Political Map of Europe

Political map of Europe

While not technically a political map of Europe in the strictest sense. This map tries to set a delineation between the European Union Countries and the rest of Europe. It also is an attempt to see how the other non European Union countries fit within the greater European region. Technically speaking go here, if you want to see a political map of Europe in the historical definition of the phrase. This area is mostly about conjecture and how Europe ties together as a continent. It will be updated regularly and this map may change and others will be added.

We will also be adding historically accurate political maps so as to show how politics progressed through you Europe over time. In researching this area we found some interesting and sometimes funny and sometimes serious events that caused unusual redrawing of the borders of various countries that make up Europe. Some countries were created and some were lost to time and the borders moved around quite a deal through out the 4000 years of European history. Politically speaking most countries started out as city states and then as one state or another became dominant, the others in the vicinity got swallowed up. One extreme example of this is the Roman empire which swallowed up huge tracts of Europe, Africa and the Middle East for that matter. It was all considered part of the Roman empire and eventually when the empire split up and slowly died certain geographical regions banded together to eventually form the countries of Europe. Some of these remain to this day and others have fallen by the way side. It will definitely be an interesting insight into how politics and culture work together at nation building. Stay tuned.

Rail Map Europe

A rail Europe map

Rail Europe tickets are a great alternative to flying. Imagine taking in the breath taking views of the European Alps, the Med, the Adriatic, the Greek Isles and much more. Travelling by train in today’s day age will allow you to have a proper holiday. It will allow you relax and reflect while you speed towards your destination in complete comfort and style. No worries about luggage size. Take all the gear for the whole family on that ski trip and not worry about excess baggage fees. No bookings are essential; you can purchase your ticket at any time. Turn up at the train station and start your holiday. No more worrying about flight schedules. If you miss one train! Catch the next!

The best way to buy a rail Europe ticket is get a Eurail Global Pass some people refer to them incorrectly as Eurorail Passes but it basically means the same thing. These can be bought as 10 day to 3 month passes. 3 month passes being the best value but of course are the most expensive as well. Have a look at the rail Europe map in the centre of the page and see if it the countries and cities you are interested in visiting for your vacation are included. They should be as most Western European countries are covered by these railway passes.

The rail systems that are covered by most train passes include.

  • Eurostar – is a high-speed passenger rail service connecting London with Paris and Brussels. All its trains traverse the Channel Tunnel between Britain and France, owned and operated separately by Euro-tunnel.
  • German rail (Deutsche bahn) – is the German national railway company. 3 different railway companies were merged to form this company. 1) Deutsche Reichsbahn of East Germany, 2) VdeR . it had railway assets in West Berlin, 3) Deutsche Bundesbahn of West Germany.
  • British Rail (British Railways) . Is an amalgamation of the .big four. 1) Great Western Railway, 2) London, Midland and Scottish Railway, 3) London and North Eastern Railway, 4) Southern Railway.
  • Swiss Federal Railways . Is the official railway of Switzerland.

How does it compare to a driving holiday? Well Driving can be fun but it can also be stressful. So depending on what kind of holiday you are looking for, will depend on what mode of transport you choose. Most train stations are at the heart of a European metropolis centre. So shopping, cafes, the art galleries and museums are usually not far away and usually within walking distance. The rising cost of fuel is starting to make an impact in both the airline industry and the driving holiday set. With a train the economies of scale mean that fuel has a smaller impact on price. A Europe rail pass is also so versatile. Extending holidays is no drama and adding locations to your holiday is as easy as turning up on a new train platform.

Travelling Europe by train is a great cheap alternative to flying. You will have more chances to meet like minded travellers and to take in the natural and urban beauty of Europe. Buying rail tickets in Europe is easy. You can get them over the internet or go to almost any railway station. So if you are thinking about travelling Europe by train make sure you do your research, you will be happy you did.  Oh and one more thing make sure you search online for a Rail Europe coupon code. It will make travelling the railways of Europe that much cheaper.

We have now added an updated rail Europe 2019 map.

Map of Central Europe

A map of Central Europe

There is no common standard of what actually constitutes Central Europe, in fact many of the countries that are defined under this title also form part of Eastern & Western Europe. For the purposes of this article I am going to define the following countries as forming Central Europe, which is the current definition held by the United Nations:

  1. Austria
  2. Czech Republic
  3. Germany
  4. Hungary
  5. Liechenstein
  6. Poland
  7. Slovakia
  8. Slovenia
  9. Switzerland

There are plenty of sights to see within Central Europe and I am going to take you through a number of them right now. Although of course whilst wandering around you will discover many other wonderful sightseeing opportunities.

  1. Almost everything located within Berlin, Germany is a sight in itself. A particular favourite amongst tourists is climbing the Reichstag Dome.
  2. Of course, no trip to Germany is complete without experiencing wonderful German Beer. The best way to do this is to go to the Beer Hall located in Munich. The Olympic Park is also located incredibly close by and is worth a visit.
  3. Also in Germany you can take the chance to visit ‘The Eagles Nest’ which was a location where Hitler helped to direct the German War.
  4. For the more adventurous amongst people there are plenty of natural sights to see when you hike through the mountains of Switzerland or drive through the rolling countryside gazing at many of the beautiful lakes around the area.
  5. Poland was almost destroyed during World War 2, particularly Warsaw. Take a look around the modern architectural wonders in the city which almost has been completely rebuilt but still in a more medieval style.
  6. There are plenty of concentration camps located within Poland. One of the most popular of course is Auschwitz. The reality of war really hits home when you visit one of these concentration camps.
  7. A particular favourite of those travelling to Central Europe to sightsee is travelling up ‘Castle Hill’ for fantastic views over Budapest, capital of Hungary.
  8. The ‘Rhine River’ travels through most of the countries in Central Europe and a cruise along this will take you to some of the best vineyards in the world. Perfect for wine lovers.

There really is so much to do for sightseeing in Central Europe. Whether you are looking to enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Europe by hiking through mountains or driving through the countryside, or whether you want to experience the rich history which is evident in almost every major town located within Central Europe.

In my opinion if you are going to go sightseeing in Central Europe you should do it properly, for that reason take a chance to visit all nearby countries such as France, Spain and Belgium. Only then will you be able to get the full European experience. Plenty of cheap flights will take you to any of these destinations, after that it is simply a matter of hiring a car and hitting the open road.

Venice is unforgettable

Amazing Venice in ItalyVenice is truly a beautiful and romantic city. Anyone who intends to visit this Italian city will enjoy the city’s beauty of nature especially the natural water canals. People are not only attracted to this ancient city because it was built on a lagoon but also because of its famous landmarks, beautiful old-fashion streets and rich culture. Remember, even in Shakespeare’s time this city was a famous trading city so popular in fact that the play writer could come up with the play The Merchant of Venice without even setting his feet on this ancient trading city or even having been to Italy.

Venice is a preferred city for any tourists especially newly wed. The reason why it is known to be a romantic city is simply because it is mostly visited by couples who want to have a romantic experience. It is common to find more tourists as compare to the local population of the city. It is also common to find tourists in a group of two enjoying every bit of the romantic experience Venice has to offer.

Tourist trade is the only source of income for the local people known as Venetians. When you visit Venice, you may think its buildings were built just to attract tourist. It is beautified by its narrow canals mounted by old and attractive bridges and buildings. Make sure get a good map of Venice when going to this lovely city.

Venice was built in the 5th Century and it later grew to a maritime empire. It comprises of 121 small islands connected by an incredible 435 bridges. The city stands on a lagoon making it the most popular experience for tourists. City streets clogged with polluting road traffic is a phenomenon that is never found in this city. The best way of moving around this city is by water using water buses. However, there are raised sidewalks which can be used to move from a certain point to another without getting your feet wet.

If you are planning to visit Venice, it is important to get yourself familiar with the map of the city’s vaporetto ways first.  They are usually found in most of the city’s guidebooks and also easily downloadable from the internet. It is a good idea to book a hotel of your choice before booking your flight to Venice so as to avoid missing out due to the large number of tourists the city receives throughout the year.

On the day of visit, the first decision you will have to take upon arrival at the city’s Marco Polo Airport is how to get to your reserved hotel. There is a walkway at the airport that leads to an area where you can see the city for the first time. To get to your hotel there are buses and taxis that can take you to your hotel by road, but by far the best way to travel is by water boats or vaporetti. These vaporetti will take you to your stop in an hour’s time. When you use these Alilaguna company vaporetti you will get to enjoy the magnificent old fashioned building and bridges of this ancient city. You can also use the water taxi if you want to save money since it can accommodate more people and thus the fare is cheaper compared to vaporetti.

You can take the red vaporetti route which goes around the attractive ancient island of Murano and on to Lido’s beaches then towards St. Mark’s Square which is a tourist hotspot. St. Mark’s Square is known as Piazza San Marko by the local population. It has the Campanile bell tower which is the tallest building in Venice. The top of the Campanile can be accessed via a lift; from there you can see the whole of the red roofed city. You can also find the Doge’s palace at the St. Mark’s Square. This palace is symbol of Venice judicial and political history and as far back as the 9th Century it was the city’s dukes’ seat of power. You can visit the private chambers, halls of state and even torture chambers.

Map of Venice
Map of Venice (Venezia)

St. Mark’s Square is connected to the Grand Canal by a group of shopping streets. Here you will get Murano glass made jewellery and Venetian traditional balls and ornaments. As you walk through these streets, you will get to another Venice’s famous landmark, the Rialto Bridge.

Venice is also blessed with magnificent art galleries. One fine gallery is the Galleria dell’Accademia. It is located on the quiet island of Dorsoduro. It has a rich Venice’s art.

The centre of Venice is easily accessible even on foot. You can walk around in less than an hour. However, the maze created by small canals is amazing; you can walk around and stop each time to take a photo due to the picturesque bridges and buildings around. You can enter a cafe and have an ice cream while watching water boats ferry tourists with the backdrop of picturesque view of buildings.

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Memorable holiday by visiting Munich

Munich in GermanyIf one wants to make their holidays as memorable as they possibly can be, then it might be a good idea to consider the city of Munich in Germany as one of their destination.  This city boasts of being the third largest city in Germany with the average population of about one million three hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants. The city has a motto, which translates to Munich likes you. From the city motto, one gets a feel of what this city has to offer to the tourist.

The rich history of the city is something that is helping to attract people who want to explore Munich. The history of the city states that it was initially founded by monks thus the name that it has got is a derivative if the word that means by the monks place. This is just a sample of the rich history that this city has to offer to the travelling visitor. The modern city of Munich is now a financial hub spot that has got a thriving economy and a booming tourist industry. The infrastructure of this city is one of the best in the world and this means that the tourist will be able to enjoy the services of plush hotels and other amenities that this city has to offer. Holiday that is spent in Munich is guaranteed to be fun and relaxing and this is one of the reasons that this city has seen a rise in the number of tourist.

The city is modern and is a leader when it comes to the international field of technology innovation and financial growth. Some reviewers of cites have ranked it as the world most livable city. What this means is that the city is the crème of civilization and the quality of services and the quality of life in the city is among the highest in the world. Many people would love to simply go and live in this great city and the tourists who visit this city will feel that they need to revisit since the experience that they will have will be so good.

The history of the city and its establishment is rich and the tourist will be amazed at the important events that this city has hosted. There are various important landmarks that one can go and visit to get a sense of the rich diversity that this city has to offer. This city has been the host for great events that happened in the past and was at one time the spotlight of artistic and historical events in the past civilization. The history of this city is also tied to the history of the international community. Munich was an important player in the two world wars that ravaged the globe. It was greatly affected by the two wars just as Berlin was affected by the two world wars. The city’s ability to rebuild and emerge as one of the best cities in the world is something to marvel at. It is the reason that many people will visit Germany and Munich in particular. The tourist can see and understand how this city was affected, and how the inhabitants had to start rebuilding the city after the world wars.

The city was and still is the center of many political happenings and events that have changed the landscape ofGermanypolitics over the past centuries. It is an important element in the political happenings of Germany and has a say in the way Germany’s politics and other social economical issues are viewed and shaped.

Although the city was heavily damaged by the allied bombings during the war, it has been able to rebuild itself into an important city in the republicof Germany. This is due to the fact that the city has been able to attract investors and industries that have helped in the reconstruction process. The city now has a well-defined infrastructure that not only caters for the residents but can also support the huge number of tourists who come in every year. Most of the residents that now live in Munich enjoy a very high standard of living. This standard of living can be experienced by the visitor when they visit this great city.

The economy of Munich is driven by industrial and information technology developments. The crime rate that this city experiences is very low so the tourist is now able to enjoy romantic walks in the evening without having to worry about being mugged. No tourist will visit a city that has the highest crime rate in the world. Most people will shy away from such cities due to obvious risk factor that the visit to the city entails. Security is one of the most important issues that the tourist looks at when they are deciding the destination for their holiday. It is the reason that some cities will experience a high rate tourist while others will experiences a reduced number of tourists. Munich is a safe and secure city that one can tour and have a good time.

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Amsterdam

Amsterdam the northern European Cosmopolitan metropolis

Amsterdam in HollandAmsterdam is known not just the capital of Netherlands but also the largest city. This city is endowed with about a hundred kilometres of canals, one thousand five hundred bridges and ninety islands that earned it the name Venice of the North. Amsterdam which is in the North Holland province is thus an excellent tourist and holidays destination especially for those people who would like to experience ancient history. In fact, it is among the most popular destinations for tourists in the larger Europe as it receives a huge number of visitors, estimated at 4.6 million, drawn from different parts of the world every year. There are numerous attractions that Amsterdam has to offer ranging from the historic canals to museums and the coffee shops. Also notable is the Amsterdam Stock Exchange which is the world’s oldest.

Some interesting information that visitors who tour Amsterdam appreciate is that the canals did not just happen but they were consciously planned for in the course of planning for the city at a time when the rate of immigration was too high. The planning mainly based on the canals concentric four half circles whose ends emerged at IJ bay. Three of these canals were mainly directed towards residential development. Ultimately though the canals were dedicated to ensuring defence, transport as well as water management. The canals offer scenic views into the beauty of Amsterdam thereby encouraging visitors to explore the city. The canals have since been included in the UNESCO world heritage list.

The other attractions that visitors and tourists get to experience while in Amsterdam include the numerous museums that are home to years of history. In fact, a visit to the museums is considered to be one of the best ways of reliving the history of Netherlands. One of the important museums that tourists must not fail to explore is Rijksmuseum that having been created towards the end of the 19th century. This museum which is also Netherland’s national museum is mainly dedicated crafts, arts as well as history. This is evident in the large collection of Dutch Golden Age paintings as well as the considerable Asian art collection. Originally founded in The Hague in 1800 with the aim of exhibiting Dutch Stadtholders collection, the museum was later to move to Amsterdam under the orders of king Louis Bonaparte. Visitors who travel to Amsterdam may also tour the other museums that include the Stedelijk museum whose specialty is modern art, Van Gogh museum that holds a lot of Vincent Van Gogh’s works and Rembrandt house museum among numerous others museums.

Besides museums, Amsterdam also offers a perfect environment for holidays as it houses De Wallen, an area that is set aside of prostitution that is legalized in its red light district. In fact, the red light district has become popular among tourists and has a well knit alleys and roads network that are rented out. Other attractions in Amsterdam include parks that are very common among people who not only want to experience Amsterdam but also want to enjoy a great family moment at picnics. The parks offer a serene environment that is characterized by water fountains, open fresh air as well as the sun. Additionally, depending on the time of the year that you will travel to Amsterdam, you may engage in festivals like the Qeens’ or Koninginnedag day that have music concerts organized, opera, children’s games among other activities.

In order to ensure that your experience in Amsterdam is worth remembering, you will need to be aware of the best time of the year to travel. For instance in order to have the best of the canals, you will need to be in Amsterdam in the months between April and October during maritime climate. However, the high season runs from April all the way to December while October and November and also January to March are low seasons for tourists. Accommodation is not a matter of concern as there are numerous hotels of different calibres which you can check in. there are also hostels as well as camping sites. Amsterdam is also a great city for shopping as it is dotted with numerous department stores as well as specialty shops. The Cornelis and Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat are streets that are usually busy with shoppers. Amsterdam is also home to fashion brands such as G-star, Blue Blood, Gsus as well as Iris van Herpen among others. In fact, it also houses a garment centre at the World Fashion Centre with most of the buildings that were previously used as brothels within the red light district being turned into ateliers for upcoming fashion designers. In conclusion, a trip to Amsterdam for holidays or even as a tourist promises a lot of fun and insight into the history of the city.

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Paris

Paris – the romantic jewel of Europe

Paris the capital of FranceA visit to France will be incomplete without alluring the captivating beauty of Paris, also regarded as the city of light. This city offers an amazing experience of the French culture as well as the rich history of France. Paris which is known as to be the most romantic city in the world boasts of a combination of both the old charm of the world with contemporary culture making it an enchanting and intriguing destination for vacations. While in this city visitors get to explore the more than two hundred museums and galleries, hidden treasures, famous attractions, romantic restaurants and chic café all of which offer something for everyone.

Paris is not just the capital of France but also one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world having been ranked third after New York City and Orlando. The city is estimated to receive close to 42 million visitors. It is also ranked first with regards to international tourist arrivals with the number estimated at 17 million visitors. The city as well as its region is known for a number of historical monuments that are key tourist attractions with four of these having been listed among the UNESCO world heritage sites. This is enough evidence that Paris is a great city to tour not just as a tourist but also for holidays for an experience that is unforgettable.  Some of the popular attractions in Paris include Basilique du Sacre Coeur, the Lourve, Notre Dame de Paris, the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triompe and Champs-Elysees and Musee d’Orsay.

The other famous attraction in Paris is the Notre Dame de Paris that means Our Lady of Paris. The cathedral is synonymous with French Gothic architecture that is, stained glass windows that are beautiful as well as dramatic spires and towers. Moreover, it has regained ill repute for being home to Disney’s Hunchback. What captivates visitors most is the intricate art, a magnificent panoramic view of Paris as well stone gargoyles. The Notre Dame Cathedral is said to have been completed over a period of close to two hundred years.

Another attraction  that you cannot miss to see include the Louver, that guarantees you travel through ages as you get to explore antiquities and art work that dates back to centuries ago by walking into one of the few museums in the world that is not only the largest and oldest but also fascinating. This museum which was at one time a royal palace is a historical landmark that houses a number of not just amazing but also acclaimed proof of brilliance in art like Mona Lisa by Da Vinci, Dying slave by Michelangelo as well as Venus de Milo, a famed Greek sculpture. The Louvre also presents an opportunity to tour Mesopotamia in ancient Egypt and the middle ages and also experience the awakening of Italian Renaissance expressed through art. Other attractions worth exploring at the Louvre include the Ottoman period as well as various styles that are representative of the French Revolution. The Louvre presents an opportunity to listen to history speak strength, perseverance and love as seen through ages.

The other place in Paris that is worth visiting is the Champs-Elysees and Arc de Triomphe. This is especially ideal for people who consider relaxed holidays as they can stroll through these undoubtedly beautiful and glamorous avenues. Movie lovers may also consider enjoying popping in at the cinema or the specialty shops and end up at the café for rich delicacies. Visitors are usually advised to take time in order to make the most of what Champs-Elysees offers before ending the tour with Arc de Triomphe an architectural piece crowning crossroads totaling twelve avenues that was initiated by renowned Napoleon Bonaparte being a tribute to not only military prowess but also achievements. This monument has the names of the commanding generals of Napoleon besides housing Tomb of Unknown Soldier that is a 1920 addition. While atop this Arc, visitors are treated to breathtaking sights as well as the opportunity to discover other attractions that are also popular.

Also worth mentioning is the Sacre-Coeur, a grandiose basilica from the 19th century that is magnificently located at the highest point of the city of Paris. This basilica which is located within the Montmartre district adopted the Roman-Byzantyne technique and is regarded as the centre of art. Your holidays in Paris will be incomplete without travel to the magnificent Eiffel tower that is in fact France’s global icon. The Eiffel tower also the tallest structure in Paris standing at just over one thousand meters and is visited most offering millions of visitors that opportunity to go up each year. Even then, in order to make your visit to Paris exciting, you need to find out more about Paris prior to your visit. The internet is a great resource and you can be sure to find all the information you need in order to prepare adequately for your trip.

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Vienna

ViennaThere are a number of tourist destinations around the world some of which can only be explored by people who have a made it a habit to tour different countries for holidays. One of the amazing tourist destinations is Vienna, the capital city of Austria. This is mainly because of the numerous attractions and places that offer an amazing experience to visitors of all ages and descent. The first irresistible place in Vienna is the Café central that is an esteemed coffee house. Café central is in fact famous among authors and other intellectuals like Theodor Herzl, Peter Altenberg, Hugo Von Hofmannsthal, Egon Friedell, Adolf Loos, Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky who would hold meetings here and discuss subjects such as philosophy, politics and economics among others. The café’s long history, famous patrons and the beautiful atmosphere have made Café Central a place that every tourist must consider visiting and is thus recommended by the stakeholders in the tourism industry. This is despite the fact that the original Café Central was located in a different section of the building known as Palais Ferstel that was closed at the end of the Second World War.  The café thus has a number of informative signs bearing the images of the celebrities of the old even though they did not sit at any of the tables in reality. Even then, the café has embraced impressive architecture and the drinks and food served hear is mouth watering. You can also get to experience Viennesse Coffee that guarantees you fresh authentic coffee.

The second place that most tourists explore while in Vienna is the Viennese cuisine. The traditional wine tavern also known as Heurige makes the experience worth while. Even then, it is Grinzing which is a combination of Heurige within the vineyards that overlook Vienna that are the main Viennese attraction. In fact, the experience is more rewarding compared to what you get after jostling among Japanese tourists. There are quite a number of Heurige within Austria’s Wine Quarter, Hagenbrunn and even Stammersdorf as well as the town of Perchtoldsdorf. All these locations are within reach by tourists. Another treat for the visitors who travel to Vienna are the Lipizzaner horse shows, an initiative of the Spanish riding school that was instituted in 1572. The school is considered to be one of the most prestigious as well as oldest the world over. Also notable is the Baroque architecture that is strategically nestledin the Hofburg palace that attracts visitors. This is in addition to the Lipizzan horses. However, you will not view these artistry and the horses for free as a fee of about one hundred and seventy three Euros is charged for each performance. Should you be interested in an up close and personal experience with the horses you will need to pay and additional twelve Euros while those desiring to explore the stables for a guided tour will need a combo ticket.

The other place that every tourist needs to consider visiting in Vienna is the famous Sacher hotel. This hotel is known for a world famous dessert that comprises dual sheets of chocolate cake that is separated by another sheet of apricot jam at the centre and is covered in a chocolate glaze that is dark. It is thus Hotel Sacher that has the right to the Sachertorte hence it is abit costly. Even then, there are a few other hotels that sell Sachertorte that is equally mouth watering. Vienna is also known for its numerous souvenir shops besides the sights and sounds. One of the best ways of remembering your holidays experience in Vienna is by purchasing a keepsake that would depend on your experiences. The good news is that there are numerous souvenir shops that offer a wide range of items that accommodate everyone. It is important to ensure that the souvenir items that you select are not cheaply made Chinese products but real Austrian antiques. You could also these memorabilia outside Vienna.

Ultimately, it is true that if you travel to Vienna for holidays and are not the disciplined type when it comes to finances, chances are that you will spend a lot of money on items you will later realize that you do not need. It is therefore advisable that you prepare for your visit to Vienna adequately by preparing a detailed itinerary of your trip. You may also need to find out about the various interesting places in Vienna to enable you to budget adequately. Most importantly, ensure that you take not of any activities that will require you to pay a designated fee so that you do not limit yourself on the activities that you can engage in as well as the places you can visit. You could also look at working with a tour company that will ensure you make the most out of your trip.

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Helsinki

Helsinki FinlandHelsinki is Finland’s largest and capital city with a population of at least 500,000 people. It is considered Finland’s cultural center. The Helsinki-Vantaa Airport connects a number of destinations in Asia and Europe and this makes it an ideal place for holidays for people residing in these continents. However, this does not mean that the airport locks out people from other regions or continents that want to tour or explore Helsinki.

The city derives its name from the Swedish name Helsingfors, a combination of two words (Helsinge – the surrounding parish) and (fors – the rapids). There are still many theories surrounding the origin of this name and they could go on and on. Nevertheless, what is important is the fact that this is a vital city and it has been in the records as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991. Helsinki is praised for its richness in the number of islands, peninsulas and bays and could provide an excellent experience for any holidaymaker or visitor. When you explore Helsinki, you will admire a scenic display of patches of forest. Some visitors claim that the Helsinki Central Park is just irresistible; they can not leave the city without taking much of their time in the park. One tourist wished the park would be transported to her neighbourhood back at home.

When you travel to Helsinki, you could consider making a tour to its rich islands such as:

  • Lauttasaari island
  • Korkeasaari island
  • Santahamina island
  • Seurasaari island
  • Pihlajasaari island


These islands are favourite spots during summer. Helsinki and its islands receive a considerable number of visitors during summer as a result of the prevailing humid continental climate. It is also reported that the city experiences long days in summer and this means that you can have all enjoy all the sun rays and warm climate as you please.
Apart from the islands, the city itself is a beauty to behold. Some of the most fascinating buildings and sites include:

  • The Aleksanterinkatu
  • The Helsinki Cathedral
  • The parliament of Finland
  • Kaisaniemenlahti
  • Café Regatta near Sibelius Park
  • The Senate Square
  • The Government Palace
  • The Stora Enso, the headquarters of the paper company
  • Finlandia Hall, the concert venue
  • The Tennis Palace
  • Olympic Stadium
  • The Swimming Stadium
  • Glass Palace
  • The Rowing Stadium
  • The Helsinki-Malmi Airport
  • The Exhibition Hall

All these sites and buildings are demonstrations of the architectural ingenuity and innovativeness that can not be found anywhere else except in Helsinki, Finland. In fact the Helsinki-Malmi Airport and Olympic Stadium have been recognized as important national cultural-historical environments by the National Board of Antiquities.

Helsinki is endowed with museums which are home to a wide range historical collection some of which date as far back as the prehistoric times. They include:

  • The National Museum of Finland
  • The Helsinki City Museum
  • The UNIVERSITY MUSEUM, University of Helsinki
  • The Natural History Museum, University of Helsinki
  • The Kiasma Art Museum for classical modern art
  • The Sinebrychoff Art Museum for classical European art
  • The Ateneum Art Museum for classical Finnish art

In case you are not a fan of museums and galleries, you can take a tour of Helsinki’s theatres and the most popular theatres are: the Helsinki City Theatre, the Finnish National Theatre and the Finland Swedish Svenska Teatern. They will offer you the best experience that you have ever had in your life. While it is good to spend most of your time outdoors, it is also vital to give yourself a break so that you can be witness to what happens in Helsinki’s theatres and musical venues. Some visitors arrive there with the assumption that theatres and musical venues across the globe offer presentations and renditions that are not any different from what they have in their respective countries. You know what they say, “He who has eaten his mother’s food all his life might think that his mother is the best cook in the whole wide world.” If you give it a chance, you will be shocked at how different theatres are in Helsinki.

Whenever you choose to explore Helsinki and its attractions, do not just focus on the recreational, buildings and other attractions. Remember that people are usually the best attractions that you can ever have. Interact with the locals in Helsinki and discover the ideas that they have. The best time you can interact and mingle with the locals is in August when they are having their Helsinki Festival. This event is held with the aim of celebrating the city’s culture and body of arts.

Finally, the city’s well developed transport network makes mobility of visitors to their respective destinations of choice faster and easy. Helsinki is a city of choice and a city visitors and locals.

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Lisbon

LisbonIf it has never crossed your mind to explore Lisbon, Portugal’s largest and capital city, it is high time you scheduled a tour of Lisbon in your diary. It is estimated that this city has a population of 3 million and has been rated as the 9th most populous urban area in the European Union. It is strategically placed among the cities in Europe along the Atlantic coast and this has made it an excellent centre for tourism, arts, entertainment and international trade. As a result of its improved transport system, it has become the 7th most visited city in southern Europe. This has been made possible due to its well developed motorway network, the Lisbon Portela Airport as well as its high speed rail which connects major cities in Portugal.  There are plans to connect its high speed rail to Spain so that the city can be accessed easily and conveniently.

If you would like to travel to Rome, Istanbul, Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, or Athens, you can do so without any problem. Being the wealthiest city, it has become home to many headquarters of multinationals in Portugal and it is also the 9th city in the world which attracts international conferences.  Did you know that Lisbon is older than cities such as Paris, Rome and London? Despite the fact that Lisbon has never been declared officially as the capital city of Portugal, it still remains a force to reckon with not only in Portugal and Europe but also across the globe. People throughout the world would love to experience the climate, art, entertainment and culture of Lisbon. Even people who have aspirations of venturing into the business world need to consider making numerous tours of this city so that they can see immense opportunities that are hidden along the Atlantic coast.

It is a good place for your holidays too because of the various sites such as Jeronimos Monastery, Belem Towers. Most visitors come mainly to experience Lisbon’s Mediterranean climate whose summers take about 6 months. It is also known for its warm to hot summers as well as mild winters. Since rains are common in winters, summers are usually dry. If you would like to explore a city in Europe that would guarantee you sunshine hours that range between 4.6 hours and 11.6 hours per day in December and July respectively, then Lisbon is the place to be. Does it deserve mention that Lisbon has the warmest winters among all the metropolises in Europe? You can not help spending part of your time at the beautiful Parque Florestal de Monsanto (English:  Monsanto Forest Park) which takes 10% of Lisbon’s municipality.

As you tour the city’s urban area, you will not hesitate to marvel at its wide range of architecture such as Baroque, Romanesque, Gothic as well as Manueline. You will also not consider it a waste of time and resources spending your holidays in Lisbon because of its remarkable Museums such as

It is almost impossible to exhaust every treasure that Lisbon keeps in its wings. On the southern bank of Tagus River in Amada is a monument to Cristo Rei (Christ the King) whcih was constructed after World War II. It was a sign of thanksgiving since Portugal had been able to survive the ravages of World War II. When your holidays coincide with June 13, you will be able to share in Lisbon’s holiday on which Santo Antonio (saint Antony of Lisbon) is honored for spending the better part of his life preaching to the poor.

Some people particularly want to explore the following places:

  • Fountain in Don IV square, the second largest park in Lisbon
  • Alcantara, a district that is composed of palaces and farms and other old buildings. The youth love the district due to its numerous pubs and discotheques.
  • Alfama, a district that comprises old houses, restaurants and bars.

Lisbon’s panoramic view from the top of Sanctuary Christ the King is breathtaking. You may also consider standing atop Vasco da Gama Tower and viewing the Vasco da Gama Bridge. It is a beauty to behold!

You need to make a date with Lisbon so that you can explore, experience and tour every corner of this city. You will discover how much you have missed.

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Split

Split in CroatiaSplit – Croatia’s southern Capital

Many people have tried their level best explain why Croatia’s second largest city is called Split. This city is located on the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea. It has gained prominence and popularity due to its strategic location. It is a popular tourist destination links that the Apennine peninsula and Adriatic Islands. Most people are beginning to slot into their budgets plans to tour and spend their holidays in Split. They would like to see and experience for themselves what split, one of the oldest cities in the region can offer to a curious mind.

Research indicates that this ancient city derived its name from a type of shrub called spiny broom. However, when it came under the Romans, they called it Spalatum which later evolved into Split. People who claim that the word split was derived from the Latin word ‘palatium’ (palace) are not accurate in their assertion. Although the Diocletian Palace is a central architectural feature, it had nothing to do with the city’s naming. Some of these controversies are igniting people’s curiosity to want to explore every nook of Split in order to ascertain the truth.

They do not want to merely sit back and wait for people to come up with their own versions of stories and fabrications. Perhaps you have only seen the Diocletian’s Palace in photos but you have never seen it at close quarters. If you choose to make a tour at Split, you will no doubt be able to touch, feel and experience the culture and many other older buildings in this ancient city. It is reported that historic sites at Split entered the UNESCO World Heritage Sites way back in 1979. Since then it has remained one of Croatia’s main centres of culture. When you travel across the city, you will not fail to catch a glimpse of the Cathedral of Saint Dominus as well as the statue of bishop Gregory of Nin.

Split is also known for its amazing galleries and museums such as:

  • The Archaeological Museum
  • The Solin Museum
  • The Narona Collections
  • The Issa Collections
  • The Split Archaeological Museum

You will particularly love the Split Archaeological Museum, the oldest museum in Croatia. It is estimated that this museum has over 100,000 artefacts which date from the prehistoric era, Greek era, early Christian era. Below is a list of the most popular artefacts at:

a). The Split Archaeological Museum

  • Ancient clay lamps
  • Bone and metal articles
  • Gems collections
  • Collections of stone inscriptions from Salona
  • Ceramic objects
  • Roman glass
  • Collection of Ancient coins
  • Collection of Medieval coins
  • Collection of submarine collection
  • A well equipped archive library

b). The Split City of Croatian Archaeological Monuments

  • Weapons
  • Domestic items
  • Jewellery
  • Stone artefacts of the old Croatian church
  • Clay figurines
  • Early mediaeval wicker
  • Old Croatian Latin epigraphic

c). The Croatia Maritime Museum

  • collection of ship models
  • collection of navigation equipment
  • collection of weapons
  • collection of uniforms and equipment
  • collection of marine equipment and supplies
  • Collection of medals.
  • Naval and maritime history
  • The history of the Slavs

These museums’ eclectic collection of artefacts mirrors the rich culture as well as artistic expressions of Croats. It will be prudent to start saving right now so that you can explore these museums and galleries.  When you leave Split, your life will never be the same again. It does not matter whether you are a student, scholar, journalist or a mere tourist. Doors and arms of Split and its people are wide open to people of all walks of life. You are guaranteed an experience of a lifetime which will remain in your mental diary for a long time. Did you know that the Split City Museum houses the Emanuel Vidovic Gallery? This special gallery was initiated in honour of a special painter of Split in the 20th century.

As you finalize your holidays, you could also take time see Split’s galleries such as

  • The Gallery of Fine Arts which displays various sculptures and paintings of famous Croatian artists.
  • The Ivan Mestrovic Gallery which displays different drawings, architecture, design, sculpture and furniture.

Split has a history and reputation for music and it has one the most influential musicians and their music.

Finally, summers are usually busy with cultural activities during the Split Musical Festival. These festivals are usually followed closely by the Split Summer Theatre Festivals which brings together different people within Split to showcase their talent. Some of these annual festivals have produced amazing talents (such as Josip Hatze, Zdenko Runjik, Daleka Obala, Jelena Rozga and many more) for the country and the world. Split is evidently not a slouch in sports because of the conspicuous presence of the Poljud Stadium and Spaladium Arena. Some more information on Split at Wikipedia.

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Ankara

Ankara – a Treasure Trove of Ancient Architecture

Ankara in TurkeyA bit more humble in population and geographical stature than the luxurious city of Istanbul, Ankara is Turkey’s capital and second largest city. The city of Ankara is advantageously positioned in the centre of Turkey’s notable transportation grid and functions as marketing central for neighbouring agricultural regions. Not only is it considered a key point for active commerce supporting such items as wine, flour, leather goods and carpets, it is additionally home to the world famous Angora cat, Angora goats (mohair) and Angora rabbits (prized wool). This map of Turkey shows the region and city clearly.

The ancient city of Ankara is rich with archaeological sites given its 5000 years of history. The oldest part of the city, the citadel, dates back before the times of the Romans. Anyone sightseeing in Ankara will discover a great deal of ancient architecture and traditional Turkish accommodations along with some of the finest restaurants in the world.

Ankara is an old city with a variety of interesting archaeological sites to explore. A hill that looks over the city is topped by ancient castle ruins, which only embellishes the panoramic vista. Even though there are only a few significant ruins that have survived around the old citadel, there are several well-preserved ancient remains in other areas throughout the city.

Other archaeological sites to tour:

Temple of Augustus and Rome – Also referred to as the Monumentum Ancyranum, was built sometime between the 25 BC – 20 BC period after the establishment of the Roman province of Galatia and the Roman Empire’s overthrow of Central Anatolia.

Column of Julian – Currently in the Ulus district, the Column of Julian (or Julianus) was constructed to celebrate and pay homage to the Great Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate’s trip to Ancyra (modern day Ankara) in 362.

Roman Bath – The Roman bath was created while Emperor Caracalla reigned to honor the God of Medicine, known as Asclepius, in 3rd century AD. The bath consists of a hot room (Caldarium), warm room (Tepidarium), and a cold room (Frigidarium), which was entered after the Caldarium and Tepidarium to open the pores of the skin. It is a traditional Roman bath with all the classic elements and is located in the Ulus quarter. Only the first floors and basement exist today.

Ankara’s predominant and most awe-inspiring place to worship is the glorious, exquisite, and extremely provocative Kocatepe Mosque. Viewing pictures of Kocatepe Mosque simply do not compare to standing in front of the incredibly wondrous structure in person and looking upon its grace and beauty for the first time. Essentially, there are no words to accurately describe it.

Several more mosques that are notable and worth visiting in and around Ankara for tourists to visit as archaeological attractions:

Ahi Elvan Mosque – This particular mosque was intricately carved from walnut and built by the ahi leader Ahi Elvan Mehmet Bey in the year 1382.

The Alaadin Mosque – Erected by Muhiddin Mesut in 1178 inside Ankara Castle, it was renamed the Alaeddin Mosque while it was restored during the Alaeddin Keykubat years. Additionally, revealed inside the mosque’s garden, are interesting architectural relics and calligraphies from the Byzantine and Roman periods.

Yeni Mosque – the well-renowned architect Sinan constructed this opulent mosque, sometime during the 16th century. The prayer niche and pulpit are fashioned of luxurious white marble, and the mosque itself is made of Ankara stone, both examples of very skilled artistry.

Haci Bayram Mosque – The mosque is found in the Ulus area of Ankara adjacent to the Augustus temple. The mosque, as it is seen today, reveals traits of the late 17th and 18th century mosques and was built by an unknown architect in the early 15th century.

Check this wiki page for more info.

Other attractions and sights of Ankara

Ankara is proud to host the Turkish State Opera and Ballet, which offers Ankara three key venues including the Leyla Gencer Sahnesi, the Ankara Opera House and Operet Sahnesi – all of which provide a steady stream of original and creative performances. Ankara additionally features five professional classical orchestras, four concert halls, and an array of annual festivals comprised of theatre, music and cinema.

Folk traditions are also exhibited and observed regularly in restaurants, bars, small theatres and student venues. This part of Ankara is readily exposed while meandering along the energetic and pulsating streets after dark, and is exactly where one should venture to get a real taste of the city.

Ankara’s lively restaurants are additionally teeming with Turkish culinary pleasures including a distinct fondness for fresh and tasty fish dishes. Along with sampling succulent seafood cuisine, experience classical Turkish music along the way.

Coupled with Ankara’s rich culinary delights, lies the world of shopping that is diverse as the dining, including a first-rate selection of street-style shops, modern malls, local markets and bazaars. For a more earthy atmosphere and affordability, head for the markets where haggling and negotiating for better prices is the norm. The most interesting shopping begins at the Castle area where a centuries-old trading center is situated sprinkled with exquisite local stores that offer authentic Turkish rugs, antiques and leather goods as well. A good map of Ankara is a must when travelling through this wonderful city

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SouthWest Airlines

Southwest Airlines a cheap and affordable carrier

southwest airlinesSouthwest Airlines is the largest airline in the United States based on the amount of passengers that it carries per year. This budget airline has been going strong since 1967, at present it offers over 3,300 flights a day to over 97 different destinations. In 2012 it purchased AirTran Airways, full integration between the two companies will take a number of years, but it has really increased the amount of destinations that you are able to travel to on Southwest Airlines.

Southwest Airlines first flight was on June 18th 1971, it offered transport on its original three aircraft between various destinations in Texas including Houston, San Antonio and Dallas. During this time the company adopted a policy of employing only sexier stewardesses on their flights. They were each dressed in hot pants, which was of course very unique in the airline industry.

Southwest Airlines made a loss in the financial year of 1971 to 1972, this resulted in the sale of one of their aircraft. This meant that planes needed to be on the ground for much shorter time periods in order to continue their normal scheduled services. This is where the phrase ’10 minute turn’ came into action, which of course means a quick turn around after the aircraft has landed.

Southwest Airlines was one of the first airlines to establish an internet presence, their website was launched in March 1995, originally you could only view flight schedules, but now you can purchase tickets from Southwest through the website, in fact over 70% of bookings now come through the website so it is a major source of revenue for Southwest Airlines.

Over the years Southwest have acquired a number of different providers including Muse Air, Morris Air and ATA Airlines. This has helped expand their portfolio if the amount of destinations that they are able to fly too. Further destinations were added after replacement of the wright amendment.

There are a lot of destinations that Southwest Airlines fly to, they do not offer transport hubs as such and generally fly from destination to destination, which of course allowed them to fly to other destinations. Major destinations serviced include Orlando, Kansas City and Las Vegas. Since the acquisition of AirTran there are a select number of flights being offered to Mexico and the Caribbean.

There is a frequent flier programme as well as in flight wi-fi on most flights. This means that Southwest Airlines is the perfect solution for business users. The cabins are also fairly comfortable which makes transport between destinations a breeze. It is no wonder that Southwest Airlines are the first choice of many people out there.

If you are looking for cheap Southwest Airlines tickets there are plenty of websites out there on the internet that will be able to you. Remember, just because you are flying budget does mean that you need to sacrifice comfort on your flight, Southwest Airlines does not sacrifice comfort.

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Sun Country Airlines

Sun Country Airlines is the trading name of MN Airlines. They are based in Minneapolis. They offer budget flights within the United States as well as destinations further afield such as the United Kingdom. Their main hub is at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport and have three focus cities; Dallas International Airport, Capital Region International Airport and Cancun International Airport. They did file for bankruptcy in 2008 but is still offering regular passenger service as of 2012.

sun country airlines

After rapid expansion the company entered bankruptcy in 2001, during this time it lost nearly all of its 727 aircraft as well as other aircraft models, it did however retain its operating certificate. Sun Country Airlines emerged from the ashes of its bankruptcy soon after and began rebuilding its fleet albeit at a slower pace than before. In 2008 it started having a bit of trouble, many of the summer schedule was cancelled with pilots being placed on leave. In 2009 it made a small profit of $1,000,000 and started to repay its loans.

Sun Country Airlines fly to over 32 destinations worldwide. This includes service of London Gatwick Airport, which is located around 25 miles outside of London. Other destinations can be found in the Caribbean where they fly to countries such as Jamaica, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. Many of their destinations are seasonal destinations and only 11 of their destinations are serviced year round. Internal flights take you to states such as Alaska, California, New York and Nevada.

The company currently have 14 aircraft in their fleet, a far cry from their rapid expansion heyday, although they do plan on adding numerous aircraft in the future to service a number of new destinations.

Food and beverages on board are not included in the ticket price. No matter where you fly you will have to purchase some of the things that you consume. This of course accounts for why the ticket prices on some of their flights are incredibly cheap. First Class and Economy are included on every flight, which of course makes it ideal for business users.

Sun Country Airlines also have a fairly good reward program. It is known as the ‘Sun Country VIP Club’. You can get some extra cheap deals when you are a member of this program and can get much cheaper ticket prices than any other airlines for the destinations that they travel to.

Sun Country Airlines also offer Sun Country Airlines in order to increase their chances of making money. You can buy your hotels, transport and any other things in a single transaction, which can of course put savings in the customers pocket as well as earning Sun Country Airlines a bit of extra money.  In the future you will also be able to book hertz car rental in the same transaction.

If you are looking for cheap flights to overseas destinations then you should look no further than making a booking through Sun Country Airlines, particularly if you want to fly to England. You should be able to find cheap tickets on the internet.

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Travel Reykjavik

the city of ReykjavikReykjavik is the capital city of Iceland. For this very reason many people travel to this place every year from all over the world. The city is vast but many of the tourist opportunities can be found in one central location. You will be amazed at the beauty of the rather modern houses, you really will experience the Scandinavian way of life when you visit.

Travel to Reykjavik is fairly simple, although for a large capital city the airport is located quite a way out of town. You will be looking for flights that head to Keflavik International Airport, this is around 50km from the city. You should be able to grab a bus to the city from here. The bus ride will take around 45 minutes and takes you to the city centre.

Once in Reykjavik you will most likely want to stay within the city centre where most hotels are located, you should be able to tackle everything on foot. Although if you want to head slightly further away and travel to different places then the bus system is fairly reliable. You can also hire a car, although if you are not heading outside of Reykjavik this isn’t a necessity. It is vital if you want to visit other places in Iceland during your stay however.

The buildings of the city are very colourful due to the lack of planning that has gone into them. Many of the buildings are actually fairly old structures that have been covered by coloured sheet metal. The houses of people actually make a rather wonderful tourist attraction. There are a number of highlights however. The first is the Alþingi which is the government building or the old one at least. I suggest checking this out, although tours at this time are not possible. Don’t forget to make space to visit the Cathedral and the City Hall, both are architectural wonders in their own right. I suggest heading the Perlan. This place is a viewing platform that offers delightful views over the city. At certain times of the year you may also find ‘The Peace Tower’ turned on. This tower was created by Yoko Ono as a lasting tribute to John Lennon.

There are many museums throughout the city suiting nearly every interest. One particular highlight is the national museum of Iceland. I also suggest paying a visit to the Reykjavik Museum of Photography for a slightly different experience.

Boats regularly leave from the city to take you on Whale Watching tours, this is an experience you will not be able to find in most other countries in the world. This is the top of the list of ‘must do’ whilst in the city. There is also a zoo to visit if you have a number of young children that you wish to keep entertained.

You shouldn’t be short of places to eat or drink, Reykjavik is full of them and there won’t be far to travel to reach either from your hotel.

Reykjavik in Iceland may not be top of the list for most people to travel to in their lifetimes. Those that do however get to experience how unique and beautiful this city is. Many return time and time and again to take in all the wonders.

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Oslo Northern Culture

Oslo

Oslo by nightMany people seem to overlook the Scandinavian countries for a holiday, however this area is absolutely packed full of fantastic things to do, in fact these countries are some of the most beautiful in the world. If you have yet to visit the Capital City of Norway then I suggest you travel to Oslo now and experience various wonders that can only be found in this city.

Norway is a fairly large country, the population is also incredibly sparse. Despite being a capital city Oslo retains a great deal of ‘quaintness’ often associated with much smaller places. If you travel here you will able to experience a quiet and relaxing holiday with not many people around whilst having all the benefits of a major city right at your fingertips.

The popular misconception is that Scandinavian countries are al cost constantly cold, whilst this may be true in the winter months during the rest of the year Oslo temperatures in Oslo can become rather high.  Rainfall in this area is higher than other places however so do not expect the type of vacation where you can hang out whilst soaking in the rays.

The architecture within Oslo is some of the most diverse in Norway. You have a subtle blend of both original 19th Century buildings coupled with more modern affairs. A quick walk through any part of town will subject you to some of the most beautiful buildings that you would have seen in your life. It isn’t all about the city buildings however, Oslo boasts four open green spaces which you can kick back and relax in should the city life become too much.

Due to being the capital city of Oslo the government are located right in the heart of the city. You can visit their grouped offices called ‘Regjeringskvartalet’ close to their main parliamentary buildings. Norwegians are also fairly proud of their royal heritage, the royal palace can also be found located within the city walls.

For the tourist travelling to Oslo it is incredibly easy to move around, many of the major tourist destinations can be reached on foot whilst slightly more out of the way places can be reached by a well-run transport system. There are Bus Links to almost everywhere in Norway with a few select routes also taking passengers to the countries of Sweden or Denmark located close by.

Oslo is a cultural centre. It is packed to the brim with art galleries and museums for the budding tourist to spend day whiling away in. One of the most popular highlights is the ‘Munch Museum’ where the world famous painting ‘The Scream’ is located, this particular piece of artwork is worth the trip alone. In the evening you have a variety of night clubs and sports venues to spend the time in.

If you are looking for a vacation in an area that most people seem to give a skip then I suggest travelling to Oslo. Within just a few hours you will be able to experience the beauty of this capital city located right in the heart of Norway.

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A Trip to Copenhagen

Lovely CopenhagenResearch conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has discovered that Denmark contains some of the happiest people on earth. Why, you ask? Plan a trip to the largest city in Denmark and find out! Copenhagen, which is also the capital of Denmark, has been described by tourists as laid back, contemporary and pleasantly enticing. This enchanting city offers tourists a large variety of activities, including tourist friendly bars, restaurants, an abundant array of sightseeing options and a rich history to explore – one museum at a time.

Many who research Copenhagen already know about the famous statue of The Little Mermaid, which is based on a story written by an acclaimed local fairy tale writer and poet, Hans Christian Andersen. The statue is relatively small in size and is located on the harbour in the capital. Sculpted by Edvard Eriksen, this icon was first erected in 1913. This praised landmark stands at a little over four feet tall and weighs 386 lbs.

A canal tour is a tourist favourite at Copenhagen’s Nyhavn district, with companies such as DFDS Canal Tours offering daily tours of the harbour and various canals. Private tours are available at a higher price as well. Visitors enjoy the casual yet mesmerizing atmosphere as they soak in the charming views the city has to offer. Jazz cruises, wine-and-dine cruises, operetta boats and grand tours are just some of the various genres of tours available to foreigners looking for a unique experience on the waters in the Copenhagen district.

Frederick’s Church, also known as The Marble Church, is a 1740 must see. Originally designed by the Danish architect Nicolai Eigtved, its dome is supported by 12 columns. Reopened during 1894 after political turmoil, it’s current design is the work of Ferdinand Meldahi.  Inscribed above the colossal columns is the sentence, “the word of the Lord endureth forever.”

If you are looking for unconventionally-styled architecture, look no further than the Palads Cinemas, where you can marvel at the odd but whimsical colors of the building before choosing a movie or live event from the large selection of entertainment this cinema provides. Containing seventeen different halls, this popular selection among tourists is able to show 3D movies and holds a number of various ballet and sporting events. They even have genres catering to small children and other younger age groups. If you are looking for fun for the whole family, you will find it at Palads Cinemas.

For a bustling and lively shopping experience, head on over to the shopping centre at Stroget. This Copenhagen shopping street includes five streets of various tourist shops, clothing stores and other small shops. While strolling down these vivacious streets, music will fill your ears from the sounds of street musicians who regularly play at this shopping centre.

If most of your trip in Copenhagen is by foot, you will have a more pleasant experience with a detailed map of Copenhagen that lists the various museums, shops, and tourist attractions. It is a city where there is something for everyone if you know where to look.

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Vatican City

Travelling to Vatican City

Vatican CityThe country of Italy has been one of the most popular tourist and sightseeing destinations for hundreds of years. The country is home to vast collections of art, a large number of historical museums and sites, and a wide variety of beautiful geographical landmarks. There’s hardly a city or village in all of Italy that doesn’t have a historical statue, cathedral, or museum. One of the most historical and oft-visited locations in Italy is found in the capital city of Rome: the Vatican City. The Vatican is a landlocked, walled, sovereign city-state within the city of Rome. Not many people live within the true boundaries of the Vatican City—just over 800—and as the smallest independent state in the world, it takes up only about 110 acres of land. It was established in 1929 on behalf of Pope Pius XI, who was an outspoken critic of capitalistic greed. The Vatican City is an ecclesiastical state that is governed by the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) and other Catholic clergymen of varying national origins..

The Vatican will appear on a map of Rome as a tiny, walled city. Despite its very small size, the Vatican has a transport network that is fairly well developed. Visitors can make their way around the buildings by way of a beautiful plaza and well-kept walkways. There are, understandably, no true airports within the walls of the Vatican City, so it is mainly served by the main airports of Rome itself. It isn’t all about historical artefacts and religious importance though—the Vatican does have a modern telephone system, a pharmacy, and a post office. In fact, some believe that the Vatican’s postal service is the best in the world! Furthermore, broadband Internet service is provided throughout most of the Vatican. A multilingual newspaper, the Vatican Radio, and the Vatican Television Centre all contribute to the unique culture of the Vatican City. Although these organizations are technically part of the Holy See, they still add to the environment of the holy Vatican City

The Vatican City gets its money from the museums within its walls as well as the post office—the revenue from selling stamps, coins, museum tickets, and tourist souvenirs can add up quickly. Some workers also work in the industries of printing, making mosaics, and making staff uniforms. There’s also a bank within the city—the Vatican Bank—that works with customers all around the world. If you want to see an ATM that has instructions in Latin, you should head to the Vatican Bank today. It’s possibly the only ATM like it in the world. Vatican City also makes its own coins, but not euro banknotes. The country has had a special agreement with the European Union since 1999 and has used euros ever since, but since the issuance of euro coins is strictly limited, the Vatican doesn’t participate in that industry. The Vatican employs almost 2,000 people but had a deficit of more than 15 million euros in the year 2008. In fact, the Vatican City is now included on a list of countries at risk for money-laundering.

The City is home to a range of incredibly famous art. St. Peter’s Basilica not only houses art by Raphael and Fra Angelico (among others), but also has seen architects like Bramante, Michelangelo, Giacomo della Porta, and Bernini. The famed Sistine Chapel, found in the Apostolic Palace where the Pope lives, is home to many beautiful frescos, including works by Perugino, Botticelli, and, of course – Michelangelo. On a map of Vatican City, the Apostolic Palace is right in the centre. The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was painted by Michelangelo in the early 1500s. The frescos on the ceiling—and especially the piece known as The Last Judgement—are widely believed to be the best painting work of Michelangelo’s career. The Last Judgement is a massive work that takes up the whole wall behind the altar in the Sistine Chapel. Although it is now hailed as a classic piece of art, when Michelangelo first painted it, he was accused of not being appropriate and of putting his personal style over “appropriate” depictions of the scripture.

As mentioned previously, this enchanting city is home to a little over 800 true citizens. Almost all of the citizens either live inside the actual Vatican or serve in diplomatic services in embassies throughout the world. Most of these citizens are either clergymen, officials of the state, or members of the Swiss Guard. Although there are many nationalities represented in the citizenship of the Vatican, all citizens have one thing in common: their religion. All Vatican citizens are Catholic, as are all the churches within its walls. Citizenship in Vatican City is based on the appointment to work in a certain capacity, as opposed to citizenship in other countries, which is normally based on birth from a citizen. That means when a Vatican citizen’s special assignment or appointment ends, so does their citizenship to Vatican City. There is no official language in the Vatican, but all official communications coming from the city are in Italian (unlike the Holy See, which only uses Latin).

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Travelling to Zagreb, Croatia

Zagreb CroatiaIn 1094, two Hungarian villages emerged in the area that today comprises Zagreb. After surviving destruction by Mongol invaders 150 years later, and an ongoing rivalry between the two settlements, the two villages finally united as one in the face of invasion by the Turks. By the 16th century, the two were being commonly referred to as Zagreb, and the sabor—the Croatian parliamentary body that still exists today—had been formed. During this time, Zagreb began to be considered as the “capital” of the surrounding land, and by the early 17th century, Croatian viceroys were ruling with the city as their seat of power. After a lengthy period of hardship during the 17th and 18th centuries, Zagreb once again became the dominant city in the region in the 1800s. During this time the city welcomed new technology such as rail roads, plumbing, and gasworks. When the area was a part of Yugoslavia, Zagreb was second only to Belgrade in population. When Croatia declared independence in 1991, Zagreb was made the capital.

Today, Zagreb is home to a rich history and cultural heritage, and the city hosts plenty of museums, galleries, performance halls, and a thriving café society. Nearly 700,000 people live in the city as of current, with over 1.1 million living in the wider Zagreb metropolitan area. To travel to the city nowadays, flights are available from all the major cities of Europe. Croatia Airlines offers flights from most Western and Eastern European countries, as well as Russia and Israel. As the capital of the country, Zagreb is well connected to nearby population centres by both bus and train as well. Bus service is available from Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Switzerland. Short flights, train routes, and bus services are available from Zagreb to the country’s other population centres as well, such as Pula, Split, Dubrovnik, and Zadar. To travel within the city, visitors can access the Zagreb Tram system, or the widespread bus service. Special tourist bus routes run through the city too.

Sightseeing is a popular pastime for visitors to Zagreb. The rich cultural history means that there are plenty of ancient monuments that can be enjoyed. Most tourists like to begin a tour of the city at Ban Jelacic Square. This square is home to two important sights. In the centre of the square stands a statue of Ban (Viceroy) Josip Jelacic, a national hero who led an uprising against the Hungarians in the mid-19th century. Also in the square is Mandusevac Fountain. While in the square, enjoy one of the many side-walk cafes for a relaxing meal or drink. Not far from the square stand the two Neo-Gothic spires of the Zagreb Cathedral. As with many European monuments, this cathedral has been continuously under refurbishment for centuries, with the oldest parts dating from the 1200s. The vibrant Dolac market is near the cathedral, where locals and visitors alike can purchase produce and craft items. The Stone Gate of Zagreb is another popular destination. With a mural of the Virgin Mary, the gate escaped destruction in an 18th century fire, and is now revered. Other ancient monuments to see include the Lotrscak Tower, the Presidential Palace, the Sabor, and St. Mark’s Church.

The city is also home to a number of museums that are likely to be of interest. These range from major institutions to more niche and quirky museums. The Museum of Contemporary Art is home to a selection of permanent modern art as well as revolving exhibitions. The Archaeological Museum has one of the largest collections of prehistoric artefacts in Europe, as well as pieces from Classical, Medieval, and Ancient Egyptian times. The Museum of Broken Relationships is a quirkier museum that features donated contemporary artefacts from all over the world, each with an accompanying story of how the piece relates to a bygone relationship. This museum has toured the world, including a lengthy stay in London, and won the European Museum Award in 2011 for most innovative museum. The Mimara Museum features the private collection of Ante Topic Mimara, a famous art collector and benefactor who was notorious for having apparently acquired many paintings illegally during the turbulent times of World War II. Works on display include pieces by painters such as Renoir, Degas, Manet, and Caravaggio.

Many excellent day trips are available with Zagreb as a starting point. As Zagreb is the capital of the country, routes originating in the city cover the countryside like spokes from the central hub of a wheel. Samobor is a popular destination, as it is a beautiful pastoral town that is located just 15 or so miles from Zagreb. By bus, a trip to Samobor takes only 30 minutes. The main square is a popular point to visit, and is full of side-walk cafes and eateries. The town is famous for making a custard cake that is popular throughout the country: samoborska kremsnita. Varazdin, to the north of Zagreb, is another excellent city to visit. During the hard times of the 17th and 18th centuries, this city was the capital of the region, and so has its own legacy of history and cultural heritage. Spancirfest, the country’s largest open-air festival, is held in Varazdin annually. A final popular day trip is to the Croatian coast of the Mediterranean. Coastal resorts such as Opatija, Novi Vindolski, and Krk are perfect destinations for overnight stays.  The official site for Zagreb is here

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Touring Kiev, Ukraine

kiev UkraineWhen you are planning your next travel destination, why not consider going to Kiev, Ukraine? With beautiful architecture and a rich and historical culture, Kiev may just be your new favourite vacation of all time. Kiev is the capital city of Ukraine and has a long and varied eastern European history. As you can see there, it is on the Dnieper river in the north central region of Ukraine. Kiev has a hot summer and cold winter climate. The temperatures range from 59 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, and between 17 and 28 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter – with an average chance of unseasonably warm or cold temperatures in both seasons. Kiev is very much an urban, industrialized city with lots of highly developed infrastructure and a fairly large population (estimated to be anywhere from 2.7 to 4 million inhabitants). The Kiev visitor website also says the city is famous for its very beautiful women.

Once you get to Kiev, there are many ways to get around the city. The most unusual, and – for many, most interesting – method of transportation is the funicular. This is a cross between a subway and a train that climbs almost vertically up the right bank of the Dnieper river. Taxi service is widely available in Kiev – however, this is a private system and is not very well regulated, so fares vary widely. There are also many private citizens that use their personal vehicles to provide this service. It would be an adventure, to say the least. There is no longer a riverboat transportation system in place in Kiev, but private pleasure boats are allowed. Bus transportation is highly suspect as crime is high on these and the schedules are rarely kept to. Private minibus transportation may occasionally be off schedule but are very safe and is a much quicker method of travel. There is a large network of railways throughout Kiev that is quite efficient and easy to use.

A multitude of beautiful sites and interesting views line the streets of Kiev. It is actually said that you can walk from one end of Kiev to the other without ever having to leave the shade of its trees. There are two lovely botanical gardens as well as numerous large and small parks for you to enjoy nature in. There is an outdoor museum called the “Museum of Folk Architecture and Life of Ukraine” that offers a small historical village and many fun activities for the family. Many events and festivals are planned throughout the year, and you are able to check with the Kiev visitor website for details on times and dates. Kiev has many beautiful and historical churches to visit. One of particular note is St. Michael’s Gold-Domed Monastery. As you may suspect from the name, there are some beautiful golden domes on the top of this building. You are also able to visit the Chernobyl Museum and view many fascinating and moving displays with or without hiring an English speaking guide.

Kiev has many options for places to stay during your visit. From low cost small motels to larger, more extravagant hotels, you will be able to find something to fit your needs and budget. The Opera Hotel is a five-star luxury hotel located at the crossroads of the historical and business districts of Kiev. The Opera Hotel has some very neat themed rooms, a gourmet restaurant right in the hotel, and specialized areas for the needs of business travellers. Another notable lodging choice is the Pharaon Hotel. This is a boat hotel on the Dnipro river and is located close to the centre of the city. There is a Mediterranean restaurant located in the hotel and a bar in the lobby. Arguably the most beautiful, and a personal favourite for many, is the Premier Palace Hotel. This is another five-star hotel and is located in the heart of Kiev. A very historical hotel, it was built in the late 19th/early 20th century. The architecture is simply breathtaking and an absolute must see for any tourist.

There are many places to eat in Kiev. Of course there are the standard fast food chains and eating places. Let’s talk about some of the places that offer traditional Ukrainian foods first, which tend to combine fresh, pickled, and smoked ingredients. The first place of note is Shynok. This restaurant offers not only traditional Ukrainian food, but also traditional décor, furniture, and a traditional experience. The Pervak is another excellent place to get traditional Ukrainian cuisine. However, this restaurant only offers a lunch menu and it is a set menu – which means you are not able to select what you would like to eat. You are also able to find sources of excellent Italian, Georgian, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese cuisine as well. Of note is Hanoi. Hanoi serves both Japanese and Vietnamese food in a lovely setting. Be prepared to pay for it, though, as Hanoi’s prices are not on the low end. Kiev offers such a varied and excited travel opportunity there is no reason you shouldn’t, at the very least, consider visiting there for your next vacation.

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Berne, Switzerland

Travelling to Berne, Switzerland

Berne SwitzerlandWhat a rare treat to be able to experience the beauty that is Berne, Switzerland. Get your map of Berne out and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime. Considered one of the best cities in terms of quality of life, Berne is number 4 in terms of population density as compared with other cites in Switzerland. Typically, a dialect known as Bernese German is the spoken language in the area. Most people in the city speak German, with Italian as a second language. In some cases, you will hear someone speak French. Situated to the west of centre Switzerland, Berne rests a section of the Swiss plateau. To the south are the majestic Bernese Alps. With pleasant weather year round Berne is a delightful city. The summers are mild with temperatures rarely getting above 75 degrees. Winters are also mild with temperatures normally not going below about 30 degrees. This is a true jewel of Europe and beckons visitors from all over the world.

When you travel to Berne, Switzerland expect to be surrounded by culture, with a multitude of festivals, as well as many cinemas and theatres. Some examples of local festivals include the Buskers Festival, and the Gurten festival. For music lovers there is also the Internationales Jazz Festival Bern. Theatres abound in Berne, with such well-known venues as Schlachthaus Theatre, Bern Theater, Tojo Theatre, and Narrenpack Theatre Bern. With Switzerland having such a rich and diverse cultural history, it is little wonder that so many culturally inclined tourists choose to spend their holiday among the sights and sounds of Berne, Switzerland. This is an inviting community with warm and friendly people who are proud to call Berne, Switzerland home. Once you have had the opportunity to explore this wonderful city you will likely agree too that it is surely one of the rare true gems of Europe. With a map of Berne in hand you will be endlessly amazed and awe struck by all this culturally abundant area has to offer each and every visitor, young and old alike.

For those who find solace in museum tours, Berne, Switzerland has a nice cross section of excellent museums. A few examples include the Swiss Alpine Museum, the PTT, Historisches Museum, the Art Museum and Art History Center of Berne, as well as the Federal Archives of Switzerland. Berne also boasts some quite truly dramatic and artistically pleasing fountains. Any visit to Berne, Switzerland would not be complete with first seeing fountains such as Gerechtigkeits Fountain, Kreuzgassbrunnen Fountain, Lauferbrunnen Fountain, Simsonbrunnen Fountain, as well as Pfeiferbrunnen Fountain. These beautifully sculptured water works of art are stunning and often dramatic in design as well as function. In your travels be sure to visit each of these highly artistic works of art. There is nothing more enjoyable than strolling down a city lane in Berne, Switzerland and stumble across a beautiful and stately fountain. The images and impressions of Switzerland will stay with you for a long time, well after your holiday tour has ended and you have returned home.

At the heart of Berne is the city centre with a rather medieval appeal this building has the distinction of being a World Heritage Site. One of the most photographed and most well known structures in Berne is perhaps the Zyglogge. The name Zyglogge actually translates to “Time Bell” and it has its roots in the Bernese German language. The Zyglogge is a ornate and striking clock with medieval overtones. The clock includes in its make-up a display of moving puppets, as well. With so much to offer, the city of Berne is a destination that deserves serious consideration when your travel plans call for a trip to Europe. In addition to all that the city makes available, there is also a long list of breathtaking bridges, including such structures as Neubrugg bridge, Untertorbrucke bridge, Halenbrucke bridge, as well as Kornhausbrucke bridge. All these bridges are unique and each has a personality all its own. Many of the bridges can accommodate those wishing to walk across, and driving is always an option too. Berne is a special place indeed, and these wonderful bridges are just further confirmation.

Exploring further into the Berne way of life, you will no doubt want to see the many varied and dramatic places of worship located through out the city. A few examples of the attractive church architecture you will see include such places as Swiss Reformed Paulus Church, Christ Catholic Church of St.Peter and Paul, Swiss Reformed Heilliggeist Church, and the Catholic Church of Bruder Klaus. Perhaps the most well known of churches in the Berne area is Munster Cathedral. The Munster of Berne is situated in the old city and was built in 1421. The cathedral is the tallest in all of Switzerland and its tower is over 100 feet in height. With awe inspiring stained glass this is a absolute must see while in Switzerland. There has never been a better time to visit Switzerland, with all its culture and old world feel, it is a place you will always remember. Set your sights on Berne, and make travel plans, because this will be a trip you will remember for decades. Perhaps the best part of Berne is its wonderfully friendly and genuine people. You will be greeted and welcomed everywhere you go in Berne. This is the perfect time to go and explore the wonders Berne has to offer.

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The Way of St. James

Emerging in medieval times, the Way of St. James (El Camino de Santiago) is an excursion of nearly 800 kilometres across Northern Spain in order to arrive at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, where many believe the remains of Saint James lie. There are many locations to begin the journey apart from that of Spain, throughout Europe and even within North Africa, which partially explains the use of a scallop shell to symbolize the pilgrimage. Some believe that El Camino de Santiago provides a form of absolution of sin and penance, but even the non-religious may partake and enjoy. Way of St JamesAlthough originally the Way of St. James served as a trade route to the Atlantic, it now represents a religious pilgrimage highly popularized by international attention and reverence. People from across the globe partake in the Way of St. James, making it a culturally diverse and significant site; UNESCO named El Camino de Santiago as a World Heritage Site, and ever since it has represented a journey of heritage and accomplishment. Today, devout Christians and tourists alike, numbering in the tens of thousands, hike and/or cycle this route for cultural reflection, personal enjoyment, or for the challenging nature of the endeavour.

Between the 8th and 12th centuries, the Way of St. James was organized primarily in religious context. Pope Calixtus II is named as responsible for the rise in popularity through his Codex, which writings of are still used in guidebooks of the route. Many original pilgrims were French, and as such those routes were explicitly protected by the Kingdom of France. As more people began to make the journey, hostels and other forms of

Different types of Scallop Shell Markers

Scallop Shell Markers
Different types of Scallop Shell Markers

accommodation for pilgrims was somewhat industrialized by the Spanish crown. Many pilgrims were given accommodations through churches, such as free meals or places of rest and reflection, and made the journey much more affordable for those who could not pay for the profiteering accommodations established by Spanish royalty. Much of the architecture established along the route during this time still remains today, in conjunction with the traditions and culture that developed as a result of El Camino de Santiago. This allowed for the route to become tourist-like in nature, and now travellers can purchase souvenirs and other products to commemorate their experience. One of these souvenirs is a scallop shell, which one can tie to their backpack or belongings as a symbol of their sacrifice and alliance with the history attached to the route.

The scallop shell has become an archetypal symbol for the Way of St. James because of legend and also the metaphor of the journey as it has developed over the past millennia. Found on the coast of Galicia, the shell serves culturally as a reminder of the history of the route as well as a tradition for those partaking in the journey. As legend has it, St. James’ body washed up on the Galician coast protectively covered in scallop shells, which is the origin of the symbol of El Camino de Santiago. Pilgrims would wear the shell as a symbol of devotion to the journey in hopes of safe passage, which is argued to have warded off thieves and provided tangible safety for the travellers. More so, the shell metaphorically represents the many different places one might embark on the journey from, but all roads lead to one solitary point at the base of the shell. Historians also say that scallop shells were very practical for pilgrims to carry in that they served as a bowl for eating or drinking. Either way, scallop shells are highly significant to the journey aesthetically, and travellers today demonstrate their accomplishment and commitment by displaying a shell on their backpacks or their person.

Originally the Way of St. James was longer than 750 km, although most modern-day participants travel at least 300 km during their trek. Its popularity has sky rocketed since the 1980’s, and even a number of Popes have made the passage. There are many places that one can begin this journey, and for many it is considered to start at one’s home, and end at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Today, those desiring to embark on El Camino de Santiago must first obtain a Pilgrim’s Passport, which may be purchased through a church or tourist agency. These passports grant cheap and sometimes free accommodations including meals and overnight stay at many hostels and monasteries. Within the passport, the traveller receives stamps to mark their distance travelled along the Way. After walking at least 100 km or cycling 200 km, a modern-day pilgrim can receive a compostela, which is essentially a certificate of completion for the Way of St. James. Upon arriving at the Cathedral, one could attend Pilgrim’s Mass which is held there at noon daily for travellers; though Catholic by nature, this part of the experience represents accomplishment and reverence for those who made the journey, in which even the non-religious can enjoy participation.

Overall, the Way of St. James has provided both a tourist getaway as well as religious source of reverence for hundreds of thousands of people. Though no easy feat, El Camino de Santiago represents a sacrifice of personal endeavour that is much more significant that merely one of religion – it has granted personal reflection for countless individuals and has served as a road of personal discovery for many. It takes the average traveller about three weeks to complete the route, and although thousands are able to accomplish it, the adventure may not be for the faint-hearted (or footed). Over one hundred thousand people each year since the 2000’s have accomplished this remarkable journey, and it stands as one of the world’s most culturally renowned sites. The incredible amount of physical endurance and motivation a traveller must possess to complete the Way of St. James is arguably outweighed by the physical beauty of the route; additionally, the historical passage through Spain has connected numerous cultures throughout the ages. It is highly encouraged that tourists, environmental enthusiasts, and devout Christians alike partake in the adventure of El Camino de Santiago as a means of self-realization and personal spirituality; additionally, it is an affordable way to enjoy cultural heritage and majesty of Northern Spain.

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Tour Berlin

Berlin wallEnjoy the travel experience in Berlin

If one is looking for the best travel Europe experience then they should definitely consider going to the German city of Berlin. This city is one of the sixteen cities that make up the great republic that is Germany. Germany has had both a good and bad historical past that has changed the entire international aspect in regards to politics and social issues. It has been the focal spot for tourists who want to understand the chequered history of Germany. It boasts of a population of around three to four million citizens and is the largest city in Germany. Like many other great cities in the world Berlin has a well developed tourism economy that see it pulling in tourist from all over the world. This great city has good infrastructure that allows the easy movements of people and products across various parts of the city. The rich history that this city has is primarily what attracts the tourists who flock in every year. The tourists come to tour and get a sample of the historical background of the city not to mention visit all the favourite tourist destination spots. With well-developed transport infrastructure and a thriving tourism sector, Berlin is one of the most famous places to visit around the world.

It is very important that a city that attracts so many visitors to have a well defined infrastructure. The transportation of the tourist to the various tourist sites should be done in a smooth and effective manner. There should be adequate transport to be able to cope with the large numbers of tourist who will flock the city. The hotels that the city has should range from the most exclusive ones to the ones that are tailor made for the European traveller on a budget. This will ensure that everyone is taken care off. If the city does not invest heavily in making all these preparations then it is likely going to miss the tourism industry. However you must get a good map of Berlin to help you get around.

Berlin definitely has all these amenities and thus is one of the hottest destination spots for tourists. The city is the second most populated city in the entire European Union and still is able to handle the large number of tourists who visits this great city. This is because of the sophisticated planning, which the city put into the infrastructure of the tourism industry. This is one of the reasons why it is such a great city to visit.

The travelling historian who is staying in Berlin will be greatly entertained and educated by the rich history that this German city has to offer. One will be entertained by tales of when Berlin used to belong to the kingdom of Persia and then to the German empire and how the city became divided after the Second World War. Very few cities in the world have had such a great role in the international field of political and social-economical issues. It was the focal point when the Second World War was in full swing. It is a city that has seen both great destruction and unparalleled growth in terms of social and economical issues. Many would not believe when they visit this modern city that it was once almost completely destroyed during the Second World War. The traveller will simply be amazed at how this city picked itself up from the rubble and developed into this ultra modern city. The tale of how this city was able to develop is a tale of how people can overcome hurdles placed in their path. The occupants of this German city are the true movers of the city’s development. They are the ones who have enabled this great German city to develop into a robust economy that attracts thousands of tourists every year. One will be experiencing this kind of rich tour experience when they decide to spend their holidays in this great city of Germany.

Perhaps what Berlin is most famous for is the great Berlin wall that separated Germany into East and West Germany from 1961 till 1989. This wall was caused by the ideological and political differences that the two sides had. The wall and all that it resembled is a tourist attraction spot for anyone who comes to visit this great city. The collapse of the wall was witnessed all over the world. This event represented yet another historical moment of human perseverance and triumph over adversity.

This rich and diverse history is exactly why millions of people will flock this city every year and look at the remains of the Berlin wall. Berlin is a city that has got a diverse culture and a thriving community of diverse individuals that help to boost the image of the city on the world map. It is a place where memorable touring experiences can be created and will leave the visitor feeling well satisfied by the whole experience. From great museums to historical suite to a thriving night-life, Berlin is definitely one of the major tourist destination spots in the world.

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Explore the great sites of London

London Big BenBritain is a great country that has some of the hottest tourist attraction cities like London that are flocked by tourist each and every year. Many critics and tourist site reviewers will agree that London is one of the major destination places when it comes to tourism. People go to tour this city with such a rich history. Britain is well known for its intense history and this is what makes the tourist flock this great city each and every year. It is said that London attract over thirty million tourist each year this it has earned the bragging rights to be called one of the most famous city in the world. Tourist all over the world know of the various hot places that they can visit when they come to Britain and will always make a point of visiting the city of London, a great map of London comes in handy here. The large number of hot tourist destination spots that this city has to offer always thrills the tourists who come to explore this great city. There are museums that house some of the most famous paintings not to mention the fact that they also have records of the city’s long and rich history. For those tourists who love history London is definitely the place to visit. The good thing about many of the museums that are found in this city is that they offer free admission into the museums. This means that the tourist does not have to worry about admission into the museums and can even reduce the amount of money that they spend while touring the museums. Famous museums like the British Museum boast of an art collection that is rivalled by very few other museums. It is said that this museum houses over seven million different art exhibits within its walls. This is a great incentive for the tourist who loves to view art and is one of the reasons why this great city attracts so many people. The exhibits that are found in this museum are not only rich in the history of Great Britain, but they also cover other great cities like Egypt and Rome. The art exhibition is a historical background into the development of the human race from the ancient times to these modern times. It is a celebration of the development of human culture and will entertain and teach anyone who goes to see the great collection. From the world’s oldest mummy to the ancient Roman Empire, there is indeed something for everyone to view and be entertained. To add icing to the whole cake, the British Museum is open seven days of the week and what’s more is that its admission is free to the public.

For the lovers of literature there is something that they will enjoy immensely when they visit the great city of London. In the various museums that this city has to offer, they will get to view ancient texts and classical novels that were written by great artistes of the past. They will be able to view original documents of great writers and have one of the most memorable holidays of their lives. From the master play writer William Shakespeare to the great author Oscar Wilde, they will be able to view original work that will leave them spell bound and yearning to come back for more. The tourist attractions that London has to offer also include the Buckingham palace, which is the mantelpiece of the whole British royal family. This place has withstood various wars and has weathered the storm of time to stand as a living testament to the rich history of Britain.

There is no point of going to the city of London and not stopping over at the Buckingham palace for a quick visit. Like the pyramids of Egypt or the great wall in chine, Buckingham palace is famous around the world and every tourist who visits this makes sure that they at least visit this great tourist attraction site. The amazing things about the Buckingham palace is that it is still being used in these modern times and one can literary feel the history that the walls have if one takes a walk down its historical corridors. Another important landmark in this city is the tower of London. This fortress has the crown jewels of England, which are a symbol of England’s sovereignty and rich history. The crown jewels have been there for a very long time and have been handed down the royal family over the generations. They are a symbol of England pride and rich historical background.

From theatre and arts to historical landmarks and sites, there is definitely something for anyone who visits London to look at and marvel. One will be able to enjoy their vacation more if they select some of the most popular places to visit and concentrate on them. Since the vacation is limited, one will not be able to exhaust all the tourist destination places that London has to offer. A good guidebook and a good plan of the sites that one wants to see will ensure that the limited time one has is used in the most appropriate manner possible.

Make sure you get a great map of the Tube (London’s underground railway). The tube is the easiest way to get around and there are stations near all the main tourist attractions.

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Tour the Ancient sites in Rome

Rome ColosseumWhen one mentions the great city of Rome then what comes to mind is the rich history that the city has to offer. The number of people from outside of Italy who go to this city for their holidays is huge and this is because of the various tourist attraction sites that this great city has to offer. The history of this Roman city cannot be separated from the history of the Roman Empire. The rise and domination of the Roman Empire is something that has fascinated many people around the world. Even in today’s modern world, there are still discoveries that are being made by archaeologist that increase the appeal of Rome as a tourist destination spot. This city has been rated by many tourist magazines as one of the most famous places to tour. The number of historical treasures that this city has is incalculable and this is the reason that lovers of history and art flock this city every year. Rome is said to be the third most popular destination place in the entire European Union. It has a registered number of around twenty million tourists every year and this number is expected to increase in the coming years.

The charm and charismatic nature of Rome is one of the reasons that millions of tourist come to this city. Among the popular attraction spots in this city, there is the number of countless museums that have art and historical content that date back to the Roman Empire. The churches and the historical buildings that are in the city are another reason why many people decide to go and vacation in this city. The catacombs and the Roman Forum are just some of the many historical ruins that attract the huge masses of tourist each year.

There is no single tourist who will claim that they would not like to go and see the historical sites that Rome has to offer. The Vatican museums offer one the chance to learn and experience the development of the Roman Catholic Church. The tours that these great establishment offers are guaranteed to amaze and delight the tourist and keep them yearning for more tours. This is what this ancient city has to offer to the tourism world. Apart from the archaeological sites and the historical ruins, Rome is known for its diverse and very rich culture. The experience that the tourist will take away from this city will ensure that they have only praises to talk of when they are asked how their experience was. Get yourself a good map of Rome that points out all the archaeological sites.

In the ancient times, this great city was the focal point for a huge western civilization. This city was rich in terms of the culture that it had and was the political and social economical hot spot for the entire Roman Empire. This meant that this city was the one place in the entire empire that attracted all the important cultural activities that were going on at that time.

When the history of the Christian faith is being discussed, the city of Rome is not far from the discussion. This is because of the important function that this city played in the development of the Christian faith. The remnants of the development of the Christian faith can be traced directly to this great city. It is here that important events that have had lasting effects took place. It is here that the history of the Christian faith was shaped and molded. When a city boasts of having such a tremendous effect on such a pivotal part of the human culture, then it is not surprising that it will attract a lot of attention. The head of the entire Roman Catholic Church resides in this great city. Thousands of visitors come to pay their respects to the pope who resides in the Vatican. Millions of visitors will simply come to Rome to be part of the various important events that mark the calendar of the Roman Catholic Church.

The city was and still is one of the hub spots of culture, history, philosophy arts and other important political and social happenings in the world. The city attracts all these different elements due to the diversity and the rich history that this city has. If one wants to see sites that will amaze them, and leave them in awe of the ingenuity and the sophistication that the ancient civilization had, then they should definitely visit this ancient city. The Coliseum ruins are still in existence. This historical site will delight the tourist. The ruins have been able to withstand the test of time and are a tribute to the past civilization. Places like ST Peters Basilica and Capitoline Museums are attracting tourists from all over the world. It cannot be disputed that a trip to Rome is something that the tourist will immensely enjoy and that it will be worth their while to spend time in this great city

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Athens – The Ancient Wonder

Wonderful Ancient Athens

Athens acropolis The city of Athens is the Capital of Greece that boasts of numerous things that attract visitors including some of the world’s best tourist attractions. Visitors who tour Athens are come to experience the monuments that Athens offers as well as explore the tourism industry. As such the city which is also known as a primary tourist attraction within Europe guarantees visitors who are drawn from the different parts of the world memorable holidays. The attractions of Athens are just a section of the numerous historical as well as other natural wonders. In fact, Athens’ glory is in its splendid past as well as its role in the classical history. While in Athens, visitors get to explore the exciting, vibrant and charming city who are spoilt for choice on the attractions and activities to engage in as the town brings together a cocktail of traditional, cultural as well as historical treasures. The experience is made even better especially for individuals who are on holidays by the presence of well trained tour guides from various tour companies who supply information on the various places and monuments that visitors opt to visit alongside the history of Athens itself. Notably, a majority of the museums and monuments in Athens have their origin in the period of the wake of civilization. As such, Athens is capable of satisfying it visitors of diverse ages, groups and civilizations because of the diversity of the attractions, accommodation and shopping experience. Every person who intends to travel to Athens ought to be aware of the best places to see so that they do not miss a thing. Some of the a must see attractions of Athens include the acropolis and the Parthenon, the national archaeological museum, the cape sounion and the temple of Poseidon, the Piraeus, the Plaka and the night life.

The National Archeological Museum offers the grandeur of the Greek culture which dates back from the Minoans and Cycladic Island civilization as well as Mycenaeans to the present. This museum is home to ancient Greek jewellery, sculpture, pottery as well as Antikythera Device. That is, the a computer that is over 2000 years old which tells of the technological developments in Greece. The museum is one among many that tourists as well as locals may visit. Fans of coins may on the other hand be fascinated by the Nuimismatic museum while Icon enthusiast will find pleasure visitng the Byzantine museum. Also, admirers of ancient warfare will find the War museum a great place to explore even though the museum is known to attract admirers of history and students alike. However it is the Benaki museum that adequately captures the transition from the ancient to Modern Greece.

The Acropolis and Parthenon is another attraction worth taking note of as it tells that story of the ancient Greek culture. The Acropolis museum is worth touring as it presents the opportunity to enjoy a breath taking view of the city of Athens that is dotted with Temples. The stunning building is overwhelming as it has great achievements for mankind. While here, visitors experience the archaeological sites such as Theatre of Herod Atticus, Ancient Agora and Keramiekos as well as Theatre of Dionysious.

Another attraction that is worth checking out while on your tour of Athens is the Piraeus, a port city that allows you to enjoy the sea’s blue waters and sights. Besides, a walk into the Piraeus Archeological museum makes your travel to Athens worth the while besides the numerous culinary delights that you will get to experience and enjoy. Also, Piraeus offers some of the best eating places. Also worth visiting is the Cape Sounion at the hill that overlooks the sea and is perched strategically at the Attiki Peninsula tip. While here, visitors also get to see the Temple of Poseidon that is an ancient place of worship that is now very popular among locals as well as tourists who travel to Athens. This temple has the graffiti of Lord Byron that art lovers admire. Moreover, the location of the temple comes with the advantage of allowing visitors to enjoy a breathtaking sunset against monuments and the view of the sea. Athens city is also known to have a lively night life as shops are usually open till late hence tourists do not need to worry about their safety. There are numerous other things that visitors to Athens may engage in. even then, it is advisable that visitors intending to check into hotels make their bookings in advance to ensure that there are less hassles during the actual trip. Where possible, last minute planning should be avoided at all costs because it goes a long way in determining how ell the trip will be enjoyed. It is in fact recommended that visitors liaise with tour companies in  Athens to make their experience smooth.

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Madrid

Tour wonderful MadridMadrid boasts of a good reputation as a frontrunner in finance, administration, politics as well as services that make it a cosmopolitan city. This capital of Spain is rich in architectural and historical marvels that are of artistic culture and important heritage. Madrid lies about 646 meters above sea level at the centre of the Iberian Peninsular. This city is an exemplary tour destination as you can get to explore a blend of both the modern and ancient infrastructure and art. It is among Europe’s most important cities with a diverse culture that is only second to very few cities around the world. In fact, it is ranked as a cultural city in the world, with many people coming to experience this cultural richness. In fact, some of the world renowned museums are found in Madrid among them The Prado Museum that has a great collection of paintings including the works of Goya, Valezquez, El Grecco and Rubbens among others.

Madrid is believed to be home to an estimated 73 museums which are dedicated to special spheres of knowledge. One of these museums that attract visitors coming to Madrid for holidays is the Prado museum that holds massive at galleries from different parts of the world. The museums hold art galleries that are exclusive showcasing contemporary art. The Reina Sofia National Art Centre makes a perfect example of this as it displays the works of famous artists such as Salvador Dali, Juan Giris and Picasso among others. Other attractions in Madrid include the huge parks that are especially ideal for family holidays as you can be sure of an unforgettable experience. Besides the opportunity to explore nature, visitors also get to enjoy walks and also feed some of the smaller animals in the green park. It is these parks that actually make Madrid to be ranked among capitals that are most green with the Casa de Campo, Juan Carlos I Park and the Retiro Park making an immense contribution to the same. It is because of these that a majority of tourists travel to Madrid.

One of the things that visitors to Madrid cannot go back without learning is the history of Madrid. It is believed that Madrid was proclaimed to be the capital of Spain during the reign of King Philip II. The Hapsburg Empire (Madrid de los Austrias ) is thus a great place to visit especially for history lovers as they not only get to experience by also explore the 15th and 16th Century lifestyle. This is also true for Plaza Mayor that is also referred to as the square and is a must visit location for tourists. In fact, this place considered to be among the tourist hotspots in Madrid.  Neighboring Plaza Mayor is a classically styled structure that dates back to the 17th century and an Old Baroque. The structure is known to be the home of the Royal Place. The Royal Place on the other hand is located close to Almudena Cathedral that was officially consecrated by Pope John Paul II in 1993. The Opera house too is located within this area. This is not all as the square is complete with several monumental structures such as Paseo del Arte and the Bank of Spain building, Palacio de las Telecommunicaciones that is used currently by the Post office and also the Cibeles and Neptuno fountains.

Of importance however, visitors must be keen to understand the seasons during which it is best to visit Madrid to avoid disappointments. Even then, Madrid is generally known to for its nice climate that is subtly warm. This is often reflected in its people who are accommodating, friendly and warm hence when you travel to Madrid you do not have to be afraid of any kind of hostility. Besides visiting museums and parks, your holidays in Madrid can be made better by attending a number of concerts, exhibitions, ballets, theatre productions and movie releases that make Madrid a powerhouse of entertainments matters. The Spanish cuisine is also something you want to try out while in Madrid as they offer a scrumptious traditional cuisine besides the international foods that are also served. There is also plenty of entertainment opportunities as the place has a number of pubs, bars as well as night clubs which make it an exciting experience altogether.

For those people who have a thing for fashion, Madrid is accommodating hence you can be sure that your trip will be worth the while. There are numerous stores that stock designer brands as well as other international establishments that make Madrid a favourable fashion destination of all time as well as a shoppers paradise. If you are travelling with your family and have children in your midst, you do not have to worry as they too can have fun at the famous Faunia theme park that offers extensive bio diversity. In conclusion, a trip to Madrid promises you nothing but the best.

 

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Moscow a diamond in the rough

MoscowMoscow is known for its exotic beauty as well as number of attractions that are characteristic to Russia. As the capital of Russia, Moscow remains to be a hotspot for many tourists due to the presence of cultural sites, historical monuments, ports and museums that tourists come to explore while on holidays. As a matter of fact, the evenings in Moscow are nothing short of a memorable experience for those visitors who tour this city. A family vacation in Russia is will be incomplete without going through the history of this nation that is majestically showcased at the Tretyakov gallery in Moscow. Most of the visitors tour this gallery which is known for the country’s rich cultural heritage. There are numerous other attractions that Russia has to offer among them national parks, lakes as well as gardens. In fact, Russia’s Lake Baikal is one of the top most tourist spots and has consequently been ranked among the world’s natural wonders. Besides, it is also the among the world’s largest fresh water lakes. This lake is a haven for bird waters as it hosts various species of migratory birds each year. Another Russian tourist attraction is the Volga river that is also the largest if its kind in the whole of Europe.

Besides Moscow, visitors coming to Russia could also visit other popular Russian cities like the Golden Ring and Vladivostok. The city of Moscow hosts a number of prehistoric buildings, administrative offices, art galleries, parks and theaters. Some of the sights that tourists in Moscow explore include Kremlin, the Red square, the St. Basil cathedral, Cathedral of Christ the savior, Novodevichy convent, Poklonnaya mountain, Arbat, Kitai-Gorod, Europe square, Moscow university, Kuskovo estate, ostankino estate, arkhangelskoye among others.

Moscow is thus a great destination for tourists. Those intending to visit are usually advised to ensure proper planning of their holidays so that they have time to explore the vast attractions. This is because the city offers an experience that will remain on your memory for a long time. In fact, it is believed that people who find pleasure in exploring new places cannot resist Moscow. Among the notable places in Moscow include Kremlin that offers world class standards as it is also central to the Russian Government. Hence some of the notable structures that make up the Kremlin include government buildings, cathedrals, a beautiful palace and museums.

Another of Moscow’s popular places is the Red Square which is also close to Kremlin. The Red Square has a distinct feature that is St. Basil’s Cathedral that is painted in bright colors. Also worth visiting in Moscow is the Resurrection Gate especially those people who are on vacation. On the other hand for individuals whose interest is in theatre then they can consider visiting the famous Bolshoi theatre, one of the largest in Russia. Visitors who travel to Moscow are usually allowed in for shows as long as they have booked tickets before the shows. However, as expected, the tickets issued to tourists cost more than those sold to locals. As such it is better to make an online booking for your ticket. Moscow also has awesome market places that tourists who like shopping can also take advantage of as long as finances allow. Old Arbat is one among the many shopping places, that is characteristically busy hence you can be sure of finding crowds even though the experience is worthwhile. There is also a famous museum in Old Arbat.

Some of the interesting facts that visitors need to know is the fact that most of the buildings in Moscow were built in the same way so you need not be surprised when you come across buildings that are similar. A perfect example is the two blocks of flats as well as the two administrative buildings at the Moscow State University. This is besides a number of hotels and many other buildings that are similar to each other. Also worth noting is the fact that Moscow ranked among Europe’s most populated cities despite not being big like Paris, London or even Istanbul. Moreover, it is known to accommodate tourist of all sorts including those who intend to go on vacation with their friends and families. There are numerous hotels to accommodate all kinds of tourists and visitors ranging from the business visitors and those that are visiting purely for pleasure. In order to be safe and for ease of settling in upon arrival, you may make reservations prior to your visit at rates that are discounted. The reservations are usually done for the various levels of hotels ranging from the tourist class to the five star hotels that are luxurious. This can simply be done online and highly recommended especially during high season when almost all the places are usually booked.

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Dublin

DublinWho coined the name Dublin in reference to the capital of Ireland? There numerous explanations that have been offered but none has been able to reveal the person that chose to call this city Dublin, as it is known today. Some people claim that the name Dublin was a derivative from two Irish words Dubh Linn which when translated mean “black pool”. A drive through history reveals that Dublin has undergone a series of evolution which resulted from the various occupants that infiltrated into this city. When you travel to Dublin, you will discover that the city is divided into the Northside and Southside by River Liffey. The other feature that will immediately hit your site is a low mountain range which has flat farmland adjacent to it. A visitor who is new to the people and culture of the two sides of Dublin might not discover the cultural and class differences that have been created by this river.

Nevertheless, this should not concern you unless you have come to Dublin to specifically study its people and their culture. Some people have made Dublin their frequent tourist destination every year because it not only has cool summers but also mild winters. You might not experience temperature extremes which are typical of other cities. The other thing that you will discover is that Dublin experiences uniform rainfall distribution throughout the years. Although it has punctuations of the wettest months and driest months of the year, tourists have chosen to make accurate timings of their favorite season. An interval of snow that occurs sometimes has not affected people who would love to tour and explore Dublin as infinitely as possible. Some of them have been so determined to brace any change in weather until they finish their holidays.

Dublin is unique in terms of its structure, organization, culture and attractions. These are features that make it distinct and one of people’s most favorite tourist destinations. It has various places of interest such as:

  • The statue of Jim Larkin
  • The Spire of Dublin
  • The Dublin Castle
  • The Molly Malone statue
  • Books of Kells
  • The Ha’penny Bridge
  • The Anna Livia monument
  • The Mansion House
  • Christ Church Cathedral
  • Molly Malone statue
  • Mount Joy Square
  • St Patrick’s Cathedral
  • The Poolbeg Towers
  • St Francis Xavier Church

All these are vital buildings and structures with exceptional architectural designs. Most visitors come with their cameras in order to ensure that every memorable experience is captured as clearly and accurately as possible.

Studies indicate that Dublin has the greenest parks in Europe and are well worth your while to explore them and enjoy their beauty and elegance. The most popular parks are:

  • St Stephen’s Green
  • The phoenix Park
  • Herbert Park
  • St Anne’s Park

These parks are well maintained and some them are walled and with tree-lined avenues. Besides, they are fully covered to ensure that residents and visitors can spend their holidays in a serene, clean and relaxing atmosphere.

If you want to travel within and without Dublin, you need not worry because Dublin has a well developed transport system that ranges from road, rail to air transport. In case you find cycling suitable for you, you can still do so without any restriction or coercion. The city’s road network comprises the M50 motorway which links vital primary routes with other parts of the country. This makes it possible for any visitor on tour to reach his/her destination without interruption or inconvenience. This motorway is also supplemented by the M1 motorway and the inner orbital route. There are over 150 bus routes that access every part of the city as well as its suburbs and fares are based on the distance covered

Though some people consider rail transport slower, it can also serve you well in Dublin. Remember that to travel on the train, issues to do with traffic jam can not arise and this implies that you can very easily predict when you expect to arrive at your chosen destination. You will be expected to operate between Connolly Stations and Heuston stations, the major railway stations in Dublin. Dublin Airport serves people within as well as out of Dublin and it is the busiest airport in Ireland. It offers a wide range of services such as domestic services top other airports in Ireland. The long haul services, on the other hand, are offered to countries such as Canada, Middle East and the United States

A number of visitors might feel that their tour and holidays can not be complete without taking a ride on their bikes. Dublin is well aware that this category of people exists and Dublinbikes for this purpose. These are unisex bicycles whose use is based on a self-service bicycle rental scheme.

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Stockholm

Stockholm – winter style

StockholmStockholm is Sweden’s largest and capital city. It is also considered to be one of Sweden’s most important cultural, economic, media and political centers and its strategic location makes it open to visitors from all over the world. In case you are looking for a city where you can spend all your holidays, you need to consider Stockholm. People across the globe are dreaming to have an experience of their life just to arrive in this town and tour every corner of it. Probably you have had a very busy schedule in your office or back home and you would like to get some fresh air and an opportunity to get your mind off your job and other responsibilities. Stockholm should be your next tourist destination.

After you explore its 14 islands, you may never stop talking about Stockholm. You could find yourself wanting to come back over and over again. It is reported that people who travel to Stockholm cannot help dreaming about the city and its numerous attractions that it can offer. You may not be able to explore all its gorgeous buildings and architecture as well as parks in one holiday. Some couples usually decide to make it a honeymoon destination and it has worked perfectly well for them. Whenever their time to go back comes, they wish they would turn back the clock. No wonder this city has acquired a new name “Venice of the North” in order to mirror its beauty and splendor.

When you arrive in Stockholm, your eyes quickly meet a beautiful landscape surrounded by water. The parks and other green patches are both splendid and inviting as if they are telling you that they have waited for you all their life. Although Stockholm is located between the oceanic and humid continental zones, its weather is much milder than that of other cities at the same latitude. This implies that if you are a visitor, you do not have to worry about your new experience here. Your tour will just be fine in spite of relatively longer days around midsummer.

The other good thing about Stockholm is that it has warm summers generally while autumn and spring are usually cool or mild. The only major challenge is that winters are cold and could sometimes tend to be snowy.  It is important to keep track of these seasons so that you are in a position to select your favorite season for your holidays. Do not just walk in blindly. In case you are not quite sure of which months are appropriate for you to have optimal experience, you might consider calling. This should happen prior to the tour. You may also choose to use the internet. Nowadays almost everything is online and this means that information is simply a click of the mouse away.

Such preparation is useful as it will enable you to focus on the holiday and not discomforts of weather or climate. If you are able to make the best out of your holidays, it is highly likely that you will want to come back and perhaps bring a friend or family with you. Choose carefully so that you can explore Stockholm’s various attraction sites such as:

a). Cultural sites

  • The Royal Place Drottningholm
  • The Skogskyrkogarden (The Woodland Cemetery)

b). Literature of authors such as

c). Architecture

  • The Tyska kyrkan (the large German church)
  • Palaces and mansions
  • The Bonde Palace
  • The Oxennstierna Palace
  • The Riddarhuset (the House of Nobility)
  • The Tessin Palace
  • Stockholm Palace
  • The Episcopal seat of the Bishop of Stockholm
  • Storkyrkan Cathedral
  • the Riddarholmskyrkan, the oldest building in stockholm

d). Museums

  • The National Museum
  • The Museum of Modern Art
  • The Nordic museum
  • Stockholm City Museum
  • Royal Coin Cabinet
  • The Vasa Museum

e). Art galleries

  • Milliken Gallery
  • Andréhn-Schiptjenko
  • Nordenhake
  • Brändström & Stene
  • Galleri Magnus Karlsson

The list can go and on but what you need to note is that Stockholm is rich in cultural and architectural attractions that will make your stay here a memorable experience. Each gallery, museum, architecture, cultural site and literature brings to the table its unique set of collections that are worth your attention. They may provide you lesions or ideas that could be useful in your life. Sometimes life takes us through a series of experiences in order to lead us towards the right button. Once you press it, then doors of opportunities begin to open. Therefore as you explore, experience and tour Stockholm, treat every collection with the seriousness it deserves. Do not take anything for granted!

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Virgin America

Virgin America review

Virgin AmericaVirgin America is one of the many companies that are underneath Richard Branson’s Virgin Brand. It is not the same airline as Virgin Atlantic, although you can expect the same level of service as this. The law states that no more than 25% of an American Airline can be held by a foreign investor, therefore the Virgin group only holds at 25% share in the company. It’s current base is in San Francisco Airport, with only one focus city which is located at Los Angeles International Airport.

It was in early 2004 that the first idea of this company began to surface, it’s first name was ‘Virgin USA’ although it was later changed to the current one. Flights were scheduled to begin in 2005, but there was a lack of interest from investors due to the risk of starting up a new airline, the launch date eventually became 2006. Tickets went on sale in 2007 with the first flight being on August 8th 2007 from New York to Los Angeles.

Virgin America currently flies to thirteen different locations in the United States. This includes popular destinations such as Orlando Airport & Chicago O’Hare Airport. It did offer services to Canada, but these flights were discontinued due to lack of demand from people. There are currently three destinations within Mexico for Virgin America Customers to travel too. The Airline intends to have around thirty destinations on offer by 2016, and they do look set to meet this target.

The inside of Virgin America cabins are absolutely top notch, they offer mood lighting which is supposed to provide a more relaxing atmosphere for their customers. In addition to this there is a selection of inflight entertainment on every flight that they operate. Unlike other airlines they also offer a duel-class system, this includes first class and main cabin. This makes the airline ideal for business users who tend to opt for airlines which offer a higher level of service. You will have to pay for some of the inflight entertainment if you sit in the main cabin, First Class users get all of these services for free when they fly. The main cabin is separated into two ticket prices. Meals and in-flight entertainment are free on ‘Main Cabin Select’, whereas of course you will have to pay with the basic ticket price, although the prices are not too extortionate, unlike other airlines.

There are currently 51 aircraft in the Virgin America fleet, although they have a further 60 on order which will start to be delivered in 2013. This of course shows how much faith the company is placing on rapidly expanding. Despite it being a new company in a rather volatile market it does seem to be going places, and if you excuse the pun, the only way is up.

Virgin America may not have has many destinations as other American Airlines, but they do offer a good service and you can get some fantastic prices on their seats, if you know where to look that is. There are plenty of websites out there that can help you achieve good deals on Virgin America flights.

Virgin Routes

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Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines North and South America

Spirit Airlines are one of the cheapest airlines within the United States of America. The company currently bases its operations in Dallas, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas and Chicago, which means it services some of the most popular destinations in the United States at a very low cost.

Spirit Airlines was formed in 1980 as Charter One, it originally offered charter tours from Michigan to popular destinations including the Bahamas and Las Vegas. It was in 1990 that it started to offer a scheduled service. In May 2992 it purchased its own jets and got the name of Spirit Airlines. In April 1993 further destinations were added including a scheduled service to Florida.
In March 2007 the company decided to change their business model. They planned to become the first ultra-cost airline in America. The ticket prices were planned to be cheap but extras would need to be added onto the flight, for example purchasing bag space and your drinks on the flight. Business card was also removed during this, although an upgrade of your seat could be purchased in the location that seats originally existed. This model followed the already successful business model established by Irish carrier ‘Ryan Air’. Advertising can also be found on the planes in order to earn a bit of extra money for the company.

There are over 40 destinations serviced by Spirit Airlines. These are spread throughout Central America, North America, Mexico and the United States. Popular destinations include El Salvador, Costa Rica, Bermuda, Florida and Illinois. It is worth checking the Spirit Airlines schedule to check their destinations as huge savings can be made when you fly with them. There are currently 40 aircraft in Spirit Airlines Fleet that service all of these destinations, their aircraft are some of the youngest in the industry with an average age of just over 4 years old. They have over one hundred aircraft currently on order with Air Bus, delivery of these aircraft is scheduled to take place between 2011 and 2015.
spirit airlines

Spirit Airlines offer its own frequent flier program called ‘Free Spirit’, you do have to pay a yearly membership rate to be a part of this club. There are three membership levels depending on how often you fly.

There are two seat types of the flight, although they are not their own individual classes. You can purchase an upgrade on your seat either before the flight or on board. Seat legroom ranges from 28-31” in the smaller seats up to 36 or 37 inches in the upgraded seats. It does depend on what aircraft you fly on however.

If you are looking for a cheap no frills airline then Spirit Airlines is the one to go for. They pride themselves on their ultra-low cost, and therefore is one of the cheapest ways to travel throughout the country. You will really be amazed at the savings you can make by flying with this company.

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Ljubljana Slovenia’s Capital

Ljubljana by nightThe beauty of Ljubljana in Slovenia is that it can be enjoyed at a fairly relaxed place. There are no large attractions trying to pull you in. Due to this many tourists seem to give this beautiful city a sip. Of course, you are smart and you know that Ljubljana can be a fantastic holiday destination. Let’s take a look at how we can get here, as well as what there is to see and do once in the city.

The easiest way to get to Ljubljana is by plane if you are located a great distance from Slovenia. Many operators should offer flights directly to Brnik Airport from all major airports around the world. From here it is just a short 27km bus ride to Ljubljana which is where your holiday will begin. Here is a map of Ljubljana.

If you really want to sample the best of the city I suggest taking a tour. Tours run three times a day and depart from the Tourist Information Office. At the time of writing the tours are at 10am, 2pm and 5pm. I suggest taking the later tour in the evening if it’s the middle of winter. The city looks absolutely fabulous when it is lit up at night. From the tourist information office you will be able to pick up a free map of the area, many people wish to tackle the city alone and this is the best way to do it.

You should be able to get around most of the city on foot. Many people also choose to rent bicycles. There is a bus system in place for those slightly longer journeys, it is a cheap system though and shouldn’t be ruled out totally.

One of the most popular sights in the city is the ‘Triple Bridge’. I suggest taking a look in the evening when it is all light up. As the name suggests, it is just three bridges located next door to each other.

Close by is the Old Town, this is packed full of beautiful medieval buildings. Many designer clothing shops can be found here as well as some fantastic places to eat. I suggest grabbing your camera as the small alleys really are a sight to behold.

For fantastic views of the city head to Ljubljana Castle where you can take pictures from up high. It is also a pretty exciting place to explore in its own right.

Metelkova City is a part of the city that is also great to explore. It’s full of bars and nightclubs, although of course due to this it can be very crowded at the weekends.

If you have children then head to Ljubljana Zoo, you will need to take a bus to get here but it does fill up a whole day with fun.

There is a free tour that runs through the city as well. It begins at 11am on the stairs of the Franciscan Church most days of the week, sometimes extra times are added so it is worth checking that out.

There are a lot of museums to also explore within the city, too many to mention here. Particular highlights include the museum of modern art and the national gallery.

If you are looking for a holiday that is a bit different from the norm then I suggest paying Ljubljana a visit. You can either tackle the town yourself or take a tour around the landmarks of the city, whatever option you choose you will end up with a fantastic holiday in Slovenia and it will be yet another destination to tick off your ‘must visit places’.

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Glitz and glamour of Cannes

Cannes, a city located in France is perhaps most well known as the venue for the popular Cannes Film Festival. What once started as a small fishing village has quickly expanded to become one of the most important destinations for movie buffs in the world. During the month of May the city becomes a hub for the social elite, outside of that the city is incredibly beautiful and it is no wonder than property here is some of the most expensive in the world. Go here for the official Cannes film festival websiteCannes film festival

The main entrance point for many tourists that are looking to make a trip too Cannes is through Nice International Airport, from here there are plenty of buses that will ship you right into the heart of this fantastic city. Whilst in the city one of the best ways to travel around the place is on foot, you will be able to experience so many more sights than if you were being whisked along at full speed by a vehicle. In fact, many of the most popular sites within Cannes can only be seen if you are walking around.

This rich city has a ton for the budding tourist to visit. You have the Old Town which is an area populated with traditional French streets. There are many winding alleys packed to the brim with designer shops and food joints. Close by is the covered market where you will be able to taste some of the best food within France.

For more exclusive shopping opportunities in some of the most fantastic fashion boutiques in the world then you should visit La Croisette. Many of the most famous hotels in Cannes are located within this district.

The Port is also a great place to have a stroll around in the evening to take a look at some of the most expensive boats in the world that are moored here.

Of course, most people travel to this area of France due to its association with the Cannes Film Festival. The best way to experience this festival is of course during the month of May, although this is out of the price range of nearly everybody. You can however experience some of the major venues of the Cannes Film Festival at any time of the year. One of the most popular venues is the Palais des Festivals where some of the most famous actors in the world gather before their movies are screened. Don’t forget to take a photo of those famous steps leading up to this venue.

Despite its location on the coast Cannes is not an ideal place for sunbathing. Many of the beaches are privately owned and you could be paying up to thirty euros a day for private use, maybe you can experience it once but it is not ideal to spend your holiday here, although you won’t have all those tourists to compete with.

I won’t lie; Cannes isn’t the best place to visit for a tourist on a budget. What I can say however is that it should be on the list of ‘must visit places’ for nearly everybody in the world. It is one of the best places to visit in France and with good reason, whether you are looking to visit during the Cannes Film Festival or outside of it you will always be able to find something to do in this delightful little city. Here is an interactive map of Cannes

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Tourism in Minsk

Minsk For the traveller on a budget

Minsk in BelarusContaining admirable squares, enchanting gardens, spacious promenades and Soviet-era architecture, the capital of Belarus is one of the more traditional members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). In fact, those who experienced the former Soviet Union often say its norms strikingly bare resemblance to the USSR. When looking at a map of Minsk, its importance is amplified by being almost directly in the center of Belarus. This busy metropolitan is the largest city in all of the country.

Those who enjoy fine arts will be especially pleased with the selection of museums. Some notable museums include the Maksim Bogdanovich Literary Museum, the Literary History Museum and the National Arts Museum. If you are looking for paintings by globally and locally famous artists, the National Arts Museum houses artwork from international as well as local well-known painters. For literature enthusiasts, the Literary History Museum contains the works of Nobel Prize nominee Vasil Bykov. Bykov was a popular Belarusian World War II writer whose literature has been translated into many foreign languages. If you enjoy quality poetry, the works of Maksim Bogdanovich are showcased at the Maksim Bogdanovich Literary Museum.Bogdanovich was a local to Minsk and has many streets named after him.

The majestic architecture of the older churches are a must see. One of the oldest churches that are still standing today in Minsk is the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Paul. Built in 1613, this church is also known as the “yellow church.” A slightly younger church that was build 29 years later in order to house Bernadine nuns is the Cathedral of the Holy Ghost. This church is also grand in size and worth the trip. Another unique-looking church is the church of Saint Simon and Helena, which was once used a cinema. It’s known as the “red church” for its reddish appearance. Among other aesthetically pleasing churches are Saint Aleksander Nevksy’s Church and the Maryinsky Cathedral

For those looking to take a long relaxing stroll, Park Yanka offers plenty of lush vegetation. Row boats can also be rented during the summer, which are used on the Svislach River that surround the park. Chelyuskintsev Park is an enormous and grandiose park that is frequented by foreigners and locals alike during the warmer seasons. It is located beside the Central Botanical Gardens. Chelyuskintsev Park is the perfect place for a quiet and peaceful outing with your loved ones.

If you are in the mood for a more exquisite location, pay a visit to the Nasvizh Palace, which reopened in May-June 2012 after major restorations. This palace is considered to be the most alluring palace in Belarus by the Belarusian population and is located in the greater Minsk region. Its rich history and magnificent appearance make it a marvellous tourist attraction.

Public transportation allows for tourists to access almost every town in Belarus as well as almost all major cities outside of Belarus. There are many options for getting around in the city, including buses, the subway, tram, or renting a car. If you prefer sightseeing on foot, it is worth investing in a map of Minsk. This will make navigation easier and more enjoyable as you travel through this mysterious and historic city.

Posted on Categories Travel

Dubrovnik Croatia

Map of Dubrovnik
Click on the map of Dubrovnik

Things to do in Dubrovnik Croatia

  1. Walk Dubrovnik’s fortified walls.
  2. Daytrip to Lokrum Island.
  3. Find the amazing bar Buža.
  4. Visit the Cathedral of the Assumption.
  5. Take the cablecar to Srđ.
  6. Visit a medieval pharmacy.
  7. Watch the mayhem of the Midday pigeon feeding.
  8. Visit St Blaise’s Church.
  9. Try to be there during Carnival.
  10. Drink the refreshing water from Onofrio’s Fountains, it’s free and delicious.

Dubrovnik in CroatiaThe deep blue of the Adriatic Sea seems to make the red-tiled roofs looking over it stand out from the pale masonry of the buildings and cliff-side even more. While the Citadel fortress rising high above the water and the surrounding medieval walls of this ancient city may seem imposing, this jewel in the Mediterranean known as Dubrovnik has long been a popular travel destination. When looking at a map of Dubrovnik, you can see why maritime trade has always been an integral part of commerce here. The sea defines this beautiful spot. Most likely founded by the ancient Greeks, it was a major seaport that rivaled Venice until Napoleon’s conquest of the city in 1809. War in the 1990’s damaged buildings in the city, but there has since been a resurgence of tourism and the city has been restored to its former splendor. The official name Dubrovnik was declared in 1918 but it has been known as that since the Middle Ages – although, the Italians refer to it as Ragusa.

Dubrovnik experienced a surge of renaissance-like wealth and progress during the 15th and 16th centuries. Along with the development of its culture and arts, it became involved in world diplomacy. This included reaching a trade agreement with the colonists during the American Revolution. The city became a vacation destination in the 19th century with the building of big luxury hotels such as the Hotel Imperial. The history of this ancient city in Croatia can be seen in its buildings and architecture. Saint Blasé or Sveti Vlaho is the patron saint of the city and statues to him are numerous as well as there being a celebration in his honour with parades and parties that last several days. While Dubrovnik can boast somewhat typical Mediterranean weather, there are some phenomena that set it apart from other places in the region. Typically warm summers with temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s Fahrenheit are often interrupted by thunderstorms and while the winters aren’t extremely cold – they are windier than most locals in the Mediterranean.

The tourist trade is alive and well in Dubrovnik with the lure of the sea and the history and culture of this scenic city drawing people from around the world. The steep hillside behind Old Harbour slopes down to beautiful Banje Beach just outside of the city walls, which offers sand and some stone but also azure sparkling water. There are several other beaches available but Banje is the closest to the city. Stradun, Dubrovnik’s main thoroughfare, is edged by marble statues and offers plentiful shopping and dining opportunities. Today, accommodations range from 5 star luxury hotels to more reasonable places to stay outside of the Old Town itself. For the more adventurous, there is camping available on the peninsula as well as youth hostels and private apartments. Walking the walls surrounding the city is both easy and a wonderful way to feel the history and culture of Dubrovnik. You can spend days exploring the Old Town portion and getting a feel for its storied past.

Map of Dubrovnik
Map of Dubrovnik

The many museums and churches offer the history buff a remarkable look back in time. Opportunities to take a guided tour are available, as well as a pass you can purchase that gives you access to the historical sites and transportation on the city operated buses. Surrounding islands offer day trip opportunities with ferry service from Dubrovnik. Panoramic views from various buildings around the city help give this Mediterranean paradise its reputation as a top travel destination spot and a welcome port for cruise ships. Among the many sites to visit are Rector’s Palace, Minceta Tower and Arboretum Trsteno – the oldest arboretum in the world dating to the 1400’s. Whether you are looking to soak up the sun or some medieval history, the beaches and walking tours are available. If you are a fan of the outdoors, then kayaking and snorkeling in the Adriatic are there for you. After dark, the city comes alive with a vibrant night-life offering clubs, casinos and the opportunity to listen to any kind of music you like.

Dubrovnik is simply a place you cannot miss when on a trip in the Mediterranean. From its medieval walls and beautiful architecture to the stunning beauty of the sea bounding it, it is no wonder Lord Byron referred to Dubrovnik as “the pearl of the Adriatic”. The city became an UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. Visitors flock here every summer when they hold the Annual Dubrovnik Summer Festival. This runs for more than a month and celebrates the history and cultural activities of the city with performing arts such as opera, dance, theatrical plays and concerts. Art displays, games and folklore activities are also a part of the city-wide celebration. Travel to this Croatian gem is easy since it has its own international airport as well as being a port of call for many cruise lines. From your very first view of the great wall and red roofs to enjoying the natural beauty of its beaches and water, you will be enchanted by the Croatian city of Dubrovnik.

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How Greece views the rest of Europe 2012

Map of How Greece views the rest of Europe

We have all seen the funny maps about how countries view the rest of the world. Well one of our editors here at mapofeurope.com is an avid follower of European politics and is also a keen dabbler in the stock market and bond market. All the turmoil that Europe has seen in the finance area in late 2011 to earlier 2012, has prompted him to make this map and send it around the office. Needless to say we all had a good laugh so we decided to share it with you guys. He has asked us to forgive him for the lack of propriety, being of Greek heritage himself he feels he has the right to post something like this. We ask you to remember that this is all tongue in cheek and is here as a little comic relief in these trying times.

Posted on Categories Fun

Bucharest Romania

Travelling to Bucharest, Romania

Bucharest RomaniaA popular legend in Romania has it that in olden days, a shepherd named Bucur (whose name translates to “Joy”) lived on the banks of the Dambovita River. He loved to play the flute for people and all loved the wine he produced. The surrounding area was supposedly named Bucharest in honor of him. Whether the tale is true or not, it is known that humans have been living at the site of the modern city since at least 500 BCE, and the first documentation of a city by the name of Bucharest dates to the middle of the 15th century. Bucharest, which is the largest city in the country of Romania in addition to being its capital, is today home to some 2.2 million people. It is a cosmopolitan and vibrant city which around the turn of the 20th century gained the nickname “Little Paris” for its architecture and lifestyle. The city is also known for its extensive collection of historical and heritage-filled buildings.

Nowadays, the city is full of interesting sights and experiences that delight plenty of visitors who travel there every year. Sightseeing is always a good option in this city due to its plenitude of impressive buildings and monuments. One favorite destination is the Calea Victoriei, or Victory Avenue, which was laid out in 1692, paved with oak beams, to connect the Mogosoaia Palace to the Old Princely Court. After the Romanian War of Independence, the street was given its current name in 1878. Some of the greatest sites in the city lie along this street. One is the Cantacuzino Palace, constructed in French style in 1900 to house Grigore Cantacuzino, the country’s then Prime Minister. Today, the palace houses a popular attraction, the George Enescu Museum. Nearby is Revolution Square, which gained notoriety during the televised overthrow of the Communist regime led by Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989. On the square are the Royal Palace, which houses the National Art Museum, the Romanian Athenaeum, the Athenee Palace Hotel and the Kretzulescu Church.

There are plenty of more ancient monuments in the city to see as well. The famed Lipscani District, once a classy residential area, is once again becoming an upscale area. Originially named for the numbers of German immigrants from Leiptzig, the area is a jumble of ancient, cobblestoned streets with buildings ranging in style from the art nouveau to baroque to neoclassical. In olden times, the area was home to guilds of craftspeople, and nowadays, there are still plenty of small storefronts in the area. It is also home to art galleries, sidewalk cafes and coffeehouses. Another ancient monument is the Old Princely Court and Church. This building was in the 1400s the home of the infamous Vlad Tepes, also known as Vlad Dracula. The site is today in ruins, though visitors can see walls, tombstones and a column. The Old Court Museum houses exhibits of the artifacts found at the site, including the earliest documentation of the city’s name (spelled Bucuresti then), signed by Prince Tepes. The church next door dates from the 16th century, and was the coronation site of the city’s princes.

Bucharest by nightBucharest is also known for the buildings that stand as a testament to the Communist legacy of Romania. Perhaps the most interesting of these is the building that is today the Parliament Palace. When it was constructed in the 1980s, the colossal building was called the People’s Palace, and held the Communist administration of Nicolae Ceausescu’s government. A guided tour of the huge building (second only to the Pentagon in terms of largest administrative buildings in the world) shows the halls, rooms and sleeping quarters used by the Senate. The other major reminder of the Communist past is the Civic Centre. Also constructed by Ceausescu, the Civic Centre is a sad reminder of the regime, as it was build on ground once covered in a section of the Old Historical Center of the city, which contained ancient religious buildings, ahospital and a sports stadium. The residents in the area were given only one day of notice before the entire section was leveled to build Stalinist apartment buildings.

As the capital of the country, Bucharest is a terrific place from which visitors can travel forth to the rest of the country. Several Medieval sites can be visited from the city by car, bus, or train. Included among these is the Bran Castle, which Bran Stoker immortalized as the stronghold of Dracula. Although there is in fact no such connection between the castle and the old ruler, the castle was in reality the stronghold of Saxons in the area, constructed in the late 14th century. Vlad the ImpalerAnother castle is the Peles Castle, which is considered by many to be the most beautiful castle in Europe. It is a great example of German new-Renaissance architecture, with spires and gables aplenty. The Medieval town of Brasov is another destination not far from Bucharest. Set against the Southern Carpathian Mountains, Brasov is second only to Bucharest in terms of architectural and historical attractions. Another similar city is Targoviste, which is full of architecture to see. Nearby is the Poenari Fortress, which was Vlad Dracul’s castle in the Transylvania area.

Posted on Categories Travel

Make Budapest, Hungary Your Next Exotic Escape

Budapest HungaryAre you ready for the delightfully interesting and culturally rich destination of Budapest Hungary? With nearly 2 million people calling this dynamic city home, it is situated right in central Hungary. Any good map of Budapest will clearly show that the famous Danube River divides the city, between Pest on one side and Buda on the other. Pest tends to be more flat, while Buda is more indicative of hills. The weather in Budapest is fairly mild with occasionally snowy conditions. The summers can get quite hot with even certain occasions where temperatures have broken the one hundred degree mark between June and August. However, the normal summer temperature is typically around the upper 70’s in Fahrenheit. Typical winter temperatures hover right around the mid 30’s. All and all the climate is very accommodating for travels and visitors to this uniquely interesting city. Keep you map of Budapest handy as you make your way around the city, as you will discover many hidden and interesting features of this city by the river.

There are a number of airlines that offer daily flights in and out of Budapest, so be sure to check with your local airline listings. The flights into Budapest will typically land at Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport. The airport is centrally situated east of centre in the XVII district within Pestszentlorinc. If you are expecting to have a car rental while in Budapest, thee are also a number of well known car rental companies to choose from. If a car rental is not in your plans, then no worry, because Budapest has a well designed public transportation system. Services offered by the Budapest Company BKV will get you where you need to go. With trams, busses and trolley busses, as well as boat and rail – there is always a way to get around while in Budapest. The tram service is a popular option among those familiar with the city. The daily service runs normally between 4:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. every day of the week. Rail service is another excellent way to move around the city with ease. There are several services operated through the company MAV. Consult listings for locations and timetables.

Considered easily one of the most attractive and inspiring cites in all of Europe, some of the more notable points of interest while in Budapest include the Museum of Fine Arts, as well as the Kunsthalle Budapest. All who journey to Budapest must take in the sights of Vajdahunyad Castle, as well as the Hungarian State Opera House. Additional points of interest in the city include such places as the National Szechenyi Library, and the Aquincum Museum. This particular museum houses actual Roman artifacts and remains. If old world churches are of interest to you, consider seeing the Matthias Church, a truly charming structure. The stunning Hungarian Parliament Building houses many interesting artifacts of Hungarian history, including the very notable Crown Jewels of Hungary. Take a rare look at a very large medicinal spa bath, the Szechenyi Medicinal Bath is centrally located in the city. With a rich Jewish history, the city offers the Dohany Street Synagogue – one of the biggest synagogues in the world. Budapest is one of those rare places where you will never grow tired of touring the many interesting places, sights and sounds.

The city of Budapest has a long list of esteemed Universities and Educational Institutions. Included among this list are schools such as Central European University, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, Pazmany Peter Catholic University, and Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design – to name but a few. This city is brimming with culture, boasting well over 200 art galleries and museums. With more than 40 theaters, as well as half a dozen concert halls and even an opera house, this is a place for the genuine appreciator of art and culture in general. Yet, another art museum that should be on any tourist’s list would be the Museum of Applied Arts, an excellent way to spend an afternoon in Budapest. If all of this were not enough in the quest to discover Budapest culture and history, there is also close to 900 various monuments on display through out the city. Budapest will have you awe inspired from the day you land at the airport, and the memories will last a lifetime. Be sure to plan a visit to this rare treasure of a city, and give yourself plenty of time to see as much as possible.

Finally, no discussion of Budapest would be quite complete without mentioning the trademark thermal springs, baths and spas located throughout the city. These spas have a history tracing back to Roman and Turkish periods, The spas are intended for medicinal as well as simply bathing. Going back almost 100 years the city earned the name The City Of Spas. Some of the more notable baths and spas include The Szechenyi Baths, considered among the biggest European bath complexes. This enclosed bath as well as additional outdoor pools dates back nearly 100 years and has a strong Turkish and Greek theme. The Rudas Baths are yet another example of Turkish period baths. While the Gellert Baths that are part of a hotel, are also Turkish in theme and period. Also worth the time to visit is Lukacs Baths. It all comes back to one thought when considering a visit to Budapest, and that is – how does one see it all? Whether you chose the best discount flights to bring you to Budapest, or choose a car rental – one thing is you must do is get out your map of Budapest and start exploring this enchanted city.

Posted on Categories Travel

Travelling to Valletta, Malta

A picture if Valletta in maltaRemarkably rich with history and rugged physical beauty, the small island of Malta is truly considered one of the Mediterranean’s gems. With a past dating back to the Neolithic age and a location at the crossroads of the world, Malta, despite its size – has factored importantly into the tale of the ages, both in Europe and beyond. Having such a central location within the sea has given the island many cultural influences, both European and Arabian. However, over the centuries a distinct and charming Maltese culture has certainly emerged, and there is no better way to absorb this culture than by traveling to the Malta’s capital city, Valletta. Located on a picturesque harbor on the island’s eastern coast, Valletta, though small, is absolutely packed with some of the finest cuisine, sightseeing, and cultural opportunities in all of Europe. With a population of only 6,966, Valletta is amongst the smallest of Europe’s capitals. What the city lacks in size, however, it more than makes up in history.

Malta dates back to antiquity, with the first evidence of human inhabitation as early as 5000 B.C. For the next several millennia, control of the island was tossed around between the Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Romans, and subsequently the Byzantines. The golden age of the island of Malta and indeed Valletta itself came about in the Middle Ages, when, in 1127, Malta was captured by the Sicilian King Roger II, who established Christianity as the island’s religion. From that point onward, Malta became a vital base of operations for the Catholic Church in the Southern Mediterranean, and especially for crusaders on their way to Jerusalem. Indeed, the Knights Hospitaller, one of the most fearsome and universally respected orders of crusaders, were better known simply as the “Knights of Malta.” Malta remained under Italian control until 1934, when they became an official part of the British Empire. Finally, in 1964, the island became an independent nation, which it remains to this day.

If sightseeing is what you’re after, opportunities abound on this small island. In addition to the city of Valletta itself being an UNESCO World Heritage Site, there are two ancient monuments in the surrounding area that have also been designated with this honor. The Hypogeum of Hal-Saflieni is a vast underground building that dates back to 2500 B.C., and is truly an ancient wonder. Simply referred to as “the labyrinth” by the Maltese, the Hypogeum is now recognized as the world’s only prehistoric underground temple. However, due to the fragile and delicate nature of the structure, there is a strict limit of eighty visitors per day, so arrive early! If more ancient monuments are what you’re looking for, a mere five minute walk from the Hypogeum will take you to the Tarxien Temples, the largest collection of ancient buildings on the island. Three large temples make up the site, the oldest of which is thought to be over five-thousand years old. The Tarxien and Hypogeum complexes are located only several miles outside of the city center of Valletta, and easily reached by a number of different buses that run throughout the day.

If Medieval and Renaissance history is more your thing, Valletta offers an abundance of sightseeing options. St. John’s Co-Cathedral is the largest church on the island, and though it may not appear like much from the outside, the interior is considered one of the grandest sanctuaries in the whole of Europe. Located next door, the Cathedral Museum contains art from some of the greatest Italian painters of the Renaissance, including two works by Caravaggio. In addition, the coastline surrounding Valletta contains several forts dating to the 16th century, amongst them Fort. St. Elmo, and the remnants of the city walls that go back to medieval times. Remember, though, that the entirety of Valletta’s city center is itself an UNESCO World Heritage Site, so no matter where you go you will be stumbling across some of the finest cultural treasures in the world. Walking through the nearly-unchanged city, one truly gets the feeling of being connected personally to a long-bygone age.

After a long day of sightseeing, make sure some energy is saved for the boundless dining and entertainment options in Valletta, which has been famous across the centuries for some of the finest seafood in the Mediterranean. To truly act like belti (a person from Valletta), be sure to wash down your meal with a pint of Cisk, the local sweet lager. Having such a rich and multicultural history truly makes Malta one of the most unique destinations in Europe. Another pleasant surprise for the visitor to Valletta will be the cost; despite being on the Euro, Valletta is one of the most affordable destinations in the Mediterranean. In addition, an added benefit of Malta’s period of British rule is that nearly every citizen speaks English fluently, as it holds official language status with Maltese. From the ancient monuments to the Medieval cathedrals and fortresses, the laid-back local culture to the astounding physical beauty of the area, travel to Valletta will certainly not disappoint even the most discerning of travelers

Posted on Categories Travel