Long, light nights, stunning scenery and incredible cuisine – Europe offers it all. While our holiday plans may be on hold this year, we can still start dreaming of 2021! These summery suggestions from Lightfoot Travel are a great place to start.
#1 Paris, France
It’s Europe’s most glamorous city – and the world’s most chic. And when we get the green light to travel safely once more it will undoubtedly feel more ooh-la-la than ever! For a romantic city break or a longer cultural holiday there are endless fascinating things to do and see in Paris. No one ever fails to be impressed by the Eiffel Tower, the picturesque Avenue des Champs-Élysées or the imperial splendour of the Arc de Triomphe. But after ticking them off your list the fun only continues. If you’ve got children in tow, enjoy a treasure hunt at the Louvre; explore Jardin des Tuileries with its jungle gym and ponds with vintage boats; and embark on a pastry-making cooking class (including tasting, of course!).
Lightfoot recommends: Just a few steps from the Louvre on the Left Bank, Cheval Blanc is set to open this year with a selection of rooms and suites. Sophisticated and elegant, it’s slated to feature several restaurants and bars, a cocoon of a spa and an undeniable Parisian atmosphere.
Montenegro had a reputation as the San Tropez of the Balkans during the 50s and 60s, with stars of the silver screen – Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Sophia Loren – mingling with European royalty. While small in size, beautiful Montenegro boasts imposing mountains, primeval forests and ancient towns perched on dramatic rock faces. The exclusive yachting scene is not to be missed (even if it’s just to have a sneaky peek!), and it’s definitely not hard to find. Head to Porto Montenegro where super yachts line up next to gourmet restaurants, boutique hotels and buzzy bars. Deck shoes at the ready!
Lightfoot recommends: One&Only Portonovi, Montenegro in Boka Bay is a new property and the brand’s first move into Europe. A destination spa in itself, the Espace Chenot Health Wellness Spa offers dreamy wellness programmes and treatments. And there are various restaurants to keep you well-fed, pools to assist in burning off extra calories, and a kids’ club to give little ones plenty to do (and you the chance to relax!).
#3 United Kingdom
While the major cities of the UK have their own inimitable allure, it’s the UK’s beautiful countryside that owns the summer holiday. Somerset is one such spot. Think meadows and orchards, miles of coastline, quaint villages, historic towns – and cheddar cheese! Head to the World Heritage Site of Bath with its hot Roman baths, pump rooms and Georgian architecture, or the cathedral city of Wells and Glastonbury, famous for the enigmatic Glastonbury Tor and the music festival. The best part? You can leave your heels behind and treat your feet to wellies.
Lightfoot recommends: The Newt in Somerset is the height of unique with its South Africa meets Scandinavia via Somerset décor. Ramble in the gardens, go wild swimming and feast on locally sourced estate-grown food. Or, just sit back and sip on the free-flow “cyder” in your mini larder.
#4 Portofino, Italy
Everything is good-looking in Portofino: the cobbled streets, the glittering bays, the stylish boutiques and, of course, the yacht-packed harbour. Even the pizza causes a wide-eyed double-take. Since its 1950s explosion, when Portofino became the place to see and be seen, this seaside hamlet has grown even more gorgeous. Alongside the glamour, it’s also a great spot for outside activity. You’ll find over 80 kilometres of hiking trails, diving and snorkelling destinations, kayaking options and coves – all ideal for Instagram feeds. Pack designer sunnies and clothes with an expandable waistband…
Lightfoot recommends: Belmond Splendido Mare is not only one of the most stunning hotels in Portofino, but after undergoing a major renovation, summer 2021 will see it boast a top-to-toe redecoration that features 14 rooms styled like an Italian fishing boat, using natural wood, ropes and brass.
Two things you need to know about Malta. First, it’s the sunniest spot in Europe. Second, it was one of the major filming locations for Series 1 of Game of Thrones! Fans of tans will love the red-gold beaches peppered along the rugged rocky coastline, and King’s Landing lovers can explore the rock formations, saintly sites, sandy buildings and cobbled streets depicted in the show. Looking for more? The temples, coves, amazing snorkelling and scuba diving, and local pastizzi puff pastry should do it.
Lightfoot recommends: Located on historic St Barbara Bastions and overlooking the Grand Harbour, Iniala Malta is opening this spring. This luxury stay is spread over four Maltese townhouses and several ancient vaults that have been perfectly restored. Many suites feature their own plunge pool, and there’s also an indoor pool, gym, yoga room, spa and rooftop restaurant.
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This article first appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.