As the desire for unique and off-the-beaten-path experiences grow, travelers seek destinations that offer not only beautiful scenery, but also a touch of the extraordinary. Below, I share my favorite hidden gems that promise unforgettable moments, from exploring Mount Etna in Sicily to savoring the culture of San Sebastian, Spain.
Sicily, Italy: Mount Etna Jeep Excursion with Winery Visit
Take the day to explore Mount Etna, Europe’s tallest active volcano. Your private English-speaking driver/guide will lead you on a jeep excursion, driving through the mesmerizing landscape of lava and craters. End the adventure with a visit to a renowned local winery, where you can sip award-winning Sicilian wines and enjoy a traditional Sicilian lunch.
Porto, Portugal: Hotel Yeatman
Porto, Portugal’s “second city,” is home to architectural wonders, historic charm and culinary magic. The Yeatman Hotel, located among the historic Port wine cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia, offers tranquility and sophistication. With 82 rooms named after different wines and wineries, an infinity pool overlooking Porto and a two-Michelin-starred gourmet restaurant, The Yeatman is a must-visit for wine-loving travelers seeking the perfect blend of modern, yet historical.
San Sebastian, Spain: Pintxos Tasting Tour
Take an adventure in San Sebastian, a food lover’s paradise, through a private pintxos and wine tasting tour. Travel from traditional family-run bars to modern cooking style ones, gathering with locals to learn more about the city’s culinary scene. Stroll through the old quarter, admire the beauty of the city and indulge in a unique experience that goes beyond the typical tourist spots.
Chantilly, France: Private Guide Tour of Chateau de Chantilly
Chantilly, famous for its château, racecourse and whipped cream, offers a weekend getaway just north of Paris. Explore the Renaissance-style Château de Chantilly with a private guide, uncovering the rich history and the second-largest antique painting collection in the world. Stay at Auberge du Jeu de Paume, where historical charm meets modern luxury. It’s the perfect starting or ending point for a French adventure.
Santa Teresa, Costa Rica: Tortuga Island and Cabo Blanco National Park
Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, with a full-day tour to Tortuga Island. Enjoy a scenic boat ride along the coast and snorkel in the clear waters, where you may encounter dolphins, manta rays, turtles and humpback and pilot whales. If you are up for another adventure, take on a half-day hike in Cabo Blanco National Park, a true testament to conservation efforts, showing the rich biodiversity of the region.