27 European Vacation Ideas
1. White Nights, St. Petersburg, Russia
Almost mythical, the White Nights phenomenon is particularly striking in St. Petersburg as it is the most populous northern city in the world. The longest day on the 21 June is 18 hours and 50 minutes and 36 seconds. Sunrise is at 03.35am and sunset is at 10.26pm, but it never really gets dark. It is quite easy to be in a restaurant at 11.00pm and think it is 8.00pm. The atmosphere is special and the locals make the most of the beauty of the sky and the gardens and rivers. By contrast the shortest day in 21 December is only 5 hours and 53 minutes long!
2. Food & Wine in Istria, Croatia
The Romans called the region of Istria terra magica (magical land) and today you can feel the strong Italian influences in the architecture and food. Truffles and pasta are a focus on many menus, and Istria is considered to be the foodie center of Croatia. Visit fabulous boutique vintners where you can taste wine made from the local grape Malvazija. Truffles are a major local specialty and we can even arrange for you to hunt your own.
3. A Russian River Cruise
A Russian river cruise is on many peoples bucket list. A great way to see both Moscow and St. Petersburg and some fairytale towns in between. Most people do not realise that the river port in both cities is an hour away from the main sights. We believe that the best option is to stay in hotels in the two capitals – the only cruise that offers this option is the Volga Dream. The Volga Dream is our top choice of ship for a Russian river cruise. Privately owned and boutique, and with greater attention to detail than any of the other ships.
4. Luxury Vacation in Montenegro
Montenegro is a tiny country of less than 700,000 people. Blessed by nature with a stunning Adriatic coastline and a backdrop of mountains it is still unspoilt by mass tourism. Inland olive groves abound and rustic accommodation is the order of the day, however the coast is the home of luxury. Regent have opened in Porto Montenegro, with One & Only due to open in 2017 and Four Seasons to follow.
A stay at the Aman Sveti Stefan is truly unique. A former fishing village that has been converted to a resort – it really is like the set of a James Bond movie.
5. Norway In a Nutshell
This vacation will take you through some of the most scenic parts of Norway on the Bergen Railway and the Flam Railway and can be done at any time of the year.
6. Prague Spring Festival, Czech Republic
Artistic, musical, individual and a little bit quirky, Prague is the city that everyone falls in love with at first sight. The city that premiered Don Giovanni at the Estates Theater has the most amazing music venues, from the stunning art nouveau Municipal House to the Spanish Synagogue, and is home to the Prague Spring Festival. This year marks the 71st birthday of the Prague Spring Festival. The festival runs through May to the start of June each year and is the perfect way to experience the best of the cities concert halls and cultural life.
7. Time Travel to Maramures in Romania
8. Jewish Special Interest Travel
The Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, The Ukraine, Poland, Belarus and Russia in particular are places that are often visited for ancestral reasons. Exeter International can arrange a custom tour for you.
9. Fairy Tale Russia in the Golden Ring near Moscow
A few hundred miles from Moscow is the region known as the Golden Ring. Towns and villages older than Moscow with fairy tale landscapes and many onion domes. A stay in the Golden Ring will show you a slower more relaxed side to life in Russia.
10.Romance in Ljubljana, Slovenia
Ljubljana is the jewel like capital of Slovenia. A buzzing university city, with a lively cafe culture it is a romantic city and the perfect place to start your Alps to the Adriatic adventre!
11. Tsar’s Ball, St. Petersburg, Russia
New Year in Russia is the biggest celebration of the year, and Russian’s know how to celebrate well, whether at home or in a palace! The ultimate New Year celebration is the Tsar’s Ball. Held annually at Catherine Palace this is a once in a lifetime experience. Chilled vodka, champagne and Caviar and stunning entertainment from opera to ballet, Russian folk and jazz.
12. Salzburg Summer Festival, Austria
Mountains, music, Mozart. Do we need to say any more?
13. Foodie Vienna, Austria
Where do we start? Vienna has reinvented itself in recent years. It isn’t all Schnitzel and Goulash. (although excellent versions of those can be found and even hipsters eat Schnitzel!). Vienna is now a foodie paradise, from street food at the Naschmarkt, to fine dining with a twist at Steirereck. The happening area is Neubau, full of independent restaurants and cafes. Even the museums have incredible restaurants as exemplified by Salonplafond located in MAK, the Museum of Applied Arts. Happily, all the classic cafes with whipped cream and strudel are also still going strong. Read our recent blog on Vienna restaurants.
14. Budapest Summer Festival
One of our favorite cities, there is something very special about Budapest. Majestic and grand, Budapest is an enchanting city, a hybrid of Paris and Vienna, but with her own very distinct Magyar character and personality. This really is a tale of two cities; the hills of Buda overlook the center of Pest. Between the two is Margaret Island, home to the Budapest Summer Festival – open air theatre and concerts galore. Arrive by private river taxi on the Danube!
15. European City Of Culture – Wroclow, Poland
Pronounced ‘Vrots-waff’ this vibrant Polish city has been part of Bohemia, Austria, Prussia and Germany due to shifting European borders. Today Wroclow is a buzzing university town and a rival to Krakow.
16. Soviet Moscow
Exeter International can arrange a cutom tour to Moscow focussing on the Soviet period. Visit the Cold War Bunker, meet with a former KGB Colonel, or President Gorbachev’s translator. Tour the Kremlin, Red Square and Cosmonaut Museum, and visit an apartment in one of Moscow’s iconic Seven Sisters apartment blocks.
17. Dubrovnik Summer Festival
The Dubrovnik Summer Festival is celebrating it’s 67th year in 2016. With concerts and events in unique historical places such as the Rector’s Palace and Lovrjenac Fort, one of our favorite events is a traditional folk performance on the walls of the Revelin Fort, on 20 & 28 July and 07 and 12 August. Festival runs from July 10 to August 25.
18. A week on the Dalmatian Coast
From the southern tip to the north of the peninsula, Dalmatia is perhaps the best known region of Croatia. Start your week in Split spending three days exploring Croatia’s second largest city, perhaps with a day on the island of Hvar. Continue on to Dubrovnik, with a stop in Ston for your own private oyster tasting.
19. Tranyslvanian Odyssey
Transylvania, with its fortified churches, is a testimonty to the Saxon colonization in the middle ages. These settlements are the present day cities of Sighisoara, Brasov, Sibiu and Cluj-Napoca, which all have perfectly preserved architecture.
20. A Long Weekend in Riga
The most beautiful and cosmopolitan of the Baltic capitals, Riga has medieval, gothic and art noveau influences, and outside the city is the stunning Rundale Palace, designed by Rastrelli, who also designed the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg.
21. Adventure in Albania
One of Europe’s lesser visited countries, Albania (just south of Montenegro) has emerged from self- imposed isolation and is a country that has soemthing for everyone – UNESCO World Heritage sites, a beautiful coastline and mountain backdrop, with delicious food.
22. Jewish Festival Krakow, Poland
Although the local Jewish community in Krakow is small, Jewish cultural life is vibrant. Visit between June 25 to July 03 and attend the annual Jewish Festival.
23. Moscow & St. Petersburg, Russia
Russia is offering incredible value now. A week in Moscow and St. Peterbsurg is 50% less expensive today than it was two years ago. Savvy travelers are taking advantage of this in 2016. Read more about why travelling to Russia this year is a good idea.
24. Midsummer in Sweden
Summer in Sweden is highly anticipated, and the very best time to visit is midsummer. For 48 hours Swedes sing, (traditional songs) dance around maypoles, drink (anything) and eat copious quantities of Strawberries. The place to be in Stockholm is Skansken, the vast open-air village depicting Swedish life.
25. Art in Berlin
Berlin has reinvented itself since reunification a quarter of a century ago. Each area has its own unique character, from the historical heart in Mitte to the hipster center of Kreuzberg. From Museum Island, where five of the best museums reside, to a museum decicated to Currywurst, Berlin has it all!
26. Warsaw & Krakow
Warsaw and Krakow should be on everyone’s bucket list. Warsaw is booming and will surprise you. A capital with incredible Museums – the Polin Jewish Museum, Chopin Museum and the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising are our favorites. A major foodie scene and a chocolate box old town, plus the hipster Praga district makes for a diverse stay. Travel by state of the art high speed rail to Krakow, a perfectly preserved city.
27. Music at Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark
Feeling inspired? Contact one of our Experts.