The temptation when you arrive at your beautiful villa for your long anticipated holiday can be to settle down and not leave… something which is especially easy to do as our villas have everything you need to enjoy a relaxing break with no need to venture further afield. And why not, particularly after you arrive on holiday! Make the most of the pool and sun terrace. Enjoy being cooked for by your private chef and relax! You’ve earned it.
But after a day or two of indulgent ‘me time’ why not take the opportunity to venture out and explore. Immersing yourself in the local culture and environment can be a hugely rewarding experience. There is a saying that ‘a change is as good as a rest’. Different sights and sounds can lend a new perspective to life and leave you feeling invigorated and energised!
A few weeks before you leave on your trip we’d suggest giving our Concierge team a call. They will be able to tell you where best to visit, if there are any festivals or seasonal events which may be of interest and help book any excursions for you. To help kick-start your plans we’ve listed some ideas, experiences and activities to give you a flavour of the ways you could immerse yourself in the local culture of your holiday destination.
Learn the Language
We’re always amazed how many people we meet who speak English when we’re travelling. As helpful as this is, it’s nice to be able to contribute to a conversation in their native language. Of course, unless you’re a language whizz, it’s unlikely you’ll become fluent ahead of a holiday but a little bit of time spent before travelling studying some simple phrases can help give you a head start. And your efforts won’t go unnoticed by the locals who’ll be keen to help you on your way to mastering their language… bonne chance, buena suerta, buona fortuna!
It can be tempting to operate from within a bubble when travelling. And if you’re British you’ll know that we’re particularly bad at striking up conversations with strangers! But somehow, when you’re on holiday, inhibitions seem to fall away and it becomes much easier to talk to someone you’ve not met before. Gaining an insiders perspective on the area you’re visiting is great as it’s the locals who know all the best spots to visit, the restaurants and bars away from the crush of tourists and the events that would be worth attending giving you the opportunity to really experience the country you’re visiting.
Try New Foods
This is one of our favourite ways to immerse ourselves in a culture… through the mouth! If you’ve spoken to our Concierge team before leaving they will have no doubt recommended a few fabulous restaurants for you to try. Whether it’s for lunch or dinner it’s always great fun casting your eye down an unfamiliar menu. And no cheating and asking for a copy in English!
OPT Top Tip - watch out for Tête de Veau if you’re anywhere in France… this loosely translates as ‘Boiled Cow’s Head’ and only suitable for the really adventurous amongst you!
Hit the Local Cafes, Markets and Bars
In keeping with the food theme you’ve got to make time to pop into a café or bar for a drink. Whether you’re soaking up the sun and watching the world go by with an Espresso or sampling a local cocktail before an evening out, venues like this give you a real feel for the local vibe. Again, you’re likely to get better service and all-round experience at the non-tourist bars/cafes so head elsewhere if you hear too much of your native language being spoken.
Attend a Festival or Local Event
If you’ve timed your trip well you may be able to attend a local concert, sporting event or festival. Heading to Venice? The Venice Carnival is arguably the biggest and most well-know carnival out there with numerous events over a two week period. In New York for Thanksgiving? The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade which begins just outside of New York City’s Central Park is quite the spectacle. Wherever you’re travelling your Concierge will be well placed to let you know what’s worth attending and will help secure tickets if required.
Perhaps slightly counter-intuitively we would suggest you don’t over plan your trip! Sure, it’s great to get some key events booked (even essential where tickets are required) but don’t fall into the trap of planning every single day of your holiday down to the last detail. Half of the fun of travelling is the ability to get lost, to wander down winding streets, to stray from the beaten path. Only then will you really start to experience the local culture. We promise it’s a liberating experience – enjoy!
Our Concierge team is here to help you at all stages of your holiday. We’d definitely recommend you give them a call ahead of your trip – there’s nothing they like better than imparting their local knowledge and helping you make the very most of your trip whether you’re in your villa or out exploring! Call them on +44 1993 899 430 or click here for more contact details.