After a year of uncertainty, 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 – after all, half the fun of travel comes from the detours. Linger in wine country, savour authentic local dishes and connect with new people, going at your own pace to make the most of your journey.
This season, embark on a European escape, with curated itineraries to guide you from one drivable Four Seasons destination to the next. Here, Four Seasons experts share the landmarks, flavours and photo opportunities you won’t want to miss along the way.
Experience the best of city and country life in one journey. Explore London’s vibrant West End, just steps from Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane, or the historic landmarks near Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square in the heart of the city, and then escape to the green hills and outdoor adventure of Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire. After a day spent shopping London’s Savile Row boutiques, change it up at Royal Botanic Gardens in leafy Richmond – the beautifully landscaped gardens make the perfect setting for photos and family fun or a romantic stroll. You’ll be refreshed and ready for horseback riding and croquet in Hampshire.
WORTH A DETOUR: “Make a detour to Titchfield Vineyard to discover the process behind the wine we serve at the Hotel’s Wild Carrot restaurant,” says Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire Sommelier Sandro Mezzapelle. “The sheltered estate, near the Solent strait, is the perfect setting to taste their wines. Be sure to sample their cheese platter – I recommend pairing it with a wine from their Rondo variety.”
Discover the scenic mountains and medieval villages that dot the Iberian Peninsula as you drive between Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon and the new Four Seasons Hotel Madrid. The six-hour drive will take you through centuries of history – explore UNESCO World Heritage sites in Evora, one of Portugal’s oldest cities and home to Neolithic monuments and an ancient Roman temple, and Toledo, whose historic quarter contains some of Spain’s oldest religious buildings. To truly get a taste of each city, try local delicacies like the Bulhao Pato clams served on Lisbon’s coast, and tap your foot to the fast rhythm of a flamenco performance in one of Madrid’s tablaos.
WORTH A DETOUR: “The tiny walled town of Reguengos de Monsaraz, high above the River Guadiana, is straight out of a medieval fairy tale,” says Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon Head Concierge Luis Miguel. “Make sure you visit Mizette, a small shop that sells colourful blankets and shawls woven according to local traditions.”
Take the longer mountain road between Four Seasons Hotel Megève and Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Geneva to indulge in all the French Alps have to offer: spectacular mountain landscapes, refreshing lake vistas and Old World charm. While in Megève, breathe in the fresh Alpine air as you hike or e-bike through green pastures and among tall pine trees – or amp up your adventure with a helicopter tour over the snow-capped peaks. In Geneva, add another hike with a trip to the summit of Mont Salève – you have your choice of trails, some more challenging than others – or take to the water and try paddleboarding or a private cruise on Lake Geneva.
WORTH A DETOUR: “I recommend a stop in Talloires or in Annecy’s beautiful lakeside Jardins de l’Europe near Pont des Amours,” says Head Concierge Assistant Benjamin Gartner at Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Geneva. “On Tuesday, Friday or Sunday, stop at the local market near Place de l’Hôtel de Ville to buy local charcuterie and cheese for a picnic at the lake.”
Your Russian road trip is paved with history. Stop at picturesque villages to marvel at cultural landmarks like 17th-century architectural monuments and a UNESCO biosphere reserve, and dine on local dishes like buttery Pozharsky cutlets. In Moscow, have the Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Moscow arrange a private visit and art class at St Basil’s Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site celebrating its 460th anniversary in 2021. In St. Petersburg, Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg has exclusive access to the world-renowned Mariinsky Theatre. Tour the backstage area and rehearsal rooms, and then take a private ballet class with the theatre’s dancers.
WORTH A DETOUR: “During your drive from Moscow to St. Petersburg, stop in Veliky Novgorod and visit the Cathedral of St Sophia, one of Russia’s oldest church buildings,” says Olga Kachalova, Chief Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace. “You’ll be amazed to see how artists are restoring the church’s murals and icons. Tour their workshops to observe their detailed work on small fragments, and then see where those pieces will fit into a majestic fresco in the cathedral.”
Discover for yourself why the iconic French N7 highway is known as Route des Vacances, or The Holiday Route: Wend your way from Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris, to Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, A Four Seasons Hotel, driving past French villages, fields of lavender and breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. Stop in historic Avignon, the capital of Vaucluse and the Côtes du Rhône, and stroll along old cobblestone streets featuring decidedly modern boutiques. Or take the longer route to visit the Provençal village of Grignan, known for its Renaissance castle.
WORTH A DETOUR: “A road trip from Paris to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is the perfect excuse to stop for lunch in Lyon,” says Yoric Tièche, executive chef at the Hotel in Cap-Ferrat. “The city is famous for its bouchon restaurants, where you’ll enjoy typical homemade dishes like quenelles and chicken liver terrine, all prepared with fresh local produce and served in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.”
Fall in love with these romantic riverside cities, full of Old World charm and elegance. Explore historic castles, sip surprising varietals at wineries, and discover centuries-old craftsmanship and tradition. 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. For an unexpected stop near Four Seasons Hotel Prague, visit Macocha Gorge – a sinkhole in the Czech Republic’s Moravian Karst cave system.
WORTH A DETOUR: “Stop at the fairy-tale–like Lednice Castle, situated in a picturesque small village and surrounded by extensive gardens,” says Stanislav Malek, Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Prague. “Tour the renovated original interiors and the lavish grounds, which feature some of the finest examples of landscape architecture in Europe.”
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