Where do our experts recommend you go in these sought-after cities of the north? From château picks to Dubliner favorites, here are our top recommendations and insider tips.
Bordeaux: La Perle d’Aqiutaine
Although no single destination can claim to offer the quintessential best of France, Bordeaux makes even Francophiles question the notion. The UNESCO World Heritage city is a visual feast of ornate buildings, broad avenues and stately squares all accompanied by a renowned gastronomy culture and some of the most coveted wines in the world. Enjoy the surrounding vineyards by sampling the local cabernet sauvignon and merlot – the region is revered by oenophiles as the epicenter of excellence for reds. Stop at Château Margaux and other famed vineyards along Route des Châteaux in the Medoc region. Whichever estate you visit, you’ll experience both impressive cellars and experts that are eager to share their passion for wine making, as well as their exquisite varietals.
Insider Tip | Follow the chefs to Le Marché des Capucins, where you’ll find butchers, fishmongers, fruit, vegetables, flowers – and yes, wine. Moustached vendors and beret-donning shoppers complete the old world French ambiance.
Dublin, Ireland: The Fair City
An ancient city that buzzes with life and is one of Europe’s finest capitals, Dublin is a living museum with medieval castles and 18th-century architectural splendors as well as legendary distilleries and world-famous breweries. Discover some of the best sights during a leisurely cruise along the Liffey River or a walking tour through the charming Georgian squares of Merrion and Fitzwilliam, and by Dublin Castle and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. No visit to the city is complete without experiencing the convivial Dubliner pub culture, so pop into The Brazen Head, dating back to 1198, for a pint and hearty beef-and-Guinness stew. Of course, a tour of the Guinness Storehouse is a must for stout aficionados as is Old Jameson Distillery for whiskey connoisseurs.
Insider Tip | Leave yourself time to wander and savor the atmosphere that makes Dublin so charming. After all, it is the ultimate city for flâneurs – you’ll feel the art of slowing down all around if you pay attention.
St. Petersburg: The Venice of the North
Built on more than a hundred islands in the Neva Delta and connected by canals and bridges, St. Petersburg was once called the “Venice of the North” by Goethe. With so much art, culture and history packed into one canal city, the challenge here is deciding what to do. If you haven’t already, spend some time exploring the vast collection of the Hermitage, one of the world’s finest museums which features European masters such as Renoir, Monet, and Van Gogh. Also visit the elegant pavilions and gardens of Peterhof Palace and the gilded galleries of Catherine Palace. For those looking to get off the beaten path, discover the famed Russian writer’s flat at the Dostoevsky Museum or stroll the Udelnaya Fair to discover a wealth of Soviet ephemera, pre-revolutionary antiques and all things kitsch.
Insider Tip | From late May to early July enjoy the legendary White Nights – luminous midsummer eves when the sun barely sets and you can enjoy wonderful panoramas and the celebratory spirit across the city.
Join us on adventures in Northern Europe and beyond this summer!