I lived the majority of my life in the fast lane. I was born with the type A gene and have tried to harness the energy. In 2006, I took my first “non-business” trip to Europe and rode 2,000 miles on my bike over six weeks. This liberating trip took me through nine countries. In 2008, I heard about the Camino de Santiago, but had a hard time with the slow nature of walking. It seemed like a trip more suited for a type B. After seeing the film “The Way” in 2010, I felt a strong need to try the path someday. In August of 2012, a wild hair twanged and I bought a plane ticket. Three weeks later, I found myself on the French side of the Pyrenees.
The 7 Most Amazing Natural Swimming Pool Destinations
Who needs a commercial pool when stunning natural swimming holes are located around the world? Imagine floating on your back in beautiful Grecian lagoon that resembles a swimming pool carved into rocks or swimming past breathtaking waterfalls in an other-worldly cenote just outside of Chicen Itza Mexico. Amazingly, the world is filled with spectacular natural swimming holes, just ready to be discovered. Below are five of our favorites.
The lovely Christmas markets of Northern France are a great reason to visit this delightful region for a pre-holiday getaway. The markets here have a very special atmosphere and will certainly get you into the Christmas spirit. Of course the shopping is fun with a mix of products you know and love, and some that are more French in flavour. This means you can often find items you won’t see in the UK or elsewhere in Europe . What a great opportunity to purchase some unique gifts for family and friends. Being France you’re of course assured of finding wine, beer, chocolate and cheese at bargain prices.
Here’s a list of a few markets that are close to the car ferry port in Calais so from the minute you arrive on the Dover ferry, you’ll be only a few more minutes from a great shopping experience.
Four rocky islands sit off the coast of Marseilles’ Old Port, but two in particular have considerable historic appeal. Those familiar with the Count of Monte Cristo will recognize the first worth visiting, Isle d’If, a jutting outpost-turned-19th century prison, where author Alexandre Dumas’ father was once wrongfully imprisoned. The second, Ratonneau, is larger, longer, haunting and beautiful: a nature preserve dotted with forests, coves and wildlife overseen by an old, abandoned hospital on the top of its highest cliffs. These two comprise a memorable day-long escape amidst any tour of southern France, and I recently had the opportunity to experience them for myself.
Although Devon’s towns don’t tend to make it into people’s top ten lists when talking about UK destinations, it is often regarded as one of the best holiday spots in the country. Positioned on the South West coast of England, the County offers up vast areas of greenery, some of the best beaches the country has to offer and a number of quaint seaside towns all within a short drive from each other. With two coastlines, some of the country’s finest resort towns, and open moorland for exploring, Devon is one of England’s most rewarding destinations for vacationers. Easily accessible from anywhere in England via rail, road, or air, Devon is one of the best places in England to enjoy a short four-day break.
Imagine honeymooning in a Mediterranean paradise, surrounded by flowers, amazing views, the friendliest people and constantly perfect weather. Well, why imagine it when you can do it in the beautiful and serene Madeira Islands.The Islands of Madeira are located near Portugal, 301 miles from the coast of Africa and 620 miles from Europe. This means it’s only a 90 minute flight from Lisbon, so it’s a great place to spend a couple of days if you’re honeymooning throughout Spain and Europe.
Of course, if you want to spend your entire honeymoon on the gorgeous Madeira Archipelago, no one could ever blame you. First discovered by the Portuguese in 1418, the Madeira Islands are actually made up of four islands: Madeira, Porto Santo and two uninhabited islands called Selvagens and Desertas.
As temperatures cool, thoughts naturally turn to Munich and their gala Oktoberfest celebration; this year the world’s most famous beer festival (starting on the 18th September and ending on 4th October) celebrates its 200 year birthday. If it’s too late to organize a trip for this year, then book some days off in 2014, because Oktoberfest is definitely one of those bucket-list events you’ll always be glad you experienced. Just remember to reserve hotels in Munich as early as possible, as they always get fully-booked for the festival.
In late September each year a dozen cavernous beer tents are erected in the Theresienwiese Park, which is located close to the city centre. Over six million beer-lovers attend this festival each year, filling the long tables and consuming more than 6.5 million litres of the specially brewed Oktoberfest Bier over the sixteen days – this is not a festival of moderation!
Berlin is one of the most popular cities in the world at the moment, and for good reason. With a vibrant population of young artists, musicians and trendsetters populating the area, the city is constantly evolving. While days in Berlin are exciting, the nights click things up a notch or two as a tidal wave of eclectic youth splashes through the streets and into the cities numerous clubs, bars and cafes. There is never a dull moment here, but sometimes you need to take a break from the turbulence, and that’s why Sunday morning brunches in Berlin are a must.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re young or old, local or international; there’s nothing like an extended brunch spent drinking coffee and fresh juices, filling your plate high with freshly cooked sausages and scrambled eggs, and soaking up the scene.
For many people, there is no better way to enjoy a vacation than on a boat whether it be sailing, yachting or on a cruise. France is often considered to be the pastime’s epicenter. The French Riviera is home to a multitude of celebrated cities that need to be high on the list of anyone considering taking a boating trip in the area.
If you’re thinking about touring the south of France by sea, here are eight places you can’t miss:
If you’re venturing to the southern region of the UK on vacation, no trip would be complete without exploring some of the quaint English towns in the county of Cornwall. In particular, the town of Newquay is an excellent holiday destination for all ages; from parents with young children, senior holidaymakers or teenagers looking to unwind after a hard year at school or university.
While coastal beaches and historic landmarks are in abundance in Cornwall, it is Newquay that boasts some of the finest coastal areas in the UK. It is far from just a lovely seaside town in the south-west however; it also has a number of attractions to keep all ages entertained throughout their break.
I’ve been nibbling my way through a recently published book on the fascinating history of cheese in France. The Whole Fromage is an entertaining journey through the French countryside by Author, Kathe Lison, who brings the reader along on her pursuit of the world’s most delectable cheeses.
Born and raised in the cheese-centric state of Wisconsin, you might think that Kathe had a pallet for exotic cheeses from an early age. But like you and me, she was raised on Kraft Mac and Cheese, and considered Babybell rounds in the red mesh bag to be exotic fare. That all changed on a fateful trip to Paris where the world of delectable French cheeses revealed itself.
When traveling for business as well as for pleasure, the wide variety of foods that you can taste and enjoy is often one of the most exciting aspects of the entire trip. Regardless of where in the world you find yourself awaking or how tired you may feel, a hearty breakfast is a great way to start the day, lift your spirits and make you feel like a local.
Western-influenced breakfasts have crept their way onto menus around the world, but be adventurous and tempt your taste buds with the following hotel breakfasts from countries across the globe during your travels.
The Algarve is located in the southernmost region of Portugal and is the most popular tourist destination in the country. Almost ten million people visit the Algarve every year and many of them vacation there for the extensive choice of popular water sports.
In addition to being attracted to the fantastic golden sand beaches, the Algarve also offers a wide variety of water sports, including snorkeling, scuba diving and water-skiing. Depending on the time of year the Atlantic Ocean can generate some huge waves, making it ideal for surfing and wind-surfing. On days when the water is calmer, wakeboarding is the sport of choice.
These three islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino are unknown to many international travelers, but are situated in the Mediterranean sea, in close proximity to Italy.
Malta is a magnificent country that most visitors fall in love with, once they walk the beautiful little streets of Valletta, Mdina, Vitorioso or any other little town or village. Each of them is filled with history, magnetism and Mediterranean spirit! Almost all exhibit buildings in shades of yellow, making streets look nicer and brighter. The architecture is a mixture of varying styles, which somewhat reminds me of Sicily.
If you love Caribbean culture – the music, the festivals, the food and drink – simply head to London. Apart from the sun, nearly every area in London has something Caribbean to help spice the locale up. Whether you’re looking for a plate full of jerk chicken, a glass of rum punch or a summer festival, our guide will help you navigate London and find the coolest Caribbean vibes.
Two of the trendiest places in London right now are Brixton and Harlesden. Unsurprisingly, both areas have an affluent Caribbean community. Brixton early in the morning is a great place to visit cafes; there’s an abundance to choose from. Negril serves Caribbean toast (spiced toast served with cinnamon and vanilla and toasted coconut), traditional cornmeal porridge and smoothies (the Caribbean Queen drink with papaya, pineapple, mango and a splash of dairy milk) will transport you from the busy streets of London to a tranquil beach in Jamaica.
It seems the world has fallen in love with the idea of renting a beautiful villa and bringing the whole family along on vacation. The number of villa rental sites has expanded dramatically in recent years as have popular home rental sites like VRBO. But one big obstacle to a fabulous rental vacation has always been how to tap into local experiences, events and sightseeing options.
Villas of Distinction To The Rescue. Recently Villas of Distinction, a well respected villa rental company with inventory around the world, has solved this age-old problem by partnering with Excursionist.com a provider of experiential travel and sightseeing excursions. Adding tailor-made travel experiences to your villa rental vacation is now a cinch.
For many visitors to Italy, Tuscany is the region that surpasses all others. The cultural and historical significance of Florence and other Tuscan towns rival the most popular locations anywhere in Europe. In addition, the famed rolling hills of vineyards and olive groves provide a plethora of excellent walking routes that balance beautifully with the man-made splendour of the cities. These scenic walks will not only reveal the natural beauty of the landscape, but enables travelers to feast on the fine rustic cuisine of the area and sample the superb wines produced in this exquisite part of the world. In the past decade Tuscany has become one of, if not, the most popular tourist destination in Italy.
Being one of the most well-known tourist resort areas in the Mediterranean, the seaport and city of Dubrovnik are rightly called the “Pearl of the Adriatic”. Located on the Adriatic Sea and one of the oldest cities in Croatia, Dubrovnik has much to offer the curious traveler.
The history of Dubrovnik has deep roots in maritime trade, as it was the one city-state capable of being a rival to the massive Venetian efforts in trade by sea. From the middle ages, Dubrovnik has relied on its experience in diplomacy and wealth to survive during ages of war and conflict.
It makes perfect sense to me that the Canary Island of Tenerife has a reputation around the world as a must-visit location for diving enthusiasts. The volcanic nature of the island makes for some of the most interesting drifts and dives, and the location means a huge variety of wildlife to hope to catch a glimpse of. A natural consequence of Tenerife’s popularity with divers is its plethora of diving schools offering instruction to beginners and improvers, and who run regular organised trips to dive some lesser-known spots around the island – as well as the tourist favourites.
I strongly recommend doing your research when choosing who you book with:
London has provided the inspiration for some of the world’s great novels, and has been home to many acclaimed writers. Throughout much of the last two centuries, London served as a major cultural hub, where writers of all genres and nationalities met and exchanged ideas and stories. Literary buffs can get their fix by exploring the many places that favourite writers loved.
When planning a trip to London, why not visit the locations frequented and enjoyed by legendary writers? Experiencing London the way they saw it will give you a great connection to their work, and you can see most of the sites for free – perfect if you are a ‘struggling artist’ like your literary heroes.