When it comes to gaining an insider's perspective on the local culture, there may be no better source for the scoop than innkeepers.
Often running their establishments over generations, they know all about the best sights, restaurants, activities, shopping, and outdoor experiences in their areas, giving you that sought-after know-how that you just can't find in a guidebook.
We've gathered together some tips from the innkeepers that host travelers on our Self-Guided Walking tours. From suggestions on where to find the tastiest local eats to advice on traveling comfortably, their knowledge and expertise can enhance your next trip.
Spain is known for its mouthwatering wines, and pricey pours at tourist-trap restaurants tempt many a visitor. But Lola urges travelers to take a more down-to-earth approach to finding that perfect glass of vino.
"In autumn and winter, ask in the bars for the local young wine which we call 'Mosto,'" she said. "It can be white or rosé, sometimes cloudy, but always nice and cheap."
Lola also sees lots of visitors to her inn arrive with several heavy bags and suitcases in tow. But she thinks traveling with too much stuff just slows you down from moving around the country with ease.
"My advice? Travel as light as possible."
Neil also shares some advice for comfortable travel.
"In Ireland, be prepared to experience all four seasons in one day!"
The country's bustling towns, dramatic landscapes, and towering seaside cliffs make it an enchanting destination. But not matter what time of year you depart for Ireland, always pack a wooly sweater and waterproof jacket. Even in summer, the temperatures can cool, and you never know if it might rain.
Henrietta is the go-to person for self-guided travelers looking to discover the Scotland that not every tourist sees. She can point visitors to lesser-known sites and share knowledge that puts the location into a rich historical context. This perspective can transform a trip and give travelers a deeper understanding of the heritage of the area that they're exploring.
"Visit the Soldiers' Leap, where the king's soldiers crossed the river Garry after the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689," she says. "After a rainstorm, you can watch the salmon leap there now."
So much of the joy of traveling comes from the food - the memorable meals, iconic local cuisine, and unassuming street food carts that offer unforgettable tastes. Lyne understands how important great food experiences are to having a fantastic trip.
"Stop and get a picnic lunch at Aucoin Bakery, where everything is made fresh daily," she recommends.
A picnic is a one-of-a-kind way to take in an destination - sitting outside on a soft blanket, perhaps in a meadow, forest, or city park - and it lets you enjoy the beauty and personality of the landscape and culture around you. Add freshly made local cheeses, meats, breads, sweets and a bottle of wine, and you've got yourself a delightfully delicious meal for all your senses!
If the idea of getting an insider's scoop on travel destinations appeals to you, then our self-guided walking tours may be the travel experience you're looking for. Influenced by innkeepers and other local experts around the world, our self-guided tours can take you out of the guidebook and into the local culture.
To request a free Country Walkers catalog and learn more about other exciting destinations throughout the world, click here. If you would like to speak with one of our Travel Experts, please call 800.234.6900. They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST.