They say life begins when you retire. If you’re nearing retirement or are already enjoying your work-free lifestyle, you may find you have more free time and cash to spend travelling. The world is your oyster, so why not get out there and enjoy it?
The European continent has something for everyone; it’s full of history, has plenty of culture and there are so many places that gain hot temperatures and places that are cooler, it depends on where you end up visiting. There are some real beauty spots and places of interest to visit, so which ones should make it to the top of your travel list?
Acorn Stairlift have provided this guide to must-visit destinations in Europe that may help give some inspiration to your trip.
The Scottish Highlands
If you enjoy breath-taking scenery than plan a trip to Scotland. With many areas of natural beauty, it’s hard to choose just one area to visit, but thankfully given the small size of the country and the transport links on offer, you can explore much of this country in a single trip.
A great way to navigate Scotland’s hilly terrain is by rail, you’ll be able to see a lot of country and gain a panoramic view on the beautiful 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.
If you enjoy boat trips than you can explore the highlands via boat, be sure to stop by Moray Forth which is 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.
If you visit Scotland than it’s highly recommended that you visit 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 is located in Portugal and gains year-round warm temperatures and stunning coastlines, it’s another beautiful destination to add to your travel wish list. The Algarve, in particular, is a popular choice, especially for those who enjoy outdoor pursuits.
If you one enjoys a game of golf than there are many regional golf courses in Algarve. Coastal courses are a perfect choice for panoramic views as you play and, as the country receives a staggering 300 days of sunshine a year, there’ll be little chance of rain spoiling play.
But the main reason why people go to Algarve is to escape the cold temperatures and soak up some sun. The Algarve is ideal, 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.
If you enjoy historical culture of a destination than there is many chuches that line the Algarve 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.
The Amalfi Coast is located in Italy and stretches 50-kilometer 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 looking for somewhere to relax and treat yourself, 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 striking silhouette scenes, staying in Sorrento, which faces Mount Vesuvius 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
If you visit the Amalfi, 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.
When you picture the capital of France, Paris, it’s likely the iconic Eiffel Tower will spring to your mind. But there’s so much more to see and do if you only know where to go…
You could also visit Monet’s Gardens which is situated in Giverny, which is a 45-minute trains ride plus a 10-minute bus ride from Paris. 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.
When exploring Paris, there are multiple ways to get around the city and see what is has to offer. 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.
If you enjoy cruises, you can take one 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 is the largest island in Greece. Renowned for its rich history and long sandy beaches, it is a perfect destination for a balance between culture, adventure and relaxation.
If you enjoy history, you can visit the Heraklion Archaeological Museum which showcases artefacts between Neolithic to Roman times which has a time span of 5,500 years. This museum taps into the imagination with detailed descriptions of jewellery, pottery and other famous pieces from ancient sites.
If you want to be near the sea, visit the Venetian Harbour on the west side of the island, you’ll find 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.
This destination is perfect if you’re a food lover. 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.
So, if you’re planning a trip to Europe, there are so many great destinations to choose from that are suitable for the older traveller, with opportunities to relax or explore the culture and learn about the rich history of the area. What are you waiting for? The world is your oyster!