Autumn escape to Lake Como

Boutique hotel Villa Vittoria Lake Como, Italy

It may not have been the most obvious time of the year to travel to Lake Como in late October, but it was a good choice. No crowds anywhere, just some locals walking around, it was so quiet and beautiful. Many of the restaurants were already closed after the busy summer season, but some of them still remained opened over the weekends offering delicious Italian food and wines.

Lake Como in autumn colours in October

Hotel Relais Villa Vittoria lake como, ItalyAll the little villages around the lake were shining in autumn colours under the autumn sun. The temperature was a bit above +20C degrees, so rather ok compared to many other European destinations at this time of the year.

We stayed in a lovely boutique Hotel Relais Villa Vittoria, which looks over the Lake Como. We managed to book our room just a night before our arrival, and we really enjoyed our stay in this charming place. The service is friendly, a bit like staying someone’s gorgeous holiday home. I hope we can return here next year again…

Villa Vittoria, your living room at Lake Como

Relais Villa Vittoria, Lake Como - living room

Reception Villa Vittoria Lake Como

Pool at Villa Vittoria Lake Como

Lake Como in autumn colours

Where to travel in Easter: My top 5 destinations

Easter holiday ideas

Where to go on Easter? I start planning my Easter every year very early and then end up making the decision last-minute.  Spring is the best time to travel in many locations and there are so many places I would like to travel. Easter is great time for a healthy holiday, visiting Europe, Asia and Middle East. Here are my top 5 Easter holiday destinations:

Chiva Som - Thailand health reatreat

1. Healthy holiday in Chiva Som, my favourite retreat
Chiva Som is my favourite destination Spa.  One week of healthy food, lots of exercises and spa treatments in beautiful surroundings will make a difference. No fuss about Easter egg hunting, but if you are lucky, it is time for Songkran water festival, and you will get your share of sparkling water as a symbol of washing bad away and giving good fortune for your future…

Venice, Italy

2. City break in Milan and Venice
Good Friday is not a public holiday in Milan, so what would be better way of spend a day for shopping, while the city is once a bit less crowded.  Most of the local people head to East on Friday, so leave your travel for Saturday morning and drive towards Venice.  Spring is one of the most beautiful time to visit the city and less touristic than summer.

Banyan Tree Bintan resort

3. Shopping in Singapore, relaxing in Bintan Island (in Indonesia)
Singapore is a good, but maybe not so obvious destination for Easter.  It is a great way of combining a city holiday in Singapore with few days in Bintan holiday island, just about an hour by ferry from Singapore.  We stayed in Banyan Tree Bintan, which is a gorgeous resort with beautiful natural surroundings, delicious food and daily yoga glasses relaxing your mind and body totally.

Easter Break in Miami

4. Miami + Caribbean Escape
Couple of years ago we combined a fitness week in the BodyHoliday resort in St. Lucia with a few extra days in Miami. Beautiful, warm weather, a week of 4-5 hours exercises and a pampering spa treatment every day in the BodyHoliday resort renewed my body and mind. After a week of fitness it was quite rewarding enjoy few days in Miami just by walking around, running in the beach, eating well and do a bit of shopping before flying back home. 

Easter in Switzerland - Park Hotel Weggis

5. Switzerland
Switzerland is a nice destination for Easter.  Depending on the weather you can make day trips to France, Italy, Germany or Austria. If Easter is early in the year you can still go skiing and later in spring enjoy the beautiful spring weather. One year I stayed in Park Hotel Weggis near Luzern. The hotel has a picturesque view over the Lake Vierwaldstattersee  and they Easter Bruch is really great!  

And what I was looking for this year?
I have been looking for plenty of last minutes options:

  1. Long weekend in Istanbul
  2. Culture break in Marrakesh
  3. Relaxing holiday in Abu-Dhabi, combining city and the new Anantara desert resort Qasr al Sarab
  4. Healthy holiday in Verdura resort in Sicily or Sha Wellness Clinic in Spain
  5. Shopping in New York

Travel year 2011: My top 10 destinations

St. Moritz - skiing in the Swiss Alps

Happy New Year 2012!! For me the year 2011 was a great year of travel. I visited over 20 different destinations, discovered new places and returned to many of my favourite ones. This post is a collection of my top 10 travel destinations in 2011.

1. Travelling around Yunnan province and Tibetan plateau in China
Ringha, China

related blog post

2. First time in Hong Kong
Hong Kong by night
related the blog post

3. A day trip to Macau
Macau

related blog post

4. My friends’ wedding in Athens, and first time in Acropolis
Acropolis, Athens

related blog post

5. Discovering the Austrian Alps in Lech and St. Anton
Austrian Alps St. Anton, Austria

related blog post

6. Wellness holiday in Kamalaya, Koh Samui (despite of eight rainy days)
Kamalay resort, Koh Samui, Thailand

related blog post

7. Culinary trip to Paris
L'Ami Louis, Paris

related blog post

8. Mini holiday in Palma de Mallorca
Palma de Mallorca - Weekend destination

9. Hiking in the Swiss Alps in autumn: Murgtal
Murgsee - walks in Switzerland

related blog post

10. Mysterious Grand Hotel Orologio and why it was closed?
Grand hotel Orologio, Abano Terme, Italy

related blog post

Where to travel in 2012?
I also started collecting some travel ideas for 2012. There are so many interesting places I would like to visit, but I think these are quite on the top of my list:

Mysterious Grand Hotel Orologio: why it was closed?

 

Grand hotel Orologio, Abano Terme, Italy

Abano Terme, Italy: In Easter we visited Abano Terme for a long spa weekend. In the centre of Abano Terme there is a fascinating old hotel called Grand Hotel Orologio. It is the most beautiful building in this little town, far fancier than any other building. I am sure it had a glorious past, but why it was abandoned?

This beautiful neoclassical building served once as a famous casino. You can still admire its architectural magnificence, though the facade is getting rusty and losing its paint. I found this hotel, and its garden so fascinating and interesting. I probably looked like Nancy Drew while sneaking around and trying to see closer. I would have loved to look inside, but of course there was no-one around to let me in. It is still unclear to me, why and when the hotel was closed. But it is obvious, the place has been closed for some time now.

All the information I have been able to find is a texts praising the buildings’ glory and mourning the fact that it was abandoned. I can’t find much about the hotel’s history or any pictures of the time that it was still in use, but I will continue searching…

I hope this hotel will open one day again, and I will then definitively come back!

Grand hotel Orologio, Abano Terme, Italy

Grand hotel Orologio, Abano Terme, Italy

Grand hotel Orologio, Abano Terme, Italy

Grand hotel Orologio, Abano Terme, Italy

Grand Hotel Orologio, Abano Terme, Italy

Where to go in April?

Spring is the time to explore the European cities and spend some weekends combining culture, shopping and good food. I have collected here two of my favourite city break destinations to visit in April.

Vienna, Austria

Spring colours in Vienna
The Austrian capital Vienna is an exciting choice for a weekend destination for those, who love culture and history. With its numerous museums and palaces you can always find something interesting to see.

Flowers in Vienna, Austria

Schoenbrunn palace, Vienna AustriaMy favourite tourist attraction is the Imperial Palace, and especially its royal apartments, a museum dedicated to Empress Elisabeth. The other beautiful castles to visit are Schoenbrunn, the former summer residence of the imperial family and Belvedere, the summer residence of Prince Eugene. In both palaces you can easily spend a good half day.

Vienna culture attractions

Hundertwasser, Vienna AustriaFor those who love architecture, the Hundertwasser is the area to experience eclectic style buildings combining the elements of mosques, Spanish villages and Venetian style palaces designed by the artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

Vienna is also famous for its street cafes providing delicate breaks for city explorers. The most famous cake is definitively the original Sachertorte from Hotel Sacher, which is a traditional place for a Sunday afternoon tea. For evenings, Vienna offers a wide range of entertainment of every kind from opera to concerts and theatre to cinemas – tickets are recommended to book well in advance.

Cakes in Vienna

Market colours in Vienna, Austria

Flowers in market in Vienna, Austria

Romantic weekend in Venice
Venice is so different from any other European cities that you can call it unique. I find it fascinating walking around its narrow streets, exploring the labyrinth structure of the city and the graceful facades of the historic buildings.

Venice, Italy

The best way to get most out of the city is to organise a private tour with a local guide, who knows the history of the city and takes you to the areas where you wouldn’t necessarily find on your own. The The Canal Grance, Venice, ItalyGrand Canal, Piazza San Marco, The Bridge of Sighs, Rialto and much more… there are plenty of famous places in Venice that you must see while you are there. I would also recommend a day trip to the famous Murano island, the centre of glassmaking since 1291.

There are also some charming shops in Venice to buy some souvenirs. I love the small stores selling all kind of leather bags with fancy colours and fashionable designs. I also like the tiny shops with all kind of gloves in every colour you can imagine with affordable prices. Whatever is the season, you will always find a reason to buy one more pair or two. And if you would like to send some post cards from your journey, I would recommend visiting some local paperteries where you can find the most beautiful handmade cards – my favourite one is Il Papiro (www.ilpapirofirenze.it), Florentine paperterie which has few stores in Venice.Harry's bar Venice

And before you go home, stop in Harry’s bar for an original Venetian Bellini – this is the place where the drink was discovered.

Click here to read more about Venice.

Other destinations…
And where am I going in April this year? I will be in Thailand, visiting Helsinki and hopefully Damascus…

Similar posts
Where to go in February 
Where to go in March

Where to go in February?

Matterhorn, Zermatt

Where to travel in February: Exploring holidays in a last minute is actually great fun. I like listing destinations for different seasons and planning last minute holidays. I recently wrote my first guest blog about last minute destinations for February. Click here to read my guest blog post: Last minute break – Where to go in February?

So where I would go in February: Skiing in the Alps -definitively!! Sun I would seek in Dubai and for shopping I would go to Milan!

Davos-KlostersSkiing in the Alps
Skiing in the Swiss Alps is absolutely a fantastic experience. Imagine the blue sky, dazzling white snow, winter sun and all day outside in the alpine air. What could be more refreshing? There are plenty of ski resorts offering a great variety of slopes from beginners to more advanced skiers. Please see my recent blog posts of Lech in Austria and skiing in Switzerland for some great tips for Alpine holidays.

Burj Al Arab, DubaiSun, sun and sun in Dubai
Dubai is a perfect destination in February. The weather is pleasurably warm and the sun is almost guaranteed. Dubai is full of fabulous hotels, great restaurants, fantastic shopping malls, mystic souks, beautiful golf courses and much more. Two of my favourite hotels in Dubai are Al Maha desert resort and One and Only Royal Mirage –to combine them will make a perfect stay.

Penny Black in MilanShopping in Milan
Milan is my favourite city for shopping in Italy. You can find there about everything you need: stylish clothes, beautiful shoes and absolutely gorgeous leather bags. Milan has also great hotels, like Four Seasons and Bulgari, and so many great restaurants. Click here to read my latest post about shopping in Milan.

Travel in Seasons – Best destinations 2010

Travel 2010: I have collected in here a list of my favourite destinations to travel in different seasons. For each month I have chosen one great place to visit.

Where to travel in January:
Shopping in Milan, Italy 
Milan is great for shopping! Benefit the best sales in early January and enjoy the mild winter weather. See also my shopping tips for Milan.

Flims-Laax, SwitzerlandWhere to travel in February:
Skiing in the Swiss Alps
February is the month for skiing. I have collected a list of my favourite skiing destination is Switzerland.  Why not try them all…

 

Where to travel in March: 
A week of skiing with style in Zermatt, Switzerland
Zermatt is my favourite destination for skiing and offers over 300 sunny days per year! I prefer to have the ski weekend in early March when the school holidays are over and the resort is slightly less busy. Also weather is milder and the snow it bests.

Where to travel in April: 
Relaxing beach holiday and plenty of sports in St. Lucia, Caribbean
Once a year I need an ultimate healthy holiday. The BodyHoliday in St. Lucia (Caribbean) offers a great variety of sport activities, healthy food and daily spa treatments included in your retreat. I did 4-5 hours sports every day including yoga, pilates, aqua fit, fitness classes and much more… A week of exercises gives you a new boost for the spring. See also my blogpost about TheBodyHoliday.

Where to travel in May: 
Culture and Shopping in Vienna, Austria
Vienna, the capital city of Austria is a great destination for a weekend escape. Use the Saturday for exploring the city centre and doing some shopping, while Sunday you can do an excursion to one for the most beautiful castles in the nearby. And, Vienna is a paradise for cake lovers!

Castadiva hotel resort Lake ComoWhere to travel in June:
Lake Como, Italy – a great weekend destination
Lake Como is the third largest lake in Italy and offers great destinations for weekend escapes. Just as little as two nights will make you feel totally relaxed. I stayed a weekend at the brand new Castadiva hotel resort by the Lake Come enjoying the sun, spa treatments and delicious Italian food. See my travel review

Where to travel in July: 
Weekend break in Vilnius, Lithuania
Why not visit this beautiful and interesting capital city of Lithuania? The old city is fascinating with beautiful churches, historic monuments, small restaurants and cafes outside. You can also do some great shopping in Vilnius: stylish clothes, Italian shoes and beautiful leather bags with bargain price.

Where to travel in August:
Exploring wildlife in a Tanzanian safari
Tanzania offers one of the most magnificent wildlife adventures in Africa. I travelled nine days around national parks enjoying one of my best holidays. The wildlife is stunning; you can see all the animals you have dreamed of, and they are just walking next to your car. Read more and get inspired

Where to travel in September:
Scandinavian design in Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki, the capital city of Finland, is a great destination for a short autumn break. Explore the plenty of stylish design shops, visit the modern art museum Kiasma and try some traditional Finnish food in many great local restaurants.  

Autumn in Hoch-Ybrig - SwitzerlandWhere to travel in October:
Autumn colours in the Swiss Mountains
The Swiss Alps offer beautiful sceneries for day trips and longer stay. I have collected here a list of my favourite hikes.

Stockholm, SwedenWhere to travel in November: 
Christmas shopping in Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm, the beautiful and stylish capital of Sweden is a great place for traditional Scandinavian Christmas shopping. Exploring the Christmas markets, enjoying the traditional Scandinavian dishes and visiting the heart of the Stockholm’s shopping district for more modern Christmas gifts will make a great weekend break in this fascinating northern capital. See my shopping tips

Skiing in Lech, AustriaWhere to travel in December:
Holiday celebrations in Lech, Austria
Located in one of the snowiest regions in the middle of the Austrian Alps Lech-Zurs is a great destination for a ski holiday. With 280km of slopes and in addition of 180km of powder snow runs, the skiing is outstanding.  The area is famous for its stylish hotels, high-class service and suburb food, so no wonder it attracts many celebrities to visit this pearl of the Austrian ski resorts. See my blog post