Greece’s Mysterious Lichadonisia Islands

The beach at Lichondisi island

It’s an overcast, gray October day and the gulls mewling over the sombre sea makes it seem even gloomier. I am standing at the marina at Kamena Vourla, a resort town on the north-east coast of Greece noted for its hot springs. I’m with a group of seniors who have traveled up the coast from Athens on a mystery trip, one that we will take by boat to visit a cluster of little islands known as the ... Read Full Article

Genoa on Foot – Cultural Immersion the Quick Way

Port Antico

For many visitors, Genoa is a portal to the Mediterranean. It's the largest seaport in Italy and the first stop for many cruise passengers. In fact, as you step off the plane, a queue seems to form automatically, which funnels passengers from immigration straight to the cruise ships. But if you make time for a short walking tour through Genoa's old town you'll be rewarded with an immersive insight ... Read Full Article

Come to the 2015 Gastronomic Expo in Milan – This is Big!

The French Pavilion bursts with gustatory greens-001

Thoughts of Italy invariably bring to mind thoughts of food. So hard-core foodies don’t need an excuse to make their way here. But they have a special reason to do so this year, when Milan hosts Expo 2015 – the first universal international exposition to be held in Europe in 15 years. The theme of this world’s fair is Feeding the planet, energy for life, a natural complement to the host country’s ... Read Full Article

Old Athenian Hangouts Take a Modern Twist

Music concert at Second Skin nightclub in Athens' Psirri district

Ancient Athens’ golden glory may be the reason why the city’s vibrant present is often overlooked by visitors. Its inhabitants, though, don’t like to dwell on the past. Well, sort of.. It’s been a few years now that the city’s modest old neighbourhoods, like the once unwelcoming industrial Gazi (Gas in English), have been given a new lease of life courtesy of a vast choice of modern restos ... Read Full Article

5 Reasons to Try Turkish Wine While in Turkey

The vineyards

Need five reasons to drink Turkish wine on your next visit to Turkey? The country's wines are quickly growing in prominence worldwide, and it's no wonder why. First, the world's very first wines were likely made in the region. Second, Turkey ranks sixth in the world in total grape production. Third, the only countries that have more land dedicated to vineyards than Turkey are France, Italy, and ... Read Full Article

Burning Down the House (Literally!): Celebrating Valencia’s Las Fallas Festival

The crema - when it all burns down

The Spanish city of Valencia is a fun place to visit at any time of year. But for five days in March, something extra special takes place. Processions wind through the city streets, with thousands of locals dressed in gorgeous traditional costumes. Parties and concerts begin at 1:30am and last until the next day. Parades liven up the afternoons and fireworks light up the midnight sky. There is ... Read Full Article

Thessaloniki, Greek Macedonia: The Paris of the North

White Tower

Once known as the ‘Paris of the North’, Thessaloniki (Salonika) definitely has a different ambience than Athens. Maybe it’s the city’s close proximity to the sea and the elegant Parisian-style buildings. Or perhaps it’s the vibrant ‘youthful’ feel because of the young people who stroll the plateias and crowd the sea-side tavernas. Thessalonki is, after all, a university city so a large portion of ... Read Full Article

The Crazy Days! ‘Carnival’ All Over Europe

Carnival in Venice

The ritual of ‘Carnival’ has been a prominent institution of cultural life since well beyond the days of antiquity—Ancient Greeks and Romans honoured deities Dionysus and Bacchus with wine feasts and orgies; Germanic Tribes chased wild winter spirits during the smoky nights of the ‘Rauchnachte’; Christians continued on with festivities of their own, with countless offshoots of festive tradition ... Read Full Article

Learning Italian in Bologna

Bologna's famous porticoes

Learning Italian in Italy can take you out of your comfort zone, but it definitely has its perks. One such perk involved having a lesson in a wine cellar, which I found did wonders for my fluency. “We have a saying in Italy,” said our teacher Giordana. “He who doesn’t drink in company is either a thief or a spy.” Giordana's announcement was greeted with smiles and raised glasses. The ... Read Full Article

Florence: Powering Through Five Museums in a Day

The restored Niobe room, in the Uffizi, represents Roman copies of late Hellenistic art.

Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance and the city is packed with museums. But on a trip with our two middle schoolers, for whom Renaissance art meant very little, we settled on a model any visitor can use to achieve maximum museum exposure with minimum time, with or without kids. The secret is threefold: a small and walkable city, advance planning, and judicious application of ... Read Full Article