Luxury Europe vacations range from pricey motorcoach tours to rambles through the countryside with your rental car, staying in romantic castles and mansions. Your luxury Europe vacations can consist of stays in sophisticated cities or leisurely river cruises. They can involve a great deal of guided sightseeing tours or an extended stay in a single destination allowing visitors to really get to know the local people and customs. Luxury hotels and resorts are easy to find in Europe's top cities, from London to Paris and Rome to Madrid.
Each country and region offers an amazing variety of landscapes and experiences. For example, you may think that luxury vacations in Switzerland include little more than hitting the slopes at some of the most famous jet set ski resorts such as Gstaad, Zermatt, and St. Moritz that have played host to the royalty of the world as well as to the fictional hero James Bond. However, this small Alpine country lies in the geographic center of Western Europe and it is a center for the wealth of the world—it's easily one of the best luxury vacation spots around. Luxury vacations in Switzerland can include a day of cycling through beautiful countryside followed by a stay in an elite spa resort. Grand Victorian hotels line the banks of Lake Geneva. Chateaux and castles dot the countryside, and the lakeside resorts of Locarno, Lugano, and Como on the border with Italy have been favorite destinations of Europe's royalty for centuries. The Medici family had summer palaces here and today George Clooney has an opulent villa here. Many visitors will experience only a taste of luxury vacations in Switzerland during a longer tour of the continent, and this is how most tourists experience the continent—spending a few days in key cities and staying in some of the most historic and most luxurious hotels in the world.
Luxury European travel can also involve a series of scenic rail journeys. It is possible to step aboard a vintage British Pullman car in Victoria Station in London and travel in comfort in a deluxe sleeper car enjoying white glove service in the dining car. Then board the legendary Venice Simplon Orient-Express to travel through Switzerland and disembark in the magical city of Venice. The Orient-Express also travels to Budapest Hungary, Bucharest in Romania, and all the way to Istanbul in Turkey, whose Turquoise Coast is a beautiful spot for luxury beach vacations. Other glamorous trains that provide luxury European travel include the Eurostar, the Danube Express that travels through Germany, Austria, and Eastern Europe, and the Royal Scotsman that travels through the bucolic countryside of Scotland.
Many of the train routes on the continent follow the course of Europe's great rivers, and many luxury Europe vacations are onboard deluxe river cruise ships that ply their waters. A leisurely cruise of a week can take you from Chalon-sur-Soane on the Soane River south through Burgundy and Provence to the picturesque town of Arles beloved by Vincent van Gogh, and finally to a luxury Mediterranean vacation spot such as the glittering Riviera beaches. Or you can embark ship on the Seine River in Paris and cruise north through Normandy to the English Channel. Other luxury European travel on river cruise ships include the Rhine, the continent's longest river. The Rhine allows you to board a ship in the city of Amsterdam, and cruise through Germany and Austria, skirt the border of France, and end in Basel, Switzerland. With the completion of the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal (the original dream of Charlemagne), you can now continue this epic journey through Eastern Europe all the way to the Black Sea. Or you might consider the mighty Volga River in Russia for a luxury cruise vacation sailing from Moscow to St. Petersburg.