This year the Guardian Travel team enjoyed a Hooghly in India, meditated in Bali and hitched a wagon in the Wye valley – among other unforgettable experiences
In the summer, we drove from Naples through Campania and Calabria, then took the ferry to Sicily. Along the way, we broke the journey at fantastic agriturismi and guesthouses but the most intriguing place was EcoBelmonte, Calabria’s only albergo diffuso. This ancient, car-free village was once home to 3,000 people, now there are just 30 permanent residents but, thanks to the painstaking work of Gianfranco Suriano, who grew up there, 14 of the village houses are available for tourists to rent. Clinging to a hillside, invisible from the road but with views over the sparkling Tyrrhenian sea, the thick-walled houses are stacked on top of each other – and linked by twisting alleyways. On our meanderings, we occasionally came across one of the elderly residents, or bumped into Gianfranco’s wife Gabriella, who runs the project. Most of the time we felt like we had the place to ourselves: it was both eerie and enchanting. For relief from the scorching August heat, we drove down the hill to the beach – a long, straight stretch of pebbles shelving into clear water. Returning hot and sandy felt like stepping back in time to a magical village that’s barely changed in centuries.
• From €30pppn, children €5, ecovacanzebelmonte.it
Source: The Guardian