As vaccines roll out around the world – and news of countries reopening, it finally seems we are returning to normalcy. And who among us hasn’t fantasized, at some point in the last year, about booking that European summer vacation? As members of the EU begin welcoming vaccinated travelers, the fantasy of traveling to Europe has officially become reality. Europe travel to London, Iceland, Greece, Italy, among other countries, began in May. And the first 10 days of June saw France and Spain reopen their borders to fully vaccinated travelers.
Here are, On The Inside’s top picks to visit when you travel to Europe for summer 2021
GREECE: When Greece reopened in mid-May, it was the first time both foreign travelers and Greek citizens could explore the country in more than a year. Delta and United have launched new direct flights to Athens as of July, now making it easier than ever to get to Greece from hubs like New York City, Washington D.C and Atlanta. There’s a lovely amount of new luxury hotel talent popping up to look out for in Greece this summer, too. On Mykonos, Kalesma recently just opened in late May. The suite- and villa-only hotel is a collaboration by local hoteliers, featuring design work by the same studio that just finished Mykonos’ new luxury airport. Make sure while on Mykonos, visit The Wild Hotel, which captivates guests with a private beach, newly redesigned suites, and a brand new cliffside restaurant. Then hop over to Santorini, where you’ll find serenity and breathtaking sunsets, along with two of the island’s best resorts – Grace Hotel, Auberge Resorts Collection and Andronis Concept Wellness Resort – in Imerovigli. Or, try a marvelous private villa at the Santorini Sky, at the island’s highest point, in Pyrgos. Finally, after embracing the quintessential white-and-blue Cycladic scenery, head south to the Cayo Exclusive Resort & Spa for a Cretan wellness experience of a lifetime on the Spinalonga inlet. – Maya Kachroo-Levine
LONDON: London’s hospitality community didn’t sleep during pandemic, and travelers can finally reap the benefits with brand-new hotels to visit including the Mayfair Townhouse, a stylish retreat offering private garden suites with vibrant eating-and-meeting spaces between the Shepherd Market and Green Park; Nobu Hotel London Portman Square offering a buzzy new Nobu restaurant, a Japanese gin bar, and a pilates studio in Marylebone; and the NoMad London, located across from the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Cue Point is serving some of the finest smoked meats in London right now. Founded by Smokestak alumnus Joshua Moron and Mural Saiq, Cue Point uses smoking methods infusing the meat with Afghan flavors for a mind blowing dining experience. On the relaxation front, Sea Containers
London’s new spa program is based around easing travel-related woes, and the Roman-style pool is a huge draw at the new Spa at 45 Park Lane. And for a relaxing English countryside retreat an hour and change outside the city in Ascot, Dorchester Collection’s Coworth Park just opened its stunning North Lodge, a private three-bedroom cottage surrounded by lush gardens that’s worth extending your trip for. For you Downtown Abby fans. Highclere Castle has just opened its doors again welcoming visitors for daily tours.
MADRID: Spain celebrated two of the biggest hotel openings in years. Last fall, the Four Seasons launched an opulent collection of seven historic buildings totally over 200 guest rooms, complete with a food market, a commercial gallery of shops, one of the largest spas in Spain, and a restaurant helmed by chef Dani García that’s already becoming a town favorite. Several blocks east, is the storied Ritz hotel which has rebranded and become the Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid. Spanish architect Rafael de la-Hoz and French designers Gilles & Boissier have breathed fresh new life into this property, with a A+ location steps away from one of Europe’s great cultural institutions, Museo del Prado – which itself is in the midst of completing an extensive renovation by Foster + Partners.
LAKE COMO – ITALY: There isn’t much that can beat waking up on July morning to a cappuccino at the Villa d’Este. One of the few luxury 5 Star hotels in Italy located on the shores of Lake Como, known as the most romantic setting in the world. Take a boat ride over to see George Clooney’s villa or dine in the village. Nothing quite compares to a slice of heaven at the Villa d’ Este.