Our Europe travel blog

Discovering the Dolomites

I don't like skiing. This is partly because I ski with all the elegance and grace of a drunk giraffe but largely because I think that climbing up a mountain is vastly superior to slipping down it. I have yet to find a feeling that matches the sense of achievement and (once I've got my breath back from hauling up there) relaxation that I get from sitting on top of a conquered peak. Horribly clichéd though it may sound, you really do feel far away from the irritations and stresses of everyday life when you're looking out across mountains which have stood for millennia. Whilst I don't love skiing, I do love mountains and a visit to the Dolomites provided some of the most beautiful I've ever seen.

36 Hours in Dubrovnik

'If you want to see heaven on earth, come to Dubrovnik.' Even after eighty-seven years, we couldn't agree more with George Bernard Shaw. It is virtually impossible not to be charmed by the old town of Dubrovnik; an extremely good-looking historical gem jutting out from the Dalmatian coast. You may recognise its ancient city walls from the mega fantasy series that is Game of Thrones. One can almost imagine Daenerys Targaryen looking wistfully out to the glistening Adriatic Sea…minus the dragons and gory battles. In fact this image of Dubrovnik as a glamorous port isn't straying too far from the truth. During its Golden Age (15th and 16th centuries) the town was a stomping ground for seafaring aristocrats of the Republic of Ragusa. Flash forward a few centuries and stone walkways have been polished and buffed from years of well-heeled traders and now hosts visitors, celebrities included, who yearn for the perfect balance of historical sights and chic Mediterranean lifestyle.

Deepest Mani, the unexplored cradle of ancient Greece.

Fears of driving on uncertain roads melted away in the midday Maniot heat, as we climbed through mountains that tumbled into the crystal blue sea. My reward for braving the hairpin bends from Kalamata to the Mani, was the breathtaking vistas glimpsed in between Cyprus and Olive trees on the winding roads of the Taygetos Mountains as I accelerated on to Kardamili.

A Winter Adventure

News has reached us of an opportunity so exciting that we simply couldn't keep it to ourselves. Two of our favourite hotels; Swedish Lapland's ultimate 'glamping' site, Aurora Safari Camp, and the ingenious (and slightly bonkers, which is why we love it so much) Treehotel, still have some limited availability between Christmas and New Year, making for the ultimate cool (literally) winter adventure combo.

Our Top 5 Aman Resorts

Two things have become apparent over the course of this Great British Summer. Number one: the aforementioned "summer" has been deeply underwhelming; one minute we're baking in glorious sunshine and the next we're ducking for cover from torrential rain. Number two: Team GB has had an absolute stormer at the Olympics and we are positively worn out from all that staying up late, cheering and becoming emotionally invested in events no one actually understands (points race of the Omnium, anyone?). In other words, we're all in desperate need of a holiday. The thought of proper sunshine, crisp bed linen, impeccable service and total relaxation is almost too much to bear. Enter, stage left, Aman resorts, some of our absolute favourite hotels around the world and many of which are perfect for a last-minute escape to the sun. Here are a few of our favourites...

Find Your Inner Olympian: Sit-Down Sports Around the World

The Olympics are in full swing and that means just one thing: as a nation we're collectively glued to our telly boxes. We're all suddenly experts on fencing ("excellent use of the appel there") and can't tear ourselves away from the table tennis ("did you see that slow spinny topspin?"). And while we've all been cheering on Team GB to gold medal glory, something of a trend has become apparent: we're awfully good at sitting down. Cycling, rowing, dressage, sailing - the Brits really do excel at the sedentary sports. So the team here at Original Travel took a leaf out of Sir Ben Ainslie et al's book and had a good sit down and a think about the best places on the planet to partake in such derriere-dedicated activities. If only sitting on the sofa and having a cuppa qualified for the Olympics…

Our Top Six Cities Around the World

When asked to picture their perfect holiday, many people's minds immediately hit the beach; warm white sand between the toes, sparkling azure waters and someone rather good-looking fanning you with a large palm leaf. And who are we to deny such glories? But here at Original Travel we're also partial to something a little more… rousing. That is to say we love a good city. Oh yes, we rub our hands together in veritable glee at the prospect of bustling markets, burgeoning foodie scenes, street art, botanical gardens, booming nightlife and incredible architecture. And whether you're in need of a short sharp hit of culture with a classic weekend city break or are exploring as part of a longer trip, we've got the inside track (and a network of concierge contacts), to ensure the ultimate city adventure…

Do You Suffer From FOMO?

FOMO. Otherwise known as fear of missing out - a modern-day interpretation of keeping up with the Joneses, if you will. Yep, this is is how trends start, be that donning the latest fashion item, brunching at the newest hotspot or exploring the destination of the moment. And when it comes to preventing holiday FOMO, we've got you covered. We're here to give you the inside track on the best 'it' destinations at the moment, and a couple that will make you a real trend-setter...

Delightful Dunks

You know you're officially on holiday when you dive head first (or climb gracefully, or bomb, you get the picture) in to the cool, refreshing water of the hotel's swimming pool. And we're not talking about any old 25m situation, we're talking infinity pools with beautiful views, romantic private plunge pools and child-friendly pools to keep the little monsters busy for hours. So without further ado, here are seven of our favourite hotel swimming pools around the world...

Original Travel Does Top Gear: Our Favourite Road Trips

Dear Top Gear Producers, we couldn't help but notice that you haven't had much luck in the presenter department in the last year or two. Perhaps it's time for a gear change (see what we did there?) and we are officially throwing our hats in the ring. Here's the pitch: fewer of the aforementioned pesky presenters, more switch-back turns, sweeping coastal roads, cross-country highways and epic scenery. Yep, let's make Top Gear one giant, worldwide road trip. A luxury road trip no less with the team here at Original Travel sharing the inside track (sorry, can't help it) on all the very best hotels to stay at along the way. Genius, we think you'll agree. And as if you needed any more convincing, here are a few of our favourite road trips to whet your appetite.

Eureka Moments

Most people are baffled when we utter the words 'The Peloponnese'. Frequently the response to our suggesting it goes as follows - "Where's that? Greece? I've not heard of that island!?" and that's precisely it; it's not an island. The Peloponnese is a beautiful green section of the mainland which tumbles south from Athens all the way to the Aegean, packed full of history, hidden treasures and Eureka moments for those looking for real Greece.

All Aboard the Scand-Wagon: Where & When to see the Northern Lights

Have a gander at most people's bucket list and somewhere on there you're likely to find the words 'see the Northern Lights'. And for good reason, this is nature at its rawest and most spectacular; ethereal streams of green, blue, pink and yellow light pierce, swirl and dance across the night sky. But, at the risk of bursting the bucket list bubble, as a natural phenomenon, the good ol' Aurora Borealis are never guaranteed. So if you are planning a Northern Lights adventure, it's best to bring in the professionals (hint: that's us) to make sure you head to a destination with not only a proven track record for sightings, but somewhere with plenty of bucket-list worthy experiences and hotels should the Northern Lights decide not to play ball…

Why St Petersburg Should be your Next City Break

'Why would you want to go to Russia?', has pretty much been the stock response from people for the last decade or so when I've told them I'm heading there, and that's usually followed by a slight shudder and questions about prison camps, Putin and whether the food is terrible. However, before my most recent trip there in April, news of my departure was met with squeals of jealousy and protestations along the lines of 'I've always wanted to go there, actually, and Tolstoy is my favourite author thank you very much'. I think a certain BBC drama may have got some people all hot under the collar and wanting to meet their own Andrei, but it very much seems that many are at last joining me in thinking…. why wouldn't I want to go to Russia?

Cyprus: So Much More Than Just a Beach Holiday

When most people envision a holiday in Cyprus, flopping on the beach or by the pool is generally the first (and last) thought. But, as I found out on my recent research trip, this Mediterranean gem has some wonderful culture, activities and scenery up its sleeve. There is so much to do and learn here and it's all on the proverbial doorstep (for us Brits, at least). Now, I love a fly and flop holiday as much as anyone but there are some secret adventures to Cyprus you don't want to miss.

The Mediterranean: More Than Just a Beach Holiday

Mention of Summer in the Mediterranean generally conjures images of endless stretches of sandy beach, hazy sunny days, olive-scented air and sun-kissed skin. And while this all sounds rather dreamy, there is so much more to this glorious corner of the world than just beaches. The historic focus of tourism on the sandy stuff means large chunks of this region remain overlooked by travellers, from its beautiful rolling hills, mountains and volcanoes to charming villages and historic cities. Not to mention that scattered throughout are exquisite relics of past inhabitants, with everyone from the Ottomans to the Romans, Greeks and even Napoleon having had a bite of the (quite delicious) Mediterranean cherry. So if it's on your holiday list this summer, here are a few of our favourite alternative Mediterranean marvels…

24 Hours at Six Senses Douro Valley

24 jam (well port, really) packed hours in the Douro Valley; I touched down in Porto mid-morning and made my way through the stunning stepped hills of the Douro Valley and in just over an hour I had arrived at my home for the evening: the Six Senses Douro Valley.

Five of the Best: Spring Breaks

Let me take you back to where it all began for Original Travel, not with the US phenomenon of a week of wild partying during 'Spring Break' (although I can neither confirm nor deny that kind of behaviour), but with the Big Short Break. Pocket-sized adventures for those who are short on time but in search of a big experience because there's a whole world of, well, world out there just waiting to be explored in easily digestible, bite-sized time slots. And luckily, there are two such bite-sized time slots approaching in the form of the May Bank Holidays. How convenient. So here are a few of our favourite Big Short Break destinations this May...

Suite Treats

George Osborne may have declared war on sweets with the introduction of his sugar tax in this year's budget but luckily we get our kicks from the suite (see what I did there?) treats of an altogether different kind. Our suite tooth (sorry, can't help it) is rather partial to the exceptional service, magical settings and chic interiors of some of the very best hotel suites in the world. Think breathtaking views, private pools, luxurious furniture and being spoiled to within an inch of your life. So sit back, relax and spend a couple of minutes ogling at some of the very finest suites from around the world; here are a few of our favourites...

Five of our Favourite Cool Combos

Question: what do the following have in common? Gin & tonic, Rodney & Del Boy, Andy Murray & Wimbledon (and while we're on the subject, strawberries & cream), bacon & eggs and finally, a nice strong wind & Donald Trump's hair. Yes, you got it; they're all cool combos, and the same principles apply to travel as well - some destination double acts just work. With our own cool combination of insider intel on the latest flight routes and knowledge of where's hot right now (in both senses of the word), we present the following perfect pairings...

Fairy Tale Fun in Finland

I didn't quite know what to expect upon hearing that I was bound for Finland on a 'research' trip. This conjured up pangs of anxiety with respect to the climate (it was minus 16 degrees when we arrived!), as well as waves of excitement about the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights and, perhaps more importantly, meeting the big man himself. Finland went from strength to strength with a wealth of things to offer for both adults and families - and I must admit I have never felt so snug, satisfied and stuffed all in one week!

Early Summer Escapes 2016

The summer holiday: that most glorious and precious of holidays. All the more so for us Brits given that summer in dear old Blighty can be, how to put this, a bit of a damp squib (cue flashbacks of windy beach escapades, sandy sandwiches and rain, lots and lots of rain). And this year we thought we'd get on the holiday bandwagon early because between storm what's-his-chops (there seems to be a new one every week) and the fact that winter just won't go away, summer can't come quickly enough. So here are a few of our very favourite destinations for getaways this May and June - you can take the summer out of Britain but not the Brit out of their summer holiday.

Six of the Best: Tented Camps

Camping: one of the most divisive words in the travel lexicon. So often associated with cramped tents, dodgy Trangias and the vague whiff of wet dog. The irony is that some of the most luxurious and unique hotels in the world are tented camps; think large canopies, quirky furniture, spacious rooms and, most importantly, excellent service. So in the interest of myth-busting we've canvassed (see what we did there?) the Original Travel experts and come up with six of our very favourite tented camps around the world...

What's Hot Right Now

January is a month generally associated with New Year blues, dark days and distinctly British weather. That is to say it's not necessarily a favourite. In fact one of the only things it is good for is planning your getaways for the year ahead, and that's where we come in. Whether it's finding a perfectly secluded beach to relax on, tracking game with bushmen in the Kalahari or learning to mix the perfect caipirinha at a Brazilian beach bar, our team of experts is on hand to create your perfect holiday. And our first mission of the year is to bring you a collection of the hottest destinations for 2016 - the temperatures will be peachy and availability is going like hotcakes so it's time to get the diary out and start planning!

Stroopwafel and Poffertjes

There's a certain sheepishness that accompanied me telling friends that I was off to Amsterdam for a few days this year.

Seven of the Best: Boutique Boltholes

What do the words 'boutique hotel' mean to you? Perhaps it's the independently owned and run element? Few rooms, bespoke interiors, secluded locations, impeccable and personal service? - They're all on the list. And it has to be said that the place you rest your head at night is a hugely significant part of your holiday, whether it's a tented camp in the middle of the desert or a secret hideaway in the heart of a city. While the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of a place are the stuff that treasured memories are made of, the hotel could, and should, take your holiday to the next level. So here they are, seven of our favourite boutique boltholes in the world…

Iceland & the Elements

Two days into my trip around Iceland I had a very panicked text from my Mother…. I'd left my enormous thermal duvet jacket at my parents' house and she was having visions of me freezing to death on some barren iceberg. Given that it took two full days for her maternal instincts to kick in, it's lucky that the weather in Iceland in September isn't that, well…icy. Anyway, when I was hovering in a helicopter above a thundering waterfall or pretending I was Charlize Theron in Mad Max, bombing around lava fields in a super jeep, the last thing I was thinking about was whether I was a bit chilly.

8 of the Best Places on the Planet to Throw a Rugby Ball Around

Let's be honest - rugby is not for the faint hearted. It's a game of fervent patriotism, fierce rivalry and tough men running around hitting each other (a highly technical assessment, we think you'll agree). And with the Rugby World Cup gathering pace, it's hard not to get swept up in the excitement. Which led us to think (always dangerous) about the very best places on the planet to chuck a rugby ball around, from beautiful beaches to frozen lakes, and everything in between. So here goes, eight of the best places on our dear earth for a casual game of rugger…

Festive Forays

Talk of Christmas already?! Well, it is just 91 short days away. That's a mere 2184 hours to go before we all start gleefully ripping open our presents, over-indulging on the turkey (and possibly the bubbly) and falling asleep in front of the telly, paper crown on head and drooling on our Christmas jumpers. It's enough to make anyone feel fantastically festive, no?

The Many Faces of Copenhagen

Confession alert: I wish I was Danish. Having just returned from the land of blondes, bicycles and salted liquorice (don't ask), it's fair to say I now harbour something akin to evangelist sentiment towards this Scandinavian wonder-country. Oh yes, a long weekend in the capital, Copenhagen, is enough to convert anyone into a fervent believer in the Danish way. It's a city that prides itself on inclusivity, progression and quality, appealing to a vast array of travellers from families to couples, culture vultures to foodies and everything in between. And by way of conversion tactic, I'm going to take you on a whistle-stop tour of the many faces (and places) of Copenhagen…

Where We've Been in 2015

'Twas a crisp and icy morning on the 6th of January 2003 when Original Travel was officially brought into the world. Its mission? To make sure you have the most wonderful holiday experiences imaginable, down to the very last detail. And 12 years, 8 months, 3 days and a few hours later that statement still stands. Which is why our team of destination experts regularly pack their suitcases, grab their passports and selflessly jet off around the globe in search of the best destinations, hotels and experiences out there, whether getting off the beaten track and exploring a newcomer to the luxury travel world, or revisiting an old favourite. It's a tough gig, but someone's got to do it, and here's just a few of the places we've been to in 2015.

Where You've Been in 2015

As your travel guardian angels we often write about and share our experiences of the destinations we've been lucky enough to visit, but enough about us, let's talk about you. Let's talk about the amazing places and experiences we've organised for our lovely clients this year. We're talking intrepid honeymoons, adventurous sabbaticals, secret beach breaks, fun-filled family getaways, cultural escapades and much, much more. We've sent people to over 100 countries so far this year (102, to be precise) and here are just a few of our favourites...

Let's Talk "Deep Cuts"

Nope, we're not making a political commentary on the state of the economy and we've not been listening to too much Cat Stevens (obviously that's not possible). We're talking about the Urban Dictionary definition (which technically pertains to music… but let's not dwell on that): true gems that are found later in an album. To put a travel spin on it, we're talking about destinations and experiences that offer a similar vibe to some of the most loved places on the planet but are more under the radar. That is to say, they are the deep cuts of the travel world. So if you're a 'been there, done that, where's next?' kind of traveller, or are just looking for somewhere a bit different, here are a few of our favourite deep cuts...

Our Top 10 New Year Holidays and Getaways

Between Aunt Marg's stuffy New Year's Eve party and getting stuck in hours of traffic, New Year's Eve is normally a painful ordeal. As a result, all those classic 'Bridget Jones' resolutions seem to go out the window in the early hours of the 1st January. We, at Original Travel, think that New Year's Eve should be spent revelling in all those things you intend to give up the next day. Why not escape that dreaded New Year's party, the never-ending pile of Christmas thank you letters needing to be written and the turkey you have been living off for days, and jet off to somewhere a little further from home. These are our top 10 best places to be for New Year's Eve...

Slovenia: a Hidden Holiday Gem

The prospect of travelling to Slovenia was no small feat for a 4ft 11 solo traveller such as myself… what could I eat there (the most important question in any given scenario)? Do they even have proper shops? Will they understand me? Will I be safe? My dad isn't Liam Neeson, after all. What does one even do in Slovenia?

Christmas Getaways: Time To Start Planning

Talk of Christmas already?!? Before you think we've gone all Argos on you, the majority of great festive season holiday spots do get booked up well in advance and as travel guardian angels we naturally only want the best for you. So, if the thought of doing one of Nigella's coke soaked hams (now, now) is not on the agenda this year then why not think about jetting off to pastures new? Whether you want to embrace yuletide traditions or get away from them, here's a little selection for you.

Our Favourite Festivals Around the World

This past weekend nearly 200,000 revellers descended on a field in Somerset, flowers in hair, wellies on feet and tents in tow. There was mud, there was body paint, there was tie-dye and, oh yes, a spot of music too. You guessed it - Glastonbury. And once we'd heartily discussed (read: all got a bit shouty at each other) the pros and cons of a certain Kanye West being the headline act (the greatest rock star on the planet? Really?) we got to thinking about festivals in general. They do, after all, take you straight to the heart of a place, be it through music, culture, history, food or myriad other forms. So after much debate (there's a lot of festivals out there) we've compiled the Original Travel Ultimate Guide to Festivals Around the Globe. Revel away…

Stylish Luxury Family Holidays in Sicily

Having been lucky enough to travel throughout Europe with my job, I do sometimes worry that the "wow" factor will be lost on me. Truth be told, sometimes it does all blur into a haze of delectable food and crazily comfortable pillows. Sicily however, was rather different. It isn't the well-manicured island that I was expecting with perfectly proportioned olive trees standing to attention; it has much more character and is positively bursting with flavour. The Italians, Greeks, Arabs and even Spaniards have juggled ownership of the island and you can feel these different influences in not only its architecture but in the food and general attitude of the Sicilian people. It is an absolutely perfect family holiday destination and this is how to do an elegant Sicilian family holiday

Portugal: Abandon Your Misconceptions

The first time I went to Portugal I was 16 and on my first holiday with friends; giddy at the prospect of having no adults around, we spent the week lying by the pool, getting horrifically sunburnt and drinking strawberry vodka lemonades (we thought we were the height of sophistication). Needless to say, I did not leave with much of an appreciation for the country beyond the fact that the drinking age was significantly lower than in the rest of Europe and felt, like many Brits, that there was little more to Portugal than golf courses and piri piri chicken. How very wrong I was and, having spent a week travelling the country from top to bottom, I'd like to debunk several of the myths that have rather unfairly attached themselves to Portugal.

Top Honeymoon Destinations in Europe

Venue - check. Rings - check. Cake - check… What's missing? The honeymoon! Let's be honest (although we may be slightly biased), it's one of the most important parts of the whole wedding process. If you're seeking inspiration for that perfect post-wedding getaway, why not look a little closer to home with some seriously romantic destinations right on our doorsteps...here's a handpicked selection of top destinations for honeymoons in Europe....

Top Five Luxury Family Resorts for this Summer

The perfect family holiday needs to get the balance just right; that precious time to spend together away from the demands of daily life and work, coupled with a little R&R for the parents, safe in the knowledge that their little ones are well cared for, and having buckets of fun. Thankfully, our Original Travel family have been scouring the globe for years to source a snapshot of our favourite family-friendly hotspots for this summer's travels.

Our Top 10 Hotels for a Big Short Break

Let me take you back to where it all began for Original Travel, with the Big Short Break; pocket adventures designed specifically for those who are short on time but in search of a big experience. From a three day trip of cultural immersion in Istanbul (and baklava eating, obvs) to a seven day safari in Botswana's Okavango Delta, there's a whole world of, well, world out there just waiting to be explored in easily digestible, bite-sized time slots. And here are our top ten hotels for just such an adventure.

Our Top Ten Honeymoon Hotels

Everybody loves a list, and anyone planning a honeymoon needs this particular one in their life. After much deliberation the team at Original Travel have come up with their Top 10 Honeymoon Hotels from around the world. Editing the list down to a mere ten proved mighty difficult, and more than a little contentious, but we like a challenge, so here goes with the finest post-wedding wonders…

The Best Family Holidays

From adventurous safaris and relaxing in the sun to fun in the snow and exciting city breaks, here are, in our opinion, the best family holidays.

Spetses: A Very Well Kept Greek Secret

After our escapades in mainland Peloponnese my wife and I headed by boat to Spetses, an island Original Travel have trumpeted as the new Capri. I wanted to see for myself, nervous that we might be making a big call, but I think the claim is pretty legitimate. The many Spetsiot residents we met - admittedly not the most impartial of judges - agreed that until very recently the island had been an almost exclusively (and thoroughly lovely) Greek secret. The wealthiest Greeks have villas on Spetses (or, in the case of the Niarkos family - an entire private island off Spetses proper) and park their superyachts offshore for the season. Come September, however, the massed ranks of millionaires have left and the island reverts to a very charming normality.

Montenegro: a Destination to Watch for 2015

Quickly becoming the next big location that the super-rich are talking about, Montenegro is right at the top of Original Travel's must visit destinations for 2015 with new hotels cropping up left, right and centre. At long last the beautiful country of Montenegro (which has been rather outshone by neighbouring Croatia for the last few years) has given us a reason to get over there and visit. The spectacular landscape really is a breath of fresh air. With close to no clutter from developments, which perhaps surrounding countries are guilty of, you are privy to unspoilt views of the "black mountains" that rise and fall between what is essentially a country of national parks, jaw-dropping lakes that go on as far as the eye can see and stretches of calm sea.

24 Hours in: Berlin

If you only have 24 hours to explore Berlin I highly recommend imagining yourself as a Dr. Who-style time lord (police box, optional) and beginning your day circa. 1939 before finishing in laidback Kreuzberg: a neighbourhood that typifies what it's like to be a modern day Berliner. Exploring Berlin's culture chronologically will highlight the huge political leap this city has made in just under a century. (And, conveniently, you will round-up the day amongst Berlin's best night life).

Pumpkin Soup Recipe

As it is Halloween and there are plenty of pumpkins about, don't waste your pumpkin carving leftovers - wow your dinner guests with a pumpkin soup instead.

The Peloponnese: Luxury, Adventure, Culture and History

I've long had unfinished business with Greece. The last and only time I'd been before my recent trip was a university holiday to the island of Ios that made the first In-Betweeners movie look like a brass-rubbing coach tour of Norfolk churches (hedonistic as they no doubt are). We got not a whiff of culture and not a sniff of what makes Greece the cradle of western civilisation. So like I said, unfinished business, with maybe just a touch of unfinished pleasure in there for good measure, and what better excuse to make up for years of lost opportunities than on my 10th wedding anniversary.

Norway: Obsessed and Proud

It's no secret in the office that I love Norway, but I used to think that I avoided tipping over into obsessive territory pretty well (the fjord ferry calendar above my desk might make it seem otherwise but that was a present and it's actually pretty helpful, thank you very much). However after visiting again last month, I can no longer remain a mere fan… I'm a big old Norway nerd and frankly you should be too; it's an incredible country and a holiday there will leave you wanting to run away to the mountains and never come back.

Late Summer Sun

If you've not managed to get away this summer and you're tiring of sun-kissed colleagues and friends, September and October are perfect months to soak up some late summer sun. Whether you want to jet off to somewhere in Europe for a long weekend or fly and flop further afield, we can arrange it all. Maybe you've already had your fix of vitamin D this summer and just fancy topping up your glow? Who knows…what we do know are the destinations that will make perfect SUNNY getaways.

The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me

Flora has recently returned from a spot of island hopping in Greece; tirelessly researching all the very best hotels, beaches, views and restaurants... poor her! This is the first in a three-part series in which Flora explores the beautiful Mykonos.

A Long Weekend in Seville

Four twenty-somethings with wanderlust in search of sun, fun, culture and gastronomy. One long weekend... Seville was the perfect choice for a Bank Holiday city break.

The Monastero Santa Rosa in Italy

For this week's Throwback Thursday we've picked an oldie but a goodie in Italy. Jules stayed at The Monastero Santa Rosa in 2013 - read the review.

Challenge Accepted!

Who watched the London marathon at the weekend? I went along to cheer on a friend and as I stood there, chocolate bar and fizzy drink in hand, enthusiastically cheering (and consequently spilling most of said fizzy drink all over the poor man in front of me) as hundreds of super-fit (and frankly super-human) people sweated it out over 26.2 miles, I had something of an epiphany. I may have missed the boat on the marathon front but there is no time like the present when it comes to challenging yourself and, in this instance, the world is well and truly your playground. So put down the cake, get off the sofa and get active people! Here are my top 5 challenges and activities around the world.

Our Little Black Book of Travel

Percy Shelley once wrote "Soul meets soul on lovers' lips." However, at Original Travel we like to think that soul meets soul on a far flung holiday... Spring is in the air and we've cast our favourite romantic holidays as characters in our very own Little Black Book. Don Juan, this one's for you! Here are our Top Five romantic destinations for 2014.

The World on Sale

So what's up? It's more a question of what's down, and particularly against the Pound, thanks to a resurgent British economy. The rest will inevitably catch up (we're good sports like that) so the exchange rate bonanza won't last, but in the meantime there are bargains to be had. The World's on sale - get shopping!

Cool Destination Combos

Like a maxi dress and wedges, or jeans and a jacket, some combos just work. Behold, our favourite tailor made, two-pronged trip ideas. After all, the best things do come in pairs...

Fourteen destinations for 2014

14 for '14? Sounds like a set of Mitchell Johnson's bowling figures from the recent Ashes debacle (one for the chaps there) but on this occasion referring to our predictions for the 14 destinations that are going to be big news in 2014.

Ski Trips: Best for…

It is at this time of year as the skies darken, that we long for the slopes. Here's our guide to our favourite resorts in Europe for ski trips this winter.

The Happiest Place in the World

Why does Denmark always top the 'happiest place in the world surveys'? A combination of cycling and summerhouses? The fame thrust upon them by Hamlet? My favourite answer is that they generally have very low expectations in life, so they're rarely disappointed. Regardless, there has been an 'upward trend' of happiness across the globe (well, at least in the 52 countries they researched) since 1981 according to the World Values Survey organisation. They attribute this burst of happiness to economic development, democratisation, and increasing social tolerance - but is this really a true measure of happiness?

Holidays to Cyprus: Something for Everyone

Cyprus is a dreamy European summer holiday spot, with top standard luxury hotels catering for both families and couples with equal panache. Europe expert Natalie visits a selection of Original Travel favourites...

Gluhwein Recipe

Gluhwein, (or glow-wine) is popular in German-speaking countries and is named from the hot irons once used for mulling. It is a traditional beverage that is offered during the Christmasholidays, so if you're already feeling festive, why not try our very own Gluhwein recipe...

Top 3 Snow Adventures

For those of you looking for a completely different snow experience altogether, try one of our non-ski adventures for a truly original holiday.

Where to visit in Portugal?

Portugal is a country brimming with luxury holiday treats, from lusciously luxurious hotels, enough wine to sink the Titanic and, well, lots and lots of sardines if you must know. If you want to know which regions to head to for an exclusive escape, here's some pointers to get you started...

The Best Christmas Markets in Europe

The days are getting shorter, the telly's getting better and we've already had our first batch of mince pies in the office, which can only mean one thing: you can officially start getting excited about Christmas now.

Exclusive Winter Sun Offers

So far so mild, but you just know that a good (c)old British winter is coming down the line, and when it does, you want to make sure you're as far from it as possible. Oh, and ideally staying somewhere with a juicy special offer. As luck would have it, here are a few of our latest, exclusive autumn/winter sun offers.

Thanksgiving London Style

It may be the coldest time of the year in London but let the festive spirit fill you with warmness. The Brits, although not having traditionally celebrated Thanksgiving, still love to extend a very warm welcome to all our friends across the pond and invite you to wonderful Thanksgiving celebrations, lavish meals and festive fun here in London town...

Loafing Abroad: The Best Luxury Hotels in the World

In ten years of owning a travel company I've found that clients fall into two very distinct camps. For some, the hotel is a mere utility - a roof over their heads at night while they pack endless activities into busy daytime schedules. For others, it's only about the hotel, and the thought of actually doing anything brings them out in a cold sweat that can only be remedied by another chilled glass of rosé. I know which camp I'm in, and after years swanning around the world staying in fabulous hotels and lodges (all in the interests of research, you understand), here's my list of the loafiest best luxury hotels in the world.

Grandma's Borscht Recipe

Try this Borscht recipe, a Ukrainian / Russian / Polish soup picked up in Europe by Original Travel's Flora!

A Selection of Boutique Hotels in the UK

I believe that you don't have to venture half way around the world to experience something different. To prove it, here are my favourite cool, quirky boutique hotels in the UK...

Prawn Saganaki Recipe

This recipe for prawn saganaki was picked up in Greece by Original Travel's Flora, after trying it at the Taverna Spirandreas, a Traditional Greek dining by the sea, with a great view of the historical forest of Bisti. The restaurant offers a pleasant atmosphere, and great quality food and service, so it is definitely worth sitting outside and tasting the fresh seafood delicacies!

Date and Kalamata Olive Tapenade Recipe

Tapenade is a type of dip or spread used in Italian cuisine, and is usually served as an appetizer. Here is a Tapenade recipe from our European expert Dave Lorch...

Spanish Recipe: Ham Croquettes

Love Spain, Love Tapas? Here is a Spanish recipe for ham croquettes. These are absolutely delicious, but be warned, a bit of a fiddle to make….

Christmas Special Offers for Europe

In order to visit this year's festive European Christmas Markets you will need somewhere to stay! Here we have some exclusive Christmas special offers for some of the best hotels in Europe. BE WARNED - Limited spaces are available, so book now to avoid disappointment!...

Halloween in the UK: The Ultimate (Trick or) Treat

There are so many fantastic attractions and events happening in the UK this Halloween. From spooky caves to gruesome tales, our favourite spots are guaranteed to provide your family with a BOO-tastic Halloween experience...

Top 10 Honeymoon Destinations

In need of some inspiration for your honeymoon? We are here to help! Want to know where in the world is best at a particular time of year? Or where you can dine alone on the beach at sunset? Or even where you can be pampered at a spa under the sea? We are here to help you create a completely bespoke luxury honeymoon. Give us a starting point and we will guide you through the process with your own personal travel consultant. Here are our top 10 honeymoon destinations...

Douro River Cruises: A Royal Treat

Following the arrival of the royal baby (!), it would appear that young George Alexander has already got global fascination and a wealth of admirers. Lucky him! With the nation going mad, I thought I would jump on the band wagon.

Last Minute Escapes

Don't Panic! If you know where to look, there's still availability in some of the hottest (in all senses of the word) spots in Europe and around the Mediterranean. Here are just a few ideas for luxury last minute holidays…

Top 5 Hotels in Europe

Planning a holiday to Europe but not sure where to stay? To help with your decision, I have created this list of what I believe are the top 5 hotels in Europe... Having lived in Spain I have always been passionate about Europe and the wonders it has to offer.

Best Holidays for Teenagers

Are you having difficulty trying to think of a holiday destination to take your teenagers? Wondering how on earth you are going to tear them away from technology and encourage them to hang out with their parents for a week or two? Look no further, as we have come up with a list of the best holidays for teenagers which we believe are guaranteed to turn your youths into the perfect travelling companions!

Spend October Half Term in London

Want an exciting, fun packed October Half Term break for the family, before the winter blues kick in? Why not spend October Half Term in London, the UK's fun and thrilling capital, full of exciting activities to entertain you and your children...

Summer Honeymoon Destinations

There are a whole plethora of places to jet off to once you've tied the knot and here are just a few of OT's top places to escape to in the summer season...

Places to see in Europe

If someone wanted to promote Europe as a holiday destination, they could do based it on scenic views alone. Here are my top places to see in Europe - all boasting incredible views…

Europe this summer (Alternative and Affordable)

It's all about Europe this summer, and while we're delighted that everyone is content with the continent it does mean that the usual hot (please let it be so) spots will be as busy as ever. The solution? Explore the parts of Europe that fly under the radar - the 'forgotten abouts' and 'not yet knowns' that it's our job (and immense pleasure) to unearth. And speaking of earth, these are the sort of places that don't cost it, either. So, welcome to our guide to Alternative Europe, with the accent on affordability...

City Breaks to Venice: Dave's View

The sound of clicking heels on pavements in Venice was used to great unsettling effect in the 1973 horror/ghost story Don't Look Now starring Donald Sutherland and the delectable Julie Christie. Despite the efforts of that film, Venice is, for me, still an impossibly romantic place. That peculiar combination of the narrow streets, tall old buildings and the omnipresence of water, I suppose. I find it uniquely of its place and familiar and like Proust's Madeleines, or the smell of my mum's stew doing its thing in the oven, the sound of heels immediately grounds me in the wateriest of cities, Venice.

Affordable Luxury Holidays

Didn't think it was possible to do a luxury holiday in an affordable price bracket? Think again. These are our favourite exclusive holidays that don't come at eyewateringly exclusive prices...

Enjoy English holidays this St George's Day

In honour of St George, patron Saint of England, we've hand picked some of the weird and wonderful English holidays which make England at times quirky but always memorable! Also, check out our Twitter feed (@OriginalTravel) to find out how you could win a glorious afternoon tea for two at the simply fabulous Goring Hotel in London for a quintessential English treat!

Christmas Breaks: Embrace or Escape Santa

Whether you're a lover or a hater (of the festive season, that is) there are many wonderful places to spend the holiday. If you want to embrace or escape Father Christmas and all that he brings, allow us to suggest a few luxury getaways; from quiet couples escapes to large family get-togethers, low key retreats or celebratory breaks…

Tom’s Travels: Rafting in Sweden

Our particularly well-travelled intern, Tom Surr, has been kind enough to share some of his experiences with us. First up: timber rafting on the Klarälven River - a serious family adventure in Sweden!

Room with a View Favourites

These are ten of our all-time favourite rooms with views that we will never tire of! How do you like your views? From sunrises over deep gorges and flat plateaus, to long drawn-out sunsets casting long shadows along the beach, often the most memorable aspects of travelling are the views. Whether you're staying in valleys or on mountains, near volcanoes or cliffs, inland or by the sea, there are hotels with just about every imaginable view possible. These are ten of our room with a view favourites that we will never tire of!

Top Honeymoon Destinations

Original Travel's honeymoons, be it a pampering mini-break or a far-flung exotic escape, will provide a welcome respite from wedding stresses and prove the most happy of starts to life as man and wife. Here are just some of our top honeymoon destinations …

Original Travel's Honeymoon Gift List

How do you make your honeymoon the trip of a lifetime? The answer could be simpler than you first thought. Original Travel create luxury tailor-made holidays and now offer a Honeymoon Gift List service. Once you've discussed your travel ideas and requirements with one of our travel consultants and decided on a location for your honeymoon you can then let those closest to you choose unforgettable experiences for you to enjoy as newlyweds.

Relaxing Holidays: Fly and Flop

If day-to-day life is a whirlwind of chaos, long hours at work and too little sleep, you'd be forgiven for wanting to do absolutely nothing when on holiday.

10 Best Explore Holidays

If fly-and-flop holidays just aren't your thing, consider one of our best explore holidays. Not only do they give more structure to your time away, but new skills can be learnt and developed along the way, making them truly unique holiday experiences. Many of the active trips we offer are open to all abilities, and can be enjoyed alone, in couples or as families.

The Best Places to Get Lost and Try Something Different

From remote wildernesses to hectic metropolises, often one of the greatest experiences to have whilst travelling is to lose all sense of time and direction and get thoroughly caught up in your new surroundings. Enter one of our areas of expertise - unique holidays - and some of our absolute favourite places to get lost and try something different…

Fitness Holidays: Need a Little Help Staying on the Wagon?

The debaucherous end to last year led many of us (our office included!) to embark on strict diets, cut all alcohol consumption, and even venture so far as to exercise. The end of January is a dangerous time for this new healthy living though…

What to do in Copenhagen: Wondercool

For the entire month of February, the third ever cultural celebration of Wondercool hits the capital of cool: Copenhagen. A mash up of music, art, food, design, architecture and fashion sees both individual and many crossover events throughout the Scandinavian city.

Things to do in Stockholm in Winter

Most popular during the summer (and quite rightly so), city breaks to the Swedish capital of Stockholm are the perfect mix of culture, restaurants, nightlife, and the beautiful surrounding nature. But the city is just as charming in winter.

Best Beaches in the World

The world has countless breathtaking beaches, but which one should definitely not be missed? Here is our selection of the best beaches in the world, ranging from the UK to Australia.

10 Best Big Short Breaks

Way back in the mists of time, or on January 17th 2003 to be exact, Original Travel launched on an unsuspecting world with its natty new concept, the Big Short Break. The portfolio of trips were designed to provide what A A Gill called an 'espresso break' - a short, sharp hit of travel that provided a change of scene and mental refreshment. Minimum time, maximum experience, basically. The Big Short Break concept has gone on to win us multiple awards, and the trips have remained remarkably similar over the intervening decade. On that note, here are our 10 best big short breaks (see what we've done there?).

Top Holiday Destinations 2013

Discover our top luxury holiday destinations for 2013, ranging from the culturally rich Sudan to the glittering coastlines of Greece's Peloponnese…

Christmas Holiday Destinations for Celebrations with a Twist!

Whilst Christmas isn't celebrated everywhere, those countries getting in to the festive swing of things have surprisingly different traditions, customs, and even dates of merriment. Here's a quick look at some of our favourite Christmas holiday destinations, both around the globe and a little closer to home!

New West End Shows in London

There are so many new West End shows on at the moment and coming up in the new year, I've put together an overview of my favourites and some festive specials...

In Honour of 'The Killing' in Denmark

With the third and final series of The Killing set to hit screens this weekend, all things Denmark are well and truly back. The first and second episode air on the evening of Saturday, 17 November on BBC Four, and are expected to draw hundreds of thousands of viewers. Therefore in honour of this joyous occasion, we have put together a blog on why you must visit Denmark!

Special Offer at The Almyra Hotel

A true gem in the Mediterranean, Cyprus makes the most of its beautiful landscapes and effortless charm through some of Europe's best, and very family friendly, hotels. A true gem in the Mediterranean, Cyprus makes the most of its beautiful landscapes and effortless charm through some of Europe's best, and very family friendly, hotels. Add to that the shortish flight time, warmer climate, array of activities, and you start to see the real appeal.

The Peloponnese, if you please

Unable to pinpoint exactly where the Peloponnese might be found, I wasn't too sure what to expect from my visit. Having found it on the map, many place names were familiar; Corinth, Sparta, Olympus, the home of the original Olympics, altogether a very 'ancient' place.

The Guardian Travel Awards 2012

Having won previous Guardian Travel Awards, it was with a certain level of excitement and anticipation that Alastair Poulain (co-founder of Original Travel) set off for this year's ceremony in Ghent. Thanks to all the work and effort put in by the whole Original Travel team he was not let down! We won not one, but two awards, and both with a score of 100%!

Get Creative in Copenhagen

Copenhagen is undoubtedly one of the most eco-minded and creative cities in Northern Europe, and I was delighted by its many and surprising contrasts. It's not an overstatement to say that it offers everything - and the best thing about the city is that all the sights are within mere streets of each other.

Escape this October Half Term

After a few begrudged moans at the thought of endless traffic jams, no seats on tubes, and our glorious city being over run by too many tourists, we were in fact, proved wrong. We loved the Olympics and have been well and truly hit by the Olympic bug that spread far and wide. The 'Inspire a Generation' tagline has certainly rubbed off as well, with children suffering from a bout of Olympic fever just as much as their (not so) sporting elders.

Discovering Istria

Been considering jetting off on a luxury holiday to Croatia? Well, half of me wants to keep this secret to myself - while the other half is so chuffed to have made the discovery that it wants to show off.

Re-Discovering Kiev Ukraine

Recently, Ukraine has been making a more frequent appearance in the news than ever before: think topless protesters, an unfairly imprisoned ex-Prime Minister and, of course, being one of the hosts of Euro 2012.

Best Holidays for Teenagers

Our resident family expert Lydia Gard returns, this time recommending her best holidays for teenagers.... I recently spent a few days in a villa with a friend and her gorgeous teenagers. The boy, 14, goofed around with the toddlers all day long, and held his own with the adults during the dinnertime banter. The girl, 16, was a silent hormone casserole wearing an iTouch. Leave me with a toddler and I can entertain them effortlessly. Leave me with a teenager and it turns out I revert.

Georgia: The Svaneti Region (Part 4)

Q: The ultimate in unusual holiday destinations? A: Georgia. This is the fourth instalment of our five part blog series about the undiscovered nation...

Top 5 Toddler Holidays For Your Little Terrors!

Lydia Gard is a freelance writer specialising in luxury family travel, since having two boys she is determined to find truly luxurious places that celebrate rather than simply tolerate young families. In her first of 6 blogs Lydia talks us through the her top 5 toddler holidays...

Georgia: Discovering Tbilisi (Part 1)

Q: The ultimate in unusual holiday destinations? A: Georgia. In the first instalment of our five part blog series about the undiscovered nation, Amelia finds herself falling under the spell of the captivating city of Tbilisi.

Armenia: Visit Armenia (Part 3)

Armenia is a civilisation so rich in history, culture and religion - and now is the time to visit. Expert Amelia took a tailor made trip to the church-heavy country and found herself fascinated by all it had to offer.

The Best Cities in the World

As well as great loves, scandals and tragedies, the cities that set the scene in literature often tell their own story. They also make amazing starting points for the holiday of a lifetime. From the romance of St. Petersburg to the magic of Uttar Pradesh, here are our best cities in the world…

Sports Holidays: On Your Marks

Rumour has it that a particular sporting bandwagon is rolling into town this summer. If, like us, you missed out on tickets, take a more Original stance and indulge in your favourite disciplines some place else.

Welcome to the Treehotel

What's the most unusual place you have ever woken up? A bathtub after a party? On the deck of a gulet bopping around in the Aegean off Turkey? In an African tent with elephants hoovering berries off the canopy roof? Well, the other morning I woke up in a UFO. Then I put on at least ten layers of clothes, descended a narrow metal staircase to the snow-covered ground below and walked for seven minutes through a Narnia-esque forest before devouring a delicious cooked breakfast in a vintage styled B&B. Surreal doesn't even begin to cover it. Welcome to the Treehotel, another awesomely cool Swedish creation in Lapland.

Most Romantic Holiday Destinations All Year Round!

February is often associated with Valentine's day (cue rolling of eyes or whoops of joy), but we believe that romance can be celebrated all year round. Here are our top romantic holiday destinations to set the mood.

Luxury for Less

The economy may still be in the doldrums, but it's not necessarily all bad news out there for travellers. With plenty of special offers around, boutique trips don't need to cost a fortune. Here are some tips on how to achieve luxury for less, so you can get the best price tag for a beautiful holiday.

Where To Go On Holiday To Escape Those Monday Blues

Today - the 23rd of January - is officially the most depressing day of the year, known colloquially as 'Blue Monday'. It's not surprising, considering that naked Christmas trees line our streets, we haven't been paid since the Christmas splurge and we're all on a diet. The solution? An exclusive escape, of course!

80 Senses: #60 - Salvatore Maraschio, Concierge at Hotel de Russie

The man who makes the impossible possible... We at Original Travel send our clients off on city breaks with a detailed dossier containing our recommendations of the best restaurants, bars, places to shops and generally all the info you could need to make for the perfect Big Short Break. We rely for a lot of the information on a network of concierges at our favourite hotels. After all, no-one should know a city better than a concierge. So, we got to thinking - who's the best in the business? In the end it was easy. Take a bow, Salvatore Maraschio at the Hotel de Russie, our favourite hotel in Rome. His life is made that little bit easier by working in the finest city in Europe (discuss), but that only means Salva (a member of the exclusive Clefs D'Or elite concierge club) needs to be even more on his toes to know what's new.

The Original Travel Seville Guide

Original Travel spent one action-packed weekend in Seville. Want to know what we got up to on our luxury city break? Spoiler: expect tales of tapas and flamenco dancing...

80 Senses: #52 - Pintxos in San Sebastian

Foodie heaven... The Basques are a fiercely independent bunch, with huge regional pride, a language that seems to consist entirely of 't's, 'k's and 'x's, and a desire to be distinct. This sentiment has had a wonderful side effect - Basque food is one of the ways they like to differentiate themselves from their Spanish cousins. 'No tapas here - only pintxos.' 'Sherry? Pah, Andalucian filth.' You get the message.

80 Senses: #49 - The Best Greek Islands

Not for sale. The most beautiful islands in the world... They may be having a horrid time of it of late but one tiny crumb of consolation for the beleaguered Greeks is that they possess possibly the world's most beautiful collection of best Greek islands. You can imagine what the reaction was when German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggested the Greeks sell some of them off to repay their national debt.

80 Senses: #48 - Vintage shopping in Berlin

A good vintage... Is Berlin the hippest city in the world right now? We at Original Travel think it might just be. There's obviously history and culture galore, but what really sets the German capital apart is the creative vibe. The clubbing scene might be a little too techno/industrial for all tastes, but there's no denying the clubs themselves are achingly cool. There's also a community of excellent contemporary artists working across various media, and a feeling that the city is the hub of so much invention at the moment.

80 Senses: #37 - Things to do in Gozo, Village festas

Big bang fact, not theory... According to legend, Odysseus fell under the seven-year spell of the sea-nymph Calypso on the Mediterranean island of Gozo. Nowadays the smaller sister island of Malta basks in relative anonymity, and diving and spas have replaced sea-nymphs as the main lures for travellers.

80 Senses: #33 - St Anton Austria

The ultimate in off piste. St. Anton, Austria's flagship resort, ranks among the very best ski resorts in the world. Better suited to intermediate or advanced skiers rather than beginners, the resort is known for its legendary off-piste and even more legendary après-ski scene.

80 Senses: #29 - The Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

3 million works of art and counting... Keeping up with the Joneses never resulted in as pleasurable experience as St Petersburg. Built in defiance of nature and logic, the city is a monument to the will of Peter the Great, who wanted Russia to have a 'window on the West' and - more pertinently - a city to rival the great capitals of Western Europe he had been enviously eyeing up.

80 Senses: #23 - Pulling 5G, the Lillehammer Bobsleigh Track

Experience a sensation usually reserved for Formula 1 drivers and fighter pilots... Scaring yourself silly is not one of the official 80 Senses categories, but the sensation of hurtling along the ice in a tin torpedo is definitely one we recommend.

80 Senses: #18 - Howling huskies, Swedish Lapland

The huskies are born to run... Swedish Lapland is the perfect place to enjoy a dog-sledding safari, driving your own team of Siberian huskies and staying in remote private wilderness cabins each night. Guests are encouraged to get hands on, and the interaction with the pure bred Siberian huskies is the highlight, as you feed them and help put them down for the night in their kennels.

80 Senses: #16 - Aya Sofia, Istanbul

The church that 'changed the history of architecture.' In this day and age 'Byzantine' might be a - pretty unflattering - by-word for murky political machinations coated in a thick layer of intrigue, but the former Eastern Roman Empire of Byzantium, run from the capital Constantinople, was one of the most important empires in history, lasting for over a thousand years.

80 Senses: #10 - The Vasa Museum, Stockholm

The beautifully preserved Vasa was underwater for 333 years... From the mid 1500s until the secession of large swathes of Finland to Russia in 1721, Sweden enjoyed a period of dominance in Northern Europe. In 1628, at the zenith of the nation's power, the Swedish navy's magnificent new flagship, the Vasa, set sail from Stockholm and promptly floundered and sank. The ship was far too top heavy, and one nautical mile after leaving the docks (and within clear sight of the horrified onlookers) she went down like a stone.

80 Senses: #6 - The concept of 'hygge' in Denmark

Difficult enough to pronounce, let alone define, 'hygge' is best experienced on a mid-winter trip to Copenhagen, and ideally in the run up to Christmas. You may not be able to put your finger on it, but hygge will be all around, in romantic candle-lit restaurants; in snug subterranean bars while enjoying a glass of Gløgg, the Danish version of mulled wine fortified with aquavit, cinnamon, cloves, raisins, and slivers of almonds; and most especially of all at the charming Tivoli Gardens Christmas funfair.

Winter Ski Holidays

Four fab new trips for the winter of 2011-2012...The Indian Summer enjoyed by many in the UK of late is well and truly over, and we can now look forward to months of news bulletins featuring cars skidding around on icy roads and the BAA making up excuses for their usual shoddy under-investment in our airports. Having said that, after last Christmas's shambolic scenes at Heathrow, can they really be so unprepared again? Time will tell, but we digress - the point is that snow does not have to be bad. In fact there are a lot of places where snow = fun, and we have four fab new winter ski holidays. Assuming you can get to the airport and on to the plane, that is.

Affordable Holidays to Europe

Letting go of the summer is never easy. While we're still left guessing whether or not an Indian Summer will make an appearance, there's a sure-fire way to guarantee a few more outings for strappy sandals and bright maxi dresses: a luxury holiday in Europe.

Skiing with Children: Help!

Ski resorts plus children under the age of two don't mix. You'd be forgiven for thinking that this is in fact law, given the multitude of mountain activities that bar children under the age of two. But avoid the main resorts and you'll find there's plenty to amuse both adults and infants...

Riding the Cresta Run from Top

What exactly is the Cresta Run? An adrenaline-charged 80mph thrill, with your face just inches above the ice, explains OT founder and ski fanatic Nick. For a once in a lifetime holiday experience, head to Switzerland for the adventure to beat all adventures...

Holidays with a Difference

Some of our favourite places are tainted by misconceptions, but if you scratch beneath the surface you can discover some wonderful holidays with a difference. So here we're taking a slightly different approach to four places with stigmas attached, that don't seem fair, if only you know where to go.

Fantastic hotels in Porto, Portugal

When I booked my flight to Porto in April, I wasn't convinced I would either see the sun or find much of interest - and thankfully I was very very wrong thanks to the fantastic hotels in Porto!

Top Ten UK Activities During The Summer Holidays

Whilst enjoying an early summer (and holding our breath that it lasts), we've realised what a wealth of wonderful activities there are much closer to home. Here are a few UK activities and events happening during the summer holidays. Do let us know if there are any more you've spotted.

The Animal Art Fair: An Artist’s Adventures in Kenya

The Animal Art Fair is around the corner (Fulham Palace, 5th - 8th May) and we're huge supporters. We've persuaded artist Amy Sandys-Lumsdaine to share some of her experiences and passions for travelling to capture wildlife in their various art forms.

Romantic Escapes: Love is in the air…

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, so what better way to spoil your partner rotten than with one of our luxury romantic escapes? Whether it's a hot-balloon ride through the Atlas Mountains or a luxury ski retreat at the wilderness Whitepods, we can tailor make a holiday perfect for your needs. Take a look through our top five valentine breaks for some inspiration.

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