The Insider’s Guide to Traveling Italy


For centuries, Italy was the preferred destination for poetically-minded nobles from across northern Europe. The “grand tour” was an exercise in communing with the ancient Roman world at a time when it was considered the height of culture to contemplate its romantically crumbling relics and vine-clad temples. But these “grand trippers” gave little thought to Italy beyond its artifacts and ghosts. For them, Italy—as a living, breathing culture—was an afterthought.

But today, in-the-know travelers seek deeper pleasures than the (still beguiling) ruins of ancient Rome. Italy is a country of 20 provinces, each of them proudly distinct, offering their own unique culinary, architectural, art, history, fashion, sightseeing, and cultural scenes. Ahead, our guide to the very best of Italy, divided by region. Buon viaggio!

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View of the scenic Pontremoli village and Magra river in the Apennine Mountains, Abruzzo.

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ABRUZZO

Across the saddle of the Apennine Mountains, Abruzzo—a calm and historic region of national parks and rugged, tumbling landscapes—is a breath of fresh air after the more metropolitan west. Parco Nazionale D’Abruzzo is Italy’s second-oldest national park and one of its most ecologically rich (both the Italian wolf and endangered Marsican brown bear can be found there). After a refreshing hike, you can do little better than staying at Sextantio Albergo Diffuso (rustic but resplendent, and beautifully sprawling) and stopping for a bite in one of its remarkable restaurants. Abruzzo is muscling up as a powerhouse culinary region in its own right, with a whopping eight three-Michelin-starred eateries.

palazzo margherita
The gardens of Palazzo Margherita.

GUNDOLF PFOTENHAUER

BASILICATA

Head away from the Adriatic, and you enter a landscape of hills and forests. This is Basilicata, a hidden territory bordering the better-known environs of Calabria and Puglia. Secrecy is paramount here: the hillside towns are dotted with warren-like cave dwellings, many of which go back thousands of years. Of them, Matera is the most famous (and most spectacular). Francis Ford Coppola even debuted his own distinct hotel in this compellingly concealed region: Palazzo Margherita.

CALABRIA

Go for the ancient Greek mythology; stay for the local charm. The beaches of this region are well known—and you won’t want to miss them—but there are countless little fishing villages to explore too. Of the list, we recommend Chianalea di Scilla; it’s here that you’ll get a true, authentic taste of the Italian south, right at the tip of the boot, with boats bobbing in the harbor and fishermen tending their nets.

chianalea di scilla, fishing village in calabria
Chianalea di Scilla, fishing village in Calabria.

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As far as hotels, we love Villa Paola, a truly gorgeous sea-facing setup with minimal yet sublime decor. A reminder: The food here leans toward the excitingly spicy (thanks to the region’s famous chiles), and you’ll not be short of places to dine. Scilla, a charming fishing village facing the island of Sicily by a hair’s breadth, is a particular gem.

CAMPANIA

Best known for the Amalfi Coast and its iconic “Path of the Gods,” the region of Campania is a photographer’s dream. A swell of romantically crumbling cliffs decorated with pastel-painted towns and threaded with beguiling alleyways, this is the Italy you’ve seen in films and dreamed about.

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The view of the village of Praiano, Amalfi Coast.

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Praiano is our go-to; this sun-drenched stretch of western Italy is sublime not just for the sunsets but for its proximity to the beachside bars in Vivaro and Fioriere. You’d be missing out if you didn’t post up at heavenly Casa Angelina, whose crisp decor and serene views will leave you floating on cloud nine. To eat, you’ll want to set yourself up at the low-key, laid-back Da Armandino in Praiano. Ori Kafri, CEO and founder of J.K. Place Hotels, speaks warmly of Capri (home to namesake J.K. Place Capri)—an island located just off the Bay of Naples. Here is Da Gelsomina, a restaurant of simple but delicious virtue. “It’s a very simple, family-run place that produces their own wine,” Kafri explains. Enjoy it “with wonderful handmade ravioli. To get there, they come to pick you up in a little car to take you to a narrow street where the restaurant is located. It has a spectacular view of the sea.”

EMILIA-ROMAGNA

Home to a staggering eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Ravenna is hardly under the radar—but some places are famous for a reason. Combine the historical city with a killer food scene and a stunning classical music festival, and you get a sense of classic Italia as you switch your phone off and forget emails for a few days.

aerial view of bologna, italy at sunset colorful sky over the historical city center with car traffic and old buildings
A view of the city of Bologna.

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In Bologna, you’ll want to stay at the Grand Hotel Majestic, which is, as its name suggests, utterly regal in feel. Think classic Italian style, exquisite views across the city, rooms furnished with antiques, enormous beds, marble bathrooms—the works. Located centrally, it’s just a stone’s throw from Piazza Maggiore and Due Torri, making it an ideal base for a culture-packed weekend.

FRIULI VENEZIA GIULIA

This little-known gem is located in the very northeast of Italy. Its regional capital is Trieste, a favored haunt for artists and musicians throughout the 20th century—James Joyce among them. Give its proximity to central and eastern Europe, its culture and character are often informed by those of its neighbors, and you’ll feel that through the wine, food, and architecture. The Carnic Alps—black-stoned, snow-crusted—jut up mightily from forests of dense green pine. For bon vivants, there’s the exceptional Collio wine route. For the historically minded, there’s the UNESCO-protected Aquileia, with its sublime basilica. Until the 18th century, this was the very heart of Christianity in central Europe, and its thousand-year-old ruins and relics are a sight to behold.

ROME

castel sant'angelo
Castel Sant’Angelo, Rome

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All roads—so they say—lead to Rome. The timeless city moves at its own pace, but it’s truly bursting with life (after all, few would forget the bawdy, thrilling antics of Federico Fellini’s Roma of 1972). To sleep, try Hotel de la Ville from Rocco Forte, a vibrant and modernist refurbishment of an 18-century palazzo located at the very top of the Spanish Steps. It’s at the center of everything and is the best possible place from which to feel the pulse of the city — the epitome of Roman romance and contemporary cool (in that way, it’s a lot like Fellini).

But where to eat? Trust us, it’s a long list. Legendary architect and designer Achille Salvagni recommends “the Market at Piazza Campo de’Fiori, where the food is Italian, local, and incredibly fresh. Restaurant Il Sanlorenzo should be on your list for the absolute best seafood and traditional Roman fare. Dinner at La Trattoria al Moro is a must; they serve earthy and beautiful Italian cuisine.” Salvagni adds, “I also have a soft spot for the Bakery Roscioli on the piazza, where I cannot help but purchase the many types of breads, cakes, and desserts they bake daily.”

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Hotel de la Ville, Rome

HOTEL PHOTOGRAPHY SRL

Also not to miss: Trattoria da Danilo (for the cacio e pepe), Retrobottega (for the moody laboratory vibes), Luciano Cucina Italiana (for its truly unforgettable pasta), and Le Mani in Pasta (for its classic Italian casualness). To walk it off and get inspired, Salvagni recommends, “a visit to Capucci on Via della Fontanella di Borghese. Mr. Capucci is the most famous Roman designer, and I have always been awestruck by his creations. His work is always a great source of inspiration, and I admire the boldness of his vision.”

LIGURIA

Liguria, home to the famed Cinque Terre, is typified by statuesque mountains, verdant hills, and stunning coastal views of the Ligurian Sea. Cinque Terre tends to draw endless crowds. Instead, opt for Santa Margherita, a jumble of pastel buildings overlooking a sea of geraniums and bougainvillea. It feels like a scene straight out of a 1950s postcard.

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Santa Margherita

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Then there’s Camogli, the riviera that the world forgot. You’ll find the same steep hillsides and pastel-hued homes of the Cinque Terre, but what you won’t find are the tourists in droves. Just sleepy enough to feel undiscovered but with enough local life and quaint trattorias to help you while away the days, this is a place to go before everyone else. Stay at the incomparable Belmond Splendido Mare, a discreet but glamorous grand villa nestled in the wooded hills above Portofino. Impeccable service, exceptional views, and a legendary restaurant make this one of the very best hotels in Italy.

LOMBARDY

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Brera district, Milano

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Get ready: There’s a lot to see in this one region alone. Italy’s fashion capital of Milan can sometimes be sidelined as an entry point, but it’s grossly underrated and definitely deserves deeper discovery. This bustling metropolis is best explored on foot for the world-class shopping (explore the Brera area), inspired cuisine, and extraordinary art. Trust us: It’s the perfect base for a luxurious Italian getaway. Just a short car ride away is Fondazione Prada housed in a former gin distillery in the industrial outskirts of Milan. Helmed by its namesake, Miuccia Prada, this institution is dedicated to showcasing the finest contemporary arts through a packed program of permanent and temporary exhibitions. Austere yet intimate, this breathtaking complex houses the colorful Bar Luce, whimsically designed by filmmaker Wes Anderson.

The Mandarin Oriental Milan, quietly hidden away but minutes from the action, is one of the finest places to stay in town. Choose a suite with balconies and soak it all up in this veritable oasis, unwinding in the subterranean spa and pool. The newly opened Galleria Vik Milano, from the stylish Vik family, should top lists, too; it’s beautiful and full of character with every room designed by a different artist.

grand hotel tremezzo

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Italy’s sun-drenched Lake District is synonymous with glamour—and not a little bit of history. Gently, calmly buzzing, this is a place of mesmerizing vistas, of lush, manicured gardens, and legendary villas. It’s easy to see why this Y shape of lakes has inspired countless poets, writers, and painters, among them Ernest Hemingway. Nowhere epitomizes la dolce vita quite like Lake Como. Simply put: It’s absolutely stunning. Regal but easygoing, this is where the well-heeled come, year after year, to rest and play. The lake has a rich history, playing host to nobility and celebrities alike; you can easily spot George Clooney’s villa when you take a boat cruise, as well as Villa Sola Cabiati, which houses a suite designed for Napoleon himself. Valentina de Santis, CEO and owner of Grand Hotel Tremezzo, encourages boat sightseeing. “I love to watch the sunset from a boat,” she says. “It is such a different and special perspective of my beloved lake.”

When asked where to dine on a lake that isn’t short of places to eat, de Santis recommends a hot spot in the must-visit village of Bellagio. “I take my friends to Darsene di Loppia, a restaurant located in a historic hamlet of the same name. Speaking of Tremezzo’s grand hotel, there are few places to stay as iconic in this or any part of the world. Perched in the shadows of the Grigne Mountains and boasting every five-star facility you could ever dream of, this is the place to rest your head on the lake. From its elegant mix of period and modern decor to its luxurious suites, lavish alfresco dining, this hotel is straight-up legendary. It’s also quite close to two must-visit restaurants on Lago di Como: Al Veluu, located just up the hill from the hotel, and Locanda La Tirlindana, in nearby Sala Comacina.

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A harbor on Lake Garda

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A short ride down the road is Villa D’Este. This regal, 16th-century estate feels very palatial indeed, with a jet-setting buzz, opulent rooms, a floating pool, and 25 acres of well-kept parklands. Jackets are expected at dinner, a nod to its Old World glamour, so embrace it and outfit yourself while in town. A more remote option on the other side of the lake in Torno, Il Sereno is a breathtaking, more contemporary option and in a sense its own little, modern island. There’s only one way to explore its breathtaking surrounds—which is on board one of its three custom-built Cantiere Ernesto Riva boats.

Situated on the edge of the Dolomites is tranquil and stylish Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake. This beautiful and relaxing setting is also best explored by boat. Take in the lake’s most iconic vistas, charming villages, tiny islands, and, of course, villas, all framed by the dramatic backdrop of snowcapped peaks. Stop by the historic Riviera dei Limoni, with a guide in tow, and learn about the citrus-scented history of this stunning lake. Lake Garda is also a spectacular setting for a hike, especially Monte Baldo, which has some of the most impressive views. Stay at wellness-focused Lefay Resort & Spa, tucked away on a hillside under azure skies. Or check in at the historic Villa Feltrinelli, which is a palace in its own right. Just a short walk away are the cobbled streets of charming Gargnano, where vibrant orange trees line the shore; this part of the world is hard to beat.

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Isola San Giulio, Lake Orta

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The best beaches have always been those accessible only by boat, and Spiaggia delle Due Sorelle in Marche is no exception. Years of being overlooked in favor of the Cinque Terre and Amalfi Coast has left this strip of coastline untouched and unspoiled. Pack a picnic; you won’t find anything else on this serene stretch of sand, but it is very much worth a visit.

Piedmont, home to the prized truffle, is a landscape of tranquil countryside, sleepy villages, and lively marketplaces. They take gastronomy very seriously here; if you time it right, you can go on the hunt (replete with dogs and a guide) in search of the Alba Madonna truffle—the holy grail of fungi. Hike through the Langhe, an area that feels almost designed for a slower pace of travel, and stay at the charming Relais San Maurizio. This former 17th-century monastery has been lovingly restored with great sensitivity to its past roots, and this resulting hilltop respite is truly spellbinding. Enjoy its fragrant botanical gardens, a panoramic pool terrace, and a dreamy spa (that offers vinotherapy, of course). No surprise, there’s also a Michelin-starred restaurant on the property.

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Hike in the Langhe, Piedmont

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Don’t forget about Lake Orta, the Italian Lake District’s best-kept secret. Italians have dubbed it Cinderella for the profound subtlety of its beauty. Make sure to post up at the contemporary and stylish Casa Fantini. Located on the stunning shores of Lake Orta, Casa Fantini’s 11 light-filled rooms look out over an intimate garden and pool to San Giulio Island, a postcard-like island home to a Benedictine monastery, stunning cathedral, and two Michelin-starred restaurants. The best place to watch the sunset with a glass of wine? From the vantage point of a Prestige Room at Casa Fantini, Daniela Fantini herself shares. “From up there, the view is stunning; there is peace, calm, tranquility, and you can spot special, enchanting, and protected corners of landscape far from the chaos, always accompanied by the presence of the crystalline water of Lake Orta.”

PUGLIA

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Borgo Egnazia, Puglia

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Puglia—white-stoned, Adriatic, the heel or spur of the boot—is best known as the land of the olive tree. Every family seems to tend at least one, but there are tens of thousands more dotting the hills, slopes, and fields of this chilled-out corner of Italy. Puglia’s most beautiful and prominent towns are pressed gorgeously against the coast or else located a matter of miles inland. For this, think Ostuni. Elsewhere, there’s Locorotondo, a village whose name rolls bubblingly off the tongue. Calm and quiet, it’s the perfect place to lose yourself. For years, we’ve adored Borgo Egnazia, a hotel that might better be considered a commune or a sprawling ancient village. The masseria-style hotel is typical in the region, but Borgo takes that sensibility to glorious new heights.

When it comes to where to dine in Puglia, Aldo Melpignano, co-founder of Borgo Egnazia, feels spoiled for choice. “There are so many options! If they are looking for true Puglian flavors, I would recommend the restaurant at San Domenico Golf. It’s a place with a very special “chef,” Mimina. She has always been the cook of our family, she knows all the traditional recipes and her panzerotti are simply amazing! For a special dinner, I would suggest Casa Ciaccia in Ostuni; it’s a new place, nice and delicious and Ostuni, the “white town” as we call it, is an unmissable place to visit in Puglia.”

While in this region, hit the ground running and “catch the sunrise close to Otranto, Melpignano advises. There is a lighthouse, called Faro di Punta Palascia, which is definitely the easternmost point of the country; it is considered as the place where the days start in Italy. There’s a special magic atmosphere when you see the first ray of light just surrounded by nature and the deep blue of the sea.”

SICILY

castella mare del golfo trapani sicily
Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily

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Located at the very foot of Italy, Sicily—the largest of the Mediterranean islands—is dominated by the broad-shouldered massif of Mount Etna. Beneath it lies incredibly well-preserved ruins (not least the spectacular Valley of the Temples), Byzantine mosaics, bustling cities, and phenomenal cuisine. This is a bright, colorful, and deeply happy place. If you pressed us for our favorite things about this beautiful isle, we’d opt for Isola Bella, a pinprick of an island with more than its fair share of natural beauty. Known as the Pearl of the Ionian Sea, this is where you’ll find hidden grottoes and pebbled beaches in sublime solitude. When it comes to sleep (and so much more), check out the newly opened Four Seasons Taormina and Villa Igiea; they’re both inspiring options on this paradisical, balmy island.

THE DOLOMITES

The mighty Dolomite Mountains provide the dramatic backdrop for the region of Trentino-Alto Adige. Championed for its picturesque landscapes, exceptional cuisine, and legendary vineyards, this magnetic part of Italy has been shaped by its amiable proximity to nearby Austria and Switzerland.

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Lago di Carezza, the Dolomites

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Rosa Alpina, located in the beautiful South Tyrolean village of San Cassiano, is one of our favorite hotels the world over. A luxurious family-run enclave idyllic in both summer and winter, this sophisticated hotel blends classic alpine charm with contemporary luxury and boasts some of the best Michelin-starred cuisine in a region already lauded as a gastro wonderland. What’s more: It was just adopted into the acclaimed Aman portfolio. It’s also the perfect base for big adventure; hike alpine meadows in summer or ski UNESCO mountain ranges in winter. The wineries of Bolzano are an easy day trip and give a real sense of place to any trip to these mountains.

TUSCANY

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The Florence skyline

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This vast bite of Italy you’ve certainly heard of. Life feels like a never-ending harvest in this golden-hilled region. Its heart (undoubtedly) is Florence, home of the Medicis. Many will stop at the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (as would we), but you should also wander over to the smaller and more intimate Basilica San Miniato while in town. Clad in the same multicolored marble as its bigger sibling, it boasts a sweeping view from its doorway that truly sets it apart. Looking ahead, you’d do well to post up—once it opens in 2023—at Collegio alla Querce (part of Auberge Resorts Collection). Beyond the domes and palazzos of this ancient city, you’ll want to book a room at Borgo Pignano, our Tuscan favorite. There’s a warm euphoria that envelopes the entire place—romantic, intimate, authentic. Elsewhere, there’s newly opened Casetta and La Fortezza; both are worth your time. The former is located in the mellifluous town of Montefioralle, a tiny, incomparable hilltop settlement that casts a spell over all who enter it.

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A vineyard in the Chianti wine region, Tuscany

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Annette Joseph of La Fortezza is right to recommend the sunsets from her sublime property (accompanied by a glass of their very own rosé). “We live in the Tuscan region known as the Lunigiana,” Joseph explains, “and it’s truly a spectacular vista here on top of the mountain. Every night, there is an astounding light show, just as the sunrise offers an incredible wake-up call.” And this particular wake-up, Joseph suggests, should be followed with a visit to Albergo Pasquino, a restaurant located in nearby Aulla. “It’s family run, and the local fare is delicious. They cook on a giant wood-burning stove in the middle of the restaurant, which is lots of fun to watch, and they offer a local dish found only in the region named panigacci. It’s basically an Italian taco. It is served with the best selection of charcuterie and regional soft cheeses; it’s a specialty—so much so that it takes one year to apprentice and become a panigacci master.”

UMBRIA

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Hotel Castello di Reschio

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Poetically speaking, Umbria is known as Italy’s green heart, a stunning region of medieval hill towns, ancient forests, truffle hunts, and vineyards. At its cultural center is Perugia, home to the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria art museum. Spoleto, a favorite haunt among the Roman nobility, has held on to its authentic, historic charm and makes for a beautiful day trip into the Umbrian hillside. Start in the medieval upper town before paying a visit to the Duomo, then making your way to the modern lower town and its ancient city walls. When it comes to resting your head, try the newly opened Reschio, a charming and authentic luxury hotel housed in a historic castle that draws on the best of Tuscan and Umbrian traditions. This ancient estate is comfortably nestled among the rolling, sunbaked hills with 1,500 acres of protected wilderness at its doorstep. Each of its nine historic farmhouses has its own unique character, while the thousand-year-old castle at its center is a marvel of design, restored and modernized with panache and wit.

VENICE

A city on stilts, Venice is an archipelagic townscape and the Queen of the Adriatic, spread across 118 individual islands. For all its fragility, the city—once a kingdom unto itself—feels immeasurably solid. History is here in every rubbed-round stone, stained-glass window, church bell, and labyrinthine alleyway. For poet Joseph Brodsky, Venice “resembles a gigantic orchestra, with dimly lit music stands of palazzi.” Continuity is obliterated in this tightly clustered space; a glimpsed alleyway might be impossible to find again. Take a peculiar turn from a busy palazzo, and you find yourself buried in a cacophony of silence, little side streets bending this way and that. If you’re after the best place for dinner, head to Ristorante da Ivo.

aman venice exterior

Tucked away behind the Chiese Santa Maria della Salute, Dorsoduro awaits—and it’s a taste of the real Venice, of cicchetti and half bottles of local wine. For art lovers, don’t miss the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Gallerie dell’Accademia. Sleep at the stylish Ca’ di Dio, which just opened this year and is already turning heads. Some choose to take a vaporetto (or water taxi) to the lagoon island of Mazzorbo, a restful break from the buzz of Venice proper. When in town, a Michelin-starred meal at Venissa is a must.



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Travel Guide: A Weekend on Hilton Head Island


Hit the links, bike the trails, or explore a forest preserve
Hilton,head,island,,south,carolina, ,march,11,,2019.,some
Robert H Ellis / Shutterstock.com

Hilton Head Island was the nation’s first resort community designed to preserve the ecology of its site. Its developer, Charles Elbert Fraser, designed the resort town in the 1950s, and he saw the island’s abundant canopy of oaks and pines, miles of beaches, and coastal animal habitats as natural assets, not obstacles to be bulldozed. Today, even as one of the nation’s most popular destinations for golfers and beachgoers, the 12-mile-long island is home to three nature preserves; restaurants and storefronts seem to hide behind the tree canopies; and strict town ordinances prohibit high-rises and streetlights that might obstruct visitors’ beach views  by day or spoil their stargazing at night.

STAY
Check out the recently renovated Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa, with three outdoor swimming pools, four restaurants, and a deck bar that overlooks the Atlantic. Parents can drop the kids at the Westin Family Kids Club and escape to the spa for a massage. The Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort is another kid-friendly option, with tennis and pickleball courts, an elevated pool, and suites with kitchenettes. For a more intimate vacation, try The Inn & Club at Harbour Town. This boutique hotel overlooks the first tee of the famed Harbour Town Golf Links, one of the most famous courses in America. A stay here includes private beach access at the Sea Pines Beach Club and food and drink service under one of its signature orange umbrellas.

EAT
Head to Nunzio Restaurant + Bar for authentic Italian fare. The chef grew up in the Puglia region of Italy and focuses on homemade pasta and seafood. Skull Creek Dockside is a family-friendly spot with waterfront views and addictive bacon hush puppies and lobster deviled eggs. For cheap eats, try Sea Shack, which admits it’s “not fancy, just good!” Order at the register and get anything fried, blackened, or grilled. (There’s usually a line, but it moves fast.) New to the island is Lulu Kitchen, an intimate date-night spot with great cocktails and Southern food with a twist. Lucky Rooster Kitchen + Bar is another local favorite, thanks to their extensive cocktail list and a selection of wines divided into categories like “Still Tasty After All These Years” and “Not Your Parents’ White Wine.”

PLAY
Rent a kayak, paddleboard, or jet ski through H2O Sports and get out on the water, or sign up for a guided tour and look for dolphins from a catamaran. If you’d rather stay on land, explore the island’s 60 miles of bicycle trails or visit one of Hilton Head’s more than 23 championship golf courses. History buffs can visit the National Register-certified Stoney-Baynard Ruins, the remains of a late 18th-century house that was seized and used as a Union headquarters during the Civil War before it burned down soon after. See the 600-acre Sea Pines Nature Preserve on horseback via Lawton Stables or by boat on a nature tour at the Sea Pines Resort.

WILD THINGS
Looking for more outdoor adventure? Book a guided boat tour at The Sea Pines Resort, a 5,000-acre gated community on the southern tip of the island. Cruise the freshwater lakes of the Sea Pines Forest Preserve and get a close-up view of the island’s wildlife. The Alligator & Wildlife Boat Tour is a one-hour, family-friendly ride where you learn about the island’s plant and animal life. For an adults-only outing, reserve a spot on the Alligator Wine & Cheese Boat Tour and look for alligators at happy hour. If reptiles make your blood run cold, explore Calibogue Sound and the waterways surrounding Daufuskie Island by boat during a dolphin tour.





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The Michigan State football travel guide: Indiana University


After surviving a weekend in Piscataway, the Michigan State Spartans are back on the road, taking on the Indiana Hoosiers down in Bloomington, Indiana.

If you are heading down to southern Indiana to catch the game, there are plenty of restaurants, bars and attractions on and near the campus of Indiana University to check out.

The Campus

Indiana University is one of the most historic universities in the Big Ten. Founded in 1820, Indiana is the third oldest in the conference, behind only the University of Rutgers and the University of Michigan. There are plenty of iconic landmarks throughout the more than 200-year-old campus.

Of course, for those making the trek down to the Hoosier state this weekend, Memorial Stadium, better known as “The Rock,” will be a central aspect of the trip. Don’t forget to take a peak at the prow of the USS Indiana, a former battleship of the U.S. Navy, which sits just outside the stadium.

It might be a good idea to park a bit farther than normal and stroll around Indiana’s campus on the way to the game.

“Just walk around,” Patrick Felts, a student at Indiana and the multimedia football reporter at the Indiana Daily Student, said. “I might be biased, but I don’t think there’s a more beautiful campus on the face of the earth.”

The most iconic start to a walk through Indiana’s campus starts at the Sample Gates, which guard the entrance to the oldest part of the university. It is a classic spot to snap photos for visitors and students alike. Right around the corner gates is Dunn Woods, a 20-acre patch of land with winding brick pathways cutting through forestry. The Rose Well House, a limestone gazebo, is a campus landmark found in Dunn Woods.

There is plenty of unique architecture found throughout the campus. Eskenazi Museum of Art, — designed by the same architect that designed the Louvre in Paris, I.M. Pei — Lilly Library and Beck Chapel are just a few of the standouts on the Bloomington campus.

Bloomington

Indiana University teaches more than 80 languages — perhaps that is why Bloomington has such a diverse representation of cuisine from around the world.

Eighteen countries are represented by over 75 international restaurants throughout Bloomington, with anything from Turkish to Thai clustered mostly on 4th street.

Also, pro tip from Felts: if you find yourself out on the town during or after a night at the bars and have a craving for sushi or teriyaki, Z & C Teriyaki & Sushi has you covered.

If you are looking for a staple of Bloomington’s pizza scene, Mother Bear’s Pizza is a local favorite.

“It is pretty much the iconic Indiana restaurant,” Felts said.

Those looking to consume their daily calories in the form of alcohol can find plenty of bars up and down the streets of Kirkwood Ave., the central road and artery of activity in Bloomington. Kilroy’s is one of the most popular bars in Bloomington, especially among the student base, Felts said.

Nick’s English Hut is a more family friendly bar that specializes in both booze and food, with Indiana apparel and pictures crowding the walls and creating a real college eatery experience. The bar is also known for “sink the biz,” a drinking game that includes a bucket of beer and a floating cup.

Surrounding the city are plenty of parks and forests for those looking to get more in touch with nature in southern Indiana. A short drive from campus is McCormick Creek State Park, Indiana’s oldest state park, complete with waterfalls and hiking trails.

Also not far from campus is the 202,814-acre Hoosier National Forest, which is especially scenic in the midst of autumn, Felts said. It is a bit of a further drive, but Felts said Brown County State Park, the largest of Indiana’s state parks, also offers the opportunity to hike through the nature of Indiana.

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The Michigan State football travel guide: Indiana University


After surviving a weekend in Piscataway, the Michigan State Spartans are back on the road, taking on the Indiana Hoosiers down in Bloomington, Indiana.

If you are heading down to southern Indiana to catch the game, there are plenty of restaurants, bars and attractions on and near the campus of Indiana University to check out.

The Campus

Indiana University is one of the most historic universities in the Big Ten. Founded in 1820, Indiana is the third oldest in the conference, behind only the University of Rutgers and the University of Michigan. There are plenty of iconic landmarks throughout the more than 200-year-old campus.

Of course, for those making the trek down to the Hoosier state this weekend, Memorial Stadium, better known as “The Rock,” will be a central aspect of the trip. Don’t forget to take a peak at the prow of the USS Indiana, a former battleship of the U.S. Navy, which sits just outside the stadium.

It might be a good idea to park a bit farther than normal and stroll around Indiana’s campus on the way to the game.

“Just walk around,” Patrick Felts, a student at Indiana and the multimedia football reporter at the Indiana Daily Student, said. “I might be biased, but I don’t think there’s a more beautiful campus on the face of the earth.”

The most iconic start to a walk through Indiana’s campus starts at the Sample Gates, which guard the entrance to the oldest part of the university. It is a classic spot to snap photos for visitors and students alike. Right around the corner gates is Dunn Woods, a 20-acre patch of land with winding brick pathways cutting through forestry. The Rose Well House, a limestone gazebo, is a campus landmark found in Dunn Woods.

There is plenty of unique architecture found throughout the campus. Eskenazi Museum of Art, — designed by the same architect that designed the Louvre in Paris, I.M. Pei — Lilly Library and Beck Chapel are just a few of the standouts on the Bloomington campus.

Bloomington

Indiana University teaches more than 80 languages — perhaps that is why Bloomington has such a diverse representation of cuisine from around the world.

Eighteen countries are represented by over 75 international restaurants throughout Bloomington, with anything from Turkish to Thai clustered mostly on 4th street.

Also, pro tip from Felts: if you find yourself out on the town during or after a night at the bars and have a craving for sushi or teriyaki, Z & C Teriyaki & Sushi has you covered.

If you are looking for a staple of Bloomington’s pizza scene, Mother Bear’s Pizza is a local favorite.

“It is pretty much the iconic Indiana restaurant,” Felts said.

Those looking to consume their daily calories in the form of alcohol can find plenty of bars up and down the streets of Kirkwood Ave., the central road and artery of activity in Bloomington. Kilroy’s is one of the most popular bars in Bloomington, especially among the student base, Felts said.

Nick’s English Hut is a more family friendly bar that specializes in both booze and food, with Indiana apparel and pictures crowding the walls and creating a real college eatery experience. The bar is also known for “sink the biz,” a drinking game that includes a bucket of beer and a floating cup.

Surrounding the city are plenty of parks and forests for those looking to get more in touch with nature in southern Indiana. A short drive from campus is McCormick Creek State Park, Indiana’s oldest state park, complete with waterfalls and hiking trails.

Also not far from campus is the 202,814-acre Hoosier National Forest, which is especially scenic in the midst of autumn, Felts said. It is a bit of a further drive, but Felts said Brown County State Park, the largest of Indiana’s state parks, also offers the opportunity to hike through the nature of Indiana.

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A quick guide for those traveling to Michigan football games


We often get asked about putting out some sort of guide for Michigan Wolverines fans that are coming to town for games, whether it be the first trip or a return visit. For whatever reason, we have not been able to get to it, but that changes today!

Below are some tips and tricks for people looking to maximize their time in Ann Arbor this fall. These are the takes and opinions of someone who has spent a decent amount of time around campus in the seven years of operating this site, so put into that what you will.

Without further ado, here would be my tips for your Michigan experience in town and around the stadium.

Note: MnB is not being paid or endorsed for any of these. We are simply sharing friendly tips!

Where should I stay?

This one is tough for me to answer given I live close enough to drive in, but I would suggest Residence Inn in Downtown Ann Arbor if I were planning a trip for you. The reviews are pretty positive and it puts you into the thick of where some of the good bars are restaurants are. It is about a mile down the road from the stadium and about a 25 minute or so walk down Main Street. If you need a break, there are plenty of bars and restaurants on the way to dip into.

Where should I park?

A move of mine in the past has been to park downtown and make the long walk. When the weather sucks, there are usually Ubers or Lyfts around that will get you pretty close, or at least a lot closer than the mile walk would.

But if you’re coming into town to take in a game, the U-M golf course or Ann Arbor Pioneer High School are your two best bets. It puts you right across the street from the stadium and throws you into the thick of the tailgate scene. It will be your priciest option at around $40-$50 a game. You can also park on someone’s lawn in one of the neighborhoods and pack a few travel beverages in a cooler and check out the tailgates for yourself.

What are some bars or eateries I should check out?

Whether enjoying a drink and an appetizer before or after the game or finding a place to partake in some adult beverages on your way to the stadium, there are plenty of options. Three of my favorites are The Pretzel Bell, Jim Brady’s and Pizza House. The first two are on the Main Street walk that we referenced earlier, while Pizza House is closer to campus on Church Street. The Brown Jug is another favorite of mine and is located over by Pizza House.

There are plenty of coffee shops in Ann Arbor being that it is both a college town and extremely hipstery. My favorite is RoosRoost, which has a location downtown on Liberty Street and another closer to the golf course off of Industrial Hwy.

How should I spend my pregame time?

Spend as much time around the stadium and at tailgates as you possibly can. There is nothing like a college sports tailgate, especially one that surrounds one of the cathedrals in college sports. There is plenty of stuff around the stadium for both families and kids. Your little ones (and let’s be honest, yourself as well) are going to be begging you for merch. MDen will have a pop-up location and there are usually a few other tents selling shirts, hats and more around the stadium.

Make an effort to get over to the East side of the stadium to see the band enter the Big House if you can. It’s not something I’ve ever been able to do, but everyone should probably check that out at least once.

How early should I get into the stadium?

The gates open two hours before kickoff. That’s a little early to get there as a fan, but if you’re the type that likes to settle in, find your seat and then take in the stadium a bit, that’s as early as you can get in. I would recommend getting in sometime within an hour of kickoff. It gives you enough time to see warmups, the band’s pregame performance, the team running out to touch the banner and more.

What should I do during the game?

Cheer on your squad and have the time of your life. Don’t be a jerk. Be mindful of the people around you. With that said, Michigan has a reputation for having older fans that want you to sit down. Just be respectful, but also be sure that you’re being able to bring the energy to the game that it requires. You’re allowed to cheer and go nuts when good things happen. Don’t be a jerk, though!

Other than that, have fun! Enjoy your Big House experience.

Do you have suggestions for what people should do during a football game visit? Be sure to sound off in the comments below! Everyone’s preferences and experiences are different, so the more opinions, the better.



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Rise to War Beginner’s Guide (Tips, Tricks, & Strategies)


Middle-Earth returns once again with the mobile game The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War. While many of the games set in Middle-Earth have roleplaying elements, this game is about strategy. It is described as a geo-strategic seasonal wargame.

The game primarily centers around raising armies, conquering territory, and building defenses.  There is a lot involved to do these things though, and it can be confusing to newer players. There are resources to consider, and players must also choose buildings to upgrade. As with most wars, logistics is important to achieving victory.

RELATED: 10 Best Games In The Middle-Earth Franchise


In the beginning, players will pick a faction, and  can even play as orcs! They then craft their own ring of power, which can be leveled up as the campaign progresses to unlock new abilities. The game is multiplayer, so they must work with allies to crush their enemies. The final goal of the game is to capture Dol Guldur, which is in Mirkwood, so the factions will battle it out to get there and claim the territory for themselves.

Conquering Territories in The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War

The Lord of the Rings Rise to War So it Begins

Starting off, players will control only their main settlement in Lord of the Rings: Rise to War. The tutorial goes over how to do things, but it is sometimes difficult to figure out why certain things are necessary. Once the tutorial is done, try following the tasks, which are represented by a rolled-up scroll on the bottom right side of the screen. It’s well worth it to complete tasks, they offer resources, and help keep the player on task.

To increase resource gain, players will need to occupy more land. The player-controlled tiles have a green border. Those with a purple border belong to other players in the same faction, and enemy players have red tiles. Tiles without any borders are controlled by the computer, and these are what the player will be conquering in the beginning. Some tiles will be easier to conquer than others, so make sure to check before marching armies there. There are also limits to how far an army can march. Upon starting a new game, it’s important for players to conquer the land surrounding their settlement first.

An army stays on a conquered tile until it is moved again, and this tactic will eventually be used to range deep into enemy territory. Once they have a barrier around their settlement, players can begin to selectively occupy territory. Generally, this is terrain with special features, such as forests, hills, farmland, or even ruins. Controlled territories also generate ring power every hour, which is used to level up the ring. Players want to conquer tiles that generate more ring power. However, they are more difficult to fight.

There is a cap on how many territories that a player can control at once in Rise to War. This can be leveled up, but players should eventually get rid of territories that don’t produce many resources so they have room for ones that do. They can check this from the Land Overview screen.

Raising Armies in The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War

The Lord of the RIngs Rise to War Gandalf Vs. Saruman

Rise to War players can’t conquer any territory at all if they don’t have armies. Armies are led by commanders, and it is important to upgrade their abilities to make the army more powerful overall, but it’s also important to keep upgrading units to higher tiers, as well as get more elite units. To get these elite units, players will need to construct different buildings. These vary depending on the faction, and players will have to choose their army composition, but eventually, they will be able to have a variety of units.

It might be confusing to know which buildings to construct or upgrade, but the Main Hall is the heart of the settlement. Upgrade it whenever possible because it increases settlement durability, and allows upgrading other buildings. Players will also need a lot of wheat. It is used to create new units and used to get armies more XP through mock battles. Territories such as farmland generate a good amount of wheat, so players should try to control a few of those.

Building Forts in The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War

The Lord of the Rings Rise to War Enemy Territory

Eventually, players will need to expand to other regions inside Lord of the Rings: Rise to War, which puts them into conflict with enemies. To march great distances, players need to build forts. Forts are buildings that increase a commander’s movement range from the settlement. It essentially acts as a forward operating base. Forts can be built once the player has upgraded their ring to level 10 and they take 2 hours to build. Armies can only march for a limited number of tiles, but if they are repositioned to a fort, they start their movement from there. Note that they must reposition to that fort, not simply march.

When creating forts, the tile it is on stops resource production, so it’s better to build forts on blank spaces since they don’t generate many resources. Forts cost 5k wood, 5k ore, 10k stone, and 12k gold. For this reason, players will want to build forts as far as they can from their main settlement, at the edge of where their army can march. They don’t want to build too many forts, at least not initially.

Battling with Time in The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War

Time is a major part of Lord of the Rings: Rise to War, and the player must decide what to do with the time that is given to them. Armies take time to march places, it takes time to construct buildings, controlled land generates resources over time, etc. There will be a lot of waiting, and therefore the game is best played in short bursts. Do not expect significant gains quickly. Players can use green gems to speed up some of the wait times, but this should be done sparingly. Generally, this will come when in conflict with enemy factions. PVP is a major component of the game, expect to get raided, and expect to be attacking other players. Peace isn’t an option in Lord of the Rings: Rise to War.

Taking territories from enemy players is a part of the game too, but it is generally not worth it to take their main settlement. The rewards for uprooting the settlement will likely not equal what it costs to raise an army and march to their settlement. Fighting enemy players happens more in the late game when factions are vying for control of a major location. Early in the game, players should focus on building up their own territories, resources, and armies.

To know what stage a game is in, players can check the season’s progress by clicking on their faction icon. It is affected by the entire server. To meet the objectives, players on the server will have to do things like occupy a certain number of tiles, occupying certain types of tiles, or level up rings. The final objective is to occupy Dol Guldur, so each faction will attempt to claim it first and hinder the others from doing so instead. If a faction manages to occupy it, they win the Rise to War campaign.

NEXT: The Best Lord of the Rings Game Desperately Needs a Re-Release

The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War is available on Android and iOS.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Thru-Hiking


All products featured in this story are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

While spring signals the onset of hiking season in North America, autumn, with its crisper temperatures and changing colors, is when long distance thru-hikers get excited to pack their bags. It’s also a great time to dip your toes into multi-day hiking. 

Simply put, thru-hiking means walking an established end-to-end trail in one direction, usually over weeks or months, while sleeping (and often, camping) along the route each night. There are eleven national scenic routes in the U.S. that are considered true thru-hike trails, including the Appalachian Trail on the east coast, the Continental Divide Trail which runs from Mexico to Canada, and the Pacific Crest Trail best known from Cheryl Strayed’s Wild.

But you don’t have to walk for months to appreciate the joy of thru-hiking. Many sections of these scenic routes are also accessible to beginners interested in just a weekend—or even one night—of trail life. Below, seasoned hikers and gear experts share how to safely get started with long distance thru-hiking.  

Where to begin

If you’re a comfortable day hiker and looking to push yourself, a one-nighter is an easy first step before moving on to multi-day journeys. “Once you have enough overnight and day hikes under your belt to be comfortable with your own abilities, just go for that multi-day hike or even section hike a longer trail,” says Jackie Lastinger, a 28-year-old solo-hiker from Georgia who has completed the Appalachian Trail. 

There are a number of thru-hiking organizations that can help you prepare, like American Long Distance Hiking-West whose mission is to inspire, educate, and promote fellowship among long-distance hikers. They regularly hold Ruck Events (after the German word for backpacking), which are day-long educational get-togethers to help backpackers of all skill levels prepare for upcoming hikes, with sessions on trail options, gear, hiking strategies, stories, and more. 

REI also offers an array of outdoor courses at locations across the country. “One of the best ways to prepare is to learn how to use a physical map and a compass,” says Gary Elbert, an REI Adventures trail guide based in the co-op’s Arizona Adventure Center. Elbert says their map and compass class is the most popular for budding thru-hikers. 



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New World beginner’s guide – tips for new players


Looking for a New World beginner’s guide and tips? Amazons’ new MMO is finally here, so it’s time to jump into New World and get started with leveling up a new character.

If you’ve never played the beta, that puts you at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to figuring out how to level up quickly and deciding which New World weapons are worth investing time into. For the most part, it’s easy to learn as you go, but there are a few beginner tips that will improve your experience as you begin your questing in Aeternum. Bear in mind, however, that these tips are all based on closed beta gameplay.

Before you log in for the first time, there’s one thing you should know; after finishing the tutorial, you will randomly spawn on one of four starting beaches in four different territories, and that’s where you’ll spend the first 12 or so levels. Therefore, if you’re planning to play with friends, you run the risk of being separated from them at the start of the game – read our guide on how to play with friends in New World in order to avoid this. Now you’re ready to jump in – here’s everything you need to know.

New World beginner tips

Controls and user interface

Most of the controls are self explanatory, but there are a few things you may miss.

  • To salvage your items, select them and press the ‘S’ key
  • Hold left control to self cast – this allows you to heal yourself with the Life Staff
  • Press ‘U’ in a settlement or safe area to flag yourself for PvP
  • Press ‘Y’ to pick out a spot for your camp; press ‘E’ to build it

We also recommend enabling the gameplay setting ‘show extra ability cooldowns’, as this brings up a radial timer in the centre of the screen to show you when your skills are available again.

For more advanced PvP tips, see our New World PvP guide.

A player cooking at a stove in New World

Storage and crafting

Each time you return to the settlement, store your resources in the storage shed. As you craft in that particular settlement, you automatically use the resources from the storage shed in that town. However, if you travel to a different settlement, your resources will be left behind, although, if both settlements are under your faction’s control, you can transfer your storage to another allied settlement for a fee.

You can increase the weight you can carry in your inventory by equipping a satchel. These can be made at Outfitting Stations using the armoring skill. We recommend you make a ‘coarse leather adventurer’s satchel’ as soon as possible. They require 45 coarse leather, 25 linen, and ten iron ingots.

You can convert common crafting materials into one another using common material converters from the faction shop. In the beta, it was actually more efficient to buy crossweave from the trading post and convert it to whatever common crafting ingredient you needed, as crossweave was the cheapest common crafting material – this may still be the case in the open beta and on release.

Trying to figure out how to make linen? First, you need to find hemp, so bring up your map and select ‘resource locations’ on the left – you’ll be able to see the types of areas in which hemp spawns. Harvest the hemp with your sickle, and then turn your fibres into linen at the loom.

Read more: our New World leveling guide

As you level your gathering abilities, you become able to track certain items – the higher level you are in each skill, the further away you can detect them.

Free resources, like milk and leather, are available daily from every settlement your faction controls.

You can check all trade posts from any single trade post, so you can decide if it’s worth making the journey to another settlement to get the best price.

If you’re wondering how to make fish filets in New World, this couldn’t be more simple – salvage a fish in your inventory. There’s also a chance to get fish oil from salvaged fish.

Casting a spell in New World with a Fire Gauntlet

Equipment and combat

Everyone starts with a sword and shield equipped, but when you decide to try out some new weapons, you’re probably going to leave that shield strapped to your back. This actually doesn’t do anything for you except increase your equip load. Your equip load is what determines the class of armour you’re wearing, and each class offers different benefits:

  • Light – rolling dodge, 20% damage bonus
  • Normal – sidestep dodge, 10% damage bonus, 10% crowd control
  • Heavy – slow sidestep dodge, +20% crowd control, 15% blocking

If you’re after the best gear, we recommend equipping faction gear, as it’s relatively easy to get hold of. If you’re completing several PvP quests at once, though, keep an eye on your faction tokens – there’s a cap of 3000 tokens initially until you unlock a higher cap, so make sure to buy enough to keep yourself below this cap, even if you can’t equip it yet.

There are five different enemy types in the game, and nine damage types. Here’s how they all interact:

Enemy Slash Thrust Strike Fire Ice Nature Void Lightning Arcane
Ancients -15% +20% -40% +15% +30%
Corrupted +20% -15% -40% +15% +30%
Angry Earth +20% -15% -30% -40%
The Lost -15% +10% +15% +30% -40%
Beasts +20%

If your weapon has a gem slot, you can convert the type of damage your weapon does by equipping New World gems.

As you fight enemies, you can tell how effective your damage is by the colour of the number that comes up:

  • Blue means reduced damage
  • White means no modifier
  • Yellow means increased damage
  • Orange means critical hit

While you’re out and about questing, we recommend eating regularly to receive the ‘well fed’ status, which heals you over time.

Two characters sitting around the New World camp

The Camp

You can set up a camp anywhere outside of a landmark region. You’ll be able to respawn at your camp if you die, and you can also heal and cook at the camp – once you unlock a higher level of camp, you can unlock better recipes for on the go.

Read more: The New World server list

Don’t forget to keep an eye on your leveling tab – that’s where you receive quests to upgrade your camp once you reach the appropriate level threshold.

Azoth – how to fast travel in New World

Azoth is a powerful mineral with a few uses:

  • It allows you to fast travel – the cost of this depends on your weight limit and if your faction is in control of the territory.
  • Crafting – you can infuse your items with Azoth while crafting them to increase their gear score and chance of perks or gem slots.

You will receive Azoth as you complete the main quest, but it’s not readily available, so don’t spend your Azoth carelessly – it’s worth saving up and using strategically.

You can also fast travel to inns that you have checked into for free once an hour. Here’s how to find every New World fast travel location.

Those are all the tips we’ve got for now, but we’ll let you know if we stumble upon any more pearls of wisdom. Before you jump in, here’s how to pick a Faction in New World, and our guide to the first New World dungeon, Amrine Excavation, as well as where to find briar branches.

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