2 days by the beautiful Lake Como

It’s a big shout when people say somewhere is the most beautiful place in the world . . . but, yep . . . Lake Como takes it.  Picture perfect Italian villages punctuating luscious forests as they meet the lake’s crystal clear waters, and all against the stunning dramatic backdrop of the Alps.  It’s hard not to just stop and gorp at it over, and over again

Naturally in such a beautiful place, it comes with a huge demand from others wanting to visit and, especially in summer, the costs go through the roof.  The cost is something hard to avoid, but it’s actually relatively easy to avoid the crowds with a few simple tips and enjoy what makes this place such a world famous destination

A day for the highlights of Milan

Milan felt like the definition of style – not only the perfect buildings and the art, but everyone walking around looks like they’re just about to hit the catwalk.  Maybe this was just a summer thing, but either way it seemed to ooze style!

That being said, I didn’t find it a particularly deep city for things to do / see, so I’d say a full day is enough, with some obvious sites to draw your attention

3 week European roadtrip for mountains and wine

If you look through a typical European highlights itinerary it will invariably be dominated by the cities.  For instance, the Lonely Planet’s top itinerary for Europe is 12 cities and nothing else, and of its 24 overall European highlights, only 6 are not cities (the Norwegian Fjords, the Matterhorn, Greece’s Santorini, Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor, Transylvania, North Macedonia’s Lake Ohrid . . .  if you’re interested).  It’s understandable – Europe is a centre for culture and stunning capital cities, but it also has some world class experiences to be found outside of the cities and this itinerary gives you a flavour of those with a focus on its mountain and wine regions


With this itinerary you will enjoy:

  • Mountains – the most spectacular views of Europe’s premier mountain regions with Switzerland’s “big three” of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau from Interlaken, and the Pyrenes’ Cirques de Gavarnie
  • Wine regions – 4 of the best wine regions France has to offer with Bordeaux, Provence, Alsace and Champagne
  • Lakes – 2 of the world’s truly stunning lakes with the simply magnificent Lake Como and the Swiss Lakes surrounding Interlaken
  • Coastline – the epitome of luxury and style with the most famous stretch of coastline in Europe with the Cote d’Azur, its trio of corniches and Monaco
  • Hilltop villages and rural regions – the prettiest in Europe with the hilltop villages and elegant treelined streets of Provence and the timbered fairytale villages of the Black Forrest
  • Roman Ruins – some of the best preserved Roman Ruins with the Pont du Garde and the Arles Amphitheatre
  • Driving – and of course, some of the best driving scenery in all of Europe as you pass from one mountain range to another and along some of the prettiest countryside on the continent

Two days in Florence

As cradle of the Renaissance, Florence quite rightly is seen as one of the “must visit” sites in all of Europe.  The Duomo, Michelangelo’s David and the Ponte Vecchio are world-class sites that are enjoyable for both art and non-art lovers, and the setting looking out across the terracotta roofs and to the distant Tuscan mountains really are beautiful.  But, I would say that a big part of Florence’s enjoyment is dependent on your knowledge of Renaissance art and, if you don’t have that, it can get a tad tiring.  If, like me, you are in that less cultured group, I would suggest either learning more about it before the visit (I would recommend reading the fascinating biography of Leonardo da Vinci for a bit of a starter that certainly helped me with a bit of context), or limit your visit to 2 days

Three days in Rome

One of the most famous cities in the world and, when I think about my “Culture” rating, arguably the most culturally rich city in the world as well.  I’ve visited Rome twice and, despite my love for all things Roman history, it was at a time when I didn’t get as much out of the city as I’d wished to have and so I won’t write a detailed review.  Instead, as I look back on my visits there, I’ve shared below some high level tips to hopefully steer you in the right direction

Two days in Venice

If you get Venice right, it is a truly magical experience, but the difficulty is trying to make your experience not dominated by the hoardes of fellow tourists.  I won’t write a detailed review for Venice because it was some years since I visited, but my biggest 3 tips are:

#1 Get lost and do so in areas without the major attractions – you’ve probably heard this before, but the most enjoyable experience is when you are completely lost in the tiny alleyways and find some square or open area that is super quiet and makes you feel like having Venice to yourself.  Zero chance of having that feeling in the famous spots

#2 Avoid summer, weekends and Carnival (usually February) – we visited in the winter and it felt far quieter.  Weather didn’t limit anything we wanted to do

#3 Stay overnight – that way you avoid the day trippers and have that great spooky feeling when wandering through the streets in the, hopefully, misty evening