Although Europe is an attractive destination any time of year, there are parts of it that truly come alive in summer. From ideal temperatures to dine outdoors amid the vines to enjoying the gentle ocean breeze as you watch a local shuck oysters by the Adriatic, the allure of these destinations is magnified by the season.

The time is ripe to get out and explore again. If you’re keen to enjoy more sustainable travel, then a guided luxury tour that takes in a combination of the best loved sights with lesser-known gems may be ideal.


Paris, France

The leafy boulevards of Paris and olive groves of Provence both benefit from the balmy summer sun. Join Luxury Gold for the French Vogue Tour and appreciate the fine wines, food and historic chateaux throughout this romantic land.

A VIP visit to Château De Vaux-Le-Vicomte, the largest privately owned château in the country, occurs on day two of your French journey. 40 hectares of elegantly-designed gardens are a pleasure to explore on a summer’s day. Patterned flowerbeds, sculpted statues and well-placed fountains provide fantastic photo opportunities, while those with an eye for design can admire the baroque architecture of the grand house.

One of the most enjoyable summer excursions in Paris is a foodie tour. Your Local Expert leads you to a variety of patisseries, boulangeries, chocolatiers, cafés and tiny cheese shops that are only known to Parisiens, so you can revel in the culinary delights of the city. Meet passionate bakers and chefs who share their enthusiasm for the gourmet and understand why Paris is famous for its food.

France is full of local and farmers markets, particularly in the smaller towns, such as St Remy de Provence. Stroll through the colorful stalls, soaking up the enticing aromas and perhaps picking up a freshly baked snack or a handmade souvenir?

Follow in the footsteps of Van Gogh in Arles, where the artist painted over 200 masterpieces. See his inspiration in the sunbaked houses and pretty plant-lined streets. Van Gogh spent over 14 months in this Provencal city, seeking the warmth and color away from Paris. Your Local Expert will take you along the Rhône River and to the well-preserved Arles amphitheatre, once the site of great chariot spectacles.

When touring France in summer, one of the great highlights is catching a glimpse of the true blue hues of the Mediterranean. With Luxury Gold, you travel along the Moyenne Corniche road, where you can admire the sea from your seat.


Capri, Italy

Thoughts of Italy call to mind the rolling hills of Tuscany and sun-dappled piazzas with children enjoying gelato. On the Ultimate Italy tour with Luxury Gold, you can see both, as well as visiting some of the world’s most treasured landmarks.

Every corner in Rome unveils a piece of history, so it’s a wonderful city to wander in summer. After your visit to the Sistine Chapel before it opens to the public, take a walk through the peaceful Roman Forum, which offers incredible vistas across the city.

Pompeii is another historic site on your luxury travel adventure. Your Local Expert will conjure up images of life as it was in the ill-fated town, where you’ll see the remnants of bath houses and grand villas. Marvel at the extraordinary mosaics and architectural features that still remain almost 2,000 years on.

Arrive to the isle of Capri in style, with an open-top taxi taking you to your luxury hotel. Sip the local specialty, a lemon granita, as you admire a breathtaking sunset over the turquoise waters. Stroll to the landscaped gardens of Caesar Augustus where you can view the Faraglioni Rocks, jutting proudly from the sea.

Another fabulous summer activity to indulge in is foraging for truffles in Florence. An expert truffle dog guides you as you seek out this aromatic delicacy typical to the region. This fun activity is followed by dinner, where you’ll have the option of sampling another local treasure, Fiorentina, the mouthwatering grilled beefsteak dish.

Italy is famous for its cuisine. Uncover the secrets of its flavorful food in a Tuscan cooking class with a professional chef. Set in the former hunting lodge of the fabled Medici family, this class culminates in a splendid lunch with wine, dining on the creations cooked up during the morning.


Douro Valley – Photo by Evan Verni on Unsplash

Famed for its golden sands and lively culture, Portugal offers a dazzling array of activities for travelers. Experience the history and charm of the country on Luxury Gold’s Spain & Portugal in Style, a 13-day luxury guided tour that brings you right to the heart of it.

On Day Eight of your tour, you cross the Alentejo Plateau, a region with undulating plains that is known for cork trees and olive groves. After reaching the capital city, Lisbon, you’ll be treated to a typical Portuguese dinner at a local Fado house, where the UNESCO-recognized singing is performed.

Spend a morning in the historic Belém Quarter, with its ancient fortress that sits on the riverbank. Visit the 500-year-old Jerónimos Monastery and cloisters to see its Manueline architecture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A drive along the coast takes you to the Atlantic coastal village of Cascais. This pretty cove is famous for its sandy beaches, so you can find a spot for sunbathing or take a dip in the sea. A number of good restaurants line the marina, so you can order some fresh seafood straight from the ocean, accompanied by Vinho Verde, the refreshing local wine.

You’ll also explore a local winery near Evora, a stunning city full of architectural splendor. Hear more about the wine making process and taste a selection of their finest tipple, surrounded by acres of vines.

If you’re staying on in Portugal, it’s definitely worth visiting Praia da Adraga in Sintra, just 12 kilometers from Lisbon. Here you’ll see one of the most spectacular sunsets from Azenhas do Mar, a restaurant that’s built right into the cliffs. It’s also a great place to catch some waves, if you’re an experienced surfer.


Lucerne, Switzerland

Although people think of alpine villages and snow sports in relation to Switzerland, it’s a delightful place to visit in summer. It offers an alternative to the hotspots along the Mediterranean, but it has plenty to offer the summer traveler.

The glamorous resort of St. Moritz gets the most days of sunshine per year in Switzerland. This makes it a wonderful place to take a swim in one of the pristine lakes nearby. Hiking is a popular pastime here, and when you take in the awe-inspiring panoramas of glaciers, mountains and meadows, you’ll understand why. There are plenty of easy hikes for visitors, including Fuorcla Surlej to Pontresina.

On the Luxury Gold tour, Majestic Switzerland, you can discover the local flora, fauna and wildlife with an experienced nature guide. Keep your eyes peeled for marmots, red deer and the golden eagle. The lush foliage and forestry of the country provides an idyll for many species.

After a vigorous day of hiking, you can unwind in the outdoor pool of the Mont Cervin Palace hotel, your home for two nights on the Luxury Gold tour. The beautiful lawn and pool have incredible views of the surrounding Zermatt mountains, while the spa also offers steam baths, a bio sauna and signature therapies to sooth your weary body.

Switzerland has some sublime lakes, two of which are visited on your Majestic Switzerland tour. On day six, you’ll check into the Hotel d’Angleterre, located right on the banks of Lake Geneva, the inspiration for the Early European Romantic movement. Two days later, after chocolate in Broc and cheese in Gruyères, you’ll reach lovely Lucerne. There, you’ll enjoy a romantic cruise on the lake, where you can admire the fairy tale buildings and abundant greenery beyond.


Split, Croatia

Croatia is another European destination that has really raised its profile over the past decade. Its romantic port towns, towering fortresses and stunning national parks provide visitors with plenty to explore. It also basks in glorious sunshine, making it perfect for a summer vacation.

Embark on the Captivating Croatia and Montenegro tour with Luxury Gold to discover the sparkling seas and dramatic history of this stretch of land. On day two, you can enjoy a cruise to take in the Bay of Dubrovnik from a different perspective, admiring the city ramparts that are among the grandest in Europe.

Luxury Gold guests also enjoy exclusive tours on day six, with a boat ride to the floating oyster beds of Ston and a tour of Winery Frankovic. Savour a freshly shucked oyster straight from the sea with a chilled glass of wine. Then, on shore, see a traditional olive mill and walk amid the groves before a relaxing lunch.

The dazzling waters of Petrcane on the Dalmation coast are a great place to have an afternoon swim. Alternatively, guests can relax on the soft sands of the fishing village or stroll along the seafront as the sun splits the sky in pinks and orange.

The Sea Organ in Zadar is a fascinating architectural sound installation that looks like steps leading into the water, but creates music from the ocean as it laps the chambers beneath. No song is ever the same as the water moves around.

The country is just as stunning when you venture inland. Plitvice National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where 16 interconnected lakes create a mesmerising prospect for visitors. Luxury Gold guests enjoy a guided tour by boat and on foot with a Local Expert to explore the natural beauty of the area.

Book a European Summer Vacation with Luxury Gold

Luxury Gold includes VIP Experiences on its tours that engage you more deeply with the destination. These are made possible by the wealth of experience behind us and the connections fostered over 100 years of travel. From meeting master jewellers in Croatia to a private tour of Doge’s Palace in Venice, your summer vacation will be enhanced by these once-in-a-lifetime events.