A European vacation is one of the topmost requested international trips for people all over the world. The continent is renowned for its incredible depth of beauty, culture, history, cuisine, and religious relics. Therefore, it is no wonder that millions of people make their own “pilgrimage” to many of the famous European countries and cities each year. However, while any trip to Europe is sure to be magical in the know, travelers can take their trip to the next level with a little creativity and know-how.
Find out the top 5 exclusive VIP experiences in Europe that you can have on your next adventure.
5. Private Hot Air Balloon Ride & Picnic In Alentejo Plains, Portugal:
The Alentejo region of southern Portugal may be the countries largest, but it hides many of its best-kept secrets. Medieval castles, amazing cliffs that nearly fall into the sea, vast plains, and coastlines create one of Portugal’s most beautiful and unspoiled regions.
Alentejo is lined with glorious beaches, many of which lie empty and in wait of discovery, incredible local restaurants, fantastic wineries, and spectacular vistas.
History buffs will enjoy stories of the many cultures and societies which have left their marks on the area. For example, did you know that Dolmens, Cromlechs, Romans, Arabs, and Christians have all ruled here?
For an unforgettable experience, take a hot air balloon ride. Then stop for a picnic in one of the beautiful villages and towns which make up the so-called Rota dos Castelos (Castle Route). Nisa, Castelo de Vide, Marvão, Portalegre, and Alter do Chão are all charming and authenticc. These towns beautifully preserve the history of the people who have inhabited them over the centuries.
4. Tuscany Truffle Hunting:
Anyone familiar with mushrooms will be able to tell you that Truffles are the rarest and most prized variety. Truffles are difficult to find and even more challenging to grow. Therefore, there are only a few regions in Europe that supply the world with this delicatessen. Though many areas are experimenting with cultivated truffles, only the less popular varieties respond to farming. The more prized species only grow well in the wild. Even within the same “family,” size and shape can make a huge difference in the flavor. Without a doubt, those who work with truffles will tell you that Mugello and the hills of San Miniato produce the most delicious and flavorful varieties.
While there are six types of Truffles, the Tartufo Bianco and the Tartufo Negro are the most desirable. The Queen of Truffles is the Tartufo Bianco (white truffle). It grows well in Tuscany and is found from September 10 to December 31 in Mugello and San Miniato.
The white truffle used by the finest restaurants and chefs in the world can cost up to 3000 Euros a kilo. Thus, tasting elusive white truffles are food lovers’ ultimate VIP experiences in Europe.
The Tartufo Nero Pregiato (black truffle) is harvested from November 15 to March 15. This delicious mushroom has a softer fragrance and is preferred by some renowned chefs and those looking to enhance the flavor of their home-cooked dishes.
Nothing is quite as adventurous for true aficionados as joining professional truffle hunters and their faithful companions on a Truffle hunting mission. Since truffles grow under the dirt and display no foliage above ground, hunters need a partner with every acute sense of smell. While pigs have been used traditionally, modern hunters employ trained dogs to join them on their searches.
3. Private Visit To Michelangelo’s Secret Archive:
Do you consider yourself an art lover? Michelangelo is widely considered one of the world’s greatest artists. If you have a keen interest in his life and works, we recommend an ultra-special, behind-the-scenes experience. Take an exclusive tour of one of the most secreted places in Italy.
In 1530, nearly two decades after completing the infamous Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo fell in favor of the church and his patron family. So he hid up in a tiny secret room under the Medici Chapel of the Basilica di San Lorenzo to escape their wrath. The artist worked on the lavish tomb for the Medici family to whom he owed his career when political turmoil forced him into hiding. Equipped with little more than charcoal and time, he covered the bare walls with incredible sketches.
Michelangelo Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities Tourism PD
When finally the Pope left word that Michelangelo was forgiven, he re-emerged into Florentine society. However, he kept his secret hiding spot just in case he ever needed t use it again.
Michelangelo’s Secret Archive room remained unknown for nearly 500 years. Then, in the 1970s, the location was accidentally discovered by the Museum of the Medici Chapel director.
This priceless artwork is extremely fragile. The tiny, dark, and unvented space and lack of human intervention preserved the original sketches over the centuries. Therefore, the space is generally closed to the public. Still, it can be opened on rare occasions for those lucky enough to enter this magical time capsule. This is one of the most unforgettable VIP experiences in Europe.
2. The Vatican Behind-The-Scenes Hidden Rooms & Bramante Staircase:
The Vatican and its star attraction, the Sistine Chapel, are high on most visitor’s bucket lists for Rome. Millions of people pass through their doors to marvel at the treasures and artwork hidden inside. But, unfortunately, many visitors wait in long lines, are quickly rushed through the rooms, and then crowd in sardine-like fashion to admire the spectacular frescoes of the world’s most famous ceiling. But while the masses crowd and wait, a few lucky visitors are privy to a very different experience. They are permitted to enter through a reserved door and granted behind the scenes access to the most restricted areas of the Vatican.
Did you know that there are, in fact, two Bramante Staircases (Scala del Bramante) in the Vatican Museums? The original Bramante’s Staircase was built in 1505, while the modern one was built in 1932. Designed by the famous architect Donato Bramante, the original staircase was commissioned by Pope Julius II. It was considered a revolutionary architectural feat of that time. The staircase features herringbone paving and granite columns linking the Belvedere Palace to the streets of Rome. This fascinating structure displays the double helix shape currently associated with DNA.
In 1508, just 3 years after the staircase was completed, Michelangelo began using it to access the Sistine Chapel he’d been ordered to paint.
Special access is required to visit the original staircase. The Modern Bramante Staircase marks the end of your Vatican museum visit and is the route that all visitors take to depart the building.
Another hidden area of the Vatican is The Room of Gold (Sala degli Ori). This room holds a dazzling collection of papal gold jewelry and precious Etruscan jewels.
The little-known fifteenth-century Niccoline Chapel (Cappella Niccolina) is another Vatican treasure. It is located in the Apostolic Palace, hidden behind the Raphael Rooms, and kept locked away. The walls are adorned in beautiful frescoes painted by the Florentine artist Fra Angelico and gold brought back by Christopher Columbus. Until recently, access to the chapel was restricted to diplomats or special guests of the Pope. Today, however, a few lucky visitors can get an up-close look at this incredible sanctuary.
Of course, no visit to the Vatican would be complete without setting sights on its star attraction. Therefore, your special visit ends on a high note with private access to the Sistine Chapel. This is truly one of the most incredible VIP experiences in Europe
1. Cooking Class With Michelin-Starred Chef
Have you ever wondered how the best chefs in the world create their menus, choose their ingredients, and conjure up the most beautifully presented and deliciously tasting dishes? A cooking class with renowned culinary geniuses can make everyday chefs up their game and enhance their skills. Working alongside and receiving hands-on experience while creating delicately prepared foods teaches the pupils the nuances and special touches that help the chefs create their signature dishes.
Many classes start with a local shopping experience, which teaches the students how to source and pick the freshest and finest ingredients. After visiting the markets where the chefs do their shopping, the hands-on training begins. Finally, classes finish with a feast where the group can enjoy the fruits of their labor and discuss additional tidbits that could enhance their future cooking experiences.