5 Tips for Villa Renting in Italy

147709579If you’re like many avid travelers, you may prefer to avoid hotels and, instead, look for rentals that allow you to truly immerse yourself in the community in which you’re staying. Truly, there are lots of advantages to renting villas and other types of properties, and many of them even come with the perks you’d expect in a luxury hotel…plus a few extras from which to choose.

Villa rentals in Italy have become increasingly popular over the last several years. You can find them just about anywhere in the most visited destinations in that country, and they’re especially popular in the small towns of Tuscany and other rural or suburban areas. Many are simply charming and everything that you’d picture when imagining an Italian villa. Others aren’t quite so nice. That’s why you need to abide by some rules and follow some tips when considering a villa rental instead of a hotel stay. (more…)

Ta-Da! The Top 10 Luxury Hotels in Europe…In Our Opinion!

160551085Travelers who appreciate the finer things in life will often tell you that where they stay when reaching a particular destination is often just as important – or sometimes more important – than what they will see while visiting that particular spot. Though some vacationers view their accommodations as “just a place to sleep”, many discerning travelers view their hotel as part of the total experience. That means things like top-notch personalized service, spacious comfortable rooms, and a wide array of amenities, are extremely important.

Europe has no shortage of luxury hotels that fit those descriptions, and listing them all would be next to impossible. So, we’ve chosen a handful of some of our favorites in the countries to which we most often send our clients. Here are 10 that we think are super stellar and a must-do if you’re heading in their direction. (more…)

Consider an Autumn Fine Arts Tour of Lovely Cologne

177690934Germany is beautiful in September and October! The air is a bit crisp, leaves are colorful, and the crowds have gone home. In addition, the museums and attractions are far easier to explore, devoid of huge droves of individuals trying to squeeze everything into their one-week summer vacation.

Cologne, the largest city in the Rhineland region, is especially lovely in the fall. Its magnificent Gothic cathedrals and medieval houses seem to sparkle in the autumn sunlight and even the starkly modern high rise buildings look their best in the fall moonlight. Add to that the fact that the city is becoming one of the foremost fine arts capitals of Europe and you’ve got a wonderful destination for art lovers who have the freedom to travel during the shoulder season. (more…)

France’s Fairytale-like Loire Valley Will Leave You Enchanted

156219126Dotted with breathtaking castles, lovely villages, old forests, sleepy vineyards, and stunning rivers, France’s Loire Valley, located in the central portion of the country, is about as picturesque as you can get. A veritable storybook you can walk (or drive) through, it’s ideal for a wide variety of travelers, from honeymoon couples to outdoor types to families traveling with children.

If you’re a castle and chateaux fan, the Loire Valley should definitely be on your itinerary. If you’re a history buff, you’ll love it here. If you or the members of your party enjoy cycling and hiking, there’s something for you in the Loire Valley. Amateur photographer? This is the place for you. Truly, there’s a piece of the Loire Valley that fits all tastes. Furthermore, because parts of the valley are quite close to Paris, you can tailor your trip so that it fits into just a few days. However, you might find it so enchanting that you’ll want to spend your entire vacation there, sans the bright lights and crowds of the busy capital city.  (more…)

Experience Ireland’s Top 5 Natural Attractions

87512172Ireland’s cities are marvelous. Dublin is one of the chicest cities in Europe and one of the fastest-growing as well. Belfast is growing in popularity, too. And then there’s the small towns and villages of Ireland, fun and lively, filled with noisy pubs and blessed with man-made attractions that keep visitors coming back again and again.

On the other hand, there’s the Ireland you most often see in pictures. That’s the one with the huge green expanses, dramatic cliffs, lovely lakes, and more. This is the Ireland that so often attracts visitors and leaves them breathless, awed by the natural beauty of a country that has always been one of the most spectacular in the world… though often one of the most underrated.   (more…)

Flanders’ Bruges is the Other “Venice of the North”

148652959Amsterdam is often given a moniker that associates its many canals with those of Italy’s beautiful and historic Venice. Blessed with equally lovely canals as that Italian city, Amsterdam has long attracted visitors who are looking for a Venice-type experience while visited northern Europe.

However, another city has earned the same nickname – “The Venice of the North” – thanks to its lovely waterways, stunning architecture, and rich cultural scene. That city is the less-well-known Bruges, a lovely municipality in West Flanders that’s long been an important port and was once one of the most vibrant commercial cities in Europe. (more…)

More than Beaches on Spain’s Costa del Sol

119473932Southern Spain’s fabled Sun Coast has long been a party spot for the rich and famous, and though it’s no longer quite as notable as it once was, it’s an area of the county that beach goers, golfers, and lovers of water sports will certainly enjoy. Dotted with towns that are both charming and historic (while others are a bit touristy), Costa del Sol is well worth a visit and can be a lovely addition to any vacation that takes you to this lovely country, where the people and places are vibrant and the history rich.

You can easily spend at least a week exploring the area, but there are definitely a few must-see locations along the way, so plan your travels accordingly if any of the destinations below sound enticing. (more…)

The Outer Hebrides are Ideal for an Outdoorsy Vacation

87466942Located off the west coast of mainland Scotland, the Outer Hebrides is a lush and historic archipelago of volcanic rock islands that beckon visitors who are looking for a natural vacation. Much of the archipelago is protected habitat, filled with wildlife and breathtaking scenery that’s a photographer’s dream.

But there’s also plenty to explore outside the reserves, and you can easily fill several days making your way between the seven islands that make up the Outer Hebrides. Several of them fill plenty of the needs of visitors including lovely places to stay and even a lively social scene that’s indicative of a wonderful yet rugged island lifestyle.  (more…)

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