Copenhagen | Cyprus | Iceland | Istanbul | Lapland | Lisbon | Madrid | Malta | Marbella | Monte Carlo, Monaco | Rome | Saint Petersburg | Salzburg | Sardinia | Seville | Venice | Vienna
Amsterdam to Zurich
With such a vast range of countries and cultures there is an endless number of destinations to suit your needs.
A one thousand year history written by ambitious kings, inspirational artists and celebrated designers awaits you in the medieval streets, 17th-Century canals and modernist architecture of Copenhagen.
From its origin as a humble fishing village, to its heyday as the glittering capital of the Danish Empire, to its current position as one of the world’s premier design capitals and Scandinavia’s pre-eminent city, the stories and characters of Copenhagen’s history are there to be discovered in its sumptuous palaces, copper-roofed town houses and atmospheric cobbled squares.
Though Copenhagen never stands still, it always has time to appreciate its past. With a past as rich and fascinating as this, that’s hardly a surprise.
There is a beautiful island in the eastern Mediterranean where golden beaches dip invitingly into crystal clear waters. Rightly acclaimed as one of Europe’s superior destinations it offers a formidable combination of stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage and an attractive climate, year round. Add to this the ease of accessibility; the highest standards of accommodation and the natural warmth of the people and you have Cyprus, a fascinating island ideal for a conference or incentive.
Cyprus is the hottest, driest island in the Mediterranean enjoying more sunshine than any other Mediterranean resort – typically 340 days of sunshine a year. The rainy season is from November to March, with most of the rain falling between December and February. The sea is warm from the end of May until October.
Often described as the land of ice and fire, Iceland has some of the worlds most dramatic and unspoiled scenery. The relatively mild climate means that Iceland has areas of lush grass and first time visitors are taken aback by the arresting beauty of some of Europe’s most powerful waterfalls. Because the majority of people do not know much about the island, this gives it an exclusive, mysterious appeal, attracting companies looking for something different.
Iceland can offer a wide range of activities, from gentle to more strenuous, in stunning settings. Although most groups tend to be based in Reykjavik, exploring the island is relatively easy with regular internal flights and traffic free roads. Reykjavik is crammed with superb restaurants, large and small, providing a full range of cosmopolitan cuisine. Although not an inexpensive destination the experience is really worth every penny. There is fresh clean air everywhere in the country, even in the capital Reykjavik, a smokeless city heated entirely by geothermal water.
A very important factor in choosing Iceland is that a high percentage of the participants will either not have visited Iceland or would not have considered the country as a possible destination.
They eye each other sleepily across the seductive blue sweep of the Bosphorus: one country – two continents. As different as night and day, the only thing they have in common is the miraculous mirage that is Istanbul – a hotchpotch skyline of sensually shaped mosques and minaret scattered across seven hills.
Istanbul, the real Turkish Delight, is a mixture of old and new, where East meets West. An exciting combination, containing the splendors of the Ottoman past together with all the modern amenities of a wide variety of International deluxe 5-star hotels. The commercial and business centre of Turkey, Istanbul, embraces the two continents of Europe and Asia. This ancient city’s unparalleled combination of historical sights, endless opportunities for entertainment and state-of-the-art conference facilities makes it the ideal incentive destination.
Istanbul enjoys four seasons with hot, dry Summers and pleasantly warm Spring and Autumn. Winters are cold but snow is rare.
The joy of Finland is that it has all the sophistication that the visitor would expect from any major destination together with its great forests and thousands of lakes, which make it the last great wilderness in Western Europe. Effectively it is two countries superbly blended into one.
Situated in the Northeast, Finland is one of the most northerly countries in Europe. One third of the country is north of the Arctic Circle, although because of the proximity of the Gulf Stream and the effect of the Baltic Sea, the climate is milder than in any other countries on the same latitude. It’s other half is Lapland in the north of the country, a huge and heterogeneous area that forms it’s own exotic region. Lapland has several national parks and nature reserves, vast highlands and the second largest lake in Finland, all of which contribute to give it the largest wilderness in Europe.
Most Finns speak a little English and many are impressively fluent. Finnish is the mother tongue although 6% are also Swedish speaking. In Lapland the language is Lapp, spoken by the minority Sami population.
Although menus tend to be international, there are some Finnish specialities that should definitely be tried, including reindeer, whitefish, sprats, herring, crayfish and, in the autumn, a variety of wild game.
Over the past few years Lisbon has become the new destination in Western Europe. A mix of vibrant blue and white azulejos (painted tiles), cobble-stoned laneways, wildly extravagant Manueline architecture, melancholy Fado singing and more than a touch of the medieval. Elegant, pretty and with an appetite for life, Lisbon nestles against seven hills on the north side of the Rio Tejo or Tagus River. Many of the city’s attractions are within walking distance of each other in the central city area and there are restaurants, pastelarias and outdoor cafes everywhere. With a temperate climate, Lisbon is an all-season destination but spring (late April to June) and early autumn (late September and October) offer the most pleasant weather.
… And from Madrid straight to heaven…
Vitality and character that will soon have you hooked.
This is Spain’s headiest city, where the revealing lasts long into the night and life is seized with the teeth and both hands. Strangers quickly become friends, passion blooms in an instant, and visitors are swiftly addicted to the city’s charms.
With a triad of truly great art museums that includes the world known Prado Museum, and buildings like the King’s Palace that span the centuries, plus lively plazas, mighty boulevards and neighbourhoods brimming with character, Madrid has plenty of sights to keep the eyes, ears and mind occupied.
Perfectly situated in the middle of the Mediterranean, Malta offers a dry, warm climate all year round. The winter months offer a perfect climate for a break away from it all and an ideal time for enjoying the outdoors and surrounding countryside.
The beauty of Malta lies within its size with everything close at hand which allows for a complete change of scenery in minutes. These tiny islands are packed with adventure. A wide range of activities, places of interest and fabulous sights, offer every visitor the opportunity to explore their own domain without travelling far.
In recent years, Malta has welcomed the addition of an impressive selection of luxurious international hotels, offering the best in quality, service and facilities. Excellent food, comfortable surroundings and highly trained staff all enhance the comfort and enjoyment of your stay.
Widely acknowledged as one of the finest luxury tourist locations, Marbella plays host to unrivalled attractions. Games rooms and Casinos abound, including the world renowned Nueva Andalucia, where visitors may rub shoulders with international stars and celebrities. Superior hotels boast luxury accommodation and facilities: golf courses offer challenges to even the most dedicated of players; and the three marinas of Marbella, Cabo Pino and Puerto Banus attract the patronage of some of the most prestigious sailing craft from across the globe.
A wealth of top–class restaurants serve highly-acclaimed cuisine. There is an incredible selection of choice, some with Michelin guide stars to the local Chiringuitos serving traditional fish and seafood dishes.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Monaco, and specifically Monte Carlo, the millionaires’ playground, has the enviable reputation for being one of the most exclusive destinations in the world. The sights in Casino Square, where every car is a Ferrari, Porsche, Rolls Royce or Mercedes are bettered only by a visit to the Marina to witness the magnificent yachts, or up to the mountains by helicopter, giving spectacular views over the principality of Monaco.
This is the playground of the seriously rich and famous, Michael Schumacher, Mick Jagger, Bill Gates, Barbara Streisand and Boris Becker all have houses here and regularly rub shoulders with the Royal family. There is not really ever a bad time to visit Monaco although spring and autumn are usually best to avoid the summer tourists!
Rome is a fantastic City to visit full of history, art and culture, from Roman times to the present day. There is so much history and such variety that it would be impossible to mention all of it here but famous sights include the Coliseum, a masterpiece of classical architecture, the Forum, once the political and commercial centre of ancient Rome, St. Peter Basilica, the largest church in the world located in the Vatican City, the Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel, the Pantheon, a spectacular temple built in 27BC and the world famous Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain.
However, Rome has several different personalities: ancient Rome’s with its incredible ruins, religious Rome with it’s beautiful churches and modern Rome with its fashionable boutiques and countless street cafés which ensures you need go no further on your free leisure day than the city itself!
Rome is renowned for its choice of restaurants, which offer a wide variety serving both traditional Italian cuisine together with International dishes. Vegetarians are also well catered for with the traditional pasta style dishes.
Known to the world as the “Northern Capital of Russia” and the “the Venice of the North”, St Petersburg is the greatest marvel of Russia’s past and present. Virtually unharmed by the 1930-50’s Stalinist reconstruction, St. Petersburg dazzles the eye of a visitor with numerous architectural landmarks, museums, palaces, parks, wide avenues, spectacular bridges and stylish monuments.
Relatively young, if judged by European or Russian standards, St Petersburg was founded in 1703 and has a rich and exciting history filled with myths and legends. When it was nine years old it became the capital of Russia and retained this status till 1918. Created by Peter the Great as a seaport on the Baltic it was essentially “a window to the West” for Russia, combining the best of the West and the East.
St Petersburg weather is variable but being on the Baltic Sea the climate is milder compared to that of the more inland areas of Russia. The winters are long with an average temperature of -6.9°C, but -20°C is not unusual, and the snow has normally melted by mid-April. Summers vary but the average temperatures are around 20-25°C with July being the hottest month. September is usually pleasantly warm but by mid October is it becoming chilly with the snow returning towards the end of November.
Since time in memorial the salt, which gave both the city and the province their name, has been mined in this region. The province comprises part of the Limestone Alps, the western part of the Salzkammergut with its lakes, the eastern Kitzbühler Alps, the northern part of the Hohe Tauern range and the western area of the Niedere Tauern.
The provincial capital, Salzburg is the seat of the provincial government and also of the Archbishop of Salzburg. As the former home of Mozart in the years after 1945 this city became a major destination for international tourism and the historic city centre has been preserved as a work of art in its own right.
Costa Smeralda is the name given to the area of land in the north-east of Sardinia, owned by the founding members of the Consorzio Costa Smeralda, an association dedicated to the protection and tasteful development of the countryside. The name was inspired by the striking colour of the surrounding sea and refers to 55 km of coastline, which includes some wonderful beaches interspersed with tranquil bays and rocky inlets.
Porto Cervo is the hub of the Costa Smeralda and the centre of its social life. This village has a variety of boutiques, bars, restaurants and nightclubs. The Port itself has a capacity for 650 boats and is one of the best equipped yachting harbours in the Mediterranean.
If you come to Sardinia you do so for the beaches, the wonderful sea and the sporting activities.
Not just the capital, Sevilla is the regent queen of Andalusia: imperial, majestic, encrusted with monuments and teeming with life. Andalusia matches its myths in Sevilla, where women model themselves on Bizet’s sultry Carmen and men aspire to the grace of matadors. Power and glory are manifest in the Alcázar and the Plaza de España, implicit in the quiet halls of a Carthusian monastery and elegant gardens of Parque de María Luisa.Sevilla grew fat on the gold of the New World and stylish from the attentions of the Bourbon nobility. Yet some of its finest surprises – a beautiful church, a hidden garden or the golden notes of a sevillana tune – lurk in the old port district of Triana, the medieval maze of Santa Cruz and the working-class streets of Macarena.
If Venice seems to be a world unto itself, it’s not surprising. For 1,100 years it was its own nation, a city-state of merchants whose every political move was calculated for material gain. Crusades were launched from here or squelched; Venetians like Marco Polo were instrumental in opening pathways to Asia and the New World. Leaders called doges, abetted by a handful of powerful families, ruled the republic from a fabulous palace overflowing with artwork, aristocracy and intrigue.
Venice’s power faded in the 1800’s, as other nations assumed seafaring superiority. But although today it is part of Italy, in other ways it remains apart. Maybe it’s the unusual layout of the place, spread over the 118 islands of an archipelago in the Adriatic Sea. Instead of streets, Venice has canals; instead of cars, gondolas. Four hundred bridges cross the 177 waterways that wind through the city. The Grand Canal is still the chief thoroughfare, and those who make their way by land do so on foot.
The summers in Venice are hot with the average temperature in July and August of 27°C with an average of 9-10 hours of sunshine. The winters can be cold when temperatures fall to around 2°C-3°C between November and January. Occasional heavy showers and thunderstorms occur in late Spring and early Summer.
Vienna’s compact historic centre is a treasure trove of secular and sacred gems, from the famous cafés and grand Habsburg palaces to the magnificent Gothic cathedral at its heart. Vienna (Wien) is a world-famous metropolis that has never quite shed its provincial image. Even when it was the administrative centre for an empire of more than 50 million subjects, Johannes Brahms remarked that he lived in Vienna because he could work well only in a village.
Of its many contradictions, Vienna’s ability to be profoundly conservative and extraordinarily progressive at the same time is something that stands out: you see it in the architectural mix of Baroque and Gothic with Secession, Jugendstil and now ecological postmodern; and in the attitudes of the people, scornful of innovation but demanding the most sophisticated modern infrastructure. This can be summed up in the Viennese tram, a means of transport abolished in many other cities, but here reborn in the 1990’s when sleek, futuristic wagons, replacing the old models, began to carry people through the traffic jams reliably and in comfort.