Three Books for Travel Inspirations

When the travel bug bites, the best cure is to follow where those itchy feet will take you. Whether you like the idea of taking winter cruises in the Carribean or into European ports or excited with the idea of Provence cycling holidays, here are some great reads that will inspire you to travel somewhere you have never been to.

No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach by Anthony Bourdain

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”

The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner

“Some places are like family. They annoy us to no end, especially during the holidays, but we keep coming back for more because we know, deep in our hearts, that our destinies are intertwined.”

Video Night In Kathmandu and Other Reports from the Not-So-Far East by Pico Iyer

“I loved the quiet places in Kyoto, the places that held the world within a windless moment. Inside the temples, Nature held her breath. All longing was put to sleep in the stillness, and all was distilled into a clean simplicity.

The smell of woodsmoke, the drift of incense; a procession of monks in black-and-gold robes, one of them giggling in a voice yet unbroken; a touch of autumn in the air, a sense of gathering rain.”

6 Best European Cities for a Winter Getaway

Winter in Europe could mean dark days and nights and frigidly cold weather or sunshiny and pleasantly cold depending on which part of the continent you are spending it. But wherever you choose to go, you will likely find tons of stunning sights and great experiences to enjoy. So if you are thinking of taking a winter European sojourn, here are some of the best places to start.

1. Abisko, Sweden
Aurora Abisko
Sweden’s beauty may shine during the warm summer months, but you may be in for a great surprise once the winter sets in. With hundreds of ski resorts and picturesque ski villages, vast stretches of wilderness blanketed in snow, and a lot of attractions best enjoyed during the cold months, the country beckons to anyone up for some serious winter experiences. The small village of Abisko is hands down one of Sweden’s winter gems. You may not get to see much sunlight for weeks between December and January, but the promise of plenty of Northern Lights sightings more than make up for it. Some of the unmissable things to see and do include the Abisko National Park, the Aurora, dog sledding, and exploring the frozen wilderness on a snowmobile.

2. Athens, Greece
Acropolis, Athens
The Greek Isles offer many excellent spots for a winter break. But if you want to explore the Acropolis and marvel at the Parthenon sans the crowd, then winter in Athens is a must. Take a stroll along the city’s streets, get one of the best views of the Acropolis at Lycabettus Hill, and visit as many ancient sites and museums as you can — all with the added bonus of enjoying it all with fewer crowds.

3. Bouillon, Belgium
Bouillon, Belgium
The picturesque medieval town of Bouillon is an idyllic spot for winter meanderings, delicious eats, and breathtaking nature scenery. Venture out to the 13th-century Bouillon Castle or head out to the nearby village of Botassart all the while taking in the stunning winter scene that surrounds you.

4. Barcelona, Spain
If you are planning to spend your winter vacation lounging at the beach, Barcelona offers plenty of attractions worth visiting when autumn ends and the colder months set in. Experience the city with fewer tourists on the streets and explore its city’s treasure trove of art, architecture, culture, and tons of things to see and do at leisure.

5. Paris, France
The beauty of Paris knows no season. But the City of Light seems to shine even brighter in winter, especially at night. See the Christmas illuminations add to the already stunning scenes you will find as soon as evening sets in the city. Enjoy the festive atmosphere as you browse through the shops’ winter displays or get warm and cozy in a cafe or restaurant as you savor scrumptious French cuisines.

6. Transylvania, Romania
Transylvania winter
There is probably no better time to see Dracula’s lair but on the dead of winter. Experience a fairytale-like adventure in a place that provides the perfect setting that make you feel like you have stepped right into the pages of the famous story book. The grey skies, snow-coated fields, gothic castles, and beautiful medieval towns are just some of the things that provide the perfect backdrop as you set out to explore the city and nearby villages and towns.