Archive for the ‘European travel’ Category

Romantic Getaways: Iconic Santorini Boutique ‘Cave’ Hideaway Offers Early Booking Discounts

February 9, 2017
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Iconic Santorini is a multi-level hideaway carved into traditional caves on the volcanic cliffs, perched 1,000 feet above the sparkling blue bay of the caldera.

(Santorini, Greece) If sitting in the sun, gazing at a sweeping view of the Aegean Sea or bathing in your own plunge pool while sipping a glass of local Greek wine, is your ideal for a romantic getaway, you might plot a stay at the Iconic Santorini and taking advantage of early booking discounts for vacations between April 28 and June 18.

Iconic Santorini is an extraordinary multi-level hideaway carved into traditional caves on the volcanic cliffs, perched 1,000 feet above the sparkling blue bay of the caldera.  Its 19 residences and rooftop decks feature balconies and terraces so that guests can dine, relax, cool off and cast off the cares of the everyday life enveloped by awesome panoramic views.

The serene retreat has been voted “Greece’s Leading Boutique Hotel” at the World Travel Awards 3 years in a row.

The individually designed suites, re-imagined from traditional Santorini homes and craft shops, reflect the island’s famous white-vaulted style and colorful fabrics, adapted for today’s demanding travelers.  Guests live the authentic Greek experience while still enjoying luxury amenities like individual air-conditioning, flat-screen televisions with international channels, private routers for hi-speed Wi-Fi, JBL sound systems and sumptuous 4-layer COCO-MAT bedding.

In addition, discerning travelers, honeymooners and lovers rave about Iconic’s serene fitness and massage suite with its own grotto pool, the outdoor swimming pool with a jetted seating area and the hotel’s modern take on a traditional taverna serving Greek cuisine of the highest quality.

Regular double rates at “Greece’s Leading Boutique Hotel” include breakfast, mineral water, roundtrip airport transfers and complimentary high-speed Internet access begin at $621 a night .  For details of the specific Early Booking Offers for each individual suite, email info@iconicsantorini.com and include booking code ICO-10.

Special Romance Packages that include sightseeing, Moet & Chandon Champagne, dinners and other extras at great value-added rates are available at

www.iconicsantorini.com/iconic-santorini-romance-packages

Visit www.iconicsantorini.com  for full details of each residence with photographs.

 

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Castle that Highlights Wayfarers Walking Vacations’ New Hike ‘Stars’ in ‘Downton Abbey’ Episode

December 10, 2014
Alnwick Castle in England’s Northumberland, which will take a leading role in a special Christmas episode of "Downton Abbey," highlights a new 2015 Wayfarers Walking Vacations trip.

Alnwick Castle in England’s Northumberland, which will take a leading role in a special Christmas episode of “Downton Abbey,” highlights a new 2015 Wayfarers Walking Vacations trip.

A new highlight of The Wayfarers Walking Vacations 2015 program is also set to star in a Christmas episode of “Downton Abbey” on PBS’s hugely popular Masterpiece Classic series.

Alnwick (pronounced ‘Annick’) Castle in England’s Northumberland, will take a leading role in a special Christmas episode as Brancaster Castle. No stranger to the cameras, Alnwick was also the setting for Harry Potter’s Hogwarts.

The cast and crew spent two weeks at the castle last summer, filming extensively in the spectacular State Rooms, as well as in the castle’s grounds and at the semi-ruined Hulne Abbey in the Duke of Northumberland’s parklands in Alnwick. 

Visitors to Alnwick Castle in 2015 can explore a brand new Downton Abbey exhibition, featuring photography, costumes, and props from the filming. It is rumoured that the episode, which will be screened on Christmas Day in the UK, is likely to air in the US at the end of season 5, which runs from Sunday, January 4 on Masterpiece on PBS.

The castle is a centerpiece of The Wayfarers’ new itinerary, ‘Northumbria – Land of Castles, Saints and Vikings’, based on the ancient kingdom of one of Britain’s most remote and beautiful landscapes.

It is one of three Walks new to the schedule. The others are in Italy’s Puglia region and a new take on the historic pilgrimage route of the Via Francigena in Tuscany.

A Wayfarers’ Downton Abbey vacation already includes a visit inside the ‘real’ Downton, Highclere Castle, in the south of England, other key locations and hiking amid classic English villages and countryside.

In festive spirit, the company, which has been providing all-inclusive hiking tours for more than 30 years, is offering ‘a walk in an envelope’ – Gift Certificates which can be redeemed by the recipient for a Wayfarers’ vacation in one of 20 countries across the globe.

The vouchers are available for values from $500, up to the full price of a Walk.

“Our Walk in Northumbria was designed before we knew Alnwick would be a location in Downton Abbey, because it is such a wonderful place, steeped in more than 700 years of history,” The Wayfarers’ founder Michael West said. “As on our Downton Abbey Walk, we aim to give our guests much more than just a sight-seeing stop – we really aim to get beneath the skin of a place and I guarantee that Northumbria will be unforgettable.”

“Meanwhile, our Gift Certificates are the chance for someone to give a truly wonderful gift of one of our Walks as a surprise on Christmas morning – or at any time of the year!”

Founded more than 30 years ago, The Wayfarers Walking Vacations was named by National Geographic Traveler as purveyor of one of the ‘50 Tours of a Lifetime,’ and by National Geographic Adventure as one of the ‘Best Hiking Companies,’ The Wayfarers offers an eco-sensitive walking vacation of both culture and fitness in 19 countries with 40+ itineraries.

Walks cover England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Norway, New Zealand, Patagonia, Alaska, Colorado, Southwest USA, and a barging/walk combination in Burgundy, France.

Wayfarers Walks offer exclusive entrees into homes and gardens otherwise closed to the public, graceful accommodations, outstanding cuisine, and meetings with local residents. Walks are from 6-13 days and are rated on a five-level challenge scale. Price per person is all-inclusive from Day One: including all transfers, hotel accommodation, full board plus twice daily snacks, wine with dinner, tips, entrance tickets, maps and postcards.

The Wayfarers is a member of Trusted Adventures, www.trustedadventures.com, dedicated to the highest standards of small-group travel and supporting local economies.

The Wayfarers Walk Away Guide explains the benefits and practicalities of walking vacations and is guaranteed to inspire new walkers. Available at http://www.thewayfarers.com/walkawayguide

The Wayfarers 2015 Brochure http://bit.ly/1t2wwkr

For more information on all the Wayfarers Walks or the Gift Certificates contact www.thewayfarers.com, 800-249-4620 or email walk-info@thewayfarers.com

Facebook The Wayfarers Walking Vacations; Twitter @wayfarers; Instagram Wayfarerswalks.

 

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New: Moral Compass: Great Places to Go Where the Going Does Good

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Eurail Off-Peak Promotion Gives 20% Discount on Rail Passes

October 1, 2014
Using Eurailpass for the overnight train from Munich to Dijon © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Using Eurailpass for the overnight train from Munich to Dijon © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Travelers residing outside of Europe can once again take advantage of a special 20% discount off the regular price of Eurail Global & Select Passes during the fall and winter season. The off-peak promotional passes are available until December 31, 2014 and pass holders can travel through March 31, 2015. The offer is applicable to all product variations and includes both first and second class.

“The Eurail Off-Peak Promotion has already proven its success over the past two years. Increasingly travelers are realizing the advantages of Europe’s off-peak season,” says Silvia Görlach, Eurail Group’s Sales and Marketing Manager. “It is a win-win situation: not only can tourists benefit from a discounted Eurail Global or Eurail Select Pass, but travelers can also profit from discounted airfares, a wider selection of affordable hotel rooms and shorter or no lines when visiting popular tourist attractions,” Görlach concludes.

Fall and winter seasons showcase Europe in a different light. Sceneries from the train turn into winter wonderlands in much of central and northern Europe, while traditions change as well. Christmas markets, winter festivals and winter sports activities can be discovered across a variety of countries. Eurail Pass holders may also choose to head towards the Mediterranean where the temperature is warmer, yet the crowds much thinner versus summer.

Eurail Global Passes are valid for travel in 24 European countries (including free or discounted travel on some major shipping lines) and offer independent travelers the flexibility to create their own itinerary whilst hopping on and off trains across Europe. The Eurail Global Pass continues to be the most popular pass in the Eurail portfolio, followed closely by the Eurail Select Pass, valid for travel in four adjoining Eurail countries, offering travelers 27 participating countries to choose from.

Eurail Passes are available from a worldwide network of Authorized General Sales Agents.  For more information, visit: www.eurailgroup.org/eurail-vendors.

Eurail Group G.I.E., the organization which markets and manages the Eurail and InterRail Passes, is wholly owned by 30 participating railways and shipping companies. In addition, the Group has many benefit partners, including hotels, transport companies and museums, which offer their services either at a reduced rate or free of charge to rail pass holders.

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Eurail Pass Travelers Save Up to 40% on European Ferry Crossings on Grimaldi Lines

September 5, 2014

Eurail Pass travelers get even deeper discounts on ferry crossings between Spain, Greece, Sicily and Sardinia with an augmented partnership between Eurail and Grimaldi Lines.

Eurail’s benefit partner Grimaldi Lines offers a 20% discount on ferry crossings and a 10% discount on accommodation supplements such as Pullman seats, berths and cabins to Eurail Pass travelers who purchase a Eurail Pass on or after this date. These discounts apply to standard as well as special fares such as advanced booking offers. The discounts are also applicable in the off-season, providing even more value for money by saving 40% when booking ship passages between September 15 and December 21, 2104. Eurail Pass travelers can make reservations and redeem these special discounts via Grimaldiˈs Contact Centers and at its points of sales in Italy and Spain. For more information, please visit www.grimaldi-lines.com.

In addition, Eurail travelers can find detailed information about the Grimaldi Lines discounts on the Rail Planner App. This free and off-line app is available from the App Store or Google Play, providing travelers with valuable information such as a complete list of Eurail Pass benefits by country, a European railway timetable and more. For further details, visit: http://www.eurailgroup.org/railplanner

Grimaldi Lines, owned by the Grimaldi Group, is one of Europe’s leading shipping companies, offering ferry services to the most popular tourism destinations in the Mediterranean region. Grimaldi Lines connections are synonymous with convenience, comfort and safety, while its Cruise Roma and Cruise Barcelona routes, servicing Sardinia and Spain, offer facilities and services similar to those of cruise ships.

Eurail offers four types of Eurail Passes as part of its product portfolio to those residing outside of Europe: the Eurail Global Pass valid in 24 member countries, Eurail Select Pass, Eurail Regional Pass and Eurail One Country Pass. Eurail Passes are available from a worldwide network of Authorized Sales Agents.  Please visit: www.eurailgroup.org/eurail-vendors.

 

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LAST- MINUTE DEAL: Holiday Week in Paris from $1,269 with Air

August 20, 2014

Plunk your money (or credit card) down by August 28 and you can spend Thanksgiving or Christmas in Paris starting at $1,269 from New York or $1,377 from Chicago. This phenomenal deal includes round-trip air fare to Paris, 6 nights accommodation in the 3-star Comfort Hotel Mouffetard, and daily breakfast. Departures are every day from November 1 to December 27, but the package must be booked and paid in full by August 28.

Now that you can get an authentic turkey dinner in many Paris restaurants, Thanksgiving is a great time to enjoy the city. You can zoom to the top of the Eiffel Tower, see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, visit the Palace of Versailles, or even relish a cup of the world’s best hot chocolate at Angelina on the rue de Rivoli—all without the summer crowds. (TourCrafters offers optional tours of many Paris attractions.)

Christmastime, when the City of Light lives up to its name, is magical. There are Christmas illuminations on the Champs-Elysées and Place Vendôme, window displays at Printemps and other department stores, Christmas markets and ice skating rinks in several squares and wonderfully festive meals in many hotels and restaurants. Most impressive of all, there are Christmas services in the beautiful Gothic Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris.

The cozy, contemporary Comfort Hotel Mouffetard is on one of the most interesting old streets in Paris, close to the Latin Quarter, the famous Mouffetard Market and a metro stop, and surrounded by charming little shops, cafés and restaurants. Those who want something grander can upgrade to a 4-star hotel in Montparnasse, from $1,607.

TourCrafters has a similar last-minute deal to Vienna and Prague that includes some extras. The price starts at $1,539 from New York, $1,595 from Chicago.

All prices are per person, double occupancy, and are subject to availability. Fuel charges are included, but are subject to change by the airline. Airport taxes of $109 per person are not included and must be paid prior to departure. A supplement will be charged for weekend departures.

For more information, visit www.tourcrafters.com, click “Special Offers” and then “Deal of the Week.” For reservations, call 800-482-5995.

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TourCrafters Offers Air-Inclusive Deals for Fall Travel to Spain, Italy, Booked by Aug 28

August 9, 2014
TourCrafters is offering air-inclusive packages to Florence, Italy, in September and October © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

TourCrafters is offering air-inclusive packages to Florence, Italy, in September and October © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

TourCrafters is offering air-inclusive deals to Spain and Italy for September and October, booked and paid for by August 28.

This is the ideal time to travel to Europe: the weather is pleasant, the sidewalk cafés are open, but the summertime crowds have gone home.

TourCrafters’ six-night Madrid and Barcelona deal, for example, costs only $1,919 including round-trip air fare from New York, daily breakfast, three nights’ accommodation in a 3-star Madrid hotel, a half-day Madrid sightseeing tour, high-speed AVE train from Madrid to Barcelona, three nights in a 3-star Barcelona hotel and a half-day Artistic Tour of Barcelona.

You’ll have a chance to see such Madrid highlights as the Royal Palace, the Paseo del Prado and the Gran Via, and then take in some of the capital’s great museums and fine shops on your own. TourCrafters even offers an optional excursion to Toledo. In Barcelona the tour covers Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi’s masterpieces—the Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, and buildings on the Paseo de Gracia—but you’ll also have time to see the Gothic Quarter and the fascinating life (cafés, market, canaries, flower stalls) along Las Ramblas, as well as to dine in some of its celebrated restaurants.

TourCrafters is also offering the following September/October air and land deals: Rome and Florence, from $1,919; Madrid, Mallorca and Barcelona, from $3,079; Madrid, Ibiza and Barcelona, from $2,559; and Italy by Train, from $2,379.

In addition, for a limited time only, TourCrafters is having an Airfare Sale from New York (JFK) to several European destinations including London, Paris, Munich, Vienna, Prague and Athens.

All prices are per person, double occupancy. Air fare add-ons are available from many other cities than New York. Fuel charges are included but are subject to change by the airlines. Airport taxes ($109 per person) are not included and hotel taxes in Italy must be paid directly to the hotel in euros.

For more information on these last-minute fall deals, visit www.tourcrafters.com, click “Special Offers,” and then “Deal of the Week.” For reservations, call 800-482-5995.

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Fred Olsen Cruise Lines Unveils New ‘Poison, Murder & Mystery Cruise’ for Summer 2015

August 6, 2014

Oporto, Portugal, will be one of the stops on the Boudicca's 16-night "Poison, Murder & Mystery Cruise" presented by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Oporto, Portugal, will be one of the stops on the Boudicca’s 16-night “Poison, Murder & Mystery Cruise” presented by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Secrecy and suspense will be aboard 880-guest ship Boudicca for a 16-night “Poison, Murder & Mystery Cruise,” departing Rosyth (Edinburgh) July 10, 2015. The cruise, presented by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines links the Duchess of Northumberland’s ‘Poison Gardens’ at Alnwick Castle – which starred as ‘Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry’ in the Harry Potter films – and that of Mr. Fred. Olsen Senior in Guimar, Tenerife.

Fred. Olsen unveiled this participative ‘murder mystery’ cruise at an exclusive VIP launch at The Tower of London, hosted by The Duchess of Northumberland and Fred. Olsen Senior, on July 24, 2014.

Guests will get to take part in this great adventure as it unfolds on board, whilst Boudicca takes a leisurely cruise to Leixoes (for Oporto, Portugal), Funchal (Madeira), Santa Cruz (Tenerife), Las Palmas (Gran Canaria), Lisbon (Portugal) and Newcastle (UK) – famous as the ‘Agatha Christie Route’.

This intriguing ‘Poison, Murder & Mystery Cruise’ is a first for any cruise line, and is the result of a creative collaboration between Mr. Fred. Olsen Senior and Her Grace, the Duchess of Northumberland. Fred. Olsen is delighted that, as well as hosting the largest participative ‘murder mystery’ event ever held on a cruise ship – which will be officially witnessed on board by ‘Guinness World Records’ – the Duchess will be joining the ship for part of the voyage, along with Mr. Fred. Olsen Senior, it is hoped.

“In Fred. Olsen, I was excited to meet someone with a fellow passion for poison plants, and together we have sown a seed that has flourished into this fascinating cruise experience for Fred. Olsen’s guests next year, linking our two unique gardens,” Her Grace, The Duchess of Northumberland, said.

“I wanted to create a ‘theatre of poisons and poisoning’, and working with Fred. has allowed me to bring this desire to life aboard a cruise ship, where guests can sample something new, something different and something very special indeed!”

“It seemed to me the most natural thing to undertake such a cruise, with so few ‘Poison Gardens’ in Europe,” said Fred. Olsen Senior, Chairman of the Fred. Olsen group of companies. “For me, it is very special to be able to link these gardens with a unique cruise itinerary, and we know that many of our guests share an enthusiasm for gardening. We also know, from previous experiences such as our Titanic Centenary cruise in April 2012, that they enjoy dressing up and taking part in murder mystery-themed events.”

Highlights of this cruise include:

– Visit to The Alnwick Garden and Alnwick Castle – the grand and magnificent home of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland. Here, guests will not only see the Gardens – which have been transformed by Her Grace with an investment of over £40 million – but also visit the only ‘Poison Garden’ in Britain.

– In Tenerife, discover the mythical ‘Pyramids of Guimar’ and their own ‘Poison Garden’.

– Throughout the cruise, the subject of poison and mystery will be everywhere, with plays, talks and special tours – and a murder mystery starting as soon as guests get on board, which will run through to a ‘Grand Finale’ at Alnwick Castle.

Felix Francis, younger son of thriller-writing legend, Dick Francis, will be penning a short crime story on board as the intrigue around this cruise unravels.

Guest speakers on this cruise include:

Peter Dean, Her Majesty’s Coroner for Essex and a former Forensic Medical Examiner with the Metropolitan Police, with some fascinating and gruesome insights into his varied and often ‘dark’ career.

Doctor Dan Jones, eminent poison Historian and Archaeologist, who gives a closer look into Rasputin and the Borgias family’s darkest secrets!

Doctor Mark Siddall, curator of ‘The Power of Poison’ exhibition at The American Museum of Natural History, will be cooking up all manner of potions and poisons in a hands-on, interactive demonstration.

The Duchess of Northumberland is the visionary behind The Alnwick Garden, the largest visitor attraction in the North East. It is a registered charity, which aims to raise aspirations and run charitable programmes for the education and well-being of the local community. It offers local people access to projects, events, services and opportunities and it aims to promote a healthy, fulfilled quality of life. Alnwick Castle and The Alnwick Garden welcome over 800,000 visitors each year. She has travelled worldwide and around the UK, giving over 400 lectures about The Alnwick Garden and its charitable ethos.

She is particularly interested in natural poisons and aphrodisiacs and has built one of the only ‘Poison Gardens’ in the world, in which every plant is a killer. She had a trilogy of books published called ‘The Poison Diaries’ and recently a ‘Little Book of Poisons, Potions and Aphrodisiacs’ and one of ‘Jams, Jellies and Preserves’, with her own range of marmalades being commercially made from the oldest known recipe in the world.  The latest book, ‘The Little Book of Cocktails, Cordials and Elixirs’ – just recently launched – features some of the oldest recipes for cocktails and cordials ever recorded.

The cruise returns to Edinburgh on the morning of July 26, 2015, after two weeks of mystery, poison and murder at sea.

Prices start from $4125 per person, based on two adults sharing a twin-bedded, Inside cabin, and include accommodation, all meals and entertainment, plus port fees. If guests book by August 31 2014, they can take advantage of free door-to-door travel for guests who live within 250 mainland miles of Rosyth or up to $250 per person free onboard spending credit.

For further information on Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, visit the website at www.bortonoverseas.com.

 

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Eurail Promotion Provides Up to 5 Days Free Travel

August 6, 2014
Eurail Group G.I.E. is responsible for the marketing and management of the InterRail and Eurail Passes, providing unlimited rail travel across Europe © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Eurail Group G.I.E. is responsible for the marketing and management of the InterRail and Eurail Passes, providing unlimited rail travel across Europe © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

From August 1 to September 30, 2014 Eurail is offering non-European residents additional free travel days on the Eurail Global Pass Continuous and 4-Country Select Passes.

The free travel days are intended to enable passholders maximize their travel experience by discovering even more of Europe by train.

The number of extra travel days depends on the type of pass:  the campaign offers one extra travel day for the 4-Country Select Pass, two extra travel days for the 15-day Global Pass Continuous, three extra travel days for the 21-day Global Pass Continuous and five extra travel days for the one month Global Pass Continuous. This special offer is applicable to all product variations for both first and second class.

Since passes are available within a six month pre-booking period, Eurail customers can take advantage of the promotion until April 2015, and take advantage of off-peak travel.

“The advantages of shorter lines at tourism sites and lower prices are obvious,” says Silvia Görlach, Marketing Manager of the Eurail Group G.I.E.  “Visiting Europe once the large crowds have left is a completely different experience in which tourists have the chance to discover Europe, its culture and inhabitants in a more authentic and relaxed environment.”

Eurail’s Extra Days promotion runs alongside Eurail’s “Free Roaming” promotion, launched on July 7, offering the first 2,500 Eurail Select and Global Pass customers who register their pass purchase on www.eurail-roaming.com a Eurail Free Roaming SIM Card with a pre-paid credit of 18 Euros.

Eurail Passes are available from a worldwide network of Authorized General Sales Agents. Please visit www.eurailgroup.org/eurail.

Established in 2001, the Eurail Group G.I.E. is responsible for the marketing and management of the InterRail and Eurail Passes, providing unlimited rail travel across Europe. The organization is based in Utrecht (the Netherlands) and is wholly owned by 30 railways and shipping companies.The Group also has many partners including hotels, transport companies and museums, which offer their services either at a reduced rate or free of charge to rail pass holders.

 

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4-Star Villa le Barone, Chianti, Italy, Features Wine-Tasting & Cooking Lessons

July 31, 2014
The charming 28-room hotel Villa le Barone is set amongst the timeless landscape of Chianti, and has been in the famous Della Robbia family since the 16th century.

The charming 28-room hotel Villa le Barone is set amongst the timeless landscape of Chianti, and has been in the famous Della Robbia family since the 16th century.

Villa le Barone, the four-star luxury hotel in Panzano, Chianti, in the heart of Italy’s scenic region of Tuscany, offers guests the chance to enjoy a day of wine tasting and cooking lessons while vacationing in one of the most glorious and scenic regions of Tuscany.

What better place to enjoy a Chianti wine than in Italy’s own Chianti Region? Villa le Barone offers a memorable “Gastronomia Toscana” (Enjoy Wines and Tuscan Gastronomy) package which includes a welcome bottle of Prosecco and fresh flowers in the guestroom, an itinerary with or without a driver to explore the Chianti region, a large buffet breakfast, Tuscan dinner and a complimentary bottle of Chianti Classico or a free bottle of local grown extra virgin olive oil (agroqualità) as well as an option to take a local cooking class.

“When Villa le Barone was a farm at the beginning of the 20th century, it produced Vin Santo, and the grapes were hung in what is now the Garden House,” explains Jacqueline Aloisi de Larderel, proprietor and descendent of the generation of family who have owned the historic hotel since the 1600s. “The traditional dessert wine possesses a beautiful amber color and touched with a lovely smell of dried fruit, apricot, honey and acacia flowers.”

“A good meal in Tuscany concludes with Vin Santo (Holy Wine) and Cantucci (sweet almond cookies) and is quite a treat,” adds Corso Aloisi de Larderel, co-proprietor of the 28-room historic villa. “Dinner under the chandeliers of our restaurant or on the terrace of our hotel is the right time to dip the cantucci into the Vin Santo in the Tuscan tradition.”

Set in the heart of Tuscany, between the historic cities of Siena and Florence, Chianti is noted for its wine, food, landscape, culture, and its inspiration for poets and painters, with its rolling hills of vineyards, olive trees, woods, farmhouses, and castles. Individual churches are surrounded by dark cypresses and impressive monuments throughout the quaint villages of the area.

From July 15- August 31, 2014 and October 1 – October 13, 2014, the Villa le Barone’s Gastronomy di Tuscany (Enjoy Wines and Tuscan Gastronomy package) ranges from €960 (approximately $US 1,305/$CA 1,340) for a classic room to €1160 (approximately $US 1,580/$CA 1,680) for a Historic Room or Junior Suite, for two people for three nights.

From September 1-30, 2014, prices range from €1000 (approximately $1,360) for a classic room, to €1210 (approximately $1,645) for a historic room or junior suite for two persons for three nights.

The cooking course is an additional €100 Euros (approximately $136) and includes two hours with a Tuscan cook, a souvenir apron and the meal that you have actually prepared to enjoy. Car and driver for a day trip through Chianti is an additional €380 (approximately $517).

Rich History

Villa Le Barone was built as a tower in the middle ages and was the seat of a Baronetcy, hence the name “Le Barone.” During the Renaissance, the tower was torn down and converted to a Villa, surrounded by its agricultural estate, where the renowned Della Robbia family spent summers.

After the World War I, Marchesa Maria Bianca Viviani Della Robbia managed Villa le Barone as a wine and olive oil estate. Maria Bianca was the granddaughter of François de Larderel, a French 18th century industrialist, who discovered and developed the use of geothermal energy in Tuscany.

Marie Bianca’s daughter, Duchess Franca Visconti, converted the Villa into a charming boutique hotel, keeping the refined and elegant atmosphere of a private house, while offering all the contemporary comforts and amenities.  Villa le Barone is now the property of Duchess Franca Visconti’s heirs, whom you will meet when you stay at Villa le Barone.

The charming 28-room hotel Villa le Barone is set amongst the timeless landscape of Chianti, and has been in the famous Della Robbia family since the 16th century. The swimming pool, tennis court, fitness trail, fitness room and terraces are set amongst large rose gardens, with views over the surrounding countryside, olive groves and the vineyards of Chianti Classico. In the old winery, the restaurant serves traditional Tuscan food and of course, the world-renowned local Chianti wines.

For more information about the “Gastronomia Toscana” (Enjoy Wines and Tuscan Gastronomy package) or to simply learn more about the local wines in the area, to book a reservation, or to learn more about the variety of recreational activities one can enjoy at Villa le Barone, visit www.villalebarone.com.

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New Walking Tour Explores Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace

July 24, 2014

Context, organizer of critically acclaimed walking tours, expands its program in Vienna with Gilded Ambition: a Tour of Schönbrunn Palace, a walk within the spectacular interiors of the Habsburgs’ summer residence and a close consideration of the interwoven history of the Habsburg Monarchy.

Built at the end of the 17th century by Emperor Leopold I, Schönbrunn Palace is situated within an expanse of glorious gardens, and home to almost 1500 exquisitely preserved rooms, many of which are open to the public. The palace provides a unique platform for understanding a complex history, and exploring the lives and loves of a long line of Habsburg monarchs. Each room is adorned with ancient artwork and fine furnishings that reveal an intricate and compelling storyline about those who lived there.

Gilded Ambition guides visitors through the lives of successive Habsburg monarchs, uncovering narratives and provoking discussion and consideration of this hugely influential family. Led by a local expert, the 2.5-hour walking seminar goes beyond standard show-and-tell tours, to instill a deeper understanding of the complex narratives and geopolitical influences revealed by the palace and its interior.

The tour also connects the past with the present, revealing how the Habsburgs’ legacy, as manifest in Schönbrunn Palace, continues to speak to modern day Vienna, its culture, its people and their outlook.

“Schönbrunn Palace is Austria’s most popular tourist attraction, yet we wanted to create a unique way to experience it.” says Natalie Holmes, Context’s Central Europe manager and co-creator of the tour. “The tour joins the dots between this magnificent monument, its complex historical significance, and its modern-day legacy.”

Gilded Ambition: a Tour of Schönbrunn Palace lasts 2 1/2 hours and is available daily. Group walks cost €65 per person, plus €14.50 (adult), €8.50 (child 6-18) for palace entry. Private tours cost €280 per party. As with all Context walking seminars, groups are led by a credentialed expert and limited to six (6) people maximum.

Founded by National Geographic writer Paul Bennett and designer Lani Bevacqua, Context Travel, which is based in Philadelphia, is a network of English-speaking scholars and professionals, including art historians, writers, architects and gastronomes, who organize and lead walking seminars in twenty-four (24) world cities, including: Florence, Rome, Venice, Naples, Paris, London, Edinburgh, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., Istanbul, Athens, Beijing, Shanghai, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Amsterdam, Tokyo, and Kyoto. A certified B Corporation, Context Travel was named one of the fastest growing American companies in 2011 by Inc Magazine. Travel + Leisure has called Context one of the top European tour companies for its innovative approach to travel and the depth of its programs. To learn more about Context, visit the website at: www.contexttravel.com.

See also:

On the Danube Bike Trail: Seeing Vienna by Bike and slideshow

Jewish Heritage Preserved in Vienna, Austria and slideshow

 

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