Some of the most luxurious items in the world, from Rolls Royce to Rolex can trace their beginnings to Europe. Many of these brands have enticed shoppers for generations and show no signs of going out of style. From top-of-the-line automobiles to hand-crafted jewelry and every knick-knack in between, discover Europe’s finest products firsthand.
Start behind the wheel, or at least in the factories, of Europe’s finest automobiles. Tour the BMW Munich Plant in Germany for a behind-the-scenes look at the century-old luxury carmaker. Rev your competitive engine at Aston Martin Racing in England and feel the need for speed. Choose from legendary automakers like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo or Mercedes Benz to drive your imagination wild while on guided tours of state-of-the-art facilities, or even from the driver’s seat.
After feeling the power of the auto industry, make time for the age-old precision of Europe’s jewelry and watch craftsmanship. World-class crystal and diamond brands such as Swarovski, Cartier and Bulgari easily charm their way onto the arms of female visitors. For the fashionable male, Rolex, Longines, Tag Heuer keep time with a heritage of excellence that cannot be ignored. And this is just the beginning of the elegance to size up.
Beyond accessories, Europe is home to some of the highest-quality clothing in the world. Add Yves St. Laurent, Chanel, Gucci and other luxury garment brands with European roots to your wardrobe. Shop countless boutiques and studios in Paris, Milan or Madrid to satisfy your fashion desires. But for more of a local influence, shop the bustling street markets common in all the major cities from London to Prague for handmade treasures or unique antique jewelry. If you’re more of a bargain hunter then you’ll be please to discover that many European cities now have retail outlet villages selling top brands at factory outlet prices.
Travelers, you’ve lucked out! If you live outside of the European Union, you are invited to shop completely tax-free at shops directly outside of the European airports. You can also request a refund if you’ve been taxed for your purchases. Pay the VAT in the shop, and request a refund when exporting later. The trick is to save your receipts—when you visit customs, get a validation stamp, and then send your receipts back to retailers for a refund.
Whether it’s a European shopping spree, or the occasional splurge on a luxury item you cannot put down, trust in the craftsmanship, style and design of products made in Europe.