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Seaside Village in CreteWhat are the first thoughts or images that come to mind when you think of Greece?  Is it its beautiful clear waters and beaches?  Strikingly blue skies?  Its whitewashed buildings?  Music and dance?  Its history?  Contributions to philosophy and our political process?  Its delicious and healthy food? 

Perhaps, is it all of these combined images that make Greece one of the most iconic “bucket list” travel destinations in the world.  

As Greenloons’ Founder, I’ve been fortunate to travel to many countries (and even live in a few) around the world and, in my humble opinion, there is no comparison within the six continents I’ve visited, to Greece.  

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  • Kerry (Goodtrippers)
    Kerry (Goodtrippers) says #
    Making me hungry!
    I love the sound of this. Greek food is delicious and tastes even better while eating outdoors in Greece, preferably with a seavie

Bulgaria Girl near Belasitsa Nature ParkMy first impression upon crossing the border from Macedonia to Bulgaria was of the sweetness of both the air (its smell of hyacinths) and people of Bulgaria. 

Over the days, almost like a slowly blooming flower, I then began to discover its stunning vistas, burgeoning wine industry (not to mention their fantastic walnut liquor), variety of delicious food, fascinating history, adventure options, and an inherent joie-de-vivre of people who will sing and dance without much persuasion.

To me, Bulgaria is the next “hot” destination for family travelers because it’s safe, family-friendly, offers a very good standard of service, and has many options for hikers and foodies to history buffs and beach bums.

Monte Rufeno Olive PickingAs we walked along the short trail back from the olive grove, I began to smell fresh mint and other aromatic herbs underfoot, wildly growing on the side of the farmhouse, and instantly felt transported to a simpler time when families had to grow their own food and raise their own livestock to survive.

Although paling in comparison to those more likely difficult times, I still was satisfied with having taken part in the harvesting of an olive tree’s lovely green and purple colored olives ready for the first press. We collected nearly 90 lbs. of olives that morning and, once again, found ourselves at a large family-style Italian table ready for a feast.

For anyone who has traveled throughout the Mediterranean, the scene may be a familiar one. But, once you account for the details, you realize it is anything but common.

Wild Atlantic Way SceneThere's so much that surprised me during my trip to Ireland last October from the people (extraordinarily friendly souls who have a penchant for going out of their way to help others) to the vistas (there's a reason people call it the Emerald Isle) to the music (celebrating humanity's full range of emotions from sadness and tragedy to joy and passion) to the food (sustainably sourced by necessity and simply delicious) that it's hard to pick out a moment that stood out above all!

But, I can and that moment was during an e-biking trip along the Wild Atlantic Way.

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  • Mu'izz Naa'im
    Mu'izz Naa'im says #
    Ecotourism is not only 'greene...
    Hello Irene Lane, This post really attractive because I have always wanted to visit Ireland. Ireland has ability to be top ecotou

ParenzanaViewTake the imagery of Tuscany (without the crowds) and combine it with a family-friendly biking and hiking trail that meanders through various villages offering comfortable accommodations and fantastic culinary delicacies, and you have Croatia's Parenzana Trail in a nutshell.

The 123 kilometer (approximately 77 mile) biking and hiking trail's history is quite comical. Originally built as a train rail line that transported goods and passengers throughout the region of Istria to and from the Italian port of Trieste, the slow train operated from 1902 to 1935.

Travel SkillsI'm of the belief that children need to start traveling while they are still young. The mere act of going to a place that is unfamiliar in terms of landscape, food, culture, history and maybe even language encourages children to develop organizational skills, a sense of independence and greater responsibility.

This was put to the test this summer when, armed with one rollaway bag and two backpacks, my 9-year-old son and I went on a seven week trip through four countries: Cyprus, Greece, Croatia and Scotland.

As our bus driver expertly weaved around the bends and curves of the Tuscan countryside in Italy, I found myself totally transfixed by the rolling hills that surrounded us. Looking out, I felt that the scenery was almost too beautiful, that if I blinked I would suddenly wake up back in my bed in New Jersey. But there I was, in the heart of Tuscany, backpack at the ready and best friend at my side. Our decade dream of backpacking through Europe during our college years was coming true, and we were finally at the Italian portion of our journey.

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  • Gayatri Nigudkar
    Gayatri Nigudkar says #
    Farms name
    Hi Julia, Could you tell me the name of the farm? Also, is it safe to go alone? I live in Mumbai with my family. Did you travel o
  • Mariana
    Mariana says #
    Farm´s name
    Hi Julia, Could you tell me the name of your farm? Thank you very much! Best regards, Mariana
  • Ruth
    Ruth says #
    Ruth
    I am close to retirement and able bodied. Sounds like a great experience. Is their an age limit.
  • Irene
    Irene says #
    RE:Ruth
    You may want to look on the WWOOF website for more details and application procedures - www.wwoof.org

I'm not sure any guidebook can fully prepare a person for the colors, sounds, tastes, smells and sheer diversity of collectibles offered while walking through the labyrinth (and archeological marvel) that is the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar of Istanbul, Turkey. For me, it was as I had imagined it to be and more.

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