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Woven with wild greenery and Gaelic legends, the Emerald Isle is one of Europe’s most prized jewels. Rugged Atlantic beaches and mystery-shrouded sites rub shoulders with the cosmopolitan cities of Belfast and Dublin, where literary history and warm Irish hospitality are always in abundance.
Portugal’s Mediterranean charm is most prominent on the golden beaches of the Algarve; in the wilderness of the Azores islands; among the vineyards of Douro Valley; and on the cobbled streets of Lisbon and Porto, where old-world culture meets cosmopolitan bars and restaurants.
From the fairy-tale castles and medieval villages of Bavaria to the Rhine Valley's UNESCO-listed landscapes and the storied monuments of Berlin, Germany has many faces. Steeped in history, cities like Cologne, Frankfurt, and Hamburg are also among the coolest cultural hubs in Europe.
As home to majestic mountains, opulent palaces, and high culture, Austria's attractions are classically sumptuous and enduring. But beyond the waltzes, the strudels, the alpine summits, and Habsburg architecture, its modern cities are proof of just how easily Austria combines the contemporary with the historic.
From the storybook villages and dizzying peaks of the Swiss Alps to the lakeside resorts of Geneva and Lucerne, landlocked Switzerland serves up some of Europe’s most enchanting scenery (along with some of its most delicious cheeses and chocolates, too).
Croatia has had a turbulent history but is establishing itself as an exciting destination great for all the family. Among other things, you may not be aware that the small Central European country pioneered fountain pens and invented the necktie. Aside from the pub trivia side of things, however, Croatia is a fantastic country steeped in history, and benefiting from the hot summers and mild winters of a Mediterranean climate.
One of the most popular regions in Italy, Tuscany stretches from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Apennines. Its main cities include Florence, Pisa, Siena, Lucca, Arezzo and Livorno. Drive between stunning sites like Florence's cathedral and Uffizi Gallery and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Or join a bike tour and pedal past sun-baked olive groves and vineyards. Don't miss the towers of San Gimignano or serene northern hill towns. For a more modern take, hit one of Florence's hip clubs, such as Space Electronic.
Greece is one of those rare places where ancient history is still very much a part of modern life. Visitors are as much drawn to the country’s epic intellectual history as its beauty and charm. Make time for the iconic features of the Acropolis of Athens, which include the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike. Mythology buffs will appreciate Crete, Olympia, Samos, and Naxos for their mythological significance. For a peaceful beach holiday, the island of Santorini is perfect.
Think you need an ocean for a beach? Think again. There are miles and miles of sandy lakefront beaches in Michigan (thanks to the four Great Lakes that border it). The west coast of Michigan has especially nice beaches—try a rental in Muskegon, Grand Haven or Saugatuck. You won’t need a car when visiting Mackinac Island. In fact, they’re not allowed—this lovely Victorian resort town is pedestrian-only.
The majestic Austrian Alps stretch across the country, an awe-striking area of Ice Age valleys, verdant heaths and alluvial cones within Europe's largest national park, 700-square-mile Hohe Tauern. Taking in the dramatic cities of Salzburg and Innsbruck and the beautiful province of Tirol, home to spectacular skiing and hiking, as well as Gross Glockner, Austria's highest peak, and some of the world's best winter and summer sports playgrounds, the Austrian Alps are an outdoor lover's paradise.
Risen from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire, Türkiye is a land of cities and countryside, of ancient ruins and contemporary culture. Splash around the mud baths of Dalyan or scramble around the volcanic rock of Goreme. Visiting gorgeous Istanbul, of course, is a no-brainer. Whatever you do, don’t ever, ever skip coffee and desserts: enjoying flowery Turkish Delight and achingly flaky baklava is like a holiday for your taste buds.
Attracting visitors from all parts of the world, Majorca is a dreamy island destination in the Mediterranean Sea, just off the southeast coast of Spain. There's something for every taste—beaches and coves, a spectacular mountain range, romantic fishing villages and a rustic countryside dotted with almond and olive groves.
From the silvery crests of the Alps to the sparkling Mediterranean Sea, Italy’s beauty is unparalleled. A visit could mean marveling at the Colosseum after a tender plate of pasta, or drifting lazily down a canal, your belly full of local Sangiovese. Explore Tuscan vineyards and olive groves or drool over boutiques in fashionable Milan. Look for mermaids from the cliffs of Sorrento or nibble on Parma’s famous cheese and prosciutto. Anywhere you choose, the country will captivate you.
Home to ancient market towns and iconic cities, rolling green hills and dramatic coastlines, England is the place to be. Soak up the cosmopolitan vibe of Liverpool, Manchester and Bristol; be captivated by ancient legends in medieval York and the spa city of Bath; and explore England’s largest National Park (the Lake District) or Dorset’s majestic Jurassic Coast. Get up-close-and-personal with royalty in Windsor, explore the castles of Kent, or wander the hallowed halls of Oxford University.
Want to trace the footsteps of royalty and clansmen at Edinburgh Castle? Discover the off-the-beaten-track beauty or chat with the locals over a whisky or three in the Highlands? Whether its ancient history, modern art or just the most mouth-watering local cuisine you’re looking for, you can experience them all in Scotland.
The Algarve's sunny shores offer perfect escapes for all types, from those seeking the hot nightlife of flashy, energetic Lagos to those desiring secluded stays in rambling Sagres. Portugal's most southerly region offers historical attractions in former Moorish capital Silves and fascinating Tavira, great golf, fabulous beaches from Praia da Luz to Armacao de Pera, thermal springs at Caldas de Monchique, and miles of limestone caves and grottoes, cliffs and bays along its rugged coastline.