All posts by Katie Hammel

Katie Hammel has written about travel, food, and wine for publications including BBC Travel,, AOL Travel, the San Francisco Chronicle, New York Daily News, and others. In addition to her freelance work, she is the Senior Travel Editor at Viator, a company that sells tours and activities around the world, where she manages a team of 30 contributing writers. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and spends weekends exploring the city and the rest of northern California.
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The Pez Museum in California
Pez Museum/Flickr/Konrad Summers

Home to international tech companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook, Silicon Valley is the center of the technology industry. It encompasses the cities of San Jose, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Cupertino, and more — all linked by interstate 101 and the Caltrain system, making it an easy day... Read More

Antarctica/Katie Hammel

Antarctica is a place of extremes: It’s not only the southernmost continent, but also the coldest, driest, and windiest. A trip to Antarctica isn’t a vacation so much as an expedition, an exciting journey into a wild and inhospitable land — and it can only be done via ship.... Read More

Clement Hotel guest suite in California
Clement Hotel guest suite/Katie Hammel

Luxury can mean a lot of different things. At the Clement Hotel in Palo Alto it means never having to sign for a charge, pull out a credit card, or leave a tip. The Clement is all-inclusive, and they do mean “all.” Meals and drinks are included, whether you... Read More

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 Westfjords/flickr/Bernard McManus
Westfjords/flickr/Bernard McManus

Tucked away in the northwest corner of the country, Iceland’s Westfjords region is a mass of narrow, mountainous peninsulas plunging into the Atlantic. Fewer than 6 percent of all visitors travel to the Westfjords, making it the least visited place in the increasingly popular tourist destination. While getting there isn’t... Read More

Annecy, France

Set on the edge of a bright blue lake, surrounded by mountains and with a view of the French Alps, Annecy is a charming little medieval town known as “the Venice of the Alps” for its many canals. It’s a romantic and idyllic spot for a day trip, with... Read More

Icelandic horses in Iceland
Icelandic horses/Flickr/Christopher Michel

Iceland is an idiosyncratic place. In the winter, darkness reigns, while in the summer, the sun barely sets. The country is roughly the size of Kentucky and 10 percent of it’s covered in glaciers, yet there’s room for 66 golf courses. It’s a place where “land of contrasts” is... Read More

Ring Road in Iceland
Ring Road/Flickr/kismihok

The idea of driving in Iceland can be a bit overwhelming for some travelers. Iceland’s very name conjures images of roads covered in ice and snow, and the country’s reputation for otherworldly landscapes might make drivers wary of navigating. But driving in this country is actually very easy and... Read More

Guestroom at Ventana Inn and Spa in Big Sur, California
Guestroom/Ventana Inn and Spa

Set on 240 acres in the 240,000-acre Ventana Wilderness of the Los Padres National Forest in Big Sur, California, the Ventana Inn and Spa, knows how to play to its strengths — specifically, its spectacular position along one of the most beautiful stretches of the California coast. Tucked into the hills... Read More

A view of Porto, Portugal
Porto/Flickr/Mike Norton

Perhaps the most famous of Portugal’s exports, port is a fortified wine made from grapes grown in the Douro Valley. Synonymous with the beautiful city of Porto, the drink draws millions of visitors annually to taste it at its source. Whether you’re a first-time sipper or a port aficionado... Read More

Biking in Beaune
Katie Hammel

Burgundy — specifically the subregions of the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune — is one of two French wine regions recently awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. The Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune surround the town of Beaune, which is the unofficial wine capital... Read More

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Tank Garage winery tasting room in Calistoga, California
Katie Hammel

Calistoga, located on the north end of Napa Valley, was once an upscale resort town. Founded by California’s first millionaire, Sam Brannan, it was home to a hot springs resort popular with well-heeled San Franciscans escaping the city. Eventually its popularity declined — as did the properties that made it... Read More

Fontana Spa1
Katie Hammel

The Blue Lagoon is the most famous of Iceland’s hot springs. But it’s also the most visited tourist attraction in Iceland, and at certain times, you can tell — the spring-fed, man-made lagoon has even recently turned people away during peak hours due to crowding. On your next Iceland trip, we... Read More

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Tucked into the 350 miles that separate Warsaw and Berlin, the Lubuskie region is the unofficial capital of Poland’s small but growing wine production. It’s the largest of Poland’s three main wine-growing areas, just over three hours from Warsaw and two from Berlin via train. Thanks to the location’s... Read More

hotteok - Seoul street Food

While most people know about kimchi and Korean barbecue, the food offerings in South Korea are are incredibly diverse, and go far beyond these standard dishes. The best news for travelers? Some of the best options can be found on the streets rather than the restaurants. From dried fish chips... Read More

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free things to do in Warsaw

Warsaw, the capital of Poland, was one of the most damaged cities during World War II. In 1944, in what would become known as the Warsaw Uprising, the citizens of the city rebelled against the Nazi forces that had taken control. In retaliation, Hitler ordered the city destroyed. The... Read More