(GOOD MORNING ARIZONA) -- I remember the first time I saw Verona.

From the gracefully frescoed buildings of the Piazza della Erbe to the stately Arena di Verona, I was completely and utterly charmed.



Tucked away as an extended stop on a nine-day tour of Italy, it was not a featured city, like Rome, Florence and Venice (Seriously - the tour was titled "Italy’s Great Cities: Rome, Florence, and Venice"). And while those glorious, glittering cities are indeed highlights of any trip to Italy, I found myself enjoying the smaller, out of the way, undiscovered towns and cities equally as much as the big boys of Italian tourism and history.



My point -- and I do have one -- is this: when planning your next itinerary, don’t focus solely on the grand and the glorious. Look for the smaller, charming, yet equally beautiful and historical.

Tuck away some hidden gems into your next vacation.

If you've seen Montreal, consider a visit to Quebec City.

If you've been to Rome, Florence, and Venice, you'll want to see Perugia, Siena, and Verona.

If you simply adore Paris, you'll love Chantilly.

And my next example is an entire country!

I’m just back from a fantastic tourism conference in the Baltics, Baltic Connecting 2018, where I was given the opportunity to meet with travel and tourism officials from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, with extended visits to two of the countries.

My favorite - and a genuine revelation to me -- Estonia, and its beautiful capital, Tallinn.



The storybook-like Old Town, with its town walls and turreted gates, graceful churches, and cozy streets perfect for wandering, is the heart of this booming, vibrant city.

But there’s more to Tallinn than the medieval. It also features beautiful parks and architecture, like a summer palace Peter the Great built for his Catherine, the ruins of the Pirita convent, and the immense, soaring Tallinn Song Festival Grounds, home of Estonia’s famous “Singing Revolution.”

But even with the beauties of Tallinn, you won’t want to confine your visit to just the city. There’s so much to see and do in Estonia! In my short stay I was fortunate enough to "bogshoe" - yes, that’s a thing - in the Lahemaa Bog, and visit the lovely Vihula Manor.


Bogshoeing. It's a (fun) thing!

And since Tallinn is the home of Preferred Travel Services’ parent company, estravel AS, I look forward to more visits where I hope to experience the Tallinn Christmas Market, as well as visiting some of the islands of Estonia, Hiiumaa and Saaremaa.



Looking for some “hidden gem” suggestions for your dream destination? Give us a call at Preferred Travel Services, 602-603-9300, or contact me directly at Rosanne@preferredtravelservices.com. Like the famous comedians back in the day, “I got a million of ‘em!”


Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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