6 Reasons Why We Travel

By NH | 12:34

You’re probably familiar with the term “wanderlust”, and with that tickling feeling, you get in your stomach before that long awaited trip to one of your dream destinations. It is true, traveling gives us an adrenaline rush to which some become addicted and no wonder! Travelling allows us to experience emotions like nothing else in life can.

Here are some of the reasons many of us pack our bags and hit the road…

  • In the quest for out of this world sights

There are 196 countries in the world today, and over 1.692 cities to be discovered. Each one of them more interesting than the other, with ancient secrets, breathtaking landscapes, and impressive monuments to be beheld by passionate travelers just like you. Which of these have you seen?

Chichen Itza, Mexico

Salinas Grandes, Córdoba

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Parque Nacional Tayrona

  • For the spectacle

Another popular “excuse” to pack your bags and travel far, far away (or maybe not so far), are local, popular celebrations, music festivals, carnivals… Why relax when you could be living large just like the locals. Here are some of our favorites:

Carnaval of Barranquilla
If we asked you to name a big Carnival celebration in South-America, we’re sure your mind would immediately fly away to Brazil, right? But the truth is that Barranquilla, in Colombia, hosts one of the biggest street parties in the world. It takes place each February and lasts 4 days.

Oktoberfest
One of the most amazing times of the year to visit Germany, besides Christmas and it’s lovely markets, is the period between September 16th and October 3rd, when the notorious Oktoberfest takes place. Many German cities have celebrated this historical festival since the Middle Ages, but the original, often called Wiesn, takes place in Munich. Here’s Oktoberfest in numbers: more than 6 million people around the world join the party every year, over 7.7 million liters are consumed during the two-week festival, plus an impressive total of 140.225 pork sausages!

Amsterdam Gay Pride
Every year, the end of August marks the beginning of a fun and colorful party in Amsterdam. The Gay Pride is a huge celebration where more than a thousand boats and hundreds of thousands people from all over the world, band together to support lesbian, gay, and LGBT rights.

  • To relax and rejuvenate

The benefits of going on vacation are obvious; during a break and as our bodies shut down the stress systems, we feel healthier, happier, and studies show that holidays have a very positive effect on productivity. But where to disconnect? These places are perfect to unwind. One almost feels 4 years younger just by looking at the pictures!

Corales del Rosario Natural Park, Colombia

Mallorca, Spain

Amalfi Coast, Italy

  • Love for adventure

Are you an adrenaline junkie? Then you’ve most likely joined the club of those that plan their travels around adrenaline-charged adventures; from scuba-diving or kayaking at the Guatapé Reservoir (also known as “The Hamptons of Medellin”) to paragliding the spectacular skies of Medellin and its surroundings, or trekking the Andes Mountains.

Potrerillos Dam, near Mendoza, Argentina

Guatapé Reservoir, Colombia

Iztaccihuatl Volcano, Mexico

  • The joy of quick getaways

Sometimes we don’t have time to take a long break, or maybe it’s just that we need a short weekend in a new city to get away for a bit, and cross another destination off the “To-Do List”. We love the fact that short getaways are easier to plan, it’s a great way to celebrate a special occasion, and they are kinder on our pockets! These are some of our favorite cities for a weekend mini vacation, Summer or Winter.

London, United Kingdom

Prague, Czech Republic

Rome, Italy

  • Following your Stomach

Have you ever heard of gastronomic wanderlust? Yes, it is a real thing. One of the amazing things we get from traveling is the endless possibilities of discovering and trying new dishes, new ingredients, and new flavor combinations. Gastronomy is, in fact, another great way to travel across centuries of tradition and history in different regions!

Chocolate from Turin, Italy
This Italian city is considered the home of Europe’s best chocolate since the 17th century. Surely you’ve heard of Gianduiotti. No? Time to change that.

Ratatouille from Nice, France
Did you know that this famous dish was born in Nice? If you’ve never tried it, you will absolutely love it after you have a taste of a real and savory Niçois Ratatouille… even those who are not a big fan of Ratatouille end up being the biggest fans.

Pasteis de Nata from Lisbon, Portugal
There are several “must-try” delicacies for you to try when traveling to Lisbon, and one of them is the Pasteis de Nata. This sweet pastry dates back to the 18th Century. The best place to buy them is a very special bakery, the Antiga Confeitaria de Belem. And why is it so special? Their very secret recipe dates back to 200 years!

Now it’s your turn.So tell us, why do you travel?

Your NH Hotel hotel.

The Best Travel Apps You Need In 2017

By NH | 11:43

Some say that the App market is saturated, so, it is very normal to go through two or three apps before you find the one that meets your needs. In this blog post, we’ve done a thorough run-down of the best travel Apps on the market this year, and apps that can be useful during your next adventure. If you’ve got a trip coming up, make sure to update your smartphone with these little gems!

PackPoint

Packing before a trip is, for many of us, one of our least favorite things to do. Well, if that’s the case, or even if you’re a meticulous packing machine, this App will prove itself extremely useful and easy to use. Input the reason for your trip (business or pleasure), the destination, and trip length, and PackPoint will create a customized packing list for you. Say bye to forgetting crucial items!

Circa – World Time and Meeting Planner

Travel so much you don’t know which timezone you’re in anymore? Well designed and very intuitive, Circa is great for anyone working with teams across multiple time zones… for example:

Circa App – Find times that work for everyone! from carbon12 on Vimeo.

Guides by Lonely Planet

Another perfect travel buddy for future trips. Lonely Planet’s app is very easy to use, with great offline maps and offers comprehensive guides of everything you need to do or see in over 38 cities worldwide. Some of its basic features are downloadable guides with maps, bookmarks to save the places you want to see, filter options by price, and notifications for news and updates. Not traveling? This app is great for daydreaming too. Here’s a preview:

Audible

This addictive App by Amazon has changed the way we digest books. How? It’s all in the title… you listen to your favorite books whilst on the move; on the plane, in the car, while you’re getting ready for work, doing your grocery shopping… Audible books can be listened to without data or WiFi once you’ve downloaded them, and the App keeps you updated on new releases that might interest you.

FindPenguins

Here’s one for travelaholics or those of you embarking on a journey that takes you across the world. This App offers the perfect way to record your journey across the world and makes storing your most treasured memories a breeze. It’s easy to set up and add posts, it includes a travel map, and it works offline. Family and friends won’t miss a single thing of your adventures… but perhaps might make them envious.

Waze

Do you rent a car when traveling? Then you’ll be happy to learn about Waze, the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation App. It’s maps, voice guide, and GPS are some of its great features, and it is extremely simple to use. We are sure it will become your best friend not only during your travels but also when you get back home!

Skyscanner

Not new but still one of the best cheap flights apps out there, this is ideal for planning trips ahead of time, especially thanks to the price breakdown issued on a monthly basis. Skyscanner’s app is free to download and use, and unlike other travel apps, it not only allows you to look for flights, it also provides the traveler with a complete and interesting collection of travel guides, suggestions, and local tips.

Duolingo

Without a doubt, Duolingo is one of the most loved language Apps on the market. Why do we think you should have it? Because it always helps to know some of the basics in the local language of your next travel destination, capisce? Lessons in Duolingo follow a logical order, doing an excellent job of guiding the user through a language, and includes interactive activities that make the learning process even more fun… even for kids.

Sidekix

Available in hundreds of cities worldwide, Sidekix is a personalized travel guide based on your personal interests. Are you interested in art or do you prefer to go shopping? Are you looking for the best cafes and restaurants, or the best nightclubs? This app allows you to discover cities by foot, making sure you visit the coolest places in your chosen destination.

SoloTraveller

The name pretty much says it all. This is an App for those of us who travel solo and wish to connect with other fellow travelers. SoloTraveller allows you to meet local people, search for nearby popular locations, share your traveling experiences and get in touch with like-minded people in real time.

And just because we love it… Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System

One for the kids here. Though not travel orientated, this is too good not to mention. There is an infinite number of engaging, intricate apps specially designed for children but it’s this one that we love most. When on holiday there’s nothing better than taking a moment to stargaze, and what better than with your children. Perfect to get the little ones thinking, Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System is one of the most recently-released apps in the astronomy category. The app is great for teaching kids about science, space and the Solar System, and can add an extra twist. Here’s a preview:

German Travel Tips: Do’s & Dont’s

By NH | 16:09

 

When we travel somewhere new, it is important as well as useful, to learn about our destination’s cultural and social norms. This is one of the most basic tips we can give for responsible travel! Lapses in etiquette cannot only be uncomfortable but depending on the situation, they can generate unwanted “trouble”.

So, in order to make your next trip to Germany less bumpy, here are 12 simple rules, plus some extra and curious travel tips, that will ensure a culturally immersive trip to the country of poets and thinkers.

1. Address people with the formal “you”, Sie.

When you talk to strangers, a work colleague ranked in a higher position, the waiter or people you don’t know very well, make sure to address them as Sie. “Du” is only used when speaking to family, friends, or a child.

2. Many establishments don’t accept credit cards.

Make sure you visit the ATM before you start your sightseeing tour!

3. The handshake is the established greeting.

The way people greet each other can change a lot depending on where you are. In France for example, it is customary to kiss cheeks while Tibetan monks stick their tongue outs to great each other. German etiquette is not as innovative; brief and firm handshakes are the way to go for greeting someone in Germany, and as a goodbye, once you leave.

4. Respect the bike lane.

Last year, Germany opened the first stretch of its “bike highway”, a cycle route that will cover, once it’s finished, 100 kilometers between the cities of Duisburg and Hamm. As in any cycle-friendly city, Germans treat bicycles with respect and have designated cycle paths for them to circulate on, and pedestrians may not occupy, walk or remain in them!

5. No jaywalking.

One thing Germans are world-renowned is their devotion to following rules. If you want to avoid stern looks, yelling grannies and even a fine, make sure you cross the street when the little man in the “Ampel” is green.

6.Remove shoes before entering German house.

There are some countries, like Sweden, Finland or Indonesia, where it is common courtesy to take off your shoes when entering someone’s home. The same thing happens in Germany, when visiting someone it is polite to take your shoes off and leave them by the door. Make sure you wear nice socks!

7.The German Spa Experience is different.

Indeed, it might be a little bit different than what you’re used to. If you’re a newbie, know that swimming suits are not allowed for hygienic reasons. Yeap, everyone enters the sauna nude. The idea is to relax and unwind, and Germans are much more comfortable showing skin than other nations but if you’re not so comfortable with the idea, try to go off-peak hours.

nhow Berlin

8. Lost & Found.

People in Deutschland really do look out for one another. Although they don’t brag about it, and that is why, when finding an item that someone could have lost, they hang the item on a tree branch. Curious, isn’t it?

9. No pillow-fights.

According to German law, a pillow can be considered a passive weapon. So think twice before getting into a pillow fight with a German! FYI, Berlin and other German cities celebrate the International Pillow Fight Day every year, an interesting and fun opportunity to make those feathers fly.

10. Play the piano during the day!

If you’re close to a piano at night, make sure you don’t tune it after midnight. Inspiration can wait till the morning, 08:00 am to be more specific. Germans love their silence and the Federal High Court of Justice will be after you if you don’t respect it!

11. Maintain eye contact when toasting.

When drinking beer, schnapps or wine you’ll see people toasting with Prost! or Zum Wohl!. Germans believe that if you don’t look your companions in the eyes when clinking glasses, you’ll be punished with seven years of bad luck. Plus your politeness will be questioned.

12.Don’t point your finger at your head.

This might seem a bit of a weird advice but the fact is that by gesturing that way, you’re basically telling someone they’re crazy.

And last but not least, here’s a small sample of basic German vocabulary and phrases you’ll need to during your trip. Gutte Reise!

Thank you → Danke (pronounced DAHN-kuh)
Please → Bitte (pronounced BIT-tuh)
You’re welcome → Bitte (pronounced BIT-tuh)
Yes → Ja (pronounced yah)
No → Nein (pronounced nine)
Excuse me→ Entschuldigen Sie (pronounced ent-SHOOL-de-gen zee)
Good day! → Guten Tag (pronounced GOO-ten tahk)
Goodbye → Auf Wiedersehen (pronounced owf VEE-der-zeen)
My name is → Ich heisse… (pronounced ich HYE-suh)
Do you have…? → Haben Sie (pronounced HAH-ben zee)
A room → Ein Zimmer (eye-n TSIM-air)
A rental car → ein Mietwagen (eye-m MEET-vahgen)

Your hotel in Germany

20 Reasons To Visit Amsterdam This Summer

By NH | 13:10

 

During the summer, the most popular vacations spots are usually those near a beautiful beach bathed by turquoise waters. Places like Cape Verde, Mexico, or Spain have long been among the most popular choices for a summer retreat, but if you’re looking for different type of vacation this year and are wondering on where to go, we have one idea: the artsy and great city of Amsterdam.

Here are 20 reasons of why you should visit Netherland’s capital this summer:

1. Begijnhof Chapel

Far away from traffic and pollution, you’ll find the beautiful Begijnhof Chapel. Hidden in the famous courtyard that goes by the same name, this century old treasure faces a magnificent garden and can be visited from 8 am to 5 pm. The perfect spot to rest a bit before continuing your sightseeing tour.

2. Hortus Botanicus

Another great place to get away from the hustle and bustle, and a Must-Do in your Amsterdam list, is the small but beautiful Botanical Garden, located nearby the Artis Zoo and Amsterdam’s Jewish Historical Museum. The Hortus heritage goes back over 350 years when it was founded as a place for education and research concerning the world of plants, in order to battle the Black Death.

3. The Cat Cabinet

Meow. Do you like cats? Join the club! This will be an interesting visit for any cat lover, a museum where you can admire different works of art and the main protagonist is, of course, the cat. You’ll even see a few of them wandering around! One of our favorite things of this museum is its relaxed atmosphere and the fact that it is perfect for a family visit.

4. Heineken Experience

Probably one of the most famous attractions in Amsterdam, the Heineken Experience is the perfect activity to enjoy by yourself or with friends alike. Interesting and informative, the tour will take you through Heineken’s old brewery, it includes a beer tasting session and numerous interactive games. Ready to taste Heineken beer like you never did before?

5. Amsterdam Canal Cruise

One of the most memorable ways to discover beautiful Amsterdam is by exploring the city and enjoying the unique views on a boat cruise. It is especially beautiful during the evening! You can book an hour and half candlelit cruise through Amsterdam’s UNESCO-listed canals that will allow you to enjoy the city while is still light, at dusk and then at night. Some of the main sights you’ll pass by include Amsterdam’s Dancing Houses, the Red Light District, and Anne Frank House.

6. Amsterdam Bike Tour

And once you’re already in Amsterdam, you can’t leave without doing as locals do, and pedal through the city’s most beautiful streets. Joining a guided bike tour is an interesting option, but so it is to create a personalized route through Amsterdam’s highlights. If you’ve got two hours, you have plenty of time to take the best views of the old town!

7. Vondelpark Open Air Theatre

Every summer, the largest park in Amsterdam, Vondelpark, hosts concerts, performances and movie screenings every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with a beautiful scenery as a backdrop. The summerlong event is called Amsterdam Vondelpark Festival and performances start between 12.00pm and 14.00h until 16.00h or 17.00h.

8. Eating Amsterdam Tours

As one of Europe’s most vibrant cities, Amsterdam offers a great food experience. How does a 4-hour tour, hopping from one restaurant to other, sound? Not only will you enjoy fish, sweets, coffee, beer and probably the best apple pie there is, you’ll also get do something out of the tourist beaten path. Just note that the most recommended tours are the Jordaan Food and Canals Tour, Jordaan Food Tour and the Twilight De Pijp Food Tour.

9. Amsterdam Gay Pride

This summer, from July 28th to August 6th, a huge celebration will take place in Amsterdam. Know what we are talking about? Yes, it is the Amsterdam Gay Pride 2017, a celebration of lesbian, gay and LGBT rights. More than a thousand boats join the colorful and music-filled party, with people from all over the world. Out tip: Go early if you want a good seat along the canals, otherwise, you won’t be able to enjoy the boat parade!

10. Electric Ladyland

Amsterdam is proud of hosting the only museum in the world dedicated to the wonders of fluorescent art. Great to go with kids as well! Marvel the large collections of phosphoric minerals from different parts of the planet. For only 5€, enjoy a fun, informative and relaxed tour!

Photo: Nick Paladino

11. Micropia

We already know that one reason to visit Amsterdam this summer is its museums, like the one mentioned earlier in the article. Other well-known, and definitely worth the visit exhibitions, are the famous Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, and Anne Frank House. But why not try something a little bit riskier? Our proposal is a visit to Micropia, the world’s first museums to collect the horrible and wonderful microbes living on and around us.

12. The Hash

No visit to Amsterdam would be complete without learning about the history and future of cannabis. And for that, The Hash museum is just the perfect place to go. The visit is very insightful on the plant and its multiple uses, recreational or medical, or even to make clothes! The ticket allows you the entrance to both parts of the museum.

13. Tassen Museum of Bags and Purses

Another museum in our list. This is the largest collection of handbags in the world, with more than 5.000 items and counting. The oldest one dates back to the 16th century and was used to carry mostly Bibles, alms, etc.. The origins of bags and purses, and their evolution is well explained throughout the exhibit, this place is a hidden gem! An unexpected delight settled in a beautiful Herengracht canal house, close to Rembrandtplein.

14. Ets Haim Library

Don’t miss the chance to explore the world’s oldest Jewish Library, founded in the 17th century when Sephardic Jews were establishing its community in Amsterdam. Ets Haim, meaning “Tree of Life”, holds nearly 30.000 printed works dating back to 1484, beautiful chandeliers, and a unique ambiance. No wonder it has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage list!

15. Pijp

Our favorite hipster neighborhood in Amsterdam, located in its southeastern part, is filled with underground bars, restaurants, cute cafés and cool shops to spend hours at. Some would say this area is the city’s heartbeat. Its diversity makes Pijp one of the best places to buy snacking treats that take you to Morocco, Thailand, Pakistan, China or Spain, it’s special vibe won’t leave you indifferent.

16. Ctaste

We’ve mentioned this restaurant in a previous article but we think it’s worth to insist on it since it offers such a unique dining experience. If you’re bored of traditional restaurants (and we’re not talking about the food), it’s time to try a dinner in the dark… An extraordinary journey of senses!

17. Corpus

Ever imagined a journey through the whole of the human body? Well, it is possible in Amsterdam. Science geeks will love this amazing exhibition, but so will the rest of us! At the museum, you are provided with audio guides in different languages that lead you on an exploring tour of the human body from the inside. You’ll never forget about it!

18. Flirting Workshops

Holidays are always a good moment to enhance existing skills, or learn new ones! Therefore, why note use your vacation to learn the very noble art of flirting? You can choose between different settings: casual, business… Everything is organized and ready for you to discover the fun world or courting.

19. Keukenhof Flower Tour

Amsterdam’s countryside is known for its beauty, with colorful flowers and picturesque windmills everywhere you look. And what makes this activity so special? The fact that you can do the tour on a sidecar motorcycle. That’s an experience of a lifetime!

20. Participate in a Friday Night Skate

A great night out doesn’t necessarily involve going out to the trendiest club. So, what’s an alternative? Every Friday evening, a mass of wheeled Amsterdammers (visitors are welcome) skate their way through the city, leaving from Vondelpark. Got your wheels ready?

As you can see, there is plenty to do in Amsterdam and you should be ashamed if you leave the city without trying at least one of these experiences. So tell us, which one would you choose?

9 jobs that allow you to travel the world

By NH | 13:51

 

Wouldn’t it be great to combine what we love the most (traveling) with a professional passion? A dream for many, and a reality for others. Many web designers, writers, artists, photographers, and consultants live incredible adventures, jumping from one country to the next and seeing the world. Looking for your next career break? Well, here are some of the jobs that make traveling to infinity and beyond possible.

1. Archeologist

Yeap, that’s right, we’re talking Indiana Jones style living. Whilst many archaeologists are employed at jobs that do not require much travel (museums, historic sites, state government), others who have chosen this career path to enjoy a life that runs close to that of the world’s favorite Archeology professor and adventurer. Ever dreamed of discovering the remains and treasures of Trojan wars? South America, Europe, and the Middle East are full of significant and mysterious dig sites. Unlike Indiana Jones, though, we doubt you’ll have many run-ins with snakes!

Giza Pyramids, Egipt

Stonehenge, England

Chichen Itza, Mexico

2. Wedding Planner

Few jobs are as romantic as that of a Destination Wedding Planner; helping loved up couples prepare their special day, whilst traveling to some of the world’s most unique sites! Picture yourself in Cancun, or Venice… As a destination wedding planner, you’ll need time to wander and scout out the locations, the locals, and their traditions, and live a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. These are some Instagram accounts you can follow for inspiration. Whether they inspire your career or give you cravings for an epic wedding, we don’t know.

3. Pilot

Live the dream! Being a pilot is one of the top jobs for people who like to travel. Why? The benefits are obvious: the expense of traveling is already covered, it is an opportunity to see many different parts of the world, and you get time off to explore them. Plus, everyone knows the glamor associated with this profession! Who wouldn’t love it?

4. Bartender

Remember Tom Cruise in “Cocktail”? Being a bartender is known as one of the most sociable professions, and a different way to get work overseas. Cocktail bartenders, or rather mixologists, are often in high demand: Bali, Australia, San Francisco… Where to? If you’re capable of creating beautiful drinks like these below… Start packing your bags!

5. Freelance Translator

Combining work and travel is also possible as a freelance translator. All you need is a computer, the Internet, and beautiful scenery as your backdrop. Inspiration is practically a given! If you can speak at least two languages, this might be just the perfect career for you. An easy start can be teaching it as a foreign language and working your way up from there.

6. Travelling Fitness Instructor

Resorts all over the world are constantly in search for the best fitness instructors the world (and Instagram) has to offer. Got your ACE Certification? Then you are ready to embark on a new adventure, laced in sweat, red faces, toning tummies and willing people. Whether it is a magnificent cruise ship bound for the French Polynesia or an exclusive resort in the Caribbean.

7. Foreign Services (Diplomat)

Ever thought about becoming a Foreign Service officer? Like any other profession, it has its perks and its drawbacks, but looking at the big picture, you get to work with people from all over the world and the travel opportunities are plenty. Each country has diplomatic representation in a different number of countries, the UK, for example, has over 150. Just be aware that the job won’t be all about Champagne receptions, some work will be required too!

Beijing

Rome

8. Photographer

Nothing better to give you the travel bug than a photographer traveling the world to capture it in all its diverse beauty. The competition is tough, but for those that make it, are guaranteed the perfect nomad life. And who needs travel photographers? Magazines, newspapers, image stock sites such as Shutterstock, Youtube, private clients… As said above, competition is high, but you don’t have to be the best. Take pictures, love every minute of it, be brave and work hard!

9. Vlogging+ Blogging

Another weirdly awesome job is that of a blogger and, the video counterpart, a Vlogger. Sometimes payment will come in the form of money, but often also free hotel stays, free flights, etc… Many people take on blogging as a hobby, but it is a perfectly plausible way make it your only source of income and reach a 6 figure salary.This is one of our favorite (and envied at the same time) blogger this year:

So, as you can see, it is possible to live doing what one loves, to enjoy a life of travel! Remove the barriers of limitations and look through the lens of possibilities instead. Which career is calling you?

3 Trips in South America That Will Change Your Life

By NH | 12:07

 

When planning a trip to South America, you might find that there are so many wonderful and unique places to see, that it is difficult to reduce the list to just a few options. To help you out, and in order to avoid the typical itinerary, we’ve created an exciting tour through Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico, highlighting some of its most important and impressive sites. We start with a journey through The land of Silver.

Argentina

Argentina is one of the biggest countries in the world, where all manner of climates, wildlife and geography can be found. We’ll explore the country from East to West, covering some of Argentina’s major attractions. Get ready for its amazing culture, unforgettable beaches, exotic rivers, picturesque mountain ranges, the sunshine and good wine!

Stop One: Buenos Aires

The cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires will remind you, with its ornate architecture, of Europe’s most popular capitals, plus, if you love music, food, dancing and shopping, you’ll find plenty of options to spend your free time after the all important sightseeing. Don’t miss the San Telmo Market, the Zoological Gardens, Museo Evita, the National History Museum, Casa Rosada, and La Feria Mataderos.

After visiting the city, it is worth to make time to visit the interesting areas surrounding Buenos Aires. We’ve listed the ones that should definitely be on the bucket list!

Your hotel in Buenos Aires

What to see near Buenos Aires:

The Paraná Delta

After the Amazon, the Paraná is the largest river system in South America. In fact, its name means “as big as the sea” in Tupi Indian language! The Tigre region, a part of the Paraná Delta formed by thousands of little islands, is very close to Buenos Aires, making it popular among locals and tourists alike. It is a great chance to spend a pleasant day by the water in a tropical setting.

The Humid Pampas

This is Argentina’s most fertile land and covers most of the Buenos Aires province. Picture a green horizon, sometimes interrupted by clusters of trees, grazing cows, windmills, and picturesque villages with beautiful squares. Get the idea? Luján, Mercedes, Lobos, San Antonio de Areco, and Tandil stand out as the must-see towns to explore and are conveniently located close to the city.

Sierra de la Ventana

The Sierra de la Ventana is located in Argentina’s Western Pampas, southwest of Buenos Aires. The best starting point to explore the area, known as the Parque Nacional Ernesto Tornquist, is the village of Sierra de la Ventana. From here, you can choose among many of the indicated hikes and enjoy a day discovering the local fauna and flora. Greet the guanacos on our behalf!

Stop Two: Córdoba

The vibrant and thriving city of Córdoba is the capital of the Argentinian province that goes by the same name. It’s located in the Central Sierras, Argentina’s largest cordillera after The Andes. Córdoba’s main highlights are the beautifully decorated, and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Jesuit Block church, the San Martin Square, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, the massive Parque Sarmiento and the neo-gothic style Sagrado Corazón church.

Your hotel in Córdoba

What to see near Córdoba:

After visiting the city, our journey takes us to Córdoba’s endless green areas. Dreamy woodlands and unique natural scenes adorn the landscape in Sierras Chicas, Sierras Grandes, Traslasierra and Camino de las Altas Cumbres. The most scenic towns are Villa Carlos Paz, Cosquín, La Cumbre, and La falda, in the Calamuchita and Punilla valleys. Yes, we want to move there, too!

Salinas Grandes

Want to travel a bit off the beaten track? Then head to an area a little bit further away from Córdoba, but well worth the visit: the Salinas Grandes Salt Flats. This spectacular white desert is a beautiful and less concurred place than Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. Don’t forget to bring your sunglasses!

Stop 3: Mendoza

Our last stop in Argentina takes us to Mendoza, a city located in the southern half of El Nuevo Cuyo, western Argentina, with the Andes as a backdrop. And what to see here? First, we’ll start with a brief but intense tour of Mendoza city. We recommend hopping on the Mendoza City Tour sightseeing bus for a first impression of the city, and then grabbing a delicious ice-cream, or trying a yerba mate drink at Plaza de la Independencia.

After this little break, head to the Plaza San Martín and stroll around the city’s historical streets, towards the Plaza Chile and Plaza España squares. Other Mendoza must-sees are the beautiful oasis Parque General San Martin, Mendoza’s Museo Fundacional, San Francisco Church, and the great Anna Bistro Restaurant. At night, opt for one of the many bodegas for a fantastic wine-tasting experience and enjoy an evening wandering the warm, vibrant streets!

Your hotel in Mendoza

What to see near Mendoza:

The Andes

The stunning mountain range of Los Andes is conveniently close to Mendoza city, making it a popular one-day excursion among tourists visiting the area. You cannot leave Mendoza without marveling at the magnificent scenery of Aconcagua, the Christ Redeemer of the Andes, the Inca Bridge, and Uspallata. Just spectacular! But be warned, it is much colder than in Mendoza so make sure to pack appropriate clothing.

Potrerillos Dam

This beautiful place is hidden in the middle of the Andes Mountains and is perfect for adventure seekers, as well as for those who look for a place to relax and breathe clean and pure air. On the way to the dam, you’ll enjoy a beautiful view of Aconcagua! The best time to visit is probably the weekend when most bodegas in Mendoza are closed.

As for activities to do in the area, visitors of Potrerillos Dam can choose between Mountain Bike adventures, trekking, kayaking, rafting or… just sit back and relax.

Valle de Uco

Any visit to Mendoza should include a visit to one of Argentina’s top wine regions. If you’re a lover of good wine, this is the place to be! Let the aroma of the vineyards guide you to renowned wineries like Tupungato or San Carlos. See, swirl, sniff, sip and savor!

Colombia

From tropical beaches to dreamy coffee farms in the mountains, Colombia is one of those countries you might not think of visiting at first, but you should definitely consider it for a once in a lifetime experience, you’ll be surprised at how inviting it is! The country has gone through an impressive transformation over time, and more and more visitors are discovering its diversity and the welcoming atmosphere with each passing year.

Stop 1: Cartagena

This colorful port town is your first stop in Colombia. Located by the sea, and with a tropical climate, Cartagena welcomes you to a world of worn out cobblestone streets, colonial buildings, and beautiful palm tree lined beaches. Although it is very easy to walk around the city, you might spice up your visit by renting a bicycle and discovering Cartagena’s cultural and architectural heritage on a bike tour. One of the places you can’t miss is the sweet Portal de Los Dulces, you won’t be able to resist the temptation of trying a homemade sugary treat made of papaya or pineapple!

Other highlights in Cartagena include Monumento Pedro de Heredia, Museum of Modern Art, the Sanctuary of Saint Peter Claver, the beautiful St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral, a tour through Rosario Islands and Centenario Park.

Your hotel in Cartagena

What to see near Cartagena:

Corales del Rosario Natural Park

This national park is the perfect place to enjoy nature and unwind after a few days of sightseeing in Cartagena. Located only 45 km away from the historical city, this idyllic protected area includes the four islands of Islas del Rosario Archipelago and is one of the three parks in Colombia with coral reefs in its territory. Feel like getting lost in the Caribbean for a while?

Stop 2: Barranquilla

After a soothing time soaking in crystal clear waters, we move on to Barranquilla, also located by the Caribbean Sea. The city and a perfect base to discover the surrounding areas as well. But before we move on to nearby treasures, we’ll make sure to visit Barranquilla’s hot spots such as the Catedral Metropolitana, San Nicolás Church, and Museo Romántico. A great time to visit Barranquilla is, without a doubt, the month of February. During four days, the city hosts one of the biggest street parties in South America: the great Carnaval of Barranquilla!
Your hotel in Barranquilla

Your hotel in Barranquilla

What to see near Barranquilla:

The Lost City

Only 2 hours and a half away from Barranquilla, and surrounded by Colombia’s Sierra Nevada mountains and tropical forest, an ancient city awaits you, lost in the leafy jungle, offering visitors an unbelievable sight. The enigmatic Lost City, also known as Teyuna, is older than Machu Picchu and the hike to get there, through the land of the Kogi, is considered by many as one of the bests in South America. Amazing yet challenging!

Parque Nacional Tayrona

One of Colombia’s most popular national parks makes another unique discovery near the city of Barranquilla. Bathed by the Caribbean Sea, this protected area covers about 12.000 hectares of land and 3.000 of the sea. Picture rainforest steep hills plunging into isolated and pristine beaches… Can you hear the sound of the waves calling your name? It will surely amaze nature lovers!

Our advice: the best time to visit is during low season (February to November), and make sure you make a reservation to enter the park in advance, otherwise you may being rejected the entrance.

A very popular activity among the park’s visitors is a hike to 9 Piedras, horseback riding, and snorkeling.

Stop 3: Medellín

Our journey in Colombia will be complete after visiting vibrant Medellin and its surroundings. The city is the capital of the Antioquia department, located in the beautiful and colorful Aburrá Valley. And did you know Medellin is also known as “The City of Eternal Spring”? Mainly thanks to its kind climate throughout the year.

One of the highlights in Medellín is Parque Berrio and its Fernando Botero’s sculptures, in the city center. Parque de las Luces, Veracruz church, and the Antioquia Museum should also be included on your list, and don’t forget to stroll around in Bolivar Park! As for what to do in Medellín, it is very popular among visitors to take the Medellín Metrocable up to Parque Arvi and enjoy an excellent overview of the entire city… Postcard-like pictures guaranteed!

If you’re looking for an adrenaline shot, in Medellín you’ll have the chance to join a paragliding group and surf the sky. Ready to enjoy the spectacular views of Medellin’s surrounding mountains? Mountain biking and ATV tours are other sought-after options among the adventure sports offered to tourists. And last but not least, if you want to watch a real spectacle, join local soccer fans during a match between Atlético Nacional and Independiente Medellín!

Your hotel in Medellin

What to see around Medellín:

Guatapé Reservoir

If you’re looking for a view that can’t be found anywhere else, then you definitely need to head east of Medellín and drive the short distance that separates the city from Guatapé, a paradise filled with artificial freshwater lakes, also known as “The Hamptons of Medellín”. Popular activities offered in this memorable oasis are waterskiing, scuba diving, jet skis, kayaking and fishing, and the most exciting one… A canopy zip line that crosses the lake!

Piedra del Peñol

Located in the Guatapé Reservoir, El Peñol is a huge must-see in Colombia. To be more specific, a 10 million-ton monolith worshiped by the Tahamies Indians in the past. To climb up The Peñol, first, you have to overcome the 650 steps that will most likely make your legs burn and quake. But don’t worry, the incredible views from the top are well worth the effort! Hint: go early in the morning to avoid crowds.

Pueblo de Zócalos

The reservoirs town, Guatapé or “Pueblo de Zócalos”, opens the door to a world of color and narrow streets. The town is famous, among other things, for its bright plinth decorated houses that narrate everyday scenes and the history of the place.

La Manuela

No visit to Colombia would be complete without getting to the legacy left behind by the notorious cartel boss Pablo Escobar. Among the many mansions he owned, one of the fincas was named after his daughter, Manuela, and can be visited by tourists joining one of the many tours offered by local companies.

Mexico

Coast, jungles, volcanoes, charismatic cities, and chili-spiced cuisine, Mexico has it all! The country offers something for every type of traveler, from pampering resorts to wildlife-rich lagoons, perfect to get away from everyday stress. Our journey begins in Mexico’s third-largest city, Monterrey, before arriving in Ciudad de Mexico.

Stop 1: Monterrey

The capital of Nuevo León is set in a bowl of mountains, surrounded by stunning peaks and national parks on every side, except for the North. The city was founded in 1596 by Diego de Montemayor, and part of its colonial legacy is still palpable in the city’s older areas. Some of Monterrey’s highlights are the Gran Plaza, the great and beautiful church of La Virgen de Guadalupe, and the small Metropolitan Cathedral Nuestra Señora de Monterrey. After a long day of sightseeing, a good place to relax at is the stunning promenade of Paseo Santa Lucia or Parque la Fundidora. On Sundays, don’t miss the Corredor del Arte market!

Your hotel in Monterrey

What to see around Monterrey:

Cumbres de Monterrey National Park

The park covers the northern area of the Sierra Madre Oriental and offers the visitor various climbing, rappel, swimming, and hiking adventures. The highlight of the park is the iconic Cerro de la Silla, one if its highest peaks and easily recognizable for its “u” shape. Another popular sight within Cumbres de Monterrey National Park are the spectacular “Cola de Caballo” waterfalls.

Stop 2: Ciudad de México

Ciudad de Mexico is a beautiful city that is becoming increasingly popular, whether it is for a weekend visit or a longer trip. The best time to visit Mexico City is the month of April! And what to do here? From museums and galleries for the artsy travelers to the floating Gardens of Xochimilco, its Centro Histórico, or the most delicious Mexican Culinary Tours, the city offers many activities for a vacation to remember.

For food, don’t miss out on La Fonda Margarita and its chicharrón, El Parnita for excellent tacos, and the cozy and welcoming Cirene for the best ceviche and seafood.

For colorful and Instagram-perfect pictures, visit Casa Luis Barragán, the amazing Museo Soumaya, and the National Fund for the Development of Artisans (Fonart). The Frida Kahlo Museum is also a must in this list!

Your hotel in Ciudad de México

What to see around Ciudad de Mexico:

Puebla and Cholula

Close to Ciudad de Mexico, our wandering shoes take us to Cholula, a UNESCO-listed city that is home to the world’s largest pyramid, the Pirámide Tepanapa. On the way there, marvel at the picturesque countryside, Cholula’s and Puebla’s beautiful cathedrals, and the local markets.

Iztaccihuatl Volcano

Outdoor enthusiasts should not skip the hike that starts at the base of the Iztaccihuatl Volcano, walks through the Valley of Mexico and, before getting to La Joya, leads the explorer across the mountain pass Paso de Cortés and the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. Get your camera ready for some amazing views!

Teotihuacan

This UNESCO-listed zone, also known as the City of Gods, is one Latin America’s most popular religious sites. The Basilica and Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe are well worth the visit, and the pyramids of Teotihuacan will leave you without words to describe them. While in the area, you’ll also have the chance to learn about the Aztec history and customs, and visit the Avenue of the Dead, the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, and Temple of the Feathered Serpent.

So tell us, which of these new destinations would you pick for your next trip?

NH Hotel Group joins millions of people around the world during Earth Hour 2017

By NH | 15:01

Nobody likes to be left in the dark, but sometimes, it can be good! Really? Yes, if it’s done for a good cause. As you probably noticed, on March 25th, millions of people and businesses around the world turned off the lights in their homes and workplaces for an hour. But why, you ask? It’s all in support of Earth Hour, the world’s largest demonstration for action on climate change, held annually since 2007.

Here’s a video by WWF that commemorates Ten Years of Impact:

NH Hotel Group took part of the campaign by switching off the façade lights of nearly 400 hotels in different countries. In addition, hotels also turned off the lights in some of its interior spaces:

NH Collection Porto Batalha, in Portugal.

NH Frankfurt Airport West, in Germany


NH Collection Amsterdam Barbizon Palace, in The Netherlands

NH Curitiba The Five, in Brazil


NH Collection Brussels Centre, in Brussels

NH Hotel Group has taken part in Earth Hour for 9 years running, playing an active role in raising awareness of the need to protect the environment, and encouraging guests to do the same.

The company’s commitment to Earth Hour is one of the many ways it shows its dedication to sustainable development. For example, did you know that NH Hotel Group is the first global hotel chain to obtain the ISO 50001 certification? This standard is awarded to organizations who are able to demonstrate their continual improvement in their energy use, energy costs, and greenhouse gas emissions. Further certifications held by NH Hotel Group’s hotels, 130 to be precise, are certified by standards such as BREEAM, LEED, with Green Key or Hoteles+Verdes. For more information click here.

It is also the world’s only hotel brand with a Hotel Ecoefficient Guide, a manual that is applied in the conception, design, construction and renovations of its hotels, and that includes the necessary steps and practices that promote water and energy saving.

Another area in which NH Hotel Group has challenged itself in order to develop eco-efficient solutions is the reduction of carbon footprint produced by guests and how to minimize them. Since 2008, the emission of CO2 has been reduced by over 70%! To see a snapshot of results from 2016, click here.

Still looking towards the future, since 2010 NH Hotel Group has implemented an additional solution to fight against climate change: electric car charging stations, electric motorcycles rental service at 41  of its hotels and a Green mobility launch, and sharing services which reduces an average of 9.25 tons of CO2 per year.

But this isn’t everything! NH Hotel Group takes pride in providing guests with eco-compatible amenities that respect the environment and consume fewer resources, and least but not last, that satisfy their needs.

If you want to access more information on Earth Hour and on how to participate in upcoming years, get the details over on Earth Hour’s official website. While we’re at it, here are a few numbers that give a global overview of this year’s activity.

Top Spots in Spain and why they are so great

By NH | 16:14

 

If someone mentions Spain, you’ll most likely think of paella, siesta, tapas, flamenco and, let’s be honest, Ibiza’s parties. But there is so mucho more to this beautiful country! Spain is home to some of the most beautiful historical and architectural sites in the world, many of which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Today we’ll go over some of these unique places in Spain but be warned, you’ll want to start packing your bags soon after reading this!

La Coruña

Hundreds of years ago, when the Romans occupied the northern region of Spain, they built the Tower of Hercules. This 55m lighthouse is the only one included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list and is still working today! The views from the top are gorgeous and the stonework inside the tower is exceptional.

And since you’re already here, you can’t leave La Coruña without trying some of the excellent seafood Galicia is so famous for. Our tip? Make a reservation in O Fado and enjoy the best dishes prepared in a local way.

Your hotel in La Coruña

Aranjuez

Aranjuez is a town in the southern part of the Community of Madrid. It is most famous for the Palace of Aranjuez, an impressive construction that was used by the Royal Family as a Spring and Summer residence. The palace is surrounded by wonderful gardens and fountains that hide, among other treasures, a jaw-dropping hunting lodge at the end of Jardín del Príncipe.

Make sure to take a guided tour of its interiors, it is worth to see the impressively decorated rooms, the frescoes, the crystal chandeliers and the excellent olive wood and mahogany furniture pieces.

Your hotel in Aranjuez

Barcelona

Barcelona is a city that we’ve already spoken about, but we don’t mind going revisiting its many wonderful treasures, how can one get tired of admiring Gaudí’s unique legacy? It is no surprise that his artistic works are one of Spain’s most renowned UNESCO World Heritage Sites. See for yourself:

Park Güell
Built between 1900 and 1914, this lovely spot offers one of the best views over Barcelona.

Casa Milà
Words are not enough to describe this extraordinary creation of architect Gaudí, also known as La Pedrera. The entire facade is made of natural stone, and as a curious fact, know that this was the first house in Barcelona with underground parking!

Casa Batlló
Another wonder from Gaudi, Casa Batlló will leave you wonderstruck, it looks like something right out of a fairytale! Lots of colours and shapes designed to resemble nature create a magical atmosphere, that is enhanced through the daylight shining through the designed windows.

Sagrada Familia
A must see for any tourist in Barcelona, the Sagrada Familia is Antoni Gaudi’s most celebrated creation, still under construction since it began in 1882. Its construction will take longer than the Egyptian pyramids!

A little secret (that’s actually not so secret): one of the most famous chefs in the world, Ferran Adriá, is from Barcelona…. Perfect excuse to try one, or some, of his dishes!

Your hotel in Barcelona

León

The city of León, located in northern Spain, hides the truly awe-inspiring Cathedral of León. After the cathedrals of Seville and Toledo, this is Spain’s largest cathedral and an excellent example of Gothicism. Make sure to book a guided tour!

León is also famous for its regional gastronomy, this is the place to try some of Spain’s best cured meats and croquettes!

Your hotel in León

Cáceres

The old town of Cáceres is the perfect image of a Spanish medieval city, also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And did you know that some Games of Thrones scenes were filmed here? The monumental city, incredibly rich in history and architecture, is well preserved; you can still see the vestiges of all the different cultures that occupied Cáceres throughout the centuries.

We won’t forget to mention the wine, make sure to pay attention to the local tempranillo! Add a tapa of jamón serrano and you’re good to go.

Your hotel in Cáceres

Córdoba

If you’re in Córdoba, you shouldn’t even doubt visiting one of the greatest cathedrals in the world; the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba. You’ll be truly amazed by its size, horizontally, it is almost four times the size of Notre Dame! It was built by the moors in the 8th century, the Roman influence is tangible, and after the Reconquista, the mosque was turned into a Catholic cathedral. The legacy of all these civilisations is something that you’ll be able to appreciate in the Mudejar architecture, the detailed wood and marble works, and the characteristic gold and finery from Catholic monuments.

Córdoba hosts one of the world’s most significant guitar events, the annual Cordoba Guitar Festival. This year it is expected to take place in July, the exact dates have not been confirmed yet.

Your hotel in Córdoba

Cuenca

The ancient city of Cuenca, in Castile-La Mancha, hides several treasures, like the Cathedral of Our Lady of Grace and Saint Julian, the Church of Saint Peter, the Bridge of Saint Paul, the Seminary and the Mangana Tower. Besides these sights, another impressive attraction that happens to be a favourite for tourists, is the Hanging Houses of Cuenca, historic buildings that hang “dangerously” off the town’s cliffs above the Huécar and Júcar rivers.

Nearby Cuenca, tourists can visit the Ciudad Encantada, an interesting and worth to see the a labyrinth of eroded rocks.

Your hotel in Cuenca

Granada

One of the most famous buildings in Spain is located in Granada, at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. And yes, we know, Spain has lots of unique attractions! This time we are referring to the spectacular Moorish fortress The Alhambra Citadel of Granada, another deservedly UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can read all you want about this place, you won’t be prepared for the amount of history of the place and its amazing size and architecture, wonderful and impressive!

Granada was the last Moorish stronghold to fall under the Catholic regime, in 1492. The oldest part of the city is the Albaicín district, also well worth a visit.

Your hotel in Granada

Santiago de Compostela

We next travel to the old town of Santiago de Compostela, where we’ll visit the baroque Cathedral of Santiago. Soaked in history, it marks the final stop for those who do the pilgrimage of Santiago.

While you visit the city, you can stop by the picturesque Hostal dos Reyes Católicos, the oldest hotel in the world or so they claim!

Your hotel in Santiago de Compostela

Seville

The Moorish didn’t waste any time during the time of Islamic Spain (or Al-Andalus), leaving behind incredible examples of Moorish architecture. Seville is another great city where the Moorish culture left its mark. Here, the visitor can go back in time visiting the great example of Mudejar architecture that is the Alcazar of Seville. Fascinating! Let yourself be overwhelmed by magic while you admire the beautiful gardens, the araba patios and the distinct interiors.

Another interesting thing to know about Seville is that Christopher Columbus is buried here, in the astounding Cathedral Santa María de Sevilla, the third largest gothic cathedral in the world.

Your hotel in Seville

Madrid

Spain’s capital is a great city for many reasons, and this is something also appreciated by kings and queens years and years ago. In fact, the city was chosen as his residence by King Philip II of Spain back in the 16th century. He ordered the construction of The Escorial (also a UNESCO World Heritage Site) at the foot of Mt. Abantos, in the Sierra de Guadarrama, 45 km away from Madrid. It is a must if you’re interested in Spanish and European history, royal palaces and romantic walks!

Visiting Madrid should also include a walk along the Gran Via, a visit Madrid’s Art Triangle, which includes the Museo del Prado, the Reina Sofia and the Thyssen-Bornemisza museums, and a night getting to know the famous neighbourhood of Malasaña and its gritty taverns.

Your hotel in Madrid

Mallorca

Are you in the mood for jaw-dropping landscapes? Then Mallorca is the right place for you. The dreamy Mediterranean island is not just a beach destination, although the beaches ARE fantastic. The mountain area of the Serra de Tramuntana is a gem that offers a unique scenery, hidden coves, deep Calanques… Also awarded the World Heritage Status by UNESCO. Our tip is to visit Mallorca during autumn or spring and drive along the coast from Andratx to Cap de Formentor. You won’t be disappointed.

And besides its natural side, Mallorca’s main city, Palma, is another treat for the eye. Visit the old town and admire the Mallorquin townhouses, its enchanting interior patios and Palma’s Cathedral, the only in the world whose reflection can bee seen in the water!

Your hotel in Mallorca

Toledo

Toledo was founded by Romans, served as the capital during the Visigothic Kingdom, was no less important during Islamic Spain, and served as the Capital of the country before Madrid. The city’s diverse history and architecture is a mix of synagogues, mosques and churches that inspire many, it even inspired El Greco in various paintings.

Besides its history and impressive architecture, Toledo is also famous for marzipan, its most famous dessert. If you’re totally possessed by a sweet tooth, you’ll be able to purchase it at one of the many convents in the city!

Your hotel in Toledo

22 Reasons Why You Should Never Travel To Italy

By NH | 16:29

You probably know someone who has been to Italy. And you’ve probably heard all about how beautiful the country is, and an infinite list of reasons why you should visit it. Well, for a change, we’ve come up with a list of 22 reasons as to why you SHOULDN’T visit Italy:

1. So, the Amalfi Coast… Just the thought of hiking those seaside paths along the coast is enough to make you tired. Not even the enchanting pastel coloured fishing villages clinging to the dramatic cliffs are enough to convince you to go through such effort! Too exhausting.

2. Luckily a large portion of the coast is quite rocky, the perfect excuse to avoid them. But still, it’s worth noting that if the thought of soaking up the sun makes your sweat, avoid the Marche region at all costs. Its beautiful beaches are preached about throughout Italy, like this one at the foot of Mount Conero in Ancona, known as the Riviera de Conero. Next!

3. You are not interested in charming medieval towns like Bologna. Who cares if it’s home to the world’s most venerable and oldest university in continuous operation?

4. Don’t trust a country that is home to Europe’s largest active volcano, Mount Etna. Life is exciting enough without the thought of lava fountains nearby.

5. The cultural history in Italy tries too hard to be number one. For example, nearly a third of the world’s art treasures reside in Florence. It’s like… calm down!

6. Don’t get us started on the landscapes. The terrain changes so much and is so colourful that it just gets boring. For example, whoever tries to convince you to see Cinque Terre’s natural beauty, just ignore them… Yes, it’s listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And?

7. Why would you want to travel all the way to Lake Como, a lake that has been a popular retreat for aristocrats and famous people? Its jaw-dropping beauty, scenic towns and the amazing waterside villas don’t cut it. Well, it did for George Clooney maybe. And perhaps even Brad Pitt… but what do they know?

8. Shopping at the most exclusive and elegant avenues? In Milan you can get tired of seeing one renowned designer brand after the other. And we won’t even get started on the alternative designer labels or off-beat fashion brands. Too weird and too much effort.

9. In Naples, you’ll visit one ancient castle after another, big deal…Makes you wonder why Royals and Emperors even needed such big homes.

10. In Italy, all the cities are legendary, every single one of them. Making it difficult to plan your holidays, which is just a pain. Padua for example, claims to be the oldest city in northern Italy. Like anyone would believe it was founded around 1.183 BC!

11. Savona is simply ugly.

12. And don’t be thinking that Siena, Italy’s loveliest medieval city, is any better!

13. Food? Anyone can make pizza or pasta these days. And in Genoa, for example, make sure you stay away from the “delicious” focaccia. Sure its origins are based there but… Nah.

14. Oh, and yeah, it’s full of people who find pleasure in eating in the middle of the street. Avoid Sicily’s capital, Palermo. They are surprisingly proud of being one of the world’s top destinations for street food.

15. And in Taormina, on the other of Sicily, locals eat a semi-frozen dessert called granita that comes in numerous “wonderful” flavours. Semi-frozen? Isn’t that just semi-melted?

16. The wine is not that special, not even the ones produced in Trento, where winemaking has taken place for over 3.000 years. And have you seen the landscapes? That Don’t Impress Me Much.

17. Italian coffee, with a view of Mount Vesuvius in Naples? Not good enough, the coffee or the views.

18. And Turin has been considered the chocolate Heart of Europe since the 17th century. Something about an unpronounceable treat called Gianduja. And don’t trust a country who serves tiny chocolates with coffee. The temptation to the Darkside is not a good thing, people!

19. Back to Italy’s legacy. Old buildings are in bad shape and tend to sink! Take the leaning tower of Pisa as an example.

20. Cracked mosaics, faded paintings and pictures made out of stones. It’s what they call art. Seems that’s all they knew how to do in Ravenna during Byzantine times.

21. While in Rome, everything looks the same, valuable architectural monuments everywhere. Too generic for our liking.

22.And then there’s Venice, with all its canals. Aside from the chatter of people, there is no traffic so there is little pollution or sounds If anything, it just leaves you feeling isolated and really miss home! Plus, you would be jealous of all the magnificent houses you’ll see.

Actually, come to think of it, this and everything else we’ve mentioned might make you NOT want to leave Italy…

Your hotel in Italy.

48 Hour City Breaks

By NH | 13:10

We love to travel but the reality is that, sometimes, we don’t have the time (or the budget) to just take 3 weeks to wander off and discover that distant tropical heaven off the coast of New Zealand, or Canada’s best-hidden secrets. That is why today we’ve made a short list of 48-hour city breaks in Europe and South America. Are you ready for some travel inspiration?

Barcelona

The Catalan capital is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, thanks to its incredible architecture, magic parks, the gorgeous beaches around the city, and its unique cultural offerings. Even families will find plenty of adventures to embark on with the little ones.

So, what to see and do in Barcelona for 48 hours?

A great place to start your tour is the colourful and buzzing La Boqueria Market, located on Las Ramblas. Full of life, you can just grab a bite and walk around or sit at one of the small bars that line the inside and take in its great atmosphere.

From there, keep strolling down las Ramblas until you reach the Barceloneta Beach, and admire the beautiful seaside. In the summer and early Autumn days it can get crowded but, during the rest of the year, it is the perfect place to sit back and relax while enjoying a drink to the relaxing sound of the waves.

Barcelona is also known for being a true shopping paradise. If you don’t mind spending your entire month’s salary on a single and spectacular outfit, head for one of Barcelona’s fanciest and most exclusive streets: Passeig de Gracia. During your shopping spree, don’t just look down at the price tags, why not look up and enjoy Passeig de Gracia’s architecture? Don’t miss Casa Batlló and La Pedrera, some of the famous buildings designed by Gaudí.

You can’t really say you’ve seen Barcelona until you visit the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, another example of Gaudí’s inimitable style. Different to anything else, the cathedral is a masterpiece of architecture (still under construction after 135 years) with incredible craftsmanship and ornate details. Just make sure you book your tickets online, otherwise, you’ll have to join a long line to go inside.

For a breath of fresh air, nothing better than exploring Parc Güell. And yes, Gaudí again! The park is like a magical garden with benches made of colourful mosaics and surrounded by nature. It’s a great place to enjoy stunning views of Barcelona and take incredible photos of the city.

Looking for more breathtaking views in Barcelona? Then you must visit the Montjuic Castle. Located on a hill overlooking both the city and the commercial port, the fortress breaths history on every corner: it served as an old military fortress first and as a prison during the Spanish Civil War.

If you want to taste typical dishes in Barcelona, the best option you have is to get out off the beaten path. One of the best restaurants in the city is Don Giovanni, fronted by Sicilian chef Andrea Tumbarello. Putting the delicious food aside, just the impressive decoration of the place justifies a visit!

Save The Date!

12th March – 39th Edition of the Zurich Marató de Barcelona
25th Abril – Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week
31st May – Barcelona Primavera Sound
6th June – European Balloon Festival
21st September – Festival of La Mercè
Your hotel in Barcelona 

London

Only two days in London? Don’t worry, 48 hours is enough time to explore the main must-see attractions, you might even have time to explore some of the lesser-known areas of the city!
You’ll need to start the day with the right kind of energy, and for that, a typical English breakfast will be a perfect choice. Do yourself a favour and head off to the cosy Hawksmoor Guildhall, where the attentive staff is an added bonus to the top notch breakfast they serve hash brown, pork trotter beans, scrambled eggs, Greek yoghurt, super coffee… Need any more convincing?
Now that your batteries are charged, you’ll be ready to explore the amazing exhibits at the British Museum. It is a beautiful and educational place that both adults and children will enjoy, especially the section on Egypt! And the best part? This world class museum offers free entry all year round!

Hundreds of years of history are concentrated in one place: Tower of London. Did you know it was the first Norman building in England? The whole place is incredible, from the Knights Room to the collections of armour and medieval artifacts, and the phenomenal Crown jewels. Visually stunning, it is a good place to visit with the family!

Another incredible place to see in London is Westminster Abbey, home to some of the most famous tombs in British history (like William Shakespeare), beautiful stained glass windows and breathtaking chapels. The architecture and the history that surrounds the site are awe-inspiring. Get the audio guide, it is 100% worth it!

After, cross the Westminster Bridge and walk along the Thames to Tower Bridge. Along with this two and a half mile stroll, you’ll be able to take some amazing pictures of London’s major sights, such as the London Eye, the Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Houses of Parliament, and St. Paul’s’ Cathedral.

London hides a little bit of paradise, perfect to catch a breath of fresh air and rest, you’ll need it after all the sightseeing! The place we are talking about is none other than Hyde Park, located in the heart of the city. Big green areas perfect for a picnic in the summer or walk by the river and feed the ducks by the Serpentine Lake. If you ever wondered what an English park looks like, this is the epitome!

Once you exit Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace will be within walking distance. We recommend to book a guided tour of its interiors, the only way to really take it the splendour and truly feel like a royal. The highlight of the trip is champagne toast in the foyer, at the end of the tour!

Save The Date!
26th February – Magic Lantern Festival
13th March – London Beer Week
17th March – St. Patrick’s Day
23rd April – London Marathon
24th June – West End LIVE
8th July – Pride in London
6th August – IAAF Marathon
Your hotel in London

León

The colonial city of León is located in the State of Guanajuato, and is known as the “Shoe Capital of The World”. You can guess why. It is, without a doubt, a great shopping destination and conveniently located close to other major cities and airports. If 48 hours is all the time you have to spend in this charming part of the world, we recommend you to travel to Guanajuato, just 30 minutes away and well worth the visit.
Guanajuato is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Mexico’s most picturesque places, thanks to its brightly coloured buildings, historical architecture and friendly atmosphere.

A great way to start exploring Guanajuato is to ride the short cable car that takes you up to the city’s scenic viewpoint. You can see the whole historic district from above and is an easy way up to visit the Pipila Monument, a monument of recognition for the miners that worked in the silver mines that once dotted the town.

Another lovely visit is the elegant Juarez Theater, designed by architect José Noriega and inaugurated in 1903 by President Porfirio Díaz. Touring this classical landmark is well worth a trip to see, but try to get tickets to a symphony’s live performance… Incredible!

Juarez Theater, Guanajuato

As in many other Mexican cities, the main square in Guanajuato is surrounded by gardens, great places to relax and admire your surroundings. The Jardín de la Unión must be one to the nicest squares in Mexico, with great views to the San Diego temple. Just sit back and soak in Mexico while listening to the mariachis!


Overlooking the lovely square we just mentioned, the beautiful and impressive Our Lady of Guanajuato Basilica stands out for its bright yellow colour, elegant facades and its exuberant Mexican Baroque style. It is the most important church in the city! The interior of the basilica brings you to an ancient time and at night, the building is illuminated. Time to take your camera out!

Save The Date!

9th March – 14th Rally Guanajuato Corona México
31st March – Medieval Festival
1st April – Holi Dance of Colours Tour 2017
1st June – Gastronomical Fair “Guanajuato Si Sabe”
21st July – Guanajuato International Film Festival
October – XLIV International Cervantino Festival

Your hotel in Leon