For the latest installment in my Croatia series, we are traveling to one of the most popular cities in the country. Located on the south coast of the country, Dubrovnik is known for its walled Old Town, its historic landmarks, and its enviable viewpoints of the Adriatic Sea. The city is so beautiful that it was used as a location in the hit television adaptation of Game of Thrones. Let’s go over some of the unique activities waiting for you in Dubrovnik.
Wander the Old Walls
No trip to Dubrovnik is complete until you’ve strolled around those iconic walls. There are three entrances to the walkway, those being by Inner Pile Gate, by St Lucas Fortress on St. Dominic’s Street, and by St. John’s Fortress. Once you’ve paid your admission fee you can explore the 1.3 miles (2 km) to your heart’s content.
This esplanade is a pedestrian zone flanked by ornate 17th-century buildings that mark the heart of the city. I recommend arriving here early in the day before the crowds arrive. Extend the experience by roaming down the little side streets to grab a late breakfast or early lunch.
Sailing in Croatia is one of the most immersive and luxurious ways to experience the culture and beauty of this beautiful Balkan nation. My guide will help you determine how to plan your time.
Cruise v Charter
If you want to experience the Adriatic Sea for yourself, then you have two options. The first is to join a scheduled boat cruise. While you can choose to board a luxury cruise liner, a cruise generally comes out as the more affordable option.
Alternatively, you can charter a boat exclusively for your party and devise your own bespoke itinerary. When chartering a boat in Croatia you can elect for skippered or bareboat, subject to whether someone in your group is licensed.
Cruises and charters are typically scheduled for 7-8 days although you can also find longer options that tap on further days to visit the coastlines of neighboring countries. Day tours and charters are also a possibility if you’d rather spend more time on dry land.
Types of boats available
Sailboats are the most affordable boat charter option. Bear in mind that you will journey at a slower pace so you will need to devise your itinerary carefully. These boats typically feature 2-5 cabins and come as skippered or bareboat.
Catamarans are an upgrade on classic sailboats. They vary from 3-6 cabins and offer a higher level of comfort. In Croatia, catamaran charters always come with a skipper and you will discuss your requirements for further crew members to ensure your comfort.
The country of New Zealand draws travelers from all over the world for its stunning landscapes and laid-back small towns. Even though travel is restricted to this magical country, we can dream of an adventure to Auckland, New Zealand, with many hidden spots to discover.
The city of Auckland is full of diversity and personality. It is also New Zealand's largest city, with a population of nearly 1.5 million. If you're looking for somewhere exciting to go to on your next vacation, Auckland is the place to be. Why do you ask? Below are some of the top reasons you shouldn't miss the opportunity to visit this magnificent city.
There is so much to discover about the European nation of Croatia. As promised, I am continuing my showcase of everything you need to know about Croatia with an overview of the top luxury experiences this captivating country offers.
Charter a yacht
Croatia, the Land of a Thousand Islands, is synonymous with sailing and there are possibilities to accommodate any budget. One of the most luxurious things to do in Croatia is to charter your own private yacht and indulge in some island hopping. This is perfect for a day trip but you can also book a vessel with cabins for the full live-aboard experience.
In coastal towns such as Split, Zadar and Dubrovnik, you will find a variety of sailboats, catamarans, motorboats and gullets. Most charters come with a skipper and crew and include meals, marina fees and fuel costs as part of the package. Always double check prior to booking so that you know what to expect. You will have the opportunity to discuss the route and devise your dream itinerary.
My next feature explores sailing in Croatia in more detail.
Rent a private island
If you think chartering a yacht is luxurious, how about renting your own island?
Several of Croatia’s glorious Mediterranean islands are available for exclusive rental. Whisk yourself away for a romantic stay in the lighthouse located on the islet of Porer Island or retreat among the olive groves on the family-friendly haven of Zizanj Private Island. Renting a private island is a bucket list activity and these immaculate properties will create lifelong memories.
As we explored in a recent blog, visitors to Austria can experience Austrian culture in and around the city of Salzburg and in the small villages in this old-world country.
If you've ever imagined a quintessential European village, you've probably pictured something like Hallstatt. Just a quick day trip from Salzburg, this picturesque town is believed to be the oldest still-inhabited village in Europe. Situated along the lake and tucked between the mountains, Hallstatt provides visitors with a chance to get away from bustling city life for the day. Make your way up to the Skywalk for spectacular views of the old town and the scenery.
In and around Salzburg, there are several not to be missed places for food, culture, and beer that will give you a taste of Austrian life.
Sachertorte & Coffee
Germans are known for their amazingly thick, decadent chocolate cakes. So make your way to Sachertorte & Coffee for a piece of the most exquisite dessert around, the Sachertorte.
If you happen to visit Austria anytime in November or December, you must make it to the Christmas Market. This age-old event is one that will create memories that last a lifetime. The smell of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine fills the air as you walk through the three squares, Domplatz, Kapitelplatz, and Residenzplatz, taking in the true essence of the wonderful holiday.
If you make it to the Christmas Market, you must also make it up to the Christmas Museum. Luckily, the Salzburg's Christmas Museum is a year-round attraction. This museum will teach you all that there is to know regarding the spirit of Christmas and its history.
From the turquoise waters of Lake Bled to the subterranean wonderland of Postojna Cave and the lovable capital of Ljubljana, Slovenia has so much to offer travelers. Ahead of our special event next week, here are some handy details to know before you travel to Slovenia.
One country, four worlds
At the crossroads of four geographical regions, Slovenia is categorized into four distinct environments.
Central Slovenia is the location of the capital, Ljubljana, where you can connect with Slovene culture and cuisine. Alpine Slovenia contains one of the oldest national parks in Europe, the Triglav National Park, and provides a multitude of hiking trails and outdoor pursuits. Mediterranean Slovenia features a small yet splendid stretch of coastline along with karst caves, salt pans and vineyards. Thermal Pannonian Slovenia invites you to take it easy and rejuvenate your body and mind in therapeutic hot springs surrounded by tranquil green landscapes.
Green is the new black
Two-thirds of Slovenia is covered by forest which makes it, literally, one of the greenest countries in Europe. In fact, it was declared the World’s First Green Country in 2016 due to the nation’s commitment to conservation. The mystical primeval Kočevje forests are home to the largest population of brown bears in Europe which you can visit with the help of a professional nature guide. Meanwhile the Bela Krajina region presents a fairytale scene of silver birch forests and meadows that are perfect for cycling.
Switzerland is a central European country that France, Germany, and Italy border. Basel's location, in the northwest corner of the country, allows visitors to take fantastic day trips to neighboring countries and other parts of Switzerland. Basel is the gateway to the Rhine River and the many small European Villages that there are to explore in the region. Flying into the Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg airport is an easy connection point with entrance to France and to Switzerland.
There are a host of great possibilities for you to see more than just Basel. Here are some great ways you can expand your trip to Basel by taking a few day trips.
Chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg
This French castle's location offers visitors an incredible view of the Upper Rhine Plains as it sits atop the mountainous terrain that surrounds it. This castle dates as far back as the 12th century, and it is a beautiful way to see this area of Europe. The best part is that it is only about an hour away from Basel, and it allows you to fit a little bit of France into your trip without having to plan a large excursion.
Located in the middle of Europe and made up of nine federated states, Austria is one of the continent's most compelling countries. The nation has a population of nearly nine million. You can imagine how much beauty and interest this place holds if so many desire to reside within its borders. With a history full of famous musicians and renowned artists, and an abundance of breathtaking scenery and architecture, it's time to start planning your vacation to the enchanting nation of Austria.
Here are eight of our favorite hidden gems in Austria.
As the most monumental and famously preserved citadel in Central Europe, the Hohensalzburg Fortress is undoubtedly one to behold in person. Tourists from all over the world come to explore this longstanding medieval fortress. While touring through the castle, make sure to visit the staterooms, torture chamber, and the museums. Take a day out of your schedule because you won't want to rush this visit.
Visit Salzburg's Old Town
While in Austria, make sure to mosey on through Salzburg's Old Town and get acquainted with the cobblestone streets, quaint alleyways, preserved 15th-century buildings, and awe-inspiring architecture. The Old Town even contains some of the best shopping around, making it perfect for picking up souvenirs and grabbing something delectable to munch on.
Following the announcement that Croatia is now open to US travelers who are fully vaccinated, there has never been a better time to add the Land of a Thousand Islands to the top of your wishlist. Let’s run over what to expect and what to see during your Croatian vacation.
Croatia: Where, what, when?
Located in the Balkans, Southeast Europe, Croatia boasts a soaring coastline of 3,625 miles (5,835 km). Over half of this is claimed by the islands that are dotted throughout the Adriatic Sea, the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea. In addition to the 78 reefs, 389 islets, and 718 islands to explore, mainland Croatia has 8 national parks, 10 UNESCO sites, 30 rivers, and 127 beautiful cities waiting for you.
Croatia benefits from hot Mediterranean summers, so the best time to visit is between late March and late October. July and August are the busiest months, so consider May/June for gorgeous weather and fewer crowds. September is harvest season which makes this the best time for foodies to visit Croatia.
With no shortage of unique and boutique hotels, upscale dining and luxury excursions, Croatia is a suitable destination for honeymooners, anniversaries and special vacations. You will appreciate the history and culture of the cities as well as the unparalleled natural beauty and charming islands. Family friendly hikes and water activities will keep the children entertained.
Many travelers to Ireland think of staying in a Bed & Breakfast to be close to the Irish people. Where this an excellent choice, there are other great options in the castles and manor homes that Ireland offers its visitors to experience its history and culture.
From small manor homes to rustic castles, your next Ireland trip can feel like you have gone back in time to the medieval ages and are living with the kings and queens.
Burren Castle is located in County Clare, Ireland, is an excellent example of Ireland in medieval times. This castle was built in the 15th century and has fully restored to its authentic self. The Gaelic Tower House of the castle gives you the true feeling of being in an Irish castle with all modern living features. The Gaelic Tower House of Burren Castle has six bedrooms and two bathrooms with showers and a guest bath at the ground floor entrance. At the Tower House's top is the impressive Great Hall with exposed oak roof trusses, an open fireplace, couches, and dining tables. This is the perfect location to stay when you want to explore the Cliffs of Moher and The Burren along The Wild Atlantic Way.
Rosemount Estate is a beautiful three-story Georgian country house with a unique history. Great for entertaining, Rosemount Estate features a large dining room with a dining table that can comfortably seat up to 22 people The property has eight bedrooms and two living rooms that combine to one complete room, it is the ideal place for dinner parties, receptions, and get-togethers. The kitchen is warm and homey, with the centerpiece of the kitchen is a spacious island. Located in Rosemount, Co. Westmeath, this is the center of Ireland. This area offers breathtaking landscapes, sparkling lakes, and rich culture and heritage.
Ecuador may be one of the smallest nations in South America but it certainly makes up for that with its rich diversity. This mighty country encompasses the Andean highlands, a slice of the Amazon Rainforest, fascinating cities, bohemian beach resorts, and the wildlife-rich Galápagos Islands. Here is a peek at the best 5 tourist destinations in Ecuador.
Situated high in the Andean foothills at an altitude of 2,850 meters, Quito is one of the highest altitude cities in the world, second only to La Paz. Built on the foundations of an ancient Incan city, the Ecuadorian capital is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a stroll around the Centro Historico and enjoy the beautifully preserved colonial architecture and Neo-Gothic and Baroque churches. Highlights include the Basilica del Voto Nacional, La Compania de Jesus and Plaza Grande. With its coveted location in the highlands, Quito boasts a variety of day trips. Choose to visit the Mindo Cloud Forest, the Quilotoa crater lake or trek to the volcanic summit of Pichincha.
Cuenca is one of the prettiest cities in Ecuador. Another city with UNESCO World Heritage Site status, Cuenca has a small-town atmosphere that invites its visitors to slow the pace. You will spend your days ambling around cobblestone plazas and dipping into museums such as the Pumapungo Museum with its adjacent archaeological park. Take a leisurely walk or cycle along the Tomebamba River or plan a day trip to the Cajas National Park. Clamber up the 500 steps or ask a cab to take you to the Mirador de Turi viewpoint and appreciate a bird's eye view of the city nestled within the southern Andes. For something more unusual, you can head to a local market for a limpia, a traditional cleansing that originated in Mexico.
Chile is the narrowest nation throughout the world, yet its borders provide some of the most diverse terrains. From waterfalls to mountains, hot springs to volcanoes… you never know what you might come across next. It's no secret that the country provides a vast array of exciting things to do and see for people of all ages. As a foreigner entering the nation, you will find that the rich culture, fantastic cuisine, lively nightlife, and sightseeing can keep you busy for a lifetime, so we've created a list of four of Chile's best destination spots that you must-see first.
Santiago is the capital of this majestic country, and it certainly doesn't lack character. As the largest city in Chile, you will find that residents and tourists favor it for many reasons. Each neighborhood nestled within the city's borders is distinctly different from the next. For instance, as you enter Bellavista, you are introduced to historical European homes and a free spirited energy you can't ignore. With colorful buildings, marketplaces, and street art around nearly every corner, your eyes could wonder each crevice and still find new details while your ears get to hear the pleasant sounds of live music fill the air.
Shared by nine South American countries and covering 5.5 million square kilometers (2.2 million square miles), the Amazon is the largest tropical rainforest on our planet. Around 60% of the Amazon basin sits within Brazil, although tours within the Peruvian Amazon are on equal standing. The starting point for a journey in the Brazilian Amazon is usually Manaus, while for Peru, it is Iquitos. Any trip to the Amazon will usually combine the following activities.
Home to 1,300 bird species, the Amazon is home to the largest diversity of birdlife on the planet as well as 10% of our known fauna. Scientists estimate that there are around 40,000 plant species, 3,000 types of fish, 430 mammals, and at least 2.5 million different insects within the depths of the rainforest.
Toucans, anacondas, boa constrictors, caimans, dart frogs, giant otters, howler monkeys, sloths, and capybaras - the largest rodent on earth - are just some of the creatures you might encounter. Your chances of seeing the fauna with your own eyes are most likely when you explore with your knowledgeable jungle guide.
Madrid has been inhabited since the Stone Age, but its rise as an essential city within Spain began in the 1500s, and it became the country's capital in 1606. The city population grew rapidly over the centuries, but most notably in the early 1900s around the time of a civil war. Madrid underwent many changes since going from a politically oppressed town to today's booming and prosperous city.
Here are several of the top adventures that await you in Spain's central capital.
1. Prado Museum
The Prado is not only Madrid's most famous museum, but it is one of the most popular in the world. Filled with paintings and sculptures, the museum showcases Spanish, Italian, and Flemish styles of art.
2. Plaza Mayor
This renaissance square dates back to the early 1600s and surrounds you with cafes and bars where you can enjoy a drink while admiring the beautiful architecture and atmosphere.
3. El Retiro Park
This luscious park offers activities for the whole family. Enjoy walking among formal gardens, including a rose garden filled with over 4,000 roses. Let the kids enjoy the playgrounds and take the entire family on a paddleboat ride.
Next week, AmaWaterways and I will team up to present a fun and interactive virtual event about sailing on the Rhone River in France.
Connecting France and Switzerland, the Rhone is one of the most important rivers in the whole of Europe. Cruising along its waters is an unforgettable way to soak up the picturesque French cities, villages and countryside of Burgundy and Provence. Along the way, you will have plenty of opportunities to disembark and explore the towns, nature and vineyards of two of France’s most alluring regions.
Located in eastern France, Burgundy (Bourgogne) is one of the nation’s most prominent wine regions and produces both red and white varieties. The most highly acclaimed wines to come out of Burgundy’s patchwork of vineyards are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Due to the exceptional terroir and high quality of these wines, they are some of the most expensive in the world.
Burgundy is historically poignant and the whole region is peppered with castles and abbeys. Scattered amongst its rolling plains are idyllic villages which encompass all the rustic charm of France. Of all of these, Vézelay is one of the most beautiful with its hilltop location and Sainte Marie Magdaleine basilica. Meanwhile, the moated Château de Cormatin with its landscaped gardens is a masterpiece of 17th-century French architecture.
Extraordinary trips for exceptional travelers, where the details make all the difference
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