If you’re looking for a luxury holiday there are plenty of possibilities in Italy. The country is full of culture, style and great food, and you can easily find a destination that suits your tastes. To add a little luxury to your trip you can set up a holiday home exchange, which saves you money and allows you to stay in the comfort of someone’s home. In this guide you will find 10 suggestions for luxury holiday locations in Italy.

Italy is a fantastic destination, full of interesting cities and luxury locations. You can visit Italy in style and really live it up with a bit of planning. A home swap is one of the best ways to make a luxurious holiday affordable. In this guide you can read about 10 luxury locations in Italy, including Capri, the Amalfi Coast and Lake Como.

Venice

Venice is famous for its canals and romantic atmosphere. It’s the capital of the Veneto region and combines quaint Italian charm with all the amenities you would expect of a big city.

Florence

Florence is an amazing city, both to look at and to explore. The architecture is breathtaking, the food is delicious and it’s a really stylish destination. It’s an art-filled choice for a luxury getaway!

Lake Como

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Head for Lake Como if you want a real taste of how the rich and famous holiday. You really want to stay on the lake itself, and if you do you’ll feel like you’re in a truly special location.


Amalfi Coast

If it’s a beach break you’re after, you should head for the Amalfi Coast in Campania. You can while away your days in the sun and maybe even hire your own beach cabana to add to the luxury.

Sardinia

Sardinia is another good place to visit for a luxury getaway. You could opt for the coastal town of Cagliari or, for a bit of peaceful luxury, you could head for Carloforte.

Madonna di Campiglio

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Head up the Italian Dolomites to try your hand at skiing in Madonna di Campiglio. Spend the day on the beautiful white slopes, marvel at the scenery and then return to sip a cocktail in your chalet.


Verona

Combine luxury and romance by heading for the beautiful city of Verona. This is where Romeo and Juliet is set so, if you fancy a romantic break, it doesn’t get any more romantic than Verona!

Capri

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Capri is the place for the wealthy and you can enjoy it too. You’ll be right on the coast and will definitely want to visit the famous Piazzetta. It doesn’t get more exclusive or luxurious than Capri.


Tuscany

You’ve read about Florence but what about the rest of Tuscany? Well, there are plenty of other places you can go for a luxury holiday, as well as great food, in towns like Siena and Lucca.

Cortina d'Ampezzo

Cortina d’Ampezzo is another of Italy’s fantastic ski resorts. It’s a great place for skiers and snowboarders and the après ski is pretty good too!

You can find holiday home swaps at www.lovehomeswap.com. And, if you like the idea of a house swap in Italy, you have plenty of options open to you.

Poll: where in Italy would you like to go?


A             Madonna di Campiglio

B             Capri

C             Lake Como

D             Venice

E              Other



Resource box

 

Italy

Lonely Planet’s guide to Italy

Amalfi Coast

Tourist information on this stunning destination

Italy and Skiing

A look at Italian ski resorts in the Guardian

 
Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, is featured among the top most visited places in the world. With its glorious architecture, diverse culture and historical monuments, Kuala Lumpur is a perfect place to spend some time during the holidays. Furthermore, the city also boasts of numerous malls and stores and is considered to be a shopper's paradise.
Important Places to Visit:

National Museum

Located adjacent to the Perdana Lake Gardens, the museum provides a glimpse in to Malaysia's history and culture. Built in 1963, it has several galleries featuring historical artifacts as well as representations of cultural activities like festivals and weddings.
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Kuala Lumpur Tower

Kuala Lumpur Tower is one of the most recognized towers in the world and is seen as a symbol of the city since its inception in 1995. Reaching into the sky, the tower is used for communication purposes with a 421 meter long antenna at the top. It also has a revolving restaurant where visitors can enjoy a nice meal along with the magnificent view of the city below.


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Merdeka Square

Merdeka Square (Independence Square) is probably one of the most significant places in the history of Malaysia. It was here that the Malaysian flag was hoisted for the first time, in August 31, 1957. Every year, on August 31, the square becomes the venue for the National Day parade (Merdeka Parade). What makes the square attractive for the visitors is the panoramic view of the old and new buildings in its vicinity. Many of the constructions like the Sultan Abdul Samad building were completed during the British era.

House of Parliament

The seat of the Malaysian democracy, the House of Parliament is located nearby the Lake Gardens. The main building is 3 stories tall and adjacent to it is a 17 story tower.

Petaling Street

Crowded with locals and tourists alike, the Petaling Street is strewn with stores offering cheap clothes and accessories of which most of them are pirated. The area is also known for Malaysian street food with large number of small food stalls and restaurants lining the path. The street also offers a variety of budget hotels for the budget traveler.

Central Market

Located only at a stone's throw away from the Petaling Market, the Central market is a haven for those who want to purchase items of handicrafts and art. Designed in a stall concept, the Central Market is an example of the traditional Malaysian markets. Different ethnic groups live and work in and around the area and all religious festivals are celebrated in a grand way here.

Religious Places


Kuala Lumpur has a diverse culture with people of different religions co-existing in harmony. Jamek Mosque and Sri Mahamariamman temple are two of the most prominent places of devotion that is worth a visit.

Shopping in Kuala Lumpur


Even the most reluctant shopper would become a shopaholic when in Kuala Lumpur. Apart from the Petaling Market and Central market, the city has 66 malls and many retail outlets. People from all over the world, especially from the Asian region, flock to Kuala Lumpur to shop for anything from clothes to electronic goods.

Accommodation


There’s plenty of accommodation for all kinds of budgets, including budget hotels and inexpensive serviced apartments in Kuala Lumpur.

John Chen is a travel writer currently located in Bangkok, Thailand.

 
New Forest, Hampshire, England

One of Britain’s largest national parks is situated in the South of England. Walk around the cute villages of Christchurch and Brockenhurst and try not to buy some antiques or handmade curiosities in the artisan shops.  The new forest is very big and famous for its great cycle and walking paths. Enjoy the fresh air, the animals that are running wild and beautiful scenery for the day until you find that perfect spot to sit down and enjoy your home made picnic. Don’t feed the ponies though; they will never leave you alone.


Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, Scotland

The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh houses the world’s biggest collection of plants that are native as well as non-native to the UK. It is a great place for a day out especially during spring when the trees start to blossom and the flowers come out. You can easily walk around for an entire day in between the multitude of flora that the gardens have to offer. Take a look at the website for special events and festivals that are organised during the spring and summer months to make your visit even more special.

Fermanagh Lakelands, Enniskillen, Northern Ireland

Fermanagh Lakelands are part of the beautiful countryside of Northern Ireland. They are situated in the West of the country and only 2 hours away from Belfast. Within the parameters of this countryside jewel you will find a treasure of outdoor activities. You can do anything from caving to hiking and from cycling to paintballing. We suggest a nice horseback ride through the countryside of Irvinestown with a picnic at Enniskillen Castle.

Llangennith, Swansea, Wales

This beautiful stretch of sandy beach on the coast of West Wales is great for an outdoor picnic. The beach itself is gorgeous and deserted during low-season. However there are always some great surfers battling the crashing waves who are certainly of entertainment value. If the weather really heats up, you can also sign yourself up for some surf lessons in one of the many surf schools around the area.

Organising a picnic in a park or a forest is a great way to celebrate a birthday. Most parks are open to the public so you can invite as many people as you like, or make it a romantic lunch for two instead.  To make the picnic extra festive bring one or two birthday present hampers which you can find online via many Great British patisseries. All you need other than that is a blanket, sunglasses and a charged i-Pod.

Enjoy the spring!

 
A cup of tea is not just a cup of tea, depending on where you choose to sit and sip it can mean an entirely different experience. A cup of tea in a well placed cafe is the best way to take in a new country. People watching in between sips gives you the sorts of keen insights that make great blog posts and wonderful mental memento's. Take a tour around the world with us and find yourself a tea spot to visit.

Sri Lanka 

Some may have mistaken India, and its spices, for the crown jewel of the British Empire, but we would argue that it was rather the tea of Sri Lanka that Britons valued more. The types grown in the central regions of the island nation are: Ceylon Black, Ceylon Green and the highly-prized Ceylon White. Production of the latter is limited to the hundreds of kilograms and is a rare pleasure. If you're ever lucky enough to get yourself a few leaves save them for a special occasion: a graduation tea date or a pre-wedding cup of tea. To explore the under appreciated central regions of Sri Lank visit Tea Trails.



Japan 

The ritual of tea-drinking is an integral part of Japanese culture so you'll have to approach a tea date in Japan with a bit more formality than your average cafe date. Chanoyu (or sado) is the traditional ritual of preparing and drinking matcha - the powdered green tea favoured in the land of the rising sun. A proper tea ceremony takes up to four hours and involves a meal bracketed by two sessions of tea-drinking. Wherever you go in Japan you'll find a teahouse nearby, but for the in-depth experience Hotel Okura in Tokyo (other hotels offer a similar service) is the perfect place to sample this meditative exercise in tea-drinking.

Morocco 

You would think that the best liquid to combat the stifling heat of a Moroccan day would be cold, but locals will tell you that nothing beats  a foaming cup of Toureg Tea - a type of mint tea. Like matcha above, preparing the drink is an event worth savouring almost as much as the tea itself. The routine involves two rounds of boiling, with tea leaves and then sugar,  and ends with a long pour from the pot to give the tea its characteristic frothiness. Some like to put a tea leaf in their cup before drinking, but leaving it in too long will upset your stomach. Preparation of the tea is done by the head of the family, but in other settings anyone can prepare the tea. Visitors to Morocco looking for the luxury experience may want to stop in at The Repose - a luxury Moroccan hotel, with a lovely traditional riad (courtyard) for their afternoon tea's.   
Byline:

Essential Travel is a UK travel extras company offering airport parking, airport hotels and travel insurance on the cheap.

 
Every year, Hong Kong receives thousands of tourists. It is one of the most vibrant cities in the world and getting there usually involves a long flight. A week’s stay is therefore recommended so that any effect of jetlag is shrugged off and you are able to truly enjoy Hong Kong.

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/laszlo-photo/6736230285/
The best trips are often the ones that have been the most thought out, particularly where visiting a city is concerned. Before setting out, ensure the essentials are sorted.

Visas

For travellers from most countries getting a Hong Kong visitor’s visa is fairly easy. Depending on your nationality, you can enter on a visitor’s visa and stay from seven to 180 days. It is worth finding out your visa requirements before you go.

Weather

The Hong Kong weather stays steady, making it a good destination all year round. However, if you would like to miss the worst of the heat, then avoid going between May and mid-September.

Getting around

Hong Kong has excellent, mostly air-conditioned public transport. Public transport allows you to travel to most major places, with signs provided in English and Chinese.

Accommodation

Hong Kong has plenty to offer when it comes to accommodation, ranging from youth hostels to super luxury hotels at your preferred location. You will have no problem finding a bed and breakfast in Hong Kong away from the city centre. Self-catering accommodation is also available for that extra independence. Indeed, you can get a room with a harbour view, stay in the thick of the action in the city or go a little further out to enjoy beachside accommodation.

The islands

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A visit to Hong Kong should involve a trip to its surrounding islands. Visit the famous Lantau Island and pay your respects to the Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the Big Buddha, wander around the Po Lin Monastery or head to Hong Kong Disneyland. Visit one of the smaller islands to relax and get a taste of village life seaside style.


The markets

Road names such as Hollywood Road and Cat Street may sound like US ones. However, these quaint streets and their surrounding areas are part of a typical Hong Kong experience. Here you will find rows of antique stores with the open-air curio market being home to everything from Ming dynasty furniture to modern-day souvenirs.

Take your credit card

Hong Kong is world renowned for its shopping. Outdoor shopping markets are everywhere, with some of the most popular being the Stanley Market, the Temple Street night market and the Ladies’ Market. For indoor shopping, there are plenty of shopping malls and shopping districts.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/ozmark17/3864801408/
Hong Kong has numerous restaurants. A wander along any of the city’s main roads will leave you spoilt for choice on where to dine. Consider a package tour to maximise your time in Hong Kong. Whichever way you choose to see Hong Kong, you will be happy you did.
Resource Box:
Wikipedia: Hong Kong - Brush up on your history with this brief overview of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong immigration department - Find out your visa requirements.
Hong Kong Sevens tickets - The Hong Kong Sevens are a great reason to visit the city.
 
_Looking for an easy way to do some more exercise?
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Why don’t you substitute your car for a bike? Try going to your office, your leisure centre or anywhere else by bike and you will soon be a lover of this great medium of transport.

In some of the most important cities around the world you’ll find bikes on each corner. Amsterdam is one of the best examples, bikes fill the streets. They are part of the city’s decoration! And now London is in on the act, with city residents able to take a bike from any docking station, ride it to their destination and leave it in another docking station. It makes sense, bikes can be useful if you want to save time, because of the traffic jams. Cycle lanes are all over the cities, meaning you don’t always have to ride in the middle of the traffic.

Choose your bike model carefully, because decoration is part of your bike and your lifestyle too. Complement yours with bags, great baskets and bells. Don’t forget your light if you are thinking about using it at nights.
Remember the old times, the summer days when you were just a child riding through the streets with your close friends.
It will be a real trip down memory lane!


 
Have you ever been to London? Have you ever taken the underground?
The London underground is the oldest in the world, that's why is so famous. When other big cities had not thought about building undergrounds, the tube was already working  in London.


Since 1863 (the year that the first section of the underground opened) to present, the tube has evolved and undergone many changes to amplify and maintain everything in good conditions. The tube has good connections everywhere around London center and surroundings. It's therefore very useful to the millions of people who used it every single day.

London is a big city so people need public transport to move around the city, go to work, study or simply go shopping. 

Live music, people, steep stairs, mazes... are some of the things that you can find in the London underground.

It's an experience that some people like and others hate... What do you think?