February 9, 2015


Double Bay local, Eva Santo, has been organising and escorting group tours since 1996, with many of her guests returning year after year.

Eva European Tours is a unique holiday concept, specialising in personalised, luxury tours to enchanting destinations in Europe. Spa stays are incorporated in most itineraries. Born in Czechoslovakia, now Slovakia, Eva arrived in Australia after spending four years in Israel, where she did her army service. In addition to English, Eva speaks Hungarian, Hebrew, Czech, Slovak and Russian, which proves very useful when escorting her tours.

Eva has three tours departing in May and June this year, all featuring stays at a health spa in Piestany, the biggest and best known spa town in Slovakia, where the medicinal springs, specialising in treatments for rheumatic and arthritic conditions, have been popular since the Middle Ages. Over the years, the spa has attracted aristocrats from all over Europe as well as many famous patrons.

The first tour, departing 27 May 2015, spends four weeks at Health Spa Piestany in Slovakia. By staying 28 days guests will get 3 days free.

The second tour, departing 28 May 2015 and returning 25 June, includes 6 nights in Budapest and 21 nights at Health Spa Piestany.

DSC_1215The third tour, running from 2-25 June 2015 is the luxury 24 day fully escorted “La Dolce Vita” Tour, visits Rome for 3 nights, staying at The Empire Palace Hotel, right in the heart of the city. Includes a city tour and a visit to The Vatican. Spend 4 nights in Sorrento at Hotel Plaza for tours to Capri, Positano, Amalfi and Ravello before heading to Perugia, the capital of Umbria and staying at Hotel Brufani Palace for two nights. After a half day sightseeing tour, visit Perugina and the Baci chocolate factory. The next two nights are spent in Udine, known for its wines and prosciutto, staying at the elegant Astoria Hotel in the historic city centre. Explore the medieval centre with its arches and statues before visiting a prosciutto factory.

Crossing the border into Austria, the night is spent at Palais Hotel Erzherzog in the centre of Graz, before travelling the next day to Spa Piestany in Slovakia, to spend 9 delightful nights at the word renowned health resort, with all the latest amenities, in this picturesque spa town. Included at the Spa are 3 meals daily and 4 spa treatments each day, with each treatment lasting 20 minutes. In the evening enjoy dancing, music, concert, walking in the beautiful park and storybook spa town. Visit Bratislava and medieval Trencin. The tour departs from Vienna airport for travel back to Sydney.

The tour includes Emirates return economy airfares that can be upgraded for extra charge, 4 and 5 star centrally located hotels, daily breakfast and dinner, all sightseeing and entrance fees, visits to chocolate factory and prosciutto factory, plus the services of a local guide in each city and travel by deluxe coach between cities. Details: http://www.europeanspatours.com.au

Sandra Tiltman

Photos: John Pond – Budapest & Bratislava


February 9, 2015


Located in Southern Africa, the Republic of Botswana is a flat landlocked country, bordered by Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa where 70% of its territory is the Kalahari Desert. Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana gained independence in September 1966 and is now one of the fastest growing economies.

Botswana is a land of dramatic contrasts, from the crystal clear waters of the Okavango Delta to the large elephant herds in the Chobe National Park and the unpredictable Savute Channel, which runs dry and floods seemingly at random.

One of the best ways to discover Botswana’s charms is by &Beyond’s seven night “Fly Me Over Botswana Safari”, ideal for new travellers to Africa, families with children over six and wildlife enthusiasts. Staying at a combination of up to three lodges and camps, this is the ultimate introduction Botswana. All inter-camp flights, accommodation in Botswana, meals on a full board basis, drinks package, game viewing activities as offered by lodges, emergency medical evacuation insurance, airport departure taxes and park fees where applicable are included.

Beginning at Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp that combines the remote and wild game viewing experience of Botswana’s lush grasslands plus the intricate details of the hidden world of the Delta’s waterways. Staying in an East African style safari tent, raised on a wooden platform with a private veranda overlooking a floodplain, the experience is rugged yet luxurious, blending the remoteness of the breathtaking setting with utter comfort and style. Nxabega, meaning “Place of the Giraffe”, is ideally positioned to explore the magnificence of the Okavango.

Xudum 2014-196.1Journey deeper into the heart of Botswana’s Okavango Delta to discover a maze of sparkling lagoons, meandering channels and overgrown islands teeming with wildlife, that lies at the heart of the Kalahari Desert. Experience the combination of water and wildlife on twice daily game drives in open 4×4 safari vehicles, boating and mokoro (dugout canoe) adventures in the Delta and guided walks, whilst staying in the crafted safari suites of Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge. A helicopter flight over the Okavango Delta offers awe inspiring aerial views of this dramatic water wonderland.

Established in 1991 and one of the world’s leading luxury experiential travel companies, &Beyond, designs personalised luxury safaris in 15 African countries, as well as India, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Nepal. They also own and operate 33 lodges and camps in Africa and India’s natural highspots.

Committed to sustainable responsible travel and community empowerment, the company has combined with designer Figue to create an exclusive Rhino Pouch to be sold to raise awareness of illegal rhino poaching, which is on the increase throughout Africa. Available at http://www.andbeyondsafarishopping.com, all proceeds go towards Rhinos Without Borders, a joint partnership between &Beyond and Great Plains Conservation to move up to 100 rhino from South Africa to Botswana. This USD 8 million operation will provide a safe haven for the rhino thanks to Botswana’s excellent wildlife security system. The initiative has currently raised sufficient funds to translocate the first 10 rhino and the operation will begin in the first few months of 2015.

Sandra Tiltman