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

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

Barcelo la Bobadilla - Three-Night Special
Barcelo la Bobadilla - Three-Night Special

Confirm a minimum of three nights in any room category and receive a 25 percent savings per stay.

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.

Bulgari Hotel Milan - Complimentary Fourth Night
Bulgari Hotel Milan - Complimentary Fourth Night

Confirm four consecutive nights in any room category and receive the fourth night with our compliments.

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.

Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel - Added Values
Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel - Added Values

Confirm a stay at Elounda Peninsula and receive additional benefits: a 30-minute back massage or acupressure per adult; a 10 percent discount on a spa treatment; half-day complimentary participation at the Kids' Ark per room; complimentary use of the indoor pool, sauna and hammam; and a welcome drink on arrival.

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.

Stay Longer—Complimentary Third Night
Four Seasons Dublin - Stay Longer—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.

Gleneagles - Complimentary Mountain Bike Hire
Gleneagles - Complimentary Mountain Bike Hire

Enjoy a minimum three-night stay and explore the 850-acre resort with complimentary mountain bike hire daily. Rates from 1,010 GBP per room for three nights in a Sovereign Room.

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).

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.