3 New Articles from Virtuoso, April 2023

3 New Articles from Virtuoso, April 2023

996 words/7:30 minutes reading time

  1. Switzerland’s Secret Swiss Region Topping Our Summer Travel Wish List

Graubünden, also known as Grisons (French), Grigioni (Italian), and Grishun (Romansh), is Switzerland’s largest and easternmost canton and is bordered by Italy to the south, and Austria and Lichtenstein to the north and south. It is known as Switzerland’s most geographically and culturally diverse region, in part, due to its size and the fact that it encompasses two sides of the Alps.

It holds the Engadin Valley, which is close to St. Moritz, and a great place to bike during the warmer months. Other natural phenomena are The Swiss National Park (Switzerland’s first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve), Lake Toma (the source of the Rhine River), and the Rhine Gorge (aka the Swiss Grand Canyon). 

But, for those moments when you want to relax, there are many great resorts to choose from. These include the 7132 Hotel, the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, the Waldhaus Flims Wellness Resort, and the Kulm Hotel Saint Moritz. All of these offer a perfect mix of nature and wellness therapies, such as massages in a fir and fern forest, natural mineral baths, and a swim in an immaculate mountain pond. 

For gastronomical goodies, this part of the world offers a great source of local and seasonal options. Some of the fresh from the forest foraging you might find are berries, and mushrooms like porcinis and chanterelles. And of course, you can find some local staples like raclette, fondue, and of course, chocolate — a lot of chocolate. Great restaurants include Scalottas Terroir, OZ, and the 7132 Hotel restaurant.

Finally, because this region is so large and there is so much to see, you are going to have to get around somehow. Well, with alpine railroads, going by train is sure to be a form of transportation at its finest. Some examples are the Glacier Express which crosses the 6,700-foot Oberalp Pass, or the Bernina Express, a UNESCO-designated Albula and Bernina lines, the Alps’ highest railways.

A trip to Graubünden is sure to be a tantalizing venture of nature at its finest, highly cultured cuisine, luxurious spa retreats, fairytale-like villages, and exciting mountain vistas.

  1. The World’s Best Places to See Spring Flowers

Spring offers a rejuvenating effect and as we start to warm and wake up from our winter solitude, so do the flowers start to blossom and poke their heads out from the cold ground. This is why Virtuoso offers 6 great locations where the blossoming is unbelievably beautiful. 

Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka are obvious contenders for one of the best places in the world for their renowned parks, imperial properties, and ancient cities teaming with cherry blossoms. Have a stay at one of the Ritz-Carlton’s three great properties located in each city before exploring the tradition of Hanami (the custom of enjoying the transient beauty of flowers). 

Next is South Africa (spring here is from August to September). Here you can stay at

Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel, where you can get an immersive tour while hiking from the base of Table Mountain, which is part of the world’s most diverse floral kingdom — Western Cape’s fynbos biome. 

Third, on our list is Keukenhoff in the Netherlands, which is an 80-acre parcel of perfectly planted tulips. There are over 800 varieties and a total of 7 million tulip bulbs to see! There is a reason this place is known as Europe’s Garden. Only a day trip from Amsterdam, you can stay at the De L’Europe Amsterdam, which offers day trips and a champagne picnic.

In the USA, we have two special locations, Hawaii and Texas. In Hawaii, you can go to Maui to see the state’s sacred plant, the ohia lehua. The volcanic soil makes for a perfect place for this flower to grow. Next go to Hill Country in Texas, where a road trip with views of bluebonnets, goldeneye phlox, plains coreopsis, and prickly poppies are abundant. Stay at the Maui at Wailea Resort in Hawaii and the Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin.

Finally, there is The Burren in Ireland. Here you can see flowers along the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren’s terrain that gives you the sense you are on the moon, but with flowers of the alpine, Arctic, and Mediterranean varieties. While here, stay at the classically wonderful Dromoland Castle.

Whatever you choose, floral ambiance always adds a great texture to where you travel. What are some great spots for spring flowers that you know of?

  1. Just Back: Urban Retreats, Beaches, and an Artist’s Village in Thailand

Bangkok, Phuket, and Chiang Mai are the main centers covered here in this article. With these three locations, you will get a perfect mix of cultures, great food, art, history, and beautiful scenery. 

Bangkok has so much to offer, but one great feature is the Silk trade. Along with access to high-quality worm wool, you can visit the museum of an American who rejuvenated the silk industry by visiting the Jim Thompson House Museum. For great accommodation look no further than the Capella Bangkok, the Peninsula Bangkok, or the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok.

Now, while in Phuket it is only a short boat ride to Phang Nga Bay to get there you can charter a longtail boat, catamaran, or yacht from Surakul Pier.

Finally, in Chiang Mai, the former capital of the Lanna Kingdom, you can visit Baan Kang Wat. This colony of artists is just off Suthep Road. Here each shop stands out as an independent gem specializing in jewelry, ceramics, wood carving, home decor, and silver. As well, a great local restaurant to try is the Ging Grai, which has a laid-back atmosphere and probably has the city’s best pad thai. 

As well, you can also see our own Blog on the great day trips to take while you are in Thailand by clicking this Link to The Best Day Tours in Thailand.

Click here to keep up with all of Virtuoso’s Great Articles on Where to Travel Next

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