Tag Archives: europe

Travel News of the Week: NatGeo’s Best List

travel news of the weeka

National Geographic Traveler Announced Its Annual Best of the World List

They list 21 must-see places to visit in 2017. The destinations were all chosen by the Traveler editors and fall into one of three categories- Cities, Nature, or Culture. The full list can be found in the December/January 2017 issue of Traveler magazine, available on newsstands nationwide starting November 29, and online now at NatGeoTravel.com/BestTrips2017.”This special issue takes readers on a globe-spinning journey to 21 of the world’s best destinations,” saidGeorge Stone, National Geographic Traveler editor in chief. “We think this year’s list represents a carefully curated selection of forward-leaning places that reveal the bright future of travel. This list is all about exploration and discovery. It’s not just about where to go, but why to go now and how to make 2017 a year of enlightenment through travel.The online hub includes an immersive visual experience with 360 videos along with helpful tips and facts for planning trips to each locale. Visitors will also find inspiring illustrations to download and share. National Geographic Traveler (six issues per year) is the world’s most widely read travel magazine and has 15 international editions. The National Geographic Travel digital group shares its inspiring and authoritative digital content such as trip ideas, photo galleries, blogs and apps with its @NatGeoTravel community of over 20 million. – See more at: https://www.traveldailynews.com/post/national-geographic-travel-announces-best-of-the-world-list#sthash.kD4wGuiu.dpuf

American Is Cutting Flights To Cuba, from 13 roundtrip flights to 10

As US airlines begin flights this week to Havana, the long-awaited travel surge to Cuba is already a bit shaky. American will daily round-trip flights between the US and Cuba to 10, from 13, starting in mid-February because of lower than expected demand. The company also will fly smaller jets on two routes. Other carriers, including Delta Air Lines and Spirit Airlines, said bookings so far are in line with expectations. Southwest declined to comment. But airlines have kept fares low to fill seats. Eight airlines, including American, began initiating service to Havana this week, with a total of 500 flights to the city expected to have been completed by year end, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Flights to smaller Cuban cities began earlier this year. Any cutback to Cuba flights isn’t likely to hurt the airlines’ business in a material way.

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Supersonic Jet Faster Than The Concorde Gets Its Public Debut

A skinny little airplane parked in a hangar of the Centennial Airport aims to revolutionize how people fly and reintroduce the world to supersonic flight. Boom Technology has spent two years designing a supersonic passenger plane with the financial economics the defunct Concorde could never achieve. A full-size mockup of a smaller test plane will be unveiled publicly soon. If all goes well in flight tests next year, the company will move ahead and build a full-size 45-seat aircraft that can travel 2.2 times faster than the speed of sound at a price on par with business-class tickets for a 3-hour-and-15-minute flight from New York to London.

BBC Earth Experiences Rolling Out on Holland America Line

Passengers onboard Holland America Line ships can now look forward to BBC Earth Experiences, currently available on ms Koningsdam, ms Noordam, ms Rotterdam, ms Oosterdam, ms Zuiderdam and ms Eurodam and will be rolled out to the rest of the fleet (except ms Prinsendam) by March 2017. Passengers can “now experience more of the world’s natural wonders, test their knowledge of our planet and participate in some family-friendly competition through the cruise line’s exclusive partnership with BBC Earth,” said Holland America in a prepared release. The new offerings immerse guests in BBC Earth’s experiences. A highlight is “Frozen Planet Live,” a concert based on the BBC Earth “Frozen Planet” television series. “Frozen Planet Live,” on each ship’s main stage, features live musicians playing a musical score by George Fenton as the images unfold on screen. HAL also unveiled a new partnership with Food Network’s “America’s Test Kitchen.”

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Daily Ski-Passes In Europe Cost 54 Euros On Average

This winter season, skiers must pay few euros more than last year for daily ski-passes in Europe. In most winter resorts, the price is 54 euros for one day of enjoying the slopes. The price for a daily ski-pass for one adult in Austria will increase by an average of 1.14 euros or 2.72%. Skiers in Austria will now pay an average of 43 euros for a daily ski-pass. Skiing in the Alps is the most expensive, but in Switzerland the prices are even higher. Daily ski-pass prices have increased by 0.65 euros or 1.13% to about 54 euros on average. Prices in Swiss ski resorts, however, are the most stable and show the slightest increases in four years. Italy is the leader with an average price increase of 1.37 euros – to 43 euros. Italy is therefore as expensive as Austria as of now. This year for the first time in the ranking the cheapest ski destinations were identified. This year it is the Czech Republic, where visitors pay on average 27 euros for a daily ski-pass. Other destinations cheaper than Austria are Germany (34 euros) and France (38 euros). On our side of the Atlantic the price increases are by far the highest. While Italy has the highest price increases with 3.22%, the rates in Canada and USA are 6.04% and 6.81% respectively. In the US, a one-day ticket costs around $89 (84 euros), in Canada about 92 Canadian dollars (65 euros).

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Filed under Cruises, Europe, Holland America Line, News

Conscientious Traveler: Celebrated Experiences

Welcome back to Conscientious Traveler—our monthly series in which we showcase one of our fantastic partners with projects that support the environment, wildlife and local communities. This month, we feature Celebrated Experiences.

Celebrated Experiences offers customized trips to England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Italy. They curate perfect vacations with castles, boutique hotels, country hotels, small bed & breakfasts, and apartments (breakfast always included!). Itineraries can be highly personalized, with themes ranging from Gardens; Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Film Locations, History, Culinary, Genealogy — plus chaffeurs and guides.

Their team personally inspects each property they book, and they constantly review, add and drop properties, ensuring great stays for our clients. Their destination experts and entertaining guides have walked the villages and explored off-the-beaten path locales in order to anticipate each guest’s need and wish. They are a marvelous travel company and just celebrated their 25th Anniversary. 

Stay in a 12-Century castle in Tuscany, Italy

Wake up in Ballynahinch Castle in the heart of stunning Connemara, Ireland

Treat yourself at the luxurious, award-winning five-star Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa & Golf on its own private island near Loch Lomond in Scotland

Celebrated Experiences’ unique philanthropic program donates a dollar for every hotel room night! We at Willamette Intl Travel are proud to partner up with such great companies that take the time to give back. As 2016 was their most successful year ever, this year they are donating more than $23,500 to important causes!

Foundations include Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Make-A-Wish, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and The Alzheimer’s Foundation. They also donate $500 to the favorite cause of each member of their team, including:

  • Wounded Warrior Project
  • St. Jude Children’s Hospital
  • Boys and Girls Club
  • Pediatric Cancer Foundation
  • Prostate Cancer Foundation
  • PAWS Atlanta
  • US Navy Memorial
  • Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary
  • Children’s Miracle Network  

Every little bit helps and no booking is too small!

Call Willamette Intl Travel to find out more about these exclusive properties: 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com. 

 

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Filed under Accommodation, Conscientious Traveler, England, Europe, Family Travel, Ireland, Itinerary

Stockholm with Context Travel

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Hej hej! This is WIT Agent Wailana reporting in from Stockholm, Sweden!

Today I learned that Stockholm means “Isle of Logs,” very apropos if you consider how green the city is! I just moved here 3 weeks ago and have been exploring to my heart’s content. It certainly is a change from quiet and sleepy Reykjavik!

Context Travel

So last week, I went on a tour of the Sodermalm Neighborhood with Context Travel. We at Wittravel are longtime fans of Context Travel: small groups, personalized itineraries, expert guides—what’s not to love? Their docents are experts in their field, Ph.D.-level scholars of history, art and archaeology. Context Travel strive for unique approaches to already popular destinations—including Rome, New York and Shanghai—and always seek to offer a diverse selection to fit the traveler. We’ve booked our clients on numerous tours with them and always receive rave reviews. And now I can count myself among them as a firsthand fan!

And guess what—today, July 18, CT officially launch their Stockholm program! So if you’d like a unique perspective on this (or any other) beautiful city, offer, call your agent at Willamette Intl Travel at 503-224-0180 or email us at info@wittravel.com.

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Kiki, my lovely docent

Södermalm Tour

The Södermalm Neighborhood Tour was a 3-hour intensive walk through the historic and modern parts of Södermalm Island in downtown STO. My guide was Kiki, an archaeologist from Uppsala who used to live in Södermalm and enlightened us of the obscure history of this hilly place: working class struggles, artists, witches, writers, a 18th century fad of brick houses, geology, executioners… she also shared personal anecdotes from the time she lived there for a decade during the 1970s, demonstrating how the neighborhood had evolved over the decades and what kind of people and protests flooded the streets over time.

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Slussen area of Södermalm

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Romantic Stockholm? “Back against the wall, and your legs around my waist. I kiss you again…”

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The elegant Katarina Church

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Kiki even brought her little dog Chinghiz Khan who was very well-behaved and added a bit of character to the tour

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The dark side of Stockholm–a lot of women were hanged in this little square as witches

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Some of the oldest houses in Stockholm

 

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Södermalm is full of hills and incredible views

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Filed under Europe, Group Travel, News, Sweden

Agent Trip Report: Malta!

2016-03-08 13.41.37WIT Agent Pam embarked on a unique trip to Malta this past March. We shared some of her photos with our readers, but wanted to make sure you got a chance to read her report, too!

So we’ve converted it into an easy-to-read format: Read it Here

Check out more photos over in our Gallery.

We’re anticipating a lot more of our Trip Reports in this magazine format–so stay tuned!

Call us up to plan your trip to Europe and beyond! Call 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com. 

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Filed under Europe, News, Trip Reports

Louvre Pyramid “Disappears!”

From the Desk of our friends at Chocolatine: 

Bonjour! 

The French are masters of trompe l’oeil —literally, “fool the eye”—and the latest example is delighting Parisians and visitors from around the world. The renowned graffiti artist, JR, has made the pyramid in front of the Louvre his latest optical illusion. From now through June 27, if you want to see what the museum looked like before I.M. Pei constructed the glass pyramid, just take a walk over to the Louvre—you won’t believe your eyes!

NOTE: Just a friendly reminder: selfie sticks are forbidden inside the museum (but not outside of course!)

More info (and pics) at Condé Nast:

http://www.cntraveler.com/stories/2016-05-31/in-paris-artist-makes-louvre-pyramid-disappear

About Chocolatine: Based in the Pacific Northwest, Chocolatine is a spectacular tour company that offers private services in France that are 100% tailored to your needs. We have worked closely with them for years to arrange one-of-a-kind excursions in Paris and elsewhere in France. Call Willamette Intl Travel to discuss options for unique explorations within Europe at 800-821-0401 or email us at info@wittravel.com.

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Filed under Europe, France, News

5 Things You Should Know about Rome

Rome—the eternal Eternal City. Dubbed “the City of Visible History,” by writer George Eliot, the charm of Italian’s capital lies in its endless heritage, apparent wherever you look. The drinking fountains, the roads, the great monuments, statues and paintings—all speaks to the centuries that have left their mark here. Before you head off to Rome to check out the living history, read our quick guide to “things you should know before you go.”

Hunting for Authenticity? Check out Trastevere. Rome’s sweet neighborhood may be a bit off the tourist track, but head here for an authentic glimpse to Rome. With cobbled streets and ancient houses, Trastevere retains much of its historical charge. Students flock here in droves, thanks to the many universities—and attracted such famous patrons like Richard Teitelbaum, Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone. It’s a great place to try some of the best food Rome has to offer—including a little trattoria where shots are served in chocolate cups.

Local guides can make all the difference. Ask us about our local contacts in Rome, A&R Tours, run by Adriana and Renato from Portland and Naples, respectively. Their team of local guides can arrange everything from private Pompeii tours to dinners in the Tuscan countryside. Join them for personal and tailor-made tours enriched by a mutual love of art history and Roman mythology—and you won’t be surprised to see that their TripAdvisor rating is almost 100%!

Good shoes are a must! Rome is not the “City of Seven Hills” for nothing. In fact, there are actually ten hills in modern Rome—so it should come to no surprise that Rome is hilly. Guidebooks may write about the charming strolls of Rome but may neglect to mention that this means anytime you go anywhere, you’ll be walking uphill and downhill, up steps and down staircases. What may look like a simple line from the Vatican to Trastevere, may in fact involve a lot of ups and downs. Invest in some sturdy, breathable shoes before you go.

Gianicolo Hill has some of the best panoramic views. Speaking of hilly, test your legs out on the Via di Gianicolo, which runs from the Piazza della Rovere up one of the tallest hills in Rome. The steep hike is a bit challenging, but there are thankfully benches and cafes along the way to rest for a moment or two. And the panorama at the top—well, it simply can’t be beat.

Know your way around transport. You may fly into Rome, you may take a train into Roma Termini, the central train station. As long as you avoid driving into or within Rome, you’ll retain your sanity—traffic is chaotic and drivers are known for their casual disregard for the rules. Instead, take advantage of the numerous pedestrian walkways—the most romantic way to discover the hidden corners of the city—or by the impressive public system of buses, trams, trolleys, metro and light railways. If you’re in town for at least 3 days, try the Roma Pass—just 36 euros will get you free admission to two museums, full access to public transport and discounts on performance and exhibition tickets.

Extra Fun Fact: If you want to go all out on luxury, book a table at La Pergola. This magnificent restaurant boasts 3 Michelin stars and a breathtaking view from Monte Mario. You’ll wine and dine on the best culinary delights Rome has to offer, from white truffles to foie gras. Of course, the price tag is nothing to laugh about—the nine-course set meal will set you back about 300 euros per person! But hey—when in Rome?

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Filed under City Guides, Europe, Italy, News

Reading List: Spain

España! One of the top destinations of Europe this year, Spain is generous to its visitors, with everything from sunny beaches on the Costa del Sol to world-class museums in the metropolis maze of Madrid. Its economic stability and safety continues to attract tourists from Europe, North America, and even Russia this year.

Check out our Recommend Reads for España: (besides the obvious must-read Don Quixote)

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Tim Moore, Spanish Steps. Travel writer Tim Moore and his donkey Shinto hilariously navigate the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Barcelona: A Thousand Years of the City’s Past. An account of Barcelona, its history and art, in relation to the rest of Spain.

Antony Beevor, The Battle for Spain. Prize-winning overview of the Spanish civil war.

Chris Stewart, Driving Over Lemons. Expat and ex-drummer Stewart’s account of a new life in Spain with his family.

Giles Tremlett, Ghosts of Spain. A superb historical overview of a country torn between modernity and nostalgia. 51bp3W+hKiL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Arturo Barea, The Forging of a Rebel. A fascinating memoir during the Spanish Civil War, published in three volumes.

Carlos Pardo, Life of Pardo. A young man’s account of modern Spain, part autobiography, part fiction.

Context Travel, superb guides throughout the world, offer small group tours for the intellectually curious traveler. Ask us about tours, car rentals, hotels, and cruises in and around Spain. Thinking about Mallorca? Let us book your vacation! Call 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com to chat with one of our agents.

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Filed under Europe, News, Reading Lists, Spain