Travelling with Kids

Traveling with kids
Travelling with kids

Travelling With Kids This Summer?

Even though gas prices have most of us ready to stay home, summer is near, and that means it’s time to get out of the house. When you’re planning to head to the highway with little ones, you’ll need to take the time to prepare before you go. Today, Holiday Home Lets shares a few valuable tips on how to road trip like a pro when your passengers are preschool-aged or younger.

On The Go With Babies

Let’s start with the youngest possible members of your family: infants. If you’re a new parent, the idea of strapping your little one in for a long journey away from home is intimidating. But, it doesn’t have to be. According to the Traveling Mom blog, your best bet is to get acquainted with how to change diapers on the road, what to pack, how to pack your diaper bag, and when your little one is least likely to have a temper tantrum en route.

Yes, there will be stress on the trip, but you can use these tips to alleviate as much anxiety as possible. This includes minimizing the stress that comes with returning home by organizing and cleaning home before you leave so that all you have to do is unpack. Knowing that you’ll be coming back to a decluttered and organized home will allow you to enjoy your time away with the kiddos that much more!

Where To Take Toddlers And Older (Road Trip!)

Once you’ve got a couple of years under your seatbelt, it’s time to strap in with your walkers and talkers. At this point, you already know what you need to do, but where should you go? Two cities that top our list for kids are Los Angeles and Nashville.

Los Angeles

The Hollywood Sign, Venice Beach, and Santa Monica Pier are the obvious choices when visiting Los Angeles. However, for the sports fans in your crew, no visit to the City of Angels would be complete without having an opportunity to catch a game at Dodger Stadium. Before you go, check pricing and seating arrangements from a ticket seller that offers 360-degree, and interactive charts. This will help you avoid getting a bad seat and having a cranky kid that can’t see. Pick your day wisely, and you might even snag a discounted admission.


Is that music we hear? If you’ve trekked to Nashville, the answer is yes. Music City might be a haul from California, but it’s not only the Bachelorette Capital, it’s also super kid-friendly. Grab a burger and milkshake from The Pharmacy and then head into downtown to Cumberland Park, which features wet and dry play areas. Don’t leave this fast-growing city without taking a tour of Gibson Guitars, Lane Motor Museum, and The Hermitage.

Safe Trip Tips

No matter what age your travelers, your top priorities are safety and convenience. Along this vein of thought, great tips include:

  • RightSure advises making sure your vehicle is road-ready. You can follow your own checklist, or better yet make a trip to your mechanic shop for a tire rotation, oil change, and preventative maintenance visit. This will help you identify any problems that might stop you in your tracks. If your car has more problems than you care (or can afford to) fix or isn’t road-ready, consider renting a car or buying a fully-serviced used vehicle.
  • Travel smarter. For your comfort, make sure that you pack plenty of snacks and bottled water. If you have a baby, you’ll want to have a cooler with bottles already made. Make sure that you have a mirror in place so that you can see your little one without turning around, and, if your vehicle is equipped with a built-in GPS, download the newest maps so it’s up to date, and you aren’t frustrated by a wrong turn halfway to your destination.

Summer travel is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children. Whether you choose to stay in California or head days away from home, road trips are also an excellent time to bond. The few quick tips listed above can help you get to and from your destination safely, conveniently, and have the most possible fun along the way.

Image via Pixabay

Holiday Home Lets features more than 14,000 luxury self-catering holiday homes and villas direct from owners and property managers in some of the best locations around the world. Reach out today to find out more! 0208 144 4766.

Holiday Home Lets was presented with Excellence Award for Online International Holiday Booking Services in 2022.

Canary Islands holiday guide

Canary Islands sunshine holidays

The Canary Islands located 80 miles off the north coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean share what many claim to be the best climate in the world with over 3,000 hours of sunshine a year. It’s no surprise that the Canary Islands of Gran Canaria, Tenerife, La Palma, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and La Gomera are among the most popular Spanish sunshine holiday island destinations.

1. Tenerife, Canary Islands

Las Teresitas Beach and coastline Tenerife
Las Teresitas Beach and coastline Tenerife

Tenerife is the largest of the main seven islands in the Canary Islands, It is a well developed tourist destination with very popular sandy beaches with all year round sunshine on an island that may offer visitors a thousand experiences.

It is renowned for it exciting nightlife, excellent dive sites and many watersports such as surfing, wind surfing, parascending and jet-skiing along with boat trips and dolphin spotting. It is also well known for the pre-lent Carnaval de Santa Cruz with festive parades, music, dancing and colourful costumes. The island is dominated by Mount Teide a dormant volcano that is Spain’s tallest peak and a protected national park with many scenic trails offering visitors stunning panoramas.

Tenerife offers travellers anything from luxury resorts with golf courses and spas to low-cost holiday apartments to suit travellers on a budget. There are also many self catering holiday homes and villas in Tenerife offering space for family and friends.

2. Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Puerto de Mogan on the coast of Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria is the third largest Island but most populated Canary Island. It has a climate that is warm, sunny and dry all year round with mild nights and is a very popular destination for beach holidays with many miles of sandy beaches and over 200 miles of coastline Inland you will find lush pine forests, picturesque villages and paths around the mountainous centre of island. In Maspalomas in the south you will be able to see the famous sand dunes. The capital city is Las Palmas in the North and has the main port and cultural attractions including museums and cobblestone streets that lead to the Cathedral of Santa Ana. The island has a wildlife park a botanical garden and some fantastic Golf courses including the Salobre golf resort. Being able to enjoy a holiday villa rental in Gran Canaria with a private pool to use at anytime you like may make the whole holiday experience a lot better.

3. La Palma, Canary Islands

Santa Cruz de La Palma
Santa Cruz de La Palma

La Palma is the most north westerly island of the Canary Islands from the west coast of Africa. Its rugged, forested terrain is dotted with volcanoes like Teneguía and Cumbre Vieja and is currently the most volcanically active of the Canary Islands. The Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted spectacularly on September 19th 2021 with devastating red hot molten lava flows reaching the sea. The Caldera de Taburiente National Park has a huge crater-shaped formation in the centre of the island with paths leading to stunning volcanic scenery, pine forests and waterfalls. The island’s capital Santa Cruz de la Palma is a port town with cobbled streets and houses with wooden balconies.

4. Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Lanzarote Canary Island with volcanic vineyards
Lanzarote Canary Island with volcanic vineyards

Lanzarote is located 125 kilometres from the northern coast of Africa and is the 4th largest Island in the archipelago. The island has a dramatic volcanic landscape with geology spectacularly showcased at the Timanfaya National Park that has many hiking trails, old lava flows, hot springs and geysers to see around the volcanic hills. The December and January temperature and warm seas make it an ideal place to enjoy a bit of winter sun or a place where it rarely rains in summer months. Other attractions are the sandy beaches of Playa Blanca, the surfing beach at Famara or the calm waters of Pagayo for swimming and watersports. Puerto del Carmen is the most popular tourist resort on the island of Lanzorote that offers plenty of short and long stay accommodation and self contained holiday homes and Villas.

5. Fuerteventurta, Canary Islands

Beach of Morro Jable, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain

Fuerteventura is a very popular place for wind surfing especially on the west and north coast that has larger waves. With over 150 beaches to choose from the island is well developed for beach holidays and has some of the best beaches in Europe. The bays of Costa Calma is ideal for families and the sands of Cofete is considered to be the Crown Jewel of the canaries. The town of Corralejo in the north is considered to have some of the best beaches and is also known for it’s nightlife. In fact Fuerteventura caters for practically everybody and has some stunning holiday rentals to choose from where you can savour the history, culture, festivities, local cuisine and natural beauty of Fuerteventura.

6. La Gomera, Canary Islands

San Sebastian de la Gomera, Canary Islands
San Sebastian de la Gomera, Canary Islands, Spain

La Gomera is one of the quietest and smallest of the Canary Islands with a diameter of just 25 kilometres. La Gomera was the place from which Christopher Columbus started his voyages of discovery. The island is a haven for those wanting to escape the crowds of other islands but is a short ferry ride from Tenerife and is an ideal place for those who enjoy hiking. It a forested area and some unique vegetation, ferns and waterfalls in the Garajonay National Park. It may also offer views of the huge dormant volcano on the neighbouring island of Tenerife. The island has not been fully developed for tourism like the other islands but you can still find good holiday home rentals or self catering accommodation on Gomera in the Canary Islands.

Map of the Canary Islands
Map of the Canary Islands, Spain. Tenerife, Gran Canaria, La Palma, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Gomera

Best of the Balearic Islands

Visitors guide to the Balearic Islands

The Balearic Islands is a small and idyllic group of islands off the coast of Spain. The four main islands Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera are some of the most visited tourist destinations in Spain and certainly some of the best Islands to stay in Europe. Each Island has a distinct character that may be best for beach-lovers, party-goers, city dwellers or families with young kids, with places where you can find peace and tranquility, beautiful surroundings or unspoilt beaches bathed in the warm Mediterranean sun.

Balearic Island Map
Balearic Island Map showing Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera

1. Ibiza, Balearic Islands

Cala d'Hort beach Ibiza
Cala d’Hort beach on Ibiza with view of small island

Ibiza is a magical island renowned for its nightclubs, parties, hot weather, breathtaking beaches, clear water and sunshine that keep visitors returning year after year. The port city of Ibiza Town is the cosmopolitan capital of Ibiza and a great base to experience the sights and sounds of the Island. San Antonio is also one of the most popular places for nightlife with many clubs, DJ’s and bars. San Antonio, a once a small fishing village is now a bustling holiday magnet for tourists.

Accommodation in and around Ibiza towns ranges from cool guesthouses, a few resorts, some elegant or boutique hotels to luxury holiday homes and villas direct from owners where you can experience what it is like to live in or own a dream holiday home in Ibiza with private infinity pool where you can chill in relative peace with family and friends and even prepare a few gourmet dinners with fresh ingredients.

During the day there are many events to enjoy, carnival style markets offering fresh food and handicrafts, fishing villages to explore and some beautiful scenery, beaches and watersports to enjoy. There are many self catering holiday homes and villas in Ibiza that cater for almost any budget so we recommend you check availability on Holiday Home Lets if you are looking for holiday homes or villas in Ibiza

2. Mallorca (Majorca), Balearic Islands

Palma de Mallorca beach
Palma de Mallorca beach with view of Cathedral and hills in background

Mallorca in the Balearic Islands is the largest of the Spanish islands.
It is a well developed destination for beach tourism with many fabulous sandy beaches, clear azure blue sea and water sports. It also has some magnificent scenery, mountain trails and golf courses. Magaluf Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Mallorca with attractive promenades, restaurants, diverse cuisine, souvenir shops and the type of summer holiday nightlife popular with youngsters that is parodied in the Inbetweeners movie. The resort now has many high rise hotels and holiday apartments but there are more secluded areas to enjoy away from crowds in the holiday season such as Cala Figuera Beach nestled in a quiet cove between the mountains. The Port d’Alcudia area has beach resorts more suitable for families, it has picturesque marina, boutiques and restaurants with scenic trails along the cliffs and mountain paths.

The capital city Palma de Mallorca with the Moorish Almudaina royal palace and 13th-century Santa María Cathedral seen in picture is a more sophisticated town with elegant boulevards, chic shopping and pavement cafes sitting beside the bay of Palma. On the east coast there are some smaller beaches, golf courses and an Annual Jazz festival. You may also discover a number of monasteries hidden in the northern Tramuntana Mountains surrounded by beautiful scenery and views.

There are many popular areas to stay in Mallorca such as Palma de Mallorca, Playa de Palma and Arenal, Magaluf, Palma Nova, Santa Ponsa, Puerta Portals, Colonia Sant Jordi, Cala Ratjada but there is nothing quite like relaxing in a self catering holiday holiday home away from home or a spacious villa rental with private pool in Mallorca.

3. Formentera, Balearic Islands

Cala Saona beach and beautiful cove on the island of Formentera

Formentera is a small island south of Ibiza that is well known for its pristine, white sand beaches and crystalline waters. It can be reached by ferry from Ibiza or passenger service from mainland Spain. Formentera is now a top holiday destination and increasingly popular for daytime excursions from Ibiza. It is a great place for families and nature lovers and is easy to get around by scooter or bike and has many coastal trails, beaches and villages to explore. Being half way between Africa and mainland Spain it offers a migratory point for birds attracted by the island’s diverse and protected eco-system, lagoons and wetlands around Ses Salines d’Eivissa i Formentera Natural Park which stretches from the the north of Formentera to south of Ibiza.

Formentera’s beaches draw large numbers of tourists in the peak season and it often voted as having Europe’s best Beach that also rank in the top ten in the world. Formentera is a wonderful place to stay and offers visitors a wide choice of accommodation and holiday home rentals.

4. Menorca, Balearic Islands

Cala Galdana Beach
Cala Galdana Beach in Menorca with white sand and shallow turquoise water.

The beautiful island of Menorca is a beach lover’s paradise. It may be less popular or crowded than the neighbouring Majorca, Ibiza and Formentera but the more relaxed atmosphere of the island is part of it’s appeal. Much of the islands coastline has been preserved with it’s natural characteristics thanks to UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status so coastline has not been as built up as other islands and retains more of it’s natural beauty and charm with dream beaches, secluded coves and crystal clear waters. As well as unspoiled scenery visitors may see remnants of Talayotic settlements and prehistoric monuments dating from 1300 BC.

The capital Mahón is a bustling port with cobbled streets, full of boutique shops, restaurants, bars and offers many scenic views. Beach lovers will enjoy heading out to beaches like Cala Macarelleta, Son Bou and Punta Prima or Cala Galdana Beach with it’s soft white sand and shallow turquoise water or the picturesque and unspoilt coves of Cala Es Talaier, Cala en Porter and Cala Binidalí. If you are travelling with children you may also want to head for water parks such as Los Delfines Aqua Center or the largest one at Splash Sur Menorca water park for a memorable day of fun.

Menorca is just 42 km long and 10 km wide so it is quite easy to explore or find a beach. The resorts in the south of the island are not too big and there are many villages where you can get a taste of local life and cuisine. Booking a holiday home in Menorca allows you to live like a local and acts as a base to enjoy the natural tranquility and main attractions of the island.

Top Attractions in Spain

Top 12 Attractions in Spain

1 The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 14: La Sagrada Familia - the impressive cathedral designed by Gaudi, which is being build since 19 March 1882 and is not finished yet December 14, 2009 in Barcelona, Spain.
La Sagrada Familia – the impressive basilica designed by Gaudi, which was begun on the 19 March 1882 in Barcelona, Spain and is shown nearing completion date.

The spectacular Basílica de la Sagrada Família designed by Antonio Gaudi in the city of Barcelona is one the most popular attractions not just of Spain but of the world.

The unfinished Basilica is a stunning mixture of Late Gothic, Catalan Modernism or Art Nouveau architecture and has become an iconic and somewhat surreal monument of Barcelona with it’s rainbow hued stained glass windows and it’s much anticipated completion date some 135 years after construction was started by Gaudi’s who lived there in splendid isolation for many years and whose imaginative and colourful architectural creations can also be seen at Parc Guell, La Pedrera and several other locations or UNESCO world heritage sites in Barcelona.

Holiday Homes in Spain – Barcelona, Catalonia

2 Alhambra Palace Granada

The Alhambra palace Granada Spain.
The Alhambra palace and fortress complex in Granada Spain.

The Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex used by the Moorish monarchs of Granada between 1238 and 1492 when the Moors were expelled and it was partially rebuilt in Renaissance style and used as the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella the first Queen of Spain.  It was originally constructed as a small fortress in AD 889 on the remains of Roman fortifications, and then largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-13th century by the Emirate of Granada and was converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Sultan of Granada.

The Alhambra Palace is an immense and beautiful complex with wonderful views over the beautiful city of Granada. Moorish poets described the Alhambra as “a pearl set in emeralds”, referring to the colour of the buildings and the surrounding woods. Attractions inside the Alhambra include the Royal Complex, the Alcazaba (Citadel) and the Court of the Lions and fountain ( Described by the Poet Zamrak: “Such a translucent basin, sculpted pearl! Argentic ripples are added on it by the quiet dew”). As a world heritage site the Alhambra attracts millions of visitors each year.

Holiday Homes and Villas in Spain, Granada, Andalusia

3 The Royal Palace of Madrid

Royal Palace in Madrid
Beautiful view of famous Royal Palace in Madrid the capital of Spain

The Royal Palace in Madrid was built in the 18th century and is considered to be one of the finest royal pаlасеѕ іn Eurоре and one of the top tourist attractions in Madrid.

The palace was completed in 1764 on the site of the old Alcázar fortress. Although it is the official residence of the Royal Family it is now used mainly fоr ѕtаtе vіѕіtѕ аnd оthеr important сеrеmоnіеѕ. The rest of the time it is open to the public and palace contain paintings by many  artists such as Caravaggio, Goya, and Velázquez, The palace contains 3,418 rooms and 135,000 square meters of floor space making it one of the largest Palaces.

A visit to Madrid would not be complete without a trip to the Plaza Mayor that includes some fine restaurants and architecture. Also not to be missed is The Prado Museum in central Madrid that is home to a fine collection of European art.

Holiday Homes and Villas in Spain – Madrid

4 Historic Seville

Spanish Square canal with boat
Tourists float on a boat on the Spanish Square (Plaza de Espana) canal, Spain

Seville is situated in southern region of Spain on the River Guadalquivir and is the capital city of the region of Andalucia. Seville is one of the most popular, breathtaking and charming cities in Spain offering visitors historic sites, culture, art, great food, fun and festivities.

Lord Byron wrote: “Seville” – “a pleasant city, Famous for oranges and women, – he who has not seen it will be much to pity,  – and I quite agree; Of all the Spanish towns is none more pretty”.

Seville is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites and home to some of the finest monuments and sites in Spain. The rambling Alcazar palace complex and gardens, La Giralda bell tower and impressive Santa Maria de la Sede Cathedral used as the final resting place of Christopher Columbus. The Metropol Parasol that is the world’s largest wooden structure and contains a market and panoramic terraces. The Torre del Oro (Golden Tower), on the banks of the Guadalquivir River,  the Almohad walls of Seville and the famous La Maestranza bullring.

Santa Cruz, is the primary tourist neighborhood of Seville and offers an abundance of bars, theaters and flamenco performances. Some of the events and festivals around Easter attract over a million visitors a year. Hopefully we will be able to enjoy some of the things we missed this year in the years to come.

Holiday Homes and Villas in Spain – Seville, Andalusia

5 Valencia

Pope Luna's Castle. Valencia, Spain.
Beautiful view of the sea and the Bay from Pope Luna’s Castle. Valencia, Spain. Peniscola. Castellon. The medieval castle of the Knights Templar overlooking the beach.

Valencia is a thriving port and the third largest city in Spain, it is well located beside the sea and has many long sandy beaches along it’s  coastline that includes Albufera Natural Park where Paella was invented. Valencia is well known for it’s gastronomic culture that can be experienced at the Mercado Central a large Art Nouveau style market that is one of the largest in Europe.

Valencia is one of the oldest cities in Spain and was founded in Roman times in c.138 BC. There is a large Gothic style cathedral in the medieval centre of the old city that may fulfill your quest to find the revered Holy Grail said to be the actual cup that the disciples drank from at the last supper. The city hosts a number of traditional religous festivities and colourful Holy Week celebrations and Las Fallas a week long festival of pageants, music, flowers and displays of figures in March.

La Tomatina said to be the worlds biggest food or over ripe tomato fight is held in the town of Buñol in the Valencia region in August.

The city of Valencia has many museums including the Museum of Fine Arts with work by El Greco and Goya.

Holiday Homes and Villas in Spain – Valencia

6 San Sebastian Resort – La Concha

San Sebastian is a city the Basque Country, a region in Spain
San Sebastian and Isla de Santa Clara in Concha Bay in the Basque Country region in Spain

The attractive seaside resort of San Sebastian is on the Bay of Biscay in the Northern Basque region of Spain and is surrounded by green hills, rivers, mountains, beaches and the Bay that opens up to the Atlantic Ocean and popular surfing areas like Playa de Zurriola.

The picturesque Concha Beach in the beautiful shell shaped Concha Bay is centrally located in San Sebastian and probably one of the best urban beaches in Europe. This stylish resort city is deservedly called the Pearl of the North and was joint European City of Culture in 2016.

San Sebastian is popular with Gastronomy fans and has the highest number of Michelin starred restaurants in one city and visitors will find it to be the beating heart of the Spanish cuisine scene and a food lovers dream.

Other places to see are Monte Orgull, the fortress-topped mountain overlooking the city’s harbour and the old town, called Parte Vieja to sample some pintxos said to be the best in the Basque Country.

Holiday Homes in Spain – San Sebastian, Basque Country

7 Roman Aqueduct in Segovia

Segovia Aqueduct
The ancient Roman aqueduct in Segovia, Spain

Segovia is a beautiful historic city full of interesting sights, incredible food and home to one of the finest Roman aqueducts in the world, Built around 50 AD it is an enduring symbol of Segovia,  A UNESCO World Heritage Site the Segovia Aqueduct with 167 arches is made from granite blocks and is one of the largest remaining Roman structures in Spain.

Other attractions in Segovia include the Alcázar with it’s with it’s disney like turrets and the Late Gothic cathedral built between 1525 and 1593 in the Plaza Mayor in the Old Town with views over the city.

The city centre of Segovia was declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 1985 and is a popular destination for day trippers from Madrid in recent years but tourists come from near and far for the many attractions of the central regions of Spain.

There are many holiday homes, villas, apartments and other accommodation options in the central regions of Spain in and around Segovia.

Holiday Homes in Central Spain – Segovia, Castile and León.

8 San Lorenzo of El Escorial

Royal Monastery El Escorial in San Lorenzo

The Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial was conceived by King Philip II to serve as a royal burial place for his father, Holy Roman emperor Charles V; a Hieronymite monastery; and a royal palace. It is situated about 45 kilometres northwest of Madrid.

Today, the Escorial is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Spain’s most visited landmarks.

Holiday Homes and Villas in Spain – San Lorenzo de El Escorial

9 The Alcazar of Segovia

The Alcazar of Segovia
The Alcazar of Segovia or the Castle of Segovia is a stone fortress located in the old city of Segovia, Spain.

The Alcázar of Segovia is one of the most distinctive castles in Spain with it’s with it’s disney like turrets and unique shape like the bow of a ship. The Alcázar was built as a fortress around the 12th century on the site of an old Roman fort by the Berber dynasty on a craggy hilltop overlooking the city and has been used as a Royal Palace and military academy. It is currently a museum and military archive.

Other attraction in Segovia include the Late Gothic Cathedral built o the highest point of the old town between 1525 and 1593 in the Plaza Mayor  with views over the city and surrounding Sierra de Guadarrama foothills. The cathedral contains an archive with hundreds of antique books including the first book printed in Spain the Sinodal de Aguilafuente. The surrounding square offers visitors many cafés and a maze of medieval streets.

Holiday Homes and Villas in Spain – Segovia, Castile y León.

10 Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral
The Santiago de Compostela Cathedral marks the end of the 790 km Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route.

The Santiago de Compostela Cathedral is located in the region of Galicia in the northwest of Spain. It is the reputed burial place of Saint James the apostle of Jesus Christ. It has enormous significance in the region as it marks the historical end of the famous Camino de Santiago trails used by many thousands of pilgrims each year. The Camino trails have also spawned thousands of titles, books and life changing stories and films.

Holiday Homes and Villas in Spain – Santiago de Compostela

11 The Great Mosque of Cordoba

La Mezquita Cordoba
La Mezquita Arab Palace in Cordoba showing the forest of columns and dual-coloured arches.

La Mezquita Arab Palace is located in the heart of the charming city of Cordoba in Andalusia. The Arab Mosque dates back to 784 A.D and one of the oldest, and largest Islamic monuments standing in the West, it became a World Heritage site in 1984. It is believed to have been built on the site of an old Roman Temple that was converted into a church around 572 before being converted into a Mosque and rebuilt to reflect the ancient grandeur of Damascus in Cordoba.

Since 1236 the mosque has served as the Cathedral of “Our Lady of the Assumption” and is one of the most beautiful and unique architectural heritage sites in the world and one of the top tourist attractions in Cordoba and Spain.

Apart from the Great Mosque the city of Cordoba has many other tourist attractions such as the Judería or old Jewish quarter,  the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos or Castle of the Christian Monarchs, The Festival of Los Patios, Palacio de Viana, the Guadalquivir River, the Roman Bridge and many delicious local Tapas bars and places to eat.

Holiday Homes and Villas in Spain – Cordoba, Andalusia

12 Parc Guell Barcelona

Park Guell in Barcelona.
Park Guell in Barcelona was commissioned by Eusebi Güell and designed by Antonio Gaudí.

Parc Guell in the Northern part of Barcelona was commissioned by Eusebi Guell and designed by Antonio Gaudi, The park is one of Gaudi’s most celebrated, creative and interesting social spaces and built on a hill that offers visitors spectacular views over the city and the sea.

Park Guell is a picturesque park full of colourful mosaics, tiling, the famous Salamander sculpture and other structures in a leafy and magical park that can stimulate and inspire your senses.

Casa Mila otherwise known as La Pedrera ( The Stone Quarry ) built between 1906 and 1912 is another creation designed by Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona.

Las Ramblas is one of the most popular boulevards in Barcelona and is lined with bars, restaurants, the amazing Boquería Market, street entertainment and runs from Placa Catalunya in central Barcelona to the port and beach. The boulevard is between the interesting Ravel and Gothic Quarter  of the city and is another place that should not be missed when visiting Barcelona.

Holiday homes, villas and other private accommodation can easily be found in Spain and Barcelona but please check for any travel restrictions before booking.

Holiday Homes in Spain –  Barcelona, Catalonia

Travel with Kids

Traveling with kids, vacation with kids

5 Tips to Make Traveling with Kids More Fun for Everyone

You’re dedicated to sharing your love of travel with your children, but with every delayed flight and unplanned pitstop, you find yourself questioning that conviction. Because while traveling with kids can be incredibly rewarding, it can also be incredibly stressful. It’s not easy to plan a vacation the whole family will enjoy, let alone keep the peace when everyone’s jet-lagged and stressed out.

That doesn’t mean it’s not worth it, however. There’s nothing quite like seeing your kids experience a new culture for the first time or watching them excitedly recount their adventures to friends. Instead of scrapping the whole family vacation idea the next time you’re stressed out and far from home, use these tips to make family travel easier on everyone.

Involve kids in planning

If kids feel like they’re just tagging along on Mom and Dad’s holiday, they’re less likely to be excited for the trip. Engage your kids in the holiday planning process in age-appropriate ways. Preschoolers and elementary schoolers may help pack for holiday and pick out toys to take, while middle and high school-aged kids can research the destination and maybe even choose an activity or two of their own.

Stave off travel boredom

Focusing on the road keeps your mind busy while driving, but for kids in the back seat, long miles on the road can feel endless. Cut down on complaints of boredom by setting up in-car wifi. With an in-car hotspot, your kids can stay busy watching videos and playing games on their tablets. Just remember to set everyone up with headphones so you can keep listening to your own music and podcasts in the front seat.

Pay extra for an easier flight

Flying instead? Spare yourself a stressful travel experience by booking an early morning flight and paying extra to fly direct. Early flights are less likely to be crowded or face delays than flights later in the day, and any parent who has missed a connecting flight with a gaggle of kids in tow can tell you why direct flights are worth it. Other tips for a low-stress flight include wearing clothes that come on and off easily — so no buttons, zippers, or laces — and packing plenty of snacks and water to keep kids content during the flight.

Travel light

It’s tempting to take everything but the kitchen sink when traveling with kids, but hauling all that luggage is likely to be more trouble than it’s worth. Pack the necessities like car seats and travel strollers, but avoid filling luggage with clothing and bulky entertainment items. You can always do laundry and buy small items while traveling to avoid overloading your luggage.

Book a holiday rental

Don’t stay in a hotel room where you’ll have to be quiet as a mouse after the kids go to bed and supervise your children wherever they go. Holiday home rentals are far more family-friendly than hotels, with separate bedrooms, multiple bathrooms, and the ability to cook your own meals. Instead of living out of suitcases for a week, you can feel like you’re at home — only better.

The worst thing you can do when traveling with kids? Expecting it to be just like the vacations you took before becoming parents. While traveling as a family is special in its own right, it’s not the same as traveling kid-free. Instead of trying to pack everything into one trip and getting frustrated when your itinerary doesn’t go as planned, go into family travel with a relaxed schedule and an open mind. While you might not hit every attraction or avoid every backseat squabble, the memories you create together make the little stresses more than worth it.

Image via Unsplash

Ways to Brighten Homes

Ways to Brighten Homes in the Sales and Rental Markets

Interior Design  and Lighting tips.
One way to shine in a competitive housing sales and rental market is to create a good first impression. According to experts, there are few easy ways to make a good  impression and shine in the market place and these may include lighting candles, filling the home with fresh flowers or the welcoming aroma of fresh-baked cookies or hanging a wreath on the front door.

Home improvement experts say that investing in new kitchen work surfaces or remodelling bathrooms and upgrading showers will give the home a whole new look and that you are more than likely to recoup your investment in the rental or sales market.

A quick makeover can make quite a difference but you don’t have to spend a fortune, say experts at lighting control manufacturers like Lutron Electronics who produce inexpensive yet effective ways to increase a homes appeal while adding value and cutting costs by adding smart controlled systems and dimmer switches in key rooms of the home that can be controlled remotely along with other smart home products and services integrated with Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant

Dimmers can completely change the look and feel of a room while adding ambiance and creating moods, while also helping to save energy and increasing the life of low energy lightbulbs. Plus, your listing can include a mention of your special dimmers, voice or touch activated or app controls to differentiate your property from the rest.

Dimmers can improve the mood in large or small homes. A dimmer switch can turs a family room into a home theatre, a homework station a workout room, or create a romantic ambience at the flick of a switch.

If you want to really standout in your market you can add a wirelessly controlled system that includes heating and lighting that can be turned on or off remotely from the car, bed, patio or any room of the home. This type of system significantly increases value and attractiveness of the property while providing added safety benefits, such as tying in with a security system. To add security you can use lamps with low energy bulbs on timer switches or activated by low light levels or interior, exterior or entrance lighting that is activated by motion sensors or low light levels.

Adding dimmers is truly a quick fix that may require less than 15 minutes to install one. Dimmers are available online or at home improvement centres and lighting showrooms.

Investing in a good lighting system is sure way to brighten up any home and create more interest and attract more sales especially in the holiday home letting or Rental market.

Top 20 Attractions in Washington State

Top 20 Tourist Destinations and Attractions in Washington State

1. Mount Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest.
The Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington is an area of exceptional scenic beauty that extends 140 miles along the western slopes of the Cascade mountain Range from the Canada–US border to the northern boundary of Mount Rainier National Park, it also includes two large landmark volcanoes, Mount Baker and Glacier Peak which tower over the adjacent ridges.

View of Mount Baker in Washington State

Mount Baker is the most significant landmark of the region as it is visible from all the waters and islands of Puget Sound and from the South Eastern part of the region. Mount Baker is a hikers paradise and includes attractions such as Nooksack Falls, Artist Point, Eleven Glaciers and the Mount Baker Ski area.

If you wish to visit or stay and explore the area then you will find plenty of private, self-catering, fully equipped cabins, cottages, condos, chalets and Mount Baker Lodgings and vacation rental accommodation at the gateway to Mount Baker in places like Glacier Springs, Mt Baker Hwy, Mt Baker Rim, Silver Lake, Snowater or Snowline where you can enjoy all the local amenities or just put your feet up after a long day hiking, mountain biking, mountain climbing, backpacking, fishing, canoeing, hunting, exploring, nature trailing, downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, sledding or enjoying some of the other attractions of staying in the state of Washington near Mount Baker.

The Snoqualmie Falls

2. The Snoqualmie Falls is a 268 ft waterfall with a power station on the Snoqualmie River. It is one of Washington’s most scenic attractions and is famous for its appearance in the cult television series Twin Peaks.
The mists rising from the base of the the Snoqualmie waterfall are said to connect Heaven and Earth and where prayers are carried up to the Creator by the great mists that rise from the base of the waterfall.

Olympic Park mountains

3. Olympic National Park Mountain Range
The Olympic National Park contains a vast and diverse wilderness with snow and glacier-capped mountains, scenic routes. old temperate rain forests and over 70 miles of coastline.

4. The Hoh rainforest is one of the finest examples of temperate rainforests in the United States and is one of the park’s most popular destinations. The high levels of rain in the forest during winter adds to the lush green covering of trees, mosses and ferns along trails and adds another dimension to the enchantment of the rainforest. You can also explore over 70 miles of wild coastlin or take a boat trip around the islands..

Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park
Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park

5. San Juan Islands
San Juan Islands is an archipelago in the northwest of Washington State. It offers whale watching with dedicated orca-whale lookouts or boat trips, it also offers kayaking, biking, hiking, dining experiences and cozy lodgings.There are four main islands  San Juan Island, Lopez Island, Shaw Island and Orcas Island  that is home to Moran State Park’s old-growth forest and Mt. Constitution.

San Juan Islands lighthouse with Mount Baker in the background
One of the San Juan Islands with Mount Baker in the background

Mount Ranier and wildflower meadow

6. Mount Rainier National Park
One of the most popular or visited national parks in Washington. Ascending to 14,410 feet above sea level Mount Rainier is the most prominent peak in the Cascade Range. It’s also one of the oldest national parks. Wildflower meadows ring the icy glacier covered volcano while ancient forest cloaks Mount Rainier’s lower slopes.

7. Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
When Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, it reduced the peak by 1,300 feet and leveled much of the surrounding area. A cloud of ash rose 13 miles into the air, almost 150 square miles of forest were destroyed, causing fatal destruction to local communities. The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument has since been set aside for both research and recreational purposes.

Mount St Helens

Climbing and hiking opportunities are available, and it is even possible to climb Mount St. Helens, though permits are required. Visitor centers along Spirit Lake Highway provide insight into the disaster.

8. Seattle is the largest city in Washington, and is known for its thriving tech industry, vibrant music scene and famed coffee houses. Its landmarks include the futuristic Space Needle, century-old Pike Place Market and Seattle Aquarium. Innovative glass art is displayed at Chihuly Garden & Glass.

Seattle City Center with view towards mountains
Seattle City Center with space needle and view of mountains

Pike Place Market is the standard draw for tourists, but the historic buildings and venerable institutions add diversity. Visitors will likely wish to catch an underground tour near Pioneer Square, or a performance at Benaroya Hall. And back on the waterfront, a sea-level exploration takes you from the Olympic Sculpture Park in the north to the Seattle Aquarium and ferry terminal further south.

9. Museum of Pop Culture, or MoPOP (Formerly known as the EMP Museum or Experience Music Project ) is a museum dedicated to contemporary pop culture. It was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2000. Famous musicians from Seattle include Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, and Pearl Jam. MoPOP now spans music, science fiction, fantasy, horror, fashion, sports, and video games, MoPOP reflects our vision for curating, exploring and supporting the creative works that shape and inspire our lives.

10. The Museum of Flight
The Museum of Flight is one of Seattles premier attractions with over 160 air and spacecraft on display along with the original Boeing Aircraft factory flight simulators and dozens of fun, interactive exhibits and family activities. From the world’s oldest fighter plane to the supersonic Concorde, the only full-scale NASA Space Shuttle Trainer and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, you’ll see the flying machines and experience the stories of those who flew them. The unique, 3-acre Aviation Pavillion shows the dramatic development of aircrafts in an open-air gallery with a cafe and children’s play area.A patio area and spectacular views of Mt. Rainer.- 9404 E. Marginal Way South,Seattle, WA 98108.

11. Washington State Capitol Building
At the south end of Puget Sound, The State Capitol building in Olympia with its grand white dome rising 287 feet above the tree-lined street. The bulding was opened in 1928 at a cost of around seven million dollars. Free, guided public tours give the highlights of the building, including the five-ton Tiffany chandelier and permanent sculptures.

12. Tacoma and Museums
Tacoma is the 3rd largest city in Washington and sits on the banks of Puget Sound, south of Seattle. It’s known for its many museums including the Museum of Glass that includes works by Dale Chihuly who was born nearby and the Chihuly Bridge of Glass decorated with glass sculptures. The Washington State History Museum, a vast model railroad, The Tacoma Art Museum, Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, the Tacoma Dome and if you like cars there is the LeMay – America’s Car Museum.

13. Port Angeles
The town of Port Angeles lies along the northern shores of the Olympic Peninsula, across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The region is known for the huge number of things to do outdoors, such as hiking, biking, golfing, boating, kayaking, fishing, birding, and more. It’s also an access point to Olympic National Park via the road to Hurricane Ridge.

At this high alpine recreation area, hiking trails fan out from the visitor center leading to wildflower meadows in spring.
Back at sea level in Port Angeles, the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center features changing Northwest exhibits in the semi-circular hilltop gallery. On the extensive grounds, visitors will find a museum without walls featuring more than 100 sculptures along rustic trails. The local Clallam County Museum introduces the area through historical exhibits. Port Angeles is also where ferries depart for Victoria, Canada.

The lights of Leavenworth

14. The Town Of Leavenworth
The town of Leavenworth proudly calls itself the Bavarian Village, celebrating its heritage throughout the year. It’s common to see local residents wearing lederhosen or blowing a morning serenade on an alphorn. The entire town is decorated in an adapted German architectural style, down to the Gothic scripts on the signposts. There are a number of annual festivals, including a holiday lights celebration in December. Ski hills, hiking trails, and rivers in the surrounding area also provide outdoor recreation. To the east, the Wenatchee Valley is famed for its apples and hosts the annual Washington State Apple Blossom Festival.

Coulee Corridor Scenic Byway, Washington.

15. The Coulee Corridor
The Coulee Corridor National Scenic Byway lies in the desert region of Washington State. It’s main feature is the Grand Coulee Dam, the “largest hydropower generating facility” in the USA and provides 75% of the Pacific Northwest’s power. The area has stunning scenery, with opportunities to explore areas like the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge.

North Cascades National Park Mountains

16. North Cascades National Park and Highway
The North Cascades are one of the most unspoiled tracts of country in the USA. Anglers, hikers, and nature lovers are all well catered for in the national park, A drive through the park is rewarded with fantastic views. Anyone wanting to experience highlights like Ross Lake at close quarters, however, be prepared to don their walking boots.

Mount Shuksan, Washington

Mount Shuksan is one of the most picturesque mountains in the  North Cascades National Park, near Mount Baker and the Mount Baker Ski Area.

The highway bisects North Cascades National Park and provides one of the most scenic routes in the country . The tree-lined drive starts out near Marblemount and winds up through the old town of Newhalem, passes gushing waterfalls like Gorge Creek Falls, and threads past dams and the reservoirs of Diablo Lake and Ross Lake. The route allows visitors to admire the natural beauty as well as man made attractions like the immense, electricity-producing dams. Tourists can stop at Washington Pass to photograph the jagged peaks of Liberty Bell Mountain and Early Winter Spires, among others. Note that some routes through the mountain are closed in winter months but the road to the Mount Baker Ski Resort is kept open for longer. At the southern tip of North Cascades National Park, Lake Chelan National Recreation Area is home to one of the deepest lakes in the United States.

17. Spokane
One of Washington’s largest state parks, Mount Spokane has miles of trails for hikers, bikers and equestrians to enjoy views of Kit Carson, Day Mountain, Mount Spokane or views across the Spokane Valley, the Idaho panhandle or Canada. Look out for giant moose ambling across the trail.

East of the Cascade Mountains, much of Washington State is less populated farmland. The weather is sunnier on this side of the mountains, but the tourist draws are also fewer and farther between. Spokane lies on the border with Idaho, and this major Washington city is a hub of attractions (parks especially) and amenities. A variety of gardens, including the Nishinomiya Japanese Garden, attract visitors to Spokane’s Manito Park.

Nishinomiya Japanese Garden Bridge

The flowerbeds are particularly vibrant during summer. Spokane’s venue for the 1974 World’s Fair, Riverfront Park, now boasts a Ferris wheel, a hand-carved carousel made in 1909, and other amusement rides. And for the adventurous, there is skiing on Mount Spokane.

The Palouse Falls at sunset, Washington, USA

18. Palouse Falls
All visitors to the region should try and see Palouse Falls State waterfall. The Palouse River runs through a narrow cataract and drops 200 feet into a churning bowl and joins a swiftly moving current winding through gorges of basalt, to its southern end at the mighty Snake River.

A Winthrop street reminiscent of an old wild west town with wooden boardwalk

19. The town of Winthrop
Located on the North Cascades Scenic Byway in Washington’s magnificent Methow Valley, Winthrop is a an old wild west town with wood boardwalks and western charm that has become a tourist destination. Winthrop is home to the oldest legal saloon in Washington state.  If you are looking for a weekend away then you can stay in a romantic cabin, a charming cottage or an elegant resort.

Stone bridge at Whatcom Falls Park in Bellingham Washington

20. Whatcom Falls Park – Bellingham
Whatcom Falls Park is a 241-acre park in Bellingham, Washington, United States. The falls are on Whatcom Creek, which leads from Lake Whatcom to Bellingham Bay. The park has four sets of waterfalls and several miles of well maintained walking trails.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, Bellingham with view of Mt Baker

Bellingham is a departure point for Mount Baker, but the university city of Bellingham is also an attraction in its own right. For a quick introduction to this corner of the Pacific Northwest stroll through Fairhaven Historic District and duck into local art galleries or catch some sun on a restaurant patio. Out of downtown, Western Washington University has amassed an excellent Outdoor Sculpture Collection, its campus dotted with works small and large. Another outdoor attraction is Whatcom Falls Park with its four sets of falls and numerous walking trails. In the surrounding area, visitors can take scenic drives through the mass fields of Skagit Valley tulips in spring, or follow the twisting, narrow route of Chuckanut Drive year-round.

Washington State in the Pacific Northwest has terrain spanning the snow-capped Cascade Mountains to forested islands in Puget Sound. It’s largest city Seattle is known for its thriving tech industry, vibrant music scene and famed coffee houses. Its landmarks include the futuristic Space Needle, century-old Pike Place Market and Seattle Aquarium. Innovative glass art is displayed at Chihuly Garden & Glass.

From the Cascade Mountains westward, Western Washington has a mostly marine west coast climate, with mild temperatures and wet winters, autumns and springs, and relatively dry summers. The Cascade Range has several volcanoes, which reach altitudes significantly higher than the rest of the mountains. From north to south, these major volcanoes are Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Adams. All are active volcanoes. Mount Rainier, the tallest mountain in the state, is 50 miles south of the city of Seattle, from which it is prominently visible.

If you are looking for Vacation Rental Accommodation in Washington a Mount Baker vacation rental cabin makes the ideal base to explore Washington and all the attractions that the region has to offer.


Canada Holidays

Canada is the second largest country in the world and is renowned for it’s vast natural beauty and awesome untouched landscapes. It is the northern part of North America and extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean. Canada is made up of ten provinces and three territories, each very different and all very diverse. The vastness of Canada is reflected in its culture which is influenced by a wide range of nationalities and ethnicities that is neither French or British but a fascinating multicultural blend. In Quebec, for example there is a strong French cultural influence that is very distinct from that of English speaking Canada. The country is a mosaic of regional, aboriginal, and ethnic subcultures and although part of the British commonwealth it is technologically and economically closer to the USA.

View of the many diverse landscapes in Canada

If you are looking for somewhere to stay or explore then Canada offers you a wide range of  vacation rental homes, villas, cabins, ski chalets or apartments for rent at anytime of year. From five bedroom mountainside Chalets in Whistler to vacation rentals in the heart of the city.

Because of its size and diversity it is not possible to summarise in a few words what the whole of the country has to offer visitors. Each region has to be taken separately. So if you are looking for a holiday homes to let in Canada that you can rent direct from owners then this guide may help or inspire you to stay or book a vacation rental from the hundreds we have listed in regions that can sometimes allow you to ski in the morning and swim in the afternoon.

Atlantic Provinces: New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island.
Rugged and sparsely populated, this is a region renowned for its natural beauty, particularly around coastal areas. Its largest city, Halifax, has the world’s second largest natural harbour, a unique maritime heritage and is the centre of a flourishing fishing and shipping industry. The people of the Atlantic Provinces are predominantly of Scottish and Irish descent and with a strong First Nations heritage. This region is well known for the unique accents of its people, a reminder of the Acadian French culture on Canada’s east coast.

Chateau Frontenac Quebec Canada
Chateau Frontenac in Quebec, Canada

Quebec is one of the most unique regions in Canada and North America as the majority of early settlers were French who settled as part of New France, this region is very much culturally and linguistically French-Canadian. Montreal is the second largest French speaking city in the world renowned for its grand classic architecture, its extensive underground shopping malls, cosmopolitan cafe and night life and French influenced cuisine. Montreal vacation rental accommodation can easily be found along with a diverse range of Holiday Home rentals in Quebec. For history and culture Quebec City is jewel of French style, architecture and famed for it’s annual Winter Festivals and activities.

This is Canada’s most populated province, Toronto, its capital, Canada’s largest city. Toronto has many ethnic groups and nationalities from around the world and many still retain their distinct language, customs, and food. As a result of this cultural mosaic, Toronto is home to many ethnic festivals throughout the year. The city is perhaps most famous for the CN Tower, the second tallest free standing structure, at over 500 metres tall, in North America. There is a glass elevator to the top with incredible views, and a glass floor – perhaps not for the faint hearted. There is also a revolving restaurant, which offers spectacular views as the sun sets over the city. There a many vacation rentals in Ontario and Toronto to choose from here.
Further afield there are the Great Lakes and Niagara Falls. Many of the main attractions are within walking distance if you get a hotel that is near the Falls with the rest easily accessible by transit bus. The Falls are illuminated every evening and there are regular firework displays during the week in the summer months.

Mountains reflected in Lake Louise in Banff Alberta, Canada

Alberta is the second westernmost province of Canada. It includes parts of the Canadian Rockies and is most well known for its oil and natural gas and for cattle farming. Calgary, Alberta’s largest city is home to the annual Calgary Stampede rodeo.
Alberta is very diverse province, encompassing the wild grandeur the Rockies, the flat prairies which seem to stretch forever, to the wilderness of the northern forests. The Alberta Rockies include the world-renowned sites of Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. Banff nestled in the mountains is located in Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the winter there is easy access to nearby ski areas. Jasper’s major attraction is the nearby Columbia Icefield with the spectacular Athabasca glacier. Lake Louise is a beautiful mountain lake in the middle of Banff National Park. It is surrounded by snow-capped peaks, and at the far end is a large glacier. Although the lake is quite isolated, it provides a magnificent setting for a luxury resort, the Chateaux Lake Louise.

Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada

British Columbia
The province of British Columbia is one of the most beautiful regions in Canada, both for those looking for nature and for those more in tune with city life. At the heart of British Columbia is the city of Vancouver, situated between the Coast Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. It is frequently ranked as one of the “best cities to live in” and is one of the most culturally diverse cities in North America and staying in a vacation rental in British Columbia Canada makes an ideal base to enjoy all the region has to offer. It offers a wide variety of attractions from beaches to skiing – it is said of Vancouver that it is a place where one can swim in the morning and ski in the afternoon.

Click here if you are looking for accommodation or further info on Holiday Homes, Villas, Cottages and self catering vacation  rentals in Canada on Holiday Home Lets .com

Villa Holidays in Italy

Vacations and villas in Italy
Self catering holiday rental homes and villas in Italy offer the visitor the ideal chance to enjoy the real Italy.  A history and culture lover’s paradise with 1000’s of museums, churches and  archeological sites dating back to ancient Roman times. Italy also offers beautiful scenery, rolling hills, lakes, fine food, wine, sunshine and beautiful coastlines.

View of the Amalfi coast and bay of Salerno from villa in Ravello, Campania Italy.

Holiday villa rentals in Rome the capital of Italy offers visitors the chance to enjoy one the most important tourist destinations in the world.

Views of historic Rome

The city of Rome offers an abundance of historical, artistic and archaeological treasures such as the ancient Roman Colloseum and surrounding areas with beautiful views, parks, architecture and museums such as Musei Capitolini, the Vatican Museum, Galleria Borghese and many ancient and modern art exhibitions and events that can be enjoyed at your leisure when staying at a holiday rental in Rome.

Grand Canal in Venice

Elegant Venetian buildings, villas and palaces abound over the ancient maze of narrow streets, bridges and labyrinth of canals that make up the unique city of Venice.

Tourists naturally flock to Venice to experience the charm, romance and history of Venice. A holiday home or vacation rental in Venice allows you to experience all that this city has to offer at your leisure.

Panorama of Florence Italy

The principal Tuscan city of Florence (Firenze) nestles below the wooded foothills of the Apennine hills, along the banks of the Arno River.

The city of Florence is famous as birthplace of renaissance art and artists that have contributed to the magnificent art, architecture and life of the city such as the work of Botticelli, Michelangelo, Bruneschelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Boccaccio, Alberti, Masaccio, Donatello, Vasari and Fra Angelico.

Villa Holidays in Italy
Italy is a beautiful country for a luxurious holiday home or villa rental where you can enjoy all the sensory pleasures available from art, architecture, history, culture, fashion, design, fast cars, slow food, mountains, lakes, countryside, beaches, hot Mediterranean sun and vibrant lifestyles, Italy has it all.
A holiday rental in Rome, Venice or Florence makes an ideal place to find out what has inspired visitors for centuries.
From the Alps and the beautiful lakes in the North through the Tuscan hills down to the smouldering volcano in Sicily Italy is a land that every traveller must visit
at least once.

Ancient ampitheater in Taormina with Etna volcano and coast of Giardini-Naxos bay in Sicily, Italy

The Island of Sicily
There is a wide variety of holiday rental accommodation in Sicily to choose from that will allow you to tour Sicily and discover one of the oldest wine regions in the Europe. A tour to Sicily is incomplete without savouring an appetizing Sicilian drink! It is fairly difficult to put the beauty of Sicily into words. Spending holidays in Sicily gets much is now much better with world class holiday rental accommodation now available.

The city of Modica on the southern coast has been named a UNESCO Heritage site together with its surroundings. Modica claims to have Italy’s ideal chocolate having been introduced by the Spanish conquistadors in the 1500’s.

 On the 23rd of March the city of Vittoria, situated near the southwestern coast presents the Feast of the Foundation, an exhibition of nearby wines.

Click here to view further info and discover vacation rental accommodation and  villa holidays in Italy.

Self catering holidays in the Dordogne, France

With an abundance of self catering holiday homes and villa rentals in France offering a luxurious and spacious alternatives to cramped hotels they now make the ideal accommodation to explore the rich diversity of the various regions with all the comforts of home. We highly recommend booking  a private holiday home or villa rentals in the Dordogne in France.

Booking a self catering holiday rental home in France allows you to enjoy a much wider range of accommodation in some of the most beautiful rural and interesting residential locations all over France.

Our mini guide to France begins in the Dordogne where we have booked a Holiday Rentals and Gites in Brantome to explore one of the most beautiful and historic regions in France.

What to do in the Dordogne, Perigord and Aquitaine.
What better way to enjoy France than book a holiday rental gite in The Dordogne, or a holiday rental in Brantome the Venice of Perigord, whilst there you can visit the Benedictine Abbey, the troglodyte caves, the Friday markets, enjoy the river walks, boat trips, canoeing and waterside restaurants beside the mill stream and river Dronne and generally enjoying the mild weather in Brantome. Although there are many hotels in Brantome why not try a vacation rental gite and enjoy the real France in a 250 year old Maison Paysanne and holiday rental gite in Brantome.

Other places to visit nearby are: Bourdeilles, St Jean de Cole, Thiviers, Excideuil, Bergerac, Angouleme, Perigueux, Le Bugue, Riberac, La Mareuil and the Royal Oak British Pub.

Round and about Brantôme in the Dordogne
Brantôme is one of the most beautiful places in the Dordogne, but whilst you are there it is well worth making the effort to visit other places nearby. Some of these there are classified officially as  ‘les plus beaux villages de France’, the prettiest villages in France. The closest are Bourdeilles and St-Jean-de-Cole.

A lovely village, 7km from Brantome, it is situated on the river Dronne and boasts a chateau, a moulin (mill), a medieval centre and many panoramic views. In the village there is the 15th century Maison de Seneschal with its lovely steep pointed roofs, also the Moulin Seigneurial which was fortified in the 12th century. Bourdeilles’ church dates back to the 12th century and on one side there is a lovely walk leading up to it with a cobbled path flanked by lawns and simple gardens and attractive stone, medieval houses.

Stone bridge over the river Dronne in Bourdeilles

Wandering around the village there are lots of beautiful spots and it is well worth visiting the historic Chateau and places where you can enjoy the panoramic views. Down by the river there is a mill house and an attractive stone bridge which was originally built in the 14th century but rebuilt in the 18th century following severe floods.

The chateau de Bourdeilles is a renowned historical monument. This former seat of a barony will delight history and art lovers. The chateau consists of two castles, built on a rocky terrace overlooking the Dronne, from different periods, one medieval, the other renaissance. The renaissance chateau is richly decorated and includes the “Salon Doré – the golden room, and a furniture collection of the 15th to 19th century. Inside the castle walls there is a garden area laid out in traditional formal French style – avenues of trees, clipped box hedges and neatly laid out grassy areas.

Visiting the chateau in Bourdeilles and other sights such as the Sunday morning market day at the Place de la Halle or excellent French restaurants makes for an excellent day out but I would also recommend staying in Bourdeilles as accommodation is available at either side of the stone bridge and it makes a good base to enjoy all the Perigord Vert of the Dordogne has to offer.

St Jean de Cole
The small but very picturesque village of St Jean de Cole is 22km from Brantome and is well worth a visit.
It dates from the 11th century and was first settled by monks. It is a charming village with ochre coloured houses, including many half-timbered houses, and lovely tiled roofs which once won the ‘finest roofs in France’ competition. The village square is dominated by the 12th century Château de la Marthonie, which was reconstructed in the 15th century after being ravaged in the 100 Years War.  There is a superb Roman-Byzantine church, built in the 11th century. There are restaurants, a hotel, and other shops. You can partake of a delicious lunch in one of the many quaint cafes and restaurants in the square.  Every year in May and for the past 20 years, there is a floriale, a floral week-end which attracts many visitors from all over the world. There are works of art, crafts, local products, new floral varieties, rare plants, garden decorations, a …craft gallery, silk trade, painting and potter’s workshops, and exhibitions.

St Jean de Cole is situated on the meandering river Cole, a tributary of the Dronne. Its banks are still edged with trees and are home home to a variety of wild life; herons, crayfish, ducks and moor-hens, and fish of all kinds.

Spanning the river is a fifteenth century Romanesque hump-backed bridge beside a watermill. In the village itself the rue du Fond du Bourg has half-timbered houses reconstructed in the 14th century.

Grotte de Villars
The largest underground network in the Périgord, of which only 13 km have been explored to date. Seepage through the limestone rock has created one of the most beautiful natural settings with impressive calcite, stalactites, and stalagmites. Various chambers have also been hollowed out and at one of these there is a sound and light show where groups of stalactites and stalagmites are illuminated rendering them even more impressive. Prehistoric paintings dating back 17000 years have also been discovered. They are the authentic witness of the art of our ancestors (made long ago). They depict bison and horses covered with a thin layer of calcite that gives them a beautiful blue glaze.

As well as the caves there is a small cafe, a picnic area, a shop and a play area on the site. There is also a video explaining the formation of the caves. The visit to the caves is by guided tour only with an English commentary. Each tour takes about 45minutes.

Grotte de Villars is 14km from Brantome.

Perigueux, 20km from Brantome, is the capital of the Dordogne department and is situated on the Isle river, a tributary of the Dordogne.

Views of Périgueux with 12th Century Cathedral of Saint-Front, The Eschif, Medieval centre, Place St Louis and cobbled streets.

It has been in existence since neolithic times, and later became an important Roman centre. The town suffered a great deal in the Middle Ages through the Hundred Years War and then had a ‘rebirth’ and much construction dates from the 16th century. Perigueux continued to be an important centre for the region from the 18th century onwards, Each of these periods has left its mark on the town. From Roman times, there is the Vesone Tower and the remains of an amphitheatre, whilst the Chateau Barrière dates from the early middle ages.

Perigueux also contains an interesting medieval and renaissance centre, with attractive boulevards and streets lined with medieval houses to explore – these are concentrated in the region around the Byzantine style Cathedral Saint Front, which also retains its attractive arched cloisters. Its cluster of domes can be seen all around the city. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has a Greek cross ground plan based on St Mark’s cathedral in Venice. It is also the model for the Sacré Coeur church on the top of the hill at Montmartre in Paris.

Saint-Etienne church (once a cathedral) dates largely from the 16th century when it was reconstructed, although parts of the earlier church on the same site can still be seen.

The main sights of Perigueux can be seen on an easy walk around the city centre. One of many attractive spots in Perigueux to sit outside and enjoy a coffee or stop for lunch is the Place de Navarre with its 16th century buildings. Nearby on the Rue Aubergerie is the 15th century fortified Abzac de Ladouze residence and also on the street the Sallegourde building – both homes to wealthy merchants in the 15th century.

There is a daily market for fresh fruit and vegetables on Place du Coderec with its 19th century covered market. Also on the square is the Maison Lapeyre with an overhanging turret and a charming half-timbered house.

Rue Limogeanne is probably the highlight of Perigueux, a lovely street full of interesting buildings with inner courtyards, ornate carvings around windows or doors and full of atmosphere.

Angoulême and Cognac
Although not in the Perigord region, it’s also worth visiting Angoulême in the Charente to see its charming old town, and then beyond it to Cognac, where it is possible to visit some of the brandy producers there.

Angoulême is encircled by boulevards above the old city walls, known as the Remparts, from which fine views may be obtained in all directions. Within the town the streets are often narrow and the “old town” has been preserved, maintained and largely reserved for pedestrians. It has a cobbled restaurant quarter, with several galleries and boutiques. St Peter’s Cathedral dating from the 11th and 12th centuries is in the Romanesque style and has undergone frequent restoration. The hôtel de ville, is a handsome 19th-century structure and incorporates two towers of the château of the Counts of Angoulême. It contains museums of paintings and archaeology.

A day at the Circuit des Remparts classic motor racing car event in Angouleme

The Circuit des Remparts motor racing event in Angoulême, with its street circuit around the ramparts is held the Sunday of the mid weekend in September. It is also the world’s largest gathering of pre-war Bugatti race cars usually around 30 cars. British vintage and classic cars are also on show all over the town, most having been driven to the event. The Saturday of the “Remparts” weekend includes a tourist rally (as opposed to a speed event) for classic and sporting cars, around the Cognac area.

Bergerac on the Dordogne River

Bergerac is a town on the Dordogne river in an area full of old half-timbered buildings, medieval districts with cobbled paving and castles and beautiful countryside with vineyards. Bergerac is also home to the Maison des Vins that showcases the regions wine. It is housed in the Cloître des Récollets where you will find all the information you need to explore local vineyards. The nearby Musée de Tabac contains the history of tobacco. The town has two statues of Cyrano de Bergerac to commemorate the famous writer. The town is also known for having an international airport serving the region at the Bergerac Dordogne Périgord Airport that is due East of Bordeaux.

Perigord cuisine
Perigord’s gastronomy enjoys a great reputation. The two great stars of Périgord cuisine are foie gras and truffles (truffes), There are also walnuts and chestnuts, wild mushrooms, the little flat discs of goat’s cheese called cabécou and the sweet light bread called fougasse. Wine from Monbazillac and Bergerac is excellent.

Duck is used both for foie gras and for confits de canard. The duck is cooked and preserved in its own fat as confits which can either be eaten on its own or used in the preparation of other dishes such as cassoulet, another regional favourite. Magret de canard, or duck breast fillet, is one of the favourite ways of eating duck and appears on practically every restaurant menu.

Perigueux is just 25 minutes away and worth visiting too, especially if you want to do a big shop at the large supermarket complex Auchan, just 5 minutes away from the town.

To experience the real France we feel you must come and stay and enjoy some of the holiday homes, villas and gites in Dordogne.

Click the following link for more info or list of holiday homes and villas in France