Eight European gems to uncover for 2018
Malaysians are a blessed lot when it comes to the subject of public holidays. With at least 19 days of national and state holidays and an average of 18 days of annual leaves, that amounts to a little more than a month worth of paid holiday to a year! Here’s a list of some of the hottest vacation spots in Europe that you should definitely visit in 2018.
Voted Lonely Planet’s best city to visit in 2018 is the Spanish city of Seville. Famed for its Flamenco dancing and tapas, this beautiful Andalucian capital city also attracts visitors in droves with its Moorish architecture. The Alcázar, its famed royal palace, was designed in a blended style of a combined elements of three cultures: Christian, Muslm & Jewish. Another impressive icon is the Metropol Parasol, also known as the “The Mushrooms”, offers panaromic views from the top. Find unique accommodation in the form of Las Casas de la Judeira, located in the heart of the city’s old Jewish quarters. A haven away from the busy streets, guests will enjoy wandering through the hotel’s labyrinth of alleys and come across Roman statues, earthenware jugs, antiques and original furniture that decorate each of its corners. Take some time to stroll through Maria Luisa Park and admire the fountains, sculpture and monuments found in one of Europe’s loveliest parks.
Located in Central Portugal, Évora is a living museum with its array of historical monuments, including an ancient wall surrounding the town. Learn about the history of this town which was once home to Romans, Moors and Portuguese kings. Visit The Temple of Diana, a 2,000 year-old Roman temple with 14 original columns. Located at the highest point of the city, you will have a great vantage point of the rolling green hills of the Alentejo countryside. From the main square Praça do Giraldo, a former Moorish marketplace, walk down the lively shopping street with shops selling products of the region including olives, cork, leather and handmade rugs.
Located in the heart of Switzerland, this fairy-tale lakeside city is surrounded by beautiful alpine scenery. Explore the Old Town as you meander through the cobblestone streets lined with ornate frescoes on the buildings. Cross the world famous wooden Chapel Bridge, and admire the 17th Century paintings under its roof. Take a leisurely stroll along the banks of the lake and enjoy the fresh air and idyllic surroundings. Indulge in an authentic Swiss cheese fondue and immerse yourself in the local culture as you join a lively folklore show of yodelling, flag throwing and Alpine horn blowing. Stay at the Grand Hotel Europe and enjoy the elegance of yesteryear and sweeping lake vistas.
ST PAUL DE VENCE, FRANCE
Discover the beauty of the region from the hilltop village of St Paul-de-Vence which inspired so many artists to create their works here. One of the oldest medieval towns on the French Riviera, it has small alleyways lined with art galleries, manicured gardens and beautiful views from the city walls over the coastline. Famous artist and personalities that loved visiting the village from the 1920s include Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Charlie Chaplin. Near the village’s entrance, look for the Place de Gaulle, where locals still play “petanque” (bowl game) and enjoy the atmosphere while you sit under the shade of the centuries-old trees.
Celebrate the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle which will be held on 19 May at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. This Royal Borough is a great combination of heritage, culture and beautiful landscapes with two internationally famous gardens - the Savill and Valley Gardens. Explore Britain’s past and present when you visit this historic town, home to the largest and oldest inhabited castle in the world where you will get a peek into the life of the British Royal family.
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
Prague is one of the few European cities relatively untouched during the World Wars, allowing its architectural treasures to stay true to form. Some of the many tourist attractions include the Old Town (Stare Mesto), the original settlement in Prague where notable attractions include the Old Town Square and Prague Orloj, a medieval astronomical clock. The oldest part of the Prague Orloj dates back to 1410 and was the third of its kind then. Another well-known attraction is the Prague Castle. The castle building represent virtually every architectural style from the Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral to the Romanesque St. George basilica. Under the Habsburgs, some new buildings in Renaissance style appeared.
GEIRANGAR FJORD, NORWAY
Discover magical paradise and experience a sense of peace and tranquility at the world-famous Geiranger fjord with its deep blue waters and lush green landscapes. This UNESCO site is a top list favourite and boasts incredible scenery. Take a cruise to get up close to the impressive waterfalls and snow-capped mountain peaks. For a unique stay, choose the family-owned Union Hotel situated on a hill just above the centre of the tourist village of Geiranger with fantastic views of the fjords and mountains and also the hotel’s unique vintage car exhibition.
Meander along the azure shores of the Adriatic and arrive at this vibrant port city. Explore the historic inner city that is built around the forth Century Diocletian’s Palace. Learn about the city’s Roman heritage and admire its Renaissance and Gothic architecture. Stroll along the seaside promenade or visit other top attractions like Jupiter’s Temple, the Peristyle and the Cathedral. Taste Dalmation wines and have a culinary experience tasting seafood and meats prepared using traditional Croatian methods.