Travel Guide: Perugia, Italy

The moment you arrive in Perugia it almost feels like time travel. The city is steeped in history, from 13th century Gothic cathedrals to cobblestone streets. More recently Perugia has welcomed modern additions, like new restaurants and boutiques, while still maintaining its historic charm.

What to See

Piazza IV Novembre, Perugia
Photo Courtesy of Sangallo

Start your historical journey through Perugia at the Piazza IV Novembre. In the medieval period, this was the political centre of Perugia and it remains the city’s historic center. From here you are a short walk to Palazzo dei Priori, a beautiful Gothic palace that was constructed between the 13th and 14th centuries. It was formerly the headquarters of the local magistracy and now it houses the city’s main art gallery, where you will find renaissance paintings and frescoes.

What to Do

Eurochocolate Festival, Perugia
Photo Courtesy of Charminly

There is so much more to do in Perugia than peruse historical architecture. If you visit in the summer, don’t miss the Umbria Jazz Festival. This is has been one of the leading festivals in Europe since 1973 and continues to draw tourists every July. In the fall Perugia gets even sweeter with the Eurochocolate Festival or the International Chocolate Exhibition of Europe. Discover the different flavors of chocolate from cultures around the world, and admission is free!

Where to Stay & Eat

Hotel Brufani, Perugia
Photo Courtesy of Sina Hotels

At the end of Corso Vannucci, the city’s main drag, you will find the beautiful Hotel Brufani. Choose from the 94 elegantly styled rooms with sweeping views of the countryside. The basement features a level glass bottom pool that exposes ancient Etruscan ruins. With numerous cafes throughout Perugia, you simply can’t go wrong. For an extra special dinner, choose Il Postale, the only Michelin Star restaurant in the city. Inside the intimate storybook stone castle there are only four small tables that serve a modern menu inspired by local fare.

48 Hours in Palma, Mallorca

The Spanish island of Mallorca is known for its stunning coastline, but the island’s capital is so much more than a seaside beauty. Often compared to Barcelona, Palma is known for its food scene, Gothic architecture and the arts. A long weekend is all you need to explore this growing city!

Catedral de Mallorca and Old Town

Catedral de Mallorca, Palma
Photo Courtesy of Mallorca Holidays

You can’t miss the city’s major architectural landmark and the center of Old Town. The Catedral de Mallorca, more commonly referred to as La Seu, is a Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral built between the 13th and 17th centuries. Make a day of it and wander around the surrounding Old Town, which is filled with shops, cafes, designer stores and galleries. Stroll along the Passeig d’es Born Boulevard for beautiful views of La Seu from afar.

Santa Catalina

Santa Catalina, Palma
Photo Courtesy of abc Mallorca

Santa Catalina use to house fishermen and craftsmen. Today it’s the hip and trendy area of Palma. For some of the best restaurants in the city, make your way to Santa Catalina. The roads are arranged in a grid formation, making it easy to navigate. During the day you will find eclectic boutiques and the abundant food market, Mercat de Santa Catalina. At night, this area truly comes alive with numerous trendy bars and nightclubs.

Es Baluard Museum of Contemporary Art

Es Baluard, Palma
Photo Courtesy of La Perlita

If it’s art and culture that you seek, Palma will not disappoint. The Es Baluard Museum of Contemporary Art is housed in a revamped 16th century fortress that once formed part of the Old Town walls. You can view works by artists such as Picasso and Miro. Miro actually spent 30 years of his life on Mallorca and there is a foundation devoted to his work.

Portixol

Portixol Hotel, Palma
Photo Courtesy of Portixol Hotel

This former fishing village turned trendy hangout has the vibes of a beach town located in a city. Stay in Portixol Hotel, which features 25 renovated rooms that have balconies with views, a tiny spa and a restaurant that serves up fresh fish. Borrow a bike and ride along the promenade and don’t miss a stop into El Bungalow for some delicious paella!

Travel Guide: Avignon

In the heart of Provence you will find the lovely city of Avignon. For most of the 1300s, Avignon was the center of the Roman Catholic world, which left behind beautiful architecture overlooking the Rhone River. If you find yourself in Avignon, stay a day or two and experience the culture and beauty for yourself!

What to See

Palais de Papes

Palais des Papes, Avignon
Photo Courtesy of Palais des Papes

The largest Gothic palace ever built, Palais des Papes is one of the most popular tourist’s sites in the city. This palace served as the seat of papal power for seven decades and resembles true Roman Catholic architecture. Take a tour inside to discover 14th century chapel frescos, serpentine corridors and other ornate designs.

Pont Saint-Benezet

Pont Saint-Benezet, Avignon
Photo Courtesy of Lonely Planet

This medieval bridge was built by Pastor Benezet in 1185 and reached 900m-long with 20 arches. Pont Saint-Benezet linked Avignon to Villeneuve les Avignon. The bridge was destroyed 40 years later and despite attempts to rebuild, was abandoned in the 17th century. Four arches remain and can be best viewed from Rocher des Doms, a public garden on a hillside 30m above the Rhone.

What to Eat

Christian Etienne, Avignon
Photo Courtesy of Christian Etienne

Besides the famous architecture, Avignon is known for its culinary gems. Explore the cobblestone streets and you will find many excellent restaurants and cafes. The Restaurant L’Essentiel is one of the finest places to eat in town. Located in an elegant hotel, you won’t be disappointed. Another favorite is Christian Etienne, which occupies a 12th century palace with an outdoor terrace adjacent to Palais de Papes.

What to Do

Festival d'Avignon, Avignon
Photo Courtesy of Discover France

Site seeing and wandering the neighborhoods could easily fill your whole day, but there is so much more to do in the Avignon area. The annual Festival d’Avignon is one of the greatest performing arts festivals in the world. Lasting 3 weeks in July, this festival features over 40 international works of dance and drama at venues around town.

Gordes, France
Photo Courtesy of France Today

Take a day trip outside of town into the Luberon countryside to the village of Gordes. Located 40km east of Avignon, you will find the Bastide de Gordes, a gorgeous hotel and Michelin star restaurant with views of rolling vineyards and stone farmhouses. You will never want to leave.

The Best Wellness Retreats in Ibiza

Known for its lively nightlife, Ibiza also has a softer side. Quiet villages and private beaches welcome peace seekers and wellness gurus from around the world. If you find yourself on this beautiful Balearic Island, stay awhile and hit reset.

Buddha House

Buddha House, Ibiza
Photo Courtesy of White Ibiza

This country villa is located high in the hills of northern Ibiza with stunning panoramic views of the island. But don’t get too comfortable, this retreat at the Buddha House is an all out cleanse. Fasting includes drinking tea, juice and broth to allow the body to self heal, while practicing hatha yoga and chanting. Treatments include reflexology, massage or Chi Nei Tsang, which works on your emotional well being by massaging the internal organs.

Shunya

Tachyon Holistic Center, Ibiza
Photo Courtesy of Conde Nast Traveller

Experience both the physical and spiritual side of yoga at Shunya. This retreat takes place at the Tachyon Holistic Center, a white washed, 2-story villa between Cala Beniras and San Juan, in northern Ibiza. The center focuses on relaxing, recovering and finding balance in the body, mind and spirit. The center features 10 rooms, a main hall, a restaurant and a meditation room that is based on a 3,000 year old North African temple. Enjoy the sea views, on-site vegetable garden and chlorine-free infinity pool in-between noshing on vegetarian and vegan fare.

Can Amonita

Can Amonita, Ibiza
Photo Courtesy of Yoga Mindfulness Ibiza

This beautiful villa is built on the crest of an ancient stone terrace overlooking the San Lorenzo Valley. Can Amonita provides weekly life drawing and ceramics workshops and also hosts specialized retreats including yoga, mindfulness and drumming. This space is the perfect place to drop in and learn a new skill or stay awhile and reboot. The bedrooms have custom-made Balinese furniture and some feature a private outdoor terrace.

Top 5 Places to Visit in Nice

There is no better place to soak up the Riviera vibe than Nice. The year-around sunshine brings visitors to this stunning seaside city, but it’s the old town charm, artistic history and stunning views that get people to stay. If you find yourself in Nice, don’t miss these favorites!

Old Town

Old Town Nice, France
Photo Courtesy of Lonely Planet

The narrow winding alleyways that make up Old Town have barely changed since the 1700s. The streets are packed with new and old restaurants, boutiques, bars and delis. At the center of this charming section of Nice is Cours Saleya, a large market square that thrives in the summer months with fresh produce, souvenirs and an abundance of flowers.

Parc du Chateau

Parc du Chateau, Nice
Photo Courtesy of Ali Shayler/See Nice

For some of the best views of Nice, the Port and the surrounding hillsides, climb the winding staircase to the Parc du Chateau. Located on the eastern edge of town, this historic hilltop has become popular for its lush undergrowth and beautiful waterfall.

Promenade des Anglais

Promenade des Anglais, Nice
Photo Courtesy of Telegraph

This is possibly the most famous stretch of seafront in France. The Promenade des Anglais, or Walkway of the English, runs along the Mediterranean and features Belle Epoque architecture in colorful hues. Stroll along this walkway and stop at Hotel Le Negresco, the city’s finest 5-star hotel.

Musee Matisse

Musee Matisse, Nice
Photo Courtesy of Nice

Nice has always attracted artists like Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall. Matisse spent much of his life in the Cimiez quarter where the Musee Matisse now resides. This museum houses an assortment of works including oil paintings, drawings, sculpture, tapestries and the artist’s favorite paper cutouts. Matisse is buried across the street, in the Monastere de Cimiez.

Promenade du Paillon

Promenade du Paillon, Nice
Photo Courtesy of Nice

One of the newest additions to this coastal city is the Promenade du Paillon. This new park features a botanical garden and recreational space. Extending three quarters of a mile and surrounded by walkways, you could spend an entire day surrounded by 1,000 trees and 55,000 plants.

48 Hours in Malaga, Spain

Often overlooked as an airport gateway to the Costa del Sol, Malaga is much more than a city to travel through. This port city has a culturally rich city centre, some serious art credentials, and posh accommodations. If you find yourself here, don’t miss these favorites!

Explore the Architecture

Alcazaba, Malaga
Photo Courtesy of Turismo de Almeria

Malaga is one of the oldest cities in the world, with architecture to show for it. A Gothic cathedral and narrow pedestrian streets surround the recently restored city centre. Meander the streets to find old shops, as well as contemporary boutiques. Don’t leave without visiting Alcazaba, a palace fortress that dates back to the 11th century Moorish period. Located near the Roman amphitheater, opt to climb a path surrounded by lush greenery, bougainvillea and jasmine bushes.

Visit the Museums

Centre Pompidou Malaga
Photo Courtesy of Art Net

This city’s “mile of art” is comparable to that of Madrid. It all began with the Museo Picasso Malaga. The famous artist was born in Malaga and a collection of 204 works, donated or loaned by the family, now resides in the museum. Spend your day viewing unique sculptures, oils, sketches and engravings. You can’t miss the Centre Pompidou Malaga, the Iberian branch of the Parisian Museum of Modern Art. The huge cube structure made of multicolor glass houses 20th century art.

Stay at a Rooftop Hotel

Hotel Molina Lario, Malaga
Photo Courtesy of Hotel Molina Lario

With only a night or two to visit the city, Molina Lario is the place to stay. This 4-star hotel is located in the centre of Malaga, opposite of the cathedral and a short distance from the port, Museo Picasso Malaga and the pedestrian district. Molina Lario was built using two refurbished 19th century buildings that retained their original façade. This beautiful hotel features 103 rooms, six functional meeting rooms and a rooftop pool with a view.

Travel Guide: Mauritius

There is a reason Mark Twain wrote, “Mauritius was made first, then heaven.” This remote island in the Indian Ocean is known for being a romantic honeymoon destination. But its so much more than that. Located between Africa and Asia, Mauritius has a Creole Caribbean vibe that’s reflected in the island’s cuisine, architecture and culture.

Where to Stay

Lux Le Morne, Mauritius
Photo Courtesy of Lux Resorts

There is a plethora of resorts on the island’s north and east coastlines, where tourists flock for vacation. The south end of Mauritius is known as the “wilder side” and is less developed, but just as beautiful. Stay at the Lux Le Morne, a five-star hotel that lies at the foot of Le Morne. The hotel is set on a lagoon facing side so that your room is only steps from the beach. Take a swim in one of the four pools, indulge at the spa or lounge in the chalets dotted throughout the tropical garden.

Where to Go

Port Louis, Mauritius
Photo Courtesy of Elite Voyage

Soak up the sun and explore the beautiful turquoise waters that surround Mauritius. With an outlying coral reef, the shoreline is protected which creates calm lagoons perfect for snorkeling and diving. For a little bit of culture, head inland where you will find cuisine that simmers with Indian, French, Chinese and Creole flavors. Surrounding the capital of Port Louis is a variety of architecture and cultural centers, from Hindu temples and mosques to Chinese pagodas and Catholic churches.

What to Do

Pamplemousses Botanical Garden, Mauritius
Photo Courtesy of Air Mauritius

Mauritius is 20 degrees south of the equator, which means it’s a year around destination. Explore the beautiful outdoors and take a hike through Black River Gorges National Park, where you will spot rare birds and exotic animals. Pamplemousses Botanical Garden, on the north side of the island, is the oldest botanical garden in the southern hemisphere and features a variety of palms and spectacular water lilies.

Top 5 Coolest Pools in the World

Now is the best time to soak up the the last of the hot weather and take a dip in the nearest pool. We don’t mean just any pool. From two-level infinities to rooftop soaking, these pools are the coolest spots to dip, dive and float any time of year.

Hanging Gardens of Bali

Pool at Hanging Gardens of Bali
Photo Courtesy of Hanging Gardens of Bali

Float above the treetops in this spectacular infinity pool. Located at the Hanging Gardens of Bali resort, this pool was designed by a specialist architect to suspend over the dense rainforest, overlooking the Ayung River. Looking to take a dip in private? Each villa has its own mini-version.

Le Crans Hotel and Spa, Switzerland

Pool at Le Crans Hotel and Spa, Switzerland
Photo Courtesy of Le Crans

While the Swiss Alps are covered in snow, the outdoor pool at Le Crans Hotel and Spa is heated to a toasty 93° F. Built to resemble the classic chalet-style, this pool sits on the back deck of the hotel, giving you gorgeous panoramic views of the Alps and Mount Blanc while you soak.

Sky Park Hotel, Singapore

Pool at Sky Park Hotel, Singapore
Photo Courtesy of Marina Bay Sands

Experience the best of both worlds in this spectacular rooftop infinity pool. While you take a swim on the roof of Sky Park Hotel’s 57-story building, you can also soak in the breathtaking views of the Singapore skyline. This is one for the bucket list!

San Alfonso del Mar, Chile

Pool at San Alfonso Del Mar, Chile
Photo Courtesy of The Daily Beast

The pool at San Alfonso del Mar holds the current record as the world’s largest crystalline pool. Extending 1,000 meters in length and holding 250 million liters of water, this pool is more than just upkeep. Located on a private resort, there is plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the cool waters.

Mardan Palace, Turkey

Pool at Mardan Palace, Turkey
Photo Courtesy of Jet Setter

The pool at Mardan Palace is so much more than your typical pool. Imagine an enormous oasis surrounded by water channels accessible by crossing the Da Vinci Bridge. Located in Antalya, a city on the Mediterranean coast of southwest Turkey, this pool was awarded the best swimming pool in Europe. We have no doubt that you will agree.

Travel Guide: Dubrovnik, Croatia

You might recognize Dubrovnik from its star role in Game of Thrones and Star Wars. But this historic city is much more than a pretty face. Dubrovnik is filled with medieval walls and Gothic buildings and the Adriatic Sea as its backdrop. It doesn’t get much better than that.

What To Do

Dubrovnik, Croatia
Photo Courtesy of The New York Times

The walled city of Dubrovnik has enough historic architecture to keep you busy for days. Take a walk through this pedestrian-only city and you will quickly realize why it is a filmmaking destination. Hop on a cable car and head to the top of Mount Srd, where you will find the most spectacular views of Southern Dalmatia.

With more than 1,000 islands off the coast of Croatia, don’t leave without visiting at least one. Lokrum is the closest island and a 15-minute boat ride from the city’s old port. Filled with botanical gardens, a medieval monastery and the remains of an old fort, Lokrum has plenty to explore. You can also rent a kayak and cruise around the Adriatic Sea or island hop by boat!

Where to Stay

Hotel Excelsior, Dubrovnik
Photo Courtesy of Hotel Excelsior

Right outside the city walls is the newly renovated Hotel Excelsior, which overlooks the Adriatic Sea and Old Town. This stunning hotel is housed inside a 1913 royal villa and features rooms with balconies, an indoor pool and spa, a waterfront restaurant and best of all, direct access to the sea from the hotel’s beach.

Where to Eat & Drink

Konoba Dubrava, Croatia
Photo Courtesy of Konoba Dubrava

Dubrovnik’s architecture might be medieval, but the food is not. New restaurants, hipster coffee shops and serious cocktail bars are opening throughout the city, creating a much-needed updated vibe. For killer cocktails head over to Bar by Azur, the first real cocktail bar to open within the city walls. Dubrovnik is known for its oven baked meats and potatoes and the best place to sample this fare is at Konoba Dubrava, in the village of Bosanka, located in the hills above the city.

The Best Rooftop Bars Around the World

Does it get any better than sipping a cold drink outside on a warm summer night? It does. Try sipping a drink on one of the best rooftop bars in the world. With the most incredible views and equally as amazing cocktails, these rooftop bars can’t be beat.

Moon Bar at Banyan Tree – Bangkok, Thailand

Moon Bar Bangkok, Thailand
Photo Courtesy of Banyan Tree

Thailand is home to some of the world’s most amazing sky bars, but Moon Bar tops the charts. Reaching 61 stories tall with 360-degree views of the cityscape, this bar also includes a restaurant. Indulge in the Thai Sabai, a cocktail made with traditional Mekhong, lime juice, basil leaves and soda water.

Ozone, Ritz Carlton, Hong Kong

Ozone, Hong Kong
Photo Courtesy of Ritz Carlton

Standing 118 floors high, Ozone is the highest rooftop bar in the world. With views of Hong Kong Island and the Victoria Harbor, grabbing a drink at Ozone is definitely bucket list worthy. The bar menu features inventive cocktails and Asian tapas and the outdoor terrace is even available for weddings!

L’Olseau Blanc – Paris, France

L'Oseau Paris, France
Photo Courtesy of Paris Peninsula

Toast to the beauty of the city of light at L’Olseau Blanc. This rooftop favorite features a vintage aviation themed lounge with interiors that include an actual plane. The cocktails play homage to the French pilots that attempted the first transatlantic flight between Paris and New York. However, the most notable feature is the spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower.

Pergola on the Roof – London, U.K.

Pergola on the Roof London, UK

Located on the old BBC TV Center in Shepherd’s Bush, Pergola on the Roof has the perfect daytime summer vibe. Open May 3rd through October 1st, this bar serves food from locally acclaimed restaurants. Book a day bed in advance, enjoy a game of petanque on one of two boule courts or grab a drink from the roaming drink cart.

La Purificadora – Puebla, Mexico

La Purificadora Puebla, Mexico
Photo Courtesy of La Purificadora

Enjoy a beautiful sunset with a drink in hand at La Purificadora. Located in the historic center of Puebla, La Purificadora is housed inside a late 19th century factory that was once used to purify water. Now, you can sip a cocktail next to a glass-walled swimming pool with the Church of San Francisco and the surrounding gardens as your view.