Nothing can be more intellectually stimulating than a holiday in Europe during the summer. This season gives your mind that much-needed midyear rejuvenation. It highlights the glorious colors of the world through the exuberance of the various cultures found on this continent. Enjoy the fine weather and take an enriching journey to five of Balsam Hill’s favorite cosmopolitan destinations in Europe.
Barcelona and Madrid
The sunny climate and flamboyant culture of Spain make this country an exciting summer travel destination. The city of Barcelona is famous for its fanciful but majestic architectural wonders by the renowned Antoni Gaudi, while the neo-classical city of Madrid is home to lovely parks as well as the Royal Palace, Museum on the Americas, Prado, and an Egyptian temple.
With its spectacular scenery, the Green Spain of the Asturias makes the perfect spot for relaxation and soul-searching. Couples and families can enjoy the warmer Mediterranean waters off Costa Brava, Costa Blanca, and Costa del Sol with miles upon miles of superb beaches.
Lovers of tradition will adore London’s rich history and culture. The Victoria & Albert Museum celebrates art and design with 3,000 years worth of amazing artifacts from around the world.
The Kensington Palace, which first became a royal residence for William III and Mary II in 1689, and was home to Queen Victoria and more recently the late Diana Princess of Wales, is another tourist spot. Certain historic and fascinating parts of the palace are open to the public, as well as the popular Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection on display.
Located in the heart of London, the Buckingham Palace is a must-see for any visitor to London. Not only is it the official London residence of the Queen, it is also one of the few working royal palaces left in the world. The palace opens up its lavish rooms to the public when the Queen makes her yearly visit to Scotland during August and September.
Berlin is renowned for its exceptional variety of attractions, flourishing cultural scene, and a way of life that is both fast-paced and relaxed. The renovated Reichstag, the seat of the German parliament, is one of Berlin’s tourist attractions. It was retrofitted in 1999 with a new dome that uses glass and mirrors to reflect daylight deep into the main chamber. From the top of this historic building, visitors get a panoramic 365-degree view of the city.
With its inspiring tree-lined trails, canals, and grassy meadows, the Tiergarten shows the softer side of Berlin. Travelers enjoy the natural beauty of the city with a leisurely stroll through the most considerable and oldest public park in the capital.
No trip to Berlin would be complete without a visit to the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall was both the physical division between West Berlin and East Germany from 1961 to 1989 and the symbolic boundary between democracy and Communism during the Cold War.
The colorful conglomeration of mosques, palaces, baths, and museums makes Istanbul unforgettable. Home to generations of sultans, the Topkapi Palace boasts a treasury of crown jewels as well as views of the Sea of Marmara, Bosphorus, and Golden Horn.
The Blue Mosque, the supreme Imperial Mosque of the Ottoman Empire, has also become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Istanbul. Built from 1609 to 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I, it contains a tomb of the founder, a madrasah, and a hospice.
One of the city’s most striking landmarks, the Galata Tower is a high, cone-capped cylinder that dominates the skyline and offers a panoramic vista of Old Istanbul or Constantinople and its environs.
The remains of ancient civilizations and the various churches and medieval buildings make Greece a must-see during the summer holiday. A visit to Athens is not complete without visiting the Parthenon, the most important surviving building of Classical Greece.
The ancient theater of Delphi, home to the sanctuary and oracle of Apollo, is another historic site. The theater was built on a hill in 4th c. B.C. and gives 5,000 spectators a view of the entire sanctuary.
Greece is also known for its beaches and island resorts. The most famous and popular holiday resort is Santorini, which is admired for its dramatic views, romantic sunsets, white-washed houses, and its very own active volcano.
Aside from the beautiful weather, an unforgettable vacation has a lot to do with how stimulating the journey is. Seize the moment, see the world, and have the ultimate holiday experience in Europe this summer!