I’m a firm believer that when you’re travelling, you should try and pack in as much as possible – which is why I recently visited four European destinations in just eight days (thanks Dnata Holidays). Provence, Milan, Rome, Venice – and they said it couldn’t be done. Pah!
First port of call on my European adventure was Club Med’s Opio en Provence resort. Set in 50 acres of lush, verdant Provençal landscape, this family-focused resort is loads of fun, with numerous pools, activities (golf, archery and boules to name a few), a fantastic spa, and some bar and restaurant options which I probably enjoyed a little too much.


Taking aim (channelling Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games).

While I may have lost at this sport, I did win at the local game of boules (although, without picture evidence, I’m hoping you’ll just take my word on this one …).


Country life at Club Med’s Opio en Provence resort.

After feeling a little stir crazy at the resort, I set off on a day trip to the nearby town of Gourdon for some cultural relief. This tiny commune, which is built atop an isolated rock, was a place of refuge; now it’s a hub for local perfumers.


A French tabby takes in the mesmerising views from Gourdon.


The quaint town.

The best way by far to travel in Europe has to be by train. Maybe I’ve seen too many old movies, but there’s always something romantic about travelling by rail. Next stop, Milan …


Snow-capped mountain views from the train.

Some serious reading of the local news.

My home in Italy’s fashion capital is the stunningly stylish Boscolo Milan. Despite its location in the historical heart, the former bank is avant-garde in design, making it an ideal hub for the bold and beautiful during Fashion Week.


Getting comfy in a funky chair – every piece of furniture here is a piece of art.


Talk about attention to detail: picking your bathroom products is like picking ingredients for a sweet-smelling cocktail.


Enjoying the terrace views of Piazza del Duomo.


Coordinating my outfit with the Boscolina suite’s interior, as you do …

The hotel is just a mere 10-minute walk from the modish haven that is Corso Vittorio Emanuele and the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, which is said to be the world’s first shopping mall. If anyone was going to get there first, it was going to be the chic Italians.


Inside the grand Galleria Vittorio Emanuele.


Note the black and gold signage. All stores inside the mall must follow this style, even McDonald’s.

A hearty Italian breakfast calls for espresso (make mine a double), a prosciutto sandwich and a selection of sweet treats – I’d be rude not to indulge. I have another train journey ahead of me, this time to the glorious city of Roma.


Literally la dolce vita.

As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and certainly trying to visit all of its vast monuments will take you longer. But heck, I had to try …


Chilling on the Spanish Steps…

… feeling the chill at the Coliseum.

The amazing Coliseum, and Roman Forum in all its glory.


My lovely European tour group.

But, of course, you don’t just come to Rome to sightsee; you also come to shop …


… my retro shopping guide.


Fab Chanel window display.

From Rome, it’s onwards and upwards, towards Venice to be precise, and with it the biggest snowstorm the magical city has experienced in 15 years…


Caught out in the storm.


Very cold but still stunning.

And, of course, when the heavy snow stops falling, it melts and the waters of Venice rise…


The start of the mini flood that miraculously vanished by the next morning.

As well as being known as the city of canals (although, as a Brummie, I like to impart a bit of trivia: Birmingham, UK, has more miles of canals than Venice – fact!), Venice is also famous for its carnivals and gondolas.


The views from a gondola are unrivalled.


The famous Bridge of Sighs. The bridge links the prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace. It’s said that when criminals walked over the bridge, they would stop and admire the breathtaking views of Venice and then sigh, because they knew they were soon to be executed or imprisoned – hence the bridge’s name.


Getting into the carnival spirit.

Venice is actually made up of 118 tiny islands separated by canals and linked by bridges. Burano is a tiny fishing island in the Venetian lagoon renowned for its colourful buildings and succulent seafood. Well, that’s a big boast, so I decided to explore …


So they weren’t lying about the colourful buildings …


… or the food. The seafood pasta and the fried calamari at Trattoria Al Gatto Nero is bellissimo.


Smiling after a fulfilling meal.


Gorgeous Burano.


Perfect sunset to end the perfect trip.

Eight gratifying days and 1.4kg (pasta retention) later, I bid farewell to my dear friend, Europe – I shall return …

To book your own adventure with Dnata Holidays, visit or email

For tours around Italy (with accommodation and certain meals included) we recommend Insight Vacations. For more information, visit

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