Enjoy an Intimate Cruise on Portugal’s “River of Gold”

If you’ve ever browsed the options for river cruising in Europe, chances are your attention was drawn to the most popular cruising destinations, probably the Rhine, Rhone, or Danube Rivers, which certainly offer plenty of wonderful sights. However, another European river has stepped in and stolen a bit of the thunder from the others – Portugal’s Douro River, otherwise known as the “River of Gold.”

The Douro is the third-longest river on the Iberian Peninsula, with its source near Duruelo de la Sierra in Soria Province. From there it flows across north-central Spain and Portugal, eventually reaching its outlet in Porto, the second-largest of Portugal’s thriving cities, home to about 2 million residents and boasting an ancient city center that’s dubbed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A trip along this river offers passengers a chance to see plenty of notable sites and breathtaking landscapes at a leisurely pace while being pampered by outstanding staff members to are eager to cater to your wants and needs. (more…)

European Adventure? To Drive or Not to Drive

Driving Across EuropeIf you travel around the U.S., you probably rarely think twice about renting an automobile and exploring your destination and the areas surrounding it. Driving in the United States – and in Canada – is pretty consistent and generally manageable, though you will certainly encounter cities where being behind the wheel is a bit more of a challenge than in other places.

But how about Europe? If you’re heading oversees and want to have some freedom to drive from place to place, is it a good idea to rent a car? And if you choose to do so, what do you need to know about driving in Europe and in certain countries in particular? (more…)

The Kids’ll Love Dublin!

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-malahide-castle-dublin-ireland-image19597569If you’ve been to Dublin, you know what a great city it is! It has a terrific food scene, wonderful nightlife, excellent cultural opportunities, and so much more. But what about going to Ireland’s capital city with the kids? Is there enough for them to do? Will they be bored?

We answer that question with an emphatic “no”! Dublin is a great place to take the kids on vacation. The city has been entertaining families for decades and, in the last few decades especially, Dublin has paid extra attention to adding attractions that make it kid-friendly. Below we’ve listed a number of places to see and things to do with your children. Take a look before you leave and consider putting some of these on your itinerary. (more…)

The Venice Suburb of Mestre Offers Lots of History and Character

MestreIf you’re heading to Venice in the near future but you’re not the type that enjoys staying in the middle of the city amidst all the crowds, there’s a wonderful town just on the outskirts of Venice that provides additional lodging options and offers plenty to do while you take a break from the city. It’s called Mestre and it’s a wonderful little destination in its own right.

Technically one of the six boroughs of the Commune of Venice, Mestre boasts a population of about 50,000 and its rich history means there are enough attractions to keep you busy if you’d like to spend some time looking around town. It’s also full of lovely cafes and provides easy access to Venice via train and bus, so it’s a logical choice for those who want convenient access to the city sans the crowds and high prices. (more…)

A Brief Guide to Tipping during Your European Trip

Euro CoinsIn the United States, we’ve been programmed to tip those who provide us with good service. Most of us would be hard pressed to remember a time when it wasn’t appropriate to offer a gratuity to our servers, bell hops, taxi drivers, or anyone else who deserved such a reward. These days, tipping has even seemed to have gotten a bit out of hand. We see tip jars everywhere, asking for extra coins and dollars for those who’ve provided their customers with exemplary service.

In Europe, the traditions concerning tipping are a bit different than they are in the U.S. and, sometimes, if you tip in the wrong situation, it’s even considered somewhat of an insult. That doesn’t mean, however, that you won’t have to tip at all. You just need to know when and how much. So we’ve compiled a handful of guidelines below to help you determine the appropriate times to offer that little bit extra.    (more…)

10 European Museums and Galleries Not to Be Missed!

The LouvreNo matter where you go in Europe, you’ll certainly find wonderful museums that should be on your must-see list! Many are quite well known and you’ve no doubt heard lots about how you can’t miss them. Others are small museums but of particular interest for one reason or another. Some will be in large cities; others in smaller towns or villages. But there are handful of museums and galleries that stand out head-and-shoulders above the rest, and you simply must make them part of your itinerary if you find yourself in the destination where they are located.

One note in regards to the list below: You’ll often find it difficult to nab tickets to these places if you wait until you get there, and will most likely find yourself in a long line, even if tickets ARE available. So, as long as know when you’re going to be there, plan to buy advance tickets if available online or through a travel professional. It’s well worth any extra dollars you might spend doing so. (more…)

Packing Light for your European Vacation

VacationYou’ve got your tickets, your itinerary is set, and you’ve even arranged a kennel for the dog and someone to water your plants. But now comes the real challenge! What should you pack in your suitcase for your upcoming trip to Europe?

Deciding what to pack – especially if you’re packing for others as well, as many moms/wives do – can be a daunting task. If you’re familiar with the destination to which you’re heading, it might be a bit easier, but if your location of choice is totally new to you, it can be quite tough to decide what to bring and what you’ll need as you travel.

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Rome with Kids: Having Fun with the Family in Italy’s Capital City

RomeLet’s face it. Kids can make traveling more challenging. But if you’re an adult who regularly travels with our kids in tow, you know they can also make the trip more interesting. Add to that the fact that you’re preparing them to be good travelers and curious individuals when they reach adulthood, and you’ll realize that traveling with children really is to everyone’s advantage, as long as you’re not on a business trip or other excursion that won’t allow you to spend time with them.

That said, we all know that there are many cities in Europe that can be overwhelming, especially in the summer when it seems that everyone from America has made their way overseas for their annual vacation. Rome is one of those cities that has much to offer to all ages but can be especially daunting for kids, but if you’ve got some tricks up your sleeves, including plans to visit places you just know they’ll love, then you’ll all emerge unscathed and your offspring will have had a marvelous time. (more…)

Common Sense Tips for Avoiding Theft while Traveling

TheftRead the headlines and it’s easy to see why traveling can be a scary prospect these days. Yet millions of people worldwide still opt for at least one vacation per year, and many of those individuals, couples, and families traveling a lot further than just a handful of miles from their own backyard. The world is still full of wanderlust and there are so many enticing places to see that it’s easy to understand why the excitement usually trumps the sometimes-frightening aspects of travel.

That said, if you heed travel advisories and stay out of the high-risk zones, and take some simple precautions while traveling to countries on the safe list, you should be rewarding with a catastrophe-free vacation where your safety is concerned. Same goes for issues such as theft. Abiding by some of the suggestions listed below will help you keep your Euros, pounds, or other currency safe and sound.

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Visit one of Europe’s Oustanding National Parks

Teide National ParkIf you’re a regular visitor to the properties in the U.S. National Park systems, you’ve no doubt realized that some of the most stunning – and interesting – scenery in America can be found in places like Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Everglades, and many of the other amazing parks around the country.

It’s the same in Europe. Some on the most spectacular landscapes are offered in the protected lands that make up the national park systems in various European countries. Many of those same parks also provide great places for active pursuits including hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, boating, and any number of other fun activities you might want to include on your next trip to Europe. (more…)

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