8 must-see places in Tuscany

Gourmet cuisine, world-class art, and scenic vistas — la dolce vita is calling, and it’s calling from Tuscany. Known for fine wines and medieval architecture, the region is the perfect place for rest and relaxation. Travel back in time to a world of traditional art, culture, and cuisine as you enjoy a backdrop of romantic, […]

5 hidden gems in Bastille, Paris

Bastille Day is one of the most iconic national days in the world. Who hasn’t heard about the French Revolution, the storming of the Bastille prison, and the Man in the Iron Mask (or is the latter just a myth?). Few people, Parisians included, realize that many traces of this legendary revolution can still be […]

9 incredible coastal destinations in Europe

Leave Europe’s crowded beaches behind with our guide to the continent’s most amazing coastal destinations. From idyllic beaches and colorful towns to amazing cliffs and secret islands, Europe’s coastline is full of surprises – and we’re here to show you the best seaside escapes on offer. 1- Sylt, Germany An endless beach, beautiful blue skies, […]

11 places you can’t miss during a Californian road trip

Most journeys are about getting from A to B as quickly as possible, but most journeys don’t take you through the iconic cities, wild national parks and dreamy coastline of California. Enjoy the drive as much as your final destination with these 11 stunning pit stops throughout the Golden State. 1- El Matador Beach In […]

8 must-see places in Tuscany

Gourmet cuisine, world-class art, and scenic vistas — la dolce vita is calling, and it’s calling from Tuscany. Known for fine wines and medieval architecture, the region is the perfect place for rest and relaxation. Travel back in time to a world of traditional art, culture, and cuisine as you enjoy a backdrop of romantic, rolling vineyards and sunsets sure to stun.

1- Siena

Stretching across a Tuscan hilltop, Siena is Italy’s most picturesque medieval city. Leave the chaos of cars behind — these streets were made for strolling. Get lost in tumbling brick lanes and wind up at the cathedral: an over-the-top marvel of Gothic architecture lavished with mosaics and busts of 172 popes. A place frozen in time, Siena is the perfect refuge for travelers looking to escape the modern world for a day. Explore the city by foot on a walking tour or sample fine local wines. Between its looks and its famous grapes, Siena is an experience to savour.

2- Porto Ercole

Resting beyond ancient city gates, Porto Ercole is a place where pedestrians can stretch their legs and slather on some sunscreen. Head here to trade in the clamor of city life for the soothing serenade of seaside waves. Perfect for sunset strolls, this charming stone village fuses luxury with the old way of life. You’ll find artisans crafting traditional goods in converted fisherman’s huts while extravagant yachts line the harbor and boat rentals give visitors the opportunity to explore the scenic coastline. Spend the day exploring one of the many “forte” or soaking up the sun at Feniglia beach, while paying tribute to the passing of Baroque painter Caravaggio who died here in 1610 — a piece of history woven into the idyllic beach life.

3- Volterra

Famous for its peculiar urban layout, Volterra is a Tuscan town with deep roots, dating all the way to the 5th century BC. Take a step back in time as soon as you stroll through the city gates, Porta dell’Arco and Porta Diana, and experience the ancient acropolis which houses the foundations of two ancient temples. If its Roman ruins you’re after, look no further: Volterra is home to an amphitheatre from the first century AD and features many workshops which maintain the tradition of alabaster handicrafts. Watch as this ancient town comes alive during a medieval reenactment in the summer months — the perfect occasion to enjoy Italian food and wine while the present transforms into the past.

4- Florence

The home of the Renaissance, Florence is the birthplace of the modern world and houses some of Europe’s finest pieces of art including masterful oil paintings, stunning marble statues, and meticulous mosaics. In a single afternoon, you could experience the pensive stare of Michelangelo’s David, get a feel for the first day of spring with Botticelli’s Primavera, and refresh yourself next to the fountain of Neptune. Of course, there’s a world to experience off the beaten path, so let your eyes wander to the food, fashion, and street markets that are renowned the world over — and don’t forget the gelato!

5- Talamone

Looking for an authentic Italian holiday? Talamone trades the hustle and bustle of city streets, crowded museums, and overbooked restaurants for an experience rich with scenic views and genuine Tuscan tradition. Once a fortified fishing village, the town retains its historic charm with winding, narrow streets, 13th-century architecture, and terracotta rooftops reaching the active harbor of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Only a three hour train-ride from Rome, this charming seaside town offers the finer things of the mediterranean alongside the calm and serenity of small-town living — an appetite for seafood comes highly recommended.

6- Colle di Val d’Elsa

A town nestled between scenic hilltops and the rolling river Elsa, Colle di Val d’Elsa takes a few steps back in history with a rich tradition of art and culture at its core. Also known as “Città di Cristallo” or “City of Crystal,” the quaint village is famous for its production of crystal artifacts, dedicating an entire museum to the sought-after local crafts and featuring open-air glass blowing demonstrations to captive audiences in the city centre. Wowing onlookers with it’s precious beauty, Colle di Val d’Elsa is the perfect destination for a truly Tuscan experience.

7- Monteriggioni

The most notable walled medieval location in Tuscany, Monteriggioni is a fortified village that began as a castle in the Chianti region, sitting atop a rounded hill for the past 800 years. Since the 1200s, onlookers have marvelled at the mighty towers that surround the location from miles away, the same lofty towers which Dante compared to horrific giants in his Divine Comedy. Enjoy the fruits of the region with a wine tasting and explore the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside. Oh, and have a camera handy: there are vineyards and cypress trees as far as the eye can see.

8- San Gimignano

A picturesque medieval town, San Gimignano is considered a UNESCO world heritage site famous for the Hundred Towers built in the middle ages by Italy’s most influential families. Rife with splendid squares, palaces, churches, and the magnificent towers, San Gimignano calls Chianti its home. This breathtaking landscape is rich with green rolling hills, wide vineyards, and olive groves. But don’t take it from us — discover and savor the region on a Tuscan wine tour.

5 hidden gems in Bastille, Paris

Bastille Day is one of the most iconic national days in the world. Who hasn’t heard about the French Revolution, the storming of the Bastille prison, and the Man in the Iron Mask (or is the latter just a myth?). Few people, Parisians included, realize that many traces of this legendary revolution can still be spotted on, around and under Bastille Square. But Bastille is not just about the past. Follow our behind the scenes guide as we reveal what this amazing district has to offer.

1- Walk Paris’s hidden high line
New York’s high line has nothing on Bastille’s Coulée Verte. Spanning until Bois de Vincennes, this 5km-long, elevated walkway is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Make your way down Rue de Lyon, passing the Bastille Opera, until you reach a red-brick viaduct. Up to 10 meters above street level, passing through parks and caves, crossing bridges and skirting roofs, the Coulée Verte will make you view Paris from a whole new angle.

2- Be in three arrondissements at once
Bastille Square straddles three of Paris’s hippest districts: the 4th, 11th and 12th. If you stand by the July Column in the heart of the square, you’ll just about be in all three places at once. For a lively weekend, step into the 4th district and explore the Marais quarter. To soak up a village feel, make your way to the 11th district with its farmers’ markets and cobblestone alleys. Finally, head to the 12th district for open green spaces at the Vincennes woods and waterfront fun by Bercy.

3- Go on an underground boat ride
What better way to cool off on a hot summer’s day than by enjoying a boat ride? And not just any boat ride! Embark on a subterranean journey in the belly of Bastille. Starting off in the Arsenal marina, where the old moat was located, this boat ride takes you on a 2km underground crossing all the way to the charming Canal Saint Martin. Sshh, added bonus: this canal, with its typical iron bridges, is one of Amélie’s hangout spots.

4- A blast from the past
In true Robert Langdon fashion (to all the Da Vinci Code fans out there!), trace the former location of the Bastille fortress, which was located on Bastille Square until its destruction shortly after the French Revolution. Spot the dark red stones in the pavement outlining the fort’s dungeons. Use Google Maps for a hint or find out about the old fort’s exact location on a commemorative plaque by the corner of Rue Saint Antoine and Rue Jacques Coeur.

5- Step back in time
If you’re intrigued and hungry for more, head down to the Bastille metro for a peek of the remnants of the fort. Stand on the platform of metro line 5, headed to Bobigny and admire what’s left of the fort’s moat wall. Head over to line 1 for a fresco detailing scenes of the revolution as well as a sign indicating the location of the Tour de la Liberté, one of the forts eight towers. Why go to the Louvre when you’ve got the Parisian metro?!

9 incredible coastal destinations in Europe

Leave Europe’s crowded beaches behind with our guide to the continent’s most amazing coastal destinations. From idyllic beaches and colorful towns to amazing cliffs and secret islands, Europe’s coastline is full of surprises – and we’re here to show you the best seaside escapes on offer.

Sylt

1- Sylt, Germany
An endless beach, beautiful blue skies, and impressive dunes are not things that come to mind when you think of Germany. Yet this is precisely what awaits you in Westerland, a little town in Sylt, Germany’s northernmost island. Walk through the town center, past quirky stores and cute cafes until you reach the sandy beach that stretches for kilometers. Explore the island by bike and try to keep count of the red and white striped lighthouses that are scattered across the island.

Étretat, France

2- Étretat, France
It doesn’t matter if you’re not a morning person, watching the sun rise over the famous white cliffs of Étretat is something you simply have to witness. To make the most of your early start, head to the Chapelle Notre-Dame de la Garde for the perfect view of the sun rising over the cliffs. Afterward, take a stroll along the clifftop and enjoy sweeping views of the coastline. Recharge in the small town of Étretat, which like most towns in Normandy, is a great place to enjoy fresh seafood and a refreshing glass of wine at the end of the day.

Durdle Door

3- Durdle Door, UK
The UK is more than just rain, cloudy skies and fish and chips. Just a three-hour drive from London is Durdle Door, an impressive limestone arch on the awesomely named Jurassic Coast. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean dinosaurs are roaming around or that Jeff Goldblum will guide you along the coast, but if you’re lucky you will find a fossil or two! As well as fossil hunting, walking the South West Coastal Path provides you with incredible views of the dramatic cliffs and hidden coves.

Atrani, Italy

4- Atrani, Italy
Tourists traveling to the Amalfi Coast usually just visit the likes of Positano, Sorrento and Capri. They make a huge mistake by missing the charming, medieval town of Atrani, one of the most relaxing spots in the region. Atrani stuns with a large viaduct behind the beach that hugs the whole town. Being one of the oldest settlements in Italy, much of the medieval structures remain intact so be sure to wander around the historic center. As you take a stroll, you’ll see street vendors selling huuuuge lemons. Pick up a glass of fresh lemon juice before departing. You’re unlikely to find a more refreshing drink in Europe.

Rovinj, Croatia

5- Rovinj, Croatia
If you can’t decide whether to visit Italy or France for your next vacation, fear not as there is a place that combines the most beautiful aspects of both countries. With it’s French Riviera charm and Italian atmosphere, the little town of Rovinj in Croatia is something right out of a magazine. The church of Euphemia is the pride of locals. It was built in 1725 and overlooks the town, beaches, ocean and neighboring islands. Visit the local market in the harbor to buy self-made liquor, jewelry, fresh vegetables and much more.


6- Hirtshals, Denmark
A cute village with a giant lighthouse is not something you want to miss, so pack a tent and your wanderlust and set out for Hirtshals in northern Denmark. Unwind on the beach below the 57-meter high lighthouse (Hirtshals Fyr) and watch boats and ferries go by. You can sail to Iceland, the Faroe Islands and even Greenland from here – the locals don’t call it the Gateway to Europe for nothing. Before you leave, you have to try Guf, a type of Danish soft ice.

Sveti Stefan, Montenegro
7- Sveti Stefan, Montenegro
Those of you who’ve already heard of Sveti Stefan were probably disappointed to learn this stunning island is a private hotel – and a pretty pricey one at that. But don’t worry, you don’t need to be on the island to enjoy the beauty of Sveti Stefan, which has been dazzling locals, tourists and celebrities alike for centuries. It’s just 15 minutes away from Budva, a beautiful Montenegrin coastal town, so snap some pics from the mainland before treating yourself to an unforgettable dinner on Sveti Stefan.

Bodrum, Turkey
8- Bodrum, Turkey
Combine your perfect Mediterranean getaway with one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus in Bodrum. Unfortunately, it was largely destroyed at the beginning of the 14th century, but the rubble was later used to build the imposing Bodrum Castle. The resort city has a whole lot more to offer than just the Mausoleum. Soak up the sun on the amazing beaches that line the peninsula or unwind in a Turkish bathhouse, including Tarihi Bardakçı Hamamı, the oldest in the city. If you want to explore Bodrum, head to the farmers market in the old town for an authentic taste of Turkey.

Gaztelugatxe, Spain
9- Gaztelugatxe, Spain
The prospect of climbing 231 steps doesn’t sound a lot of fun. But when you stand in front of Gaztelugatxe in the north of Spain, you’ll find yourself wanting to do nothing else than explore the dramatic looking islet. After crossing the bridge that connects the mainland to Gaztelugatxe, legend says you must ring the little bell at the entrance three times and then make a wish. The landscape is so spectacular that even the hit series Game of Thrones decided to shoot on the little Basque island.

11 places you can’t miss during a Californian road trip

Most journeys are about getting from A to B as quickly as possible, but most journeys don’t take you through the iconic cities, wild national parks and dreamy coastline of California.

Enjoy the drive as much as your final destination with these 11 stunning pit stops throughout the Golden State.

El Matador Beach

1- El Matador Beach
In Los Angeles, there are so many beaches it feels like you could walk to Mexico and never even leave the shoreline. Sure, all of them are pretty, but one sandy stretch of coastline in Malibu steals the show. Upon arriving at El Matador State Beach, you’ll soon realize why it’s considered one of the best beaches on the west coast of the USA. With caves and striking rock formations, you’ll never want to stop exploring. You’ll also find a few picnic tables overlooking the ocean, so pull the car over and enjoy the view.

Sturtevant Falls

2- Sturtevant Falls
If you’re looking to escape the buzzing city life of Los Angeles, then we know the trail for you. Not far from the city, in Big Santa Anita Canyon, you’ll come across the Sturtevant Falls Trail, which takes you on a little adventure in a fairytale-like place. The three-mile trail follows a stream through an enchanting forest that’s packed with cute creeks. Hike along it until you reach a beautiful pond, which provides an amazing view of the falls. It’s perfect for a day trip getaway.

Marshall’s Beach

3- Marshall’s Beach
Have you ever wanted to see the Golden Gate up close and away from the crowds? Good news! We know just the place. Marshall’s Beach is a tiny, hidden stretch of sand at the foot of the most famous bridge in the world. Drive down Lincoln Blvd until you see a little sign that says ‘Batteries to Bluffs.’ Follow the trail to the beach and strike a pose in front of the icon without the crowds photobombing your snaps.

Bixby Creek Bridge

4- Bixby Creek Bridge
After the excitement of driving across the Golden Gate, another Cali icon awaits you in the Bixby Creek Canyon, just a few hours south of San Francisco. The 79 meter high Bixby Creek Bridge has been wowing road trippers since 1932 – and it’s easy to see why. Head to Castle Rock Viewpoint for stunning views of the bridge and the surrounding landscape. Be sure to squeeze watching the sunset from the south end of the bridge into your schedule. You’ll need to take a memory card just for that moment.

Joshua Tree National Park

5- Joshua Tree National Park
If you like sunny weather, climbing, stargazing and taking amazing pictures then Joshua Tree National Park is your personal paradise. Pack a tent and your camera and go on an adventure of epic proportions. First, check out Elephant Rock, a rock that (you guessed it) looks exactly like an elephant. Unfortunately, there are no real elephants in the park, but you might see desert tortoises, which are pretty damn cool. The Walking Trail Indian Cove is the best place to see the park’s Joshua trees. This path is surrounded by boulder formations that you’ll have lots of fun climbing. End your day at Keys View, a fantastic spot to watch the sunset. Set up your tent somewhere close and enjoy the stars.

The McWay Falls

6- The McWay Falls
You’ll find this picturesque 24-meter waterfall in McWay Creek, in the middle of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Follow the dreamy Waterfall Overlook Trail for picture-perfect views of rocky cliffs and the falls. At the end of the trail, you’ll discover the once inhabited Waterfall House that now contains a little exhibition about the falls. If you’re patient (and lucky!), you might spot seals, pelicans or even a gray whale in the secluded bay.

Lake Tahoe

7- Lake Tahoe
It doesn’t matter if you want to go skiing, hiking, swimming or fishing – Lake Tahoe has it all. If you happen to find yourself there in summer, the Rubicon Trail on the south-west shore of the lake is a must. The four-hour hike goes all the way along the coast, from Rubicon Point to the famous Emerald Bay. You don’t have to do the whole trail, just hike far enough to see Emerald Bay, with its tiny island in the lake, which is two to three hours from Rubicon Point.

Glacier Point

8- Glacier Point
You can’t have a road trip through California without visiting Yosemite National Park. If you look at the towering Glacier Point, you’d expect a climb of several hours before being able to enjoy the view. Thankfully, however, you can easily get there by driving along a windy road that takes you through thick forests and meadows of Yosemite. If you’re more on the adventurous side, you won’t be disappointed as you can hike up to Glacier Point from the valley. An eight-hour journey takes you from the valley via the Four-Mile Trail to the top.

Morro Rock and Morro Bay

9- Morro Rock and Morro Bay
It’s easy to see why people call Morro Bay the Gibraltar of the Pacific. The striking rock formations of Morro Rock bare a great resemblance with Europe’s gateway to Africa. Make the most of your time there by renting a kayak and meeting a few sea lions or otters who call the bay home. Morro Bay is a great place to fish, so try your luck at catching your own dinner. Make sure you don’t miss out on the Black Hill Trail. The trail is covered in flowers, and when you reach the top, you’ll have the best views of Morro Rock and Morro Bay.

Pfeiffer Beach

10- Pfeiffer Beach
A secret beach that all the locals love awaits you in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. With its dramatic rock formations and purple sand (imagine that!), Pfeiffer Beach is a truly unmissable spot. The further north you go, the more purple the sand gets due to a mineral being washed down the hillside of the beach. As well as its quirky color, it’s also one of California’s premier sunset spots.

Badwater Basin

11- Badwater Basin
Being 85 meters underneath sea level without actually being underwater is not something you get to do every day. As well as lying below sea level, Badwater Basin in the south of Death Valley has the highest temperatures in the USA. With the dried salt all over the basin, it looks like it just snowed there. The brave man who discovered Badwater Basin went through it with his mule, which refused to drink the water due to its saltiness. He then simply wrote ‘bad water’ into his little notebook, went on with his travels and the name stuck.