Choosing the Right Paris Neighborhood

Paris Pin
Pin it for Later!

The city of light, the city of love, an epicenter for culture, shopping, and food – Paris inspires high expectations. And with good reason. It’s an incredible city to visit, and one you’ll keep coming back to. But which Paris neighborhood do you choose for your home base? Being so high on everyone’s list means there’s no shortage of hotels, and looking at your options can be instantly overwhelming. You will, of course, be able to explore all of this beautiful city. But where you stay will set the tone for your adventure and dictate what’s closest and easiest for you. We’re always excited to find the perfect hotel for your travel style, but here’s our little guide on where to begin: 

Arrondissements

Orienting yourself in Paris is easy, once you get the hang of it. Starting from the Louvre and spiraling out like a snail shell, the city is divided into 20 bureaucratic districts, or arrondissements. Often, the arrondissement is synonymous with the cultural neighborhood they contain. But on occasion, some neighborhoods spread across two or more arrondissements. Much like New York City’s 5 boroughs, each arrondissement has its own personality, sites, and quirks.

The Seine serves as a center point dividing the city in half. So, the lower numbers are closer to the Seine and the Louvre, while the higher numbers are further away from Paris central and tend to be more residential.

Choosing the right arrondissement or neighborhood to match your travel style will enhance your time in Paris and set you up to enjoy every second of your trip.

Pro-tip: Wondering what arrondissement a place is in? Look at the postcode. They all start with 750 and end with the arrondissement. For example, the Louvre is 75001 in the 1st arrondissement. Shakespeare & Co is 75005 in the 5th arrondissement.

For First-Timers or A Short Stay

If it’s your first time in Paris, or if you only have a day or two, you’ll probably want to stay in the heart of Paris. Fill your days seeing the major cultural sites like the Louvre, Notre Dame, and Tuileries. These areas will have many other tourists all excited to see everything too. But having these major sites close by and easy to access will allow you to spend more time soaking in the culture and less time on the metro.

1st Arrondissement

The center of the spiral, the 1st arrondissement is mostly shopping and tourist attractions. Great for culture lovers and those who enjoy walking everywhere. This area tends to be more expensive, and some hotels will have a view of the Eiffel tower. Staying here won’t give you the typical Parisian neighborhood feeling, but nearly everything will be on your doorstep. 

2nd Arrondissement

A bit of a hidden gem, the 2nd arrondissement is full of beautiful 1800s arcaded passages. Still located in the heart of it all, there are no major tourist sites directly in the neighborhood. Being slightly out of the limelight, you’ll find fewer tourists and fewer crowds while still staying close to the major attractions. 

a narrow cobblestone street in Le Marais Paris

Le Marais

Spreading across the 3rd and 4th arrondissement is the historic Le Marais neighborhood. Home to large LGBTQ+ and Jewish communities it has a rich blend of cultures and chill vibes. As you wander the narrow winding streets that open into bright leafy squares, you’ll feel that yes, you are in Paris. Combining old-world elegant charm with the avant-garde, this neighborhood finds a perfect balance between old and new. Plus, it’s still close to the major sites. You’ll enjoy the trendy bistros, vintage shopping, and independent galleries in this Paris neighborhood.

[Photo Credit: Dodzy via Unsplash]

5th Arrondissement

Across the Seine on the Left Bank is the 5th arrondissement. Nicknamed the Latin Quarter for the university La Sorbonne that used to teach Latin, it is one of the oldest parts of Paris. It is still a student area with many young bars, restaurants and bohemian vibes. Bustling streets, trendy restaurants, and just a bridge away from many main sites. You can find the Panthéon, the Jardin des Plantes, and the renowned Shakespeare & Co bookstore. There are quite a few hidden gems! 

6th Arrondissement

Also known as Saint-Germain or Saint-Germain-des-Pres, this quiet neighborhood is very close to the city center. Saint-Germain saw the 20th-century cultural movement, and the golden age of Paris can still be felt in the independent stores, boutiques, and thriving café culture. It has easy access to all the above arrondissements while enjoying old-world glamour and quiet luxury. Also, this is a great area when traveling with kids because it is quiet and contains the Luxembourg Gardens

For Luxury Travel

To explore Paris in style, these arrondissements offer a 5-star experience. Paris with all the trimmings. Stay in luxurious hotels which offer private gardens, spacious rooms, and relaxing spas. Around the hotels, there are chic lounges, gourmet restaurants, and upscale shopping. 

6th Arrondissement

Saint-Germain-des-Pres has a more high-end local feel. It’s a luxury residential neighborhood. Enjoy your morning croissant at a cafe on a wide boulevard, watching wealthy Parisians head to work from their elegant homes. Close to the city center and the major cultural attractions, soak up the old-world glamour of Paris in the early 20th century. 

a bricked street with luxury buildings and the Eiffel Tower at the end in Paris

7th Arrondissement

Because of its proximity to the Eiffel Tower, this neighborhood caters to upscale clients looking for spectacular views from every window. If you dream of waking up to the Eiffel Tower out your window from your lush expansive bed, this is the place for you. Step out your door to world-class museums like the Musee D’Orsay, beautiful streets, and high-end shopping. Just note that with all this luxury, there isn’t much nightlife and the whole area quiets down after dinner.

[Photo Credit: Cyril Mazarin via Unsplash]

8th Arrondissement

This is the home of high-end hotels. With the presidential palace in this arrondissement, the international jet set gives it an expensive, elegant, and elite vibe. Here you’ll find the classiest and grandest hotels available. Enjoy the high-end shops and luxury restaurants that give you Paris with all the extras.

For Budget Travelers

If you’re on a tighter budget, you can still enjoy an incredible Paris experience! Of course, you can find a budget hotel in almost any neighborhood, but choosing one of these arrondissements will offer a broader selection with more for less.

5th Arrondissement

The Latin Quarter has a distinct student vibe. With its vibrant bohemian atmosphere, you’ll find an eclectic mix of restaurants, shops, and student bars. This is a great budget option to stay close to the heart of the city. 

colorfull houses and cafes line the hilly street of Montmatre Paris

Montmartre

In the 18th arrondissement, you’ll find a high concentration of budget boutique hotels. Further out from the city, you will have to take the metro much more to get to the main sites. Home of Sacre Coeur and bordering the Moulin Rouge this area is built on a hill. The winding streets give it a village feel and the classic cafes and architecture are picture-perfect. This is what most people envision when they picture Paris. But the hill means stairs around every corner, making it a bit difficult to lug around heavy luggage. This is not a good option if you have any mobility issues.

[Photo Credit: Jeff Frenette via Unsplash]

12th Arrondissement

Further out from the city and not on the tourist track. This neighborhood will offer you quieter budget options while still being well connected to the main sites and the morning trains from Gare de Lyon via the metro. 

For the Shopaholics

Shopping is high on many lists when visiting Paris. With the famous Champs-Elysees, stunning department stores, and high-end designers, Paris has a lot to offer a shopaholic. If you dream of wandering Paris admiring elegant window displays and buying the latest trends, these neighborhoods will let you shop till you drop close to your hotel.

1st Arrondissement

Right in the heart of it all, the 1st arrondissement offers many shopping opportunities. It has a little bit of everything, from luxury brands to touristy souvenir stalls. It will be easy to spend the whole day exploring what this arrondissement has to offer.

8th Arrondissement

Home of the Champs-Elysees, the 8th arrondissement is the perfect place for luxury shopping. Expensive and elegant, you will find luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Chanel. If your goal is to shop the big names in fashion, jewelry, perfumes, and bags, this is the place to stay. 

the domed glass ceiling and elegant arches of Printemps Department Store in Paris
Printemps [Photo Credit: Svetlana Gumerova via Unsplash]
The colorful and elegant front of a chocolatier in Paris
[Photo Credit: Esophie Louisnard via Unsplash]

9th Arrondissement

Home to the Grand Magasins – or huge department stores- of Paris. The Galeries Lafayette and Printemps as well as some lovely smaller shops. This area is perfect if you’re looking to shop till you drop without completely breaking the bank. In the 9th arrondissement, you’ll find shops for every budget plus beautiful architecture and covered passages. 

For a Local Feel/ Repeat Visitors

For those who have been to Paris several times, or are looking for that local, authentic Paris feel, ditch the tourists and enjoy a slice of Parisian life. Further away from the main attractions, you’ll find charming cafes, tree-lined streets, and a more relaxed pace.

For Trendy, Unique Vibes

If you’re looking to stay out of the main tourist areas but still feel that your neighborhood has some glitz and glam try the 9th arrondissement or the adjacent Montmartre in the 18th. Each of these neighborhoods offer quintessential Parisian architecture, small boutiques, trendy restaurants and thriving nightlife. The 9th arrondissement and Montmartre are not totally devoid of tourists or touristy attractions. But they are neighborhoods you often don’t spend a lot of time exploring your first time in Paris. Nonetheless, they offer lots of hidden gems worth discovering.

down the Canal Saint Martin in Paris with trees and people sitting along the bank

Canal Saint-Martin

This area offers a balance between trendy vibes and quiet residential neighborhood, with a multicultural artistic flare. This relaxed neighborhood is where locals go to hang out. Whether you join them in a game of boules along the banks, take a dinner cruise or simply admire the street art, Canal Saint-Martin encourages you to soak in the local flavor. The Canal offers a slower pace with cobblestone streets, amazing food, and unique sites like temples, grottos, and waterfalls. Fewer classic touristy adventures mean fewer tourists. You’re farther from the main sites but it’s perfect for a stroll any time of the day.

[Photo Credit: Vince Duque via Unsplash]

For Quiet and Residential

If you’re looking to experience a slice of Parisian life without the glitz and glamour try the 12th arrondissement or Montparnasse in the 14th arrondissement. Primarily business and residential areas, staying here will make you feel like a true local. Stop at a cafe or brasserie along the bustling but not boisterous boulevards of these modern neighborhoods. Enjoy the green spaces of Bois de Vincennes park in the 12th arrondissement and feel safely away from the crowds.

For Foodies

Paris is full of amazing restaurants and delicious food. Whether you dream of upscale 5-star Michelin restaurants and trendy and inventive fusion bars, or crave those quintessential creperies and markets, Paris prides itself on its food. You can absolutely find amazing food anywhere in Paris, but if your main focus is where you’re eating next there are a few neighborhoods that stand out.

Le Marais

Combining old and elegant with the inventive and new, in a perfect balance, and brimming with French cafes, vegan eateries, and kosher delights. Here you will find an endless selection of restaurants at every price point. Between old-fashioned boulangeries, open markets, and trendy bars this is a great base if your focus is always on food.

Canal Saint-Martin

In the 10th arrondissement, the Canal is a little outside the heart of the city. But it has become a foodies paradise. With numerous organic wine and cheese stores, craft coffee shops, and unique restaurants, and a more local feel away from the tourist crowds, this is the perfect place to find your new favorite hidden gem.

[Photo Credit: Liz via Shared Adventures Travel]

SoPi (South Pigelle)

In the 9th arrondissement, just below the Moulin Rouge. This very trendy up-and-coming neighborhood offers the latest food trends. With fusion bars, craft cocktails, and the very foodie Rue de Martyrs street there’s a lot to enjoy. While it still retains a tinge of its original red-light-district seediness, this vibrant neighborhood offers innovative food options.

Belleville

Staying in Paris for a while and growing tired of the Frenchest French food? Belleville in the 20th arrondissement has you covered. Trendy and hip, the Belleville area has a wide mix of cultures with narrow streets, little boutiques, and independent food shops. An arty, gritty, vibrant neighborhood where Chinatown meets hipster, this is the spot to enjoy foods from around the world.


So, which neighborhood fits your style? The balanced and classic Le Marais? The chic and elite 8th arrondissement? Or maybe the relaxed and removed Canal Saint-Martin? Which ever suites you best, if this blog has piqued your interest and you’re ready for your next adventure to Paris, let us know! We’d love to help you find the perfect hotel in the perfect neighborhood!

The Best Honeymoon Destinations (by Month)

Honeymoons by Month Pin
Pin it for later!

The majority of couples still take their honeymoons shortly after the wedding. Which means that honeymooners have to consider seasonality and find a destination that works well for their specific travel dates. But how do you know which places are the best at different times of year? Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered, with our handy guide to the best honeymoon destinations by month!


The Weather

Before we get to the months, there are a few criteria to keep in mind. First is, of course, the weather.

Sunset beach Costa Rica Honeymoons

Beachy and tropical islands often have just two seasons: Dry and Rainy. These seasons tend to be the opposite on different sides of the world. So no matter what month you travel in, you can find a beautiful beachy location somewhere.

[Photo Credit: Katey & Oliver via Shared Adventures – read about their Costa Rica Honeymoon here!]

The Crowds

a piazza in Rome full of tourists, ideal for Honeymoons

The other important factor to consider is crowds. Certain months see high crowds for a reason. Everyone is excited to experience the best weather the destination has to offer! Think about whether it’s more important to you to have the best weather possible (despite the crowds). Or would you prefer to risk some less-than-ideal days in exchange for having a sense of seclusion?

[Photo credit: Ann via Shared Adventures]

With these answers in mind, have a look at our monthly guide! We’ve split the destinations into two categories: “High-season” is the best weather with potentially the biggest crowds. “Best balance” has decent weather balanced with smaller crowds.

January

St. Lucia– high-season
Costa Rica- high-season
Aruba – high-season

Norway high-season
Swiss Alps- best balance

Beachy Honeymoons: For the best weather, look to the equator. Destinations in the Central America region ( including the Caribbean) will be beautiful. They will also be in peak season. January offers clear blue skies, warm seas, and a perfectly idyllic beach vacation. It’s just a bonus that you can escape from the cold!

Snowy Honeymoons: Consider just how cold you truly want it to be. The further north you go, the darker and colder it gets, which gives you the brilliant opportunity to see the Northern Lights. January also tends to be less busy than February in top ski destinations due to the shorter days.

February

Mexico– high-season
New Zealand- high-season
Hawai’i – best balance

Swiss Alps- high-season
Norway- best balance
California- best balance

Beachy Honeymoons: February is a peak month for tropical travel. The Caribbean, and Mexico are popular with everyone trying to escape the winter cold, including families on school vacation breaks. Hawaii can be a good option, because the weather is temperate year round and spreads the crowds out. And French Polynesia might work, as long as you’re okay with some passing rain showers.

Snowy Honeymoons: How important is skiing? How cold is too cold? If you want to hit the slopes every day of your honeymoon, then February is prime ski season in many winter destinations! If you’re looking for other winter activities, you’ll find the extra cold temps mean a lot of opportunities to snuggle up, fewer crowds, and more daylight hours for adventuring!

March

The Maldives– best balance
New Zealand- best balance

Iceland- best balance (for snow)
Japan- high-season (mid-March)

Beachy Honeymoons: March is a great honeymoon month to avoid crowds if you don’t mind a little unpredictability. It’s the last month of the dry season in many places. So look more closely at the weather reports and consider spots where a few small showers and cooler nights will enhance your trip.

Snowy Honeymoons: This is the last opportunity of the year to enjoy a snowy destination! Consider what winter activities you’re most excited to experience. Because you start to get longer hours of daylight in March, find a destination that has a lot of outdoor adventures. 

a view of the siene, the eiffle tower and the paris skyline in Paris for Honeymoons
[Photo Credit: Ann via Shared Adventures – read about her April in Paris trip here!]

April

The Caribbean– best balance
Seychelles- best balance
South Africa- best for combining different regions

Australia- best balance
France- high-season
Napa, California- best balance

Beachy Honeymoons: April is the bridge between the dry and wet seasons. For the best weather, look into heading a bit further towards the southern hemisphere. If you’d rather stay closer to home, the Caribbean will have some unpredictability, but overall beautiful days and lower crowds. 

City Breaks: April is the beginning of perfectly romantic city breaks. Consider locations that you dream of strolling around, admiring the architecture and the flowers in bloom. Look to Europe and Japan for the most beautiful displays of spring blooms. 

May

Portugal– best balance
Malta- best balance
Costa Rica- best balance
Hawai’i- best balance

Fiji- best balance
Scotland- best balance
Ireland- best balance

Beachy Honeymoons: A perfect shoulder month. If you’re looking to stay closer to home, the Caribbean and Central America will have lower crowds without (yet) the summer rains. Otherwise, you can beat the summer crowds but enjoy the rising temperature on the other side of the globe. Southern Europe and the South Pacific are entering their dry season. Warm weather, low humidity, and the islands practically to yourselves — It makes the long plane trip worth it! 

Sightseeing and Exploring: If you’re not a sunseeker, look into northern Europe. A perfect combination of warm days, cool nights, green countryside, lower crowds, and maybe still a little snow on the utmost mountain peaks. 

lush green mountains of Hawaii an a blue bay on the road to hana. perfect for hawaii honeymoons
[Photo credit: Ann via Shared Adventures Travel]

June

Hawai’i– high-season
Antigua- best balance
St. Lucia- best balance

Fiji- high-season
Greece- best balance
Alaska- best balance

Beachy Honeymoons: June is the beginning of hurricane season in the Caribbean, but it’s still too early for major risk. This is a good month for sun-seekers. Look for spots where you can sneak in before the storm risk increases in late summer.

City Breaks: June is an excellent month for city breaks. Everything is open and waiting, but the true heat of summer hasn’t settled into the cobblestones yet. Look for cities that allow you to get out into nature a bit for a cool breeze.

July

French Polynesia– high-season
Malta- high-season
Italy- high-season

Ireland- high-season
Canada- high-season
Iceland-high-season

Beachy Honeymoons: French Polynesia and southern Europe swell to their peak popularity. Honeymooners in July will almost certainly have to share the beaches with plenty of other travelers.

Outdoorsy Honeymoons: July is the peak month for many cooler-weather destinations that are just coming into their own at this time of year. Look to the north to find green fields, hiking trails, cool mountain lakes, fresh breezes, and unending hours of daylight.

August

Kenya & Tanzania– high-season
Mozambique- high-season
Bali- high-season
Vietnam- high-season

Croatia- high-season
France-high-season

The sweltering temps are reaching their peak and everyone is looking for a beach. August is difficult to avoid crowds, especially in Europe where many countries have their summer vacations. Look to the islands in Southeast Asia and Southern Africa for the peak of the dry season. Beautiful beaches and beautiful clear skies await you there.

driving nin maine
[Photo credit: Liz via Shared Adventures Travel – read about a New England Roatrip here!]

September

Hawai’i – best balance
French Polynesia- best balance
Bali- best balance
Greece- best balance

Croatia- best balance
Italy- best balance
Japan-best balance
The UKbest balance

Beachy Honeymoons: This is the perfect moment to swoop in and enjoy the last warm days without all the crowds. Look to the most popular summer beach destinations. You’ll find amazing weather, still-warm seas, and fewer people.

City Breaks: Like April, September is a perfect month for city breaks. The sweltering heat dissipates and the nights start to cool. Everything is still open and buzzing from summer, but the temperatures and crowd levels are much more pleasant. This is the time to visit Italy, Greece and Croatia!

October

Mauritius-high-season
Vietnam- best balance
Dubai- best balance
Zambia- high-season

France- best balance
Amsterdam- best balance
Canada-best balance
New England- high-season

Beachy Honeymoons: This is the best time to visit those destinations that are almost unbearably hot in summer. While October brings unpredictability, it also brings good opportunities to explore beyond the beach. 

Cool Honeymoons: Stunning fall foliage is the main focus of an October honeymoon in North America and Europe. While you may have a mixture of sun and rain, October’s quiet crispness in the cities will only add to the romantic atmosphere.

November

Thailand-best balance
The Maldives- high-season
Jamaica- best balance

Australia- high-season
Argentina- best balance
Chile- best balance

November is all about the Southern Hemisphere. While the north experiences rain and cloudy skies, the south is right at the beginning of summer. The weather isn’t too hot yet and the crowds aren’t too big, so overall you want to consider the bottom half of the world. It’s also a good time for the Caribbean, as the hurricane risk is nearly past, and crowds ten to be lower.

December

The Caribbean-high-season
Mexico– high-season
Thailand– high-season
Bali- high-season

Copenhagen- best holiday markets
Austria- best holiday markets
Prague- best holiday markets

Beachy Honeymoons: The holiday season sees everyone in the north escaping the cold for beautiful beaches. Consider places near to the equator on both sides of the world- South East Asia, The Caribbean, and Mexico are all in their stride. 

Snowy Honeymoons: The beginning of snow, cold temperatures, and beautiful holiday markets! While snow is a little unpredictable, consider those cold-weather cities with booming holiday markets as the perfect cozy romantic destinations. 

The Best of Both: City & Beach

When you’re starting to plan your next getaway the question inevitably arises: should we take a city break or beach vacation? People tend to have strong opinions one way or the other, and it can seem difficult to come up with a compromise. Especially when traveling to Europe.

best of both City & Beach graphic explaining 5 different european cities with both great city breaks and beaches to visit
[Pin it for Later!]

Fortunately, you don’t have to choose! There are plenty of beautiful, historic cities in Europe that also have relaxing, sun-soaked beaches. You can spend your European vacation exploring museums and wandering the cobblestone streets one day, and splashing in the stunning sea the next. We’ve created a quick guide to our top city/beach destinations with just a taste of what each has to offer. Read on below for even more detailed descriptions of what you’ll discover in these amazing places.

Vielle Ville -Nice’s old town features rustic narrow streets, colorful markets, and a vibrant atmosphere. You can enjoy beautiful architecture like the Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate or the 17th-century mansion Palais Lascaris. The old town includes the most popular dining destinations, charming buildings, markets, and monuments. It’s worth spending the day soaking up the history and atmosphere.

Musee d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain (MAMAC)– This modern art museum has over 1300 pieces of art on display. The collection includes avant-garde works from the late 50s to the present day. And you can always head to the rooftop terrace for beautiful panoramic views of the city.

six bouquets of beautiful flowers at the flower market in Nice France

Marche Aux Fleurs Cours Saleya – Pretty striped awnings, hundreds of multicolored, intense, vivid bouquets, and exotic plants. This vibrant market has been in existence for over 120 years and is a must-see when in Nice. While the market is mainly flowers you can also find fruits, veggies, and stalls selling local delicacies. We recommend going early, bringing small bills, and enjoying this colorful, aromatic experience.

[Photo Credit: Kylie Paz via Unsplash]

aerial view of a beach with the light blue water on top and the grey pebbles covered with people on towels and pastel colored umbrellas in Page Beau Rivage inNice France

Castel Plage -The best views of the Bay of Angels with a chic and sophisticated atmosphere. There are several luxury hotels, bars, restaurants, and historic sites nearby. This smaller beach provides private decking down to the water’s edge, pebbles, and calm waters for the perfect break from the city.

Plage Beau Rivage– A longtime hotspot, this private beach is right at the foot of the old town. It’s the largest beach in the French Riviera and is packed with 5-star amenities. Dine in gourmet restaurants on the shore, sip on a cocktail from the luxe lounge bar or rent a classic blue striped sunbed. Head to the Beau Rivage for an iconic, glamorous French Riviera experience.

Coco Beach – Locals love this small public rocky outcrop. Here you won’t find rentals or beach clubs but just the chance to soak up the sun on the warm rocks and dive into the water. Located in a residential area about 5 minutes from the other beaches, this is the perfect spot if you want a quick dip.

[Photo Credit: Alex D’Alessio via Unsplash]


Las Ramblas– This famous promenade stretches 1.2km from the oldest port in the city to the new shopping center. Las Ramblas is full of shops, outdoor cafes, markets, theatre, and art. It is a completely pedestrian zone allowing you to take your time and soak in the atmosphere.

a curves wall covered in mosaics on a terrace overlooking the city of Barcelona at Gaudi's Park Guell

Gaudi’s Park Güell -This UNESCO World Heritage Site sits on a hill above the city. It offers stunning panoramic views, intriguing ceramics, Roman temples, and a forest of enchantment, all designed by the famous Catalan artist Antoni Gaudí in his signature style. Surrounding Gaudi’s beautiful work is a maze of carefully landscaped trails, soft green hills, intricate walls, and bridges, making this one of Barcelona’s most impressive parks.

La Boqueria Market The best and most famous food market near Las Ramblas. Originally dating back to a 1217 meat market, La Boqueria now serves a huge variety of meat, fish, fruit, veggies, spices, and local dishes. This is a foodie’s paradise from seafood tapas to fruit smoothies. When visiting Barcelona it’s a must to spend time soaking up the atmosphere and the explosion of colors.

[Photo Credit: Denise Jones via Unsplash]

golden sand and waves kissing the shore with the famous sail-shaped building in the background on Barcelonetta beach in Barcelona Spain

Barceloneta Beach – The oldest and best-loved beach, Barceloneta is linked with the fishing quarter of the same name. The most famous Barcelona beach and the one closest to the city. Its soft golden sands will get crowded in the peak summer season so arrive early to enjoy the classic neighborhood-by-the-sea atmosphere and many amenities.

Bogatell Beach – Classic Barcelona golden sands, a huge variety of recreational facilities, and easy mobility access — this beach has it all. There are smaller crowds here, and they tend to be a little older averaging around 35-38 years. Beautiful water, seafood, and sun lounger rentals make this the perfect place to spend a sun-soaked day.

Nova Icaria– A wide stretch of golden sand on this peaceful beach makes it perfect for families and big groups. Nova Icaria, right next to Bogatell, has the widest range of leisure amenities, including restaurants, bars, playgrounds, ping-pong, and beach volleyball. This was a beach made with large families in mind.

[Photo Credit: Alessio Rinella via Unsplash]

Pompeii & Vesuvius -An easy day-trip from Naples this famous archeological wonder is a must-see. You can book a tour with transportation included, or get a guided tour when you arrive. After marveling at the living museum of Pompeii, head up to Mt Vesuvius itself. The hike to the top is suitable for all ages with many rest areas along the way to admire the panoramic city views.

Historic City Center– This UNESCO World Heritage Site has existed through twenty-seven centuries of history! The largest historic center in Europe, you can admire the many museums, monasteries, catacombs, and over 200 churches. It’s impossible to see it all so we highly recommend taking a local tour to help you appreciate the highlights.

Sansevero Chapel Museum– Mystery and beauty blend to create one of the most enigmatic chapels in Europe. Sansevero Chapel is located in the historic city center and holds some of the greatest marble sculptures in the world. We recommend reading up on the history of the artists and the chapel before visiting.

[Photo Credit:David Mark via Pixabay]

top photo a wide bay with mountains in the distance and the sky at sunset in the bay of Naples, bottom photo people in a bay sitting on rocks with a yacht in the background

Gaiola Beach – This almost hidden beach is in the Posilipo district. The beach is divided into two sections — the public area, which is a local favorite swimming spot, and the marine protected area in Parco Sommerso Della Gaiola, with its untouched beauty and beautiful views. The blue-green water is perfect for swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, or scuba. Or just settle in on the rocks or small sandy strips to soak in the sun.

Miseno & Miliscola – Located in the Bacoli area at the extreme point of the Capo Miseno peninsula, these two beaches feature a long seaboard with several lidos, bars, cafes, restaurants, and facilities. This is the perfect spot for a picnic with friends or family, with soft sand, clear shallow waters, and a long coast.

Scoglione di Marachiaro – Marechiaro is a seaside town famous for its beauty. This beach can only be reached by boat from the Calata Ponticello, creating a unique experience. Crystal clear water is perfect for a swim, or you can lay your towel on the long rocks or rent a sunbed. This is the perfect beach for classic Italian charm and taking a dip in the Med.

[Photo Credit Top: Jan Gottweiss, Bottom: Ferran Feixas via Unsplash ]

Alfama Neighborhood– The oldest, most traditional, and charming neighborhood in Lisbon. There’s plenty to see as you wander the steep cobblestone lanes. Visit the Castelo de Sao Jorge, hop on the iconic tram, or head to Miradouro de Santa Luzia for breath-taking views on a romantic terrace. Enjoy the cafes, music, and festivals and soak up the atmosphere in this vibrant, lively neighborhood.

a view of red tiled roofs and white buildings including a small tower with the sea in the background looking from a height in Lisbon Portugal

Jerónimos Monastery – This UNESCO World Heritage Site was built in the 1500s and is a must-see site for history and culture. The church features tree-trunk size columns and exhibits a mastery of architecture. Mixing naturalistic elements and religious symbols in its magnificent cloisters and gardens it’s one of the most interesting monuments in Lisbon.

Museu Nacional do AzulejoA one-of-a-kind museum all about the famous Portuguese azulejos, or tiles. Housed in an old convent from 1509, the collection features pieces as far back as the 1400s. Exhibiting masterpieces of tile art, the azulejos tell a story, and the museum takes you through their history. This unique collection will let you see Lisbon with new appreciation.

[Photo Credit: Tom Byrom via Unsplash]

top photo: Carcavelos beach with golden sand and surfers catching waves with a historic castle walls in the background, bottom photo: Adraga golden sand beach with jagged rock formations at sunset in Lisbon Portugal

Carcavelos Beach – Located halfway between Lisbon and Cascais, this wide beach is one of the largest on the Lisbon coast. Strong waves make it perfect for surfing or bodyboarding, but there’s plenty to do here besides hitting the waves — including a scenic promenade for skaters and joggers, restaurants and bars with seating on the beach and parasols to rent. This is a lively beach, big and convenient to get to, only a 20 min train ride from the city center.

Adraga – Less than 45min from Lisbon, this beautiful beach features a rock arch, strong waves and is a favorite among locals. Perfect for walking, fishing, and families who want to play in the warm sand. Explore the beach caves or just admire the dramatic coastline from the restaurant terrace.

Arrabida Beaches – The coastline to the south of Lisbon is full of beautiful beaches. A 30 minute train ride from the city center, this area is a natural paradise and protected park. With calm crystal-clear waters, laid-back restaurants, and even some Roman ruins, stretches of golden sand, lush green hills, and vibrant colors make these beaches the perfect getaway.

[Photo Credit Top: Zachary Pearson, Bottom: Natalia Alves via Unsplash]

graphic wavy circle with Split Croatia written in the middle

Marjan Forest Park One of the most beautiful places to visit in Split. This park offers nature, peacefulness, and mystery. Formerly the residence of monks, it has been transformed into a top place for recreation. Perfect for cycling, hiking, walking, and enjoying the stunning views with a coffee from the cafe.

an aerial view of downtown Split Croatia with the harbor and red tiled roofs and mountains in the background


Historic Old Town – There’s a lot to see in Split’s historic old town, and much of it is well-marked with signs in English! Wander the pedestrian-only medieval historic streets, enjoy the cafes, bars, restaurants, and shops. Soak in the history all around you as you navigate the maze of cobblestone alleyways. Be sure to visit the Diocletian’s Palace, the 13th century Bell Tower and the statue of Nin!

Klis Fortress– This ancient stronghold is just outside of Split. You can admire ancient ruins and the 2000-year-old history that seeps from the stones. Sprawling over the hilltop, this fortress is full of lookouts and nooks and you can explore it all with complete freedom.

[Photo Credit:Spencer Davis via Unsplash]

a white stony path to the right of a bright blue sea with green tress overhanging the path in Split Croatia

Bačvice – This sandy beach is only a 10-minute walk from this historic old town. A very popular local beach in the heart of the city, the shallow waters are perfect for little ones. You can rent chairs and umbrellas, play water sports, rent jet skis and swim in the clear calm waters.

Ovčice – Just a 5-minute walk from Bacvice Beach, Ovcice is lined with cafes and restaurants with beautiful ocean views. This small pebble beach features many amenities, especially for children, such as rentals, playgrounds, and trampolines! It’s right next to the city and will give you a typical Croatian beach experience.

Ježinac To avoid the crowds of the main city beaches head to Jezinac at the base of Marjan Hill. This quieter and more peaceful beach is only 2 miles from the city center. It has an upscale atmosphere with luxury accommodations, dining, and amenities. It’s one of the most scenic pebble beaches, offering plenty of places to relax in the sun in style.

[Photo Credit: Tom Bradley via Unsplash]


These are just a small sample of what these fascinating cities and beautiful beaches have to offer, if your interest is piqued- let us know! We’re excited to help plan an adventure that combines the best of both worlds!

Uh oh, Mom and Dad are on their way

When I was in college, waaaay back in the ’80s, studying abroad was not nearly as popular as it is right now. These days, it seems nearly every college student takes the opportunity to spend a semester in another country  — and why wouldn’t they!! — which means that I get the opportunity to help parents/siblings go visit them 🙂  I know what an amazing time I had visiting my own daughter when she was studying in Buenos Aires, and I absolutely LOVE helping other parents have that experience. In that vein, here’s a trip report I just received from Sue, after a fabulous visit with her daughter in France (with a quick stop in London first!)

Hi Ann,

I am still getting back to reality but wanted to let you know about our trip.  As mentioned we had a fabulous time and appreciate your planning for us! 

The St. Ermins was a lovely hotel and the staff extremely helpful.  Our room and bathroom were incredibly small though.  There was no room for both of our large suitcases and we were literally tripping over each other.  We were going to ask for a larger room but since they got us in earlier than check-in and it was only two nights, we didn’t bother.  Someone also told us that rooms in London hotels were smaller than we’re used to in the US. The location of the hotel was perfect to walk to lots of sites and we found some great pubs nearby! 

The Eurostar train was fun and we enjoyed that trip to Paris. We absolutely loved the Eduard 7 Hotel!  Our room was very nice and it had a balcony overlooking the main street.  We spent a lot of time out there admiring the view with a glass of wine.  Again, great location for us as we became experts on taking the metro back and forth to Nicole’s place. 

The Versailles tour was great and the guide was very friendly and knowledgeable.  We enjoyed the Normandy tour as well, and had a fantastic guide.  We even got an extra stop at Omaha beach on the way home.  It was a very long day but well worth it.  

The train to and from Nice was also fun and we enjoyed the scenery.  The AC Marriott was very modern and not really our style but our suite was huge, we had a great view of the sea and the location was unbeatable to walk along the water.  We also enjoyed the roof top bar! 

St. Tropez was was absolutely beautiful and we enjoyed exploring it.  We didn’t realize how far it was from Nice but traffic wasn’t bad since it was a Saturday.  Our guide was great and even took us for a tour to the top of Nice when we returned as we had some time left.  The other tour was fun as well – it turned out just to be the three of us and we really loved walking around Eze. 

The Opera Cadet hotel was a perfect location near Nicole for that last night.  The room was small but clean and comfortable. 

Thanks again for doing such a great job with our trip!  We hope to get to Italy in a couple years with our kids after they graduate from college and will let you know when we’re ready for that trip :).

 

Sue

You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)