Our tipsters suggest beautiful, remote and relaxed escapes as Europe starts to welcome back visitors
My wife and I were driving to Covadonga lakes in the Picos de Europa national park up a narrow mountain road in heavy rain. We stopped halfway, seeing a sign for a footpath to the lakes. Over a hill and after 40 minutes we came to a vast and beautiful hidden valley. In this natural bowl, horses, cows, sheep and goats were wandering, bells tinkling, a stream snaking through and a waterfall cascading down the far side of the valley. Behind us were snow-capped mountains. It was a scene of such Tolkien beauty that I half expected to see an elven princess on a unicorn. All of it empty and just for us.