6 European Destinations You Should Visit in Your 60s
Now is the time to explore these stunning European hotspots.
Sure, getting older may have some annoying bits but it has a whole lot of upsides as well. When it comes to traveling, many say there is no better decade to do it than in your 60s when you have more time, less family responsibilities, and maybe even some extra expendable income. While everyone can appreciate a long weekend trip somewhere in the U.S., when you have a bit more freedom, heading across the Atlantic to Europe can offer a truly unforgettable experience. Read on for six European destinations that you should visit in your golden years.
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The Best European Destinations to Visit in Your 60s
1. Tuscany, Italy
If you're drawn to the idea of an Italian vacation but want to avoid the exhausting crowds and traffic you may have put up with in your younger years, Tuscany is the place to be. This northeast region of Italy offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of Rome and Milan, but still has a vibrant city to explore, all the mouth-watering food you desire, and scenery that will take your breath away.
"This stunning part of the country offers a perfect mix of art, food, and incredible landscapes," says Fred Hoffman, chief editor at The True Wilderness.
If you're a city person, Florence, the capital of Tuscany, is one of the most popular destinations. But this is not just any city, Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance and is full of amazing architecture, gardens, and museums. In fact, just walking around the city feels like being in a museum itself. And luckily for those over 60, Florence is very compact, making it easy to get around on foot to see all the sites from the Duomo to the Boboli Gardens, with a fews stops at cafés in between.
If you're looking for more of a countryside escape (or why not do both?), Tuscany is full of luscious vineyards. Chianti is only 20 miles from Florence and is one of the best wine regions in the world.
If you aren't up for planning a whole itinerary on your own and want someone to guide you along the way, there are plenty of senior Tuscany tours that will show you all the region has to offer.
2. The Cotswolds, England
While the nightlife and art scene of London has its allure, at this point in your in life you may be looking for something a little quieter. The Cotswolds, a large region located two to three hours from London, offers older visitors all the British charm, but with a much more more relaxing vibe and scenic backdrop. Think rolling green hills, quaint villages full of cozy bed and breakfasts and outdoor markets, and of course, plenty of old castles à la Downton Abbey.
"With picturesque villages, rolling green hills, and honey-colored stone cottages, this region is a perfect destination for those looking to take a bit of rural England with them," Hoffman says. "[You can] spend your days exploring beautiful gardens and taking long walks through the countryside."
The Cotswolds also have many lakes and more than 3,000 miles of trails to hike or walk; with historic Cotswold stone walls dividing up the countryside. After you're done exploring, if you're looking for a wonderful place to stay (or just have a delicious dinner) that also offers a serious bit of history, The Porch House is considered to be the oldest inn in England, with parts of it dating all the way back to 947. But don't worry, all the amenities are as modern as can be.
3. Vienna, Austria
"Vienna is a vibrant and captivating city that should be on everyone's bucket-list," says Hoffman.
The capital of Austria is home to over 60 rich historical sites, stunning architecture, and charming coffeehouses that sell delicious pastries and of course, Vienna cakes, the famous chocolatey treat that was first created in 1933.
"From classical concerts to delicious pastries, there is something for everyone in this stunning city," says Hoffman. "[Anyone will love] Vienna's unique culture, with its magnificent architecture, lush gardens, and exquisite museums."
Hoffman suggests an evening stroll along the banks of the Danube or taking a day trip to the Schönbrunn Palace just outside of the city. The palace has 1,441 rooms and is still decorated with the 18th century interiors commissioned by Queen Maria Theresa (Marie Antoinette's mother), as well as extensive landscaped grounds full of gorgeous fountains and rose gardens.
If you're an animal lover or happen to be with your grandkids for a day, check out the Vienna Zoo, the oldest zoo in the world founded in 1752.
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4. Bruges, Belgium
Bruges, the capital of West Flanders in northwest Belgium, will make you feel like you've been transported back in time with its charming canals and cobblestone streets.
"Bruges is the city to visit if you're in your 60s and looking to travel," says Jamie Penny, an avid traveler and CEO of ActionSporter. "It's one of the oldest cities in Europe and an absolute delight to look at. The architecture has been preserved from medieval times, and you can marvel at how the city is a mix of both old and new."
It's also easy to get around by foot or even by boat (a canal cruise is a wonderful way to spend a romantic evening). "Bruges has a lot of intertwined canals, so you can move around the city easily," says Penny. "You won't even have to walk a step if you don't want. If you're more into the active lifestyle, walking isn't a hassle either because it's a small city."
The heart of the city is the Belfry of Bruges, a tower built in the 13th century that soars so high above the rest of the buildings that you can see it from wherever you go, and the market square and restaurants and cafés surrounding it. Be sure to spend an afternoon there and try the famous Belgium waffles at Lizzie's Wafels.
If you are looking for a relaxing vacation by the sea somewhere that isn't overrun with rowdy beachgoers, Albania, a small country located in southeastern Europe's Balkan Peninsula, may fit the bill.
"Albania is a great destination for people in their 60s and up for a variety of reasons," Marsel Kalemi, founder and CEO of Kalemi Travel tells Best Life. "First, the country is known for its excellent hospitality, making it a perfect spot to relax and enjoy a slower pace of life. Additionally, the cost of living in Albania is very low, making it an affordable destination to visit."
Saranda, a city in Southern Albania beloved for its peaceful scenery and laid back vibes, is home to some of the most gorgeous turquoise water beaches and delicious seafood in the country. Book a boat tour along the Albanian coast and then try the freshly-caught fish at Taverna Rrapo or Bar Restorant Shpella when you're back onshore.
"The country's cuisine is a blend of Mediterranean and Balkan influences, and features dishes such as grilled meats, seafood, and fresh vegetables," says Kalemi. "The country is also known for its delicious pastries and bread, as well as its local wines and spirits."
Beaches aren't the only natural wonders Albania has to offer, though, Kalemi also notes the country's "stunning mountain ranges, crystal-clear lakes, and lush forests."
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6. Baden-Baden, Germany
Baden-Baden is in spa town in Southern Germany's Black Forest where those over 60 can spend their days relaxing in the soothing thermal baths that have been there for centuries or exploring the castles that have been there for even longer.
"A beautiful resort town in Germany, Baden-Baden is perfect for seniors who want to experience living in the lap of luxury while on vacation," says Pete Danylewycz, founder of USAngler. "Baden-Baden also has numerous spa resorts where visitors over 60 can enjoy a peaceful atmosphere while indulging in restorative and relaxing spa treatments."
Spend a day at the famous Friedrichbad Spa where you can bathe away in a historic renaissance building. After giving your body the relaxation it deserves, you can explore the ruins of the Hohenbaden Castle, built in the 12th century.
The city also offers plenty of outdoor activities like golfing and hiking. If you're up for a challenge, head to the Merkur Mountain where you can either hike to the top or take one of Europe's steepest railways up the mountainside. On the top of the mountain, you can dine at the local restaurant and enjoy the stunning view of the village below you.