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Top 10 European Rail Journeys

A&K Destination management company
Top European Rail JourneysRomantic, comfortable and sublimely picturesque, rail travel is one of Europe’s great pleasures.

It is also a fast and relaxing way to combine destinations to create your perfect itinerary.

Meanwhile our outstanding Concierge Rail Service ensures your travel between destinations with the ease and comfort you have come to expect from an us.

For inspiration, take a look at our top 10 European rail journeys.

Top 10 European Rail Journeys

1.    Zermatt to St Moritz
2.    Moscow to Vladivostok
3.    Zurich to Milan
4.    Paris to Barcelona
5.    Amsterdam to Germany
6.    Budapest to Vienna to Prague
7.    London to Edinburgh
8.    Verona to Munich
9.    Santiago di Compostela to León
10.  Fort William to Mallaig

Should you wish to incoroparte any of these fantastic journeys into a European adventure we would love to hear from you.

Last Chance to Experience the Douro with USD2000 Savings

This is a truly amazing itinerary. The scenery is breathtaking, the port visits are fabulous and it is absolutely one of the best trips I have ever taken. If you are a wine enthusiast it is a must-do. This is a fantastic offer. Don’t pass it up!

 

AmaWaterways - Leading The Way In River Cruising
Discover the Dramatic Douro
 Exceptional Savings on Summer Douro Cruises
Save up to $2,000 per stateroom
Cruises from $1,899 per person
AmaWaterways has two exciting river cruises debuting on Portugal’s Douro River in 2013. Experience one of Europe’s most unspoiled and undiscovered rivers on a journey filled with ancient monasteries, sleepy fishing villages, centuries-old wineries and vibrant cultural centers. With its ruggedly beautiful terrain and laboriously terraced hillsides, no wonder the locals boast, “God made the earth, but man made the Douro.”

ENTICING DOURO ENTICING DOURO
7-night roundtrip Porto cruise on the brand-new AmaVida
Optional 3 nights in Lisbon available for $690 per person
U.S. departure dates: August 2 and 9, 2013
Starting from $1,899 per person

OR $1,000 SAVINGS PER STATEROOM
U.S. departure date: July 5 and 26, 2013
Starting from $2,399 per person

PORT WINE & FLAMENCO PORT WINE & FLAMENCO
$1,000 SAVINGS PER STATEROOM
7-night cruise from Vega Terrón to Porto on the brand-new AmaVida
Optional 3 nights in Lisbon & 3 nights in Madrid
available for $1,380 per person
U.S. departure dates: July 12 & 19, 2013
Starting from $2,399 per person

The Best Beach Clubs in Spain

THE BEST BEACH CLUBS IN SPAIN
Although Beach Clubs are found in only a few locations in Spain, a number of them have recently gained international recognition.
BALEARIC ISLANDS

The Balearic Islands, floating serenely in the glittering Mediterranean, could be said to have a theme. Mallorca is the largest island, combining a little of everything, from spectacular mountain scenery and hiking to the standard sea ‘n’ sun seaside tourism. Ibiza is synonymous with clubbing, the island that gave Europe the rave. Menorca is a haven of tranquility– splendid isolated beaches and coves, and prehistoric monuments standing as taciturn reminders of how small we are in the grand scheme of things. And tiny Formentera, a chill-out island, where people lose themselves for the entire  summer, needing little more to keep them happy than white beaches and sunset parties.

Beach in Mallorca
IBIZA

Ask anyone who’s spent the last few seasons on Ibiza what has been the most significant change to happen on the island during that time and they will tell you the same thing.

The Rise of the Beach Clubs.

Beach clubs on Ibiza were once only visited by the Jet-Set Ibiza crowd, but not anymore. In recent years beach clubs have sprung up all over the island. From the uber-exclusive Blue Marlin in Cala Jondal to the more accessible Sands on Playa D’en Bossa, Ibiza beach clubs have changed the way people spend their days on Ibiza and with most clubs hosting parties that go on into the night, they’ve managed to re-shape the way they party at night. Some of them have become very popular internationally, thus, Jockey has been named among the best of the world according to FORBES Magazine, while “The Guardian” has  pointed Ushuaïa among the best beach clubs of Europe. Ushuaïa is also considered among the 50 best beach clubs in the world according to CNN. Other beach clubs not to be missed on the Island include “Nassau” and “Ocean Club”.  

Playa D’En Bossa, Ibizia
 Playa de Salinas, Ibizia
FORMENTERA

Formentera is a mix of breeze, sea, sky, light, it’s a feeling … Listen to its sea, listen to its breeze, look at its sky, feel the light and the peaceful atmosphere. South Beach Club is an exclusive place where the smell of the sea blends with the aromas of good food, chill out and the spirit of freedom. Gecko Beach Club is a boutique hotel situated on the magical island of Formentera, just meters away from the turquoise waters of Migjorn Beach in the peaceful area of Ca Mari. Its chic and modern design coupled with its idyllic ambience make this club the perfect paradise to spend your vacation, sample the cuisine and enjoy a cocktail.

Playa de Migjorn, Formentera
MALLORCA

Purobeach, on the outskirts of Palma, is one of the world’s best bar lounges. Surrounded by mountains, you will find a bar and loungers designed all in white where the atmosphere is always laid back. There is afternoon music and great food to be found.

Palma de Mallorca Cathedral
COSTA DEL SOL

This coast is often nicknamed “The Costa del Golf,” for it boasts one of the highest representation of first class golf courses. Puerto Marina and the popular ’24 hour square’ of Benalmadena, as well as Marbella’s Puerto Banus are very trendy and hip. The bars and clubs in these areas don’t get up and alive until near midnight, and stay open until the wee hours of the morning.

Costa del Sol, Marbella
MARBELLA

Nikki Beacha worldwide luxury beach club phenomenon, represents everything cool, sexy and glamorous about spending the day or night at the beach. Divine globally-inspired cuisine, the coolest crowd, the hottest parties, against a utopian backdrop of swaying palms and exotic bamboo beds. Nikki Beach’s famous Amazing Sundays are not to be missed. Attracting up to 1000 people in the height of the summer, this is the ultimate beach party experience.

Sala Beach, formerly Buddha Beach, is the place where you go to be enlightened and experience something completely new and different. There is a spa, a restaurant, an open-air pool and a cocktail bar, all located by the beachside. You come here to relax, to have fun and to socialize with the uber cool crowd. The food and drinks are lavish while the parties can only be described as “exceptionally interesting”.

Ocean Club, in the heart of Puerto Banus, is set on beach front line with breathtaking views of the sea. The undisputed jewel and center of the club is the grandiose monogramed saltwater swimming pool surrounded by oversized white circular sun loungers shaded by azure colored parasols.  A multinational professional staff of over 100 can offer you the ultimate pampering experience.

Purobeach is located directly on the beautiful beach close to Estepona. Enjoy the spectacular views of the Gibraltar rock and the Moroccan Atlas mountains. Purobeach is a hang out by the sea, with a lifestyle concept including food & drinks, a lounge, terrace, pool & yoga – in short, everything to satisfy body, mind and soul. Purobeach mixes the human need for health and spirituality during the day and a vibrant party mood by night.

 

So let us include a wonderful beach getaway on your trip to Spain…..

Marbella Nikki Beach
Marbella Ocean Club

Discover the Balearic Islands

Discover the Balearic Islands
Balearic Islands, the archipelago of Spain located in the western Mediterranean Sea off the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula, consist of five larger islands – four of those inhabited – and a number of minor islets surrounding those four. The islands boast an enviable blend of nearly-perfect climate, pristine coastlines, stunning biodiversity, and a distinct vibe of each isle. Balearic Islands are easily accessible by a plane from continental Spain or other European destinations. The islands of Ibiza and Majorca can also be reached by a ferry from Barcelona or Valencia.
Balearic Islands
MAJORCA

The largest of the Balearic Islands, Majorca’s appeal contains everything from the stunning mountain scenery and hiking through the Serra de Tramuntana range, to serene pine forests, beach coves, and the popular seaside activities. A perfect getaway for the ‘active’ traveler, Majorca offers miles of rugged coastline views, and picturesque hiking and cycling trails. Visited by over 10 million people annually, Majorca also possesses a unique cultural legacy, blending Roman, Judaic, and Islamic influences in its distinctive architectural style. A touch of classical Roman Empire is evident throughout its capital, Palma de Majorca. The city also adds a plethora of cosmopolitan options for travelers, including many shopping, dining, and nightlife options.

Cathedral of Majorca
Cathedral of Majorca
Albufera Menorca
Albufera Menorca
MENORCA

The Balearics’ most tranquil island, Menorca, is a UNESCO-designated biosphere reserve complete with untouched beaches, coves, and ravines that run along its 100-mile-long coastline. The island is an open-air museum of the archipelago biodiversity, boasting a wealth of flora, fauna and landscapes. Enjoy a mountainous hike or a bike ride, or a horseback ride on a designated trail that will unveil the stunning beauty of Menorca. The island’s S’Albufera d’Es Grau Nature Reserve is a refuge for many aquatic and migratory birds, and is one of southern Europe’s most important wetland areas. The island’s capital, Maó, has a busy port with ferries arriving from Majorca and the mainland, as well as an airport. For sommeliers, Menorca offers a unique opportunity to enjoy good wine produced from ancient winemaking recipes of the four local wineries.

IBIZA

A world-famous party hotspot, Ibiza boasts a laid-back party vibe perfect for its sandy beach backdrop. Thousands flock to Ibiza to enjoy its fun-filled nightlife atmosphere. From swanky lounges, bars, and nightclubs, to outdoor concerts and cultural events, and bar patios, the island is filled with vibrant energy and the world’s best party music. During the day, enjoy Ibiza’s famous beaches and fun marine activities. Stroll through the street markets and shops, filled with regional crafts and treats, and snack on local figs, olives and almonds. Don’t miss one of Ibiza’s legendary beach parties complete with funky beats, beautiful people, and an unforgettable atmosphere.

Ibiza
Ibiza
Formentera
Formentera
FORMENTERA

Formentera’s virtually untouched beauty, pristine coastline and crystalline waters have earned it a nickname of the ‘last paradise if the Mediterranean.’ Quaint and quiet compared to its livelier neighbor Ibiza, Formentera is ideal for a tranquil getaway, or for those interested in snorkeling, windsurfing, sailing, and scuba diving. The island’s Cala Saona is one the best beaches for snorkeling. Yachting and boating enthusiasts can sail to the uninhabited island of Espalmador in low tide, separated from Formentera by a shallow sandbar. The main village and Formentera’s capital, Sant Francesc de Formentera, is lined with charming cafes and shops.

SMALLER BALEARIC ISLANDS

Some of the smaller islands and islets among the Balearics include Cabrera, Es Conills, Es Vedrá, Sa Conillera, Sa Dragonera, S’Espalmador, S’Espardell, Ses Bledes, Santa Eulária, Plana, Foradada, Tagomago, Na Redona, Colom, and L’Aire. Most of them remain uninhabited and serve as ecological refuge. The island of Cabrera, fifth largest amongst the Balearics, is a National Park, accessible by boat from Majorca. The islands of Sa Dragonera, Pantaleu, and Isla Mediana are designated natural parks and preserves that prohibit any tourism-related development.

Why not let us include one of these lovely islands in your Spain vacation ….

Cordoba Patios

The May flowers have bloomed, and the annual Cordoba Patios Festival invites you to join the festivities from May 2nd to May 13th. Founded nearly a century ago in 1918, the festival offers a visual feast of floral arrangements, colorful mosaics, and ceramic decorations, filling the air with the smell of jasmine and orange blossom, Córdoba’s signature scents. All summer long, the Patios of Córdoba are a delight to behold. Córdoba is less than a two-hour train ride from Madrid on the high-speed AVE, making it a perfect day trip or stopover on the way to Seville and Andalucia….call us, your Spain Specialist, for more details

Spain in April


Fiestas

 

This April, Spain’s cultural legacy will once again shine through its fun-filled fiestas.
April Fair, Seville
April Fair, Seville
Easter Religious Celebrations
An unforgettable time to experience the culture of Spain and the warmth of its people, Easter week is filled with colorful processions, vibrant music, religious art, and a sense of emotion. With the Holy Week celebrations falling on the first week of the month (April 1st through 8th), nearly every city and town will be holding events worth checking out. Many of the following events have received the International Tourist Interest designation.
» Known for one of the most elaborate Easter processions in the country, Seville’s cofradías (religious brotherhoods) put on a show as they carry the colossal weight of intricately decorated statues of the Virgin Mary, and parade through the narrow streets of the old town.» The town of Murcia will take your breath away with its stunning Easter Sunday procession of ‘Cristo Yacente’ that passes under the Santo Domingo arch. Stop in at the Museo Salzillo, located in the baroque chapel of Ermita de Jesús. Dedicated to Murcian sculptor Francisco Salzillo, the museum is home to exquisite figurines that are used in the Holy Week processions.

» Those visiting the city of Cuenca can enjoy the Religious Music Festival as part of the Holy Week celebrations. Most performances take place in a cathedral or other historical buildings of this UNESCO-designated World Heritage city.

» For those visiting Valladolid, do not miss the rich display of Baroque and Castilian art pieces featured in the Good Friday processions. Historically rooted in Catholic tradition, the city is famous for its spectacular and emotional Holy Week celebrations. Don’t miss Valladolid’s National Museum of Sculpture that houses Spain’s best collection of religious art dating back to the 15th century.

April Pagan Celebrations
Seville will host its highly popular annual April Fair from the 24th through the 29th. This international fiesta dates back to 1847. Once a cattle fair, today it’s the highlight of the city’s social calendar, complete with festive atmosphere, delicious treats, crafts, singing, and “sevillanas,” the local version of flamenco dancing.

Mallorca
No matter what time of year, there are always exciting happenings all over Spain. Let us custom design your trip to this amazing country …. ole!

Spanish Wine Tour

Connoisseurs will recognize Spain as a producer of many fine wines, which is why we have created this fantastic special interest Spanish Wine Tour. Designed specifically for groups with a passion for wine, guests will be guided by our enthusiastic wine expert and gain access to a number of the best Bodegas for tastings.
Rioja

This itinerary explores the picturesque vineyards of Spain, enjoying the wines and hospitality these regions have to offer.

Highlights: Barcelona, Priorat Region, Penedes, San Sebastian, Rioja, Marques de Riscal, Vega Sicilia, Seville, and Jerez

Enthusiasts will relish the opportunity to experience Spain’s wonderful hospitality whilst sampling some of the best vintage harvests amongst acres of picturesque vineyards in the Penedes, Rioja and Jerez regions.

Spanish Vineyards
Spanish Wine Tour

•   6 full days and 2 half-days sightseeing in the Spanish wine regions of Priorat, Penedes, Rioja, Jerez and more, visiting some of Spain’s most prestigious bodegas and sampling some of the country’s best vintage wines.
•   Visit to the outstanding Dinastía Vivanco wine museum
•   An afternoon of indulgence in the Caudalíe Vinothérapie Spa
•   A professional A&K Tour Director and expert local guides
•   Breakfast, lunch and dinner where stated including welcome drinks and dinner at a local restaurant

Please contact IANNAZZI ENTERPRISES for more details…..

 

Ring in the New Year European Style

A&K Destination Management Company
Enjoy Free Sightseeing in Europe this New Year

New Year is an event celebrated the world over as people gather together full of hope for the year to come. With such expectation, it can often be difficult to decide how to see in the New Year, but we have the perfect solution to your dilemma. Why not take advantage of a truly worldwide event and make this year the year to experience something different, somewhere different.

In Europe we like to welcome the New Year in style with street parties, dinners, fiestas and balls taking place across the continent and dazzling firework displays illuminating the skies at midnight. Among the exuberance and festivities, Europe boasts some quirky and unusual traditions sure to bring you luck and good fortune, or an evening of entertainment at least. We have depicted a few of the more popular traditions below. Come and revel in the European atmosphere this New Year, learn more about our fascinating rituals, and maybe even take part in a few customs yourself.

Book a minimum 5-night tour anywhere in Europe this New Year and receive a free day’s sightseeing with one of our hand-picked, local guides who, with their unrivaled local expertise, can take you on an insightful journey into the culture of your chosen location.

To give you more inspiration we have put together six very special itineraries incorporating the highlights and spectacular New Year festivities of London, Edinburgh, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, and St Petersburg, guaranteeing you a celebration to remember. Book now to avoid disappointment as these events are very popular and tickets are likely to sell out soon.

 

CALL US FOR MORE DETAILS ON THESE EXTRAORDINARY EXPERIENCES!

New Year Traditions Around Europe

France
New Year’s Eve, known as “la Saint-Sylvestre” in France, is celebrated with “le Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre”, a special feast with family and friends thought to bring good luck. Signature dishes include pancakes, foie gras and champagne.

Germany
Bleigiessen is a popular tradition in Germany and involves the telling of fortunes.The unusual ritual involves dropping molten lead into cold water and the shape it forms is used to predict the person’s future.

Russia
New Year trees are popular in Russia. Known as Novogodnaya Yolka, these are decorated like a Christmas tree. Russians say farewell to the old year by remembering the most important events of the last 12 months and making a wish for the New Year.

Scotland
Home to the lively Hogmanay, Scotland upholds a number of unusual traditions. Auld Lang Syne, directly translated as “times gone by”, is an old Scottish song, first published by the poet Robert Burns. The song is now sung at midnight while everybody links arms. First footing is a custom in which the first male visitor to enter a house on New Year’s Day brings with him coal, whisky, or perhaps shortbread, as a symbol of good luck. However, a blonde or red head is not allowed to enter first.

Spain
In Spain it is traditional to eat twelve grapes, one on each chime of the clock at midnight. It is thought the tradition dates back to 1909 when grape growers suggested it as a way to cut down on surplus production from the year.

Italy
“La Festa di San Silvestro” in Italy is often celebrated with a meal. Lentils are thought to symbolise money and good fortune while pork symbolises the richness of life in the forthcoming year. Wearing red underwear is also thought to bring good luck!

 

Spain

SPAIN continues to be one of the world’s top tourist attractions. Trisha has received certification from the Spanish Tourist Board and from Virtuoso as a SPAIN SPECIALIST and can create a magnificent experience for you wherever you choose to travel in this glorious country.

The various regions are as diversified as can be. From the Basque Country and Green Spain areas in the northwest to sunny Andalucía in the south, to the mountainous Pyrenees to the tropical Balearic and Canary Islands, Spain offers the visitor a wealth of unique travel experiences within its borders. City travel, cultural tours, art and architecture, golf, ecotourism, skiing, beach vacations and centuries fascinating history await you in Spain.