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places to go in ibiza

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places to go in ibiza

Spain’s ultimate party island has more to offer than you might think.
  There are few places on Earth that are synonymous with one particular activity. Las Vegas is a gambler’s paradise, for example, and Paris is the city of romance. Ibiza, a Balearic island in the Mediterranean Sea, has built its own reputation as the place to party harder than anywhere else.
  Ibiza well deserves its reputation as the clubbing capital of the world. There are hundreds of nightspots across the small but attractive island, from small, walk-in bars to the world’s biggest superclubs. The biggest of these is Privilege, which measures 6,500 square metres (70,000 square feet) and can hold 10,000 revellers most people will head to ibiza in search of booze,bars and beachs, but there is a suprising amount to see and do duuring the daytime as well.
  The two main destinations for a big night out are san antonio and playa d'en bossa. both are packed with bars and clubs playing everything from the latest chart hits to classic 80s cheese san antonio hosts the well-known superclubs eden and es paradis while playa d'en bossa boasts the spectacular open-air ushuaia som like Pacha, Amnesia or Privilege, are further into the island, but regular‘discobuses’ take you to and from the clubs throughout the evening and into the morning.      These superclubs are quite costly to enter. You could pay up to £50 ($65) for a ticket, and the drinks can also set you back a lot so be prepared! It’s rare to pay to enter the smaller bars and clubs, and most places will offer big deals on drinks to get you in. However, a trip to Ibiza isn’t complete without a visit to at least one iconic superclub, and the experience is simply staggering.
  There are also plenty of mid-range watering  holes to keep you going throughout the day,such as ibiza rocks, ocean bach club or pikes hotel, where wham's club tropicana was filmed although unfortunately the drinks aren't free! ibiza is the perfect destination for a sunny break evn in winter the daytime temperature rarely drops below 15 degrees celsius (59 degrees fahrenheit). and in the heigth of summer that can more than double ideal for soaking up the sunshine on ibiza's 210 kilometres (130 miles) of golden, sandy beaches. which have gained unesco world heritage status.
  The longest and most well-known of Ibiza’s beaches is Playa d’en Bossa. While one end of the two-kilometre (1.2-mile) stretch of sand is quiet and tranquil for family holidaymakers, the other is party central, with bars, music and waterbased, high-octane activities. The atmosphere is buzzing throughout the day, so you can get yourself mentally and physically warmed up for the big night ahead.
  Beyond the bars and beaches is an island steeped in history. Ibiza Old Town is charming, filled with interesting shops, varied restaurants and a quaint harbour. Dalt Vila, or‘upper town’, is a fortified, walled town that gives you stunning views of the harbour and town make sure you’ve got your walking shoes on as the cobbled streets get quite steep, but it’s more than worth making the trek.
  Ibiza might not be the same place it was in its heyday of the ’70s and ’80s, and now has plenty of nightlife competition around the world, but there truly is no experience quite like a wild week away hitting up Ibiza’s unique, world-renowned clubs or relaxing on its gorgeous beaches. Ibiza most certainly rocks.

Russia’s cultural heart, St Petersburg

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St Petersburg

Russia’s cultural heart, St Petersburg’s frozen-in-time opulence is garnished with an enthusiastic helping of contemporary eclecticism.
  Under the unruly northern sky, St Petersburg stares out across the Baltic Sea. Founded by Peter the Great in 1703 as a ‘window into Europe’, and designed by a slew of celebrated architects, today it’s Russia’s chameleonic second city. Effortlessly modern, it has lost none of its old-world grandeur.
  The Palace Square makes a powerful first impression, the backdrop to some of Russia’s most poignant events, from the Bloody Sunday massacre to the October Revolution. At its center, the Alexander Column stands, commemorating the 1812 victory over Napoleon.
  The green-and-white Winter Palace flanks the square’s northern end its Rococo exterior festooned with larger-than-life statues. Formerly a royal residence, it’s now one of six buildings comprising the world-famous Hermitage Museum. The second-largest museum in the world, the sprawling complex spans 360 rooms, housing a selection of the collection’s three million items.
  Just across the Neva River lies the comparably modest Summer Palace, its grounds studded with impressive Italian sculptures imported by Peter the Great. Nearby, at the Field of Mars, a somber flame burns for victims of the Russian revolutions of 1917.
  Instantly recognizable, the pure-gold dome of St Isaac’s Cathedral dominates the skyline and the huge square around it. Beyond its enormous doors remains elaborate stained glass and soaring columns of lapis lazuli and malachite. While its lavishly decorated dome looms large over the interior which can hold 14,000 worshippers its colonnaded walkway reveals panoramic views over the city for those willing to brave its 262 steps.
  Just across the water, housing the tombs of Russia’s imperial family, along with a Baroque cathedral and scalable fort, the Peter and Paul Fortress offers a glimpse into the city’s storied past constructed in 1703, it was one of St Petersburg’s first buildings.
  Continuing through history, literary buffs can walk the streets that inspired some of the greatest poems and prose were ever written from Alexander Pushkin’s apartment to Catherine Canal, where scenes from Crime and Punishment unfold. There is also the FM Dostoevsky Literary Memorial Museum, as well as the Stray Dog Café, a literary hangout frequented by the likes of Leo Tolstoy and Anna Akhmatova.  Come nightfall, the Mariinsky Theatre calls. St Petersburg’s most impressive venue, it may be the epitome of ornate grandeur, but its ballet and opera credentials are unparalleled.

Lake Como

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Lake Como

With stunning views and endless amounts to do, this is the jewel of Italy.
  Nestled in the foothills of the Alps in northern Italy lies a wishbone-shaped lake, surrounded by beautiful hills covered in pine trees. The shoreline is dotted with picturesque towns and villages, while the calm water stretches for 32 kilometers (20 miles). This is Lake Como, a body of water that has been the holiday destination of choice for the rich and famous since the Romans ruled the Italian peninsula. Percy Bysshe Shelley once wrote  about the region: “This lake exceeds anything I ever beheld in beauty.”  
  While Lake Como is Italy’s third-largest lake behind Garda and Maggiore its dramatic landscape lends itself to breathtaking views no matter where you are. If you’re on the shore looking across the water’s glassy surface, or you’re walking high up in the hills, the scenery will feel like a small slice of heaven. But there’s so much more to do here than just be awestruck by the views. Lake Como is perhaps best known for its villas, like Villa Melzi with its botanical garden,  and Villa Carlotta, which hosts a museum with works by Canova, Thorvaldsen, and Hayez.  But if what you’re after is a little more of the traditional Italian lifestyle, you can take a stroll around the towns of Tremezzo, Como, and Lecco sample the delicious Italian cuisine with classic risottos and fresh fish dishes and enjoy the relaxed and tranquil atmosphere that falls over the entire region.
  Those looking for a slice of adventure won’t find themselves bored here, though. The warm summer months lend themselves to water sports,  and everyone is catered for on Lake Como. You’ll find people windsurfing, canoeing, sailing, water skiing, jet skiing, kite surfing and more across Como’s surface. Higher up in the hills you can try your hand at hang gliding and paragliding for the most impressive views of this gorgeous part of the Italian countryside, or just take a walk through the woods. If you prefer the cold, be sure to head to Lake Como in the winter for a spot of skiing at Piani di Bobbio and Pian delle Betulle you definitely won’t be disappointed.
  Getting around isn’t difficult either. Boats and buses run regularly, connecting the towns and villages that lie on the lake’s shore. It’s not even difficult to get to at just 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Milan, you can reach Como by train in around 40 minutes, or book yourself onto the Lake Como Express from Bergamo Airport,  which runs three times a day to the western shore as far as Menaggio.
  With so much to do, explore and experience,  there’s no reason not to visit Lake Como.  Whether you’re booking your holiday to relax,  take in some culture or learn how to jet ski, it’s a  travel destination that you’ll never want to leave.  The best part is that with so many places to visit along the miles of coastline, you can just keep coming back for more.

Venice

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Venice

Navigate the unique waterways of Italy’s City of Bridges.
  Venice is known throughout the world as the City of Canals, among many other names.  One such name is the Floating City, made up as it is of 118 islands connected by canals, which can be crossed by one of 400 bridges. It measures just eight square kilometers (three square miles) but packs an astonishing number of stunning landmarks, cafes, and activities into that small space.
  Conveniently, three of those landmarks are all within a couple of minutes’ walk from each other namely Doge’s Palace, St Mark’s Basilica and St Mark’s Square.
  Doge’s Palace is the spectacular result of a project lasting several centuries. Started in the 9th century, the seat of the Venetian government continued to be developed and redeveloped until well into the 17th century. This drawn-out building process means that the palace features an array of architectural styles, from Gothic to Renaissance guaranteed to delight both the casual and committed architecture enthusiasts.  The palace wasn’t only the Venetian Parliament;  it was home to the Doge, and has also acted as a prison and the city’s court, but is now a  fascinating museum. It may be worth more than one visit too because the palace changes color throughout the day depending on the light sometimes appearing white, but other times taking on a pinkish hue. The palace is well worth a walk around, but be sure to take a look at it from the Bridge of Sighs, which provides the best view of the palace. Be prepared, however, to battle dozens of fellow tourists attempting to do the same.
  Also built in the 9th century, St Mark’s Basilica houses the remains of St Mark the Evangelist. The city cathedral was built in the Byzantine style and has a staggering 8,000 square meters (86,000 square feet) of mosaic covering the walls and vaults. A visit to the Basilica has to be on anyone’s Venice itinerary, as is a trip to the top of the 99-meter (323-foot) tall Campanile for incredible views of the city. 
  The square was built at the same time as the Basilica and was enlarged in the 12th century rapidly developing into the heart of the city. The square is the biggest open space in Venice and can be a welcome relief to the at times claustrophobic nature of the city. It may be a tad expensive, but there are few better places in the world to kick back with a coffee than at one of the cafes surrounding the square.  You’ll appreciate having a rest, because there are so many glorious sights to see around the city, and there are no roads or cars in Venice.  There are three ways to get around: on foot, via a water bus or on a gondola. The city is incredibly easy to walk around you could get around the entire city in about half an hour if you got a good stride on. Make sure you have a detailed map if you’re walking Venice without a guide, as the 2,650 alleys can get quite boggling! Other than the footbridges, the water bus (or Vaporetto) is the best way to cross the canals or travel through the city if you’re getting a bit tired or need to go somewhere quickly. These aren’t particularly cheap, but they are regular and it’s a lovely way to cruise a Venetian canal if you don’t fancy shelling out for a gondola.
  Having said that, is a trip to Venice truly complete without a ride on a gondola? These long, narrowboats are synonymous with the city and provide a romantic, fun way to spend 40 minutes, guided and possibly serenaded by a local expert. There are just 400 licensed gondoliers in Venice, and only two or three licenses are given out per year after a rigorous exam process, so you know you are getting the very best that Venice has to offer. It’s a beautiful, unique way to see a city, and an ideal way to have a break from the hustle and bustle of the streets.
  The city is a work of art in itself, but if you are in the mood for, even more, the Peggy Guggenheim Museum should be an essential part of your trip. Situated in Guggenheim’s old house, there are dozens of pieces of Italian and American artwork, as well as new exhibits that have earned this museum global accolades.  And if you think you recognize the name, Peggy Guggenheim is the niece of Solomon Guggenheim, who gave his name to the equally famous art gallery in New York.
Venice Carnival
  Although Venice is at its most visually stunning in the summer, February to March is carnival season. The carnival takes place in the build-up to Lent, meaning that the city is crammed with delicious food and drink to be consumed before the start of the fast. The carnival kicks off with the Flight of the Angel as last year’s Mary Carnival winner ‘flies’ across St Mark’s Square. The Venetians know how to celebrate, with traditional masked galas, parades and regattas along the canals. Venice celebrates its history and heritage in spectacular style, with masquerade balls providing a throwback to the time masks were banned in Venice. The entire city comes out to celebrate. Being such a small city with such a worldwide reputation, Venice can be pretty full, and the addition of thousands of revelers has the city bursting at the seams, but it’s an incredible experience not to be missed.
  Also on the theme of art, many famous films have been set and shot in Venice. Don’t Look Now, the 1973 movie starring Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland, purposefully avoided many of the main tourist locations in the city. A ten-minute walk from St Mark’s Square will take you to Fondamenta San Severo, which is the site for the iconic scene when John Baxter first sees the figure in red, while five minutes further on brings you to the church that Baxter was restoring.
  Make time for a stroll alongside the Grand Canal. While St Mark’s Square may be the heart of the city, the Grand Canal is its main artery meandering through the center of Venice like a blueberry swirl through the finest Italian gelato. The best views are from the iconic Rialto Bridge,  built in the 16th century and, for a long time, the only way to cross the Grand Canal. The bridge will often be busy and bustling with street traders, giving visitors an authentic city experience.
  Venice is a beautiful step back through time,  with its absence of cars and elegant Renaissance-era buildings. There are wondrous views around every corner, delicious foods to sample, and experiences like no other city thanks mostly to the network of canals, gondolas, and footbridges that gives tourists a truly unique experience. Now,  it’s also a fairly well-known fact that the English city of Birmingham has more miles of canals than Venice, but in which city would you rather spend a long weekend?

Cliffs of Moher

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Cliffs of Moher

Sweeping panoramic vistas of sea and shoreline greet visitors to Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher.
  The trek to the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare on the western coast of Ireland takes the traveller to one of the world’s most inspiring places. Through millions of years, as the green countryside meets the pounding surf of the Atlantic Ocean, nature has carved a breathtaking panorama of sheer rock and seemingly endless seas stretching to the  limitless horizon.
  The cliffs are named after an old fortress known as Mothar, or Moher, that once dominated their southern reaches. They soar 214 metres (702 feet), while extending eight kilometres (five miles) along the coast at the southwestern edge of Ireland’s Burren region, from Hag’s Head in the south to beyond O’Brien’s Tower in the north. The tower, built in 1835 by Sir Cornelius O’Brien, is a familiar man-made landmark, constructed by the local businessman who wanted to spur tourism to boost the local economy. Along with the vantage point of the cliffs, the tower offers extensive vistas of the Twelve Pins and Maumturks mountain ranges in County Galway to the north, the Aran Islands in Galway Bay to the west, and southward to Loop Head.
  Among the most-visited sites in Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher, named a part of the UNESCO Global Geopark, welcome about 1.5 million travellers each year, captivating them with unparalleled natural beauty. There is a variety of animal species here, including birds such as Atlantic puffins that nest on Goat Island, peregrine falcons, kittiwakes and more, along with whales, dolphins and other marine life. Rare flora includes Sea Pink and Cat’s-ear, along with other abundant blooming species. Ancient stories of the cliffs abound in local lore, enchanting those who stop to listen, and bringing the vibrant history of the area to life.
  An ecologically oriented visitor centre opened in 2007 and rests within the crook of a hillside to minimise its profile across the verdant landscape. The Cliffs of Moher virtual tour is an unforgettable 360-degree experience, and audio guides and maps are readily available. Admission is about £7 ($9) per adult, and visitors under 16 years of age are admitted free of charge. The visitor centre is open daily, except at Christmas, usually from 9am to 9pm local time. Two trails lead from the centre, and multiple entry points have been opened along the cliffside. Visitors are asked to exercise caution and stay on the official trail, which is set back a bit from the edge for safety reasons. The unofficial trail runs closer to the edge but is indeed more treacherous. Three primary viewing platforms the main at Hag’s Head, the north at Knockardakin and the south near the puffin colony’s home are within reasonable walking distance of the visitor centre.
  Taking advantage of regular air service to Dublin, visitors may wish to rent a car, enjoy the 270-kilometre (170-mile) drive from the capital city to the Cliffs of Moher, sample the local fare in an authentic Irish pub, and find affordable lodging located in the surrounding area. Buses run a daily schedule to nearby towns such as Doolin, Lisdoonvarna, Galway, Ennis and kinvara.

Vienna

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Vienna

Imperial palaces, Baroque streetscapes and artistic masterpieces define Austria’s capital.
  Situated on the Danube River, this spectacular city has been home to some of the greatest minds, from Mozart and Beethoven to Sigmund Freud.
  Much of the city’s grandeur is a lasting legacy of the powerful Habsburg Monarchy. Schönbrunn Palace, their summer residence, is a  must-see with its pristine gardens and stunning interiors. Take a quirky horse-drawn carriage through the beautiful gardens or wander around the tranquil fountains. Next to the palace you’ll find Vienna’s zoo, or Tiergarten Schönbrunn, which is home to red pandas, jaguars, tigers and so much more if you get the Vienna Pass, both the Zoo and Palace are included.
  In the centre of the city you will find the Vienna State Opera House (Wiener Staatsoper), which is one of the leading opera houses in the world. Each season, the state opera house offers around 350 performances of more than 60 different operas and ballets, from world-class artists to the permanent ensemble who perform various operas, including Cinderella and Giselle. Get dressed up and spend an evening at the opera for a truly Viennese evening of opulence and sophistication. Tickets for the opera can start as low as £11 ($14.50), so it is definitely worth going for the experience, even if you don’t think opera is your thing you might be surprised. Each seat has a small screen with English subtitles to help you follow along if you don’t  speak the language, too.
  The Spanish Riding School is another must for any trip to Vienna. Even if you just take a wander through the stunning buildings where it is situated and catch a tiptoed glance at the training arena, you won’t be disappointed. The Spanish Riding School is the only institution in the world that has practised for more than 450 years. There are various tours and events that you can buy tickets for, from the morning training sessions to more lavish shows it’s a worthwhile and unique experience.
  The city’s museum quarter (Museumsquartier) features the Leopold Museum, with its numerous works by Schiele; the popular Museum of Contemporary Art; and the Kunsthalle, which is an array of restaurants, cafes and bars that make this area of the city an essential part of your trip.
  If you get bored of the bigger museums and galleries, then why not venture to the Sigmund Freud Museum? The permanent exhibition is located in the former living quarters and office of Freud, and is a presentation of the great mind’s life and work. From March 2019 until 2020, the museum will be closed for construction in order to preserve original details, but you will still be able to visit the Moving Freud Museum just a few steps away from the original premises.
  Vienna is known for its sumptuous coffeehouse culture, where decadent coffee is served on silver trays alongside delicate cakes and sweet treats. You can’t visit Vienna without trying Sachertorte, which is a chocolate cake created by Franz Sacher in 1832 for Prince Wenzel von Metternich in Vienna. The chocolate cake has a layer of apricot jam in the middle, and is topped with a shimmering chocolate glaze. It is one of the most famous Viennese culinary specialities. If sweet treats and creamy coffee aren’t for you, head to a traditional pub and enjoy a Wiener schnitzel or warming goulash washed down with a stein of beer.

Lapland

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Lapland

Some things are only possible at the edge of the hospitable world, in Finland’s adventure playground of Lapland.
  Near-mythical Lapland lives in the imagination. A world of extremes, its midnight sun surrenders to the polar night come November, and popular ski resorts make way for desolate subarctic wilderness. ‘The lapin taika’ or‘the magic of Lapland’, is kept alive by the indigenous Sámi peoples, whose ancient singing, the trancelike yoik, is said to evoke the very essence of a person, animal or place. Silvery forests, wild reindeer and snow-laden fells add to the enchantment as does Father Christmas, who ‘officially’ calls Lapland home. But perhaps most magical of all are the aurora borealis, or northern lights.
  Vast and silent, Lapland’s remoteness makes it a mecca for the most dedicated aurora chasers though not all who search will bear witness to Mother Nature’s sensational light show. Although visible from late August until mid April, the natural phenomenon is famously unpredictable. According to Sámi legend, the lights are the dancing souls of those who have passed away, and onlookers should refrain from pointing at them. Starting out slowly, green tendrils stretch across the inky sky, before bursting into dancing curtains of colour. These are joined by yellow and purple light, radiating from every direction, as snow sparkles underfoot, reflecting the sequined sky.
  With sightings of the ‘tricky lady’ few and far between, Finnish Lapland is no less a winter wonderland. Come November, as the long winter sets in, the sun breathes its last breath and the polar night takes hold. The sun will not truly rise again until late January instead, skirting just below the horizon, it will cast beautiful sunset shades of violet, blue and, at its brightest, pink.
  Despite the short days, and relative darkness, the season is seen not as a time to lament the fallen sun, but one when the greatest memories are formed. From husky sledding and snowmobiling to skiing, snowshoe hiking and ice fishing, there are myriad ways to explore the magical icy tundra. When adventure has been had and exhaustion hits, long nights are spent exchanging stories and feasting on freshly caught salmon, roasted on a crackling fire.
  For snow bunnies and thrill-seekers, Lapland’s versatile ski resorts offer everything from to black runs to kids’ slopes, with cross-country exploring aplenty for solitary souls. The ‘big four’ Levi, Ylläs, Pyhä-Luosto and Ruka on the fringes of Europe’s largest wilderness, boast some of Lapland’s prettiest pistes.
  Levi is the most popular, with two snow parks, a variety of slopes and lively après-ski culture. Meanwhile, the twin resorts of Pyhä and Luosto are the most laid-back, famous for their picturesque backcountry and freeriding zones. But many argue that Ylläs, with its six fells, takes the crown as a keen skier’s paradise. It’s been luring visitors since 1957, when its first ski lift was opened. While floodlights keep many of the slopes open during the polar night, nature provides all the illumination one could  hope for by February, until the snow melts around May.
  With the dark winter over, Lapland bursts into colour, before being bathed in 24-hour sunlight as the midnight sun ushers in a fitting contrast to the winter night. The long days and temperate weather call for hikes, horseback rides and canoeing.
  Sprawling 285,550 hectares (705,609 acres) towards Norway’s border, Lemmenjoki is Finland’s largest national park. Endless pine forests, rugged fells and mirror-like rivers make it ideal hiking territory, as does the smattering of juicy berries, just waiting to be picked. It’s also prime gold real estate, where solitary prospectors splash away with their pans.
  West of Lemmenjoki National Park lies Inari village, the cultural heart of Sámi culture home to its parliament, the Siida museum and a series of handicraft shops. From its position on the edge of Lake Inari, the country’s largest, the ancient Sámi sacrificial site of Ukonsaari Island is a short  boat ride away. Dedicated to Ukko, the god of thunder, people would travel to the isle to pray for favourable winds, making offerings to the deities. Even today, some locals still visit and flip a coin into the water, asking for the same.
  Another natural marvel, Oulanka National Park features hanging bridges, crystal-clear waterfalls and a variety of hiking trails some suitable for children, others requiring careful navigation up precarious rock walls. For adrenaline junkies, it’s also home to category three, four and five rapids.
  Arguably the easiest of Lapland’s multi-day hikes, the 55-kilometre (34-mile) Hetta-Pallas Trail passes through Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park. The scenic route is dotted with quaint wilderness cabins, some with saunas, where weary travellers can rest their heads for the night.
  Finland’s eastern borderlands offer a unique opportunity to view the magnificent brown bear in its natural habitat, amid ancient coniferous forests, with honey buzzards circling overhead. Overnight stays in a cabin-like hide enable visitors to go unnoticed, so the bears are not disturbed, as they gorge on deer or elk.

Plitvice Lakes of Croatia

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Plitvice Lakes

The gathering of waters at the Plitvice Lakes of Croatia offers breathtaking beauty.
  The most popular tourist attraction in Croatia is the natural phenomenon of Plitvice Lakes, a wonder of waters where 16 lakes come together in stunning beauty. The Lakes, just 130 kilometres (81 miles) southwest of the Croatian capital city of Zagreb, are the main attractions in the Plitvice Lakes National Park, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.
  The national park covers 300 square kilometres (116 square miles), and includes shimmering turquoise waters with abundant flora and fauna. Cascading waterfalls connect the lakes in a resounding chorus, and invite visitors to linger and observe the sheer beauty of nature, where water has flowed for millions of years, creating a pristine marvel. Varied species of wildlife, including bears, birds, boars, wolves and deer, are also regular visitors to the life-sustaining waters. Hiking the trails throughout the park allows time to contemplate the natural setting or snap photographs of stunning vistas.
  For those on a tight schedule, the Plitvice Lakes are worth the investment of a full day; however, many visitors choose to stay overnight and spend a bit more time exploring the lakes, waterfalls and hidden wonders. Be aware that crowds are common and trails may be congested at times. Still, for those with an adventurous spirit, the possibilities for discovery are endless.
  Two entrances allow access to the park, one for the lower lakes and another for the higher lakes, which converge over a distance of eight kilometres (five miles). Wear comfortable shoes and take water, lunch or snacks to save time - and be prepared for a dramatic shift in altitude. The highest point in the park reaches 1,280 metres (4.200 feet), while the lowest point is 380 metres (1.247 feet).    The largest waterfall is the legendary Veliki Slap, which descends 70 metres (230 feet) to the crystal pool below. For those who wish to sit and immerse themselves in the moment, or take a leisurely stroll and enjoy the natural beauty, rest areas are readily available.
  A small train and several ferries operate daily within the confines of the park, transporting visitors throughout. A four-hour guided tour, available in English, German, Spanish, French, Italian and Croatian, may be booked ahead for a minimum of 15 people.
  The park is open daily and offers extended hours during the summer months, typically between 7am and 8pm local time. Admission for adults is around £6.50 ($9), although prices do vary with the busy season, increasing from April to October. Admission is cheaper for children, and those under the age of seven and take water, lunch or snacks to save time - and be prepared for a dramatic shift in altitude. The highest point in the park reaches 1,280 metres (4.200 feet), while the lowest point is 380 metres (1.247 feet). The largest waterfall is the legendary Veliki Slap, which descends 70 metres (230 feet) to the crystal pool below. For those who wish to sit and immerse themselves in the moment, or take a leisurely stroll and enjoy the natural beauty, rest areas are readily available.
  A small train and several ferries operate daily within the confines of the park, transporting visitors throughout. A four-hour guided tour.

Prague

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Prague

Explore the stunning attractions of the Czech E Republic’s capital city.
  Prague is nicknamed the ‘city of a hundred spires’, but it doesn’t take long before you realise this architectural gem, nestled within the Czech Republic and cut through by the Vltava River, cannot solely be defined by such a single set of features. Not withstanding the fact that it’s factually incorrect there are more than 1,000 spires, turrets, steeples and towers gently punching the air over this capital city Prague can be anything to anyone: romantic, fashionable, artistic, bustling and quiet on the one hand; a foodie’s paradise, eclectic watering hole or simply a chocolate-box feast for the eyes on the other.  
  Take a boat ride soon after you arrive and you can soak up the splendour of those medieval buildings, unspoiled by war and modern development, before putting your feet on firm ground in pursuit of the key attractions. Get your timing right and you’ll be able to see the world’s oldest working astronomical clock in action, a thing of beauty that dates back to 1410 and stands in the Old Town Square. A performance takes place every hour where four animated figures shake their heads to the ring of a bell while the 12 apostles filter past two open windows to the amazement of the massed crowds. 
  From there, you can make your way over to the Jewish Quarter, a historical area in which Jews were once restricted to living. There are six glorious synagogues, an old cemetery, the 18th-century Old Jewish Town Hall, and many monuments and artefacts that form the Jewish Museum in Prague. They can be seen by purchasing an entry ticket, and it’s worth paying for the Old New Synagogue alone it’s Europe’s oldest surviving and active synagogue, and  steeped in legend.
  Prague’s compact nature means you can easily get around on foot. South of the Jewish Quarter is Charles Bridge, crossing the Vltava and  enabling crowds to mass along a walkway some ten-metres (33-feet) wide. Construction of the bridge began in 1357, and it has seen numerous battles and natural disasters since then. Most notable here are 30 mostly Baroque statues and statuaries positioned across its length of 621 metres (2,037 feet). They’re all replicas today, with the originals removed for safe keeping, but they’re no less striking for it.
  It certainly hasn’t affected Prague’s status as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, and that’s little wonder. Each twist and turn of Prague’s  narrow streets offers up copious delights, and while you’ll be charged to visit many of the splendid attractions, there’s plenty to do for free. Wandering the complex around Prague Castle, which contains the Bohemian Crown Jewels, will cost nothing (although entry will). There’s also a huge, bronze horse statue (a monument to Church ofOur Lady before Týn by theOld Town Square 22 Hussite General Jan Žižka on Vitkov Hill, and free tours of the Rudolfinum concert hall.
  Whatever you do, though, don’t leave without visiting the New Town, in particular the politically iconic Wenceslas Square and the National Museum. Be sure to also sample the traditional Czech soup kulajda; the thin pancakes called palacinky; or vepro-knedlo-zelo, which is roast pork, bread dumplings and stewed cabbage. Such food goes down well with beer, which is just as well since it is plentiful and cheap, and there are many breweries that encourage visitors. Just take it easy: with so much to see and do, you’ll want a clear head come the morning, although a stroll around Letná Park may help as long as you don’t stop for a drink in its beer garden.

Tuscany

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Tuscany

Art, culture and history abound in Tuscany, the picturesque home of the Italian Renaissance.
  Tuscany epitomises Italy’s long-standing reputation for art, architecture and food in its many charming cities and towns. Artistic tradition plays a leading role in Tuscany’s identity. Florence is often regarded as the birthplace of the Renaissance; works by artists such as Michelangelo and Raphael are on display throughout its many museums. The most notable of these is the Uffizi. Allow yourself a day to marvel at the masterpieces in this worldrenowned gallery, from Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus to Leonardo da Vinci’s Annunciation.
  Other artistic must-visits in Florence include the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Museo degli Argenti and Galleria dell’Accademia. The latter of  these is home to Michelangelo’s David, one of the most famous statues in the world. Book tickets for these popular attractions in advance to avoid lengthy queues.
  Just over an hour’s drive from Florence is Siena, whose most famous artists include Duccio and Simone Martini. The medieval city is a work  of art in itself: its majestic cathedral (known locally as Duomo di Siena) is the result of a century-spanning collaboration between Italy’s  most prestigious architects and artists; while the Piazza del Campo provides a stunning spot to grab coffee or aperitivo while basking in the radiance of buildings like the Palazzo Pubblico and Torre del Mangia.
  Speaking of food and drink, Tuscany offers some of Italy’s very best. While fine dining can be found in Michelin-starred restaurants such as Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence and Bracali in Grosseto, you can easily experience the tastes of the region on a smaller budget.
  Local specialities are often based on peasant traditions, and epitomised by the concept of  ‘cucina povera’ making the most of the best locally grown ingredients to produce hearty, rustic and affordable plates of food. Foodies would be wise to spend their trip touring the region in search of signature dishes associated with each city, town and village. Look out for Bistecca alla Fiorentina steak in Florence, pici pasta in Siena, pecorino cheese in Pienza, and world-renowned Tuscan extra virgin olive oil wherever you go.  
  Tuscany’s most famous wine, Chianti, is a magnet for thousands of tourists each year (indeed, the region it is produced in has been teasingly nicknamed ‘Chiantishire’ for its high concentration of British visitors). Other reds worth sampling include Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, while Vernaccia di San Gimignano is considered to be one of Italy’s finest white wines.  
  To truly experience the traditions of Tuscan food, consider spending part of your trip on a residential farm, where you can meet the producers behind the region’s best dishes. Those who’d like to take home the secrets of Italian cuisine can enrol in a cookery class, and learn to rustle up local favourites such as pappa al pomodoro or crostini with olives and paté.
  The pioneering artisans of Tuscany have undoubtedly taken some of their inspiration from the breathtaking countryside that characterises the region. With winding roads, vineyards, hill towns and villages, adventures through this rural idyll are best savoured slowly, taking the time to enjoy everything that the area has to offer.
  Keen walkers will want to head for the valley of Casentino, an area found north of Arezzo. Stay in the tiny town of Poppi, where a 13th-century Vineyards can be spotted throughoutthe Tuscan landscape, particularly inChianti fairy-tale castle towers over the landscape and provides an easy marker to look for on rambles around the countryside.
  For more challenging hikes, set your sights on Alpi Apuane in the north of the region, where 600 kilometres (373 miles) of mountainous  terrain can be explored via marked trails. Around 300 species of bird live among these lofty peaks, meaning twitchers will have plenty to keep their eyes occupied.
  Looking for a postcard-perfect Instagram photo of a world-famous landmark? A trip to Tuscany is surely incomplete without stopping in Pisa, the city synonymous with its iconic Leaning Tower. The skew-whiff structure draws crowds throughout the year, so buy tickets in advance if you plan on climbing to the top. But don’t let  the tower-based hype detract from Pisa’s other architectural triumphs the Piazza dei Miracoli also includes a cathedral, baptistery, cemetery and museum, which are well worth a look.
  Not all of Tuscany’s cultural attractions are buildings and artworks. Some, such as the Palio di Siena, are events that carry with them the full weight of Tuscan tradition. This dramatic urban horse race dates back to 1644, with ten bareback horses and riders representing Siena’s numerous contrade (city wards). Although the race typically lasts less than 90 seconds, its worldwide appeal means hotels become booked up months in advance. Plan your visit ahead of time if you want to witness the spectacle, which takes place twice every summer (on 2 July and 16 August).
  For a quieter escape, the picturesque Monti Dell’Uccellina (Mountains of the Little Bird) are hard to beat. Wooded mountains meet pristine beaches in a stretch of coastal scenery that remains largely unspoiled by tourism. Spend your time here enjoying nature while wandering between landmarks, such as the ruined Abbey of San Rabano and the towers of Castel Marino. If you’re lucky, you might also spot some of the area’s abundant wildlife, which includes deer and wild boars.
  The lifestyle in Tuscany tends to be laid back and friendly, just like its people. Many Italian shops and businesses take a ‘pausa pranzo’ in the middle of the day (roughly between 1pm and 3.30pm), closing trade for a couple of hours to spend time relaxing with friends and family. To make up for lost profits, many shops stay open later in the evening, allowing you to indulge in retail therapy until 8pm before grabbing an evening meal.
  Weather-wise, Tuscany experiences blazing heat in July and August. If you plan on visiting outside the summer months, bring layers to equip yourself for varied temperatures and the cooler climes of Tuscany’s hills and mountains.
  The best culture, art and food in Tuscany is e all accessible by car, so renting a vehicle for a road trip through the region is a great idea. Start your drive in Florence, the bustling regional capital and the place to be for Renaissance art fans. Allow a couple of days to explore the city’s galleries, gardens and cathedral before driving west towards Poppi for walking and wine tasting, enjoying Tuscany’s country views as you go.  From here you can take a detour through Arezzo on your way to Siena  both cities  are excellent for sightseeing thanks to their abundance of historic monuments and impressive architecture. Complete the road trip by visiting some of Tuscany’s charming small towns Monteriggioni, Colle di Val d’Elsa and San Gimignano are all worth the drive, and ideal places to seek out rustic Italian food made the local way.

The Azores

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The Azores

From hot springs to high-octane adventures, Portugal’s archipelago has something for everyone.
  While the Aegean and Balearic Islands might be more frequently visited by tourists, a trip to the Azores can offer variety and excitement for a fraction of the cost. Hopping between these nine characterful volcanic islands allows you to experience everything that the Azores have to offer. Whether you prefer leisurely ambling around historic towns or hightailing through volcanic vistas on an adventure tour, these colourful destinations deliver memorable experiences at every turn.
  Most journeys through the Azores begin on its largest island, São Miguel. Nicknamed ‘the green island’(ilha verde) for its abundance of natural beauty, this is a land where volcano biking tours can be interspersed with luxurious dips in the naturally heated waters of thermal springs and serene walks around hydrangea-lined calderas.
  Sete Cidades is a particular highlight, with 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) of trails bordering two impressive lakes. It’s said that these waters contain the tears of two lovers a green-eyed princess and a blue-eyed shepherd, whose forbidden romance and reluctant separation led to the formation of lakes matching the colours of their eyes.
  Elsewhere on São Miguel, it’s worth spending some time in Ponta Delgada, the Azores’ largest city and economic capital. Immerse yourself in the local culture while you meander between bars and restaurants, sampling affordable plates of petiscos (Portuguese tapas) and cocktails while bobbing along to the beat of live bands.
  Ponta Delgada happens to be an ideal base for some of São Miguel’s best day trips. A 20-minute westward drive will take you to Caldeira Velha, a waterfall and hot spring where you can take a dip in the surrounds of jungle-like foliage. After your geothermal bath, continue west to Furnas and try the local delicacy, Cozido das Furnas, a meaty stew cooked using volcanic steam.
  You can easily fill a holiday with the fun that’s to be had on São Miguel, but doing so means missing out on the Azores’ eight other bountiful islands. Santa Maria is the southernmost, boasting warm weather and beautiful beaches. If you plan on visiting in August, be sure to stick around for Portugal’s oldest music festival, Maré de Agosto.
  Angra do Heroísmo is among the most impressive historic attractions on the island of Terceira. The whole city is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site you can easily spend a day here marvelling at the architecture of palaces, churches and museums dotted around its patterned streets.
The Azores is one of the best locations in the world for whale watching. Guided tours are available throughout the islands, but Faial features some of the most renowned ones.  
  Board a boat in Horta and keep an eye out for some of Earth’s biggest beasts, including sperm whales and blue whales. Weather in the Azores can be unpredictable. While generally mild, the archipelago’s oceanic climate can result in clouds and rain throughout the year. Bring a raincoat along with your bathing suit to ensure you’re equipped to handle whatever the islands throw at you.

St Moritz

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St Moritz

Discover the birthplace of Alpine tourism in this chic Swiss mountain resort.
  Winter tourism only really started in St Moritz as the result of a bet. In 1864,  a hotel owner made a wager with four British summer visitors to the spa resort that they would equally enjoy a stay in the chilly throes of winter. Return they did, quickly spreading the word among their friends and kickstarting the transformation of the Swiss Alps into a glitzy year-round destination, its small streets changing as top-class restaurants and exclusive designer shops moved in.
  St Moritz has done more than any other place to establish snow and ice as a sporting arena. The town was the location of the second Winter Olympics in 1928 and became the first repeat host in 1948. It was also the venue of Europe’s first curling tournament, the first European Ice-Skating Championship, and the first bobsleigh club. Most modern visitors choose to spend their days on the slopes with boots clipped into skis or a snowboard. With 350 kilometres (217 miles) of pistes across four sectors, there are runs to suit every level of ability; from novices on the school slopes to wannabe racers hurtling down black runs used in the Ski World Championship, last held here in 2017.
  Those who want to experience the ultimate icy thrill can book a session at the Cresta Run, the oldest skeleton track in the world. Its 1.2-kilometre (0.75-mile) length is cut anew from the ice every winter, and the only way to ride it is by lying prone and hurtling head-first down the ravine on a small sledge. Aspirant Lizzy Yarnolds are welcomed by the members of the St Moritz Tobogganing Club, who allow complete beginners to their practice sessions.
  St Moritz may now be best known as a winter destination, but it retains the summer charms that first drew Victorian vacationers. With more than 300 days of sunshine every year, some prefer to time their visit when the snow has melted. Many summer travellers are just as active as the winter visitors, using the steep slopes for hiking and mountain biking. Others choose to remain in the comfortable embrace of a five-star hotel. St Moritz has the ‘big five’ five-star venues to choose from: Badrutt’s Palace, Carlton Hotel, Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains, Kulm Hotel and Suvretta House. Anyone resting their head in one of these establishments will find themselves treated like royalty.
  Summer is a particularly good time for visiting the wooden cabin made famous in the 1952 film Heidi, which is located a pleasant hike from the town centre; while Lake St Moritz and Lake Maloja are a beautiful shade of aquamarine in the summer months. Back in town, don’t miss St Moritz’s leaning tower, with an incline that surpasses even that of the more famous leaning tower in Pisa.
  Whether you’re into ski or après ski, adrenaline or absolute relaxation, St Moritz is the exclusive resort that gave birth to the Alps as a tourist destination, and has yet to be surpassed. Sometimes the original is still the best.

Amsterdam

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Amsterdam

Uncover this beautiful canal city in the heart of the Netherlands.
  As you disembark the train at Amsterdam Centraal and make your way to the front of the beautiful 19th-century building, there’s a whole city full of history and culture waiting to be explored. Perhaps you’ve got a week, or maybe just a short break, it doesn’t matter there’s more than enough to keep you occupied. The most difficult decision you’ll have is where to go first.
  It’s probably important to get the lay of the land first, and while a map can be great for this, there’s a better option. Once you’ve left Amsterdam Centraal, head left and take a walk along Stationsplein and then Oosterdokskade until you come across Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam. While this is the city library, there’s a restaurant on the top floor with a balcony that provides stunning views of Amsterdam on a clear day, with a handy map of the skyline. You’ll be able to spot both Oude Kerk and Nieuwe Kerk (churches), and admire the traditional Dutch gable houses that make Amsterdam so iconic.
  The first tourist destination most people head to is Dam Square, and there’s a reason for that.  While it has a Madame Tussauds on one side,  it’s also home to the Nationaal Monument and,  perhaps more excitingly, Amsterdam’s royal palace, Koninklijk Paleis. Entrance to the palace  is only about £8.60 ($11) for adults, and it’s a chance to take a walk through the Netherlands’ rich royal history. Dam Square is also near to the Red Light District, which highlights the liberal culture of the city and is certainly worth a visit.
  Its royalty the city used to be home to artists aplenty, and a trip to Museumplein (Museum Square) is a must for any art or art-history lover. Dominating the area is the Rijksmuseum,  a Dutch national museum that houses works created by Rembrandt and Vermeer, among others. Of course, a quick stroll past the water feature (which incidentally is perfect to dip your feet into on a hot day) will find you at the Van Gogh Museum, which holds the largest collection of Van Gogh paintings in the world. However, if modern art is more your style, then take a trip to the nearby Stedelijk Museum.
  Of course, Amsterdam also has a darker history, and the person probably most famously associated with it is Anne Frank. The youngest in a Jewish family, she, her sister and her parents fled Nazi Berlin for Amsterdam. When the Nazis invaded the Netherlands, they went into hiding in an attic on Prinsengracht, but they were betrayed a few years later. After being sent to concentration camps, only Anne’s father, Otto,survived. The attic is now open to the public,  and walking through the concealed entrance to the hiding space is a harrowing experience. The floorboards creak underfoot it’s hard to imagine how still the family and their fellow fugitives had to stay to avoid detection.
  There’s more to Amsterdam than its history. The lifeblood that flows through the city are the canals, arranged in an ever-expanding horseshoe. There are plenty of companies running boat tours up and down the canals,  and it’s a great opportunity to see some of the beautiful Dutch architecture, as well as scope out where you want to go next. But connecting all the canals is the Amstel, the river after which the beer is named. If you’re after a little of the beverage, head over to the Heineken Experience on Stadhouderskade for a tour of the brewery and a tasting at the end.
  One thing you’ll spot a lot of are the cheese shops it seems like they’re on every corner. If you want a gift to take home to family and friends, this is perfect. Inside you’ll find brightly wrapped Dutch cheeses that are smoked, infused with pesto and more. You’ll also be able to buy your stroopwafels here caramel waffles that go very well with a good cup of coffee.
  That brings us to food. You’ll find every type of cuisine imaginable here it’s a city, after all but it can be good to stray a little from the centre of the city where things are geared more towards tourists. Out in the suburbs you can eat like a local, although central Amsterdam will still be good for your crepes, fries and bagels.
  If you’re eating on the go, or you’d just like a break from the hustle and bustle of the city,  Admire the Dutch gable houses that make Amsterdam so iconic Be sure to head down some ofthe alleyswhen you explore the city TheAnne Frank House can have long queues, so it’sworth booking your slot ahead oftime Amsterdam 16  You’ll find cheese shops all overthe city, andmany offerfree samples Europ e Amsterdam is more than ready to provide.
  Dotted around the city you’ll find glorious parks, each offering a slice of peace. The most famous is probably Vondelpark, in the southeast, and it has some beautiful small lakes.  You may even stumble upon a free concert in the spring or summer months. Elsewhere, there’s Rembrandtpark (near Rembrandtplein),  Westerpark, Amstelpark and Oosterpark, as well as ARTIS, Amsterdam’s zoo.
  If you somehow run out of things to do in Amsterdam, there’s no need to worry the city is well connected, and you can jump on a train and head all over the country. The Hague is only half an hour or so away, along with Rotterdam, Dordrecht and Utrecht. You can also head over the border and into Germany or Belgium, which can come in handy if you’re wanting to embark on a tour of Europe, or just the Benelux area.
  But Amsterdam is a beautiful city, and there’s so much to do there that filling your holiday shouldn’t be all that difficult. With culture, history and food aplenty, you’re bound to leave feeling like you’re flying high.

Cappadocia

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Cappadocia

Travellers experience another world in the ancient region of Cappadocia in central Turkey.
  In the heartland of Turkey, Cappadocia is dotted with towns that bridge both ancient and modern times, including Mustafapasa, Avanos, Uçhisar, Göreme and Ürgüp. Regular airline and rail services are available from the Turkish capital of Ankara, and from the eastern metropolis of Istanbul to Kayseri, the largest city close to the most frequently visited sites in Cappadocia.
  Cappadocia, known also as the ‘land of beautiful horses’, presents a kaleidoscope of varied activities. Millions of years of erosion carved extensive caves in the soft sedimentary rock, and its earliest dwellers transformed these natural phenomena into homes, churches and other useful areas that constitute underground cities. In Göreme, the waters left impressive formations, such as minarets, soaring pillars of stone, and spectacular chimneys wrought by the hand of nature. Recorded history conveys stories of inhabitants of the region dating to Roman times, and their legacy brings thousands to Cappadocia each year. Accommodation is readily available, and a number of unique cave hotel options are reasonably priced.
  Erosion, active from three to nine million years ago, also created the Cappadocian moonscape, a spectacle like nothing else on Earth. Such vistas are a short distance from several towns in the region. Travellers typically enjoy the monasteries and painted cave churches of the Göreme Valley, horseback riding across the countryside, hiking along the network of trails, and even a thrilling hot-air balloon ride to observe the landscape in an unparalleled panorama.
  Full-day excursions are common in Cappadocia, and guided tours are recommended. Visitors can choose from several that include the ‘fairy chimneys’ in the Devrent and Pasabag valleys, the Göreme Open-Air Museum, Uçhisar Castle, the Derinkuyu and Kaymakli underground cities, and Anatolian churches. Göreme National Park and the underground cities are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Göreme Open-Air Museum is one of the most famous attractions in all of Turkey and among the most visited of Cappadocia’s monastic community attractions. Dating from the 9th and 11th centuries, more than 30 churches and other  centres of worship carved from the sedimentary rock are accessible at the museum, and several contain beautiful frescoes.
  Ecologically minded travellers can find tours, activities and hotels that are environmentally aware, leaving minimal impact on the ancient beauty and timeless monuments of nature found in this striking location.

Santorini

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Santorini

Capture your own postcard moment on Greece’s most iconic island.
  With its dazzling whitewashed buildings, trademark blue-domed churches, and dramatic clifftop towns, Santorini is arguably Greece’s most recognisable location. This little island in the Aegean Sea offers so much beauty in such a small space, and visitors flock here in their millions to watch the sun set over its  red, rocky landscape.
  But this haven of tranquillity was not always so; the island had explosive beginnings. Its unique shape it resembles a reverse ‘C’ enveloping some smaller islands was caused by an extremely violent volcanic eruption thousands of years ago. What’s left is the remains of a volcano caldera that flooded with seawater. The people of Santorini soon built a new civilisation, perilously clinging to the sides of the old rim. As you might expect from anywhere in Greece, Santorini (also known as Thira) is packed with archaeological treasures, including an entire village known as Akrotiri, which overlooks much of the island. There, you’ll see the foundations of a grand temple, and colourful frescoes that have miraculously withstood the test of time.
  When you want to return to the present, you can meander about Santorini’s more modern towns and villages, which seem to climb up the old volcano like a stairway into Greece’s perfect blue skies. Browse the charming little shops of  Oia, or take a leisurely cable car ride from the port to the main town of Fira. While you’re in town, don’t forget to feast your eyes on elaborate Byzantine churches, which feature gilded chandeliers and painstakingly painted murals of Christian imagery.
  In Fira, the largest settlement on the island, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the entire caldera, or check out some of the local history museums. If you’d prefer a more typical Santorini view, head ten kilometres (6.2 miles) north to visit Oia, the village where that distinctive Santorini photo is set. You know the one: the colourful village overlooking a rocky seaside, which the Greek tourist board adores.
  If you’re looking for more active pursuits, Santorini has much to offer. Hike up to Skaros Rock, a precarious outcrop that was once home to a medieval fort. Or trek all the way down to Red Beach an almost alien setting where the red, sandy cliffs of Santorini meet the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea.
  At the end of your day exploring all of the island’s delights, you’ll be in need of some well-earned rest and relaxation. Get yourself to a seaside taverna Amoudi Bay is a particularly scenic spot and sip on a glass of Santorini’s famous red wine, which is said by some to be the best in all of Greece. While you’re at it, order some tomatokeftedes a Santorini speciality of deep-fried local tomatoes (famed for their deliciously sweet taste) and classic Greek feta cheese.
  Santorini offers some of the most luxurious hotels in the world, so if you’re staying in one of  those, you’re in for a treat. Relax in infinity pools that stretch seamlessly out over the water, giving you a stunning view of the volcanic landscape. If you’re in more modest accommodation, you can still enjoy the wonderfully Greek ‘philoxenia’ (love to strangers/guests) that your hosts will undoubtedly offer after all, you are in Greece’s most sought-after destination.

Paris The City Of Love

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Paris The City Of Love

A mecca for artists and romantics, France’s capital has plenty of gems waiting to be discovered.
  With its reputation as the ‘city of love’, Paris certainly has a lot to live up to but in this sprawling city made up of winding streets and lookalike buildings, it’s easy to find yourself stumbling into Paris’s most romantic quarters.
  Of all of Paris’s districts, however, there’s no arrondissement quite as spectacular and mesmerising as Montmartre. A suburb built up on the city’s steepest hill, Montmartre thrived in the late 19th century as a creative hub, a mecca for all of Europe’s greatest artists, including Picasso, Dalí, Van Gogh and Degas. With its cobbled streets, unspoilt vibe and wealth of independent shops and stalls, Montmartre is the living memory of the celebrated Belle Époque, a golden age of French history immortalised in film  and literature.
  To truly absorb the beauty of Montmartre, it’s a good idea to spend a full day and night out and about. Visit one of the many crêperies that flank street corners for a chocolatey treat, then allow your feet to take you around town. Any trip to Montmartre isn’t worth doing unless you visit the Basilica de Sacré-Coeur, where you’ll be granted incredible panoramic views over the city. From here, walk around to the square at the back of the church, where you’ll find yourself being hustled and charmed by local artists selling their wares. If you’re feeling brave, pose for one of the market’s infamous caricaturists!
  If you’d rather soak up the art, there are several key locations to visit within minutes of the square the local Dalí Paris show exhibits some of the kooky artist’s key pieces, including one of his Lobster Telephones. Theodorus van Gogh, brother and patron of the celebrated Vincent van Gogh, lived on Rue Lepic, one of the small streets leading down from the Sacré-Coeur, where his brother lived with him from 1886 to 1888. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, another of Van Gogh’s close acquaintances, also lived around the corner from the Van Gogh brothers.
  Indeed, Montmartre is home to many Parisian institutions, including the infamous Moulin Rouge on one of the main roads through the arrondissement. Despite its less-thanconvenient location, tourists flock to this iconic red windmill, keen to capture a photo. The cabaret itself still ranks as one of the best in Paris despite its fame. If you’d rather skip the crowd, however, head across town to Le Zèbre de Belleville for a more intimate, traditional experience.
  While Montmartre might embody most people’s expectations of Paris, the city has so much more to offer in its other arrondissements. Belleville, one of Paris’s most diverse suburbs, is renowned for being among the coolest places in the city. Here, take a tour of the local graffiti art on Rue Dénoyez. Nearby is also the famed Père Lachaise cemetery, the final resting place of Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf and Jim Morrison, among others. An unlikely destination on many tourists’ itineraries, the cemetery is nevertheless a popular site and well worth a visit away from the hubbub of the general city.
  Not that Paris is overwhelmed or overworked. In fact, Paris is unlike many of the world’s capital cities in that its inhabitants take a very different view on life. Where Londoners or New Yorkers rush around, a week’s worth of work to be done in a day, Parisians have embraced a rather different approach to living. Life is to be savoured and enjoyed; health and happiness come first. To visit Paris and to hurry around is very un-Parisian why not take a tip from the locals? The city is filled with brasseries and cafés, restaurants and bars, so make the most of it. Most arrondissements have their own vibe; once you’ve found a place you like, sit down, sip on a glass of wine and watch the world go by. Worthwhile visits include La Fée Verte in the 11th  arrondissement, an absinthe bar inspired by the Belle Époque. For film buffs, the café featured in the film Amélie is down the road from Van Gogh’s residence on Rue Lepic.
  While Paris has long been hailed as the home of bohemian artists, there is another equally prodigious kind of person who considers the city an essential port of call. Any chef worth his salt has done a stint in France’s capital, earning their stripes in the home of the world’s greatest cuisine. Paris has been the make-or-break for many leading chefs, so naturally it’s one of the greatest places in Europe to eat out.
  While the city does have its fair share of fancy restaurants, excellent food and experimental cooking is available if you know where to look.  Don’t be tempted to visit the restaurants that line the key tourist spots while the sight of visitors dining on mussels and sipping wine at their table might tempt you, often the better restaurants are tucked away off the beaten track. If you’re visiting Paris during the week, you’ll find that many of the city’s restaurants offer cheaper lunch menus, or in the evening there will likely be a fixed menu for a reasonable cost. As well as eating out in Paris, be sure to enjoy the incredible wine on offer. Because France produces plenty of the world’s wine, from Bordeaux to Merlot, you’ll find that the cost of wine is much cheaper than anywhere else on the planet.
  No trip to Paris is complete without soaking up the great art pencil in a whole day to visit the Musée du Louvre. Built on the site of the old Louvre Castle, which was once residence for the French royals, the Louvre is a beautiful mix of old and new, with its glorious palatial complex contrasted by the glass pyramids in the museum’s square. Inside the museum is equally spectacular, featuring some of the world’s most celebrated artworks including the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and the celebrated Liberty Leading the People.
  Another iconic Parisian institution that cannot be missed is the Eiffel Tower. Queues form quickly for this attraction, so head over as early as possible to get through security, and ascend before the crowds. With tickets costing about £22 ($28) to travel the 276 metres (906 feet) to the top, it’s not the cheapest visit, but the view from the summit is worth it on a clear day. To make the most of your ticket, visit the exhibits, as well as the champagne bar at the top, or take in the views at the second-floor’s restaurant.
  With so many incredible sites, galleries and museums to visit, Paris can quickly become an expensive place for tourists hoping to soak up the city’s history and culture. However, the first Sunday of every month  sees most museums open their doors for free. If you’re lucky enough to be in town on this date, be sure to get up early to beat the crowds, as queues are quick to form at the more popular destinations. To make the most of the day, plan an itinerary, using the internet to find out how much time you’re likely to spend at different sites. While you can lose yourself for hours in most of Paris’s galleries, you may find that half an hour will suffice at other sites. It’s worth checking online to find out which museums are part of the Sunday scheme not all museums participate, and some that do will charge entry at peak summer season.