Tag Archives: europe

Solo Traveler? Why not try a Solo Cruise in Europe this Fall?

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Calling all Solo Travelers!

Solo Traveling is on the Rise. AmaWaterways is offering independent travelers exceptional savings on 2017 river cruises. Plus special services tailored to your solo adventure.

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Cruises Include:

  • No additional single supplements
  • No baggage hauling
  • Inclusive meals
  • Group excursions
  • Service of an attentive crew that heeds your preferences
  • An invitation to an exclusive Welcome Cocktail Reception
  • A welcoming dining environment made possible by the restaurant’s seating plan
  • An invitation to dine at the Captain’s Table
  • Assistance with planning your ideal shore excursion program during the cruise
  • Safe, convenient and rewarding river cruises the classic rivers of Europe
  • Ships that carry no more than 164 passengers

So what is a single supplement?

This is the cost of traveling single on any tour or cruise. On cruises, the single supplmeent can be up to 200% of the per person cost for two! Throughout the year, we receive notifications from cruise lines and tour operators who offer a special single rate on select trips and departure dates. We’ve seen these as low as 20% higher than the per person cost — and sometimes, as in AmaWaterways, they’re even waived altogether!

If you’re thinking of traveling solo, book select 2017 sailings in Europe or Asia and pay NO single supplement on your cruise fare.

Need more ideas for Solo Travel? Sign up for Willamette Intl Travel’s Solo Adventurer email list today and get discounts in your inbox as they come!

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Sample Cruises

Taste of Bordeaux

Bordeaux to Bordeaux
7-night deluxe cruise accommodation
Outside stateroom (most with French balconies)
Dates of Departure: Oct 26, Nov 2, Nov 9, Nov 16 (wine cruise)

Your cruise begins in Bordeaux, the capital of Aquitaine in Southwestern France and one of the world’s undisputed wine capitals. You’ll discover stately chateaux, abundant vineyards and stunning scenery as you sail along the Garonne River and its surrounding estuaries, calling upon port cities like Cadillac, Bourg and Libourne. Enjoy tastings of some of the region’s most distinguished wines and visit notable sights before concluding your journey.

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Paris & Normandy

Paris to Paris
7-night deluxe cruise accommodation
Outside stateroom (most with French balconies)
Dates of Departure: Oct 5, Oct 12, Oct 26, Nov 2 (wine cruise), Nov 9

Begin your journey in magical Paris, the “City of Light,” where you will embark your luxurious river cruise ship. Visit the village of Giverny, where Monet lived and worked for 43 years, and Honfleur, a charming French harbor town immortalized by generations of artists. Stroll through Rouen, the historic capital of Normandy, then take an unforgettable excursion to the famous Normandy beaches of WWII. Visit Les Andelys, home of Château Gaillard before concluding your trip back in Paris.

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Romantic Danube

Vilshofen to Budapest
7-night deluxe cruise accommodation
Outside stateroom (most with twin balconies)
Dates of Departure: Oct 25, Nov 1, Nov 6, Nov 8, Nov 13 (wine cruise), Nov 15 (wine cruise), Nov 20 (wine cruise), Nov 22

Framed by rolling hillsides, lush vineyards, and medieval castles, the Danube River has captivated musicians, artists and poets throughout the centuries. Travel to legendary destinations on a 7-night cruise from Vilshofen to Budapest. Explore a 2,000 year-old city, savor Wachau Valley wines, and experience the timeless beauty and fascinating history of Vienna and Budapest.

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Enchanting Rhine

Amsterdam to Basel or Basel to Amsterdam
7-night deluxe cruise accommodation
Outside stateroom (most with twin balconies)
From Basel: Oct 14, Oct 28, Nov 4, Nov 9 (wine cruise), Nov 18.
From Amsterdam: Oct 21, Oct 28, Nov 2, Nov 4, Nov 16, Nov 18 (wine cruise)

Begin in Amsterdam, with its legendary canals and distinctive architecture. Visit the majestic cathedral in Cologne, the university town of Heidelberg, medieval Strasbourg and the Black Forest region before concluding your cruise in Basel, Switzerland.

Call your WIT Agent today to arrange your cruise vacation and your solo trip! 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com. 

Need more ideas for Solo Travel? Sign up for Willamette Intl Travel’s Solo Adventurer email list today and get discounts in your inbox as they come!

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Why Slovenia should be next on your Bucket List

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Slovenia is popping up all over travelers’ bucket lists, and we couldn’t be more pleased! This small country, nestled between Italy and Croatia, has been overlooked for too long. With stunning, sculpturesque architecture, mirror-like lakes and thick forests, Slovenia is a paradise for both the outdoors enthusiast and the amateur historian!

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In Spring this year our clients Bob and Joyce drove around this lovely land, exploring the exquisite Lake Bled and the underground Škocjan cave. Another client spent their Christmas holidays on the lakeshore. Whatever the season, Slovenia is a natural playground thanks to its Alpine lakes, white rivers and snow-capped peaks. Visitors can take part in white-water rafting, spelunking, cycling, hang-gliding.

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Ljubljana

Ljubljana is a fascinating capital, with lush green spaces, a white-washed, fanciful Old Town, outdoor cafés and the Ljubljanica River that separates the older and the modern districts. You’ll also find mansion-like Ljubljana Castle, ruins of Roman City Walls, and Metelkova City—a self-declared autonomous district for artists and various subcultures. The military barracks has been converted into bars and nightclubs. The “City of Bridges” is so-called thanks to the Dragon Bridge, with its four dragon statues, and the Triple Bridge, is a trifecta of three bridges that connects the old town with the modern. 

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Postojna Cave

Postojna Cave is a 15-mile long karst cave system in southwestern Slovenia. The cave train has been taking visitors for 140 years on its 2.3 mile long journey.

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Lake Bled

The iconic Lake Bled is one of the more famous destinations in Slovenia. On the lakeshore, taste Slovene cheese and Bled cream cake. You can also visit the imposing Bled Castle, perched on a cliff overlooking the lake. 

Piran

Venetian-styled, pastel colored Piran is a coastal town with heavy Italian influences. Even the dialect of Slovene sounds ever so slightly Italian.

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Goriska Brda

Often called a “Fairytale Landscape,” the Goriska Hills are a microregion of vineyards and olive orchards. The ideal setting for a cozy farmstay amid fruit trees.

Portorož

Portorož, the “Port of Roses,” is a seaside resort and spa town, a popular site for health resorts since hte 19th century.

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Lake Bohinj

Lake Bohinj is located within the Julian Alps, a local mountain beauty. You can walk along its verdant shoreline or catch a cable car to Mt. Vogel.

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How to Go

We recommend to rent a car from Italy, spend a few days in Slovenia, before continuing south through the Istrian Peninsula and the Dalmatian Coast. Call Willamette Intl Travel plan your itinerary, car and hotels!

If you prefer going with an expert guide and group, our friends Tradesco Tours offer an affordable 7-Day / 6-Night Highlights of Slovenia. 

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SALE: Solo Adventures with Alexander & Roberts

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Attention Solo Adventurers! One of our favorite small group vendors, Alexander + Roberts, is having a huge SALE for Solo Travelers on incredible itineraries through Colombia, the Balkans, the Caucasus and Greece. 

Single? Love to travel? No problem. When you book with us you can save outrageous amounts — better to pamper yourself during the trip!

+ Save $500 More when you pay-in-full at booking with your Travel Agent!

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NEW for 2018: Colombia Emerging

7 Days for $3,499 Now $2,999 Solo

Traveling in an intimate group of never more than 16 guests and staying in the country’s finest hotels, our terrific Trip Leaders will take you deeper inside Colombia’s history and its modern spirit as this friendly nation sheds its past.

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Ancient Crossroads

11 Days for $3,799 Now $3,299 Solo

This unique itinerary to Albania, Greece and Macedonia has proven to be one of our most popular journeys to Europe. With our original and intimate style and never more than 16 guests, we open doors and windows to the people, cuisines, and centuries-old traditions that still endure in this storied, lesser-visited corner of the Continent!

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New for 2018: Georgia & The Caucasus

9 Days for $4,599 Now $4,099 Solo

Acclaimed for its unique cuisine and hailed as the world’s first wine region, Georgia also offers rich history, soaring mountain terrain and fine medieval landmarks. Artfully designed for never more than 16 guests, our Original Journey features stylish hotels and congenial dining.

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New for 2018: Undiscovered Greece

10 Days for $5,999 Now $5,499 Solo

Steeped in ancient myths, the forested mountains and pristine coasts of untrodden Pelion beckon. With an intimate group of never more than 16 guests, enjoy a leisurely 6-night stay at our boutique hotel in the heart of Pelion. Then set out each day with our expert Trip Leader to explore the region’s fabled sites of antiquity, its timeless villages, and local food + wine.

Any of these amazing itineraries caught your interest? Give us a call at 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com for the specifics.

Stay in Touch with Solo Trips by joining our Solo Adventurers Email Blast today. Throughout the year, Wittravel receives notice from various travel partners offering special rates tailored just for you. Email frontdesk@wittravel.com to sign up today. We only send marketing information via email if you have signed up, and we never give away our client list.

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Filed under Colombia, Europe, Greece

Adriatic Cruises 2017-18

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Yesterday was Croatia’s birthday, so in celebration, we’re taking a closer look into cruising the Adriatic Sea!

Choosing an Adriatic Cruise depends on a lot of factors: sailing date, ports of call, price, length and itinerary. We’ve written up a few cruise lines who sail along the Dalmatian Cruise. To learn more, give us a call — We can advise the best cruise to fit your travel style and budget, and even find special discounts exclusive to travel agencies. 

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Crystal Cruises

Crystal offers Adriatic cruises on its lovely yacht, the Crystal Esprit. The yacht is a “boutique hotel on water,” accommodating up to 62 adventurers in butler-serviced suites. You feel more like you’ve joined a private, exclusive voyage than an official cruise! Voyages sail from Croatia to Athens by way of Greece and Montenegro, or from Athens to Venice by way of the Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast. Choose from 7 days or 14 days. Prices start in the $6,000 per person range.

Royal Caribbean

All Aboard the 2076-passenger Rhapsody of the Seas, which offers roundtrip Venice cruises stopping in Dubrovnik, Kotor Montenegro, Santorini and Katakolon, Greece. Or head west from Venice down through the Adriatic to Capri, Rome, Florence and Barcelona. Itineraries of 7-8 nights start in the $900 per person range.

Windstar

Windstar’s small, intimate ships are perfect for those looking to sail the Croatian Riviera in privacy. Discover the timeless charms of Croatia on the 8-day Venice roundtrip Quintessential Croatia, which takes you through the Plitvice Lakes and Diocletian Palace. Or expand your itinerary to the 12-day Athens to Venice voyage. Itineraries start in the $3,400 per person range.

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Star Clippers

The iconic winged sails of Star Clippers will sail there way through the Adriatic Sea on the Star Flyer. Get to know the Eastern Mediterranean intimately in Corfu, Santorini, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Hvar and Korcula. Or hug the Dalmatian coast and keep to Croatia, Montenegro and Slovenia on the Venice roundtrip. Prices for 7-11 itineraries start in the $2000 per person range.

Princess Cruises

Princess’ larger vessels promise luxury in magnitude. Explore the highlights of the Eastern Mediterranean on the 12-Day Adriatic & Aegean Connoisseur, or the 12-day Venetian Connoisseur. Prices start at 2400 per person.

Find out more by chatting with our agents today! Our staff has sailed with all of these cruise lines and would love to discuss the ideal Adriatic cruise for you and your family. Call now! 2017 and 2018 Seasons are open for booking. Ask us about special offers like reduced deposits, no single supplements, and last-minute discounts.

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Filed under Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Europe, Windstar Cruises

Travel Tips: Guide to Biking in European Cities

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European cities, with their small streets and twisting corners, seem to be made for bicycles. In the past decade, many cities have been taking initiatives to make their urban sprawl even more bike-friendly. Here are some of our tips to biking in European cities: 

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City Bikes

Many cities have established city bikes programs—in Vienna, Stockholm, Paris, etc.—where people can pay nothing or next-to-nothing to rent a city bike for an hour. You can usually swipe your credit card at the bike station, take your bike and head out! You just have to remember to find another bike station and return it within the hour. Some cities require that tourists buy the privilege to rent directly from an office or the nearest convenience store.

Rent a Bike

Considerably more expensive than the city bike option, renting a bike is nevertheless convenient in its own right. You can buy into packages for a few hours or even overnight, meaning there’s no stress about returning the bike right away. It’s a great option if you’re in a city without a city bikes program, or if you’re heading out into the country or the nearest beach.

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Best Europe Cities for Biking

Copenhagen. Beautiful Copenhagen is known for its daily Bicycle Rush Hour, when 35,000+ cyclists cross the Dronning Louises bridge.

Amsterdam. The Netherlands’ reputation as bike-friendly precedes it—thanks to the city’s legendary flatness and proximity to nature. Within 15-30 minutes you can bike from downtown to windmills.

Barcelona. The lovely Barcelona is equipped with bike lanes galore—just remember to stay away from the roads with heavy traffic. Wander through small squares and hip neighborhoods like El Raval and Eixample.

Paris. Parisian roads aren’t exactly conducive to biking, but the main cycle routes are well-maintained and picturesque enough to keep any cyclist happy. Cycle along the right bank of the Seine into the trendy Marais area and onto the Louvre.

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Gift It

For a unique gift, pick up the high-end collection City-Cycling: Europe, a series of field guides to bicycling in 8 of Europe’s cities. With 400 nostalgic illustrations and countless sights, itineraries and tips, this makes a lovely present for the cyclist friend or passionate cyclist within.

Planning a Trip to Europe? Call our agents in Portland to plan the perfect trip for you and your family! 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com. 

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Copenhagen on a Dime

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Planning a trip to Denmark’s capital that doesn’t break the bank? Read on for our 5 tips on budget travel to Copenhagen:

Today is Grundlovsdag, a.k.a. Denmark’s birthday!

June 5 marks the anniversary of the signing of the Danish Constitution—all the way back in 1849!

This effectively ended the absolute monarch that dated back to 1660, and established the constitutional monarchy that exists to this day.

Coincidentally, it’s also Danish Father’s Day.

Did you know? WIT Agent Nancy has Danish heritage!

To commemorate this special day, we offer to you: 

6 Ways to do Copenhagen on a Dime

Museums

Most museums in Denmark have free days for adults once a week—the Museum of Copenhagen for instance, is free for all on Fridays, and the Thorvaldsen Museum, on Wednesdays. Be sure to bring the kids—all national museums have free entry for children below the age of 18! Look for Copenhagen’s Open-Air Museum and the Danish Music Museum—free for all!

Free Tours

New Copenhagen Tours offer guided walks in the summer. All guides sign up on a volunteer basis, and it’s donate what-you-will. You can also join a free city walk sponsored by the Museum of Copenhagen—or simply download a free app for a self-guided tour around the city.

Check out a Music Festival

Summer in Copenhagen is a time for cheap festivals and free fun in the sun! There’s no charge for instance for entry to music festivals like the Copenhagen Jazz Festival! Pick up a ticket to the Tivoli Gardens (110 DKK / US $16), and open-air concerts and symphonies—from Saturday Swing to Friday Rock—are included!

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Nyhavn, Copenhagen

Attractions

It doesn’t cost a penny to admire most of the famous sights in Copenhagen: walk around the historic Nyhavn Harbor or climb the top of Christiansborg Palace. Don’t miss the lovely Little Mermaid—who despite being a victim of many vandals—has stood out as the local beauty for more than a hundred years. Hop on a bus to the Danish graveyard of Assistens—founded in 1760—to pay your respects at the graves of folklorist Hans Christian Andersen and philosopher Søren Kierkegaard.

Eat at Lunch

Copenhagen has a reputation for world-class cuisine—as well as pricey dinners! But eating out doesn’t have to be out of budget. During lunchtime, many establishments will run specially priced dishes. Drop by that Michelin-starred restaurant between noon and 2PM, and keep your dinners simple. Look out especially for places under Bib Gourmand, an international award of exceptional food at reasonable prices.

Escape into Nature

Nature’s never far from Copenhagen! Pack your tent and set up at one of the 500+ campsites just outside of the city. Choose your idyllic setting: beach, forest, lakeshore—and practice your skills at hygge, the Danish art of coziness from your snug tent.

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Filed under City Guides, Denmark, Europe

7 Reasons why Portugal is going to be the “Next Big Thing”

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The New York Post called Portugal “Europe’s Newest Darling,” and we wholeheartedly agree. Stunningly beautiful valleys and coastlines, a wealth of historic sights, wine cruises and cute trolleys—what’s not to love? Portugal has long been overlooked for its flashier neighbor Spain, and obvious attractions of France and Italy—our only question is: really, why did it take so long?

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1. Lisbon: The Tram and the Coffee.

Portugal’s adorable capital has all the charming trappings of any historic European city, but without the fanfare, the crowds or the crazy prices. Considering Paris or Rome this fall? Why not opt for Lisbon, where a night at a five-star hotel will set you back less than a measly 100 euros? Plus with postcard-perfect architecture, cute cobblestone streets and vibrant food culture, Portugal has a wealth to offer the “been-there-done-that” traveler to Europe. Did we mention the cutest tram that’s been operating for nearly a century? Oh yeah—and the pasteis de nada, custard tarts, that are said to be so mouth-watering its more like a religious experience.

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2. Porto: Wine and Bookshops.

Porto is famous for its eponymous wine, winner of numerous vinous awards, but did you know the town also plays a part in Harry Potter history? The cute bookstore Livraria Lello and its grand staircases were reportedly inspirations behind Rowling’s architecture in the HP series. Potter pilgrims have flocked to Lello for years, and the crowds are so thick that the store has begun to charge each person four euros for entry. The staircases were designed by one Xavier Esteves, an engineer with a passion for literature. Built in 1906 by the brothers Lello, the bookshop houses a sumptuous collection of bound books and a staircase so iconic, that it continues to inspire authors of all creeds and nationalities to this day.

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3. Sintra and its Coral Palace.

A mere 40-minute train ride from Lisbon, the hilltop town of Sintra is more fairytale dream than anything. Here the traveler will find spectacular castles and elegant palaces in the midst of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. The Palácio da Pena was a modest chapel before it was transformed by King Fernando in the 19th century into a picturesque palace more akin to an underwater fortress. With its pink, yellow and gray facade, stone triton statue, Moorish tilework and stone columns resembling a coral reef, the palace is the pinnacle expression of aquatic grandeur if I ever saw one.

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4. The Endless Coastline.

The famous, West-facing coastline of Portugal means that there are idyllic sunsets nearly every evening. With over 800 km of coast, it’s no wonder that here you’ll find some of the best seafood dishes, world-class surfing hotspots and marine biomes in Europe! From volcanic sands of the Azores, to sandy beaches of Costa Vicentina, to the magnificent cliffs of the Algarve, Portugal’s beaches are no laughing matter. Seafood is always fresh, from the octopus salad to the Carne de Porco à Alentejana (pork with clams). Speaking of surfing, this is where some of the world’s best surfers come to practice—Nazaré is home to the largest surfed wave in recorded history—that’s a whopping 30m!

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5. The Beautiful, Timeless Azores.

Azores have been dubbed the “European Hawaii” and the “Next Iceland” and while we don’t know about that, it’s certainly a place for tropical adventure. Popular islands for free diving, waterfall rapelling, volcano hikes and whale-watching. Located 1500km off the coast, it’s a tropical island in Europe, with lakes, volcanoes and mountain.

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6. The Tour Guides are Amazing.

Okay, we’re biased with this one, but because Willamette Intl Travel has an awesome contact based in Portugal! Our local guide Anselmo Goncalves has been our go-to guide in Portugal and Spain for years! Our clients always rave about him. Join him for an unforgettable day tour through Lisbon and Sintra, or embark on a multi-day trip that celebrates wine in the Douro Valley.

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7. A Millennium of History.

Portugal has had the same borders since the 11th century—that means incredible historic preservation, and plentiful old castles and sites. Coimbra is home to one of the oldest universities in the world. And who can forget the mighty ramparts of Moorish-inspired Sao Jorge Castle that overlooks Lisbon?

Plus:

  • Azulejos tile art.
  • Melancholic Fado music.
  • Madeira’s non-volcanic pools surrounded by lava rocks and aquamarine waters.
  • Sea Cave Tours in the Algarve.
  • Ride a gondola in Aveiro with picturesque waterways.

And the best part? It’s still relatively undiscovered by tourists! Which means the crowds aren’t there yet. Expect to find many authentic and tranquil places, a far cry from Venice and Barcelona.

Read more about Portugal on our blog:

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