What’s new in the Old World?
London, Paris and Rome. Provence, the Amalfi Coast and the sugar-cube villas of Santorini. When you’re planning a luxury holiday in Europe, some destinations instantly spring to mind. But where to go if you want something that little bit out of the ordinary? From city breaks through to outdoor adventures, here are our top picks of places to try next.
CITY Breaks: Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland has been climbing up the must-visit lists in recent years. From its cool capital you can spend days experiencing out-of-this world spas and extraordinary architecture, and nights under the Northern Lights. All surrounded by an epic wilderness of waterfalls, glaciers and geysers.
Smart boutique hotels like Grand Hotel Yerevan are putting this intriguing city on the luxury travel map.
Here, blunt Soviet architecture is softened by green parks and a bustling café culture. And the Cafesjan Center of Arts, housed in a monumental cascading staircase, is well worth a visit.
BEACH HOLIDAYS: Channel Islands
This collection of islands off the French coast is a sure bet for fun family holidays at the beach. You can break up the sandcastle building with boat trips – and sample seriously good seafood at the gourmet restaurant at The Atlantic Hotel.
Heard of this volcanic island? Perhaps not, as it’s one of Italy’s best-kept secrets – and an exclusive celebrity hangout.
Time to discover Pantelleria's black sand beaches and natural thermal spas before everyone else catches on...
COUNTRY HOUSE ESCAPES: The Cotswolds
If ‘country house holiday’ conjures up images of quirky manor houses and tea on the lawn, look no further than the Cotswolds. Here you’ll find higgledy-piggledy medieval villages hidden away in secluded valleys – as well as Michelin-starred restaurants and exclusive spas.
Go from rolling English hills to sun-soaked western Spain.
At Hacienda Zorita Wine Hotel & Spa, you can end days exploring the Duero Valley with vinotherapy spa treatments or a private tour of the Marqués de la Concordra wine cellar with its 1450 barrels.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS: Skodje, Norway
The heart of fjord land is the stuff of legends, not fairytales. Sheer cliffs plunging down to mirror-clear water, tall pine forests and star-strewn skies set the scene for an epic adventure in Skodje.
With surreal rock formations and ‘fairy chimneys’ punctuating the skyline, there’s nowhere on earth quite like Cappadocia. Today, the prehistoric cave houses have luxury hotels such as Cappadocia Cave Resort and Spa for neighbours.
ON THE WINE TRAIL: Piedmont, Italy
Base yourself on the western shore of Lake Maggiore. In between strolling around luxurious villas and pretty towns, you can explore the vineyards of Novara. Look out for the ‘La Maggiorina’ red on local trattoria wine lists.
Wine making in Croatia stretches back to the days of the Greeks – but has been undergoing a recent renaissance. Sample award-winning grapes in atmospheric wine bars housed in the walls of the ancient Diocletian’s Palace in Split. Or book an ‘Art of Wine’ private tour to go straight to the source.