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Vacation Footwear For Comfort And Style

Your feet cover a lot of ground during the busy summer months, from city sidewalks to country fields and the last thing you need is uncomfortable shoes slowing you down. This season, the Hotter designers have created a collection of irresistible shoes and sandals that celebrate the versatility of life and offer a diverse range of styling options, perfect for your summer vacation.

Here they tell us their top choices to match your travel style, whatever kind of trip you have planned.

Also read on for a great discount offer just for WhatToWear readers – in the US get 25% off plus free shipping, or for UK customers get 3 for 2 on all full price styles.

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#Sponsored content#

To The Beach!

Maisie shoesVersatile, comfortable and ideal to wear all day every day, the Hotter range of comfortable women’s sandals will complement any warm weather wardrobe. Breathe life into your footwear collection with Maisie.

In an array of exquisite shades, Maisie is the cute and complementary sandal silhouette that is packed full of the hidden comfort features that you’ll love. Immerse your feet in the pillow soft underfoot cushioning, ultra-lightweight soles and beautifully soft and luxurious nubuck, leather and textile uppers.

Ideal for summer beach vacations or daily activities, this best-selling sandal will take your look from day to night with stylish ease.

Rural Retreats

Shake shoesIf you are escaping to the countryside this summer or heading for a tranquil rural retreat, the only shoe you need to consider packing is Shake. Comfortable enough to wear throughout the day but pretty enough to be dressed up for an evening out with the family.

A favorite from the Hotter Originals collection; Shake is handcrafted from premium leather and comes in a variety of new colors. Filled with extra comfort features such as a V-shaped opening for added flexibility, pillow soft cushioning and breathable leather insoles, this stylish shoe guarantees comfort with every step.

City Escapes

Dorset shoesIf you’re planning on ticking a capital city off your bucket list this summer you will need a pair of shoes that are hard-wearing, comfortable and look great for all occasions. Look no further than the Man Tailored classic Dorset! The perfect shoe for visiting museums or art galleries or simply taking in the sights in style.

The classic loafer silhouette is given a makeover with this must-have style from the Man Tailored collection. Easy to slip on and crafted from the softest leather uppers, together with the lightest soles, you can treat your feet to sophisticated style with every step.

Sail Away

Nirvana shoesIsland hopping, globetrotting or overseas exploring calls for clever and comfortable shoes that you can wear to a multitude of occasions. Lighten the load this vacation season with a host of clever footwear options that are suitable for all of life’s adventures. If you are hopping on board a much-needed cruise, look to Hotter Original Nirvana to be your ideal travel companion.

A new arrival to the Hotter Originals collection; Nirvana is the lightweight and sumptuously padded slip-on shoe that is designed to take you to a higher level of comfort. With its pretty feminine floral details and long lasting comfort, invest in this best-selling shoe for the new season.

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Hotter have kindly offered our readers a great discount on their purchases this month.

Readers in the US, use code WTW25 at the checkout to save 25% off, plus free shipping*. View the full US collections here »

Or check out the Hotter UK Website » and enjoy 3 for 2 on all full priced items**. Enter code WTW342 to save.

Terms and Conditions:
* 25% off applies to your total order value. Free shipping applies to standard US delivery only, regardless of the number of items ordered. Excludes all sale products, and shoe care accessories. Offer ends 30/06/2017. Standard promotional offer terms and conditions apply and can be found at
www.hotter.com/us/en/info/Terms-Conditions#offer

** Hotter Originals are INCLUDED in the 3 for 2 offer. When you order 3 items, the lowest priced item will be free. You can of course exchange any item and still retain your 3 for 2 offer, we’ll just recalculate the cost of your revised order. Offer ends 30/06/2017. Standard promotional offer terms and conditions apply and can be found at
www.hotter.com/gb/en/info/Terms-Conditions#offer

Just Back From: Plovdiv, Bulgaria

The Roman amphitheatre

Helen visited Plovdiv for a weekend in May, a little-known gem which is Bulgaria’s second-largest city.

My Highlights

The Plovdiv free walking tour (no need to book); the guides are so infectiously enthusiastic. In fact we found the locals were all friendly and welcoming, and we felt safe even wandering around on our own at night.

The food and wine is excellent and very cheap by comparison to most of Europe.

Take the free walking tour

My Top 5 Things To Do

1. Free walking tour

2. The Roman Stadium is mind blowing – take a walk into H&M down the main street and check out their view of the stadium in the basement.

3. Nebet Tepe Hill – the views are stunning and there’s a great restaurant too (Rahat Tepe for local food).

4. The Roman Ampitheatre

5. Dzhumaya Mosque

My Top 5

My Top Tip

The Kapana district is the arty, funky part of town. Until recently it was a run-down area, but now it’s really vibrant with a great café culture and the best restaurants in the city. We loved this area so much we decided to stay there.

The Kapana District

Good To Know Before You Go

Cash is king here, with very few places taking credit cards. However there are cash machines in the city.

The easiest way to see the city is to walk, and the paths in the old town especially are uneven – wear comfortable walking shoes.

4G is everywhere, as is free WiFi.

The Old Town streets

A Word Of Caution

You need to be very careful when you get a taxi from the airport, it should be around 15 Euros. It’s easy to get taken advantage of when you’ve just arrived, and pay double. At the moment there is no Uber to fall back on.

Anything Else?

Plovdiv is going to be the European City of Culture in 2019, so get there now before this little-known gem really gets on the map.

We had amazing food and service and our favourites were:

  • Pavaj – very popular with locals and deservedly so; and
  • Smokini – very chic in an understated and delightful way

The buses are so cheap, safe and frequent you can get out into the countryside for less than a Euro. We took a 45 minute trip out to Bachkovo Monastery – well worth it for the scenery alone.

What We Wore And Packed

I wore:

  • Jeans
  • Shirt
  • Cardigan
  • Shoes
  • Wrap

And I packed:

  • 2 pairs of trousers
  • T-shirt & cardigan combo
  • 1 shirt
  • 1 top
  • Cashmere jumper
  • Shoes
  • Underwear, PJ’s, toiletries
  • Necklace
  • Sunglasses
  • Lightweight rainwear

Steve wore:

  • Jeans
  • Shirt
  • Jumper
  • Casual jacket
  • Shoes

And packed:

  • Trousers
  • 3 shirts
  • Underwear and toiletries

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Posted by Helen – WhatToWearOnHoliday.com

A Whirlwind Tour Of Fabulous Florence – Italy In Springtime

Florence

Florence was the third and final leg of our three cities/six night trip to Italy in March, having spent two nights in fascinating Bologna and prior to that, beautiful Verona.

As before we travelled by train and treated ourselves to 1st Class, having booked fixed-time tickets at the best prices before we left home. Florence is just a 40 minute ride from Bologna.

Arriving around 11am we again left our bags with the Left Luggage service at the station – 6 Euros per bag for 5 hours – and walked the few minutes into the city centre. Florence was even busier than Bologna, and whilst we overheard a taxi driver complain that it was quiet, to us it seemed crazy busy and people were queuing everywhere.

We were only here for 2 days and hummed and hawed about buying the Firenze Card. It’s expensive at 72 Euros for 72 hours, especially when we could only use 48 hours’ worth and you can only visit each site once. Having said that, it did mean we could jump the queues and this really helped on our whirlwind trip. On balance despite the price I’m glad we did it.

Top tip: Don’t even think of turning up at the major sites without pre-booking your tickets or you will be very frustrated. Book restaurants in advance too, even if it’s just an hour ahead, or you may be disappointed.

Top tip: We were advised by my son’s girlfriend if you can watch the series Medici on Netflix ahead of your trip it really helps to set the scene and to understand the history and power of Florence. It really helped us appreciate the overwhelming wealth and power this city once had.

Top of our shopping list in Florence were a new leather purse and leather gloves. But reading ahead of time we knew to be wary that we got authentic, locally-produced goods. Leather items were everywhere, so much fake and not local leather so beware. Our plan was to seek out authentic, long-established businesses in Florence.

Madova gloves

Leather Cellerini wallet

My mum loves her leather gloves from Madova, and I adore the wallet you can see above – every time I take it out it makes me smile and reminds me of our amazing trip to this stunning part of Italy.

This time our Airbnb apartment was really central and in a fabulous 16th century building near the Victorian indoor market, which is another must see. From our top floor apartment we could see the Doumo.

One evening we enjoyed a performance of the Three Tenors, and even as only moderate opera fans we felt it really added to our experience of this stunning city.

Enjoying ourselves in Florence

I could say how awesome the Uffizi Gallery is or Florence Catherdral, Piazza del Doumo, The Academia, Palazzo Pitti, Ponte Vecchio… but you will know that from your guidebooks. The sheer amount of delights and opulence ends up blowing your mind, so take time to just sit and absorb the atmosphere. Find a little cafe with access to the river on the south side of Ponte Vecchio and people watch over a glass of wine or two.

As our six day tour came to an end, we took the Aerobus to the airport from outside the train station. It’s efficient, quick and cheap – buy tickets at the station or on the bus.

* Prices correct as at March 2017

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Posted by Helen – WhatToWearOnHoliday.com

My Guide To The Best Of Bologna, Italy, In Springtime

Bologna

Bologna was the second stop of our three cities/six night trip to Italy in March, which also took in Verona and Florence.

After two nights in the beautiful city of Verona we were off to Bologna – less than an hour away by train. Having booked fixed-time tickets before we left home we got the cheapest rate, and so treated ourselves to 1st Class. 2nd Class is perfectly nice and similar to at home in the UK. However in 1st Class they offer free newspapers, drinks and snacks. The four Italian women sat nearest to us enjoyed the Prosecco at 9am very much!

We arrived in Bologna around 11am and left our bags at the station whilst we went out to explore the city. The left luggage at the station offers a great service – for 6 Euros you can leave your bag for 5 hours, or for 15 Euros they will even deliver it to your hotel or apartment.

It was then about a 20 minute walk to Piazza Maggiore, the heart of the city. This is a bigger, bustling and much more touristy city than Verona. We were immediately struck by the dramatic medieval architecture. And there are some 22km of covered walkways which means you can pretty much walk anywhere avoiding the worst of the weather.

Bologna streets with Medieval architecture

After a stop at the tourist office in Piazza Maggiore for our Bologna Card we set off to explore. The Bologna Card was 22 Euros for two days and comes with added extras. We opted for the free walking tour the following morning – and I must say that this was excellent, and far more than we expected. Unlike most walking tours, we could go into all the attractions because we had all bought the Bologna Card. It was a great tour lasting around 3.5 hours and we got to see all the ‘must see’ sights of Bologna.

Piazza Maggiore

The medieval heart of Bologna is compact enough to walk around. We explored the antique market, lusting at the chandeliers. But the towers in Bologna have no lifts, and with around 450 steps we took the option to admire from the street!

Bologna towers - no lifts!

We stayed in a lovely Airbnb apartment in a quiet residential street about 20 minutes from the station and Piazza Maggiore. For us it was the perfect location.

My Favourites In Bologna

  • Hidden canals: until we arrived here we had no idea that Bologna once had more canals than Venice – about 60km of them – but that over the years they have been covered over; visit Via Piella to get a taste of what the city would have looked like in medieval times.
Hidden canals
  • The whispering walls of Palazzo del Podesta, just behind the tourist office on Piazza Maggiore, where if you stand facing the wall in one corner of the intersection at the centre and someone else faces the wall of the opposite corner, say something and you can hear it through the walls. Honestly, you need to try this to believe it!
The Whispering Walls
  • The food market of Quadrilatero, the medieval area next to Piazza Maggiore with shops that have been in operation since Roman times; how amazing is that?!
Quadrilatero Market

We prolonged the experience by having a delicious lunch of local cheeses and meats, with wine of course, at one of the delis in the market. Top tip: Get there early or be prepared to queue.

Lunch in the Quadrilatero food market
  • We bought: Parmigiana Regianno 60, which our walking tour guide told us was the best quality; rich syrupy balsamic vinegar; and spiced salami.
  • Neptune’s fountain was being renovated when we were there and was covered in scaffolding and plastic sheets. However, we got a guided tour around the scaffolding to the top of Neptune’s head. It was a unique experience, and with just a small party allowed at any one time we got to see and hear a lot about the history. It would have been a shame not to have seen this iconic part of Bologna.
Neptune's Fountain - being renovated
  • Tagliatelle Bolognese; well when in Bologna you can’t not try this can you?
  • Cocktails at Le Stanza; a former church now a beautiful bar/café.
Cocktails in Le Stanza cafe

 

* Prices correct as at March 2017

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Posted by Helen – WhatToWearOnHoliday.com

10 Tips For Visiting Verona, Italy, In Springtime

Verona in springtime

Pre-Trip – Packing and Planning

For our Italian three cities (Verona, Bologna, Florence) six night trip in March we were travelling out with only carry-on luggage. Flying with Easyjet means, ladies, your handbag has to go inside your cabin bag unless you have Speedy Boarding or Easyjet Plus.

However as our flight home was with British Airways we had the flexibility of checking a bag on the way home if we wanted to buy any delicious Amerone wine (speciality of the region around Verona and extremely expensive at home).

To travel in I wore:

  • Black jeggings
  • Polo neck
  • Coral cashmere jumper
  • Long black boots
  • Warm waterproof coat

And I packed:

  • Black jeans
  • 2 polos
  • 2 jumpers
  • 1 shirt
  • Arche boots
  • Pashmina
  • Underwear, PJ’s, toiletries

Honestly this was enough.

Steve wore:

  • Black jeans
  • Polo shirt
  • Jumper
  • Jacket
  • Shoes

And packed:

  • Trousers
  • 1 jumper
  • 5 shirts
  • Underwear and toiletries

My Top Tips

What a beautiful city Verona is. The Arena, very like the Colosseum in Rome but somehow lovelier, sits at the heart of the old city and Piazza Bra. Piazza Bra is where you can people watch over a coffee or glass of wine, be mesmerised by the fountains or just relax – it is a great meeting place. Oh yes, and it’s the home of Romeo and Juliet.

Things Worth Knowing:

1. The “Areoport” bus stops right outside Verona’s small airport. For 6 Euros you get a speedy ride (15 minutes) to the centre of Verona where the bus stops outside the railway station. Don’t bother to buy your bus tickets at the machine in the airport; whilst you are trying to the bus may well leave, and it’s quicker to buy them on the bus.

2. At train stations across Italy there is a good left luggage service, which was great for us as we arrived hours before we could check into our Airbnb apartment. Well sign-posted, and it’s not lockers where you need coins but a manned service where you can pay by card if you want (6 Euros for 5 hours).

3. The toilets on the corner of Piazza Bra are really clean and modern but with a uniquely quirky style to them. Cost 70 cents.

Toilets on the corner of Piazza Bra

4. Our 48 hour Verona Card (cost 22 Euros) saved us a lot of money and time. You can buy this at any of the sites as well as at Tourist Information points.

5. Piazza Del Erbe: act like a local; dress up warmly even if the sun is shining (to the locals this is still chilly spring weather even if it feels hot compared to where you have come from), sunglasses on (obligatory when in Italy), and an Aperol Spritz in your hand. Even the shop windows have style.

Even the shop windows have style

6. At Torre dei Lamberti near Piazza Del Erbe pay the one Euro to use the lift rather than walk the 400+ steps, you won’t regret it! The views were stunning.

View from Torre Dei Lamberti

7. Tipping is optional and not expected; how refreshing!

8. Everywhere in Verona the beauty of the buildings, the bridges, the river are breathtaking. We walked over Ponte Pietra, the oldest stone Roman bridge in Verona and just for pedestrians, to get to the Guisti Gardens and Teatro Romano – both worth the walk.

Guisti Gardens and Teatro Romano

9. A visit to the Arena made me wish we were there for the opera in the summer; to experience the Arena full of energy must be as close an experience as the Romans would have enjoyed as possible. Ah, maybe someday.

Roman arena

10. Our favourite meal, and amazing value with wine to accompany each course, was at Café Monte Baldo. On a Friday night it was crammed full of locals, so ensure you book or you will be disappointed.

Caffe Monte Baldo

* Prices correct as at March 2017

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Posted by Helen – WhatToWearOnHoliday.com