Revisiting the Old Classics, Discovering the New Europe: Part I

By Maria Cartwright

From the Portuguese island of Madeira, in the Atlantic Ocean and west of North Africa, to the city of Lisbon, to newly rediscovered Porto, to the Balearic Islands including elegant Palma and wild Ibiza to historic Biarritz and culinary San Sebastian in northern Spain – these are a few of the destinations you can experience while traveling to Europe.

Europe has newly renovated boutique hotels, exciting new museums featuring the classics, naïve and contemporary styles, as well as street art, always a magnet for the locals and visitors alike.   The new classic restaurants with quirky decor, exuberant colors in eclectic settings feature a fresh understanding of cooking, with talented chefs, innovative menus working with natural ingredients, local herbs and seasonal products, thus re-creating the old classics for today’s foodies.

On my recent visit to Madeira, the “Flower Island of the Atlantic,” it was an idyllic 82 degrees, as it is all year round. Without doubt Madeira’s flora is one of the main tourist attractions on the island…it is a holiday destination that has so much to offer. In addition to the stunning views, Funchal’s famous cuisine and relaxing promenades, the opportunities are endless. Choose from walking, hiking, sailing, dolphin and whale watching, scuba, big game fishing, canoeing and surfing. This small island in the Atlantic really is where Europe blends with the Tropics.

Stay: Hotel Ritz Palace

Visit: The Tropical Gardens

Eat: Armazem do Sal

Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in Western Europe with a history that stretches back to the Celts. This is a vibrant city named UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. With its idyllic location, Lisbon features great restaurants and newly renovated hotels, combined with world class shopping. A visit to nearby Sintra is simply a must. This old Moorish city has been the summer residence of the Portuguese kings and European aristocracy for more than 600 years. The main attractions are the historical sights, the National Palace, and the Castelo de Pena with a 270 hectare garden.

Stay: Olisippo Lapa Palace

Visit: Sata Justa Lift, Belem Tower

Eat: Laurentina

(Be sure to find Part 2, with more destinations, in the September Sasee!)

About this writer

  • Maria Cartwright

    Maria Cartwright was born in Madrid, Spain, and has been a resident of Pawleys Island for the past 26 years. She is the proud owner of Premier Tours and Travel which is located in Pawleys Island, tailoring exclusive and adventure travel for the most discerning clients. For more information about the above destinations and other sites, please visit our website:

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