Monday, January 02, 2006

Best of European Travel 2005

After six months crisscrossing Europe with kids in tow, we’ve seen the inside of a lot of hotel rooms. We’ve endured drunken, singing neighbors rolling merrily home at 2am. We’ve had major trucking routes located less than 50 ft from our shaking headboards. We’ve spent bleary wee morning hours tracking down crafty mosquitoes.

Mostly, however, we have also gotten to enjoy exquisite resort settings across all of Europe. From these, here are our personal favorite spots for 2005.

· Most beautiful spot in Europe: Wengen, Switzerland, Near Interlocken, Hotel Caprice ( Looking across a deep valley at a waterfall that tumbles straight down over 1,000 feet, hiking across a carpet of flowers masquerading as an alpine meadow, listening to the oddly soothing clonking of the cow bells. Not coincidentally, this was also the most expensive spot we stayed.
· Best summer resort for kids in Europe: Lech, Austria. Austria, Lech, Near Innsbruck, Hotel Omesberg ( Almost as beautiful as Wengen and much more kid friendly. A lovely place to rent bikes, hike everywhere or just drop the kids off at a local soccer clinic and spend the morning drinking coffee and munching pastries.
· Best agro-turismo in Italy: Locanda Rossati ( A working farm with an excellent kitchen and a luxury swimming pool, where the kids can pick raspberries in the morning, lay around the pool all day and milk the cows at night. Close to the gorgeous hill town of Orvieto in Tuscany.
· Best ski chalet in the Alps: Chalet Chardon, Val d’Isere. We spent an incredibly pampered week here in a luxurious catered chalet with exquisite food, a delightful staff and panoramic views of the mountains. Only recommendation would be to come later in the season, late-January or February, when more of the mountain is open for off-piste skiing.