The philosophy of slow travel has roots in slow cooking. This concept originated in Rome where the Italian journalist Carlo Petrini staged a movement against the arrival of a major fast food outlet in the historic center. Petrini hoped to inspire travelers to relish their meals and celebrate traditional customs over a quick fix. We see also slow travel beautifully represented in Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, where the journalist commits to longer stays in Italy, India, and Indonesia.
How you choose to interpret the slow travel trend for yourself is flexible: there are no set terms as to how long or how little you should spend in a given place.
Slow travel might translate into staying closer to home on your next vacation and getting more acquainted with your own backyard. It may mean adopting sustainable practices such as committing to journeys by rail or taking a river cruise. You may opt for a backcountry hiking expedition or a cycling vacation. Slow travel may mean packing your laptop and splitting your time between work and exploration or seeking volunteering initiatives that give back to local communities.
Let's embark on a journey up the Rhine River, exploring the charming towns of Ludwigshafen and Heidelberg in Germany. Join me as we delve into their rich history and exciting culture and uncover hidden gems tucked away in these picturesque destinations!
Docking at the industrious Ludwigshafen provides us the opportunity to venture inland towards the quintessential German city of Heidelberg. Deemed as one of the most beautiful cities in Germany, Heidelberg lies nestled in the Neckar River Valley, embraced by lush forest, and along Germany's famed Castle Road.
As we continue our river cruise journey, we embark on the charming Neckar River, winding our way to the medieval marvels of Ladenburg and Speyer, Germany.
We start in Ladenburg, where time seems to stand still. A stroll around its cobbled alleys will take you back to the Middle Ages, with half-timbered houses, an ancient marketplace, and the breathtaking Martin's Church. Don't miss the ancient Roman ruins and the beautiful Ladenburg Castle. Ladenburg's beauty radiates from every corner, highlighted by its classic German architecture.
Find your way to the captivating Ladenburg Marktplatz, a marketplace that has been the town's pulsating center for hundreds of years - a charming spectacle you simply wouldn't want to miss.
Summer is drawing to a close which means it’s time to dig out your salopettes and plan this year’s winter getaway. The ski season in Europe is dominated by the Alps with high-altitude, high-end resorts concentrated in France, Austria, and Switzerland. Beyond the slopes, these picturesque villages offer a rich après ski experience of fine dining, spa treatments, and upscale shopping.
Val Thorens, France
As one of the highest-altitude ski destinations in the French Alps, Val Thorens is always one of the first resorts to open for the season while skiable snow is guaranteed. The resort sits at 2,300 meters while runs reach 3,230 meters. Skiing is available to beginners but intermediate and advanced skiers will get the most out of this particular resort.
Val Thorens is one component of the Three Valleys (Les 3 Vallées) area; the world’s largest alpine ski domain. The majority of the traditionally built luxury chalets in Val Thorens come with a Jacuzzi and ski-in/ski-out privileges. If you purchase the full ski pass, these amenities make all the difference.
Finland’s capital city sits at the south of the country overlooking the Gulf of Finland and towards Tallinn. This Nordic city is somewhat overlooked in favor of its Scandinavian neighbors of Copenhagen and Oslo. As a tourist destination, Helsinki offers thought-provoking architecture, beautiful green spaces, exciting seasonal cuisine, sauna bathing, and close proximity to Finnish nature.
What to See in Helsinki
Start your Helsinki exploration in Market Square. This harborside market brings together artisans and food vendors with treats and souvenirs to reflect the season. From here, you can wander into Esplanade Park where musicians perform during summer and locals loll beneath the sun. To the east stand the Uspenskini and Helsingin cathedrals.
There is an impressive supply of museums and galleries in central Helsinki covering maritime history, contemporary art, and the unique Finnish postal system. The National Museum of Finland takes you back to the Stone Age. All artifacts are annotated in English and you should anticipate spending a minimum of three hours.
Although we instinctively summon thoughts of Big 5 safaris, the African continent is also well-endowed with glorious beaches and compelling cities. Of 54 African countries, 38 nations lay claim to a coastline that accounts for 18,950 miles. These are the best beaches on the East and Southern African coast to complement any travel itinerary.
Diani Beach – Mombasa, Kenya
One of the best places to visit in Kenya for white sand beaches, Diani Beach sits to the south of Mombasa. Beachfront resorts put you at arm’s length from the Indian Ocean where a full roster of water sports are available. When you’re not swaying in a hammock, take your pick from jet skiing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, paddleboarding, snorkeling, and scuba diving. The Shimba Hills and blue and white-painted city of Mombasa are easy day trips from your hotel in Diani Beach.
Nungwi Beach – Zanzibar, Tanzania
Zanzibar, the gem of the East African coast, is fringed with alabaster-white beaches. Nungwi Beach stands out for its placid swimming conditions unaffected by the ebb and flow of the tides. Bring a snorkel and you can swim with reef fish right off the beach otherwise scuba excursions depart from the town. A turtle rehabilitation sanctuary is located at the east end of the beach and it’s possible to take a tour or witness the release of the sea creatures. After a day of snorkeling and sunning, you can watch the sunset while tucking into the catch of the day at one of the beachside eateries.
Have you ever dreamt of unwrapping the hidden gems of picturesque Europe, wandering along the ancient, cobbled streets, and diving into rich cultures that have stood the test of time?
Let's set sail along one of mother nature's most revered creations - the charismatic Rhine River - with our much-anticipated stops in the colorful, fairytale landscapes of Riquewihr and Freiburg in Germany.
Our first stop is the charming village of Riquewihr. Often described as a jewel within a vineyard, this colorful village looks like it has stepped straight out of a storybook. Its medieval walls and romantic half-timbered houses provide the perfect setting for a serene stroll.
But the Dolder Gate steals the show. Serving as the fortified guard of Riquewihr since the 13th Century, the Dolder Gate stands tall, telling tales of the olden times and enticing countless history buffs.
Indonesia and Thailand are two of the most popular vacation destinations in Southeast Asia. Sharing a tropical climate, these countries offer a variety of cultural, outdoor, and culinary experiences. While Thailand is known for its beaches, luxury shopping, and Buddhist temples, Indonesia is celebrated for its diverse marine life, volcanic landscapes, and the spiritual practices of Bali. These luxurious resorts in Indonesia and Thailand will see that you get the most out of your stay.
Capella Ubud – Bali, Indonesia
The 5-star Capella resort is nestled in the rainforest north of Ubud – the spiritual heart of Bali. All luxury tented dwellings come with a private deck and pool overlooking the jungle or river. Wellness treatments are offered at the property spa or in the comfort of your residence. Dining is available across two signature restaurants, the cocktail bar, and a campfire den where hot chocolate and marshmallows are served.
Capella Culturists run an itinerary of activities that introduce you to the Balinese way of life. Excursions to local waterfalls, rice terraces, coffee plantations, and hot springs are available.
Designed for: Over-the-top yet sustainable luxury
An archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles is home to some of the most spectacular beaches on the African continent. Mahé, the largest of the Seychelles islands, is the setting for the Morne Seychelles National Park, Victoria Botanical Gardens, and Takamaka Rum Distillery as well as the international airport. In terms of where to stay in the Seychelles, you can find a base on Mahé or cast the net further out to a private island. These 5-star resorts in the Seychelles are perfect for couples and families alike.
Denis Private Island
The utmost in barefoot luxury, Denis Private Island champions sustainability, pristine nature, and zero distractions. While cottages do come with a Nespresso coffee maker, air conditioning, and luxury bathroom, these are television-free domains – don’t even think about asking for the Wi-Fi code. Upgrade your stay and check into a Beachfront Spa Cottage complete with a massage pavilion and a private patch of beach. On the other hand, Beach Villas open out onto a patio with a private plunge pool.
Singapore, the only island city-state in the world, is a major financial and commercial center synonymous with luxury experiences. Its prominent position makes it a popular layover destination for those exploring the wider Southeast Asia region. However, a longer stay means that you can gain a richer experience of Lion City’s culture, gastronomy, and unique experiences.
See Singapore from the Sea or Sky
Comprising a sequence of smaller islets in addition to the main island, Singapore has a stunning coastline best enjoyed when you charter a private yacht. Bespoke yacht charters will take you from the marina to outlying islands such as St. John’s Island, Pulau Seringat, and Lazarus Island. The captain will work with you to devise the perfect cruise route and arrange special events including marriage proposals and wedding solemnization.
As an alternative, you can book a helicopter tour and appreciate a bird's-eye view of Marina Bay Sands and the Gardens by the Bay.
Prepare yourselves for yet another dazzling chapter of our Rhine River adventure. This time, we'll be navigating through Strasbourg, the eclectic capital city of Alsace that wears the robes of both France and Germany with equal enthusiasm, followed by the delightfully charming town of Colmar.
Nestling gracefully on the banks of the Rhine is Strasbourg. Centuries old and soaked in a fascinating Franco-Germanic blend, it's here where medieval charm meets cosmopolitan flair. Strasbourg's’ stunning Gothic cathedral, Notre Dame, soars high above the city skyline, boasting a mesmerizing astronomic clock.
As we delve deeper into Strasbourg, we discover a labyrinth of cobbled streets of Petite France area with its atmospheric canals and half-timbered houses just begging to be explored.
Known for its magnificent beaches, vibrant marine life, and fusion cuisine, French Polynesia is a dream destination. Officially an overseas collectivity of France, the South Pacific country consists of 100 islands in the South Pacific. These luxury resorts in French Polynesia immerse you in the culture and natural environment of the archipelago.
Conrad Bora Bora Nui – Bora Bora
Located on the paradise isle of Motu To’opua just off the main island, the Conrad Bora Bora Nui comprises a fleet of overwater bungalows floating above the turquoise lagoon.
The top-tier residences come with a private terrace and infinity pool as well as catamaran nets for sublime sunset moments. Spacious villas feature king-sized beds as the standard, private bathrooms with a soaking tub, and a minibar stocked with refreshments. Alternatively, you can reside on land at one of the tropical villas overlooking Mount Otemanu.
Venice – the City of Water, the City of Masks, the City of Bridges, or the Floating City – has become synonymous with luxury vacations in Europe. The evocative capital of Italy’s Veneto region is just as popular with honeymooners as it is with families and foodies.
Any first-time trip to Venice should include a visit to the key sights of Saint Mark's Basilica, Doge's Palace, and the Rialto Bridge in the Centro Storico. Once night falls, hop aboard a gondola for an unforgettable cruise along the canals. Here are additional sightseeing and cultural experiences in the Venetian Lagoon.
The islands of Murano are a short ride via sampierotta or bragozzo boat from the Centro Storico. These isles are known for their glass factories where you can witness a glass-blowing demonstration and learn about the 1,500-year history of this art. Hands-on travelers may even enroll in a workshop while glassware souvenirs are widely available across Murano.
Otherwise, the charm of Murano lies in its laid-back atmosphere and picturesque buildings. According to legend, the Basilica of Saint Mary and Saint Donatus contains the rib bones of a dragon slain by Saint Donatus. The mosaic floor is also a treat worthy of the ride over to Murano.
The Canary Islands is an archipelago of Spanish islands that geographically sit closer to the African continent – just 60 miles off the Moroccan coast. Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, and La Graciosa are all inhabited and open to tourists. Volcanic landscapes, incredible beaches, and year-round warm weather make the Canary Islands a popular winter sun destination.
Wine production in the Canary Islands
The volcanic terrain and subtropical climate also make the Canary Islands one of the world’s most interesting wine destinations. Wine has been produced on the archipelago since the 15th century. In fact, Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night refers to the wine as a “cup of canary”.
Technically, the northeasterly Lanzarote experiences a desert climate and receives minimal rain.
The island underwent a six-year sequence of volcanic eruptions from 1730. This destroyed the crop-producing plains and coated around a third of the island with lava and ash debris. Known as picón, this rubble fared much better in the growing of wine grapes and fruit trees in contrast to the crops. Many Lanzarote winemakers started to plant their vines in deep pits burrowed into the picón known as hoyos. Seeing as the island is particularly dry, the Atlantic trade winds bring moisture to the vineyards.
There are five native grapes on the island with most wineries and vineyards located in Geria, Masdache, and Tinajo.
Today, we'll be exploring a captivating Rhine River itinerary that will have you falling in love with the enchanting world of medieval castles, quaint villages, and spectacular natural beauty. Join me as we chart our way through Breisach and the Black Forest in Germany, soaking in their rich history, fascinating culture, and delectable food and wine!
Breisach, Germany - Gateway to the Black Forest and Beyond
Nestled on the banks of the Rhine, the picturesque town of Breisach serves as the perfect gateway to the enchanting Black Forest and the stunning region of Alsace. Enjoy magnificent views of the Rhine from the remarkable St. Stephen's Cathedral perched high above the town, or travel back in time at the nearby Neuf-Brisach, an astonishing 17th-century fortified town enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
You'll find a treasure trove of folklore, unspoiled landscapes, and vibrant traditions here. Lose yourself in the mesmerizing dense woodlands and be captivated by the region's hidden gems, starting with Triberg – the land of cuckoo clocks and the stunning Triberg Waterfalls!
Extraordinary trips for exceptional travelers, where the details make all the difference