West Ireland is one of the few places that you can stand on the edge of the world.
In Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher are certainly one of those places. Jagged, untamed and heart-stoppingly sheer — a walk along these natural wonders can only leave you in awe. Extensive trails along the edge offer endless photo opportunities as well as a wonderful way to work off your pints and Irish stew. Spend the day walking along the sheer cliffs and taking in the splendor as you enjoy a picnic lunch in the lush green grass. The drive out to the Cliffs of Moher is almost equally stunning, winding through rural County Clare with views of old stone walls, farmhouses and livestock.
The west coast town of Galway may be “the most Irish” city you will encounter.
Galway is one of the towns that you’ll still hear Gaelic spoken in the pubs and shops. The bustling center of town, Eyre Square is the perfect place to wallow away a sunny afternoon and enjoy sports and picnics in the grassy area. With colorful iconic pubs, narrow cobblestone streets and live music from street performers as well as in nearly every restaurant and pub, this small city really packs a punch. All in one night you can experience a dark pub packed wall to wall, while enjoying a frothy Guinness among travelers from all over the world, and amazing live music accompanied by some traditional Irish step dancing from locals!
Don’t miss out on these three fantastic pubs with live music:
1.Tigh Cóilí Pub
This family owned pub has live music every day of the week and during the summer months, the pub is typically filling out of the front door with music-lovers. Here, you can catch local musicians as well as travelling artists. These live traditional music sessions (the locals call it Trad) don’t use any amplifications, so people crowd around the stage to be closer, but the music is, of course, lively and loud.
2. The Crane Bar
This is another great place to catch some Trad every day of the week and there is an upstairs as well. The pub is fairly small and fills up rather quickly, so if you plan on popping in, do so early!
3. Tigh Fox Trad House
Here, you’ll find two live sessions of Trad music everyday — at 5:30pm and 9:30pm. The first sessions has no amplifications and there is plenty of interaction between the musicians and the crowd. The late session is plugged into speakers and microphones and usually accompanied by some Irish Step Dancing.
Staying in Galway places you in the perfect location to explore.
The surrounding areas such as; Connemara National Park, Kylemore Abbey, The Cliffs of Moher, and endless scenic drives offer plenty of adventure!
Galway is among the top ten “most friendly” cities in the world and without a doubt, as soon as you arrive, you will feel that. Have a walk about the city, order yourself some Beef & Guinness stew and a pint and take a deep breath — you’re in the heart and soul of Ireland.
Let us help make your plans of traveling to Ireland as memorable as ours!
Here’s a sample itinerary: Irish Experience 2017
Love this itinerary?! Email us below to set up an appointment to experience the best of West Ireland!
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As far as unique cities go, Edinburgh, Scotland is up there — way up there.
Moody, full of medieval and Victorian architecture and thick Scottish accents, this city has a feel that is unparalleled. The stark contrast of the Old Town and that of the modern and elegant Georgian New Town is like experiencing two completely different cities in one. Walk the famous Royal Mile that separates Edinburgh Castle from The Palace of Holyrood House. Full of shops, restaurants, pubs and many more attractions, this street is a bustling stretch through Old Town. A unique quality of Edinburgh is that the wild landscapes of Scotland can be reached with just a short walk out of the city.
Don’t miss out on these activities:
1. Arthur’s Seat
Arthur’s Seat is an extinct volcano that overlooks the city and the North Sea. Situate yourself up there among the vibrant landscape and watch the clouds pass right before your eyes. Don’t forget your rain jacket, the last thing you want is to reach the top and be rushing down because you’re getting a bit rained on. The hike up is not a rigorous one, but certainly wear sensible shoes if you’re planning on heading up. Catch the bustling city from the top of this mountain and experience the city in a unique way!
2. Visit the Scottish National Galleries
There are three of these art galleries spread across Edinburgh, and if you have the time, hit all three! Home to world-class collections of art, including masterpieces from Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, and many more. The three galleries include; The Scottish National Gallery, The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Pop into each of them for a different experience — all three have free admission and are open daily!
3. Climb the Scott Monument
This Victorian Gothic monument right in the middle of town is dedicated to Sir Walter Scott, the Scottish author. Make your way up all 287 steps of the monument and you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the city.
4. Holyrood Park
This park has been a Royal Park since the 12th Century and is part of the view from Arthur’s Seat. With several nice paths cutting through the five mile radius of the park, a walk through Holyrood is a wonderful activity if you’re graced with a relatively sunny day. As the park also encompasses the extinct volcano of Arthur’s Seat, the terrain has volcanic cliff faces and is a great way to experience the wildness of Scottish nature, right inside the city!
5. Catch a show at The Cameo
This picture house is said to be a favorite of Quentin Tarantino’s. With a bustling bar and mainstream and indie shows, this is a must for any movie lover. Enjoy the plush seating and quaint environment and here’s a pro tip…all day Monday the tickets are discounted!
6. Live music at The Queen’s Hall
This sweet little venue is chock full of amazing live music just about every day of the year. Whether you’re a Blues fan, Orchestra fanatic, or looking for some Jazz — there is a night of the week for you! An while the tickets may vary in price, they are certainly reasonably priced, typically ranging between 10 GPB and 30 GPB.
7. Check out the Foodie Scene
With a modern Scottish menu and rustic decor, The Scran & Scallie gastropub deserves your attention. At the helm is a Michelin starred chef crafting up home-cooked meals with fresh ingredients. Enjoy the cozy & quaint setting while you tuck into some world class pub food and a wide variety of whisky.
8. Coffee Shops, Coffee Shops, Coffee Shops
If you’re into the coffee scene, or simply enjoy a good cuppa — check out Artisan Roast Coffee Roasters. Located in the center of Edinburgh on Broughton Street, stop in for a quick cup before your full day of exploring or have a sit and watch the morning go by in the chic, modern decorated roastery.
9. Shop on Victoria Street
How many places in the world can you find world class shopping and medieval castles on the same street? Victoria Street is a blend of old and new, with picturesque cobblestone streets, colorful building fronts and medieval structures. With a great variety of high end shops and quirky stores, there is something for everyone. When you get tired of shopping, pop into one of the many restaurants and bars — The Bow Bar is a long-standing favorite in the city and a perfect place to try one of their house cask ales and a traditional haggis dish. Or, if you just want to sneak in a quick snack and get back to shopping and exploring, wander inside Oink, a little pink shop front serving up Scottish hog roasts with various sauces. The store front window features the whole roast hog — order up and you’ll see exactly where your meat is coming from!
10. Elephant House
If you’re a literary fan or traveling with any, a stop at The Elephant House is a must! This cafe is the spot where J.K. Rowling penned the first Potter book and on a moody Edinburgh day, it’s a perfect spot to catch some gourmet tea or coffee! There’s generally quite a few tourists here during the summer months, so if you’re not interested in getting inside the cafe, a quick stop for a photo of the outside will do just fine. Or, get up a bit earlier than the crowds and enjoy coffee and cake in this historic spot!
Edinburgh is an essential stop in when visiting Scotland. Regardless of your travel style, we have itineraries with overnight stay’s in this iconic Scottish city.
If these 10 Tips for Edinburgh have inspired you, download the itinerary below for an idea of the many ways to experience Scotland and the surrounding islands!
Download here: Scottish Highlands & Islands
We know, Brussels seems like the place to visit if you’re going to Belgium. But — hear us out.
Just a quick train ride (about one hour) away from Brussels, this quaint little European town is the dreamiest place you’ve never been. Full of canals, picturesque stone bridges, Bruges is home to some of the best (and oldest ) breweries around — but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Voted in the top 15 friendliest countries in the world, Bruges delights. It’s old world, riddled with canals and lush foliage, incredible architecture, overtly friendly locals, charming shops and sweet shops everywhere. To visit Bruges is to love Bruges. It’s as simple as picturing yourself getting lost while wandering through the cobblestone streets, venturing over arched stone bridges, and conversing with locals. You’ll find that the feelings that Bruges evokes are hard to replicate.
Forget everything you know about waffles.
As you step into the pastry shops, let the sweet smell of biscuits, cake, and most importantly, waffles wash over you. Here, in the land of waffles, you can find a menu dedicated solely to these sweet treats. As there are several types of waffles and endless combinations of toppings, this can be a bit overwhelming. While there is certainly no shortage of waffles in Bruges, quality here, is key. Chose wisely and the first Belgian waffle placed in front of you will be life changing — something that will be the mark of every waffle to cross your path from here to the end of days.
Be sure to check out these waffle shops:
1. Chez Albert
If you’re looking for one of the light and fluffy waffles…pop into this little shop! Located centrally in the town square, it’s a quick pit stop as you wander around this quaint town. Toss some fresh fruit and Belgium chocolate on top and you’ll be in waffle heaven.
2. Lizzie’s Wafels
This shop boasts “The Largest Homemade Waffles.” Freshly made when you order and drizzled in sweet chocolate and dusted with powdered sugar — be sure to visit Lizzie’s. This shop is located just off the central square and has a few seats outside so you can enjoy these sweet treats out on the cobblestones and watch the day pass by.
Don’t miss out on the Belgian Chocolate.
Known as some of the best chocolate around the world, Bruges is a wonderful place to get your fill — and maybe even bring some home for family and friends! There are many, many chocolate shops all over town and you’ll never be in short supply.
You may be asking, “What’s so great about this Belgian chocolate.” Well, many of these shops produce their handmade chocolate in small batches. Today, much of the chocolate we know and love is mass-produced and machine made. Trust us, you’ll be able to taste this difference. Additionally, in 1912, Jean Neuhaus crafted up a new way to make his Belgian chocolate. Today, this new process is called ‘couverture’ and essentially uses smaller chunks or disks of chocolate. These smaller chunks are then melted down over a variety of things; creams, nuts, or fruit. This ‘couverture’ chocolate also contains more cocoa butter and therefore creamier than your average chocolate.
If you’re having a lazy day around Bruges, a walking chocolate tour is a great way to spend the day — you’ll find plenty of little shops to stop into!
Let’s talk world-class beer and breweries.
Beer lovers out there will have all their beer dreams fulfilled in Bruges. The Belgians have been brewing beer for hundreds of years — in fact, since before 1000 A.D.. Belgian beer is somewhat hard to classify, and covers such a wide array of brews that it’ll make your head spin. One of the unique aspects of Belgian beer is that some of these delicious brews are produced by Trappist monks! In fact, Bruges is home to Le Trappiste, an atmospheric underground cellar bar. Located just off of the main market area of town, this bar is a wonderful place to experience just what all the raving is about. All of the barkeeps are extremely knowledgeable about each brew and ordering a sample flight of several types is the perfect way to taste the wide variety of Belgian beers!
For such a small country, Belgium packs a real punch — chocolate, waffles and beer that are known the world over.
With cobblestone riddles streets, moody canal passages, and picturesque lego-like buildings, it’s the perfect little town to browse shops and relax. Do yourself a favor and visit this picturesque medieval town! We’ll help you plan your stay!
Here’s an itinerary to get you inspired: Holland, Luxembourg & Belgium 2017
If you’re loving this itinerary as much as we are, contact us below to set up an appointment and get you to Bruges, Belgium!
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Explore one of the most beautiful beaches in the world!
If you want to experience one of the most beautiful beaches in the world by yourself — go at 6AM.
You can float in the Mediterranean Sea without really trying. No matter how far out you go, you can see your toes and the bottom of the ocean. And you can lay, right there on the surface of the entire ocean and watch the clouds pass by for hours — and we recommend that you do. Naturally, as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, the beaches of Barcelona get crowded. Getting there before the crowds will offer you the opportunity to experience this iconic Mediterranean beach all to yourself.
Touring the city is easy.
A walking tour through Barcelona provides opportunities that a bus tour simply does not. Beginning in the center of the city, a walk down the famous street La Rambla passes by shops, restaurants and vendors. A tourist attraction in its own right, La Rambla is a wonderful introduction to the sights and effervescent culture of Barcelona. Walking through the city, you’ll inevitably pass architecture masterpieces such as the Casa Batllo, by Antoni Gaudi.
Seemingly on every corner there is another beautiful building that will stop you in your tracks. Wander northeast of the city center and you’ll encounter even more of what makes Barcelona one of the cities with the most character — La Sagrada Familia, another masterpiece by Gaudi that has been in the process of being built since 1882.
To the east of La Rambla lies the Gothic Quarter of the city.
In stark contrast with the more modernized areas of the city, entering into the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona seemingly takes you to a different time. Enter through a narrow side street off of La Rambla, and an other worldly feeling washes over you. Surrounded by a sea of towering gray walls and intricate carvings and statues, the Gothic Quarter is somewhat eerie. These labyrinthine narrow streets suddenly open up into squares with fountains and detailed building fronts. You will be struck with surprise that there are any people here in these cool, quiet walkways.
In the middle of the centuries-old architecture, there are people simply enjoying their daily lives — plopped down at street cafes.
This part of the city looks as if it should be sparse with people. It’s a far cry away from the bright liveliness of the heart of the city, just a few streets away. Upon further exploration, you’ll find the magnificent 13th century Gothic Barcelona Cathedral. You won’t have to look particularly hard to notice the intricate details on the exterior that include mythic gargoyles. This is a great location to sit on the steps and watch the charm of Barcelona dance by. This lively square is often filled with street performers as well as tourists and locals alike.
For many visitors, Barcelona has a certain quality that awakens the spirit. The sheer history, character, and picturesque beaches settled on the Mediterranean Sea — make Barcelona a must see!
Here’s a great itinerary that highlights Barcelona: The Best of Spain 2017
The Benefits of Cruising
Personalized travel plans
When booking a cruise with a travel agent, your agent is able to get to know you and whomever will be traveling with you. They can tailor the perfect vacation to fit those specific desires. Additionally, various cruise ships cater to different crowds. For example, if you’re traveling with a family that includes children, perhaps cruising with Disney or Royal Caribbean would be the best fit. Traveling with seniors? A cruise with Holland America could be your best bet. As you book your cruise with one of our travel agents, you will discover that they have cruised on various cruise lines and can offer insightful advice as well as information about the atmosphere of each cruise line.
A personalized cruise experience can certainly make a difference in your vacation. Booking through someone that has a wealth of information about cruises and the ins and outs of ships makes things easier. They can find staterooms that aren’t near things such as noisy stairwells and other locations that are not as desirable. Additionally, when you book a cruise with a travel agent, you have someone on your side. In the event that travel plans go awry or you have any questions about your travels, having access to someone that has decades of experience is a real asset.
Activities for everyone
Keeping in line with the idea that there are many cruise ships that cater to various crowds. There are a plethora of activities that vary by ship. As a blanket statement, you can be sure that regardless of the cruise ship you will have plenty of activities on board. From poolside activities and live entertainment such as comedians and theater, to an on-board casino and sport courts. There are plenty of ways to spend your time on the ship!
Booking a vacation can be somewhat stressful. Even once you know where you would like to go (see: the impossible question, deciding where to go), there are accommodations, flights, day excursions and activities, meals, transportation and many more variables that must be thought of as you plan a vacation.
Cruises are unique and particularly appealing in this area. Board a cruise and unpack your bag just once — no packing and unpacking, settle into the same room that you’ll be in for the duration of the trip, meals and entertainment are included, and cruise your way to exotic destinations where all the details have been thought of. Options for shore excursions and the ability to have reliable transportation to and from various ports is a huge advantage of cruises. Considering each of these variables separately when traveling can end up costing much more than an all inclusive cruise package — especially if traveling with a family and multiple people.
Wake up in a new location every morning. Cruise ships have the unique advantage of letting you have a vacation as you travel to your next location. Sit poolside or watch live music as you travel hundred of miles to the next port. Many cruise lines make arrangements that you can choose to partake in as you make port. No need for you to organize transportation to a sight — simply tag along.
Traveling by cruise ship allows cruisers access to locations that would be rather difficult and time consuming to travel to by land. Consider reaching the fjords of Norway by means other than a cruise ship. A train, bus or car rental out to the remote edges of Norway is an excursion in its own right. Go on a cruise and find yourself among the nearly mystical fjords with no trouble at all! A cruise allows its passengers to travel the world in a very different and effective way.
Imagine an itinerary that cruises through Spain and passes through France, Italy, Greece, and Croatia. Finally ending as it drops you off in one of the most scenic locations in the world — Venice, Italy!
Find out which cruise line is the best fit for you and let us make your cruising experience truly memorable!
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