Sahlep – the winterful, wonderful street beverage of Istanbul

The magnificent Blue Mosque

There is something indescribably “Istanbul-ish” about a warm, soothing cup of sahlep as you walk around in the cool, brusque Fall and Winter air of Sultanahmet (in the Old City) any evening between November and January.

Hagia Sofia with its generations of history

The refreshing evenings in the Old City side of Istanbul during this cooler time of year, capture an ambiance that’s definitely not in existence during the sultry summer months.

Street tea vendors at night – Istanbul

During the winter, if you go out later in the day, when the crowds have quieted down, you’ll find a different, quieter city, when there’s only you and a few other souls walking around, watching the multi-coloured dancing waters of the fountain in the Center of Sultanahmet Meydani (Square), which mystically contrasts the serenity and stately grandeur of the Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque.

Sultanahmet Square
Sultanahmet Meydani with Hagia Sofia as the backdrop.

To add to your winter delight on the dark streets of Istanbul, if you’ve never had the wondrous experience of drinking hot sahlep on a cold night, the sensation would feel similar to this: on a horse-drawn sleighride in the crisp winter air, enjoying a nice ‘perfectly warmed’ cup of hot chocolate.

Sahlep is similar in consistency to hot chocolate, unlike warm milk chocolate, it would be akin to a cup of warm, white chocolate drink. That is sahlep! Delicious and topped with just a hint of cinnamon or nutmeg, and some crumbled pistachios to slightly enhance the flavour. Yum! Try it! You’ll like it!

The Blue Mosque – Istanbul
Sahlep and Turkish tea vendors at night in Istanbul

These types of intimate and enriching but local, cultural experiences are what we like to share with our guests when we go to Istanbul, either on a group itinerary, or privately. Let us share our love of Istanbul with you!

Blue Mosque/Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Turkish: SultanAhmet Camii)
Sahlep! Take a walk around Istanbul this winter and experience it for yourself!

Avalon Waterways – Christmas Markets River Cruise, The Markets

A Christmas Markets River Cruise is a bucket-list item for many travel aficionados. We had the good fortune to enjoy a Christmas Markets River Cruise through France and Germany in 2019, and it was nothing short of spectacular, and even more than we imagined and expected it would be!

Strasbourg Christmas Market at dusk. Wonderful!

 

This particular Christmas Markets cruise commenced in Frankfurt, where the one of the city’s largest Christmas markets is located just a short walk away from the starting location/Westin hotel, at Römerberg and St Paul’s Square. There is a huge Christmas tree that is brought to the square annually, and its truly one of the most magnificent squares that we witnessed in Germany. Who knew Frankfurt held so much magic!!??

Our group decided to take a few days before the cruise started, to sightsee in Frankfurt and drive to a few nearby Castles, since we were “in the neighborhood!” We always find this is a great way to see some of the local treasures, and enjoy the region, before commencing your actual travel itinerary.

 

 

Once we embarked on the river cruise, the celebratory ambiance and magic continued day after day, as we made our way towards Switzerland and our end port of Basel.

 

Each day we had a choice of activities and included sightseeing tours off-boat to take part in. Each passenger can choose from several different options as to which excursion they wish to take part in, or they can just walk off the ship into town to stroll leisurely on their own. The pace of these river cruises is marvelous and unhurried.

Ridiculously long sausages

One of the stops along this Christmas Markets cruise is Breisach, which some call the ‘gateway’ to Germany’s Black Forest. The markets here did not disappoint, with offerings of Black Forest ham, links and ridiculously long sausages of more meats than you can imagine, cherry cake (and EVERY every kind of cake and treat you can imagine), and cuckoo clocks galore.

 

If you’ve ever dreamed of old fashioned Christmastime scenes, Germany and France immerse you in this dreamland, with sights of sugarplum fairies dancing in the streets (no lie!), and the sweet scents of swirling smoke from the chimneys of stalls offering up both mulled wines (Glühwein) and ciders, and smoked meats from the Black Forest. It is everything you can imagine!

 

In Strasbourg, France, the ambiance is truly magic! That’s the only way to describe it. Strasbourg is home to one of the oldest and finest Christmas markets in Europe—dating back to the 16th century. Take in the aromas of mulled wine, spice cakes, and biscuits.


In Strasbourg you can partake in a tour to the ruins of Heidelberg Castle, which overlooks the city in all its magnificence. At Christmastime, the markets are spread over five town squares and include an ice skating rink at one end, for those who wish to partake. Each day in port winds down to the quiet beauty of the markets in all their twinkling glory at night. Bask in the holiday cheer with Glühwein (hot mulled wine), bratwursts, and other regional delicacies.

Colmar is yet another stop during this XMas markets cruise that is truly fabulous; Colmar’s timber frame houses will fill most passengers with delight, both at the architecture that makes this city so special and the magic of Christmas adoring every doorway!

 

Almost every building in Colmar was designed to enchant with its medieval, time-style, designed-with-love-and-christmas-magic styling!

We had plenty of opportunities for Christmas trinkets and presents, as well as talking with local tradespeople and craftspeople who design the beautiful Christmas decorations in each stop.

The Christmas Markets of Europe, is surely to be a trip you’ll not soon forget!

Let us help you decide which river cruise company is right for you!

 

Westjet‘s COVID-19 Insurance Coverage: Let’s break it down

While we think it’s great that the airlines are now including insurance to protect you, if you should become affected with COVID-19 either whilst travelling on their aircraft, or in destination once off your WestJet flight, please note that the coverage has its LIMITS. Within the limits is where many problems lay when it comes to Insurance products!

What’s covered*

  • New round-trip bookings including WestJet Vacations packages (excluding U.S.) will be eligible for coverage up to 21 days. (Hidden meaning: travelling for a month? You should buy additional insurance that covers your full travel period)
  • New one-way bookings will be eligible for coverage for up to seven days (Hidden meaning: We have many clients that book a one-way ticket for travel to Europe or South America, for extended stays or even longstay holidays. Beware that coverage only runs 7 days and obtain adequate insurance to cover your precise travel dates, destination and needs).
  • Emergency medical and hospital costs for outbound travellers if diagnosed with COVID-19 while outside of Canada (excluding U.S.) for up to a maximum limit of $100,000 CAD per insured person. (Hidden meaning: if you’re in ICU in an International hospital, a $100,000 coverage cap can be tight financially, not as tight as medical costs in the USA definitely, but beware that $100,000 can be limiting. We’ve had an experience of a client who incurred a serious infection, which caused brain swelling and client had to be put into an induced coma for 2 weeks while he recuperated. His hospital bill, in Canada, came to well over $250,000! Ensure you have adequate coverage limits, even if you have to buy additional insurance than that which is offered by WestJet).
  • Emergency medical and hospital costs for inbound travellers visiting Canada diagnosed with COVID-19 while in Canada up to the maximum limit of $100,000 CAD per insured person. (Hidden meaning: As above)
  • Quarantine accommodation costs when the traveller tests positive for COVID-19 on the trip up to $150 CAD per insured person, per day to a maximum of 14 days for inbound and outbound reservations. (Hidden meaning: what kind of room can you find in Dublin, or Rome, or Paris in July for $150CAD/night – judge accordingly, and know that this nightly cap will leave you with limited choices)
  • Ambulance transportation and air evacuation costs related to COVID-19, up to the maximum limit of $100,000 CAD per insured person for inbound and outbound guests. (Hidden meaning: MEDIVAC and similar costs one-way to get you back to your home hospital can be extremely expensive; this $100,000 would certainly help ‘towards’ the MEDIVAC costs, but probably won’t cover the full bill, which can run into the multi-000’s range, so again, be aware of cap limits, and the need for additional insurance).
  • COVID-19 repatriation costs in case of death of up to $5,000 CAD per insured person for inbound and outbound guests.(Hidden meaning: If you die overseas, and your family cremates you overseas, $5000 should cover getting you home. If your will dictates that your body be repatriated, the costs can easily run over $5000, so be prepared for this cap limitation.)
  • One-way economy airfare for the return of one travelling companion and dependent children when air evacuated back home for treatment. (Hidden meaning: None really, but make sure everyone has the same return to home insurance coverage. If you are with numerous family members, ensure everyone has similar ticket coverage).
  • COVID-19 related insurance coverage will apply to any eligible itinerary that includes at least one flight operated by WestJet (code 838). You will qualify for coverage regardless of whether your first flight was operated by WestJet or by one of WestJet’s code share partners so long as your booking was ticketed on WestJet and includes a flight operated by WestJet. (Hidden meaning: None. Ensure at least one leg of your ticket is flown by WestJet or its code share partners – which it always will be, if you book a WestJet ticket, even if it’s flown aboard WestJet, or Delta, or Air France or any of Westjet’s code share partners: https://www.westjet.com/en-ca/about-us/airline-partners (If you are uncertain if you’re actually booking a WestJet flight or not, please feel free to contact us.)
  • If you purchased your ticket on a WestJet-operated flight from another airline, even if that airline is a code-share partner airline of WestJet, you will not be eligible for coverage.

*Exclusions apply. Not available for travel to, from or through the United States, or for travel including cruises. For full details on coverage, inclusions and exclusions please view or download the Certificate of Insurance and the Summary of Coverage


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MSC Seaside Aurea Suites (S3)

MSC Seaside – Category S3 – Cabin # 9211
Category S3: Aurea Suite
Cabin # 9211

 

Description:
Aurea Suites have a private bedroom with two single beds that convert to a double bed, spacious wardrobe, and a bathroom with shower/tub combination. The sitting area has a double sofa bed, armchairs, and desk. Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors lead to your private balcony with seating. Each stateroom also has a television, thermostat controlled air-conditioning, mini bar, individual safe, available internet connection, and direct-dial telephone.

 

Occupancy: Can accommodate up to 3 guests in this particular cabin

 

 

Aurea Experience
Includes Fantastica Experience: You get all the same amenities as the Fantastica Experience PLUS more.
Free UNLIMTED Drinks: Unlimited drinks including specialty coffee, wine, beer, cocktails, soft drinks, and gelato 24 hours a day. Valid for non-premium alcohol.
Free My Choice Dining: Have dinner in a dedicated area of the restaurant any time during dining room hours. No set time, no reservations needed.
Free Spa Service: Relax with a free 60 minute massage per person, up to 2 per stateroom, access to the sauna & steam room for the duration of your cruise, consultation with spa doctor, and welcome cocktail.
Private sundeck access: Access the private and exclusive Top 18 sundeck where you can sunbathe and lounge in a kid-free environment & enjoy a private bar.
Free priority boarding: Save time with priority boarding on the day of embarkation. Priority boarding helps you get on board quicker so you can start your vacation sooner.
Cabin 9211 Extended Balcony

 

 

 

 

 

*Please note: In the event of a complimentary upgrade to this category, the guest will benefit from the stateroom upgrade only, excluding the content of the Experience. Upgrades are stateroom only, and the Experience services will remain the same as category and Experience originally booked.
Size: 302 – 355 sq ft sq ft*
I found the location of the sofa pull-out bed to be very odd, as it was pushed right up to within a foot of the closet, which meant you had to turn sideways to gain access to the sliding closet doors.

 

South Beach, Miami – What a Strip!

South Beach, Miami – What a Strip!

Before a recent cruise aboard MSC Seaside, we had the opportunity to spend some time along Ocean Drive, South Miami Beach. What a great place to spend a couple of days, prior to embarking on a cruise or even as a destination itself.

Ocean Drive is a well known for its promenade and street famous for its neon-lighted, Art Deco hotels, as well as so many great restaurants & bars to choose from. One of the most famous hotels along this strip is the Colony Hotel erected in 1939, which has been featured in many movies. Currently it offers travellers a great stay as a boutique accommodation, directly fronting onto Miami Beach.


 

The different colors of each of the buildings, and the palm trees along the promenade at night are a true spectacle and light show.

 

If you like running, jogging, bicycling, or just strolling, there is a decorative concrete promenade which boasts scenic views of the Gulf on one side and the colourful buildings of Ocean Drive on the other.


 

Ocean Drive is also where the famous Casa Casuarina, former home of Gianni Versace, is located. After the icon’s infamous death circumstances, the property was turned into a lovely boutique hotel, and is one of the most photographed houses in Miami. (This pic taken by Vadelmavene)

 

This famous street is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, for its development of Art Deco houses and buildings which dominate the street.

 

And the food offered up on South Beach! So much to choose from, but one of our faves was the Front Porch Cafe, a very laid-back ambiance which serves all day breakfast, as well as lunch and dinner, not to mention Happy Hour $3 beers! One of the most famous restaurants on this strip is Mango’s Tropical Café, a Caribbean-inspired restaurant that also has live performances by dancers and singers.

Seafood bars, and crab shacks abound, in every nook and cranny, so you’ll not be searching too long for fresh seafood places in South Beach Miami.

 

If you’re heading to Miami for a cruise and want some suggestions for places to stay, or if you’d like to visit Miami please feel free to give us a call and we can arrange your cruise and/or Miami vacation for you. We’re looking forward to the day we can go back to Miami for a few days after covid gets sorted out!!

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Images of Greece

Images of Greece

We are Greece Specialists and have travelled to the Greek Islands many times. Here are just a few of our lovely images of Greece and Santorini Island. Please feel free to contact us to plan your trip to Greece!

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Butterfly Conservatory – Key West

The Butterfly Conservatory in Key West is a must-see for anyone who enjoys serenity, and enjoying the beauty of butterflies in a natural-like setting.

 

The most common species of butterfly you will see at the K.W. Conservatory is the “blue morpho” which is among the largest butterflies in the world – with wing span ranging from 5-8 inches!

When they are landed, their wings look a simple light brown variation, but once flying their wings look sparkling, iridescent blue color, which is caused by the microscopic scales on the backs of their wings reflecting the light.   

 

The conservatory is located at the southernmost end of Duval Street (1316 Duval Street), and is just steps from South Beach, a small stretch of beach (but beware, it’s often crowded as it’s one of the only beachy areas in Key West) but this location is great for an afternoon swim with the kids after the conservatory stop.

Be sure to check out some of the many “conch house” style buildings that fill the beautiful streets of Key West.

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48 Hours In: Tel Aviv. Travel – The Independent

48 Hours in Tel Aviv, Israel

We spent an incredible 7 days in Israel and it was a great amount of time to see all the highlights. Please feel free to Contact Us if you’d like assistance planning your Israel trip with World Travel Warehouse.

Tel Aviv's port of Jaffa

Why go now

Blessed with beautiful weather throughout spring and summer, the White City is the perfect destination for a lively weekend away. It’s a party town, with restaurants, bars and clubs galore, and beautiful beaches for a restorative chill-out the morning after.

Get your bearings

On the glistening coastline of the eastern Mediterranean, Tel Aviv is located in the centre of Israel. To the south, the ancient port of Jaffa (1) has historic buildings and an alfresco restaurant-bar scene. In the centre, Carmel Market (2) is the beating heart of the city. The bustling Allenby Street (3) and Rothschild Boulevard (4) are near the market, while Dizengoff Street (4) carves up the city centre.

The weekend in Tel Aviv is Friday and Saturday. Saturday – the Sabbath – is a holy day, and shops and markets are all closed. Restaurants and bars start to open in the afternoon, so it’s worth planning your trip around these two days to get the most out of the city.

Tel Aviv has two tourist offices (tel-aviv.gov.il): the Boardwalk Booking Centre (5) at 46 Herbert Samual St and Jaffa (6) at 2 Marzuk and Azar Street, near the clock tower (both open 9.30am-6.30pm Sunday to Thursday, 9am-4pm Friday, closed Saturday).

Day one

Take a hike

Start your day with spectacular views of Tel Aviv and the ancient port of Jaffa from Ha Pisga Garden (7) to the south of the city. Walk across the park to Olei Zion Street (8) and continue on to Jaffa Flea Market (9) (open 9am-6pm Sunday to Friday, closed Saturday; Friday is the main market day). From rugs to jewellery, pick up a bargain, then fuel up with a creamy malabi (similar to a rice pudding) from Ha Malabia (10) (00972 77 432 6051, hamalabiya.co.il) at 65 Ami’ad St in the centre of the market.

Walk north on Yerushalaim Avenue (11) until you hit the beach and continue along the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Promenade (12). Turn right onto Yosef Levi Street (13) and walk onto Ha Carmel – Carmel Market (2). This bustling market (open 8am until late Sunday to Thursday, 8am-4pm Friday, closed Saturday) is a great spot to amble through. Stay refreshed with a pale ale from the Beer Bazaar (14) (beerbazaar.co.il) at 1 Rambam St (open 11am-12am Sunday to Thursday, 11am-4pm Friday, closed Saturday).

Carmel Market is the beating heart of Tel Aviv (Getty Images)

For a more detailed walking tour, try Delicious Israel (deliciousisrael.com). The Eat Tel Aviv tour costs $100 (£72) per person and starts at 10am, lasting four hours. This includes all your food and drink along the way.

Lunch on the run

Started by two brothers in 1937, the fabulous local haunt of Shlomo and Doron (15) (00972 54-667-5505, facebook.com/shlomodoronhumus) serves several different types of hummus, including meshulash (made with three kinds of hummus), ful, which is made from fava beans, and, my favourite, shakshuka hummus. All three are served with fluffy pitta breads, zhug (a spicy Yemeni dipping sauce) and raw onion. Open 7.30am-3pm Sunday to Friday, closed Saturday.

Window shopping

From designer denim to stylish streetwear, shop till you drop on Dizengoff Street (4) in the North of the city. Check out Badim TLV (16) (badimtlv.com) for contemporary women’s wear and cool home accessories (open 9.30am-8pm Sunday to Thursday, 9.30am-4pm Friday, closed Saturday) and pick up a pair of slick shades from Elison Eye Boutique (17) (facebook.com/Elison-Eye-Boutique) open 10am-7pm Sunday to Thursday, 10am-3pm Friday, and closed Saturday.

Grab some hummus for a light lunch (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

An aperitif

Tel Aviv is an outdoor city, so soak up the brilliant balmy weather with a drink at Port Said (18) (00972 3 620 7436, facebook.com/theportsaid). This tiny restaurant/bar is packed from the moment it opens until the last man is standing in the early hours of the morning. Open 12pm-3am Saturday to Thursday, closed Friday.

Carry on the party vibes late into the night at Sputnik (19) (00972 52 642 6532). Imbibe in style with a cool crowd on the terrace, and then head inside to their banging industrial bar and dance until the sun comes up (open 7pm-7am Saturday to Thursday, 9pm-9am Friday).

Dine with the locals

In a huge square around The Great Synagogue (20), Santa Katarina (21) (00972 58 782 0292, facebook.com/santakatarina2) is a modern Israeli restaurant with creative cocktails and a daily changing menu of delicious shared plates. Take a seat at the bar – the best seat in the house – and feast on tuna ceviche with mountains of herbs, tzatziki and chilli; spiced beef tartare kofta; and crisp asparagus spears on creamy labna. Open 12.30-4pm and 6pm-12am Sunday to Thursday, 12.30-5pm and 7pm-12am Friday, and 7pm-12am Saturday.

Day two

Out to Brunch

Take a seat outside Ha Basta (22) (00972 3516 9234, facebook.com/Habasta), a lovely little restaurant where you can enjoy a farm to fork Israeli brunch. Plates of labna, roasted aubergine and cured beef are served with spinach and Tulum cheese baked eggs. Brunch served on Saturdays only, 11am to 5pm.

Tel Aviv enjoys an enviable coastal position (Getty/iStockphoto)

Walk in the park

Why walk in the park when you can hit the beach? Saturdays in Tel Aviv are all about heading to the coast; make like the locals and head to Mezitim beach (23) in the north of the city. From here you can stroll down the boardwalk, past the beautiful Hilton Beach (24) – the city’s famous gay beach – where you can hire paddle boards from the Sea Centre Club (25) (levyam.co.il) and then carry onto Gordon Beach (26). Try your hand at a game of matkot (paddleball). When you are all whacked out, grab a cold beer from one of the many beach bars.

Cultural afternoon

Continue walking along the blissful beaches all the way to Jaffa, where you’ll find the Ilana Goor museum (27) (00972 3683 7676, ilanagoormuseum.org). Located in an 18th century building, this beautiful museum boasts over 500 works from Israeli and international artists, including Diego Giacometti, Henry Moore, Joseph Albers, Uri Lifshitz, Yigal Tumarkin, Pesi Girsch and Yaakov Dorchin. Open 10am-4pm Sunday to Friday and 10am-6pm Saturday; entry costs 30NIS (£6.40).

Icing on the cake

A trip to Jerusalem is a must if you can squeeze it in. This spectacular city is electric. The old town is packed with beautiful buildings, winding alleyways and historic monuments. The big three – The Wailing Wall, Temple Mount and The Church of the Holy Sepulchre – are all within walking distance of each other, and each is incredible in its own way. Dress modestly, covering legs and arms to ensure entry.

Tel Aviv is well-placed for a day trip to Jerusalem (Getty/iStockphoto)

Take the tram from Damascus Gate to Mahane Yehuda Market. This hipster hangout is lined with cool coffee shops, sizzling street food and vibrant stalls selling everything from fruit and veg to fresh fish and sticky sweet rugelach pastries.

Travel essentials

Getting there

British Airways (britishairways.com) offers two to three flights a day from London Heathrow to Ben Gurion Airport (28), from £300 return.

Explore the ancient port of Jaffa to the south (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

From Ben Gurion Aiport, take the train from Terminal 3 to Tel Aviv town centre. There are two stations, Hashalom (29) in the South and Tel Aviv Salvador Centre (30) in the North. The journey time is around 15 to 20 minutes and costs 13.5NIS (£2.90) one way. It’s easy to get a cab to your hotel from the station; Uber works brilliantly.

Staying there

With 12 elegant rooms, the best breakfast in the city and a killer concierge who can get you into any party in town, Hotel Montefiore (31) (hotelmontefiore.co.il) is the most beautiful boutique hotel in the city. Doubles from £330, B&B.

Overlooking Carmel Market, the newly opened Poli House (32) (thepolihouse.com) has a stunning rooftop pool with Balearic beats and boozy slushies to get you in the mood. Doubles from $270 (£209), B&B.

Hotels in Tel Aviv are on the expensive side, so for the best budget finds try using Airbnb (airbnb.co.uk). It has private studio accommodation for two, starting from $55-60 (£43-47), room only.

Article by: John Gregory-Smith, The Independent

Wednesday 5 July 2017 10:30

Article Link: https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/48-hours-in/tel-aviv-city-guide-israel-what-to-do-weekend-break-48-hours-best-hotels-bars-restaurants-a7824386.html
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Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia Escorted Tour by Cosmos Vacations

 

Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia Escorted Tour by Cosmos Vacations

April 2017

Just fresh off an amazing tour to #Croatia, #Slovenia and #Bosnia, I want to share some thoughts. I will include the daily itinerary, as well as my own notes, so you can compare, review and decide if this tour is for you!

DAY 1: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Check into your hotel (M Hotel/Ljubljana).
The rest of the day is free for you to see some of Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital, with a strong alpine architectural flavor. Tonight, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.
Dinner

The Three Bridges of Ljubljana Three Bridges of Ljubljana

MY NOTES:
Slovenia was by far the biggest surprise, and highlight! Fresh alpine meadows, set against a backdrop of Austrian Alps makes for an incredible intro to a country. That crisp, clean air, and sights of children out playing, families out riding bikes in the newness of Spring, all served to create an instant love of this wonderful country. We spent some time today walking to the downtown (old town) area, took a canal ride for an hour or more, walked the Three Bridges of Ljubljana, and ate lunch near the main centre of this lovely downtown core.

Travellers can get to the Castle by funicular, or on foot via the ancient or more recent paths that lead from Vodnik Square (Old Square) or the Town Hall Square. One can also take a bicycle if they felt so inclined. To reach the Castle Hill, you can also use LPP – Ljubljana public transport

Canals of Ljubljana, Slovenia

 

DAY 2: Ljubljana–Postojna Caves–Zadar, Croatia
Undoubtedly, one of the highlights on this tour is a visit to the POSTOJNA CAVES. Your included visit is comprised of a TRAIN ride and a walking tour, which will allow you to see what are possibly Europe’s most extensive and best-known caves. Then, into Croatia, traveling along the coast to Zadar. Over the centuries, Zadar was ruled by Venetians, Austro/Hungarians, by Italy after WWI, and today belongs to Croatia. Find out more during the included guided tour
Breakfast, Dinner

(Regrettably it was quite difficult to get decent pictures inside Postojna Caves, so these pics are from the park site (https://www.postojnska-jama.eu/)

MY NOTES: The Postojna Caves were nothing short of spectacular, and amazing. It was like a combination of fantasy mixed with nature that is sure to astound even the most road-weary traveler who has been to ‘just about everywhere.’

Zadar was incredible at Sunset, and we had an opportunity to sit on the Sea Organ steps! Take a listen to the Zadar Sea Organ in this video (opens in new page)

 

DAY 3: Zadar–Split–Dubrovnik
Drive south to Split to visit the former hometown of Roman Emperor Diocletian, his PALACE, and JUPITER TEMPLE, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See more of the lovely Dalmatian Coast before reaching Dubrovnik.
Breakfast

MY NOTES: My favorite spot this day is a toss-up: Split, with its Mediterranean seaside views, and the magnificent Diocletian’s Palace, were both spectacular and left me longing to see more of this area, but Dubrovnik is definitely a highlight in the Mediterranean, and a destination that everyone should experience, if given the opportunity.

 

DAY 4: Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is the best-preserved Croatian medieval city and the liveliest in Dalmatia. Visit the FRANCISCAN MONASTERY and the RECTOR PALACES, where the Local Guide will give you a full commentary, including the history of this beautifully preserved medieval architectural wonder. Afternoon and evening optional excursions are available. Breakfast

 

DAY 5: Dubrovnik–Neretva Gorges–Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina–Sarajevo
Enjoy a scenic drive into the rugged beauty of the Neretva Valley. Stop in Mostar, where a Local Guide shows you the Turkish Quarter with the TURKISH HOUSE, the MOSQUE, and the reconstructed 16th-century bridge. On to Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina and certainly the most Turkish-looking city in the Balkans—famous for its mosques, markets, and bazaars. Discover the city with a Local Guide and get acquainted with its architectural highlights, including the GAZI HUSREV-BEG MOSQUE.
Breakfast, Dinner

MY NOTES: In Mostar, we had an opportunity to visit Mostar Bridge (Stari Mostar), an originally Ottoman built bridge. This fantastic structure was blown up in 1993 during the Bosnian War and was finally rebuilt in 2004.

 

 

Images of Sarajevo

 

DAY 6: Sarajevo–Plitvice National Park, Croatia
Travel north today back into Croatia to visit the country’s famous PLITVICE NATIONAL PARK. Enjoy a walk with a Local Guide through the breathtaking scenery of this natural wonder. Its 16 lakes, wooded hills, waterfalls, and cascades make it one of Europe’s most loved national parks.
Breakfast, Dinner

MY NOTES: Sarajevo City Tour was a short stop, where a local guide gave us a one-hour walking tour through the city’s downtown core, pointing out some of the most important points of reference from the 1992 Siege of Sarajevo. The fact that it was raining this day, only added to the dreary and sad history that has befallen this lovely city. Sarajevo and Bosnia are working hard to increase tourism to this country, and if given the opportunity, one should definitely include a stop to learn of the history that this region has fought its way through.

Sarajevo Cathedral – downtown Sarajevo

 

Sarajevo Roses – red stain marks bullet holes and shrapnel spots where 1 or more lives were lost.

The spot where Franz Ferdinand was assassinated.

Stark realties of Sarajevo and Bosnia’s history

 

 

MY NOTES: Plitvice National Park is truly incredible, with crisp clean air, easy (and difficult) walking trails to choose from, one should definitely include a stop of 1-2 days in this area if possible (customized itineraries). There are 8 different trails to choose from, ranging in duration 3 hours and 8 hours. You definitely want to see Plitvice Falls as a stop on any of these walks!

Walkways and the Falls of Plitvice National Park


 

DAY 7: Plitvice–Zagreb–Ljubljana, Slovenia
Get to know Croatia’s capital on the included city tour. The city is packed with historic buildings, such as the gothic St. Marcus Church. Continue to Ljubljana, where a Local Guide will help you appreciate its imperial beauty.
Breakfast

DAY 8: Ljubljana
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.
Breakfast

What a beautiful vista as we leave Slovenia, the foothills of the Austrian Alps and its many memories of our travels here. Until next time Eastern Europe!

TOUR DIRECTOR
With #CosmosVacations, there’s no better way to get to know your destination than through the eyes of your Tour Director. Averaging over a decade… we’d like you to meet a Tour Director, who is representative of the type of expert that will be with you on your vacation.

VJENCESLAV ZATKOVIC
Years of Experience: 27

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“I decided to become a Tour Director in order to see the world-and lose weight. Unfortunately, the latter is impossible in Slovenia and Croatia, because the food is incredible. Still, it was worth a try! Since those early years I’ve discovered that the reality of travel is better than I ever imagined. Every day is different, and there is always something new to see and learn.”

MY NOTES:
Wentz (Vince), or many other derivatives/pronunciations of his name 🙂 was one of the best guides we have taken a tour with, and believe me, owning a travel agency, we have had opportunity to experience many, many guides over the past 13 years. Wentz kept our group punctual, engaged, excited, and well fed (maybe too well fed), as this is the first tour with walking that caused weight gain! We enthusiastically encourage anyone to take part in this tour under Wentz’s excellent guidance. His sense of humour is dry and he knows well when to laugh at himself, and also to get a good laugh out of his travel party!

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Greek Island Hopping

Greek Island Hopping

 

As Greece Vacation specialists, we’ve done Greek Island hopping itineraries in many different ways, from all-inclusive cruises between the islands, to ferries and multi-day island stays in numerous islands.

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Each of the different Greek Island Hopping types of itineraries offers a different pace, and a different value for each traveler. We work with you to determine which type of pace works best for you, and then we work out a price point that works for your budget.

Santorini is definitely a high point in every travel itinerary we’ve ever worked on for Greece, and it’s aesthetically one of the most scenic Greek Islands in our opinion. There is something lovely to capture your heart and eye around every single turn, and lots of amazing tavernas, bars, and restaurants for every budget. Definitely our love affair with Greece has never waned, and it’s never lost on us how very fortunate we have been to visit Greece and Santorini so many times.

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Whitewashed Rooftops of Santorini

 

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Unique Boutiques of Oia, Santorini

 

Mykonos is so quaint, and staying over on lovely Platos Gialos, is definitely worth your time.

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Beaches of Platys Gialos, Mykonos Greece

 

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Windmills of Old Town, Mykonos, Greece

 

Please feel free to contact us to discuss your travel plans for Greece. We are specialists in Greece Destination Weddings, Family Travel to Greece, Greece Island Hopping, and any specialty travel to Greece that you may require assistance with, we can help you map out the steps.

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