I find deciding where to go for what I call a ‘main holiday’ of the year is one of the most difficult decisions at the start of every year. There’s a huge world out there and I want to see so much of it, but always specific places rather than just ‘everywhere’. Having done long haul twice the past few years with New York, Philadelphia and Mexico, this year the plan for a summer holiday is Europe, and there are so many reasons why.
Short travel time, incredible cuisine, distinct but varied culture and unique experiences to each location to name just a few. Here’s my list of 5, that I have every intention of ticking off my bucket list this year and in the next few years to come.
Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with Emily Jones, but all destinations, experiences, and serious wanderlust is my own.
A Villa Holiday to Sicily
I’ve not had a villa holiday in years, and it’s something I’m really keen to do again. With a huge range of villas in Sicily with a pool, the options are endless for both a holiday that has so much to offer in the way of activity, but also space and time to relax in your own surroundings.
Using a stunning villa as a base to combine that sleepy, authentic sort of Italian break I’ve yet to experience, and to explore what looks to be a beautiful island full of mixed cultural influence it sounds like exactly the sort of exclusive, relaxing holiday I need.
I can see myself getting up and out to wander the historical streets of cities like Palermo, getting out to see natural volcanic and coastal wonders, and clinking glasses on Sicilian wine region tours, before heading back to the comfort of a private villa and a dip in the pool to cool off.
A City Break to Milan
Keeping up with the Italian theme and having previously loved Rome and Florence, Milan has hit my radar in recent months thanks largely to the number of fashion bloggers I follow who hit Milan fashion week each season.
But it’s not just the Instagram worthy locations such as the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele shopping arcade, or the Piazza del Duomo and Milan Cathedral that are drawing me in.
The ‘Brera’ neighbourhood looks right up my street, with designer boutiques, pretty cobblestone alleys, and a reputation for being both artistic and charming. The food scene around here is said to be traditionally Milanese, with a stylish flair.
Other things on my list to do in Milan include a visit to the opera at Teatro alla Scala, and to see Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’ painting at the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
A Short Break to Barcelona
One of those places that I feel like everyone as been to except me, and so a visit here will see me do all the main touristy things that you would expect. I want to see the impressive La Sagrada Familia, snap photos as I walk among Gaudi’s sculptures in Park Guell, and of course take in the atmosphere of Las Ramblas.
I love Spanish culture, the food and the sangria especially, so inspired by this post from Heatheronhertravels I’d love to visit with my group of girl friends for a long weekend or short break. Mixing city life with the stretch of beach along the coastline is something I really enjoyed on my trip to Valencia, so I think Barcelona would be even better.
One of my bucket list experiences that I absolutely have to do in Barcelona is visit the Nou Camp. It’s a dream of mine to see Messi play while he is still the world’s greatest.
A Sun Soaked Relax on the Greek Islands
My family holidays as a child were spent in Cyprus, Rhodes and Corfu, and the Greek Islands are somewhere I’ve not revisited in so long. I went to Santorini about five years ago, and the white washed buildings and blue rooftops were as beautiful as you see in photos.
I don’t think I’d go back there now, as I can imagine it is so crowded, but there are other Greek Islands I would love to visit.From the research I have started to do, Mykonos, Ithaca and Hydra are highest on my list, as well as Crete which has some absolutely stunning looking hotels.
A France outside of Paris
Being one of my favourite places in the world, Paris is my go to whenever I think of France. Being based up in the North of England venturing into other places in France just hasn’t been on my radar. I recently went to Dieppe in Normandy with work, and passed through Rouen on the way.
It was an absolutely gorgeous place, looking like something out of medieval times, but with much prettier streets and colourful timbered houses than you might expect. It really made me wish I had more time and opportunity to visit other French cities and towns that whizzed past as I was in the train to Dieppe.
Lille is high on my list, mainly for the old fashioned sweet shop called Meert, and so is Deauville for its reputation for old school class, shopping and beautiful beachfront.
What about you? With so many options available which type of holiday and where in particular makes your top 5?