August 2019

Top Reasons to Visit France

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Top Reasons to Visit France

1. Immerse In Art

Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, Hugo, Dumas – these are just a few artists who lived and worked in France. With strong literary, musical and visual arts scenes, art surrounds you in France. A few highlights include the Van Gogh trail in Arles, Monet’s house and gardens in Giverny and the Picasso Museum in Paris.

2. Explore Castles

Although the sumptuous palace of Versailles tops many traveler’s lists, you can find castles in France that suits everybody’s fancy. From hilltop fortress castles like Carcassonne to delicate chateaus like the riverside Chenonceau, you could easily spend an entire holiday exploring just a tiny selection of French castles.

3. Indulge In Food

Whether you love the simplicity of Brittany’s buckwheat crepes or delight in the sophisticated elegance of classic French dishes like escargot or chocolate souffle, you will probably remember your French food experiences as a trip highlight. Some other classic dishes to try include salade nicoise from Provence, cassoulet from the south and hearty winter dishes like coq au vin and beef bourguignon. Bon appetit!

4. Taste French Wine

Some highlights of the French wine scene include scenic drives along the Cotes du Rhone with stops at hilltop wineries and the opportunity to raise a toast with a glass of bubbly in the actual Champagne region of France. With over 2,900 wines offered throughout the country, why not dedicate part of your trip to finding your perfect tipple?

5. Shop at Markets

Virtually every town in France boasts some type of weekly market where you can haggle over vintage bric-a-brac, sample gourmet delicacies or taste local wines. Antique lovers can’t miss the L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue market in Provence or Paris’ Porte de Vanves flea market. Get the freshest produce, bread, olives and other delicacies at the La Ciotat market in Bouches-du-Rhone or Brittany’s Quintin market.

6. Stroll Through Villages

French villages offer the perfect anecdotes to the hustle and bustle of city life. Some scenic picks include the hilltop village of Gordes in Provence, the Alsatian village of Riquewihr with its half-timbered houses and the medieval walled town of Perouges in the Rhone-Alpes region.

7. Adventure Through Nature

In addition to the alpine scenery of Mont Blanc, France also boasts the Verdon Gorge where you can hike or kayak inside the “Grand Canyon of Europe.” Go back in time to visit extinct volcanoes in the Auvergne park. If you fancy something entirely different, frolic with the flamingos and run with the wild horses in the Camargue region.

8. Relax At Beaches

Put on your most elegant suit and shades and sunbathe with the rich and famous in St. Tropez or Cannes on the French Riviera. More laid-back travelers can get away from it all on the windswept and quiet beaches of Brittany. If you want history with your beach fun, visit the D-Day beaches of Normandy or the medieval walled town of St. Malo, once the hideaway of French pirates.

9. Take In Cities

A city break to Paris, one of the world’s most romantic cities, rewards travelers with an endless buffet of world-class art, music, architecture, food and history. Other notable French cities include the quaint Alsatian canal-filled city of Strasbourg, the Rhone river city of Lyon with its majestic cathedral and the fascinating cultural melting pot of the port city of Marseilles.

Top Reasons To Visit Italy

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Top Reasons To Visit Italy

1. Roman Ruins

Rome was the capital of the once mighty Roman Empire and rightfully continues to be the political centre of the country. Medieval economic powers such as Milan, Venice, Genoa, and Sicily have also played a key role – amassing a vast collection of cultural heritages. Some of the must-see Roman ruins that you should visit while in Italy include the Colosseum, Pantheon and Forum in Rome, and the ruins of ancient cities like Herculaneum and Pompeii.

2. Italian Cities Are Legendary

Italian cities are among the world’s oldest continuing cities and urban planning. The Romans and Italians had understood the necessity of urban cities in maintaining economic, political and cultural relevance. The Italian cities of Rome, Milan, Venice, Genoa, Naples, Florence, Cagliari, Palermo, Livorno, and Sienna are filled with rich cultural heritages and character.

3. Stunning Villages

Italian cities are worth every penny, but the villages are equally stunning and worth your time. Tuscany’s most classic region – San Gimignano, the coastal town of Manarola, the captivating town of Matera – the list is endless.

4. Picturesque Lakes

Head to Northern Italy to experience all the natural beauty that Italy has to offer. Lake Como, Lake Garda, and Lake Maggiore are pristine and simply stunning.

5. Italy Is A Treasure Trove of UNESCO World Heritage Sites

UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Italy are synonymous as the country has close to 50 heritage sites, making the country with the highest collection of UNESCO designated monuments and heritage sites. From the historic centers of Florence, Naples, Rome, to the Roman Forums to the beautiful villages of Cinque Terre, Italy is one amazing living museum.

6. Italian Art And Culture

Italy was the center of the fabled Renaissance movement and is the birth and workplace of renowned painters like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Donatello, etc. Italian cities of Rome, Milan and Florence has the most amazing art of human consciousness.

7. Dazzling Italian Islands

White beaches with crystal-clear water complemented by lavish resorts and historic sites – the islands of Italy are too good to be true. Right from Lampedusa to Stromboli to Capri, each island holds its own charm; no wonder Italy’s beaches are considered the best in Europe.

8. Italian Food

Italian cuisine is fresh, colorful, delicious and filled with passion. Be it the wood-fried pizzas of Naples, Tuscan pasta and spaghetti, Lombardy’s meat-based delicacies and Mediterranean flavor of Sicily. Italian cuisine changes with the region and has its own distinct flavors at the same time maintaining same Italian character in its food.

9. Highest Quality Wine

Italian wines are perhaps the best in the world as the soil and climate are ideal to support the famous Chianti, Montalcino, Piedmont, Lombardy vineyards and for producing the finest quality red wines. Local farm products are simply world class and are perfect companion to complement the rich food and fine wine.

10. Diverse Landscapes

Italian regions are diverse, each with its own identity and regional variations in language, geography, cuisine and attractions. Tuscany, Lombardy, Campania, Sardiania, Sicily, Liguria, Calabria, Lazio, and Umbria are regions filled with beautiful landscapes and several variations in sights to see and food to eat.

Best Reasons To Travel To Switzerland

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Best Reasons To Travel To Switzerland

Switzerland may seem relatively small as compared to other European nations but that certainly does not mean that it has less to offer. Rather, it has set itself apart from the rest of Europe – its unparalleled landscapes, peaceful environments and cosmopolitan cities – and has succeeded in becoming a tourist mecca that is at the same time not over-commercialised. It is safe, clean, you can get around easily by public transport and there are no language barriers.

1. Swiss Cuisine

Each region of Switzerland boasts its own specialities too – Saffron Risotto for the Italian-speaking, Raclette (hot cheese dribbled over potatoes) for the French-speaking region and Landjager (semi-dried sausages) for the German-speaking part. But a few dishes, such as rosti and cheese fondue are eaten across the country and are almost always included in restaurants catered to foreign visitors.

2. Sample Swiss Chocolates

Quality chocolates that instantly melt in the mouth are wonderful and they make perfect souvenirs as well. Choose from a wide variety of brands, each with a long-standing history of producing chocolates, such as Callier, Suchard and Chocolat Villars. Dedicated chocolate lovers can also make a trip to any of the 21 chocolate factories scattered around the country such as the 150-year-old Maestrani Chocolate Factory at St Gallen.

3. Safety

Switzerland ranks 7th globally in terms of safety and security according to the Safe Cities Index 2015. You can walk along its spotless streets even at night without having to worry about getting mugged.

4. Marvel at the Matterhorn

This iconic landmark is featured in the brand logos of Toblerone and Paramount Pictures. Located at the border between Switzerland and Italy and overlooking the town of Zermatt, this popular tourist sight is famous for its almost-perfect four-sided pyramidal peak. This year, a series of events and festivities will also be held at Zermatt to mark 150 years since the first ascent of the mountain.

5. Hop Onto A Scenic Train Ride

Be entertained by Switzerland’s gorgeous sceneries during your long journeys by train. Traveling by rail is faster than traveling by coach, cheaper than flights and easy to use. Plus you get to sit back, relax and enjoy the view. In fact, it has been reported that tour packages which include specific scenic rail routes such as the Glacier Express and Bernina Express are gaining traction for its practicality.

6. Have An Alternative Farmstay Experience

Experience something truly different and memorable by heading to the countryside. Agritourism has become, in recent years, increasingly popular and which better country to experience this at than Switzerland? You can even choose between sleeping in a hut, a campground or on straw.

7. Get Active With A Variety Of Sporting Activities

From sports on land, to those in the water and even some up in the air, Switzerland has it all. For those seeking a thrilling, new sport, try canyoning, a water sport that is steadily gaining fans in Europe and around the world. It involves travelling from the start to the end of a canyon using a host of methods such as walking, climbing, jumping, abseiling and swimming. The best places to experience canyoning in Switzerland’s crystalline waters include Interlaken and the canton of Ticino.

8. Soak In Thermal Waters Of The Best Quality

With a 2000-year history of tapping their thermal springs, you can be sure that you are in good hands of the Swiss, the experts in water-based wellness. Opt to have a restorative retreat in a luxurious indoor spa or better still, bathe outdoors among the Alps and indulge in a therapeutic experience for both mind and body.