Iceland’s Summer Travel Guide

It’s not a tropical island, but visiting Iceland in the summer has its perks. From extended daylight hours and mild temperatures to ice caves and hot springs. Plus, it’s only a short nonstop flight from the east coast and Europeans can reach the island by ferry!

Reykjavik

Reykjavík, Iceland
Photo Courtesy of Lonely Planet

You will most likely fly into Reykjavik or visit at some point during your journey through Iceland. It’s the country’s capital and the largest, most popular city. While chain hotels are common, opt for staying in a smaller boutique hotel like the Alda Hotel. Stay in one of their rooms with a private balcony and views of the sea and city.

Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon
Photo Courtesy of Guide to Iceland

Often considered the Disneyland of Iceland, the Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa created in 1976 by the overflow of water from the power plant next door. The steaming waters and silica mud are said to have healing properties that lure hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Communal bathing is an important Icelandic custom and while the Blue Lagoon is the most popular public pool, there are many others all over the country.

Lake Myvatn

Lake Myvatn
Photo Courtesy of Iceland Magazine

Located in northern Iceland, Lake Myvatn is a site to see. From desolate craters to bubbling mud pools and geothermal caves this area is full of adventure. You must travel through the highlands to get to Lake Myvatn, which is only accessible in the summer for a few short weeks. This is a great area for hiking and you won’t want to miss a dip in the Myvatn natural baths!

West Fjords

Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
Photo Courtesy of Embark.org

Visit the West Fjords if only for the scenery. The stunning green landscape and dramatic cliff sides make this area the ideal spot for camping and hiking. Since it becomes quite popular in the summer, opt for a more remote experience and head to Hornstrandir Natural Reserve, at the edge of the Arctic Circle.

The Most Exotic Hotels in the World

If you are going to travel the far reaches of the world you might as well as stay somewhere equally exotic. From a mountain top villa in Costa Rica to a sustainable bush camp in Zambia, these hotels are as alluring as they come.

Cabana No Rio, Portugal

Cabana No Rio, Portugal
Photo Courtesy of Travel & Leisure

Don’t let these simple cabins fool you. Located one hour south of Lisbon in the seaside village of Comporta, Cabana No Rio is a perfectly remote destination where travelers can unwind and recharge. These former fishermen huts are now one-bedroom, one-bathroom cabins with a living room and small kitchen. Sip your morning coffee while overlooking the Sado estuary before you slip down to one of the many stunning beaches.

Chinzombo, Zambia

Chinzombo, Zambia
Photo Courtesy of Huffington Post

This new sustainable bush camp sits on 60 riverfront acres bordering South Luangwa National Park. The Chinzombo camp consists of six steel frame villas with private pools, as well as dining, lounge and library structures. All of the buildings are made from recycled materials such as grass thatching, natural canvas or locally produced leather, which allows them to be easily relocated without leaving a foot print.

Great House, Necker Island BVI

Great House, Necker Island
Photo Courtesy of Virgin Limited Edition

Forget renting a beach house, why not rent the entire island! Necker Island, which is owned by Sir Richard Branson, sits on 74 acres in the Caribbean. It features a newly remodeled structure with nine guest rooms and a bunkroom that can sleep six children. The hotel also features a spa and outdoor activities like sailing, waterskiing, kite boarding and tennis.

Nayara Springs, Costa Rica

Nayara Springs, Costa Rica
Photo Courtesy of Nayara Springs

Enjoy Costa Rica from a mountaintop and stay at Nayara Springs. Located two and half hours north of San Jose, Nayara Springs features 16 villas, each with their own private garden, outdoor shower, butler service and plunge pool, which is fed by the surrounding mineral hot springs. This is a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts who can enjoy local activities like zip lining, rafting and hiking.

Bambu Indah, Bali

Bambu Indah, Bali
Photo Courtesy of Bambu Indah

It all started with a few Javanese teahouses where close friends and family once stayed. Now Bambu Indah consists of 15 unique guest pavilions that are surrounded by vegetable beds and local, edible and ceremonial plants. The Moon House, one of the newest pavilions, resembles a crescent shaped basket with a copper bathtub in the private garden for moonlight bathing. What better way to get spiritual than in one of the most sustainable accommodations in Ubud!

Travel Guide: St. John

They call it the Beverly Hills of the Caribbean, but it remains the least developed of the Virgin Islands. St. John is the perfect place for those seeking a true escape. From eco-lodging and white sandy beaches to killer snorkeling and hiking trails, you can’t go wrong.

Where to Stay

Concordia Eco-Resort
Photo Courtesy of The Boston Globe

There are only two big resorts on the entire island, which is part of what makes St. John so peaceful. However, there are a number of smaller accommodations, such as eco-lodges, campsites and cottages. The Concordia Eco-Resort features wood-framed, soft-sided eco-tents that allow you to have an intimate connection with nature. The views are stunning and there is easy access to hiking trails through the Virgin Island’s National Park.

What to Do

Trunk Bay, St. John
Photo Courtesy of Huffington Post

Christopher Columbus traversed the warm turquoise waters surrounding St. John in 1493 and fell in love. And you will too. More than 50 percent of the island is designated a national park, which allows for amazing hiking trails and gorgeous, uncrowded beaches. Spend the day relaxing at Trunk Bay, one of the highest rated beaches in the world, or rent a boat and explore the snorkeling options at Watermelon Cay.

Where to Eat

Joe's Rum Hut
Photo Courtesy of Joe’s Rum Hut

We love everything about St. John, but it takes a few extra steps to get there. The island does not have an airport so you have to take a ferry or boat from Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas. Once you’ve arrived, get on island time at Joe’s Rum Hut in Cruz Bay and for dinner head to Woody’s Seafood Saloon and nosh on the conch fritters and drunken shellfish soup.

Top 5 Waterfront Destinations in Europe

Europe is filled with some beautiful cities, but during the summer months it can get hot and crowded. Try opting for some cooler spots and check out the many waterfront destinations. From famous piers and canals to hot springs and lakes, there is a waterfront spot in most major city!

Brighton Pier, Brighton

Brighton Pier
Photo Courtesy of Visit Brighton

Nicknamed “London-of-the-Sea,” Brighton Pier was once used to help promote seaside holidays. Now it’s one of the most popular piers and the biggest attraction in the southeast. Besides the stereotypical bumper cars and water rides, Brighton Pier’s main attraction is food, from fresh seafood to Brighton’s Rock or hard candy. Measuring 1,700 feet long, Brighton is best viewed at night, when live music and bright lights bring the pier to life.

Vltava River, Prague

Vltava River, Prague
Photo Courtesy of Discover Prague

Vltava River is Prague’s main waterway, but in recent years it has also become a waterfront destination. The local farmer’s market combined with a growing popularity in cycling, jogging and rollerblading, has caused more people to be drawn to this beautiful stretch of water. Visitors can easily spend a day or two by the river, watching Olympic level kayakers and rafting teams or taking the ferry line that crosses Vltava.

Plitvice Lake National Park, Croatia

Plitvice Lake National Park
Photo Courtesy of UNESCO

Known as the oldest and largest national park in the nation, Plitvice Lake National Park is made up of a chain of 16 lakes. You won’t have any trouble finding a waterfront spot here. Waterfalls, rivers and streams as well as spruce and beech forests make up the parks 295 sq. km. Through the centuries, as regimes and borders have changed, respect was always paid to preserve the park and its surrounding ecosystem, which is why it remains just as beautiful today.

Eftalou Hot Springs, Lesbos

Eftalou Hot Springs
Photo Courtesy of Greek to Me

Located on the edge of the Aegean Sea, at the northern tip of Lesbos Island, is a waterfront destination you won’t want to miss. Eftalou Hot Springs features thermal waters that the Greeks have frequented for centuries for its therapeutic properties. Since Lesbos is a volcanic island it has many thermal springs, but Eftalou remains a favorite. Surrounded by a pebble beach with wind sculpted lava formations, it’s quite a sight to see.

Utrecht, Netherlands

Utrecht, Netherlands
Photo Courtesy of Holland.com

Canals are a defining feature of Amsterdam, so much so that there is a district named after them. About 35 miles from Netherland’s capital is a different kind of canal. In Utrecht, the canals have whares, which allow for boats to ride right up to the side of the canal and dock. In the medieval times this waterway system was used for transport of cargo. Today the whares are used as houses, restaurants and cafes. In the spring and summer months wharres become terraces for dinning and enjoying the waterfront.

The Most Amazing Beaches in Greece

With more than 6,000 islands and islets and a coastline that stretches 8,500 miles, Greece has more beaches than we can count, and it’s unlikely you will find a bad one. However, there are some beaches that truly top the charts, from their unique history to a-lister exclusivity and standout sunsets.

Fragos (Simos), Elafonisos

Fragos-Simos-Elafonisos
Photo Courtesy of Travel and Leisure

Located off the coast of the Peloponnese, this beach is actually two beaches in one. A strip of white sand divides Megalos (large) Simos and Mikros (small) Simos and both beaches face out towards the blue-green Aegean Sea. A destination for its unique beauty, this beach is also a haven for windsurfers.

Apantima, Antiparos

Apantima_Antiparos
Photo Courtesy of Aegean Islands

This beach has been kept a secret for a reason. Celebrities like Tom Hanks vacation on Apantima, the best-sheltered bay in Antiparos. The Beach House, a nine-suite boutique property, is the perfect spot to sip rose at happy hour or stay the night for an extra dose of relaxation.

Navagio (Shipwreck), Zakynthos

Navagio_Zakynthos
Photo Courtesy of Telegraph

On the northwest coast of Zakynthos Island is one of the most photographed beaches in Greece. It got its name “Shipwreck” from a freighter that ran aground, was abandoned and remains on the shore today. The history combined with the pristine sands, turquoise waters and surrounding limestone cliffs make this beach one of the best.

Lia, Mykonos

Lia_Mykonos
Photo Courtesy of Travel and Leisure

Mykonos is known for it’s party-style beaches, but located on the southeastern side of the island is Lia, one of the more quiet beaches. Perfect for couples or families, this beach is known for its snorkeling, soft golden sand and beach-side restaurant.

Elafonisi, Crete

Elafonisi_Crete
Cretan Beaches

If you come visit Elafonisi, make sure you stay to watch the sunset. This beach is known for its pink-tinted sand spit and shallow lagoon with warm turquoise waters. Located on a low islet on the southwestern point of Crete’s mainland, this beach is the epitome of natural beauty.

Travel Guide: Malta

This small archipelago located off the south coast of Italy truly has it all. From dreamy beaches and boat trips to hundreds of prehistoric sites, your time in Malta will never be enough.

What to Do

Blue Lagoon
Photo Courtesy of Huffington Post

Malta’s coast has some of the most breathtaking beaches in the Mediterranean. The clear blue waters are perfect for swimming, diving, snorkeling and scuba diving. The diving in particular is some of the best, with beautiful underwater landscapes and wrecks.

If swimming and sunbathing is what you prefer, head to one of Malta’s best swimming spots, Blue Lagoon, located on the north coast between the island of Comino and the tinier island Cominotto. But with pristine swimming conditions come crowds. The quieter beach of Ghajn Tuffieha, which means “the apple’s eye,” is located near the popular Gold Beach. Ghajn Tuffieha is more rural, which means less crowds and a more peaceful experience.

Where to Go

Photo Courtesy of Malta Cultural Guide

Even though Malta is known as a sun and sea destination, the historic sites found on the island of Gozo are truly remarkable. One of the most popular is Hal Saflieni Hypogeum. This 5,000-year-old subterranean burial complex was once carved from living rock to house as much as 7,000 bodies over a period of 1,000 years. For conservation reasons, they only allow 10 people to visit per hour, so make a reservation in advance.

Where to Stay

Hotel Te'Cenc & Spa
Photo Courtesy of Hotel Te’Cenc & Spa

The capital of Valleta is home to many prehistoric sites, but recently it got a more modern makeover. The inside of some of the city’s older buildings have transformed into updated accommodations. The Valleta Vintage Studios are apartments located in 100-year old buildings throughout the city. Each studio’s interior is decorated in a specific style using a mix of designer and vintage pieces that are sourced locally.

If you spend the day exploring Gozo’s diving sites, opt to stay at Hotel Ta’Cenc & Spa, a hideaway resort located on the outskirts of a sleepy village. Stay in one of the 83 stone bungalows, which are built in the round, creating a distinct layout and beehive-style roof. Onsite you will find a holistic wellness center, swimming pools, eateries and spectacular views.

The Most Amazing Underwater Restaurants

Take your dining experience to the next level by enjoying your meal underwater. Built beneath the sea, a handful of restaurants around the world specialize in epic views of the ocean’s ecosystem all while serving world-class cuisine.

Sea at Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas

Photo Courtesy of Kihavah Maldives

Go from your over water villa into the depths of the Indian Ocean where you will find the underwater restaurant Sea at Anantara Kihavah Maldives. Surrounded by clear glass walls, Sea features the world’s first underwater wine cellar with wines spanning nine decades.

Ithaa Undersea Restaurant

Photo Courtesy of Conrad Hotels

Located on a private island in the middle of the Indian Ocean is the world’s first and only all-glass undersea restaurant. Ithaa, which means mother of pearl in the Maldivian language of Divehi, sits 16 feet below sea level at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Hotel. The panoramic views span a plethora of sea life, from corral gardens to fish and sharks.

Subsix

Photo Courtesy of Pool Associates

Listen to international DJ’s spin while you dance the night away in the world’s first underwater club. Located 20 feet below the Indian Ocean, Subsix features floor-to-ceiling windows that line the walls of the bar with amazing views of the ocean floor. Located 545 yards from the coast, Subsix is only accessible by boat from Niyama Resort.

Cargo Hold Restaurant

Photo Courtesy of Daily Mail

This underwater restaurant also happens to be located in a replica of South Africa’s legendary ghost ship, ‘The Phantom.’ Cargo Hold Restaurant incorporates the region’s culture and history into its ambiance with views of Durban’s marine life, including the region’s famous sharks!

Poseidon Undersea Resort

Photo Courtesy of Poseidon Resorts

This underwater restaurant is currently in the works, but we don’t doubt that it’s going to be a hit. The Poseidon Undersea Resort, which will span 225 acres with 5,000 acres of lagoon, is set to be the only fully underwater resort in the world. There will be two fine dining options, one on land and one below sea, and you can even expect an undersea chapel!

Travel Guide: Devon, England

When warm weather arrives, crowds head to Cornwall for its dreamy beaches. This year venture northeast to Devon, where the beaches are just as dreamy, the Moors offer outdoor adventure and the villages cook up some hearty cuisine. June is the perfect time to visit, as the sun is shining, but crowds haven’t arrived yet.

The Coast

Photo Courtesy of Visit South Devon

While equally beautiful, Devon’s north and south coastlines each have their own appeal. The north coast is known for its killer surf breaks, like the waves at Croyde Beach. The south coast breeds calmer waters and often serves as a yachting destination. The town of Salcombe, known as the “west London of the sea,” has a beautiful harbor, long stretches of sandy beaches and a variety of boutiques and restaurants.

The Countryside

Photo Courtesy of Marc-Oliver Schulz/National Geographic

Head inland and you will find emerald green hilltops, running rivers and rugged moors. Spend your days hiking Exmoor National Park, a hilltop moorland that extends out onto the coastline, or Dartmoor National Park where you will spot wild ponies and grazing sheep. Both parks offer countless trails for walking, hiking and cycling, with plenty of rustic pubs along the way.

Where to Stay

Photo Courtesy of Bovey Castle

If you need a place to crash after surfing on the north coast, opt for Britain’s first surf hotel, the funky Little Beach Hotel. Staff will take you to the best beach breaks, set you up with the best board and offer lessons. If the south coast is more your pace, opt for Thurlestone Hotel, Britain’s oldest family-run hotel.

Located in the Dartmoor National Park, Bovey Castle is set on a private sporting estate. It features an indoor swimming pool, tennis courts, a fly-fishing lake and much more. It’s a popular accommodation for families, but couples will find the stone fireplaces and cozy rooms intimate and comfortable.

The Best River Cruises Around the World

Imagine traveling to multiple destinations, but having to only unpack once. A river cruise offers just that. Unlike ocean cruise ships, river cruise vessels are smaller and hold less people, which allows for a more relaxing and intimate setting. Whether you choose to cruise down the Danube or the Nile, we have compiled the best cruises just for you!

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise

Photo Courtesy of Uniworld

Known for their stylish ships, Uniworld offers some of the most unique excursions with an emphasis on history and art. One of their newest ships the S.S. Joie de Vivre, which sails from Normandy to Paris, is “boutique hotel meets yacht.” The walls are adorned with silk coverings and the interior is filled with antiques evoking mid-20th century Paris. The vessel features 10 spacious suites, 54 staterooms and a relaxing wellness facility.

Tauck

Photo Courtesy of Tauck

Aside from the vessel’s elegant interiors, Tauck is known for their shore excursions and itineraries that immerse you at each destination. They offer a variety of river cruises that explore the heart of Europe, from the Danube and the Rhine to the Rhone and the Seine. Aboard the ship you will find 300 square foot suites, chandeliers in the lobby and marble staircases. This river cruise truly has it all.

Avalon Waterways

avalon waterways
Photo Courtesy of Avalon Waterways

Avalon Waterways took the lead when they launched the first open-air balcony on a river cruise. Featured in each cabin suite, the wall-to-wall and floor to ceiling windows open to convert guestrooms into open-air balconies. One of the first open air balconies debuted on the 36-passenger Avalon Siem Reap. This excursion cruises along the Mekong River, traveling through Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam, Siem Reap and Cambodia.

Nour el Nil

For a truly authentic experience down the Nile River, take a river cruise aboard The Meroe. Nour el Nil has created handcrafted dahabiyas that blend authentic architecture with modern luxury. The Meroe is the largest of their boats and features a spacious deck and large suites. The intimacy of only 20 passengers combined with a large and attentive staff guarantees that you will be taken care of. The excursion starts at Esna, travels to El Kab on the east banks and dedicates a day to swimming in the Nile!

Travel Guide: Milan, Italy

Milan is known for being a fashion capital, but there is much more to this city than designer duds. From museums and churches to trendy neighborhoods, exploring this inspiring city is endless. May is one of the best times to visit, before the crazy summer crowds and high temperatures hit.

Where to Stay

humancities.eu
Photo Courtesy of Humancities.eu

Just outside the city you will find a mid-century farmhouse that has been transformed into a cultural center and guesthouse. Aside from hosting creative writing courses, yoga classes and farmer’s markets, Cascina Cuccagna also has a guesthouse with small and larger rooms, accommodating single travelers as well as families. If you prefer to stay in Milan’s city center, the Magna Pars Suites is every design-lover’s dream. This modern boutique hotel is housed in a former perfume factory and features 39 suites that were inspired by floral, fruity and woody notes.

Where to Visit

Photo Courtesy of Andrea Wyner/NY Times

Home to Google’s Italian headquarters, the neighborhood of Isola has undergone a transformation over the years. In 2015 it was the site of the 2015 World Expo and since then, old structures have been re-purposed into bars, shops and restaurants. Located north of the city and cut off by railroad tracks, Isola (which literally means island) feels miles away from the city. Enjoy lunch at an artsy café and end your evening at the famous jazz club Blue Note.

What to See

Photo Courtesy of Duomo Milano

The architecture of Milan is spectacular, from enormous churches, to spectacular museums. The Milan Cathedral, the third largest church in Europe, is hard to miss. This Gothic cathedral is home to 3,500 statues and 96 gargoyles created over 500 years ago. Less ornate, but equally stunning, the Santa Maria Delle Grazie is known for housing Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting, The Last Supper. Just on the other side of the road is Leonardo’s vineyard, where he grew grapes for making wine while working on his masterpiece.