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Chris Kieffer 833-757-1326
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Italy

Having traveled to Italy since I was a child, I've come to feel as if this is my second home! In fact, in 2010, my son took his first steps along the Zattere, a popular waterfront promenade in Venice, while my most recent trip to Italy in November 2019 marked my 85th trip! Travel has always been my passion. During the past 21 years, I have planned over a thousand custom itineraries for groups ranging from 2 to 30. My groups included babies as well as travelers with severe disabilities. My group's interests ranged from strict museum goers to active adventure seekers. I have designed itineraries that included hand-picked restaurants, cooking classes and foodie experiences catering to all dietary concerns. During my career, I have partnered with the best guides, drivers, chefs, as well as other professionals to include art historians, architects, art history professors, wine makers, and sommeliers to ensure my clients have the best possible experiences during their visit here. On my most recent trip, I learned not only how to row a gondola through the canals of Venice, but also visited an 18th century loom studio where amazing silk tapestries were still being made using 300-year-old looms. This studio is not open to the public, but is now open to my clients. In addition, I picked and pressed olive oil at an interesting family farm in Tuscany and discovered "new" hidden gems in Rome and on the Amalfi Coast. I would love to help you plan your incredible trip!

Insider Tip

For a true insider experience, learn how to row through the canals of Venice!

Other Specialties
Spain
Spain

Since becoming a custom travel planner, I've arranged more than a thousand personalized trips, ranging from a party of two to groups of 30. I've designed trips that included babies as well travelers with disabilities, and planned itineraries that took into account individual interests ranging from strictly museum goers to active adventure seekers. I've crafted itineraries specializing in hand-picked restaurants, cooking classes and foodie experiences that accommodated all dietary concerns. I am also very familiar with many wineries, tapas bars and restaurants that host special wine tastings and foodie events throughout the country. In addition, I have stayed in and visited countless lodgings, ranging from charming 2 and 3-star accommodations to luxury properties. I've also arranged many trips to Portugal in conjunction with travel in Spain. On my most recent trip to both countries, I took a behind-the-scenes tour of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, visited a fishing village and learned historical tidbits, observed local street-life while tapas bar-hopping, toured the Alhambra (with special skip-the-line tickets), explored many of the stunning white villages in Andalusia, and kayaked the Guadalquivir River that flows through the town of Seville. Regardless of whether you're a novice or an experienced traveler, I can design your trip to Spain and/or Portugal that will include the top sights, museums and "must sees", along with visits to Spain's hidden gems.

Insider Tip

Be sure and have us purchase your tickets for the Alhambra, considered the second most-visited site in Europe, prior to your departure.

Portugal
Portugal

Bem vindo a Portugal. I'd love to help you experience the beauty and wonders of Portugal. Whether you have just a few days for a side trip to Lisbon or two weeks to explore the country, I can plan a unique and off-the-beaten-path that will create memories of a lifetime. Enjoy the capital, Lisbon, with a unique private sightseeing tour using the vintage streetcars and iron funiculars. You'll stop to taste the famous Pastéis de Belém (custard tarts) and walk through the Bairro Alto, Lisbon's bohemian quarter. Turn down the lights and bring out the guitars! I can set up a private evening just for you enjoying amazing food and Fado in a private home or a tour to visit a private olive oil farm, where you will learn how to make it, pick the olives yourself, and in the end, indulge with a tasting and lunch in the vineyard. Time to fit in a day trip to Evora, with its 1st-century Roman Ruins, or to Sintra with its fairytale castles and palaces? Visit Portugal's 2nd City, Porto, for a wonderful tour of its gold-leaf laced churches and a port tasting in one of the best port houses in Porto. From Porto, how about a day trip with your personal guide to two less traveled towns, the medieval town of Guimaraes; and Braga, with its cathedral, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Portugal has some of Europe's best unspoiled beaches. A visit to the Algarve region does not disappoint. Take in the seaside town of Lagos for a little RnR, or take a boast tour of Lagos and visit the Benagil Sea Caves. Enjoy a day tour to Faro's old town and cathedral. Also see Olhão, a MUST-see marketplace and fishing village. Then on to Tavira and its more than 20 churches, which confirms the importance of the town in the discoveries. Then the village of Olhão, which has an ancient Medina, and is a colorful mix of sights and sounds where life is plainly centered on the sea. Santa Luzia is a perfect spot to eat octopus but also to feel a genuine laid-back atmosphere. The last pearl you won't want to miss with your guide is Cacela Velha.

Insider Tip

Let me help you get to know and experience Portugal as a traveler and not simply a tourist.

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

If you are thinking of traveling to the UK, you may be wondering what to include in your trip. It can be near impossible to see everything you want to explore, and making choices is challenging. As a Travel Insider for the UK, I can help you narrow down ideas and plan a unique itinerary, whether it be your first time or as a repeat visitor. From London to Edinburgh, York to Stratford-Upon-Avon and The Cotswolds, Oxford, Bath and Stonehenge. Enjoy touring the London with my personal guide. See the top sites such as The Tower of London, Greenwich, Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Abbey. Or If you’ve seen these sites, how about a tour through Sky Garden and the Borough Market? Do you like stately homes? Maybe take a private tour out to one like Osterley Park, Syon House, or Ham House. I can also offer private garden tours, as my personal garden expert can take you to explore a collection of private beautiful gardens not open to the public. My guide can also take you to Portsmouth, about a 25 minute train trip from London, with a wonderful exhibit on the shipwreck The Mary Rose, and of course the HMS Victory and to Bletchley Park for WWII codebreaking history. If Edinburgh is one the list, we’ll plan trips to visit Edinburgh Castle, wander Princes Street and the Royal Mile, and explore Holyrood Palace. Perhaps a pub crawl is in order? I can plan a train trip to York (around two-and-a-half hours). You can meander the Shambles, investigate the old city walls at York Minster, and check out the railway museum. You might want to fit in a very English afternoon tea at Betty’s. A private transfer can take you to Stratford-Upon-Avon. Arrive there by lunch time, ready to explore Shakespeare’s birthplace and the rest of the Tudor town. Take a short drive out to the Cotswolds via Shipston-on-Stour; I’m recommending Broadway with its Tower and the beautiful Stow-on-the-Wold. We can then head south to Bath, home to the legendary Spa, and a lot of beautiful Regency architecture. Early the next morning, catch Stonehenge at its most beautiful, or visit Avebury, the same kind of monolithic site but without the crowds!! This is just a sample of what I can plan for you. There is also Scotland, Golf Experiences, Loch Ness, and more! Contact me and we can plan the perfect U.K. trip for you.

Insider Tip

Learn about distilling and the different botanicals, design your own recipe, and distil your very own personalized bottle of London Dry style gin at the Gin Lab.

Hawaii
Hawaii

Mahalo, welcome to the islands. Forever vistas, incredible sunsets, and a warm soothing ocean await. As a Travel Insider to the Hawaiian Islands, I have the expertise and contacts to plan your custom itinerary in paradise. From luxury hotels, well-located condos, and house rentals, I will find the perfect solution for your party's needs. Ever wanted to swim with dolphins, or see the humpback whale migration? How about driving the road to Hana on Maui with its endless waterfalls? I know a few secluded secret spots along the way for a wonderful picnic or private swim. Each island has different things to offer: nightlife and history in Oahu, nature and beauty in Kauai, the beautiful beaches and snorkeling in Maui, and enjoying the lava fields and hiking trails of the Big Island. I can arrange a private dinner on the beach; a private tour of coffee, taro, and pineapple plantations; or book a traditional luau for you. Into adventure? How about a kayak, hiking, zipline, or ATV tour? I also have a wonderful guide in Oahu that will take you to a few exclusive native areas where you will learn about the Polynesian history, culture, food, and traditions, and even partake in a game or have a dance together. Be a traveler and not a tourist as you join me on a tour of the exquisite Hawaiian Islands.

Insider Tip

Take a private surf lesson with my pro surf instructor.

Riviera Maya
Riviera Maya

Have you ever wanted to swim in a cenote? I’d love to help you plan a wonderful and relaxing trip to the Yucatan. As a Travel Insider, I have developed one of a kind itineraries and off the beaten path experiences for you. Experience Tulum and go with your private guide for two unique shore excursion adventures that include swimming at a cenote and visiting the famous ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum. All you need is a towel, camera and a sense of adventure! Tulum is one of the last ceremonial centers the Mayans built and well preserved. Enjoy a guided visit around the structures and the fabulous beach area. Tulum stands out from other sites as it is situated on the side of a cliff, the turquoise blue water lies 40 feet below. Grand cenote is great for everyone, you can swim with countless fish and friendly turtles in its crystal clear waters. Marvel with beautiful formations like stalagmites and stalactites. Experience the colonial town of Valladolid where your guide will take you to eat the best traditional Mexican and Yucatecan food of the area. Try cochinita pibil (pork cooked underground in a recado of sour oranges and achiote) being the region’s most famous dish. queso relleno, a chunk of hard aged cheese stuffed with pork, swimming in a white cream-based soup. Then explore Valladolid, enjoy its architecture and the Mayan handicrafts. To finish the day, your guide will take you to a beautiful fresh water Cenote, run by a Mayan family where you can swim, refresh and enjoy this amazing natural wonder. Day trip to Izamal, a town where ever building is a vibrant yellow! Take a private guided tour of Kinich Kak Moo Pyramid, the largest Mayan ruin remaining in Izamal. Named after the Mayan sun god, the 35-meter (115-foot) pyramid has 10 levels. I suggest a trip to the less visited Mayan ruin of Elk Balam and a dip in Xcanche Cenote. I can arrange for you to enjoy a cooking class and Mayan cultural visit in a very small Mayan village. Want some beach time away from everyone? I can plan a wonderful few days in El Cuyo. Miles of unspoiled beach awaits you. El Cuyo is a remote small fishing village on the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. It is located in the National Park Ria Lagartos. This area is well known for the thousands of flamingos that call this area home among sea turtles and other sea birds. Enjoy an amazing 9 tasting course dinner in a private home - a highlight! I can also arrange kayak, catamaran, sailing tours and trips to livelier spots like Holbox and Cozumel, Isla Mujeres and Playa del Carmen.

Insider Tip

Take a private boat to Passion Island to enjoy your own private beach and fresh caught fish/homemade ceviche for the day.

Netherlands
Netherlands

There is much more to the Netherlands than tulips and clogs. I would love to be your Travel Insider into the Netherlands! Stay on a houseboat on one of Amsterdam’s beautiful canals! Enjoy a tour of the Van Gogh museum or Rijksmuseum with my guide, a real official art buyers/valuer for Sotheby's. Take a private evening wine tasting cruise along the canals of Amsterdam with my boat captain. Perhaps enjoy a cheese-tasting of Gouda and Edam in my fromager's historic 160-year old barn, which has been charmingly transformed into a wooden shoe factory and cheese-making room. If your party is up for it, have a very unique experience in the Red Light District. My private guide will show you this area like no other local can. At the moment, the district is changing fast due to a large gentrification project from the Amsterdam city council. Due to this project, creatives (like my guide) are able to rent these former window brothels and start businesses inside. During your tour, you will visit this space: now a chocolate & spice shop! If your trip is in April or May, a visit to Keukenhof Gardens is a must. These are just a few of the exclusive experiences I can plan for you. If you have more time, there is a lot more to explore. I can rent a self-driven or captained barge for you for a week along the canals and through the locks of the Netherlands. Or how about a visit to Delft, world-famous for its blue and white pottery (Delftware) and for being the hometown of Vermeer – the painter who gave birth to the Girl With a Pearl Earring? Tour the UNESCO-protected 19 old windmills of Kinderdijk and learn how the Dutch reclaimed land by building dams and dikes to section off the shallow sea, then used windmills to drain the land. Come explore the magical and hidden world of the Netherlands with me.

Insider Tip

Hit a Haringhandel (herring carts) for Raw Herring at Stubbe’s Haring, a decades-old fish kiosk on the Singel canal.

Passions
Architecture
Museums
Cooking
Wine Enthusiast
Foodie
Dance

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