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
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

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

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

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)
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.

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.

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
ALTA TABERNA PACO MERALGO

Conveniently located in the central Eixample neighborhood, this attractive modern tapas bar takes reservations, and most of its staff speak English. Try the pan con tomate, the delicious Catalan specialty of toasted bread dressed with olive oil, crushed fresh tomato and a little garlic; sautéed baby clams; tortilla Espanola (a potato-filled omelet); and tuna belly dressed with sesame oil and soy sauce.

Muntaner 171
Barcelona 08036
Spain
US$50
Amaya

This elegant restaurant draws a well-dressed crowd for some of the very best Indian food in the world. Chefs working in the attractive open kitchen prepare wonderful dishes that might include lobster in masala sauce, chicken biryani, and a sublime pomegranate sorbet for dessert.

Halkin Arcade Motcomb Street
London SW1X 8JT
United Kingdom
US$70

Special Offers

Special Offers

Ballyfin - Complimentary Nights
Ballyfin - Complimentary Nights

We invite you to spend more time at Ballyfin to experience all it has to offer. Confirm three nights during the months of March or April and receive a complimentary fourth night; confirm four nights during the month of May and receive a complimentary fifth night.

Borgo Santo Pietro - Three Springs Deals, Plus an Easter Special
Borgo Santo Pietro - Three Springs Deals, Plus an Easter Special

Stay two nights or longer and choose between three packages: our Simply Spring Special includes a 30 percent savings on any room category; the Blossom Pampering Special includes a manicure and pedicure, a 50-minute massage and a 40-minute facial per room (package rates start at 870 EUR); and the Gourmet Delight Special includes a bottle of Prosecco on arrival, wine-tasting, five-course tasting menu for two, choice of either a chauffeured visit to Siena and Castello Brolio Winery for a wine-tasting or a Tuscan cooking class. (Package rates start at 1,040 EUR).

Finca Cortesin - Complimentary Night
Finca Cortesin - Complimentary Night

Confirm a stay of four consecutive nights in a Executive Suite or Executive Sea Suite and pay only for three nights.

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.

Gleneagles - Save on Seven
Gleneagles - Save on Seven

Enjoy seven glorious days and nights at Gleneagles from only 1,925 GBP per room. This provides you plenty of time to dine in all four restaurants, play all three championship courses, sample any number of soothing spa treatments, crack some clays at the shooting school, fly a Harris hawk, go on a trail ride, walk the grounds ... or just lay back and relax!

Gleneagles - Three’s the Magic Number—Family Golf
Gleneagles - Three’s the Magic Number—Family Golf

Treat your family to a three-night summer holiday at Gleneagles, Host Venue of the 2014 Ryder Cup and where all things golf are celebrated. This package includes free golf for children (ages 15 and younger) when playing with a full paying adult; special tee-times available for families; and complimentary string putting competitions. Kids’ golf camps allow time for the grown-ups to play a round alone or simply relax. Confirm this three-night package in a Sovereign Room with rates starting at 990 GBP (April 2014) and 1,101 GBP (May 1–Sept. 20, 2014).

Hotel Helvetia & Bristol - Spring Break Package
Hotel Helvetia & Bristol - Spring Break Package

This spring, enjoy the warm weather and the blossoming of flowers in Florence. Confirm the Spring Break Package for a minimum of three nights and receive accommodations in one of the individually decorated guestrooms or suites, a five-hour “APE buggy” driving tour of Florence and the surrounding area with an English-speaking driver, and a butler-serviced picnic lunch for two. Rates start at 324 EUR per room, per night. (Excludes VAT and tax).

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 - The Golden Age of Amsterdam
Hotel Seven One Seven - The Golden Age of Amsterdam

Hotel Seven One Seven’s location in the middle of the canal district makes it the perfect starting point from which to explore Amsterdam. Confirm any length of stay and receive complimentary tickets to the Van Loon Museum for an up close look at the city during its golden age.

Le Bristol Paris - Family Package
Le Bristol Paris - Family Package

Discover Le Bristol Paris as a family. Confirm a minimum two-night stay in one of the adjoining rooms or suites and receive a 50 percent savings on the children’s room, a VIP welcome package, gifts and a surprise in the children's room and a treasure hunt. During low season all meals are included for children under 6 years old. Rates are from 1725 EUR.

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.