Bored by Berlin? Tired of Tuscany ? Paris? We’ve all been there. If you’re serious about your European destinations, these are the places to head for…
1. Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik may boast a remarkable history – it is the site of the world’s first parliament, thought to have been established in 930 AD – but the city today holds its past and future in even balance. Its modernism is striking, from the clean lines of its buildings to its experimental music scene to its status as one of the most environmentally conscious cities in the world.
Reykjavik’s compact size (it has only 120,000 inhabitants – positively titchy for a European capital) makes it ideal for a casual wander. If you want to get your bearings, start by taking a trip in the elevator to the top of Hallgrimskirkja, Iceland’s largest church, which resembles the helm of a Viking ship. Culture vultures should then flock to the cultural hub of Harpa, while nature lovers can opt for whale-watching at the harbour or hikes along the coastline. And whatever your predilections, a dip in one of the city’s famous hot pools makes for a perfect cap to a day of ambling. You won’t want to leave.
2. Gozo, Malta
The Maltese archipelago has more to offer than just the island from which it takes its name. A mere 25 minutes by ferry from Malta, tiny Gozo is a destination in its own right, boasting a distinct history, culture and character. The Maltese flock here to enjoy the verdant scenery, superior food and relaxed pace of life. And it isn’t just the locals that love it: none other than Brangelina chose it as their honeymoon destination.
Most roads in Gozo lead to the capital, Victoria, an attractive jumble of markets, restaurants, quaint British gardens and diverting museums. Its high point – quite literally – is the ancient fortified Cittadella, with its magnificent 360-degree view of the island. Spread out below you are the island’s chief sights: the scenic beach resort of Marsalforn, the world-famous Neolithic temples of Ggantija, and the legendary Calypso’s Cave, where Odysseus may or may not have taken a break during his travels. Believe us: come to Gozo, and you’ll want to stay for more than just a pit stop.
3. Riga, Latvia
The capital of Latvia and the largest city in the Baltic States, Riga is rich in history and heritage. The medieval wonders of the old town of Vecriga and its beautiful early-20th-century art nouveau districts to the north point to the city’s importance and prosperity over the centuries. But Riga is much more than a beautiful relic. The city is booming – its selection as the European Capital of Culture for 2014 attests to its meteoric rise in the last few decades – and the years of suffocating Soviet rule are rapidly becoming a distant memory.
The economic regeneration is matched by a burgeoning tourist trade and a vibrant (some would say riotous) nightlife, which often carries on until dawn; Riga is understandably popular with stag and hen parties at the weekends. If it all gets too much, then beyond the city lies the beautiful Baltic coast. The resort town of Jurmala is 30 minutes by train west of Riga and was once a popular retreat for the Russian royal family and Communist Party bigwigs. It still draws the crowds in summer with its outstanding natural beauty and excellent health spas.
4. Split, Croatia
Split is no longer a mere hop-off point on the way to the nearby destination islands of Brač, Hvar and Vis. Today the de facto capital of Dalmatia, built around a living Roman ruin, has everything you could want from a holiday and then some. A rash of new four- and five-star hotels, galleries filled with works by Ivan Meštrović, Croatia’s most celebrated sculptor, and the best bar crawl on the Adriatic coast – not to mention beach parties and a major music festival – all make for a perfect summer getaway.
But Split also provides a great year-round city break, not least due to the recent phenomenon of quality bistro openings. Venues such as Uje, NoStress and Bokeria form a part of this new culinary wave, making the best use of fresh, organic regional produce and the bounty of the Adriatic. And, unlike the more glamorous Dubrovnik, Split is also eminently affordable.
5. Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmö, Sweden
Copenhagen’s visitor appeal has exploded over the past few years, with people from all around the world flocking to Scandinavia’s most avant-garde city to enjoy its innovative restaurants, enviable bike culture and strong arts scene. The city exudes a fairytale charm through its royal palaces, Tivoli theme park and colourful historic buildings. Meanwhile, its much-hyped New Nordic restaurants continue to draw the foodies, with a whole host of internationally acclaimed chefs following in the footsteps of Noma’s René Redzepi in their quest to reinterpret traditional Scandinavian cooking.
Anyone who’s ever tuned into another successful local export, TV crime drama ‘The Bridge’, will know that a no less scintillating city awaits a half hour’s drive away. It happens to be in another country and across a sea, but Malmö – Sweden’s third-largest city – is worth the short trip via the Øresund Bridge. Its unusually cosmopolitan population includes some 15,000 university students, who give the city a vibrant energy. The place is particularly appealing during the summer, when its long sandy beach and beautiful parks really come into their own, and when its historic heart, centred around the lovely cobbled square of Lilla Torg, comes alive – especially at night.
6. Tbilisi, Georgia
Straddling the border between historical empires, Georgia’s capital is an alluring hybrid of architecture, customs and traditions, whose enduring anonymity on the tourism scene makes it all the more special for those who do visit.< be in Europe (though that doesn’t stop it from competing in Eurovision, as Australians are well aware) – but you wouldn’t know it from a stroll through Tbilisi’s Old Town, whose quaint Orthodox churches and dusty Art Deco edifices speak to the city’s Christian heritage and Western orientation. On its fringes, on-trend bars and cafés sprout like hairs in a hipster’s beard, drawing in the city’s burgeoning student population. Then you turn a corner, and another world intrudes: a Zoroastrian temple founded millennia ago by Persians, or a complex of sulphuric baths framed by minarets.
As Tbilisi sloughs off its Soviet veneer and reopens itself to the West, its cultural riches are once again becoming accessible to the adventurous traveller. There’s never been a better time to go.
7. Kraków, Poland
By now many of you will know Kraków, the former Polish capital and seat of learning with the pristine Old Town. Those on a return visit may have spent more time exploring the Jewish quarter of Kazimierz – its empty synagogues and crumbling cemeteries, where Spielberg filmed ‘Schindler’s List’. Few, though, will have made it across to Podgórze, the grey area immediately over the river. But on your next visit, make sure you go – for Podgórze is where the scene is heading.
At the foot of the crisscross cast-iron bridge stands the Drukarnia, perhaps the best bar in the city. Regular live jazz acts and DJs provide entertainment amid the lively banter. Nearby, Peruvian, Hawaiian and Indian coffees are purveyed at the bohemian Rekawka Café.
After doing the street-level stroll, you can observe this compact quarter from the comfort of the rooftop pool atop the Qubus spa and business hotel. Seven storeys high, with a quality restaurant, jazz club and piano bar, it’s the most impressive of its genre in Poland’s most dynamic and affluent city.
8. Costa Brava, Spain
This region is the apple of Catalonia’s eye, and not only because of its gorgeous beaches, its peaceful coves and fishing villages, or its festivals and trendy clubs. It’s the friendly locals, the beauty of the landscape and the cultural traditions – everything comes together to create a marvellous whole. And since you can’t really get to know an area without tasting its food and drinking its wine, the region’s restaurants are another big draw, serving feasts of fresh seafood, perfectly cooked meats and fantastic local vintages to diners sitting outdoors – or even inside a castle.
If somehow you’re still not convinced, perhaps some celebrity endorsements will do the trick. Salvador Dalí was greatly inspired by the views from his Cadaqués home (now a public museum), Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra spent time in Tossa del Mar (she was filming, he was racing to her side in a fit of jealousy), and Truman Capote wrote part of his masterpiece ‘In Cold Blood’ while staying in Palamós. All this and more, a mere jaunt from Barcelona.
9. Stuttgart, Germany
Germany’s sixth-largest city is best known for being the home of the automobile. Porsche and Mercedes-Benz continue to be made there today, with both legendary marques offering factory tours and museums devoted to the history of their iconic jalopies over the years.
Yet there’s much more to discover here than merely a petrolhead’s paradise. The city is ringed by walkable hills, valleys, woodlands, lakes, acres of rolling parkland and vineyards – yep, there’s a rich and lustily celebrated ancient winemaking history here which can be enjoyed on the picturesque ‘Weinwanderweg’ wine-walking (staggering?) trail. And after all that walking (and indeed, wine-tasting) you’ll be relieved to discover you’re in one of the most mineral-rich areas in Europe, which means lots of healthy spas, springs and inviting natural pools throughout the area.
There’s no shortage of cultural pursuits here either – the State Gallery is duly magnificent, whilst the conveniently compact cultural quarter at Palace Square houses the New and Old Palaces, the Königsbau Arcade and the Museum of Art. Despite its low-key reputation, there’s enough to see and do here to get a feel for this likeable and friendly little city in the green – you’ll be enchanted by it.
10. Lisbon, Portugal
There’s always been an infinite number of reasons to visit Europe’s most westerly capital. Boasting word-class restaurants (which excel in seafood), a reputation for style and a long artistic pedigree, Portugal’s first city continues to draw in punters with its cultural and culinary charms. But as of 2015 there are infinite plus one reasons, thanks to a new gastronomic venture spearheaded by Time Out – if we do say so ourselves.
Mercado da Ribeira has had many guises: its roots can be traced back to the 13th century, and it was once one of the most famous fish markets in Europe. Many of its traders have been selling fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and flowers there for decades. When we learned that the city council was seeking bids for the chance to manage a large part of the iconic attraction, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
Finding the Ideal Cruise Specials for You
If you want to take a vacation somewhere and don’t know where to go then you may want to try out the cruise specials provided by travel companies. There are times when you simply need to have a vacation with your family and this would be the perfect way for you to do so. There are so many travel companies all over the world willing to give you these opportunities so there is basically nothing to worry about in the least.
You should not let the opportunity of a cruise to pass you by because it’s a window of opportunity that doesn’t open for you regularly. You have all the options in the world when it comes to these deals so you do not choose something that you think is lacking or you simply aren’t happy with. There are so many websites that would give you everything you need and more. You need to be a member of these companies in order to avail of their options so make sure you do so as soon as possible. The proper steps have to be followed for better planning of your vacation. You need to do your research and see to it that you are able to spend time in the best places in the world.
A smart way to go about things would be to never avail of these offers during peak season. You would never be able to travel as freely as you want and your vacation would be far from comfortable when you spend it during this particular time. When you follow these tips for taking a cruise then you would be able to spend them in the best possible way.
If there are changes you wish to make on your trip then make sure that you do them ahead of time otherwise they may not be possible anymore. If you want to take your kids on a cruise, you have to make sure it is family friendly at all times. You need to choose the best and most ideal options for your kids because you want them to be happy as well. You need a qualified staff to watch over your kids when you are not around. You should also be able to spend time with your partner alone. There are so many amazing locations which you would be able to visit as well. When it comes to these matters, you need to make sure that your family properly oriented as well. Before the ship leaves you all need to be in it and settled at the same time. Your trip will definitely be full of fun when you follow these essential guidelines in the best possible way.
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Ways to Effectively Find the Best Cruise Deals
In case you have the plan to go to a cruise, you would want to consider making sure that you are going to get the best cruise deal bargain being offered. There are actually various ways with how you can actually save a lot of money for your first or maybe next cruise if you really know what to do. It is actually not that hard when it comes to knowing the secrets to which travel agents know when you are looking for the best cruise deal. You definitely will be able to save a lot if you are doing your research on your own from the cruise line brokers or otherwise known as cruise consolidators.
There are actually tons of sites which in fact offers clearance specials and last minute cruise deals. There are even cheaper, but riskier cruise auctions available and classifieds. When finding last minute cruise deals, it is something which is not hard to find because cruise lines wants to avoid as much as possible the process of leaving port with some empty cabins and do efforts to fill it.
It is very important that you are aware that the offers which you find at cruise line websites will not be as good as the ones which you could find offered by consolidators or from cruise line brokers. This is why you should make sure that you consider visiting other sites. After that, you should try to compare the prices that are offered by various cruise line companies from their websites.
If you ever find what you think would be a good bargain or deal, you could then contact the local cruise travel agent and to see whether they are able to meet it. You actually may find some cruise lines which don’t give permission for travel agents to offer discounts about the cruise, but this doesn’t meant that the agent knows already about the discounted cruise.
You actually could ask for a discount even when there’s a final price on the cruise. What you should do would be to ask if they are offering business discounts, senior discounts, student discounts or a health professional discount. You also could find resident discounts or special offers if you are living from a certain state.
Try to also visit various sites and in comparing them and to avoid settling to the one that you find first. By doing comparisons, you will find out which of the firms are able to offer you the best and the lowest rate.
Consider comparing cruise lines, cruise ships and also the itineraries aside from the price they have. This is important when you are looking for a bargain with the cheapest cruise rates.
How To Go On A Cruise While Saving Money
For people that love to travel around the seas there are so many great deals that they can find anywhere. If you are one of those people that would think getting on a cruise would only waste their money then you are probably on the wrong. The reality about cruising is that it might sound a little extravagant but nothing cannot be equated with the experience of being in a cruise ship no matter how much money you have acquired in your life. If you badly want to cruise sometime in your life then you should be able to find some promos and travel agencies that would give discounts which can ultimately lessen the cost of the cruising. This article will be able to show you how these pros do it.
The First Step Of The Journey
We all know that cruising is only for the rich but that is all in the past now, this is because the economy that we are in right now have so much to supply for all of the people in our generation. One thing also is that people can easily pass and acquire information and this include getting to know about the latest deals and discounts travel agencies are giving out in the public.
The best way to find these cruise deals is with the use of the internet. You should know that there are now so many websites that is solely dedicated for cruise ship deals and tours.
Always remember that most of the time, great discounts are seasonal and you should perfect your timing in looking for them on different websites to really see that you can enjoy your cruise with the right travel agency. Another thing is to check the prices of these cruise travel agency and see if you can really save a lot of money without paying miscellaneous fees and make sure that you are really getting the benefits of the discount.
Comparing two or more agencies on how much discount they could give to a passenger is important so that you can be sure to get less cost of what you should be paying and this can be done easily if you are doing your search on the internet. This is how a lot of people would enjoy their vacation even though they are going to spend money they are still able to save some while enjoying a lot thanks to the discounts they get from cruise travelling.
Getting The Best Out Of Your Cruise Deals with A Few Simple Methods
The reputation of cruises is usually something that is known for those that have too much money to spend. Of course, this is no longer something that is observed nowadays. Because the economy now is in a state of such unpredictability, businesses in line with cruises are doing everything they can to expand their market and because of this, more people can now afford to go on cruises. If you are looking to find some of the best cruise deals you can go on, these steps will definitely help you out.
Whether you are looking for a family cruise or you want a cruise for yourself, you will find that there are a lot of available choices for you. There are a number of things you need to consider before you go looking for a cruise such as price, the kind of cruise you want to go to and others. The most important thing you need to do is remember these details because they will be the ones that will allow you to get the most out of your cruise deals.
When you are in search of the best cruise deals, there are certain times of the year when doing it is the most ideal. The rates are at their best during these times of the year because the cruise lines are still not full at these times and you could consider it as the lean season. Given that fact, you will be able to get a much cheaper deal when it comes to your cruise and you would likely be able to get the most out of it. Of course, you can do it in another way if you are not available at those times. Advanced and last minute booking are also one of the great ways to get great cruise deals.
Among other things you can do is conduct your search online because there are many sites out there that can help you out. Most cruising businesses nowadays usually have their own website where you will be able to compare different cruise deals and rates which would suit your preferences best. Taking advantage of this will be able to give you a lot of benefits.
Among other things to keep in mind is to always check back even after you have found the cruise deal that works for you. With this, you will be able to ensure that things go according to the way you planned them to go. Don’t forget to make a follow up if your deal is something you found online. With these simple steps, you can go on the best cruise of your life.
Basic Guide For You To Find The Best Cruise Deals
Many people think of going on a cruise vacation is only for the rich. All inclusive cruise ship vacations are already available today. Because of the hard economic times, cruise ship companies are now making their packages appealing to everyone. In order for you to get the best cruise ship deal, juts follow these steps and for sure you will be off to your dream vacation.
The first tip is for you to know what cruise you want and you should be flexible. Before embarking on your journey, it is very important that you know where you want to go, what ship you want, and the dates and the price range that you have. Make sure you keep these things in mind for you to have a slimmer option.
The second tip is to plan ahead of time. It is from January until March that you should plan your vacation. If you want the best deals, you should try these months as cruise ship company’s give out the best deals during this times. Take the advantage of last minute cancellation deals if you are not able to book during the suggested months.
Always be on the lookout for current deals online. many people can get amazing deals online, always keep a look out for it. your time and effort will be spared if you can book deals online. Just make sure that after booking, print the details of your cruise.
Directly check the cruise lines for yourself. For you to be always sure of the deals that you are going to get, you can directly go to the cruise lines websites and double the check the information. By using their website, you can avail of deals that can only be availed through it. If the website offers a newsletter, go sign one. The latest deals are often given out through newsletters.
If you want a helping hand, you can go ask a travel agent. Regardless if you got the deal from an online booking, most of it still goes through a travel agent. The mind of a travel agent is always hooked on the latest updates that is happening in the travelling industry. It is the travel agent that will put together all the things to make your vacation a memorable one. In addition to that, good travel agents can also create side trips that will make you enjoy your vacation more. These side trips are something that you don’t find on bookings online.
Always look for the best deal and compare prices. Take time and compare all the deals that you got. The final decision will be up to you if you have already taken into consideration all the possible benefits. Price haggling is common, do it. Most travel agencies will give in to your conditions once they now that the completion is stiff.