Whether you’re looking for olden day charm or a paradise escape, here’s this year’s round-up of the best European holiday destinations:
10) Rovinj, Croatia
It’s been referred to as Istria’s old-world oasis. With its cobbled streets and traditional ways, laid-back Rovinji offers the chance to time travel into an older simpler time. Go out of season to avoid crowds and appreciate the full value of this wholly traditional fishing village. Each morning fishermen haul their fish into the harbour before mending their nets before lunch, while at the local church, villagers pray for a good catch just as they did a century ago.
9) Berlin, Germany
For a quick fix of cool, Europe’s epicentre of hip is the spot for exploring independent bars, clubs and edgy art galleries.
8) Padua, Italy
For those with an appreciation for art history, visit Giotto’s Scorvegni Chapel in Padua. Here only 10 guests at a time are allowed to enter and before they do, they must walk through a vacuum to remove impurities from their clothing. Inside Giotto’s masterpiece adorns the wall. Admire his interpretation of Mary’s parents in love and kissing on the wall before wandering through the Orto Botanico di Padova, the world’s largest botanic garden.
7) Lake Lugano, Switzerland
This posh Swiss haven is ideal for those looking for a hike up gorgeous Monte Brè before settling down to read in the lake-side park, book in one hand, pistachio gelato in the other.
6) Aix-en-Provence, France
If places were people, Aix-en-Provence would be that handsome floppy-haired intellect reading Sartre at the back of the class. Should European holiday destinations boasting high culture be your choice, don your spectacles and head to Aix for a swish summer opera festival, and walks through the elegant grand squares while discussing the trouble with Schadenfreude (gleefully thinking of your colleagues in offices back home).
5) Bruge, Belgium
Ever since Colin Farrell played a hitman in this magical medieval city, Bruges has been getting the attention it deserves. A trip to the quaint Belgium town offers all of the fairytale, unfortunately none of the Colin.
4) Gothenburg, Sweden
Film buffs and festival-goers will appreciate this hub of cultural happenings. Explore Scandinavian architecture and sample the pickled herring from a gourmet street cart on your way to the much-acclaimed International Film Festival or Way Out West music festival.
3) Budapest, Hungary
Admire the Buda hills from a bridge over the Danube before indulging in the cities gourmet food, wine and rich history. Hot springs dot the city, making way for a fortune of opportunities to unwind.
2) Kefalonia, Greece
Lie back on Myrtos Beach and explore the Melissani Cave before settling down to cocktails and Kefalonian pie. This blue-watered paradise is best between seasons, tourists are no fun at the height of summer and winter is the rainy season.
1) Calpe, Spain
For the ultimate in European holiday destinations, rejuvenating Calpe comes out top. With abundant sunshine, soul-restoring beaches, icy Valencian cocktails, charming village life and Spanish heart, it’s happiness incarnate. Eat at the newly-opened Audrey’s, a fine-dining spot favouring seasonal produce and fish fresh from the sea. For post-beach, pre-dinner pampering indulge in a hot candle wax oil massage or chocolate bodywrap at the internationally renowned Diamante Beach spa, an essential part of one of the finest hotels in Costa Blanca.
Care for a Calpe getaway? Get in touch with AR Hotels, leaders in luxury European holiday destinations and hotels in Costa Blanca.