After two years of Covid-related postponements, tour operators are reporting that their customers are determined to travel to Europe this summer, creating a flood of bookings that has caused some favorite destinations to sell out early. “In March, the Amalfi Coast and Lake Como were already sold out, with prices soaring to meet demand,” says Julie Danziger, managing partner of a luxury travel and lifestyle agency. Embark beyond. “We have never seen anything like it. It’s like the Wild West! We see the relentless demand that has been in Miami and Arizona for the past two years leaping towards the Mediterranean and customers are starting to panic and take what they can at all costs!
In some cases, however, Embark Beyond travel advisors have been successful in directing customers to other destinations in Europe that are solid vacation choices, but offer more available and affordable options. Here are five on their recommended list.
Southern Spain “This is the year to do Spain”, according to Sonia Shalom, business travel consultant. “There is still plenty of space and Ibiza, with its beach clubs and discos, Marbella and the more bucolic Mallorca really complement each other. With crystal-clear turquoise ocean waters, delicious cuisine and a rich culture, there really is something for everyone: beach clubs, ATVs, yachts, water sports, private food tours, spiritual excursions, tapas classes and site visits. history to name a few. And for those who want a bit of culture and shopping, stops in Barcelona or Madrid are easily added on the way back.
Where to stay: Shalom recommends Ibiza’s Six Senses Ibiza, which opened last summer, as the perfect antidote for partygoers who don’t want to be in the middle of it all; it’s about 30 minutes from the center of Ibiza and, as befits the wellness company, has one of the finest spas in Spain. For those who want to be in the middle of everything, the Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay is the resort. In Marbella, Club Marbella is the ultimate old-fashioned luxury resort, while the tucked away Finca Cortesin is located in a sleepy suburb with a top-tier Thai spa, acclaimed golf course, and exclusive beach club. Majorcait is the rolling hills are dotted with many beautiful mansions converted into resorts such as La Residencia, a Belmond Hotelor Finca Serena; or seaside, bohemian Cape Rocat. In Madrid, she recommends the Mandarin Oriental Ritz Madrid, the reincarnation of the Ritz Madrid, just opposite the Prado Museum.
Slovenia travel consultant Valentina O’Kane recommends this more off-the-beaten-path country as a combination of the best classic old-world destinations of Italy, Switzerland and France with spectacular natural surroundings and charming towns. “Despite its small size, Slovenia offers beautiful mountains, friendly people, mineral water spas, deep history, unique culture, beautiful lakes and world-class vineyards. Active enthusiasts can stay a week without never be bored, with great spots for paragliding, ziplining, bungee jumping, rafting and adrenaline parks.It also borders and is a short drive from Italy, Austria and Croatia if you still want to pair it with a more classic European getaway this summer.”
Where to stay: O’Kane recommends the ancient palace in the capital of Ljubljana for its sense of place and charm, although the new Intercontinental Ljubljana is optimal for anyone looking for the comfort of the most modern creatures. In the countryside, she recommends the charming Grad Otocec Castle Hotel in Lake Krka and the Kempinski Palace Portoroz Istria in the Istrian seaside resort, which mixes Croatian, Slovenian and Italian charm with a Mediterranean flair.
Prague, Budapest, Vienna “There has never been a better time to discover the great imperial cities of Prague, Budapest and Vienna,” says Kari Angelo, travel consultant. “While so many of our customers flock to the cosmopolitan cities of London, Paris and Rome, there is incredible value and space in these iconic cities. Vienna is one of Europe’s most underrated capitals, and arguably even more elaborate than Paris. Each of these destinations are incredibly different from each other, filled with history, beautiful landscapes, unique cultures, amazing food and shopping!” Travelers can also combine them with scenic drives in the countryside through charming villages and past mountain ranges.
Where to stay: The jewel in Budapest’s crown is arguably the Four Seasons Gresham Palace Budapest Hotel with stunning views of the famous Chain Bridge and an attraction in itself. In Prague, Angelo recommends Augustin, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Prague for its central location under Prague Castle. In Vienna, the luxurious and traditional Hotel Sacher Vienna offers the ultimate sense of place in the historic center while the Park Hyatt Vienna offers a more contemporary option in the center, located in a historic former bank building.
Greece This perennial favorite, packed with tourists last summer as the first country in the region to open up to international travellers, will always be a popular choice. According to travel adviser Katy Link, however, there’s still room and with direct flights from Athens to many of the islands, it’s easy to escape to quieter gems such as Paros, a current favourite. “It’s the perfect island for those who want more than great beaches, although there are plenty of them. The island has a stunning harbor town, spectacularly lush mountain valleys for hiking, and the most fabulous local villages with amazing restaurants and shops that are totally classy but not the predictable name brands you get in Mykonos. ” If travelers wish to combine a visit with that of this renowned name island, Santorini or Crete, it is easy to do.
Where to stay: Link recommends Cosme, A Luxury Collection Resort, Paros, which will open in June by the sea but near the charming chic village of Naoussa. In Mykonos, the place to be is Kalesma Mykonos, an intimate, all-suite, private pool resort with fewer than 30 rooms and an ideal retreat after hitting a beach club or busy nightclub. In Santorini, Canaves Oia Quintessence combines the island’s famous caldera views with seclusion — not so common in this cliffside location — with a rugged backdrop of volcanic rock. And in Crete there is no better value for money than Blue Palace Elounda, A Luxury Collection Resort, Crete with suites with private pools and a host of resort facilities.
Bodrum, Turkey “This beautiful fishing village is an amazing alternative to Saint-Tropez with vibrant nightlife in a stunning seaside setting, luxury hotels and white sand beaches along the clear waters of the Aegean,” according to the travel consultant. Gretchen Chiappa. “The hammams in the area are also amazing as a wellness option. Other activities include an open-air jeep through the pine forest hills of the countryside visiting villages along the way, chartering a traditional Turkish sailing boat to swim, snorkel and sightsee or take a day trip to the magnificent ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus. Then end the day by tasting fresh seafood or strolling through the bazaar.”
Where to stay: Couples interested in a party scene stay at an otherwise laid-back venue Macakizi while families and those looking for a more complete resort like the Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum. For guests who want the ultimate escape, seclusion Amanruya with a private beach is an ideal choice.