Step off the beaten track

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I’m an avid traveller, and one of the things I love about globetrotting is the chance it gives you to surprise yourself with new things – whether places, experiences, food or people. Which is why I like to explore destinations I might not have even thought of going to. I’m a big reader of travel blogs – both as an interested travel blogger myself and as a travel enthusiast – and I take inspiration from them as to where to go next. Planning our next break, I’ve been inspired by some unusual ideas away from the typical seaside and sun lounger mix. Here are my five top suggestions for summer breaks with a difference, from some of the internet’s top travel blogs…where would you recommend? Tweet me your tips on @normanpeires…

1) Best Beaches to visit in South East England –

If you do like to be beside the seaside, the UK has some great beach holidays to offer. Choose from the unique mix of Victorian architecture and quirky culture of Brighton, the bucolic charms of the traditional British seaside at picture-postcard Broadstairs in Kent, or the wetlands and dunes of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. This post is a great roundup of some of the best stretches of sand in the south east, with something to inspire everything from a weekend escape to a family holiday. READ HERE

2) Visiting San Sebastián –

Spain’s northern Basque country is a great counterpoint to the sun, sand and sea brashness of the costas, with great food, fascinating history, lively cities – and some great beaches to boot. Most travellers head to Bilbao, with its iconic Guggenheim museum, but why not try San Sebastián on the Bay of Biscay? A stylish city break, it is also a must-go for foodies as it’s one of the cities in the world to hold the highest number of Michelin stars per square metre, as well as offering wonderful pintxos – the Basque version of tapas. This post looks at the must-dos and must-sees to really get the most out of this beautiful coastal city. READ HERE

3) The Canals of Bruges –

Arguably Belgium’s most beautiful city, Bruges is a medieval jewellery box of cobbled lanes and glass-surfaced canals that weaves a romantic spell around even the most pragmatic traveller. Buy some traditional lace, wander through the historic Markt square, which is flanked by medieval buildings, and discover Flemish art in the Groeningemuseum. There is no rush in a place where past and present merge. This beautifully written snapshot of the city by Anne Harrison will definitely whet your appetite for a visit – and perhaps also for some of the local specialities, cheese croquettes and fine chocolate. READ HERE.bruges-during-the-day(For more information about Bruges take a look at Lonely Planet’s guide.)

4) Wild and Beautiful Coast of Norway –

Norway’s dramatic coastline could have stepped straight out of Game of Thrones. Granite rock faces fold round deep fjords and face out to white-water seas, towered over by mountain ranges. This is nature at its most majestic, from Geirangerfjord, where waterfalls plunge into the fjords, to Pulpit Rock inland. A coastal ferry travels daily between Bergen and Kirkenes across the Arctic Circle. This post paints enticing pictures of Norwegian clapboard fishing villages and lively Arctic cities such as Tromsø, all overseen by the dancing green and pink plumes of the charged atmospheric particles that make up the aurora borealis – arguably the most impressive light show on the planet. READ HERE

5) Menorcan Adventure –

Lovely Menorca is the shyer sister of the two other best-known Balearic islands – perennially popular Mallorca and party island Ibiza – and is often overlooked by travellers. But it has plenty to offer, as Paul Dow discovers in this post and travel blog video from the Spanish island. Those in search of an active holiday will find plenty to enjoy here, from kayaking and sailing round the pretty coves and towering cliffs of the Menorcan coastline to horse riding in the hills, all fuelled by delicious tapas and gin, a speciality on Menorca (try the local tipple, Xoriguer). Foodies should make sure they visit the Mercat Del Peix (fish market) in the capital Mahon and have a drink at the Cova d’en Xoroi, an iconic Menorca bar that hangs off a hundred-metre-high cliff face. READ HERE