What’s hot for 2017.

Don’t you find that when the weather is cold and dreary outside, we think about warmer climates and other destinations? Vacation is on our minds to keep us going through the cold snap. So what’s HOT for 2017? Conde Nest just released their top picks for 2017:

Canada, The American Midwest, Cuba, (really popular) Bermuda, New Zealand, Tokyo-Kanazawa-Kyoto, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Buenos Aires Argentina, Chilean Patagonia, Uruguay.

Some European destinations on the list include:

Athens Greece, Scotland, Ireland, Scandinavia (Norway Sweden & Denmark) Iceland……

So let’s see what’s on offer in these locations.

Athens Greece: (courtesy of Greece-Athens.com)

Athens is situated in the prefecture of Attica and extends to the peninsula that reaches up to Central Greece. It is surrounded by mountains. The sun is shining over Athens all year round. The climate is one of the best in Europe, with mild winters and very hot summers, ideal for tourism.
Athens has the most important archaeological monuments (Acropolis, Odeion of Herodes Atticus, Olymbion, Roman Market, Panathinaiko Stadium or Kallimarmaro. The capital is famous, more than any other European capital, for its nightlife. Athens by night totally changes. The options for entertainment satisfy all tastes. The famous “bouzoukia” are the leaders in the Athenian entertainment. While the numerous theaters all around Athens offer a different type of entertainment. Athens is a divine city. Let it enchant you…
Things to do in Athens: https://www.viator.com/Athens-tours/

Iceland: (courtesy of www.iceland.is)

Iceland has become increasingly popular in recent times. It is a country of sharp contrasts. A place where fire and ice co-exist. Where dark winters are offset by the summer’s midnight sun. A country where insular existence has spurred a rich and vibrant culture. Hip Reykjavík, the beautiful therapeutic Blue Lagoon, but this land of boiling mud pools, spurting geysers, glaciers and waterfalls is also an adventure playground. Iceland’s summers are surprisingly warm, lush and green. Cuisine has changed a lot in the last few decades from involving mainly lamb or fish in some form or other, as the popularity of other types of food has increased. There are several vegetarian restaurants in Reykjavík and vegetarian dishes widely available at other restaurants.
In fact, Celebrity Cruise Line is planning a new itinerary for 2018 starting in Dublin and incorporating Iceland (stay tuned for more on this)

Scandinavia: (various sources)
Scandinavia is typically defined as Norway, Sweden & Denmark for general purposes.
Norway: Also called “The Land of Vikings, and the Midnight Sun,” is the northernmost country in Europe. Norway has a jagged expanse of islands and fjords. Official language: Norwegian. Capital: Oslo.
Denmark: The southernmost Scandinavian country, Denmark consists of the Jutland peninsula and over 400 islands, some of which are linked to the mainland by bridge. Almost all of Denmark is low and flat, but there are many low hills as well.
Sweden: Sweden offers numerous lakes and is the largest of the Scandinavian countries – both in land size and population. Volvo and Saab both originated here and are a big part of the Swedish industry. Swedish citizens are independently minded and highly regard their people-oriented social programs, especially in women’s rights.
Official language: Swedish. Capital: Stockholm.

Some Tourist attractions in Scandinavia:
• Relax in a hot spring in Iceland
• Cruise a Norwegian Fjord, Geirangerfjord is a world-famous beauty while Sognefjord is the largest.
• Enjoy the endless summer days under the midnight sun in the north.
• Experience the Arctic and the polar bears in the worlds northernmost settlement, Svalbard
• Go cross country skiing or hiking in the endless forests and national parks.
• Go skinny dipping from a sauna in the Land of a Thousand Lakes (Finland)
• Downhill skiing or snowboarding in some of Europe’s most civilized and family friendly ski resorts.
• Relive your childhood in Legoland, Denmark.
• Cruise around the thousands of scenic islands in the Swedish and Finnish archipelago.

Popular food: Meatballs, Hash, Pea Soup, Pickled Herring, blodpudding (black sausage) graviax (sliced cured salmon) Falukorv (fried baloney !!) Liver Pate, kroppkakor (potatoe dumpling), caviar, crayfish. Cakes, cookies and pastries include bondkakor, hallongrottor, bullar or cakes like prinsesstårta are widely popular. It used to be tradition to offer guest 7 different cookies when invited over for coffee. If you have a sweet tooth you should try chokladbollar, mazariner, biskvier, rulltårta, lussebullar, the list goes on…

The U.K.’s northernmost country, is a land of mountain wildernesses such as the Cairngorms and Northwest Highlands, interspersed with glacial glens (valleys) and lochs (lakes). Its major cities are Edinburgh, the capital, with its iconic hilltop castle, and Glasgow, famed for its vibrant cultural scene. Scotland is also famous for golf, the game first played at the Old Course at St Andrews in the 1400s. So, how about grand castles? Train rides through majestic landscapes? Discovering whisky distilling secrets? An island hopping adventure? An afternoon in a gallery or a museum? Coastal explorations? Night at the theatre? Munro bagging? Following a literary trail? White-water rafting? Shopping expedition?
We literally could go on, and on, and on, and on… There is so much to see and do in Scotland.

Portugal and The Azores:
In the southwest corner of Europe lies Portugal, one fifth of the Iberian Peninsula it shares with Spain. Portugal has its own language, the 6th most spoken in the world (think Brazil-Portugal’s former colony), its own culture and cuisine. Portugal’s shape is rectangular, the longest north-south distance is 349 miles/561 km and widest east-west distance is 135 miles/218 km. It’s roughly the size of the U.S. state of Indiana. The country’s modest dimensions make it easy to visit when time is short. Portugal is divided into regions, each offers unique features, history, scenery and cuisine. The regions are from south to north: Algarve, Alentejo, Lisbon and Lisbon Coast, Estremadura and Ribatejo, the Beiras, Douro and Tras-os-Montes and the Minho.

With a coastline of 586 miles/943 kms, it’s not surprising that seafood is front and center of Portuguese cuisine. It’s said that there is a cod dish, dried and fresh, for each day of the year. Regional specialties abound. In the Algarve, Cataplana, a fish and shellfish dish named for the cookware used, is a treat. Caldeirada, a fish stew with potatoes, is also popular. An unusual combination hailing from the Alentejo is a combination of pork and clams.  Lisbon offers a range of cosmopolitan restaurants but you may wish to try Frango Piri-Piri (chicken with chili) and be sure to indulge in a local pastry, Pasteis de Nata, delicious custard-cream tarts. In the north, Feijoada, a stew of beans and cured meats is popular as well as Rojoes, a spiced pork stew in wine and garlic. We suggest dining in local restaurants to experience true Portuguese cuisine. Portions are generally huge but many restaurants offer half portions. Portugal is home to the first demarcated wine region in the world: the upper Douro Valley where Port wine grapes are grown along the Douro River in terraces cascading down the steep slopes. Port is Portugal’s most famous wine.

The Azores, an autonomous region of Portugal, are an archipelago in the mid-Atlantic. The islands are characterized by dramatic landscapes, fishing villages, green pastures and hedgerows of blue hydrangeas. São Miguel, the largest, has lake-filled calderas and the Gorreana tea plantation. Pico is home to the 2,351m Mt. Pico and vineyards sheltered by boulders. A local favorite from the island of Sao Miguel is Cozido nas Caldeiras, a stew made from sausages, meats and vegetables cooked in containers lowered about 1 meter into the steaming ground around Furnas Lake, a volcanic crater.  The Azores islands once provided wines to the tsars of Russia. Today, renewed interest in these wines, including Verdelho, are flourishing on several of the islands. Madeira Island is noted for Madeira, a fortified wine.

So lots of great European options to choose from – The beauty of Europe is the ease with which you can travel from one Country to the other especially on the continent. European trips are rich in different experiences, cultures

All the Best
Dervila & Emer