5 Hidden Gems in Sicily

Whether you are visiting for fascinating sites of historical significance, visiting some of the island’s spectacular golden beaches or are just after some of the country’s best food, the island of Sicily just off the toe of Italy’s boot is one of the country’s most popular destinations – the island has it all.

There is no shortage of attractions or stuff to be doing in Sicily but, sometimes, you need to break off from the tourist trail and experience other lesser-known parts of the island. If you’re going to be spending your vacation exploring, then consider staying in one of the beautiful villas in Sicily which will help you to unwind after a long day on your feet.

With this in mind, we have put together a list of our five favourite hidden gems in Sicily. Whether you are looking for archaeological ruins or dramatic views, there is something for everybody here.

#1: The Norman Castles

Sitting proudly, high in the island’s dramatic mountainous terrain with sweeping views across the coast to Trapani, the Norman Castle of Erice is brimming with history. Perched on top of Eryx Hill, the Castle of Erice provide visitors with a breath-taking view across the coastlines of Sicily.

It’s not just the view, though; history buffs will love it too for its historical significance.

#2: Modica

Although Modica is widely known and is not exactly a ‘hidden gem’, many people choose to visit Modica for its sandy beaches instead of experiencing the beauty of the city. These people are missing out; in Modica, there is lots of remarkable architecture to feast the eyes upon, including both St. Peter’s Church and the St. George Cathedral… oh, and the town is famous for its artisan chocolates.

#3: The Mozia Windmills

Mozia is a small island located just off Sicily’s west coast which, when compared to the island of Sicily itself, is a place less travelled. On Mozia, there are tons of archaeological sites based around the Mediterranean’s most iconic Phoenician settlement, but it is the windmills found on this island which make it worthy of a visit – it is the perfect opportunity for photographers to let their creativity shine!

#4: Caltagirone and its Ceramic Architecture

In this beautiful Sicilian town, the streets, bridges, buildings, and everything else are coated in beautiful ceramic works of art – the town is literally a work of colourful and charming rustic art. The most famous attraction here is the Scala di Santa Maria del Monte, a large stairway which is coated entirely in ceramics, where numerous festivals take place throughout the year.

#5: Panoramic Views at Enna

The town of Enna sits 1,000 above two mountainous peaks, it is an awe-inspiring destination with long, winding cobble-paved streets and historical landmarks as far as the eye can see. If you are looking for beautiful panoramic views as far as the eye can see and rustic Italian architecture, Enna needs to be on your list.

The Island of Sicily attracts tourists in their masses each year, many of whom come solely for the island’s sandy beaches. Although the beaches are fantastic, Sicily’s true character truly shines through its beautiful historical sites, architecture, and old Italian streets.

Mykonos travel tips

Mykonos travel tips

To enjoy your vacations at Mykonos island you need to get well prepared. Especially if you are planning to visit the island during the peak time (end of June to end of August), you need to plan as many details as possible. Mykonos gets really overcrowded and if you don’t come with a plan, you may miss some places you would like to visit.

Here is a short list of things you should consider while planning your Mykonos vacations.

Choose the places you will visit according to your likes

In Mykonos you will find a big variety of restaurants, bars and beaches. You can’t visit them all – and you don’t want to – so do some research, find out the ones you would mostly like to visit and book well in advance.

If you are a party animal, you shouldn’t miss the party beaches on the south shoreline of Mykonos: Paradise, Super Paradise and Psarou. If you prefer less noisy but organized beaches, some good suggestions are Agios Ioannis, Ornos, Kalafatis, Platys Gialos, Agia Anna, Panormos, and Agios Stefanos. In case you like more secluded and natural environments, pick Agios Sostis, Korfos, Fokos, Kapari or Houlakia beaches.

Eating at Mykonos can be a really pleasant experience and there are many different cuisines available. For a delicious local meal you can go to Kiki’s tavern at Agios Sostis beach or Avli Tou Thodori at Platys Gialos beach or Karavaki Restaurant at Chora Mykonos. For an elegant atmosphere and gourmet dishes, try Nammos, Principote, Scorpios , Interni or M-eating.

Book everything you can in advance

As soon as you decide what places you want to go to, make reservations for as many of them as you can. Good restaurants have a long waiting list and VIP tickets to the best clubs are sold out quickly.

The same goes for accommodation and car hires. Some villas or hotels are booked several months prior to their visitors’ arrival. If you want to make sure you will not miss anything of what you are planning to do, book early. Priority should be given to accommodation, restaurants and car or bike rental. You should also book for tickets to museums, VIP access to clubs and daily trips.

Pick a suitable accommodation

Although Mykonos island isn’t very big and you can easily access most of the places in a short time, it will be much more convenient if you stay near to the sites you plan to visit.

A good base for your trip would be near Chora Mykonos. Remember that the center of the town can be very noisy even during the night so it is better to avoid it. There are some very good hotels around Chora Mykonos like Belvedere, Leto hotels or Semeli.  But the most beautiful and luxurious accommodation can be found away from Mykonos Chora. On the way from Chora to the New Port you will find Cavo Tagoo 5 star hotel.

If you are planning to stay mostly at the southern part of Mykonos, where all the big parties and clubs are, it would be better to choose a villa in Mykonos or hotel suite there. You will find a great number of 5 star hotels and villas with plenty of amenities and amazing views to the Aegean Ocean. Some of the best hotels are Santa Marina near Ornos Beach, Rocabella Hotel and Spa at Agios Stefanos Beach, Palladium Boutique Hotel at Platys Gialos and Grecotel Mykonos Blu Hotel at Psarou Beach.

If you prefer the privacy there are elegant mykonos villas for rent on the island.

Or if you are looking for something more permanent you might want to check out the Mykonos Real Estate, to find your idyllic summer villa.

Check transportation options and work out a plan

It is highly recommended that you rent a car or a bike for your transportation during your visit. There are so many awesome places to visit and you shouldn’t waste time and energy to wait for the public bus or a taxi. Keep in mind that it gets really hot during the day and it would be really uncomfortable if you have to walk under the sun.

Occasionally you can use public transport as taxi boats, bus or taxi but you should check timetables before you decide to use it.

In Mykonos you will find some more luxurious ways to travel within the island, like limousines, helicopters and luxury yachts. If you want to visit Dilos and Rinia islets or some of the secluded beaches, the most convenient way is to rent a yacht with a capltain.

What to take with you

Here is a list of what you should definitely take with you for your Mykonos vacations:

  • Light, convenient clothes
  • Your most elegant beachwear
  • Trendy, chic clothes suitable for the night clubs you want to visit
  • A good 30 or 50 suncream, a hat and sarong
  • A backbag or a beach bag
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Your driving license

Perfect Resorts For French Alps Skiing Holidays

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With Christmas over and winter well and truly set in throughout many parts of the world, now is the time to start looking into those winter getaways that the whole family can enjoy. But where to? Maybe you have just recently had a holiday to a warm climate and you’re looking for something a bit more winter friendly to help wipe away those winter blues. If so, you’ve come to the right place. Winter holidays don’t always have to be jetting off to sunny tropical locations with white sand beaches and instead can involve head out to your favourite snowy destinations to hit the slopes, sip hot cocoa in the cosy atmosphere of your ski chalet and enjoy drinking Gluhwein in front of toasty fires with friends. So what are some of the best ski locations for couples and families? Check out our top picks for cheap ski holidays below and get in on the deals before they’re out the door for the season!

 

La Tania – Courchevel

This alpine resort is a haven for ski lovers who like to be challenged but also for those who like easier more leisurely skiing. A unique feature of this resort is the full pedestrianisation of the resort itself – that is to say, that the resort allows you to ski throughout the whole region – to the shops, to the bars, to the restaurants and the like. What more could you want? For a real dive into the life of skiing this is the place for you and your family and with over six hundred kilometers (yes! Six hundred!) that means you can spend your entire time skiing your little heart out at La Tania and never run over the same piece of trail twice – unless you want to. With mainly north facing slopes, the runs of La Tania will keep their snow in pristine condition until late into the season, making this a perfect resort for those late ski season holidays for both couples and families alike. So for those who want to maximise their ski season, be sure to take advantage with a holiday to La Tania.

Les Arcs

This resort is a combination of all the best bits of the sport of skiing. Ideal for beginners all the way through to experts it boasts over one hundred and thirty runs for beginners, around sixty for intermediate and around forty for advanced level skiers. With over one hundred restaurants and bars to add to the feel of this alpine beauty, Les Arcs is an old favourite amongst hobbyists as well as serious athletes with its Olympic level speed skiing course to add to the huge variety of runs already available. Les Arcs is additionally perfect for families or for those who like a bit of a lower key holiday as even though there are bars and restaurants available en masse, the late night atmosphere is nearly non-existent here. For those who like to get out by night, the neighbouring resorts often have a more hopping nightlife than Les Arcs, but don’t let that put you off this unique, enjoyable and impressive resort. You won’t miss the parties here with so many fantastic runs to check out and other apres ski activities.

Val D’Isere

Three hundred kilometres of piste set in an alpine haven, Val D’Isere boasts impressive advanced runs for those experienced skiers looking for a challenge. Not experienced? No problem! Val D’Isere also hosts a whole range of beginner to intermediate runs too for those who are just starting out on their ski skills. With around one hundred and fifty cafes, bars and restaurants at your disposal, it’s easy to see why Val D’Isere is a favourite amongst not just the expert skiers but also with those of all levels. The activities kick off each afternoon for those to enjoy the apres ski offerings and with a hugely popular cafe culture it’s easy to get stuck right in. For foodies, this is the best resort due to its location – nestled in the southeastern France’s Alps and only a mere five kilometers from the Italian border means that the Italian-French fusion cuisine is rampant in the numerous restaurants at Val D’Isere. Come see for yourself.

La Plagne

The perfect place for those who love to work hard on the slopes and play hard in the village. La Plagne is comprised of several villages which enjoy pristine snow, a plethora of apres ski activities and locations to wind down as well as generally flat topography with numerous runs that range from beginner to experienced. This is a great resort for those who just like to whet their appetite with skiing but don’t necessarily want to really dive in. This is probably the best resort for families or groups of friends due to the amount of activities on offer that don’t necessarily involve skiing as well as the variety in terms of run ratings and other general amenities. Whether you’re an avid skier or not, La Plagne is the best resort for all abilities and preferences so you won’t regret your trip to this bustling and popular resort.

Overview

These are just a few of the resorts in the Alps which offer impeccable skiing and a variety in terms of amenities, activities and more. These are French Alps resorts but there are a number of other countries which feature alpine holiday packages as well. The French Alps arguably have the best in pricing and convenience with a whole host of different resorts to choose from. Many of the package holidays in the French Alps also feature nearly all inclusive (usually half board) catering, flights, hotel, lift passes and more. So if you’re looking for the best in alpine skiing without having to pay the sometimes heavy prices of other skiing holidays, the French Alps are the place to be. Regardless of whether you’re an early riser, a party animal, a night owl or the like, the Alps will have something for everyone – and don’t forget the impeccable wine! Being on the corner of three well known wine countries, the Gluhwein you’re likely to find here might just be some of the world’s best.

So whether you’re an avid skier, a beginner or even an accomplished athlete the Alps are one of the best places on the planet to get your ski on. With so many packages, mountain ranges, ski villages, resorts and runs to choose from you can rest assured that you will stay challenged and enjoy every minute of any ski holiday to the Alps. But don’t just take our word for it – come and see for yourself. You still have a couple of good ski months left in the season, so don’t delay and get your next mountain ski holiday booked now!

Great Reasons Why You Should Rent a Villa in Sicily

Inspector Montalbano fans will already be familiar with the delights of Sicily, but for those of you who have yet to discover Andrea Camilleri’s wonderful stories of the life of a Sicilian detective, you are in for a real treat. Sicily is a beautiful island with a long and bloody history. Baroque cathedrals, ruined temples, coffee shops, gorgeous beaches, and the most active volcano in Europe, all combine to make Sicily a fascinating destination for your next villa holiday.

Royalty free photo

Mainland Italy is a favourite with many tourists looking for the perfect combination of history and great vino, but you will find this – and more – in Sicily, minus the crowds.

An Undiscovered Gem

Sicily has long been an undiscovered gem, lying at the foot of Italy and largely forgotten about by the main tour operators. It’s a sleepy island, but the locals are friendly and the food is to die for. Fresh seafood takes pride of place in most restaurants. Pasta with sardines and Involtini di PesceSpada are both delicious, and with so much delicious pasta dishes, this is not the best time to be on a diet.

Renting a Sicilian Villa

Renting a villa on Sicily is the best way to discover the charms of this beautiful island. Whether you want a beachfront villa with a private pool or a secluded villa nestled in a sleepy olive grove inland, you will be spoilt for choice if you visit the Scent of Sicily villas.

Take your time browsing villas in Sicily for your next Sicilian vacation. The rugged coastline offers numerous photo opportunities and endless sandy beaches that are largely unspoiled and free from the crowds that blight the popular Italian resorts on mainland Italy. Head inland, though, and you may find yourself staying near a local vineyard or farm, where you can buy fresh produce and relax in the hypnotic scent of bougainvillea flowers at dusk.

Sicilian Food and Drink

Sicilian chefs are also famous for their delectable pastries. Sicilian ricotta cannoli is to die for. You will find a pastry shop on every corner of every street. Buy a plate of cannoli and prepare to be in heaven for a few blissful moments.

After all that carb-loading, you will need a few glasses of local wine. The good news is that you have come to the right place. Sicilian grapes flourish on the fertile slopes of Mount Etna and Sicilian wines are some of the best in the world. Take a tour of some local vineyards – this is the birthplace of Marsala wine!

Finally, while we are on the subject of food and drink, we have to mention the wonderful Sicilian coffee. Sicilians love their coffee. It is practically a national institution. Local coffee tends to be hot and very strong. Order a pot of coffee and watch the world go by; that’s what the locals do.

Once you have your villa all sorted, don’t forget to book a rental car so you can explore the Valley of Temples, the Teatro Greco, and other famous Sicilian landmarks.

This post is being sponsored by Scent of Sicily

Top 6 Cities To Visit in Europe

Travelling Europe? Want to make your trip full of exciting experiences and great photo shots? Easy! Choose the best places to see and the most fun things to do from the list of the top 6 European cities worth visiting.

#1 London

One of the biggest megapolises in the world welcomes visitors with its historical charm and multicultural spirit. There are many great places to visit in London. Try to spot the Queen at the royal Buckingham Palace, take a spooky tour around the iconic Tower or spend the whole day at Warner Bros. Studio learning curious facts about the filming of the Harry Potter movies. Don’t miss a ride on the Coca-Cola London Eye – the perfect place to observe the city from the above. If you have time, you can try visiting the countryside by train or check the upcoming music events. It could be one of the most fascinating experience you will get when visiting England.

#2 Rome

It is an ideal travel destination for the Italian food lovers! Rome is an exciting city with a free Mediterranean spirit and an impressive number of historical sights every traveler must see. First, make sure to take a look at the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica and Trevi Fountain, imagining the glorious days of Roman Empire and magnificent Renaissance epoch.

#3 Paris

The city of love and romance is full of historical spots, famous museums, churches, and monuments. Must-see spots include the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and Notre Dame. Take a walk along artistic Montmartre, have a glass of champagne in some famous cabarets, take a boat tour under the bridges of Seine, or simply enjoy the spirit of this ever-young city with a cup of coffee and croissant.

#4 Venice

This beautiful city is slowly sinking, so make sure to visit Venice at least once in your life before it disappears under the waters. Beautiful carnival masks, gondola rides, lots of theaters, churches, and other touristic attractions are waiting for the visitors here. You can take a day tour to colorful Murano island and spend some time on one of the public beaches of the island. Enjoy a special cup of Venetian coffee and get lost in the labyrinth of narrow streets and canals.

#5 Prague

A fairy tale comes true in Prague. This destination is really affordable in comparison to the most of the top European destinations, yet it is one of the truly gorgeous cities in this part of the planet. The capital of Czech republic attracts travelers with its beautiful Charles Bridge and the historic Prague Castle that provide free admission for everyone. Multiple cozy restaurants offer delicious local food and great craft beer, which make it impossible to resist.

#6 Athens

For all the fans of antiquity, Athens must be on top of the list. Ancient Parthenon, dozens of great museums and hospitable Hellenes, offering savory Greek food and decent accommodation at more than affordable prices. Take a ferry-boat and spend a day or two on the nearby island with the crystal turquoise waters and remember to have a drink at a roof bar with a view of night Acropolis.

Euro Hostels – Where should I go for drinks in Liverpool?

With a beautiful cityscape, a vibrant and unparalleled musical history and a number of landmarks, Liverpool is the perfect destination for weekends away – stag and hen weekends, couples retreats and breaks away with friends.

While you’re away for the weekend, you may fancy sipping on a couple of beverages while you’re there. To save you from scanning review sites such as Trip Advisor, Liverpool hostel provider Euro Hostels has given a shortlist – each catered to a unique experience to wow visitors.

For a Swashbuckling good time

Name: The Smugglers Cove

Summary: Hidden in the Albert Docks, The Smugglers Cove is a pirate-themed bar with 151 rums to try, rum-based cocktails and top-notch pub grub. Drink up, me hearties.

Address: Britannia Pavillion Albert Dock Liverpool L3 4AD

Website: http://thesmugglerscove.uk.com

Get social:

Trip Advisor rating: 4 Stars

Opening hours:

  • Monday: 12:00 – 24:00
  • Tuesday: 12:00 – 24:00
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 24:00
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 01:00
  • Friday: 12:00 – 2:00am
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 2:00am
  • Sunday: 12:00 – 12:00am

For a classic Beatles experience

Name: The Cavern Club

Summary: This 60-year-old venue has been hub of live music since 1957. Composed of the Cavern Club, Pub and Live Lounge, lovers of the Beatles – and music in general – will not be able to resist the charm and history of this magical place.

Address: 10 Mathew St, Liverpool L2 6RE

Website: https://www.cavernclub.org/ 

Get social:

Trip Advisor rating: 4.5 stars

Opening hours:

  • Monday: 10:0 – 24:00
  • Tuesday: 10:00 – 24:00
  • Wednesday: 10:00 – 24:00am
  • Thursday: 10:00 – 1:30
  • Friday: 10:00- 2:00
  • Saturday: 10:00 – 2:00
  • Sunday: 10:00 – 12:00

For a night out like the locals

Name: Hebbie Jeebie’s

Summary:  One of Liverpool’s most popular bars, Heebie Jeebie’s hosts anything from live music to massive DJ nights in a rockfish and ragged themed bar and courtyard area.

Address:  80-82 Seel Street Liverpool

Website: N/a

Get social:

Trip Advisor rating: Four stars

Opening hours:

  • Monday: 17.00 –3:00
  • Tuesday: 17.00 –3:00
  • Wednesday: 17.00 –3:00
  • Thursday: 17.00 –3:00
  • Friday: 12:00 – 4:00am
  • Saturday: 13:00 – 4:00
  • Sunday: 13:00 – 3:00

For burgers to die for…

Name: Death Row Diner

Summary:

Get burgers to die for at Death Row Diner dive bar and burger joint. Voted as Liverpool’s Best Burger 2016, the venue also has a range of unique cocktails for anything you fancy.

Address:  32 Hope Street (basement) Liverpool L1 9BX

Website:   http://deathrowdiveanddiner.com/ 

Get social:

Trip Advisor rating:  4 stars

Opening hours:

  • Monday: 12:00pm – 12:00am
  • Tuesday: 12:00pm – 12:00am
  • Wednesday: 12:00am – 12:00am
  • Thursday: 12:00pm – 1:30am
  • Friday: 10:00pm – 2:00am
  • Saturday: 10:00pm – 2:00am
  • Sunday: 10:00am – 12:00am

For a secret, speakeasy experience

Name: Berry & Rye

Summary:  Perfect if you’re in small groups, Berry and Rye is a prohibition-themed bar with a hidden door you have to knock – and see if you’re let in. This place transforms you back on time – and has a wide choice of whiskey and gin to suit the era.

Address:  48 Berry St, Liverpool L1 4JQ

Website: N/a

Get social:

Trip Advisor rating:  4.5 stars

Opening hours:

  • Tues: 17:00 – 02:00
  • Wed: 17:00 – 02:00
  • Thur: 17:00 – 02:00
  • Fri: 17:00 – 02:00
  • Sat: 17:00 – 02:00
  • Sun: 17:00 – 02:00

For a little Absinthe…

Name: Some Place

Summary:  An Absinthe bar needs little introduction. Find a little green light on Seel street and you’re in. Then it’s time to hang with the green fairy.

Address:  Seel

Website:  N/a

Get social:

Trip Advisor rating:  N/a

Opening hours:

  • Wednesday: 20:00 – late
  • Thursday: 20:00 – late
  • Friday: 19:00 – late
  • Saturday: 19:00 – late
  • Sunday: 20:00 – late

How to Plan Your Visit to Greece

With the numerous vacation opportunities that the country offers tourists, Greece is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. The country is home to idyllic beaches, sixty inhabited islands, various historical sites and towering mountain ranges. Despite the current economic challenges that Greece faces, it remains the popular tourist destination it has always been.

To have an exciting and memorable stay in Greece, it is important to plan effectively for the vacation. This will help you to get the most from your trip in the amazingly beautiful country.

Traveling to Greece

The first thing you will have to plan for is how you will get there. Depending on how you plan to travel, there are various ways to get to Greece and then get around the country. Tourists from different parts of the world take direct flights since this makes it possible to travel quickly. However, traveling to Greece by boat will give you a great opportunity to see the beautiful Greece islands. Once you are in the country, you can enjoy the reliable, fast rail service to move from the city to the spectacular countryside.

Where to stay

Another thing to consider is to find a good place to stay. There are a collection of luxury villas in Santorini where tourists can enjoy a great stay. Santorini villas will offer you a scenic view of the surroundings and provide easy access to a variety of attraction sites. You’ll also be able to book your stay in a villa in Mykonos, Crete, Paros and other areas of the Greek islands.

Seeing everything

While the country does not cover a large geographical area, there are tons of things you will want to see and do when you get there. From exploring the mainland to visiting the islands, seeing ancient Greek sights to enjoying the beaches, your stay is likely to keep you occupied. Each of these locations has something special to offer, giving you a chance to learn the rich history of the country. You will have to set aside enough time for each of these activities if you want to see and do as much as possible.

Vacation packages in Greece

Choosing vacation packages as a way to explore Greece can make for an enjoyable time in the country. This will give you ample time to relax while leaving the planning to others. Vacation packages will also introduce you to locations and activities you may not have been aware of. For instance, when traveling with kids, these packages will include special activities for them. In areas where it may be difficult for a visitor to get the necessary planning on their own, companies that offer travel to Greece will come in handy. Get a great chance to attend festivals, visit vacation spots and see the historic landmarks in the country.

Weather and seasons

Mainland Greece experiences Mediterranean climate. The winter season is mild and is characterised by rains while summers are warm and dry. The country enjoys extended periods of sunshine for a good part of the year. Depending on the time of the year you plan to travel to Greece, you should ensure that you keep the weather in mind. Be sure to pack suitable outfits for the prevailing weather conditions.

Other considerations

As much as a good number of Greeks study English and can hold a conversation, it is advisable to learn some Greek and memorise some of the letters of the Greek alphabet. This will make it easier for you to get assistance if you get lost in the country. You will also find it easy to read the street signs and find your way around major cities. A little knowledge of the language will also make it possible for you to buy essentials such as cold drinks, sunscreens, and drugs from the pharmacy. Remember to carry a map of the country in your pockets just in case you need to find directions.