As soon as we visited Volterra, we knew we had found one of the best villages in Tuscany. Here's why we love it.
See those happy, happy grins!? That's us, minutes after checking into our Volterra hotel room and discovering we had our own secret terrace. Swoon! We were fresh off the bus but we already knew that Volterra was one of the best villages in Tuscany.
Tuscany is a region in central Italy. It's famous for its spectacular regional capital city, Florence, as well as having one of the best food scenes in the world. Some of the world's finest olive oil, wine, cheese, cured meats, and pasta are produced here. And much of it is produced in and around small hill top villages which were once mighty fortress cities - that is, until the Florentines starting throwing their weight around!
With plenty of time and no real travel restrictions, we were spoiled with choice about where to go in Tuscany. We didn't want to spread ourselves too thin and decided to concentrate on just a couple villages. On paper, Volterra checked many of our travel boxes. It was picturesque, affordable, and small enough to explore on foot. And it didn't hurt that Volterra was renowned for its alabaster art. But until we arrived, we hadn't known that we not only made the right choice - we made the perfect choice! Arriving in Volterra was one of those take-your-breath-away moments, giving us absolutely everything we could have ever dreamed of for a sweet Tuscan getaway.
But what exactly about it made us declare Voterra to be one of the best villages in Tuscany? Here are some of the many reasons we fell in love, along with some practical tips for planning your own trip.
In 2013, we created the most incredible reward trip with Aeroplan, circling the globe with Star Alliance. And in 2018 we're doing it again!
TurnipseedTravel debuted nearly six years ago (and does anyone else remember our very first green and grey template?). Nearly 18 months later, that debut became a fully fledged launch when Ryan and I took our readers along for the journey of a lifetime.
We cashed in all our points for what was technically a trip to Australia but instead embarked on an amazing round-the-world trip fueled entirely by Aeroplan. See, we had learned about all the reward flight loopholes needed to "hack" our travel plans and create a mini round the world trip with Star Alliance partners. With stops in Europe, Asia, North America (and, of course, Australia), we had 9 flight segments on Star Alliance flights (and visited about 15 different locations) and paid about $300 each for taxes and fees. As you can tell from our nostalgic photos, thanks to Aeroplan, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Or so we thought....
Luxury travel in Budapest comes at a very low price at the Hungarian State Opera House.
Who doesn't want to add a little bit of luxury to their lives? Budapest may just be the perfect destination for opulence, romance, and grandeur, all on an affordable budget. During our visit, we discovered a destination that loves chocolate, wine, and fine living as much as paprika and goulash, and all at a much more economical price point than Western Europe. I'll count that as a travel win any day!
There's so much in Budapest that will sweep you off your feet but the Hungarian State Opera House may just be the finest embodiment of luxurious living. Here are three bargain priced ways to elevate your travels that will have you singing a sweet song!
Discover the secrets of the centuries-old Charles Bridge in the timeless city of Prague.
We've adapted a new mantra when we're asked for travel advice these days and it goes something like this. When people say that they want to visit Paris, we always pause and ask if they're sure they don't mean Prague. It's no slight against Paris, but I think when it comes to European beauty, charm, romance, and cobblestones, most would-be visitors are craving Prague (and they don't even know it!)
The city is home to fine bakeries, delightful public squares, and, of course, is no stranger to beautiful bridges. Plan your trip to Paris all the same. Just consider adding Prague onto that itinerary! We were fortunate to spend 4 days in the heart of the city, next to the legendary Charles Bridge, and we found reason after reason to starting recommending "The Golden City" along with "The City of Lights".
On Hawaii's Big Island, you won't find a 'hotter' hangout than Pahoa and Lava Tree State Monument.
If I told you that Pahoa, Hawaii, was one of the hottest spots on earth, you'd probably think I was exaggerating or that I was describing a spot with a lot of buzz. But Pahoa, on Hawaii's Big Island, is indeed one of the world's hottest spots and it's all thanks to its neighbour, Kilauea Volcano.
Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and, as recently as 2014-2015, lava flows threatened to destroy part of the town of Pahoa and surrounding communities. Fortunately, the lava stopped just in the nick of time, but local residents were right to be wary. This region bears the scars - and the beauty - of centuries of volcanic power. From delicate wildflowers to the toughest "trees" you've ever seen, nearby Lava Tree State Monument (sometimes called Lava Tree State Park) is a captivating tribute to the prowess of mother nature.
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