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The big finish - six holidays which end on a high


By Jack Montgomery, 28 January 2022

How can Spain’s highest mountain go missing? It seems impossible that a volcanic peak rising 3,715 metres into the sky cannot be seen from the slopes leading to its foothills. But, on the final leg of our To the Top of Spain holiday, Tenerife’s Mount Teide remains coy right up until the moment you arrive on the rim of the crater wall overlooking Teide National Park. Suddenly the land falls away, revealing an immense, other-worldly panorama dominated by the massive mountain in its centre. It is a breath-stealer – and only a tiny part of that is because of the lofty altitude.

Although most Inntravel holidays boast stop-you-in-your-tracks moments, there are some which end on a metaphorical, and sometimes geographical high, delivering climaxes that feel as though they deserve to be accompanied by a flamboyant firework display.

These are six of our favourite ‘big finishes’.
The Samaria Gorge, Greece
After a week of exceptional walking experiences, including a turquoise lagoon lapping a pink-sand beach, a monastery perched on a hill, and an ancient city in a hidden valley, it would need something extra special to stand out. The Samaria Gorge is just that … and then some. Although it attracts many visitors, the gorge swallows them as the path descends through Calabrian pines and oleanders, passing a settlement which was once a hideout for Crete’s partisan rebels. The track criss-crosses streams until it emerges near the coast via the ‘gate’ – the point where the gorge walls are narrowest.
Inntravel holiday: Crete’s South-West Coast >
Florence, Italy
Any voyage ending in Florence, that most romantic of Italian cities, is sure to fall into the ‘saving the best for last’ category, even one that includes beautiful Bologna and a journey on foot across the divine Tuscan countryside. Florence is one of those cities that, thanks to movies like Room with a View, feels instantly familiar, but that doesn’t make strolling Piazza della Signoria, the first glimpse of the dome of the Duomo di Firenze, or crossing the Ponte Vecchio any less thrilling. The icing on this elegant cake is the view of the city’s emblematic skyline from Piazzale Michelangelo.
Inntravel holiday: From Bologna to Florence >
The Matterhorn, Switzerland
It’s often the case that the greater the challenge, the more satisfying the reward. In this instance the payback is monumental. The route between the Eiger and the Matterhorn is challenging and spectacular; the journey involving navigating high mountain tracks and skirting glaciers, lakes, and Alpine meadows. The final stage involves walkers crossing the Augstbord Pass before finally arriving in Zermatt, where Switzerland’s most famous mountain towers over the surrounding peaks. It feels immensely satisfying to relax on the balcony of your hotel room (upgrades only) contemplating both the mighty Matterhorn and the remarkable voyage you’ve just undertaken.
Inntravel holiday: From the Eiger to the Matterhorn >
Lake Bled, Slovenia
Lake Bled is the shining star of Slovenian tourism, with many travel articles about the country featuring images of its iconic island. However, no photo fully prepares for the impact of seeing it first-hand. Even at the end of a journey that includes scenic treats like Lake Bohinj, Lake Bled is exceptional. The island attracts Instagrammers, but medieval Bled Castle on a rocky outcrop above the water, backed by the serrated peaks of the Julian Alps, also deserves appreciative gasps. Staying lakeside at Vila Bled means you get to luxuriate in Lake Bled’s sublime beauty after the day-trippers have departed.
Inntravel holiday: Lakes & Julian Alps >
Hamn, Norway
If a picture can successfully capture the essence of an Inntravel holiday, it’s the one we use on our website for Senja, an Arctic Island. Who doesn’t want to stand in that spot, gazing in awe over an island at the edge of the world? There’s an irresistible raw beauty to Senja, and the range of activities to be experienced there befits an island occupying such a dramatic location. It’s worth adding an extra night in Hamn to be able to tick them all off, including a walk to Ballesvika Beach to bask in the glow of the Midnight Sun (late May to late July).
Inntravel holiday: Senja, an Arctic Island >
Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Finally, for the ultimate feeling of achievement it’s hard to beat completing the Camino de Santiago. The Old Way follows the quieter and, arguably, more picturesque Portuguese Camino. A wave of emotion rises like a tsunami as you get closer to Santiago, sweeping everyone along in its path until it breaks in a mass outpouring of elation when you stride into the welcome embrace of Plaza de Azabachería. A truly palatial end to the ‘pilgrimage’ awaits anyone who has booked an upgrade to the Parador de Santiago de Compostela on the north side of the plaza.
Inntravel holiday: Camino de Santiago, the Old Way >
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