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.
Have you ever thought about booking a trip to the Cook Islands? If not, you might want to consider adding it to your bucket list. This destination is a Polynesian paradise, with adventurous activities, opportunities to relax, and everything in between.
The Cook Islands are comprised of 15 islands, some of which have daily flights between islands. Situated in the middle of Hawaii and New Zealand, these islands boast an ideal climate, with an average yearly temperature of 80-82˚F. Keep reading to learn about some of the top things to do in the Cook Islands!
Although it is one of the larger islands, you can drive across Rarotonga in just 45 minutes. Despite being the most popular, Rarotonga maintains an escape from city life, with no building higher than the tallest coconut tree and no traffic lights in sight.
On Rarotonga, there are more than 100 Polynesian restaurants, cafes, and dining options to enjoy, as well as endless opportunities for adventure. Rarotonga is known for its beautiful mountainous landscapes, scuba-friendly waters, and cultural experiences. Cultural shows and traditional dances can immerse you in the Cook Islands.
Enjoy the water
When it comes to water, the Cook Islands have it all. Their lagoons provide the perfect place to experience some of the most extraordinary things. Year-round warm water makes the islands ideal for exploring sea life, whether by paddleboard or sea scooter. Snorkeling through fish-filled waters or diving to ocean floors can help you create unforgettable memories.
If you would rather be on top of the water in a boat, there are options for you too! Lagoon cruises, full of food and entertainment, are a great way to start the day with some happiness. A popular island for lagoon cruises is Aitutaki, especially if you are staying on another island.
Ultra immersive and ultra adventurous, expedition cruising is a vacation style that takes you to the most remote oceans, seas, and tundras. Specifically, these liveaboard tours journey to the polar north and south – the final frontiers in travel. As these regions require a specialist approach, you will be accompanied by expedition leaders with extensive knowledge of polar natural history and the culture of those living in these areas.
The vessels used in expedition cruising are significantly smaller, amounting to only a couple of hundred guests rather than the several thousand traditional cruise liners accommodate. Ships fall into a far more luxurious category, as reflected in the guest cabins, amenities, and onboard dining. Consider expedition cruises the aquatic equivalent of a boutique hotel – with adventure to boot. There is no need to worry about feeling the cold; all expedition vessels are climate-controlled for your comfort while specialist clothing is provided.
Expedition cruises take you where the large cruise liners can’t; here is where you can expect to journey on an expedition cruise.
The Best English Villages to Explore
Beyond the bustle of London, rural England is made up of rolling hills, fairytale woodlands, and rugged stretches of coastline. Countryside villages with stone cottages and cobbled streets welcome travelers from afar with snug tea rooms and traditional pubs serving British comfort food. Here are the best English villages to explore across all four seasons for heritage, scenery, and food.
Castle Combe, Cotswolds
As a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Cotswolds is revered as one of England’s most beautiful regions. As one village simply isn’t enough to explore this idyllic place, start with Castle Combe. The original keep has long since been destroyed but the village today is a postcard-pretty scene of brookside honey-colored cottages bordered by verdant woodland.
Robin Hood’s Bay, North York Moors National Park
Robin Hood’s Bay is a tiny fishing village next to the town of Whitby with a history of smuggling and fossil finds. Access to the beach requires a walk down a steep yet picturesque street lined with boutiques and cafes with bunting fluttering ahead. At low tide, you can wander along the tidal pools before settling in with a sunset portion of fish and chips while waves crash in from the North Sea.
Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and gather. There are so many things to be thankful for that are big and small, and if you think of one small thing you are grateful for every day, it will bring you joy.
Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours.
Top 5 Places to Visit in Israel
Israel is a small yet mighty country. Surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea in the west, Lebanon, and Syria to the north, Jordan to the east, Egypt to the southwest, and the Red Sea to the south, Israel is no larger than New Jersey. Yet, despite its size, Israel presents visitors with an impressive and diverse selection of geography, history, cultural activities, and cuisine. From the lively nightlife of Tel Aviv to the history of Jerusalem, we are breaking down the top five places you must visit while in Israel.
Tel Aviv is Israel's second-largest city and the financial and cultural hub of the country. The city is most famous for its nightlife and is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean. If you're looking for a more culturally enriching experience, Tel Aviv is also home to the national opera and philharmonic orchestra.
Situated on a plateau high above the Dead Sea is the old fortress of Masada. First fortified by Herod the Great at the end of the first century, Masada is known as the last Jewish stronghold to fall to the Romans in the first Jewish-Roman war. Today, Masada is a popular hiking excursion for visitors and is especially spectacular at sunset. There is also a cable car that will take you up the hill for those who don't want to hike.
The Republic of Ireland delights with its natural landmarks and culture-laden cities. Coming in at a similar size to the state of Indiana, it’s perfectly feasible to see a large portion of the country over the course of your vacation. Here are the top 10 luxury experiences in Ireland, the “Emerald Isle”.
1. Stay in a castle
One of the most luxurious experiences in Ireland is to sleep in a castle. With around 30,000 castles spread across the country, a portion of these have been revamped and will ensure you sleep, eat, and live like royalty.
2. Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher in County Clare are one of the most spectacular natural sights in Ireland. A scenic 11-mile hiking trail traverses the cliff tops while helicopter tours are the best way to elevate the experience.
Ireland’s capital city is rich in cultural and heritage attractions including St Patrick’s Cathedral and Dublin Castle. This is also an excellent destination for shopping, dining, and unwinding in upbeat pubs. Those with a thirst for history and beer can visit the Guinness Storehouse where pints are served with your portrait in the foam.
4. Bend of the Boyne
The Bend of the Boyne is a World Heritage Site that predates even the Egyptian pyramids. The complex spans chamber tombs, standing stones, henges, and grave passes that elude modern-day engineers and historians.
We are drawn to Hawaii for the beaches, natural beauty, and flawless resorts the archipelago provides. However, the state is not lacking in history and Oahu’s Iolani Palace is one of the best places to deepen your knowledge about Hawaii’s regal past. In addition to exploring such sights as Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head, and the Puu Ualakaa State Park, add touring the palace to your Oahu travel itinerary.
A brief history of Iolani Palace
Iolani Palace is conveniently located in downtown Honolulu, the capital of Oahu. Built in 1879 by the architect Thomas J. Baker with input from Charles J. Wall and Isaac Moore, the structure is the only example of American Florentine architecture. This one-of-a-kind order plucks inspiration from Italian Renaissance design and fuses these with Hawaiian elements.
Originally, Iolani Palace served as the royal residence for Hawaii's reigning monarch. The property hosted lavish functions and received dignitaries from all corners of the world. Queen Liliʻuokalani acquired the throne from her brother, King David Kalākaua, in 1891 and resided in the palace for two years. However, in 1893 the monarchy was overthrown and Liliʻuokalani relinquished her claim to the throne. Upon her trial, she was subjected to eight months of imprisonment in one of the upper chambers within the palace.
5 Reasons Why You Should Travel to Hungary
What do you think of when you imagine Hungary? While the country does have delicious food, exciting traditions, a unique language, and a distinctive culture rooted in folk traditions. Any season is a good time to visit Hungary, the warm weather of summer brings more tourists to the area, but in the fall and winter, you can experience one of the many Christmas markets.
Delicious Food & Local Wines
Hungarian culture is deep-rooted in its culinary traditions, and the best example is a piping hot bowl of Goulash, a hearty stew packed with meat and vegetables. Goulash can trace its origins back thousands of years to a soup made by Hungarian shepherds and is just one of Hungary's nationally prized dishes.
It's easy to find a locally grown wine to pair with your meal, as Hungary boasts seven wine-growing regions. The many vineyards offer tours complete with tastings, making Hungary an appealing destination for wine enthusiasts and couples.
Culture in Budapest (including folk culture)
Budapest is a hub of culture and offers all the amenities of a European capital city with the charm of a small town. Chic pubs and trendy stores dot the streets of this architectural wonderland. Everyone is sure to find something of interest. Hungary's rich folk culture is still going strong, too, with many museums and local artisans keeping alive craft techniques that have been passed down through the generations.
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