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According to surveys, travel after retirement is one of the most popular pursuits in life, and it’s easy to see why. After all, retirement is the perfect time to discover the world and visit spots you have always dreamed of seeing when you’re still young and busy with work. Europe is the best place for this, especially for couples seeking luxury experiences when it comes to travelling during their retirement years. The continent is home to diverse countries offering a variety of cultures, history, and cuisines, making your trip inspiring and just plain fun. 

But since Europe is a vast continent, deciding which places to visit can be daunting. To help you with this, refer below for a list of some of the most incredible luxury European trips for retired couples.

1. Travel the French Canals 

Boating is a tranquil and sophisticated way to enjoy nature and discover the world, and the best place to do this is in France. Having a vast maritime surface and 18000 km of coastline, France is one of the world’s most popular places for sailing. The country has a particularly rich network of rivers and canals, passing through the beautiful French countryside. 

Planning your boating holidays in France can be tricky, with so many incredible routes to choose from. The Marne-Rhine canal route is a great choice. It may not be as popular as Canal du Midi or the Seine, but it offers plenty of interesting sights for you to discover. Aside from the stunning architecture, it has the gorgeous scenery that the French countryside is known for, not to mention the incredible options for wining and dining.

Going on a luxury canal barge holiday in France means plenty of relaxation as you navigate the waterways with your self-drive boat. There are also tons of fun activities to engage in during your stops, such as biking along the pretty villages and visiting colourful markets. The experience is truly magical that you may want to do it over and over again.

2. Find the Northern Lights in Iceland 

When it comes to stunning natural landscapes, Iceland is hard to beat. It may be a small country, but it has plenty of things waiting for you to uncover. In fact, you could spend most of your time discovering captivating sceneries you may not have seen before. But one of the main reasons thousands of visitors would come here during winter is to catch a glimpse of the marvellous Northern Lights. If this activity has long been on your bucket list, now is the perfect time to do it!

But to catch the Northern Lights in all their glory, you should plan your trip accordingly to increase your chances of seeing it. The months between September and March are the perfect time to view the Northern Lights. During this time, the clouds are fewer, skies are clearer and darker, and the temperature is much colder. This fascinating light phenomenon would come in groups and appear for two to three nights and won’t show up for the next two to three days. 

Head to somewhere remote and avoid urban areas like Reykjavik, which has plenty of streetlights and light pollution from homes and cars, making it difficult to view the Northern Lights. Head a few miles out of the city, where you will find clearer skies. Better yet, drive three hours to the remote village of Thórsmörk. You can also book a tour that will take you several miles out to sea on a two-hour boat ride to enjoy an unobstructed view of this spellbinding natural sight.

3. Explore the Boot of Italy 

Puglia is a 400km strip of land, making up the heel of Italy’s boot. It’s a charming region famous for its stunning coastline, beautiful, whitewashed villages, and sublime cuisines that it feels very different from the rest of the country. It’s the perfect place to visit for retired couples looking to get off the beaten path.

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With the Ionian Sea on its south and the Adriatic Sea on its east, Puglia is home to several beautiful beaches. A haven for beach lovers, you will find all sorts of beaches here, from pebbly enclaves to hidden coves and long stretches of golden sands. While you might be tempted to spend most of your time at the beach, there’s more to discover in this gorgeous Italian region. Thus, consider taking a tour around Puglia to discover its famous sights and hidden gems.

Visit the pretty coastal towns of Trani, Monopoli, and Polignano a Mare, which are perched high on the rocks overlooking the stunning turquoise waters. These towns are a joy to explore with their clusters of low-laying white houses punctuated by beautiful churches. Puglia is also home to beautiful natural parks. The Gargano has an excellent collection of stunning beaches and lagoons, while Alta Murgia features a unique combination of archaeology, history, and nature.

4. Take the Steam Train Across the Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands are known for their sublime landscape of stark mountains, lush forests, gorgeous lochs, and a winding coastline with remote fishing villages and quiet beaches. Indeed, the Highlands is the most stunning region in the British Isles. 

There are many ways to explore the Scottish Highlands, but a more relaxing and fun way would be to take the steam train. For this journey, you will be riding The Jacobite steam passenger train coming from Fort Willing to Mallaig, passing through the West Highland, featured in the Harry Potter film, most notably the viaduct of Glenfinnan.

You can also start the journey in Ben Nevis and visit Arisaig, Britain’s most westerly railway station. The journey will also pass through the deepest freshwater loch in Britain before arriving in the deepest seawater loch, the Loch Nevis.

After your scenic train ride, relax in a grand Victorian manor or cuddle up by the fire in a cosy cottage with the entire garden to yourself. Whatever luxury experience you’re after, you are guaranteed to find it in the Highlands.

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