Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Puglia

Puglia
Puglia
 
Puglia
Puglia
 

At the end of September, I had the chance to cross another dream destination off my bucket list: Puglia, Italy. With summer coming to an end, I’ll admit my spirits were a bit down as I prepared for the dark and cold Viennese autumn and winter to come. But this trip perked me up and gave me a final taste of summery warmth and sunshine to look forward to.

Puglia
Puglia
 
Puglia
Puglia
 

I had never been to Puglia before this trip, so this was to be a chance to explore somewhere entirely new while speaking Italian all day long.

Plus — who doesn’t get excited about the food in Italy? Pizza, pasta, gelato, it’s an overwhelming feast for the senses and taste-buds. And, most exciting of all, my dear friend Pauline would be joining me on the adventure.

Puglia
Puglia
 

And now, I hope you will come with me! As I reflect on my time in Puglia, I want to share my tips, hot spots to visit, plus some of my favorite photos of the trip. Perhaps they’ll inspire you to plan your next journey to Italy — and follow a similar itinerary to mine.

Puglia

1st stop: Polignano a mare 

Oh, is there anything more exhilarating than arriving after a long trip at the gorgeous Italian coast? Polignano al mare, perched on the shore of the Adriatic, opens its watery gates to all those who travel from far and wide to stay here. And trust me — they do! The tiny town was jammed on the Sunday afternoon when we arrived, with tourists shopping, dining al fresco at cafés, and gazing out at the turquoise waves. For much of the afternoon, we wandered, but at points I had to stop and remember how lucky I felt just to be here in this heavenly spot. (Extra tip: Next to our hotel we found a place that was making yummy sandwiches with octopus and burrata that I will never forget. Yum!)

Hotel: Giovì Relais

Restaurant: Grotta Ardito

Puglia
Puglia
 

Puglia

Puglia

2nd stop: Monopoli

It was difficult to pull ourselves away from the intoxicating views of Polignano al mare, but the next phase of our excursion beckoned. Pauline and I packed up the car and drove to Monopoli. It’s a short drive — only twenty minutes or so — but still, for such a brief distance away, we encountered our fair share of wacky moments.

For instance, a man I’d never met before started singing a song for me featuring my name. “Viva Silia, welcome to Monopoli!” he called the improvised tune. A greengrocer share a few slices of fresh fruit with us, out in the fresh air on the street. A former craftsman brought us to the tiny shop where he used to repair shoes years ago. And we had a brush with fame — we saw a group of people filming a movie right on the beach. It was as close as we came to Hollywood this trip.

If you would care to spend a night or two in the charming town of Monopoli, check out this beautiful hotel, the Don Ferrante!

Puglia
Puglia
 

 

3rd stop: Ostuni, also known as the White City 

Like a castle on a hill, Ostuni is an enclave on a cliff overlooking more of that crystalline, sapphire water I treasure so much. The city itself is almost all white and there’s something very striking about that, as well as its wild cacti protruding from every crevice.

Check out Taverna Della Gelosia for a delicious meal!

Hotel: Masseria Grieco

Restaurant: Tito Schipa

 

4th stop: Alberobello, famous for its Trulli houses

At our final stop in Puglia — Alberobello — we met Valerio, the vivacious owner of our hotel. We fell in love with the Trattoria Terra Madre’s spectacular cuisine, and overall had a wonderful time.

The press trip concluded with a short visit to Locorotondo, where we had dinner at the restaurant Bina ristorante di Puglia.

Hotel: Palazzo Scotto

Restaurant: Trattoria Terra Madre

 
 

I came away from this adventure fully appreciating just how unique Puglia is — it’s an Italian treasure that will make an indelible impact on you. I would like to thank ENIT Italia, which in collaboration with the Region of Puglia and Losurdo Viaggi, organized this individual press trip for us.

And of course, big thanks to our new friend Pasquale, our amazing driver who kept us company as we roamed Puglia and took us in its stunning sites.

More on Instagram

 

LEFKADA KEFALONIA

LEFKADA KEFALONIA

On the 2nd of June, a group of journalists and I flew from Vienna to Aktion National Airport in Preveza on a press trip organized by the Greek Tourism board and My Austrian holidays.

That was the beginning of a great adventure. We were set to explore 4 islands in the Ionian sea: Lefkada Kefalonia, Meganisi, and Ithaka. Four Greek islands that I have never been before. I was excited to see these new places and capture their natural beauty with my camera.

LEFKADA KEFALONIA

Once we landed in Preveza, we were transferred to Lefkada island where we spent the first 3 days of our press trip. At this point, I would like to thank our travel guide Mr. Spiros Zampelis for spending everyday with us during our stay, and showing us around the beauty of Lefkada.

It was so nice to have a great guide, such as Mr. Zampelis. It made our whole travel experience in a new place so much more interesting and meaningful.

LEFKADA KEFALONIA

Travel tips for Lefkada

Hotels: Ionion Blue hotel, Galini hotel
My choice: Crystal waters hotel
Beaches: Pefkoulia beach, Porto Katsiki beach, Kathisma beach
Best Coctail bar/restaurant in Lefkada: Fly Me
Taverna : Burano

LEFKADA KEFALONIA
LEFKADA KEFALONIA
 
LEFKADA KEFALONIA
LEFKADA KEFALONIA
 

LEFKADA KEFALONIA

LEFKADA KEFALONIA

During one of those days in Lefkada, we visited Meganisi, a hidden gem in the Ionion sea. That was my absolute favorite part of the whole trip. In Meganisi we also had a great host. Mr. George Vasileiou-Mourkoyannis organized a very thoughtful daily program for us in order to make the most of the one day we had to spent on the island. Once you arrive in a place for the very first time, you need to know the right persons, right? ; )

LEFKADA KEFALONIA

Meganissi is for those who are into slow living, privacy and tranquility.

LEFKADA KEFALONIA

Take the ferry from Lefkada to Meganisi for a one day trip. But in my opinion, the best way to enjoy Meganisi to the fullest is to rent a yacht and a villa…and stay longer than just one day. For lunch go to the TOP sea food Tavern Errikos.

LEFKADA KEFALONIA

LEFKADA KEFALONIA

From Lefkada, you can easily get access to Kefalonia by ferry.

Travel tips for Kefalonia

The most picture perfect villages: Fiskardo and Asos!

Beaches: Myrtos beach, Xi beach, Makrys Gialos, Platis Gialos, Fteri beach, Skala, Pessada beach, Antisamos beach

Hotel recommendation: White Rocks

LEFKADA KEFALONIA

LEFKADA KEFALONIA

If you prefer to stay in Argostoli, please check out this amazing boutique hotel: Kefalonia Grand hotel. 

Argostoli has amazing pastries shops! Check “Glikon Esti”!

Taverna : Apolafsi

Fancy wine tasting? Go to Foivos

Points of Interest: The Cave Lake of Melissani

LEFKADA KEFALONIA

LEFKADA KEFALONIA

LEFKADA KEFALONIA

Travel tips for Ithaka

Cafe Margarita in Stavros village

Lunch at ODYSSEAS (Raftopoulos- Tzanetos) in Frikes seaside village

LEFKADA KEFALONIA

Many thanks to the Greek Tourism Board, My Austrian holidays and the Regions of Lefkada Kefalonia for the opportunity to visit Lefkada Kefalonia, Meganisi and Ithaka! 

More on Instagram!

Blue Sand Boutique Hotel & Suites

Blue Sand Boutique Hotel & Suites
Blue Sand Boutique Hotel & Suites
 
Blue Sand Boutique Hotel & Suites
Blue Sand Boutique Hotel & Suites
 

As you may have already noticed on Instagram, last June I embarked on a great adventure.

I went island hopping in Greece. During my Greek island adventure, I stayed in 8 hotels in total. One of those was the Blue Sand, a charming Boutique Hotel that has views to Agali Bay in Folegandros.

I have done this in other destinations and I did it once again at Blue Sand Boutique Hotel & Suites. I spent the first four days in the hotel and didn’t leave Agali Bay. Even though it was my first visit to Folegandros and we were curious to explore the whole island, my friend Pauline and I decided to hang around the hotel instead. Tell me if I’m wrong…

We simply wanted to soak in all the beauty of the landscape, breathe in and out, relax in our hotel room, and take as many photos as possible. And we couldn’t have found a better place to do just that.

Blue Sand Boutique Hotel & Suites
Blue Sand Boutique Hotel & Suites
 
Blue Sand Boutique Hotel & Suites
Blue Sand Boutique Hotel & Suites
 
Blue Sand Boutique Hotel & Suites
Blue Sand Boutique Hotel & Suites
 

Agali Beach and Blue Sand Boutique Hotel & Suites had us covered in every way. We were within close proximity to everything our soul and mind needed: the beach, a choice of tavernas, a traditional cafe and wifi…

Plus, we were told that if we took the coastal path to the right of the hotel, we would discover three other secluded and unspoiled beaches. We did just that! Pauline and I love walking, so we didn’t miss the chance to go for a walk.

Blue Sand Boutique Hotel & Suites
Blue Sand Boutique Hotel & Suites
 

Blue Sand Boutique Hotel & Suites

Blue Sand Boutique Hotel & Suites

Blue Sand Boutique Hotel & Suites

On one of those balmy summer evenings during our stay in Folegandros, our boutique hotel set up a beachfront picnic for us.

The team at the Blue Sand Boutique Hotel & Suites created the perfect atmoshpere using stylish rugs, boho-chic pillows, and lanterns. They spoiled us with with cheese plates and champagne. We were lucky to have someone who knew how to do all this right.

Blue Sand Boutique Hotel & Suites

Blue Sand Boutique Hotel & Suites

I have always found it hard to find the right words to describe amazing places and unforgettable experiences. I prefer to let the photos above do the talking. All I know is that we were lucky and privileged to have spent a few days at the Blue Sand Boutique Hotel & Suites in Folegandros. We feel forever mesmerized by the entire experience and we wish to come back.

So, thank you Katerina, Spiros, Vasilis and Panagiotis.

The Viennese Girl visited Folegandros island in partnership with the Greek Tourism board.

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Ibiza

Ibiza

An invitation by Samsung Austria to attend the „Golden Hour“ Photography Masterclass brought me to Ibiza, a place I’ve never visited before, at the beginning of July. The Photography Masterclass was directed by Uli Weber, a German photographer best known for his celebrity portraits. 

Ibiza is, as we all know, a place related to night life and parties that last all night long. But we were not there for that reason. The goal of the workshop was to shoot the sunset with the Samsung Galaxy S9 plus phone and test the phone camera in low light conditions. July could not have gotten off to a better start…

 

On Monday night, I arrived quite late on the island. After traveling all day with a layover in Rome, there was not much left to do than go to bed immediately. My first impressions of the island at that moment were my huge, colourful hotel room and a fancy swimming pool visible from my balcony. All were hints to how much fun the next day would be. 

Ibiza

The next day, right after breakfast, we went on a jeep safari tour together with the Samsung Switzerland team. Mariano and Niko, our guides and drivers, made sure to show us around the non-touristy parts of Ibiza. We mostly drove around the west coast. We saw the island from above and swam in the turquoise waters of Cala Tarida beach. Later on, we headed back to the hotel for lunch, before we arrived at the Cotton Fitness Club for the Masterclass. 

Ibiza

The second day I had a free day to spend on my own, and I decided to use it by heading to Ibiza Old town. Initially I went for a little shopping because it was too hot to walk around. Later on, I walked up to the castle to enjoy a panoramic view of the city, and then down through the little streets in the old town. 

Ibiza

Unfortunately, I don’t have Ibiza tips to share with you, as I was there for just three nights (2 full days). The only thing I would recommend is to avoid the area of Sant Antoni, if you are not that into partying. I am sure Ibiza offers more than that alone.

It was a short yet nice stay in Ibiza. Many thanks to Samsung Austria for one more amazing trip. We love making #withgalaxy thousands of unforgettable moments around the world together.

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visit Matera

visit Matera

visit Matera
visit Matera
 
visit Matera
visit Matera
 
visit Matera
visit Matera
 
visit Matera
visit Matera
 

visit Matera

visit Matera
visit Matera
 

visit Matera

visit Matera
visit Matera
 

visit Matera

visit Matera
visit Matera
 

visit Matera

visit Matera
visit Matera
 

visit Matera

visit Matera
visit Matera
 
visit Matera
visit Matera
 

visit Matera

visit Matera
visit Matera
 
visit Matera
visit Matera
 
visit Matera
visit Matera
 

Do you know for how many years I’ve been longing to visit and see Matera myself? I recall once, I saw an editorial on a magazine that took place in Matera and since then I’ve been dreaming of this little cave-town in the south of Italy which is very particular and unique like no other. And now, not only am I happy that I finally visited that place but I am also happy to share this travel and adventure of mine with you all, so that you can all visit Matera, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993, and see the beauty of the place for yourself. But, do you know what the best thing in the whole trip was? Or maybe one of the best things… Matera in February seemed to be all mine. I hope this doesn’t sound selfish, all I am trying to say is that I loved looooved the quiet atmosphere of the place ..and without scads of tourists, I could take photos here and there uninterrupted. I guess the high season in Matera starts in April and ends somewhere in October.

When we arrived in Matera, after about 4 hours bus ride from Napoli, it was pretty late and we were quite tired. Do you know, what was the first thing we did, once we checked in at Palazzo Gattini? Three letters I tell you: SPA! I put on the swimsuit and jumped literally into the pool, and after the sauna, it felt, oh so revitalizing! The following day, when I woke up I started realizing more of what was happening and where I was. I can still recall three things of that morning very well, like it was yesterday: Fresco painting on the ceiling of our hotel room, bruschetta with ricotta for breakfast and an Italian flag hanging on the balcony. Welcome to Matera! Together with our personal guide Mrs. Dora Cappiello, we were more than excited to check what Matera had to offer and to photograph its beauty. It was that kind of place that I was dying to photograph, although it was quite confusing at the beginning because I didn’t know from where to start, like it usually happens with all the beautiful places in this world that blows my mind.

We stayed two nights at Palazzo Gattini and two nights at Corte San Pietro (of which I am going to tell you more in the next blog post). Another day we were also invited to have breakfast at Sextantio, another beautiful historical hotel, where we met Mrs. Marcella di Feo from Basilicata Turistica and the whole team. Afterwards, we drove together to the opposite part of Matera to see the little town from another point of view. The program of our visit was quite flexible, and it was good like that because I needed my freedom to move around and explore everything the way I wanted.

I miss everything about this little town. The hot chocolate I had everyday at Caffè San Biagio, crazy and funny tuk tuk rides with Paolo around i Sassi di Matera (look for him in Matera), bruschetta with ricotta, “Trippola maritata” pasta dish we had every night for dinner and so many other things that made this trip special…too bad we had to leave because the day of our departure there was a chocolate festival happening in the weekend…but as Fernando from Corte San Pietro said in Italian “Per tornare, bisogna andare”! And I had to leave. Paris was next on the list!

At this point, we have to thank ENIT Italia for organizing this individual press trip for us, My Austrian Holidays and the Region Basilicata for having us as guests and showing us I Sassi di Matera! More on Instagram.♥

London calling

London calling
London calling
 

London calling – At the end of March, I was one of the lucky persons to travel to London with the team of Samsung Austria for the launch of their new Galaxy S8. I didn’t take many pictures this time because the trip was short, but I truly enjoyed sunny London in the very good company of Samsung’s Austria team. The presentation and the party for the launch of the new Samsung Galaxy S8 was held right on the first day of our arrival in London. Apart from that function, we also had some time to stroll around the city and visit a few of my favorite spots. I’ve been to London many times before but for some reason, this time it felt like I loved it a little bit more. We have been very lucky with the weather. Can’t tell you enough how nice it was to amble and take photos without freezing in a city in full bloom. London in April can be truly beautiful.

I’ve been a Samsung Galaxy user since 2014. Mostly because of my demanding work, I feel like I have to update my phone every year with the new model that’s out in the market. Between the S8 and S8+, I think I am going to opt for the Galaxy S8+ (with a cute pink case) because I use my smart phone as if it was my computer. I also need it to have a big screen, as well as for it to be handy and practical. Can’t wait to test the new camera and all the new features. For all of you who are asking which gadget I use for taking photos for my Instagram, you now know the answer. The new Galaxy S8 will come out in Austria on the 29th of April. Exciting, no?♥

The Ritz-Carlton Dubai

The Ritz-Carlton Dubai

The Ritz-Carlton Dubai

The Ritz-Carlton Dubai
The Ritz-Carlton Dubai
 
The Ritz-Carlton Dubai
The Ritz-Carlton Dubai
 

The Ritz-Carlton Dubai

The Ritz-Carlton Dubai
The Ritz-Carlton Dubai
The Ritz-Carlton Dubai
The Ritz-Carlton Dubai
 

The Ritz-Carlton Dubai

The Ritz-Carlton Dubai
The Ritz-Carlton Dubai
 

The Ritz-Carlton Dubai

I still remember vividly the moment when I arrived in Dubai at the beginning of last November. I took off my black winter coat and I was the happiest. Warm weather always has that impact on me. It just makes me happy!

Upon landing, I was picked up at the airport and driven to The Ritz-Carlton Dubai International Financial Centre where I spent one night and one day, before my next flight to the Maldives. Everything was perfectly organized from Michelle and Dubai looked familiar to my eyes. Although it has been years since I visited this city for the first time, people have told me that many things have changed since then.

Dubai was actually a stopover on my way to the Maldives. I spend two nights at The Ritz-Carlton Dubai International Financial Centre before flying to the Maldives , and two nights at The Ritz-Carlton which is located along the Jumeirah Beach during my return trip from the Maldives. It was nice to have the opportunity to stay and check out both hotels.

During my stay in Dubai, although I wanted to go out to see more of the city, I decided not to and preferred to spend the whole time at the The Ritz-Carlton because long flights and changing time zones made me a little bit tired. The pictures that you see in this blog post were all taken in both hotels.

I loved the suite at The Ritz-Carlton Dubai International Financial Centre with its full sized living room and very comfortable king sized bed. I was lucky enough to be there on a day when they organized a food party in the garden. In addition to that, having access to an exclusive lounge of the hotel was an extra treat. Before I had to leave to catch my next flight, I stopped by the rooftop terrace and spent some hours gazing at the illuminated skyscrapers.

Regarding my stay at The Ritz-Carlton in the Jumeirah Beach, everything was perfect and I need to thank here Miss Chloé Perrin-Macgaw from the Public Relations & Marketing of The Ritz-Carlton Dubai for the great company, warm welcome and hospitality.

The only thing that I couldn’t stand during my visit in Dubai was the air conditioner. That’s because air conditioner is not common in Vienna, so I am not used to it. However I totally understand that for the residents of Dubai, having air conditioner everywhere is more than necessary.

This is my last blog post for 2016. I wish you all Happy New Year’s Eve.♥ 

Life on a private island in The Maldives

Life on a private island in The Maldives
Life on a private island in The Maldives
 

Life on a private island in The Maldives

Life on a private island in The Maldives
Life on a private island in The Maldives
 

Life on a private island in The Maldives

Life on a private island in The Maldives
Life on a private island in The Maldives
 
Life on a private island in The Maldives
Life on a private island in The Maldives
 

Life on a private island in The Maldives

Life on a private island in The MaldivesLife on a private island in The Maldives
Life on a private island in The Maldives

Life on a private island in The Maldives

 

Life on a private island in The Maldives

Life on a private island in The Maldives
Life on a private island in The Maldives
 

Life on a private island in The Maldives

Life on a private island in The Maldives
Life on a private island in The Maldives
 

Life on a private island in The Maldives

Life on a private island in The Maldives
Life on a private island in The Maldives
 

Life on a private island in The Maldives

Life on a private island in The Maldives
Life on a private island in The Maldives
 

Swimsuit: Madame Shou Shou

All photos of the hotel were taken by me

Life on a private island in The Maldives – Upon arrival at Coco Prive Kuda Hithi Resort Island in the Maldives, we were welcomed with a drink and we were guided to our villas. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I had my own beachfront villa, named Manta Villa, that came with a private swimming pool, a spacious living area, and a large bathroom with outdoor showers! I felt like a member of the British royal family or even a celebrity (even though I am none of those). The island has 6 villas and they can only be booked as an island and not as an individual villa.

Imagine…a private island only for you and your favorite people! 

In the days that followed, I enjoyed snorkeling in the pristine waters, the spa treatments, and I practiced yoga. Everywhere I stood, there was uninterrupted Indian Ocean views. I loved everything. I loved the feeling of harmony everywhere on the island, the privacy and the maximun exclusivity. I loved the fact that I was spending the whole day carefree swimming in turquoise waters, having my feet on the unspoiled white sand and that the only piece of clothing that I needed was just a swimsuit. I loved exploring the underwater world and swimming among coral reefs with the turtles, reef sharks, and other beautiful sea creatures. I loved my daily fresh coconut drink and having dinner every night under the Maldivian night sky. Every meal was expertly crafted by a private chef.

One day, Coco prive Kuda Hithi organised for us breakfast on a sand bank. Do you know what a sand bank is? It is a very small island of sand in the sea. There is only white sand and nothing else. In the photos above you can see a sand bank, the endless blue and white around it. My favourite colors. Visiting a sand bank in the Maldives is a life experience.

The only thing that went wrong and ruined my good mood during my stay was that my 50mm camera lenses broke down unexpectedly and I couldn’t take as many pictures as I wanted. I could spend days and nights taking photos of this little island.

This was my last trip in 2016 and one of the best trips in my life so far. If one can only have one wish, I wish 2017 will bring me back to the private island of Coco Prive Kuda Hithi in the Maldives. You have my.

Trip to Chania

Trip to Chania

Trip to Chania

Trip to Chania

Trip to Chania

Trip to Chania
Trip to Chania
 

trip-to-chania-3

Trip to Chania

Trip to Chania
Trip to Chania
 
Trip to Chania
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trip-to-chania
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trip-to-chania-39
trip-to-chania-40
 

When I got the invitation for the trip to Chania, three things came immediately to my mind: amazing food, amazing weather, and generous warm-hearted people. It was impossible to say no to the invitation. Even with back pains, I packed my luggage (I have two, one was already packed with clothes from Paris) with summer clothes and a swimsuit, and left for my home country, Greece.

I never thought that in the mid of October I would walk barefoot in the sand in one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, in Balos, and that I would still be wearing white summer dresses while the rest of Europe was freezing cold. Now I know. I know a place where there is still summer while winter has already begun in Vienna. Two flights with Aegean from Vienna to Chania, and I welcome summer back to my life!! Don’t hate me for this. With my little photos on Instagram, I wanted to take you on a journey, and to let you know a little bit more about this beautiful part of the world (which I guess you all know already).

At the airport in Athens, I was glad to meet a group of like-minded young people with whom I would spend the following days. During my stay in Chania we stayed at Minoa Palace. Note here that the hotel’s breakfast was amazing (I am drooling over it right now, it’s better not to think about it). Our daily schedule was based on the “senses”: hearing, sight, touch, smell, and taste. We heard Cretan traditional music. We visited so many beautiful places like the Kalathenes village, Chora Sfakion, and the fishing village of Loutro. We touched and smelt Cretan herbs at the Botanical Park. We had wine tasting and unforgettable dining experience at Salis restaurant. We ate sea food at Apostolis restaurant and had our last dinner at Santa Marina beach. Not to mention the full moon we saw on our last night in Chania’s old town. Especially that made it more difficult to leave Chania the next day.

Oh yes! I ate a little bit more than I was supposed to. But we were in Crete. When they put in front of you five dishes of fresh lobsters with spaghetti and traditional Cretan cheese pie, you just cannot resist the temptation. If you plan a visit to Crete, you can rest assured that the Cretan people will treat you right.

Thank you Discover Greece and Aegean Airlines for bringing back summer to my life. Even for a few days. It was beautiful.♥

 

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