Country House Holiday Rentals – Useful Terminology and History


Renting a chateau in France is not the same thing as renting a castle in Scotland or renting a castello in Italy. And the difference is not only geographical. Although, along with castillo in Spain, the words are usually used as translations for each other, and are derived from the same Latin root, they refer to different types of property altogether.

Whereas an English castle is a very specific type of building, originally a fortified residence for a feudal lord, usually substantial in size and instantly recognizable by its (usually) crenellated towers, a French chateau is not simply a castle in France. Although French chateau is the literal translation for English castle, the term is in fact applied far more broadly, and can in practice mean any old or grand country house. In French, the specific term chateau fort is used for a castle of the medieval, fortified kind. What distinguishes a French chateau is that that it is a grand residence in the countryside as opposed to a town, the word palais standing for its urban equivalent. Again, this differs from English in that a palace in England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland is just as likely to be found in the countryside.

As far as someone looking for a holiday rental is concerned, the significant difference is less likely to be social, historical or architectural, interesting though those aspects are, but one of price. A bona fide castle for rent in England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland is reasonably to cost upwards of twenty thousand pounds for a week's exclusive use, whereas you can hire a chateau in France for as little as 3,000 euros per week, although it is likely to be what would be called in England a country house or even a farmhouse.

Since medieval castles were originally the stronghold of the local lord, their size would reflect his power and the extent of his authority, from small buildings that amount to little more than fortified farmsteads, to great fortress bastions that dominate the country for miles around. Just as these lords were even distributed all over the British Isles and France, so too were the seats and symbols of their power. Yet very few of these genuinely medieval buildings survive, and the vast majority of castles, chateaux and country houses for renting date from the 17th and 18th centuries, and occasionally even later.

Regarding the location of these later chateaux and country houses, a marked difference evolved in practice between France on the one hand and England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland on the other. In the latter, the grand country houses of the aristocracy (still sometimes called castles although they no longer served a military purpose) were still dotted even about the land, as they represented their owners' local pre-eminence, although their supremacy was now social rather than political, so castles rentals in Scotland for example, or country homes to rent in England can be found almost everywhere.

However, in France local social pre-eminence was simply not worth having – all meaningful ambition was focused on the King and the Court at Versailles, both for the aristocracy and the newly rich bourgeoisie who followed them. As such, a chateau for rent in France is more likely to be found in the center rather than the periphery, in the Loire Valley, Normandy, Burgundy and the Dordogne.

In Italy, the situation is different again. As in Great Britain, a castello (castle) is a medieval or renaissance military stronghold. The equivalent of renting a country house here is hiring a villa. The urban equivalent of the country house (more similar to France in this respect) is the palazzo, although that term also includes the fortified residences of the merchant princes of the renaissance Italian city states. Unlike in France, though, it is possible to find villa rentals in Italy almost everywhere in the peninsula – it is not so much a question, as in England, of the weight of local interests anticipating over the gravity of central authority, but rather that there was no central authority at all, Italy being until the mid-nineteenth century a patchwork of a dozen or more independent states. As a consequence, you can find a castello or Italian villa to rent anywhere from Sicily to Tuscany to the Veneto.


Source by Cody Butle

Things to Consider When Buying a Holiday Home in North Wales


North Wales is one of Britain's most popular holiday destinations: rugged, beautiful and with ideal access to National Parks. Owning holiday homes in the area is a perfect way to make the most of everything Wales has to offer. When you know that you can come back as many times as you want, you can really slow down and start enjoying yourself.

With Snowdonia and Portmeirion just a short drive away, owning a caravan home in the area sets you up for all the walking, hiking, cycling and healthy outdoors stuff you could possibly want! Your holiday homes can be a base for some real mountain adventures – or when you head into Portmeirion, a great place to come back to after a hard day's shopping, exploring and relaxing in one of the most beautiful estates in Britain.

Owning holiday homes in North Wales comes with a whole host of other benefits too. Make the most of having a second home in such a stunning location by visiting at the best times and subletting your caravan when you are not there.

Most holiday parks in the area will arrange a subletting program with you – all you have to do is tell them when you will not be using your holiday home, and they'll take care of everything. The money you make from your subletting programming goes into your pitch fees and maintenance costs – meaning that your holiday home starts to pay for itself!

By subletting during busier times and visiting the area when it is less crowded, you get to enjoy the majesty of Snowdonia and the astonishing environment of Portmeirion without having to fight he crowds. These two major attractions are only a part of what you'll discover when you choose to own a caravan home in North Wales. By giving yourself the chance to visit whenever you like, you'll be able to build up a real local knowledge of the area: finding all the best shops, pubs, bars and restaurants within walking and driving distance of your park.

Do not forget the onsite facilities, either. When you become a member / owner at a holiday park you'll be entitled to all kinds of benefits – member's only pool times, owner's barbecues and even age specific kid's clubs designed to give you some peace and quiet while the children get to play in safety and with an appropriate peer group.

Buy a holiday home in North Wales and you'll also get full pitch services. You will not have to worry about cutting the grass, keeping the landscaping tidy or even taking away the rubbish. All of this, plus site security and cleaning, is why having a holiday home is better than just having a home. Holiday homes are places you get to live in while someone else does all the hard work for you! All you and the family have to do is enjoy the view, and get out and about – whenever you want.


Source by Melissa Caldwell

Holiday In Cyprus


Cyprus is the most easterly island in the Mediterranean Sea and is a popular holiday destination. The capital city Nicosia is the only divided capital city in the world. It has a climate that gives it an all year round appeal, despite the majority of tourists visiting in the summer. The southern part of the Island is an independent country that is a member of the European Union. The northern part of the island is considered to be under Turkish control, as the only country in the world that recognises Northern Cyprus as a country is Turkey.

The main tourist destinations are Ayia Napa in the southeastern corner, Limassol on the southern coast and Paphos in the southwest and a smaller resort of Polis in the northwestern corner of the island. Each resort has its own merits and attractions. Ayia Napa is considered to be the party destination on the island of Cyprus whereas Limassol is a busy working port with tourist areas to the east of the main town. Paphos is a smaller town full of historic sites with a mature tourist industry. Inland from the beaches, there are plenty of smaller villages on the plain and in the Troodos Mountains for those who want experience the more traditional life.

Finding a holiday letting in Cyprus is easy as there is a wide choice of properties available. Many holiday villa rentals are around the main tourist destinations of Ayia Napa and Paphos. There are plenty of rental villas available inland as this is the most common form of accommodation for tourists.

Holiday villas in Cyprus range from the smaller apartment style property to a large house. The larger properties often come with a small swimming pool, but as water is a precious commodity, they are not as common as in some other holiday destinations. Most holiday lettings are within easy reach of a beach. An essential requirement in summer is air conditioning as the nights can be very warm (30-35C). The price of a villa will depend on the size, the number of rooms, location and the time of the year.

Getting around in Cyprus is easy and hire cars are relatively cheap and petrol is usually a little cheaper than in the UK. For people used to driving in the UK, it will be very familiar as they drive on the left hand side of the road. There are buses between the main towns and cities, but in the rural and inland areas there are very few bus services. When renting a holiday villa outside one of the main towns, a hire car is essential to get around the island.

Flying to Cyprus is easy and there are direct scheduled flights to the two main airports, Paphos to the West and Larnaca towards the East, all year round. In the summer there are frequent charter flights that increase the options for traveling there. It is possible to visit the Northern part of Cyprus, but it is essential to make sure that the visa is on a slip of paper and there are no stamps on your passport as they can make it difficult when traveling elsewhere in the world.


Source by Cary L Ryder

Things to See on Your Holidays to the Virgin Islands


The Unites States Virgin Islands are the group of small islands in the Caribbean that come under the territory of United States. Basically, the islands are the geographically part of the Virgin Islands archipelago and are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles. The United States Virgin Islands mainly consists of three major islands. Saint Croix, Saint John and Saint Thomas and surrounded by the mirror islands. The total cover area of ​​the island is 346.36 square kilometers.

The United States Virgin Islands is a place where you can enjoy your holidays at fullest. There are several tourist destinations that you can explore and have larger than life holidaying experience. One of the top ranked places of the island is the St.. Thomas Island. This place offers many tourist attractions like Fort Christian. It is the oldest place standing structure in the Virgin Islands. This fort was built in 1671 by Danish. Now, this building is used as a government building along with a church and court house. Till 1983 this fort was used as a jail.

To come across with another historical place of the island, you can visit the Blackbeard's Castle. It is another oldest standing building of the island. Today, this place is famous restaurant and hotel. It severs great hospitality and pleasure to the visitors. To experience the beautiful scenery of St. Louis Thomas you can enjoy the Sky Ride. This is just a few hundred yards away from the cruise ship terminal. It gives you a chance to witness the best natural sight seeing from 700 feet elevated viewpoint over looking Charlotte Amalie harbor. Additionally, you can also take help of the Trail walks that allow you to have more closure look and a personal interaction with the natural beauty of the island.

For all those visitors who love shopping and like to explore different shopping paradises of the world then this place is the best for them. St. Thomas is a commercial capital of the United States Virgin Islands. To make this place a complete shopping paradise, the government has declared it a duty free zone. This means from finest jewelery to branded cloths. You will get every thing in a competitive price. It is advisable that you should carry an extra carry bag along with your as you can not stop yourself from purchasing several things.

The Unites States Virgin Islands are also famous for its amazing water sports. This place has crystal clear water, breath taking coral reefs, thousands of colorful tropical fish and the best water sports activities. If you are a fan of under water diving then this is the perfect place for you. You can get a life time experience of scuba diving here.

You can also visit the Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve. This is the home of thousands of mango trees, coral reef and a submarine canyon that are surrounded by the sea.


Source by Andy Gibson

Why a Single Holiday Home in Halkidiki is a Huge Variety of Vacation Options


Halkidiki lies in the northern part of Greece and it is one of the best and most well known vacation resorts in the world. The whole area is highly beautiful and rather unusual in appearance, since it consists of three peninsulas protruding out in the Aegean Sea, the three legs of Halkidiki, each one differing from the other in nature environment and holiday life. The cosmic part of Halkidiki actually consists of two of the three legs, since the eastern peninsula, Mount Athos, is a land site dedicated to god, with lots of monasteries and a really mystical atmosphere. The other two peninsulas though, called Kassandra (the western leg) and Sithonia (the middle leg), provide Halkidiki with a great mixture of sandy beaches, small bays, pine forests, luxurious hotels, beach bars and intense night life around the Gulf of Toronaios. Each side of Kassandra and Sithonia has its own personality.

Kassandra is the busiest part of the Halkidiki prefecture. The western part of Kassandra probably has the best sandy beaches, with crystal blue waters and all-day beach bars so that anyone can loosen up and spend his entire time by the beach, enjoying water sports or resting and soaking up in the sun. The eastern part of Kassandra on the other hand is the most highly-developed part of the prefecture. Iced coffee, cocktail drinks, lots of alcohol, dancing music in bars and night clubs, and young crowds make up the absolute 24/7 party destination.

The western part of Sithonia is an enticing natural combination of sandy beaches and rocky coves, surrounded by shrubs and pine trees. Along the main road of the peninsula, there are many hotels, campsites, as well as studios and apartments complexes that provide the tourists with a wide range of options regarding money and holiday styles. As we move to the eastern part of Sithonia, the landscape changes spectacularly. The rugged volcanic terrain creates breathtaking natural spots with bushy flora, rocks, small islands and little islets floating on turquoise and green waters. This is by far the wildest and less inhabited part of Halkidiki.

Any style, any wallet, any nature, you name it! It’s all there in the multi-style resort of Halkidiki. Gerakini is placed in the hub spot of Halkidiki, located ideally in between Kassandra and Sithonia, and proffers locals and seasonal tourists the chance to take full advantage of all the places and activities Halkidiki has to offer. Owning and living at a luxury holiday home in strategic position in Halkidiki is a dream for most people, and the time is perfect for everyone to search for the best deals in this highly concessive area.

Hurry up and get your own vacation base in one of the luxury holiday homes for sale in Halkidiki. The variety of nature and activities will ensure that you will enjoy the most exciting vacations for the rest of your life.


Source by Alexandros Holidis

7 Best Things To Do (and To Visit) During Your Holidays in Tuscany


The Most Beautiful Places to Visit during a Holiday in Tuscany

Tuscany is commonly considered the gem of Italy. Situated on the west coastline of Italy, by the Tyrrhenian Sea, is the most popular and beautiful holiday destination for those who decide to travel in Italy and discover the Italian beauty.

Tuscany is well known all over the world for its unique countryside landscapes, the Tuscany Hills with their unique cypresses. In Tuscany, you can also taste the real Italian foods and discover one of the most famous wine worldwide: the Chianti.

Tuscany is also rich in Art and History, and in every Tuscan town, you can discover masterpieces of architecture. The provinces of Siena and Lucca are full of medieval villages, where you can also find many fortress and castles. Firenze and Pisa are rich in Renaissance history and monuments, with the most beautiful churches of Italy: the Duomo of Florence and the Duomo of Pisa, famous for its leaning tower.

There is so much for tourists to see and do in Tuscany, however not enough time to do them all. In order to take the best from your holiday in Italy, we will list the 7 Best Things to Visit, and to Do, during your vacation in Tuscany.

1) Visit Pisa and Discover the town (and its Leaning Tower)

The leaning tower of Pisa is probably the most famous (and the most photographed) Italian monument, after the Colosseum of Rome. But Pisa is more than its leaning tower. Pisa is an international town, well organized to welcome tourists from all over the world. Pisa is well connected with the other Tuscan cities, with local transportation means and private transfer, and with the rest of the world, thanks to its International Airport, so this town is probably the best option if you are looking for a town to accommodate in for your holiday.

The Historic center of Pisa is also rich in monuments and history, that you can easily discover with a walking guided tour in Pisa that ends up with the visit to Piazza dei Miracoli (Miracle Square) where you can admire the Duomo of Pisa, with its leaning tower and the impressive St. John Baptistery.

2) Wine Tasting in Chianti Region

The most trendy place to have an exclusive wine tasting experience is surely the Chianti area, which is very famous for its world-celebrated red wines.

A wine tour in Chianti area will let you discover beautiful villages surrounded by vineyard and olive trees. In these villages, you can taste Tuscan e Super Tuscan Wines directly in local cellars. here you can find real Italian wines that you can’t find elsewhere because local productions are limited in quantities and you can taste them only going there.

In the summer, wine tasting is arranged directly in the vineyards, under the Tuscan sun.

3) Visit Lucca: a jump back in Tuscan History

Lucca is another well-liked place to visit in Tuscany. Here you can see medieval buildings and many churches that are simply incredible. The Roman amphitheater sited in Lucca is approximately 1900 years old and obviously deserve a visit. The city center is entirely encircled by a brick wall that was erected in the 16th century, and you can have a walk along the top of the wall, which is about 4km. Lucca is believed to have some of the best meals in the Tuscany, like the Tortelli Lucchesi. The Tortelli Lucchesi is a handmade pasta that is filled with seasoned meat and a heavily meat-loaded ragù that is exceedingly rich in flavor.

4) Discover Siena, the town of the Palio

Siena is one of the most popular and visited cities in Tuscany, a place extremely rich in medieval history and art. It is famous for its Palio di Siena that takes place twice each summer in the famous Piazza del Campo. The historic center of Siena, also listed as world heritage site by the UNESCO, is built around this square, which was conceived as a work of art in perfect harmony with the surrounding hillside.

Siena is also famous for its characteristic narrow avenues and alleys, flanked by brick buildings.If you are healthy and fit enough, then it is a good idea to go up to the apex of Siena’s tall bell tower and have some extraordinary sights of the town and the Piazza Del Campo below. The Siena people are very welcoming and in this town you can breathe the real Italian atmosphere.

During a tour in Siena, you can’t miss the opportunity to visit a near small town: San Gimignano, also known as the “Manhattan of the Renaissance” for its 13 medieval towers.

5) Discovering Montalcino, the Hometown of Brunello Wine

The medieval town of Montalcino has become famous all over the world for its notorious wine, the “Brunello di Montalcino”.

Montalcino is built on a hilltop, and atop the town, there is a medieval fortress that has pentagonal layout walls designed by the Sienese architects Mono Foresi and Domenico di Feo.

Walking through the cobblestones narrow streets of its town center, you can see a lot of “enoteca” (wine repository) and local cellars, stating that this is the hometown of Tuscan Wines.

Obviously, you can’t visit Montalcino without a wine tasting experience, that must also include degustation of local foods like cheeses and salumi. An expert local guide can grant you to visit only the best wineries in the town.

6) Discover Volterra, one of the most Interesting Towns in Tuscany

Volterra is a vibrant town located in the region of Pisa, not far from Siena, Florence and the seaside as well. Volterra is well recognized for its Etruscan origins and also the many ruins belonging to that period like the wonderful Roman Theatre. On the top of the town, you can admire the Medicean Fortress, a real masterpiece of medieval architecture. The mysterious atmosphere of Volterra has inspired the writer Stephanie Meyerthe in her famous novel “New Moon”, which was made into the movie of the famous saga “Twilight”.

Volterra is also famous for its Alabaster production, in fact during the road to the town you can admire those clay hills where there are a lot of alabaster quarries. Alabaster is mostly used by local craftsmen to make beautiful handmade artifacts.

If you are looking for an uncommon tour in Tuscany, you probably have to visit Volterra and discover all its beauties.

7) Visit Florence, the Tuscany Heart

Last, but not the least, we have Florence, which is one of the main highlights of your visit in Tuscany.

You will need to use up at least several days touring the Florence sights. There are lots of things to see, and to do, in the Tuscan Capital City.

In this town, you can find Art, Museums, Churches, and also foods, wine and Bella Vita (shopping streets, restaurants, cafè, disco). Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982, is the best expression of arts, culture and lifestyle in Tuscany.

A guided tour in Florence can grant you to visit the most important places without time losing. You can discover the historic center, the unique Ponte Vecchio across the Arno river, you can visit the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia Gallery, where it’s conserved the original statue of the David of Michelangelo.

Every day trip in Florence must include a visit to the Duomo of Florence, named in honor of Santa Maria del Fiore.

A holiday in Florence is also a great opportunity to enjoy a hands-on cooking class, with wine tasting experience, while staying in a comfy villa in the heart of Florence.

Consider that every destination in Tuscany listed before can be reached with a Private Shore Excursion from Livorno Cruise Port


Source by Antonio Cicirelli

Need A Holiday? New Zealand Is The Destination Of Choice


Action, adventure or just relaxation, why not plan a holiday in New Zealand or a honeymoon in New Zealand which is one of the most sought after destinations in the world. There is heaps to do on your holiday in New Zealand with outdoor & adventure activities, tourist attractions, wildlife viewing & nature, food & wine, Maori culture, museums & art galleries, shopping & more. Enjoy a fun filled holiday in New Zealand, one of the most beautiful countries in the world.


Holidays are your time to relax and enjoy New Zealand's recreation. Working with the right holiday company will maximize your opportunity to get the very best out of your holiday. They often offer opportunities to see New Zealand in a way most holiday makers can not. With a number of outdoor activities and sights to see, you can stay in various types of holiday homes in New Zealand with a price to match anyone's budget. Visitors looking for holiday homes in New Zealand have two main islands to choose from. The North Island or the South Island. Both Islands have a wide variety of activities and scenery to please everyone's holiday taste.


New Zealand has a wide range of quality accommodation options to suit all budgets. With hotels, resorts, luxury lodges, self contained motels & apartments, bed & breakfast / homestays, holiday homes, backpacker, holiday parks & camping. Accommodation options range from a single night's Bed and Breakfast, to Customized, Multi-day all inclusive packages. Many accommodation providers offer the flexibility to extend your stay in a place you love for an extra day or 2 within peak times with little or no fuss. Motel accommodation is one of the most flexible accommodation arrangements available in New Zealand.


Fresh air, breathtaking scenery and outdoor activities are the main attractions of New Zealand, with a tremendously friendly, honest and helpful population, colloquially nicknamed after their country's distinct symbol, the unusual but amiable flightless bird "The Kiwi". New Zealand offers a lot of activities, especially for the adventurous kind. New Zealand's awesome landscapes, lush forests and amazing wildlife make it a haven for many outdoor activities, and a great place to unwind. New Zealand offers a huge variety of action-packed and laid back activities, from bungy jumping to skiing, swimming with dolphins, scenic flights and boat cruises on the fjords, as well as some world famous walking trails with unrivaled scenery. Most adventurous activities are available in the South Island, whereas North Island offers the charm of the big cities, some great shopping as well as some definitely New Zealand attractions, like the Maori village in Rotorua. These activities are strong contributors to overall holiday satisfaction and deliver an enjoyable holiday experience to the interactive traveler in New Zealand.

Part of the challenge in planning a New Zealand holiday is what to leave out. Adding a dash of culture to your New Zealand holiday is simply a matter of knowing where to go. Everything you need for a great New Zealand holiday is available: Fishing off the beach, golf courses, horse riding, surfing and swimming, vineyards, white sandy picturesque beaches, fishing boat charters including diving and snorkeling, local craft and pottery shops and fabulous restaurants . With long sandy beaches, warm seas and miles of scenic beauty you will soon realize that a New Zealand holiday is an experience and a half. For many, a holiday in New Zealand is a once in a lifetime experience. Whichever way you like it, a New Zealand holiday is pure magic.


Source by Nigel M

Relapse Prevention Techniques for the Holidays


With the holiday season upon us, many people fall into the trap of picking up a drink or a drug. It's tempting when you're surrounded by friends and family and someone hands you a drink. Maybe your old friends are back in town and you go out for a fun night that quickly turns into smoking weed or something worse. There are relapse prevention techniques for the holidays that can help you or your loved one avoid those pitfalls. By strengthening your sobriety and overcoming your temptations, especially during the holiday season, you'll be building a solid foundation for your future recovery.

You never know what's going to happen over the holidays, whether it's Thanksgiving, Christmas, or the New Year. Some people even experience the "Holiday Blues" which is a time of sadness during these festivals. It could be for a variety of reasons, from lack of family contact to loneliness or changes in the weather. This could lead a person to relapse because numbing the depression can seem like a quick and easy solution. For example, if you relapse on Thanksgiving, this does not mean you have to continue using and beating yourself up over that mistake.

These temporary lapses of judgment do not have to define you and there's plenty of steps you can take to avoid a relapse. We've put together a couple of the most effective relapse prevention techniques for the holidays that you can add to your arsenal when feeling a craving or fighting a trigger.

  • Remember that preparation is the key to success. What are other ways to enjoy the day without drinking?
  • Practice the HALT technique: avoid being too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired before attending a holiday social event
  • Find new holiday activities and traditions that you may never have tried in the past which do not involve drinking alcohol (volunteer at a soup kitchen, go ice skating, have a sober get-together and gift exchange, see a movie, take a trip, and so much more)
  • Beware if there are others in the family who see your absence as a negative comment on their choice to get hammered. It's not at all unusual for such people to try to get you to join them.
  • Take care of yourself prior to holiday gatherings and celebrations: get enough sleep, eat regularly, exercise, and remember to take it easy! (relax)

While trying to stay sober during the holiday season, it is an important time for addicts and alcoholics and those who may need help to reach out to resources that they may not have been utilizing.


Source by Dariusz K