From the vineyards of rural Italy and ruins of ancient Greece to the glittering coastline of southern France and otherworldly dive sites of Malta, Europe offers a wealth of extraordinary experiences. Whether you’re searching for a romantic getaway, adventures in the great outdoors, or a heavenly gastronomic experience, these wanderlust-worthy destinations will suit any style.
The Italian island of Sardinia is full of romantic potential with its white-sand beaches and mountainous inland. Just a short drive from Hotel Romazzino, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Costa Smeralda on the Costa Smeralda is Spiaggia del Principe (Prince Beach), considered one of the world's most beautiful beaches with soft, pearlescent sand and sparkling turquoise water. A little further north, the Cervo Hotel, Costa Smeralda Resort is the perfect location from which to explore the shops and bars that line the marina. Go for a hike in the morning before it gets too hot, then dine al fresco at a romantic restaurant overlooking the water.
Venice offers a different, but no less romantic, island experience. The Isola delle Rose is home to the JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa, with a secluded garden oasis and easy access to the iconic St. Mark’s Square and surrounding Venetian archipelago.
With its rolling hills, vineyards and charming villages, Tuscany makes for an idyllic place to unwind with a significant other. Grotta Giusti Thermal Spa Resort Tuscany, Autograph Collection is a charming nineteenth-century villa with an authentic thermal spa and one of the largest natural thermal caves in Europe. Fabulous Florence is just an hour's drive away for an unforgettable day trip.
Greece’s influence on European culture is well known and there are plenty of places beyond Athens to delve into the country's rich heritage. Just a short drive from the Sheraton Rhodes Resort, history-hungry travellers can explore Rhodes' Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visit the Palace of the Grand Master, with its imposing battlements and towers, the Mosque of Suleiman and the Panagia tis Nikis (Our Lady of Victory) church. Don't miss the Archaeological Museum to discover more about the island's unique history.
Over on Greece’s southwestern coast, the Costa Navarino is home to three unmissable resorts in The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort, Costa Navarino; The Westin Resort, Costa Navarino; and the W Costa Navarino. Costa Navarino's stunning coastline is the perfect place for near year-round sunshine. It’s also where you’ll find the remains and reconstructions of the ancient Palace of Nestor, dating back to 1200 BC.
Barcelona's enticing array of restaurants serve hearty Catalan favourites like arròs caldós amb llamàntol (soupy rice with lobster), mandonguilles amb sípia (meatballs with cuttlefish), suquet de peix (fish stew) or roasted vegetarian dish escalivada. With an unparalleled location, the W Barcelona has an exciting modern tapas menu and direct access to the waterfront for an after dinner stroll.
Not only is Mallorca home to some of Spain's best beaches, it's also a foodie haven for discerning palates. Traditional offerings include tumbet, a baked vegetable dish in tomato sauce, and frito Mallorquin, a fried dish of lamb’s liver, potatoes, peppers, and garlic. Michelin-starred Es Fum housed within The St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort is an experience to savour.
Ibiza serves up more local Balearic specialities, such as sofrit pages, a traditional stew with meats including Ibizan pork sausages sobrasada and botifarra. Enjoy a selection of elevated Mediterranean staples at W Ibiza’s Chiringuito Blue. Popular dishes include ham croquettes, acorn-fed Iberian jamon and Andalusian crispy calamari.
Portugal’s gorgeous beaches, clifftop views and idyllic countryside make it the perfect place to unwind in style. The Penha Longa Resort is in Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, where the surrounding hills are studded with iconic buildings like Pena Palace, a sublime example of nineteenth-century Romanticist architecture. Take advantage of the hotel’s luxurious spa, stroll across Guincho Beach where windsurfers whip across the waves, and indulge in some retail therapy in the nearby coastal town of Cascais.
From its envy-inducing clifftop perch, Pine Cliffs Hotel, a Luxury Collection Resort, Algarve offers guests unparalleled views of Praia da Falésia’s golden sweep of sand. Nearby, there's the hillside village of Monchique, with its restorative thermal springs, and the city of Albufeira where restaurants deliver fresh fish overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the stylish W Algarve is a jewel in Portugal’s sun-kissed Algarve.
Bodrum, Türkiye, is a thrilling destination for those who like to keep active. There's Bodrum Castle or the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) to explore, while off-shore there are reefs and shipwrecks to dive, plus kitesurfing, snorkelling and fishing excursions.
After a day full of activities, you’ll want a suitably luxurious retreat – and fortunately there are excellent local options such as Caresse, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Bodrum, with its exclusive, private white-sand beach, and The Bodrum EDITION, which boasts a glorious sea-view infinity pool.
For pure opulent luxury Monaco can't be beaten. Le Méridien Beach Plaza has a sought-after waterfront location and offers guests a range of activities, from snorkelling trips to the nearby marine reserve to gourmet cooking classes. It's also just a short walk to Monte Carlo's town centre and its luxury boutiques, casinos and alluring nightlife.
Discover more about Monaco's intriguing history at the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, which also regularly hosts modern art exhibitions. The French city of Nice is only eight miles (13 kilometres) away, making for a wonderful day trip filled with art galleries, promenade strolls and must-visit restaurants.
It's no wonder that so many luxury travellers come to Cyprus – for relaxing breaks or cultural excursions, from swimming in serene coves of crystal clear water to exploring ancient ruins, this Mediterranean paradise delivers.
Experience this fascinating island in comfort at Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Limassol. This five-star beach resort offers distraction-free relaxation for those who want it and an array of activities including tennis, volleyball, and watersports for those needing an adrenaline fix.
Many will recognise the Croatian city of Dubrovnik from hit television shows, most notably Game of Thrones. It isn't hard to see why the UNESCO World Heritage Site has become such an iconic film location, with its striking terracotta roofs, old stone city walls and narrow winding lanes by the brilliant Adriatic Sea.
A calming sanctuary just a short boat ride away from the city walls, the Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel has sea views and gardens that connect the hotel to the beach – a perfect place for unwinding after a day sipping coffee in Marin Držić square, exploring the coastline and nearby islands, and catching the cable car to the top of Srđ, overlooking the Old Town.
It may be small, but Malta packs plenty of punch — from exploring five-star resorts to working on your tan at Malta's raw and rugged beaches, here you'll find a range of activities that are perfect for indulgent relaxation. Whether it's enjoying an iced mojito under an umbrella, shopping for souvenirs in the bustling markets, snorkelling in the dazzling Blue Lagoon, marvelling at the ornate interior of St. John’s Co-Cathedral, or cruising around Valletta's historic Grand Harbour, Malta offers countless riches.
The Westin Dragonara Resort, Malta is on a peninsula with sunken gardens, pools and direct access to the sea. The luxury resort is a haven in St. Julian’s, the city centre of which is within walking distance of the hotel for a leisurely lunch in town or a browse around the shops.
Published: January 10, 2023
Last Updated: June 26, 2023
Article Tags: Costa Smeralda , Croatia , Cyprus , Bodrum , Florence , Greece , Italy , Malta , Monaco , Portugal , Sardinia , Spain , Türkiye , Venice
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