Ravello Italy

Ravello Italy is the definition of classy and chic. Located high above the Amalfi Coast’s seaside villages, Ravello offers stunning, panoramic views of the mountains and sea below. White houses cling to cliffs, along with green citrus groves dotted with yellow lemons. What’s more, majestic villas warmly welcome you for drinks or dinners. Enjoy the grandeur, beauty and pleasure of Ravello.

Villa Cimbrone
Entrance to Villa Cimbrone – at the top of Ravello

Ravello is perched 1200 feet above the Amalfi Coast. The drive up is a little terrifying for me, since cars and cliffs are not my thing! Yikes! It is quite a magical place. There are beautiful villas, cliffside gardens and stunning vistas. Certainly a place to visit on the Amalfi Coast!

Ravello Italy

Piazza Vescovado is the beautiful center hub of Ravello. It is a large square which embraces its ancient Duomo. Built in the 11th century, the Duomo is a dedication to Saint Mary of the Assumption. The exterior bears a stark white appearance. The interior, on the other hand, is adorned with granite columns, intricate mosaics, and a marble chapel.

Piazza Vescovado
Ravello Dumo
White Duomo of Ravello

In addition, the square hosts an array of cafes to sit, relax and absorb the beauty in front of you. Cafe Duomo happened to be my favorite. Delicious caffe espresso and cappuccino, along with pizza and other delights. In addition, the square hosts an array of cafes with delicious cappuccino, pizza and other delights. My favorite happened to be Caffe Duomo – great service and coffee!

There are so many little corners to discover that are certainly picture worthy. Discover the cobbled steps and ramps that go up and down the town. There is something to see at every turn. Indeed, there is an abundance of vines and bougainvillea as well as fountains and statues.

Ravello Amalfi Coast

What to do in Ravello Italy

To begin with, explore the main square Pizzza Vescovado. At the edge of the Piazza is a little park with stunning views – a great place for pictures. Next, at the edge of the square, visit Villa Ruffalo. It is an elegant villa with a small museum containing artwork and historical artifacts. In addition, the terraced gardens are also a beautiful attraction for visitors.

Via Roma

Walk the entire Via Roma. This narrow-cobbled street will tempt you with beautiful ceramics, clothing and a host of other beautiful souvenirs to take home. Don’t forget to purchase some Limoncello so that you can still savor the Amalfi Coast when you get back home.

Villa Cimbrone in Ravello

Villa Cimbrone
Villa Cimbrone’s Terrace of Infinity

You must walk up to the spectacular 11th century, Villa Cimbrone. It is the pinnacle of Ravello and offers magnificent views of the Bay of Sorrento and coastline. The villa itself is a 5-star hotel – Hotel Villa Cimbrone. It boasts stunning terraced gardens that are open to the public from 9am till 8pm daily. It is truly a romantic, perfect spot for weddings and honeymoons.

Palazzo Avino Ravello Italy

Villa Avino Ravello
Palazzo Avino’s spectacular terrace over the sparkling Mediterranean Sea is a must!

Delight in dinner, drinks or both on Terrazza Belvedere at this fantastic destination. Palazzo Avino is a stunning 5-star hotel on Italy’s famous Amalfi coast. Originally it was a 12th century private villa for Italian nobility. Currently, it is one of the most beautiful hotels I have ever seen!

Palazzo Avino
Terrazzo Belvedere

Where to Stay in Ravello

I would love to advise you to absolutely book Villa Cimbrone or Palazzo Avino. But I can only recommend if you are splurging on an extravagant honeymoon or simply have money to burn. I stayed at Palazzo Confalone and loved it. It was in the perfect location, with a beautiful room at a reasonable price in Ravello Italy.

Ravello in Pictures

Ravello Amalfi Coast is more beautiful than any picture can depict! But this will give you a taste of the beauty and magic of Ravello. Enjoy and click to enlarge.


Bellagio Italy the Pearl of Lake Como

My favorite town in Lake Como is beautiful Bellagio! It is a charming, attractive town with the lake in front and the hills behind. Moreover, the views are spectacular. Here you will enjoy a pedestrian old town with cobblestone streets and colorful buildings. The food is great and the locals are so friendly. Bellagio Italy, known as the Pearl of Lake Como has everything I look for in an Italian town.

Bellagio Italy

Of course, Bellagio, is considered the highlight of Lake Como. It has a wonderful blend of cute shops, caffes and delicious restaurants on active cobblestone streets. Not to mention spectacular views. It is a small town and completely walkable – perfect for taking a long leisurely stroll. Narrow streets run uphill from the lake giving you a beautiful lake view from the top of town. Moreover, there are some special hotels here.

Things to do in Bellagio Italy

Exploring the streets, especially with your camera, is one of the best and first things to do, since there are so many picturesque spots. Undeniably, Salita Serbelloni is one of the most beautiful. It is a long straight flight of stairs which runs from the harbor and goes straight up the hill. All along the street there are shops, small cafes, colourful houses and lots of plants and flowers. Indeed, you will definitely enjoy soaking in Italian sights and sounds of this special town.

Melzi Gardens

Secondly, to see stunning views of the lake, beautiful plants, trees and walking paths, take a stroll to Melzi Gardens. They are on the grounds of a 1800’s villa once owned by the President of the Italian Republic. The gardens are free to the public and worth the 15 minute walk.

Melzi Gardens
Melzi Gardens

Third, take the time to visit other towns of Lake Como. You will fine Varenna, Lenno, Tremezza and Mennagio close by. The ferry in Bellagio is connected to many other Lake Como towns that criss cross the lake. This public boat service easily connects the shore towns. Go to Navigazione Laghi to see timetables and costs.

Bellagio Lake Como Italy
Ferry Service throughout the lake

Lido di Bellagio

Then, I always try to fit in some fun in the sun! If you would like to relax in the sun with gazebos and sun beds, Bellagio offers Lido di Bellagio. It is on the shore of the lake between Bellagio and Villa Melzi. It is a fun little ‘beach’ where you can sip a cocktail and have a light lunch.
Subsequently, in addition of things to do, visit the Romanesque basilica of San Giacomo (St James). The church was built in the 12th century and the iconic bell tower is seen from the shore.

Bellagio, Italy

At this point, follow your footsteps and your heart will be happy just to live in the moment of amazing Belligio Italy. Defiitely a must visit!


Eze, French Riviera

Words are hard to describe the charm!

Eze is perched high up on a mountain top with stunning views of the sea in the French Riviera. It is one of the most beautiful medieval villages I’ve ever visited. There are narrow cobblestone streets that twist and turn among stone houses. The only way to access this village is by foot as there are no roads or cars. You’ll find hot pink bougainvillea, ivy and flowers growing everywhere. Browse or shop in the boutiques, art galleries and jewelry stores along the winding walkways. The twelfth century church dominates one aspect of the unique hilltop village, and is classified as an historical monument. 

Eze French Riviera

In addition, let me say a word about the food here – excellent!!! Really amazing, fresh, delicious French food.  Everything – fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats, etc. are all carried up to the restaurants by foot, as  the village is totally pedestrian. Eze is well worth a visit if you are in the French Riviera.

French Riviera

The BEST of EZE……..

Here are some of my favorites in and around Eze.

EZE HOTELS

Chateau de la Chevre d’Or (Castle of the Golden Goat)

Pool and view at Chateau de la Chèvre d'or in Eze, France

Luxury: This is a one of a kind luxury hotel perched on a hilltop in the village of Eze. The views are stunning and the rooms are scattered throughout a portion of the medieval streets. Take in the magnificent scenery as you are in a very special area.
The accommodations, service and staff are amazing, as well as the beauty of the entire property.   In addition, there is a gym and small pool. Please be aware that this is quite an expensive hotel,  however, you will feel like you’re in paradise.

EZE B&B’s

Bastide aux Camelias

B&B Eze Village, Bastide aux Camelias

Village Suite

This B&B owns two properties. The first is a XVI century charming guesthouse in a quiet, relaxing area only a 5 minute drive from Eze Village. It has an amazing sea view, pool and beautiful garden.

 

Next, they have the Village Suite, which is tucked away in Eze Village. I highly recommend the Village Suite for a wonderful experience because you are right in the heart of the medieval village. The rooftop terrace has stunning views of the coast. You really feel like you are walking back in time.
Address: 23 C route de l’Adret,

EZE RESTAURANTS

La Chevre d’Or (The Golden Goat)

Fine Dining: Upscale gourmet restaurant and bar with stunning views and delicious food.  Expensive but worth the splurge. Amazing food that matches the incredible views of the French Riviera. World class food and service. Note – Elegant attire required.
Address:  Rue du Barri, Eze

Le Nid d’Aigle (The Eagles Nest)

Moderately Priced:  Delicious fresh food with a beautiful view set on the top of the mountain. Great salads, pizzas and omelettes. Dining is available on the outdoor terrace and the view from the indoor dining room  is fantastic. A terrific regional wine list.
Address: 1 rue du Chateau, Eze

Deli’ 

Deli, Eze Village, France

Casual Dining: This is a great little place for lunch. The food is absolutely delicious. Deli is a small cozy outdoor space in beautiful surroundings. The freshest ingredients are used. The tomatoes were so perfectly ripe and the  cheeses were amazing!!! The salads and foods are so flavorful!   They bake their own bread and use infused olive oils and balsamic. They also sell items in a little olive oil shop. I wish I could go back to eat again! Very kind and friendly staff/ family. You cannot be disappointed!
Address: 5 rue du Chateau, Eze

EZE BEACHES

La Plage d’Eze

Eze Beaches
Eze has one beach located at the bottom of the mountain in Eze-sur-Mer. It is a great beach for swimming. You will find two beach clubs; posh Papaya and casual Anjuna Bay. Both clubs rent beds and umbrellas for about 20 euros. Access the beach from the Eze-sur-Mer train station’s underpass. Make a right and walk along the beach to reach the restaurants/clubs. Enjoy your day in the French sunshine!

THINGS TO DO IN EZE

Le Jardin Exotique d’Eze

Eze French Riviera

These beautiful gardens have species of plants from all around the world. The garden offers spectacular panoramic views of the Mediterranean as it perched on the highest point of Eze.  Admission is 6 euros.

Tropaeum Alpium (Victory Monument of the Alps)

eve French Riviera

These historical ruins were built in 6 BC in honor of emperor Augustus. It sits at the highest point on the mountain. Take in the breathtaking views of the entire French Riviera and the beauty of the architecture of this amazing historical monument.

Nietzsche Path

Do you like exercise and the great outdoors?  Then this activity is for you! Hike down from Eze Village or up from Eze-sur-Mer (aka Eze-Bord-de-Mer) and enjoy the magnificent scenery.  First of all, get an early start before the sun gets hot. In addition, take water and wear sneakers not flip flops.  Most of the trail is stone and pebbles – you don’t want to slip.  Depending upon your personal pace, this is about a 45-60 minute vertical hike, about 1650 feet, therefore expect a strenuous workout on the way up. Of course, you can always take it slower.

Hiking up the trail, I use the Eze-Bord-de-Mer train station as a landmark. At street level, with your back to the train station, make a right. Continue 5 minutes and on your left you will see a little sign ‘Sentier Nietzsche’. Follow ramp to the left and enjoy a healthy hike up to amazingly beautiful Eze Village.

The hike down from Eze Village gives you full views of the Mediterranean, so have your camera ready!  When you finish the hike down, visit the lovely Eze-sur-Mer beach. Access to the descending trail from Eze village, is located at the bottom of the village (where the car parks are) on the cliffside.  You will see a sign that says ‘EZE/MER – Gare Plage’. Enjoy the amazing scenic beauty on the way down.

Villefranche-sur-Mer

Enjoy a fabulous day of sightseeing, shopping or the beach in this charming French old town.  There is so much to see and do in this fantastic village! Villefranche-sur-Mer  is definitely one of my favorite places on the French Riviera.  Visit my Villefranche-sur-mer blog post to read more about this wonderful, charming town.

Monte Carlo, Monaco 

Casino of Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo, the land of the ultra rich and famous, is a mere 9 minute train ride from Eze. Visit the renowned Casino and if you get lucky, go shopping in the ultra high end stores! If not, enjoy sitting at a cafe in Casino Square and watch the people and exotic cars go by.

NEARBY EVENTS

Monaco Grand Prix

Monaco Grand Prix

The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world. The 2018 Monaco Grand Prix will begin on Thursday, May 24, 2018 and end  on Sunday, May 27, 2018. For tickets and packages, click HERE for the official Formula 1 Monaco site.

Nice Carnival (Carnaval de Nice)

French Riviera

The capital of the French Riviera, Nice, hosts the area’s first winter event. This is  amazing, world famous event attracts millions each year. The weather is mild even in the winter. In 2018, this carnival will be held from  February 17th to March 3rd. Since this carnival spans a two week period, there are numerous festivities. Therefore, join in the fun!

Click HERE to see the Carnival’s official program and prices for grandstand or promenade tickets.

 

Travel Directions

  • Nice to Eze – Take bus 82 about a 30 minute ride.
  • Monte Carlo to Eze – Take bus 112 about a 30 minute ride
  • Villefranche-sur-Mer to Eze – walk to Beaulieu-sur-Mer and take bus 83. About a 15 minute ride. Or you can take the Neitzsche Path and hike up to Eze.

Eze is easily accessible by buses that run regularly.  Most noteworthy, for your return trip, please make sure to check the bus schedules. Once you are in Eze, taxis are hard to find.  Therefore, they  will be an expensive option when you find one.


Villefranche sur Mer

Villafranche sur Mer

Certainly one of the most charming villages on the French Riviera  – actually it’s my favorite!

Villefranche sur Mer is positioned on a beautiful bay between Monaco and Nice.  Alongside its attractive harbor are cafes, restaurants and boats bobbing in the Mediterranean. If you are looking for a classic old town village with class and beauty, this is for you. This charming old town winds its way up narrow cobblestone streets with colorful buildings. Moreover, flowers, plants and ivy adorn the walkways, balconies and buildings.  There are boutiques and cafes scattered all around. This town is a feast for your eyes and joy for your soul.                                                                                                                                       Villefranche sur MerMoreover, the restaurants here are incredibly delicious!  I have been lucky enough to travel here 5 times and each and every visit just outdoes the last with the amazing food – just superb! Villefranche is a wonderful summer vacation spot, sometimes more busy than others due to cruise ships visit.

Read More

Taormina Italy

Perched upon a cliff above the shimmering sea, adorned with a backdrop of majestic mountains, Taormina Italy, is the sparkling jewel of Sicily. The natural beauty is definitely a feast for your eyes. In the first place, you will admire spectacular panoramic views of the sea. Secondly, you will also have a stunning view of famous Mount Etna idly smoking in the distance.
Taormina TravelIn addition, Taormina boasts a magnificent town center.  Taormina’s main gathering place, Piazza IX April, has amazing views of the sea below.  It is in the center of town and a great place to eat, drink, listen to music and people watch.

 Piazza Aprile

The ancient city of Taormina is completely walkable and attractive.  For instance, flowers tumbling down balconies of pretty buildings and flowering oleander trees, just skyrocket the level of charm.  Furthermore, narrow cobblestone streets with cute little shops set the stage for delight!  It really is that good! The main pedestrian street, Corso Umberto, is simply charming.  In addition, there are two main gathering places, Piazza Aprile and Piazza Duomo.

Taormina Travel

Piazza Duomo

You will enjoy excellent restaurants and cafes to visit. Soak up the lively atmosphere of magnificent Taormina Italy. It is filled with people strolling along cobblestone streets listening to musicians singing all the Italian classics. You will enjoy browsing and shopping in the numerous luxury and local stores.

Read the Best of Taormina

Taormina Sicily

Picture perfect views!

For a bit of history, don’t miss the impressive and famous Greek Amphitheater. Meanwhile, don’t forget to visit the beautiful beaches. Ride the Funicular (cable car) down to the picturesque bay and beaches of Taormina Mare. All the beach clubs have delicious restaurants and also rent beds, towels and umbrellas.
Shopping All things considered; Taormina Sicily should be on the top of your list when you visit Italy

The Best of Taormina Sicily……..

HOTELS IN TAORMINA
Taormina Hotels

Taormina has fantastic world class hotels, luxury boutique hotels and wonderful B&B’s. Some have pools and most have stunning views.  Go to my TAORMINA HOTEL GUIDE for great hotel suggestions.

RESTAURANTS IN TAORMINA
Taormina Restaurants

Italy is known for its delicious cuisine and the amazing food in Sicily is one of the reasons why!  There are so many regional specialties and delicious fresh ingredients, not to mention the wine. Go to my Taormina Restaurant Guide for some great suggestions.

NIGHTLIFE IN TAORMINA

Daiquiri Lounge

The town is energized and alive at night.  You will find a vast choice of things to do and places to go.  Dancing, cocktails, music or just getting gelato.  Check out my guide to Taormina Nightlife.

TAORMINA BEACHES
Isola Bella

THINGS TO DO in TAORMINA

Chiesa di San Giuseppe

Chiesa di San Giuseppe

To me, the Church of San Giuseppe is one of the most splendid.  It was built in the 17th century in grand Baroque style and dedicated to Saint Joseph.  Its beauty dominates the main square of the town, Piazza IX Aprile.

Get ready for an Italian adventure listed on my Things to Do in Taormina post!


Oia Santorini

OIA Santorini is Paradise in the Greek Islands

When you visit the village of Oia Santorini, it seems like you stepped into a fantasy.

First of all, Oia Greece is one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever traveled to. It is known for it’s devastatingly gorgeous views, amazing sunsets and sloping cliffs. A volcanic eruption thousands of years ago gave Santorini its distinctive crescent shape, sheer cliffs and shimmering bay called the Caldera. It has entranced visitors and locals alike ever since. Oia is perched high upon a soaring cliff making views of the infinite blue Aegean sea sensational and endless. Furthermore, the charming, iconic whitewashed homes, labyrinth of narrow streets and blue domes truly magnify its beauty. Oia is beyond doubt, a feast for your eyes!Oia Santorini

Oia Santorini is busy with tourists strolling the streets visiting the multitude of shops, cafes, restaurants, and art galleries. In addition, it is a hot spot for honeymooners and long-time couples alike. Most of all, the beautiful village of Oia has hypnotic vistas, jaw-dropping views and colorful sunsets into the sea that you will remember for a lifetime. When you visit Greece, and the Greek Islands don’t miss out on visiting Oia Greece.

Oia Sunset                   

Oia Santorini Sunset
The magnificent sunset-watching hour is a major event in Oia Santorini.  Crowds gather on the terraces, walls steps and main pedestrian street at the tip of the cliff in order to see this beautiful event!  All the cobblestone streets are clogged!  There is actually a spectator look-out area by the Byzantine Castle, but go early in order to get a good seat!  Better yet, grab a spot in a restaurant or cafe and take in the spectacle with some delicious Greek wine.  Opa!

Nightlife in Oia Santorini

The restaurant and cafe scene is tremendously busy in Oia, but for clubs and dancing, you would have to visit Fira. Using public buses is a convenient and inexpensive way to get around, with many departure times. For schedules, check Santorini Public Buses.
Cost: Oia to Fira is EUR 1.80  (EUR 2.30 after midnight) and takes about 25 minutes.

Things to Do in Oia Santorini

Amoudi Bay

Three hundred steps down from the village of Oia Santorini is the charming, quiet port of Amoudi. Here you will find several traditional tavernas that serve fresh caught fish and octopus.  Looking up, you will see the picturesque whitewashed houses of Oia in the distance with red cliffs all around you.  The water is crystal clear and sparkling blue.  You can walk along the bay on the big rocks or take a refreshing swim. Remember to take your camera because you will get some great shots on the steps and by the water.  Believe it or not, walking down gives your legs a workout because the steps are a few strides deep and slanted downward. Consequently walking up is a vigorous hike.  Wear good shoes/sneakers.  Alternatively, you can take a taxi or bus.
Fun Fact:  The movie, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, was filmed at Amoudi Bay in Oia Santorini Greece.

 Byzantine Castle Ruins

Formerly a 15th-century castle, today you will find ruins of a tower here.  Notably, the best panoramic views of Santorini are seen from these ruins. The view from the citadel boasts picturesque whitewashed buildings, a windmill, and the azure sea beneath spectacular cliffs. A photographers dream!  Also this is the best spot to see Oia’s spectacular sunset.

Catamaran Excursion on the Sunset Oia

Oia Santorini Sunset Oia Catamaran

Sunset Oia 74′ Catamaran

Enjoy a morning or sunset cruise on a 74′ catamaran!  It is a wonderful way to see the beautiful vista of the red cliffs and villages perched above. Included is a delicious BBQ, beer, wine and soft drinks.  You can sun on the catamaran’s trampoline or sit in comfortable lounge seats.  It stops at the Red beach and White beach for swimming and snorkeling. In addition, it stops at the Hot Springs for swimming and a mud bath. The morning cruise time is 9:30-2:30. You can also take an afternoon cruise to see the  spectacular sunset.  A memorable, wonderful day is in store for you!  Departures are from Amoudi Bay in Oia.

The Best of Oia Santorini……….

OIA HOTELS

Note: Check out Santorini Greece Hotels for hotels in other areas of Santorini.

Oia Santorini RESTAURANTS

Jump to Santorini Restaurants  for great food in other villages.

OIA BEACHES

There are several lovely beaches in Oia, some of which are accessible by climbing steps. Although it may be a bit of a strenuous activity, it is definitely worth it. These are the beaches of Armeni, Ammoudi, Baxedes, Katharos and Koloumbos.

Katharos Beach, Oia Santorini

Oia Santorini Katharos Beach

This is a very quiet and beautiful small beach with black sand and pebbles.  From Oia, Katharos Beach is only a 15 minute walk down the cliff steps and on a path.  On the way down, there is a cute cafe where you can get a nice lunch.  There are no facilities, therefore, bring your towels.

Jump to Santorini Beaches for beaches in other villages

Kamari Beach, Santorini
Kamari Beach

A fun suggestion is to rent an ATV or scooter for a 35 minute ride to a very popular beach resort, Kamari Beach.  Karmari Beach is a totally different vibe that Oia.  Kamari’s long  sandy beach is crowded with plenty of sun worshippers.  Oh, did I mention that the sand is black?  Furthermore, the beach is lined with a multitude of cafe’s, restaurants, boutiques, stores and tourists. Public bus to Kamari Beach (Santorini Public Buses) takes about 45 minutes with a change in Fira.

Travel Directions to Oia Santorini

From Athens

By Ferry:  A high speed ferry from Athens to Santorini is about a 5 hour trip. On some ferries you can sit out on the decks and get an awesome view of the cliffs and caldera when entering the port of Fira, Santorini.   The SeaJets Ferries or the Blue Star Ferries leave from the popular Athens port of Piraeus, typically about 7am in the morning arriving about 12 noon.

Once arriving at the Port in Fira, you can get to you destination in Oia Santorini by:

  • Hotel Transfer
  • Private Transfer
  • Taxi
  • Bus:  Take a bus from Fira Port up to Fira town.  Then transfer to a bus from Fira to Oia (30 minutes).  You can pay when you board the bus.
  • Boat:  There are speedboat transfers to Amoudi Port and then take a bus up to Oia village

By Air:  Flights are a much faster option.  From Athens Airport (ATH) into Fira, Santorini (JTR), the flight time is only 45 minutes. Check flights with RyanAir, Olympic/Aegean and Sky Express.

  • Hotel Transfer
  • Private Transfer
  • Rent a Car:  Car rentals are available at the airport.  At the entrance of Oia village is a car park where you can leave your vehicle.
  • Bus:  From Airport to Fira and then a change of bus from Fira to Oia Santorini

SANTORINI FESTIVALS and EVENTS

Santorini Jazz Festival – Kamari

If you love jazz music, the Santorini Jazz Festival will entertain you with famous Greek and international performers.  This three-day summer festival takes place in July,  and attracts a big crowd of jazz music fans.  It is held in the beach town of Kamari.

Aegean Regatta

Aegean Regatta

August 18-26, 2018.  Do you like boats and the gorgeous blue sea?  Did you ever dream of sailing in a regatta? This is the biggest international open sea sailing race in Greece.  The regatta begins in the small, quaint island of Skyros and competitors will make stops at other islands before finishing in Sammos.  This exciting event covers 190 nautical miles.  Check out AegeanRegatta for more information or to register for your experience of a lifetime!

Megaro Gyzi Festival

This annual festival takes place during the month of August and features a series of concerts and art exhibitions.  The iconic Gyzi Mansion in Fira hosts this festival.  For more information, go to gyzimegaron.gr.

Ifestia Festival

The Ifestia Festival (Greek Volcano festival) This festival takes place in August and is all about the history of Santorini’s volcanic eruption.  There are concerts, performances, fireworks and many other happenings at this festival.

International Music Festival – Fira

The International Music Festival welcomes artists from the international music scene to perform at the Nomikos Conference Centre in Fira . This two-week festival takes place during the first few weeks in September. Source: www.greeka.com


Venice Travel Guide

Covid-19 Alert: As of June 1, 2022, the Green Pass or other equivalent certification is no longer required for entry or re-entry into Italy.COVID-19 restrictive measures for arrivals from abroad are no longer in force. The Italian government is now welcoming fully vaccinated U.S. citizens to visit.  Please review the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for more specific information in English. 

Let me take you on a journey to amazing and romantic Venice. You will discover all that this magical city has to offer. Find top attractions, best hotels, delicious restaurants and much more advice on visiting this amazing city by reading my Venice travel guide.

Bridge of Sighs
Bridge of Sighs

Venice ItalyIn my opinion, this is the most enchanting and unique place in the world, not to mention one of the most visited. It is a city of canals, bridges and beautiful architecture.  Where else can you get serenaded on a gondola, lost in a maze of narrow cobblestone walkways and let your eyes feast on the amazing sights around you? Furthermore, Venice not only boasts spectacular scenery but is abundantly rich in art and history.

Read More

St. Tropez Travel

Saint Tropez, France is truly one of the chicest and sexiest places on our planet. The most glamorous town on the French Riviera has sunny weather, white sandy shores and the sparkling Mediterranean to play in. This is just the beginning of the magic. For one thing, St. Tropez has the most spectacular, amazing nightlife and the most glamorus beach clubs. There is an abundance of hot spots with entertainment that only St. Tropez can offer. On the other hand, you can get off the beaten path, finding serene and romantic places to spend your time. Additionally, let’s not forget first class dining with amazing local cuisine. There is so much to discover in this picturesque, vibrant village.


St. Tropez

St. Tropez boasts a charming old town with excellent restaurants. Furthermore, there are exceptional hotels in St. Tropez. As you roam the narrow cobblestone streets you will discover unique and beautiful places that will inspire you. Saint Tropez is filled with fabulous restaurants, cafes, galleries and boutiques. Of course, there are many luxury shops also, such as Channel, Dior, Louis Vuitton, etc. Furthermore, there is a fantastic open air market on Place des Lices every Tuesday and Saturday. The market has delicious food products as well as an array of merchandise from fashion to antiques.

The Harbor – The Gathering Spot

St. Tropez, French Riviera

St. Tropez is also known for its bustling port. Not to mention that it is the focal point of town. You can grab a cocktail or coffee in one of the many open-air restaurants and watch the crowd go by. The harbor is a busy area lined with restaurants, cafes, and stores. Not only is the harbor a magnet for people, but also for the incredible mega yachts that are docked. Part of the allure is walking along the dock and browsing at all the yachts – any Below Deck fans?

The Best St. Tropez Beaches
Bagatelle Beach

Not only is the weather beautiful in Saint Tropez, but the beaches are beautiful as well. Furthermore, the beach clubs are insane! Crazy mad with great food, a great vibe and then voila – a thumping dance club that doesn’t stop till dusk!

Charming Old Town
St. Tropez Restaurant

In St. Tropez you can have it all from a romantic relaxing vibe to a non-stop party vibe. All wrapped up in a gorgeous Saint Tropezian bow!  Oh yes, it is still the home of Brigitte Bardot, who put St. Tropez on the map. Thank goodness!

Rosé Anyone?

Rose Wine

You will be sure to raise a glass of Rosé when you’re in Saint Tropez. This is just a small selection of Rosé that the French Riviera has to offer! Raise a glass and say “santé”

Getting to St. Tropez

Of course, taking a private transfer is always the best, although the most expensive way to go, about 180 euros in 2022. A good, easy option is train to ferry. From the Nice Airport or other coastal towns, take the train to Sainte-Maxime. Next board the Sainte-Maxime to Saint-Tropez ferry which takes about 15 min. If you have light luggage, you can walk to the ferry station in 10 minutes. However with heavy luggage taxis are available. You are able to purchase tickets at the ferry station and there are constant shuttles daily.

Sooo pretty!St. Tropez, Cote d'azur

St. Tropez is a village with winding alleys and colorful façades – a picturesque and characterful maze of pastel homes and cobbled lanes. You will find a picturesque site at every turn.

French Windows

Verona Italy the City of Love

Discover Verona

I just spent 4 amazing days in Verona Italy. It is known as the city of love and the story of Romeo and Juliet. I found it to be one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. For example Verona boasts stunning architecture, Roman and medieval bridges, ancient frescos on building facades, beautiful churches, lovely piazzas – the list of WOW just goes on and on!

Verona

Not to mention that flowers and greenery are everywhere. It’s a photographers dream city. In addition, it is also the home of Valpolicella and Amarone wines! That raises the wow factor to the roof!  This ancient city is built on the banks of the Adige River and it is one of the main tourist destinations in Northern Italy. Once you visit, it is easy to see why. This city of love and passion is a must see.

Verona Piazza della Erbe

Every step is a surprise….

To truly discover Verona is to take hidden little streets. There are  wide roads dating back to Roman times, but also little, narrower medieval ones which hide treasures and amazing sights.

Explore VeronaVerona City Map

As you can see from the map above, the historic center of Verona is built between a narrow river bend. It has many popular attractions and is a totally walkable city. For example, to walk from the top of the map to the bottom is no longer that 20 minutes.

‘What to see in Verona’ Get the scoop on the most popular attractions.

Things to do in Verona’ – Check out the best tours – walking, biking, rafting, wineries……

Pictures of Verona Attractions

Piazza delle Erbe

This is my favorite and most picturesque piazza.

Piazza BraPiazza Bra Verona

This tremendous cobbled piazza has a park on one side and a line of restaurants and cafes along the other.

CastelvecchioVerona Castelvecchio

A spectacular medieval fortress which now holds a museum.

Verona ArenaVerona Arena

This ancient arena still has performances to this day.

Juliet’s HouseJuliet's House

Verona and love go together like Romeo and Juliet. This is a must-see attraction.

Sant’ Anastasia ChurchSaint Anastasia, Verona

Located by Piazza dei Signori, St. Anastasia is the biggest church in town.

Basilica of San ZenoSan Zeno, Verona

San Zeno Church is a beautiful example of Romanesque architecture.

Via MazziniVia Mazzini, Verona

Evening strolls and chic boutiques are the highlight of this most popular shopping street.

Pictures

VeronaVerona Market at Piazza Erbe


Sorrento Italy

Explore charming and delightful Sorrento. It rests atop a cliff on one of the most beautiful and loved coastlines in the world. Sorrento Italy guarantees stunning views. You can see the glistening Mediterranean sea below from Mount Vesuvius to Capri – it is truly breathtaking. Certainly it is one of Italy’s most popular vacation destinations since ancient Roman times. Check out Getting to Sorrento from Naples for any travel help.Sorrento, ItalySorrento Italia, known for appetizing food and unique lidos, also has beautiful art and architecture. The charming historic center is made up of lovely narrow cobblestone streets. There are many cafes, boutiques and shops catering to your every taste. It is impossible to avoid lemons and delicious limoncello here – it is known as the land of lemons!Italian Ceramics Lemons Not only is Sorrento is a perfect base for visiting the Amalfi Coast Italy, but also nearby islands. A short ferry ride can whisk you away to gorgeous Capri and Ischia. Moreover, if you are historically minded, it is easy to get to Pompeii and Herculaneum. Also, a short 35 minute drive will take you to Positano. Excitement and wonderful possibilities await you on your Sorrento holiday.

Things to do in SorrentoWedding in Italy

The town itself does not have a great deal of attractions. Therefore it is mainly used as a base from which to explore the surrounding areas. I recommend a two night stay if you are going to visit Capri. Also, It makes for a beautiful wedding backdrop, if you are inclined to tie the knot. On the other hand, it is so sweet to see a lovely bride and groom!

Explore Sorrento

First of all, take a stroll on Corso Italia. It is the main street in town with plenty of stores, hotels and eateries. During the evening, it turns into a lively pedestrian only walkway. Equally important is to explore all the alleys and lanes in this historic town. There are many cafes, shops and boutiques to discover. Sorrento walkwaysDuring your stroll, you will frequently stumble onto sculptures and art randomly mixed into the surroundings. Consequently you may find sweet surprises as you walk around.

Sorrento art sculptures

Especially make sure to take a walk to the Villa Comunale Park which is at the edge of the cliff. There you have a spectacular panoramic view  of the sparkling Bay of Naples. By the park you will find a winding walkway carved into the cliff. It leads down to the sea and lidos. The walk is a photographer’s dream – don’t forget your camera. Conversely, there is also a lift to take you up and down for 2 euros.

Moreover, here you will find Chiesa di San Francesco, a 14th century church. It boasts a gorgeous garden/courtyard with occasional art displays and showings. All are welcome to enjoy the tranquil beauty you will find here.Chiesa di San Francesco, Sorrento

Piazza Tasso

Piazza Tasso

Piazza Tasso is the main square of Sorrento. Live music, horse carriage rides and a mini tourist train are found here. Tasso is the town hub. It is lined with cafes, restaurants and shops. Be sure to order a cafe and enjoy the scene as people go by. During the evening, live musicians perform wonderful Italian music! Additionally, you will find another staircase here that will lead you down to the port and lidos.

Sorrento

On the whole, Sorrento is a fun, lively and wonderful town to visit. It is easy to get here from Naples and is a great first stop on the Amalfi Coast. I suggest staying a night or two before heading to Positano, Amalfi or Ravello. Also consider staying on Capri for a night or two.Sorrento

Sorrento BeachesSorrento Beaches

Definitely make time to enjoy a day at the beach. Sorrento has unique lido’s with piers that jut out into the water. Check our my Sorrento Beach page for comprehensive info and rental prices.

Sorrento Restaurants

Of course, there is nothing better that great Southern Italian food! There are so many restaurants in Sorrento to choose from! Savor these amazing flavors at some of my favorite restaurants in Sorrento.

Sorrento Hotels

Get information on the best Sorrento Hotels from luxury to budget on my hotel post!

Sorrento, La Favorita

Nightlife in Sorrento

Fauno Notte ClubFauno Notte Club Sorrento

Fauno Notte in Piazza Tasso is a late night dance club. DJ and dancing fun. Most arrive after midnight and it closes at 5am!

Filou ClubFilou Club Sorrento

This club/piano bar is so much fun! Sing with the piano man to great Italian and American tunes. It gets an after dinner crowd and is a definitely a blast! Sorrento Italy has a fun nightlife!

Day Trip to CapriCapri Italy

Take a hydrofoil to the gorgeous island of Capri.


Positano

Positano Italy is a stunning cliffside village located on the Amalfi Coast. Certainly a top resort destination, it is truly a jewel and not to be missed. Indeed, you will fall in love with Positano!  Bougainvillea, vegetation and flowers cascade down buildings and balconies. Boutiques, galleries and eateries line the streets. It is a shoppers paradise. There is a array of amazing hotels and delicious restaurants. Positano Amalfi Coast is absolutely fabulous, dripping with charm, and there is something to do for everyone!

Positano, Italy

Picturesque Positano is a magical and enchanted village known throughout the world. Celebrities arrive by land or by yacht in the  summer. It is built into a cliff and is also called the Vertical City. With this in mind, an unusual network of stairways enhance the town. There is only one street for vehicles. Hence, the rest of the village is pedestrian only. Getting around by foot will let you appreciate pastel-colored homes, flower filled terraces and endless steps carved out of the rock. There are narrow pedestrian alleys and, of course, steps that flow down to the busy harbor and beach.Positano Beaches

Yes, the beaches are the main event and a hub of activity. You will relax and swim in the sparkling blue Mediterranean. Then have a delicious lunch along the walkway. A perfect way to spend the day!

GETTING AROUND POSITANO

Via dei Mulini is the main road through town that leads down to the beach. The center of town begins at Piazza dei Mulino, which is where all vehicle traffic ends. After that, Via dei Mulini is pedestrian only.  It is a pleasure to stroll and browse in all the art galleries, boutiques and various shops. Try to stop in at Sapori e Porfumi di Positano. The fragrance of the candles and perfumes are fabulous! If you’re lucky to have a chat with the ‘Lemon Lady’, you will find that she is an amazing entrepreneur and spirit! Of course, you will also find an abundance of restaurants and cafes.Positano Shopping

You can reach every corner of this beautiful area without climbing countless steps. The local bus service is easily accessible. Bus stops are indicated with the sign Flavio Gioia and the orange busses have three routes: Interno Positano , which departs every 30 minutes from Piazza dei Mulini which tours around town. Montepertuso Nocelle departs every hour and goes to the higher communities. And lastly, Praiano-Positano, which brings you to the nearby town of Praiano. Furthermore, if you need information on getting here from Naples, read my Naples to Positano Guide.

Those charming steps…..

In my opinion, steps are a perfect way to burn off all that delicious Italian food! It’s like an Italian StairMaster – no need to hit the gym! Get a leg workout and your heart pumping while you see the sights. Although steps are the fastest route (shortcut), there are a few inclined winding roads that you can walk back and forth to your destinations. Take your time and enjoy the charm of discovering all the nooks and crannies this beautiful town has to offer. You will find boutiques, cafes, restaurants and of course, the best hotels in Positano.

Positano Italy

A few steps from the beach, you will find the church of Santa Maria Assunta. It features a majolica-tiled dome and a 13th-century Byzantine icon of the Virgin Mary. Legend says that in the 12th century AD, a ship carrying this same icon came from the sea during a huge storm. The sailors all heard a voice saying, “Posa Posa” which means “leave me here”. Thus the name Positano.  Moreover, this is why the Madonna has been kept in Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta ever since.

Posa Posa – We DO NOT want to leave! Feel the warmth and friendliness of the wonderful locals. They are so welcoming. Take joy in the beauty of the landscape, the gorgeous views, and the pretty beaches. It is simply magical!

Positano

Remember to bring your camera everywhere!

THE BEST OF POSITANO…….

Positano BeachesPositano Amalfi Coast

If you’re looking to bask in the Mediterranean sun, you will love the beaches here.  Sun lovers will enjoy a beautiful smooth pebble beach and gorgeous blue water. Read about Spiaggia Grande and the beach clubs…..Comprehensive Guide to Positano Beaches.

POSITANO HOTELS – WHERE TO STAYPositano Guide

If you don’t know the layout of the land, or should I say cliff, it could be a challenge picking a hotel.  Do you want to be in the heart of town; high up on the cliff with stunning views; or down by the beach with fewer steps to climb.  I will help you in my comprehensive Hotel and Orientation Guide.

Restaurants in PositanoPositano Restaurants

The restaurant scene here is buzzing with delicious southern Italian food and beautiful ambiance. There are so many delicious choices for you!  Restaurant Guide

Positano NightlifePositano Nightlife

Nightlife in this glamorous town consists of everything from dining in a cliffside restaurant with a panoramic view to dancing till the wee hours of the morning in the hottest Amalfi Coast club.  Nightlife Guide.

Getting to Positano Amalfi CoastPositano Transportation

Closest Airport:  Naples Capodichino (NAP).
Various transportation options are available such as: ferry, train & bus, private transfer, and car rental. For comprehensive information on transportation choices, CLICK HERE.

Positano Amalfi Coast

Beautiful Steps

Positano Steps

More Steps!


Place des Lices Market St. Tropez

Amazing food, beautiful clothes and accessories everywhere! The Place des Lices market has something for everyone. Every Tuesday and Saturday morning, from 8:00am – 1:00pm, the French make way for an open-air market (“marché“) that is set up on the Place.

St. Tropez is known for this market, and locals come from far and wide to shop. It is only a short, few minutes’ walk from the port. Of course, it gets very crowded! Therefore, if you want to beat the crowd, you should get there early also.

St. Tropez Market
Amazing food to taste!

Not only does this fantastic market sell a huge range of delicious foods, breads and pastries, but you can find clothes, bags, ceramics and souvenirs. I found the nicest beach cover-ups for terrific prices.

Place des lices market

Locals head to the market early to secure the freshest produce. If I was not staying at a hotel, I would have purchased vegetables and desserts for a delicious dinner. Nether

There is everything under the sun at the wonderful Place des Lices market! Moreover, the square is very nice with lots of shade trees for sunny mornings and early afternoons.  A must-visit if you are in St. Tropez when the market is happening. Enjoy shopping till you drop at this terrific St. Tropez market! Luckily however, there are many excellent restaurants in St. Tropez.


Best Things to Do in Taormina

Without a doubt, get ready for an Italian adventure as there are countless things to do and see in Taormina. This is an old town that is perfect for history, culture, delicious food and awe inspiring sights. Let me give you an edge on some of the best things to do in Taormina. Here they are in no particular order:

Taormina Boat Tour

We loved this excursion! Beautiful scenery, great guide, music and a refreshing swim!

A great way to explore the Ioanian Coast. Discover the Grotto Azzurra as well as the beautiful nature preserve of Isola Bella. Be on the beautiful sea surrounded by the breathless landscape of Etna and Taormina. We did not reserve, as the boats are by the beach of Isola Bella. It was wonderful!

Ancient Greek Theatre Taormina

Taormina Greek Theatre
Teatro Greco

If you are visiting Taormina, try to see a show at the world famous Teatro Greco, possibly the most spectacular venue on earth. The Ancient Greek Theatre is amazing.  During the day take beautiful pictures of the ancient ruins. In the evening, take in a show at the Greek Theatre with Mount Etna as a backdrop. There are concerts and operas as varied as Sting and The Barber of Seville.  For upcoming shows, click here: events and tickets.

Mount Etna

Taormina Mount Etna

A visit to Europe’s largest volcano, Mt. Etna offers an incredible chance to see lava flows up close. You can join a tour of Mt Etnas lunar-like landscapes for an incredible experience. Mount Etna is on of the highest volcano in Europe and on of the most active in the world. The volcano shaped the Sicilian history and landscape and still affects the island today. It is an UNESCO World Heritage site since 2013 and the smoking volcano craters and the old and new lava flows are always an impressive experience for visitors.

MT. ETNA WINERY TOUR

Taormina Wine Tour

Visit the vineyards and taste the wines of Mount Etna.  There are wonderful local wineries where you can sample delicious varieties of wine. Visit a splendid winery nestled 900 Meters above sea level, on the northeastern slope of Mount Etna, and sample some of their delicious wines.

CASTELMOLA

Castlemola Taormina

Castlemola is a charming little medieval town up the mountain from Taormina. If you have a few hours, it is worth a visit. We took a bus up and walked back down to Taormina on an ancient path between the two. Included in the list of the most beautiful villages in Italy, in Castelmola time seems to have stopped. With its elevated position, Castelmola offers a view of a splendid Mediterranean from its central square. 

GODFATHER TOUR

Taormina Godfather Tour

Visit some of the iconic film locations of the blockbuster hit The Godfather. Step back in time in Savoca and Forza D’Agrò and become a part of the filming of The Godfather! Click here for more information. 

AEOLIAN ISLANDS

Lipari Travel
If you have an extra time, you may want to take a full day trip to the beautiful Aeolian Islands. We loved the island of Lipari.

Taormina Beaches

A wonderful destination for a beach vacation is Taormina Beaches. Perched high upon a cliff is the old town city of Taormina. However, the beautiful beaches of Taormina are located down below, facing the Ioian sea. This area is know as Taormina Mare. The main road is sprinkled a handful of hotels and restaurants. Cross the street and you will find beautiful bays with several beach clubs, all within walking distance. Taormina beaches are gorgeous. They sparkle with crystal clear, beautiful blue water. Also, they are smooth pebble and rock beaches, which is so pretty.

Taormina Beach

Of course the beach clubs (lidos) in Taormina are fully equipped with rentals of beds, umbrellas and towels. Furthermore, they have delicious restaurants on their property. It is Italian custom to take a break from sunning and have lunch at the beach. Additionally, there is also a free public beach connecting to the small pretty island of Isola Bella.

Taormina Beaches

At all the beaches you can find excursion boats to take you on a tour of the coast and bring you to the Grotto Azzura. I highly suggest taking the excursion. It is a delightful way to see some lovely areas, including going into caves. The boat also stops for swim in some of the most beautiful waters. There is music, fun and just a fabulous time! This is an experience that you will always remember! I recommend the excursion with Sebastian and Carmello.
Price – Summer 2022:  Depends on how many people, it can be from EUR 24 – 29pp.

Taormina Beaches Excursion Boats
My girls and I on the Excursion Boat – so much fun with music, swimming and beautiful sites!!!
Back from a great tour of the beautiful Bay of Mazzaro. We loved Grotto Azzurra and the landscape of Taormina, Isola Bella and Mt. Etna!

Taormina Beaches – How to get there

Funivia
Taormina – Mazzaro Funivia – Connecting the historical town of Taormina with it’s beach area

If you are without a car, you may take a bus. But, a great option is the cable car or in Italian, the funivia. Indeed, It is located a short five minute walk from the east end of the Corso Umberto.  In my opinion, it is an exhilarating and fun ride down the mountain that only takes a few minutes!  It cost 3 euros one way or 6 roundtrip. Once you arrive at the bottom there are several beach clubs directly across the street, including the free public beach of Isola Bella.
Note: The funivia line gets crowded in the late afternoon.  Therefore, give yourself extra time if you have dinner reservations.

Walking to the Taormina Beaches

Taormina
Walking to the beach- gorgeous!!!

It is a beautiful scenic walk from Taormina down to the beaches. You can walk down in 30 minutes but it took us about an hour, because we stopped so many times to take pictures of the beautiful scenery and amazing views! It is definitely worth it.
Walking Directions: First, exit the Corso Umberto via the arch of Porta Messina and bear right. Then continue past the funivia station, La Pensione Svizzeria and a gas station.  Second, bear left onto Guradiola Vecchia. You will come to a beautiful lookout area that you cannot miss. It almost looks like an ancient ruin with steps going up to the platform and columns on each side. Here you will wind up taking tons of pictures!  Third, you will see a painted wooden sign that says “Isola Bella” to the left of the steps. This points to the path going down to the beach. Enjoy your walk!

In Taormina, don’t worry about time, just stop and smell the roses!  After spending the day at La Plage Resort, we took the funivia back up to town.

Isola Bella Beach

Isola Bella is a tiny island and nature reserve which is connected to the mainland by a small strip of beach.  This is a free public beach that consists of pebbles and smooth rocks.  Just gorgeous!  Bring your own towels!

If you want sunbeds, umbrellas, towels and a great lunch, make sure to enjoy the Taormina Beach Clubs!!


Taormina Beach Clubs

It’s time to spend a beautiful day in the Sicilian sun enjoying the hospitality of Taormina Beach Clubs! Indeed, it is ideal to spend a pleasant day with sun, sea, relaxation and great food. I love to go to the beach and grab a sunbed and umbrella. It is swim, sun, tan and repeat! Of course, there is a delicious lunch break in between all this fun. All the lidos have delicious restaurants.
Take into consideration that these lido’s fill up fast.  Therefore, make sure you reserve in advance or make reservations through your hotel for beds and umbrellas. Consequently, if you don’t have reservations, make sure you arrive early (11am). If not, your spot will be in the back row – if you get one at all!

Taormina Beaches

Getting to Taormina Beach Clubs

The Funivia (cable car) is great way to get to the beach area (Taormina Mare). It is located a short five-minute walk from the east end of Corso Umberto.  In my opinion, it is an exhilarating and fun ride down the mountain that only takes a few minutes! The cost is 3-euro one way or 6-euro roundtrip.

Once you arrive to Taromina Mare by funivia (or by car) there are several Taormina beach clubs directly across the street, just steps away. Furthermore, this includes the free public beach of Isola Bella, which is spectacular.

La Plage Resort

La Place Resort Taormina Travel

La Plage is a beautiful hotel resort, in fact, it is my favorite, when it comes to breath-taking scenery and ambiance. Keep in mind, it’s lido is not open to the public. However, you are able to make reservations in advance to rent lounges and umbrellas.  It has a great vibe, music and it’s also very attractive. In addition, you can also use the lounge area and enjoy delicious cocktails and food. The Beach Club of the La Plage Resort has sunbedsbeach umbrellas, a bar kiosk, and an inviting gazebo where you can enjoy a massage while embraced by the sea breeze. The Beach Club of the Plage Resort is open from April to October.
Price – summer 2022: EUR 75 for 2 beds, 2 towels and one umbrella

Tao Beach Club

Tao Beach Club Taormina

From dawn to dusk Tao Beach Club offers fun and relaxation. The bar service offers refreshments, fresh meals and snacks for breaks between sunbathing and swimming, as well as lunch to be enjoyed on the terraces. Tao Beach Club represents one of the most exclusive corners of Taormina with its private sandy beach, the emerald coloured Ionian Sea and finally the Sicilian sun .

Lido La Pigna

Lido La Pigna is a lovely lido with a terrific restaurant. Relax on a comfy sunbed, under an umbrella and enjoy the magic of Isola Bella. Definitely stop here for lunch. We had a delicious lunch on the terrace, overlooking the umbrellas. Mangia! Lido La Pigna is located only a few minutes from Taormina Town Center, comfortably reachable by the Funicular.
Price – summer 2022: EUR 40 for 2 beds, 2 towels and one umbrella

Lido Delfino Taormina

It seems that this is the spot to do many things! We got a boat here that took us on a beautiful excursion to the Blue Grotto and all of Isola Bella. You can rent canoes, paddle boats and even water ski. Not to mention delicious food at the terrace restaurant. All this, in the gorgeous bay, filled with sun and fun!

Lido La Caravella Taormina

Lido la Caravella Taormina

Lido La Caravella is one of the best beaches in Sicily and offers wonderful service.  In addition to sunbeds and umbrellas, there is bar service on the beach. Moreover, the lido offers transfers from and to hotels by van, free changing rooms and hot water showers. There is also a private terrace overlooking the sea. Yes, this is what a Taormina beach club is all about!

Letojanni Beaches

Letojanni is a short 15-minute drive from Taormina. It is a popular coastal resort with a long-pebbled beach and crystalline water. That being the case, it is the perfect spot for many beach clubs along the strip. By the way, check with your hotel, since some offer free shuttles to Letojanni Beach.

Letojanni

You will find colorful umbrellas and good restaurants and cafes. The lidos are fully equipped with anything you need for a day in the sun. In addition, you have an assortment of restaurants to choose from. Not to mention, they specialize in excellent seafood.

Paradise Beach Club

Paradise Beach Taormina Italy

Paradise Beach Club is a very nice lido with a pool, bar and beach facilities. Moreover, it boasts a splendid garden overlooking the sea. Located on Letojanni beach a few minutes from Taormina, you will be in total relaxation, while admiring the scenic bay. You will find terraces submerged by olive trees and tropical plants, to the seawater pool adorned with lava stone. In the “Mojito bar” you can enjoy a snack, an exquisite cocktail based on fresh fruit and delight in the best Sicilian and Italian specialties in the restaurant.

Beach Flamingo

Flamingo

Finally, you can also check out Beach Flamingo. Located on the beach of Letojanni, it has a panoramic terrace, with breathtaking views of the bay of Taormina. This beach is equipped with all comforts and the staff will be happy to make you spend a wonderful day in one of the most beautiful seas of Sicily.

In conclusion, discover the joy of a beautiful day at one of these Taormina beach clubs. You will always remember the beauty and will surely have many pictures to show for it!

Taormina Lido
Look at the water – how clear and beautiful!!!
Isola Bella
Isola Bella – Heaven on earth!

Amalfi Town Italy

Amalfi Town Italy is small, historic, and has a seafront location on the famous Coast. Once you walk through the arched entrance into Amalfi town proper, you will be In the historic main square, Piazza del Duomo. Here you will find a most impressive masterpiece, Cattedrale di Sant’Andrea. This centerpiece looms high over the bustling, crowded square and is really an incredible work of art.

Cattedrale di Sant’Andrea

Not only is the beautiful Cathedral in the piazza, but you will encounter a very interesting fountain, Fontana sant’Andrea. It serves as a meeting point for tourists and a source of free drinking water. In addition, it is the place for a photo opportunity, if you can find a few seconds alone with it!

Fontana Sant’Andrea

I was surprised to see how crowded the square was! This is the Times Square of the Amalfi Coast – at least in August. There are rows of shops, outdoor restaurants, bars, wine shops and street vendors. There is a lot of hustle and bustle. Let’s not forget the many caffe’s and gelato shops to visit. The crowd follows the the main pedestrian road, Via Lorenzo D’Amalfi. It is bliss for shoppers since there is an abundance of stores, one after the other. Clothing, ceramics, shoes, handmade items- you can find anything.

If you head out of the arches toward the water, you will see Piazza Flavio Giola to your right. This is the transit hub of Amalfi town. Taxi, bus and ferry areas are located here. Additionally, you will find a few shops by the ferry station.

Piazza Flavio Giola

Amalfi Town Beach Clubs

You will also find beach clubs right outside of the historic center. It is always great to spend part of a hot day relaxing at the beach. All the beach clubs provide umbrellas and beds as well as a nice lunch and drinks. During high season, all beach clubs need reservations, I really liked the look of Marina Grande, but didn’t make a reservation. Stella Maris was the only one that is first come, first serve, but you must arrive early to get a lounge. We had first row on the water and a beautiful day!

Amalfi Italy Restaurants

My favorite meal was at Taverna deli Apostoli Ristorante. Enjoy this lovely family run restaurant, just left of the cathedral steps, at the top of the first flight. The food was great and it was so nice sitting outside looking at the piazza.

Amalfi Sensi Restaurant
Sensi Restaurant

Sensi Restaurant has a beautiful view and is inside the elegant Hotel Residence. The food, the service, and the ambiance is most excellent. Moreover, they serve a tasting menu only, with an optional wine pairing for each course.

Amalfi Town Italy Hotel

I really loved staying at Terrazza Duomo, which was directly across from the Duomo. I booked it for the fabulous view of the cathedral, and it did not disappoint! It was wonderful to wake up to that view! But I didn’t realize that the room itself would be so awesome! It was a good size, sparkling clean, and beautifully, freshly decorated. 
As an added bonus, the hotel has a rooftop terrace to enjoy. This is where breakfast is served. In addition, the staff was so nice and accommodating. I highly recommend Terrazza Duomo when in Amalfi town Italy.

View from my room in Terrazza Duomo!
Cattedrale di Sant'Andrea
View from my balcony in Terrazza Duomo Hotel

All in all, Amalfi town was very nice, but, unfortunately, it does not compare to Sorrento, Positano or Ravello.


St Paul de Vence

St Paul de Vence is one of the most beautiful destinations in France. This charming town is a feast for the eyes. What’s more, it is a medieval, romantic village with cobbled walkways and beautiful scenery. Among it’s narrow streets, fountains and staircases, it is a village abundant with flowers and vines covering the walkways and buildings. Entirely pedestrian, Saint-Paul-de-Vence is one of those perched villages where you can enjoy breathtaking panoramas of the sweeping views below.

St. Paul de Vence

It enjoys a privileged location, located fifteen minutes from the sea and twenty-five minutes from the Nice airport. Definitely an easy destination to get to. We spent one night on our way from Villefranche sur Mer to St. Tropez. I found that one night was perfect for us, since the village is small although exquisite!

St. Paul de Vence
Such a beautiful village!

This small town, dating back to the 14th century, has been a land of artists since the dawn of time. Artist Mark Chegall made this his home for 30 years until his death at 97 in 1985. St. Paul de Vence is a place where many painters and artisans live today. It is full of art galleries, studios and artisan shops. In fact, there are 60!

Hotel Le St Paul

I highly recomment Hotel Le St. Paul as it was excellent. First, the room was amazing! It had a living area upstairs and then a bedroom downstairs! Secondly, the lobby and outdoor terrace were to perfection. We loved this hotel! Overall it was in a perfect spot and everything you would want for an authentic experience with excellent service!

Hotel le St. Paul
Hotel St. Paul de Vence terrace

St. Paul de Vence in Photos

medeviel vilage

To summarize, I am so glad that I decided to explore this gorgeous village. It was a totally pedestrian town which is a direct 10 minute walk from one end to the other. But expect that walk to turn into a few hours since there is so much to see. It was well worth the visit!

St Paul

Como Italy

The city of Como Italy is clearly worth a visit! Thousands of people throng here to enjoy Como and the lake area. It has natural beauty and plenty to see and do. Moreover, since the train from Milan stops here, it is the perfect spot in Lake Como to stay for a day or more as a starting point for your vacation. In fact, Lake Como boasts an abundance of other beautiful towns and picturesque villages. Without a doubt, add Bellagio and Varenna to your list, as well as Como.

Como Italy

I found the city of Como lively and exciting. It has a multitude of fine restaurants, large piazzas, historical churches and beautiful architecture. Of course, the town center has delightful streets full of shops. Ideal for a fashion lover at any budget. Lastly, you will have your choice of cafes, where you can relax and sip coffee while you people-watch.

Piazza Duomo
Piazza Duomo

Things to do in Como Italy

Lose yourself in the delightful cobbled streets in town center. Wander to Piazza San Fedele. It is the main square of Como in the historical center of town.  You will find the Basilica of San Fedele, a beautiful Romanesque church dating back to 1120. Moreover, every Saturday there is a market here with handcrafted items and antiques.

Como Church of San Fedele
Church of San Fedele

Next, stroll toward the magnificent Piazza del Duomo, and visit the Como Cathedral (Duomo di Como). This is the main church of Como, dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was built between the 14th and the 18th centuries. Although the Gothic style is predominant, the cathedral also hosts many Romanesque, Renaissance, and Baroque elements.

Como Cathedral
Duomo di Como

The Como Lakefront

You will find some of the best places to take pictures along the lakefront. Start at Piazza Cavour and go west (left) along the water. First, you will find the Volta Museum. It is a beautiful neoclassical temple built in 1927. It is dedicated to Alessandro Volta, the inventor of the electric battery, who was born and died in Como Italy. This photographic museum will wake up your camera!

Como Temple Volta
Volta Museum

Continue walking on Passeggiata Lino Gelpi and you will come upon Villa Gallia. There is a public walkway along the lake which is perfect for pictures! Next you will find historic and impressive Villa Olmo. It is a beautiful neoclassical villa dating back to the 1780s.

Como to Brunate

A fun thing to do is to take the funicular from Como Italy to the small adorable town of Brunate. From Piazza Cavour walk east (right) to the Como Brunate funicular. It is nearby the train station. The cable car scales the mountain and you arrive within a few minutes. Going up was easy, but going down…..I confess that I screamed from fright!! LOL

Como Funicular
The funicular route up the mountain to Brunate

You will find stunning views when you reach the top. Of course there are places to eat, sip coffee and enjoy the wonderful views of Como, the lake, and the mountains.

Como Beach

l love to have a beach day on vacation. We walked to Lido di Villa Olmo, just a few steps away from the beautiful Villa. This lido has a small beach, two swimming pools, and a large meadow. In addition the Beach Bar offers drinks, hot and cold dishes, snacks and cocktails. It was a fun few hours and a good light lunch in Como Italy!

Lido di Villa Olmo
Lido di Villa Olmo

Lake Como Italy – Villa d’Este

Overlooking one of the most romantic lakes in the world, Lake Como, Villa d’Este is magnificent! If only my wallet could afford it! Located in Cernobbio, it is only a 15 minute car ride away. Definitely go for a drink on the most luxurious terrace on the lake! You can also walk the grounds and gardens. Worth the drive, for sure!

Villa d'Este
Luxury 5 Star Villa d’Este is gorgeous!

Varenna Italy

Varenna Italy is yet another enchanting town on Lake Como. You will find magnificent scenery, beauty, charm, and perfect spots for photos at every turn. Bellagio may be my number one, but Varenna is definitely next!

Varenna

Recognized as one of the most picturesque towns on popular Lake Como, Varenna is enchanting and definitely worth a visit. In addition, it is one of the easiest places to access. Since Varenna has its own railway station, you can take a direct, one hour train ride from Milan. Upon arrival, you will find magnificent scenery, beauty, charm, and perfect spots for photos at every turn. 

Varenna

This adorable small village flourishes with cobbled lanes, colorful shops, elegant villas and art-filled church galleries. Varenna, Lake Como is a smaller, slower paced town than Bellagio.

It is perfect for relaxing by the lake and taking a stroll to see its beauty. You will be free of the touristy crowds who tend to gather in Como and Bellagio.

Things to do in Varenna, Lake Como

Other than experiencing colorful town center itself, my highlight was exploring Villa Monastero. It is truly breathtaking and a photographer’s dream! We took a long stroll in the Villa’s botanical gardens. It has the most beautiful view of the lake. This spectacular villa is 8 centuries old, hosts a museum and conference center. Of course, the main attraction is a gorgeous botanical garden.

Varenna Trellis
Passeggiata degli Innamorati (Lover’s Walk)

Take a scenic walk on the trellised path of Passeggiata degli Innamorati. It displays wonderful views of both Varenna, Lake Como and the mountain backdrop. It is aptly named, since it is truly a romantic walk through a dreamlike lakeside town.

The Church of San Georgio is located in the town’s main square, Piazza St. Georgio. The church dates back to the 13th century and has many frescos and works of art dating between the 15th and 18th century.

Among other things to do is to explore the medieval Castello di Vezio. Next, visit Villa Cipressi, which is now an outstanding hotel. Then, take a boat tour of the lake. Lastly, make sure that you visit other towns along the lake; especially the nearby towns of Bellagio, Menaggio, Tremezzo and Lenno! Enjoy your visit to Varenna Italy!