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The Best of 2016: Europe

2nd November 2015

Europe is a melting pot of colourful history, traditions, languages and cuisines thanks to the plethora of fascinating cultures that meet here. Boasting the added splendour of spectacular landscapes, the allure of this multifaceted continent is hard to deny. Here are our top 5 picks to experience the best of Europe in 2016.

Florence

Nestled amongst vineyard-clad hills in the heart of Tuscany, Florence holds timeless appeal for its character-laden streets, world-famous art masterpieces and authentic Italian cooking and wine. It’s a cultural affair that’s always guaranteed to look, taste and smell amazing.

Did you know?

• The famous Il Duomo took approximately 140 years to build, starting in 1296.
• World War II left the city severely damaged, including every bridge but the beautiful Ponte Vecchio.
• In 1339 Florence became the first city in all of Europe with paved streets.
• Tripe rolls have been a local delicacy for centuries, still on offer at tripe carts across the city.

 Best of 2016 - Europe:  Florence, Italy.

Paris

It’s the eternal romantic city, home to famous icons such as the Eiffel Tower, Le Louvre and the Arc de Triumph. But Paris is also laden with patisseries and atmospheric al fresco cafes, museums and galleries and world-class shopping. It’s the cosmopolitan elegance that lures us back for more.

Did you know?

• The French have several slang words for the police, including ‘poulet’ which means chicken.
• Wealthy French citizens helped hide the Louvre’s famed art pieces during World War II.
• The bell in the Notre Dame Cathedral weighs over 13 tonnes.
• There are 1,784 bakeries in Paris.

 Best of 2016 - Europe:  Paris, France.

Vienna

The classic beauty of Vienna extends beyond the clip clop of hooves prancing along grand boulevards, the imperial architecture and opulent palaces. From exquisite operas and famous orchestras to traditional balls and art treasures, we can’t resist the lure of imperial grandeur at every turn.

Did you know?

• Vienna is home to the world’s oldest zoo, Tiergarten Schönbrunn.
• Zentralfriedhof is the second largest cemetery in Europe with over 2.5 million tombs.
• Every year 640 farmers produce 2.5 million litres of wine in the city.
• Vienna has been home to many famous artists and musicians, including Klimt and Mozart.

 Best of 2016 - Europe:  Vienna, Austria.

London

Beyond the obvious London attractions like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, London screams variety. Enjoy the top-notch shows, galleries and museums, shop in boutiques, famous department stores and markets, and revel in history old and new. Come once or 100 times – there’s always something new to discover.

Did you know?

• Big Ben is the bell, not the clock tower itself, which is called Elizabeth Tower.
• There’s an entire pet cemetery hidden in Hyde Park.
• The Palace of Westminster has eight bars, six restaurants, 1,000 rooms, 100 staircases and 11 courtyards.
• The London Underground is used by three million passengers every day.

 Best of 2016 - Europe:  London, England.

Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast delivers sun, sea and sand, plus so much more. Dramatic cliff-top vistas, superb local restaurants, incredible hiking trails, beautiful drives, mountainous backdrops and atmospheric white-washed villages make this Mediterranean gem outstanding for all the right reasons. It’s a beach break with a difference.

Did you know?

• It’s a long-lasting tradition to end dinner with a sip of ‘limoncello’, lemon liqueur.
• Atrani is an ancient fishing village and the smallest town in Italy.
• The stunning Duomo di Sant'Andrea still has its original 11th century Byzantine bronze doors.
• The Amalfi Coast is so beautiful and diverse it holds UNESCO World Heritage status.

 Best of 2016 - Europe:  Amalfi Coast, Italy.

Consultant tip

“In Florence, wander the winding backstreets to escape the crowds and glimpse local life. Also, scale the Duomo for incredible views across the terracotta rooves and out to the beautiful Tuscan countryside. A scoop of gelato every day is also a must – there are so many flavours!” Paige Wallace - Escape Travel Ballina, NSW


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