Does life really slow down at a later age? Being retired or nearly retired, you may find that you have more free time and cash to spend travelling. So why not get out there, as the world is your oyster?
The European continent has something for everyone; it’s filled with history, culture and temperatures that vary, depending on where you go. There are plenty of beautiful landmarks and places of interest to visit, so which ones should you jot down on your travel list?
Take a look at this guide, provided by Global provider of stair lifts, Acorn, for some inspiration on the must-visit destinations in Europe.
The Highlands located in Scotland
If you’re seeking breath-taking scenery, plan a trip to Scotland. Here, you will find many areas of natural beauty. It can be difficult to choose which areas to visit, but thankfully given the small size of the country, and a well-connected transport system on offer, you can explore much of this country in one single trip.
One way to navigate the hilly terrain, is by rail. It will allow you see much of the country as possible and will give you a panoramic perspective on the picturesque 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 could also choose to explore the Highlands via boat, be sure to stop by Moray Firth on your journey, 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’ve had enough of the stunning scenery and fancy somewhere a bit livelier, pay a visit to the capital, 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 located in Portugal
For warm temperatures that last all year-round and stunning coastlines, The Algarve is another fabulous destination to add to your travel list. It’s usually a popular choice, especially for those who enjoy outdoor pursuits.
If you’re a golfer of any kind of skill level, then you won’t be disappointed with the amount of the golf courses you’ll find in the region to tee-off at. 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.
Of course, you may be one that seeks relaxation, and to soak up plenty of sun. In that case, The Algarve is a great destination 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.
For history enthusiasts, fond of learning the historical culture of a destination, The Algarve has many churches that line the region’s 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 located in Italy
The Amalfi Coast is fabulous destination, that stretches 50-kilomater along the south of Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula. It’s famous for its quaint fishing villages and small beaches that many relax upon. 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 seeking relaxation at somewhere truly luxurious, then 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.
For a striking silhouette scene, stay at Sorrento which faces Mount Vesusius, which is 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.
On the Amalfi Coast, you’ll find that you’re never far from other splendid locations either, 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 located in France
When you picture Paris, it’s likely that the iconic Eiffel Tower will be one of the first images that comes to mind. But there’s so much more to see and do if you only know where to go…
Monet’s Gardens is located in Giverny, around a 45-minute train journey and 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.
Even though it’s recommended that you explore Paris on foot, there are plenty of other ways to get around the city and see what it offers. 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.
Should you prefer to travel by water, take one of city’s 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 located in Greece
Crete is the largest Island of Greece. It’s known for its rich history and sandy beaches, it is a fantastic destination for a balance between culture, adventure and relaxation.
Another one for history lovers, you can visit the Heraklion Archaeological Museum which displays artefacts between Neolithic to Roman times (a time span of 5,500 years). This museum taps into the imagination with detailed descriptions of jewelry, pottery and other famous pieces from ancient sites.
If you are seeking to be by the sea, Visit the Venetian Harbour on the west side 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.
The destination is great for food lovers too. 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.
As we’ve discovered, there are plenty of beautiful destinations that are suitable for older travelers – with opportunities to relax and take time out to learn about the history of the area. The world is waiting for you.