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Summer Getaways in Europe

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/7/2006 | Travel
Europe is a great continent to visit for your summer vacation getaway. It has high mountains with ski resorts, it has old cities with lots of history, it has castles and luscious plains inviting tourists for a walking tour, and cultural heritages ranging back to prehistoric times.

If you are interested in remains of prehistoric artifacts, you must go to see the paleolithic art in the underground Lascaux caves in France or the caves of Altamira in Northern Spain with their stone age paintings of bisons, horses, deer and boars. In fact, Altamira has been called the Sistine Chapel of prehistory.

For that matter, you can stuff prehistory and go for the Sistine Chapel itself, at the Vatican. Within the rich cultural surroundings of the ancient city of Rome, you may discover the consolations of art. Italy is culturally one of the richest countries in the whole world, with history since the Roman times coexisting with modernity at close quarters. Florence has some of the best sculptures and architecture in the whole of Europe, being the high center of Italian culture during the Renaissance. Venice with its boats or the rich culture of Milan could prove a great getaway this vacation.

In fact, compared to Italy, only France could probably compete in its richness of tradition and culture. The most sparsely populated country in Europe, France is an ideal getaway from your hustle bustle life. You can visit the Louvre and be soaked in art, or visit a vineyard and get soaked in the finest wines in the world. Many vineyards have their own guest houses to service theme tourists.

In case you are really more interested in nature than culture, what better place to be in than in Europe with its distinctive nature vacation spots. The alps ranges stretch roughly 1200 km in Europe with their breathtaking valleys and snow sport resorts. You can spend time in the idyllic and beautiful surroundings of the Swiss Alps if you like. Or you can ski and snowboard to your heart's content if you are the sport loving kind.

Amsterdam in Holland is another likely destination this year, because it's the fourth centenary of the birth of Rembrandt, the famous Dutch painter of the Renaissance. Amsterdam has prepared well to spend the year in celebrating the event. There will be Rembrandt merchandise you can collect as mementos, there will be food and there will be exhibitions of paintings. An ideal getaway into old world charm. A lot of agencies and airlines are actually planning trips to Amsterdam for the benefit of art lovers. Two musicals regarding the love life and creative drive of Rembrandt have been prepared. A total of a quarter million tourists are expected in Amsterdam to celebrate the painter's birth this year.

If you like the old world charm but would rather spend more time in seclusion with your family than move about looking at cultural artifacts, you can look at options for staying in European castles. Once upon a time, the castles were exclusively for royalty, commoners were not admitted. But the dollar is the strongest currency in the market and a lot of castles have opened up their customized service for tourists who want their summer getaway to be of the most regal kind. Imagine living like a medieval knight or a Renaissance lord!