Posts tagged with "scenic"

360 MAGAZINE, Vaughn Lowery, Travel, Food

Your Essential Guide to Crete

Crete is one of the most stunning islands of Greece, and visiting it is a holiday that you’re sure to remember forever. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your visit and really turn your holiday into something special. 

Accommodation

Where you stay is one of the most important decisions of your trip, and it’s worth spending a little more to make sure you get the best quality. Choosing one of many villas in Crete is a different but exciting way to give your visit a little extra kick – absorb yourself in the true, luxurious experience and invest in a villa you can really relax in after a long day of exploring. Plus, with many including a swimming pool, it’s never been easier to live the good life and rock your holiday in style. You can find accommodation here with Blue Villas – they are an award-winning agency dedicated to finding the best quality for you. They have consultants who will handpick choices from over 150 villas so that you can find exactly what you’re looking for, meaning the whole stay is personal to you.

Scenery

One of the main draws of the Greek islands is the breath-taking scenery – whether you’re looking for beaches that wrap the coastline, hidden coves, valleys that envelope villages lined with narrow cobbled streets, mountains that are sprinkled with snow, or rough cliffs that are soaked with frothy, splashing waves, in Crete you’ll find it all. Don’t forget to bring a camera – you’ll need it, as every moment is picture worthy, and you won’t want to forget a second. There are countless orchards, gardens and plateaus for you to get your fill of the local wildlife and plants, and see the true beauty of what grows in Crete. 

Activities

Crete is full of ways for you to spend your time, whichever way you choose to spend your time – if scenery is your thing, take one of the many walking tours (some free) of the island to gain an insight into the history and culture of Crete, as well as get the opportunity to take in some of the most beautiful sights. Take time to explore your surroundings and decide which areas you’d like to see the most – the more you explore, the more hidden gems you’ll come across to make your trip even more special.

If you’re looking for a little bit of paradise, Rethymno is one of the most beautiful harbours in the world, and is the perfect place to explore and relax by the gently rippling sea. One of the most bustling parts of Crete is Hania, where you can venture down narrow lanes and explore old Venetian and Turkish architecture, as well as get a taste of the old town and its history. 

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, we recommend hiking the Samaria Gorge – this is Europe’s longest gorge, and gives you access to some of the most incredible views in the world, allowing you to get a glimpse of the raw, untouched beauty of Greece. You’ll even get to explore the abandoned village of Samaria – an experience like no other, and one you certainly don’t want to miss.

History and Culture

If you’re looking to learn a bit more about the history and culture of Crete, it’s not hard to find – there’s plenty to see! You’ll find ruins and remnants of societies been and gone, one of the most prominent being the Palace of Knossos, with plenty more fortresses and mansions scouring the island thanks to the variety of different invaders that have taken a fancy to Crete, along with mosques and Turkish bathhouses. 

The villages in Crete are still untouched, particularly those hidden in valleys and mountains, and they give you a deep insight to life for locals on Crete as well as the chance to immerse yourself in the culture. There are lots of customs and traditions that many of the locals still enact with pride, from dances and instruments (the lyra is a popular instrument in Crete) to local festivals, which occur often and keep the place alive and colourful.

Food

Greek cuisine is one of the finest in the world, and is not to be missed if you visit, particularly in Crete. Since many of the villages are tucked away from mainstream tourism, this is where you’ll find the most authentic and delicious food. Many tavernas make their own food including cheese, olive oil, raki and wine, and often will raise their own meat and catch their own seafood, meaning you’re bound to get top-quality, homemade food straight from the locals. There are plenty of food trails and wine-tastings so you can expand your palette and really explore the world of Greek cuisine and what it’s all about.

Crete is an experience like no other, and with these tips, you’ll be able to make your holiday an extra special one that you’re certain to never forget. Have fun!

Cycle Through Cinema Scenery

he late actress Anita Eckberg buffed up Rome’s allure while splashing in the Trevi Fountain in the 1960 film La Dolce Vita. Scores of movies today have cemented plots in locales that, like the fountain, intersect with planned vacation itineraries offered by leading tour operators.

One trend-setting company, Freewheel Holidays, specializing in self-guided bicycle vacations throughout Europe, offers the chance to visit cinema locations on several of its 2018 itineraries. Included in program rates are lodging with breakfasts, detailed route notes, point-to-point luggage transfers and complimentary bike rentals.

Movie buffs or anyone with a love of history and adventure will enjoy these bike tours:

Austria’s Lake Constance welcomed the crew filming Quantum of Solace. Cyclists can visit the strikingly modern opera house (Festspielhaus Bregenz) where the nefarious Quantum organization meet up during a performance of Tosca.  Lake Constance Family Special is a 7-day journey that wanders through vineyards and Baroque villages, and by castles and Roman ruins, with suggested stops at the Zeppelin Museum to view a model of the famous Hindenburg airship.  The per person double rate is from £569. For details see http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/lake-constance-family-cycling-tour.

Italy’s Venice was the site for The Talented Mr. Ripley. On any of Freewheel Holidays’ itineraries of Venice, guests can stop for an espresso at the old café in Piazza San Marco, a meeting place for Ripley (Matt Damon), Marg (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Mr. Greenleaf (James Rebhorn). Tours range from five to eight days. Venice Round Tour is one example. Days 1, 2 and 7 focus on Venice. Other days are spent exploring the foothills of the Italian Alps near Vicenza to Bassano del Grappa to Treviso, enroute sampling trademark grappas and proseccos and Italian village life beyond La Serenissima. The per person double rate is £619 and includes bike rentals. For details see http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/venice-round-tour-7-nights.

Belgium’s Bruges is a treasure trove for cyclists who watched In Bruges. They can visit where the hitmen hole up, Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce Hotel, and brave, like Ken (Brendan Gleeson), the 366 narrow steps of the Belfry. They can meet for a beer as the main characters did at 1 Zwart Huis (the Black House) and gaze, as did guilt-stricken Ray (Colin Farrell), at the Hieronymus Bosch painting of The Last Judgment at the Groeninge Museum and dine at Cafedraal where Ray enjoys his first date with the cheerfully drug-dealing Chloe (Clémence Poésy), before punching out the lights of a Canadian couple. They might even linger, as Ray and Chloe did, on the Meestraat Bridge, between Vismarkt (Fishmarket) and the Groenerel. Bruges and Belgian Coast is a 7-day itinerary that targets families with easy cycling routes and child-friendly attractions. Rates are from £469 per person double. For details see http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/bruges-and-belgian-coast-6-nights.

Czech Republic’s Prague can be visited through the lens of Mission Impossible. As the mission falls apart, controller Jim Phelps (Jon Voight) falls into the Vltava River from the famous Charles Bridge; the art deco headquarters of villain Max (Vanessa Redgrave) is the Hotel Europa on Wenceslas Square. Prague to Vienna is a 9-day holiday linking these cultural capitals with lakes, forests, vineyards, the old Iron Curtain and historic towns of south Bohemia and Moravia, including two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The per person double rate is from £949. For details see http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/prague-to-vienna-self-guided-cycling-holiday.

Another itinerary in this region utilizes the Elbe (River) cycling path between Prague and Dresden. Enroute to Dresden’s Zwinger Palace, Semperoper (Opera House) and Frauenkirche is Theresienstadt, a World War II concentration camp. For details see http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/prague-to-dresden-cycling-holiday.

UK’s Oxfordshire made an indelible impression in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) learns to waltz at Divinity School, Bodleian Library, Oxford.  He recovers here after being poisoned in Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince. In Duke Humfrey’s Library in the Bodleian Library, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Hermione (Emma Watson) mull over who to take to Slughorn’s Christmas party. Oxford & The Cotswolds is a 7-day program offering glimpses of England’s finest stately home, Blenheim Palace, and quiet villages that seem removed from the 21st century. The per person double rate is £599. For details see http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/oxford-amp-the-cotswolds.

To check trip availability, make reservations, or to find out more about Freewheel Holidays’ leisure cycling tours call +44 (0) 161 703 5823, email info@freewheelholidays.com or visit www.freewheelholidays.com.

About Freewheel Holidays

A division of Sports Tours International, Freewheel Holidays specializes in self-guided, expertly supported European cycling holidays that strike the perfect balance between leisure pedaling and immersive sightseeing. The company offers easy cycling programs designed with special appeal to European and North American travelers. Guests cycle on their own, with enroute assistance and distinctive accommodations expertly chosen and secured by the company. A portfolio of over 40 established European holidays offers riders of all levels a freedom of choice. The company features a range of 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9-night itineraries to 12 European countries including the UK, Austria, France, Holland, Czech Republic, Italy, Malta, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Sweden and Portugal. The majority of tours are self-guided with the exception of a few fully-guided vacation packages in Croatia, France, Italy and Prague to Vienna.  The company also offers family-focused, coastal, wine lover, bike and boat, and solo traveler holidays.

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Follow Freewheel Holidays on Social Media

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Website:         www.freewheelholidays.com

2017 EOD Undefeated Bike Ride

EOD Warriors Hold 2017 EOD Undefeated Long Distance Bicycle Ride to Benefit Bomb Disposal Techs

Cycling enthusiasts can choose a ride to raise money for the mission of helping EOD Warriors

On Saturday October 7, 2017 the annual EOD Undefeated Bike Ride will kick off at locations around the country, benefitting the EOD Warrior Foundation. The annual fundraiser will offer various ride distances, some spanning two days and over 150 miles, giving cyclists various rides to choose from, while supporting a great cause. Ride participants include wounded EOD warriors, active duty military Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians, veterans and civilians. All funds raised from the event go to support the EOD Warrior Foundation’s mission to improve the quality of life for the EOD family by providing financial relief, scholarship opportunities, physical, social, and emotional support.

“This is our largest annual fundraising event, and it is one that people look forward to year after year,” explains Nicole Motsek, executive director of the EOD Warrior Foundation.

The 2017 EOD Undefeated Bike Ride has routes scheduled that go through San Diego and Orange County in California, as well as Gulf Coast ride from the Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. There are additional rides scheduled in Denver, Virginia Beach, and there is a virtual ride option in Texas or on your own. There are various pledge amounts and ride lengths to choose from, including 6 miles, 25 miles, 60 miles, 100 miles, and 200 miles, giving everyone an opportunity to join in.

The annual EOD Undefeated Ride was started by Navy EOD Commander Kevin Childre. He passed away in 2015 as a result of injuries he sustained during a bicycle accident while raising awareness for the EOD Warrior Foundation. The annual ride that he started has not only raised over $2 million for in support of EOD Warriors, it also helps keep his memory and passion alive.

“Those who love to bike can take a beautiful ride and raise money to help bomb disposal technicians,” added Motsek. “Get registered, air up your tires, and enjoy a day of exercise and camaraderie all in the name of fun and charity. It will be a great day for everyone involved.”

The rides that have been staged include:

  • West coast 2-day ride – October 7-8, 2017, starting from Carlsbad, Calif. This route offers a scenic coastal ride, and a 4,900’ climb.
  • West coast 1-day ride – October 8, 2017, starting from Carlsbad, Calif.
  • Gulf coast 100/60/25/6 mile ride – October 8, 2017, starting from Eglin Air Force Base in Fla.
  • East coast ride – October 7, 2017, starting from Virginia Beach.
  • Denver ride – October 8, 2017, starting from Denver.
  • Virtual ride – October 7-15, 2017, starting from a location of your choosing.

To get more information and register for the 2017 EOD Undefeated Ride, visit: www.eodride.org.

The EOD Warrior Foundation is an organization that helps the families of the 7,000 people in our military who are Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians, and perform bomb disposal duties. Engaging in the most dangerous job in the military, EOD technicians often sustain serious injuries, lose limbs, or are killed in action. The EOD Warrior Foundation helps this elite group by providing financial relief, therapeutic healing retreats, a scholarship program, care of the EOD Memorial Wall located at Eglin AFB, Fla. and more. Their work is supported by private donations and the generosity of those who support the organization. To learn more about the EOD Warrior Foundation, or see their fundraising events calendar, visit their site at: www.eodwarriorfoundation.org.

About EOD Warrior Foundation

The EOD Warrior Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help EOD warriors and their family members with a priority on wounded EOD warriors and the families of fallen EOD warriors. Specific programs include financial relief, college scholarships, hope and wellness programs that include therapeutic healing retreats, and care for the EOD Memorial Wall located at Eglin AFB, Fla. To learn more about the EOD Warrior Foundation, or see their events calendar, visit their site at: www.eodwarriorfoundation.org.