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Planning a Romantic Getaway to Iceland

Romantic Iceland Getaway

Iceland might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of romance, but the truth is, this amazing country offers many advantages that the romantic traveler should carefully consider when planning for that vacation away. Not for nothing is Iceland called the land of fire and ice—and you can bring that fire to your romantic relationship on an amazing romantic getaway to Iceland.

The Capital City

In Reykjavik, Iceland, you’ll find just 200,000 people—a small city by many standards. This city, however, nevertheless has all the amenities you could ask for: an amazing nightlife, with parties that start at midnight and last until five in the morning; Hallgrímskirkja church, with its incredible tower that can be seen from anywhere in the city; Höfði House, which is one of the most beautiful buildings in Reykjavik; and plenty of other attractions to visit with your sweetheart.

Incredible Views

Throughout Iceland, you’ll find incredible views that are the very heart of romance. Since the country is relatively small, you’ll be able to see a large percentage of it on your stay—or, conversely, take the time to really explore a specific area with the one you love. There are some amazing, sweeping views and beautiful locations in nature throughout Iceland that the two of you will be delighted to explore together.
Seljalandsfoss is a stunning waterfall that you and your beloved can easily walk behind together as you explore the incredible landscape. This waterfall looks like something out of a fantasy novel: a beautiful, romantic location for a picnic or simply for sitting and taking in the view together—especially if the view includes the person closest to your heart.
Thingvellir National Park includes more than just the stunning landscapes you can expect to see as you travel throughout Iceland. At Thingvellir National Park, you can go snorkeling over the Silfra fissure with your loved one. This five-hour tour will take you through crystal clear waters to view a stunning underwater adventure. This trip is limited to six participants per guide, so you’ll get a wonderful small, romantic trip that you and your beloved will be talking about for years to come.
The Great Geysir will be sure to evoke feelings of awe as you and your beloved stand a safe distance away, watching as it shoots water hundreds of feet into the air. It’s a stunning display that is amazing to capture on camera, but even more incredible to capture in your minds for future reminiscing together.
Gullfoss is another gorgeous waterfall with an amazing story to tell. Explore the area with your beloved, taking in stunning scenery as you hold hands and wander around together. The beauty of untouched nature will leave you awed—and that awe will translate to one another.

Choosing Your Home Base in Iceland

While you’re staying in Iceland, you want to stay at the best hotels: the ones that will allow you to focus on your sweetheart and keep the romance alive. Luckily, there are plenty of great options to choose from.
Silica Hotel, which is located at the famous Blue Lagoon, is a fantastic romantic getaway for travelers through Iceland. This gorgeous hotel is just minutes away from the main Blue Lagoon resort and has its own private bathing lagoon just for hotel guests—a definite plus for checking out with your sweetheart. The amazing, serene atmosphere is perfect for focusing on the one you love during a relaxing stay.
Hotel Borg, located in the heart of Reykjavik, offers nice, large rooms where you and your sweetheart can cozy up for an evening in together. Large, deep bathtubs offer plenty of space for one or both of you, while heated marble floors in the bathroom will keep you warm. The understated decor leaves you free to focus on the one you love during your stay in this luxurious hotel.
CenterHotel Thingholt was designed with romance in mind. This gorgeous hotel includes all the amenities you could ask for from a romantic retreat with your sweetheart. The lighting and design are inspired by the beauty found throughout Iceland, from lava flows to waterfalls. In the attached spa, you’ll find rainfall showers, soaking tubs where you can receive a shoulder massage together, and more.

The Most Romantic Meals in Iceland

Of course, a romantic trip with your sweetheart wouldn’t be complete without a few romantic dinners along the way. As you sample the local cuisine, these stunning restaurants will help keep the romance flowing and make your adventure even more memorable. Note that in Iceland, if you want to get a table in high season or on the weekend at many of these amazing restaurants, you should make your reservations at least two weeks in advance to be sure you’ll get the table you want to share with your beloved.
Lækjarbrekka provides amazing Scandinavian cuisine in an incredibly romantic environment that will have both you and your sweetheart smiling. Sample their amazing lobster dishes or try the lamb together. Many guests opt to check out the three-course menu, which provides everything from the wine to the dessert.
At Fiskfelagid, or Fish Company, you’ll find a decadent menu that’s perfect for sharing with your beloved. The restaurant provides amazing service coupled with a dim atmosphere where you can enjoy some quiet conversation with the one you love before heading back to your hotel or off on another romantic adventure together.
MATUR OG DRYKKUR provides a cozy, intimate feel that you and your beloved will be sure to enjoy together. The amazing menu is one of the highlights of your trip together.
Planning a romantic getaway to Iceland is a great way to rekindle the fire with your loved one. There are some incredible sights to see, foods to try, and hotels and spas where you can experience incredible luxury together. It’s time to book your getaway to Iceland today and discover just how much this incredible vacation can benefit your relationship.

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Wonderful Romantic Getaways in Finland

Romantic Finland Getaways

Whether you want to sit back and take in the breathtaking views or stay at a place where you get pampered all day long, Finland has the perfect spot for you. Now, you can immerse yourself in the culture and beauty of Finland while indulging in the perfect escape with someone special.

Finnish Wineries

One of the first things you will want to do on your romantic trip to Finland is to visit a winery. At Pihamaa Estate & Winery, you and your loved one can enjoy the quaint atmosphere of this small wine shop. Located in the village of Kalkkinen, 28 km from Vääksy, Asikkala, the estate has been operated by the same family for a number of years. In addition to an amazing selection of wines, you won’t want to miss the range of vegetables, berries, cheeses, and flowers. Hold hands as you take in the tastes and scents of the wonderful and locally produced goods. Open daily from June through August, this is the perfect way to enjoy a summer day in Finland. Don’t forget dessert at this unique winery! Pihamaa Estate & Winery is known for some of the best cheesecake that you will ever taste. On your way out, browse the downstairs shop for home goods that you can cherish well after your trip is over. It is undeniable that this is truly a hidden gem in Finland.
Continue reading Wonderful Romantic Getaways in Finland

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Authentic Austria: 8 Great Ways to Live Like the Locals

Austrian City

If you want to get more than a tourist’s peek of Austria’s rich culture, Vienna is a perfect place to find accommodations. It’s not only the largest city in the nation, it’s also one of the most well-organized in the world. The surrounding countryside and nearest city hold treasures that are easily explored from this favorable spot, which makes Vienna an ideal jumping-off point for a priceless, once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Take a look at these 8 insider tips for living like the locals in Austria and creating an authentic and memorable holiday experience. Continue reading Authentic Austria: 8 Great Ways to Live Like the Locals

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The Adventure Travel Guide to Italy

Adventure Travel Italy

From coastline-gazing on kayaks and alpine hiking to exploring mysterious caves deep underground, Italy has an outstanding array of opportunities for adventurers of all ambition levels. Consider these possibilities if you’re looking to elevate your adrenaline levels while feasting on some of the lesser known wonders of Italy.

Explore an Underwater Medieval City

More than 2,000 years ago, Julius Caesar and Cicero were known to regularly visit the city of Baia along the Bay of Naples in southern Italy, where the Roman elite had vacation homes and enjoyed the many spas built over the natural hot springs. But now the resort city that drew Roman aristocracy in ancient times has been completely covered by rising sea levels, which has turned the area into a natural attraction for thrill-seekers. While the most adventurous scuba divers will get a full view of the incredible statues and mosaics that are now underwater, the site also makes for terrific snorkeling and you can also charter a glass-bottomed boat to get a look without even having to get wet.
The region surrounding Baia also comes with other exploration opportunities, particularly for those eager to gather some eye-popping views of the Italian coastline. By Kayaking along the Neapolitan coast, you’ll get a chance to see rich green gardens and rugged rock formations–like the Faraglioni di Capri–on your way to hidden sea grottos and various other points of intrigue. You’ll also see ancient ruins up close that are not accessible at all by foot. While kayaking Naples during the day can be on the mildly thrilling side, more experienced kayakers can check it out at night for an extra layer of adventure and mystery.

Hike the ‘Path of the Gods’

The Amalfi Coast in southern Italy is great to look at it from a distance, but it is even better to explore up close and personal by hiking between the small coastal towns of Agelora and Positano. Over eight kilometers of mostly cliff-hugging pathways, the Path of the Gods trail shows off blooming orchids in the spring and beautiful foliage in the fall, though it’s also popular in the summer as well. Allegedly named for a lover of Hercules, the famous pathway offers some of the greatest coastal views in southern Italy in addition to connecting the charming small towns that once formed the basis of a sea-trading empire.
Though the trail isn’t especially grueling in either direction, heading west from Agelora to Positano will offer a very mild, slightly downhill walk that makes it extremely easy to lap up the stunning visuals from high above the Tyrrhenian Sea. You can also skip to the middle in Praiano for an abbreviated version of the trek, though a 1,000-stair climb behind the St. Domenico Convent will still give you an opportunity for a workout. With plenty of hotels in the area that provide shuttle service to the starting and endpoints, all you have to do is remember to bring enough water and enjoy the scenery.

Climb to the Top of St. Peter’s Basilica

One of the most popular destinations in Italy, St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is generally considered a must-see for its cultural significance and beauty, but it also contains a behind-the-scenes look at Michelangelo’s 16th-century masterpiece that many visitors miss. Up a windy and narrow 551-step staircase, visitors eventually emerge at the very top of the dome looking down directly over St. Peter’s Square, the Vatican Gardens, Sistine Chapel, and a panoramic view of Rome. Though not for the claustrophobic, the climb is also the perfect starter-level adventure for those hoping to keep moving on the trip and offers another great way to experience one of Rome’s most famous icons.

Check Out the Dolomites

A part of the Southern Limestone Alps in the northeast corner of Italy, the Dolomites mountain range showcases a stunning display of alpine beauty and natural treasures that make it an organic gathering point for thrillseekers. The region also has a fairly astonishing range of hiking trails that cater to all levels of skill and endurance. On an easy day-hike, visitors will pick their way through lush evergreen forests and deep blue alpine lakes–all backed up by the towering peaks of the Alps, which can be snow-capped during parts of the year. While the less strenuous hikes focus more on the valleys and meadows that make up the area, there are also plenty of hikes that take visitors up into the mountains and require a bit of stamina and athleticism.
But an afternoon trip to the Dolomites just might not be enough considering everything there is to offer. The area is also a very popular spot for multi-day backpacking excursions that give visitors a chance to see the full scope, which can include visits to the quaint little Italian villages sitting at the base of the mountains. There are also opportunities to hike from “rifugio to rifugio,” or “hut to hut,” allowing for easy overnight accommodations. For groups that have members with physical limitations, visitors can also utilize the gondola system to help with some of the more difficult parts of the terrain. From afternoon trips to weeks-long adventures, the Dolomites offer a choose-your-own style expedition that makes it a perfect region for adventure travelers.

Exploring the Frasassi Caves

Located in Genga, Italy (Ancona Province) in central Italy, the Frasassi Caves have been a spot of importance since at least the early part of the 11th century and today offer an exciting opportunity to see one of Italy’s better-kept secrets. The caves themselves’ offer some astounding eye candy, including a crystallized lake of calcium carbonate and a whole assortment of nooks and crannies to explore. Outside of the main caves, there are also other caves in the area that have their own secrets and ancient mysteries and interested visitors can even inspect a chamber that’s home to a large bat colony. Although a relatively easy two-hour tour is ideal for beginners, guests can head out on an extended tour that heads into the system’s narrower passages.
But the Frasassi Caves themselves are only the beginning, as the surrounding hiking trails give you some more stellar glimpses of the mountains and countryside as you stretch your legs. Ultimately, most hikers will end up at the Sanctuary of Santa Maria infra Saxa, an ancient chapel built directly into the mountains, that is believed to be about 1,000 years old. The other impressive building along the way is the Tempietto Valadier, built nearly 200 years ago under the guidance of Pope Leo XII. Like many of the best spots in Italy, the Frasassi Caves have a terrific combination of adventure and history that make them well worth the trip away from the more beaten paths and tourist hubs of Italy.

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The Thrillseeker’s Guide to Croatia

Croatia Adventure Travel

Snorkeling and Diving

Although snorkeling is a popular activity in Croatia, the waters are actually so clear that its aquatic life can often be seen from nearby balconies without any gear. But if you want to get a closer look, rest assured that underwater visibility is excellent and there are no sharks or large whales in the area, so the Adriatic Sea offers a very safe environment for swimming. If you want to see dolphins, you can usually spot a few near Rovinj and Losinj. Rather than being an organized group activity, snorkeling is more individualized and anyone with the right gear can participate.
Wreck divers will also find plenty to explore along the coasts. Some of the most visited wrecks include the Baron Gautsch, the Totonno, the HMS Coriolanus, and even a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. The wreck of the SS Lina, an Italian cargo steamship that ran aground in heavy fog in 1914, is one of the most beautiful diving spots in the country. Despite its steep slope, the site is large enough that visitors can swim among its cargo decks and cabins. In addition to the wreckage, marine life is plentiful. Divers can catch glimpses of schools of salemas and even conger eels.

Whitewater Rafting

Croatia is home to countless lakes, rivers, canyons, and rapids that appeal to travelers looking for an adrenaline rush. Many of them offer sites for white water rafting, with a favorite spot for tourists and locals alike located on the River Una. The waterway creates a natural border with Bosnia, and the most challenging stretch lies between the Strbacki Buk waterfalls and Lahovo, where much of the area is considered a IV and V grade river.
For first-timers and those who prefer a more laid-back experience, the River Mreznica sits less than fifty miles from Zagreb. It’s actually a series of small lakes connected by waterfalls of varying size. Most routes will take rafters over the smaller waterfalls, and the area offers much more than just a whitewater adventure. Visitors will get to see all types of birds as well as old mills and freshwater springs.

Windsurfing

Windsurfing is one of the most popular pastimes in Croatia. Some people will wake up at four in the morning and drive for an hour just to fit in twenty minutes of the water sport before they have to go to work. Tourists can find windsurfing sites all along the coast, although a local favorite is the village of Viganj, located on the Peljesac Peninsula.
One of the most attractive windsurfing sites in Croatia can be found on the south side of Brac Island. With one of the most beautiful beaches on the Adriatic, and idyllic wave and wind conditions, it is a perfect spot for all experience levels. Beginners can choose from several local windsurfing schools to learn the basics before heading out on the water.

Caving

Caves are plentiful throughout Croatia. The country hosts several underground caverns, with varying levels of difficulty. One favorite spot is the Modric Cave, which can be found near the small village of Rovanjska about twenty miles to the northeast of Zadar. It’s a natural cave, meaning there are no man-made railings, concrete, or even lighting. The entrance is a bit cramped, but the cave itself is mostly wide open. They do have a minimum age requirement (12 years old), but no previous caving experience is necessary. Visitors can even take a swim in the Zrmanja River that runs through it!

Canyoning

For low-key thrill seekers who enjoy exploring canyons, Croatia offers plenty of options. One of the most recommended treks is the Vrazji Prolaz (also known as Devil’s Passage), which carves through the hills of Gorski Kotar. At more than a mile long, 300 feet high, and two miles wide, many visitors hail it as one of the most impressive sights they’ve ever seen. Besides canyoning here, tourists can also hike, swim, and water dive.
For visitors who prefer something a bit more involved and challenging, the Cetina River in Dalmatia is worth checking out. The trek is about a mile and a half long and takes anywhere from four to seven hours to complete, depending on how many cliffs are jumped and how much time is spent in the water. The guides are highly experienced and can arrange private tours if requested.

Horseback Riding

Throughout the country, adventurists can find several local ranches and equestrian clubs that offer horseback riding trails. Some even provide packages for trips that last for a few days or up to a full week. One of the best experiences can be found at Old Mulberry in Golinja, which offers home cooked meals, lodging in traditional Croatian homes, and a selection of horses for a day of riding. Another local favorite is Samy’s Ranch in Istria, which even offers paintball, quad ATV tours, and swimming with the horses in addition to riding trips.

Ziplining

In Istria, thrill seekers can get a bird’s eye view of the Croatian countryside by ziplining over the country’s canyons and forests. A favorite spot involves flying over Pazin Cave. Two lines are available here, with the longer one built for speeds of around 30 miles per hour.
By far the most popular ziplining site though is found in Omis above the Cetina River Canyon. This location has eight lines of varying length, with the longest offering rides that fly along at 40 miles per hour. At almost five hundred feet in the air, it’s a great way to take in Croatia from above. Additionally, visitors can spend a few hours hiking along the mountain trails to take in the beauty of the park before checking into a nearby hotel.
Whether you’re into extreme sports or just like to explore the outdoors, Croatia is the perfect getaway. With its many hidden gems and protected countryside, it’s a thrillseeker’s paradise.

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11 Tips for Living Like the Locals in Italy

Italy Town

No Cappuccino after 11 AM

This one might be tough if you’re addicted to caffeine. Americans, in particular, are accustomed to sipping coffee drinks whenever they need it. But in Italy, cappuccino is a beverage reserved for the breakfast hour. They shy away from it for the rest of the day because they consider it bad for digestion.
Italians can always spot a tourist from a local by watching who orders a cappuccino past the morning hours. Those seen carrying one around after 11:00 tend to get strange looks. Continue reading 11 Tips for Living Like the Locals in Italy