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Looking for an Apres Ski Holiday in Easter? Cervinia is your place!

Skis CerviniaIf you are looking for a more laid back ski holiday, Cervinia is the place to go. It is designed for the world of Apres Ski, with plenty of bars and restaurants with outside seating and sun facing terraces. Whilst this is an all season, snow sure resort. You may be taking a risk going early in the season. High winds can cause the whole resort to close, it is high and exposed, don’t be surprised if the resort closes for the whole week. For this reason I would suggest going March or April and fully embrace the Apres life.

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Accommodation in Cervinia is made up mostly of hotels, with a variety of basic but comfortable and simple hotels available. Although there are many fine hotels, I would recommend Hotel Breuil , it is basic but comfortable with a surprisingly high standard of food and close proximity to the slopes. I recommend this hotel as I have stayed here, but I am confident there are many of similar hotels in Cervinia town.

skis-stuckWhere to rent skis? With a plethora of ski rental shops available, you will be overwhelmed with choice. I would recommend Nol ski. It is a skiset shop which ensures decent prices and the assurances you have dealing with a large company. This particular shop is good as the staff are friendly and it is centrally located. Most importantly for me though, is the availability of new, up-to-date equipment, which you are free to swap and change if you are unhappy. With Ski Set you rent a certain level of equipment, I would NOT rent the most expensive level as it is over priced and they never really pay attention to this system. When in the shop you will get whatever they have available.

zermattOne of Cervinia’s most appealing qualities is the availability of the link with the ski resort Zermatt, in Switzerland. This connection means that the whole ski area is actually very large and varied, Cervinia’s slopes are notoriously forgiving, where Zermatt’s are a little more challenging. To access Zermatt you will have to buy the whole area ski pass which this season (16-17) is priced at €242 per person for 6 days. However, a word of warning! The wind can be very unpredictable and could very easily cause the whole area to close, the slightest gust will cause the Zermatt link to close. Also with the cheaper, smaller, Cervinia (Valtournenche) Ski pass, you can access several other ski areas in the Aosta Valley for free, you do not get this service with the more expensive Zermatt pass. So I would recommend playing it day by day, or buying the smaller one, and if the conditions are good, paying the extra on the day to get over to Zermatt.

 

Heaven on Earth? Greece! – Lefkada

Lefkada

When looking for a villa holiday in Greece, Lefkada is the place to look. A small island with stunning views, endless picturesque towns with taverners galore and perfect small bays.

Although there are of course many great hotels on the island, Lefkada is ideal for the villa holiday. Villas ranging in all styles and prices are dotted around the coast. In this post I will tell you about my villa experience and why I think CV Villas are the best.

The Beach House 

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The ‘Beach House’ villa in Lefkada is a luxury property catering for up to ten people with five bedrooms, each ensuite. It has two living rooms, a gorgeous outside seating area and large private pool positioned with an uninterrupted view of the sea. It comes with the option of a chef and its own boat dock to help explore the island.

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This villa is rented through CV Villas, they offer fantastic customer service, someone will meet you at the villa when you arrive, show you around and also book and trips or taverners for the week. CV have the most luxurious villa catalogue, you can be sure any villa you rent from them will be beautiful, clean and worth the expense.

Where to visit and what to do?

There is a small bustling town called Nidri a short drive or boat ride away, here you can eat and do your shopping, you can also rent a small boat which can be moored at your villa for the week, this is a must for visiting your local bays for snorkelling and general divine relaxation.

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Across from your villa is Scorpios island, it is privately owned by a Russian billionaire and it is therefore not advised to moor on the island as its patrolled by armed guards. However I would recommend circling it on your small private boat, hidden in one of the bays is the owners jaw-dropping super yacht, a must see sight.

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Lastly on your boat you will be able to visit Vathi on the lovely island of Meganisi, this small fishing port is the epitome of what you will be thinking of when you imagine a greek island port, with beautiful rustic tavernas and lovely boats to admire.

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When staying in Lefkada you must visit these areas, I personally have never seen such beauty, I would argue that so far, this is my favourite place on Earth.

Salzburg – Christmas Personified

Salzburg in winter

Salzburg is the perfect city break for anybody interested in culture, amazing food, beautiful architecture and music.

However, I would recommend visiting Salzburg in the week running up to Christmas, I personally have never experienced such an overwhelming amount of Christmas cheer. Every courtyard has a market which sells hand made food, liquor and gifts. The entire city is decorated with stunning christmas trees and ornaments.

The ancient castle sits nestled onto of its mountain over-looking the city offering amazing panoramic views, along with a very interesting guided tour, which is well worth while. It also contains several lovely restaurants serving traditional Austrian dishes and world-famous apple strudel.

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View from Castle

Things to do:

  • Strudel: The best Strudel in the city is located in Cafe Tomaselli, it feels as if you are stepping back in time with original furnishing and century old recipes that can only be described as perfection. 

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  • Christmas Markets: In the week running up to Christmas Salzburg buzzes with Christmas energy, every inch of every street and building is decorated shamelessly and beautifully. There are four large Christmas Markets located around the city, however the largest is the Advent Market St. Leonhard, all packed full of food, mulled wine and gifts. A must visit in salzburg.

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  • The Sound of Music Tour: If like me, you are a big fan of the famous film ‘The Sound of Music’ than it will have played a large part in your decision to visit Salzburg, as this is where the film was set and filmed. Several Tours run daily visiting all the different sites and filming locations. It is a very enjoyable way to spend your day, especially if it is sunny.

    Famous conservatory from scene '16 going on 17'
    Famous conservatory from scene ’16 going on 17′

Where to stay:

Although there are many fine hotels in Salzburg, I have to make mention of one special one called ‘Hotel Goldgasse’.

It perfectly located in the small ancient streets seconds from the largest Christmas market and main landmarks.

It is run by two friends who have perfected customer service, the rooms are luxurious and unique, this is one of the best boutique hotels I have stayed in. I would highly recommend it.  

Heaven On Earth? Greece! – Kefalonia

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The Greek Islands are, in my opinion, the most beautiful locations in the world. Each stunningly stark and striking with their own quirks and special traits. I personally have traveled to most of the Greek islands and so therefore will go over each location in separate posts.

Kefalonia

Like all of the Greek islands, Kefalonia is surrounded by warm, crystal blue water, and is full of life, culture and beauty. I would personally recommend staying in the Fiscardo area, which is north of the island. It is a windy two hour drive from the airport, travelling over imposing mountains, it is well worth it though when you reach the picturesque village and see the sparkling blue sea.

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Fiscardo

Fiscardo is a bustling waterfront village, full of varied and fabulous tavernas, all on the waters edge, where you can eat amazing food and gawk over the collection of imposing super yachts in the bay. All the tavernas are great and I couldn’t really pick one out as the best, however I must recommend ‘Le Passage‘ which is a modern cocktail bar, serving up some really interesting and experimental cocktails. The hostess/owner is lovely and more than welcoming of your business and some laughs.

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Where to Stay

If your Looking for luxury accommodation in northern Kefalonia, than there is only really one place you can stay! The Emelisse Hotel is the nicest five star hotel on the island, In my opinion. It is expensive, however it offers stunning views, rooms with their own pools, indulgent service and a courier service between you and Fiscardo. However, the town is just a ten minute walk away, and very easy to find. You will be greeted at the entrance by golf buggy to escort you to reception and welcomed with fresh cucumber water, fabulous!  My only word of warning is that this hotel is a Greek 5 star, meaning the rooms are still quite bland and everything is rather rustic, but the quality prevails.

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What to do

If you have travelled to a Greek island, you would be mad to not rent a small motor boat and travel to the bays on your island. It is a great day out and a great way to get a tan! I would recommend renting a boat for two or three days, you can scamper of to empty beautiful bays where you can snorkel, sunbathe and have picnics. It is truly heaven. The boats are not outrageously expensive and are not hard to operate, and not formal training is needed. Fiscardo its self has more than three places to rent such boats from, so they won’t run out.

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Photo Taken in a Bay on my Boat Trip

If you are feeling adventurous, you can take you boat over to Ithaca, a small island next to Kefalonia. It will take ten minutes to get to the boat yard, and it is very easy to dock up, there are always people to help. Once there you can walk up the road, and warning this is a steep trek, to a fabulous restaurant called Polyphemus Restaurant. It is everything that a good Greek restaurant should be, family run, amazing food and stunning settings. The tables are set in amongst olive trees the owner herself planted, the atmosphere is serene and you can’t go to this part of the world with out visiting her!

Polyphemus Garden Restaurant
Polyphemus Garden Restaurant

Paris – The Best Macarons in the world!

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Paris is a fabulous city, filled with culture, history, amazing food and incomparable shopping. I will take you through a few places you really must visit and are worth seeing.

The Sights

The Eiffel Tower, Arc De Triomphe, the Louvre! Some of the cities most famous attractions and all worth visiting, however a word of warning, the Eiffel Tower is always constantly busy, you stand no chance of traveling up it without pre-booked tickets. I would recommend booking tickets to coincide with the sunset its one of the most beautiful views in the world.

Paris is a rare city in that it is just small enough to make all the sites walking distances apart. If you are able, this is the best way to see Paris, you can fall across beautiful small cafes and stalls and really emerse yourself in the culture. However the walks can be long and they are not for the faint hearted, so an alternative are the Tour Buses, they are just like the London open air buses and are a great way to travel around the city.

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The Food

There are two many great restaurants in Paris to mention, it is really worth experiencing as many as possible in your time there. I will recommend you my personal favourite, Le Cinq is located in the Four Seasons Hotel, and is in my opinion one of Paris’ best restaurants. Its Michelin starred and every dish you are served here is like a work of art. As you can see in the image above the atmosphere is decedent and inviting. Although this restaurant is very expensive, its well worth it, but be sure to book far in advance!

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The Shopping

Paris is the birth place of many of the worlds biggest fashion houses and their stores are out of this world, there are two you must visit. Louis Vuitton has its flagship store in Paris and it is a sigh to behold, over four floors or fabulous shopping. You are more than welcome to go inside for a little look, but be warned there are always long queues at the door.

Christian Louboutin has their original shop in Paris and its lovely to go have a look at, also for any men out there who are interesting in purchasing these iconic red soles, a mens shop has been opened right next door. However I warn you they are not as welcoming to people entering the stores if they have no intention to buy, so if you are just looking my advice is to keep outside the window, it is horrible receiving the glare from the store employees.

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The Macarons 

France is where these fabulous delicatessens were created and I must admit to having a soft spot for them. If you are in Paris there is only one place worth going to get them from. Laduree is a famous macaroon store and they are honestly the best in the world. Every store has Queues out of the door, however they are well worth the wait, they are expensive at just over £1.20 per macaron, however I promise you will not have tasted anything else like these before. They are a staple of Paris and it would be sinful to go without!

Skiing with a Touch of Style? Meribel!

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Whether your a first time Skier or a seasoned professional, Meribel is the perfect destination. Its in the worlds largest and and most varied ski areas, ‘The Three Valleys‘ and perfect for every level of skier. It is the perfect combination of sweeping, dramatic mountains and a small picturesque village, which so many ski towns don’t have. Most ski locations are ugly with high rise flats, Meribel is the exception with only beautiful snow topped chalets. Its so desirable many celebrities have chalets here, the most notable being Emma Watson.

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Where to stay

My personal recommendation is to travel with the company ‘Meriski‘, they offer the best chalets, closest to the slopes. The company will also take care of your travel arrangements and transfer between the airport and resort. Obviously budget plays a large part in where you stay, but if you can I would highly recommend renting out a whole catered chalet. all your meals are cooked for you and you get fresh cakes when off the slopes, it truly is the most luxurious way to Apres Ski. In my opinion the best chalet is ‘Chalet L’ardour‘, it is shockingly close to the slopes and has a large hot tub along with comfortable rooms.

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Where to eat

Although there are many fine dining restaurants in the village worth visiting, there is one famous restaurant that you must go to. ‘Chez Kiki‘ is a small but renowned steak restaurant in merle, its steaks are some of the best I personally have ever tasted and would highly recommend it to anyone thats interested. Another notable restaurant is in the hotel ‘Mont Vallon‘, its fine dining food, but is quite expensive for what you receive, in my opinion.

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The Best Skiing

Skiing is fantastic in the whole of the Three Valleys, however each area has its own characteristics! Meribel is for the more advanced skier as its know for its icy approaches into the town. In my opinion, the best skiing is in ‘Val Thorens‘, its the highest resort in Europe, which means the best powdered snow and has some of the most undeniably beautiful views. Its main downfall is the resorts general lack of beauty and culture. However, many would say its some of the best skiing in the world.

The Best Clubbing in the World? Theres No Where Better than IBIZA

Ibiza Girl

Ibiza is a fabulous holiday destination and available for basically any age range and type of traveller. If you want the best clubbing in the world or a quiet family holiday, Ibiza will serve you well. When heading to Ibiza, you will be considering two places. Old town Ibiza, and San Antonio.

Old town Ibiza is for the slightly more matured traveller, they may have slightly more money to spend on a nice villa, someone who not only wants the famous night life, but also fabulous beaches and culture in the beautiful Old Town during the day.

San Antonio is for the traveller who is most likely a student, who wants to be in reach of the super clubs but also next to the local strip (West End). They will have sightly less money to spend on their accommodation, and will not be bothered about culture as most of them won’t see daylight.

All the super clubs are amazing an each cater to a different genre of music, I will only focus on a few which I feel are most worth your time and give you the best Ibiza experience:

USHUAIA

USHUAIA: Ushuaia is an amazing open air club and famous for hosting some of the worlds most famous DJs, such as David Guetta, Avicii and Armin Van Buuren. However my TOP TIP to you is to book a room at the hotel for your stay. All the poolside rooms over look the club area so you will be able to watch the best DJs for no extra cost, also due to it being an open air venue, noise restrictions force the event to end at 12pm. They make up for this by starting them earlier at around 5pm. So if your are not feeling following the afterparty you can go to bed in Peace and Quiet.

Glow Party

Es Paradis Glow Party: You haven’t experienced Ibiza until you have attended a famous Neon paint party, they run at ‘Privlige’ but my personal opinion is to attend the ‘Glow Party’ at one of Ibiza’s most famous venues, Es Paradis. It is the perfect combination of fabulous soul/party music and a fun, friendly environment. Many big clubs can be quite intimidating but this night is perfect for the slightly anxious traveller, looking to dip their toe into the night life. It runs on a Sunday, making it comparatively quiet and very affordable. However a note of warning from me, wear clothes you don’t mind being ruined, the paint will get everywhere!

Hippy Market

Something Unique to Ibiza is the ‘Hippy Market‘ and it is something I would highly recommend you visiting. Its an amazing market in which an array of high quality hand made products are sold, from clothes to food and even musical instruments. Its very quirky and hints towards a long and proud history of travellers in Ibiza. It is the perfect day out, however it is at least an hour away from both resorts so I would suggest going after your movie night in!

APCCDT Harbour, Dalt Vila, Eivissa, Ibiza, Balearic Islands, Spain

Lastly I would like to talk about Old Town Ibiza, it is definitely worth exploring, even if your staying in San Antonio. Its a beautiful town full of culture, you could wander down the narrow streets doing some light shopping at the market stalls, explore the old city wall and ancient castle or simply enjoy a coffee whilst overlooking the dazzling array of super yachts docked in the harbour. It is chic and sophisticated, the perfect destination if your looking for a more rounded holiday, not just clubbing 24/7. Old Town is also home to a small but thriving gay bar scene (Calle de la Virgen) which is great fun for LGBT travellers and supporters. I would suggest bar ‘Teatro’, which is probably the friendliest out of all the bars on ‘Calle de la Virgen’, a great, fun night out.