Enjoying Luxury in Europe’s Micronations
We all know Europe is packed to the brim with luxury destinations, often in nations where there is a lot of wealth. Destinations like London, Zurich, Paris, and Milan are all popular places to find the world’s richest and most famous people.
The same is true for holiday destinations like Ibiza, Capri, Marbella, and Gstaad where local businesses have built a thriving trade by catering to the who’s who of wealthy business people, athletes, and media personalities who are searching for a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.
All of these destinations, be they the major cities that form the main residences of these high-flyers or the places in the sun that they escape to when they need a break, have one thing in common; they are part of modern nation-states.
These large countries are what we usually think of when we think of Europe, including the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, and Switzerland. However, the continent has not always been apportioned out this way. Just a few centuries ago, small city-states and principalities were the norm, each one ruled by a prince who traded and waged battle with their neighbours.
Most of these principalities were dissolved over time, either because they were conquered by larger states or they agreed to pool their sovereignty with others. However, some small nations remain on the continent, going by the modern terminology of ‘micronation’.
While small, these pocket-size countries often offer unrivalled luxury to their visitors that simply can’t be acquired anywhere else.
Monaco is, perhaps the best-known micronation in Europe and, with the exception of Vatican City, is the smallest at just 2.02 square kilometres (0.78 square miles). Its fame isn’t derived from being smaller than most English towns but from its history of hosting major events.
Every year, Monaco welcomes Formula 1 to its streets with the principality being taken over by 20 of the most advanced race cars on the planet as they weave in and out of the twisty streets, passing many famous landmarks. The race is broadcast to hundreds of millions of people around the world and attracts hundreds of yachts and superyachts as the world’s mega-rich flock to its harbour to see and be seen at the Monaca Grand Prix.
Of course, Formula 1 is not the only sporting event taking place in the micronation. Another major annual competition is the EPT Monte Carlo, which is hosted in the historic Casino de Monte Carlo and attracts around 1,000 of the best poker players in the world.
With so many international events taking place each year, Monaco is equipped to offer one of the most luxurious experiences in Europe, including five-star hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants, and other decadent amenities.
Contrasting against Monaco, Andorra is the largest micronation in Europe at 468 square kilometres. It’s also landlocked, meaning no superyachts will be mooring off its coast. Instead, Andorra offers luxury in the way of remote escapes and skiing resorts.
Its mountainous location makes it the perfect place to enjoy the slopes, especially at luxury hotels like the L'Ovella Negra Mountain Lodge, Park Piolets Mountain Hotel & Spa, and Hotel Plaza Andorra.
As a full member of the European Union, you may not think of Malta as a micronation but the country has a total landmass smaller than Andorra. It’s an archipelago of seven islands off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, making it the ideal place for luxury beach resorts.
The capital, Valletta, offers the perfect mix of luxury hotels and beautiful scenery thanks to its status as a World Heritage Centre. No matter where you go, you’ll find beautiful views, quaint architecture, and world-class amenities.
Alternatively, the quiet island of Gozo is home to several five-star hotels, including Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz, AX The Palace, and The Phoenicia Malta, all of which provide the height of luxury, picturesque views, and quick access to other islands.
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