Should I use a Travel Advisor for my next trip?

Should I use a Travel Advisor for my next trip?

No matter where you want to go on your next adventure, a Travel Advisor can provide peace of mind, expert knowledge, and an itinerary with structure or freedom where you need it. If you are wondering what is a Travel Advisor, or how can a custom travel specialist help you plan your trip, read on to find out more!
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Winter Christmas Markets

What's your favorite way to mark the holiday season each year? Long before the days start getting colder and shorter, I've already started dreaming of winter festivities and travel plans. Nothing says the holidays like a visit to the Christmas markets in Europe! I want to share with you some of the yuletide markets I've visited in Germany, and why I love them so much.
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A Heritage Shared on the Plate: Eating in Greece and Turkey

With nearly 800 years of shared history (since the Ottomans invaded Greece in the 15th century), a shared climate, touching borders and seas, it's really no surprise to find many similarities between the cultures of Greece and Turkey, at least on the surface. One thing that invariably comes up when talking about these neighbors is the undeniable resemblance of Turkish and Greek cuisine. These days, you could get into a lengthy debate about how similar the people actually are, and which nation invented what dish, but one thing we can all agree on is just how tasty the food is!
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Croatia: The Perfect Family Destination

Have you been looking for a fabulous summer European destination that your entire family will enjoy, but you're not sure where to start? Are the adults in your family interested in sightseeing and seeing incredible views, experiencing fabulous food, and learning about the history of the region you are visiting, but you also have college age, teenagers, or younger kids to consider? Planning an incredible vacation is always fun, but planning a vacation for a family of all ages definitely requires more consideration and thought.
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Uncommon Getaways
Off-the-Radar Alternatives for 6 Typical Destinations

Why do you travel? Is it to fulfill a checklist of those "must-see" cities and landmarks, or is it to connect, to educate, and to get inspiration? There are really only a handful of cities in the top European countries that most people ever see. And while these places will always be worth your time, you can find another world of surprises beyond the often overcrowded spots. With a custom travel planner, no place is too out-of-the-way – you don't have to be stuck in the same easy route that has been carved out by millions before you.
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Athens Summer Checklist

When it comes to summer travel in Greece, most people think of Athens as a gateway to the Greek isles, rather than the main event. We recommend you spend one or two nights here just for the main historical sights. But to really get the most out of Europe's most ancient city, you should plan to spare more time in your itinerary. Here's a handy checklist guide for your extended Athens stay.
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Europe's BEST Yachting Destinations

Chartering a private yacht is one of the best ways to ensure a vacation that is intimate, while at the same time catering to your travel group's particular needs, and allowing the freedom to reach those out-of-the-way, off-the-beaten-path gems that other travelers miss. Daydreaming about your trip is part of the fun, but it might be difficult to decide just where to go – that's where your travel planner comes in! Here you can read about some of the best yachting destinations in the Mediterranean and southern Europe and see what makes them so special…
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Best of Greece

For First-Timers & Experienced Grecophiles If you're a first-time visitor to Greece, there are mostly likely three main places on your short-list of where to go for your trip to the homeland of Plato, Homer, Yanni and Prince Phillip. And while we certainly agree that Athens, Santorini and Mykonos are not-to-be-missed, these are certainly not the only places you should be looking to find an idyllic Grecian getaway. If you're a more experienced traveler to Greece, you can still benefit from some of the info below, as well as on our previous blog post here.
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Plan a Trip to Find Your Roots in Europe

In some ways, our modern society is now more connected than ever. We have online platforms to keep in touch with friends we no longer see, follow strangers we've never met, rent vacation apartments, start relationships and build communities with like-minded individuals. But in more real terms, in the tangible world we wake up and go to work in every day, many of us really just value an honest human connection. What better human story to search for than our own, and that of our ancestors?
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SICILY: Finding Historic Treasures and Family Heritage

The crossroads of the Mediterranean and its largest island, Sicily has an attractive climate to welcome visitors for most of the year. The high season extends from April to October, although early spring is also a lovely time to visit – November can be wet, but generally in December it dries up again, and of course the island will be less populated by tourists. Especially for 2nd-time travelers to Italy, who want to dive deeper into a less-explored region, Sicily is a rich destination in itself. The island is currently divided into 9 provinces, most of them with a superb coastline. The land is outrageously rich in historical and cultural jewels. Here are a few highlights from our recent trip around Sicilian cities and towns.
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Island Profile: Rhodes, Greece
A Visual Tour

The island of Rhodes has been inhabited since the stone age. Thanks to its strategic position between East and West, the island was ruled by several different empires from the time the first Asian settlers arrived. According to Homeric texts, the city of Lindos even took part in the Trojan war. The ancient center of Rhodes was constructed later, around 407 BC.
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Tuscany's Winter Secrets

Get away this yuletide season, or beat the post-holiday slump with a trip to one of Europe's most enchanted zones. Tuscany is not just for fall wine harvests and summer sunsets, there are plenty of reasons to enjoy a magical vacation in the winter wonderland of one of Italy's most popular regions.
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Annecy: France's Answer to Venice
A Visual Tour

This storybook medieval town is a must-see that will charm your ski boots off any time of the year. The capital of France's Haute-Savoie region that borders both Switzerland and Italy, Annecy is ideally situated just 45 minutes from Geneva's airport, nestled at the base of the Alps on the shores of one of Europe's cleanest lakes. Get lost in the impossible charm of Annecy's Vieille Ville (Old Town), with its colorful streets spilling out onto the main canal, all manner of boutiques, restaurants with hearty local cuisine (think lots of melty cheese and butter), and of course the alpine lake. Gaze out at the glorious peaks and the beautiful, blue-green water and you'll be in on the secret.
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Tourism Industry vs. Local Life
Finding a Balance in Europe's Overwhelmed Urban Centers

Tourist behaviors – mostly in southern European cities – have been hitting travel news headlines a lot lately. Even though you'll immediately recognize many no-nos listed below as obnoxious and damaging conduct from vacationers, there are some that actually might surprise you. In an era of mass tourism, most of these measures have been put in place with the noble goal of preserving aesthetics, civility and the sanity of locals. Here's a brief guide, by location, on what to keep in mind and what to avoid next time you visit one of these popular cultural centers.
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How to Savor Italy the Italian Way

So you want to visit Il Bel Paese ("The Beautiful Country"), "the Boot", the land of statues and pizza, the birthplace of the Renaissance, Galileo, Da Vinci and Pavarotti. Italians are known as a passionate and vibrant people, and their rich culture retains a number of important traditions and customs dating back centuries. We have a few insights that might help you if you're wondering how to blend in or just appreciate the differences on your next trip.
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Island Hopping in Greece

When many people think of Mediterranean islands, they immediately picture Greece. The Greek isles certainly present an alluring draw that is hard to resist for first-timers and seasoned visitors alike. Before you start packing your bathing suit, get to know the Greek islands with our short island-hopping guide.
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Best Food Markets in Southern Europe

One thing the Europeans really have down is the art of the food market. From the Greek agora to the Roman forum to markets that have withstood the test of time and new modern-day food halls, a trip to a food market is a loaded sensory experience. It's a good place to buy gifts for the gourmet, fill your belly, and gaze at lovely displays featuring precious jewels of produce, cured meats hanging from rafters, rows of homemade goods and mountains of aromatic spices. If you're searching for an authentic food experience, look no further than these genuine European markets.
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Featured Recipes: Portuguese Traditions

This month's featured recipes are authentic and timeless meals that found their way from the sea straight to the Portuguese table. The cuisine of Portugal is typically hearty and satisfying, the perfect comfort food if you’ve been eating the same old soup or chili all winter long and want to try something new!
It’s time for Carnival

It’s time for Carnival

There’s a huge party afoot in many predominantly Catholic regions around the world. While North Americans may be familiar with Mardi Gras celebrations down south in New Orleans, in other countries the festivities are called something else. “Carnival” – also “Carnavale” or “Carnaval” – is a word that probably brings to mind images of masqueraders at a Venetian ball or scantily-dressed figures wearing massive, colorful headpieces as they dance the streets of Rio de Janeiro. But do you know the meaning of this festival and where it originated? And do you know how you can celebrate Carnival in some of our favorite destinations?
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Year-Round Paradise on the Iberian Peninsula

On the verge of a new year, we’re busy setting goals, making plans, and daydreaming about travel. Well to be perfectly honest, we’re always daydreaming about new destinations and where to find that ideal paradise – whether based on our overall mood for the year, in which season we want to travel or maybe who we’ll be traveling with.
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26 Expressive Words with No English Equivalent

Have you ever experienced that frustration you feel when you just can’t find the right word or phrase to describe a situation or convey your emotion? One of our favorite things about visiting new places is discovering new ways of expressing ourselves.
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Cruises for the Non-Cruiser

Do you believe all cruises are designed equally? Whether you’ve only cruised on ships carrying thousands of passengers, or you’ve avoided cruising because you think the scene is just not for you; we’re here to mix up your next vacation with Small Ship and River Cruises!

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Where Should We Go in Greece?

Where should we go in Greece? I am asked this question literally hundreds of times in a year… and will always respond with three initial questions of my own:

• Have you been to Greece before?
• How long do you have to travel?
• Who is travelling?

Deciphering Street Eats in Istanbul

Kourabiedes (Greek Almond Cookies)

This traditional Greek Christmas cookie recipe was provided courtesy of one of our excellent guides in Athens.

Food is such an integral part of the Greek lifestyle, it’s no surprise there are some delicious sweets that are made especially for Christmas. Kourabiedes are special Greek Christmas cookies made with butter and almonds and dusted with powdered sugar. These melt-in-your-mouth shortbread-type cookies are a true Christmas treat: they look like they’re made of snow!

Deciphering Street Eats in Istanbul

Top European UNESCO Sites to Add to Your Travel Plans

We have gathered some of our favorite southern European attractions from the UNESCO World Heritage List (there are over 1,000 sites worldwide!) so you can be sure to add a meaningful dose of culture to your next trip.


Deciphering Street Eats in Istanbul

Deciphering Street Eats in Istanbul

What is it that makes Turkish street food so special? If you haven't tried real Turkish street food (we're not talking about your local doner kebab…), you're truly missing out. And if you know someone who's been to Turkey, well, you probably noticed that they couldn't stop raving about the cuisine! So just how did these foods come to be such an integral part of everyday Turkish life? We have a suspicion it might have something to do with the constant thriving hubbub and colorful atmosphere of the streets themselves. Here you can find the contents of shops spilling out into arranged displays on the street, while next door there are customers dining al fresco at a fish restaurant, and across the way resides a charming collection of locals (both human and feline) hanging out in a cozy tea garden with its traditional small tables and stools. From early morning to late at night, there is a regular stream of busy - and hungry! - people going about their day.


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Featured Recipe: From the Turkish Kitchen

This month's featured recipes just might inspire your Thanksgiving table! We are sharing a highly popular savory meat and eggplant dish that is perfect for the winter months. And to top off your meal, we bet you've never seen a pumpkin dessert like this before.


Featured Recipe: Buckwheat Pie

This recipe for a traditional beloved dinner or snack-time treat of the Balkan region comes from our friend Mrs. Sabina Ramovic in Montenegro. Did you know that buckwheat is actually not a grain, but a highly nutritious and gluten-free plant seed? It also happens to be a staple in the Montenegrin kitchen.


A Case for Cruising

While some seasoned travelers are hesitant to acknowledge the merits of cruising, here are some reasons you might want to consider booking a cruise for your next vacation. You may be surprised to find that you can still enjoy all the luxury, independence, and meaningful travel experiences aboard a cruise as you would with a traditional land trip.

Europe's Vineyards are Calling

The serene valleys and rolling hills of Europe's varied wine regions make for a magical getaway any time of year, but especially come alive during the autumn harvest season. There are many precious gifts from the seasonal harvest – imagine perfectly plump olives being plucked from verdant boughs come November in Andalusia, or the fragrant lemon gathered from sun-drenched branches during three separate harvests in Sicily, or the beautiful ruby-red pomegranate beloved by ancient civilizations that ripens from August into the darker days of winter. Of all the rich crops throughout the Mediterranean and Europe, the grape is undoubtedly one of the most special regional products as it is intimately tied to the soul of the land and its people. By savoring the varied wines made from these lovingly-cultivated vines, and pairing them with regional gastronomic delicacies, you can really see the heart of each region and how each place has its own unique characteristics when you look deeper – both the wine as well as the community.