One of the great pleasures of visiting many European cities in winter is the captivating effect that snow has on their classic architecture, creating a virtual winter wonderland. Estonia's capital Tallinn may not be as world famous as Vienna or Prague, but it's probably one of the best places on the whole continent to experience Europe as it was in medieval times. Old Town Tallinn is so well preserved that it has UNESCO World Heritage Site status - picture a close-knit network of winding cobbled streets with iron street lamps, Gothic spires of grandiose churches and half-hidden courtyards sheltering beautiful gabled houses. Look out for Tallinn's Town Hall, the only one in northern Europe dating from the Gothic era that still remains standing, dating back ...
Nestled in the French Alps near the borders with Switzerland and Italy, Chamonix Mont Blanc is probably the most famous destination in Europe for skiing. It’s not hard to see why – this beautiful area has a host of scenic peaks plus a wide range of slopes. From beginner slopes to longer tracts including free-ride and off-piste, there’s something to suit all levels. The town’s three ski areas are: Brévent/Flégère, which has south-facing slopes with amazing views of the Mont Blanc peaks; the Grands Montets, high altitude slopes facing to the north; and the Balme area, wide open slopes atop Chamonix valley next to Switzerland. There’s also a sister resort at the other end of the valley called les Houches. If you’re an absolute beginner, ...
Undoubtedly the world's most famous beer festival, Munich's Oktoberfest draws a remarkable six million visitors each year. The 16-day festival celebrating Bavarian beer and culture has become something of a rite of passage for any young European who likes a beer, and attracts plenty of travelers from further afield as well. Oktoberfest history dates back to 12 October 1810, when crowds were invited to a meadow in the city to celebrate the wedding of Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen. It subsequently became an annual fair that initially included horse races and agricultural conventions. Local businessmen working with city breweries created the first massive beer tent in 1896, and the festival has been all about beer ever since. The area where that ...
Every year, thousands of people flock to Old Town Square in Prague to get a glimpse of the Astronomical Clock, one of the finest examples of its kind still around in Europe. Located on the south wall of Prague’s Town Hall, the Astronomical Clock has an equally colourful history to match its colourful facade. Its oldest part was built in 1410 by a local clockmaker and a professor of astronomy. Other elements, such as the calendar dial and the moving statues, were added in the intervening centuries. Upon first glance, it can be difficult to figure out what you're seeing, given the number of dials and figures that make up the famous Orloj (as it's known locally). The easiest way to understand the Astronomical Clock ...
While wine lovers the world over have different palates and different favourites, France is undoubtedly the most famous wine-producing country, and the Beaujolais is its most famous red wine. On the stroke of midnight on the third Thursday of November each year, Beaujolais Nouveau is celebrated by drinking the wine from grapes harvested that summer. Dubbed “Beaujolais Nouveau Day,” parties are held all over France and further afield to celebrate the first wine of the season. There are about 120 Beaujolais Nouveau related festivals held in the Beaujolais region alone, and some bottles from the six-week-old crop are also sent to oenophiles around the globe in time to be uncorked for the occasion. Located in the heart of the Rhone-Alpes region of eastern central France, ...
To take in the glorious splendour of a classic opera, there's no better venue than an original open-air amphitheatre in the heart of Italy. Built in the second century, Verona's Arena di Verona is the third largest Roman amphitheatre in the world. It was originally the home of a very different form of entertainment: gladiatorial battles, jousts and other tournaments. While partially damaged in an earthquake in the 12th Century, the venue remains fundamentally intact almost two thousand years since its creation. The Verona Arena has been home to opera and other dramatic performances since the 18th Century, and stands among the most well preserved venues of its size and vintage in the world. Located right in the centre of the city's old town, the ...
For most Dubliners, the pub is the centre of Irish society. Every occasion takes place here, be it happy or sad, culinary or alcohol-fuelled, literary or sporting, business or pleasure, family or friends. And no matter where you go in Dublin, you'll find a public house or two or three on every street. As James Joyce wrote in his classic novel Ulysses, “A good puzzle would be to cross Dublin without passing a pub.” One of the best aspects of Dublin pub life is that it's a culture open to all, locals and visitors alike. Everyone is welcome to sample the charm, “craic” (fun in Gaelic), music, drink and conversation. Whether you're after a quiet pint, a rock music bar, cocktails, traditional music and dancing, ...
Nestled in the middle of nowhere, in the wide, blue Pacific Ocean, Fiji is a prime destination to just get away from it all. Sandy beaches, gorgeous sunsets and cheap food and drink are just some of the attractions of this little island nation. Most unique among these attractions, however, has to be the national drink of kava. If you've never heard of it, kava (which is also known as Yaqona, or grog) is a drink made from the root of a pepper called piper methstyicum. It looks a bit like muddy water, but packs a secret punch. It's not alcoholic or narcotic, but it has analgesic (pain relief) properties that make it very relaxing to drink. If this sounds like something you're not sure ...
London is a long-standing magnet for talented artists from around Europe and further afield; and the city's Tate Modern is consistently voted among the continent's top modern art galleries. Innovatively housed in the former Bankside Power Station, located along the River Thames' South Bank district, the Tate Modern provides a cavernous, dynamic space for international modern and contemporary exhibitions. The Tate Modern is ideally placed for anyone staying in the old town district (known as the City of London area) where you'll find St Paul's Cathedral, the London Eye and London Bridge. Just take a stroll across the Millennium Bridge and see some great art. Aside from the art, the best draw of all to the Tate Modern is the free admission (apart from some ...
For many Americans and visitors alike, hitting the open road across the United States is a dream idea for a holiday. And what better way to experience this voyage than to drive down historic Route 66, dubbed the Main Street of America or The Mother Road as it was once the United States' main highway. Home of neon signs, decaying truck stops in the middle of nowhere, and all kinds of kitschy cafes, motels and gas stations—historic Route 66 is the ultimate place to experience the best in Americana. Some 2,448 miles long, Route 66 stretches all the way from Chicago in the east to the edge of the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica, California in the west. Hitting eight states in all, the road ...
One of the world's oldest and most beautiful books, The Book of Kells has become a must-see for any visitor to Dublin. The Book of Kells is on display in Ireland's oldest and most picturesque university Trinity College, whose campus represents for many Dubliners the very centre of the Irish capital. This remarkable book contains the four Gospels of the New Testament in Latin written on vellum (treated calfskin), and was meticulously illustrated by Irish monks around the year 800 BC. The history of The Book of Kells is almost as remarkable as the precision craftsmanship it contains. The Book of Kells' first home was the Abbey of Kells in nearby County Meath, where a long-running campaign to get the famous book back continues to ...
Istanbul's Hagia Sophia ("Church of Holy Wisdom") is considered to be an enduring, majestic symbol of the Byzantine Empire. At an astonishing 1,475 years old, the Hagia Sophia changed the face of architecture and merged religions. Originally an Orthodox Christian basilica, the building was constructed over five years by 10,000 workers on the orders of Emperor Justinian I in 532-7 AD. The Hagia Sophia was then the seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople for almost all of its first millennium. In 1453, Istanbul was conquered by the Ottoman Turks, and the Hagia Sophia was ordered to be converted into a mosque. It remained so until 1935, when the Turkish government declared the Hagia Sophia a museum. For over a thousand years it was the largest ...
Florence was at the center of the Italian Renaissance, and the city’s Duomo is one of the crowning achievements of that period. Officially known as the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, the Florence Duomo had an incredibly long gestation – it was not consecrated until 1436 even though the first stone was laid in 1296. Its designer Arnolfo di Cambio and subsequent overseer Giotto both died well before the project came to fruition. The Florence Duomo’s proudest feature is its magnificent eight-sided dome – the first of its kind ever to be built without an internal wooden frame or external buttresses. Still the largest brick dome in the world to this day, Filippo Brunelleschi’s design is thought to have been centuries ahead of its ...
Venice is one of the world's most popular tourist attractions, attracting some 20 million visitors per year to the Italian city. The historic city of Venice, once an independent city state, was a major trading post in its day between Western Europe, the Byzantine Empire, and the Islamic world. In fact, around the 13th Century it was the richest city in all of Europe. The legacy of this era remains fully palpable, with a great number of magnificent historic buildings. The gondola city of Venice, which is made up of 113 small islands, is perhaps most famous for its many canals and their many gondolas. However, Venice is also very well known for the grandeur of the central St Mark's Square, and its current principal ...
Forget the usual sunny and snowy sights of Stockholm. If you're in the Swedish capital, the smartest thing to check out is the home of the Nobel prizes: the Nobel Museum. Short films, original artifacts and interactive exhibits at the Nobel Museum all offer insight into the greatest minds of the last century. The Nobel Museum also offers a frequent rotation of mini-exhibitions on a particular winner or subject. At the Nobel Museum you can discover the story of Alfred Nobel, a native of Stockholm and the son of a wealthy industrialist, Nobel put his privileged education to good use by inventing dynamite! It was not an easy road to this discovery. Indeed, his brother died in one of their early experiments. A man of ...
Every year, hundreds of thousands of people come to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland to pay homage to the one million people that died there. Indeed, some believe that the visit is an essential rite of passage lest humanity ever overlook this most unforgettable moment in history. An official UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum is made up of two camps in which virtually every stone is untouched, and all areas are open to visitors. The first camp, Auschwitz I, is where you will find the famous 'Arbeit Macht Frei' (Work Makes Us Free) sign that prisoners walked under on their way to and from enforced labour at the camp. Here you can see the site of the execution yard where individual prisoners ...
The St Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland is a unique event that unites locals and visitors in a carnival atmosphere of music, dancing and partying; and leaves the world green with envy. Expanded in recent years from a one-day holiday to a six-day event, the St Patrick's Festival brings people together from all over the world to celebrate all things Irish. The centrepiece of the Festival is, of course, the St Patrick's Day Parade; an event that has been copied the world over. The 1.5 mile St Patrick's Day Parade route winds its way from Parnell Square on the city's north side, down O'Connell Street (the city's main thoroughfare), past the Spire of Dublin, over the River Liffey and up to Trinity College, before ...
Aside from being the birthplace of paella, there is only one thing that the Spanish city of Valencia is famous for – the delightful papier-mâché models, pageantry and fireworks that take over the town for the Las Fallas festival. Staged annually on March 19th, this centuries-old festival has become a four-day extravaganza that attracts thousands of domestic and international tourists to the city every year. The event traces its origins back to a custom of the city’s carpenters, who burned their scrap wood and utensils worn out from the winter in time for the feast of Saint Joseph – their patron saint – on March 19th. The “Fallas” were the piles of combustible materials gathered for the occasion. The modern festival took shape in the ...
To see any city skyline at its best, you have to get up high. In Sydney, there's an exciting and invigorating way to do this—the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. The experience gives you the chance to drink in the best possible view of the famous Sydney Opera House, and get a panoramic view of the whole downtown area too. Once off limits in 1998, the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb has since celebrated over ten years of operation and organizers say that so far more than 2.2 million people have scaled the famous Aussie arch. More than 2,000 marriage proposals have been made at the Bridge's highest point; and a British couple even got married up there in 2008. The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb is ...
Standing tall in the heart of the City of Lights, the elegant stone edifice of the Sacre Coeur Basilica rivals only the Eiffel Tower in defining the Paris skyline. The dome top of the Sacre Coeur Basilica, which reaches over 200 meters high, is open to tourists and offers a view over all of Paris up to 30 miles away in every direction. As well as gaining an unrivalled view of the city, you can observe people from all walks of life that gather on the steps outside the Basilica and stream into the charming streets of Montmartre. A venerated pilgrimage site, Sacre Coeur Basilica welcomes thousands of tourists from all over France and around the world every year. Perched over Montmartre, the name signifies ...
Battle Back to the Era of Ancient Rome When You Visit the Colosseum
Experience a Tilted Center of Gravity at the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Cruise past the Statue of Liberty on the Staten Island Ferry
Kiss the Blarney Stone and Gain the Gift of Gab
Drink a Mass at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich
Teaching English Abroad: A Simple Life
Soar the Skies at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Take a Healing Soak in the Pagosa Hot Springs
Gaze at Glittering Lights on the Bund in Shanghai
Transcend Time in the Medieval Outpost of Bruges
See all of Paris from the Sacred Sacre Coeur Basilica
See Panoramic Views of Sydney by Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Snorkel Fiji, the Soft Coral Capital of the World
Walk the Lunar Landscape at White Sands, New Mexico
Feel the Rich Spirituality of Taos Pueblo, New Mexico
Uncover Ancient Cliff Dwellings at Bandelier National Monument
Spray Paint a Junked-Out Car at the Cadillac Ranch
See Valencia On Fire At The Las Fallas Festival, Spain
Paint the Town Green at the St Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin
Bear Witness to Genocide at Auschwitz Concentration Camp
Step into the Home of a Genius at Sweden's Nobel Museum
St Mark's Square in the Gondola City of Venice
Surround Yourself in Renaissance Charm at the Duomo in Old Town Florence
Travel back in time to Byzantium at Istanbul's Hagia Sophia
Watch the Pope's Midday Address at St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City
Hail the Ancient Book of Kells in Dublin
Enjoy Radical Ingenuity at London's Tate Modern Museum
Drink Down the Fiji Vibe at a Traditional Kava Ceremony
Get a Real Taste of Ireland at Dublin's Best Pubs
Listen to a Melodious Masterpiece in Verona, the Home of Opera
Taste the First French Wine of the Year During Beaujolais Nouveau
The Time-Honoured Astronomical Clock of Old Town Prague
Drink The World's Best Beer at Munich's Oktoberfest
Ski the Best Slopes in Europe at Chamonix Mont Blanc
Picture A Fairytale City in Tallinn's Old Town
Get Swept Up in Silver Screen Romance on the Empire State Building's Observation Deck
Toss a Coin and Celebrate the Sea at the Trevi Fountain
Dance through Cobblestone streets during Carnival in Rio de Janeiro
Journey Back in Time to the Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu
Unearth the Mysteries of Easter Islands Giant Moai Statues
Heal your skin in Iceland's Blue Lagoon geothermal spa
Experience Dizzying Thrill as You Look Over the Edge of the Grand Canyon
Brave the Frozen Frontier of the Ice Hotel in Sweden
Experience Thrilling Mists at Yosemite Falls
Revel in an Urban Masterpiece at Nuit Blanche
Trace the Trail of the Ancients in Monument Valley
Venture Through the Vibrant Tapestry of the Painted Desert Arizona
See the Tallest Trees in the World at the Redwood National and State Parks of California
Journey Behind the Falls at Niagara Falls
Climb the Eiffel Tower; The Trendsetter of Tall
Lost in Old Town Dubrovnik
Highs and Lows in Death Valley National Park
Go Gothic Visiting the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris
Stand at the Edge of the World on Ireland's Cliffs of Moher
Trace the Fall of the Berlin Wall
Eat a Delicious Beignet after Strolling the Old Streets of New Orleans' Famed French Quarter
Climb the Iconic Spiral of the Guggenheim Museum New York
Cruise Through Historic Americana on Route 66
Walk in the Footsteps of American Revolutionaries on the Freedom Trail in Boston
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