Scenic beauty, a fascinating artistic heritage and an epic history, all of this and more makes Europe a dream destination for curious travellers. Lovely landscapes offer a diverse feast for the eyes, whether you head south to Spain and Italy, north to Norway and Iceland, or east to the Baltic States and Russia. Right here at home in the UK, there are ‘wow’ moments aplenty as you take a steam train ride through the Scottish Highlands or journey along Ireland’s West Coast.
Hunt for the Northern Lights, which come out to play over Norway’s sparkling fjords and majestic mountains, or gaze in awe at Iceland’s cascading waterfalls and spouting geysers. Head to warmer climes to find beaches in all shapes and sizes, from dramatic and rugged to golden and idyllic. Then there’s Italy’s Tuscan hills, which are dotted with Cypress trees, while pastel-shaded houses cling precariously to the glorious coastline of Amalfi. And if you want to reach really dizzy heights, a holiday to the Swiss Alps offers jaw-dropping views in every direction. There’s a long list of man-made wonders to consider when choosing your European tour, too. Italy is crammed with treasures from top to toe, with Rome’s Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Florence’s Duomo for starters. The chateaux of France, and Spain’s Alhambra Palace will leave you utterly spellbound. And you’ll wonder how on earth Greece’s Meteora Monasteries were built on towering rocks in the 11th century. The chance to step back in time is never too far away wherever your travels take you, with well-preserved historic treasures around every corner. Delve into the seemingly endless alleyways in Malta, where the Knights of St John would have roamed in the 14th century. Or stroll through Italy’s myriad medieval villages, which stand to this day untouched by time. Ponder life back in 79AD when the well-to-do city of Pompeii was smothered in hot ash by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. And you can walk in gladiators’ footsteps in Roman amphitheatres scattered right across the land. Sightseeing aside, a wonderful way to experience your chosen European holiday hot spot is through its cuisine. A cheese fondue, Kalamata olives, nutty olive oil, sun-ripened tomatoes, fish freshly plucked from the sea, earthy truffles – each country, and each region boasts its own specialities. And nothing quite beats breaking bread with the locals, or drinking a glass of wine in the very vineyard where the grapes were grown.