You've done Ibiza, clubbed in Mykonos and toured the Florentine museums. Now it's time for something else. We have a few ideas. Whether it's the foodie French city you've not been to, the pine forests of a Croatian island, Portugal in mid-Atlantic or the multicoloured beaches of a Cycladic secret, there's a multitude of European escapes just a few hours' flight away. Oh, and did we mention the most exciting recent museum opening? We've narrowed down the choice to 10 of our favourite European holiday destinations right now. Pack your bags and don't forget to send us a postcard.
10 best European holiday destinations in 2023
Stand by for pink, red and orange beaches that you won't want to leave. For some aficionados, Milos is the only Greek island, truly the jewel of the Cyclades. Volcanic origins bequeathed those beaches and other spectacular sights, white rock formations dazzling against the azure Aegean Sea. Colourful settlements are cut into cliffs, remarkable cultural history includes the iconic marble statue that is the Venus de Milo, now in The Louvre. Unmissable sunsets, too.
An unusually gorgeous capital city, still largely undiscovered by mass tourism. Ljubljana's charm is abundant, not least on the terrace of one of the summer cafes along the Ljubljanica River. Cars are restricted to city centre only, abundant greenery adds to environmental credentials and to Ljubljana's appeal for a citybreak. Culturally, there's the Slovenian minimalist architecture of Jože Plečnik, Ljubljana's great architect, to admire, while plentiful museums include those for modern art, railways, sport - and a brewery museum.
Generally thought of as the quiet cousin of the Mediterranean's Balearic Islands - nothing so uncouth as a 24-hour Ibizan club culture here - Menorca doesn't need to shout about its substantial attractions. Golden beaches are high on the list: you could try a different one every day and still be just at the beginning. Maó and Ciutadella, at each end of the island, are the two appeallingly laidback seaside cities. Travel inland and back in time to experience the island's true rural heart.
Italy, but not as you know it. Sicily has enough going for it to fill several holidays, let alone just the one. You could spent your time in Palermo, the beguiling capital with its cultural attractions, across the island in jetset Taormina which tumbles down the cliffs, ancient Messina with its 12th century cathedral, or in Catania, repeatedly buried under volcanic lava. Above it all, the source of that lava, Mount Etna, still active, vertiginous visit obligatory. Oh, and did we mention the cuisine?
Cooling pine forests to the interior, inviting beaches in secluded coves and picturesque towns along the coastline, Korčula is among the biggest islands of the Dalmation Coast, dotting the Croatian coastline. The narrow streets of Old Town Korčula were designed to protect against winds, while a climb to the top of St Mark's Cathedral's bell tower is rewarded with breathtaking views. Local wines are said to be the best in all Croatia, and a vineyard tour surely beckons.
Headline here is Munch, the towering waterfront museum dedicated to the work of Edvard Munch, recently opened and pulling in the crowds to see 'The Scream' and thousands of other works associated with Norway's finest. Oslo boasts so much more, of course: there's the innovative restaurants and bars of this most liveable of cities, a booming contemporary arts scene, Oslo's many parks - and the nearby islands and waterways of Oslofjord, the city's summer escape.
Wow. Here's the city that literally spans East and West across the Bosporus strait, once known as Constantinople, parts dating back to the sixth century. You're not going to run out of things to do, whether that's marvelling at the multicoloured riches of the Topkapı Palace, taking in the breathtaking Byzantine basilica that is the Aya Sofya, an essential visit to the Blue Mosque - or haggling in the markets. All of that before indulging in the contemporary art galleries, a little light shopping - and some essential Turkish cuisine.
Set where the Rhône and Saône rivers meet, Lyon's past invites with the ancient streets of the Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which includes the Ancient Theatre of Fourvière, France's oldest Roman amphitheatre. You might, though, just go for gastronomic delights, because this is very much a foodie capital. Take your pick of the numerous small bistros or splash out on one of Lyon's many Michelin-starred restaurants, from traditional to cutting edge. All of that before the many museums - from modern art to cinema and design - and a stroll in the Parc de la Tete d’Or, the country's biggest urban park.
The heart of Ireland's second city is on an island in the middle of the River Lee, and that gives a clue to its romance and laidback appeal. Meander along the old alleyways and soak in the atmosphere, before bringing yourself bang up to date in one of the abundance of artisanal coffee bars. Time spent with stories and music in the traditional pubs - finding the craic isn't hard here - is time well spent, while locals maintain the local restaurant scene is the best in all Ireland.
Not so much Portugal as mid-Atlantic, and that of course is the appeal of these nine volcanic islands. There's so much here: the soaring heights of Mount Pico, the highest mountain on Portuguese territory, the take-your-breath-away volcanic lakes of Sete Cidades, the UNESCO-registered 16th century town of Angra do Heroismo on the island of Terceira, the traditions of the many cultural and religious festivals - and those endless walks along the many beaches. Local cuisine vies with cutting edge cooking for your culinary attention.