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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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

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Edinburgh Scotland the festival icon

Edinburgh ScotlandScotland is widely considered to be a land of great history and culture- a land of gentle, rolling hills and ancient, imposing castles. The country is also an oft-visited tourist destination, with up to 5% of the nation’s GDP coming from the tourist industry. This popularity indicates that Scotland is an excellent place to travel to – and there is no better place in Scotland to visit than the city of Edinburgh (the second most popular city for travel in the United Kingdom!). Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and also the second largest, with more than 450,000 people living there today (second only to another well-kown city, Glasgow). The city and its surrounding areas hold many attractions for travellers of every sort- whether your interests are cultural, historical, or geographic (or if you just want to experience the night-life), Edinburgh’s rich history and interesting local culture will most certainly have something to offer you.

Like many cities, Edinburgh is divided into neighborhoods that all have their own unique flair and personality. For those interested in the history of the city, the first place to visit is unquestionably Edinburgh’s appropriately named Old Town. Old Town is the oldest section of the city, and houses many fantastic examples of medieval architecture and style. One of the most prominent attractions of Old Town is Edinburgh Castle, this well-preserved fort has been around for at least a thousand years, and continues to attract visitors today. It is home of the Scottish Crown Jewels, and occasionally plays host to various performances and concerts. Another landmark is the Scottish Parliament, where one can observe the Scottish Parliament in session from public areas. The Edinburgh Dungeon provides rides and tours that showcase one of the creepier locations in the city- but if you’re looking for something a little more aboveground, the view from the North Bridge is unparalleled. A traveler searching for souvenirs is sure to enjoy the variety of shops along the Royal Mile, but those looking for something more offbeat might want to try out the offerings from Victoria Street as well.

Old Town, however, is certainly not the only interesting neighborhood in Edinburgh. In 1766, New Town was designed in order to deal with Old Town’s rapidly expanding population, and is generally considered to be exceptionally well laid out even today. New Town is home to some of the best shopping experiences available in the city, from the St. James Centre and Princes Mall to the store fronts along St. Andrew’s Square. Jenners Department Store, the oldest department store in Scotland, is also an excellent experience and not to be missed. For those here to experience the night-life, George’s Street has recently developed a significant amount of bars and clubs, and its proximity to similar developments along Queen Street make it an excellent destination for those searching for a party. These very new developments make New Town a sort of modern “heart” of the city, where those of the younger generations are more likely to be found having a grand old time.

One of the best known attractions of Edinburgh is the Edinburgh Festival. The Edinburgh Festival is comprised of a whole host of events, often officially put on by different organizers but commonly regarded as falling under the same festival. This loose amalgamation of events has made the Edinburgh Festival the single largest yearly festival on Earth, and draws in huge amounts of people every year. The two main parts that make up the Edinburgh Festival are the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, each with its own history, personality and style. The International Festival is widely regarded as the greatest compendium of classical arts in existence, and attracts the very best in this type of music and dance. The Fringe, on the other hand, provides a more “alternative” and potentially more varied experience, with much more of a focus on theatrical and comedic performance. This is a reflection of its origins as an unofficial gathering outside of the Edinburgh International Festival, where artists who were not invited or could not afford to perform would set up shop and show off a little.

It would be impossible to chronicle the many dazzling attractions of Edinburgh in one article. Here we have simply touched on the largest cornerstones – however, the city is home to hundreds, maybe thousands of other attractions, festivals and shops, just waiting to be explored by those looking for a new and truly memorable experience. The United Kingdom as a whole, and even Scotland alone, are home to a great concentration of adventurous, interesting and exciting places. Among these memories waiting to be made, Edinburgh stands above the rest of the pack as the foremost place to go for anyone searching for a trip – whether alone, with a group of friends, or taking a family for an interesting and educational trip. With its deep cultural history and exciting culture, the city of Edinburgh should be at the very top of any list of interesting destinations. For thousands of years it has beckoned to travelers, and many today still heed its call to come and experience the crowning city of Scotland.

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Traveling to Belgrade, Serbia

Not one to deny its tumultuous past, the Serbian capital of Belgrade is putting its troubled decades behind it and emerging as one of the most up-and-coming cities in Europe. Situated at the joining of the Danube and Sava rivers, Belgrade has a history dating back nearly two and a half thousand years. Long the epicentre of Serbian culture and power, Belgraders will be the first to acknowledge that the twentieth century wasn’t overly friendly to the city. From the communist regimes in the years that Belgrade served as the capital of Yugoslavia to the now-infamous presidency of Slobodan Milošević, Belgrade Serbia Belgrade is certainly no stranger to adversity. However, with the 21st century came a new era of freedom and prosperity for Belgrade and Serbia as a whole, and the tribulations of the past have only served to strengthen the character and uniqueness of both the city and her citizens, and today Belgrade enjoys the status of being one of the premier economic and cultural centers of south-eastern Europe, and a travel destination not to be missed.

The city population of Belgrade is over 1.5 million people, making the city a bustling metropolis. Sightseeing opportunities abound all across the relatively compact city center of Belgrade, making it easy and convenient to walk nearly anywhere you need to go. Republic Square is located directly in the middle of the city, making it a natural starting point for your Belgrade expedition. You will notice an interesting blend of architecture throughout the area, with ornate buildings dating back many centuries at odds with the Soviet-esque, brutal block-style buildings that are the legacy of rule during the twentieth century. Belgrade is a city of grand squares, and indeed many of these are in and of themselves an attraction. Should you need to venture out of walking distance, the area also features a popular tram system. Navigating the city is also easier than it may first appear to be, and English is commonly spoken throughout the city, especially by younger Belgraders.

<The most important ancient monuments in the city can be found on the grounds of Belgrade Fortress. While there has been a fortress in one form or another on the grounds since the third century BC, the site we see today was originally constructed by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in 535 A.D., the fortress is located in the center of Belgrade in a beautiful, expansive park located directly at the confluence of the Saka and Danube rivers. The most well-preserved section of the fortress is called the Kalemegdan Citadel, and is the focal point of the grounds. For many centuries, the whole of Belgrade existed within the walls of the citadel, and it remains a major landmark for the city to this day. Continuing the rich historical offerings of the city are the Serbian National Museum, which houses hundreds of thousands of works of art from both Serbian and Western European artists including Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh, and Picasso. However, if you’re after something more local, the Historical Museum of Serbia, located next door to the country’s National Assembly, has the world’s most expansive collection of Serbian art and historical artifacts dating back more than two thousand years. If that isn’t enough, travel to Belgrade would not be complete without a trip to St Sava Church, the largest Eastern Orthodox church in the entire world.

Belgrade also features some of the tastiest food in south east Europe. Carnivores can rejoice in the ubiquitous Burek, which are pastries that include anything from meat and cheese to vegetables and fruits. Also not to be missed is ćevapi, which are packages of minced meat which are grilled street-side and spiced to taste. Belgraders also have a love of good beer and wine, and travellers will be very pleased with the price of delicious, Serbian-brewed lagers available all across the city. When at a pub in Belgrade, it is quite common and accepted to look your companions in the eye as you clink your glasses and let out an enthusiastic “Živeli!” (Cheers). Belgrade also has a booming and historic cafe St Sava Church Serbiaculture, which is most evident in the quaint and remarkably picturesque Bohemian quarter of Skadarlija, whose cafe and artist-lined streets have often been compared to similar districts in Paris and Prague. The entire neighbourhood is pedestrianized as well, only adding to the timeless quality of the winding, cobblestone streets.

It is often said that the hottest fire forges the strongest steel. In no place is this more apparent than Belgrade. The character and uniqueness of the city, combined with the warmth and welcoming of Serbian hospitality despite decades of adversity, make Belgrade a truly one-of-a-kind destination. In addition to the plentiful and memorable attractions, Belgrade remains a very budget-friendly destination, making it ideal for the young traveller. In Belgrade you find an irrepressible spirit, as evidenced by the numerous music festivals and art exhibitions you’ll find scattered about the city throughout the year. The city is continuing to go about the exciting and invigorating process of re-discovering and re-defining its identity, not shackled to the past, but rather looking forward to the bright future. As a traveller in this day and age, it is truly a unique opportunity to visit this captivating city and be able to witness this re-birth first hand.

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Traveling to Sofia Bulgaria

Sofia Bulgaria
Sights of Sofia

As the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia is a city with a population of well over one million residents. Situated in the western reaches of Bulgaria, Sofia is a city well worth the travel time to get there – you will marvel at its beauty. The city sits comfortably at the base of Mount Vitosha, and is a sightseeing treasure for anyone who enjoys adventure. Sofia is a culturally rich and diverse area with everything from ancient monuments to cutting edge high tech companies. It also happens to be the biggest city in the country of Bulgaria. Prepare to be amazed by the architecture as well as the extraordinarily friendly people that make Sofia their home. The city has a multitude of parks and greenbelts as well as many wonderful gardens. The parks and gardens come alive in the summer, with lush green landscape and lovely flowers blooming. The streets bustle with shop owners and intrigued tourists. The city gives you a warm and inviting sense of relaxing pleasure. Sofia, Bulgaria is a unique and special city in so many ways.

Sights of Sofia

The parks are especially wonderful and should not be missed. Borisova Gradina is one such park tucked away in the center of town. Culturally, Sofia is well represented, with such sites as the National Opera and Ballet. This wonderful venue is actually a combination ballet and opera house. In terms of the arts, the National Gallery of foreign Art is a must see while visiting Sofia. Yet another well-known art center is the National Art Gallery. Any one of these institutions will have you delighting in the arts for days on end. Sofia also is home to a number of international culture centers such as, the French Cultural Institute, the Italian Cultural Institute, the Russian Cultural Institute, and the Hungarian Cultural Institute, to name but a few. Sofia has so much to offer that it is hard to imagine seeing it all in a few days. One should think in terms of weeks when planning a visit to Bulgaria’s capital city. The sites and sounds of Sofia will keep you inspired and in awe as you see so much history in a city this size.

Getting around is quite easy and the abundance of public transportation makes sightseeing an easy task. Road and Rail are easily accessible and well organized. With over a half dozen different train stations, easy access to train service is assured. The largest of the stations is the Central Railway Station. The Sofia Airport is modern and centrally located. The city is also abuzz with a number of public transportation options. These include trolley busses, regular busses and trams. The main train service is the Sofia Metro with over a dozen stations citywide. Regardless of if you have your sights on the ancient monuments, the museums, the cultural centers or the lush parks, the city of Sofia is very easy to navigate. You will feel right at home in this pleasant and inviting place. And likely find yourself wanting to return for a second visit. If you are looking for opportunities to learn about history and art, this city can help you do just that – as it is rich in both.

Rail map of Sofia

rail map of SofiaSofia has produced some very well known names in the past, including Alexis Weissenberg (a well know and accomplished pianist), Evgenia Radanova (the world renowned ice skater), the gold and silver medallist in ice dancing, Albena Denkova, and Maria Gigova, a world champion gymnast. All these names and more are just one small reminder of how diverse and talented the people of Bulgaria really are. Beyond talented, the genuine people of this country are always eager to assist a friend or a neighbour. You can’t help but feel the friendly air of the city as you stroll through town. It is a place one could easily call home. It makes you that comfortable, and puts you immediately at ease to enjoy all that Sofia has to offer. Making travel plans to visit Sofia is one of the best options for an extended holiday. With easy access via airport, rail or road, there is every reason to visit Sofia, and little reason not to visit. Walking off the airplane, you will immediately sense that you have arrived in a gentle peaceful city.

With over a dozen colleges and universities, Sofia is no stranger to higher education. A diverse list of higher education institutions includes such names as Rakovski Defence and Staff College, Saint Clement of Ohrid University of Sofia, New Bulgarian University, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Arts, and the Technical University of Sofia. These schools are a testament to the great diversity that comprises the city of Sofia. In terms of sports, the Bulgarian Volleyball Federation is just one of the better-known sports represented in Bulgaria. With several large stadiums such as the Vasil Levski National Stadium and the Armeets Arena, there are plenty of sports always on tap in Sofia. When the time to plan a truly wonderful and meaningful holiday or vacation arrives, consider the delightfully exciting and rich city of Sofia. Once you have had a chance to know Sofia and all her charm, you will be compelled to return again and again. Sofia, Bulgaria is a city with few rivals, and now is a great to visit.

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