Let’s face it – no one wants to look like a blatant tourist when they travel. We all want that local, authentic experience that makes you feel like you are truly a part of the community and culture. But when you’re in a foreign city where you don’t know your way around (or even speak the language!), it’s a lot easier said than done. Lucky for us, our partners at Rocco Forte Hotels share the essential tips, tricks, and intel so you can learn how to travel like a local and actually do it!
When you stay at Brown’s Hotel, you’re not just in a luxury property in a fab location – you’re surrounded by history. Opened in 1837, Brown’s was the FIRST hotel in London and has been host to some pretty amazing guests: Alexander Graham Bell brought his contraption (aka the first telephone!) and made the world’s first phone call, Rudyard Kipling wrote The Jungle Book at the hotel, and Winston Churchill loved to relax by the fire after a long day.
London has amazing shops – from historical artisans to globally recognized brands like Burberry. Visit Mayfair, Savile Row (Gieves & Hawkes or Hunstsman for tailored suites), St. James’ and Jermyn Street. If markets are more your speed, explore the Portobello Road Market or Old Spitalfields Market.
- The National Gallery and Victoria & Albert museums are classic choices, but here are a few more off the beaten path:
- Twinings Tea Museum: Learn the history about one of London’s greatest traditions – tea!
- Old Operating Theatre Museum: Calling all doctors! Get a glimpse of historical medicine in this unique museum.
- Sir John Soane’s Museum: former home of famed architect John Soane, this museum features antiquities like paintings, marble busts, and antique furniture.
- Riding House Café
- J Sheekey
- Hix Mayfair
With a prime location between the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo, the Hotel de Russie is your perfect base while you explore Rome. Be sure to make a reservation at Le Jardin de Russie, where you can dine alfresco in a garden oasis nicknamed the “Secret Garden.”
Rome is home to some fabulous (and famous) shops, from well-known brands like Gucci to local boutiques to perfumeries. Click here to get the scoop on where to shop.
In additional to the must-sees, Rome has amazing modern art museums like MAXXI and MACRO.
Under Radar Spots
Visit the art collection at Villa Farnesina (by not-so-under the radar artists like Raphael, da Vinci, and Michelangelo) and San Pietro in Montorio, a gorgeous church dedicated to St. Peter. See other spots here.
- Trattoria Da Teo
- Le Jardin de Russie
- Ristorante Tre Scalini
Situated among a string of boutiques on the Piazza Repubblica, the Hotel Savoy is in a superb location in the heart of Florence. Some rooms offer views of the Duomo – the perfect way to take in its beauty away from the throngs of people!
Florence is famous for leather markets and shops, so use this guide to make sure you buy the very best artisan leather. Search for other treasures on the Ponte Vecchio or right outside your hotel at the market on the Piazza Repubblica (and kids will love riding the antique carousel!).
Florence’s renowned architecture set against verdant, rolling Tuscan hills is something to behold – just make sure you can get that ideal vantage point! Go to the top of Giotto’s Bell Tower or the Tower of Arnolfo to get a great view.
- Trattoria 4 Leoni
The newest 5-star hotel in Munich doesn’t only boast the largest standard rooms in the city but also gorgeous suites. After days exploring the city, stop in The Charles Spa for a rejuvenating treatment and then enjoy dinner at Sophia’s Restaurant & Bar, the hotel’s newly opened restaurant that overlooks the Old Botanical Garden.
While you’re in Munich, get out of the city and explore fairy tale castles (and by fairy tale we mean it…Neuschwanstein Castle was the model for Sleeping Beauty’s castle!). While you’re in the city, visit some amazing art museums like the Lenbachhaus (by the hotel!) and the Neue Pinakothek.
Munich is known for its beer gardens, so no trip is complete with visiting one – or six! Rocco Forte’s guide to the best beer gardens has the inside scoop on where to sit back and sip on a refreshing stein.
- Restaurant Pfistermuhle
This 500+ acre resort in Sicily is the perfect spot to relax and unwind on a gorgeous Mediterranean island. There’s so much to do at the resort (even if it’s simply taking in the vistas) plus seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites to see around the island.
Sicily’s history goes waaay back, and you get a look at it by visiting Greek and Roman ruins that are thousands of years old. Take a day to tour these fascinating sites.
You don’t have to leave the resort to find something to do – in addition to the spa and golf courses, there are watersports, tennis courts, a football pitch, trails, and five restaurants…not to mention the breathtaking views of the Mediterranean.
- Boun Giorno