Couple Jenny and Justin Lewandowski just got back from a whirlwind of an island hopping through Europe trip: three weeks traversing some of the most gorgeous islands and coastal hotspots in Europe. What did they see — and which spots really blew them away? Find out in our interview with Jenny below:
Was there a special occasion for this island hopping through Europe trip?
Jenny: My company has an amazing perk — after working with the company for 3 years, you get to take a one-month sabbatical. My husband and I knew we wouldn’t get a ton of time off like that again, so we wanted to take advantage of it.
We’ve been married right at about a year, so the trip was to celebrate our 1st anniversary and take advantage of the sabbatical. We spent three weeks traveling.
What was your itinerary?
Jenny: Our island hopping through Europe was definitely a bucket-list trip! We spent 4 days in Positano, 2 days in Capri, then in Croatia we spent 3 days in Hvar and 2 nights in Split, and we ended in Greece with 4 nights in Santorini and 3 nights in Mykonos.
We didn’t want a typical trip to Paris, Rome, or London, where we would feel like “go go go” all day long. We wanted to experience places with things to see and do, lots of culture and history, but that were also relaxing. Places where we could explore in the morning and take the afternoon off and go to the beach.
What was your favorite destination?
Jenny: That’s so hard to answer! Truth be told, we genuinely loved every single place for different reasons.
If I had to pick, we really loved Positano. That was a place of beauty unlike anything else we’ve experienced. Everywhere you turn, it doesn’t matter where you are, there’s a sight to see. And it was walkable – though there were lots of stairs. Our hotel was at the top point — in a beautiful hotel that Jane set us up with — and we could walk down to town for food, drinks, and the beach.
Did you go on an especially memorable excursion during your trip?
Jenny: In Santorini, we went on a sunset cruise that took us to swim in hot springs, snorkel, and see other beaches. The sunset in Santorini was unlike anywhere else —absolutely gorgeous! We also did a great wine tour there. Typically, 20 to 30 people would sign up for this tour, but there ended up only being three of us. That meant the tour was really intimate; we learned how and why their wine making process was so different from ours.
In Croatia, we rented a boat in Hvar for a an entire day for just $75 – in Charleston, where we live, we wouldn’t be able to rent a boat for an hour at that price! We island hopped all through the little islands around Hvar that day.
And in Positano, we had dinner at a restaurant really high up in the cliffs called La Tagliata. It was family-run; you paid maybe 40 euro for this unbelievable five-course meal — and the courses weren’t “bite size” either. Everything they cooked for us came from the family garden, and they even made the wine. It was an incredible experience.
Any advice for travelers wanting to explore this part of the world?
Jenny: I’d say pack light – although everyone knows that. But we still way over-packed!
Mainly, I’d say that working with Jane (at Southern Travel Agency) to plan the trip was really great. I could tell her “here’s our budget, here’s where we want to go” and let her do the rest. By doing that, we got to spend time focusing on what we wanted to do when we got there instead of the logistics. Some people like to figure out how to get from Point A to Point B – but I’m not one of those people! We didn’t have to look up train schedules or ferries as we were traveling; it was all done.
We kind of planned this trip at the last minute, and Jane acted really quickly. Within 24-48 hours she turned around a proposed itinerary. Every place she picked was amazing. Maybe you’d save a little money planning a trip by yourself, or maybe you won’t — but you will spend more time trying to figure it out.
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