People & Stories

Meet 6 amazing women running successful travel businesses

To mark International Women’s Day on March 8, we’re celebrating the incredible women that help bring our tours to life. Our signature Be My Guest experiences welcome you into the homes and working businesses of real warm, charismatic, and enterprising local residents.

These 6 inspiring women are not just fabulous, entertaining hosts, but entrepreneurial mould-breakers running successful travel businesses. Meet them first here, then get to know them in person when you travel with us on one of our tours.

Feel Tuscan hospitality with Giada Landi in Italy

Giada Landi runs a Trafalgar Be My Guest experience

Steeped in family history, Villa il Leccio is a testament to the Landi family’s enduring legacy. Perched atop a Tuscan hill, this stunning medieval building has been in the family since the 18th century. For nine generations the home and 90 acres of spectacular Tuscan countryside have been passed down. Today, the ambitious Giada Landi and her family have transformed the villa into one of Trafalgar’s most beloved Be My Guest experiences, where guests can feel the warmth of Italian hospitality and the rich heritage of the Landi family.

While her brother and cousins manage the vineyard and farm side of the business, Giada is the head of the household, the head of the family business, and a cook and hostess extraordinaire. It is her fantastic Tuscan home cooking that steals the show during every dinner – paired with the fact you’re inside an old medieval Tower House from the 1200s.

Nearly 40 acres of the property are vineyards, used to make the wine you’ll drink, and more than 600 olive trees near the house make the family’s olive oil that you’ll taste too.

MEET GIADA ON: Italian Holiday

WATCH: The best Tuscan family recipes, from Tuscan chicken to Chianti wine: Trafalgar Be My Guest host, Giada Landi, unlocks her Tuscan home to show you how to cook her favourite family recipes, including Tuscan chicken in Chianti wine.

Forage for wild food with Oonagh O’Dwyer in Ireland

Oonagh O'Dwyer shows Trafalgar guests how to forage for wild food in Ireland

Forget perfectly farmed rows, the best ingredients can be found growing wild in the Irish countryside. Horticulturist and food expert Oonagh O’Dwyer knows the magic of the wild. On the windswept coast of County Clare, along Ireland’s stunning Wild Atlantic Way, Trafalgar guests join Oonagh for an enlightening walk through the Emerald Isle’s countryside.

Together, you’ll forage for wild treasures, which will become the stars of your delicious Be My Guest lunch. Barrtra Seafood Restaurant, owned by Oonagh’s longtime friends, the O’Briens, overlooks Liscannor Bay, where the dramatic Cliffs of Moher begin. Sit down to spectacular views of the untamed coast while enjoy the fruits of your forage paired with local produce, seafood, and wine. Irish nature and hospitality doesn’t get better than this!

MEET OONAGH ON: Irish Experience

Meet farmer Laura Douglas in New Zealand

Laura Douglas launched one of few female-owned travel businesses in rural New Zealand

‘Southern Girl’ Laura Douglas finished her MBA, worked in big corporate companies, hopped around the world, and realized that it all wasn’t for her. Born and raised on a sheep farm in Southland, New Zealand, Laura returned to her roots in 2016 when she launched Real Country. This Be My Guest experience connects guests to the real and rural side of NZ.

Now the award-winning female-owned agri-tourism business welcomes guests, sharing the magic of southern New Zealand. Laura believes confidence can be earned. She says Real Country experiences help guests – especially women – to earn confidence by doing unfamiliar rural tasks in a safe and fun environment.

MEET LAURA ON: Contrasts of New Zealand

Groove in the olive groves with Franca Magrini Karabela in Greece

visit the Karambelas family with our Be My Guest experience

Feel the warmth of Greek hospitality when you visit the Karambelas family with our Be My Guest experience. These fourth-generation olive growers cultivate more than 4,500 family-owned olive trees. Their olive groves cover the slopes and valley surrounding Ancient Olympia. Head of the family is Franca, an Italian native, who opens her home and heart to guests. 

Franca, her two sons and daughter-in-law are more like olive custodians, working the land where the average age of these trees being more than 100 years old. They launched The Olive Temple as part of their mission to craft the best extra virgin olive oil available. When Trafalgar guests visit, they’ll join a guided tour of the farm and olive groves, followed by a dinner featuring fresh, locally sourced ingredients. And what’s a Greek dinner without traditional Greek dancing? After the meal, get ready to jump to your feet for a lively dance. Opa!

MEET FRANCA ON: Best of Greece

Saddle up with Vera Vieira de Almeida in Portugal 

Saddle up for a stud farm visit with Vera Vieira de Almeida

Portugal’s Lusitano horse is considered one of the most elegant, agile breeds in the world. Its history is deep rooted in the Iberian nation, dating back to Roman times. Saddle up for a stud farm visit with Vera Vieira de Almeida in the beautiful Alentejo countryside. 

Vera, along with her husband Tiago, restored the family’s 18th-century property to its former glory. Now the family hosts a brilliant traditional Be My Guest lunch for Trafalgar guests at Monte Negro, one of Portugal’s oldest stud farms breeding Lusitano horses.

MEET VERA ON: Best of Portugal

RELATED BLOG: See Be My Guest host Vera’s pumpkin and carrot soup

Meet the Marquise of Montferrier, Béatrice Montferrier, in France

If you love the idea of rubbing shoulders with royalty in Europe, just wait until you meet Béatrice Montferrier. The descendant of a very noble French family, Béatrice is actually the Marquise of Montferrier. She also happens to be a perfect hostess! Béatrice warmly welcomes guests to her 17th-century French farmhouse, near the famous Château de Villandry. Herew she hosts a splendid Be My Guest lunch, sharing cuisine of the Touraine region.

Together, you will explore her picturesque farm property and learn the history of the region from Béatrice herself. Then, sit down to a traditional three-course dinner, accompanied by her famous chocolate torte.  

MEET BEATRICE ON: Best of France

Those are a handful of our favorite female-owned travel businesses. Which experience would you like to do? Let us know in the comments…

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