I took a two and a half week vacation in August and you probably were aware of it because of the lack of new posts during that period. When I travel to Europe I usually try to stay across the Atlantic for at least two weeks because of the long flights. I will go through my travels in this post but don’t expect to learn any booking tricks, besides the fact that planning and booking early is a very good idea. I did everything just a few weeks before my vacation, so award flights and stays were kind of hard to find.
I have mentioned in the past that I don’t really often look for the most luxurious places, or fly first class. I try to minimize my travel time and spend more time on vacation. Beaches are my main destinations when going on vacation, so when I started planning I was thinking of a trip to Greece, Albania and Croatia. That didn’t materialize, so I switched to Canary Islands, Palma de Mallorca, Rome and Naples.
Since I booked everything less than 2 weeks before I was due to fly out, I used mostly Ultimate Rewards through my Chase Sapphire Reserve card at 1.5 cents a piece. Also took advantage of the Merrill+ signup bonus and British Avios for travel within Europe.
I used about 53,000 points from the Merrill+ credit card sign up bonus to book two tickets from JFK to LPA in Gran Canaria island. The tickets cost about $620 each so I was able to use 25,000 points plus $120 for one and 28,000 points plus $90 for the other. The flights came with a stop in Casablanca in Morocco. I used my Chase Sapphire Reserve card and was refunded the full cash portions thanks to the annual $300 travel credit.
I stayed at Gloria Palace Amadores. It was a great location with short walks to either Amadores Beach or Puerto Rico Beach.
There’s plenty of restaurants right by the beach, especially at Puerto Rico Beach.
I rented a car on the island and also made my way to Maspalomas Beach, the biggest and most famous beach in Gran Canaria, known for its dunes.
I also took a long drive through narrow roads up the mountain to Roque Nublo, which offered stunning views of the island.
You also need to take a walk all the way to the top, after that long drive.
Palma de Mallorca
From Gran Canaria to PMI in Palmas de Mallorca was booked with Avios through British Airways that I received with this sign-up bonus on the Chase BA card. Each ticket cost 16,000 Avios plus $17.28 in Business Class. I would have preferred to book Economy, but there was no seats left on the flights that worked with my schedule.
I stayed at Sentido Cala Vinas, again booked with Chase Ultimate Rewards through Chase Sapphire Reserve at 1.5cpp. The hotel had a very small beach nearby or you could walk to Magaluf Beach, the most famous beach in the island.
We took a boat ride to Palma for one day and toured the city. Beautiful place with lots of narrow streets to walk around. Pretty crowded though.
Obviously Spain involved a lot of seafood and paella.
From Palmas de Mallorca, my next stop was Italy. Avios to the rescue again as I was able to find two seats that fit my schedule on Meridiana with a 75 minute direct flight to Rome. Each award ticket cost 4,500 Avios plus $70 if I remember correctly.
I stayed at the Hilton at the airport for one night, since it was a very late flight.
Then a day tour around Rome. I’ve been there a couple of times before and in August it’s pretty quiet and relatively empty I would say.
I then traveled from Rome to Naples by train. And Naples was probably the best part of the trip. As expected, the food was amazing. This was my second time visiting the city, but I don’t think I would ever get tired of it.
Besides the city itself, there’s so many other towns nearby that you can visit either by car or train. I checked out Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Pompei, Capri and a few other smaller towns. I stayed there about 10 days, so I had plenty of time to wander around. I won;t really go into many details, because I’m sure you can find tons of info online.
These are a few shots from Naples.
View this post on Instagram
#naples #casteldellovo #italy #beauty #travelwriter #cactle #travel #travelblogger #tripideas #travelblogger #travelstroke #travelling #trip #traveltheworld #igtravel #getaway #travelblog #instago #travelpics #wanderer #wanderlust #travelphoto #napoli #travelphotography #amazing #tourist #traveller #gulfofnaples
And some more pictures.
Capri is a beautiful island. Very very crowded, but worth a visit. You have to take a ferry from Naples. There’s stunning views from the top of the island and plenty of things to check out and lot of restaurant choices.
I also ventured into some smaller towns in the Campania Region, which are not really tourist attractions, but pretty cool places nonetheless.
And some pizza…
Hopefully you enjoyed the pictures, because there’s really not much else in here. I pushed this off, hoping to have a few more things to save and describe, but it was mostly just a nice relaxing vacation for about three weeks. I’ll add more, if anything comes to mind.
I don’t think you need me to tell you that Italy is a great country to visit, and there’s so many great cities there that you need a few vacations to check out everything. This was my fourth time visiting and next time I plan to make my way further south.
Let me know if you’ve visited any of these places or if they’re on your wish list.