Grand Hotel Mazzarò Sea Palace

Located in the centre of a cove with a private beach this is a fabulous place to stay and relax when in Sicily.

The Hotel

From the front of the hotel, you would not know that a beach is hidden at its rear. The driveway is steep, although the steps leading to the reception are not too bad. Upon entry to the hotel, you are greeted by friendly staff who are happy to assist.

If your room is not ready, guests are directed to the ground floor where a marble and seating bar area awaits. The decor is stunningly beautiful and put me at ease when it comes to cleanliness.

Marble Bar

The large doors provide a sneak peak of the beachfront and outdoor seating area. Once outside the staircase is hidden by a circular wall which leads to the beach. One at the edge of the beach white and grey sunbeds make you instantly want to simply chill out.

Before stepping foot on the sand and choosing your sunbed the lifeguards hurry over to place your towels down and prepare your parasol. Once you are ready a bartender is there waiting to take your drinks order, and food if you are hungry and don’t mind spending 20EUROS on a burger.

Sunbeds

The beach is a key feature at this hotel as it can be seen from the room balconies and heard as you relax in bed, this provides the perfect tranquil environment. The rooms themselves are clean and fresh with white bed linen and a marble bathroom.

Hotel Balcony

My favourite thing about the service was the turn down when you arrive from an evening out to your pajamas folded neatly at the end of the bed, slippers by the side, and throw cushions in their hiding place. Oh, and sweets on the bed!

The location of the hotel is great too, just seconds from the cable cars that lead to Taormina and seconds from bus services. Plus, there are plenty of restaurants around in case you just don’t feel like heading into the main shopping town.

This hotel is a brilliant place to stay and the most relaxing place I have been. Perfect for a honeymoon or just a getaway as a couple.

Why Sicily was the Perfect Honeymoon Spot

When searching for a honeymoon location many choose exotic locations, where couples in the brochure are walking along a beach hand-in-hand as the sunsets behind them. Not us…

We wanted to find somewhere that met my need for history and my now husbands need for sunshine and the beach. That’s when we decided on Sicily and what a great decision that turned out to be.

The Landscape

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The landscape was romantic, made up of rugged hills and towns that tell a story just from the views. The winding roads that lead to hidden towns can be scary when on a bus but provide the most breathtaking views.

The Cuisine

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It’s not just the landscape but the cuisine is delicious offering freshly prepared meals, warm ciabatta, and breadsticks. Occasionally, we would also receive lemon sorbet which I really enjoyed.

Going out for an evening meal is more of an experience, taking a seat outside of a quaint restaurant and eating a meal by candlelight this is the perfect place for a couple on their honeymoon, or partake in some people watching!

The Location

Location

When arriving at the hotel we felt extremely grateful to be met by such amazing scenery, from the balcony of our room we could see the beach and the cove which or hotel was nestled in.

From the hotel, it was a 30-second walk to the bus stop or cable car that takes you straight into the main town of Taormina; this is where we would head to in the evening for our meal and drinks and the shops are open until approximately 10pm meaning there was no need to shop during the daytime. This left more time for relaxing and enjoying the sunshine, or attractions nearby.

We have been back for 5 days and we are missing it already, would love to go back and experience this amazing place with the rest of the family. Such a relaxing atmosphere and plenty to enjoy.

Where will Spring take you?

This weekend presents the perfect opportunity to take a holiday, but where is best to go in the springtime? Here, I’m taking a look at some beautiful spots that are less than 5 hours away on a plane.

We all travel for different reasons from the weather to escaping day-to-day life and a long weekend like Easter is a great time to do this, without using your work holidays (that’s if you don’t work over Easter of course).

Personally, I like to use Easter to do some domestic travelling and leave the short-haul flights for when I have a little extra time. But, there are plenty of places to explore if you prefer to venture further afield.

Iceland

Visiting Iceland seems to be a trend at the moment, everyone I speak to is either going, has been, or is planning to go. This is no surprise it has a lot to offer:

Blue Lagoon

Featured on a lot of programmes and definitely on my bucket list. Located on a lave field in Grindavik this spa is rich in minerals and has a reputation for helping those suffering from skin conditions. Although the sound of bathing in a pool lagoon of with strangers may not appeal to some, it is actually one of the most visited attractions in Iceland.

Geysir

Sitting on the same peninsula as the Blue Lagoon and a 2-hour journey by car the Geysir is a geyser.  A geyser is a natural spring that erupts water high into the air.  As one of the worlds most fascinating wonders, it is a must-see during your trip to Iceland.

Lofthellir Cave

In the northeastern part of Iceland, there is a 3,500-year-old lava cave described as a magical world of ice and darkness. This is a perfect stop for those taking a driving tour of Iceland, although there’s also a little walking involved across the lava field before you reach the cave.

Poland

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A great stop for Spring with a lot to see and do, including drink vodka. Drinking vodka here is more of an experience as it is available in a variety of colours and flavours. To accompany the vodka try some Polish cuisine, with unusual side dishes and seasonings (well to my palate anyway). There are also plenty of historic places to visit:

Gdansk

A colourful port city on the Baltic has stories to tell and is the perfect shopping destination. You can view the 17th century Neptune Fountain which is topped the sea god in bronze or visit the European Solidarity Centre where you can learn about the shipyard revolt, through a unique display.

Auschwitz-Birkenau

A trip to Poland is not complete without visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau and remembering the tragedy of WWII. On this site, millions of people were murdered and the preservation of the area brings this horror to life, allowing all who visit to learn, as well as be a reminder that this should never happen again.

Florence

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A beautiful place to visit during the springtime, home to amazing scenery and florally decorated landscapes. This is a lovely place for those who appreciate nature.

Rose Garden

This free to visit garden offers stunning views, especially if you walk all the way to the top, where you will find Piazzale Michelangelo. The air surrounding the garden is filled with the scent of flowers, soothing the soul and making the walk relaxing and peaceful.

Galleria degli Uffizi

One for the art lovers, this marvellous museum holds some of the most renowned pieces of artwork. But, if you want to get in you may have to wait a while, as only small groups are allowed in at one time, or you can simply book online – which seems like the sensible option.

Jersey

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Last summer we visited Jersey and had a lovely time, home to glorious beaches and the war tunnels we enjoyed exploring the island.

When in Jersey you can also take a day trip to France, we visited St Malo in Brittany which did not take too long to get to on ferry.

War Tunnels

An interesting and slightly eery experience as you explore the underground tunnels from WWII. The layout of the attraction is well done, with the opportunity to follow the stories of real people from that time. This is a good spot to learn about the war and what life was really like for German soldiers and the people of Jersey.

Plemont

My favourite beach of the trip with large caves to discover and golden sands this beach was the perfect spot on a sunny day. There is also a shop that sells hot food and refreshments.

Cornwall

Home to many attractions especially during spring time when the Truro Festival takes place. There are marquees with local businesses and plenty of places to dine. I have visited Cornwall a few times and these have been my favourite spots.

The Eden Project

Be at one with nature and learn about plants, insects, and bugs. Or take to the adventure activities as you defy gravity and hit the skywire.

Caerhays Castle

It is springtime so head to the castle gardens 140 acres of tranquil and scenic walks and woodland. But it doesn’t stop there as part of the estate you can explore the beaches and the castle itself.

There are plenty of places to explore over the Easter holiday or during Spring and it would be great to know your plans.

Five Dishes You Must Try When Visiting Sicily

As we are planning a trip to Sicily for our honeymoon this year, we want to make sure that we taste the place as well as see the landmarks.

There are several wine tours offered, but if you want to know what makes Sicilian people happy, you need to search for the most popular traditional dishes of the island. Below you will find a list of dishes you must try when walking the streets of Palermo or going out for a meal.

Cannoli

While most people believe this is a traditional Italian dish, it is actually from Sicily. You can get it freshly made in most restaurants, made with ricotta. Inside the fried pastry, you will find seasonal vegetables and a sweet ricotta filling. Make sure that you get it fresh, and the crust will stay crunchy and firm.

Arancine

cannoli

Image via Flickr

These rice balls are great for snacking on. They are coated with bread crumbs, and come with different fillings. The most popular Arancine is mozzarella and ham, but you will also find some with tomato sauce and meat inside. It is basically similar to a pasta dish, but the pasta is on the outside and is replaced by rice, and the snack is fried in breadcrumbs.

Caponata

Caponata

Image via PxHere

The beauty of this dish is that it comes in different flavors and variations. It is like an eggplant stew, but sweet and sour at the same time. No matter which version you try when visiting Sicily, the base of the dish will be Aubergine, and different vegetables are added to it for flavor. Your chef might create their own Caponata recipe based on the availability of fresh ingredients.

Sfincione

Also called the Sicilian version of pizza, this dish is a popular street food in the region. The base is rectangular, instead of round, and deep, instead of thin. Depending on which place you visit, you might find that the tomato sauce is placed on the top of the other ingredients, so they stay soft, while other places will add onions, sardines, herbs, or mozzarella on the top. Check out emilia delizia for creating your own pizza recipe.

Pane Con La Milza

While this sandwich might not be something you might think of when packing your lunchbox for work, it is extremely popular in Sicily. Boiled pork spleens are slow cooked and placed in a fresh brioche. You can find this dish at most bakery stalls on the street, or at traditional takeaway restaurants. Sometimes lemon and caciocavallo cheese is added to the recipe of the Pane Con La Milza for flavor. Try it with caution, but Sicilians love this sweet bread sandwich.

To get to know a culture and a place better, you should mix with the locals and try their food, some people say. With so many traditional dishes available on the streets and in the restaurants of Sicily, you will love strolling around and tasting new flavors every day. From rice balls to pasta and fried snacks, there are a variety of meals Sicilians are proud of and will want you to try.

 

Rome-an Away

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to visit Rome and I finally made it with a group of my closest friends. It wasn’t quite how I’d imagined it, but what is? I still had an amazing time and couldn’t wait to go back as part of my Italian Mediterranean cruise.

It was a trip I had been waiting a long while for DSCN0242and it couldn’t have come sooner. Although at first we were stuck between exploring history/heritage and basically just having a drink, I think we made the right choice choosing history/heritage and exploring Rome, until the soles of our shoes were worn!

Accommodation

DSCN0164Rome can be a pretty expensive place to stay although it doesn’t have to be, we stayed just outside the city in Aurelia at the Hostel Club campsite. The accommodation was a self-catered cabin (more like a caravan) and was perfect for us. The complex itself was not what I am used to due to the fact that we had to be quiet by 10:30pm or head to the on-site bar. We visited the bar one night and it was great, we had a fantastic time.

As the accommodation was self-catered we headed to the local supermarket, located just across the road for supplies. It was fun trying to cook for everyone, but some nights we gave ourselves time off and either went to the on-site restaurant, McDonald’s or stayed in Rome for an evening meal. For some reason the only pictures of food I took were of our not so notable meals, I keep these as a reminder of my poor cuisine choices, although we did enjoy some lovey meals at some very nice restaurants! This includes the pizza and soft drink for 8 EUROS, which I was overjoyed with.

Location

On a map, Aurelia looks quite far away from Rome but when you’re there it’s not too bad. We had to pay for a one-week transport pass for the metro, bus, and train. To get to Rome we took a bus to the local town, where we looked around the small market and in a few of the shops before heading to the metro that took us straight to Rome.

Exploring Rome

As you are probably aware, there’s a lot to see in Rome and with only a few days planned into our schedule to visit the city we didn’t want to waste a minute.

The first day was hot and walking seemed like a chore but we popped on our shoes and took to the Coliseum. Of course, this was the first stop, who would go to Rome and not visit this iconic structure? We were pleasantly surprised by the price, as members of the EU we got half price tickets for this attraction and Augustus forum.

The Coliseum is an amazing place to visit with every area having some form of notable story to tell, whether that’s the structures battle wounds or the reason it was constructed it has a long and interesting history. We then stopped at Circus Maximus before heading to the Altare della Patria.

Altare della Patria, was a place I had never heard of but the grand exterior drew me in. We took a lift to the roof and the view was breathtaking,  we couldn’t stay for long though as one of our friends is afraid of heights so we took a few snaps and off we went.

From here we took to the Trevi Fountain, which to my surprise was down a narrow cobbled street. For some reason, I had thought of this as being in a large square not hidden away. We made a wish, bought a few trinkets and went for some pizza.

This day seemed to last forever and the soles of my shoes were beginning to ware. We wondered for a long time trying to find Augustus Forum but did not make it (which was fine because I have since visited).

Our second day in Rome we visited St Paul’s Cathedral, Vatican. This area has a different feel to the more ancient area of Rome. Vatican City was very clean and had a fresh feel to it and the Cathedral was a busy place.

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There are so many places to visit in Rome and so much to see I am glad I have had the opportunity to return. Although I loved Rome, Paris is my favourite city so far, which surprised me because I always thought Rome would be.