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Hub Culture Presents the 2012 Perfect European Summer Spots

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19th May 2012

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Summer in Europe is like a sweet dream - no matter how bad the problems in the city, almost everyone finds time to slip away, unfurl on a beach and sip local spirits under starry skies. In times of economic merde it is easy to forget Europe's pleasures, so Hub Culture recruited our oft-traveling Jean Francois Lacourt (who knows all the yacht spots) to create our first ever European Perfect Summer List - the places we treasure.
This is your ultimate insider collection of what's amazing - not just obvious. And Jean-Francois should know, having spent the last few years between Hub events sailing the crystalline waters of Europe on many a super-yacht. Hand this directly to your captain and set course for adventure! The rest of us shall arrive by dinghy.
1. Panarea Island, Italy
"Probably the most romantic al fresco place on earth with amazing views on stromboli and turquoise shallow waters. In the 70's a Milanese couple bought lots of houses and created shops and hotels called Raya, hoping to preserve a cool and relaxed lifestyle. Since then the rich and famous have come, and much of the Italian jetset is there to be found. Have drinks at one of the many candlelit al fresco bars. Panarea is Italian lifestyle at its best."
2. Iztuzu, Turkey
"Also called turtle island, this is one of the only loggerhead turtle breeding beaches in the Med. Located in the delta of Daylan, it is surrounded by lagoons, bays and miles of white fine sand. It is a hike, so still feels like undiscovered ground. The nearby town is very different from other resorts, with Roman Caunos remains, hot springs, rockfaced Lycian tombs and lots of interesting history."
3. Pakleni Islands, Croatia
"Just a quick boat ride from the very popular and cool Hvar lays the stunning archipelago of Pakleni. Laze around at one of the many beaches, stroll and giggle at Jerolim`s nude beach, hit Zdrilica for lunch or Palmizana for its natural botanical gardens. Stunning soft white sand and iridescent shallow waters will welcome you, with always that lavender smell so typical to the region."
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4. Kekova, Turkey
"Everything is there, the weather, the nightlife, lush stretched beaches and one of the world's most amazing underwater treasures - the remains of a Byzantian city, only discovered in 2002. This is a place of historical Roman ruins and natural landscapes mixed perfectly with local traditions. Experience absolute darkness by nightfall and just watch the milky way spin while you sip on some raki."
5. Formentera, Spain
"The smallest of the Balearics is an unspoiled island known for stretches of sandy coastline and translucent waters. Particularly nice are Migjorn and Ses Illetes beaches. In Formentera you simply unwind and enjoy the good life - its very high-end for those in the know. For those craving some of the world's best clubbing just hop over to big sister Ibiza, only 20 mins away by speedboat."
6. Kefalonia, Greece
"Welcome to the Ionian islands, with relaxed long sandy beaches and beautiful warm water. Don't miss one of the world's most beautiful beaches at Myrtos. This is a perfect island for water sports, particularly kite-surfing. It also includes one of the highest mountains of the Greek islands, Mount Ainos, with lush vegetation, mountain rivers and rare species of fir forest. Spend a day hiking and end it with a dip in the sea."
7. Pampelonne, France
"Just around the corner from the ever-chic St-Tropez, this 10km stretch of beach offers the best beach clubs of the Mediterranean. Le Club 55, Tahiti or Les Palmiers are just a couple of the bold-faced names, where everyone lunches away long afternoons under the umbrellas, table hopping with their La Minuit Rose. Beautiful vineyards along the coastline and opulent villas are the rule, so coming along with your yacht is a must and going for pastis in the nearby village of Ramatuelle an obligation."
8. Comino Island, Malta
"Be sure to visit the Blue Lagoon or one of the many Caribbean-worthy beaches. Comino is one of the best dive spots of the Med - check out blue hole and fungus rock. Swim to the islands of Ciminito or have a wander in the natural lagoons and caves of Santa Marija Bay. Make sure to book at one of the three main hotels and you will have a wonderful time."
9. St. Jean Cap Ferret, France
"Set in this one of-a-kind peninsula, JCP is ideally for those who want to escape city life and spend their holiday in complete isolation from the outside world, but without sacrificing epicurean delights. Just the perfect little sea village, with nature and respect of the environment ingrained. Not far from the best seafood of Europe: Bassin d`Arcachon, la Dune de Pila and stunning vineyards, Margaux, St-Estephe, St-Julien. A true Joy for epicureans, in style s`il vous plait. Not to be confused with St. Jean Cap Ferrat, also wonderful.
10. Cala di Volpe, Italy
"The nicest beach on the Costa Esmeralda has beautiful stretches of white sand, crystal clear waters, ensured sun. Cala di Volpe is within the vicinity of the very chic Porto Cervo, where you will have no problems having fun. The love and passion of Sardignians make this place unique for outstanding local food. Very popular by our eastern counterparts and their magnificent large yachts. Lots of diving and some of the best sailing in Europe. If you head to the nearby Billionaire Club, ask Esmerelda Discepolo for a table and tell them Hub Culture sent you."
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Island Europe has much else to offer - these other popular or obscure locations remain on our must-do radar:
11. Ibiza, Spain (always)
12. Paros & Mykonos, Greece (always)
13. Ramla-I-Hamra, Gozo, Malta
14. Rushy Bay, Bryher, England
15. Kampen, Sylt, Germany
16. Chia Bay, Italy
17. Sagar, Portugal
18. Sandbanks, England
19. Knokke-heist de Haan, Belgium
20. Cabo de gata-Nijar, Spain