Tagged: europe travel

A Winter Time In Finland

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Skiing in Finland. Photo credit: Visit Finland.

If you love nothing more than being surrounded by snow-covered peaks in the winter, but feel as though you’ve done most of Europe’s main ski areas, have you considered Finland?

Yllas in Lapland (better known as the home of Father Christmas), is an excellent base, as it offers a host of winter sports in beautiful, unspoilt scenery. It’s also a great option if you’re looking for somewhere a little more peaceful than busy ski resorts.

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Lapland, Finland is no ordinary travel destination.  Photo credit: LiveTravelMountains.com.

So, what makes Yllas the ideal destination for a winter escape? Here are a few things to whet your appetite for some fun in the snow:

Cross-country skiing

Cross-country skiing can be challenging, but it’s an immensely rewarding way to enjoy the landscape you’re gliding through. If you’ve never tried your hand at this type of skiing before, Yllas is the perfect place to do it.

The region boasts 330 km of cross-country trails, of which nearly 40 km are illuminated, so you can continue skiing well into the evening.

In addition, it has a very long season – starting in October and running through to May. The long ski season means you’ve got plenty of opportunities to book a cross-country skiing break and avoid the busiest seasons if you want to save a bit of cash and meet fewer travelers.

Downhill skiing

If you’d prefer something a little faster to get your adrenalin levels up, you won’t be deprived of excellent downhill ski runs in Lapland. Around Yllas there are 63 slopes, including the longest in the country (Jattipitka at 3 km), as well as snow parks where you can practice your jumps and moves.

For a real adventure, you can go off-piste, with plenty of locations on the mountains suitable for skiing away from the main trails.

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Huskies in Lapland, Finland. Photo credit: Visit Finland.

Reindeer and husky safaris

For an alternative way to get from A to B, dispense with your skis and hop in a sleigh instead. You can choose to be towed by huskies or reindeer when you set off on a safari through this magical winter wonderland.

This is a great option if you’re traveling with kids who are bound to love interacting with the animals just as much as the thrill of the ride.

Snowshoeing

You can slow your pace down even more by strapping on some snowshoes and heading out to explore on two feet. As you don’t need specific trails for snowshoeing, it’s a great way to discover some of Lapland’s most picturesque scenery in peace and quiet. If you’re not keen to go it alone straight away, sign up for a guided walk first until you get used to the equipment and feel more confident about navigating on your own.

Snow, glorious snow

Of course, it’s not just the activities you can do that make for an excellent winter holiday destination – snow is a pretty essential ingredient too. The Yllas Fell is Finland’s highest skiing area (it’s 718 m above sea level) and it’s incredibly snow-sure.

The powder on the ground will typically last for up to six months, so you’re practically guaranteed a winter wonderland with plenty of snow no matter what period of the season you travel in. In addition, all the trails and slopes are well-maintained and there are plenty of instructors should you wish to learn or brush up on your skills before you hit the slopes.

Alpine City Break

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Maria-Theresien Strasse, Innsbruck, Austria. Photo credit: Innsbruck Tourist Board.

Taking a mountain trip to the Austrian Alps, this summer?  If you fancy city breaks, you might want to head to Innsbruck, aka the capital of the Alps.

Like the world’s great mountain cities, Innsbruck offers travelers a mountains-meet-city experience, the perfect Europe culture + nature break.  Right now, Innsbruck is offering a special Alpine City Break.  Take a look at these beautiful videos of Innsbruck:

Wander Innsbruck’s Maria-Theresien-Strasse towards the medieval old town and you’ll see the Nordkette mountain chain.  Admire the baroque Triumphal Arch and the Bergisel ski jump, designed by world renowned architect Zaha Hadid.

Innsbruck’s cosy cafes. Video courtesy of Innsbruck Tourist Board.

The Innsbruck Alpine City Break package includes:

  • 3 nights/buffet & breakfast in a 4* hotel;
  • 1 Innsbruck Card valid for 48 hours;
  • A guided walking tour through Innsbruck’s medieval downtown;
  • Panoramic city tour with “The Sightseer Bus”;
  • Free admission to popular city attractions including Ambras Castle, the Swarovski Crystal Museum and the Alpine Zoo;
  • Welcome cocktail at the Casino Innsbruck and
  • Coffee & cake at the Alpenlounge Seegrube Restaurant (2,000m altitude).

Luxury In Scotland

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Guest room at Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa & Island. Photo credit: Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa & Island.

Dreaming of a private mountain island retreat in Europe?  Then you and your loved ones might fancy a stay at Scotland’s Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa & Island.

In Argyll, Scotland, the Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa & Island offers weekends of exclusive hire of its luxury 25-bedroom, 5 star resort.

A member of Relais & Chateaux, the resort, which was built in 1884, is located on a 300 acre private island just off the west coast of Scotland. This tranquil place features a 9-hole golf course, a spa with fireside and in-house beauty treatments and a 3AA rosette restaurant.

Known for its natural surroundings, Isle of Eriska is 5 miles from Oban Airport; two-hour drive from Glasgow airport and 6 miles from Connel Ferry train Station.

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Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa & Island in Argyll, Scotland. Photo credit: Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa & Island.

These private island weekend retreats include exclusive use of the island, two nights accommodation, morning coffee and afternoon tea and a Scottish breakfast for up to 50 guests. Resort packages are available with on-site bespoke entertainment options and activities.

“We’re lucky in that the setting makes it such a unique 5 star experience. We really embrace what is simple and most memorable about spending time away, too,” says Beppo Buchanan-Smith, owner of Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa & Island.

The Isle of Eriska,

Hotel, Spa & Golf,

Benderloch,

By Oban,

Argyll, Scotland

Website: www.eriska-hotel.co.uk

Luxury In Verbier

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Chalet Les Lutins. Photo credit: AlpineGuru.com

Oli Corkhill of AlpineGuru.com wrote this post on luxury chalets in Verbier, Switzerland.

Verbier has an ever-growing reputation as one of the alpine capitals of the world with an appeal to a vast array of people from all walks of life. Over the past few years, the Swiss resort has become more and more high-end with glitz-and-glam nightclubs, new boutique hotels and grand mountain residences appealing to the alpine glitterati.

From authentic chocolate-box family homes to ultra-modern chalets of the future, there’s an expansive selection of chalets available to rent in Verbier showcasing a real mix of styles.

Here are a few of Verbier’s most interesting chalets:

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La Vallee Blanche. Photo credit: AlpineGuru.com.

La Vallee Blanche is a fine example of a state-of-the-art chalet with all the tech gadgetry needed to satisfy the most religious of T3 readers. This super cool apartment sleeps eight to ten guests in four impressive bedrooms. The master suite even has a spa-style Jacuzzi bath and a television embedded behind a mirror (now that’s trickery that even James Bond would be proud of.)

Chalet Les Lutins (top) showcases antiques and artifacts in its interior design that gives it a luxurious yet rustic alpine charm. Situated in the La Tinte area of Verbier, Les Lutins has a mini-spa with stone floor and five spacious bedrooms including a bunk-room for children.

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Chalet Spa. Photo credit: AlpineGuru.com.

One of the most exclusive properties in the world is the Chalet Spa, a true retreat for majestic mountain stays with service that would top even the finest of five-star hotels and an interior worthy of magazine covers. Designed by the renowned Cittolin Polli architects, the chalet encompasses a superb layout, panoramic views and a prime yet secluded location. Our favorite feature has to be the hearth level fireplace that takes centre stage in the living room.

Hiking + Biking In France

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Summer mountain time at the French alpine resort of Val d’Isère. Photo credit: Val d’Isère.

Looking at mountain hiking and biking in France? If you head to the French alpine resort Val d’Isère, the resort has expanded its hiking and biking trails for summer 2012.

A popular nature destination for walkers, mountaineers and cyclists, this resort of peaks, valleys, rivers and lakes is home to the Vanoise National Park, Iseran Mountain Pass and Ouillette Lake.

See this stunning mountain destination on this live HD 360° webcam from Val d’Isère.

This summer, the bike parks in Val d’Isère and Tignes are merging into one zone which offer the use of 5 lifts. Riders will have access to 21 downhill trails, 8 endurance runs, 2 cross-country circuits and 1 family ride and recreational zones.

A cultural walking route, 7 Chapel Circuit, has been designed as a gentle walk for families with young children through hamlets around Val d’Isère. In all, for walks, family ramblings to expert treks, there are 30 long and short hiking trails.

Here are some related travel deals in Val d’Isère:

  • The Summer Gift Pass: Participating hotels (Hôtel Altitude, Hôtel La Becca, Hôtel Ormelune, Hôtel les Crêtes Blanches and Hôtel Bellevue), are giving guests a free Summer Gift Pass.  The Pass gives holders unlimited access to pedestrian and bike lifts, the resort swimming pool, a complimentary half-day guided ramble and a choice of 2 Sports Park activities (golf practice, shooting stand, archery or fun park.)
  • Alpine Guide Offer: Professional guides are available to accompany travelers on a glacier hike or canyoning or climbing trek starting at €65.

For more Val d’Isère travel info, go to www.valdisere.com.