Best Celebrity Holiday Destinations in Europe

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Best Celebrity Holiday Destinations in Europe

Category : Europe , Visit Europe

The best destinations in Europe are visited each year by millions of travellers but also by stars from all over the world. If you dream of coming across your favourite celebrity in a swimsuit on the beaches of Spain, order the same pizza as Kim Kardashian in Florence, cross the future king of England in a hotel in Portugal or live a romance in Venice like George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin, we have selected your celebrities’ favourite destinations on holiday in Europe.

Algarve - Kate and William -  Best celebrities destinations in Europe - Copyright David Herraez Calzada - European Best Destinations

 

Kate & William

The Algarve – Portugal

The Algarve is a true paradise for nature, sun and sea lovers and for those who want to recharge their batteries in one of the most beautiful destinations in Europe. Portugal has had a very good relationship with England for hundreds of years and invented Port wine to match the English taste. Prince William, future King of England and his wife Kate know it : Portugal is the perfect place for a honeymoon in the sun.

If you want to book Kate and William’s honeymoon hotel, book your stay at the Tivoli Marina in Vilamoura at the best price. We also propose hundreds of other hotels in Algarve, great things to do in the Algarve like wine caves tours or a Pirate Ship Cruise along the Algarve coast or even a eight day tour of Portugal.

 

Capri - Mariah Carey -  Best celebrities destinations in Europe - Copyright David Herraez Calzada - European Best Destinations

 

Mariah Carey

Capri – Italy

Enjoy Capri, one of the most beautiful islands in Europe with its beautiful landscapes and, like many celebrities fall under the charm of the Italian island.

Relax and enjoy ! Mariah Carey loves swimming in the blue waters of Capri, so do Sacha Baron Cohen, Rihanna and the famous Facebook creator, Mark Zuckerberg. If you do not have a private island like Mariah Carey, do not panic, we propose magnificent hotels in Capri or Positano for an exceptional holiday as well as the best things to see and do in CapriNaples and Positano.

 

Florence - Kim Kardashian -  Best celebrities destinations in Europe - Copyright gillmar - European Best Destinations

 

Kim Kardashian & Kanye West

Florence – Italy

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian got married in this beautiful and so romantic city! If you want to experience such a honeymoon too, book your room at the Four Seasons Hotel in Florence. We also have thousands of hotels available in Florence and Italy, at the best prices guaranteed.

 

Dubrovnik - Hillary and bill clinton -  Best celebrities destinations in Europe - Copyright Sorin Colac - European Best Destinations

 

Bill & Hillary Clinton 

Dubrovnik – Croatia

Celebrities in Dubrovnik are as numerous as its inhabitants! This famous destination of Croatia inspired the famous “Game of Thrones” series. It was Elisabeth Taylor’s favourite holiday destination. Michael Douglas, Tom Cruise, Richard Gere, Kevin Spacey and Roger Moore loved the place too and not to mention John Malkovich.

Dubrovnik is a perfect destination for sunbathing lovers and for those who  enjoy short , cultural excursions and a fine meal on the coasts of Croatia. Book your hotel and activities in Dubrovnik on our website and enjoy the best prices. If you have time, treat yourself to a day trip from Dubrovnik to Montenegro or visit Mostar and above all a Game of Thrones Tour in Dubrovnik!

 

Formentera - Naomi Campbell -  Best celebrities destinations in Europe - Copyright holbox - European Best Destinations

 

Naomi Campbell

Formentera – Spain

When you think of Saint Tropez you think about Brigitte Bardot. She was a very famous film star in the 50s. She still lives there with dozens of cats, dogs, chickens and donkeys. Formentera has been associated with Naomi Campbell for several years now.

Naomi Campbell was a famous British model. You may meet her if you book your holiday in Formentera in August. She often spends some time there for a holiday. The island, which is the smallest one in the Balearic Islands, is located in the South of Ibiza. Formentera is an exceptional place where nature is incredibly preserved with crystal clear water ; it is a paradise on earth.

 

Hvar - Prince Harry  -  Best celebrities destinations in Europe - Copyright andras_csontos  - European Best Destinations

 

Prince Harry

Hvar – Croatia

More and more celebrities are enjoying the beauties of Croatia. This incredible country is probably one of the most beautiful countries in Europe. Tom Cruise comes to rest in Hvar, Prince Harry has parties and JF Kennedy used to go water skiing there in the early sixties.

 

Famous or not you will enjoy Hvar with its stunning landscapes, its pure blue sea water, its wonderful sunshine and beautiful walks. See our selection of the best hotels, flats and villas at the best prices in Hvar as well as the best tours and activities.

 

Ibiza - Paris Hilton -  Best celebrities destinations in Europe - Copyright nito  - European Best Destinations

 

Paris Hilton

Ibiza – Spain

Ibiza is famous for its very long lasting celebrations! DJ stars love Ibiza, Justin Bieber, Orlando Bloom, Kim Kardashian and Kate Moss too. If you cannot manage to see them on the beach or in their hotels have a look underwater!

We offer you the best activities in Ibiza like Scuba Diving for beginners. You can also rent a boat for a day and get the chance to meet your celebrities on their yachts!

Enjoy an unforgettable experience in Ibiza, the party island in Europe!

Lake Como - George Clooney -  Best celebrities destinations in Europe - Copyright Boris Stroujko - European Best Destinations

 

Georges Clooney 

Lake Como – Italy

Lake Como is many celebrities’ paradise. George Clooney and Madonna use to live there. Lake Como, located in Lombardy, in the region of Milan, is a haven of peace for the rich and known. If you want to enjoy an unforgettable holiday and live as a celebrity, book your hotel at Lake Como. If you want to stay at George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Hitchcock’s favourite hotel, book your room at the Tremezzo Grand Hotel. We also offer dozens of activities in Lombardy for an unforgettable holiday in Italy.

 

Corsica - Penelope Cruz  -  Best celebrities destinations in Europe - Copyright gillmar - European Best Destinations

 

Penelope Cruz 

Corsica

If like Jay-Z you want to please your wife for her birthday, offer her a stay in Corsica! With a bit of luck you may come across Penelope Cruz who fell in love with this French island. Its  climate is ideal and its nature is preserved. You can also book your hotel and flight in Corsica at the best price with us.

St Barth - Zac Efron  -  Best celebrities destinations in Europe - Copyright Natalia Barsukova - European Best Destinations

 

Harrison Ford 

Saint Barthélémy – France

How about a dream holiday in “Saint Barth”, one of the most beautiful islands in Europe?Harrison Ford and Gwen Stefani love the place; its real name is St. Bartholomew, a small French island discovered by Christopher Columbus who named it after his brother. This island (9100 inhabitants) is certainly one of many celebrities’ favourite place. Explore Saint Barth, book your hotel, villa, or flat at the best price for a perfect holiday!

 

Antibes - Kate Blanchette -  Best celebrities destinations in Europe - Copyright Laborant - European Best Destinations

 

Leonardo di Caprio 

Antibes – France

Antibes is the pearl of 5-star tourism of the French Riviera. It is the ideal place to meet Leonardo Di Caprio or Paris Hilton at a poolside. Stars know good places and share their great finds with their friends. If you want to enjoy a Hollywood star holiday under the sun of the French Riviera, book your stay in Antibes at the hotel Royal Antibes. We also have hundreds of other available hotels for you and full day tours to Antibes, Cannes & Grasse, a visit of Billionaire’s splendors. You can also buy your Cote d’Azur access card to 180 activities, museums,,perfumeries, gardens, monuments, …

 

Taormina - Audrey Hepburn -  Best celebrities destinations in Europe - Copyright Marcin Krzyzak - European Best Destinations

 

Audrey Hepburn 

Taormina – Italy

Taormina is also called “The Monte Carlo of Sicily” as this beautiful destination has always attracted royal and noble families as well as celebrities.

The celebrity one prefers and whose presence is still palpable in Taormina is certainly the gorgeous and talented Audrey Hepburn.

If you want to spend a great holiday in Taormina you can book your stay at the Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo which has hosted very famous people since 1874. We also propose hundreds of cheaper hotels in Taormina, of course!

 

Sicily - Rihanna -  Best celebrities destinations in Europe - Copyright Dalibor Kastratovic - European Best Destinations

 

Rihanna

Sicily – Italy

Sicily is the land of origin of many American personalities like Lady Gaga or Sylvester Stallone or Britney Spears’ grandmother! There is so much to do and to discover on this beautiful Italian island!

Book your hotel at the best price in Sicily and  book  your Sicily wine tasting tour, a sailing boat tour in Palermo, a walk on Mount Etna, one of the most famous volcanoes, or a tasting tour in Syracuse. You will love your holiday there!

 

Venice - Brad Pitt -  Best celebrities destinations in Europe - Copyright g215  - European Best Destinations

 

Brad Pitt

Venice-Italy

Venice is one of the most famous world tourist destinations. Jude Law, Shia LaBeouf, Kirsten Stewart, Johnny Depp, Diane Kruger, Tom Hanks, George Clooney, Matt Damon, here are some celebrities you might come across in Venice during a film shoot or a personal holiday.

Venice is the most romantic city in Europe. We have a selection of the best activities to do in Venice for you such as a gondola ride, a visit to St. Mark’s Basilica, a boat trip to Murano and Burano Islands … Book your activities and your hotel at the best price in Venice for a dream holiday!

 

Portofino - Beyoncé -  Best celebrities destinations in Europe - Copyright StevanZZ - European Best Destinations

 

Beyoncé & Jay Z  

Portofino – Italy

You may see Cher, Vanessa Hudgens, Elton John, Kylie Minogue, Beyonce, Elle Macpherson, Mariah Carey, Samuel L. Jackson, Sylvester Stallone, Eva Mendes, Eva Longoria, Madonna, Cate Blanchett, Oprah Winfrey, Lewis Hamilton, Lana Del Rey, Jennifer Lopez in Portofino.

Welcome to one of the pearls of tourism in Europe ! Many celebrities’ favourite place for a holiday. This beautiful little village by the sea has always been a place for relaxation and leisure for artists. Portofino is the meeting place of the international Jet set. Book your hotel at the best price and your activities in Portofino, one of the most beautiful places on earth.


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Best Europe Destinations to Visit by Train

Category : Europe , Visit Europe

You can go exploring Europe on foot, by car, by bike and even on horseback. Discovering Europe by train is certainly the best and most pleasant way to enjoy the most beautiful scenery while relaxing.

If you are looking for inspiration, here are our favourite destinations to discover in Europe by trainBook your hotel, apartment, bed and breakfast, your and treat yourself to a unique experience in the best European destinations to visit  by train.

Glacier Express

Switzerland

The Glacier Express is one of the most iconic railway lines in the world. It is also the slowest high-speed train in Europe as the journey from Zermatt to Davos lasts 7 hours. This gives you the opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking scenery.

In this picture you can see one of the most famous bridges but the Glacier Express crosses more than 90 tunnels and passes over more than 290 amazing bridges. This is undoubtedly an unforgettable journey to discover the best European destinations by train. Book your hotel in Zermatt or Davos at the best price and treat yourself to an unforgettable experience.

 

Jacobite Steam Train

Scotland

The Glenfinnan Railway viaduct and the famous steam train are famous and can be seen in many films. You will probably have seen it in the very popular Harry Potter film. Book your hotel in Glenfinnan and take a closer look at this magnificent viaduct.

Immortalize the passage of the Jacobite Steam Train, a precious souvenir of your trip to Scotland. Experience an incredible experience and book your tour of the region today on board the Jacobite Steam Train

 

Soller – Mallorca

Spain

Located between the mountains and the sea, Soller is the most charming village on the island of Mallorca. If you want to have an incredible view of the whole island we invite you to experience a trip aboard the traditional train that goes up the Soller mountains. If you are staying in Palma, come to Soller by train, it’s faster and easier. You can also book your hotel in Soller as well as many activities to discover this charming and authentic place.

 

Stockholm

Sweden

Stockholm is a hyper-connected city with beautiful metro stations ranked among the most beautiful metro stations in Europe. You can easily discover Stockholm and its surroundings by train. It is a gentle and eco-friendly way to discover one of the most beautiful regions in Europe. Book the best activities in Stockholm and your hotel at the best prices in the capital of Sweden.

 

Bernina Express

Switzerland

Forget about  donkeys, about cold and chapped lips ! Nothing is more comfortable or pleasant to cross the Alps than the Bernina Express. From Chur to Tirano via Davos, cross several cultures and languages.

Manarola – Cinque Terre

Italy

Cinque Terre is the icing on the cakeone of the most breathtaking spots in Italy with incredible landscapes. You would think they are coming out from a children’s fairy tale.

If you want to make the most of Cinque Terre you can book your hotel on the spot as well as thebest activities like a boat tour or a train arrival from Florence.

Mountain Rigi – Luzern

Switzerland

Treat yourself to one of the most incredible panoramic views in Switzerland by boarding this train from Vitznau and Arth-Goldau. If you are able to get up early, take an early train to enjoy the sunrise, a wonderful experience at the top of Switzerland.

Norway Flam Railway

Norway

The Flam Railway is an incredible experience, an enchanting journey but also one of travellers’ favourite attractions to discover Norway. Discover some of the most beautiful scenery in Norway. You can enjoy it by staying either at Myrdal or Bergen which offers connections to Myrdal throughout the year.

Lisbon

Portugal

Lisbon is incredible, charming and unforgettable. Have you ever noticed that its emblematic red bridge looked like the one in San Francisco? Here is the explanation:  the two bridges were made by the same American company. While crossing this bridge by train you will see a statue: the Cristo Rei, a replica of the famous statue in Rio de Janeiro.

Formerly known as the “Pont de Salazar”, a Portuguese dictator, this bridge, crossed by a railway line linking Lisbon to Almada, is now called the 25th April Bridge, the date of the Portuguese revolution.

Book your best activities in Lisbon like a visit to Lisbon Castle or the Tower of Belem as well as your hotel. Stay in one of the famous Portuguese Pousadas or in one of the 2800 hotels, flats, hostels at the best price guaranteed in Lisbon.


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Best Beaches in Europe 2018

Category : Europe , Visit Europe

Welcome to paradise !

The selection is yours; come discover your most beautiful beaches in Europe and make sure you pack your suncream, swimsuit, sunglasses and inflatable lobster in order to make  the most of the breathtaking beaches in Europe. You deserve a holiday… Plan your stay today and take your pick among the best hotels, apartments, B&Bs, guesthouses at the best price. Book your too. Welcome to paradise !

 

Arrabida beach in Setubal - Best beaches in Europe - Copyright Landscape Nature Photo

 

Praia dos Galapinhos – Arrábida Natural Park

Setúbal – Portugal

 

Portugal is extraordinary! More and more travellers from all over the world are discovering it with amazement. Do not miss the beautiful cities of Lisbon and Porto (elected best European destination three times). Plan a romantic stay in Sintra or enjoy the wild beauty of the Azores and the luxuriance of the island of Madeira.

Admire the beauty of the beaches in the Nature Park of Setubal, south of Lisbon. Travellers from around the world decided it was the most beautiful beach in Europe, the perfect beach in an unspoilt nature. The closest hotel to the beach is certainly the Hotel “Casa da Adôa“, we also invite you to discover the “Troia Design Hotel“, facing this beautiful beach” Discover our large selection of hotels, B&Bs, apartments at the best prices in Setubal or Lisbon and discover THE most beautiful beach in Europe.

 

Canal d'amour - Best beaches in Europe - Copyright Calin Stan

 

Canal d’Amour

Sidari – Greece

 

Sidari is a pretty little seaside town that houses a beautiful secret beach, a natural curiosity called “Canal d’amour / Love Canal” due to its hollow form housing a beautiful small beach. Come discover this exceptional and hidden beach and book your hotel, guesthouse, apartment at the best price guaranteed in Sidari.

 

Porto Timoni Beach in Corfu - Best beach in Europe - Copyright KarlosXII

 

Porto Timoni Beach

Corfu – Greece

 

Porto Timoni, located near Agios Georgios, is obviously one of the most beautiful spots on the island of Corfu; it is a real paradise on earth.

Afionas village is stunning and its restaurants are very good and affordable. Walk out of the village and get to the most unique spot in the world.

Book your holiday at the best price guaranteed and your favourite activities in Corfu. If you’d rather stay in the nearest hotel we advise you to book at the “Cosmos Beach House“. The rooms have superb views of the sea for a perfect holiday in Corfu.

 

Santa Giulia beach - Best beaches in Europe - Copyright Pawel Kazmierczak

 

Santa Giulia Beach

Corsica

 

This beautiful beach, located a few kilometres from Porto-Vecchio and Bonifacio is a real paradise on earth. It is in the image of Corsica: beautiful and wild. Enjoy its turquoise water and its white sand  and  book your hotel in the nice towns of Bonifacio or Porto-Vecchio.

You really like the landscape in the photo? Book the Moby Dick Hotel for a Robinson Crusoe experience and your best activities in Corsica for an unforgettable holiday on the island of beauty.

 

Moscenika Draga Beach - Best beaches in Europe - Copyright Matej Kastelic

 

Moscenicka Draga Beach

Croatia

 

Moscenicka Draga is a very charming little town in Croatia, one of the most beautiful countries in the world. You will fall under the charm of this small beach which is perfect for a relaxing holiday under the sun of Croatia.

Book your stay at Moscenicka Draga today at the best price guaranteed. If you want to stay just a few metres from this beautiful beach, book your stay at “Apartments Erika” or take your pick among our offer of hotels, villas, apartments and B&Bs in Moscenicka Draga and also book your best activities in Croatia.

 

Pregonda beach - Best beaches in Europe - Copyright Rulan

 

Pregonda beach

Menorca – Spain

 

Come discover Pregonda Beach on Menorca island, one of the most beautiful European islands. It is great in summer but even more off season when the creek and the beach are not crowded.

Pregonda beach is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the island. It has remained wild and secretive. Come enjoy the fine sand and sun of Menorca and book your hotel, apartment, villa at the best price guaranteed. We recommend the “Agroturismo Son Vives Menorca“, which is very close to this beautiful beach.

Discover a selection of the finest hotels with access to the beach in Menorca as well as our complete range of hotels, apartments, and B&Bs at the best price. Enjoy your stay in Menorca and experience the best activities in the Balearic Islands.

 

Monterosso al mare - Best beaches in Europe - Copyright leoks

 

Monterosso al Mare

Cinque Terre – Italy

 

Monterosso al mare is the fifth village of “Cinque Terre”, the only one with real beaches in this beautiful part of Liguria. Book your stay at the “Roca Du Ma Pasu hotel” you will enjoy magnificent views of the beautiful beach of Monterosso al mare. If the hotel is booked up, no problem, book your accommodation at the best price guaranteed in the Cinque Terre for a perfect holiday in Italy.

 

Cala Agulla beach - Best beaches in Europe - Copyright holbox

 

Cala Agulla beach

Mallorca – Spain

 

This beautiful beach is very well maintained. It is wild but you can enjoy cold drinks and ice-creams on the spot. Taste the homemade cocktails and relax while enjoying a beautiful scenery. Book your hotel, B&B, guesthouse or villa at the best price guaranteed in Mallorca as well as your best activities such as a stand-up Paddle tour of the island. Book your room at the “Mar Azul Estil Hotel & Spa”, it is close to the beach or take your pick from the best hotels in Capdepera.

 

Mitjaneta beach - Best beaches in Europe - Copyright Pawel Kazmierczak

 

Mitjaneta beach

Menorca – Spain

 

The island of Menorca obviously has the most beautiful beaches in Europe.

Mitjaneta beach is just magical. Come  bathe in its 29 degrees turquoise water and enjoy its fine sand and the sun of Menorca.

The beach is just like heaven but it is small, so you will have to get up early in the morning if you want to enjoy the quietness and romance of the beach.

Book your hotel, apartment or villa at the best price guaranteed in Menorca today. For those who want to stay closest to Mitjaneta beach we recommend the “Meliá Cala Galdana hotel” with direct views of the beach. Discover all the accommodation at the best price in Menorca for a dream holiday on one of the most beautiful islands in Europe.

 

Palombaggia beach corsica - Best beaches in Europe - Copyright gevision

 

Palombaggia Beach

Porto-Vecchio – Corsica

 

This beach is beautiful closely and remotely. Come enjoy the sun of Corsica and take shelter in its wonderful pines. Some travellers consider Palombaggia beach the most beautiful beach in Corsica, a real paradise on earth with crystal clear water, calm sea and white sand.

Come enjoy a perfect holiday on one of the most beautiful island in Europe. Book your Porto-Vecchio holiday today. We recommend the “Residence Belvedere de Palombaggia” with magnificent views of the sea to travellers who want to stay closer to the beach.

 

Seychelles beach - Best beaches in Europe - Copyright kostasgr

 

Seychelles Beach

Icaria – Greece

 

Your effort will be rewarded ! The access to the beach is not very easy, the beach is fairly small but it is so beautiful! Come have a swim in the clear waters of the most beautiful beach in the island. It is called “Seychelles Beach“. Can you guess why ? Wear your walking shoes to get there as you will have to walk away from the beaten paths to discover this exceptional beach.

Book your hotel, B&B, apartment, villa at the best price on the island of Icaria. The closest hotel to the island is the “Zacharoula Rooms hotel” but there are so many to choose from our selection of the best accommodation on Ikaria Island.

 

Beach of Ballota - Best beaches in Europe - Copyright David Acosta Allely

 

Ballota Beach

Asturias – Spain

 

Come breathe the smell of Eucalyptus and iodized sea air at Ballota beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. Asturias offers breathtaking natural, wild  landscapes. It is a paradise for lovers of nature and wide open spaces.

Take your own beverages and picnic food with you ; there are no bars or restaurants and this is one of the charms of this beach.

Book your accommodation at the best price guaranteed in Llanes today and your best activities in the Asturias. If you want to stay closer to this beautiful beach, we recommend the “Balcón de la Cuesta” hotel.

 

Simos beach - Best beaches in Europe - Copyright bdrone

 

Simos Beach

Elafonisos Island – Greece

 

Elafonisos is a 20 square kilometres Greek island with 1000 inhabitants. There are only a dozen hotels, some B&Bs and guesthouses. Book your accommodation at the best price guaranteed and enjoy one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. If you want to walk to the beach from your hotel, book your room at “Simosmare Resort“, just a few metres away from the beach. Come watch the starfish and enjoy both sun and life on this little corner of paradise in Greece.

 

Xi beach - Best beaches in Europe - Copyright Lucian BOLCA

 

Xi Beach

Kefalonia – Greece

 

Xi beach is  situated on the Kefalonia peninsula. It is one of the most beautiful places in Greece and the world ! Xi beach is an amazing and blue-flag beach.

Come discover the soft orange-red colour of its sand, the quality and the pureness of its water. The beach is wild and will meet most travellers’ expectations. It is landscaped and comfortable

Book your hotel at the best price at “Zest @ xi beach” or at the “Kefalonia beach hotel & bungalows” ; they are very near the beach. Discover all the apartments, hotels, B&Bs with access to the beach at the best price guaranteed in Kefalonia. Book your best activities in Greece on our site too.

 

Playa de Las Teresitas - Best beaches in Europe - Copyright Nanisimova

 

Playa de las Teresitas 

Tenerife – Spain

 

Many travellers know this. Most beaches in Tenerife are volcanic: the sand is fairly dark. Las Teresitas Beach is one of the few golden beaches in Tenerife. Was it a geological accident ? Not at all ! Sahara sand was brought by man to the beach. Tenerife is also a perfect destination for sun lovers all year round, even in the heart of winter.

Book your hotel, resort, guesthouse, B&B at the best price guaranteed in Tenerife as well as your best activities such as a luxury yacht cruise, a dolphin and whale watching tour and have great holidays !


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The Best & the Most Beautiful Landscapes in Europe

Category : Europe , Visit Europe

If you want to «travel far away» while staying in Europe, the best idea is to discover the most beautiful landscapes in Europe.

Discover the most beautiful European landscapes with the Azores but also the wonderful Douro Valley in Portugal. You probably already know the Mont Saint-Michel but what about BonifacioHallstattHallerbos Forest or the Lofoten Islands?

Choose your most beautiful landscape and book your stay in one of the best European destinations.

Do you want more? Discover the second page of this ranking with some of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe.

Most beautiful landscapes in Europe - Copyright Vicky SP - European Best Destinations

The Azores

Portugal

Leave the Portuguese coasts and get to Madeira Islands It is a perfect destination for nature and trekking lovers. Further in the Atlantic Ocean, more than 1400 kilometers from Lisbon are The Azores. This group of 9 volcanic islands offer breathtaking landscapes.

Book your hotel on one of the islands of Sao Miguel, Santa Maria, Faial, Terceira, Graciosa, Sao Jorge, Pico, Flores or Corvo and book your activities at the best prices such as a visit to Lagoa do Fogo or a full day to the Volcanic Valley & tea plant tour. We suggest you to visit the island from April to September.

You want to find a great hotel on the island ? We recommend the Quinta das Buganvilias run by lovers of their island and of nature.

 

Most beautiful landscapes in Europe - Galesnjak Island  - Copyright paul prescott - European Best Destinations

Galesnjak Island

Croatia

Welcome to the island of love. A few kilometers from Zadar, the Galesnjak Island, also known as Cupid Island is the only island in the world with a heart shape.

That shape was discovered by a cartographer in the late 19th century .The island is very small with an area of 130 square metres. It does not house any hotel or restaurant. Book your hotel, guesthouse, B&B, apartment at the best price guaranteed in Zadar and book your best activities such as a flight over the island of Galešnjak or a kayak sunset tour.

 

Most beautiful landscapes in Europe - Hallstatt - Copyright canadastock - European Best Destinations

Hallstatt

Austria

Hallstatt, a wonderful Austrian village that is so beautiful that its perfect copy was rebuilt in China (so was Colmar in Alsace which was reproduced and rebuilt in Malaysia). In both cases the originals are obviously more authentic.

Come and discover this small village of 800 inhabitants by staying in Hallstatt or in the nearby town of Salzburg. Book your hotel, guesthouse or apartment at the best price in Hallstatt or Salzburg as well as your best activities in the region such as a private tour of Hallstatt from Salzburg.

 

Most beautiful landscapes in Europe - Bonifacio - Copyright Stephane Bidouze - European Best Destinations

Bonifacio

France

Come discover Bonifacio in Corsica. It is one of the most beautiful islands in Europe. The inhabitants and sumptuous landscapes will leave you speechless. You can visit the island all year round. Corsica is an open air museum, it is perfect for lovers of unspoiled nature, beaches, history, sea , sun and blue skies.

Book your accommodation in Bonifacio and your best activities in Corsica.

 

Most beautiful landscapes in Europe - Le Mont Saint Michel - Copyright canadastock - European Best Destinations

The Mont Saint-Michel

France

Mont Saint-Michel is one of the most visited monuments in France, just after the Tour Eiffel.

It is photographed every year by travellers from all over the world. Located in Normandy, the Mont is named after the statue of Saint-Michel at the top of the church. Although Mont Saint-Michel is not densely populated (40 inhabitants) it is possible to stay there, to eat there, in short to spend a beautiful holiday there.

Book your hotel in Mont-Saint-Michel at the best price and your best activities in Normandy. You can even book a Mont Saint-Michel guided tour from Paris. The best hotel in the area is definitely the Ermitage Mont Saint Michel is recommended by travellers from all over the world.

 

Most beaufitul landscapes in Europe - Tuscany Italy Copyright Francesco R. Iacomino - European Best Destinations

Tuscany

Italy

Tuscany is one of the best places to live a peaceful retirement in Europe. The capital is the beautiful and romantic Florence. Tuscany has other great cities such as the very famous Pisa. Tuscany is obviously one of the most beautiful regions in Italy.

Come and discover the landscapes of Tuscany, the vineyards, cypress paths, gastronomy and the art of living of this region by booking your hotel at the best price and your best tours and activities in Tuscany such as a ticket to the Pisa Leaning Tower or to Michelangelo’s David.

 

Most beaufitul landscapes in Europe - Rhine falls Copyright VitalyPeklich - European Best Destinations

Rhine waterfalls

Switzerland

The Rhine waterfalls, among the largest waterfalls in Europe, will amaze you. If you are sporty climb the rock in the middle of these waterfalls and take a picture with the Swiss flag.

Book your hotel in Zurich at the best price and your best activities and tours in Zurich and discover this beautiful landscape. If you want to stay near the Rhine Falls, book your hotel  at Neuhausen am Rheinfall.

 

Svartissen Glacier in Norway - Best landscapes in Europe - Copyright Galyna Andrushko - European Best Destinations

The Svartissen Glacier

Norway

Welcome to the confines of Europe, close to the Arctic Circle and discover the Svartissen Glacier, the second largest glacier in Norway, from tourist route number 17 which runs along the entire Norwegian coast. Book your accommodation at the best price near the Svartissen Glacier as well as your best activities and tours in Norway.

 

Rocamadour---Best-landscapes-in-Europe---Copyright-thieury---European-Best-Destinations

The Dordogne Valley

France

Set in the heart of the Dordogne Valley, the sacred city of Rocamadour is one of the most breathtaking villages in France, dramatically clinging to a sheer cliff. Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Rocamadour has been a pilgrimage site for over a thousand years and is part of the network of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Book your hotel at the best price in Rocamadour as well as your best activities and tours in the Dordogne Valley.

 

Most beautiful landscapes in Europe - Mullerthal Region  -  European Best Destinations Copyright r.classen

Mullerthal Region

Luxembourg

In the Mullerthal Region – Luxembourg’s Little Switzerland, the visitor can spend a diversified vacation. Echternach, the eldest city of the country, is considered as historic hot spot and capital of the whole region. Hikers will encounter a well signalled hiking net throughout the whole region and they may discover impressive rock formations, romantic brook valleys, amazing view points on the valley of the Sûre. The small villages are quite charming and the old ruins of the castles of Beaufort and Larochette as well as the Schiessentümpel cascade are worth a visit.

 

Most beaufitul landscapes in Europe - Douro Valley Portugal  - European Best Destinations - Copyright gkuna

The Douro Valley

Portugal

The Douro Valley is simply splendid in photos, but discovering it  will make you speechless. No photos or videos can make you feel the beauty of the landscape classified as a Unesco world heritage. 

Book your hotel, guesthouse, B&B or apartment at the best price guaranteed and treat yourself to a day trip to the Douro Valley.

We have selected for you the best activities in Porto such as a full-day wine tasting . We also have selected for you more than 240 hotels, apartments, guesthouses, B & B in the Douro Valley at the best price guaranteed.

 

Most beautiful landscapes in Europe - Faroe Islands -  European Best Destinations Copyright Federica Violin

The Faroe Islands

Denmark

Situated between Scotland and Iceland the Faroe Islands are autonomous and constituent of Denmark. “Faroe Islands” means “island of the sheep” With 1400 km2 of preserved nature on 18 islands they are perfect for people who like low temperatures (11 degrees in summer and not less than 3 degrees in winter).

Come and discover the incredible flora of the Faroe Islands but also its inhabitants and enjoy one of the most beautiful scenery in Europe. The Feroe Islands are not within easy reach but there is  an airport and a few hotels will welcome you for your stay on these islands turned to nature.

 

Most beautiful landscapes in Europe - Meteora copyright Aleksandar Todorovic -  European Best Destinations

Meteora

Greece

You may have discovered Meteora on a National Geographic calendar, but it is high  time to come and discover the incredible beauty of its landscape. These monasteries, hung in the sky, are a high place of the Orthodox religion.

Before 1920 you had to sit in baskets pulled by a system of pulleys to get to the top of the mountain .Quite impressive! You can easily walk up the stairs to reach the top now. Less impressive!

Come and discover Meteora by booking your hotel, apartment, guesthouse, B&B at the best prices as well as your best tours and activities. 

 

Most beautiful landscapes in Europe - Positano Copyright Alexander Tihonov -  European Best Destinations

Positano

Italy

Positano is a postcard destination. This destination, which is also one of the best destinations for a honeymoon in Europe, is one of the most romantic villages on the Amalfi Coast.

You may know the legend: Neptune created the village to please one of his nymphs.

Come and discover Positano and book your hotel, guesthouse, B&B, apartment or villa at the best price in Positano .The legendary Hotel EDEN ROC with superb views over the village of Positano will leave you speechless.

 

Most beaufitul landscapes in Europe - Hallerbos Forest -Copyright Sara Winter - European Best Destinations

The Hallerbos Forest

Belgium

Come and discover the carpets of blue bell of wild hyacinths covering the wood of Hallerbos in Hal (Flemish Brabant), close to Brussels. This beautiful forest is famous for the beautiful wild hyacinths that bloom at the end of April or the beginning of May.

Book your hotel, bed & breakfast, or apartment at the best price and your best activities in Brussels.

 

Most beaufitul landscapes in Europe - Bled in Slovenia - Copyright josh - European Best Destinations

Bled

Slovenia

Bled is one of the most famous destinations in Slovenia. Its magnificent castle listed among the most beautiful castles in Europe overlooks the lake of Bled on which you can see the only island of Slovenia. Come and discover Bled by booking your hotel, guesthouse, apartment at the best price guaranteed and your best activities and tours.

 

Most beaufitul landscapes in Europe - Oludeniz in Turkey - Copyright Kochneva Tetyana- European Best Destinations

Oludeniz

Turkey

Come discover the beauty of the natural landscapes that make Oludeniz one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. Under the blue flag, you will enjoy pure turquoise water and the quiet of a protected nature reserve.

Go paragliding in Oludeniz and fly over one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. Book your hotel, apartment, guesthouse in Oludeniz as well as your best activities and tours in Oludeniz such as a full day boat trip or paragliding adventure.

 

Most beautiful landscapes in Europe  - Lofoten - European Best Destinations - Copyright Iakov Kalinin

The Lofoten Islands

Norway

The Lofoten Islands are a dream destination for many travellers from all over the world. This archipelago offers one of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe. It is a quiet and peaceful place inhabited by  a few fishermen  who enjoy the fishy waters of Lofoten.

This archipelago owes its name “Lofoten” to its form, that of the footprint of a lynx.

Come and see the best tours and activities in Norway and book your accommodation on the Lofoten Islands at the best price.


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25 Best Places to Visit in Europe

Category : Europe , Visit Europe

In the old days, Europeans use to take a couple of years to make the Grand Tour of Europe. They had the right idea. You need lots of time to fully experience all that Europe has to offer. Since most of us today have only a few weeks holiday each year, we need to pick and choose what we’ll see. With so many top places to visit in Europe, we can narrow the list down by geographic region or special interest. Since it takes only hours to get to Europe these days, compared to the weeks it took our ancestors, to get to Europe, we can always return to visit new sights.

25. Vienna

Vienna, Albertinaplatz

 

Vienna is the most magical city in Austria. It’s a city that conjures up images of beautifully gowned women dancing to Strauss waltzes. It’s a city where beautiful white Lippizaners dance with precision around a ring. It’s a place where you’ll toss your diet aside for a piece of chocolaty sachertore. Don’t forget to wander the picturesque Old Town, visit the opulent Baroque Schonbrunn Palace, the medieval St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the imperial Holburg Palace or maybe even a performance by the famed Vienna Boys Choir.

Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in Vienna

24. Stonehenge

Stonehenge

 

You have to marvel at the determination of prehistoric man when you look at Stonehenge. Construction started about 3000 BC on what was originally burial grounds. Huge monoliths, weighing 25 tons, were dragged 240 km (150 miles) to the site a few hundred years later. It’s not known exactly how many humungous rocks were moved to a field near Amesbury but there are 13 standing today. It’s also not known why Stonehenge was built, but many believe this great UK landmark is associated with early astrology.

23. Matterhorn

Matterhorn

 

Egypt may have its pyramids, but Italy and Switzerland have a nature-made pyramid of their own: the Matterhorn. At 4,478 meters (14,692 feet) high, this famous mountain is one of the highest in Europe. The mountain has four faces, each equally rugged. This legendary mountain has been popular with climbers since the first ascent in 1865; during the summer 150 people a day try to climb it. Couch potatoes may be just as happy to stay below and gaze in awe at the summit playing hide and seek with the clouds.

22. Plitvice Lakes 

Plitvice Lakes

 

The Plitvice Lakes are so pretty, officials turned them into a national park. Located in central Croatia, Plitvice Lakes consists of 16 lakes that attract more than a million visitors a year. The lakes are surrounded by lush forests and connected by waterfalls cascading down from one lake to another. The lakes are divided into two sections, lower and upper, because of the difference in elevation. The best way to see the lakes is walking; on the route you might even see some wildlife.

21. Budapest

Budapest

 

Budapest was already an established city when the Hungarians took over in the ninth century. Today, Budapest is the country’s capital and largest city. In between these two events, Budapest was ruled by the Mongols and Ottomans, among others. Considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Budapest is home to the Museum of Fine Arts with its collection of more than 100,000 works. Be sure to visit the centrally located Old Town with its many museums, churches, palaces and Parliament building.

20. Lisbon 

Lisbon

 

The Portuguese capital of Lisbon lies on the Tagus River along the Atlantic coast. It is this location that encouraged explorers to sail far and wide around the world in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. One of the things you’ll want to see is Belem Tower, a 16th century fortress on the Tagus’ north bank. If you’re looking for good views of old Lisbon, head to Sao Jorge Castle that was built on a hilltop by the Moors.

Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in Lisbon

19. Gullfoss

Gullfoss

 

You probably don’t know too too many people who’ve been to Iceland. But it may be worth a trip there to visit the spectacular Gullfoss waterfalls. Located in southern Iceland, Gullfoss is one of Iceland’s top tourist attractions. At times it almost appears glacier-like, appropriate, perhaps, since it is fed by a glacier. The waterfalls begins just after the Ölfusá River makes a perpendicular turn and then cascades down a three-step staircase into a canyon that is 35 meters (115 feet) deep.

18. Athens 

Athens

 

Athens, a city that’s been inhabited since the fifth century BC, gave the world the concept of democracy. Since this metropolis is both the capital of Greece and of historical Europe. Many of the city’s major landmarks can be found in the old town, particularly around the Acropolis. The list includes the temple of Zeus; the Theatre of Dionysus where Sophocles works were performed; Hadrian’s Arch, the symbolic entrance to the city, and the Parthenon, which sits atop the Acropolis.

Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in Athens

17. Bay of Kotor

Bay of Kotor

 

When you’re hungry for breathtaking scenery, feast your eyes on Kotor Bay in southwestern Montenegro. This bay off the Adriatic is just downright picturesque: hemmed in by mountains, with quaint villages sandwiched between the cliffs and the gorgeous blue water. Several well-preserved medieval towns ring the bay. People make pilgrimages here, not only to take in the scenery but also to visit the 200 Orthodox and 100 Christian churches and chapels spread among the villages.

16. Moscow

Moscow

 

Moscow, for nearly 900 years the capital of Russia, is the heart of Russia and Eastern Europe. As such, this old city has plenty to offer visitors. Let’s start with the 15th century Red Square since many of the city’s key attractions surround it. A top landmark is the Kremlin, a former fortress that houses museums and the president of the Russian federation. Lenin’s Tomb sits in the middle of the square, while the iconic onion-domed St. Basil’s Cathedral, now a museum, is on one side.

15. Venice

Gondola on Canal Grande in Venice

 

Venice is for romantics who love gliding through the Grand Canal with a gondolier singing Italian love songs. This is, after all, the city that sent Marco Polo off on his journey to China. Start your exploration of Venice at San Marco Square, the city’s most famous square. Here you’ll find the Doge’s Palace, the seat of Venetian government, and St. Mark’s Basilica, the main church in Venice with stunning views from the tower. Venice also is famous for its bridges (Rialto and Sighs) across the canals.

Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in Venice

14. Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo

 

If you’re into glitz and glamour, look no further than Monte Carlo, the major city in the tiny principality of Monaco. Monaco has always been known for these qualities which reached new heights when its prince made Grace Kelly his princess. Sitting on the shores of the Mediterranean, Monte Carlo is known for fast car races and its elite casino. Take a walk along the harbor to see yachts (some as big as ships) that belong to the rich and famous.

13. Alhambra

Alhambra

 

The Alhambra is one of the great wonders of Spain. It’s a gorgeous palace-fortress complex that can be found in Granada in southern Spain’s Andalusia province. This imposing complex started out as a small fortress in the late ninth century, though it was built on the ruins of a former Roman fortress. Taken over by Christian rulers, it is the site where Columbus got the go-ahead to discover the New World. The blending of architectural styles over the centuries is stunning. You’ll find great art and grand gardens throughout.

12. Florence

Florence

 

If it weren’t for Florence, the Renaissance might not have happened. Florence is generally credited with bringing Europe out of the dark ages with great artists like Michelangelo. You can see their works at the Uffizi, Florence’s greatest gallery, or the Academia that displays the original David. Eat a gelato while strolling the Ponte Vecchio that bridges the Arno River. Ogle the over-the-top riches of the Medici family at the Pitti Palace. Marvel at the early engineering that created the great Duomo. This is Florence at its best.

Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in Florence

11. London 

London, England

 

English history buffs will have a field day in London. This city on the Thames is chock full of palaces, from Buckingham Palace to Hampton Court Palace . More a prison than a palace, the Tower of London is home to the royal jewels. And from Knightsbridge – don’t forget to visit the magnificent food halls at Harrods – to Carnaby Street, the shopping is awesome. You can get around London quickly and efficiently by riding the famous Tube – be sure to mind the gap.

Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in London

10. Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

 

“Fairy tale castle” is a phrase that aptly describes Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavarian Alps. This 19th century Romanesque Revival castles looks like it just stepped out of a fairy tale; some say Neuschwanstein provided the inspiration for the castle in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. The castle was built as a retreat for King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who viewed it as a romanticization of the Middle Ages The castle was built of brick, then covered in rock, including the white limestone that is visible from afar.

9. Amsterdam

Bicycles parked on a bridge in Amsterdam

 

Amsterdam is a pleasant city marked with meandering canals lined with tall, narrow row houses. It is the city where Anne Frank kept her famous diary, so visiting the house where she wrote is a must. This “Venice of the North” also is a city of great art, beginning with the Rijksmuseum, home to great European masterpieces; Rembrandt’s house and the more modern van Gogh museum. Take a break from sightseeing to tour and sample Holland’s beer at the Heineken Brewery.

Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in Amsterdam

8. Prague

Prague

 

Prague, with a long history of war and destruction, is considered one of the best places to visit in Europe. Despite devastation caused by World War II, Prague has a very nice Old Town that is worth more than a few hours of your time. Prague has many pedestrian zones, which making walking a delight, as you wander by Prague Castle, through the Jewish Quarter, by St. Vitus Cathedral and over the Charles Bridge. Wenceslas Square, situated in the New Town, hums with a vibrant nightlife and entertainment air.

Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in Prague

7. Istanbul 

Hagia Sophia Interior

 

Istanbul may be on the outer fringes of Europe but will worth a visit when you’re traveling abroad. Turkey’s biggest city is a fascinating place, filled with rich history, colorful markets and mosques. Top attractions include the Bosporus that separates Europe and Asia; the ecumenical Hagia Sophia that’s been a Greek Orthodox Christian basilica, then an imperial mosque and now a museum, and the 15th century Topkapi Palace, also a museum today. Get in a little shopping at the Grand Bazaar that’s been in operation since 1461.

Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in Istanbul

6. Geirangerfjord

Geiranger fjord, Norway.

 

When the summer heat of Europe gets you down, head to Norway with its pretty cool scenery. Geirangerfjord is a 15 km (9.3-mile) long fjord with crystal blue waters fed by picturesque cascading waterfalls. Take a sightseeing trip on a car ferry through the fjord, passing villages on the shores. Look out for the Seven Sisters and Suitor waterfalls so named because legend says he’s trying to court the sisters. Also look for Bridal Veil – when the light is right, it looks like a thin veil covering the rocks.

5. Barcelona 

La Pedrera by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. Barcelona.

 

Founded by the Romans, Barcelona today is a bustling city on the Mediterranean Sea. As the capital of Catalonia, it is a powerhouse in the region. It is perhaps best known for the unusual buildings designed by the architect Antoni Gaudi. These landmark structures include La Sagrada Familia, a church that’s been under construction since 1892. You could build your entire visit around his buildings, but then you’d miss out on other Barcelona delights, such as La Rambla, a popular pedestrian street in the central part of the city.

Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in Barcelona

4. Dubrovnik

Aerial view of the medieval city of Dubrovnik, Dalmatia, Croatia, Adriatic Sea, Europe

 

As European cities go, Dubrovnik isn’t very big, but don’t let its size deter you. This little jewel, with less than 43,000 people, is one of the most visited cities on the Mediterranean. Dubrovnik transports visitors back to a time when the fortified city was a major maritime power commanding the third-largest navy in the Mediterranean. As you wander the streets, you’ll likely come across sculptures of St. Viaho, the city’s patron saint whose life is celebrated every February.

3. Santorini

Santorini

 

When it’s time to sit back and relax, take yourself to to Santorini, an island in the Aegean. Top travel magazines consider this a prime destination; once there, you can’t help but agree. The island has picture-postcard villages, an active volcano and stunning sunsets. Be sure to visit Fira, a village perched atop a cliff. You’ll also want to sample wines, such as the dessert wine Vincanto as well as the produce that is made sweeter and tastier because of the volcanic ash soil it grows in.

Read More: 10 Top Things to Do in Santorini

2. Paris

Paris

 

Songs laud Paris in the springtime, but any time of year is a good time to visit this riveting city on the River Seine. It’s a city loaded to the brim with history, culture, great food and high fashion. The iconic Eiffel Tower is one landmark you won’t want to miss. The Louvre houses one of the greatest art collections in the world. Its great churches include Sacred Heart and Notre Dame. When it comes to opulence, there’s Versailles with its famed Hall of Mirrors.

Read More: 25 Top Tourist Attractions in Paris

1. Rome

Roman Forum

 

The ancient Romans established outposts as far away as Great Britain. They didn’t ignore their home city, however, when it came to building great monuments. One must-see landmark is the Colosseum, an arena that could hold up to 80,000 people for gladiator contests. One of the biggest draws is a tiny country inside the city: The Vatican City, with its impressive St. Peter’s Basilica with art provided by Michelangelo is a must-see even if you’re not Catholic. Maybe you’ll get a glimpse of the pope at his Wednesday audiences.


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European Year of Cultural Heritage: Where to go in 2018

Category : Europe , Visit Europe

Europe is one of the most culturally diverse regions in the world. Twenty-four official languages are spoken in the European Union countries, with sixty more spoken in specific areas of the Old Continent or by specific groups of people.

When it comes to cultural heritage, Europe is a serious melting pot of influences and artistic expressions (in art, music, literature, film, and architecture).

In 2018, Europe celebrates its first European Year of Cultural Heritage and these are some of the European cities you’ll want to add to your travel plans for the next year.

1. Lisbon (Portugal)

Must-See in Lisbon: Cathedral and the Tram 28

The capital city of Portugal seems to be on every list of must-see cities in the world and for good reason. Great weather, delicious food and welcoming people are just some of the things that make Lisbon one of most favorite European cities among tourists. Mass tourism hasn’t quite hit there yet, and what you see is what you get pretty much everywhere.

But Lisbon’s cultural identity goes beyond Fado songs and mouth-watering custard tarts (the famous pasteis de nata). Ever since the Portuguese soccer team won the European Championship in 2016, the country is under the impression that they could be champions again but this time around, of the world. The Portuguese team made it to the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia and you’ll want to be around to celebrate with the locals, just in case they bring home the trophy.

The big bonus, though, if you’re curious about the pop culture phenomenon in Europe that is the Eurovision song contest, is that Lisbon will host the final of the competition for the first time ever. Even if you don’t get the craziness around the event, you’ll want to be here in May to witness the once-in-a-lifetime happening.

2. Prague (Czech Republic)

Historic Center of Prague, the Heart of Europe

Is Prague the most beautiful and romantic city in the whole of Europe? Czechs will probably say it is and one look at the capital’s historic center makes it hard for anyone to dispute it. There must be a reason why they call it the Heart of Europe.

The year 2018 is a very important date for the Central European country, with the celebration of the 100th anniversary of their independence.

Prague is a wonderful mix of old and modern, with the newest trend of coffee culture and the spectacular architectural heritage of must-see spots like the Charles Bridge, the St. Vitus Cathedral or the ever-so-famous Astronomical Clock.

Not to be missed in May/June, the International Music Festival Prague Spring, going on its 73rd edition in 2018, and in October Designblok, Prague’s International Design Festival.

3. Seville (Spain)

Seville is one of the top cities to visit in Europe in 2018

Also known as the hottest city in Europe (when it comes to temperature), Seville just made the top spot on Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel list for 2018. I guess you can say the Southern Spain city is now double hot? Make it triple, when you consider it’s been now the filming locations for Dorne of HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones.

But Seville has a lot more going on in 2018, from hosting the 31st edition of the European Film Awards to celebrating the 400th anniversary of Baroque painter Murillo.

Seville has definitely worked hard to reinvent itself and put itself back on the map of must-visit European cities, and it’s certainly paying off.

 

4. Valletta (Malta)

Typical colorful boats in Valletta, Malta

Since the European Commission launched the European Capitals of Culture in 1985, different cities across the continent have applied to become, for one year, the “it” city of cultural heritage and diversity. When cultural identity is this diverse, finding a common ground among European residents is crucial for cooperation and development.

Valletta, the capital city of Malta, is one of the Capitals of Culture for 2018 and will kick off the new cultural year officially on January 20th with an extensive programme that includes over 100 projects and 400 events happening in the city throughout the year.

Whenever you decide to hop on a plane and fly to Valletta next year, rest assured there will always be something happening.

5. Leeuwarden (Netherlands)

 

Speaking of European Capitals of Culture, Valletta isn’t the only European city getting all the attention in 2018.

Joining in for a massive year of cultural events is Leeuwarden, a city in the province of Freisland, a couple of hours north of Amsterdam.

You may have never heard of this Dutch city before but I’m sure you’ve heard of Mata Hari, the mysterious exotic dancer who was convicted for being a spy during World War II. This was her birthplace. If nothing else appeals to you on their cultural calendar for 2018, at least visit the exhibition about her life “Mata Hari, the myth and the girl” before it ends in April.

6. Luxembourg City (Luxembourg)

Adolphe Bridge in Luxembourg City

For years, Luxembourg didn’t make the cut on lists of countries to visit in Europe but things have changed in recent years.

Luxembourg is a boutique-sized country, nestled among Belgium, France and Germany, and packed with beautiful architecture, heritage and local culture, so if you’ve missed it so far, it’s time turn this around.

There is always something happening in the city and, when it’s not, you can stroll around uncovering the local heritage visiting the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Luxembourg City Museum or the National Museum of History and Art.

Luxembourg City is hardly a boring place to visit.

7. Skopje (Macedonia)

The archeological museum with stone bridge in Skopje, Macedonia

Let’s end this list with a little something for the offbeat destinations enthusiasts (which in Europe is really not that hard to find if you’re looking in the right places). While other capital cities in the Balkans take the lead as dream destinations (I’m looking at you Dubrovnik, Sarajevo, and Belgrade), it’s about time that Skopje in Macedonia makes an appearance.

So, what’s so special about Skopje? Well, to begin with, the Macedonian capital is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in Europe. Just a walk through the city’s Old Bazaar will be enough for you to see different architecture styles (Ottoman, Byzantine, modern) in one place. Can you imagine the influence of that diversity in the local cuisine?

The Skopje Jazz Festival in October and the Taksirat Festival in February are two of the most important music events happening in Skopje every year.


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12 Trips Everyone Should Take in Europe in 2018

Category : Europe , Visit Europe

Europe is always a good idea.

We’ve put together the ultimate European bucket list for 2018. From celebrating Finland’s independence to jetting to Bordeaux on a brand new high speed train, here are 12 trips everyone should take in Europe in 2018.

Malta

Valletta, the Maltese capital

“Game of Thrones” thrust this Mediterranean island nation into the limelight. Visitors can expect tons of history, and three World Heritage sites, including its capital, Valletta, as well as seven temples that are believed to be some of the oldest free-standing structures in the world.

Malta is also famous for its beautiful beaches, and harbors filled with boats and boat side parties.

Lisbon, Portugal

lisbonshutterstock.jpg

Travel + Leisure voted Portugal its destination of the year, and picturesque Lisbon is definitely worth a visit, as the city is teeming with historical landmarks, museums, and churches.

Plus, it’s cheaper than most of the rest of Europe, and closer for those flying from America’s east coast.

Iceland

You’ve probably been seeing Iceland all over your Facebook feed, as it has been a hot destination for Americans for the past year.

This trend shows no signs of abating, as Iceland is safe, only a fairly short and inexpensive flight away, and offers stunning scenery from the Blue Lagoon to the Gullfoss waterfall.

St. Petersburg, Russia


St. Petersburg was voted the best destination in Europe by the World Travel Awards for the second year in a row. The city’s ornate palaces and churches, and rich history makes it an ideal destination for travellers.

Aarhus, Denmark

Aarhus, the second-largest Danish city, was crowned the European Capital of Culture in 2017, and will feature a brand new light-rail system next year that will make it super easy to get around.

Don’t miss a thriving New Nordic food scene, as well as the ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, the oldest public art museum in Denmark outside of Copenhagen.

Finland

Finland’s legendary wilderness (40 national parks, 12 wilderness areas, and six national hiking areas) is the perfect spot for adventurers, and one of the best places to see the Northern Lights (near the Arctic Circle they can be seen almost 200 days a year).

Bordeaux, France

A new high speed train introduced this year allows for a quick, two-hour trip between Paris and Bordeaux. This, in addition to Bordeaux’s rich wine and culinary scene, make this French city a must-visit in 2018.

Belfast, Ireland

A little-known attraction in Ireland has become more popular than the Eiffel Tower. Visit Belfast to see the Titanic attraction, which became Europe’s top travel destination for 2016, according to the World Travel Awards. The vote came from a mix of several hundred thousand industry professionals and members of the public. The attraction features replica cabins and a walking tour of the slip where the original ship was built.

Montenegro

Montenegro is similar to Croatia, boasting stunning shorelines and breathtaking beaches — there are over 180 miles of coastline and beaches in the country.

However, it’s less expensive and less crowded, so visit before the secret is out.

London, UK

Brexit dramatically weakened the pound, making it the cheapest time in recent memory for foreigners to visit notoriously pricey London.

Switzerland

A country known for both its cleanliness and its beauty, Switzerland is full of picturesque towns that feature historic chalets nestled into the mountains. Canton Uri, a region in the middle of the country that’s home to the village of Gurtnellen, was named one of National Geographic’s best destinations for 2017.

Modena, Italy

It is perfectly acceptable to revolve a trip around food and eating. So why not head straight to the cream of the crop? Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy, was voted the best restaurant in the world by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants this year.

Try the celebrated Five Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano dish, which features a sampling of the area’s famous cheese classified by temperature, texture and taste.


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10 Most Breathtaking Underrated Places to Visit

Category : Europe , Visit Europe

Although the major cities and tourist attractions are a must in order to check off your list, it’s the underrated, obscure locations that will truly sweep you off your feet. Get ready to pack your bags because here is a list of the most incredible and magical must-see’s while abroad in Europe!

1. Plitvice Lake National Park, Croatia

Plitvice Lakes National Park is the oldest national park in Southeast Europe and the largest national park in Croatia. Any place with that many waterfalls has got to be magical.

2. Atlantic Ocean Road, Norway

The Atlantic Ocean Road passes by Hustadvika, an unsheltered part of the Norwegian Sea, connecting the island of Averøy with the mainland and Romsdalshalvøya peninsula. The road was even has been declared the world’s best road trip!

3. Amalfi Coast, Italy

The Amalfi Coast is a gorgeous stretch of coastline on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in Southern Italy. This coast lies in a Mediterranean climate, so your visit there is bound to be a tropical adventure.

4. Budapest Baths, Hungary

The Budapest Baths are one of the few places you can enjoy a traditional Turkish bath dating back to centuries ago. Hungary is a land of thermal springs, and Budapest remains the only capital city in the world that is rich in thermal waters with healing qualities! Sign me up, I am so there.

5. Faroe Islands, Denmark

The Faroe Islands consist of 18 major islands, which are approximately halfway between Norway and Iceland. The Islands have been a self-governing country within the Danish Realm since 1948. These islands seem mysterious and almost untouched, definitely worth the visit.

6. Tirol, Austria

Tirol is located in western Austria. Being the country’s third largest state, its territory is located entirely in the Eastern Alps at the Brenner Pass. The quaint architecture with massive mountains to surround it make this location a must-see.

7. The Rolling Hills, Czech Republic

The Rolling Hills don’t even look real and its mind blowing to think these hills of perfection actually exist in our world.

8. Gudvangen, Norway

Gudvangen is a village in Norway where the Nærøydalselvi river empties into the fjord. Everything about this place seems peaceful and absolutely stunning.

9. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, located on the Miljacka River, surrounded by the Dinaric Alps. It even hosts the influential Sarajevo Film Festival every summer!

10. Ionian Coast, Albania

The coast of Albania is full of rugged mountains that boarder the clear blue sea. This is definitely a unique, yet spectacular destination that many may not think of visiting. The coast holds many small villages, along with historic towns and cities, which are all prepared to “wow” you.

Take advantage of your close proximity to so many great countries and cities in Europe, and use this list to explore the road less traveled!


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17 Best April destinations in Europe for 2018

Category : Europe , Visit Europe

Since most of Europe is so far from the equator, most of the famous cities are still a bit chilly in April. Still, April can be one of the best months of the year to visit the busiest and most popular cities here. Temperatures are warm enough for enjoyable sightseeing, yet the crowd sizes are much smaller than you’ll see starting in May and June.

Those looking for a warm-weather destination in April should be thinking about Asia or the Caribbean. Even so, Europe (more or less) does have a couple places warm enough for a bit of April sunbathing, and those are listed on top.

Notable April, 2018 holidays in Europe

  • April 1 – Easter Sunday (A big deal in Italy and many others)
  • April 2 – Easter Monday (A government and bank holiday in much of Europe)

Europe’s only two April beach destinations

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

  • April avg high: 72F/22C
  • April avg low: 61F/16C
  • April avg precip: 0.6″/1.5cm

The temperatures above may not look like sunbathing weather, but most April days in the southwest corner of Tenerife are a bit warmer than this and the beaches can get pretty full. The Canary Islands are the only warm-weather April destination that is officially in Europe, and that’s only because these islands off Africa are part of Spain.

Flights into Tenerife, which is the largest of the Canary Islands, are quite reasonable from the colder parts of northern Europe. And hotels here are quite a bargain as well, at least compared to the Caribbean or Mediterranean. You’ll mostly find Brits, Germans, and Nordic folks here, and in April it’s mostly the older generation.

  • Good 3-star hotels in April from €58 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in April from €76 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in April from €18 per person

Antalya, Turkey

  • April avg high: 71F/22C
  • April avg low: 51F/11C
  • April avg precip: 2.4″/6.0cm

While part of Turkey is actually in Europe, Antalya is technically well into Asia. This historic Mediterranean town starts filling up with northern Europeans and Russians in April, and there is usually really nice sunny weather most of April that is warm enough for some sunbathing.

Flights into Antalya Airport are quite cheap, and the area even has an abundance of all-inclusive hotels along stretches of sand in both directions from the city center. Hotels within the historic center are excellent value, and Antalya is a very worthwhile cultural destination in addition to having pleasant weather this time of year.

  • Good 3-star hotels in April from €17 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in April from €27 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in April from €20 per person

The destinations below at least have decent April weather, and plenty to see this month

Rome, Italy

  • April avg high: 64F/18C
  • April avg low: 47F/8C
  • April avg precip: 2.2″/5.5cm

April is another ideal month to visit Rome because it’s usually warm enough for all sightseeing, but still early enough in the year that crowds are not out of control yet. That changes a bit around Easter, which is on April 16 in 2017, as the city fills up and the Vatican has big events. If you are coming during that week it’s important to book early.

The rest of the month is even more pleasant, and hotel prices are still modest compared to what they’ll be starting in June. The outdoor attractions such as the Coliseum and Ancient Rome can be brutal when the summer heat arrives, so this kind of weather is ideal in several ways.

  • Good 3-star hotels in April from €61 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in April from €68 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in April from €27 per person

Florence, Italy

  • April avg high: 66F/19C
  • April avg low: 46F/8C
  • April avg precip: 3.1″/7.8cm

Since Florence is only a bit north of Rome, it has generally the same pleasant weather in April. This is the heart of Tuscany and starting in April it’s warm enough to start exploring some of the vineyards and lovely hill towns in this area, not to mention the fantastic sights in Florence itself.

Nearly everyone visits Florence on their way to Rome or from Rome, and the train only takes about two hours between them. It’s best to fly into Rome and head north or fly into Venice and head south. You can get cheap flights into the Pisa Airport, or visit it on a day trip.

Speaking of the north, Venice is still fairly chilly in April, but it’s absolutely worth a visit if you have an extra day or two.

  • Good 3-star hotels in April from €71 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in April from €95 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in April from €26 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Florence
>>>Florence prices and travel tips


Split, Croatia

  • April avg high: 63F/17C
  • April avg low: 51F/11C
  • April avg precip: 2.5″/6.3cm

You’ve likely heard of Dubrovnik, which is the most famous tourist town in Croatia, but Split is actually a better stop for many people. The historic town centers are very similar except that Split’s is larger than Dubrovnik’s walled city, and Split is a bit older as well. Dubrovnik is also a busy cruise port, which is another reason to avoid it unless you are on a cruise yourself.

Split is also a good transport hub in Croatia as the train stops here near the ferry port, which can get you to one of the nearby islands. Apartment rentals called “sobes” are more popular here than normal hotels, and usually cheaper as well. This area is also overcrowded in summer, so April is a nice month to be able to see everything and still have decent weather.

  • Good 3-star hotels in April from €30 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in April from €50 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in April from €12 per person

Paris, France

  • April avg high: 60F/16C
  • April avg low: 46F/8C
  • April avg precip: 2.0″/5.0cm

Fortunately for all of us, Paris has a milder climate than you might expect. April is obviously not a warm month in the City of Lights, but it’s fairly pleasant weather for sightseeing, with usually very little rain. Starting in May you’ll notice crowds getting larger and larger, so April is a very good compromise with acceptable weather and modest crowd sizes.

Hotels in Paris are pretty good bargains as well, especially if you book a place in more of a tourist neighborhood than a business neighborhood. Flights into Paris are still good deals as well, so this can be a good place to start or end a longer tour of Europe. You should consider a Paris Pass if you intend on hitting many of the top attractions in only a few days.

  • Good 3-star hotels in April from €82 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in April from €101 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in April from €33 per person

Nice, France

  • April avg high: 62F/17C
  • April avg low: 50F/10C
  • April avg precip: 2.7″/6.8cm

The Mediterranean city of Nice is quite crowded all summer and fairly dead in the winter, so April is a good compromise month for a visit. The temperatures are warm enough for a long stroll along the beach or through the outdoor markets in the center of town, and chilly enough that you’ll be able to show off some of your favorite outerwear.

Nice has plenty going for it by itself, but it’s also a very short train ride (20 minutes or so) from Cannes in one direction and Monaco in the other. So this is an excellent base for trips around the French Riviera, with lower hotel and restaurant prices than some of those more famously expensive spots that you can easily see on day trips.

  • Good 3-star hotels in April from €92 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in April from €143 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in April from €17 per person

London, England

  • April avg high: 55F/13C
  • April avg low: 42F/6C
  • April avg precip: 1.8″/4.5cm

The weather in London can be lousy at any time of the year, and at least April is warm and usually dry enough that you can do everything that you want to do. London is one of those cities that is so crowded in July and August that some people regret visiting then, so actually a visit in April can be far more peaceful and enlightening.

Another plus is that flights to London can be pretty good bargains in the shoulder season like this. London hotels and hostels are also offering rates that are far lower than you’ll see in summer. You can also take the Eurostar train to Paris in a bit over two hours, and then begin a European tour from there.

  • Good 3-star hotels in April from €67 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in April from €129 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in April from €21 per person

Barcelona, Spain

  • April avg high: 64F/18C
  • April avg low: 47F/8C
  • April avg precip: 1.9″/4.8cm

Speaking of cities that feel insanely crowded during summer, Barcelona is now another one, so visiting in the fringe months can be far more enjoyable. Since the architecture is the most notable thing about Barcelona, it’s a place where you’ll want to spend quite a bit of time outdoors. April is warm and dry enough to be able to enjoy your visit, even more so than July when it’s so hot that you have to seek shade on a regular basis.

First time visitors to Spain might not realize how different Barcelona and Madrid are from each other, and that there is a high-speed train that connects the cities in about three hours. It’s highly recommended to spend 3 or so days in each city if you can. Hotels here are pretty good value in April as well.

  • Good 3-star hotels in April from €63 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in April from €95 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in April from €27 per person

Madrid, Spain

  • April avg high: 64F/18C
  • April avg low: 45F/7C
  • April avg precip: 1.9″/4.8cm

As mentioned just above, the ideal plan is to visit Madrid and Barcelona as a pair, with about 3 nights in each. Madrid is a more formal and typical large capital city, but it’s also filled with interesting sights along with great food and nightlife.

Those starting a longer Europe tour can fly into Madrid and then take that train to Barcelona, and then another train to Paris from there, or a different train along the Mediterranean coast. You can also take a night train to Lisbon from Madrid, which is an adventure on its own.

  • Good 3-star hotels in April from €45 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in April from €78 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in April from €24 per person

Malaga, Spain

  • April avg high: 70F/21C
  • April avg low: 51F/11C
  • April avg precip: 1.6″/4.0cm

There are actually days in April where it’s warm enough for sunbathing in the Malaga area, which also includes the Costa del Sol towns to its west. But even if you don’t come for sunbathing, you’ll at least get nice weather with almost no rain. Many Brits and Nordic people live here all year round, but the main tourist season doesn’t really begin until late May.

Some of the towns in this area are filled with hotels, but others have far more short-term apartment rentals, so it’s good to check both options. The actual city of Malaga has a historic center that is more interesting than you might expect, so there is more to do here than just walk around in the nice weather.

  • Good 3-star hotels in April from €58 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in April from €89 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in April from €18 per person

Lisbon, Portugal

  • April avg high: 67F/19C
  • April avg low: 53F/12C
  • April avg precip: 2.6″/6.5cm

Lisbon has one of Europe’s best climates any month of the year, and April is obviously no exception. Being on the southwest coast as it is, the city gets warm gulfstream breezes that keep it nicer than the inland cities on the same latitude. Lisbon is another ideal city to fly into for the start of a tour of Europe, as you can get to Madrid or many other Spanish cities quite easily on your way towards France.

Portugal’s remoteness seems to help keep visitor numbers lower than they deserve, and that helps keep prices modest as well. Hotels and hostels here are good deals most of the year, and the quality is surprisingly good even in the lower price ranges.

  • Good 3-star hotels in April from €37 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in April from €78 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in April from €19 per person

Prague, Czech Republic

  • April avg high: 57F/14C
  • April avg low: 38F/3C
  • April avg precip: 1.5″/3.8cm

As a city nowhere near the coast, Prague has pretty chilly winters, so April is really the first month of the year when temperatures are pleasant enough for a visit. Fortunately Prague normally gets almost no rain in April either, so as long as you bring a jacket or sweater you can probably leave the umbrella at home.

One reason why Prague is a recommended city in April is that it’s another one that can feel so insanely crowded in July that it’s unbearable. It might feel a bit cold in April here, but it’s still far more pleasant than battling the monstrous crowds in summer. Hotel prices are good bargains this time of the year as well.

  • Good 3-star hotels in April from €42 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in April from €65 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in April from €18 per person

Budapest, Hungary

  • April avg high: 61F/16C
  • April avg low: 43F/6C
  • April avg precip: 1.9″/4.8cm

If you read the description of Prague in April, it’s pretty much the exact same story for Budapest in April, but the weather here is a bit warmer. Budapest doesn’t get quite as crowded as Prague does in summer, though it can also be quite hot here so July and August are not ideal times to come in any event.

Those who are doing a tour of Europe that includes both Prague and Budapest will probably want to stop in Vienna in between, and perhaps even the lovely small town of Cesky Krumlov. Buses can be more frequent than trains in this part of Europe, usually with lower prices and similar travel times as well. Budapest is one of Europe’s great bargains, as it is always near the top of the Europe Backpacker Index list of the cheapest tourist cities on the continent.

  • Good 3-star hotels in April from €35 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in April from €73 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in April from €8 per person

Athens, Greece

  • April avg high: 68F/20C
  • April avg low: 49F/9C
  • April avg precip: 1.2″/3.0cm

As you can see above, Athens has a very pleasant April climate, which is ideal for the type of sightseeing you’ll do here. The main attractions are outdoors in this historic city, so a visit in summer can be problematic in the brutal heat. Many people visit Athens for a few days and then head to one of the nearby islands by ferry from the cruise port here of Piraeus. Most of the islands are pretty dead until after Easter, but they start filling up quickly after that.

There are a couple of smaller islands that are close enough to Athens for a day trip visit. If you really want to also visit an island you might consider Santorini, Mykonos, or Rhodes. Those all have airports and towns that are going all year round, although still quite slow outside of the summer months.

  • Good 3-star hotels in April from €38 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in April from €60 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in April from €12 per person

Valletta, Malta

  • April avg high: 64F/18C
  • April avg low: 54F/12C
  • April avg precip: 1.1″/2.8cm

If you don’t care much about sandy beaches and are just looking for a European island destination with pleasant weather in April, then consider Malta. The only proper beaches are a long way away from the main towns, but still the weather is good enough in April to spend plenty of time outside and even relax on the rocks that serve as beaches in the best areas such as Sliema.

Valletta is actually the small and historic capital town that is a charming place to spend a day or two, but if you are coming for longer than that you’ll probably want a hotel in Sliema or farther west along the coast. The nightlife here is quite good, especially for those who enjoy cheap beer and wine. English is the main language, so it’s one of the easier places to visit in southern Europe.

  • Good 3-star hotels in April from €151 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in April from €146 for two people

Interlaken, Switzerland

  • April avg high: 57F/14C
  • April avg low: 38F/3C
  • April avg precip: 3.4″/8.5cm

While it’s still fairly cold in April, and very cold at the higher altitudes, Interlaken is really an all-year destination. The area is home to perhaps Europe’s two most scenic spots in the Jungfraujoch railway and the Schilthorn observation deck, and those can be good any time of year as long as you don’t get unlucky with a foggy day.

In winter this is a ski area and in summer this is the hiking and trekking capital of Switzerland. April is kind of an in-between month where you might be able to do both of those things. It’s best to plan your activities at the last minute, once you know what the weather will be like at the time.

  • Good 3-star hotels in April from €76 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in April from €128 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in April from €23 per person

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When to Go to Europe: Timing Your Trip

Category : Europe , Visit Europe

Some people have flexible enough jobs and lifestyles to cherry-pick when to take their vacations, but many others have less choice. Fortunately, Europe welcomes visitors 365 days a year — and each season offers a different ambience and experience.

In travel-industry jargon, the year is divided into three seasons: peak season (roughly mid-June through August), shoulder season (April through mid-June and September through October), and off-season (November through March). Each has its pros and cons. Regardless of when you go, if your objective is to “meet the people,” you’ll find Europe filled with them any time of year.

Peak Season

Summer is a great time to travel — except for the crowds and high temperatures. Sunny weather, long days, and exuberant nightlife turn Europe into a powerful magnet. I haven’t missed a peak season in 30 years. Families with school-age children are usually locked into peak-season travel. Here are a few tips to help you keep your cool:

Arrange your trip with crowd control in mind. Go to the busy places as early or late in peak season as you can. Consider, for instance, a six-week European trip beginning June 1, half with a rail pass to see famous sights in Italy and Austria, and half visiting relatives in Scotland. It would be wise to do the rail pass section first, enjoying fewer crowds, then spend time with the family during the last half of your vacation, when Florence and Salzburg are teeming with tourists. Salzburg on June 10 and Salzburg on July 10 are two very different experiences.

Spend the night. Popular day-trip destinations near big cities and resorts such as Toledo (near Madrid), San Marino (near huge Italian beach resorts), and San Gimignano (near Florence) take on a more peaceful and enjoyable atmosphere at night, when the legions of day-trippers retreat to the predictable plumbing of their big-city or beach-resort hotels. Small towns normally lack hotels big enough for tour groups and are often inaccessible to large buses. So, at worst, they experience midday crowds. Likewise, popular cruise-ship destinations, such as Venice and Dubrovnik, are hellishly packed during the day — but more bearable at night, when the cruise crowds sail off.

Prepare for intense heat. Europeans swear that it gets hotter every year. Even restaurants in cooler climates (like Munich or Amsterdam) now tend to have ample al fresco seating to take advantage of the ever longer outdoor-dining season. Throughout Europe in July and August, expect high temperatures — even sweltering heat — particularly in the south.

Don’t discount July and August. Although Europe’s tourist crowds can generally be plotted on a bell-shaped curve that peaks in July and August, there are exceptions. For instance, Paris is relatively empty in July and August but packed full in June and September for conventions and trade shows. Business-class hotels in Scandinavia are cheapest in the summer, when business travel there is down.

In much of Europe (especially Italy and France), cities are partially shut down in July and August, when local urbanites take their beach breaks. You’ll hear that these are terrible times to travel, but it’s really no big deal. You can’t get a dentist, and many launderettes may be closed, but tourists are basically unaffected by Europe’s mass holidays. Just don’t get caught on the wrong road on the first or fifteenth of the month (when vacations often start or finish, causing huge traffic jams), or try to compete with all of Europe for a piece of French Riviera beach in August.

Some places are best experienced in peak season. Travel in the peak season in Scandinavia, Britain, and Ireland, where you want the best weather and longest days possible, where the horrible crowds of other destinations are rare, and where sights are sleepy or even closed in shoulder season. Scandinavia has an extremely brief tourist season — basically from mid-June to late August; I’d avoid it outside this window.

Shoulder Season

“Shoulder season” — generally April through mid-June, and September through October — combines the advantages of both peak- and off-season travel. In shoulder season, you’ll enjoy decent weather, long-enough daylight, fewer crowds, and a local tourist industry still ready to please and entertain.

Shoulder season varies by destination. Because fall and spring bring cooler temperatures in Mediterranean Europe, shoulder season in much of Italy, southern France, Spain, Croatia, and Greece can actually come with near peak-season crowds and prices. For example, except for beach resorts, Italy’s peak season is May, June, September, and October — not July and August. As mentioned earlier, Paris is surprisingly quiet in July and August.

Spring or fall? If debating the merits of traveling before or after summer, consider your destination. Both weather and crowds are about the same in spring or fall. Mediterranean Europe is generally green in spring, but parched in fall. For hikers, the Alps are better in early fall, because many good hiking trails are still covered with snow through the late spring.

On a budget note, keep in mind that round-trip airfares are determined by your departure date. Therefore, if you fly over during peak season and return late in the fall (shoulder season), you may still pay peak-season round-trip fares.

Off-Season

Every summer, Europe greets a stampede of sightseers. Before jumping into the peak-season pig pile, consider a trip during the off-season — generally November through March.

Expect to pay less (most of the time). Off-season airfares are often hundreds of dollars cheaper. With fewer crowds in Europe, you may find you can sleep for less: Many fine hotels drop their prices, and budget hotels will have plenty of vacancies. And while some smaller or rural accommodations may be closed, those still open are usually empty and, therefore, more comfortable. The opposite is true of big-city business centers (especially Berlin, Brussels, and the Scandinavian capitals), which are busiest with corporate travelers and most expensive off-season.

Enjoy having Europe to yourself. Off-season adventurers loiter undisturbed in Leonardo da Vinci’s home, ponder Rome’s Forum all alone, kick up sand on lonely Adriatic beaches, and chat with laid-back guards by log fires in French châteaux. In wintertime Venice, you can be by yourself atop St. Mark’s bell tower, watching the clouds of your breath roll over the church’s Byzantine domes to a horizon of cut-glass Alps. Below, on St. Mark’s Square, pigeons fidget and wonder, “Where are the tourists?”

Off-season adventurers enjoy step-right-up service at shops and tourist offices, and experience a more European Europe. Although many popular tourist-oriented parks, shows, and tours will be closed, off-season is in-season for high culture: In Vienna, for example, the Boys’ Choir, opera, and Lipizzaner stallions are in all their crowd-pleasing glory.

Be prepared for any kind of weather. Because much of Europe is at Canadian latitudes, the winter days are short. It’s dark by 5 p.m. The weather can be miserable — cold, windy, and drizzly — and then turn worse.

Pack for the cold and wet — layers of clothing, rainproof parka, gloves, wool hat, long johns, waterproof shoes, and an umbrella. Dress warmly. Cold weather is colder when you’re outdoors trying to enjoy yourself all day long, and cheap hotels can be cool and drafty in the off-season. But just as summer can be wet and gray, winter can be crisp and blue, and even into mid-November, hillsides blaze with colorful leaves.

Beware of shorter hours. Make the most out of your limited daylight hours. Some sights close down entirely in the off-season, and most operate on shorter hours, with sunset often determining the closing time. Winter sightseeing is fine in big cities, which bustle year-round, but it’s more frustrating in small tourist towns, which can be boringly quiet, with many sights and restaurants closed down. In December, most beach resorts shut up as tight as canned hams. While Europe’s wonderful outdoor evening ambience survives all year in the south, wintertime streets are empty in the north after dark. English-language tours, common in the summer, are rarer off-season, when most visitors are natives. Tourist information offices normally stay open year-round, but have shorter hours in winter.


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