Beat the crowds for an early dose of summer sun

By Beverley Uddin Khandakar

RFH Hotel de la Ville Courtyard

Beat the crowds for an early dose of summer sun

RFH Hotel de la Ville Courtyard

High summer in Europe brings with it gorgeous temperatures and endless sunshine days, but some of our favourite destinations are even more blissful during the balmy weeks just after spring. Leave the crowds behind with a jaunt to one of these classic European spots, or indeed, seek your sunshine further afield with a more tropical itinerary. 

Mykonos, Greece 

Once famous for its parties and 24-hour lifestyle, Mykonos is now all grown up. The island is a glamorous spot, with superyachts and high-end boutiques in easy reach wherever you go, though its hedonistic personality still shows through at its many cabana-filled beach clubs, where international DJs line up to play. 

Zuma Mykonos sunset

One of the newest places to soak up the early summer breeze is Zuma Mykonos. The much-loved Japanese restaurant opened its first day-to-night destination last year. There’s a sleek infinity pool and floating pool beds as well as a restaurant serving Zuma’s signature izakaya menu.

Zuma Mykonos evening
Zuma Mykonos pool

Just next door is Cavo Tagoo, one of the island’s first-established luxury hotels and still one of the best. For a more intimate place to rest your head, opt for the romantic Bill&Coo Suites and Lounge, not far from Mykonos Town, or their Bill&Coo Villas for even more seclusion and privacy. 

Istanbul, Turkey

Unlike any other city, with one half on the European continent and the other in Asia, a visit to Istanbul promises a multicultural experience like no other. 

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet view

Whilst chic neighbourhoods like Kadikoy and Arnavutköy are increasingly on the radar, there is no better place to stay than in the heart of the old city when trying to avoid the crowds in the early summer months. 

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet bedroom
Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet dining

With views over the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet is a must-visit. The hotel is a portal to the city’s history, having been a prison at the turn of the 20th century, and, after a beautiful redesign last year, is firmly one of the best places to stay in the city. Enjoy the sunset on the hotel’s rooftop terrace before jumping onto its river shuttle to take in the city views the best way possible – straight from the Bosphorus River. 

Madrid, Spain

The capital of Spain is contending now with the likes of Barcelona and Seville for sunny city breaks, thanks in part to the arrival of a few trusty hotels, including The Edition, Mandarin Oriental and Four Seasons.

Four Seasons Hotel Madrid facade

There’s no better time than the present to book a trip. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Pablo Picasso’s death and his masterpieces line the walls of the Reina Sofia art museum. There will be plenty of special exhibitions in Madrid to mark the occasion, including The Padro Museum, which intersperses works by Picasso with paintings by El Greco, one of the artists that influenced him the most, and La Casa Encendida which showcases a review of the final decade of the artist’s work. 

Four Seasons Hotel Madrid reception
Four Seasons Hotel Madrid bar

Stay at Four Seasons Hotel Madrid, a work of art in itself, and the perfect extension to an art-filled escape. Sumptuous rooms and suites lay within the seven historical buildings that make up the hotel, which houses over 1,500 pieces of art throughout its corridors and lounges. 

Rome, Italy 

From famous monuments to luxury shopping, Rome has something to suit all tastes. Late spring and early summer in Rome mean one thing – escaping the crowds of tourists and stifling city heatwaves. Roam the ancient streets and you’ll feel a light breeze, fresh yet balmy temperatures and, best of all, no queues for your favourite spots in the Eternal City. 

RFH Hotel de la Ville Courtyard

Stop by the Colosseum for a taste of the ‘golden era’, throw a coin into the Fontana di Trevi, stroll through the Forum, and top it all off with one of the best aperitivos in Rome at Cielo, a showstopper rooftop bar at Hotel de la Ville, a Rocco Forte Hotel. 

RFH Hotel de la Ville Junior Suite
RFH Hotel de la Ville  Mosaico

The De La Ville is also prime property to call home during your trip to Rome. The 18th-Century palazzo sits at the top of the Spanish Steps, located just 5 minutes’ walk from the famed Villa Borghese and Borghese Gardens.