Europe boasts countless cities of timeless allure, each packed full of hidden gems and must-see sights. With so many wonderful places to discover, where will you choose to holiday this year? To help inspire your own adventure, we’ve carefully selected our hottest destinations for 2016 so you can start planning that dream getaway now.
The charming and elegant city of Lille never fails to impress. This cultural hub is located just an hour from Paris and carries is the most populous settlement in northern France. Due to its close proximity to the UK, recent years have seen Lille boom as a tourist destination as short-stay visitors cross the channel to experience the city’s renowned art museums, coffee shops and craft beer bars. Favourite stops this year will undoubtedly be the recently restored Villa Cavrois, a stunning Art Deco chateau, and the LaM art gallery, one of the most important museums in Northern Europe.
While Amsterdam tends to receive the greater share of visitors, Rotterdam is one of the best places in the world to visit, offering both an impressive heritage and a reputation as a nucleus for modern architecture. After extensive damage suffered during WWII, the regeneration of this city since has brought about the birth of a lively food scene, the construction of cutting-edge art galleries and the flourishing of inspired architecture. Rent a bike to explore the city’s creative constructions before stopping off at the iconic De Markthal for a bite to eat. You can even enjoy a P&O Minicruise for 2-for-1 until March.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
With series six of Game of Thrones released in February, there will be a surge of fans heading to the Northern Irish capital to seek out the atmospheric filming locations. Spend your time learning archery at the real life Winterfell at Castle Ward, travel along the King’s Road at the Dark Hedges or see the wave-battered setting for the Iron Islands in the north of the country. When you’ve finished geeking out along the Causeway Coast, Belfast offers a lively cosmopolitan city full of adventurous food spots and traditional pubs.
Picturesque Ghent is one of Europe’s best kept secrets. Although most widely known for housing one of Belgium’s greatest treasures in the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb altarpiece, a dazzling 15th century panel painting, there’s far more to this delightful city. Ghent has hit the headlines recently for its transformation into a gastronomic paradise. Daring local chefs have given the city a culinary makeover, and restaurants now offer everything from elaborate tasting menus to the best Flemish inspired dishes. Of course, there’s plenty of Belgian waffles, chocolate and beer to go around for the traditionalists too.
With the Europe’s biggest international football tournament taking place just across the pond this year, expect travel to France to kick off between June 10th and July 10th 2016. Matches will be held in stadiums in major cities across the country, with Paris, Lille, Lyon, Bordeaux, Saint-Étienne, Lens, Toulouse, Marseille and Nice all hosting fixtures. Footie fans will love a chance to watch the games while enjoying the finest French cuisine and trendy drinking spots, and a fantastic atmosphere can be expected throughout the competition. If cycling is more your bag than the beautiful game, the Tour de France pedals across the country from July 2nd to July 24th.
Inspire your escape in 2016, and check out our ferry crossings today.