Holiday rentals in Europe
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Your guide to Europe
All About Europe
Home to some of the world’s most breathtaking natural scenery and spectacular architecture, the continent of Europe spans almost 4 million square miles. Extending as far as the Arctic Circle in the north to the edge of Africa across the Strait of Gibraltar, the continent is a dense patchwork of cultures and languages. The region’s picturesque terrain includes sunny Mediterranean islands with rugged cliffs and golden, sandy beaches; the towering mountains of the Alps with their white-blanketed ski slopes and craggy glaciers; and the dramatically lacy fjords of Norway’s coastline.
You may be drawn to the continent to wander amid architectural marvels dating back millennia, such as the Parthenon in Athens and the Colosseum in Rome. Perhaps you’re keen on taking in the beauty of sacred sites such as Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, with its vibrantly hued domes, and the ornate spires of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Or perhaps you prefer to contemplate masterworks of art at some of the world’s most prestigious galleries, including the Louvre in Paris, the Uffizi in Florence, and the Prado in Spain. Culinary adventures await at every turn, from hearty Hungarian goulash and German Sauerbraten to sweetly comforting Swedish cinnamon buns and crisp-crusted, creamy-centered Portuguese pasteis de nata.
The best time to stay in a holiday rental in Europe
As it spans such a huge area, Europe experiences a vast difference in weather conditions throughout the year. As the summer months approach, Europe draws visitors to its wealth of coastlines, from surfing hotspots in Portugal to Croatia’s yacht-peppered marinas and the pastel-hued towns of villas clinging to Italian hillsides. Further north, the Scandinavian and Nordic countries are the Land of the Midnight Sun, where there are only a few hours of darkness at night in the weeks surrounding the summer solstice. Spring and autumn are popular times to explore the continent’s major cities, when days are neither too hot nor too cold to wander the streets of Paris or cruise the canals of Amsterdam.
The south of the continent boasts warm temperatures whatever the season, with Malta and the Greek Islands being popular winter destinations. Snow falls over much of the northern two-thirds of the continent, particularly in the higher elevations — you can strap on your skis and head down the slopes in Dolomites and Pyrenees. As December approaches, Christmas markets appear all over Germany and Central Europe, with wooden cabins selling handmade crafts and mulled drinks.
Top things to do in Europe
Home to Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe, the Alps stretch 750 miles through Switzerland, Austria, France, Italy, Germany, and Slovenia. Join in with mountain culture during the winter months by going skiing or snowboarding and warming up with a drink and traditional fondue. In the summer, you can go hiking along the flower-carpeted trails in the region’s national parks and visit ancient castles.
Stretching from Gibraltar in the west to Turkey in the east, the Mediterranean Sea offers rugged seascapes and glittering cities alike. You can relax on the seemingly endless beaches of the Spanish Costa del Sol, the French Riviera, and the Dalmatian Coast. Admire the architecture of ancient civilisations in cities such as Rome, Athens, and Antalya. Set sail to take in the blue waters of the sea, perhaps stopping by the islands of Corsica or Sardinia on your route.
Located on the eastern shoreline of the Baltic Sea, the northern countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are brimming with UNESCO World Heritage sites, particularly in the old towns of Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius. Cultural and architectural treasures stand alongside dense forests, tranquil lakes, and scenic beaches, including the majestic dunes of the Curonian Spit.