Sicily from a golf vacation to wine
The “toe” of Italy, sun-kissed Sicily is known for its ancient ruins and beaches backed by craggy rock structures. Mount Etna simmers on the northeast with frequent displays of blazes, closely monitored by volcanologists. It’s partly down to the volcanic geology of the island that Sicilian wine production is so exemplary, partly due to its Mediterranean climate. This, in turn, explains why Sicily has blossomed as a leading destination for golfers.
Mediterranean golf vacations in Sicily
Cooled by a gentle sea breeze, Sicily is one of the best places in Europe for a golfing vacation with courses scattered across the island.
Over on the west coast, the Verdura Resort is a top-ranking golf hotel with luxurious suites that accommodate couples and families. Ocean-view rooms come with private balconies while superior suite options have the added benefit of a private plunge pool.
Making full use of the natural contours of the island, the resort features three golf courses – two 18-hole courses plus a shorter putting green. Designed by the architect, Kyle Phillip, the par-73 East Course and par-70 West Course meander across the headland with sea views. The West Course in particular supplies challenging conditions. Fortunately, the resort is equipped with a driving range where you can hone your technique before venturing out.
Luxury Resorts of the Maldives
With its bathtub-warm water, white-sand beaches, and overwater bungalows, the Maldives is the symbol of luxury travel. This archipelagic state consists of 1,192 idyllic coral islands dispersed over 180 kilometers in the Northern Indian Ocean. An utterly unique destination, around 150 islands provide the setting of a luxury resort committed to upholding the highest standard of hospitality, privacy, and facilities.
Velaa Private Island
Situated in the Noonu Atoll, Velaa Private Island is named in honor of the sea turtles that live in the azure waters.
Committed to exclusivity, this high-end resort consists of 45 luxurious residences including the Sunset Deluxe Water Villa, and Ocean Pool House. The vast majority are built over the water and come with a personal infinity-edge plunge pool. Honeymooners may reserve the Romantic Pool Residence, a villa suspended over the lagoon accessible only by boat.
Amenities at Velaa Private Island include a state-of-the-art spa with Ayurvedic treatments and therapies plus yoga and meditation classes. In addition to a sauna and steam room, the facility contains the only “snow room” in the Maldives.
Click One of the longest continuous mountain ranges in the world, the Andes extend through Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. At 6,959 meters, Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the whole of the Southern Hemisphere. The earliest Andean settlements date beyond 10,000 years, with the emergence of the Inca Empire cited to around 1400. Exploring the Andes offers a glimpse at past traditions as well as the modern culture of the range.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Of all the places of interest in the Andes, Machu Picchu sits at the top of the list. This high-altitude Incan citadel was constructed in the mid-15th century and once consisted of approximately 200 buildings. With Machu Picchu translating to “Old Mountain” the architecture was adapted to suit the landscape with terraced pyramids providing a solution to the varying terrain.
Highlights include the Temple of the Sun, the House of the High Priest, the Royal Tomb, and the Cave of the Sun. A limited number of trekkers are permitted to climb Huayna Picchu, the iconic peak, each day. This may be visited in tandem with the Temple of the Moon, a mysterious cave compound with impressive stone masonry.
Lisbon City Guide
Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, is a charming destination that captivates travelers from all over the world with its stunning architecture, delicious food, and rich history. Visitors can explore Alfama’s cobblestone streets, ride on one of Lisbon's iconic trams, or relax in one of its many parks.
This coastal city is perched on the banks of the Tagus River and is known for its steep hills, colorful buildings, and vibrant neighborhoods. You can explore the city's iconic landmarks like the Belém Tower, the São Jorge Castle, and the Jerónimos Monastery, or simply wander through the picturesque streets of Baixa.
From indulging in the local cuisine to enjoying the lively nightlife, Lisbon has something for everyone. With so much to see and do in Lisbon, it’s no wonder why it continues to be one of Europe’s most popular destinations. Download this guide to discover the best things to do and see in Lisbon and make the most of your trip.
I hope you enjoy this guide to Lisbon.
Fans of Downton Abbey may visit the palace used as the principal filming location for the English historical drama series chronicling the lives of the Crawleys and their servants.
Located in the North Wessex Downs Area of Natural Beauty (AONB), Hampshire, the majestic country estate of Highclere Castle is only 65 miles west of Central London.
A history of Highclere Castle, England
The foundations of Highclere Castle date back to Anglo-Saxon times when Bishop William of Wykeham oversaw the construction of a medieval residence and formal gardens in 749. This original property was reconstructed in 1679 upon passing ownership to Sir Robert Sawyer. The palace that stands today was built in 1842 by Sir Charles Barry – the same architect behind the Palace of Westminster in London.
Highclere Castle was used as a hospital during the First World War and as a refuge for evacuated children in the Second World War.
Today, the castle is the private residence of George and Fiona Herbert, the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. Lord and Lady Carnarvon employ a full staff including chefs, gardeners, housekeepers, and those responsible for welcoming tourists to the mansion.
Located between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the San Rafael Mountains, California's Santa Ynez Valley is one of the world's great wine regions. With its Mediterranean climate, chic towns, and proximity to the golden beaches of central California, it’s little wonder that the Santa Ynez Valley is regarded as the American Riviera.
Santa Ynez Valley wines
The Santa Ynez Valley contains the highest concentration of vineyards in California's Santa Barbara County. Furthermore, it constitutes the largest American Viticultural Area (AVA).
The sweltering summer heat juxtaposed with brisk winters and a coastal environment means that a diverse assortment of cool and hot-climate grapes may be cultivated. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Sauvignon Blanc are the signature varieties in the region. However, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, and Merlot are also represented.
Across the region, there are around 120 wineries, vineyards, and tasting rooms most of which are family-owned boutique wineries.
A number of these welcome walk-ins while others, such as Rusack Vineyards require advance reservations. Meanwhile, others – such as Grassini Family Vineyards – are restricted to those with Wine Club membership.
Bali attracts sunseekers with its tropical climate and verdant rainforest studded with waterfalls. Besides snorkeling, surfing, and volcano trekking, traveling to Bali provides an opportunity to engage with the unique culture of the spiritual sanctuary known as the Island of the Gods.
Unlike the rest of Indonesia, island residents practice Balinese Hinduism. Although the principal Hindu gods are worshiped, Balinese Hindus pay significant attention to their agricultural and ancestral deities. Practices overlap somewhat with Buddhist beliefs.
In addition to the 10,000 temples scattered across the island, shrines are encountered on just about every street corner. Balinese Hindus place daily offerings called canang cari on these shrines as well as outside their houses and shops. Consisting of a small woven basket containing flowers, rice, money, and incense, canang cari are an expression of gratitude.
Ubud: Bali’s spiritual heart
Situated in the uplands, Ubud will open your eyes to traditional Balinese customs. Ubud Palace hosts a Barong dance recital every evening, a spectacle with animal costumes and music.
Symbolic of prosperity in Balinese culture, water is a typical motif at temples in and around Ubud as well as in the north of the island. Dedicated to the goddess of learning, literature, and art, who once took the form of a river, the ornate Saraswati Temple is set upon a lotus pond in Ubud town.
Rome City Guide
Rome, the eternal city, is a treasure trove of history, art, and culture. Known for its ancient ruins, stunning architecture, and delicious cuisine, Rome is a must-visit destination for any traveler.
The city is home to countless historical landmarks and monuments, from the Colosseum and the Pantheon to the Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica. Rome is also famous for its museums, galleries, and delicious Italian food.
So whether you're a history buff, an art lover, or simply looking for a taste of la dolce vita, Rome has something for everyone.
Guide to tipping in Europe
Tipping in Europe is different from the custom we have in the US. Rather than being mandatory, your decision to leave a tip is at your own discretion. While wait staff, bartenders, cab drivers, hotel staff, and tour guides do not rely on tips, gratuities are generally appreciated.
Tipping at restaurants in Europe
Some restaurants in European countries will apply a service charge of 10-15% of the balance to your bill. If this is the case, it is usually advertised on the menu and itemized on the check. This is typical in upscale restaurants or if you are eating as part of a larger group. There is no need to leave a tip on top of the service charge.
At smaller eateries and cafes, a service charge is not generally applied but you may tip based on how satisfied you were with the service received and the quality of the meal. As a guideline, you can leave 5-10% of the total amount, or simply round up the figure.
Tipping at bars
If you only order a drink at a bar or pub in Europe, you are not expected to tip the bartender. However, if table service is provided, it is a gesture of goodwill to leave a cash tip. Again, leave no more than 5-10% of the bill or round up the amount.
Some bars will keep a tip jar on the bar counter where you can drop in loose change. In this case, the total amount is split between the bar staff.
Whether you travel for culture, cuisine, scenery, or a little bit of everything, wondrous Italy has you covered for a luxurious European getaway. When you travel to Northern Italy, you can explore the Lakes Region in the foothills of the Alps. Jaw-dropping natural scenery, lavish accommodation, and exquisite dining using locally sourced ingredients are abundant, from Lake Como all the way to Lake Maggiore.
Located in the Lombardy region, Italy’s third-largest is shaped like an upside-down “Y”. The shoreline of Lake Como is dotted with resort towns with upscale restaurants, luxury hotels, and activities ashore and on the water.
Occupying a strategic spot at the junction of where the lake splits, Bellagio captures the essence of the Lake Region. Cobblestone streets such as Salita Antonio Mella are lined with boutiques, wine bars, and trattorias while both Parco di Villa Serbelloni and Villa Melzi Gardens grant beautiful views of the lake during summer when the flowers are in bloom.
Dublin City Guide
Welcome to the Dublin City Guide. This guide is packed with fun and needed travel information while in this wonderful city.
Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is a vibrant city with so much culture, history, and fun exploration. The stories, history, and folklore bring so much magic to a tour of Ireland.
In this guide, you will find a few of the many top attractions to see and do in Dublin, but there is so much more to explore. If you want to enjoy music, show, and general Irish hospitality, visit the Temple Bar area of Dublin. Depending on your interests, whether it is the numerous cathedrals, churches, castles, shopping, restaurants, or bars, you could spend several nights here to explore and enjoy all Dublin offers.
New Year, new travel destinations. As we welcome 2023, these are the most exciting travel adventures to add to your agenda.
Antarctica and the Arctic Circle
The final frontier in travel, the polar regions are best explored via an expedition cruise. Traveling to Antarctica and the Arctic are truly immersive experiences during which you will undergo some of the most remote sea passages on the planet and encounter the cultures of those living in the polar north or south. You will have the opportunity to witness penguins, whales, and sea birds – possibly even polar bears if you head to the north. In between soaking up the scenery from your expedition vessel, you will explore the wilderness via Zodiac, kayak, and helicopter.
New Zealand and the Pacific Islands
A once-in-a-lifetime destination, the remote island nation of New Zealand, the "Long White Cloud", is a delight for outdoor enthusiasts, wildlife watchers, and wine lovers. Unforgettable excursions take you by boat past the fjords of the South Island or by helicopter to wondrous glaciers. Luxury experiences include hot springs, wine tastings, and sailing trips. Get acquainted with the restaurants of Auckland, sample a traditional Māori hāngī, and try your hand at the national pastime – fishing. You may coincide your journey to the other side of the world with a trip to Fiji or the Cook Islands.
Register for our travel talk with Unparalleled Journeys for a taster of one of the most popular travel destinations for 2023.
Happy New Year!
I wish you all a very Happy New Year!
As the sun sets on another year, may it rise again and shine a light on new opportunities, perspectives, and adventures ahead!
Happy Christmas Eve, I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas.
May this Christmas bring you many reasons to smile. Share this wonderful time of year with those near and dear to your heart.
Strasbourg, France: Capital of Christmas
It’s the most magical time of year: a time of family, food, gifting, and embracing traditions. However you spend the holidays, we can always look to Europe to provide festive cheer and inspiration. Let’s take a look at how the French city of Strasbourg, widely considered the “Capital of Christmas”, celebrates the season of goodwill.
Strasbourg, France: Capital of Christmas
Strasbourg is the capital city of France’s Alsace region, in northeastern France. Being close to the German border, the culture and architecture of the city show inspiration from both European countries, with late November erupting into a display of the traditional German-originated festivities.
The Strasbourg yuletide market is both the oldest in France and one of the oldest overall in the European continent. Dating back to 1570, the market stays true to the custom of Christmas markets with storefronts and building facades being beautifully decorated with lights and decoration.
Every year, a 30-meter tall fir tree occupies the heart of Place Kléber, strewn with hundreds of cherubs and 400 baubles. The tree is illuminated daily from 17:00 pm. Around 300 wooden chalets are dotted around the plaza and elsewhere, where you can pick up artisanal gifts, hand-crafted decorations, and time-honored treats.
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