Posts Tagged 'island'

Tortola is the New Zen!

Zen is all about relaxation and appreciation of the beauty that surrounds you. There are many private islands with villas abound in the Caribbean for those seeking their Zen, both with simplicity and splendor. Many believe that if you are not independently wealthy, the chances of a similar visit are null. Unless of course you consider this alternative solution; Tortola!

Live on a lush island with your own vacation rental

Live on a lush island with your own vacation rental

Appreciate much of its charm, rather than with a short visit, but by staying in a villa vacation rental instead. The beaches on the East End of the island are a lot less popular, not because they are any less beautiful, but they are developed to assure privacy. Have you independence and luxury with this wonderful two bedroom sleeping four. This villa allows you to have the convenience of a resort next door, if you hanker for some live entertainment or dining out.

There is never a long enough visit in Tortola to savor the beautiful scenery and get a feel of this lovely island. Here you can enjoy a fruity rum punch and lounge around in the ambiance of nature for awhile while listening to Calypso band playing in the distance. There are other things to see and do on this lush island.

The Sage Mountain Park

This is tallest mountain in the British Virgin Islands and a delight for hikers. There are remnants of the primary rainforest near its peak. You have numerous trails that will lead right to it. There are also placards that identify various vines, flowers, trees and several rare and endangered plant species that grow within Sage Mountain. If this your only chance to see a rainforest, visit it.

Dolphin Discovery

Yes, swimming and playing with the dolphins will create a fun and unforgettable experience. This is your opportunity to encounter these highly intelligent and friendly marine mammals.

Mount Healthy National Park

The sugar plantation era in Tortola was strong and the evidence was left behind of the windmill and old mill of this National Park. There are also other remains believed to be the Boiling House and the Overseer’s Quarters in the immediate area.

Now is the time for your visit.

Now is the time for your visit.

The Callwood Rum Distillery

Callwood is a historic rum manufacturer that has been in operation for over four centuries. Plan a visit while discovering the family behind the plant and how rum is manufactured. What’s more is that you get to sample the product. 

Fort Recovery

Fort Recovery was built by the Dutch colonists in 1648. The ruins are on the grounds of the Fort Recovery Estate. You are allowed to wander around the ruins and visit the lookout tower.

An open-air jitney bus is a great way to see most of the island’s beautiful beaches, coves, and bays. You will want to swim in them all and it is certain you can never choose a favorite.

Ride along a spiraling road down from the hills and the view as you approached magnificent scenery. Lots of small sailboats may be anchored in the bay making the view even more picturesque if that is possible. Often people sail around the island, anchoring for a night or two; but you have the advantage of a vacation rental villa in Tortola and can stay as long as you wish.

Come join the party on the idyllic island of Hvar, Croatia

The members of the international jet set crowd are always on the lookout for new vacation locales  and over the last few years celebrities like Italian Designer Valentino, hotel heiress Nick Hilton and Hollywood bigwigs like Kevin Spacey and Gwyneth Paltrow have all found their summer nirvana on the sun dappled and lavender scented island of Hvar which is situated in the Adriatic sea off the Dalmatian coast of Croatia.

Azure waters and the rugged coastline of Hvar photo credit Lena ni

Azure waters and the rugged coastline of Hvar photo credit Lena ni

With the war having ended in the mid nineties, Croatia’s Dalmatian islands like Hvar, Vis, Korčula and Brač which are blessed with seemingly endless days of sunshine, cerulean waters, craggy landscapes and historic towns with wonderful seafood restaurants have become the new hot spot for the world’s glitterati. However it is not only the celebrities who come to Hvar and these other Croatian islands, as many ordinary folk have also realized that these islands have much to offer and provide great bang for your buck in the European summer months when other perennial summer favorites like Saint Tropez, Mykonos, Ibiza are often overcrowded with the hordes.

Recent estimates in fact indicate that in the month of August, the population of the town of Hvar actually swells from 5000 to 30,000 visitors a day. This just shows that Hvar is fast gaining in the popularity stakes and will soon be up there with the best even though it still doesn’t have an airport for a direct air link to the rest of Europe and the world. Most international visitors, who do not sail to Hvar on their own luxurious yachts, seem to arrive on the island by flying into the city of Split and then taking the passenger catamaran across the Adriatic Sea from Split to Hvar.

Your self contained vacation rental in pretty Kalober bay

Your self contained vacation rental in pretty Kalober bay

You can actually book your ferry ticket online at the website of the Jadrolinija Ferries and it is actually advisable to do so in the month of August when ferry tickets are often sold out. You can alternatively also take the car ferry which comes into the neighboring town of Stari Grad and then take the bus to the town of Hvar but of course this is a much slower journey which takes longer.

Your sunny vacation rental at avelini in the district of Majerovica

Your sunny vacation rental at avelini in the district of Majerovica

The best way to enjoy the many charms of this beautiful island is to book a vacation rental in or around Hvar town. Once you have your own vacation rental you can embrace the laid back pace of the island where the philosophy of Fajka reigns supreme. Similar to the Spanish concept of siesta, the philosophy of Fajka asks you to have a proper leisurely lunch at one of the waterfront cafes of Hvar town and then return to your vacation rental located close by take a nap so that you are refreshed and rejuvenated for your nocturnal exploits.

There is enough to see and do on the island of Hvar and here are some of my suggestions for enhancing your pleasure on this exclusive but accessible island:-

Take a walk on  Riva

Riva is the waterfront promenade of Hvar which is dotted with cafes, restaurants and bars. It is here that the exclusive yachts and super cruisers come to dock in the summer. The townspeople of Hvar and tourists alike like to walk on the promenade in the evenings and gawk at these gigantic yachts which belong to the rich and famous.

Riva,promenade of Hvar photo credit munksynz

Riva,promenade of Hvar photo credit munksynz

Enjoy a glass of the local red

Hvar actually is one of the two premier winemaking areas of Croatia. Its sunny Mediterranean climate and terrain produce excellent quality Plavac Mali grapes which are used to produce some great red wine. Be sure to indulge in some when you vacation in Hvar.

Go Clubbing

Hvar boasts of a rocking nightlife and has many bars and clubs that are located on its waterfront. One such waterfront bar called Carpe Diem seems to be the current favorite on Hvar’s nightlife scene

Buy some Lavender scented goodies

Lavender grows in abundance on the island; do buy some hand made lavender oil or some dried lavender flowers which are excellent as moth repellants to protect your expensive cashmere sweaters or to just remind you of your idyllic time on Hvar.

Krk, Croatia – On the Path of History and Culture.

There is more than one beautiful walled city in Croatia, other than the Pearl of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik. Krk is another, resting along the Croatian coastline and often compared with Dubrovnik because of its old town beauty.

Many people are confused as to whether Krk is an island or a city? Actually, it is both. Pronounced in English as Kirk; today, it is one of the most sought out Croatian Islands by vacationers.

It holds the regarded Blue Flag, designated by the EU Commission for its beaches; the honor guarantees cleanliness and high international standards of environmental protection. The area is extraordinarily plentiful in cultural and historical heritage.

Krk, the city, has close to 3000 years of history with Romans once reigning here. But just as recently as 1995, an ancient artifact found, proved that the predecessors were the Greeks. Time will tell who came before them, as more discoveries are uncovered. The traditional way of life points towards to the sea, agriculture and sheep rearing as is today.

During the Middle Ages, patrician families established chapels throughout the town of Krk and it seems you can not walk more than a few steps without passing a house of worship.

The best way be In Krk with a vacation home.

The best way be In Krk with a vacation home.

Travel is one of those rare phenomena that connect people and places from all over the world. The Latin motto, “Splendidissima civitas Curictarum” (splendid town of the people of Krk) originated from an inscription on a tombstone from the 4th century and splendid it is.

So while enjoying your island hideaway in a modern vacation home that sleeps 6, a visit to Krk, the city, is in order. A vacation home is a  wonderful opportunity to do things your way.

With so many nooks and crannies to explore, shopping for food is a delight. What better way than to bring home fresh produce from the market? The fresh fish, the shrimp and other shellfish are a must prepared with Krk olive oil.

Rise early one morning and sit in a café along the waterfront, sipping a hot cappuccino. During this tranquil and quiet moment, watch the day progress. First hearing the seagulls and watching them follow the arriving boats of fisherman. Walk to the nearby fish market where the activities begin. You could buy your entree for the evening meal or can always grab a pole, head to the waterfront, be patient, and catch dinner yourself.

A great kitchen to create your fresh seafood feast!

A great kitchen to create your fresh seafood feast!

Of course, with the numerous restaurants, you will not want to miss out on any of them; but it is nice to know you can prepare a meal in your kitchen. The special quality time shared inside your holiday home or out on your veranda overlooking the green hills of the countryside with your companions and family is only enhanced.

Some of the many monuments and sights in Krk of historical purpose include:

• The Main Town Gate and Town Walls
When the town was surrounded by walls, this gate became the main entrance to the town from the seaside. The different layers expose different historical periods from Illyrian times to the fall of Venice.  The first layer is 1st century B.C. The last major reconstruction took place at the end of the 15th century.

• Vela Placa
The main city square, called Vela Placa (Big Square), presents the building of the Town Hall from the 15th century and has a Renaissance fountain. There is a most interesting archaeological site under the square.  Among the findings is the oldest part of the town wall from 4th-3rd century B.C.

• Frankopan Castle
The Frankopan castle is currently used for open-air performances in the summer months.

• Cathedral of the Assumption
The religious architecture dates to the 5th century with the churches of St Margaret and St Quirinus, patron saint of the town (11th/12th centuries), in which there is an exhibition of religious items, and a bell tower from the 18th century.

• The Celebrini House
The Celebrini House is a three-storey building with the facade having baroque elements of around 1700. In the past, the building also served as the seat of the district court.

• Franciscan Monastery
The monastery was originally part of the northern defence wall. The east wing was constructed in 1910 as a seminary. The monastery houses a painting by Renaissance painter Vittoreo Carpaccio of the Madonna and Child.

Krk, the island, has many villages to explore also. In the countryside, visit the Cave Biserujka. According to legend, a smuggler’s treasure is hidden within the cave. Even if you do not discover the treasure, the cave is filled with stalactites, stalagmites and calcite pillars in a comfortable spaciousness without feeling claustrophobic.  

It the past few years Krk has been repeatedly awarded for its high quality in tourism and it is no wonder. Between the many restaurants, cafés, boutiques, art galleries by the sea, in the harbor and within the town walls, Krk is a destination not to put off any longer.


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