I am not especially big on European vacations. In fact, I rarely travel abroad. I have never visited the south of France, Lisbon, Vienna, the Alps, Venice or the Costa Del Sol. So overall, my favorite vacation destination in Europe is actually native England. To pick a more specific spot, then Devon.
Admittedly, it may well be the case that there are superior beach resorts abroad. The likes of Spain and Portugal are two notable destinations. I was impressed with Barcelona’s coast and architecture, but such trips are rare for me.
However, for a trip to Devon only a train trip is required. Given this, Devon offers a better alternative in this respect with minimal travel expenses.
Devon has some of the best beaches in England. Most notable are those of North Devon such as Ilfracombe, which have good stretches of sand. Other good beaches in South Devon include Blackpool Sands, which is just off Dartmoor.
The sea-side resort of Torquay is another vacation spot in Devon. This is referred to as ‘the English Riviera’ which includes a couple of beaches and some fine gardens. So, forget about the Costa del Sol in Spain! Torquay includes some fascinating attractions such as Torre Abbey, as well as Kents Cavern. In Babbacombe, there is also the Model Village, which is a model village with some great models and colorful gardens. Then there is also Cockington Court and village. This village is surrounded by countryside, and includes thatched cottages, pubs, and Cockington Court which is a craft center set in 450 acres of park.
The English Riviera also includes neighboring Paignton. Paignton has a good stretch of sandy beaches which stretch towards Goodrington sands. At Goodrington, there is Goodrington park which includes a water-park and connection with a unique preserved steam railway. This is the Paignton steam railway, which connects Paignton to Dartmoor and passes through countryside alongside the River Exe Estuary.
Brixham is a fishing village on the Riviera. Here, there are some excellent coastal walks that lead up to the Berry Head Country Park. Berry Head has views of the Torbay coast, along with the remains of an old military fortification. Also in Brixham is a replica of the Golden Hind.
Beyond Torbay, Devon also includes some further places of interest. As mentioned, Dartmoor is a good spot that is linked via the Paignton steam railway. On the other side of the River Exe, Dartmoor castle can be found. As mentioned, Blackpool Sands is also by Dartmoor, and includes gardens as well as beach. During the regatta week Red Arrows also fly over Dartmoor.
Plymouth is the largest city in Devon. Overall, it has a maritime and naval history, linked with the voyages of Drake and Royal Navy ships. On the Plymouth Hoe, there is Smeaton’s tower, which provides views of the surrounding coastline. The National Trust’s Saltram House and gardens can also be found in Plymouth.
Of course, Devon aside, England also has a few good further vacation spots such as Blackpool. So, with good beaches, gardens, and attractions on the Riviera and beyond, Devon remains my favorite vacation destination in Europe.