For anyone stepping foot on the continent of Africa for the first time, Namibia provides a truly spectacular and awe-inspiring introduction.
Namibia is the ultimate destination for adventure, culture and wildlife viewing. From the wind-whipped peaks of the world's oldest and tallest dunes to the wild shores of the Skeleton Coast, through craggy canyons so vast you feel insignificant, to national parks so abundant with wildlife you'll feel as though you've stepped into the pages of a National Geographic cover.
Etosha National Park
Start your African adventure off right with a visit to Etosha National Park, hailed as one of the best wildlife reserves on the continent. Between July and September, the waterholes are a gathering place for four of Africa's 'Big 5' (lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino, and elephant) plus giraffe, cheetah, and various antelope species. With plenty of full-day and half-day game drive options available from nearby luxury safari camps, there's never a dull day in Etosha.
Where the rhythmic sounds of an ancient language collide with dramatic escarpments, meandering rivers, and an extraordinary elephant species, the remote region of Kaokoveld is home to the indigenous Himba peoples. Though this area is home to one of the planet's harshest climates, the Himba have thrived here for several millennia. Their symbiotic relationship between rare flora and fauna and inviting culture make for a fantastic side trip off the beaten tourist path and a truly culturally immersive experience.
For those who love travel and wine, a river cruise is a unique way to fuse together sightseeing with discovering the region’s varieties. These vacations are immersive, culturally enlightening, and fun with the potential to share the experience with fellow wine enthusiasts and learn from passionate winemakers and wine experts. Read on for more information about how to pair a river cruise with a wine tour.
What is a River Wine Cruise?
Wine cruises take place on the waterways of Europe and navigate through the continent’s premier wine regions.
Much like a traditional wine tour experience by foot, bicycle, or car, your itinerary will include cellar tours, vineyard visits, and ample tastings.
They typically last for a total of seven days, during which you will live aboard a comfortable vessel. These ships are appointed with staterooms, restaurants, communal spaces, and – in some cases – swimming facilities or spa amenities.
On either side of the cruise, you can consider adding additional days to start or conclude your wine vacation with a city break.
Visiting the Land Down Under and experiencing all that it has to offer is hardly possible in one trip, yet overdoing the itinerary for your first visit to this island nation is not advisable. So before you stack your list of "things to do" up too high, we'd like to provide some further insight on the highlights of Australia. That way, as you and your travel agent discuss your itinerary, you can fill it full of exploration without feeling pressed for time and causing more unnecessary stress.
Sydney is one of Australia's largest and most beloved cities. It is a beautiful place to begin your first 4 to 5 days on the island, especially if you are traveling between June and August. There's so much to explore with lots of natural beauty and refreshing city life. Some places you should visit include the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Blue Mountains, Circular Quay and the Harbour, Royal Botanical Gardens, and, last but not least, the beaches.
It's easy to feel captivated by the beauty of Melbourne, so we suggest spending at least 4 to 5 days here, too. You could honestly get lost forever in all of its wonders. Although it's nowhere near as busy as Sydney, Melbourne has a bustling scene of its own. In the city, you can dine at one of many delightful restaurants or shop at any of the unique boutiques. However, the best way to get a feel for this great city is by touring the entire city. Be sure to visit Federation Square, Flinders Street Train Station, the Yarra River, Chinatown, Bourke Street Pedestrian Mall, and the ever-so-popular Queen Victoria Market.
Italy is one of Europe’s most diverse countries with an expansive range of sights, cuisine, and landscapes. Knowing which city you should start your trip in is the first hurdle to overcome. Here is a guide to determining which Italian city is best for you for your next – or first – vacation.
Located in the glorious region of Tuscany, Florence stuns with its renaissance architecture, landscaped gardens, and art galleries. Pay a visit to Giardino di Boboli for majestic views over the surrounding hills. The Duomo di Firenze occupies the core of the city while the Ponte Vecchio is an icon and a premier spot for souvenir shopping. Art fans will want to visit the Uffizi Gallery as well as the Accademia Gallery of Florence for the opportunity to see Michelangelo's David.
Best for: Art and culture, slow pace, families
Italy’s electrifying capital city is bursting at the seams with historical attractions including the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, and Vatican City with its Sistine Chapel. When you’re not busy exploring the sights, the city contains plazas and monuments such as the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain where you can savor a scoop of gelato and soak up the atmosphere. Foodies should spend time exploring the trattorias of Trastevere while the seaside neighborhood of Ostia will delight children and beach lovers.
Best for: History, food, nightlife
Northern Europe’s subregion of Scandinavia constitutes Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. This trio of nations has historical, cultural, and linguistic ties yet each retains its unique customs and is governed independently.
All three countries make for an unforgettable vacation whether you visit only one at a time or plan a longer trip to explore all three. Here’s what to know before traveling to Scandinavia.
Where to see the Northern Lights
Spotting the Northern Lights is one of the main motivations behind a visit to Scandinavia. But exactly where in Scandinavia can you see this phenomenon? Your chances are increased away from the light pollution of cities and the further north you travel.
Sweden’s Abisko National Park is the premier destination for the Northern Lights. This is where you will find the Aurora Sky Station, within the Arctic Circle. Kiruna, Porjus, and Jukkasjärvi are three small northern towns where the dawn of the north is visible. The latter is where you will find the iconic Ice Hotel.
Alta, Tromsø, Senja, and the Lofoten Islands in the north of Norway are some of the best places to witness the Aurora Borealis.
Meanwhile, in Denmark, you can visit Kjul Strand, Grenen, Faroe Islands archipelago, Nationalpark Thy, and Samsø for a chance to spot the dancing skies.
Extraordinary trips for exceptional travelers, where the details make all the difference
Darby’s Destinations LLC, an independent Affiliate of Departure Lounge LLC, a Virtuoso® Member, located at PO Box #26545, Austin, Texas 78755. While our clients have had great experiences with the travel suppliers featured on this website, Darby’s Destinations is not an employee, agent, or representative of these suppliers and, therefore, cannot make any promises regarding the service clients will receive with a particular supplier. Before booking a trip, clients are responsible for reviewing the services offered by the supplier, along with any terms, conditions, and exclusions.