Got Olympic Fever? Check out these Former Olympic Cities

161063332It’s exciting to watch young people from around the world compete every two years in feats of athleticism that often simply blow the mind. The Olympics, for many of us, is one of those events that keeps us glued to the television, and some of us have even had the opportunity to travel to the games and secure seats to some of our favorite sports.

But what happens to those cities and all of those Olympic venues when the games are over. In some cases, not a lot. In others, these wonderful venues have been used over and over again for local events and for international competitions.

The Olympics – both summer and winter – have been held in Europe countless times in recent (and not-so-recent) years, and many of the cities that hosted the games are certainly worth visiting, if not for the sports taking place there then for the other things the cities have to offer. Here’s a list of a few of our favorites.  (more…)

Toddlers and Transatlantic Flights: Your Guide to Sanity

139992518While many individuals find traveling without children to be the only way to truly enjoy a peaceful vacation, plenty of us love exploring the world with our children, even when they’re little. But these trips, though much-anticipated, can have their trying moments too, especially aboard an airplane on a flight that lasts 6 hours or more, such as those from the U.S. to Europe.

That said, however, if you’re really bent on taking the little ones along on your next European vacation, there are plenty of ways to lessen the stress for you, your child(ren), and your fellow passengers. A lot of it has to deal with preparation and the rest is all about good old patience with – and empathy for – your kid(s). After all, it’s tough to be a cooped up 2 to 4-year-old, removed from your normal routine and surrounded by plenty of sights, sounds, and feelings that can be quite scary.

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The Top 10 Most Romantic Places in Europe to Propose to your Sweetie

462908977Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. If marriage is on your mind and you’re looking for that perfect place to pop the question, Europe is full of ultra-romantic destinations that’ll make your marriage proposal absolutely unforgettable. From iconic landmarks to less-familiar spots, the continent boasts dozens of places where couples from around the world can take that first step towards becoming man-and-wife.

We’ve decided to share our 10 favorite with you. (Yes, some of them are pretty predictable and pretty cliché – our apologies – but we just had to put them on the list.) If one of them seems ideal for you and your love, ask your travel agent to help you set up the ideal romantic vacation, one that will be the perfect introduction to years of wedded bliss!

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County Cork Offers Visitors a Wide Variety of Options

152991456Cork City isn’t Dublin…at least not yet. However, it seems that many travel experts have started referring to this other fair city as “The Dublin of the South”, a moniker that attests to the fact that it’s becoming more and more cosmopolitan each day. This university town and capital of County Cork boasts great restaurants, a wonderful cultural scene, live music, and plenty of other opportunities that attract both international visitors and Irish from other parts of the country.

On the other hand, parts of County Cork are still quite old-fashioned, a little rural, and – in the case of the coast – quite rugged. Kinsale, less than 20 miles from the county’s busy capital city, still looks like an old-fashioned fishing village, with galleries and shops added to attract the tourists. West Cork, the most remote part of the county, has jagged coastlines, stunning scenery, rough-and-tumble pubs that are always lively, and roads that are quite difficult to navigate. And then there’s East Cork, home to the harbor town of Cobh, which was once the spot where Irish emigrants boarded large ships to make the journey to America in search of a better life. (The Titanic made its last stop there.) (more…)

Europe’s Best Springtime Gardens are a Treat for the Senses

462510421Spring hasn’t yet arrived, but in certain parts of the country we’re certainly anticipating the coming of warmer weather, sunshine, and brightly-colored flowers peeking through the snow-sodden dirt. We can’t wait to smell those first aromas of spring, when the white stuff is long gone and the leaves have begun appearing on the trees, seemingly one-by-one, until they’re full again.

Flowers, of course, are the quintessential sign of spring, and many of us – no matter where we live or where we’re traveling – hope to include a springtime visit to a spectacular garden on our itinerary. In Europe, there are a number of wonderful springtime gardens that are must-sees if you are visiting the areas in which they are located, so we’re taken a few minutes to list some of the best (and our favorites!) below, just in case you find yourself nearby during late March, April, or May.

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Europe’s Top 5 Late Season Skiing Spots

177706983Perhaps you didn’t get as much time on the slopes as you’d wished this year. Nasty weather may have hindered your travel plans or that four-letter word spelled w-o-r-k may have kept you from spending time honing your skiing skills. But take heart! It’s not too late to book travel to some of Europe’s top ski locations, where the snow is so good that you can ski straight into the late weeks of spring.

Skiing in the spring is a treat for a number of reasons. First of all, the crowds are generally lighter so that means shorter lift lines and more room to have fun on the slopes. Additionally, accommodations are priced lower, so even reservations at a 5-star luxury resort won’t set you back as much as it would during the thick of winter. Happily, however, the après ski scene is – in general – just as good, with plenty of visitors eager to enjoy a little night life after a long day on the slopes.

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Tiny Luxembourg a Small European Gem

184445632Though the hoopla has been nothing compared to the birth of England’s Prince George, the people of tiny Luxembourg have been in the news lately, delighted over the announcement that their prince and his wife will soon be welcoming their first child. It’s a happy time for the small country whose citizens love their royals as fiercely as the Brits adore theirs.

Actually, there’s plenty to love about Luxembourg, the Grand Duchy sandwiched between Germany, France, and Belgium. It has a lot going for it, from lovely natural scenery to gleaming cityscapes and plenty of cultural offerings as well. It’s well worth a stop if you happen to be nearby and it’s a nice change from the many busy spots that surround it. Furthermore, it’s super easy to navigate by car but there’s also great public transportation. The urban areas are wonderful to explore on foot as well.

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Italy’s Diverse Regions Provide the Traveler a Variety of Cuisines

158956432If you’re heading to Italy sometime this year, you’re no doubt anticipating the amazing food that you’ll certainly find there. But while here in the U.S. we’ve kind of pigeon-holed the term “Italian food” to mean things like pizza, spaghetti, and other sauce-and-cheese-laden dishes, the food scene in Italy is so much more, and what you find will largely depend on the region you’re visiting.

So, below we’ve compiled a list of the typical cuisine and some specific dishes you might find in the most-visited areas of the country. You’ll find that many vary greatly from place to place. Nevertheless, you’ll want to arrive with your hearty appetite in tow, ready to try some of Italy’s best.  (more…)

Planning a Destination Family Reunion

80966251Group travel can be lots of fun, and if the trip includes family members that you love, it can be even more special. Each year, families all around the world organize “destination” reunions – exciting trips that take them to fun and interesting locales full of experiences they can enjoy together.

When traveling with a large group, especially family, it’s important to dot all your Is and cross your Ts. In addition, when large numbers of people are traveling together, there’s plenty of room for travel disasters, that’s why it’s always a good idea to solicit the help of a travel professional experienced in small (or large) group travel. They will know exactly what it takes to organize lodging, activities, dining, and more for a group of travelers with different tastes and desires.

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