As summer approaches, many travellers are ready to get out into the world and explore as many new destinations as possible. The best way to get from point A to point B? On four wheels.
There’s nothing like a road trip to immerse you in new places – half the fun of travel is in the journey. You’ll discover spectacular vistas, charming towns, thriving arts scenes, historic architecture and delicious local flavours as you connect with friends and family, going at your own pace to make the most of the trip.
This season, embark on a European escape, with curated itineraries to make the journey to your Four Seasons destination more enjoyable. Here, Four Seasons experts share the landmarks, flavours and photo opportunities you won’t want to miss along the way.
England’s capital city is an exciting blend of rich history and trend-setting scenes, offering everything from the finest food to the most stylish fashions. Explore iconic landmarks like the Tower of London and Tower Bridge – just steps from Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square – or discover some of the world’s most prestigious shopping on Savile Row, only a short stroll from Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane. See the city in a new light on a luxury private tour by car, or set sail for an exhilarating boat ride on the Thames River – the ideal backdrop for Instagram-worthy photos. You’ll feel like British royalty with exclusive access to some of the city’s palaces and museums, or wander through a picturesque Royal Park to find the perfect spot for a picnic, prepared by the team at Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane. The royal treatment continues as the sun sets: Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square can arrange a private viewing of the stunning Crown Jewels collection at the Tower of London, complete with aperitifs and canapés on Tower Green as the Chief Yeoman Warder shares stories about the tower’s dramatic history.
WORTH A DETOUR: Want to get out of the city for a bit? Take a day trip to the British countryside, where you can wander through lush gardens, ride the rolling hills of Hampshire on horseback or explore picturesque Highclere Castle, where the owner – the eighth Countess of Carnarvon – will lead you on a private tour of the estate’s art, architecture and antiques.
Discover the scenic mountains and medieval villages that dot the Iberian Peninsula as you drive between Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon and Four Seasons Hotel Madrid. The six-hour drive will take you through centuries of history and UNESCO World Heritage sites – Evora, home to Neolithic monuments and an ancient Roman temple, and Toledo, whose historic quarter contains some of Spain’s oldest religious buildings. In search of a real taste of each city? Plan a stop on Lisbon’s coast to savour the Bulhao Pato clams – clams steamed in a rich broth of herbs, lemon and white wine. Once in Madrid, ask the Concierge to direct you to one of the city’s tablaos for a high-energy flamenco performance. The Hotel can even arrange private lessons if you’d like to learn the Andalusian dance.
WORTH A DETOUR: A saying in Portugal’s Alentejo region is that “even time takes its time.” Here, indigenous grape varieties are grown under 3,000 hours of annual sunshine before they’re aged to perfection in French barrels. Follow the Wine Route signs through olive groves and the world’s largest cork oak forest, and pick up a bottle or two from one of the many vineyards. Then stop in a charming town – Portalegre, Nisa, Marvão, Castelo de Vide or Alter do Chão – for a bite to eat.
The City of Lights is a feast for the senses: Beautiful scenery, chic fashions, delicious dishes. Explore them all, with Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris as your ideal home base. Cruise the River Seine on a private boat ride, then window-shop as you make your way back to the Hotel along the city’s famed Champs-Élysées. Unwind with a Michelin-starred dinner from Chef Christian Le Squer’s Twenty Years of Excellence menu at Le Cinq, honouring the award-winning chef’s dedication to elegant and modern French cuisine, before toasting your time together on a rooftop terrace overlooking the Eiffel Tower.
WORTH A DETOUR: During your stay in Paris, take a day trip to Maison Belle Époque, the iconic residence of the founders of Perrier-Jouët. Home to the largest private collection of French art nouveau in Europe – and some of the oldest champagne vintages in the world – the house is opening its doors exclusively to Four Seasons guests. Tour the historic villa and its cellars, savour lunch in the gardens, and visit the vineyard before returning to Paris – or opt to spend the night at the maison, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Fall in love with these romantic riverside cities – just a day apart – as you marvel at their architecture, culture and old-world charm: Explore historic castles, sip surprising varietals at local wineries, and discover centuries-old craftsmanship and tradition. In Budapest, the Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest can arrange a private tour of the archabbey, winery and botanical herb garden at Pannonhalma, Hungary’s oldest abbey and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Near Prague, discover the centuries-old tradition of Bohemia crystal glass-making during a tour of the world-famous Rückl glassworks, arranged by Four Seasons Hotel Prague – you’ll even have the chance to cut or blow a glass object yourself.
WORTH A DETOUR: See Budapest’s Eastern mystique and old-world elegance in a new light: As the sun sets, sail down the Danube River in a Venetian-style speedboat, a glass of champagne in hand. The excursion ends with a “James Bond moment” as the boat picks up speed, whisking you away into the night.
Perched on both sides of the Bosphorus and lined with the cobbled streets, palaces, mosques and remnants of the Ottoman Empire sits the captivating city of Istanbul. Set out from Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus and explore the rich history and culture of the City on Seven Hills: Start in the harbourside Karaköy neighbourhood – an up-and-coming district home to some of the city’s best art galleries, Turkish bakeries and boutiques, surrounded by Ottoman-era buildings. Then make your way at sunset to the 14th-century Galata Tower, where Ottoman scientist Hezârfen Ahmet Çelebi reportedly used artificial wings to make the first sustained unpowered flight in the 1630s. It was once the highest point in the city and still offers 360-degree views of the streets below – breathtaking when bathed in the rosy glow of the setting sun.
WORTH A DETOUR: Travel back in time in the Sultanahmet neighbourhood, in the oldest part of the city. Visit the iconic Hagia Sophia, a converted mosque that was once the Byzantium era’s largest cathedral and seat of the Holy Roman Emperor, where you’ll uncover hidden mosaics. Next stop: The Blue Mosque, constructed between 1609 and 1616 and filled with tiles in different shades of cobalt. For a refreshing break, dive into the underground Basilica Cistern, the largest freshwater source in Istanbul and surrounded by 336 marble pillars.
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Where will the road take you on your next adventure?