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We know what you’re thinking: “Fado” is a chain of Irish pubs in cities all across America.
Well, yeah… we’re not really sure what’s up with that, because Fado is also a traditional style of urban Portuguese folk music that typically features two or three guitarists and a male or female singer. The lyrics reflect themes of longing and nostalgia, about the sea or the life of the poor. The Portuguese describe it with the word saudade, which has no direct translation into English but describes a deep melancholic longing for something or someone that is now absent.
Sounds like a bit of a downer, right? But the mood inside a fado bar is far from sad. And we guess that’s the one good thing about not speaking Portuguese as a tourist – you won’t know what they’re talking about anyway. But you will appreciate it in very much the same way as people appreciate Opera music: the beautiful, booming voices to go along with the soft, picking guitar. Except you don’t have to wear a tux to a fado show, and you can see a show while bellied up at a bar. Read more
As the weather cools down in much of North America, a soothing soak in the hot springs is the perfect thing to usher in the new season. The U.S. offers a number of hot spring experiences, from hiking out to a secluded, forested spot, to booking a room at a high-end resort. Hot springs are often touted for their healing properties, attracting those seeking stress relief, healthier skin, and immune system stimulation – just in case you needed an excuse. Here are four of our favorite hot spring experiences in the U.S.
Riverbend Hot Springs, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
At Riverbend Hot Spring in the city of Truth or Consequences guests are housed in private, fully renovated mobile homes. The resort is also known for their attentive staff, who will hand-deliver morning coffee to the hot springs as you watch the sun rise over the Turtleback Mountains and the Rio Grande. Unlimited access to public springs are available for all overnight guests, and walk-in guest-passes are also available and include access to the pool area, deck, patio, and sauna. Rooms cost between $70–$150 per night and a guest pass is $10. Read more
Canada features more than 3.8 million square miles of diverse landscapes ranging from rolling prairies to pristine glacial lakes. One of the best ways to explore the country is by train. Hop on board one of these lines for the rail adventure of a lifetime.
Rocky Mountain Routes: The Canadian Rocky Mountains serve as the backdrops for several incredible railway trips, including the incredibly popular Vancouver-to-Banff route offered by Rocky Mountaineer. Passengers travel by day, spend the night at a hotel in Kamloops and continue the two-day journey the next morning. Opt for the GoldLeaf package, which entitles you to watch the scenery from the glass-domed upper level and dine in an exclusive dining room in the lower level. Rates for the Vancouver-to-Banff experience begin at $935.
VIA Rail also provides service from Edmonton to Jasper. The scenery can be a little ho-hum as you head south, but once you hit the Rocky Mountains, you’ll “ooh and aah” the rest of the way. One-way travel on VIA from Edmonton to Jasper begins at $110. Read more
As convenient as airlines can be, the act of flying often sucks the joy out of getting there, wherever ‘there’ might be. After enduring the endless security lines, the tedious boarding process, and the subpar airplane food, we arrive at our destination cranky, tired, and often a little disoriented. Not so with train travel. Assuming you have the luxury of time, trains can be one of the most enjoyable ways to explore a new country, with their slower pace and more civilized atmosphere.
More and more travelers are now rediscovering the magic of trains, and luckily, supply is meeting demand. Countries are investing in their rail networks as a viable source of tourism revenue, and promoting off-the-beaten-path destinations as stop-offs along the way. Want to wander through Vienna en route to Stockholm? Or spend two weeks visiting natural wonders in western USA? These new train routes could be worth looking into.
Since 1911, intrepid passengers have cruised inland along the Noyo River aboard the California Western Railroad, a 40-mile route between Fort Bragg, CA and Willits, CA. The rail service was originally created to ferry timber to and from the Pacific Coast, and indeed the route itself winds through stunning redwood forests in the Noyo River Canyon. These days, the ‘Skunk Train,’ as it’s commonly known (thanks to a pungent odor emitted by the old trains’ exhaust gases), is one of the state’s most popular train routes, despite its brevity. A tunnel collapse earlier this year forced a temporary closure, but as of this month, the one-of-a-kind historic rail service is open to passengers once more. Choose from a Saturday evening “Sunset BBQ Excursion,” ($70) which involves a stop-off in Northspur Station, or a simple 4-hour trek between Fort Bragg and Willits ($49). Read more
Don’t let the nearing end-of-summer get you down. Head to the 4.5-star Brazilian Court Hotel in upscale Palm Beach and unwind as you take advantage of the Indulge the Senses package for $374 per person. We love this offer, which saves you more than $100 per person on booking the components separately. Here’s what you’ll get: Read more
Unlike the baby Prince George of Cambridge, most of us are not born into royalty. That’s not to say we can’t fake it, though. With many former European royal residences being turned into hotels, we can at least sleep like a future king.
Here are just a few you can choose from. Read more
Sonoma County boasts some of Northern California’s best wineries: Kenwood Vineyards, Rodney Strong Vineyards, Chateau St. Jean, and Gloria Ferrer, to name a few. It’s also home to some of the best restaurants north of San Francisco. If you’re looking for a great meal while you’re vineyard-hopping, or you’re just in NorCal on vacation, here are five eateries offering well-prepared meals, ambiance, and, of course, excellent wine. Read more
Rich with history, it seems Portugal itself should be a UNESCO World Heritage Site – we’ve lost count of how many of its cities and towns have been given the esteemed title. While Lisbon, Porto, and Sintra are all worthy of their own itineraries, if you’re looking for something a little bit off the beaten path (or just want to take a day trip from one of it’s major cities), here’s where you should go to get a unique look at the rest of Portugal.
1. The Algarve When you think of great beaches in the Iberian Peninsula, the Costa del Sol in Spain probably comes to mind well before Portugal does. Enter, the Algarve in the south of Portugal. While there are sleepy parts of this region, consider checking out the popular Praia da Rocha, a beach in the shore town of Portimão. At the end of the beach, explore the 17th century castle, Fortaleza da Santa Caterina; watch the sunset from the fort or simply visit it to get the best view of the beach. Other cool spots to hit in the southern region are Lagos and Faro, two of the larger cities in the Algarve. Sagres Point, the most south-westerly point of Portugal, is also famous because explorers like Ferdinand Magellan and Columbus are rumored to have studied at the Sagres Henry the Navigator School of Navigation (though the exact location of the school is unknown to this day). Visit the Fortaleza de Sagres, built in the 1400s, the fortress that was commissioned by the same man, Infante D. Henrique. Read more
Big Sur isn’t typically synonymous with “budget travel,” but if you’re heading to the dramatic bluffs and funky beach towns in the area, you don’t necessarily have to worry about breaking the bank to do it. By getting a bit creative with where you stay and how you book, you can enjoy the stunning views, rocky beaches, pristine natural parks, and eclectic cuisine for less than you might expect, and without sacrificing any of the glamor or luxury of a more highly-priced itinerary. Here’s how to get the best of Big Sur on a budget. Read more
According to the recent release of the American Express Spending and Saving Tracker, travelers are going further (38 percent of affluent consumers are heading overseas), staying longer (66 percent of travelers will stay at least a week), and spending more (31 percent will spend more than $1,000 per person). From babymoons to river cruises, and beyond, here are a few other travel trends. Read more
Just an hour’s water taxi ride from Belize City, Ambergris Caye serves as the gateway to snorkeling at the world’s second largest barrier reef and diving at the infamous Blue Hole. While on the island, enjoy delicious seafood in the fishing village of San Pedro, incredible wildlife, and more. Here’s a guide to where to eat, what to do, and where to stay on “La Isla Bonita.” Read more
Big cities make for great vacations. The culture and palpable energy is a large part of why so many people gravitate toward the world’s great cities and put up with, even embrace, the hustle and bustle. Sometimes, though, even the most committed city traveler feels the need to check out of the constant stream of activity in, say, London or New York, and that is when they head to the quiet calm of a city park. Read more
Anthony Bourdain says that experiencing a country through its food is one of the best ways to get to its core. For us, it’s not only about how food tastes, but also where it comes from and how it’s made. We’ve picked a few of our favorite tours that will immerse you in the taste and culture of distinct regions around the world.
1. Villa Romana: Authentic Amalfi Coast, Italy, International Kitchen, (From $2100/person)
Italy’s Amalfi Coast is the stuff of dreams and travel bucket lists. Arrive in the scenic seaside town of Minori and jump into the laidback, food-obsessed culture with this tour. Stay six nights at the Hotel Villa Romana, named after the ancient ruins nearby, and participate in four cooking lessons. When you’re not in the kitchen, guides take you to visit a local fishmonger, watch mozzarella-making demonstrations, and see how limoncello is produced. Read more
What comes to mind when you think of Munich? It’s probably something along the lines of concrete, lederhosen, and beer. At least that’s what I thought, when The Bachelorette announced she’d be stopping in Munich for this week’s episode. Surely, Des and her bevy of men will be scouting out some of the most romantic spots in the German city. Upon a second look, I found some sites where I’d stop if I were heading there with 10 guys who were all vying for my affection. Read more
Have some fun in the sun while enjoying special summer rates on the 35-mile stretch of white-sand beaches in St. Petersburg and Clearwater. As part of the “100 Days of Summer” promotion, you can secure rates as low as $107 per night as well as extras like complimentary upgrades, breakfast in bed, and more. Sample offers include: Read more
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