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A trip to Europe is perfect any time of the year, with enough beaches, beautiful architecture and delicious food to keep you occupied for a lifetime.
However not every destination in Europe is perfect for a luxury vacation.
To help out I’ve asked some travel bloggers what their favourite luxury destination in Europe is. To get some travel inspiration for 2020 keep reading to see our top picks.
For more articles on Europe, check out my Europe page.
Sardinia has to be one of the best luxury places to visit in Europe. Sardinia has a bit of everything from mountains, to quaint old towns so some of the best beaches that you will find anywhere in Europe.
There is so much to do on the island, from adventurous activities like exploring caves and mountain biking to relaxing on the beach and eating fantastic food.
If it is luxury that you are after then head to the Costa Smeralda where you can rub shoulders with the glitterati and holiday where the film stars go.
You will find fantastic beaches and gorgeous seas. Your budget might not stretch to one of the super yachts that come and go in the area but you should still take the opportunity to get out on the water by boat, jet ski or kayak and explore some of the stunning coves that dot the coastline.
For some (relatively) affordable luxury, stay in the Pitrizza Luxury Collection hotel where you can enjoy an amazing hotel right by the beach. They have a range of rooms from doubles to 3 bedroom villas with private swimming pools.
The easiest way to reach Costa Smerelda in Sardinia is to fly to Olbia. From here, your best bet is to rent a car so that you can explore at your own pace.
Chris of More Life in your Days
Positano is a lush and upscale village located in Southern Italy. It is an extremely popular travel destination that is very well-known for its pastel coloured houses that extend into the mountains and its vivid blue waters. This beautiful Italian village is frequented by a more affluent crowd and is widely visited by the rich and famous.
Most people travel to Positano to admire its stunning scenery. From every angle and vantage point the village is breathtaking. Beyond being absolutely stunning there is a ton to do in Positano that will both awe and excite you. From spending a day at one of the gorgeous beaches, to hiking the Path of Gods, to enjoying authentic Italian pizza while overlooking the village of Positano. There is no shortage of exciting activities.
If you are thinking of traveling to Positano two great accommodation options are Il San Pietro di Positano and Le Sirenuse. Both of these are luxury hotels and are highly sought after in Positano.
Getting to Positano is a little bit of a journey, however it is very worth it. The nearest airport is in Naples, which is one and a half hours away from Positano. From the Naples airport you can either take a train, bus or car to get to Positano. Taking a car is the easiest and quickest way to get to Positano, however, it is significantly more expensive.
Samantha of Sam Sees World
As far as luxury destinations go, Milan, Italy has it all – stunning architecture, world-class shopping,amazing hotels, phenomenal restaurants… All with the warmth and hospitality you’ve come to love from an Italian holiday.
Spend a weekend soaking in the city and culture with a visit to the Duomo cathedral’s rooftop terrace, then head next door for a splurge-worthy lunch and shopping at La Rinascente, Milan’s answer to Harrod’s. No visit to the city is complete without visiting Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece The Last Supper, or for a fabulous evening out catch a performance at the world-famous opera house, Teatro alla Scala.
Milan is also known across the globe as a fashion capital, thus it’s an amazing destination for shopping. The city is home to flagship stores for nearly every designer as well as some of Italy’s finest boutiques. Get lost shopping in Milan’s Golden Quadrilateral, then browse the shops in the historic Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele, Italy’s oldest active shopping mall.
For the ultimate luxury escape in Milan, check in to one of the show-stopping five-star hotelslocated throughout the city. Bonus – many of these unique hotels residein immersive historic buildings that will transportyou back to a different century.
For an elegant,Old World experience look no further than the Four Seasons Milan. Housed in a restored 15th Century convent, the Four Season’scourtyard sanctuary is an amazing respite from the bustle of the city. Alternatively, head to the Park Hyatt Milan for modern luxe at the foot of the Galleria and the Duomo.
Milan is easily accessible by flying into Milan Malpensa Airport, then catching the express train to Milano Centrale train station. For more on how to spend two days in Milan, Italy head to The Longest Weekend.
Meredith of The Longest Weekend
Brussels is a great destination for those fancying some comfort and luxury. Apart from the multiple free things to do in Brussels, there is also a range of more exclusive venues and activities. To start with, you could visit the historical city center of Brussels on board of a tuktuk. It will take you along Brussels’ main sights like Grand Place, Mont des Arts, the Royal Palace, the Palace of Justice…
After the tour, head to the GaleriesRoyales de Saint-Hubert to do some shopping in the fancy boutiques. The covered shopping arcades also host some of Belgium’s best chocolatiers like Marcolini, Neuhaus, Godiva, Leonidas… While you’re there, have a break at Maison Dandoy, one of Brussels’ finest tea rooms. They’re especially renowned for their fresh biscuits and delicious waffles.
Before returning to your hotel, head over to La Quincaillerie for dinner a very unique setting. This former ironmonger’s shop has retained many elements of the original design and is a nice sample of art deco. How about champagne with oysters as a starter?
Time to head back to the hotel? Warwick is one of Brussels’ most luxurious hotels, which is conveniently situated close to Bruxelles Gare Central. To top things off, they also have a beautiful rooftop with an unbeatable view over the historical center of Brussels!
How to get there? If you come by train, you’ll arrive at Brussels South from where you can easily get around by metro. If you’ve arrived at the Zaventem airport, you can take a direct train to one of Brussels’ centrally located train stations.
Sophie of Bitten by the Bug
There is one destination which is climbing the ranking of the best luxury destination in the Mediterranean: Malta. This archipelago some ninety kilometres south of Sicily has lived in a very traditional way until a few decades ago. In the south and west of the main island, itself called Malta, you can still experience the old vibes in the very quiet villages mainly inhabited by old people.
The coastal area going from Valletta to Saint Julian’s is something completely different. The urbanisation is much stronger here and the lifestyle is completely different: modern buildings, all amenities, fancy restaurants, and wonderful hotels.
Everything started when foreign companies were attracted by a loose tax system that brought money and expats on the island. Malta became then famous as a tourist destination. It started as a place for cultural holidays, but it is now attracting luxury travellers through the high-class hotels and the possibility to harbour yachts and big boats.
For a great five start stay in Malta I suggest staying in Saint Julian’s, where you can have a quiet stay during the day, combined with great dinners and fancy nightlife. My suggestion easily goes to the Hilton, which is built around the Portomaso Marina. For drinks with a great view, head to the Level 22, the high-end bar on the top of the Portomaso Tower.
Mario of Rest and Recuperation
Tuscany in Italy is our pick for best luxury destination in Europe for 2020. Hire a top-down car and feel the breeze through your hair. Whisk yourself through the countryside stopping at wineries and cute villages along the way, dripping in rustic Tuscan charm.
Whether your thing is sipping a Chianti wine, searching for truffles in Siena or simply fantasising about your own ‘Under the Tuscan’ sun experience, is there anything more luxurious? There just might be.
For the utmost in luxury in this region, it is hard to go past a stay at Borgo Santo Pietro. It’s one of our favourite places to stay in Tuscany. Complete with its own Michelin starred restaurant on site, Meo Modo, this Tuscan villa’s opulent room decors need to be seen to be believed.
An on hand artist will teach you everything you need to learn about recording Tuscany in water colour. And the florist will ensure you have a bespoke Tuscan bouquet to put by your bed each evening. You’ll uncover needs you never knew you had. A wander through the manicured gardens, followed by a dip in the infinity pool overlooking the Tuscan hillside will give you those luxury feels that you will wish you could bottle and take home with you.
Reaching this level of luxury need not be onerous. Daily flights into Florence airport are available from most major European cities. Pisa and Bologna airports provide other options for those already in Italy. A car is by far the best way to take in Tuscany’s winding hills and far flung villas, so be sure to secure a rental before you go, particularly in peak summer season (May-September).
Kristen, Our Passion for Travel
Loire Valley, France
Listed by UNESCO as a cultural World Heritage region, the Loire Valley will seduce those who love luxury. More than 3,000 castles were built in the area over the centuries.
Not all are open for visitors, and some may be closed for renovations, so do your research ahead.
Chenonceau and Chambord are the most famous ones. You step back into history as you enter furnished and decorated rooms and learn about the stories and gossips of the French court. Outside the castles, the gardens are a must-do visit too. They may even be the main reason to visit some castles, like Villandry.
For the optimum luxury experience, you can stay at a chateau, like the Chateau des Arpentis, built in the 15th century and transformed into a beautiful hotel.
You can add to you luxurious escape a stop at a winery. The Loire Valley is also reputed for its wine. The most famous ones are Sancerre, Pouilly Fumé, Vouvray, and Chinon.
The best way to get to the Loire Valley is by car. It takes around 2.5 hours to drive there from Paris. With a car, you can easily visit more than one castle a day. Trains from Paris also go to the Loire Valley. And if you prefer to sit back and relax, the easiest is to join a tour.
Eloise of My Favourite Escapes
Salina Island, Italy
The Aeolian Islands are a set of seven volcanic islands off Sicily’s northern coast. Panarea, the smallest island and a favourite among the international jetset, is most readily associated with luxury travel. Salina, another island in the archipelago, offers a different kind of indulgence. More local and with less pretense, Salina’s immense natural beauty and gastronomic scene can’t be rivalled.
The main attractions on Salina can be split into two categories: nature and culture. Lovers of the great outdoors can enjoy swimming on black sand beaches, hiking to the summit of one of the island’s twin crater peaks for magnificent views, and easy walks between the villages. Boat trips to the other islands, and swimming and snorkelling off the coast is also popular.
Santa Marina, the biggest town, boasts some great gift boutiques and restaurants. Drop into a ceramics studio to see hand-pressed tiles and iconic Sicilian ‘Moorish Heads’ being made. The smaller villages of Malfa and Leni both have beautiful churches and cute cafes. Watching the sun set over the cerulean Tyrrhenian Sea, a glass of local Malvasia wine in hand, is the perfect way to end a day in the Aeolian Islands.
I recommend staying at Hotel Signum in Malfa. Rooms are well-appointed, there’s an infinity pool, and the island’s best Michelin-starred restaurant is on-site. The terrace is the perfect spot for drinks. Even on a cloudy day, you can see all the way to Stromboli, an active volcano forever puffing plumes of plum-coloured smoke.
There are daily hydrofoils to Salina from Messina and Milazzo (Sicily) and in the summer, from Palermo and Naples as well. The closest airport is in Catania.
Emily from Wander-Lush
Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy
Cortina D’Ampezzo is a perfect choice for your next luxury vacation. Located just 2 hours by car from Venice International Airport, the town of of Cortina D’Ampezzo can only be described as charming. It is also possible to drive from Milan, however it will take a bit longer.
Located in the Dolomites region in Northern Italy, you’ll find hikes, crystal blue lakes, and the incredible mountain ranges right at your fingertips. While the entire Dolomites region is breathtakingly beautiful, if you’re visiting in the warm months then basing yourself in Cortina D’Ampezzo will give you easy access to some of the regions best hikes!
These include the famous Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike, as well as the more challenging 5 hour round trip hike to the bright blue Lago di Sorapiss. During the winter months Cortina D’Ampezzo is home to some of the best ski resorts in the world.
The Cristallo, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa offers a 5 star, luxury stay just minutes from the town. With the sweeping landscapes, you can expect picture perfect views no matter what time of year you visit.
In the town be sure to visit Il Ponte for a delicious meal, with a traditional aperol spritz of course! The service is incredible, the pizza out of this world! Follow up the meal with a local gelato just down the road.
Taylor at Taverna Travels
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Amsterdam is one of the most majestic cities in the world. There is no shortage of culture, food, art, entertainment and architecture. It’s also a very commutable city. You can bike, boat, tram and train around the city to see landmarks as you wish.
There’s also a number of different hidden gems worth exploring beyond typical landmarks.Some of the main attractions you should consider include:
- Anne Frank House
- Van Gogh Museum
- Dam Square
- Canal Cruises
- Red light district
- A number of different rooftop bars and lounges
When I traveled there, we stayed at the Hotel Pulitzer which was a truly amazing experience. Hotel Pulitzer features a boutique experience even though the hotel is home to 220+ rooms sprawling across 25 different canal houses. The hotel is the ultimate combination of food, fun and experience.
Hotel Pulitzer features three unique dining options in Restaurant Jansz., Pause Restaurant and Pulitzer Bar. Each combine their own uniqueness in character. I’d recommend you check out Pulitzer Bar for drinks, Pause Restaurant for lunch and Restaurant Jansz. for a fine dining experience.
You can get to Amsterdam in a number of ways. The city is home to one of the largest airports in the world, Schipol Airport and an efficient train station of Centraal Station, which features high speed rails from top European cities such as Brussels, Paris, Berlin, etc.
Kyle of Via Travelers
What destination are you most excited about for 2020?