5 must-see European destinations for over 50s

Written by Chloe Harwood

An older age, doesn’t necessarily mean a slower life? If you’re approaching retirement or are already enjoying a work-free lifestyle, you may notice you have plenty of time and cash to do what you want, when you want it, so why not travel?

There is so much to see and do within Europe, it’s packed full of history, culture and a choices between hot and cold places, depending on where you go. There is plenty of choice of beautiful spots to visit and places to go, so which one would make your travel planner?

Acorn Stairlifts, global provider of straight mobility stairlifts, provide you with this guide around Europe that will hopefully bring inspiration to your trip.

The Highlands, Scotland
Scotland offers a lot of breath-taking scenery. The scale of country is a lot smaller than most European countries, allowing you take a transport link to see as much of the country as possible, within one single trip.

Travelling via rail is a great way to see Scotland’s Hilly terrain, giving you the time to see a lot of it within a short space of time, and also gain a panoramic view on the spectacular landscape. The West Highland Line is a train service that operates from Glasgow and travels to Oban, Fort William and Mallaig. The route is largely considered to be the most picturesque in the world — and with its rugged mountains, it’s easy to see why.

You can also explore The Highlands via boat, take a trip to Moray Firth that’s located near the tip of Scotland. The water is home to around 130 bottlenose dolphins, and regular boat tours operate. You may be able to spot seals, whales and porpoises further out, while you’ll also enjoy dazzling views of the coastline.

Once you’re satisfied with the stunning scenery, stop by Edinburgh. This vibrant and historic city has much to see and do, whether you spend your time visiting the zoo, exploring the old town, touring the underground vaults or enjoying a bite to eat in one of the city’s many cafes or restaurants. For even more culture, plan a visit in August — the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world — is in town for much of the month.

The Algarve, Portugal
Portugal is another beautiful destination to add to your travel agenda, with its warm temperatures that last all year-round and its gorgeous beaches. The Algarve, in particular, is a popular choice, especially for those who enjoy outdoor pursuits.

Many golfers of all skill levels tend to come to The Algarve and tee-off at one of many golf courses that you’ll find within the region. Coastal courses are a perfect choice for panoramic views as you play and, as the country receives a staggering 300 day of sunshine a year, there’ll be little chance of rain spoiling play.

If you enjoy historical culture, then lose yourself in one of the many churches that line the Algarve landscape. Unlike the stone churches and cathedrals present in many countries, some of those in Portugal are lined with spectacular tiles and azulejos that make them stand out from any religious building you’ve seen before. Or head down to the Old Town where you can relax in the Old Town Square (Praça da Vila) and admire the surrounding architecture.

Amalfi Coast, Italy
Stretching 50-kilometers along the south of Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula, the Amalfi Coast is famous for its quaint fishing villages, and beaches that many come to relax upon. If this is somewhere that you are considering travelling to, avoid holidaying between November and Easter as many hotels and restaurants are closed during this period and you will miss the exciting hustle and bustle of the destination. Instead, spring and autumn are perfect times to visit when temperatures are around 15-26°C and precipitation levels are between 3 and 4 inches.

If you desire to relax somewhere truly luxurious, then head to the town of Positano. Here, streets are lined with colourful houses, impressive hotels and shops filled with beachwear and ceramics — you can get even your own pair of sandals made for you.

For a striking Silhouette scene, stay in Sorrento which faces the Mount Vesuvius volcano, in the Bay of Naple. Sightsee by boat around the coast of Sorrento either on a rented small vessel or as part of a group excursion. There’s plenty of photo opportunities such as the rugged coastline of Italy and the turquoise sea.

Staying at the Amalfi Coast, you’re never far from other splendid locations either, like the ancient town of Pompeii. Here, you can visit the amphitheatre which dates back to 80BC and relax in the preserved baths.

Paris, France
When you picture Paris, there’s no surprise that the iconic Eiffel Tower may spring to mind. However, there’s so much more to see and do if you know where to go…

For all your garden enthusiasts, Monet Gardens is situated in Giverny, around a 45-minute train trip and 10-minute bus ride from the city. The spectacular garden is split into two parts, both of which are equally impressive — one is called Clos Normand and is full off symmetries and complementing colours, and the other is a Japanese inspired water garden.

Although, it’s recommended to explore Paris on foot, there are other ways to get around the capital to see what it has to offer. The open top hop-on, hop-off bus tour takes you to the Louvre, Montmartre and Notre Dame — giving you time to get off where you please or take memorable photos from the comfort of your seat. Many of the buses provide you with headphones too for a private commentary of the attractions you’re passing.

If you enjoy cruises, then you can take on of the popular cruises down the river Siene. This is a great opportunity to put your feet up after a long day exploring. Admire the picturesque streets, bridges and cathedral as you’re taken on an adventure through the city.

Crete, Greece
The largest Greek Island that is Crete is renowned for its rich history and long sandy beaches, it is a perfect destination for a balance between culture, adventure and relaxation.  

For history enthusiasts, visit the Heraklion Archaeological Museum which showcases artefacts between Neolithic to Roman times (a time span of 5,500 years). This museum taps into the imagination with detailed descriptions of jewellery, pottery and other famous pieces from ancient sites.

Take a boat ride to an old town on west side of the Island called Chania, which is a Venetian Harbour. Take a relaxing sunset stroll out to the trademark of the town — a lighthouse that sits near the harbour entrance.  

For food lovers, Crete is the perfect place to be. Locals produce their own meat, wine, cheeses and even catch their own seafood — it’s guaranteed that your dish will be as fresh as it can be. The local wine is tasty too — find the ideal one to complement your meal for a one-of-a-kind taste sensation.

As we have discovered, there are many beautiful destinations that are suitable for older travellers — with opportunities to put your feet up if you need to or take time out to learn about the rich history of the area. What are you waiting for? The world is your oyster!


About the author

Chloe Harwood