Read our pocket guide to Europe
Europe: A pocket guide
The Old Continent, the Old World; however you choose to call her, Europe has sent out its siren call to tourists since the Middle Ages. Travellers, troubadours, migrants, warriors and pilgrims for centuries have criss-crossed Italy, France, Austria, Spain and the myriad of smaller nations of the continent to conquer, liberate, explore and experience. Today, borders may have changed, but the same people and landscape attract visitors from all over the world drawn by the immense variety of nations, stories, languages, culture, landscape, towns and lifestyles that make up Europe.
Venice, Florence, Rome, Paris, London, Athens, Vienna – since the 19th century these cities have drawn in millions of visitors to gaze in wonderment at the glories the cities offer. Each destination conjures up different dreams and has something special in store for every traveller. St Tropez, Ibiza and Mykonos are magnets for glamour and people-spotting whereas Provence is a haven for those looking for lovely weather, great food and wine, gorgeous Mediterranean landscape and charming towns and villages.Tuscany and Umbria are the starting-points for anyone wanting to discover Italy – the great towns of the Renaissance as well as the wines, food, sea, landscape and la dolce vita. Capri and the Amalfi Coast dazzle with the spectacular settings and views of Vesuvius.
Austria has Mozart, the Sound of Music, amazing art, striking scenery and of course fabulous food to lure the curious traveller. Spain has magnificent medieval cities and citadels, diverse landscapes, tasty traditional tapas and avant-garde haute gastronomie. Greece shines with its countless stunning islands set in sparkling blue waters, hospitable people, long warm days by the sea and balmy evenings wandering along the beach or enjoying with the locals the tavernas. Stuck in the middle, Switzerland is a cozy paradise for skiers and those seeking fresh mountain air and breathtaking vistas. England charms visitors with its royal refinement and bucolic countryside while Scotland lures travelers with its wild highlands and and imposing castles. Ireland’s friendliness, quaint villages and green splendor set it apart from its neighbors.
No wonder that visitors since the Crusades have been drawn to travel through Europe; their adventures enrich them in so many different ways, and they and their families return home happy, dazzled, serene, having made new friends and gained experience and knowledge of different cultures and peoples. Most of all, counting the days until they can return, especially if they are staying in our local experts’ collections of the finest luxury villas, chalets and castles on the continent!