Europe

Overview

From Andrew Harper

Even in an age of globalization, the great cities of Europe are more than mere tourist destinations; they are integral to American history and culture. Many of us fall hopelessly in love with the street market on the Rue de Buci, Sunday strolls through the Jardins des Luxembourg and the incomparable view upstream from the Pont des Arts. But for others, it is the shimmer on the surface of the Venetian lagoon, or the wisteria-draped townhouses of London’s Georgian squares that generate the same visceral attraction.

But despite the ancient stones, time on the old continent moves at the same restless pace as elsewhere. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, Europe has changed dramatically. Bulgaria, Romania and the Baltic States are now part of the European Union, the boundaries of which stretch from Portugal to the western edge of Russia. For the American traveler, this has brought a wealth of new opportunities. There are now luxury hotels in places as far apart as Tallinn and Dubrovnik. And Berlin itself, the Reichstag now crowned by Norman Foster’s extraordinary glass dome, has recovered its place as one of the continent’s most important and culturally vibrant cities.

Hotels

All recommended hotels in Europe

Salzburg, Austria
Imperial Hotels Austria AG - Hotel Goldener Hirsch
Hotel Goldener Hirsch, Salzburg

Patrician 70-room hotel in a structure dating from 1407, ideally located at the heart of Salzburg with immediate access to the maze of shopping promenades by Festival Hall, and near Mozart’s house.

Hotel Schloss Monchstein
Hotel Schloss Monchstein

Romantic 24-room 14th-century manor house-hotel surrounded by a wooded park and gardens atop an escarpment overlooking the old quarters of the city (reached via a nearby funicular).

Schloss Fuschl Resort & Spa
Schloss Fuschl Resort & Spa

Romantic resort enclave within a 15th-century hunting lodge on the wooded peninsula of an alpine lake, 30 minutes east of Salzburg. The manor has been rejuvenated and appointed with luxurious antique furnishings.

Tyrolean Alps, Austria
Gasthof Post
Gasthof Post

Captivating chalet-style hotel surrounded by alpine meadows in a scenic Arlberg mountain village near St. Anton, 90 minutes west of Innsbruck.

Hotel Tennerhof
Hotel Tennerhof

Family-owned hotel overlooking the resort town of Kitzbühel. The 40 individually decorated rooms and suites have bright and airy interiors with beamed ceilings, wood floors, paneling, ornately painted cupboards and armoires, and family antiques; some also have fireplaces and balconies.

Hotel Zur Tenne
Hotel Zur Tenne

Refined manor house-hotel in the heart of renowned winter/summer resort near fashionable shops and sporting facilities.

Hoteldorf Gruner Baum
Hoteldorf Gruner Baum

Family-owned village-style enclave in a striking mountain setting on the outskirts of Bad Gastein, 90 minutes south of Salzburg.

Vienna, Austria
Hotel Bristol
Hotel Bristol

Beautifully appointed Old World hotel opposite the Opera House and next to Vienna’s main pedestrian-only shopping zone, as well as near many of the city’s attractions.

Hotel Imperial, Vienna
Hotel Imperial, Vienna

Stately and elegantly refurbished Italian neo-Renaissance palace-hotel adjacent to the Musikverein Concert Hall, in a fashionable downtown district near the Opera House.

Hotel Sacher Wien
Hotel Sacher Wien

Evocative 149-room hotel (home to the original Sachertorte) facing the Opera House, within easy walking distance of many of Vienna’s attractions.

Villas

All recommended villas in Europe

worldwide,
Abercrombie & Kent Villas

As an experienced villa provider since 1962, Abercrombie & Kent helps you make the most of your stay with first-class accommodations and uniquely personal service—from personal chefs to local tour guides. Villas are available throughout France, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, offering unforgettable getaways for beach travel, family vacations, weddings/honeymoons, golf expeditions and more.

Tuscany, Italy
Villa Il Sogno
Villa Il Sogno

A beautiful country road with pristine views leads up to the two-story villa situated on 3 acres of property.

Fiesole
Countrywide, Norway
Villa Sortland

Villa Sortland is a small, luxurious, fully- serviced private villa beautifully located on an island off the west coast of Norway. This seafront villa is equipped with four, twin/ double bedrooms, each with private bathrooms, large terrace overlooking the fjord, two small boats, Jacuzzi on the terrace, covered barbeque area, home movie theater and more. A world-class chef, maid, servant and a private car with driver are present around the clock to ensure you have a wonderful vacation.

Oslo
London, United Kingdom
Phoenix House
Cheval Residences Phoenix House

Tucked behind a beautiful Victorian facade just a two-minute walk from Chelsea's chic shops are the rich and welcoming apartments-studio, one- or two-bedroom - of Phoenix House.

London

Dining

All recommended restaurants in Europe

&samhoud places

The most interesting new restaurant is the oddly named &samhoud places, which deservedly won two stars in the 2013 edition of the Benelux Michelin Guide. Israel-born Dutch chef Moshik Roth serves exquisite little cameos such as oyster with borage, lemon, chamomile and sea urchin foam; and sole with onions, kumquats, cauliflower and hazelnuts. I increasingly dislike such complex, finicky menus, but Roth’s was brilliant from start to finish. Frankly, the only thing I didn’t care for here was the arrogant and not very knowledgeable sommelier. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Oosterdokskade 5
Amsterdam 1011 AD
Netherlands
Menus, US$170 and US$222
100 MANEIRAS

Located in the stylish Bairro Alto, this lively restaurant draws a well-heeled  crowd for the modern Portuguese dishes of Bosnian-born chef Ljubomir Stanisic. Stanisic  creates intriguing tasting menus that change constantly, featuring dishes such as sautéed  foie gras in chestnut flour with a Muscatel-pineapple reduction, and pistachio-crusted goat  with quinoa.

Rua do Teixeira 35
Lisbon 1200
Portugal
US$75
21212

This innovative restaurant is set in a restored Georgian townhouse. Chef Paul Kitching’s menu is always changing, but representative dishes include a risotto with an assiette of carrots, minted peas, mortadella, mozzarella and macadamias; beef filet with Brazil nuts, prunes and turnips; and pink trout with smoked haddock, horseradish and kippers.

3 Royal Terrace
Edinburgh, SC EH7 5AB
United Kingdom
US$77-US$109 (Prix Fixe)
9 Reinas

This dressy Argentine steakhouse features delicious empanadas and succulent steaks from the pampas. The wine list is outstanding.

Carrer de València, 267
Barcelona 08007
Spain
ABaC

Chef Jordi Cruz was the youngest Spanish chef ever to win a Michelin star, at the restaurant Estany Clar. In this sleek, stylish space, Cruz, a culinary celebrity in Catalonia, showcases local produce in dishes such as scallops on potato blinis, lobster Bolognese, roasted octopus with a shrimp emulsion, and roasted baby lamb with vanilla.

Avenida Tibidabo 1
Barcelona 08022
Spain
US$125
Agape Substance

Despite the facts that it resembles a small, mirrored railroad car and that diners sit at high stools before a communal table, this has become the toughest reservation on the Left Bank because of the superb cooking of young chef David Toutain. Working in a tiny open kitchen, he composes a new tasting menu almost daily, and the dishes reflect his culinary creativity and flawless technical skills. Expect a suite of beautiful edible miniatures such as a slow-cooked egg with new garlic cream and lemon-verbena foam; dressed crab with candied grapefruit and a rich consommé of North Sea shrimp; griddled razor shell clams, squid and zucchini in lavender foam with yuzu cream and dill flowers; and veal in black-olive tapenade with grilled shallots. Service is flawless, and it’s a good idea to order the well-chosen wine pairings. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

66 Rue Mazarine (6e)
Paris 75006
France
US$200
AGATA E ROMEO

Husband-and-wife team Agata Parisella and Romeo Caraccio fuse contemporary cuisine with venerable Roman traditions. Dishes include ravioli filled with braised oxtail, simple yet delicious spaghetti with grated Pecorino cheese and black pepper, Mediterranean scorpion fish with a potato foam and sea urchins, and rich braised veal cheek with a parsnip purée.

Via Carlo Alberto, 45
Rome 00185
Italy
US$110
AKELARE

Chef Pedro Subijana Reza was one of the founders of the New Basque cooking movement. Look for dishes such as rice with snails and periwinkles in a tomato-basil “film,” a fricassee of wild mushrooms with powdered nuts and a soy mayonnaise, red mullet with sauces inside transparent fusilli, succulent Iberian pork, a palate-cleansing “gin and tonic on a plate,” and rolled cake with a mulberry sauce and milk meringue. The contemporary dining room offers memorable views of the Bay of Biscay. Closed Sunday evenings, Mondays and the month of February.

Paseo del Padre Orcolaga 56, Igueldo
San Sebastián 20008
Spain
US$145
Alain Ducasse

Featuring a glamorous dove-gray décor and a ceiling glittering with 10,000 suspended pieces of cut crystal (the work of young French interior designer Patrick Jouin), the Paris restaurant of globe-trotting chef Alain Ducasse offers a grand slam experience of contemporary French haute cuisine, with some of the best service in the world and a remarkable wine list. Ducasse himself is not in the kitchen, but his lieutenant Christophe Saintagne creates delicious dishes such as langoustines napped with crème fraiche and caviar, turbot with shellfish and Swiss chard, and one of my favorite desserts in the world, caillé de brebis, caramel, poivre, or fresh ewe’s milk cheese with caramel and pepper. A real pomp-and-circumstance address with an international clientele, it’s also ideal for a special-occasion meal or a long, leisurely lunch. Closed Saturdays and Sundays.

Hôtel Plaza-Athénée, 25 avenue Montaigne (8e)
Paris 75008
France
US$250, with fixed menus priced higher
Alatsi

The famously healthy cooking of Crete, with its use of olive oil, vegetables, fruit and yogurt, is popular in Athens, and Alatsi is the place to sample this cuisine at its finest. Watch for chef Dimitris Skarmoutsos’ dolmadakia (grape leaves stuffed with rice and Cretan herbs); gamopilafo, a pilaf made with chicken and lamb in a rich stock and ewe’s milk butter; snails boubouristi (fried in olive oil, vinegar and rosemary); and cabbage rice with smoked pork.

Vrasida 13
Athens 11528
Greece
US$50

Special Offers

Special Offers

Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa - Seven-Day Vitality Detox
Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa - Seven-Day Vitality Detox

Experience firsthand an inspiring blend of activities and relaxation during a week of guided detoxifying. Services include an entrance interview with a Detox Specialist; nutritional consultation and personalized menu plan; daily full board meals and beverages; personal detox guide; a five-course Gourmet Detox Dinner at the restaurant; choice of three Vitality Detox Treatments by ANIKA; and daily group fitness activities. Seven-day packages for 1,890 EUR per person (270 EUR per person for each additional day). Rate does not include accommodations.

Domaine de la Baume - Plentiful Provence
Domaine de la Baume - Plentiful Provence

Under the soothing sun, come and savor the beauty and flavors of Provence with our three-night package including a full-board stay (breakfast, afternoon tea, apéritif and evening meal), with one dinner in the gardens; one cooking class, The Flavors of Provence, followed by lunch (Sundays only); and a tasting of regional produce and products. Package rates are from 689 EUR per person in a Classic Room.

Finca Cortesin Hotel Golf & Spa - One More Night
Finca Cortesin Hotel Golf & Spa - One More Night

Confirm a minimum of three consecutive nights during the low or middle seasons and receive an additional complimentary night. Offer applies to the Executive Suite and Executive Sea Suite.

Four Seasons Dublin - Complimentary Third Night
Four Seasons Dublin - Complimentary Third Night

Extend your two-night stay with a complimentary third night in signature Four Seasons comfort. Experience the vibrant city of Dublin, then consider using your extra time to explore the neighboring mountains and marvel at the rugged beauty of the Irish landscape.

Hostellerie de l'Abbaye de La Celle - Into the Vineyard Package
Hostellerie de l'Abbaye de La Celle - Into the Vineyard Package

Discover a charming little village in the heart of the vineyards of the Var region. This offer includes: one-night in a double room with breakfast; upgrade upon availability at time of check-in; welcome drink; half-bottle of wine upon arrival; gastronomic dinner for two (drinks excluded) with our Menu de Saison; along with visits to vineyards and personalized wine-tastings. Package prices from 230 EUR in low season, and from 255 EUR in high season, including tax and service fees.

Hotel Crillon le Brave - Autumn Truffle & Wine Weekends
Hotel Crillon le Brave - Autumn Truffle & Wine Weekends

Join us and our "trufficulteur extraordinaire" for a long weekend of truffle-hunting. The charming and knowledgeable truffle expert, Eric Jaumard, will again welcome us to his forest and home. This three-day program includes four great events: truffle-hunting and a rustic lunch with Eric, a wine-tasting and visit to one of Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s finest estates, a truffle-cooking demonstration with our chef, and visit to Provence’s antique capital, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.

Hotel Endsleigh and Hotel Tresanton - Five Nights, Two Uniquely Fabulous Hotels
Hotel Endsleigh and Hotel Tresanton - Five Nights, Two Uniquely Fabulous Hotels

With this five-night package, enjoy two nights at Hotel Endsleigh and receive an afternoon tea for two, a private tour of the 200-year-old botanical gardens and entrance tickets to one of the nearby National Trust Houses. Then travel on to Hotel Tresanton for a three-night stay and receive a lunch for two and entrance tickets to the Tate Gallery in St. Yves or to the Eden Project. The package savings is 10 percent off rack rates, with all inclusions complimentary.

Hotel Endsleigh and Hotel Tresanton - Five Nights, Two Uniquely Fabulous Hotels
Hotel Endsleigh and Hotel Tresanton - Five Nights, Two Uniquely Fabulous Hotels

With this five-night package, enjoy two nights at Hotel Endsleigh and receive an afternoon tea for two, a private tour of the 200-year-old botanical gardens and entrance tickets to one of the nearby National Trust Houses. Then travel on to Hotel Tresanton for a three-night stay and receive a lunch for two and entrance tickets to the Tate Gallery in St. Yves or to the Eden Project. The package savings is 10 percent off rack rates, with all inclusions complimentary.

Hotel Le Fontanelle - Complimentary Half-Day Winery Tour
Hotel Le Fontanelle - Complimentary Half-Day Winery Tour

Confirm a four-night stay in a suite and receive one complimentary self-driving winery tour for four hours at a nearby property. Guests must confirm day and time preference for the tour at time of booking the hotel stay.

Hotel Seven One Seven - Complimentary Museum Tickets
Hotel Seven One Seven - Complimentary Museum Tickets

Confirm a stay and receive two complimentary tickets for your choice of the following museums: Het Grachtenhuis, Van Loon or the Foam Museum.

Itineraries

Munich, Germany
Simply Munich

The perfect introduction to Munich at an uncommon value, "Simply Munich" is designed to introduce you to some of the top sites you on a first trip to the city. Reserve the package as outlined, or tailor it to your needs by working with one of our travel experts.

Barge Cruise
Birthday - Barge Cruise in Europe

Canal barge cruises in Europe are a surprisingly versatile vacation. For groups between 2 and 12 people, you will be pampered during your “floating birthday party”. Every day is different on a barge cruise. You can be active, disembarking for a bike ride or walk through a historic village. Or join the chef on a visit to the local market, play a game of golf, or enjoy a wine tasting.