Three European casino citybreaks to try this summer
As we reach the giddy heights of mid-July, attention swiftly towards those much-needed summer holidays. For some, busy professional schedules (and possibly children, too) make it difficult to head to far-flung places to scratch that casino itch.
However, with some of the world’s greatest culture on our doorstep, along with some of the best gambling houses to boot, there are still plenty of options for a gaming getaway. Whether you have two weeks of leave to spend, or just a Bank Holiday in August, a European city-break might just be your answer.
Read on for Luxury Lifestyle Magazine’s favourite picks for casino city-breaks this summer – but make sure you get some practice playing online casinos in the UK first.
In many ways, Lisbon is the perfect answer for both your cultural and casino-related needs. The coastal capital of Portugal boasts superb white-gold beaches, as well as magnificent architectural buildings like the Tower of Belém and Jerónimos Monastery. World-class gothic and medieval culture isn’t all that’s on offer, though, and the Portuguese economic centre ticks all the boxes for shopping, entertainment and cuisine, too.
In terms of casino entertainment, Lisbon is home to one of Europe’s largest casinos – the Casino Estoril. The city’s favourite gaming house opened in 1916, and is rumoured to have been a covert operations hub for international espionage.
Nowadays, the Casino Estoril is home to over ten restaurants, 1,300 gaming tables, hundreds of slot machines and a vibrant tournament poker room which hosts both Omaha and Texas Hold ‘Em variants with regularity. There are a host of other gambling venues within the Lisbon region, too, if you fancy something a little more understated.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Far from understated, however, is the exclusive and affluent tax haven of Monte Carlo, home to some of the world’s most wealthy and eligible bachelors. Tennis star Novak Djokovic, movie royalty Leonardo di Caprio and Formula One speedster Lewis Hamilton are just a few examples of the world’s one per cent who choose to make the principality of Monaco their home.
It is not hard to see why. Monte Carlo boasts scenery and culture hard to rival the world over – and its casinos are the most famous on the continent. Many Hollywood movies have chosen Monte Carlo to represent some of its highest-stakes plot lines, including, perhaps most famously, the James Bond movie Casino Royale.
The Casino de Monte Carlo is perhaps the most famous of the gambling houses on offer in the region, catering better than most places on the planet in terms of high-stakes gaming. Portrayed in the movie Ocean’s Twelve, as well as a couple of early Bond movies, the 108,000 square-foot casino resort complex is one of the most iconic on Earth, also housing a beautiful theatre and ballet house for the full cultural experience.
Campione d’Italia, Italy
This little-known enclave buried deep in the mountains of northern Italy used to serve as a garrison during the Roman Empire. Nowadays, the town, which borders Switzerland, serves as one of the most spellbinding retreats from city life – for Italian natives as well as tourists.
The population, according to its most recent census, is a little under 2,000. Despite lying under a kilometre, as the crow flies, from nearby towns, the secluded nature of the mountain town requires a 10 kilometre drive around mountain ranges to arrive at the next settlement. The nearest major economic centre, Como, is nearly 30 kilometres away. Perhaps contrary to conventional wisdom on the subject, some entrepreneurial souls decided this was the perfect place for a casino.
It worked, too. The Casino di Campione is a massive undertaking, with a footprint of nearly 600,000 square feet, making it the largest casino in Europe for some time. Sitting on the bank of Lake Lugano, the Casino welcomes flocks of tourists from Italy, nearby Switzerland and far further afield. Not unlike the Casino Estoril, the Campione was opened in 1917, allegedly to serve as a place for secure wartime information to be exchanged.
Now, it plays host to a different type of clientele, with classic casino games of all types available within the mountainous resort. As you might expect with access to a secluded town with such unique geography, transport links can be tricky. The nearest airport, as the crow flies, is Lugano, in Switzerland, but advice suggests it may be easier, particularly from the UK, to fly to Milan and either drive or take the train north.