Ireland is a country known for its beautiful, lush, green countryside, friendly people, and whiskey!!
One of the best ways to explore this amazing country is to follow the whiskey trail and taste your way around. There are plenty of distilleries who welcome visitors and are more than happy to show you how they craft their brew and encourage you to taste their wares.
This extremely small distillery is new (opened in 2012) and their first whiskey won’t be ready until 2016; it takes time for the Dingle air to mature and mellow this craft brewed elixir. They have a great history of brewing though – having risen from the Porterhouse Brewing Company – and also produce a mighty fine gin and vodka.
As one of the oldest Irish distilleries, Kilbeggan has the history behind it to prove that it is worth a visit. Thanks to prohibition and evolving technology there was a time when this great house was silent. Fortunately good taste prevailed and the stills were once again fired up in the 1980’s to start producing some of the best whiskey in the world again.
Bushmills is probably one of the best known whiskey brands in the world. The distillery is the pride of the town and a tour here is well worth the time and effort. A guided experience to help you understand just how whiskey is made right from the grain to the golden liquid that we all love to taste. No visit to Irelands whiskey trail would be complete without a visit to Bushmills.
Another ‘risen from the ashes’ distillery, the Cooley distillery opened the old Ceimici Teo Distillery in Dundalk in the late 1980’s and has pushed through to produce some mighty fine whiskey. It’s not always easy for these very small producers to feign off take over by larger brands but Cooley has stood the test of time and even grown since their humble beginnings.
When visiting Ireland, you may find that it is the history of whiskey that is as interesting as the tasting during your time there. You may even find that, when you get home, you may be interested in finding wooden barrels for sale so that you can continue your exploration into the flavors of whiskey and maybe even age some of your own spirits, wine and beer.
Milestone anniversaries are a great way for getting the whole family together to celebrate parents or grandparents. The family together is the best present and an honour to the relationship that spawned everyone, a tangible proof of their success. The years together may not have always been blissful but the celebration should be more than a rubber chicken dinner at the community hall or cramped awkwardly in the sitting room.
Photo Credit: Amandajm
There are better options for celebrating the ones you love like a beautiful island destination. Heading to a destination means no one family member is stuck with hosting the lot of you in their home or is making all the arrangements at the community hall. When everyone is away from home the interruptions from things like work are kept at bay. There is a chance to relax, reconnect with people you may be missing because of busy schedules, and truly focus on celebrating the honoured couple.
Photo Credit: FEMA Photo Library
This calls for the treat of luxury travel, a bank of budget hotel rooms won’t due for a celebration of this scale. A villa that holds the whole extended family comfortably is much more fitting for the occasion. There is room for the quiet ones to get away and room for more boisterous family fun. Destinations to fit the family idea of fun run from beach and poolside house in Barbados for the sun and water sport lovers to a secluded villa in Tuscany for the food and wine lovers.
Photo Credit: www.to-tuscany.com
Travel to a luxury villa destination comes with some bonus items that many do not realize. The biggest one is a kitchen. This doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is going to get stuck in the kitchen for a big family dinners. It does mean that early risers can get to their morning coffee or cuppa tea without needing to wrangle the sleepy family members out to a restaurant for breakfast. If children are in the family mix, having ready access to snacks can help to avoid the hunger induced melt down while searching for a place to eat with a table for a dozen. Picky eaters can have a stash of their go to food in case the local food isn’t quite up to snuff for them.
A luxury villa with a kitchen and dining room to fit the entire clan for the big anniversary celebration dinner can be the best setting when professional chef is added to the mix. You don’t need a member of the family to attend Le Cordon Bleu to make this happen. Hiring a local chef to prepare either family favourites or local specialities can create a luxury travel experience that the family won’t soon forget. If the villa is in a secluded location, hidden among the Tuscan hills, hiring a chef for the entire visit will keep the family from starving from a lack of local language.
Photo Credit: pixabay.com
The African continent’s most southerly nation has long been a hotspot for intrepid travellers, though only recently had it begun to garner the attention it so rightly deserves. South Africa shines with a diverse, electric culture; an exceptionally beautiful natural landscape; and harbours so many amazing things to see and do that visitors will be hard pressed to even enjoy a fraction during the length of one trip. With so much present in the country however, what hot spots should be at the top of travellers’ itineraries?
Franschhoek Wine Tram
The wineries and vineyards of the Cape Winelands are internationally renowned and, thanks to their being set amongst staggeringly lush countryside, visitors should definitely consider exploring this gorgeous area. The Frankschhoek Wine Tram is the method of choice for wine lovers to traverse this otherwise rugged and mountainous landscape; open-sided, the tram makes for an unforgettable, sensory experience. Nearby, stay at the Owners Cottage at Grande Provence. The luxury accommodations are a white-linen-draped sanctuary within a sanctuary, featuring a pool, huge rooms and, naturally, a private chef!
Well known to even the Africa-ignorant, Cape Town is an excellent destination that couples stunning natural vistas with fun loving cosmopolitanism. Sun-worshippers will have cause to celebrate upon arriving in Cape Town- the city boasts wonderful stretches of pristine sand- and the Waterfront is a lively, fun place to while away evenings having a drink or enjoying some South African cuisine. There’s even casinos available for those that want to inject a little excitement into their visit, though we’d suggest you play a few games online during the flight over on Blackdiamondcasino- South Africans are no pushovers when it comes to poker!
If getting tipsy off of a few too many vintages doesn’t float your boat, and if the hustle and bustle of Cape Town simply isn’t for you, South Africa’s Garden Route will be right up your alley. The stretch, located between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, is an adventurer’s paradise, known across the world for it’s exciting treasures. As well as hiking, kayaking, and horse riding, nature lovers will be enticed by the great number of dolphins that frequent the waters of the route, along which also lie plentiful beaches, quiet seaside villages and great wild expanses just waiting to be explored.
Everyone thinks about beaches like Copacabana or Ipanema when asked about Brazil for travel. Maybe heading up river on the Amazon to the rainforest to explore one of the lungs of our planet. There is a whole other side of the country to explore that feels like it doesn’t even belong on the earth. Somewhere to chill out and slow down. Parque Nacional dos Lençóis Maranhenses in the northeastern state of Maranhão is a vast landscape of sand dunes and lagoons that is like no where else. It is accessible from the São Luís airport with regular TAM flights connecting to the rest of Brazil.
Photo Credit: Vitor 1234
No jungles and the howling monkeys or chattering birds to disturb you chill time. Just the sound of wind across sand and water. Wide open vistas and hardly anyone else around. A unique experience in a bustling modern country like Brazil. No fighting the traffic of Sao Paulo’s notorious rush hour. No need to weave your way around the construction mayhem as Rio de Janeiro prepares for the 2016 summer Olympics. Big skies and hours to contemplate where you are in the world.
Photo Credit: 2ilorg
Your chill out time will not be disturbed by the backpacker hoards chasing a cheap beer adrenaline buzz on the back of 4-wheel drive sand buggies here. The park is a protected zone that does not allow for motorized vehicles. You are left with the natural beauty as the party happens somewhere else. This is a perfect place to find your bliss rather than listen to someone else drone on about their bliss. This isn’t a party to see who can have the most spectacular tumble after speeding down a sand dune.
Photo Credit: Rick McCharles
All of this may not apply to you. Bliss may well be found comfortably pampered on the massage table at a spa with a lovely cocktail and refreshed skin. Or heaving with a crowd at 128 beats per minute on the dance floor as the DJ spins together another killer set. If unique nature and distance from people will guide you back to your centre point then this should be on you travel map.
Peru. Chile. Bolivia. Argentina. Brazil. Columbia. The heart of South America, giving rise to images of steaming jungle, exotic creatures, wide rivers, and untold adventures. There is a magic that exists here; a sense of wonder and delight, discovery, and lost excitement.
Photo Credit: pdvos
The lost city of Machu Picchu sits high on a hill in the Peruvian jungle. Hidden for many years by dense vegetation it has been reclaimed and restored and now gives a glimmer into what life might have been like when the Incas ruled this great land. The 5-day Inca Trail hike is the best way to get to the site, offering not only stunning views from the Andes mountains but also crossing through other, important Inca sites that provide even more context as to just how expansive this ancient civilization was.
Salar de Uyuni
Photo Credit: Patrick Nouhailler
The salt flats of Bolivia appear to be, for all intents and purposes, a moonscape that couldn’t possible exist on earth. Covering more than 4000 square miles and with an elevation change of barely a meter over that area, the salt flats hold water and create a mirror effect that has to be seen to be believed. Beyond creating interesting, and funny, photo opportunities there is also the chance to see native pink flamingos and fabulous cloud formations.
Rio de Janeiro
Photo Credit: Rubem Porto Jr.
It is the stunning juxtaposition of ocean, and city, and mountains that give this great city its jaw-dropping reputation. From Sugar Loaf mountain to the awe-inspiring greatness of Christ the Redeemer; from Copacabana Beach to Ipenema Beach; from the great boardwalk to the favelas climbing up the hillsides, Rio is a city that invites exploration and rewards with hidden treasures.
If you’re looking to visit this magical land, there is no better way to get there than LAN. With regular flights, outstanding comfort, and great service you’ll find yourself soaking up the magic of South America and will soon be planning your return visit.