EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN
Milestones to make modern history
Big things are on the horizon for Europe in 2019. The continent is entering new territory – and sure to make a splash with underwater restaurants, hotels made from caves and luxury train lines off the beaten track. It’s also a year of heritage celebrations, from the 75th anniversary of D-Day in northern France, to the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death in Italy.
Cruise and tour operators promise more intimate journeys with smaller ports and unforgettable experiences.
MATERA MATTERS AS EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE
It was once one of Italy’s most impoverished cities, famous for its cave dwellers of the Sassi, grottoes carved out of limestone. But now Matera is the European Capital of Culture for 2019, its caves renovated and rented on Airbnb. The opening ceremony on January 19 will see 2000 musicians perform in the city, culminating in a candlelit performance at the Sassi.
For those inspired to visit the World Heritage city, Hedonistic Hiking’s Southern eight-night Italy trip ($4844) includes an overnight in one of the cave hotels as part of its gourmet walking tour around the region.
Joining in the celebrations is Matera’s twin city, Plovdiv in Bulgaria, which has its own opening ceremony on January 12 with music and dance performances throughout the weekend. MATERA-BASILICATA2019.IT, HEDONISTICHIKING.COM/ITALIAN-TOURS, PLOVDIV2019.EU
WELLNESS HOLIDAYS GET MINDFUL
Mindful retreats are big business, with options opening all over Europe. One of the most anticipated launches is the Longevity Health and Wellness Hotel Alvor in Portugal. This 70-room luxury hotel opening in June will have a two-storey spa, with 25 treatment rooms.
The brand-new Euphoria Retreat in Mystras, Greece, is a 43-room luxury wellness resort just opened to great acclaim, for those looking to get fit while they take a break.
In Spain, Shanti Som offers a new Mindful Triathlon program which aims to work out your health and wellbeing. The Balinese-style resort is in Andalusia’s Sierra de las Nieves.
And Soul & Surf will open its first permanent European base in Portugal in April. The surf and yoga specialists will be based in an Iberian farmhouse on the Algarve. The weeklong retreats offer surf tuition, yoga and meditation. LONGEVITYWELLNESSWORLDWIDE.COM; EUPHORIA RETREAT, FROM $3075 A WEEK FULLBOARD, HEALINGHOLIDAYS.CO.UK; SHANTI SOM MINDFUL TRIATHLON $3260, 7-NIGHT HALF BOARD, HEALTHANDFITNESSTRAVEL.COM.AU; SOUL & SURF WEEK LONG RETREAT FROM $1278, SOULANDSURF.COM
DINING GOES DEEP
The much-hyped Under, the world’s largest underwater restaurant, opens in March off the coast of Lindesnes, Norway. The restaurant has been designed to look like a rock half submerged in the sea. Guests descend to an underwater dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows for a menu of local seafood, seabirds and wild lamb.
Magnetic North Travel Explore Kristiansand’s trip is a 10-day, flydrive itinerary priced from $2192 including a tasting menu dinner at Under and stays in Oslo, Kristiansand and Stavanger. UNDER.NO, MAGNETICNORTHTRAVEL.COM
CRUISE TO SMALLER PORTS
It’s all about smaller ports and intimate travel experiences in European cruising next year. Silversea is adding extra ports to allow guests to see the real Europe, such as St Florent and Ile Rousse in Corsica, Porto Santo Stefano, Italy, and Milos in Greece. The 14-day cruise on
departing August 30 calls at Monte Carlo, Portofino, La Spezia, Olbia, Calvi, Saint Tropez, Marseilles, Barcelona and Naples.
Cunard launches its first Northern Lights voyage on October 8 on the newly refitted Departing Southampton, the 12-night cruise calls at Alesund, Tromso, Narvik and Stavanger in Norway.
And Princess has a new 11-night Scandinavia and Russia cruise onboard departing April 29 which includes Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, St Petersburg, Tallinn, Berlin and Oslo.
Riviera Travel is focusing on single cruise-goers next year, tripling its single cruise specials on its five-star ships. Cruises include an eight-day round-trip cruise from Porto along the Douro River in Portugal on March 31.
APT meanwhile is offering curated experiences, such as its 11-day Grand Bordeaux with Luke Nguyen tour, which goes from Paris to Bordeaux and includes a cooking class in Paris. It departs August 26. SILVERSEA MONTE CARLO CRUISE FROM $8398, SILVERSEA.COM; CUNARD’S NORTHERN LIGHTS VOYAGE FROM $3524, CUNARDLINE.COM.AU; PRINCESS SCANDINAVIA AND RUSSIA CRUISE, FROM $2566, PRINCESS.COM; RIVIERA DOURO RIVER CRUISE FROM $3549, RIVIERATRAVEL.COM.AU; APT’S GRAND BORDEAUX WITH LUKE NGUYEN, FROM $8995, APTOURING.COM
TRAINS TRAVEL TO TRANSYLVANIA
The luxury train market is also going off the beaten track, with Golden Eagle Luxury Trains launching the Castles of Transylvania trip on the
Starting in Istanbul, staying at Pera Palace Hotel – where Agatha Christie wrote – the four-night trip priced from $8300 includes Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria and a gala dinner in the 14th-century Bran Castle that owes its fame to
before ending in Hungary. Departs June 27. GOLDENEAGLELUXURYTRAINS.COM
NORMANDY REMEMBERS D-DAY
Next year marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings and, on June 5, Daks Over Normandy will see 250 men and women board an aircraft in the UK and parachute into the drop zones of Normandy, wearing World War II-style Allied uniforms.
Events centre around IWM Duxford in the UK and Caen Carpiquet Airport in France.
Collette has a nine-day Memorials