Posts Tagged 'summer'

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.

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Sognefjord/Nordfjord,Norway – No Matter What the Season.

It is not too late to take a fall vacation that can be as easy as finding a high-altitude lookout point in a heavily wooded area, a lake, hiking trails and plenty of eye catching scenery. The added bonus is the world’s longest and deepest fjord at your doorstep. The answer to all of the above is Sognefjord/Nordfjord.

Don’t let others try to convince you that a visit should be restricted only during the summer. You can see all the extraordinary beauty for yourself without the crowds. Visit to the most famous and scenery parts of the Sognefjord/Nordfjord by taking a day cruise. A day cruise offers both cultural and historical fjord cruises. The boats sail between Kaupanger, Lærdal and Ofredal and between Lærdal, Kaupanger, Flåm, Undredal and Styvi.

What’s more, the day cruises also carry fishing equipment on board, so you might just bring back to your vacation home a freshly caught fish for dinner.

That is truly the most efficient way of staying in this area, to discover nature’s wonder, with a holiday home in the Sognefjord/Nordfjord area at an affordable price and at a leisurely pace.

Wake up to this view each day with your vacation home

Wake up to this view each day with your vacation home

One such property is this home with panoramic views that can accommodate the whole family as it sleeps 7. The fjords and villages and more can be experienced at an affordable price and at a leisurely pace by having a vacation home. There are over 125 properties available, so your choice is waiting for you.

Autumn is a great time to walk the numerous nature paths. In autumn, the Sognefjord takes on its blanket of attractive red, orange and brown hues Many people consider this the best time for hiking with exhilaratingly clear air and the ground is dry and firm. 

Of course, December may bring on the snow, but don’t let that stop you for a visit, since the snow paints the landscape white adding a new dimension to the area. Besides, the fjord ski lifts and ski tows open during Christmas holidays for you are a ski buff. Not only that, they remain open until the Easter holidays.

After Easter, spring arrives with the landscape changing once more by cascading waterfalls, hillsides and meadows showing their green and the mountains with a cap of snow. The apple blossoms in the orchards add that touch of sweet fragrance in the air.

Summer brings long, sunny days and bright summer nights. This is the season that makes the fruit and berries unusually good and is a must to add to your grocery list. Summer does profess the most visitors and it is a good idea to book your holiday home for the summer season in advance.

A holdiay home is the best way to expereince Sognefjord/Nordfjord.

A holdiay home is the best way to expereince Sognefjord/Nordfjord.

So when should you venture to Sognefjord/Nordfjord? Think about picture taking, once in a lifetime opportunities, that will be available to you no matther the season.

Besides scenery, fishing, hiking and skiing, there are many special corners in the Sognefjord/Nordfjord region blessed with Stave churches dotted within small villages.

And no visitor should miss the Flam Railway, zig-zagging along the fjords from Flam to Myrdal. This service runs all year round, whereas, you can get off at any stop along the way and discover on your own what is not described in the travel guides.

London – Celebrate with the Mayor!

Hurry, on September 13th and 14th, a must visit is to the annual Mayors Thames Festival in London. What better way to say goodbye to summer than with a large party to celebrate the event. With much to do between Westminster Bridge and Waterloo Tower, this spectacular, free celebration requests much participation by you, with dancing, live performances, making sculptures, listening to music and sailing on the Thames. Of course there will be plenty of food and beverages available to add to your enjoyment.

The street festival of all street festivals closes all roads and bridges, thus making the city a cultural event not to be forgotten. An unique highlight this year is the New European Village Stage, with performances of dance, music and folklore of the most recent members of the European Community such as Poland, Czech Republic and Lithuania.

Ever wanted to be in the movies? It is possible at the Movieum tent, that takes you on a behind the scenes tour and discovering the film heritage in England. You can get involved in movie making and may even get a special role in a film as an extra or the one who yells “Action.

At County Hall, a Wizard School has been tailored as an interactive live children’s show. This show is just one of the various activities that families can enjoy together at this festival.

In the evening, dance the night away by the Tate. Tango along the vibrant riverside with instruction and star-performers leading the way.

On Victoria Embankment, there will be 2,500 participants lead by a specially commissioned dragon from China. The festival’s Fireworks Finale is fired from barges in the middle of the Thames and only will prove that the Mayors Thames Festival gets bigger and bolder every year. If you can not make it for this one, start planning for next year.

What better way to enjoy London’s celebration than with your own private flat. London, known to be one of the most expensive cities in Europe is now affordable with a place you can call your own right near all the festivities along the river. The Trafalgar is just one of many properties available that offers all the comfort and room one needs, yet at an affordable price.

Stay in your own flat at The Trafalgar in the center of London!

Stay in your own flat at The Trafalgar in the center of London!

London is a city of many distinctions all throughout the year, with an array of sightseeing opportunities, from having a glimpse of parliament, riding in a double decker bus, seeing great theater, to sitting in the back of a black cab having a conversation with the taxi driver on world events. Some of the most famous places in the city include Big Ben, Parliament, St. Paul´s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Tower Bridge and  Buckingham Palace and, in particular, the historical and highly singular changing of the guard ceremony.

 

Barcelona’s Last Hoorah of Summer!

The city of Barcelona’s biggest party, The Festes de la Mercè, is getting ready to have a good time! Parades, street music, dancing, a swimming race across the harbor, and a correfoc (fire race) are just a few of the activities to anticipate. There is something for everyone on the 19th leading up to 24th (a public holiday) 2008, which celebrates the day of the city’s patron saint … the Virgin de la Merce.

Events include the parade of the giants which is a procession through the streets is made up of enormous wooden figures operated by a group. There are fantastic firework displays and plenty of eating and drinking as is the case most festivals throughout the year in Barcelona.

Who is La Mercé? According to legend, Barcelona went through a tedious plague of locusts. La Mercè removed them and they never returned again. The festival is to honor her for her continuing protection against the locusts.

One highlight that you must look out for is the competition for which group of people can form the highest human pyramid. The best place to find the towers is in Placa de Sant Jaume where participants in traditional costume climb on top of one another until they can hold no more. This human tower often reaches around eight but who knows, the record may be broken!

What better way to enjoy the festival and Barcelona then in an apartment in the center of the city? Barcelona is so cosmopolitan whether there is a festival or not, and there’s no better way than with a vacation home.

Barcelona Holiday Apartments

Walking along Las Ramblas in the morning before the tourists get there or watching the sunrise on the Med. You can, by renting at the base of the Port Vell, such as the apartment at the right for less than a hotel would cost.

As the capitol of Catalunya, Barcelona can be appreciated by all age groups and interests. Primarily a cultural city, it consists of art, music, theater and other forms of entertainment, which are readily available. As a city, it comfortably maintains its centuries old past with the demands of a modern day metropolis with touches of Dali and Miro thrown in throughout.

The most prominent image of Barcelona is the Temple de la Sagrada Familia. Every art history and architectural major finds this incomplete church a vision come true. No where has design defeated what is written in text books. It is a canvas where the artist let his imagination run wild. The church was designed by Gaudi and has been under construction since 1882 and current estimates are that it will be completed by 2020. This gives you a chance to visit Barcelona more often and check out the progress.


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