Thursday, 29 November 2012

For Affordable Luxury Along the Mediterranean Coast

The Mediterranean beckons more than 306 million international tourists annually to its coastal shores where ardent tourists stroll along quaint cities, food connoisseurs wine and dine with gusto, and sun-worshipers bask on the pristine beaches of the Mediterranean sea. Now, with the launch of 14 new itineraries from Insight Vacations for 2013 and 2014, Singaporeans too can luxuriate in the delights of coastal countries like Spain, Italy, France and Greece.

Begin your odyssey with the ancient wonders of the Eastern Mediterranean on the new 14-day Treasures of Greece and the Islands. The birthplace of western civilization is home to majestic monuments such as the Parthenon atop the Acropolis, the Lion Gate at the entrance of the Mycenaean ruins and the exquisitely engineered 4th century BC Theater at Epidauros. Just a hop away are the sun-drenched islands of Mykonos and Santorini, the beautiful playgrounds of the rich and famous. 

If you have visited Monaco and the Cote d'Azur on the 10-day Easy Pace France tour, these twin islands are sure to take your breath away again.

Further west is what is known by the Greeks as the land of the setting sun - the romantic kingdom of Spain.11-day Northern Spain brings you on a journey from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Mediterranean Sea in the east, allowing you to savour the best of the beautiful Spanish coasts. Scenic coach drive takes you to quaint Oviedo, the 9th century capital of Christian Spain; Santander, a luxurious and sophisticated beach resort that borders the Bay of Biscay; and the city of Bilbao along the Costa Vasca, home to the spectacular piece of modern architecture that is the Guggenheim Museum.

The new 9-day Spanish Gold leads you through the cultural centres of Spain, beginning with the Prado Museum in modern Madrid, lined with Titians and Boticellis. Toledo beckons with the gothic Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo, while Seville, the setting of the opera Carmen and part of the novel Don Quixote, offers the Moorish Mezquita. On both itineraries, end your trip in Barcelona by feasting your eyes upon Gaudi's Sagrada Familia, and spend your last afternoon in Spain relaxing on one of the country's world-famous beaches.

Across the border, beyond the Mediterranean, is sunny Portugal, famed for its succulent seafood and birthplace of the iconic wines Madeira and Port. On the new 9-day Highlights of Portugal, relax and enjoy the warmth of Portuguese hospitality as you learn about its rich maritime history in Lisbon, explore the beautifully preserved medieval city of Evora and discover the secrets of the Knights Templar in Tomar.

Gastronomic delights abound along your journey, including the ubiquitous pasteis de nata (or egg tart) of Lisbon and the perennial Portuguese favourite of bacalhau, cooked a bras, a minhota or com todos. On the banks of the Douro River and bordering the North Atlantic is Porto, namesake of Porto wine, where travellers can get to know their rubies, tawnies and whites in an exclusive wine tasting.

Check out other additions from Insight Vacations:

  • Gaelic Treasures - Coinciding with The Gathering 2013, these 9 days in Ireland will celebrate Irish culture, history and genealogy.
  • Celtic Legends - Explore the beautiful natural forests and mountains of Scotland in comfort on this 8-day coach tour.
  • WWI Battlefield Extension - A 3-day look into the poignant history of the War that can be combined with other tours on France and the Channel Islands.
  • Boston, Cape Cod and the Islands - Journey down America's charming East Coast in 9 days, with a pit stop at presidential holiday resort Martha's Vineyard.
  • Rhythms and Flavours of America - Spend 9 days enjoying the American South, dropping by the musical meccas of Nashville and Memphis and the seafood paradise of New Orleans.
  • Classic Mid-Atlantic - Traipse through the skyscrapers of New York, the back roads of Pennsylvania and the majestic beauty of the Niagara Falls in 10-days of pure Americana.
Contact your travel agent for your trip to the Mediterranean today, or go to

Article brought to you by Insight Vacations.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Hokkaido Escapade!

Hokkaido in winter isn't only about its famous powdery snow skiing slopes, warm onsen and delicious food. With beautiful scenery and amazing sightseeing attractions, it remains popular with tourists all over the world.

Here's a suggested itinerary to see the sights and sounds (not to mention the food) in Hokkaido:

Day 2:  Tokachigawa

Salmon Park allows visitors to learn how the salmon struggle to swim up the Chitose River. 

 It's tough being a salmon.

The Sweetpla Garden is the factory of Hokkaido's popular Ryugetsu candy maker. Time to get stuffed! :)

Sweet Treats!

Day 3: Tokachigawa - Furano 

Lake Shikaribetsu, the highest lake in Hokkaido, is located at an elevation of 803m. 

Furano Cheese Factory produces an assortment of delicious cheeses along with other dairy products.

Day 4: Furano - Biei

The Flowerland Kamifurano, located at Biei, has beautiful flower gardens. Visitors can have endless amounts of photo opportunities here, and can try their hand at making their own Lavender Pillow with dried lavender leaves. Sjikisai Hill has wonderful views of the flower fields and hills.

Next up is the Ginga & Ryusei Falls, which are the most beautiful waterfalls in the valleys of Sounkyo. Do you know that these waterfalls are also known as the"Husband and Wife" waterfalls? 

Day 5: Biei - Sapporo
Sapporo is the capital city of Hokkaido, and it is where the Kurodake Ropeway can be found. Taking the Ropeway enables the enjoyment of the magnificent scenery. 

At Asahikawa, the Otokoyama Sake Brewery has over 340 years history of sake brewing, where visitors can taste the famous sake produce and learn more about the culture and history of sake making.

Day 6: Sapporo - Otaru
Enjoy fresh fruits and fruit picking at a fruit farm. You can eat the freshly plucked fruits on the spot!

At Otaru Canal, stroll around the century-old stone warehouses in the lively port city of Otaru. Be amazed at the craftsmanship of  the Japanese at the Kitachi Glass Shop where glass tableware are intricately handmade, and admire music boxes at the Music Box Hall

Intricate handicrafts

Visit the Former Hokkaido Government Building made from 19th century red bricks. Separating Sapporo into north and south,  do visit Odori Street, the center of Sapporo too.

And not forgetting the delicious food along the way, including the popular Hokkaido Giant Crab!

So hop on a plane to Hokkaido today and create your very own Hokkaido escapade! :)

Article written by NATAS Travel.