Escapes for the Romantic, Foodie, Culture Vulture, and More
Spain Awaits: Experience the Culture, Cuisine & Scenery
A feeling of fiesta moves through Spain and its people, who are warm and welcoming and love to celebrate the good things in life. It’s time to see this cultural and culinary-focused country for yourself, done at any time of year. With its mild climate, beautiful beaches, and delicious food, Spain is a popular tourist destination for a reason. Its bustling cities and charming villages offer something for everyone.
Left: Pintxos | Right: Guggenheim, Bilbao
In the northern Basque region of Spain, not far from the French border, sits the renowned foodie destination of San Sebastian, famed for its many, many Michelin-starred chefs. Visitors should also go out for pintxos, tiny pieces of bread piled high with flavor. By casually dropping in at neighborhood bars for small snacks and a short glass of beer or wine, you can easily soak up the local life and culture around you.
Why not combine your foodie stop with a cultural one, and head to nearby Bilbao, just over an hour’s drive east along the coast? Here your first stop is the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim modern art museum. This architectural marvel is breathtaking both inside and out.
Left: La Sagrada Familia | Right: Mallorca
Another great destination coupling is the architectural delights of Barcelona (for Gaudi’s breathtaking La Sagrada Familia and his eye-popping Casa Batlló) and Mallorca’s sunny, warm beaches (the island is easily reached by ferry or short flight). Mallorca’s capital, Palma de Mallorca, is a feast for the eyes, with historical sites dating back to the 13th-century Christians and earlier Moor, Roman and Talayotic civilizations.
Madrid is a vibrant and dynamic city that should not be missed. With a population of over 3 million, it is the beating heart of Spain, bursting with energy and life. Known for its nightlife, this city is a haven for those looking for an authentic and off-the-beaten-path experience. Take a stroll down Gran Via, "street that never sleeps," where you'll find an eclectic mix of shops, bars, and restaurants.
Piazza IX Aprile, Taormina, Sicily
Exploring Sicily Beyond HBO's White Lotus
Be warned: if you’ve fallen under Sicily’s spell and want to make it your base for la dolce vita, understand that you are not planning a trip to Italy but a trip to Sicily. This is the largest island in the Mediterranean, just off the toe of Italy’s boot, and it’s experiencing a visitor renaissance thanks to HBO’s White Lotus.
Four Seasons San Domenico Palace | Isola Bella
The wry, dark comedy set its second season in the Four Seasons San Domenico Palace, a heritage property perched near the hilltop town of Taormina. This former convent-turned-hotel overlooks Mount Etna and the Bay of Taormina and has welcomed the elite for decades – it is a fantastic place to stay, but it’s not the only spot. Fans of the TV show should drop by the hotel for a drink on the terrace or a meal at one of its three restaurants, but there’s so much more to explore elsewhere.
The main town of Palermo is fun to get a little lost in as you wander through the stone streets and markets in neighborhoods such as La Kalsa, Il Capo and Albergheria.
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Ancient theatre of Taormina | Palermo Cathedral church
Aside from the Four Seasons, the resort town of Taormina is known for its hillside views, and culinary delights and these are best explored in the spring or fall to avoid the summer frenzy of local crowds.
History buffs must head to the Valley of the Temples in the south, where preserved Doric temples still stand as beacons to sailors, just as the Greeks intended in the 5th century. On the island’s west side, head to the top of Erice to visit a Norman castle (built over the Temple of Venus) with jaw-dropping 360-degree views.
Belmond’s Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
How to Treat the Ones You Love When You Travel
In this month of love, we’d like to offer a few suggestions on how to make the ones you love feel special on your vacation. Sure, going away together, whether as a couple or a family or a group of friends, is special enough, but there are ways to make the memories unforgettable.
Glam up your European getaway with a night or two on Belmond’s Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Rail travel is making a comeback, so do it right and ensure the Champagne is flowing. The art-deco glamour, exquisite cuisine and the train’s storied history make the trip from Paris to Vienna, Venice, Verona or Prague (and many points in between) a journey to remember.
Top: Hacienda Altgracia | Left: Belmond’s Venice Simplon-Orient-Express | Right: La Côte d'Or
Indulge in a luxurious spa day at the Hacienda Altagracia in Costa Rica and be swept away by the ultimate relaxation experience. The Well spa at Hacienda Altagracia is a true sanctuary of rejuvenation, offering a wide range of services designed to transport you to a state of complete relaxation. This spa day is the perfect way to unwind, reconnect and create an unforgettable memory in the natural paradise of Costa Rica.
Reserve a table at a Michelin-starred restaurant. Not only will the meal and wine pairing be exquisite, but the level of service will make you feel like a celebrity. In France, where food is a religion, there are 436 to choose from. If you're introducing the kids to fine dining, consider a meal at two-star La Côte d'Or in Burgundy. The restaurant is nestled inside the five-star Relais Bernard Loiseau, named for the chef who inspired the animated film Ratatouille. His wife and children run it still and love welcoming families.
Why the Best Trips are Created by Travel Advisors
It’s smart to hire the right skill for the right job. You appreciate the keen eye of an interior designer to style your home and a gardener to tidy the landscaping to your liking. You bring in a plumber to fix that leaky faucet and finicky toilet and a contractor to complete the kitchen renovation. That’s also why smart travelers hire a travel advisor to craft a top-notch vacation.
We listen to what you want and devote a lot of time and energy to your trip – we’ve got experience and training you can lean on. And if anything goes awry during your vacation, we've planned it from start to finish and will be your best bet to get things sorted. You already know how important experts are, and travel is no different.