Americans love Europe in the summer, but some destinations on the continent offer better value and unique alternatives for event locations, compared to the traditional tourist haunts.
Virtuoso, a network of luxury travel advisors, released its annual report at the end of May of the top 10 global destinations American tourists have planned this summer. At the top of the list was the always-popular Italy. “We know where upscale American travelers are going this summer, and apparently they want pasta and wine,” Virtuoso reports. They see Europe as a particularly appealing option this year because of the relatively strong U.S. dollar compared to the euro and the British pound.
Following are group experiences to consider in each of Virtuoso’s top four featured countries that might be a bit off the beaten track, but worth the trip.
1. Italy: If your sights are set on Florence, consider booking an event at the stunning Cinema Odeon Theater. The 1,500-square-foot great room dating back to 1922 holds almost 600 people. Breakout spaces include Saloncino degli Specchi (literally, Salon of the Mirrors), a perfect annex for meals or meetings.
2. United Kingdom: Get out of London and head to Wasing Park in rural West Berkshire for a private setting that can accommodate 300 people for an environmentally conscious experience. It can include glamping and foraging, or gourmet meals in the castle barn that offer spit-roasted venison, pigeon, trout and locally grown vegetables.
3. France: How about holding a meeting at an out-of-the-way garden only 20 minutes from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) and a half-hour from Paris? Chateau de Montvillargenne offers 21 meeting rooms, Old World charm with full Wi-Fi access and plenty of indoor-outdoor luxury.
4. Spain: For an equestrian vibe, your group of up to 1,000 people can mosey over to Rancho El Rocio in in Seville, Andalusia for local cuisine in the outdoor bullring. Enjoy flamenco, Spanish thoroughbreds and local color you won’t find in the big cities.