Tapas, Beaches, and a Whole Lotta Gaudí: The 4-Day Weekend in Barcelona

Tapas, Beaches, and a Whole Lotta Gaudí: The 4-Day Weekend in Barcelona

Barcelona is at the top of everyone’s must-see list. And that’s not just figurative: With nearly 9 million tourists passing through each year (and growing), its popularity is something to take into account when planning your first visit. The city is faced with long lines and tightening regulations, as well as extreme summer heat (it’s best to avoid from mid-July to early September), so how you tackle Barcelona will play a big factor in how much you enjoy the city.

You’ll want an itinerary that covers the bases and efficiently circumnavigates the crowds—even if you’ve got to check off La Sagrada Familia and Park Güell. This leaves more time to devour tapas, see world-class flamenco, and marvel at 2,000-year-old neighboring towns (which were grand enough to be a part of the Game of Thrones set).

So, if you’re planning a visit, here’s our suggested to-do list, filled with relaxing hotels, … Read the rest

Aperitivo, Gladiators, and Gelato: The 4-Day Weekend in Rome

Aperitivo, Gladiators, and Gelato: The 4-Day Weekend in Rome

You could spend the rest of your life in the Eternal City without fully uncovering all of its secrets and history. Think about how many lifetimes have passed since its attractions were built—some predate modern times. You can actually visit ruins that emperors like Augustus, Hadrian, and Caesar, once inhabited. You can trace the steps of gladiators, wave to the ghosts of Popes past, and come face to face with Michelangelos and Berninis and Caravaggios.

But you haven’t got an eternity to see it all, much less to taste all the pasta, pizza, vino, and gelato—especially if you’re only staying for a long weekend. So, where to start? This guide should cover those bases, and help you accomplish as much as possible on your first Roman holiday. Divertiti!

Chapter Roma Courtesy Image
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Temples, Geishas, and Bamboo Forests: The 4-Day Weekend in Kyoto

Temples, Geishas, and Bamboo Forests: The 4-Day Weekend in Kyoto

A visit to serene, preserved Kyoto is an obvious followup—and a perfect complement—to your futuristic, often overstimulating stay in Tokyo. Whereas the big city demands you keep pace and build up up up, Kyoto wants you to slow down, stay grounded, and savor it all. (Though Kyoto is itself a big city, at 1.5 million, though much smaller than Tokyo’s 9.5)

It’s a much more straightforward visit than one to Tokyo, too. The main attractions and engagements remain, since they’re anchored in Buddhist tradition or geisha customs. Instead of bright lights, you have 1,300-year-old shrines and 800-year-old Zen temples.

While four days in Kyoto might be more than you need to encapsulate things (as opposed to the months you could spend in Tokyo), I do think that four days is a good time to be based in Kyoto, with an easy day trip to Osaka on the itinerary, as … Read the rest