The best spring holidays for shoppers, golfers, foodies and culture fans

Spring is an incredible time to explore Europe, with the weather warming up and the crowds still manageable. Whether you’re a shopper, golfer, foodie, or culture fan, there are plenty of destinations across the continent that will cater to your interests. In this guide, we’ll highlight some of the best spring holidays for these four types of travellers, including our pick of where to stay for a truly unforgettable break.

Hit a hole-in-one in Co Clare, Ireland

Lahinch Golf Club

For golf enthusiasts, the stunning coastline of County Clare, Ireland, is a must-visit destination. Situated along the Wild Atlantic Way and known for its challenging links courses and out-of-this-world scenery, this region has long been a golfers’ paradise.

One of the most famous courses in County Clare is Lahinch Golf Club, which was founded in 1892 and is home to two courses: the Old Course and the Castle Course. The Old Course, with its rolling dunes and challenging layout, is consistently ranked among the top golf courses in the world. Another popular course is Doonbeg Golf Club, designed by renowned architect Greg Norman, which boasts stunning ocean views and challenging terrain.

After a day on the links, unwind at the luxurious Gregans Castle Hotel. This elegant 18th-century manor house is nestled in the heart of the Burren National Park, a unique limestone landscape that’s home to a variety of rare flora and fauna. The hotel’s spacious rooms and suites are decorated in a classic style with modern amenities, and the on-site restaurant serves delicious cuisine made with locally-sourced ingredients. Not to mention the cosy bar where you can unwind with a pint of Guinness. Gregans Castle Hotel is the perfect place to stay for a golfing getaway of dreams.

Shop till you drop in glamorous Milan

Milan, the fashion capital of Italy, is a haven for shoppers looking for high-end luxury goods, stylish fashion and unique souvenirs. Spring is an especially exciting time to visit Milan as the city is buzzing with new fashion collections and events.

One of the city’s most famous shopping destinations is the Quadrilatero della Moda (Fashion Quadrilateral), which includes Via Monte Napoleone, Via della Spiga, Via Manzoni, and Corso Venezia. Here you will find the flagship stores of some of the world’s most exclusive brands such as Armani, Prada, Versace, and Dolce & Gabbana.

If you’re looking for something more affordable, head to the Brera district, where you’ll find a mix of boutiques, vintage shops and artisanal stores. This charming neighbourhood is also home to several art galleries and cafes, making it a great place to spend an afternoon. For unique souvenirs, head to the Navigli district, where you’ll find a variety of artisanal shops selling everything from handmade leather goods to jewellery and ceramics.

To fully immerse yourself in the world of Milanese fashion, consider staying at the luxurious Grand Hotel et de Milan. This elegant hotel, located in the heart of the city, has been a favourite of illustrious guests such as the movie star Richard Burton and soprano Maria Callas. The hotel features elegant rooms and suites, a Michelin-starred restaurant, and a gorgeous lounge bar – a five-star option for your next stylish shopping adventure.

Indulge in some retail therapy in Tuscany

Tuscany is known for its stunning landscapes, rich history, and world-renowned art and culture. However, it’s also a great destination for shopping, with a wide variety of traditional crafts, high-quality leather goods, and designer boutiques.

One of the best places to shop in Tuscany is Florence, which is known for its leather products, jewellery, and high-end fashion. Head to the Ponte Vecchio, a historic bridge lined with shops selling gold and silver jewellery, and visit the San Lorenzo Market for leather goods and other artisanal products. For designer brands, check out the boutiques in the city centre, including Gucci, Prada, and Salvatore Ferragamo.

If you’re looking for more unique shopping experiences, head to the smaller towns and villages throughout Tuscany. Visit the town of Montepulciano for its famous Vino Nobile wine and the charming town of San Gimignano for its local saffron and ceramics.

After a day of shopping, relax and unwind at the Palazzo Tiglio in the picturesque town of Bucine, an hour from Florence. This luxurious hotel, located in a restored 16th-century palace, offers elegant rooms and suites with traditional Tuscan decor and modern amenities. The hotel also features an on-site restaurant serving delicious cuisine made with locally-sourced ingredients, a swimming pool surrounded by a garden, and a spa offering a range of relaxing treatments. And you don’t have to travel to beautiful Florence to get your shopping fix.

Just a 15-minute car drive from Palazzo Tiglio is the SPACE outlet, the only official PRADA factory outlet in Tuscany. And, if you are looking for more high-end luxury brands, take a 30-minute car drive to the MALL, which is the biggest luxury outlet in Europe. Here you’ll find brands like Gucci, Burberry, Dior, Ferragamo, Armani, Tods, and hundreds more. The same distance is Valdichiana outlet Village, which offers many mid-range brands like Nike and Champion.

Savour local delicacies in Lisbon

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is famous for its vast array of mouthwatering food options. From fresh seafood and buttery pastries, there is something for every taste in this vibrant city. Lisbon has a rich history of exploration and trade, which has influenced its culinary traditions. One of the best ways to experience the city’s food culture is by taking a food tour. There are lots to choose from and a great way to explore the city’s best restaurants and most authentic markets.

One of the must-try seafood dishes in Lisbon is octopus, grilled to perfection it’s a local favourite. Don’t miss trying a bifana sandwich, a pork sandwich and a popular street snack. For those with a sweet tooth, indulge in plenty of pastel de natas during, a delicious pastry filled with custard. You can find these pastries in bakeries all over the city, but the most famous place to try them is Pasteis de Belem.

When it comes to where to stay in Lisbon, the Hotel Britania is a superb option. This charming hotel is located in the heart of the city, and it has a vintage decor that reflects the Art Deco style of the 1940s. The hotel also has a restaurant that serves traditional Portuguese cuisine – bliss for the food lover.

Culture vultures in Strasbourg

For those seeking a cultural adventure, the beautiful city of Strasbourg, located in the Alsace region of France, is a perfect choice. Known for its stunning architecture, picturesque canals, and rich history, Strasbourg offers a unique blend of French and German cultures.

Le Petit France district

One of the city’s most popular attractions is the stunning Strasbourg Cathedral, a gothic masterpiece that took over 300 years to complete. Visitors can climb to the top of the cathedral for breathtaking views of the city and surrounding countryside.

Another must-visit attraction is the Petite France district, a charming neighbourhood of winding canals, half-timbered houses, and quaint shops and cafes. The district is particularly beautiful in the spring when the flowers are in bloom.

Art lovers will also appreciate the extensive collection at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Strasbourg, which houses work by renowned artists such as Rubens, Goya, and Monet.

To fully experience the city’s charm, it’s recommended to stay in the heart of the old town. The Hotel le Bouclier D’or is a beautiful boutique hotel located in a 16th-century building, offering luxurious rooms and suites decorated in a contemporary style with traditional accents. The hotel also boasts a charming courtyard, perfect for enjoying a glass of wine or coffee after a day of exploring the city – the perfect base for a cultural adventure in Strasbourg.


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