Archive for the ‘europe travel’ Category

Ride & Seek Expeditions: Venture Like Hannibal and Napoleon

Ride & Seek

Ride & Seek

We just caught wind of a great tour company called, Ride and Seek, out of Australia offering two of the most amazing bike tours we’re ever seen.

The Hannibal Expedition is 29 days and 2,592 km of biking from Barcelona to Rome. The expedition takes riders over the Pyrenees, Alps and Apennines and challenges them on routes that feature regularly in the Vuelta a Espana, Tour de France and Giro d’Italia.

Cycling on some of Europe’s most iconic and picturesque bike touring routes through Spain, France and Italy; the Hannibal expedition has it all. A modern day tour gives riders the chance to take up Hannibal’s trail in Barcelona, Sommieres, Costiglione Saluzzo or Garfagnana and ride 1, 2, 3 or 4 stages of this epic expedition.

Because you need fuel

Because you need fuel

The trail passes through some of the most beautiful cycling areas in Europe – Catalonia, Languedoc, Provence, Piedmont, Tuscany and Umbria among others. It takes riders over the Pyrenees, Alps and Apennines as they challenge themselves on routes that feature regularly in the Vuelta, Tour and Giro. You’ll also sample the culinary delights on offer as you meander your way down the road less travelled by modern day tourists, but once travelled by the Carthaginian general Hannibal.

Conceptualized by Sam Wood, archaeologist and BBC documentary filmmaker – ‘On Hannibal’s Trail‘ – and Dylan Reynolds, a bike guide who has lived in all 3 of the countries we travel through, the Hannibal Expedition is one of the world’s great bike journeys.

The Inaugural Napoleon Expedition is 45-days and 3,852 km of cycling from Paris to Moscow! It is happening for the first time in July 2015.

The expedition takes riders from West to East on the trail of one of history’s most famous conquerers.

This ride is of historical proportions in the footsteps of Napoleon divided into 6 stages. The Napoleon tour is an exploratory epic ranging the length of Europe into the heart of Russia following in the footsteps of Napoleon’s near 700,000 strong Grande Armée.

Ride like a Warrior

Ride like a Warrior

You’ll ride across the Champagne region of France into the picturesque castle clad green hills of southern Germany. The route then takes riders through UNESCO protected medieval villages in Poland to the North Sea. From here, you strike east via the great lakes of Poland and The Baltics. You’ll arrive in St Petersburg, a city Napoleon never took, but a must on a Russian odyssey. Then south to Moscow on the all Russian final stage!

Experience total immersion into the landscape, history and culture of the places visited as you ride this inspirational trail.

The 2015 Expedition will also be joined in part by a film crew documenting the journey.

England, Wellness, and a Lovely Country Lodge

A Quintessential Country Inn

A Quintessential Country Inn

Oh dear old England… when I think about getting into a cozy sweater and sipping a hot toddy you are there. You’re also a lovely place for a summertime stroll in the country which is why we wanted to tell our readers about Dorset’s Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant and Spa. They’ve just partnered their decadent surroundings with the expertise of Dr. Dorian Dugmore, CEO of Wellness Academy and one of the world’s leading wellbeing experts, for an indulgent weekend designed to educate and encourage couples to improve their wellbeing and lifestyles.

Yes, it's this lovely...

Yes, it’s this lovely…

The weekend aims to instill guests with a healthier attitude and confidence, featuring countryside walks through the neighboring 600-acre Melbury Estate and plenty of time to relax in Summer Lodge’s exquisite spa. Participants analyze their vital signs and attend various sessions with Dr. Dorian that focus on key lifestyle factors influencing health and wellbeing. Topics include the science of the feel-good factor, techniques for managing stress and reducing tension, and simple dietary changes that maximize energy and happiness.

What's a Wellness Retreat without quality cuisine?

What’s a Wellness Retreat without quality cuisine?

Additional wellness activities include a wine tasting with Summer Lodge’s award-winning sommelier, who shares the secrets to choosing a “healthier” tipple, and the development of individual wellness plans for guests. A special menu, utilizing the abundance of locally-sourced produce, will be served with recipe cards that highlight the nutritional benefits of each dish.

Gourmet Wellness for Couples runs at intervals throughout 2014, beginning the weekend of March 7, 2014.

The package is priced at $2,900 for two people staying in a Classic room, and includes two nights’ accommodations, breakfasts, lunches, a wine tasting and black tie gala dinner.

Truffle Hunting, Wine Tasting, and Bike Riding in Piedmont!

That's a truffle. Don't get any funny ideas.

That’s a truffle. Don’t get any funny ideas.

A Truffle huntin’ we will go, a truffle huntin’ we will go!

Who wants to wine taste, bike ride AND hunt for truffles? Who wouldn’t?

Ciclismo Classico, a leading outfitter of cycling vacations around the globe, is offering a food and wine focused Italy cycling tour in which guests stay in family-run luxury hotels, dine at the best local restaurants, and pedal through the vineyards and villages of Piedmont.



The most important vineyard centers of Gavi, Acqui Terme, Alba, lower Monferrato and Turin serve as the focal points of this eight-day tour. On exclusive winery visits, local experts discuss the tradition of winemaking and the nuances of the area’s many microclimates that give the wine its prized sophistication. Who wouldn’t want to learn about wines in Italy too? With great wine comes cuisine that includes a blend of Northern Italian and French influences, with the truffle and mushrooms as seasonal key players. Other highlights include: hunting truffles with local truffle hunter, biking emerald valleys & vineyard-laden hillsides, exclusive wine tastings and sumptuous dinners.

Riding through vineyards

Riding through vineyards

This tour happens Oct 12 – 19, 2013 and starts at $4,395 so it’s not too late to get on it!

This intermediate Piedmont bike tour covers 250 total miles and averages 40 miles per day. The trip starts with a ride from Gavi to Acqui Terme, passing Castles of Monferrato, a hilly area where each village is protected by a castle. The vineyards of Dolcetto, Cortese, and Moscato are the landmarks of this area. Fantastic food, fine wine, and a daily workout really makes this an ideal Italy holiday.

Guests cruise the vineyards of Barolo and Monforte, and enjoy breathtaking views of the Langhe Area. Along the way, Carlosa local truffle hunter will give a special demonstration with his loyal dogLara. The months of October and November see the frenzy and competition of truffle season as both hunters and buyers compete to find the wonderful fungi. Alba is the truffle capital of Italy and throughout each weekend of both months, it hosts truffle mayhem with the White Truffle World Auction and the Truffle of the Year. The International Truffle Fair is happening Oct 12 – Nov 17, 2013.

Ah, Piedmont...

Ah, Piedmont…

The landscape offers a patchwork series of vineyards as well as fruit and nut tree farms. Guests continue riding north, entering the round hills area of Monferrato. On the final day, riders head west toward Turin, capital city of Piedmont. Along the way, the route offers a rollercoaster ride up and down the lower hills of Monferrato. The last climb approaches Superga, an important monument in the hearth of all the “turineis.” From here a magnificent panorama of the 2006 Olympic site appears.

For more information check out: Italy cycling tours or visit

Up in Swiss Heaven

The Cervo Mountain Lodge Bar

The Cervo Mountain Resort Bar

A timber-framed sanctuary nestled on the slopes above Zermatt, Cervo Mountain Boutique Resort is calling! Traditional Alpine lodge meet comfortingly modern. This is in part due to the structure, a converted 1950s chalet, use of local materials and hunting treasures on the walls that come together with clean lines and clutter-free expansive spaces.
cervo lodge room

Cervo Mountain Resort Room

A hunting enthusiast, owner Daniel Lauber will also take you on the best trails to enjoy spectacular views of Upper Valais. Though you won’t be wandering far for those of the Matterhorn – see it right from your bed!

Hot Air Ballooning in Britain

Hot Air Ballooning - United Kingdom

Hot Air Ballooning – United Kingdom

With all the Jubilee talk, we wanted to tell our readers about this sweet summer steal. The Montague on the Gardens Hotel is at the heart of all the London action this summer, and this beautiful Georgian townhouse hotel is offering an array of options for those who want to avail themselves of something very special – the delightful Best of British packages. Situated in the heart of Bloomsbury, one of the most beautiful areas of central London, The Montague on the Gardens is an elegant, long-established Georgian townhouse hotel overlooking a secluded private garden square. The 100 luxurious rooms and suites, including one two-bedroom apartment, are elegantly understated, furnished with fabrics capturing the timeless elegance of Bloomsbury and its literary heritage.

Montague on the Gardens Entrance

Montague on the Gardens Entrance

This four-star hotel is also within strolling distance of the West End and The British Museum, and a mere five minutes from the Eurostar terminal at St. Pancras. Guests find themselves just minutes from London’s Financial District, Covent Garden, shopping on Oxford and Bond Streets, the West End theatres and Russell and Bloomsbury Squares. If your idea of a great vacation includes an unforgettable hot air balloon flight over the verdant British Countryside, then the Best of British Maiden Voyage package is the one for you.

Available through September 7, 2012, this package puts the ’Great’ into Britain. Guests at The Montague will spend two nights in the Guv’nors’ Suite, enjoy a full English breakfast, Afternoon Tea, a Fortnum & Mason hamper, pink champagne and strawberries, and two tickets to the British Museum, which is just a stone’s throw from the hotel.

Love the rooms at the Montague!

Love the rooms at the Montague!

  • The Best Of British Maiden Voyage package Includes:
  • Two nights’ accommodations in the splendid Guv’nor’s Suite
  • Full English breakfast daily
  • Best of British Afternoon Tea on the day of your choice
  • Transfer from any London train station or airport in our Range Rover
  • Fortnum & Masons hamper including Fortnum’s Ceylon and Assam loose leaf teas, Golden Crunch Biscuits, Dundee Cake, silver tea strainer and a copy of Tea at Fortnum & Mason
  • Bottle of Joseph Perrier Pink Champagne & strawberries in your room on arrival
  • Two tickets to the British Museum for the current exhibition of your choice
  • Virgin Hot Air Balloon Flight including a post-flight glass of Champagne


Best of British Maiden Voyage is priced from $1,418/per night, inclusive of all amenities listed based on two adults sharing the Guv’nor’s Suite for a minimum of two nights. Bookings require a minimum of seven days in advance of stay or cancellation. There will be a $650 non-refundable deposit required upon booking. Transfer to hot air balloon site is not included and can be added at an additional cost of $400. Due to popular demand, guests are encouraged to book in advance.

Ever Taken a Boutique River Cruise? Now’s Your Chance.

Have you ever been on a romantic river cruise in Europe? Us either. What the heck are we waiting for? We’re lame-os and need to get on that! Lucky for us, our insider travel gurus alerted us to Uniworld Boutique River Cruises. Fresh off their excellent year in 2011, they also earned the number one spot in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards for the world’s Best River Cruise Line so we had to share what we knew about this little cruise line that could. This is the first time Condé Nast Traveler has had a separate river cruise category and Uniworld grabbed the honors with a score of 90.3. They’re also on the Condé Nast’s 2011 Gold List as one of the “World’s Top Cruise Lines” so worth a

Earlier in the year,  seven of Uniworld’s luxury boutique river cruise ships were listed in Condé Nast Traveler ‘s Readers’ Choice Survey for Best River Cruise Ships , with River Beatrice and River Duchess landing first and second place.  Using a scale of 100, River Beatrice scored particularly high marks in the areas of Crew/Service (96.7), Itineraries (96.7), Food and Dining (96.7), and Shore Excursions (96.7). The Uniworld ships named in the top 20 were River Beatrice (1), River Duchess (2) River Countess (5), River Queen (6), River Baroness (8),River Royale (12), and River Princess (19).

Sorta Looks Like Southern California, Doesn't it? This is Da Nile, baby!

The newest jewel in Uniworld’s elite boutique fleet, the luxurious Super Ship S.S. Antoinette, is already garnering great praise by being included in a list of the Most Luxurious Cruise Cabins by Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor of Cruise Critic and contributor to Condé Nast Traveler. “Whether you’re talking about its lavish public rooms, its airy spa, its cinema, or its staterooms,” writes Brown, “S.S . Antoinette is not only the most gorgeous riverboat afloat, it’s also quite possibly the most beautiful ship anywhere.”

S.S. Antoinette was also just named the world’s “Best New River Ship” in Cruise Critic’s Fourth Annual Editor’s Picks Awards. Further, Conde Nast Traveler listed the S.S. Antoinette’s “Castles along the Rhine,” in the top eleven “Dream Itineraries for 2012,” and is the only river cruise itinerary listed in the best of the best in the cruise industry.

Sigh. I need a European – or better yet – an Egyptian – river cruise, peoples!

A bit about Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection: They’re the world’s only authentic boutique cruise line™, recognized among the “World’s Best River Cruises” by Travel + Leisure. Uniworld was voted the“#1 River Cruise Line in the World” in Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards, was named to Condé Nast Traveler’s prestigious Gold List, and won “Best River Ships” in their Readers’ Poll, which ranked River Beatrice and River Duchess the #1 and #2 river ships, along with five other highly ranked ships in the top 20. Uniworld’s cabins and dining are also ranked among the top three in the world by Zagat Survey®; Uniworld is the only river cruise line named in the Zagat Survey® amongst the best of the best in the cruise industry. Uniworld features luxurious boutique ships with an average capacity of 130 guests, included shore excursions, world-class gourmet cuisine, and award-winning hospitality. Uniworld offers over 500 departures sailing on over 13 rivers in more than 20 countries throughout Europe, Russia, Egypt, China, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

Get Viking in The Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands

Most travelers may know about Iceland, but they may not have been there yet. With scenery that varies from stark lunar mountains to hot springs and geysers in a country roughly the size of Ohio, Iceland offers dazzling landscapes – and a vibrant cultural and nightlife (which is why we love it, of course). But a little farther east, in the North Atlantic Gulf Stream, lies a remote cluster of Nordic islands known as the Faroes, virtually unknown to North Americans.  This archipelago, with its towering volcanic mountains, waterfalls that cascade from cliffs directly into the sea, paintbox houses, and only 50,000 inhabitants, is like something out of a movie. And, another cool little factoid, both Iceland and the Faroes were settled over a thousand years ago by the Vikings. Today, the Faroe Islands are a self-governing region of Denmark, with its own parliament and flag.

It looks a little like Hobbit Town, doesn't it??

So check this out! This summer, there’s a new tour program that offers a full week in the islands of the Viking settlers – four days in the Faroe Islands and three days in Iceland, with enough time for a side trip to Greenland, if you wish. The program, from The Great Canadian Travel Company, North America’s foremost experts in travel to some of the world’s least-traveled regions, will have departures every Monday from June through August. The weeklong “Iceland with the Faroe Islands” tour is priced at a reasonable $2,189 per person.

Included are: round trip airfare between Iceland and the Faroes, four night accommodation in the Faroes, three nights in Iceland, car rental in the Faroe Islands and a full day tour in Iceland.

An island with a view...

Faroese is the national language and is rooted in Old Norse. The climate is surprisingly moderate, with average high summer temperatures in the 70 degree range (20 degrees C.). On the tour, you travel first to the Faroes, arriving on Monday afternoon.  Upon arrival, you pick up your car and overnight at the Vagar Hotel. The afternoon is free to explore this lovely part of the Faroes, or simply relax in the hotel. The next day, you drive to the island of Stremoy and cross “The Bridge Over the Atlantic” to the island of Eysturoy.

The View of Gjaargardur

Accommodations are at the modern Gjaargardur Guesthouse in the tiny seaside hamlet of Gjogv, population 36. The next two days will be yours to explore the islands at leisure.  The atmosphere changes from one island and one village to the next – it’s a whole society with its own history, its own language and its own culture.  Head north past Klaksvik to the rugged headlands at Vidareidi, visit the old church at  Kirkjuboreyn, wander through the Old Town of the capital city of Torshavn and enjoy the atmosphere of these unspoiled islands.

Reykjavik, Iceland

On Friday, you fly to Iceland and transfer to your hotel in the center of Reykjavik for a three-night stay.  On Saturday, a full day “Golden Circle Tour” is included – a journey to the iconic sights of Iceland. On Sunday, there’s a free day to explore the city, or perhaps take another optional day tour — whale watching, horseback riding, waterfalls or hiking, before your return flight to North America the next day.

Pretty svalt, no? We say já!

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