Does life need to slow down at an older age? If you’re coming close to retirement or are already enjoying the freedom from a working lifestyle, you may find that you have more free time and cash to do what you want, when you want, so why not go travelling?
The European continent has something for everyone; it’s rich in history, culture and can be as hot and cold as you’d like it, depending on where you’ll go. There are many beautiful locations and attractions to visit, so which ones should make it to the top of your list?
The Highlands in Scotland
If it’s a breath-taking scenery that you desire, then plan a trip to Scotland. The scale of the country is a lot smaller than other European countries, and therefore you can explore a lot of it, within a single trip, using the transport links.
Rail travel is a great way to navigate through Scotland’ Hilly terrain, giving the time to see as much of the country as possible and gaining a panoramic perspective on the gorgeous landscape. The West Highland Line is a train service that operates from Glasgow and travels to Oban, Fort William and Mallaig. The route is largely considered to be the most picturesque in the world — and with its rugged mountains, it’s easy to see why.
You can also choose to explore the Highlands via boat, include a trip to Moray Firth in your Itinerary, located near the tip of Scotland. The water is home to around 130 bottlenose dolphins, and regular boat tours operate. You may be able to spot seals, whales and porpoises further out, while you’ll also enjoy dazzling views of the coastline.
Once you’re satisfied with the stunning scenery, stop by the country’s capital that is Edinburgh. This vibrant and historic city has much to see and do, whether you spend your time visiting the zoo, exploring the old town, touring the underground vaults or enjoying a bite to eat in one of the city’s many cafes or restaurants. For even more culture, plan a visit in August — the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world — is in town for much of the month.
The Algarve in Portugal
With warm temperatures lasting all year-round and stunning coastlines, Portugal is another beautiful destination to add to your travel wish list. The Algarve, in particular, is a popular choice, especially for those who enjoy outdoor pursuits.
Golfers tend to visit The Algarve, of all skill levels to tee-off at one of the region’s many golf courses. Coastal courses are a perfect choice for panoramic views as you play and, as the country receives a staggering 300 day of sunshine a year, there’ll be little chance of rain spoiling play.
Maybe, you’re seeking to escape the cold temperatures and soak up some sun. The Algarve is ideal, with its many stretches of sandy beaches and plethora of luxurious hotels and apartments. It is renowned as a tourist destination but take full advantage of not being limited to travelling in the school holidays and visit in the quieter months such as October and June.
If you’re a history enthusiast, then you can explore the historical culture and explore the many churches that line The Algarve landscape. Unlike the stone churches and cathedrals present in many countries, some of those in Portugal are lined with spectacular tiles and azulejos that make them stand out from any religious building you’ve seen before. Or head down to the Old Town where you can relax in the Old Town Square (Praça da Vila) and admire the surrounding architecture.
Amalfi Coast in Italy
Stretching 50-kilometer along the south of Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula, Amalfi Coast is well-known for its quaint fishing villages and small beaches. If this is somewhere that you are considering travelling to, avoid holidaying between November and Easter as many hotels and restaurants are closed during this period and you will miss the exciting hustle and bustle of the destination. Instead, spring and autumn are perfect times to visit when temperatures are around 15-26°C and precipitation levels are between 3 and 4 inches.
If you’re looking to treat yourself to luxurious relaxation, head to the town of Positano. Here, streets are lined with colourful houses, impressive hotels and shops filled with beachwear and ceramics — you can get even your own pair of sandals made for you.
Stay in Sorrento if you are seeking scenes of a striking silhouette, the town faces Mount Vesuvius – a volcano in the Bay of Naples. Sightsee by boat around the coast of Sorrento either on a rented small vessel or as part of a group excursion. There’s plenty of photo opportunities such as the rugged coastline of Italy and the turquoise sea.
If you stay on the Amalfi Coast, you’re never too far from other splendid locations, such as the ancient town of Pompeii. Here, you can visit the Amphitheatre which dates back to 80BC and relax in the preserved baths.
Paris in France
When you picture Paris, there’s no doubt that the iconic Eiffel Tower will spring to mind. This isn’t the only attraction Paris offers, if you know where to go…
Visit Monet Gardens located in Giverny, around a 45-minute train trip plus a 10-minute bus ride from the capital. The spectacular garden is split into two parts, both of which are equally impressive — one is called Clos Normand and is full off symmetries and complementing colours, and the other is a Japanese inspired water garden.
There are plenty of ways to get around Paris and see what it has to offer. The open top hop-on, hop-off bus tour takes you to the Louvre, Montmartre and Notre Dame — giving you time to get off where you please or take memorable photos from the comfort of your seat. Many of the buses provide you with headphones too for a private commentary of the attractions you’re passing.
You can explore the city by water, take on of the popular cruises down the river Siene. This is a great opportunity to put your feet up after a long day exploring. Admire the picturesque streets, bridges and cathedral as you’re taken on an adventure through the city.
Crete in Greece
Crete is the largest Greek Island. Renowned for its rich history and long sandy beaches, it is a perfect destination for a balance between culture, adventure and relaxation.
For all you history lovers, there is the Heraklion Archaeological Museum which showcases artefacts between Neolithic to Roman times, which is a time span of 5,500 years. This museum taps into the imagination with detailed descriptions of jewellery, pottery and other famous pieces from ancient sites.
If you’re destined to by the sea, then visit the Venetian Harbour on the west wide of the island, in an old town called Chania. Take a relaxing sunset stroll out to the trademark of the town — a lighthouse that sits near the harbour entrance.
Food lovers will also enjoy this destination. Locals produce their own meat, wine, cheeses and even catch their own seafood — it’s guaranteed that your dish will be as fresh as it can be. The local wine is tasty too — find the ideal one to complement your meal for a one-of-a-kind taste sensation.
So, we’ve discovered what the Europe has to offer to the older traveler – plenty of opportunities to either relax or take time to learn about the history of an area. What are you waiting for? The world is your oyster!