Category Archives: Travel Tips

A beach hopper’s guide to Nice

Nice is a well-known seaside destination in the south of France, making it the ideal place to visit if you’re after a bit of relaxation in the sun. While the city itself is home to several stunning beaches, it would be a shame not to explore some other parts of the coastline.

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The easiest way to do this is to hire a car when you arrive, as this will give you plenty of freedom to travel outside Nice should you wish to (check out this websitefor information about car rental). To give you an incentive to explore, we’ve put together a list of some of the top beaches in and around Nice.

One thing to remember about Nice’s beaches is that there are private and public seaside stretches, with the private options generally thought to be the best.

Blue Beach

Our first pick is Nice’s Blue Beach, a private cove that’s got excellent facilities and is renowned for its brilliant restaurant. As well as the high-end eatery that is a must-visit for gastronomes, there is also a volleyball court and a table tennis table, so there’s a lot to keep you from getting bored while you soak up the sun.

You’ll find Blue Beach just off the Promenade des Anglais and close to some of the city’s best hotels, such as the Palais de la Mediterranee.

Beaulieu-sur-Mer

Around a 20-minute drive to the east of Nice is the charming seaside town of Beaulieu-sur-Mer, which happens to boast some of the most picturesque beaches in the French Riviera.

You don’t need to look hard to find that perfect sweep of sand, either, as the main beach is wonderful. It’s around 1 km long and is made up of a mixture of sand and pebbles. Running along its entire length is a promenade where you can go for a leisurely stroll if you tire of lying in the sun.

Plage de la Mala

Plage de la Mala is in Cap d’Ali, which is roughly 30 minutes to the east of Nice. This is the ideal seaside spot if you’re hoping to avoid the crowds, because the steep steps you have to climb down (and back up again after your day of sunbathing) put many people off.

This secluded cove is well worth the effort to get down to, though, with azure-blue waters lapping gently at the shore and few people to fight over space with. There are private areas on this beach, which are backed by high-end restaurants – perfect if you want to treat yourself to an indulgent meal before heading back up the steps.

Eze bay

Our final pick is the bay in Eze, a delightful perched village that is worth a visit regardless of the quality of its beach. The village itself is located high on a hill overlooking the coast and dates back to the medieval era. At its highest point are the ruins of a 12th century castle – so drive up to the fortified centre and explore before hitting the seaside.

The beach is made up of pebbles but is very picturesque. There’s a private section – known as Anjuna Beach – where the restaurant and sun terrace are decorated to give visitors a taste of India and Bali. Head down on a Sunday and you’ll be treated to live music at the beach club as well.

 

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Top 3 tips for going on holiday with children

Family holidays are amazing and, in terms of the chance they give you to spend some quality time together, utterly invaluable. But, going away with the kids (no matter what their age) isn’t always easy, so I’ve put together a few basic tips to help make sure your trip goes smoothly.

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Now, there are about a million tips I could give on planning family holidays – like packing lots of activities to keep the kids occupied in the car/on the plane – but telling you every single one would take all day. So, the below are what I think are the most basic elements you should start with – use these as your foundation and you won’t go too far wrong.

1) Choose a family-friendly hotel

Choosing a family-friendly hotel is the most crucial step. Admittedly, it’s probably also rather obvious, but often it’s the simplest things that make the biggest difference, so take your time over choosing where to go.

I’ll give you a few examples of decent hotels below, but for now let’s talk about some of the key factors. For me, one of the most crucial is remembering that the holiday should please the whole family – that means you too.

So, go ahead and pick somewhere luxurious where you can really relax – just make sure it’s child-friendly too. Look for kids’ clubs, children’s swimming pools, early meal sittings (if you have toddlers) and kids’ menus. Also, see what activities the resort offers – complimentary water sports, tennis and suchlike can provide great family fun.

2) Factor extra time into your journey

Travelling with kids is never going to be as simple as a getaway for two. If you have toddlers, for example, your journey will likely be peppered with stops for them to look around and gaze at whatever interests them, as well as the occasional tantrum.

The difficulty of carrying a family-load of luggage, kids’ getting distracted by airport shops and frequent toilet stops are all things that will add up to make your journey time much longer than you’d expect. Instead of battling this and trying to rush the kids (which will only make them grumpier), factor plenty of extra time into your journey.

3) Go for simplicity

It’s the simple things in life that are often the best, and this certainly rings true where holidays are concerned. Nothing makes tempers fray more quickly than long, difficult journeys, so make simplicity your friend when planning your holiday.

Short-haul destinations, hotels that are easy to reach from the airport and resorts close to the attractions that most interest you will all help make your break as relaxing as you want it to be.

Examples of good family-friendly hotels

Atlantis, the Palm

On the face of it, Dubai may seem more suitable for a sophisticated sojourn for two than a family holiday – but hotels like Atlantis, the Palm mean that’s not the case. After all, it’s not many resorts that boast their own water park. Aquaventure is the biggest in the region, and offers free entry to hotel guests. Plus, there are kids’ clubs, interconnecting rooms and babysitting – all of which are good news for children – and plenty of ways for mum and dad to relax, like indulgent treatments at the ShuiQui Spa.

Gran Hotel Bahia del Duque

Thanks to attractions like Siam Park and Loro Parque, as well as gorgeous beaches, Tenerife is a natural choice for family holidays. The Gran Hotel Bahia del Duque on the scenic Costa Adeje is a fantastic place to stay. Like Atlantis, the Palm, it offers essentials like interconnecting rooms and kids’ clubs, while there’s also a children’s pool, playground and teen activities.

 

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Stroll Through History on a Walking Tour of Vieux-Montréal

Montreal is one of North America’s oldest cities, with architecture going all the way back to the 1600s. It’s also the second-largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris. Vieux-Montréal, the oldest part of the city, remains much the same as it did in the city’s earliest days. A walking tour of Old Montreal will show you some of the city’s charming European culture and quaint cobblestone streets. If you’re visiting Montreal, you could check here to find the best deals on hotels near this neighborhood.

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Begin Your Tour at Pointe-à-Callière

Pointe-à-Callière, the Montreal Museum of Archeology and History, is located on the very site where Montreal was founded almost 400 years ago. The Pointe-à-Callière is named after Louis Hector de Callière, the third governor of Montreal who built his house on this spot in 1688. The Pointe-à-Callière is the largest archeological museum in Canada. Decades of excavations have revealed more than a millennium of human habitation here.

Continuing Your Tour

Your next stop will be the Centre d’Histoire de Montreal, the Montreal Historical Center. Here you’ll learn everything you need to know about Montreal’s history. The structure was built as a fire station in 1904 and was reopened as a museum in 1983 after being decommissioned in 1972.

Next, you’ll visit the DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art where you can take interactive tours, participate in creative workshops or enjoy one of the museum’s regular events. The museum is open to anyone who wants to learn about contemporary art, with free interactive tours available.

The nearby Centaur Theatre showcases some of the best English-language theater in Quebec. See award-winning shows put on by some of the world’s best actors of the stage and screen. After the show, walk down Rue Saint-François-Xavier and take a right on Rue Saint-Jacques to visit the Bank of Montreal Museum. This museum honoring Canada’s first bank, which opened in 1817, contains old banknotes and 19th-century banking documents, mechanical moneyboxes and other banking objects of historical significance.

Montreal Science Centre and the Old Port

You’ll have to cross Rue de la Commune to get to the Montreal Science Centre on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, but it’s worth it for the museum’s exciting and interactive exhibits. You can learn about the technology we use to protect the environment and practice more sustainable living, monitor maritime cargo shipping, make hockey sticks stronger and keep bridges standing.

When you leave the Science Centre, check out the Old Port of Montreal on the St. Lawrence River, which offers a range of activities for everyone in the family all year long. Enjoy a walk on the riverfront or rent a paddle boat. In the winter, the Old Port is home to the city’s largest natural outdoor ice-skating rink.

Marché Bonsecours

If you’re interested in ceramics, the Bonsecours Ceramic Centre on Rue Saint Gabriel showcases pieces by emerging artists as well as internationally recognized names. Students come from all over Quebec to train at the Ceramic Centre, but you can see stunning examples of the best in ceramics art as well.

Perhaps the bigger nearby draw is the Marché Bonsecours, or Bonsecours Market. The building itself is more than 100 years old, and is the city’s oldest and biggest public market. The two-story, domed neoclassical structure once held banquets, exhibits and festivals, and was where grocers and other merchants sold their wares. Now, it’s home to some of the city’s finest upscale boutiques.

Ending Your Tour

Perhaps one of the more picturesque parts of your tour of Vieux-Montréal, the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel is also home to the Marguerite-Bourgeoys Museum at Rue Saint Paul. The chapel was built in 1771 on the ruins of a previous chapel that burned down in 1754.

Marguerite Bourgeoys was the remarkable woman and teacher who inspired the Montrealers to build this first chapel in 1675. She traveled to France in 1672 to bring the wooden statue of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours back, which stands in the reliquary in the left side-altar.

Near the end of your tour, visit Chateau Ramezay, the first structure classified as a historic monument in Quebec. The castle, built by Montreal governor Claude de Ramezay in 1705, opened as a museum in 1895. It encompasses more than 500 years of local history. Its collections include almost 30,000 artifacts including paintings, printed materials and furniture.

Finish your tour with the Sir George-Etienne Cartier National Historic Site, Montreal’s only Victorian home museum. See what life was like for members of the bourgeoisie in the 19th century, and learn about this important Canadian historical figure.

Old Montreal is one of the most exciting parts of this historic city. You can retrace your footsteps through the district at night to see the historic streets and architecture at their loveliest!

Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel photo credit: Marcio Cabral de Moura / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

 

About the Author: Louise Vinciguerra is a native of Brooklyn. She loves gardening and traveling almost as much as she loves content.

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Lovely Lanzarote

If you’re considering a holiday to Lanzarote but are concerned it’s all water parks and sun bathing, well think again. Lanzarote is an island rich in history and natural beauty with an awe inspiring volcanic landscape.

Historians have dated habitation on the island back to 1000 BC and since then the island has been through numerous governmental disputes until the treaty of Alcacovas granted authority of the Canary Islands, including Lanzarote, to Spain in 1479.

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In 1982 the Canaries became an autonomous region of Spain and this is celebrated throughout the archipelagos on 30th May each year with a national holiday known as ‘Dia de Canarias’.

The Canary Islands, though part of Spain are actually located near to the northwest African Coast, close to Morocco. Lanzarote is one of the largest of the archipelagos which is perhaps the reason why, along with Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura, it is one of the most popular places for holidaymakers.

The name Lanzarote is said to derive from the name of the Genoese navigator Lancelotto Malocello who arrived at the island in 1336.

While there’s an interesting history of the island to explore it is perhaps the unique lunar-esque landscape that really deserves some attention.

Volcanic Landscapes

Volcanic eruptions are responsible for shaping the unique geography of the island today and have created the out-of-this-world environments tourists flock to explore. With rugged rock formations and solidified lava streams, it’s like something straight out of a sci-fi film set in outer space.

The famous volcanic eruptions of 1730-1736 are largely responsible for this when they devastated the communities that had developed around the island.

Culture

Beyond the political history and natural beauty, Lanzarote also boasts an impressive cultural climate.

Arguably the most famous artist Lanzarote has produced is César Manrique and his work is proudly celebrated throughout the island with paintings, sculptures and architecture.

Manrique was hugely influential in the development of tourism in Lanzarote, which really started to take off here in the 1960s. With the average temperatures generally staying above 17?C all year round it’s easy to understand why it’s still such a popular choice for holidaymakers.

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Backpacking In Style – Tips For Finding The Best Hotel Deals

There’s no denying that backpacking offers the ideal low-cost getaway. For many, the idea of just packing a rucksack with the essentials and leaving the everyday routine miles behind really epitomises the concept of freedom. As such, backpacking is great for gap year travelling and for extended holidays.

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You don’t have to be a student on a low-budget expedition to enjoy the freedom of a backpacking adventure, though. Nowadays, a backpacking holiday can be enjoyed in good hotels with a touch of style – even glamour, and here are a few top tips for finding these deals.

Glam-Packing

Before you set off on your backpacking travels, look for promotional discounts in the area you are heading to. You can often find these online or with coupons from tourist information literature. It’s not uncommon to find promotions offering anything from discounted hotel rates to reduced transfer fees.

Sleep in Style

By booking your accommodation and flights separately, you can often make your trip more cost effective and afford to stay in higher rated hotels. Many four and five star hotels will offer you cheaper deals if you book early or if you are willing to stay outside of the normal high season. Again, compare these online well before you leave. Never be afraid to ring up hotels individually and negotiate a discount.

 

If you do choose to upgrade your accommodation from a backpacking hostel, make the most of it and use all of the facilities during your stay. After all, not many backpacking hostels will have a pool that you can use or a laundry service that is available to visitors.

Great Budget Destinations

Some places around the globe offer really good places to stay but at a fraction of the cost you would expect. Thailand is a good example, with plenty of four and five star accommodation that backpackers can check into without worrying about breaking the budget.

Egypt has seen a fall in accommodation prices in recent years, too. Another place well worth checking out is Tunisia – a long-time favourite destination for French backpackers.

Making the most of the freedom of travelling doesn’t have to be about bumming it across the globe. With a bit of careful research beforehand, it’s possible to backpack in style and sleep in comfort.

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Singapore: Tour The City Like a Local This Year

Traveling is always an exciting time, and one of the best places to visit this year is Singapore. Singapore has so many different things to offer in regards to tourists, and there is definitely something here for everyone. Of course, there are those common places that most tourists visit and can get through in a day. Most of that being the couture shopping that Singapore is known for, but thankfully there’s a great selection of alternative attractions to see too! Whether you enjoy cultural sights, shopping, or just some fun and relaxation, you will be sure to find it in wonderful Singapore.

Artwork at the Ritz-Carlton

It is a little crazy to be visiting a hotel, instead of an actual museum, or is it? The artwork at the Ritz-Carlton is one of the greatest collections there is to see of modern and contemporary art, and it is virtually unknown to tourists!

Chinatown Heritage Center

When visiting Singapore, of course there are museums and other places to look into the past of this city, but everyone should make it to the Chinatown Heritage Center. Here, visitors can admire the different 19th and early 20th century scenes that are available to see, and it also introduces you to the culture of the city too! You can even shop there and collect little souvenirs.

Geylang

Located in the former red-light district of Singapore, Geylang has a lot of history to offer. Walking the streets, you will be introduced to the wonderful architecture, as well as experience some of the modern elements of the city too. One of the best things to do ere is try the local food.

The Camden Medical Center

If shopping and couture is your forte, you’ve come to the right place. Being big in fashion and appearance, Singapore has a nice little cosmetic secret. Stop in the Camden Medical Center for some of the latest skin treatments, from expert medial advancements to traditional and herbal medicines.

Haji Lane

Tucked away in the heart of the Muslim quarter, Haji Lane has tons of little secret shops to offer the savvy shopper. Of course, you will find a vast variety of couture shops in popular places, but here, it is really a shopper’s dream come true!

Funan Digitalife Mall

If electronics are what excites you, try the Funan Digitalife Mall. Take advantage of the most hi-tech devices for about 10-20% cheaper than you would at other shops!

The White Rabbit

This restaurant gives you a little history, a lot of beauty, and some really great Euro comfort food. Once a historical church, this building was renovated to be a beautiful restaurant, keeping much of the church’s aesthetic design.

Zouk

The nightlife in Singapore can be compared to that of New York, and a wonderful place to see it is by visiting Zouk. This amazing nightclub will fill your night with loud music, flashing strobes, and tons of dancing. No matter where you party in Singapore however, you’re bound to have an amazing time!

If you thinking of how to get to Singapore or how to get around here are some handy tips. When in Singapore you have several options for getting around including MRT, bus and taxi.

 

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What type of holiday is right for you?

Investing in a holiday is often one of those things that the majority of us don’t get to do that often. With work, personal taste, time constraints and financial details it is imperative to find a holiday that satisfies everything that we want in a holiday, so we can get maximum enjoyment from the experience. Here are some factors to think about when considering what type of holiday is right for you.

Cruise ship deck

Time Available

If you are under time constraints then you probably won’t be booking a 3 month safari, or an open ended ticket to see the world. Working out how much time you have and choosing a holiday that fits into your schedule is the best way to ensure that you are getting maximum enjoyment for what you are paying for. Some holiday ideas that might fit that bill are cruises, bus tours and other short term holiday ideas.

Affordability

If money is not flowing as abundantly as you would like it to then you will need to choose a holiday that fits in with your budget. Conversely if you have a large amount of money at your disposal then why not splash out and do something big! Working out what you want, and what you can afford and then shopping around for the best deal is a great way to ensure that you are getting the best holiday you can for your money. There are some great Cruiseabout specials available that will give you a great holiday without breaking the bank.

What Interests You?

If you don’t like walking, then you probably won’t be interested in going on a trek of the Himalayas, and if you aren’t a fan of the snow then you wouldn’t think of going on a snow trip. Working out what interests you will give you a few clues about what sort of holiday might be the best one for you.

Travel Companion Vs Solo Adventure

Some of us love spending time by ourselves, while others need to be around other people. If you are a person who is happy to head off on your own on an adventure then you will probably be fine with whatever holiday you choose. For some of us we would prefer to have a companion to travel with so we might be happy to do anything as long as we are doing it with friends, or family.

What did you love/hate about your last holiday?

If you take the time to think about your last holiday and what you loved/hated about it you will be able to get a good idea about what things you might want to experience in your next holiday. Planning a holiday is one of the most exciting parts of the trip so relax, and take the time to work out what you really want in a holiday, so that you will be sure to have an awesome time whatever you do!

By Natalie Brown

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Take a Self Catering St. Ives Holiday

One of the best places to take a holiday in the UK is without a doubt in St. Ives. This beautiful landscape near the Western most edge of the UK offers a wide variety of activities for all walks of life. It has a beautiful coastline that is good for enjoying a beautiful relaxing walk or for the more daring that want to try out the new adventure sport of coasteering. There is so much to do in this friendly town, all the way through to Autumn making it a great option if your looking for cheap holidays in October so the only thing left to do is decide where you want to stay. If you are looking for a self catering St. Ives holiday then there is really only one choice that you have.

st ives

Every destination in the world offers hotels or motels. While these can be a great accommodation, they always tend to get a bit crowded and make people stir crazy. This can be especially true for stays of a week or longer. The same goes for hostels. While these are great for solo travelers or a group of younger kids they are not ideal for a family or a couple trying to get some quiet comfortable quarters. What you can find here, for this holiday, is St. Ives apartments that will be all yours for as long as you need.

The best part of self catering your holiday is that you have complete freedom and autonomy from others. You have your own space and can make it feel like home. The biggest draws of hotels is that you have a staff at you disposal to help with anything you need from dinner recommendations to reservations. At St. Ives they offer a concierge service that can take care of all that for you too. They will even go as far as to stock the refrigerator for you upon arrival so there is no delay in enjoying your vacation.

The views from all of the apartment choices are something to be marveled. There is no feeling like waking up, walking out to your balcony, and seeing one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. The way the waves crash into the cliffs is surreal and is a sight that will never get old. You can choose all different types of accommodation that may suit a couple better than a family so make sure you do some research before booking. You can even get a room that comes equipped with a telescope so you can gaze at the stars, up close, on a clear night.

These apartments are luxurious, hassle free, and can be a good fit for any type of group looking for any type of holiday. Don’t wait, scoop up one of these luxury apartments before its too late!

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Faro Beaches & Nightlife

Faro is a lively and charming city, a superb choice of destination if you like to be in the heart of things. As a student and tourist town, it has a fun and vibrant nightlife, but there are many quieter bars and restaurants if you want to take it easy.

Faro is the gateway to the Algarve, the dramatic stretch of southern Portuguese coastline that fronts the wild Atlantic Ocean. At times spectacular and rugged, at others beautifully tranquil, it cannot be argued that the Algarve is not incredibly beautiful. Many visitors do not linger in Faro but head immediately to one of the seaside resorts.

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There is an argument to be made for this approach, especially if you are short on time. But Faro itself makes for a rewarding experience in itself, whether you are simply passing through or have chosen the city as your main destination. Take advantage of car hire to make the most of your time in Faro and get to places further afield.

Faro’s beaches can compete with the best in the Algarve. A series of sandspits, large deposits of sand that project into the sea, provide protection from the Atlantic waves; this makes the waters calm and safe for swimming in.

The beaches are nothing if not diverse. Faro beach itself, near the airport, is a busy and vibrant stretch of golden sand, lined by shops, cafes, bars and hotels. Colourful boats rock in the gentle waves, and there are opportunities for various water sports, including jet-skiing, windsurfing and water-skiing. It’s a great beach for those that like access to great facilities and don’t mind the crowds.

The sand spit island beaches, such as Ilha Deserta, Ilha da Armona and Ilha da Culatra, lie offshore and can be reached only by ferry or water taxi. Ilha Deserta has over six miles of glorious golden sands, so there is plenty of room to find your own spot. It is part of the Ria Formosa National Park, an important wetland site for birds, and amongst them you can see flamingos and terns. There is a restaurant and sunbeds and umbrellas can be hired if you are in the mind for relaxation, or you can follow the nature trail and take a dip in the warm, shallow waters. Ilha Deserta, as its name suggests, is the ideal spot if you are looking for peace and relaxation.

Ilha da Armona, another large, sweeping beach, has superb sand dunes that kids will love, and there are plenty of cafes and facilities, and even a campsite. Ilha da Culatra has a great sandy beach and is one of the few sandspit islands to be permanently populated; there are several cafes and beautiful bougainvillea-clad houses as well as a lighthouse. Unfortunately, ferries do not connect the islands together, but it is possible to travel between them by water taxi.

Spending a day at the beach can be tiring business, and in true Portuguese style you may want to have a lazy siesta before hitting the town. Faro is a superb spot to try out authentic Portuguese cuisine and join in the later revelries. The Rua do Prior and surrounding area is the centre of the action, and there are many clubs and bars here to choose from. Try Havana Club for a Latin vibe or Millennium III and Dux for top DJs and live music.

While the Old Town buzzes with activity at night, the Marina is a great place for a more relaxed meal, a gentle evening stroll or a leisurely drink beside the gently lapping waters. Try out freshly caught seafood and a local wine or dry white port served over ice in traditional style. Just beware of medronho, made from the arbutus fruit – it’s known as fire water for good reason!

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What types of wine tours are available?

For the first timer, it may come as a surprise that there is more than one way to experience European wineries. In fact, there are many options to suit your interests, itinerary, budget and lifestyle, so if you’re thinking about a trip to Europe to taste some special wines and enjoy the food and scenery this summer, take a moment to consider your options:

Wine Tour

Package tour

Perhaps the most obvious, and possibly the easiest winery visit option is to go on a package tour. This might be a private or group tour, and has many pros: accommodation and transport is usually included, and you get the expert advice and inside knowledge from your experienced guide. This is useful for those who would rather leave the driving to someone else – especially if you plan to enjoy the wines on offer!

 

Self-drive tour

If you want a more free-form experience, consider getting planning a self-drive itinerary. A winery expert will be able to assist with the planning of the best route and stop-offs, sharing tips on the must-taste wines and helping with booking accommodation along the way.

 

Cycle tour

For the energetic, a popular summer option is to cycle between vineyards through the beautiful countryside. A tailor-made cycle tour will provide you with detailed map (you don’t want to be relying on a smartphone!). Seek advice on what regions are most suitable for cycling and the rest of the nitty-gritty details so you can relax and enjoy the ride.

 

Gourmet

What is wine without food, or food without wine? For those foodies who can’t do without either, a gourmet travel experience is a must. Some wineries offer tasting menus with matched wines – perfect for a decadent long lunch in a truly picturesque setting. You will also learn about regional wine-making techniques and characteristics, as well as signature dishes and produce from the area, and impress all your food-lover friends.

 

Luxury travel

If you’re looking for a luxury option, there is luxury aplenty available in Europe – stay in stately 18th Century châteaux, castles, five-star hotels, architect-designed houses ,visit the birthplaces of the most revered names in wine – Krug, Moët & Chandon, Bollinger, Dom Pérignon – and eat at Michelin-star restaurants.

 

Vivienne Egan writes for tailor-made wine tour operators SmoothRed.

 

 

 

 

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