Concierge Recommends: Europe Uncovered
Let us show you Europe as you've never seen it before. The ultimate insiders, our team of concierges have curated these custom experiences just for you.
The City of Light earns its name during the holiday season. Districts throughout Paris decorate with glittering lights, but the most enchanting of all is the 8th arrondissement. Hundreds of thousands of people travel to see the stunning lights that cover the 200 trees along the Avenue des Champs Élysées, from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde.
Add this to your list of events worth travelling for in 2014: the Musée d’Orsay will host a not-to-be-missed exhibit of 30 van Gogh paintings, along with drawings and letters, from mid-March to early-July.
Chocolate lovers simply can't miss @Four Seasons Hotel Milano's Chocolate Room, which opens each year under a different theme. Renamed the "Chic"olate Room in September 2013 for its current fashion theme, the room currently features over 120 kilograms of chocolate-as-art.
There’s a reason that Somerset House is London's favourite ice rink year after year. Situated on the Thames, this Neoclassical building offers a truly magical skating experience - especially at night.
In addition to rolling hills and scenic outlooks in Lavaux, the 30-kilometre (19-mile) stretch of Swiss wine country is also speckled with quaint villages to explore.
What better place to ice-skate than in the snow-covered Swiss Alps? Natural and artificial rinks can be found at the centre of Zermatt, an Alpine village near the base of the Matterhorn, which is one of the highest peaks in Europe.
Romania’s Transfagarasan Road is a high-altitude thrill ride. Literary (and vampire) fans will also enjoy passing by Poenari Castle, the former residence of the infamous prince Vlad III, who served as the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula.
One of the world's best road trips is unarguably Italy's Amalfi Coast. With soaring bluffs and charming hillside villages, the Amalfi Coast provides a challenging drive peppered with unforgettable cultural experiences.
A trip to Dublin's Gravity Bar at the famous Guinness Storehouse is an absolute must for beer lovers. With unobstructed 360-degree city views and a fresh pint of Guinness in hand, you'll truly be on top of the world.
A sunken palace, Istanbul's Basilica Cistern is the largest of several hundred to lie beneath its city - visiting is a mystifying and magical experience.
Become a truffle hunter for the day at @Four Seasons Hotel Firenze. This gastronomic experience begins in the fields and continues with a gourmet dinner with a truffle menu designed by Executive Chef Vito Mollica.
Shirvanshahs' Palace, built in the XV century, is an Azerbaijanian architectural gem. Situated on top of the hills of Icheri Sheher, this Baku fortress begs to be explored.
For the best traditional Czech cuisine, head to Prague's U Modré Kachničky (Little Blue Duck). This romantic restaurant offers a variety of local dishes prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Their specialty? Duck, of course.
Try an ice cream sundae topped with Turkish Delight at Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet for a tasty twist on a traditional treat.
The Hungarian State Opera House is all yours with this "once-in-a-lifetime" dinner experience available through @Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest. Enjoy a private gourmet meal in the middle of the grand stage, with world-class performers to entertain you while you eat.
In St Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum, it’s easy to drift into a dreamscape, to be overtaken by this mysterious palace of a bygone era, once home to Catherine the Great, Alexander I and Russia’s last tsar, Nicholas II.
Look up! The dramatic domes of St. Petersburg's Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood gleam against the city skyline.
Thirsty in Dublin? Stop into the Vintage Cocktail Club in the Temple Bar district for a pre-dinner drink. The modern-day speakeasy is noted for its Moscow Mule, a classic ginger beer and vodka concoction.
Alba, Italy’s famous white truffle—or “Alba Madonna”—is one of the world’s rarest and most expensive. On Saturdays and Sundays from mid-October to mid-November, the finest chefs and culinary insiders flock to the small town for the Alba International White Truffle Fair.
In Grasse, France, the heart of the world’s perfume country, perfumery is an art form that involves the power of scent and the alchemy of memory.
Insider tip: The Vatican’s Simonetti staircase is open to the Greek Cross room each morning. If you’re visiting early enough, you can descend the spiral staircase and walk straight through to the Sistine Chapel to see it almost empty.
Istanbul's Topkapi Palace once housed the Ottoman Sultans and functioned as its own city. Take a stroll through the opulent grounds and look for parrots flitting among the tree branches overhead.
Sitting atop a skyscraper on the edge of Milan, Unico Restaurant is Michelin-starred chef Fabio Baldassere's love note to high-end cuisine. Book the table inside the kitchen and watch the chefs chop, glaze and braise with finesse.
If you want a once-in-a-lifetime operatic experience, look no further than Germany's annual Bayreuth Festival. But be warned: Tickets to this coveted event celebrating the works of Richard Wagner (and only Wagner) are notoriously hard to come by.
While exploring Geneva's Quartier des Grottes neighbourhood, look at the buildings at 23 to 29 Rue Louis Favre. Constructed between 1982 and 1984 by three unconventional architects, the Gaudi-style cartoon-esque structures are hard to overlook.