Travel

Vorarlberg: Inspiring, Vibrant and Open to the World

Inspiring, vibrant and open to the world: that is the feel of life in Vorarlberg. 

Supremely located in Austria’s very west, between Lake Constance and the high alps at up to 3,000 metres, Vorarlberg shares borders with Germany, Switzerland and the principality of Liechtenstein.

If you have ever taken a ride on a ski lift or cable car, anywhere in the world, you will probably have come across a product made in Vorarlberg. Firstly, Vorarlberg is a pioneer of alpine skiing, and secondly, Doppelmayr, the world market leader in ropeway construction, is headquartered here. Though small in size, Vorarlberg is an economic powerhouse and home to companies such as Wolford (bodywear), Rauch and Pfanner fruit-juice manufacturers, Blum GmbH (fittings), Alpla (plastic packagings) and Zumtobel (light design). Vorarlberg is famous also for innovative architecture and crafts, original festivals, first-rate skiing resorts and excellent hospitality.

“Ever so beautiful“. That is how Vorarlberg has been described by its 383,000 inhabitants and visitors alike. The quality of living and the recreational amenities are superb:

Vorarlberg boasts great scenic diversity within a relatively small area. From the beautifully landscaped shores of Lake Constance it is just an hour’s drive to the towering mountain peaks. Along the way, verdant meadows, forests and lovely mountain vistas catch the eye.

Many sites around the international Lake Constance in Germany and in Switzerland are simply waiting to be discovered. From the Vorarlberg capital of Bregenz, vessels and cruise boats head for the major destinations.

 

Six different holiday regions invite visitors for an inspiring stay:

▪ The Bodensee-Vorarlberg region, with Bregenz, Dornbirn, Hohenems and Feldkirch as major towns.

▪ The Bregenzerwald with its 22 picture-pretty villages and the Bregenzerwald Cheese Route, known for its interesting architecture and innovative crafts.

▪ Alpenregion Vorarlberg featuring the Brandnertal and Klostertal valleys, the Grosses Walsertal biosphere park and Alpenstadt Bludenz, which is highly popular among families.

▪ The Kleinwalsertal, a high-alpine valley that is lined by mountains, an ideal place to reenergize in the great outdoors.

▪ The Montafon with Schruns as the main village, a rallying point for hikers and mountain bikers in summer, where skiers and freeriders flock to the slopes and runs in winter.

▪ Lech-Zürs am Arlberg, the cradle of alpine skiing and one of the most legendary ski resorts of the world. In summer, you can hike across blooming pastures and meadows and enjoy utter peace and tranquillity.

 

Culture Hotspot

Vorarlberg offers rich pickings for lovers of art and culture. The cultural venues are all over Vorarlberg, from the floating stage on Lake Constance to concert halls in villages and exhibition halls in alpine settings. Vorarlberg boasts some 60 museums showcasing varied themes from contemporary art to the secrets of nature. Some have attracted European-wide attention.

 

Bregenz Festival

Each summer in July/August – with the exception of 2020 owing to the coronavirus situation – the Bregenz Festival stages open-air opera productions on the floating lakeside stage of Lake Constance. Opera performances at the Festspielhaus, concerts by the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, and other events complement the high-carat programme.

 

Schubertiade Schwarzenberg and Hohenems

Schubertiade, the world’s largest Schubert festival, takes please each summer in August/September – with the exception of 2020 – in the storybook village of Schwarzenberg in Bregenzerwald. Star-studded artists will perform chamber music, lieder, piano recitals and hold master classes in the Angelika-Kauffmann hall, which affords magnificent panoramic views of surrounding nature. At given dates from April to October, the village of Hohenems hosts the Schubertiade concerts.

 

Bregenz Spring Festival in Autumn

Bregenz Spring Festival presents modern dance at the Bregenz Festival House. Usually this event takes place in Spring, this year it will be from October to December.

 

Montfort Zwischentöne in Feldkirch

On three occasions during the year, the Montfort Zwischentöne features concerts, talks and performances at the contemporary Montforthaus in Bregenz.

 

Poolbar Festival in Feldkirch

For over 25 years now, the poolbar festival has been celebrating pop music, fashion, architecture and design. The main site of the festival, which will run from July 23 to August 30 in Feldkirch, is the old indoor pool. An architecture contest is staged each year redesign the rooms and the immediate surroundings on a temporary basis.

 

FAQ Bregenzerwald

FAQ Bregenzerwald, the latest series of events in Bregenzerwald, will be hosted for the fifth time from 1 to 6 September 2020. Designed as a brain and foodie festival, the forum will feature talks, discussions, concerts and walks. FAQ Bregenzerwald sheds light on socially relevant issues from different perspectives. All venues in the villages and on the mountains, between Andelsbuch and Bezau, have been carefully chosen. Taking part in it is to inspire local residents and visitors to reflect on and have a say in matters, but first and foremost, to have fun. FAQ Bregenzerwald wants to unearth “potentials for having a good time”. FAQ Bregenzerwald is accessible all year round as an online platform, for questions and answers, inspiration and food for thought.

 

Kunsthaus Bregenz

Designed by the renowned Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, Kunsthaus Bregenz (KUB) is one of Europe’s leading museums of contemporary art. The programme features varying exhibitions, and the museum frequently accommodates solo exhibitions devoted to one single artist who designs works specifically for KUB.

 

Vorarlberg museum in Bregenz

Integrating listed parts, the vorarlberg museum building was designed by the multi-award winning Vorarlberg architects Cukrowicz Nachbaur. Apart from the eye-catching facade featuring 16,656 concrete flowers – actually nothing more than the imprints of commercial PET bottles – visitors will stand transfixed in the jaw-dropping 4th floor “viewing room” designed by Austrian artist Florian Pumh.sl. From the room which is panelled in dark colours, they can marvel at the ever changing scenery of Lake Constance beneath them through floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows. In modern-design exhibitions, the museum depicts the history and present of Vorarlberg and the Lake Constance region.

 

Jewish Quarter and Museum in Hohenems

Jewish Quarter and Jewish Museum Hohenems For centuries, Hohenems used to be home to a small Jewish community. The Jewish quarter has undergone a careful facelift in recent years. Guided visits are organised on the first Sunday of the month. The stations visited include the former synagogue, today the concert hall named after Salomon Sulzer, the mikwe (ritual bath) and the cemetery. In its permanent exhibition, the Jewish Museum Hohenems is pays tribute to the town’s Jewish community and the various ways it contributed to the development of Vorarlberg and the Alpine region. Special exhibitions showcase contemporary Jewish life in Europe, coexistence and migration.

 

Werkraum Building in Andelsbuch

Designed by the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, the Werkraum Building in Andelsbuch in Bregenzerwald hosts changing exhibitions on various aspects of craftsmanship. During the changing exhibition, a spacious entre where snacks are offered and which features cosy furniture and objects created by the Werkraum partner businesses invites visitors to take a seat, engage in conversation, use the furniture, and linger.

 

Women’s Museum im Hittisau

The Women’s Museum in Hittisau is Austria’s only women’s museum and makes the creative work and life of women visible in changing exhibitions. The museum is accommodated in a modern timber building in the village centre.

 

Angelika Kauffmann Museum Schwarzenberg

Winner of the Austrian Museum Quality Seal, the Angelika Kauffmann Museum in Schwarzenberg is accommodated in a historic, 16th century building with contemporary showrooms. It derives its name from the famous classicist paintress Angelika Kauffman, who had close family ties in Schwarzenberg.

 

James Turell Skyspace in Lech

As of late 2018, a work of art has become accessible in Oberlech. Designed by US artist James Turell, who is well known for his light-space installations, the Skyspace is a walk-through piece of conceptual art. Accessible through a 15m tunnel, an exhibition room with special light features has been built into a hillside. Up above, a large movable skylight affords a view of the outside world, opening up new ways, with every visit, to perceive the sky and the way the light penetrates into the room. When it is dark outside, a light installation makes the room appear totally different.

 

The Great Outdoors!

Recharge your batteries walking, cycling, swimming or skiing.

Let the magic of nature work its wonders. There are several trails leading to sites of exceptional beauty, complete with information about the region and the people who live here.

 

Mountain feel

Up on the mountains, perspectives are never the same. Uniformly posted trails and guided tours take you to gently rolling hillsides or towering mountain peaks, along brooks and rivers, to mountain lakes and alpine farmsteads, where cows and dairymen spend the summer. Those preferring things more easy-going, or wanting to shorten their way up, can always opt for a ride up the mountain by cable car.

The mountain scenery can ideally be explored on a mountain bike or e-bike. All regions offer guided tours and an extensive network of trails.

 

Cycling pleasures

In an all-Austrian comparison, the residents of Vorarlberg cover more kilometres by bicycle than any of their compatriots. This may be attributable to the well-developed network of cycling trails. On easy trails, you can bike on the shores of Lake Constance or along the plains of the Rhine river. Bregenzerwald, Alpenregion Vorarlberg and Montafon also have leisurely cycling trails without steep ascents.

 

Get refreshed

Vorarlberg not only features natural lakes and natural bathing facilities with maximum water quality, it also boasts beautiful bathing lakes. As it is free of chemicals, the natural water is perfect for a refreshing dip. Lake Constance is the perfect spot for surfers and stand-up paddle boarders.

 

The thrill of adventure

Paragliding, climbing or gorge discovery? If you are in for adventure, Vorarlberg’s outdoor operators are a perfect choice. In addition, the climbing and forest rope parks with zip lines in several regions offer thrilling terrain for a taste of adventure.

 

On slopes and runs

In winter, people flock to the slopes for skiing and snow- boarding in many different ski areas. Free riding and ski touring is an excellent way to explore deep-powder terrain, ideally in the company of a professional guide. The ski schools offer courses for beginners and advanced skiers.

 

Laid-back winter pleasures

The magic of winter can also be explored on a winter hike, snow shoe ramble, on a toboggan or skiing cross country. All of Vorarlberg’s regions offer guided activities.

  • Hiking in Vorarlberg

  • Sunrise or Sunset Walks

  • Themed hikes individual culture hikes

  • Bike, e-bike or mountain bike: Discover the region in style on two wheels

  • Outdoor: From canyoning and canoeing to tandem flying

  • Lakeside holidays in Vorarlberg

  • Skiing in Vorarlberg

  • Exploring Winter Wonderland

 

Must-Sees and Must Dos

There are many things waiting to be explored in Vorarlberg and around the international Lake Constance.

There is so much to see when you take a stroll through small, historic towns, picturesque villages, scenic mountains and many a gem.

 

Vibrant towns

Vorarlberg’s cosy small towns invite visitors to explore the cafes and shops, visit museums and soak up the lively atmosphere. Bregenz, the capital city of Vorarlberg, enjoys a privileged location between Lake Constance and the local Pfänder mountain, famous for its lovely views you can enjoy taking up the cable car. The second largest city, Dornbirn, is a popular shopping destination. Twice a week, the bustling and colourful fruit and flower market is held on market square.

The town of Hohenems is famed for its majestic past and a Jewish community. In Feldkirch, you can stroll through narrow lanes with arcaded courtyards, passing medieval city towers. Above the city, there is the towering Schattenburg fortress with a museum and a look-out in the keep. Bludenz captures visitors with its medieval flair. In summer, it doubles as venue for the chocolate festival.

 

Story-book villages

Vorarlberg’s villages have retained their original character. In the centre, you will find the church as a landmark, framed by residential buildings, inns, shops, hotels, workshops and farms. The mix of traditional and modern architecture catches the eye. Locally sourced timber is used in old and new buildings.

Hiking trails and ski runs are literally at your doorsteps or within easy reach on hiking and ski buses.

 

Awe-inspiring nature

The natural scenery between Lake Constance and the high alps is surprisingly diverse. The nature reserve in the Rhine estuary on Lake Constance is characterised by sandy shores and reed, and home to many bird species. Ravines such as Rappenloch gorge near Dornbirn and Breitachklamm gorge in Kleinwalsertal make you understand the power of water hands-on. Cable-cars whisk visitors to lofty summits from where they can take in magnificent views.

 

Nostalgia trains and boat trips

On two historic trains, you can travel like in the olden days: The Rheindamm nostalgia train runs to where the Rhine flows into Lake Constance. And the Bregenzerwald railway operates between Bezau and Andelsbuch-Bersbuch, occasionally with steam engines.

From the modern harbour in Bregenz, the Lake Constance vessels set off for various excursions. The most popular destinations on the German shores of Lake Constance are Friedrichshafen, with the Zeppelin museum, and the flower island of Mainau near Constance on the lower end of the lake.

 

Architecture:

In the footsteps of building culture

Vorarlberg is a genuine hotspot of modern architecture in Austria.

Take a look around! Vorarlberg is considered a pioneering region of modern architecture and cutting-edge craftsmanship in Europe. Architecture lovers will find rich pickings!

 

Trad & Mod

If you want to explore what important role contemporary (timber) architecture and innovative craftsmanship can play in the Alpine region, go to Vorarlberg. Nowhere else in Austria will you come across such a wealth of contemporary design. At the same time, the new buildings fit in seamlessly with the traditional homes.

 

Timber & Crafts

Timber has always been used as building material, both in the past and in present. The new buildings, eye-catchers amid the natural scenery, stand out for uncluttered lines and blend harmoniously with the surroundings. Inside, they impress by their smart functionality. Energy-efficient construction is a matter of course, as is fitting rooms with ecologically sound furniture and materials.

And this is where the craftspeople come in again. They design tables and chairs, beds and sofas, shelves and cabinets, based on age-old techniques, with innovative spirit, to blend in seamlessly with contemporary architecture. The result is spaces that are pleasing to look at and pleasant to live in.

 

Exploring building culture

  • Especially in the towns, you will come across eye-catching modern buildings. It is definitely worth while strolling through the streets and lanes with an open eye.

  • Exceptional architecture is a feature offered also by hotels, holiday homes and apartments. Most were either newly built recently or stand out for a harmonious blend of old and new. The website www.vorarlberg.travel/holidays-and-architecture/ informs about 30 hosts who provide a hands-on experience of contemporary architecture and innovative craftsmanship.

  • Ten carefully selected themed architectural tours by the name of Architectours invite you to individually explore building culture all across Vorarlberg. Depending on the itinerary or the selected theme, the tours last half a day or a full day.

  • “Umgang Bregenzerwald“ are themed village walks which take visitors to architectural highlights in Bregenzerwald. A folder accompanying the tours is available at the local tourist offices.

  • Places to take a breather in Vorarlberg: In Vorarlberg, imaginative design concepts show up in the least expected places. Each building is in dialogue with the surrounding nature and each one reveals facets of Vorarlberg’s contemporary building culture.

  • Original: Architects from all over the world were commissioned by the village of Krumbach to design seven bus stops under the motto Bus: Stop Krumbach. 

  • The Werkraum Building in Andelsbuch in Bregenzerwald showcases innovative craftsmanship, hosting changing exhibitions and works by the Bregenzerwald Werkraum craftspeople.

  • Some hotels and apartments have been redesigned in recent years, combining traditional and modern elements. Whenever rooms or holiday apartments are upgraded or renovated, this is mostly done in cooperation with craftspeople from the region.

 

Treats and Delights

Regional delicacies: from cheese to fine brandies

Whether you opt for a rustic inn or an award-winning restaurant: Vorarlberg has pleasant surprises in store for foodies, offering impeccable quality and excellent value-for-money.

The recipe for success subscribed to by Vorarlberg’s chefs is a longstanding close collaboration with local producers. As much as possible, they rely on seasonal and regional delicacies to serve up hearty traditional fare or light dishes with a creative twist.

 

Cheese

Vorarlberg’s most popular speciality is cheese, notably the spicy Alp and Bergkäse, a hard mountain cheese. It is manufactured on many small dairy-making farms, partly on high-alpine homesteads during the summer. Other delicacies include Emmental, and tender cream cheese made of cow’s, goat’s and sheep’s milk. Creamy camemberts round off the product line. Sura Kees, a mildly aromatic low-fat cheese, is typical of the Montafon region.

 

For a selection of typical recipes – from Kässpätzle to Riebel – take a look at  www.vorarlberg.travel/en/recipes-from-vorarlberg/

 

Food and Drink in Vorarlberg: Selected Tips

  • Buy directly from farmers:
    Are you after food and treats that taste just great and are made with love and attention by family farmers? Then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a list of recommended shops where you can buy produce directly from the farm. 

  • Fresh regional produce - weekly markets in Vorarlberg:
    The markets of Vorarlberg offer a feast for all the senses almost every day of the week. 

  • Culinary tips for summer:
    Celebrating food is part and parcel of the Vorarlberg way of life. At restaurants or inns, mountain lodges, Lake Constance cruises or outdoor dining: the ingredients are sourced regionally wherever possible and used in the preparation of tasteful specialities. 

  • Meal with a view - Recommendations for enjoyment with panoramic views:
    Admire Vorarlberg’s mountain world from way up high, experience moments of maritime bliss lakeside, or enjoy hours of relaxation in a fairytale environment. At these Vorarlberg establishments, the prospects for delicious food and good views are guaranteed. 

 

Good to Know

Arrival by car, rail, coach and plane

Vorarlberg is within easy reach on all routes. The local public transport network is highly developed. Like in a major city, all rail and bus services as well as tariffs are dovetailed within the Vorarlberg transport network. In some regions, hiking buses operate in addition to scheduled services. Visitors in the Kleinwalsertal may use the Walserbus free of charge. The nearest airports are Zurich (CH) and Munich (D). https://www.vorarlberg.travel/en/how-to-reach-vorarlberg/

 

Regional Inclusive Cards

All of Vorarlberg’s six holiday destinations offer their own Inclusive Card. Depending on the region, the cards are valid on public transport, cable-cars and lifts, museums, recreational facilities and enrolment in different programmes.

In Kleinwalsertal, Brandnertal, Klostertal and in Alpenstadt Bludenz, the card is included in the price of accommodation for visitors staying one night or longer at partner businesses, in Bregenzerwald (including Fontanella, Faschina and Sonntag in the Grosses Walsertal biosphere reserve), it is included for visitors staying 3 nights or longer. As of summer 2019, the guest cards in Brandnertal, Klostertal and in Alpenstadt Bludenz are readily accessible via the “Clara” app on your smart phone.

In the Lake Constance-Vorarlberg region (Bodensee-Vorarlberg leisure card), in Montafon (Montafon Brandnertal Card) and in Lech (My Lech Card), the cards are on sale at a bargain all-in rate.

Curious and Fascinating Facts

From alpine skiing to cutting-edge innovation

Vorarlberg grabs people’s attention in many different ways. Small in size, the region surprises with many curiosities and products which are known all over the world.

 

Did you know that …

  • The first ever ski course for guests in the history of skiing was held in 1906 in Zürs am Arlberg?

  • In 1881, Emperor Francis Joseph inaugurated the first telephone in the Austro-Hungarian empire? This telephone has been preserved for visitors to marvel at at Gasthaus Gütle.

  • The sun protection factor was developed in Vorarlberg? We owe this invention to Franz and Marga Greiter, founders of the “Piz Buin“ sun lotion manufacturing company, which derives its name from Vorarlberg’s highest peak, the 3,312 m high Piz Buin.

  • The finest Baroque churches and monasteries in the Lake Constance area were built by builders and craftspeople from local Bregenzerwald? A builders‘ guild formed in the 17th century in Au in Bregenzerwald whose artistry and skills were in wide demand.

  • The European watershed between the Rhine and the Danube runs through Vorarlberg?

  • The export share of Vorarlberg’s companies stands at 60% and is thus the highest of all Austrian states?

  • Ropeways all over the world are designed and partly manufactured in Vorarlberg? Doppelmayr, the world market leader in ropeway technology, is headquartered in Vorarlberg.

  • Heated chair-lift seats are an innovation from Vorarlberg? They were developed by the Doppelmayr company.

  • The overwhelming share of all Red Bull cans sold worldwide are filled in Vorarlberg? This is a job done by Rauch, a company manufacturing fruit juices, which is also based in Vorarlberg.

  • Plastic packaging from Vorarlberg is used all over the world for drinks, foods, cosmetic and sanitary products and a lot more? They are produced by Alpla, the technology leader when it comes to packaging solutions.

  • Furniture and kitchen designers all around the world rely on fittings from Vorarlberg? A company with world-wide operations, Blum has its seat in Vorarlberg.

  • Wolford, manufacturer of premium tights, bodywear and women’s fashion is based in Bregenz? They also run a factory outlet there.

The first design hotel to open in Austria is located in Dornbirn? Designed by architects Baumschlager Eberle, Hotel Martinspark opened in 1996.

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On a World Trip in Antwerp, Belgium

Do you need a holiday and would you like to get away from it all for a while, to tour the world?

Then come to Antwerp, a homestead for many different nationalities and cultures. Depending on what you visit, in Antwerp you could imagine yourself in New York, Japan, China, Africa or Italy.

 

From Chinatown to Japan

If you look over Astridplein from Central Station, you'll see the Chinese pagoda gate on the other side, the entrance to the Chinese quarter. A must stop is the Sun Wah supermarket, where you'll be surprised by the exotic offerings in every aisle. You'll also find authentic Chinese and other Asian restaurants in this district. Join the Chinese walk and immerse yourself in the Antwerp-Chinese culture. And stop by the cathedral and the statue of Nello and Patrasche too. The story, well-known in Japan, is set in Antwerp and tells of the moving friendship between a boy and his dog.

 

It's up to you, New York...

Fans of New York, take note. We don't claim that Antwerp is a New York on the Scheldt, but still there is much in common between the two cities. There used to even be a literal connection, thanks to the Red Star Line that transported about two million fortune-seekers from Europe to America and Canada between 1873 and 1934. The journey to the new world began for many people in a port warehouse in Antwerp. Visit the Red Star Line Museum, the counterpart of the famous Ellis Island in New York, and discover the stories of millions of people with a dream. 

You can also go shopping like the film stars do on Fifth Avenue in Antwerp. Discover the various shopping districts in Antwerp. Or join a walk in the Jewish quarter that resembles in more ways than one the Jewish neighbourhood in the hip New York neighbourhood of Williamsburg. Don't have that much time? A bicycle tour through Jewish Antwerp is also an option. Dine in the evening at one of the meat restaurants on the Slachthuislaan and you might imagine yourself to be in the Meatpacking District. How about a Manhattan or New York Sour as an aperitif?

 

African savannah in the city centre

Has it been a while since your last visit to the Zoo? Come and have another look, because the Zoo has been revamped. In the Valley of the Apes, you can walk among the chimpanzees and gorillas. In the Buffalo Savannah, Cape buffalo and birds live together in peace. Your African safari feeling becomes complete when you look out over the new Savannah with giraffes and zebras. Whether you are an animal lover or not, this green oasis in the city centre is a great place to be. Do you like African cuisine? Then TheFork  has four tips for you: Little Ethiopia, Black Sugar, Elsie's Ethiopian and Eritrean eatery and Cabo Verde.

 

In Europe

From the Rubens House to the town hall and the numerous restaurants, Antwerp is full of Italian influences. On the Grote Markt, take a look at the relationship between the Brabo fountain and the work of Italian Mannerist sculptors. At Museum De Reede, you will also find numerous European traces. More works by the famous Spanish painter Francisco Goya hang here than at the Prado in Madrid. Do visit the ‘German Expressionists’ exhibitionists there too. Fans of Berlin shouldn't miss PAKT. You'll find locally produced coffee and you'll enjoy meals made from ingredients grown in PAKT's roof garden. As if you're sitting on a lovely terrace in the German capital.

In Antwerp, you can enjoy a pocket-size trip around the world. Plan your trip and book a cosy hotel for an unforgettable holiday

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Take a back to nature break to Gothenburg, Sweden

Gothenburg (Göteborg), is Sweden’s second biggest city. Visitors can explore the beautiful coastal city, magical islands and some of the best seafood in the world.

Located on the west coast of Sweden, Gothenburg has a city pulse with nature on its doorstep.

 

Go cycling 

Rent a bike and explore the city with brand new rental bikes from Styr & Ställ. Styr & Ställ has launched more than 130 stations and 1,750 bicycles around town during summer 2020, which can be rented via a new app-based booking system. Single-ride passes start from 20 SEK / 1.70 GBP.

For those who want to head out of town, the säröbanan route awaits. Ride from Gothenburg down the old railway line to Särö and experience spectacular views of the sea and beautiful nature along the way. The last train to Särö departed in 1965. But that doesn’t mean that the old railway line no longer attracts visitors, in fact it’s quite the contrary. Today, Säröbanan is a highly popular bicycle route, taking you from Linnéplatsen in central Gothenburg to Särö, passing the cliffs, beaches and natural areas along the coast.

 

Swimming

Delsjön is one of Gothenburg´s most central swimming and nature areas. Here you can take a relaxing walk in the nature reserve, go on a canoe trip, take a delightful swim at the beach Delsjöbadet or from the surrounding cliffs. At the beach you find jetties, playgrounds, a barbecue area and a beach volleyball court. In addition, Skatåts fitness centre offers a number of running tracks. 

Alternatively, head to The Sauna Frihamnen. The sauna is situated in the park Jubileumsparken which is part of the city’s quatercentenary. It was created by German architect collective Raumblabor Berlin and in large parts it’s constructed from recycled material.

 

Climbing

The rock climbing in and around Gothenburg is considered some of the best in Sweden. Visit the crags of Utby and you’ll soon realise why. Or get a boat to the island of Hönö and go bouldering in a unique environment. If you’d rather stay indoors, there are several challenging indoor climbing walls to try. 

 

Discover parks and gardens 

At Gothenburg botanical garden you'll find around 16,000 species of plants in the different greenhouses and the rock and herb garden. The Botanical Garden offers a vast and impressive collection of plants and flowers and is a great place to visit all year round. With over half a million visitors a year it’s one of the most popular attractions in the region. Although you can still find your own spot or path. 

Änggårdsbergen Nature reserve, within walking distance of the city centre, is a popular spot for outdoor activities ranging from strolling through the woods to downhill mountain biking. The varied ecological environment and fauna contains several examples of nature typical of Western Sweden, such as heathland and moorland. Änggårdsbergen lies next to the Botanical Gardens and stretches from the green parks of western Gothenburg towards the nature area Sisjön, south of the city of Mölndal. Forest bathing is a must for those who really want to get back to nature.

Slottskogen is Gothenburg’s main park. Take a stroll along the winding paths lined with leafy greenery and you’ll see why Slottsskogen is the locals' favourite place to unwind. You’ll also be able to see elks, Gotland ponies, Gute sheep and other Nordic animals in the park zoo. In Slottsskogen you’ll find large, open spaces, perfect for children to play in or for outdoor activities. There are also volleyball courts, miniature golf, outdoor gyms and playgrounds. One of the popular playgrounds is adventure playground Plikta. On the other side of the park is the exciting playground Naturleken that uses nature to create a fun environment for children. The observatory Slottsskogsobservatoriet is located in the northern part of the park, on the top of the hill, and it’s a great spot to visit if you want to learn more about stars and planets.

Vättlefjäll nature reserve is one of the larger open-air recreation areas in the region. Here you can go canoeing or fishing in the many lakes, hike along the trails Bohusleden, Vättlefjällsleden and Pilgrimsleden and enjoy the moorlands, forests and hills. 

 

Explore the northern archipelago

The Gothenburg archipelago – with several islands within short distance of each other – is perfect for a weekend trip.

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Stockholm: Discover Scandinavia’s Capital

Known around the world as the capital of Scandinavia, the city of Stockholm is home to incredible art and cuisine and, despite being the biggest city in Sweden, maintains a friendly and relaxed atmosphere where historic charm meets cutting edge architecture.

The city has announced a number of exciting new experiences and attractions launching over the coming months, which will be ready for travellers to enjoy when the time is right.

 

Stay at Stockhom’s first beach resort – Ellery Beach House 

From the creators of the hugely popular Steam Hotel and Hotel Pigalle comes Ellery Beach House – Stockholm’s latest getaway and only Beach Resort, inspired by the 60s and 70s. Ellery is located on the tip of Lidingö, an island in the inner Stockholm archipelago where urban life feels far away in the rural surroundings – although just 18 minutes away from the city centre. A welcoming beach house with its own private jetty, this is the place to go to for nature, sea, beaches, pools, cabanas, music, design and arts. The hotel’s restaurant, Palmer’s, serves Mediterranean cuisine with inspiration from the Greek islands, vibrant food markets of Tel Aviv and Lebanese meze culture. There’s also The Bally Bar, where guests can enjoy morning coffee, indulge in a long lunch, or finish the day with a cocktail around the open fireplace, as well as Coco Beach Club, with indoor and outdoor pools. Double rooms start from £140 per night.

 

Private city experiences

Visitors can book a private guide through Our Way Tours, with excursions including a walking tour of the Old Town, a Swedish Fashion walking tour, a bike tour to discover the green lungs of Stockholm, architecture tours and a Swedish Pop Wonders driving tour. Guide Stockholm also offers private tours ranging from Carl Linnaeus and the Linnaean Gardens in Uppsala to Gripsholm Castle. Individual museums, such as The Vasa, also offer private tours outside of opening hours. The gastronomic highlights of Stockholm can be discovered via private food tours with Food Tours Stockholm and for those who want to discover at their own pace, website Alla Promenader gives tips on walks around Stockholm and updates routes based on any starting positon.

 

Escape to the Stockholm archipelago

Towards the end of August, the archipelago starts to relax from the busy summer season. The colours shift slowly from lush green and intense blue to yellow, orange and red and the sun sits low on the ocean horizon. This is the right time to go for long walks, gaze at the choppy sea and breathe the fresh air. The ferries to and from Stockholm still run frequently, most shops and restaurants are still open and the water is still warm enough to take a dip in the sea. 

The idyllic island of Lidö in the Stockholm Archipelago teamed up with Scandinavia energy company Neste for a project called Zero Island, where they aimed to make the whole island fossil-free within a year. 18 different solutions were found, ranging from fossil-free fuel for transport through to fitting solar panels, air water heat pumps and climate curtains to buildings. Over the year, the project reduced emissions by 78%, down from 180 tonnes of CO2 in 2018 to just 40 tonnes in 2019. Guests are encouraged to visit, staying at the Inn Lidö Värdshus, enjoying fossil free experiences and trying a zero carbon diet. 

 

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Nature Experiences in West Sweden

Just a short journey outside the city of Gothenburg is the wildnerss of Dalsland,  the unique Bohuslän archipelago with its beautiful smooth granite shoreline against the open horizon, and the scenic plains, hills and forests of Västergötland.

 

Here’s our roundup of how to discover West Sweden’s nature at its best:

Canoeing in Dalsland

Experience nature close-up, wild and genuine with a Dalsland canoeing trip. Feel like an adventurer, find serenity and experience privacy even though you are only 180 kilometers from Gothenburg. This is by far one of Europe’s finest lake systems, rich in nature with clean air and fresh water. More than 1000 lakes, Dalsland Canal and water is so clean and clear that you can drink it! 

 

Kayaking in Bohuslän

All the way from the Gothenburg archipelago in the south to the Koster islands in the north, is a paddler’s paradise of marine national park, nature reserves, deserted isles, fishermen’s huts and clear blue waters. This is Sweden’s first marine national park and takes in the Koster Sea and the Koster Islands; above and below the water line some 12,000 species live here. The Bohuslän coast and its islands is one of the top 10 last great wilderness areas in the world, according to CNN. You find more than 8 000 island, no tide water and kayaking rentals or guided tours along the coast. 

 

Hiking

Hiking in Sweden’s western regions is a nature experience like no other. You get the best of the wonderful coastal scenery, magical forests, endless lakes and historic landscapes rich in culture. Combine your walk with charming accommodation and food from the area.

The Gotaleden is a walking trail close to the city of Gothenburg, which has been divided into nine stages covering a total of 71 kilometres. Proximity to train stations on the different stages makes it easy to adapt the walk as you want. Natural landscapes along the trail are varied and beautiful, with lakes you can swim in, fantastic viewpoints and undulating countryside.

Making a pilgrimage is an ancient tradition that occurs throughout the world. Two of Sweden's most beautiful pilgrim paths run through West Sweden’s primeval forests and historic cultural land. Adventurous walkers sought the peace and tranquillity of the countryside as early as the Middle Ages, until Gustav Vasa banned pilgrimages in the mid-16th century.

The Kuststigen is one of the most scenic hiking trails in West Sweden. It stretches from the island of Tjörn in the south, all the way up the west coast to Oslo. Some of the stages are on islands in the Bohuslän archipelago.

Bohus Path in West Sweden is a classic long-distance footpath that stretches from Strömstadin the north to Lindome in the south.

 

Seafood safaris and experiences

Fish and shellfish from West Sweden are as good as any in the world. In the cold, fresh, salty waters off the west coast there are prawns, langoustine, lobster, mussels, oysters – and fantastic fish, of course. So if you love seafood, the west coast offers the finest available, as well as a wide range of wild experiences.

 

72h cabin in Dalsland

Swedish nature helps you become less stressed, according to a new case study from Sweden. By spending 72 hours in glass cabins on an island of their own, five people with stressful jobs got to experience the Swedish ‘close to nature’ lifestyle. “The participants decreased their stress levels with almost 70 percent”, says Walter Osika, Researcher in Stress and also Associate Professor at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. Now, Sweden invites the rest of the world to wind down in nature like a Swede, making the glass cabins available for everyone to book for a 72 hour stay.

In Dalsland you find 3 locations for the glass cabins: Dalslands Aktiviteter, Happy Celery Glasscabins and Henriksholm. Each of them is a unique experience.  Dalslands Aktiviteter is great for those who love outdoor activities and adventures.Happy Celery Glass cabins offers vegan food, meditation, yoga and life coaching (NEW for May 2020). Henriksholm is the island where you can find the 5 original glass cabins. 

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Top Cultural Festivals to Attend in Kenya

Do you enjoy experiencing diverse cultures? Festivals are a great place to start and this article will sample four festivals that should be in your bucket list.

Top four cultural Festivals to attend in Kenya after the Coronavirus pandemic

Kenya is well known for its breathtaking sandy beaches and wildlife.

Little is known about its cultural diversity.

The Maasai people are worldwide known, nonetheless, we have 41 other tribes in Kenya. These tribes have cultural festivals that they celebrate annually. Attending festivals is a great

way to connect with the local communities, contribute to the preservation of culture and get to experience a different way of life.

However, today I will highlight the top four cultural festivals that you must attend in your lifetime.

 

Rusinga Island Festival

Rusinga Island is one of the gems of the Great Lake Victoria. It lies on the Eastern side of the lake and it has the most stunning views of the sunsets.

Rusinga Island Festival is among the famous events in the Western region of Kenya. It is usually held annually on the last Thursday and Friday before Christmas.

If you want to experience the authentic culture and traditions of the Suba community, this is a perfect place to start.

 

Here you get to experience two days of:

● traditional music and dance

The traditional dancers usually exhibit their passion and skills by dancing their waists and hearts out. You will get to feel the thundering beatings of the drums, echoed by voices that seem to appease the gods.

 

● Art and Fashion

Unique art and fashion pieces are visible on their traditional attire, the jewellery that adores their bodies, the pottery and not forgetting the carvings. You can't miss a beautiful and valuable souvenir for friends and families back home.

 

● food delicacies

The staple food of the suba community is "kuon anang' a"(traditional ugali prepared using ghee) with fish I.e Nile perch or Tilapia(omena & Mbuta). This is a delicacy.

A visit to the lakeside is not complete without devouring the fresh savoury fish.

 

● sports

There are different sports activities to participate in during this festival. We have a tag of wars, whereby different groups test their strength and resilience. 

The Luo and Suba community had a significant cultural sport of wrestling. It allowed the young, we'll build and able fishermen to earn bragging rights in the community.

The match is not violent. It's purely meant for entertainment purposes and a great chance for the young men to attract suitors.

 

● Boat races and Fishing

The people in the Island are super friendly. Occasionally you will find them fishing, drying their fish(dagaa, omena) and going about their business.

Fishing is the primary source of livelihood for the community. The festival also organises boat races among the local people. They get to compete on which team will win the race

Most hotels and lodges along the Island arrange for boat rides and fishing on request.

I found this interesting enough to try, I hope you will too 

 

Literature

You will get to hear interesting stories, folklores and conversations that take you back in time into the wealth of the Abasuba culture.

The festival is run by different themes each year. In 2019 the theme was "The Island Remembers". This made us remember, reminiscent and connect with the Island through culture, art and

celebrating heritage. The festival unites people from different worlds to appreciate and enjoy the heritage of the Suba people.

 

Maralal International Camel Derby

Kenya's Northern Frontier is a wild and untamed region.

The locals have retained their traditions.

Most of them are pastoralists, with Camels being an important element of their wealth. Maralal Camel Derby is one of the most celebrated events in Kenya. It takes place in the Yare Camel Club In Maralal Town, Samburu County.

The derby involves cycling, Camel racing and cultural performance from the Samburu people. Both the communities and visitors join in the festivities and races.

 

● Sports

The Camel Derby is graced by both amateurs and professional Camel racers. Most amateurs are usually first-time foreigners who have never taken part in the Camel races.

You will definitely have a fun laugh at the amateurs who can't control the camels. Most times the camels move in whichever direction away from the race. A funny scenario it is. Watching the races struggling to steer the camels to the right path.

However, this gives room for the professional racers to get to the finish line first.

There are also bicycle races. For those who prefer this, they get an opportunity of challenging themselves. Some cyclists, who are greenhorn, don't get to finish the race. It is a demanding task.

The two races usually start in Maralal town, and they take place co-currently.

 

● Music and Dance

The mood in Maralal town during the early is usually electric and fun. The music and dances from the Samburu people lighten the atmosphere.

 

● Art and Fashion

If you are a lover of art, fashion and handicrafts, there are curio stalls where these artefacts are displayed. You have a lot of choices to choose a souvenir from.

 

Maralal Camel Derby is not just a competitive race but brings this desert town to life and showcases its cultural heritage.

 

Kilifi New Year Festival

Kilifi New year festival is held annually from 30th December to 2nd January.

This festival is perfect for all those who are lovers of contemporary, African and electronic music. It is a melting pot of varied cultures and allows for freedom of expression.

The music festival is held under the shade of thousand-year-old baobab trees. It is set on a 20-acre field, home to wild orange and lemon orchids and bamboo forest in

Takaungu creak of the Indian Ocean.

The aim of this festival is supporting conscious living and sustainability while appreciating different cultures. Blending creativity with nature to show a connection with each other, the environment and the community.

Everyone is free-spirited expressing themselves through fashion, dance, art and music. The die to moment happens when a huge wooden sculpture is set ablaze symbolising new beginnings and shared hope for a promising future.

During the 2019 festival, a huge sculpture was burnt in honour of the last male Northern White Rhino - Sudan. A symbol that species extinction is a reality and it is up to the human race to value and protect its wildlife.

 

● Camping

Camping buddies, this is a great festival for you.

You are allowed to carry your own camping gear. The 20-acre piece of land has enough spaces for pitching tents.

There is also adequate space for parking vehicles, enough showers, toilets and shade to relax and unwind.

There is ample security for all those in attendance.

Moreover, boutique camping is also available during the four days of stay. You will just have to arrange for the bookings earlier enough.

 

● Beach Activities

There is a beautiful coastline a few meters away. You can go for an early morning jog, a swim, yoga or participate in beach ball games.

The refreshing breeze, combined with spectacular sunsets and free spirit around, makes this festival a bucket list.

Moreover, you can also plan to go for a boat ride on Watamu beach after the festival. Here you can do for snorkelling, explore the bottom world of the ocean.

You will discover colourful fish species, turtles and seagrass. With the help of trained tour guides, you can sail deeper to get a glimpse of the whales.

This is a fantastic way to end your new year celebration in Kilifi.

 

Lamu cultural festival

Lamu cultural festival is held in Lamu Island, a world heritage site.

This old town has retained it's Swahili culture over the years not giving in to pressures of the modern culture. The town is characterised by narrow streets, while its main transport means are donkeys.

The three-day festival is meant to give visitors a taste of the Swahili culture and lifestyle.

During the Lamu Cultural Festival, you get to experience dhow race, donkey races, competitive bao games, Swahili Henna paintings and traditional artefacts.

The bao games have existed for years in the East African region. Archaeological evidence shows that it has been played for thousands of years.

The dhow sailing races are executed by the locals. The racers are usually well prepared ready to showcase their skills in manoeuvring through the tides.

On the other hand, other people prepare to take part in a swimming competition. They will have to face the rough waters steering towards the other Island known as Shela and then swim back. With the scorching sun, Swimming race is ideal and a big relief.

The highlight of the festival is the donkey races. Residents, as well as the visitors, can participate. This sport is fun to watch. Steering a donkey needs natural talent, practice and skill. For

amateurs, some end up going towards the opposite direction from where the race is. Donkeys are the main means of transport owing to the city's narrow and meandering streets. Donkeys have been used for ages by the residents.

For those who thrill in a shopping spree, there are lots of products to choose from. Toys, jewellery, clothes, toys and artefacts. You will find unique Swahili pieces to add on to your adventure collection.

 

● Street Food

What a better way of knowing a towns delicacies than sampling the street foods. Lamu has a vibrant, welcoming relaxed old town vibes. Like most Coastal towns, the street food culture is active.

You will find an array of street foods lined up on the streets early in the morning and in the evenings at around 4:00 pm.

There is a variety of finger-licking snacks and drinks to choose from. Most of them are Swahili dishes prepared from coconut milk, flour and with lots of sugar and spice. They include bhajia, vitumbua, jalebi, mitai, kaimati, mkate was Sinia, Mahari and mbaazi ya nazi. I know these are foreign names but when you get there you can surprise the locals a bit. 

If you are a foodie this would be paradise.

It is good for one to loosen up once in a while and enjoy the abundance of life

 

Conclusion

Life is full of abundance. If you don't travel and experience what other places have to offer then you are missing a lot.

"The World is a book and those who do not travel read only a page." -Saint Augustine.

I hope these four incredible festivals in Kenya have inspired you to travel, explore alien culture, interact with different people and live a free life.

For each time we travel we see the world with a set of new eyes, become more conscious about our relationship with nature and fellow human beings.

 

Travel tip written and shared by Delinah Mijide

Delinah is a champion for sustainable tourism and conservation practices. She has the passion to highlight businesses and brands that support community empowerment, environmental and

culture preservation. Let's travel,be responsible and have fun.

Wants to know more about sustainable tourism visit The Eco-traveller.

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My trip to Lanzarote, Canary Island, Spain – Travel in Covid-19 Times

I've just returned from a trip to Lanzarote, an island located on the Canary Islands of Spain. 

After self-isolation in Llandudno, North Wales for three months due to coronavirus, COVID-19, I was ready to travel again once it was safe to do so. 
 
On Monday 6th of July, the Welsh Government lifted the 5-mile stay local rule, and I could finally travel outside of my local community again. 
 
At this point, I would like to highlight that everything mentioned within this blog post is based on my personal experience, and you should seek government advice from the correct sources. 
 
The reason why I mention this is because the rules are changing all the time and I wanted to share how my trip went to help paint a picture of what your trip could be like so you can make an informed opinion on if you should travel at the moment. 
 

Why did I choose Lanzarote, Canary Islands  

At my time of flying, Spain was on the list of countries you could fly to from the UK without the need to isolate for two weeks after returning from your trip. 
 
Of course, this could change, but this was one of the reasons why I choose Spain. 
 
I didn't fancy flying to a Spanish city due to crowds, but Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands has direct flights from the UK and felt like a better option due to the current situation. 
 
Plus the sound of the stunning volcanic landscape, hiking trails, sunny sandy beaches and locally sourced food all tempted me to visit the island of Lanzarote. It was just what I was looking for after being at home for so long. 
 
With my bags packed and passport in hand (don't forget your passport, it's been a while!) I was ready to travel and explore the Canary Islands. 
 
Around Lanzarote, not all businesses were open for tourism as visitor numbers are still operating on low capacity.
 
However, businesses are slowly opening up again for tourism, and many restaurants, visitor attractions, rental cars and a select number of resorts were open for visitors on the island. 
 

You should book travel insurance before you travel around Europe

Please make sure you arrange suitable travel insurance for your trip before you depart. Some travel insurance providers have changed their policy to adapt to coronavirus COVID-19 so please read the small print and make sure that you have a cover. 
 
Proper guidance is to check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website for up to date travel advice for UK travellers, and typically your travel insurance will follow along the lines of the FCO. So, if the FCO says not to travel, then your travel insurance usually is not valid, so please check the FCO website frequently for the latest travel advice. 
 
Also, for those within the EU, make sure that your E111 card is up to date before you depart. For those within the UK, you can still travel and use your E111 card until the end of December. Remember that the E111 doesn't replace travel insurance, but it's good to have it with you at all times when travelling around the EU, especially at the moment. 
 

Do you have to wear a face mask in Spain at all times? 

Do you have to wear a mask all the time? This was a question I had before travelling to Lanzarote. 
 
Of course, this advice will differ from other countries in Europe. But in Spain and on the Canary Islands, the simple answer is yes. You do have to wear your mask at all times. 
 
After gathering some local advice, wearing a mask is not only to protect yourself from spreading germs but as a courtesy to protecting others. 
 
Any situation where you're unable to keep your social distance is when you should wear your mask in Spain. 
 
This would be any place where social distancing is challenging, such as within shops, restaurants and public transport. 
 
You can remove your mask when you sit down to eat or have a drink. You can withdraw your face cover while on the beach or when going for a swim in Spain, as long as you can keep your social distance. 
 
Within your hotel room or rental car, you can remove your mask. If you're going to the hotel breakfast buffet, you should wear your face mask. 
 
I hope the above information clears up some questions you might have. 
 

What is it like to fly at the moment? 

It was a bizarre feeling only seeing five flights on the departure board of Heathrow terminal 5, usually the busiest airport in Europe. It did come as a shock. 
 
Heathrow felt like a ghost town with limited passenger numbers flying on the day. 
 
Throughout Heathrow, you will have to wear a facemask at all times from the entrance until you've exited at your arrival destination. It's advised to swap your face mask every few hours, so you should pack a selection to use throughout your travels. 
 
My temperature was checked as I entered Heathrow airport and I found hand sanitizer located all around the airport. 
 
Check-in was rather swift, and many airlines are allowing free baggage check-in to free up space in the cabin, which is worth taking advantage of. 
 
Security has never felt so fast; it was a swift experience and didn't take much time at all. 
 
Once airside, in regard to places to eat, I could only find one Pret open, which was enough to grab a coffee and a bite to eat before the flight. 
 
Most airlines are not allowing food and drink service at the moment. 
 
I did notice that a passenger requested a cup of water which was allowed but generally, nothing will be served on the flight unless you're travelling business. 
 
At the boarding gate, passengers were boarding individually based on row numbers, starting from the back of the aircraft towards the front. 
 
At the check-in desk, the staff said to allow an extra hour due to additional boarding time. Be patient as it will take more time to board the flight, but you could always book your seat at the back if you wish to board sooner. 
 
Once on the flight, cabin crew informed us that the aircraft used an advanced air flow filtration system that kills most germs. This, combined with a face mask and limited contact, helps to reduce the risk. 
 
Once I was at my seat, I noticed that the airline had used empty seats to keep travellers at a safe distance from each other as best as they could. 
 
They also blocked off and limited access to the number of toilets you could use. You can still use them but not as many so you might have to wait. 
 
Generally, I found the flying experience rather relaxing and pleasant, indeed longer than usual, but the additional steps gave me reassurance rather than worry. 
 
I wouldn't want to take a flight with a connection due to the extra time it takes to board and go through the airport, but one direct flight wouldn't be an issue. 
 

What was your hotel resort like in Lanzarote?  

I stayed at the Sands Beach resort located in Costa Teguise on the island of Lanzarote. 
 
They had self-catering options for families with a large selection of swimming pools to choose from, which was great for social distance swimming. 
 
Swimming is one of the things I missed the most, so it was a much-welcomed joy to have a few laps in the pool each morning. 
 
The breakfast buffet was open, and you had to order each item individually. This will take some additional time, so be sure to arrive early to allow your choices to be accommodated. 
 
I would visit the local supermarket and stock up on breakfast items to make in your room so you can relax in the morning and take the stress out of breakfast. 
 
Not all resorts are open yet in Lanzarote, and some have chosen to stay closed until September so your choices will be limited. 
 
The Sands Beach Resort chose to open early to learn about the extra steps needed to open up. The Spanish government have issued rules that resorts must follow to remain open to meet the health guidelines and create a safe environment for guests. 
 
Another issue is staff. The resort is running at low capacity and it's been tough getting the team back to work as some have chosen to wait until it's safer to return to work while others are happy to get back to work again. 
 
Rooms are required to undergo additional cleaning after each guest which is why I would recommend staying for 1-2 weeks. 
 
Also, the stock has been an issue as the supply chain for resorts has not been open on the island since lockdown and resorts are having to use supermarkets to purchase items they need to operate. 
 
It will take some time for resorts to open up again but those that have chosen to open up as soon as possible will learn from the experience and adapt to the guidelines, which will take time for some resorts to adjust to. 
 

What is it like going to a restaurant on the Canary Islands?

After cooking for myself for three months, I've simply run out of hot pot recipes and I’m also getting a bit bored of baking banana bread. 
 
Being allowed to visit restaurants again and not have to do the washing up was one of the most enjoyable moments from the trip. 
 
Getting to taste the local flavours again was an absolute pleasure. Enjoying fresh seafood and a glass of white wine that's made on the island was pure joy. 
 
If you wish to dine out, it's best to call in advance to book a table as space within the premise is limited due to schedules and social distance. 
 
I noticed that temperature checks took place before entering the restaurant, and hand sanitizer was always found at the entrance. 
 
You must wear a facemask until you have taken a seat at your table, then you can take it off to enjoy your food and drink. 
 
Also, I noticed that the menu could typically be found by using a QR code to access on your smartphone. Make sure you have your Roam Like at Home data turned on while travelling around the EU as it will come in handy. 
 
If you can pay for your meal by using contactless payment, this would be the best method rather than using cash. 
 

Do you need to fill out health forms before you travel?

Spain requires you to fill in a health form before you arrive. Once the form is completed online, you will get a QR code which will be scanned on arrival.
 
You must be checked into your flight and have your seat number before you fill out the form. This information helps with track and trace, and you will be contacted if needed. 
 
Also, when returning to the UK, you must fill in a form explaining where you've been and where you will be going to in the UK.
 
After filling in the UK form and placing my address in Wales where I will be, I instantly got an email from the Welsh government asking me to quarantine and stay at home for two weeks. I was not aware that the rules in Wales required two weeks quarantine, but not a problem as I have been home for the past two weeks and will follow the guidelines as instructed. Something to think about as I was also aware that those from Scotland had been advised not to travel to Spain altogether. So, the rules are different depending on where you live. 
 

Did I enjoy my trip to Lanzarote, Canary Islands? 

The most important question. Did I have a great time going to Lanzarote? Were all the extra steps worth it? 
 
My answer is for the most part yes. I do have mixed opinions about it though, as I enjoyed the trip, but travel is no longer normal like it used to be and some fun has been sucked out the experience. 
 
But I do understand that this is for my own and others’ safety to allow tourism to open up again so I would say that it was worth it. 
 
My issue was the length of the trip; I wish I could have stayed longer to justify the extra time you need to go through all the additional safety steps. 
 
So, If I were staying in Lanzarote for two weeks, I would have said that it was worth it. 
 

My advice at the moment to make travel safer during COVID-19 

I would recommend only taking one direct flight to reach your destination. Avoid having to take connection flights as this increases your risk of a possible infection. 
 
Stay in one resort and try to find a self-catering option so you can prepare breakfast and lunch from your room as buffets are not a safe environment at the moment. 
 
Book ahead to reserve your table if you wish to dine out at a local restaurant. 
 
Book a rental car to explore your surroundings and avoid public transport. 
 
Use contactless payment and avoid cash when possible. 
 
Stay for 1-2 weeks. Travel to your destination will take more time so you should allocate this time into your holiday to make it more rewarding. 
 
Don't forget to relax and enjoy your holiday. You will have to go through many additional steps to make your holiday safe so please have patience, remain calm and take your time.
 
 For this reason, a weekend city escape might not be ideal at the moment as you won't have enough time to enjoy the actual holiday. 
 

Thank you for reading my blog post about my trip to Lanzarote  

I hope all the above information helps you understand what travel and tourism are currently like in Europe at this moment in time, and I wish you a pleasant future trip!  
 
This blog post was put together in collaboration with the UNWTO and the Canary Islands as part of the #RestartTourism campaign to help tourism recovery on the islands. I hope you've found this blog post informative.
 
Travel tip shared by Dave
 

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Finland: Bucket list of the most beautiful views in Ruka-Kuusamo

Kuusamo is a paradise for outdoor lovers and nature photographers. It is full of beautiful places in the national parks, on the Lappish fells and at the banks of the wildly roaring rivers.

 

Here is your bucket list to the prettiest spots!

Valtavaara fell

There are no real mountains in Finland, but it is still far from being flat either! Finnish mini mountains are called fells (“vaara” or “tunturi in Finnish). One of the highest fells in Kuusamo is Valtavaara, located near popular Ruka Ski Resort. An old fire guard’s hut on top of Valtavaara offers the most spectacular views to all directions. 

One of the most popular long hiking trails in Finland, 80 km long Karhunkierros Trail, goes through the top of Valtavaara on its way to the ending point at Ruka. Every May thousands of trail runners rush through Valtavaara while competing in NUTS Karhunkierros Trail Run, running 30-160 km almost non-stop. Depending on the varying spring weather and snow conditions, their conquest is done in either warm sunshine with try feet or through piles of snow and puddles of swamp water. You just have to take your hat off to these adventurous athletes!

Valtavaara is a great place to visit around the year. There’s a 5 km snowshoe trail and a 6 km hike trail from the nearest parking lot to the top of Valtavaara and back. The hut at the top works as a shelter to hikers and there are also a couple of campfire sites along the trail. You may also spot rare birds such as Red-flanked Bluetrail along the trail to Valtavaara. 

 

Konttainen fell

Konttainen fell is part of the fell range formed by Pyhävaara, Rukatunturi, Valtavaara, Konttainen and Kumpuvaara, remnants of the ancient Svekokarelid Mountains. Only the hardest rock types at the foot of the mountains have remained until this date. As the rock bed in the area is calciferous and the area's microclimate is extremely damp, vegetation is surprisingly lush and versatile. The mix of northern and southern species is unique within Finland.

Konttainen is a popular spot for photographing sunrises and sunsets due to an easy and short 2 km hike to the top of the fell and of course due to the great views one can admire at the top towards Riisitunturi fell and Kitka lakes. 

The parking spot at the foot of Konttainen is also a popular site for spotting and photographing Siberian Jays while handfeeding them. 

 

Päähkänäkallio cliff at Oulanka National Park

Finns are usually very precise with names, but for some odd reason they do not seem to be able to decided how to call this cliff. Päähkänäkallio, Pähkänäkallio, Päähkänänkallio, Pähkänänkallio… Nonetheless, the view from the edge of the cliff is one of the most instagrammable spots in Lapland year round.  The winding river with lush, green banks and untouched forests charms during summer. The changing appearance of the trees along the river create a great mosaic if colors in autumn. Winter scenery along the river is a calming mix of the different shades of white and grey. 

Päähkänäkallio area is somewhat difficult to access unless you are prepared to drive along small forest roads or hike along the 80 km long Karhunkierros Trail. But this place is definitely worth visiting! There are no railings at the edge of the cliff and visitors are advised to stay far away from the edge due to the crumbling rock bed, so be careful out there! 

 

Pyhävaara fell

"Pyhä" means sacred or holy, and it is known that Pyhävaara has been a sacred place for Sami people, the indigenous people of the north. Until year 1830, a sacred stone called "seita" was located in the top of Pyhävaara. Pyhävaara consists of two peaks and due to the vulnerable nature and the ancient Sami sites access is only allowed to the lower Pikku-Pyhävaara peak. 

Pyhävaara is located near Ruka Ski Resort and is a popular day trail hike spot for guests around the year. A popular ski trail goes through Pikku-Pyhävaara peak. Keep in mind though that Finns are born with skis (at least in Lapland) so we suggest giving a go for some easier trails before attempting to conquer Pyhävaara. You might also consider wheels over skis for admiring the snow crowned trees, since Pyhävaara can be accessed with electric fatbikes during winter.  

 

Myllykoski rapid at Oulanka National Park

Kitka river in Oulanka National Park has several great location for admiring whitewaters. Myllykoski is one of the most popular places due an easy 1 km hike to the edge of the river near on old mill. Myllykoski is also located along Pieni Karhunkierros Trail, one of the most popular daytrip trails in Kuusamo. This place is so popular you don’t even need snowshoes to access the place during winter. And due to its popularity it tends to get a bit crowded during June-August. 

Part of the popularity is the possibility to get very close to the water at the wooden deck next to the mill and on the hanging bridge leading hikers over the rapid. If you are aiming to hike the whole 12 km long Pieni Karhunkierros Trail, you must cross over four hanging bridges. The bridges are well-maintained and safe to cross, but they may cause some chills if you are suffering of fear of heights. 

 

Värikallio rock paintings at Hossa National Park

Hossa is located in Southern Kuusamo, a bit over an hour’s drive from Ruka village. Värikallio consists of 60 different rock paintings and it is the biggest collection of prehistoric rock paintings in Finland. The cliff itself is a steep wall rising from Somerjärvi lake and the paintings must have been made either from a boat or by walking on ice during winter. Rock paintings are appr. 3500-4500 years old. 

We can only guess the reasons the ancient people have had for creating Värikallio rock paintings. Hossa used to be a junction for water routes so the paintings may have been used for marking a route or describing events. The pictures in rock paintings can also be linked to hunting magic and the painted rock walls can also have functioned as cult places of shamanic worship. Pictures may also have been painted in order to guarantee fertility, since many of the human figures portrayed in Värikallio may be women, some of them in labor. 

Värikallio rock paintings are different from the other prehistoric paintings in Finland since the small, stick-like elk figures are not actually known elsewhere, and the human figure with a triangle-shaped head, eyes and nose is unique. The lack of boat pictures is also exceptional. All of the pictures found in Finland dating from the Stone Age have been painted (there are no drawings engraved in rock). Red and yellow ochre - obtained by heating iron-bearing clay - were used as coloring agents, and blood, grease or egg yolk as the mixing agent. 

 

Ikkunalampi pond at Riisitunturi National Park

One of the most enchanting summer views at Riisitunturi is Ikkunalampi pond that seems to be hanging on the edge of the hill. It is an infinite pool created by nature at the edge of a hanging bog. Usually bogs are formed in natural depressions where water gathers, providing a growth platform to peat moss. The abundant precipitation and thin soil of the Riisitunturi area enable bogs to appear even on steep slopes. Riisitunturi’s western slopes are covered by Finland’s most impressive and also some of the world’s steepest hanging bogs. In addition to its bogs, Riisitunturi is also a popular place for photographing slow-loaded trees during the winter. 

 

Kiutaköngäs rapid

Kiutaköngäs is one of the most famous whitewaters in Finland mainly due to its size and length and the impressive red rock wall at the background of the rapid. Well-marked, short trail leads all the way to the roaring stream. The spring flooding of Oulanka river is a remarkable sight. During winter freezing temperatures create an incredible bridge of snow and ice on top of the rapid.

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5 of the World’s Most Amazing Architectural Gems

It’s hard to underestimate the power of humanity’s ability to create when seeing a massive structure that is still standing after thousands of years.

These structures make you stand in awe, wonder how it was done and wish you could relive the moment over and over. The following five structures are a bucket-list must-have for visiting if you want to seek out some of the most incredible structures on earth.

 

Barcelona Gaudi

Admired by architects around the world, the buildings in Barcelona, Spain have been dubbed some of the most unique buildings in the world. Built by Antoni Gaudi, most of his buildings have an organic look, as he used nature as his primary influence. The buildings can be located all over the city and are easy to spot with their curved stones, twisted sculptures and multi-colored tiles. The Sagrada Familia Basilica is probably the most visited attraction in all of Barcelona and the magical park, Park Guell, is filled with amazing tile work. Gaudi received his architectural degree in 1878 and started his famed works shortly after.

 

Empire State Building

This Art Deco skyscraper, located in New York City, is one of the tallest buildings in the world and has been declared by the American Society of Civil Engineers to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. It is probably the most iconic building in the city. It stands at 1,454 feet tall, has 102 stories and has been in over 90 films. It was completed in 1931 under direction of famed architects Shreve, Lamb and Harmon Associates.

Book your Empire State Building entrance ticket before you go with GetYourGuide.

 

The Colosseum

Located in Rome, this is one of the most visited architectural marvels in the world. The construction of this huge amphitheater started in 72 AD by architect, Vespasian. The purpose of the build was to change the relationship between the poor people of Rome and their powerful counterparts. It was used for gladiator fights and hunting simulations. It could hold around 70,000 people and features hoists, ramps and trapdoors. Given the time period in which it was built, the Colosseum is certainly a engineering wonder.

Book a 'skip the line' VIP tour of the Colosseum before you go with GetYourGuide.

 

Taj Mahal

This example of Mughal architecture has been named "The jewel of Muslim art in India" and was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan alongside a number of hired architects. It is a complexity of structures and began being constructed about 1631 AD. Built in the Mughal style, it combines beautiful elements from Persian, Indian and Islamic styles. The Taj Mahal is an experience of its own breed, a truly awe-inspiring structure.

Make a day of it and join a full-day trip to the Taj Mahal with GetYourGuide.

 

The Guggenheim Museum

Located in New York City, this museum opened in 1959. The commission to design this building was won by famed architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. It took 16 years to build due to various complications. The architect died before seeing his work finalized, but the end result is breathtaking. It is unique looking and truly captures the art that resides within it. One critic stated that the museum "has turned out to be the most beautiful building in America".

Book a 'skip the line' day ticket for the Guggenheim Museum before you go with GetYourGuide.

 

It is truly incredible to see what people can do with their ideas. Even in times before adequate technology, man has always pushed the limits of possibility.

These amazing architectural structures are absolute must-sees that will leave you mesmerized and captivated for a lifetime.

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Amun Ini Beach Resort & Spa Anda Bohol

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Accommodations

Amun Ini Beach Resort & Spa is a beautiful upmarket resort in Anda Bohol Philippines.

In this video I check out if it's worth staying at.

 

Amun Ini Beach Resort is one of the top resorts in Anda Bohol. The resort is located on a beautiful sandy beach cove, that is just picture perfect.

The resort is an upmarket 16 roomed dive resort and spa. It has a gorgeous infinity swimming pool and a restaurant which serves up some of the best food in town.

I show you how to get there and where the resort is located. For best rates I looked at the Amun Ini Beach Resort & Spa I looked at its own website as well as Agoda, TripAdvisor and Trivago. You will see where you can get the best deals in the video.

I loved my stay here and I think it's one of the best resorts in Anda Bohol to stay at. It is one of the most luxurious resorts in the area although it is rated as 4 star.

I also looked at some of the best things to do in Anda including beaches, caves and the popular Lamanoc Island.

For more reviews and travel vlogs please subscribe to my channel.

*All rates and conditions subject to change. Please check directly with the resort.

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9° 43' 36.426" N, 124° 31' 38.7192" E
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