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For extensive knowledge of Italy’s regions, or even expertise on Transylvania, our Europe specialists are well-versed in the region. All have travelled extensively throughout Europe, both under their own steam and on reconnaissance trips to learn more about destinations from the ground up.

So if you wanted to find out the hottest tips for cuisine in San Sebastian, the best hotel in Venice or unmissable historic sites in Seville, our travel consultants will be able to tell you first-hand.

Beth 

I grew up in a small town in West Yorkshire called Boston Spa, before heading to university in Liverpool. Whilst I was there, I spent a semester abroad in China, living in a city called Suzhou, near Shanghai, for six months. I spent time exploring rural China, including the Wulingyuan Scenic Area (Avatar fans will recognise the floating mountains), as well as venturing out to Southeast Asia to experience Vietnamese, Cambodian and Filipino cultures.  

Growing up with a keen sailor for a dad, I spent many summers skipping around the Mediterranean Sea, snorkelling in tiny bays, sailing into Barcelona harbour, and gawping at the super yachts in Fiskardo. A particularly memorable moment was doing a “man overboard!” call in the British Virgin Islands to save our escaped dinghy. 

I have bungee jumped in Zambia, hiked Table Mountain, zip-lined past Arenal Volcano and performed in a choir on Liberty Island. Having just joined the travel industry, I am excited to explore and learn more about cultures around the world. 

Favourite experience 

A few years ago, I was sailing along the English south coast with my family, stopping off at towns in Devon and Cornwall along the way. One day, we anchored in a peaceful bay in Cornwall, with not much more than a couple of houses and a beach. We got our wetsuits on, went for a swim and a snorkel. We were enjoying a cup of tea on deck when another family swam across the bay in their swimsuits and came to say hello. We offered them a brew and a biscuit and welcomed the swimming strangers on board. While it may not have been in an exotic location (although, for a Yorkshire girl, Cornwall is!), it was a wholesome and spontaneous moment, meeting and chatting to strangers. After they got back into the sea and swam away, we never saw them again. 

Favourite place 

A trip that will forever stick out in my mind was when I spent three weeks travelling north through Vietnam. Whilst there, we stopped at a city called Dalat in the highlands surrounded by hills, forests, and waterfalls. Although it was rainy and wet when I was there, I had the most fun abseiling down cliffs and through waterfalls, rock jumping into small pools and springs, floating down the river and having a picnic on a rock by the riverside.  

We stayed at a small family hostel, which provided dinner for the 30 guests. We were all cramped round a large table together, getting to know strangers from all over the world. After dinner, the hosts performed for us, playing the piano and violin.  

Favourite hotel 

One of my favourite hotels is the Coral Reef Club in Holetown, Barbados. I was lucky enough to visit this hotel in November 2021 and spend a week there, lazing in the sun, drinking piña coladas. The hotel is sat a few steps from the beach, so you’re never more than twenty metres from your sunbed and the bar. In the evening you can enjoy a sundowner (my favourite had to be the rum punch), while observing the most astonishing sunset.  

The owners of Coral Reef take a very hands-on approach and are often around the hotel, always up for a chat and genuinely interested in how your holiday is going. At the main reception desk, you can book boat excursions to see turtles and to swim in other bays; my favourite was visiting a shipwreck in a nearby bay – while enjoying the complimentary rum punch on board. 

Bianca 

It was age six, flying as an unaccompanied minor to Australia, when I first realised my love of travel – staring out of the window for most of the 26-hour flight at the ever-changing scenery of mountains, plains, and seas. I have since made it my life’s mission to experience as much of the world and its beautiful landscapes and fascinating cultures as is humanly possible. With an unquenchable thirst for experiencing everything that life can offer, there are very few experiences I wouldn’t try – be that eating fermented shark in Reykjavík (a very acquired taste!) or jumping out of a plane in Cairns.   

Insider tip 

Should you visit the Italian city of Matera, I highly recommend the Osteria MateraMì restaurant. It served us one of the best meals we’ve ever eaten in Italy. If the weather is good, ask for a table on the terrace to take advantage of the views. 

Favourite place 

Asking me to choose my favourite destination is like asking me to pick my favourite child – I love them all equally, but for very different reasons. Italy will always be a firm favourite; just walking through the cobbled streets, you feel immersed in history and can imagine what life was like hundreds (if not thousands) of years ago. The food is always excellent, and the weather generally fantastic. Matera in the southern region of Basilicata is a particular favourite of mine. I visited in October, staying in a sassi – a former cave, fitted out with all modern luxuries. At sunset, the view over the town was just magical and will stay with me forever. 

Favourite experience 

Medieval walled towns are a particular weakness of mine, and, if you’ve not been to Romania yet, I’d recommend that you step away from Bucharest, and head into Transylvania. The museum within the ancient tower in Sighisoara is both informative and fascinating, and the view from the top is superb (thankfully, the museum itself is split over the many floors, so there’s a chance for respite on the way up). Brasov is sweet town, ringed by the Carpathians and known for its Saxon walls and bastions, and its pretty cobbled old town with colourful baroque buildings. I particularly enjoyed a Romanian meal at La Ceaun, a short walk from the main square. Both Sighisoara and Viscri can be reached on a day trip from here but if you have time, it's worth staying overnight. A surprise highlight for me was the wine – Romanian wine is phenomenal. If you're a fan of full-bodied reds, Feteascā Neagrā (translating to Back Maiden) is one to look out for. 

Favourite hotel 

If you decide to stay overnight at the pretty Saxon village of Viscri, in central Romania, the Viscri Guesthouse is the perfect way to experience traditional Romanian life. 

Neil 

Originally hailing from Poole, Dorset, I took inspiration from my well-travelled grandparents and spread my wings in my early 20s with backpacking trips to India, Southeast Asia and to South America, before moving to London. I am very experienced in the travel industry having worked as both a travel agent and a tour operator. After the pandemic, my experience of travel has changed as I now travel with a young family; recently we visited both Greece and Turkey.  

Insider tip 

It is very easy to rush from one destination to another in order to see as many sights as possible. My tip is to not rush your travels. I have travelled extensively by rail throughout Eastern Europe, and while progress can be slow and journeys don’t always run to plan, you get to see more of the real daily life of a country, as well as the time to meet and talk to local people – who are often as interested in you as you are them. 

Favourite experience 

Travel is a huge part of my life but is just one of my many interests. I love nothing more than combining my desire to travel with another of my passions – so far I have attended live football matches in Brazil, Argentina and Macedonia; watched test cricket in Barbados; been to music festivals in France, Germany, and Japan; and been wildlife spotting in South Africa, Papa New Guinea and Bolivia. 

The holiday to Barbados was with the social cricket club that I play for, and as well as watching the West Indies versus England, we played a match against a local club who we expected to be of the same level. On arrival at their ground, we soon discovered that they had a club member who had played for the West Indies. Safe to say we were soundly beaten, but more importantly, we had a great evening after the match chatting to our opposition over a few beers and a very generous barbecue. 

Favourite place 

The Georgian capital Tbilisi is an undiscovered gem. Lying on the banks of the Kura River and in the foothills of the Trialeti Range, meaning that it is surrounded on three sides by mountains, its cobblestoned old town reflects a long, complicated history, with periods under Persian and Russian rule. Its diverse architecture encompasses Eastern Orthodox churches, ornate art nouveau buildings and Soviet modernist structures. Having visited twice over a number of years, it has been fascinating to watch the city slowly modernise while retaining its own identity, culture, and customs. 

Favourite hotel 

For a truly unique experience then it has to be the cave hotels of Cappadocia. A personal favourite is the Yunak Cave Hotel in Urgup. The hotel is carved into a mountain cliff and has private cave rooms dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries and is crowned with a 19th Century Greek Mansion. After a busy day exploring the unique landscape of Cappadocia, you can relax in one of the hotel’s two swimming pools while taking in views of the fairy chimneys and rock formations.