What once began as a period of merrymaking just before Lent has transformed into a series of colourful events celebrated across the world. Carnivals are now some of the biggest and boldest parties on the planet, with masks, costumes and spectacular parades the norm. While Brazil may be renowned as the spiritual home of carnival, you can catch many of the most extravagant celebrations without even leaving the continent. Slip on your brightest outfit and check out our favourite carnivals in Europe to revel in the delightful madness.
With experts agreeing that a well-earned break can help to rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit, spa weekends provide a healthy diversion from our busy everyday lives, offering both soothing relaxation and sheer indulgence to minimise stress levels. Hotel sanatoriums can be found almost everywhere now, but for those seeking great alternative spa breaks in Europe, we shine a light on some of the continent’s most blissful temples of calm. With thermal infinity pools, holistic treatments and soothing massages, these tranquil retreats will leave you feeling fresh, light and ready to face the world.
When planning a short break, it’s easy for thoughts to turn to classic destinations like Paris, Amsterdam or Dublin. However, there’s a real sense of adventure to be found in exploring the undiscovered, untrodden parts of Europe that few get to see. From the incredible Irish culture of Limerick to the centuries old Dutch city of Utrecht, these are the best alternative destinations for weekend wanderers.
Known as the ‘Garden of France’ ever since Renaissance writer François Rabelais first labelled the area, the Loire Valley is one of the most glamorous and resplendent parts of this charming country. The rich, green landscape of this region is sprinkled with historic towns, spectacular castles and fortresses built amid beautiful scenery. Explore exquisite banquet halls, extravagant gardens and stand in awe of the amazing architecture of these noble residences.
If there’s one thing Europeans know how to do well, it’s how to put on a show. Thousands of different regional and national festivals take place across the continent each year, with everything from crazy carnivals to colourful floral celebrations. To inspire your own adventure, we’ve highlighted some of our favourite festivals in Europe this year.
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.
Every spring, 1.7 billion tulips burst into bloom across the Netherlands, bringing a kaleidoscope of colour to fields and cities of this picturesque country. While only the unofficial national flower, Holland is still widely known as ‘the land of tulips’, and tours of the dazzling bright red, yellow and pink coloured meadows have become one of the most popular attractions in the country for both tourists and locals alike. With festivities ranging from flower parades to the incredible arrangements at the country’s most celebrated spring garden, see for yourself just why Holland is considered the tulip capital of the world.