Europe’s Best Culinary Cities are a Foodie’s Delight

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-street-cafe-paris-image21874566Some people eat to live. Others live to eat. If you’re part of the latter group, chances are your vacations always include trips to great restaurants. If you’re an avid foodie, you probably do a little food-based research before you go, zeroing in on a few of your destination’s best restaurants or perhaps some signature dishes that you simply MUST try while in town.

Europe, of course, offers a wealth of some of the world’s most magnificent culinary capitals. Some are easy to guess while others might not be so obvious. A number have been on this list for decades and others are relatively new on the list of notable European food destinations. Take a look and consider including one or more of these on your next vacation itinerary. (more…)

Performing Arts Festival Makes Spoleto the Place to Be This Summer

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-spoleto-image5794121In the summertime, Italy can be a bit crowded and a little toasty. But if you’ve got a yen for the arts – especially music – chances are you’d be willing to overlook the excessive number of visitors and even the weather to enjoy one of the world’s premiere arts-related festivals – the Festival Dei Dui Mondi, the Festival of Two Worlds.

Founded in 1958 by composer Gian Carlo Menotti, this incredible festival, which – for 15 years – was paired with a sister festival in Charleston, South Carolina, offers locals and visitors almost three weeks full of performances by seasoned professionals (many well known) in disciplines that include opera, dance, theater, fine art, and a variety of other genres ranging from choral music to contemporary musical offerings. It’s two weeks of total immersion into the arts, and visitors can purchase tickets to as few or as many performances as they wish. (more…)

Beatles Fan? Include Liverpool on your England Itinerary

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-houses-liverpool-image29172642If “It’s Been a Hard Day’s Night” is your personal anthem and you cry every time “Eleanor Rigby” comes on the radio, chances are you’ve longed worshipped those four British guys who took the world by storm in the early 1960s. Whether you’ve been a Beatles devotee your entire life or just discovered the wonders of this early British rock music, any upcoming trip to England should include a visit to the city from which they hailed…Liverpool.

Though Liverpool has been named “The World Capital City of Pop”, thanks to the Beatles and other groups that called the city their home, there’s plenty more to see in this town that is known for its wonderful innovations and for its rich architectural heritage. As a matter of fact, much of the historic city center was dubbed a UNESCO World Heritage Site about a decade ago, and visitors continue to head there not only due to the love of those four long-haired rockers but also because of its other cultural offerings. (more…)

Europe’s Top Castle Hotels Offer Unique Lodging Experiences

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-auf-schonburg-image20616187Whether you’re a total castle fanatic or just curious about what it would be like to spend a night or two inside such a magnificent structure, we’re convinced you’ll at least love reading about the unique options offered in a castle hotel stay. So we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite European castle hotels. Ones you might want to consider including on your next trip to The Old Country. Check these out! (more…)

Who Needs the Caribbean? Europe Offers Great Beaches for the Sun Worshipper

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-beautiful-sky-over-town-biarritz-france-image38129536Summer’s coming and our thoughts naturally turn to sun and sand, especially those of us who’ve been stifled by this year’s particularly harsh winter. No doubt you’re thinking about some lush island location where the temperature climbs into the 70s and the trade winds blow gently, keeping you warm yet comfortable.

But if you were planning a trip across “The Pond” rather than an island vacation, you don’t have to forego the beach portion of your summer trip. Europe boasts a number of wonderful beaches that rival most anything you’d find in the Caribbean. Besides, heading to a European locale rather than just an island destination means you’re not locked into just spending your days on the sand. Just a short drive from most of the beaches listed below are great cities, towns, and villages, and/or plenty of cultural attractions as well. (more…)

Shopping for Souvenirs: Making Wise Choices you’ll Treasure

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-souvenirs-sign-blank-red-above-image32981601If you travel with children, there’s a good chance some of your vacation is spent searching for that perfect souvenir. For kids, that’s not always a super difficult task. They are usually excited to add yet another key chain, t-shirt, or snow globe to their collection of travel-related trinkets. But what about you? How do you pick that ideal souvenir that will still speak to you years later? The one that will evoke smiles and nudge loose those pleasant travel memories that are buried somewhere in the back of your mind?

Below, we’ve offered a handful of helpful tips and some souvenir dos and don’ts that we hope will assist you in your next round of souvenir shopping. And, remember, it’s never too early to teach your children about smart souvenir purchases, too. (more…)

Spain’s Top Castles are among Europe’s Best-Preserved Treasures

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-castle-ruins-hilltop-antequera-spain-view-water-mill-seen-east-malaga-province-andalusia-image33546115American’s are enamored with castles. No doubt that’s because we really don’t have any of our own, even though a few wealthy barons of the past decided to dub their extensive homes with a castle moniker. Anyway, it’s no wonder tens of thousands of visitors to Europe embark on castle tours each year, especially Americans. And, if you’re a real castle fanatic, you know where to find some of the best.

Spain is one of those places that boasts a wonderful array of well-preserved castles that will keep castle lovers oohing and aahing as they make their way from one to the other. There are about 2,500 in all, scattered throughout the country, many of them in nearly perfect shape and others certainly the worse for wear. In many cases, both the elegantly preserved and the much tattered are worth visiting. So we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorites for your consideration.

See some that interest you? Ask your travel agent to include them on your itinerary and perhaps recommend a few others you might be interested in visiting. (more…)

Germany’s Capital City Offers Plenty of Family-Friendly Options

452534461Think about Berlin, Germany and your mind’s eye will probably conjure up pictures of military installations, somber monuments, the former Wall, and lots of other serious sites. But, during the last few decades, Berlin has done its best to become a more family-friendly destination, with plenty of attractions that’ll have little ones asking to come back for more.

Now, this may be contrary to what you’ve heard. After all, Berlin is considered quite chic and is very popular with hip young adults and single (or married) professionals. So, why would you want to bring your kids?

That’s simple. The after-the-Wall Berlin is not only a more hip and cultural place but – undoubtedly – it’s also a friendlier, more laid-back destination, and it has plenty of what visitors with children seek when searching for an ideal vacation spot that will interest and excite the entire family, from little ones to teens and adults. Below we’ve compiled a list of some of the attractions and activities we think families like yours will love. Check ‘em out. (more…)

Handy Mobile Apps for your Next European Trip

168774905It’s the rare individual that goes anywhere these days without their trusty phone, tablet, or computer in tow. We use them for all sorts of things, from checking our bank balance to finding a new restaurant, and these tools can certainly be used to our advantage while traveling. Each day, someone is producing yet another app that assists travelers with all their essential needs and tasks, so downloading some of these apps before you head out on your next journey is often a wise idea.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of a handful of some of our favorite travel-related apps we think will help you and your traveling companions on your next trip to Europe. Some are more useful in particular countries than in others, but you’ll find that many are quite far reaching and more than a little helpful. (more…)

Scotland’s Malt Whiskey Trail is the Only One of its Kind in the World

475441143Wine lovers make it a habit of seeking out great wineries while traveling the world. There’s nothing like discovering a wonderful vintage to add to your list of favorites. But if whiskey is more your speed, you don’t really have the same kind of tasting opportunities as these wine aficionados who kind it easy to locate winery tours and tasting trips in many parts of Europe…unless you go to Scotland.

Scotland’s Malt Whiskey Trail, the only one of its kind on the planet, is the whiskey lover’s dream route, featuring more than half the malt whiskey distilleries in the country. Along the way, visitors are treated to lessons in distilling, behind-the-scenes tours of the distilleries and warehouses, and – of course – the opportunity to taste some of these unique, hand-crafted malts. Add to that the beauty of the area through which the trail runs and you’ve got a vacation activity that’s ideal for anyone who loves that amber-colored liquid and wants to explore Speyside as well. (more…)

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