The world is full of wonderful cultural experiences, whether you want a short break in Europe or somewhere further afield. Where will you explore next?
Unxplored Bulgaria – 7 nights from £505pp, all-inclusive with flights
Stunning black beaches, break-taking art and architecture, historic villages and untamed landscapes and mountains…Bulgaria is still relatively undiscovered and off the tourist path.
Visit the UNESCO heritage site at Nessebar or the Pirin National Park, take a hike into the mountains of the Rila range, or enjoy some of the best seafood in one of the quaint coastal areas.
‘Unexplored Bulgaria’ – at a glance
- Staying at the HVD Club Miramar located directly on one of Bulgairas beautiful beaches, use this as your base from some wonderful exploring.
- Founded in the 10th century, the UNESCO protected site in the Rila Mountains is home to the truly epic Rila Monastery – just one of over 120!
- Packed with history, another must see are the two Roman ampitheatres. The theatre at Plovdiv was built in the second century AD, and is one of the worlds best preserved and still in use today.
- If you’re a foodie, you won’t go disappointed! Be sure to try some of the local ‘kyufte’ – Bulgarian meatballs, and feast on fresh seafood along the Black Coast. End your meal with some Raika, a tasty fruit brandy. Go easy on it though, especially the home brew version!
- Go bear spotting – there are known to be 400-700 brown bears in the wild here!
- If that isn’t enough, you can also go skiing here – Bankso is the most popular resort, or there are some truly incredible mountain bike trails for those who prefer two wheels!
Opulent Dubai – 5 nights from £2292pp including flights
Spend 5 nights in one of the most opulent, sophisticated and luxurious hotels in the world – the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray.
With a wealth of facilites to keep you busy in the resort alone, you will have to drag yourself away to explore all that Dubai has to offer.
From jet-skiing, to hot air balloon trips, or a camel ride through the desert, where will you start? End your nights in one of the many world class restaurants, and sip on cocktails in a roof-top bar under the stars.
‘Opulent Dubai’ – at a glance
- Wake up to breakfast on your balcony overlooking the Arabian Gulf, the perfect way to set you up for a day full of adventure
- The Talise Ottoman Spa is adorned with marble, gold and hand crafted mosaics, and offers the ideal way to unwind after a busy day. Relax with an Arabian Rose or Gold Mask Hamman, before deciding where to go for dinner…
- Soak up the sun on the hotels private beach, or make the most of your free pass to the Wild Wadi Water park – guaranteed fun for all ages!
- With 9 restaurants to choose from at the hotel alone, you will certainly be spoilt for choice. If you decide to venture elsewhere, how about dining ‘underwater’? For a true dining experience, reserve a table at the at Nathan Outlaw at Al Mahara – you won’t be disappointed!
- If shopping is your thing, then Dubai is the place for you! Offering a wealth of endless shopping malls with design boutiques, to haggling along the backstreets, you may need to buy an extra suitcase to travel home!
- A visit to the Burj Khalifa is a must, along with a desert experience with camel rides, 4x4 trips and ending with dinner under the stars in a traditional Bedouin tent.
Castel Monastero, Tuscany 7 nights from £882pp (flights to be booked separately)
Driving through rows of cypress trees and Chianti vines, the drive to Castel Monstero takes you through some of the most beautiful Italian countryside. Upon arriving at the 11th century medieval village of Monastero d’Ombrone you will be transported back in time as the stunning Castel Monastero has been beautifully restored throughout to keep the rustic splendor of ancient times with a contemporary twist.
‘Castel Monastero’ – at a glance –
- Set in 4 acres of lush grounds, spend time taking in the stunning scenery and breakthaking views of vineyards and Piazza
- Each room has been individually designed and painstakingly restored, and offer each guest the best luxury amenities for you to completely unwind. From Italian linen, to Volcanic stone bathrooms you will be wake each day feeling refreshed, and ready to explore the Tuscan countryside
- Have some ‘me time’ in the exclusively designed 1000 square metre spa by Urban Retreats. Surrounded by traditional Tuscan architecture, the spa has plenty to offer – from Kneipp hydrotherapy, Hammam and sensory showers. You can also take part in an exclusive detox programme designed by personal doctor to the famous, Dr Mosaraf Ali. With clients from Claudia Schiffer to Richard Branson, you can be sure these plans will leave you feeling ready to take on the world!
- Savour the Tuscan delights from the two restaurants - Castel Monastero’s gourmet restaurant ‘Contrada’ has a menu specially created by Gordon Ramsay with beautiful views over the Piazza, or venture into the medieval wine cellars, complete with vaulted ceilings and stone walls, to ‘La Cantina’ for a truly romantic experience. With local ingredients selected daily and a wine list to die for, you will want to work your way through each menu!
- Horseback ride across the rolling fields, bike ride through the vineyards, or sail through the skies over Chianti in your own hot air balloon – the choice is yours – if you can bring yourself to leave the beautiful Castel Monastero and explore all this region of Italy has to offer.
- From mid September, you can also take part in a selection of cooking classes Castel Monastero has to offer, learning to recreate local Tuscan dishes – after foraging for your own truffles and Porcini mushrooms!
The Fellah Marrakech, 3 nights from £465pp including flights and transfers
With immense views over the Atlas Mountains, the exquisite ‘The Fellah’ is just 20 minutes from the bustling, culture packed city of Marrakech. Achingly sophisticated combining modern design and Moroccan tradition, this is a perfect getaway from everyday life.
‘The Fellah Marrakech’ at a glance –
- Set in 27 acres of beautiful land, enjoy impeccable service throughout this luxurious eco-hotel which flawlessly combines traditional Berber patterns with modern design.
- Take part in a yoga class, or just unwind in the wellness spa or in the sparkling pool with views of the Atlas Mountains in the distance
- Take a book from the tree house library and relax on the terrace, or see the small working farm in action as you help gather produce and care for the animals
- Watch the sun go down as you enjoy the fine-dining, with dishes focusing on regional specialties and using local ingredients
Set just 30 minutes from the centre of Marrakech with incredible views of the Atlas Mountains, the Fellah Hotel is home to a Berber farm, and on the opposite end of the scale, a beautiful wellness spa.
In 21 acres of desert garden, full of sculptural cacti, every direction you look in is camera worthy.
A mix of traditional Moroccan design is blended perfectly with modern twists to create this luxury, laid back, eco-hotel.
At the centre of the hotel is the poolside lounge where you can relax and take in the panoramic vistas, and the restaurant where the sound of sitars being played drifts through the air.
The facilities are abundant at The Fellah, from the hammam and Wat Po massage centre, a sunken gym, full-length pool or the the well-stocked library (complete with resident artists), you will have all you need to help you unwind and relax after a day exploring the city’s markets and Medina. If you feel like being more ‘hand on’, head over to The Fellahs farm, situated on site, where you can help collect produce to go towards you dinner, and get to know the local donkeys and goats!
The 10 villas all very in size and style, but all with vast bathrooms, quirky artworks, and some with private pools and mountain-view terraces.
In the evening, lounge by the pool and be serenaded by the piano while you indulge in the Moroccan fusion cuisine, packed with local ingredients, some even from the Fellahs garden and farm. If you happen to be there on a Sunday, you are in for a treat -with brunch prepared by local cooks from the next village. You can’t get much more authentic than that.
Paris, Milan & Florence by rail, from £1764pp
Europe has so much to offer those who crave culture, so how about combing three of the top cities by rail in this 8-night holiday? Start off in the most romantic city in the world, Paris, then head to the stylish and chic Milan. End your journey in the beautiful Florence, for more world class art and delicious cuisine.
‘Paris, Milan & Florence by rail’ at a glance –
- Spend three nights in Paris with the gorgeous Pavilion de la Reine as your base, set in the heart of the chic Marais district.
- With a 2-day museum pass for your stay in Paris, leisurely spend your days wandering through the world class art galleries and museums.
- Sit back as relax as you enjoy a cruise along the Seine.
- Travel first class on to Milan – perhaps enjoy an opera at the famous La Scala, or indulge yourself in the many designer shops lining the cities avenues.
- Make the most of your guaranteed entry into the Brera Gallery in Milan.
- Once in Florence, work your way around the delightful streets, full of trattorias offering delicious Tuscan cuisine.
- Stay in one of Mediaeval Florence's most historic 'tower houses', just a ten-minute stroll from the Duomo.
Europe’s cities have so much to offer, so why not visit three of the best and travel by rail to really take in the surrounding scenery?
Travel on the Eurostar to the center of Paris, and stay at the Pavillion de la Reine hotel which is located in the heart of the chic Marais district. This ivy clad mansion will be your luxurious base for the next three nights in one of the most romantic cities in the world. Spend your days touring the museums and famous art galleries, take a relaxing boat cruise along the Seine, and in the evenings see the city come alive. Find a cosy bistro along Rue de Buci and watch the world go by.
Your next stop is Milan, travelling first class by rail. This stylish city offers world famous designer shopping, and is home to the La Scala opera house and the incredible Brera art gallery. Your hotel for the next two nights is the Manzoni in the Quadrilatero della Moda district, only a ten-minute walk from the Duomo and other must-see sights.
Your rail journey then continues on to the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence. Here you have three nights at the boutique Antica Torre di via Tornabuoni 1 which has beautiful rooms and a terrace where you can relax and enjoy a meal with the most stunning rooms over Florence.
The city of Florence is set along the banks of the Arno river, and is home to break-taking architecture, art, and of course the most tantalizing Tuscan cuisine! Walk the smaller streets and find a local trattoria to keep up your energy for exploring all this wonderful city has to offer.
New York, 4 nights from £866pp including return flights from the UK
With famous sights known around the world from Times Square, to the Rockefeller Centre and the Empire State Buildling, the Big Apple really is the city that never sleeps.
‘New York’ – at a glance
- Spend a day on the Big Bus tours, jumping off at any attractions you want to see, and learning some historical facts about this incredible city.
- Head to the top of the 103 storey skyscraper that is the Empire State Building for breaktaking 360o views over the Big Apple.
- In the summer, take a picnic and find your own spot in Central Park. In the winter, grab your skates!
- The Brooklyn Museum is just one of many cultural attractions in the city – with almost 100 museums and art galleries to choose from, the art and culture lovers among you certainly won’t be disappointed.
Jet off to the Big Apple for 4 nights staying at the Ameritania in Times Square. Oozing class, this hotel set in the theatre district is the ideal base for exploring the city. No matter how long you spend in New York, it won’t be enough! Whether it is a pre-christmas break with ice skating at the Rockefeller Centre followed by a trip to the iconic Hamleys store, or a summer vacation full of river cruises and picnics in Central Park, the Big Apple has so much to offer. For the foodies among you, head to Brooklyn for the best pizza, or to the famous Katz’s Delicatessen for some serious good pastrami on rye. Of course the shopaholics won’t be left empty handed either – Chelsea Market has amazing food goodies to treat yourself to, or if luxury goods are more your thing, don’t miss out of a walk along 5th avenue, home to all the designer boutiques you can think of.
Barcelona, 4 nights from £416pp including return flights from the UK
Known for its architecture and art, Barcelona is the cosmopolitan capital of the Catalonia region in Spain. With the beautiful Gothic quarter waiting to be explored and sights such as the Sagrada Familia, (not to mention the wonderful cuisine!) you can certainly have a culture packed trip to this stunning city.
‘Barcelona’ – at a glance
- The number one attraction for most is of course the immense Sagrada Familila – under construction since 1882, and still not finish, it is an truly unique building unlike any other.
- For entertainment, delicious Spanish cuisine and shopping head to Las Ramblas. This central boulevard cuts through the heart of the city and runs parallel to the Gothic Quarter.
- For art enthusiasts, a ‘must see’ is the Picasso museum. The quirky artist has many painting featured here, so take your time wandering through this lovely gallery.
- The labyrinth of winding streets that makes up the Gothic Quarter offer some peaceful squares where you can get away from the busy main streets. It also offers some lively nightlife if you want to dance the night away!
The capital of Catalunya, Barcelona has a unique and vibrant culture made up of old history and modern design. Staying at the boutique H10 Montcada, this hotel is perfectly located near to all the main sights, and with a rooftop terrace bar to watch the sun go down after a busy day exploring you will be all set for another full day in this bustling city.
Tour the art galleries and the winding maze of streets in the Gothic Quarter, feast on tapas in traditional Catalan restaurants along Las Ramblas, or join in with the buzzing nightlife and dance until dawn.
Lulea, 4 days & 3 nights from £495pp
A perfect destination for outdoor pursuits, the town of Lulea on the Bothnian Coast is part of an archipelago of over 1300 islands. Spend the days learning about the medieval culture and history in the area, join in the local sports, or go wildlife spotting in this haven for animals. No matter what season you decide to travel in, this tiny part of Sweden has a huge amount to offer.
‘Lulea’ at a glance –
- Visit a Unesco world heritage site in the village of Gammelstad, home to an imposing stone medieval church surrounded by over 400 wooden cottages.
- Stay at the Quality Hotel Lulea, perfectly located for the Lulea Culture Centre and the neo-gothic cathedral. Also the hope to the well-known ‘Cooks Krog’ restaurant, serving specialties such as Elk and Whitefish.
- Try ice-skating on the crystal clear frozen river leading to the sea.
- Take a picnic in the summer and hike up Balingeberget Nature Reserve, home to many different birds and flora.
- Experience the ‘midnight sun’ in the summer months, when the sun never sets.
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