Travel

Glorious Reasons to Visit Peru

Peru is a large country in South America.

Natural beauty, history and culture are three of Peru's best features! From the Miraflores tourist resorts in Lima to the ancient Incan world in Cusco -  Peru offers some of the best preserved ancient history to explore and amazing landscapes to see. In other words, there is so much to see and do!

 

Here Are a Few Activities to Add to Your Peruvian Itinerary 

1. To Discover The Ancient World 

The Incas and Quechuans left behind an abundance of ancient history in Peru. Unfortunately, much of it was destroyed at the time of the Spanish invasion. 

 

Machu Picchu 

It's well known that one of the main reasons tourists visit Peru is to see the incredible Machu Picchu.

Fortunately it remained undiscovered by the Spanish Inquisition. It still remained undiscovered until more recent years. Although it is thought the locals always kept it a secret.

Machu Picchu was a huge religious site at the end of a huge pilgrimage that covered many miles and several countries. At the site you can see multiple temples, farming plateaus and houses including the house of the Inca (King). 

You can get to Machu Picchu via Peru Rail from Ollantaytambo. Or as many adventurers do, take the classic four day Inca Trail hike through the Andes. The Inca Trail requires a booking months in advance with a guide. 

 

Moray

Moray is an ancient farming site in the Sacred Valley near Cusco.

The site has several large circular pits dug out and formed into terraces. The different levels of terrace would provide a slightly different microclimate for farming. This allowed different varieties of crops to be grown on each level depending on the temperate.

The very bottom terrace would have the warmest microclimate and was capable of growing coca leaves which would usually be found in the Amazon rainforest.  Other crops found here are maize, grains, beans and potatoes - did you know there are over 3000 types of potato in Peru?!

 

Sacsayhuaman 

A fort or citadel at the top of the hill overlooking Cusco, this place is particularly impressive for its enormous stones structures.

It's a mystery how the stones were transported there and stacked to form the walls. It covers a huge area and has an amazing view over Cusco town. 

 

Nazca Lines

The Nazca Lines in Southern Peru are ancient lines drawn in the sand  but on an enormous scale! They form huge glyphs and pictures in the sand.  The best way to view the lines is by plane. 

 

Huaca Pucllana

A huge clay structure found in the capital Lima. Layers upon layers of clay bricks were added to build up this structure. It is though that important people would have resided here. Each new leader would have added a new layer of clay bricks to the structure. Although much of it is left it is thought the structure would have been much taller!

Many ritual offerings were found inside the walls of this structure. Many of these included humans and even babies!

 

2. To Try Peruvian Delicacies

Ceviche

Very popular in Peru but certainly not to everyone's taste! A raw fish dish with some spices. Widely enjoyed in Peru and can be purchased in many restaurants.

 

Pisco

A type of brandy widely produced in Peru. The most popular pisco product is the Pisco Sour - a cocktail. Again it's not to everyone’s taste but certainly worth trying!

 

Chicha

A type of alcoholic drink made from maize. Usually it is pink in colour. Locals make this drink and hang a flag outside their home or shop to signify they sell it there. Locals will even hike part of the Inca Trail to sell it to hikers!

 

Coca

Perhaps not a delicacy. Nevertheless, coca leaves are widely consumed in Peru. They are used for altitude sickness and bursts of energy.

Coca leaves are illegal in other countries as they are used to produce cocaine. Ensure you don't have them in your bags at the airport!

 

Chocolate

Peru produces a lot of chocolate. You will find chocolate museums in a few places. A total chocolate lovers dream! Chocolate coffee, chocolate liquor, chocolate soap. Chocolate everything!

 

3. Experience An Indigenous Culture

The Uros People

The Uros people live on Lake Titicaca shared between Peru and Bolivia. They live on floating islands made of reeds farmed from the lake. Their whole lives revolve around these reeds: they build islands, huts, boats and even eat the reeds. 

Some of the Uros are happy for you to visit their island and you can do so with a daily tour. In addition you can see their homes and learn how they live. Some of the floating islands have had power routed to them to allow them to use televisions and radios! 

The Uros are some of the only remaining people to speak Quechuan instead of Spanish in Peru. They are generally happy to have their pictures taken but be sure to ask - as some people might ask you to pay them!

 

4. Explore The Great Outdoors

Peru has some seriously impressive scenery. It's a great place for people who love the outdoors and a big adventure. Some of these hikes are not for the faint hearted. Acclimatise with the altitude before attempting some of the below!

 

Rainbow Mountain

A very unique place a few hours drive from Cusco high up in the Andes mountain range. The top of the mountain sits at an altitude of 5,200 metres and it's not an easy walk! Don't attempt this hike if you are not acclimatised (trust me, I found out the hard way!). However if you still want to go you can rent a horse to take you up. 

 

The Inca Trail

The "classic" Inca Trail is a four day 40km hike from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu. There are several other options including the Salkantay which is typically a longer and harder route. On the other hand, you can travel some of it by train. 

On this journey you will climb mountains, hike through the jungle, discover ancient sites and see some stunning scenery. 

I can't promise this is an easy hike. There will be 03:00am alarms, cold nights and hot days. However at the end of it all you arrive at one of the Wonders of the World - Machu Picchu. 

 

Huaraz

Huaraz is an area north of Peru's capital city Lima. It's an amazing place for outdoor lovers! It's sits next to the Cordillera Blanca mountain range and is a national park area. There are some great hikes to incredibly scenic areas such as Llanganuco and Laguna 69. 

Huaraz is not an easy place to get to. There is only one low budget airline that flies there a few times and week (LC Peru) and most of the time the flight is rescheduled or cancelled. Consider taking the coach here instead. 

 

Lake Titicaca

One of South America's largest lakes, Lake Titicaca sits on the border of southern Peru and Bolivia. Although the area seems very flat and the water shallow, the lake is actually at a very high altitude. 

The lake is home to many indigenous people known as the Uros who live on floating islands here made of reeds. You can visit their islands along with Taquile island on a day trip from Puno. In addition you can pay a small fee to ride on one of their hand made reed boats!

 

Colca Canyon 

A deep river canyon is southern Peru. It's also referred to as "Condor Canyon" as it is known to be the home of these enormous birds. Colca Canyon is a popular spot for hikers and adventurers! There are plenty of outdoor activities to do here including rafting and mountain biking.

 

5. To Get Traditional 

Maras Salt Ponds

Salt including Peruvian Pink Salt is widely available in Peru. Much of it is produced at the Maras salt ponds in the Sacred Valley near Cusco. The mine was used in the Incan period but is still operational today and farmed by locals. Different families own different ponds. The richer you are, the more you own

The water that runs through the valley here is naturally salty (you can taste it!) so it is the perfect location for salt production. A series of ponds hold the salt water. Gradually over time the water is evaporated and the salt is left behind. Different minerals are added to the salt which determines it's use and colour. For example medical or with food. 

You can visit this site on a dual day trip with Moray which is nearby. You can walk between the salt ponds and purchase many salt products from the market on site. For instance - salt lamps!

 

Backstrap Weaving

A traditional method of making textiles. Wool is taken from the llama or alpaca, made into long threads and dyed with natural colours. In some more remote places you can see a demonstration of this such as Chincero or Taquile Island.

On Taquile Island the men produce the textiles. The textiles here are famous and protected by UNESCO. Furthermore, men will wear different hats based on their marital status!

 

Travel Tip shared by Adventures of a Ginger
www.adventuresofaginger.co.uk

Categories: 
Country: 

Visiting Vancouver: Relax & Have Fun for Free

Vancouver is the largest and the most picturesque city of the province and one of the main ports of North America.

How to explore the city, relax and have fun, if funds are limited?

We prepared a list of the most interesting free things to do in Vancouver.

 

Free things to do in Vancouver

Climb to Grouse Mountain

The mountain, which offers a view of Vancouver, has all the conditions for winter sports (skiing, snowboarding, winter hiking, ice-skating), as well as for walks and hikes in the summer. It is possible to climb here in two ways – on a gondola lift or by overcoming a path called "Grouse Grind". Do you want a real challenge? Try this trail, which is 2.9 km long. It is worth saying that this test is not for beginners – you will have to sweat, but the result is worth it.

 

Visit Lynn Canyon National Park

This reserve, accessible to public transport, is great for spending a day in the fresh air far from the city bustle. The terrain can be crossed both on foot and by bike. Hanging bridge is a local point of interest.

 

Relax on the beaches

Living in Vancouver means having a luxurious opportunity to enjoy magnificent beaches. It is noteworthy that right in the center of the city you can find more than one beach. Vancouver has about 18 km of beach shorelines located right in the city.

 

Visit Gastown

Gastown is one of the highlights of the city. This is an old district of salons and brothels serving the nearby port, which eventually turned into a shopping center, and then the historic part of the city and in reality occupying several streets. A short walk is quite entertaining. Here, except for "old buildings", you can find both small shops, cafes and restaurants where you can sit and relax after a cup or a glass of something and a very good snack. Nearby there is a viewing platform and a bay where also there is something to see.

 

Go through Chinatown

Chinatown is a special place, which you cannot miss when visiting Vancouver. There is an authentic Chinese atmosphere, outlandish goods and of course the lowest prices. Territorial Chinatown begins with the intersection of Pender and Taylor streets with huge gates decorated in Chinese style. In Vancouver's Chinatown, there is one of the most beautiful Chinese parks in North America. The entrance is free and therefore there are many people even in rainy weather.

 

Attend Queen Elizabeth Park

The magnificent, luxurious park of Queen Elizabeth is located in the highest point of Vancouver, from the height of which opens a completely delightful panorama of the city. In the park you will find a marvelous arboretum, a quarry garden, the famous greenhouse "Bloedel", with more than 500 kinds of exotic plants and live tropical birds, a rose garden, picturesque ponds, fountains, golf course, tennis courts, bowling club, excellent observation deck and much more.

 

Try the local cuisine for free

In Vancouver, there are a lot of places where you will be given free food for your birthday! There is one nuance – in some places you need to register beforehand in order to get free food. Do you want to eat the whole day long and pay nothing? Then try to visit all these places on one birthday! Steamrollers, Milestone's, Yaletown Brewing Company, Denny's, Cannibal Café, Starbucks, Old Spaghetti Factory. In some cafes, you should simply provide an identity card.

Country: 

Hidden Thailand: The Red Lotus Sea

Getting off the well-beaten tourist path in Thailand shows a very different side of the country.

Escaping the traffic and fumes of Bangkok, or negotiating an exit from interminable hagglers on the beaches of Pattaya or Phuket,  why not make your way up to the northeast of the country?

Here you will find friendly locals unjaded by mass tourism, a deliciously vibrant cuisine, and some spectacular sights and sounds.

 

Exploring Northern Thailand

Udon Thani is one provincial capital on the way to the Thai - Laos border. The town itself grew rapidly during the Vietnam war and is a regional commercial centre, but when you head out into the surrounding villages you suddenly discover ways of life that have remained steadfastly unchanged for many, many years.

A unique way to experience this region, where Lao is the main dialect, is to book a stay at one of the few locally-run villas for rent in the countryside, like ones found on Airbnb. You will taste Isan cuisine in the meals they prepare for guests, and you should definitely take the chance to ask the owners to arrange a trip for you to the Red Lotus Sea, just minutes away by car or tuk-tuk.

The Red Lotus Sea

A huge lake steeped in folklore, the lake seems nondescript from its shores, but taking a wooden boat out into the heart of the lake can be a stunning experience, as all of a sudden you find yourself among waterways strewn with endless pink lotus blossoms. As you admire the natural beauty of the lake, inquisitive water fowl will dive bomb you, and flights of heron ascend to the blue skies above. 

No wonder the lake has been listed as one of the world's most beautiful and most strange. With its unexpected setting, colorful flora and squirrel-based myths and legends, it makes an unforgettable trip!

And for other accidental discoveries, the World Heritage site of Ban Chiang is also nearby - an imporatnt broze age civiliation discovered by an American who tripped on exposed artefacts in a tiny farming  village.

Country: 

Annapurna Base Camp Trek

Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) Trek is a standout amongst the most mainstream treks in Nepal.

It is moderately simple and shorter while as yet consolidating assorted landscape, culture and untamed life alongside the most astounding and close up perspective of the Annapurna run, Machhapuchhre, Hiunchuli and Dhaulagiri.

 

Details of the Annapurna Base Camp Trek

Flora and Fauna Seen on the Trek

The locale is home to various creatures like obfuscated panthers, Himalayan Tahr, Himalayan Giant Honeybee, Pheasants and so forth.

In spring, it exhibits numerous wonderful blossoms including the national bloom of Nepal ­­­­– Rhododendron. Orchids, Machhapuchhre massif and the most profound chasm Kali Gandaki stays with you amid the trek.

 

Various Vantage Points Along the Trek

You will spot at times steep, cascading waterfalls. Also, you will get the chance to find out about individuals of various ethnicity, particularly the Gurung People when going to Gurung Museum in Ghandruk.

Contingent upon which course you take, you may not go through Ghandruk, however. The trail is same from Chomrung onwards yet you can incorporate or exclude Ghorepani Poon Hill and Ghandruk.

Poon slope is a vantage point for the perspective of Annapurna in addition to different pinnacles and for dawn and dusk.

Different features of this trek are the hot springs! Extremely unwinding and recuperating for your throbbing muscles. Additionally, ABC goes through MBC (Machhapuchhre Base Camp). Visit two base camps in a single outing!

Together with the Annapurna Circuit, these trails see around 70% of the aggregate trekkers going to Nepal.

 

Best Time to Do the Trek

Annapurna Base Camp should really be possible throughout the year.

Notwithstanding, being caught in a storm is a menace. Rain for the most part descends during the night however, the dull mists are ever present. This implies a terrible to no perspective of the wonderful pinnacles.

Rain likewise implies leeches, mosquitoes and conceivable avalanches. However, this is the time when creatures are generally dynamic. On the off chance that you are an avid researcher, perhaps the rain season is for you.

Initially, here are the seasons. In Nepal, there are six seasons however it deciphers as:

Spring (March to May)

Summer/Monsoon (June to August)

Pre-winter (September to November)

Winter (December to February)

Pre-winter is the best time to do this trek. Pre-winter is a dry season that offers clear blue sky and direct temperature. This is the best time do any trek in Nepal and is, accordingly, exceptionally crowded.

You could go during December on the off chance that you might want it to be less crowded. ABC should be possible in winter also. You will have dry air and clear sky During winter, bit it will be exceptionally icy and will snowy.

Beginning from January, you should be watchful about torrential slides when making a trip from Deurali to Machhapuchhre Base Camp. This extent is inclined to torrential landslides. Trekkers ought to be cautious regardless of what time of year they are trekking while trekking from Deurali to MBC.

Spring is another good time to do the Annapurna Base Camp trek. Watch out for the torrential slides however. Tune in to local people for the news about the torrential slides ahead. In spring, the trail will be canvassed in red and white rhododendrons and numerous other extraordinary blossoms found in this district, a great time to go for botanists.

Categories: 
Country: 

Things to Do in Hervey Bay With Kids

Have you ever heard your friend or someone uttering those words and is hesitant about traveling with kids? 

Have you also said them yourself? Yes, traveling with kids can be difficult at times.

However, traveling is a life-changing experience. Escaping from the daily grind and being adventurous makes people come alive.

You do not need to wait until your little ones get old to explore the world or the neighbouring city. Start by bringing them to a place inside the country, like the Queensland’s whale-watching capital, Hervey Bay, if you are based in Australia.

Hervey Bay is the perfect entrance to the World Heritage-listed Fraser Island. It is the perfect sanctuary for whale watching and other fun activities that the little ones will surely enjoy!

 

Here is a list of activities to do in Hervey Bay with your kids that you should not miss:

Go Whale Watching

Hervey Bay is an amazing place for viewing migrating humpback whales that you can witness from July to November each year.

The young ones will surely be jumping with excitement as the humpback whales jump out of the water and play close to the boat. Organised Hervey Bay tours are the best way to get a close encounter with these giant marine creatures.

 

Get Wet at Wetside Water Park

Your children will certainly flip when they get to see this water park. You will also love this place because Hervey Bay’s water park does not only provide great fun but it’s for FREE as well!

With slides, water jets, and a huge bucket that pours water over excited individuals every few minutes, the water park will surely give you the experience to remember.

 

Jetty Fishing

Hervey Bay offers one pier and two jetties which are excellent locations to go fishing with the kids. Take your children to catch fish at the end of Urangan Pier or along Hervey Bay Esplanade, where you can catch Trevally, Bream, or Whiting.

Even if you don’t catch anything in, your children will certainly have a great fishing experience.

 

Explore Snakes Downunder Reptile Park and Zoo

Take your children in this exciting and inexpensive reptile park that will certainly make them ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ at the exciting display of a variety of animals.

Snakes Downunder Reptile Park and Zoo is not the largest zoo, but it is already a huge size with a significant range of animals. Your little ones will surely love to get the chance to hold a baby saltwater crocodile or a slithering python!

 

Go For Green

If you want to have a change of scenery from the beach, you can visit the Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens, pick a shady place at the lagoon, grab a picnic blanket, and unwind while the kids spot ducks, dragonflies, fish and turtles. Explore the peaceful garden walkways and then take a glimpse in the Orchid House.

 

Speed Up at Hervey Bay Go Kart

Hervey Bay Go Kart offers a real thrill for visitors, particularly those with kids, and it is perfect for all ages! You can race around the track then relax for a few hours and slip-slide your way down the waterslide. Younger kids could enjoy the 120-meter waterslide if they got restricted in the karting track. A fun-filled few hours here are worth the visit.

 

Takeaway

Hervey Bay is not only known for its stunning whale watching tours, but also with a lot more on-land activities that the entire family can get on. You can go fishing at the jetties, go whale watching, or get wet at the water park.

There’s no such perfect timing when it comes to traveling with your kids. It’s all about making memories together. Sure, traveling doesn’t come for free, but the learning opportunities and the memories that they will remember is beyond priceless.

Categories: 
Country: 

Costa Brava, Spain: The Nature and Activity Guide

Video: 
Category: 
Activities

The region of Costa Brava in Catalunya, Spain has a wide array of fun and exciting activities to experience.

Only in Costa Brava can you have the thrill of climbing the one Via Ferrata route above the sea in all Europe, or skydive ten months a year from one of the best drop zones in the world, Empuriabrava. Not only that but you can also Kayak along the stunning Riu Ter, golf till your heart's content, and hike to ancient castles with views for miles… all under the perfect summer sun.

Welcome to Costa Brava, here is a guide to some of the nature and activities on offer in the region.

 

Here is our nature and activity guide for the Costa Brava in Spain:

Camping on the Coast at La Ballena Alegre

Our day starts at Camping La Ballena Alegre, an incredible open air accommodation complex in Sant Pere Pesacdor, near L’Escala along the coast.

The campground is nothing like what you may imagine. La Ballena Alegre takes the concept to the next level with modern services on site, top class bungalows for families and couples alike, entertainment and sport services, restaurants and groceries, plus shops and even a spa.

What a place to start our journey.

 

Being One With Nature - Kayaking Along the Riu Ter

From La Ballena Alegre our first activity in the Costa Brava region is Kayaking the Riu Ter!!

We drove a short distance to the River Ter, one of the main rivers of the Costa Brava region flowing from Girona out into the Mediterranean. At the village of Colomers there is an input for the river and also the base of Kayak del Ter, a small business with a focus on eco-friendly tourism.

Kayak del Ter is a fun and active way to enjoy nature, perfect for families and people looking to disconnect for a few hours immersing yourself in the natural environment. The company is committed to boosting the awareness and protecting the biodiversity of the landscape surrounding the river. It’s a fantastic concept and great value for people of all ages and skill levels. Once we met our guide we got into double kayaks (two people in each) and started our 1 and a half hour descent downriver.

Kayaking the river Ter was a super relaxing and fun way to immerse oneself in nature. To turn off your phone and step away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The slow pace and calmness of the water is perfect to let go and just take it all in. From local bird life to turtles, to fish and even the odd otter, the wildlife was everywhere and I couldn’t think of a better way to see it than from the seat of our kayak.

 

Hiking to Ancient Castles with Views for Days

From the river and the amazing kayaking experience we decided to get back on dry land and go for a hike in the Natural Park of Montgrí, Costa Brava.

Atop a hill in the natural park is the Castle of Montgrí, a 13th century fortress built by James the II of Aragon. The hike up to the castle is an easy 45min and the rewards are fantastic with stunning panoramic views over the coast towards the Les Medes islands and all of inland Empordà, and best part… the entrance is free!!

 

The Land of the Sky!!

The views from the ancient castle were just a tease, we need to get higher!! From Montgrí we drove north towards Alt Empordà and the uber famous skydiving drop zone, Empuriabrava. Time to get suited up and jump out of a plane!!

Empuriabrava is one of the top skydive destinations in all Europe, if not the world. The conditions for skydiving here are perfect. Since the drop zone opened in 1985 it has recorded almost 2 million jumps. It is also the current site of many European & Spanish skydive records throughout multiple skydive disciplines. It is a mecca of the sport and a great place to jump.

Once we got a briefing for the Tandem experience, our crew was set and ready to go. Wheels up!! We ascended to 4,000 meters and then one by one exited the plane.

What a rush!!!

The skydive experience is difficult to put into words, it’s like a complete over sensory adrenaline rush. Falling at terminal velocity, 220 miles per hour, but at the same time the ground doesn’t seem to get any closer and you’re sort of floating. It’s about letting go and for one minute being completely captivated in an almost out of body experience. It’s amazing.

 

Pitt and Putt Par 3 in the Heart of Nature

After the Tandem skydiving experience with Empuriabrava we head back to the ground and straight to the Pitch and Putt golf course in Gualta.

The par 3 course is a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in the wonderful nature of the region. The short circuit is great for families and golfers of all abilities, there is even a driving range on site plus cuddly donkeys and a delicious restaurant. This pitch and putt is definitely worth a half day visit when exploring the area around Gualta.

 

The only Via Ferrata above the Sea!!

From the Pitch and Putt we drove back to the coast to experience the classic European Via Ferrata activity. A via ferrata is a sportive rock climbing route support by various metal equipment bolted into the rock. Things like ladders, handles, clips, and bridges, all designed to make the route fun, easy, and attractive for people of all ages. For those looking to begin rock climbing or challenge themselves in an exciting and safe environment- a via ferrata is perfect.

In Sant Feliu de Guíxols there is a fantastic via feratta called Cala Molí. We went to the beginning of the route and met up with our guides from Aventura Girona. They were super helpful getting us kitted out with the safety equipment and briefing us on the route. Cala Molí is set up in two different stages, combined the route takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes, but there is the option to exit midway if you wish. The first part of the route is easier with the second being more challenging, however overall the difficulty is only moderate.

Cala Molí is also the only via ferrata in all Europe which is over the sea and offers stunning views of the dramatic Costa Brava coastline.

 

Spa Time and a well deserved Massage

After the awesome climbing activity of the Via Ferrata it was time to end our day and relax a little. We headed back to the La Ballena Alegre campground for a well deserved visit to the spa onsite.

After a beautiful sunset we took some time to chill in the pool (and sauna) as well as treat ourselves to a massage before dinner. Well at least Lisa got to treat herself to a massage.

 

Nature and Activity Conclusion

Overall it was a fantastic end to a fun filled experience trying out a few of the different activities available in Costa Brava. Big thank you to all of the local businesses involved and the La Ballena Alegre campground for the perfect location and comfortable accommodation during our stay.

There is so much to see and do in Costa Brava, these are just a few of the great activities on offer. We hope you found this post helpful and be sure to watch the video for even more info and an exact look at all of the activities mentioned.

 

Travel tip shared by Greg Snell for Travel Dudes.

Location: 
42° 15' 53.4888" N, 3° 6' 41.6484" E
Country: 

London’s Christmas Markets

London is a wonderful city to find yourself in the closer it gets to Christmas.

Not only are the major streets decked out in some major festive theme lights, but there is a sudden surge of Christmas themed markets all over town.

From the beginning of November till the New Year, you can take your pick of a range of Christmas markets.  Going to the following markets are must add activities to your things to do during Christmas list. If you find yourself on an extended stay in London towards the run-up to Christmas, that in itself is good news.

 

Christmas Markets of London 

Wintertime at Southbank Centre (10th Nov- 4th Jan)

Experience a Christmas market unlike any other with this Scandinavian themed wonderland, featuring a Finnish Rooftop Sauna overlooking the River Thames, all of this inside the roof garden of the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Take your pick from the best of street food from around the globe at the Queen’s Walk which will also offer artisan gifts.

Also making an appearance will be the immersive exhibition ‘ABBA: Super Troupers, a journey through the world of the Swedish chart-topping sensation.’ Expect plenty of Christmas themed events at this market.

 

Winterville at Clapham Common (23 Nov – 1st Jan)

A trip to this Christmas market will allow you to skate on Clapham’s first-ever ice rink and enjoy screenings of classic holiday movies at the Backyard cinema winter night garden.

You can play crazy golf on the UV-powered Plonk golf course after you enjoy the street food available. Don’t forget to take a turn on the giant Ferris wheel. The Christmas market is a great place to pick up some gifts that are truly unique.

 

Christmas in Leicester Square (10th Nov- 6th Jan)

It’s the second time that this Christmas market will be held, and will feature Santa’s grotto and plenty of other Christmas shows.

You can also experience Roald Dahl’s Marvelous Medicine show, Cabaret at Christmas, an appearance by Al Murray. Although it is a free entrance market, you need to purchase tickets in advance for Santa’s grotto or any of the shows.

 

Christmas by the River, London Bridge (30th November– 3rd January)

This market takes place on the bankside of the Thames river and features more than 40 independent traders who sit in wooden chalets with a very Christmas theme.

In this market you will find handcrafted and bespoke gifts as well as a selection of food. Anyone feeling particularly cold must sample the warm drinks served here, including a fully stocked bar that serves cocktails, craft beers and mulled wine. Take in the view of the City while strolling through this market.

 

Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park (17th November to 1st January)

The most popular and most well-known of all of London’s Christmas market, this mega event deserves a visit or even two.

It features a giant Ferris wheel, several circuses, multiple rides and plenty of mulled wine, an ice rink, a market made of wooden huts, Santa’s grotto and an ice kingdom featuring over 500 sculptures. You can’t miss this one!

Categories: 
Country: 

Sarajevo, Bosnia: 10 Things to See & Do in the Most Beautiful City in the Balkans

Video: 
Category: 
Sights

Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a city where wars began and olympics were held. You’ll see stunning landscapes, sweeping mountains, and remnants of tragedy.

Here are 10 things to do in Sarajevo, including taking the new cable car up Trebevic Mountain, walking along the abandoned Olympic bobsled track, trying local food and coffee, and learning about the city’s most harrowing moments under siege.

 

Things to do and see in Sarajevo

Here are things to do and see while in one of the Balkans's most stunning and distinct cities. Sarajevo is enclosed and surrounded by the Dinaric Alps, so the city seems otherwordly and secluded from the rest of the world. Enjoy our sights and activities to do in Sarajevo:

1. Walk around Old Sarajevo

The old part of Sarajevo feels better preserved than most towns of the former Yugoslavia. There is a very clear Ottoman feel that will make you feel you're not even in Europe.

 

2. Drink Bosnian coffee and tea

Visit Caffe Bar Andar for authentic Bosnian coffee and tea, and make sure to order baklava as well.

 

3. Take the cable car to Trebevic Mountain

This cable car connects the old part of the city with the mountain Trebević along with the abandoned 1984 Olympic bobsled track.

 

4. 1984 Olympic Bobsleigh Track

Visit the abandoned and damaged bobsled track from the 1984 Olympics. 

 

5. Visit museums to learn about the Balkan war

In particular, go to Gallery 11/07/95 to learn about the conflict along with Museum of Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide.

 

6. Eat Bosnian food

The Bosnian Cevapi is well known and different that no other, so it is well worth it. Also, we got to try other Bosnian local food.

 

7. Franz Ferdinand site

Visit the spot that sparked World War I. There is a plaque marking the site that changed the world.

 

8. House of Spite

Learn about Bosnian history during the time of the Austrian Hungrarian times. An interesting piece of local history.

 

9. Gazi Husrev-Beg mosque

This is the largest historical mosque in Bosnia and Herzegovina and one of the most representative Ottoman structures.

 

10. The best view in Sarajevo

Visit Yellow Bastion hill and enjoy a free view of Sarajevo. The views are breathtaking and will leave you speechless.

 

Travel video shared by Big and Small Travels
bigandsmalltravel.com

Location: 
43° 51' 15.0948" N, 18° 25' 25.5288" E
Country: 

5 of Romania’s Attractions You Must Visit

Whenever fellow travelers asked me where I’m from, to which I replied Romania, the usual responses were :-

‘Oh, land of vampires! I’ve never been but want to go see Dracula’s Castle!’,

or ‘I’ve never been but I heard it’s beautiful! Any suggestions on what to visit?’.  

Soon enough I realized that HRH Prince Charles does a better job at promoting his beloved Transylvania (where he owns 2 guesthouses!) than local authorities do.  So it’s up to us, locals, to do our part and tell people about our country’s beauty and some of its best attractions – and the list is quite long!

Sitting at the crossroads between Western culture, Balkan spirit and Oriental influences, Romania is a melting pot of cultures, customs and influences from neighboring countries. 

Going for a walk in Romanian cities can take you from modern skyscrapers to medieval or Belle Époque times, while young crowds gather in trendy coffee shops and bars. 

Outside of major cities you’ll see unspoiled landscapes with rolling hills dotted with traditional villages where locals live is as they did 50 years ago.  And going deeper into the country you’ll be met by the dramatic Carpathian Mountains home to a rich wildlife and the largest brown bear population in Europe. Did I mention the plot-twisting history we had? The large number of castles and citadels will speak for that!

Really, for those of you who’ve never been to Romania – there’s a big surprise in store for you! And for those returning – you already have a taste of Romania and therefore should know there’s so much more to discover! 

 

Here are 5 of Romania’s most interesting sights you should consider visiting:

Corvin Castle – a Gothic-Renaissance Jewel

If it weren’t for the Dracula myth boosting Bran Castle’s popularity, Corvin (Hunyadi) Castle would surely be the #1 medieval attraction in Romania!  This gorgeous Gothic-Renaissance jewel is no less than 600 years old and is one of the best-preserved castles in Europe.  No wonder Huffington Post named it as ‘one of the ten most fairy tale-like constructions of this kind in the world’.

This medieval fortress was used as a residence by feudal lords and belonged to the famous Corvin dynasty that ruled Hungary and parts of Transylvania.  There are many legends surrounding the castle’s symbol – a raven with a golden ring in his beak – which you can find out more about if you visit the castle. 

Located in Central Romania in Hunedoara, Corvin Castle can be visited all year-round on day trips from Timisoara, Sibiu or Cluj-Napoca.

 

The Danube Delta – Nature’s Miracle Garden

One of Romania’s top natural attractions, the Danube Delta is Europe’s newest patch of land, a natural biosphere formed by the Danube River before it flows into the Black Sea.  This area is 3 times bigger than Greater London and over 3,500 animal species and 1,700 plant species live through its canals, river beds and patches of lands.  Think of it as a huge outdoor living natural museum that you can visit from a boat!

Besides the rich wildlife, tourists (especially photographers) will be impressed by the natural landscapes infused with sunrise light (the Delta faces the East) and the fish-based cuisine of the locals who, by the way, preserve their authentic charm and fishermen way of life. The Danube Delta is a unique natural attraction in Europe – and the world – but travelers should be mindful of its importance as a natural habitat and visit responsibly.

If you want to visit the Danube Delta then you should aim for April – October, spend at least 2-3 days and consider hiring a locally-licensed guide because navigating its canals and knowing the best spots for wildlife watching require lots of on-the-ground knowledge.

 

The City of Sibiu - Living Cultural History

Ah, Sibiu – where should I begin? 2007 European Capital of Culture, ranked 8th by Forbes as Europe’s most idyllic cities and 6th most charming by Huffington Post, the city of Sibiu is truly one of Romania’s best getaway destinations for locals or foreign tourists alike!

Also known by its German name Hermanstadt, the city is representative for Transylvania’s multiculturalism and displays many signs of its Saxon heritage. It has a rich and varied cultural agenda with international renowned events for theater, jazz and other arts, and a booming food scene drawing on modern reinterpretations of Transylvania’s rural gastronomy. Much like Brasov, Romania’s other ‘darling’ city, Sibiu’s medieval air can be felt everywhere – whether in large open squares where people enjoy a drink or meal with friends (Upper Town) or in the narrow cobbled-stone streets where sturdy houses have small details to offer (Lower Town).  Did I mention how friendly and welcoming the locals are?  They’re very proud of their city and heritage – just ask them about it!

And since we’re entering the festive winter season, you should know that Sibiu’s Christmas Market is, undoubtedly, Romania’s best!  The Main Square is taken over by small huts where you can find everything from cured ham or cheese, handmade decorations or gift, local pies and sweets and, of course, plenty of mulled wine and… mulled țuica, the traditional Romanian spirit! One glass of this and you’re good to go for 1h in any type of freezing weather, trust me!

 

Transfagarasan Road - Simply Majestic

You may have heard of this one – named by Top Gear as the world’s best driving road, Transfagarasan Road crosses the majestic Fagaras Mountain range of the Carpathians and is one of Romania’s best known attractions.  At its highest point of 2,042m it offers views that are nothing short of breathtaking – just take another look at that picture! Between the ridges of Fagaras Mountains and with Transylvania’s plain in the distance, you will definitely stop for a long while to take in the views and the fresh mountain air!

Located in the center of the country it can be accessed from the North coming from Sibiu or Brasov or from the South coming from Bucharest or Craiova.  Transfagarasan Road is open for driving only during June – October as it’s covered in snow during the rest of the year – which means it’s also a great place for skiing, especially backcountry and off-piste riding!

 

Turda Salt Mine - Healthy and Fun

With a history of over 2,000 years and opened for tourists since the early 1990s, Turda Salt Mine near Cluj-Napoca is a very popular tourist attraction in Romania for two reasons:

First, its underground galleries and large, high-ceiling caverns hosts an amusement park complete with a theater, ferris wheel, ping-pong tables or minigolf courses. There’s even an underground lake where you can practice your rowing skills (or impress your partner!) if you rent a boat! The best part is the artificial lighting installations – everything was designed to highlight the salt mine’s natural beauty and man-made galleries and give visitors a magical experience.

The second reason – well known among Romanians but less so by foreign tourists – is that inhaling salty air is good for your lounges and treating respiratory diseases – something even the Romans knew!  Romanian doctors regularly prescribe salty air therapies and Turda Salt Mine, along with other salt mines such as Praid or Ocnele Mari, is a preferred destination for this.  What do you have to do to get these health benefits? Nothing – just spend 2-4 hours in the mine: do a tour to learn about its salt exploitation history and the interesting tools used, play some games or bring a book with you. Beware though – no food or drinks (other than still water) are allowed inside the mine as they will interfere with the air!

Categories: 
Country: 

5 Interesting Sights on Australia’s Sunshine Coast

Australia’s eastern Sunshine Coast stretches from the major city of Brisbane up to the Great Sandy National Park.

Whether you’re planning a family-friendly vacation, a romantic getaway, or an adrenaline-fueled adventure, you’re bound to find something to do in this tourist-friendly area of the Great Down Under.

 

Here are five of the most interesting things to see on your journey through the fabulous Sunshine Coast:

Schedule a Few Days on Fraser Island

Measuring an impressive 76 miles long, Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world. Guests to this World Heritage Site will find over 180,000 hectares of pristine land to explore.

The most popular area of the island is Lake MacKenzie, which has some of the clearest waters and whitest sands in all of Australia.

History buffs should definitely explore the WWI SS Maheno shipwreck just north of Eli Creek for some spectacular selfies. A few other interesting things to see here include the Indian Head outlook, Lake Wabby, and the Champagne Pools.

If you don’t have much time to spare on Fraser Island, consider renting a 4WD to quickly get around the island’s top tourist draws.

 

Stroll around Noosa National Park

The 4,000-hectare Noosa National Park is the number one tourist draw in Australia’s Sunshine Coast per TripAdvisor reviewers. First-time visitors should head straight for the 15-kilometer hiking trail in the Noosa Headland to get better acquainted with the area and take in some of the most spectacular views of Australia’s coastline.

As you walk around Noosa National Park, you’re bound to see a wide variety of indigenous Australian flora and fauna. Sometimes visitors get glimpses of whales and dolphins at the Dolphin Point lookout. Definitely visit Noosa National Park’s information center to get help organizing your trip around this hot tourist attraction.

 

Hike to the Top of the Glass House Mountains

Serious hikers visiting the Sunshine Coast must plan a trip to the Glass House Mountains National Park. There are two main mountains open to visitors here: Mount Tibrogargan and Mount Ngungun.

In case you were wondering, these names come from ancient myths of the indigenous Gubbi Gubbi people. Although you’ll get the best views of the coastline from the two mountains summits, there are a few less intense hiking trails here for less experienced hikers. If hiking isn’t your style, you could opt to ride a mountain bike, go rock climbing, or even ride a horse through this national park.

Be sure to keep a lookout for the park’s famous grey kangaroos as you walk around this region.

 

Take the Kids to the Australia Zoo

Families have nothing to worry about traveling to the Sunshine Coast. There are dozens of exceptional attractions here designed to keep kids entertained for hours on end.

One “must-see” attraction for families in the town of Beerwah is the Australia Zoo. Made world-famous thanks to the influence of Steve and Terri Irwin, this 110-acre zoo has over 100 species of animals to see.

You’ll find that the staff here works hard to make this zoo-going experience as interactive and educational as possible. So, if you’ve ever wanted to feed a few wombats, pet a rhino, or stroke a lizard, then you’d better book your trip to the Australia Zoo right now.

 

Sample Tasty Treats at the Ginger Factory

Yet another family-friendly attraction in the Sunshine Coast is the Ginger Factory in Yandina. There’s plenty here to delight the eyes, noses, and tummies of visitors young and old.

Let your kids take a ride on the factory’s cute choo choo train as you take a ginger tasting tour. Children can also go on a boat voyage and take part in numerous gingerbread puppet shows. Don’t leave this wonderful factory without taking a peek at the delectable goodies available at this factory’s huge gift shop.

 

As you can see, there are tons of things to see on Australia’s Sunshine Coast. Of course, nature lovers won’t have any difficulties finding exceptional surfing, biking, and hiking opportunities on this celebrated coast. However, there are also plenty of quirky attractions on the Sunshine Coast to enchant the entire family.

We didn’t even mention the wide array of fine dining and shopping opportunities you’re bound to notice on your trip through this region. Whatever you decide to do here, just be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen.

Categories: 
Country: 
4 of 10
12345678