European Travel Update

20+ cool new reasons to cross the pond

Armenia & Georgia

Do: Cox & Kings’ nine-day “Armenia & Georgia: Past and Present” private tour provides a fascinating look at the ancient and modern-day gems of these relatively undiscovered countries. Bookended with visits to the vibrant capitals of Tbilisi and Yerevan, the itinerary makes stops at important historical churches, monasteries, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, some dating back to the first century. 800-999-1758;


Do: Known for its fairytale landscapes, the Dordogne region, about 80 miles east of Bordeaux, blooms during La Félibrée, a celebration of its Occitan language and culture, held in a different village each year on the first Sunday of July. Marked by ancestral costumes, parades, a familial sit-down meal, and miles of colorful flower garlands, La Félibrée unfurls for the 100th time this summer in Périgueux, inviting visitors to partake in a treasured local tradition.

See: People most closely associate Leonardo da Vinci with Italy, but the Renaissance painter spent his final years in Amboise, France, at the behest of King Francis I. Inspired by the 500th anniversary of da Vinci’s death, a series of art, music, and cultural events will take place across the Loire Valley. Head to Château du Clos Lucé (where da Vinci died) to see a monumental tapestry based on his Last Supper, shown for the first time outside the Vatican (June 6-Sept. 9). At nearby Château d’Amboise, the exhibition “The Death of Leonardo da Vinci — the Construction of a Myth” (through Sept. 2) includes five new canvases by Italian graffiti artist Ravo, capped off by a summer-long da Vinci-themed concert festival.

Dive deep into Musée Mer Marine’s collection of more than 10,000 marine-related objects, including scale models, navigational instruments, maps, and artwork inspired by the sea. Situated in Bordeaux’s rapidly gentrifying 19th-century port, the architecturally striking museum is scheduled to open in late June.

Stay: Carefree Provence and the swanky French Riviera harmonize on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea at Lily of the Valley, a cozy hideaway with 44 rooms and suites and a six-bedroom villa, all with interiors by French designer Philippe Starck. Stroll to a sandy beach, enjoy sunsets by the pool and alfresco dining, and indulge in yoga and spa treatments. The hotel offers shuttle service to Gigaro beach and La Croix-Valmer’s village center. From $730. — K.L.


Bauhaus-Archiv/Museum für Gestaltung. PHOTO BY WERNER HUTHMACHER.

Do: This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus, the highly influential German art and design movement whose leaders included Wassily Kandinsky and Mies van der Rohe. For the centennial, Germany created the Grand Tour of Modernism, a self-guided route (by car or train) of some 100 Bauhaus and modernist architectural landmarks around the country, such as the Bauhaus-Archiv. Stop in Weimar, the movement’s birthplace, to see the world’s oldest Bauhaus collection at the Bauhaus Museum Weimar, which debuted in April. Festivities taking place nationwide include Bauhaus Week Berlin 2019 (Aug. 31–Sept. 8), with design-related events around the capital.

Great Britain

Eat: Fans of London’s Soho hot spot Bob Bob Ricard can now push the famous “press for Champagne” tableside button at its sister restaurant Bob Bob Cité, which opened in April in the iconic Leadenhall Building (aka the Cheesegrater). The swanky eatery boasts a French-tinged menu overseen by two-Michelin-star chef Eric Chavot. As with the original, make your reservations well in advance.

Entre Cielos’ Socrates VIP cabin

Sail: Entre Cielos Wine Hotel & Spa in Mendoza, Argentina, has brought its renowned gastronomic experiences to the high seas with the May launch of the 104-foot luxury yacht Entre Cielos, available for private charters through the Greek islands. A five-person crew will guide you to the Aegean’s hidden gems when you book the vessel, which accommodates 12 guests in its five spacious wood-lined cabins. Weekly charters start at $27,500.



Do: Explore Hungary’s famed wine region on two wheels with Butterfield & Robinson’s customizable Budapest and Tokaj Biking tour. Cycle through the vineyard-dotted countryside, stopping in quaint villages to sample Tokaj’s celebrated sweet wines. The trip includes stays at Budapest’s Four Seasons Gresham Palace and the Andrássy Rezidencia Wine & Spa in Tokaj-Hegyalja. 866-551-9090;


Hotel de la Ville deluxe room. PHOTO BY JANOS GRAPO.

Do: Explore the Veneto region with the Dolomite Mountains tour company on a luxury trip that combines sipping prosecco and strolling through hillside vineyards with one of the most recognized Italian methods of transportation — the Vespa. The five-day Vespa leisure tour itinerary starts on the Prosecco Wine Road with a stay at the Villa Abbazia, a Relais & Châteaux hotel, with its one-Michelin-starred La Corte Restaurant. On your Vespa, follow the winding roads to wineries, medieval ruins, centuries-old churches, and ancient villages. The tour includes luxury accommodations, daily breakfast, two dinners, Vespa touring, private transfers, and luggage transfer. 866-247-4860; — JILL ROBINSON

Stay: In Puglia last September, Rocco Forte Hotels took over operation of the Masseria Torre Maizza in Savelletri di Fasano near the Adriatic coast and immediately launched a $6.7 million renovation project. It reopened the 40-unit hotel on May 1, unveiling 10 new suites, among other enhancements. Amenities at the property, originally a 16th-century farmhouse, include a rooftop bar, nine-hole golf course, and access to a nearby beach club. From $416.

At press time, the company was also scheduled to debut its second Rome hotel in late May — the 104-room Hotel de la Ville in an 18th-century palazzo at the top of the Spanish Steps. All 15 of its suites have terraces overlooking the Eternal City. It also has a rooftop bar as well as two restaurants and a spa. From $589. 888-667-9477; 

In March, two brothers with strong family ties to the hospitality industry also launched a new lodging option in Rome. Massimo and Maurizio Micangeli, sons of the former president of CIGA hotels and resorts, introduced the Grand House, a portfolio of luxury apartments throughout central Rome, all with distinctive looks and all specially curated for their art, design, and architecture. Stays come with concierge service and private guides with inside connections to bespoke experiences. From $567. — DON NICHOLS



Do: Tiny Liechtenstein is thinking big for its 300th anniversary this year with the launch of the Liechtenstein Trail, a nearly 47-mile-long walking route that crosses the entire country and connects all 11 municipalities. The trail, scheduled at press time for a late-May debut, encompasses 147 major historical sites, including Gutenberg Castle and Vaduz Castle. Throughout, the Alps serve as a near constant backdrop to the picturesque terrain.


Princess Grace Suite

One Monte Carlo

Eat, Shop, Stay: Monte Carlo gets even ritzier with the arrival of One Monte Carlo, a glassy residential, dining, and retail hub just a stone’s throw from the Place du Casino. Chanel, Fendi, and Louis Vuitton are among the 23 designer boutiques where you can get your luxury shopping fix, then break for afternoon High Tea with Champagne at Mada One, a continuous-service concept from Michelin-starred chef Marcel Ravin. The complex is adjacent to the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo, which fully reopened in March after an epic four-year, $280 million restoration. The 207-room belle epoque beauty now boasts two Alain Ducasse restaurants, including the Mediterranean-inspired Ômer, and a pair of opulent royal penthouses (the Princess Grace and Prince Rainier III suites) that start at $46,000 per night. Other rooms from $615.


Stay: The country’s first Leading Hotels of the World property, Ānanti Resort, Residences & Beach Club is slated to debut in June along the lush Rezevici coast. Its eight luxurious villas — each with its own private infinity pool with sunbeds and half with private spas — and 14 suites overlook the Adriatic Sea and a private beach below. The resort boasts an Asian-fusion restaurant and an oceanfront bar; a tri-level spa debuts next year. Suites from $440; villas from $1,616.



Eat, Stay: In Trondheim, Britannia Hotel reopened in April after a multiyear, $160 million renovation; 2017 Bocuse d’Or silver medalist Christopher Davidsen heads up its signature restaurant, Speilsalen. Served in a grand 19th-century mirrored dining room, Chef Davidsen’s intricate six- or 10-course tasting menus highlight seasonal Norwegian delicacies. Rooms from $265.


Seen Lisboa

Cruise: Of the 51 staterooms on AmaWaterways’ newly christened AmaDouro, 37 have balconies — all the better to soak in the grandeur of the Douro River valley. Seven-night “Enticing Douro” itineraries begin and end in Porto and include a layover in Vega de Terron, Spain, where you’ll tour the UNESCO World Heritage city of Salamanca and enjoy a traditional flamenco show. 800-626-0126;

Craft cocktails

Drink, Eat, Stay: In Lisbon, head to the rooftop of the Tivoli Avenida Liberdade Lisboa Hotel to dine at Seen Lisboa, one of the city’s most popular new restaurants. Developed by highly regarded local chef Olivier da Costa, the concept features a menu of Portuguese and Brazilian cuisine given a contemporary twist. Plus, a sushi bar celebrates Japanese cuisine, and a 360-degree bar serves up craft cocktails. After being bought by Minor Hotels three years ago, Tivoli Hotels & Resorts spent nearly $17 million renovating this 285-room Lisbon property. From $246.

Colares Wine Room

At the 30-room Tivoli Palácio de Seteais in nearby Sintra, Tivoli has converted a former library into a wine room featuring vintages from the neighboring wine region of Colares. From $448.

Tivoli Évora Ecoresort

Tivoli also recently expanded its portfolio to include a 56-suite hotel, now called the Tivoli Évora Ecoresort, in the country’s Alentejo region. A just-completed renovation includes a new eight-bedroom villa with dedicated butler service and a private pool. Suites from $110; villa from $2,000. — D.N.


Cruise: Oceania Cruises’ newly renovated Sirena now features more modern and spacious staterooms aboard the 684-passenger ship, along with stylish updates to its public spaces courtesy of Miami-based Studio Dado. Among Sirena’s European voyages is the 12-day “Mediterranean Flair,” sailing in July from Barcelona to Venice with stops in Cannes, Corfu, and Dubrovnik. 855-623-2642;

Stay: Nobu’s third hotel in Spain and the first in Barcelona arrives in late summer, adjacent to the city’s main railway station. The traditional Japanese art form of Kintsugi (broken pottery) inspired the interiors of the 259-room Nobu Hotel Barcelona, designed by the New York-based Rockwell Group; a signature Nobu restaurant on the 23rd floor will offer panoramic views of the city and Olympic Park on Montjuïc hill. From $395.

Nobu Hotel Barcelona. PHOTO BY ROCKWELL GROUP.


Fête des Vignerons

Do: Join the 400,000 revelers who will descend on the Swiss lakefront town of Vevey for the three-week-long oenophile-themed extravaganza Fête des Vignerons (July 18 – Aug. 11), which takes place just once every 20 years. Tickets sell out fast for the live shows in the outdoor arena, but the streets teem with music, parades, and costumed performers from morning to night. Wine stalls and local cellars and restaurants keep the regional vintages flowing.

See: Twenty-five miles northeast of St. Moritz, a remote 12th-century Alpine monastery and brewery have been transformed into a contemporary art space, Muzeum Susch. Opened in January, it’s the brainchild of Polish art patron Grażyna Kulczyk, who champions lesser-known, mainly female Eastern European artists as well as established talents such as Rosemarie Trockel.



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