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.
If you have had the chance to visit the French Riviera it is a magical place. With Mediterranean sunsets, fishing villages, cliff embedded towns, and a beautiful turquoise coastline that you can’t take your eyes off of, there is all the reason to plan your trip to Southeast France. But before you take off to the majestic destination, here are eight amazing places to discover while in the Southeast of France.
This elegant resort city may look modernized, but it holds a ton of historical value. In fact, hundreds of years of history were made between this city’s walls. Back in the 11th century, the monks fearing an invasion of the Saracen built a watchtower, which still stands in Cannes’ Old Town. Strolling along the coast of the mile-long La Croisette, you will discover quaint shops and several designer boutiques. Dine at one of the many fabulous French restaurants after you have taken a hike in the Massif de l'Esterel, a coastal Mediterranean mountain range.
The Azores is an archipelago of nine volcanic islands scattered across the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Although an autonomous region of Portugal, they’re located exactly half-way between Lisbon and Boston. You can fly directly to these paradise islands from the East Coast in as little as five hours.
With their subtropical climate, the Azores remain warm year-round and temperatures never drop below double figures. Once the rainy season (November to March) subsides, the islands are alive with flowers. The mild weather and scenery make the Azores an attractive choice for hiking, watersports and whale watching.
Find out which of these islands are the most interesting to visit.
As the largest of the nine, São Miguel is the ideal starting place for a vacation in the Azores. It draws together lush landscapes, fine food and cultural activities.
With its elegant black and white architecture, bustling marina and spread of museums, Ponta Delgada is the capital of the island. Meanwhile, over in Furnas, you can dine at Tony's Restaurant where local speciality, cozido, is slow-cooked on the volcanic soil.
Lisbon truly has something for everyone in this eclectic European city.
When most people decide to take an amazing trip to Europe, they think of visiting Rome, London, or Madrid. One of the places that seem to fly under the radar is Lisbon, Portugal. It is the perfect place for a summer trip for reasons that you likely never even knew.
Lisbon is Portugal's capital; it has so many things to offer visitors. Perched atop seven hills, Lisbon is a vibrant seaside town bursting with history and tradition. Here are five reasons why you need to add Lisbon to your list of dream destinations.
When most people think of sunny European destinations, places like Athens, Rome, or Barcelona come to mind. Lisbon is the last place people consider, although it should be the first. Lisbon averages 2,799 hours of sun a year, making it the sunniest European cities. The beautiful beaches are located about 30 minutes from the city center are the perfect place to enjoy this sunshine.
This Thursday, I will team up with the Madeira Promotion Bureau and Belmond Reid’s Palace to deliver a virtual presentation about the island of Madeira. Ahead of this event, I want to give you some background on this beguiling island.
Madeira is an archipelago of islands located in the Atlantic Ocean that is geographically closer to Africa while officially a part of Portugal. The largest of the cluster is the island of Madeira - a mere 90-minute flight from Lisbon. With its gorgeous landscapes, resplendent flora, and fresh seafood, Madeira is the perfect island getaway that gives you a taste of both Europe and Africa.
Explore Madeira’s beautiful wilderness!
Madeira’s natural beauty has earned it a number of accolades, including the Hawaii of Europe, the Island of Eternal Spring and the Pearl of the Atlantic. Surrounded by sapphire ocean, the terrain of the island is a mix of plunging ravines, emerald-green valleys, and graceful waterfalls.
Vienna is a shining city that emphasizes its history, as you can tell by many of its attractions. Visiting the city is such a unique, memorable experience that you'll likely want to come back time and time again. Did you know that in Vienna wine has been grown in the city since the middle ages?
A visit to Vienna would not be complete without visiting some of the many cultural attractions along with exploring the cities lively wine scene. As you are planning your next trip to Vienna, either on a river cruise on the Danube or a land based trip, check out some of these experiences.
Constructed in 1696 as a hunting lodge, the Schönbrunn Palace later became the elaborate home to Austria's most admired royal families, the Habsburgs. As it stands today, the palace is open to the public. Take a tour through the Habsburg family's apartments and visit the Hall of Ceremonies and Mirror Room before leisurely strolling through the gardens.
Even the tiniest countries have the power to surprise us with their diversity. One of those is the former Soviet nation of Georgia.
Its location on the westernmost tip of the Asian continent earned Georgia its nickname, the Balcony of Europe. Drawing together fascinating yet turbulent history, unique gastronomy, rich winemaking heritage, monastery-topped mountains, cave cities, and subtropical Black Sea coastline - Georgia is a wonder for travelers to discover.
Here are six places in Georgia to add to your radar.
Credit: Rocky Mountaineer
Your taste for adventure isn’t the only thing that’s indulged on a Rocky Mountaineer train journey. Traveling between Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies, what you’ll find on your plate is almost as impressive as what’s outside the glass-dome windows. Delicious multi-course breakfasts and lunches are served on board each day you’re on the train, freshly prepared by Rocky Mountaineer’s professional culinary team.
The first indication that this will be one delicious journey comes before you even leave the station: raise your glasses for a toast as you’re all welcomed on board! Those traveling in GoldLeaf Service are divided into two meal seating groups per rail coach and head downstairs to the dedicated dining room. Perusing the menu, you can choose from five different main courses at each meal. Those in SilverLeaf Service choose from two main courses served at your seat. This really is restaurant-quality dining executed on the rails, as you pass through some of the most remote parts of Western Canada.
Arresting mountain vistas, beautiful sapphire lakes, alpine forestry, and the hope of sighting a bear - this is what we conjure up when we think of the Canadian Rockies.
Boasting four incredible national parks - Banff, Jasper, Yoho, and Kootenay - the Rockies are a haven for wildlife lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. If you’re planning a trip to the Canadian Rockies, then you will want to explore at least one of the national parks.
But which one should you choose? Let’s run over the two most popular parks, Banff and Jasper, to help you make your decision.
Extraordinary trips for exceptional travelers, where the details make all the difference
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