Finland, Estonia, and Germany – but leave your travels until after the first week of August to avoid the local family holiday times which can be busy. These regions offer beautiful coastal and lakeside areas with milder summer weather, making them perfect for a refreshing escape.
Rail travel to Finland and Estonia can take a while but make the journey part of the holiday and stop and stay en route in some great European cities. 

In Finland choose from a break by the sea or a lakeside beach. The Helsinki Archipelago has so many islands, offering tranquil beaches, scenic views, and outdoor activities such as kayaking, biking and hiking. The islands of Suomenlinna and Pihlajasaari are particularly popular for their natural beauty and beach areas. Lake Saimaa, the largest lake in Finland offers beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a serene natural setting. The area is perfect for swimming, boating, and walking. You can travel by train from the UK to Helsinki, then take a train to the Lakeland region, specifically to towns like Savonlinna or Lappeenranta.
Across the Baltic try Estonia. Pärnu, known as Estonia’s summer capital boasts long sandy beaches, a charming old town, and a vibrant cultural scene. It’s an ideal destination for relaxing and exploring. You can reach Pärnu by taking a train from the UK via Berlin and Warsaw (two further great places to explore). Haapsalu is a small, picturesque town on Estonia’s west coast and offers beautiful beaches, a historic castle, and a peaceful atmosphere. Haapsalu is perfect for those looking for a quieter beach holiday.
For a shorter rail journey try Germany. Rügen is Germany’s largest island, known for its stunning chalk cliffs, sandy beaches, and charming seaside resorts like Binz and Sellin. The island’s cooler summer temperatures and serene atmosphere make it a great alternative to the Mediterranean.
You can travel by train from the UK to Hamburg and then take a regional train to Rügen. Another recommendation is Usedom. This island, shared by Germany and Poland, boasts long sandy beaches, elegant seaside resorts, and beautiful natural parks. The towns of Heringsdorf and Zinnowitz are particularly popular.

Speak to our travel experts today to plan your perfect holiday!

Remember – every time you book a break with Charitable Travel you can donate 5% of the price to the charity of your choice for free!

This is a feature from Issue 23 of Charitable Traveller.
Click to read more from this issue, or more from Ask the Expert

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