After a year of being grounded, we’re longing for a short-haul adventure. Those weekend European getaways we once enjoyed on the regular have been off the cards for far too long. We miss Paris, and Florence, and Porto. We miss Prague, and Seville, and Athens.
While the extent to which travel to and from Europe can occur this summer is still TBD, we couldn’t resist compiling a wishlist/hitlist of the European destinations the CF team can’t wait to revisit (just as soon as it’s safe to do so). We can all dream, at least.
Elizabeth Heath, Writer at Citizen Femme
Naples, Italy, is this gorgeously chaotic sea of people, noise, smells, and colour. There’s no such thing as social distancing here – to really experience it, you have to dive in. You have to wait in line shoulder-to-shoulder for that perfect serving of pizza fritta (fried pizza – yes it’s really a thing and it’s glorious) or that scrumptiously rich pastry. You have to manoeuvre through the crowds of people and motor-scooters on Spaccanapoli, so dense that you may get bumped by a passing Vespa. You have to stand outside a busy bar and make new friends as you drink your aperitivo-hour Negroni or Spritz. For me, Naples is the immunity test. When I can return to this intoxicating city and experience the way it’s meant to be experienced, then Italy really will be “back” from this dark, crazy chapter in her history. And I can’t wait.
Zana Wilberforce, Resident Astrologer at Citizen Femme
Last weekend, I booked a one-way ticket to Paris for the summer just for the thrill of it. This was before we received news that travelling outside the UK would likely be pushed back to the beginning of July. By that point, I had already started compiling a long list of néo-bistros I wanted to visit in a two-day window, before heading to Montpellier in the south of France – another city I can’t wait to revisit. The thought of sitting in the Jardin du Luxembourg in the capital or Montpellier’s leafy esplanade with a slab of brie and a freshly baked baguette is all a girl could ask for, but for now I guess I’ll stick to Brockley farmers’ market. The Brie de Meaux there isn’t so terrible.
Laurel Waldron, Writer at Citizen Femme
While the longing to delve into previously unexplored lands is ever present, leaving lockdown brings with it a yearning for comfort and familiarity. There’s an almost primal urge to return to the scenes of happy memories as we start to spread our wings once more. Falling in love with the sun-bleached cobbled streets of Malta on my first (too short) visit, I’ve been craving a return ever since. I also have my heart set on a long, lazy weekend in Athens – my penultimate trip pre-lockdown last year and another place I spent far too little time enjoying – which will undoubtedly be spent on a taverna crawl stuffing myself to the gills.
Gilly Hopper, Editor at Citizen Femme
The question ‘where are you most looking forward to visiting post-lockdown?’ is one that has been bandied about quite a lot this week/month/year. My go to answer is always “Scotland and Italy”, but if we’re going full-on Freud and pinpointing the centre point of my travel dreams, then it’s all about Florence. Florentines know how to enjoy life. The food – the pasta, the gelato – is supremo. The fashion is next level – Guccio Gucci was born here after all. And its cultural offering is unbeatable. I for one can’t wait to jump on a plane, check-in to one of my favourite hotel’s in the city, revamped The Place Firenze is high on my list, and enjoy ‘la dolce far niente’ [the sweetness of doing nothing].
Millie Walton, Fiction Editor at Citizen Femme
Palermo is different from the slow, sleepy coastal and rural villages that Sicily’s so famous for. It’s a vibrant, busy place. During the day the calls of the market vendors weave through the streets along with the tempting smells of fried seafood and vegetables that are served as small plates, cicchetti, to diners crouched around low tables that spill onto the road, and at night-time, the city comes alive with music and performance. Last summer, we spent a blissful day wandering along the antiques shops that line Corso Vittorio Emanuele, one of Palermo’s oldest streets that’s a short walk from the centre. Amongst piles of Italian wartime newspapers, trinkets, and furniture, we found and bought a painting that’s now hanging in our hallway. However, had we had the luggage space, we would have bought armfuls of colourful patterned tiles and Sicilian ceramics too. It’s a city full of surprises and mystery, grand palatial buildings seem to appear from nowhere, some roads lead down to the beach and others to the mountains, and in the distance, Mount Etna puffs clouds of smoke.
Olivia Bennett, Fashion and Beauty Editor at Citizen Femme
Pondering where I want to travel (the minute we can) has stayed front of mind in the long slog of Lockdown 3.0. Florence, Budapest, and Berlin are all up there with their various charms, but Barcelona currently holds the top spot. Having hunkered down in sleepy Hertfordshire for a year, I’m ready for the vibrancy and buzz of this Spanish city. A foodie at heart, I look forward to hopping from bar to bar, sampling endless tapas and glasses of cava, and discovering gastronomic delights at Barcelona’s oldest market, La Boqueria. Barcelona is the perfect city to explore by foot and I plan to cover as much ground as possible while there: people watching along Las Ramblas, soaking up the diverse architecture from the medieval Gothic Quarter to modernist works of Gaudi, and indulging in a spot of shopping at Passeig de Gràcia. Uniquely placed by the coast, there’s no need to sacrifice either city or beach break here. Sant Sebastia is my beach of choice for a sundowner – bliss!
Sheena Bhattessa, Founder at Citizen Femme
Take me back to spellbinding Amalfi. I discovered it far too late in life, but better late than never. It’s hard to describe the uniqueness of the Amalfi Coast. Dramatic cliffs are a vantage point from which to enjoy some of the most magnificent views on earth, whilst the country’s warm hospitality, vibrant culture, and plucked-from-the-water seafood (best enjoyed al fresco) combine for an experience that’s as invigorating as it is relaxing. In Positano, I’ll be back to stay at Le Sirenuse, for a sojourn combined with long lunches at Da Adolfo; a car drive to La Conca del Sogno for the best salt-baked fish and zucchini pasta; and a 10-minute boat ride to Da Armandino in fishing village Praiano for tubetti con totani. This will be followed by a weekend in Capri, staying at J. K. Place Capri – a Fellini movie in hotel form. And there’ll be lunches at Quisisana and Fontelina, of course. I repeat, take me back to the spellbinding Amalfi.
Sarah Leigh Bannerman, Writer at Citizen Femme
I’m forever dreaming of Paris and the city’s pull feels ever stronger when Spring comes around, so, the minute it’s safe to do so, I’ll be booking my spot on that Eurostar. Revisiting somewhere familiar feels particularly appealing at the moment – perhaps it’s a continuation of nostalgia for pre-lockdown life? The architecture never fails to impress me, nor do the displays in Galeries Lafayette. Wandering the streets with no agenda is high on my list of priorities. To keep things fresh, I always look for a new place to stay. This year I’ve got my eye on HoY – a conscious hotel with the pillars of yoga at the heart of its concept.