While Manchester may not be high on the radar yet for American travelers, it welcomes the UK’s third largest number of visitors, exceeded only by London and Edinburgh. They come to enjoy a vibrant city that’s England’s most ethnically diverse, a melting pot of Britain’s vast former empire.
When people think of storybook medieval German towns, the talk generally revolves around Rothenberg ob der Tauber, as well it should; it’s a beautiful medieval city on the Romantic Road in Bavaria. It has picturesque lanes, half-timbered houses and an intact fortification wall gives you a good idea of what a medieval town looked like nearly 1,000 years ago. It is even said that Walt Disney used some of Rothenberg’s medieval buildings for inspiration when constructing Disneyland. The region also attracts millions and millions of visitors each year.
While Rothenberg is a must-see city, discerning travelers may have an issue with those millions of tourists. In this age of experiential travel, many people want to avoid places that even slightly resemble a tourist trap and the souvenir shops that go with that moniker. If only Franconian Bavaria had an undiscovered medieval town that had the charm, the architecture and the culture of Rothenberg, yet without the millions of tourists. Well, luckily there is one! And its name is Iphofen.
For those of us who grew up during the Cold War era the cities of the Ukraine were viewed enigmatically. Ukraine was located on the other side of the Iron Curtain and so it seemed to be off-limits, not just a different political system, but a different world entirely. Yet, for those who dared to delve to dream of visiting the forbidden cities on the other side of the Iron Curtain, they also conjured up images from a previous age...the beauty of legendary opera houses, ancient monasteries, great literature and beautiful parks and the romance of a long ago age.
On water, on rails, in historic manor houses or smart city hotels, Scotland knows how to do luxury travel.
While the Royal Scotsman is well-known to high-end travelers as one of the world’s grandest train trips, the Hebridian Princess (www.hebridean.co.uk) may be less familiar to clients seeking a luxury Scottish vacation. A cruise on board this 50-passenger ship is like being the guest at a floating house party at a posh country house.
But this house party’s scenery changes constantly and each day brings a different shore experience - the ghost town on rarely visited St Kilda, an airport with a white-sand beach for a runway, prehistoric sites, castles, the fabled isle of Iona, and one of Britain’s most famous gardens at Inverewe. Service is impeccable - seamless, cordial and good-humored. Staterooms are spacious and public areas intimate and welcoming. No wonder when Queen Elizabeth II plans a family cruise she charters the Hebridean Princess.
Few destinations have breezes as fragrant or seas as clear as the islands and coastline of Croatia. Speed boats and a ferry from Venice access Losinj, an island 25 miles off the northern Adriatic coast of Croatia. The island can also be reached by flying from Zagreb to Pula in Istria, ferrying to Krk and the island of Cres and driving to the main town of Mali Losinj. Plans are underway to lengthen the runway to accommodate larger planes. Adventures Croatia (www.adventurescroatia.com) customizes travel itineraries to fit the interests, budget and style of your clients traveling in Croatia.
I was among eight passengers aboard a private King Air plane, which flew from Marco Polo International Airport in Venice to Losinj, an enchanting, health promoting island.
At Ireland’s School of Falconry on the grounds of The Ashford Castle in County Mayo, Ireland, on the shores of Lough Corrib, the Harris hawk named Inca was placed on the leather glove on my left arm and cocked her head inquisitively at me.
As my guide led me into the woods that surround the castle, he explained that when Lord and Lady Ardilaun of the Guinness family owned the castle they planted the thick forest that gives the place its enchanted feeling. I felt transported back in time.
As I flew my hawk and it gracefully moved through the trees and back to perch on my arm, I experienced the grounds in a way that felt like a portal into the lives of those who had made this their home over the centuries.
In Western Europe, the World War I Centennial continues with the 100th anniversary of the day, April 6, 1917, that the United States officially entered the war. Our troops fought only eight months, but they actually helped turn the war’s tide.
France was the largest site of U.S. involvement, though major battles also were fought in Belgium’s Flanders province. From Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy southeast to Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine, France’s Western Front stretched more than 300 miles.
Tourism news in Germany this year revolves around culture and the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation.
When Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of a Wittenburg Church in 1517, he began a religious revolution that changed not only the history of the church, but of his country and the world. In 2017 the cities where Luther’s reformation began, grew and thrived are celebrating its wide-reaching effects on thought and culture. What began in Wittenburg spread through the eastern German states, into Thuringia and Saxony, where Luther was given protection after being condemned as a heretic.
When talking to clients about possible sun and surf destinations, it’s often hard to differentiate one lovely resort island from another - the resorts often seem cookie cutter, with the exact amenities from island to island. The cure for the ordinary island vacation is simple... send your clients to Tenerife. While it might not be quite as convenient as a Caribbean island, it makes up for the slightly longer travel time by offering more...much more!
With a 20% increase in American travelers last year, Portugal has earned its place as one of Europe’s top emerging destinations. Couple that with the jump in the value of the US dollar against the euro and you have lots of reasons to suggest a Portugal vacation to your clients.