Source: Conde Nast Traveler (2.6.19)
No city in the world can top London for sheer depth of history, culture, diversity, and grandeur. While it’s easy to rattle off a trip’s worth of must-see sights—think Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral, and the Tower of London, just for starters—it’s not always so clear how to make sure you’re really seeing what you want to see. Traveling with Monograms adds a welcome layer of support and expertise to your independent travel—so you’re not just roaming around, say, St Paul’s with a map or an audio guide. You’re thoroughly and efficiently lifting the veil on Wren’s masterpiece (and other icons) with an expert personal guide, saving plenty of time for the solo exploring every savvy traveler craves.
The fabled City of Light is really so many different cities—the chic fashion capital centered around the Champs-Elysées and Avenue Montaigne; the bohemian playground of Montmartre; the mecca of monumental Napoleonic architecture; and so many more facets make up this famously enchanting jewel of a metropolis. No wonder travelers feel the need to return again and again, to experience it from a different perspective. “Which arrondissement?” a seasoned Francophile might ask— referring to the city’s numbered districts—upon hearing that you’re headed for a stay in Paris. Monograms helps you navigate the often bewildering process of choosing the perfect home base, with a carefully curated selection of hotels that can place you in the most popular neighborhoods or shine a line on some tucked-away treasures.
Madrid is not just the capital of Spain—it is its vibrant, passionate heart. It’s impossible not to get caught up in the excitement of it, from the famous bullrings to the bustling Puerta del Sol to the vibrant night spots where you can catch a live music or flamenco show, or simply savor astonishing tapas. No trip to Madrid would be complete without a visit to the Prado and Reina Sofia museums, where art treasures abound. But save time to indulge in some local shopping, too, whether in cosmopolitan boutiques or local craft and food markets. Some say Madrid is the most Spanish of all cities in Spain—so where better to take advantage of Monograms’ Local Hosts, who are always on hand to help you find those unknown gems and experiences that make your trip unforgettable.
Barcelona, the capital of Spain’s Catalonia region and the cradle of its rich culture, dates back to Roman times—but its allure is utterly timeless. Ask anyone who has spent time there to describe it, and you’ll find they are often at a loss for words. Antoni Gaudi, the architect whose unique vision is synonymous with Barcelona, adorned the city with such modernist masterpieces as the jewel-like Casa Batllo and the mesmerizing Sagrada Familia Basilica—an essential pilgrimage for every art and design connoisseur. Pilgrims of other sorts can visit the F.C. Barcelona football stadium, the Passeig de Gracia (for shoppers) or the Barri Gotic (for a fabulous variety of tapas and wine bars). Barcelona evokes such passion in certain travelers, they can’t imagine a European trip without at least a quick visit. And one of the best features of Monograms is how customizable you’ll find its packages to be. “YourWay” next to every trip means you get to choose how many nights you spend in each city. It’s the best of all worlds—in all of the world’s best places.
How does the Italian capital earn its moniker “Eternal City”? It’s not just the abundant presence of ancient ruins—it’s the fact that, when in Rome (while ‘doing as the Romans do,’ of course) you can really feel its vast history enveloping and transporting you. At any given moment, you can at the center of the gladiatorial spectacles that rocked the Colosseum in the first century AD or the height of the Renaissance, when Michelangelo labored over the exquisite ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Luckily, even in this city of emperors and popes, you can get VIP access to sites like the Vatican Museums, the Colosseum and the Forum, when you travel with Monograms. Less time in line means more time hunting down the perfect carbonara. Then be sure to toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain, to ensure your speedy return.
Florence is often referred to as the Cradle of the Renaissance, and it is undeniably one of the most art-infused cities any traveler could hope to explore. One can (and should) spend hours marveling at the treasures in the Uffizi Galleries and the Academy of Fine Arts, including Michelangelo’s epic statue of David. But just as important is strolling the charming streets, sampling chianti and gelato, and shopping for jewelry and other mementos on the bustling Ponte Vecchio. Florence also makes a wonderful home base for excursions to the Tuscan hill towns and surrounding wine country. And if handling the logistics of European train and motor travel is not your forte, fear not—Monograms has got you covered.
Is there any city on earth more romantic than Venice, with its tiny winding waterways, flirtatious gondoliers, and stunning palazzos lining the Grand Canal? Nicknamed “La Serenissima,” or the Most Serene, Venice has the feeling of a living museum—a precious collaboration between art and nature, and the ultimate traveler’s privilege to visit. One of the best things to do in Venice—after you’ve traveled the canals in a gondola or a speedboat and walked across the Rialto Bridge—is get lost. Wander without a map and discover artisan shops, hidden wine bars and restaurants, and fellow romantics of all stripes. Best of all? You can find amazing Venice packages on Monograms’ Wanderlist in February. 25% off—buonissimo!
So, which of Europe’s Big Seven haven’t you experienced yet? Which are you dying to return to? Monograms makes it so easy to customize a trip that hits all of your sweet spots. It’s simply a better way to travel, designed for those who prefer to travel independently, but don’t want to get bogged down in the hassles of planning or lost in the sea of the unknown. That’s the Monograms difference.
(By the way, Africa’s Big Five are lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and Cape buffalo. And yes—Monograms can help you with these, too!)