In celebration of turning 70, Larry is hitting all seven continents with the help of THIRDHOME.

As Larry travels the globe with THIRDHOME, he’ll be blogging about his experiences as he navigates the post-pandemic world. His planning began in 2019 with THIRDHOME Director of Adventures, Liz Bates, who has assisted him in pivoting to satisfy his travel cravings when COVID-19 restrictions have not allowed him to visit a destination. Keep reading to learn more about Larry’s most recent travel experiences.

Next Stop: Amsterdam

What’s not to like about a country that birthed Vincent Van Gogh, Heineken beer, those cute wooden shoes and coffee shops that sell marijuana alongside their java?  And how about all those bikes in Amsterdam?  800,000 Amsterdammers (yes, that’s a real word) own 880,000 bikes and dominate the city streets.  Autos beware, this is a city bent on travel on 2 wheels, not four.  The Dutch go to work on bikes, take their kids to school on bikes, go on dates on bikes and stay incredibly fit on bikes.  This is an indicator of a very egalitarian society where young and old, men and women and rich and poor travel side by side across the city.  Noom and Weight Watchers are advised to stay clear of the Dutch market.  These folks don’t need you.

My three days exploring this glorious city led to more steps per day than the prior 3 weeks of my Virginia life.  Amsterdam continually ranks as one of the most walkable cities on the planet and the Amsterdam-Centrum or city center can be reached from all sides of the city on foot.   Tired of walking?   Rent a bike, or better yet, take a city tour by boat and explore the Amsterdam canals and bridges while learning about Amsterdam’s history.  

You want great museums and attractions? 

As a final note, while in Amsterdam, I learned to love fresh herring, a local favorite fish served with pickles and onions.  My father would have been proud as he was a herring lover his entire life. 

Next Stop: Bruges

Second stop, Bruges, Belgium for a stay in one of the coolest Third Homes on the website.  This amazing apartment in the heart of Bruges features a 16th century tower that provide a 360-degree vantage point of the city.  On a clear day one can see the towering windmills on the coast as well as dozens of church spires scattered throughout Bruges. 

Bruges is a city to fall in love with.  It is a medieval Unesco site and a living museum that leads one to believe they are walking through a modern-day fairy tale.  At the heart of the city are the Markt and Burg squares and a 13th century belfry with 366 winding and narrow steps made from stone, wood and marble that one can climb (and I did) to view the whole city and surrounding countryside.  Each Wednesday the square features a “don’t miss it” market with fresh fruits, vegetables and delicacies from across the region.  Warm weather features al fresco dining in dozens of outdoor cafes. 

What makes Bruges such a spectacular and memorable site?  How about this:

  1. There are more than 80 bridges in Bruges and canal tours operate all day to cruise the city.  At night the bridges and surrounding historic buildings are lit up and produce some of the most memorable reflection photo opportunities anywhere. 
  2. You have to love a city that features one museum dedicated to the French Fry and another museum dedicated to the history of chocolate and cocoa.  Only in Bruges can one witness singing and dancing taters.
  3. Speaking of chocolate, over 50 chocolatiers (chocolate shops) dot the streets of Bruges.  Each shop offers different versions of quality cocoa ranging from melt in your mouth white and dark chocolate truffles to caramel and marzipan infused cocoa treats.  For true chocoholics tours operate daily to visit several of the top stores.
  4. Once a week locals gather beneath the belfry for a concert of church bells from above.  Since I have a high level of ignorance identifying classical music hits, and I was clearly in over my head, I asked my fellow concert mate what was playing and was told it was a Bach fugue.
  5. The waffles in Bruges, especially at Chez Albert’s, are absolutely the most scrumptious delicacy in the whole city.  How about choosing between chocolate, fresh strawberries, whipped cream or caramel toppings.  Diet be gone!  These are simply too difficult to pass by. 
  6. A bicycle tour into the countryside is a must do.  Windmills and pastoral scenes along the river as well as the rare Belgian Blue cows await tourists who are so inclined to explore the nearby town of Damme.
  7. Belgian beer dates back to the Middle Ages and the Belgian Brewers guild was recognized in 1385.  The Belgian breweries bring over 2,000 original beers to market.  My favorite?  Brugse Zot Blonde.

MEET LARRY

World Traveler, Philanthropist, Friend, & THIRDHOME Member

As temperatures rise, so does wanderlust. Join us as we explore the top European destinations that travelers are heading to this summer.

Many find summertime synonymous with vacation, perhaps in part because of the idyllic weather or more time off from work. Now, with a reopening world, and the official start of summer approaching June 21, more people are itching to travel than ever before. In a recent article penned for Fortune, the President of American Express Travel reveals an exciting increase in foreign travel this summer, particularly to some of Europe’s greatest cities.

Let’s take a closer peek into the top four international destinations worthy of making your summer vacation roster.

London, England

Thinking of venturing across the pond? Now’s a great time to do so! Fortunately, London has a mild climate year-round, which translates to comfortable summertime temperatures resting in the mid-70s (°F). What’s more, you’ll enjoy longer daylight hours, making it easier to check off all the can’t-miss attractions on your itinerary. This may include Buckingham Palace, which is only open to the public from July to September. Better yet, if your next exciting home swap lands you in London between late June and early July, you might just find yourself in the stands at Wimbledon!

Paris, France

“Summer loving had me a blast…” — The lyrics don’t lie; it just so happens the best time to visit the most romantic city in the world is from June to August. Long days of sunshine averaging in the high 70s (°F) will grace you as you wander the streets in search of authentic Parisian cuisine and exciting activities. You can enjoy the summer’s many open-air events, such as the Paris Street Music Festival (Fete de la Musique) in June or the three-day Rock En Seine Festival in August.

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece’s capital city, is a wonderful year-round destination. While the summer heats up quickly, reaching the low 90s (°F), there are plenty of ways to stay cool during your travels. An easy trick? Include museums and cultural centers with air conditioning in your itinerary. You can see some of Athen’s best attractions like the Benaki Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art, and the National Archaeological Museum without breaking a sweat. Another tip is to embrace nightlife. Many bars, clubs, and cafés in Athens boast open-air features, including courtyards and rooftops, so as the temperatures fall with the setting sun, have yourselves a fantastic night out!

Rome, Italy

There’s no denying that summertime is peak season in Rome. The warm, mid-upper 80s (°F) weather and exciting annual events, like Vinòforum and Lungo il Tevere, draw visitors from across the globe. As such, hotels can become costly, which is another great reason to try a house exchange for your summer vacation. Don’t just take our word for it; see what our members are saying:

“Absolute Perfection.”

This is by far the best property we have had the pleasure of booking. Everything about this apartment is perfect – the location, the spaciousness, the amenities, the thoughtfulness of the owners – welcome wine, charcuterie, breads, waters. We have been to Rome many times but this was one of the best visits we’ve ever made to the Eternal City. We ate at many of our favorites and David’s suggestions are spot on – Armando’s, Nino, Emma, Ditrirambo, La Pergola, Taverna Angelica, and Life. We took the Scavi tour, visited many of the smaller churches we hadn’t had an opportunity to see, walked this beautiful city, and attended the Opera, We even experienced a Roman snowfall which is a true rarity. We look forward to returning to this beautiful apartment in the not too distant future.”

– Emma L., Member since 2020

“Great location and beautiful apartment!

We stayed during the month of July 2021. From the time we reserved this beautiful apartment, the host was very helpful providing useful information, sharing the websites, and made sure that our stay would be comfortable. The manager was very helpful upon arrival and during the stay, made sure that all was in place to make sure we enjoyed the stay. We felt very well taken care of and made us feel very special. Location of the apartment was closed to every places where we wanted to visit. We usually stay at St. Regis for our short stay in Rome, but this apartment location made our stay in Rome for a week especially very enjoyable. Apartment was very specious, clean and comfortable with updated modern interior. Nothing like staying at the hotel. We would love to return to this property again. Thank you for letting us book and stay at your beautiful property.”

– Mark U., Member since 2019

Ready to plan your ultimate summer vacation? Click here to learn more about traveling to Europe this summer with THIRDHOME.

THIRDHOME Rentals is pleased to announce our new partnership with 360 Private Villas!

360 Private Villas specializes in exclusive luxury villas not generally available in the usual booking platforms. From typical farmhouses in Tuscany to contemporary mansions on private islands, they handpick our properties for the most discerning traveller. 

360 Private Villas is a collection of modern, contemporary luxury holiday villas located across Europe – many are considered ‘designer’ and all have a wow factor.

Each villa is carefully sourced to ensure only the best are represented. Get ready for state-of-the-art villas, hand-picked from countries like Spain and her islands, Italy, France, Portugal, Croatia and Greece. Plus, nearly all villas have a private pool or are on the beach.

360 Private Villas’ service is absolute, and includes recommendations, suggestions, upgrades and any kind of ancillary services you may need will always be provided in a professional and discreet way.

Learn more about 360 Private Villas here. Looking to reserve a luxury rental home now? Browse available THIRDHOME Rentals here.

Are you a mountain biking enthusiast? These THIRDHOME properties are for you!

While some vacationers prefer to relax pool or beachside during their stay, some explorers prefer to be a little more adventurous. Keep reading to view a selection of THIRDHOME luxury properties that are located by some of the most exciting mountain biking trails in the world!

United States

From the Rockies to the Appalachians, the United States offers plenty of thrilling off-road terrains for mountain biking! Check out some of these ideal biking properties in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Colorado.

Sun Valley, Idaho

Sun Valley Mountain Estate | Sun Valley, Idaho


Big Smoky Trail

Ride through the Sawtooth National Forest on an 18.4 mile straightaway or 57-mile loop. Shuttle services are available from Sun Valley. After the snow clears in July, enjoy clear meadows, rocky switchbacks and and river views.

Big Smoky Trail

The spectacular mountain views are just the start to what’s special about this home. The photos don’t do it justice, you must visit and see for yourself! Three sides of the house overlook large ponds, where you are likely to spot bald eagles, elk, moose, great blue heron and other local wildlife. Outside, enjoy the 2.5 acres of landscaped gardens and three smaller ponds with fountains. Offering 4 spacious bedrooms and only 8 minutes from the nearest mountain, outdoor activities couldn’t be closer! Click here for all properties located in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Big Sky, Montana

Spanish Peaks Ranch | Big Sky, Montana


Mountain to Meadow Route

Accessible from the base of Big Sky ski resort, this trail allows bikers to explore the ski area trails during the summer. This 5.8 mile one-way trail has a gradual ascent and is great for intermediate riders.

Mountain to Meadow Route

Spanish Peaks Ranch is as beautiful in the summer as it is exciting in the winter. This fabulous five-bedroom, six-bathroom, 5,400 square-foot ranch offers all guests the cozy comfort and panoramic views that come with Mountain living, as well as the luxury of unique architecture and amenities. Big Sky Resort is just down the road and offers an exclusive spa that is accessible to guests as well as easy planning for outdoor activities. Click here for all properties located in Big Sky, Montana.

Bend, Oregon

Stonewood Bend | Bend, Oregon


Flagline

Explore the Flagline trail, a 12.1-mile loop with plenty to see! Your ride will begin with amazing views of Broken Top and Cascade mountains. This ride also has options to make your trip easier, or if you’re ready, more challenging!

Flagline

This custom Northwest-style home is comprised of 8,000 square-feet with four bedrooms and seven bathrooms! Located in Bend, Oregon, with incredible views of the Deschutes River, guests are able to enjoy a luxurious stay surrounded by beautiful greenery. The expansive great room boasts a soaring stone fireplace and floor-to-ceiling windows, giving an ideal spot to unwind and take in the beauty of the surrounding landscape. Pilot Butte and Tumalo Falls are located nearby to give guests the opportunity to bike and explore some incredible scenery! Click here for all properties located in Bend, Oregon.

Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado

Black Diamond Summit | Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado


401 Trail Loop

Start your ride with a 5-mile climb up the Gothic road to Schofield Pass. This trail is known to be one of the peaks of alpine biking! This is 14.1-mile loop with endless views of the Elk range.

401 Trail Loop

This expansive residence is positioned on Mt. Crested Butte in the ultra-exclusive ski in/out “Summit” area and takes in unparalleled views of the surrounding scenery. From this home, you can look over the Crested Butte Resort, the town and valley! Not to mention, 17 mountain peaks are visible from almost every room in the house. In the winter time, guests are able to ski-in and ski-out, but in the summertime, guests are free to bike the beautiful trails all around wonderful Crested Butte! Click here for all properties located in Crested Butte, Colorado.

Aspen, Colorado

Luxury Family Home on The Roaring Fork River | Aspen, Colorado


Aspen Snowmass Mega Loop

This breathtaking and challenging trail is an expert mountain biker’s dream! This 59.9-mile loop is a thrilling and exhilarating ride for those up to the challenge. Enjoy the landscape around you as you ride!

Aspen Snowmass Mega Loop

This beautiful 5-bedroom, 5-bathroom, 5,500 square-foot family home is located in a lovely neighborhood on a private road just 15 minutes from downtown Aspen! Located right on the Rio Grande Trail, adventurous guests are able to bike or hike their way to downtown Aspen or simply explore the nature-filled trail! Click here for all properties located in Aspen, Colorado.

Canada

If you’re dreaming of mountain biking with lake views or in the incredible atmosphere of Vancouver, get ready to reserve a stay in Canada!

Saint-Donat, Canada

Lakefront Designer Home | Saint-Donat, Canada


Jazz

This steep, single track trail was completely built by volunteers. If you’re looking for fast and downhill, this is the trail for you!

Jazz

This home is located on Lake Archambault, one of the nicest lakes in the Laurentians! This lakefront home is the perfect getaway for any guest wanting to explore the Canadian outdoors. Offering 4 bedrooms and accommodating up to 8 guests, there is plenty of room for the entire family! Saint-Donat is becoming increasingly popular among cyclists, who like to take the challenge of riding along the famous Chemin du Nordet to reach the village of Mont Tremblant! Click here for all properties located in Mont Tremblant, Canada.

North Saanich, Canada

Vancouver Island Dream | North Saanich, Canada


Mt. Fromme

This 6.6-mile loop is also a trail for experts! Start your ride with a challenge by climbing Mountain Highway. Enjoy views of beautiful Mt. Fromme from every which way!

Mt. Fromme

If you’re looking to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, there’s no better spot than this elegant four-bedroom waterfront home. Nestled on 5,000 square-feet surrounded by the gorgeous natural splendor of Vancouver Island, this home includes access to your own private dock! Explore the nature around the home by biking the nearby trails all around Vancouver Island. Click here for all properties located in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Europe

Europe is full of unparalleled scenery from historic landmarks, to art, to incredible landscapes! Mountain bike all over Europe with THIRDHOME.

Impruneta, Italy

Villa L’Accursio | Impruneta, Italy


San Felice A Ema

A paved path for beginners awaits in Tuscany. Ride this 45.8-mile trail from Florence to Colle di Val d’Elsa with friends for an enjoyable Italian adventure.

San Felice A Ema

This historic Italian estate, located only 15 minutes from Florence, is situated on 10,000 square-feet and is surrounded by the stunning, rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside. Each of the 8 bedrooms is bright and spacious, featuring fabulous interiors and furniture. Bike the surrounding countryside with family or friends! Click here for all properties located in Tuscany, Italy.

Montreux, Switzerland

National Montreux Residence on Lake Geneva | Montreux, Switzerland


Villars – Gryon

This trail is known for unparalleled beauty and terrain. A few back roads can be taken throughout the 24.6-mile trail to ease climbing, so you can simply enjoy the Swiss landscape around you!

Villars - Gryon

Located in the luxurious National Montreux Residences, this high-standing four-bedroom residence features stunning views of Lake Geneva. With miles of peaceful lakeshore and stunning 19th-century architecture, you and your guests will love exploring the charming city of Montreux! Bike the beautiful mountains around Lake Geneva, or take a bike ride down the shore. Click here for all properties located in Montreux, Switzerland.

Cadaqués, Spain

Unique Farmhouse Retreat | Cadaqués, Spain


Roses Trail

This 10.31-mile ride in Cadaqués has amazing views of the Spanish hills and landscape! Ride with friends or family to a total ascent of 1,142 feet!

Roses Trail

Enjoy the peace of the Spanish countryside at this spectacular farmhouse, the oldest home in the village of Cadaqués. Just 20 minutes from town, you’ll spend your trip immersed in the stunning Cap de Creus Natural Park, surrounded by gorgeous vistas as far as the eye can see. Offering 6 bedrooms and accommodating up to 12 guests, this magical residence is a dream! Click here for all properties located in Spain.

South America

Argentina is home to some of the most spectacular mountain ranges and exotic landscapes.

Uspallata, Argentina

Argentinian Mountain Refuge | Uspallata, Argentina


La Tranquera

Ride this 14-mile single track trail during your stay in the Argentina mountains. There is no landscape or mountain range like it!

La Tranquera

Uspallata is a small, delightful town in a valley in between the stunning Andean String! It is a popular destination for the adventurous traveler looking for mountainous excursions. There are 5 private vineyards on the property for guests to enjoy as well as 3 bedrooms accommodating up to 10 guests. Mount Aconcagua Provincial Park is only a few miles away, which is the perfect setting for hiking and biking! Click here for all properties located in Argentina.

Ready to take your travels to a whole new level of elevation? Get ready to book your mountain biking trip today! View all availability by clicking here.

Remember, you must be logged in to view availability.

Want more information about our Exchange Club? Click here to learn more about THIRDHOME.

Our selection of vacation rentals in Europe is growing every day. Here are some vacation rental properties in Europe you can’t miss!

 

5. Croatia

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Villa Rosemarine | Dalmatian Coast, Croatia

Enjoy stunning views across the Adriatic from this waterfront paradise. The spacious Villa Rosemarine features 6 ensuite bedrooms, each including dramatic sea views. Walk through the lavender and bougainvillea-filled garden on your way to the crystal clear waterfront or swim in the nearby infinity edge heated pool. Ask the property’s “skipper” to chauffeur you around Croatia’s archaeological sites and cultural attractions. Whether you’ve been dreaming about a trip to Croatia or are contemplating your next European getaway, Villa Rosemarine will surely not disappoint.

4. Spain

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El Nido | Torreguadiaro, Spain

El Nido, or “The Nest” is located in Southern Spain near the Mediterranean coast. In fact, the aptly named “Nest” is perched atop a hill, giving the home unparalleled views of the coast, The Rock of Gibraltar, and on a good day, Africa.  This recently remodeled home is filled with modern amenities and plenty of space for a group or family trip. Each of the property’s three levels includes a deck, so everyone can enjoy El Nido’s fabulous views. Can you see an Andalusian holiday in your future?

3.  France

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Beau Rivage | Longeville Sur Mer, France

Located on France’s West coast, near the Bay of Biscay, sits this elegant and family-friendly home. Beau Rivage embodies all the charm of Loire Country, with its expanse of surrounding pine forest and nearby Vendée Coast, known for its exceptional surfing conditions. The home itself can sleep up to 12 people and features a colorful children’s playroom. The playroom opens up into a delightful outdoor dining area overlooking the heated pool and jacuzzi. Beau Rivage has something to please every family member. Mix up your next French holiday with this scenic and peaceful coastal property.

2. Greece

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Villa Dolce Vita | Mykonos, Greece

Perched above Agrari Beach on the southern coast of Mykonos, you’ll find Villa Dolce Vita. This Cycladic-style home features the white washed stone, which Mykonos is famous for, with pops of blue decor and natural greenery throughout the landscape. Designed to capture refreshing sea breezes, this home was built with large seaward openings and a focus on the garden and pool area. With room for 12 people, Villa Dolce Vita’s spacious interior includes a warm combination of stonework, wooden beamed ceilings and a collection of historic antiquities. From the edge of the pool or jacuzzi, you can spot the island of Naxos on the horizon. This property is the perfect secluded escape for groups or families looking for peaceful relaxation.

1. Italy

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Palazzo Prugnoli | Monte Santa Maria Tiberina, Italy

Just Southeast of Florence, on the flanks of the Umbrian/Tuscan border, sits Palazzo Prugnoli. This restored 16th century Tuscan villa was formerly owned by the Prince of Milan and can sleep up to 18 people. Surrounding the property you’ll find wineries, medieval castles and ancient Roman installations. The rear terrace, made of stone and terracotta tiles, overlooks the pool which features sweeping views of the Umbrian countryside. Whether you spend your time hunting truffles in nearby groves, discovering surrounding history or just lounging by the pool, you’ll be sure to have the quintessential Tuscan experience with Palazzo Prugnoli.

 

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