The roads are getting smaller and smaller. It is unpaved road now. The clouds of dust does not indicate approaching one of the most exclusive resort in Tuscany. The last turn and the reception building emerges with the car park hidden on the slope of the steep hill. Not long now. The good vibes of tranquility and relaxation takes over and wraps you in the sense of well-being as soon as you enter the reception of Castiglion del Bosco. The village is perhaps the best preserved estate in Tuscany. The best infinity pool in Tuscany certainly belongs here and is striking with the discreet elegance and timeless charm.
Gigantic cypress trees are guarding the entrance and shading the place from the outside world. The peaceful tranquility is by large the result of keeping the cars outside. No engine noise belongs to Castiglion del Bosco.
The size that matters
The 4.000 acres or 16 square kilometres is what makes the place unique. The outdoor space is like extension of your suite or villa providing manicured gardens, golf course and wilderness at your fingertips.
The village is self contained with restaurants, several bars, swimming pools, SPA and garden. The small picturesque villages of Val d’Orcia is in short reach when you just had enough of relaxation
The tranquility of the infinity pool
There are several pools at the disposal of villas. The most fabulous is the main infinity pool which is the most tranquil pool across all Tuscany. The tranquility and relaxation in the turquoise blue water with the magnificent view over Val d’Orcia. The fence of wild lavenders is guarding the swimming pool. The picture of the pool was what attracted me in the fist place. I had to make the dream reality to stop the tranquil image of the pool hunting me.
The SPA and golf course goes hand in hand as guest entertainment. I am not a golf fan. The SPA however exceeded all my expectations. They have thought of everything. Interior, dressing rooms, toiletries, bathrobe and slippers of was the top quality. The personnel was very attentive, discreet and highly skilled. The massage was heaven on the earth. The rest was offered in the intimate relaxation area with two saunas and day beds after the massage.
The lost hat
I have to prise all Castiglion del Bosco personnel. They went beyond their direct responsibilities. The sudden breeze blowed away my beloved Saks Fifth Avenue straw hat. The hat was brought back to me from the steep slope just when I started to plan the shopping trip to replace it.
The historical fact: Massimo Ferragamo, who runs the U.S. operations of his family’s fashion empire, and his wife, Chiara, bought the 12th-century hilltop village and surrounding 4,000 acres a decade ago and opened it to guests in 2010.
Castiglion del Bosco belongs to Rosewood hotel family and is true masterpiece of the discrete elegance. I barely left and I am looking forward to my next visit already.
Taking epic pictures right from the car? Scenic drive through the countryside? Vineyards, thermal springs, UNESCO World Heritage? Look no further than Tuscany.
Inspirational around Tuscany road trip itinerary for scenic drives.
The historical charm
Bassano del Grappa might be the starting point, but the preserved medieval charm with a striking mountain backdrop simply lures you in to stay. Dating all the way back to the year of 998 and fast-forward to the 16th century, a small town became known for its flourishing industry, especially ceramic works grappa (the strong Italian aperitif) and today it is most recognizable for its symbol – the old & soulful medieval bridge spanning over the river Brenta. Whether it’s those little piazzas, that crisp mountain air or lovely churches with ancient castles and intriguing museums, staying in Bassano del Grappa will be your authentic and unforgettable experience and a perfect way to kickstart the around Tuscany road trip exploring vineyards and beaches .
Adriatic coast beach road
Stops 1&2 , (see the map at the end) covering 235 km – just enough for a day’s drive.
From one idyllic coast to the other, in one road trip with no hassle at all. Italy is one of the few of those unique countries that can offer that. We start off by riding along the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea, the turquoise and beautiful Adriatic Sea. First, we pass through and stop to admire Delta Po for a while, one of the largest wetland areas in the continent. Not only its where nature and people live side by side, but it is also home to more than 400 species of birds. A true paradise for nature lovers! The Tuscany road trip of vineyards and beaches continues with the roads being close to the shore until we reach a lively and vibrant area of Lido di Savio, lined up with restaurants, camping sites, and hotels. A perfect place to finally unpack that tent!
Two days in the fabulous Tuscany vineyards
The next destination is only 200 km from the Adriatic cost. The two days break in itinerary. Absolutely worth of spending two days (stops 3&4) relaxing in the beautiful scenery, flying drone and tasting wine🍷 .
Cascate del Mulino
Only 127 km away the thermal springs are waiting, I hope for a cool weather to relax in the naturally warm water …
Just a few kilometers away from a small village Saturnia, natural and heaven-like waters spring to life and rushes down to create thermal waterfalls that are cherished and admired by both locals and visitors. Rich in Sulphur and other minerals it comes from an underground source, there is nothing quite like enjoying a truly natural and healing phenomenon that warms your body and soul to and is accessible all the time and free of charge! And to add the cherry on top, how about that Old Mill, perched just above the waters and green lush and mountainous landscape as a backdrop to all of this? Wow!
The Cascate del Mulino (in the photograph aboveThe composition of the deposits, from the scientific point of view, are composed of “a sulphurous-carbonic, sulphate-bicarbonate-alkaline mineral water, and includes among its peculiarities the presence of two dissolved gases such as hydrogen sulphide and carbon dioxide“. The thermal waters have a temperature of 37.5 °C and therapeutic and relaxing properties.) are probably the most famous natural springs in Tuscany. The waterfalls are made of several natural pools of warm thermal water, as well as a relaxing waterfall. They are open to the public and free throughout the entire year.
Portoferraio 2 Nights break from the around Tuscany road trip
Here we go – another excitement the stop 6 after 171 km and a shot ferry ride
As vineyards and thermal waterfalls fade away in a rearview mirror and the road trip is progressing, as special as those places are, something lovely is coming up on the horizon and it is only right that we dedicate 3 beautiful days and 2 peaceful nights in the island of Elbo, and its biggest city – the historic Portoferraio. A former exile of Napoleon has truly a lot to offer, especially for nature enthusiasts and active travelers. Anything from exploring small picturesque villages, strong fortresses and intriguing museums to hiking up the mountains, spending time in some of the finest beaches or even diving to discover shipwrecks. You name it! Founded in 1548, the town of Portoferraio itself will not only offer a diverse choice of accommodations, but there’s nothing quite like those buildings perched on steep slopes while surrounded by mountains and the sea. Island of Elbo is truly a diamond in a rough, just one step off the coast of Tuscany!
Cecina stopping by
Can you feel the gentle breeze already? We are closing into the long-awaited coastline of Ligurian Sea.
From first glance, Cecina might seem like a small and quite simple coastal town, but in reality, it’s a treasure chest worth millions, waiting to be discovered! Where waves rise and fall, you will find golden sand beaches surrounded by a centuries-old pine forest and its beautiful trails that invite for a fantastic outdoor recreation, whether it’s hiking, biking or horseback riding, take your preference and discover great diversity in vegetation and wildlife together. And to wrap it all up for nature lovers, there are campsites to pitch your tent and sleep under the stars! It’s also an ancient land, dating so far back, even to the Neolithic period and is fond of archeological sites, exhibitions, artifacts and ruins with roots digging deep into our world’s past.
Pizza passing through
After unlocking as much treasure from Cecina as possible during our stop there, we continue onwards to our next pass-through stop, the city of Pisa. Sounds familiar? If you have a chance to visit the iconic city and even more legendary leaning tower of Pisa, you take it! The city is just spectacular as it hosts an unmatched sightseeing experience with history and timeless architecture, as well as charming rivers and mountains in the distance.
To wrap it all up, head up to climb the famous tower that just keeps on leaning to catch some premiere vistas of the city and take the mandatory selfie 😄
Appennino Tosco-Emiliano National Park as the last stop for the road trip itinerary across Tuscany
255 km and two sightseeing stops will be busy day, a quiet evening in with two days of wilderness adventure ahead to conclude my vacation
Nature-lovers rejoice! Another jewel is on the way. A big one, in fact, taking over more than 26,000 hectares together with some of the highest peaks in the region and unique flora and fauna that thrive in these high mountain areas. While glacier craters are sparkling with pristine lakes and wild rivers run through striking valleys, this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve breathes life with wolves roaming through rare orchids and golden eagles flying above looking down on plants and bushes that date back to the glacial era. It presents an extraordinary chance to wake your inner adventurer up and venture out, whether it’s hiking or biking! The park is also equipped with an extensive variety of choices for accommodations, including various campgrounds, mountain huts, and even hotels. Find your peace here, in the vastness of pure nature.
And with all that mentioned about the park, having a wild camping affair sounds just about right! As much as the wild and breathing natural surroundings invite and tempts us for wild camping overnight to get even closer to nature, unfortunately, it is illegal in Italy. The vast area of the park hosts multiple campsites that are just as wild and close to nature as it can be, with some of them providing mountains views of a lifetime.
The trip starts from Bergamo airport with the duration of 600 km lasting 8 hours 45min without stops. However life is for living, hence the 4 stops to experience the beauty of nature and indulge in the best thermal SPA retreats in the Alps.
Stop 1: San Pellegrino thermal water
30 km and 40 min from Bergamo airport and you are in San Pellegrino to enjoy a thermal bath in the world’s most famous water.
An avenue of fragrant lime trees, the ancient mescite room and a designer facade are just some of the highlights of a building that is a true monument to water. TheThe wellness pathway is structured throughout two separate buildings with over thirty spa practices including panoramic tubs, sensorial tubs, waterfalls, Kneipp therapy, Vichy showers, saunas, steam baths and a solarium garden. “Vita” spring gives us thermal waters rich in bicarbonate sulphate, calcium, and magnesium flowing pure and uncontaminated through layers of rock, from which the water erodes precious mineral salts.
Stop 2: Overnight in Locarno & Thermal SPA Salini in the Italy Alps
Locarno is 141km and 2hr 25 min drive away from San Pellegrino
Locarno is an Italian-speaking resort city in southern Switzerland, on Lake Maggiore at the base of the Alps. It’s known for its sunny climate. Founded in the 12th century, the old town’s Castello Visconteo houses the Museo Civico, which showcases Roman antiquities.
Locarno’s historical funicular is your most confortable and romantic option to visit the Sacro Monte Madonna del Sasso and the starting point for mesmerizing excursions into the hilly mountains of Locarno.
An oasis of peace and rest that offers all the rituals for true relaxation. The Termali Salini & Spa wellness centre is one of the best thermal SPA in the Alps. Adjacent to the Lido of Locarno, the Thermal SPA boasts a remarkably wide offering of saunas and thermal spring water swimming pools.
Stop 3: Hotel 7132: the masterpiece inspiring senses
After driving 154 km, 2 hr 25 min you arrive at the tiny village Vals in the Swiss Alps. And you don’t come here to ski. You’ll find a wonderland for design buffs.
The impressive architecture! The ancient beauty of the mountains all around! It all comes together for a total relaxation to switch off from the daily hustle. This design masterpiece is build around thermal spring water offering pools and saunas to treat your soul and body. It is certainly the best designed thermal SPA in the Alps.
The prices in Hotel 7132 starts from €600 per night. However, there is another architectural pearl – the house of Architects. The four top architects – Thom Mayne (Morphosis), Tadao Ando, Kengo Kuma and Peter Zumthor – have been tapped to contribute the designs. The House of Architects features a lobby and entrance designed by Morphosis Architects. And 7 different room designs are centered around a single material. The price in the house of Architects starts from €360 with access to SPA (€76) inclusive.
Stop 4: Aqua Dome the thermal SPA water jewel of the Austria Alps
In 3 hours, 239km and lunch in Liechtenstein, you can reach the final destination of the journey Aqua Dome.
As far back as the 16th century, the area was known for its healing springs. Today, the Aqua Dome uses the rediscovered healing thermal spring water for your healthy relaxation. Aqua Dome might compete for the title of the largest thermal SPA in the Alps.
According to chemical analyses, the water that flows from deep inside the earth is a sulfur spring with a divalent sulfur content of 5 mg S–/l. It is legally recognized mineral spring. With the speed of 3 to 4 liters per second, the water bubbles up to the surface. Wonderfully warm and pure, right into our thermal baths. Feel the strength of the springs!
The Aqua Dome 4* hotel offers accommodation from €288 with breakfast and dinner on Sunday nights. The thermal spa & sauna are open until midnight on every Friday ! Enjoy the moonlight buffet and prosecco in the thermal bath restaurant Einkehr from €9.80 pp.
12 pools and 7 saunas will fill your day with tranquility. There are also wide variety of SPA and beauty treatments available.
Survival guide for the Love Supreme Jazz festival. Essential reading before booking the tickets! I have combined two years experience and illustrated with pictures the best options for unforgettable weekend of music and love 🎶🎵🎶🎵🎵
Camping is the must to embrace the atmosphere and the vibes of the festival. It is so fabulous feeling to be rocked into sleep with DJ in the background! To get the best view overlooking festival, the best sound from your tent and to hear the lineup announcements- you have to pick the premium camping. Only the premium camping is located on the hill overlooking grounds.
What ticket to buy? Premium Camping tickets give you the access to the Premium Campsite (with premium toilets and showers) and as well as complimentary trolleys to the Premium Campsite. This doesn’t include access to the Supremium Arena Area.
Camping can only be booked for the whole weekend, not for a single night. The weekend premium camping in 2019 was £258.50 including the booking fees.
👉Arriving early on Friday is essential to get the best spot – not too far from the entrance as you will walk there several times a day. The camping is open from 12, arrival around 3pm is sufficient.
The facilities were good in the premium campsite, just try to avoid the rush hours.
2. Supremium camping tickets
Supremium camping tickets give access to the Premium Campsite and complimentary trolleys PLUS exclusive access to the Supremium Arena Area.
👉 Supremium area means dedicated seating area and while it might seem unnecessary for the festival- I would highly recommend it if you wish to listen the music without an interruption from people moving around and smokers being close by. Also you would not need to carry you chair around the whole day when the dedicated seating area is available . And If you still wish to join the crowd- it’s still possible 🤣. The price for supremium camping ticket was £275 in 2019 and they sell out fast.
3. Glamping as the best option
Glamping can be found under accommodations that needs to be purchased separately from hotel bell tent – meaning the price is on top of everything else.
Have not heard about the Glamping? Glamping means when the tent is pre-set for you with an inflatablemattress or real bed inside the tent, no en-suite though. The glamping will add an unforgettable experience combining luxury and outdoors adventure catering everyone’s taste. It’s not the festival survival anymore, it’s truly amazing event!
In addition they offer reception, pamper tent and phone charging facilities.
For premium camping and glamping, use yellow VIP parking. Parking for the weekend was £15, ticket does not indicate which parking, pick yourself by looking on the site map.
5. The app!!!
The app is a must! You can mark your favourite lineup and get reminders before the gig starts. You can also get other notifications if you sign up for.
5. What to pack for the jazz festival survival
Regardless which options you choose – take the picnic blanket with you.
Foldable chair if you opted out from supremium ticket.
Empty water bottle, you can refill it for free.
Power bank to charge your mobile phone, although you can do it on site for £5 one hour charging.
Sleeping mask as there is an all night light in the camping.
Looking forward to the next festival, see you there! Bye 👋
Lucerne is lively city on the lake well known for the preserved medieval architecture with Mount Pilatus majestically reflecting in the lake . The city burst with laughter and joy, the lakeside restaurants are full with people and many attractions available on the lake. You can rent varieties of floating devices or step on the board of cruise boat.
Lucerne the place where culture, history and nature collides
For the nature admirers there is The Golden round trip that takes you to the most spectacular spots on the Mount Pilatus. Scenic boats, cogwheel railway, aerial cableway and Panorama Gondolas are at your disposal. To experience the golden round trip, you really need to stay two nights in Lucerne.
The best start of the trip is heading out to Kriens and going up to Mount Pilatus with gondola. Take the train and boat combination back to the city. You can also spend a few hours hiking and enjoying the magnificent view before heading back, if the weather is nice.
Places to stay when you are visiting Mount Pilatus
In my last trip, I have chosen to stay in pedestrian part of the town where numerous hotels are located right on the lake with frontside restaurants invitingly laying right on the walkway. It’s a great choice and reasonable price if you book the last minute (€100) however you cannot park the car in the old town adding extra parking cost for the night (~€20) when parking at the train station.
The most exquisite place to stay is hotel Bürgenstock offering the Alpine Spa relaxation and wellness over 10,000 m2. This is absolutely stunning architecture master piece that you cannot skip visiting when in Lucerne.
If €1000 per night seems a bit high, then you can always book a treatment in the Alpine SPA and visit the place while staying in the city centre to enjoy the lively night life.
The Amazon expedition cruise vessel MY Tucano has comfortable cabins with large beds and private baths, and is air-conditioned throughout. With our small groups (Max. 18 pax), trained naturalist guides, and thoughtful itineraries, we offer a genuine, thrilling experience with the REAL Amazon rainforest.
The Salon of the Motor Yacht Tucano is at the forward part of the vessel and is surrounded by a broad balcony. Thoroughly paneled and lighted by brass lamps, this room serves as our vessel library and dining room. It is a good place to observe the forest, read or relax. From this large space, filled with windows and situated at the front of the boat, you can see the fantastic forest around us.
The top deck is open and has a large sun canopy a wonderful place to spot wildlife or soak in the vastness of the Amazon. There is also space to catch some sun and watch the Macaw parrots screeching across the afternoon sky. The middle deck has a wide balcony around the entire front of the boat. Passengers can see where we are going and observe monkeys jumping from one vine to another.
They are sailing Ionian Sea exploring Greek islands.
“Our comfortable and well appoimted yachts are ideal for your Ionian sailing adventure, with 4 double cabins, all with en-suite facilities. A maximum of eight guests are on board, together with an experienced, professional crew to look after you. Breakfast and a light lunch is included, to be enjoyed ‘al fresco’ whilst anchored in an idyllic bay. Enjoy a refreshing swim before or after lunch, it’s up to you to decide.”
The trip had a perfect ending – the stylish and comfy Indigo hotel in the center of the Shakespeare town Stratford-upon-Avon.
After the 2000 miles I certainly deserve the super comfy bed and a cup of rosebud tea provided by Indigo hotel.
The Netherlands- Belgium- France- Germany-Austria-Italy-France route took 16 days and I crossed Alps twice. There is so much to see in the area – I am coming back to explore the thermal waters, see the map below.
Follow me to the journey through the thermal spring places including Evian, SPA, Chaudfontaine.
The shortest return trip from Lucerne to Calais (Eurotunel) is via France. There is the famous city Reims on the way with champagne houses and vineyards- but that’s for another trip.
The drive through France was very pleasant, highway with speed restriction 135, almost no traffic. Made it in one day.
Wait a minute. A chance to visit the iconic city of love? Venice is one of those places to visit at least once in a lifetime!
Before you go to Venice, you absolutely must watch movie “The Tourist” 2010 American romantic triller staring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. The story is unveiling in Venice with the utmost luxury hotel The Danieli as the centrepiece where the room cost from €600 till €9000 for Doge Dandolo Royal Suite. You can always have a cold refreshments in the lobby bar even when not staying in the hotel. Enjoy 🥂chin-chin
And now the Venice how I see it: unique, with character and charming.
I always keep thinking how on earth they buy and move furniture? The grocery shopping without a car?! There are two options how to move around: walking or by boat.
Not many parks and green places there and although on the water- there is nowhere to swim.
The weather catastrophies can be rather dramatic- from floods till dried out canals – what disaster and smell that brings- the whole city must be paralysed.
The spectacular centrepiece ofVenice, St Mark’s Square, nowfloodsmore than 60 times a year.
Anyway- pack your suitcase and go, just out of the tourist season please as it’s truly crowded (20 mil tourists annually). The municipality even are putting up the crowd control barriers.
However if you step aside to the smaller streets- you can enjoy some quiet time and who knows- maybe even paddling.
With limited time here, and eyes already set on the next stop, it is more than important to make it count. A few classics of Venice should do the trick!
Head to the pulsing heart of the floating city, the St. Mark’s Square and marvel at stunning scenery all around you alongside buzzing tourists and children chasing pigeons. Hosting iconic and most beautiful landmarks such as St Mark’s Basilica and many more, it is a place impossible to miss in Venice.
The second trick is, of course, a soothing sail through the famous Grand Canal. Whether it’s a classic Venetian Gondolas, water bus or taxis, discover charming buildings from the 13th century to the 18th as it is one of the best ways to admire and explore Venice. You can take the waterbuss for €8 for one journey or ~€20 for a day ticket. Enjoy!!!
There are many rankings of the world most famous castles but Neuschwanstein is in all of them. It is called fairytale castle due to the idealised romantic architecture.
It took me 6 hours to drive 633km with average speed 106km/h and fuel consumption of 8L/100km from the stop 3 on my way to Venice. I arrived when the castle was closed and I was relieved seeing the crowds of tourists leaving. I had the castle surroundings for the exploration on my own. There might be up to 6000 visitors a day in a summer period.
Although it was getting dark and raining heavily- I managed to get some decent shots on my iPhone XS.
The last two pictures were taken from the skywalk bridge that was slippery, covered with snow and the wooden planks were bending under the weight of people exposing the depth beneath.
Despite of the looks, the castle is not medieval, Ludwig II constructed this fairytale castle in 1869 for pure pleasure and to the honour of Ludwig Wagner who never visited the place. Ludwig II himself spent only 11 nights in the castle and it was never finished even at Ludwig ‘s death in 1886 (in 17 years). Many rooms are empty and not completed today. According to the initial plans, the castle was meant to have more than 200 rooms. The unfinished part is not open to public, only 14 rooms can be visited.
The iconic Cinderella’s castle at Disney World and Sleeping Beauty’ castle in Disney Land are modeled after Neuschwanstein Castle.
Tomorrow I will continue my journey to Venice, only 4 hours to drive till the next stop in Bassano del Grappa.
The way to Venice leads me through the small town in Belgium named Spa which is famous for two reasons:
1. It is known for its mineral-rich waters, it’s where the “original” spa name originated from, i.e. a place where tourists came in to enjoy the health and wellness benefits of water and hot springs in particular. The springs in Spa became so popular that the name became genericized to mean any such place.
2. Apart from the mineral waters, Spa also draws crowds several times a year when F1 racing and other events are held at the nearby Spa-Francorchamps racecourse.
I witnessed both today. You do not need booking for Les Thermes where 3 hours cost €20, full day €31. Although it is much more fun in winter with the heated outdoor pool.
Francorchamps were hosting world rally championship today with Latvian racer Jānis Baumanis car number 6 in the pics. Jānis did very well today, the final is tomorrow- I will need to follow up on the Internet.
What a beautiful place, I keep coming back again and again. Definitely good vibes! Here you will find holiday homes (bungalows and flats) spreading comfortably in the curve of the river with reception, restaurant, swimming pool, children playground and tennis courts. What else to ask for 🤗
Nearby are some charming villages and lovely little towns such as Malmedy, Spa, Coo. There are countless typical cafes where they serve Belgian beers and cosy restaurants.
All in all – it’s much better choice than a hotel stay – more space, more air, more freedom.
Don’t we all like the beautiful travel images posted on the instagram, well – at least the likeminded people that are social media savvy 😉
But what’s behind the image? How to plan the travel? What tools and apps to use? How to use the technologies to advance our life? How to make the travel effortless?
Behind my scenes blog will capture the story behind my instagram pictures by sharing the knowledge and my personal experience how to use tools for travel planning, picture editing, notes taking, gadgets and everything else that helps us to enhance our lives.
When flight is delayed- it’s time for an action, it’s about staying ahead of the game, beating the queues and re-planning your journey to minimise the time in airports. In my 20 years of travel I have experienced all kinds of travel disturbances and the best thing to do is to use alternative information source instead of relaying on official information which is usually delayed anyway.
⚙️ Install Flightradar24 on your phone, it’s never too late – you can do it in the airport using free wi-fi offered by most airports. If you travel to exotic destinations- do it upfront.
In the Flightradar24 select “find” icon and type your flight number less one number (If it’s U22815 then type U22814). That usually helps you to allocate the incoming flight unless your flight is the very first in the morning. Finding the incoming flight will give you information if the flight has left, how far it is and the most important- the arrival time.
The app displays all commercial flights in real time and you can watch your airplane approaching 😎
When you know the arrival time – think carefully- can you catch connecting flight and what are the options.
⏳If there is no chance to catch the connection => Go to Skyscanner to investigate your connections and only then approach the airline ground personnel. Smile and be polite regardless how stressed you are inside 😌