Our favourite European escapades

The unrivalled diversity of cultures and landscapes in Europe offers a kaleidoscope of experiences; here are some of the IT staff’s more memorable escapades.

1. Rocking and rolling: Venice, Italy

Leigh-Ann Pow, Editorial Director: I felt like I was taking my life in my hands on a gondola ride in Venice; the narrow canals were fine, but it was seriously choppy on the Grand Canal and the boat, the gondolier and I were rocking and rolling from side to side. It took a giant scoop of gelato in St Mark’s Square to recover afterwards.

More: Venice with the kids of stay in Splendid’s luxury

2. Climbing Mt Olympus: Greece

Steve Madgwick, Digital Editor: The Gods imparted a lesson in complacency when I tried to summit Greece’s highest mountain, Mt Olympus (2918 metres).

It was 45 relentless degrees when I stepped off the train at Aegean Sea level, not a wisp in the sky. Shorts and spray jacket seemed plenty, until an utterly unseasonal blizzard blew in, 200 metres shy of the top; icicles clinging to my leg hairs the indelible memory.

More: Greece’s 4 secret travel gems

3. Getting back to nature: St Anton, Austria

Daniel Down, Chief Sub Editor: After a long day of skiing in St Anton we decided to decamp to the highly recommended sauna and pool complex in the town to relieve tired leg muscles.

It wasn’t long before I found myself in a fairly busy compulsory-nude, mixed-sex sauna and I had my brother and father along for what turned out to be very awkward company. Needless to say, my first experience of the very liberal Austrian sauna culture was… liberating.

4. Floating around Amsterdam: Netherlands

Rebecca Xu, designer: Staying in a floating hotel on the River IJ in Amsterdam was one of the more unique forms of accommodation that I experienced in Europe.

Our room, or cabin rather, was small and simple with only the basics included, but the view from our window was anything but basic. Looking out and seeing the river immediately surrounding you allowed us to absorb the city in a special way.

More: The bespoke guide to cycling in Amsterdam

5. Impromptu performance: Seville, Spain

Lara Picone, Editor of Australian Traveller: One evening in Seville, my husband and I happened upon a line of people waiting to buy tickets for something. We didn’t know what it was all about but joined nonetheless.

We ended up enjoying an incredible outdoor string symphony concert in the Alcázar of Seville – a truly remarkable Moorish Palace with beautiful gardens where peacocks roam. It was so unexpected and something we wouldn’t have known to seek out if we hadn’t stumbled across it.

More adventure: Spain’s Andalucían Mountains on horseback