As you begin to think about where you may travel once our world is healthy again, are you concerned about visiting crowded cities and attractions? As much as I love the beauty and energy of major cities, after this crisis I’m not sure many of us will be running out to fight the crowds. But we will all be longing for a great vacation to unwind and be pampered.
So I’m sharing with you 4 spectacular vacation ideas where you won’t need to fight the crowds, you’ll have plenty of pampering, along with amazing activities. And our services are always private so you will enjoy private guides and drivers for your local transportation to unique activities and sightseeing.
FRANCE - THE LOIRE VALLEY AND PROVENCE
The French countryside is magical. I’m pinpointing below two spectacular regions where hotels are intimate, set in open fields and often surrounded by vineyards and olive groves.
The Loire Valley… Discover a region famous for its fairytale castles, lovely wines and natural beauty. The Loire Valley has over 300 castles, vineyards, sunflower fields, and charming medieval towns. It is a magical place to visit. The castles are rich in renaissance architecture and some have been turned into hotels to truly get immersed into this magnificent region. Your days will be filled with touring and learning about the history of the castles, visiting the most charming towns and tasting the local wines.
Provence... Renowned for its incredible Roman ruins which you will find across the region. In Provence you’ll find many art galleries housing works by famous painters such as Van Gogh and Cezanne and lots of historic houses and gardens to visit. A trip to Provence wouldn't be complete without a visit to one of the many vineyards and estates where you can take a wine tour, taste the locally made wines and bring a few bottles home with you. Exploring the many Provençal markets in the area is a must. Most villages have a market, on a specific day of the week, featuring local foods and products.
ITALY - TUSCANY AND UMBRIA
Visiting the Italian countryside is the ultimate destination for foodies. Immerse yourself in the heart of the country. Learn about the Italians’ passion for food and wine…
Visit charming villages in Tuscany and enjoy wine tastings at historic vineyards. Enjoy golf, horseback riding, and wellness spas all in the most charming farmhouse style properties surrounded by olive groves and vineyards. And for a really special treat in Tuscany visit during July to ATTEND A UNIQUE ANDREA BOCELLI CONCERT in his hometown at an open-air amphitheater. The Tuscan hills as the backdrop for the theater add to this amazing experience. A spectacular event of acoustics and stage show.
In Umbria (the most authentic Italian countryside), explore medieval hilltop towns and ancient walled cities, learn about the art of olive oils, salumi, and black truffles. Plus, there are so many adventure activities in Umbria. Monti Sibillini National Park offers zip lining, horseback riding, biking, whitewater rafting, and paragliding. This spectacular area is lush, mountainous, and earthy. Traveling through Umbria you’ll still see grandmothers in the fields wearing dresses with their aprons and making pasta by hand in their kitchens.
Visiting the Italian countryside is like stepping back into another century. It is raw, earthy, and warm. The mountains, the sunsets, and the overall vibe is incredibly special. Plus the gastronomic experiences are like no others.
PORTUGAL - THE AZORES AND DOURO VALLEY
The Azores... These nine islands off the coast of Portugal are still a hidden gem. Each island has its own landscape and magic. Here’s what you can experience in the Azores… Lovely towns with mosaic cobblestone streets, not far from these charming towns you can visit hot springs and float in thermal waters, hike to waterfalls, and marvel at beautiful gardens throughout the islands. Enjoy a myriad of activities such as mountain biking, canyoning, surfing, canoeing, and infinite coastal hikes.
One of the most spectacular and oldest wine regions in the world… The Douro Valley. Here the river flows in between the hills of rolling vineyards, it's truly magical. The hotels in the Douro Valley are intimate and beautiful with views of the breathtaking landscape and often provide vine-filled terraces over the tranquil river. We arrange for private visits to historic wineries where you get to tour the property, enjoy tastings and lunch. Guided hikes, bicycle tours, and private boat tours complete your stay in this magnificent region.
RENT A PRIVATE VILLA
From the Caribbean to the Tuscan countryside, renting a villa will provide you with privacy, plenty of room for family gatherings, a private pool, breathtaking views, and even your own chef.
Villa rentals can include the services of a butler, chef and housekeeper (you can opt to have a chef for the entire stay or for a couple of days, it's up to you!). So you can enjoy these magnificent homes and be catered to throughout your entire vacation. Concierge services are also available to assist you with any needs during your stay.
Depending on your preferences, your villa rental can be a stand-alone home or as part of a larger property with restaurants and other amenities on site. At Distinct Vacations, we work exclusively with professional management companies, not individual owners, so you never have to worry about the reliability of our rentals.
Whether you choose a Caribbean Villa where the ocean is your backyard with your own kayaks to enjoy or a Villa in the Italian Countryside surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, you will have spectacular amenities and plenty of privacy away from the crowds.
I hope these ideas are helpful as you start dreaming about your next vacation. Perhaps we’ll get to travel this year or maybe we need to wait until next Spring but one thing I’m certain of is that we all need a vacation to look forward to.
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