Australia


Australian holidays

Australia is a huge country, covering 5 different time zones. It boasts some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, stunning and unusual landscapes, vibrant cities and also vast expanses of baking hot outback.

Most of the major cities are situated around the edge of Australia, with most of the population clustered into the South East corner and along the coast of Queensland. The capital Sydney is one of the most exciting cities in the world, with the world famous opera house and harbour bridge, great nightlife and superb beaches. Queensland is known for its great weather, beaches and surfing. Further north in Queensland is the Great Barrier Reef, one of the wonders of the world.

Further south is Melbourne, with a slightly milder climate and a fantastic reputation for shopping. In the heart of Australia lies Alice Springs, gateway to nearby Uluru or Ayer’s rock, a striking rock red formation rising high into the sky.

Why take a holiday or vacation in Australia?
You will find a warm and friendly welcome in Australia, and the warm weather guarantees an outdoor lifestyle and lots of opportunities for sports and activities such as walking, running, swimming and surfing.

Australia is a superb travel destination, with its stunning natural beauty, warm climate and great beaches. Australia is a vast country, and many travellers choose to join organised tours in order to get around and to appreciate its diversity. The national airline is Qantas, and there are many international airports, including Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne.

The ‘THE OUTBACK‘ may be hard to define, but you’ll know it when you see it. The outback is  mythical Australia – red dust, empty tracks, unique wildlife, tall tales and big characters. It’s not just about lifeless desert. With its awesome sense of space and few people, the Northern Territory is the real outback. There are vast open skies, wildlife abounds, the pubs are quirky and the characters you’ll meet here are authentic and larger than life.

Australian holidays

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Austria

Austria Holiday Guide

Lying in the heart of Europe… Austria occupies an area of 83,854 square kilometres and is home to over 8 million people. The Alps make up the southern and western parts of the country and peak at the Grossglockner summit.
The powerful Habsburg family ruled Austria from 1278 right up until World War I. Under this dynasty Austria became one of the most dominant political forces in central Europe. The country attracted countless European composers in the 18th and 19th centuries. Beethoven, Brahms, Hayden, Mozart, Schubert and the Strausses all came to Austria at some stage in their careers. Today, this rich musical heritage lives on in the form of the Vienna Philharmonic, the unrivalled Vienna Boys’ Choir, the Musikverein and the Konzerthaus.

The most dramatic Alpine scenery is found west of Graz and Linz in the Tirol. The capital of this breathtaking region is Innsbruck and it makes a great base for exploration.
Winter sports like skiing and snowboarding, the plentiful hiking trails and the opportunity for romantic cruising on the Danube make Austria a year-round holiday paradise. The cities of Salzburg and Vienna are also well worth a visit. Straddling the Salzach river between Innsbruck and Vienna, Salzburg is Austria’s most picturesque city. Vienna, Austria’s capital city, bears the legacy of the 600-year Hapsburg dynasty. Bursting with architectural gems, it boasts an unparalleled musical ancestry.

Top Austrian Destinations

Salzburg

Salzburg is known as the “Rome of the North” because of the sheer number of churches. A compact city, it is packed full of attractions, and should be an essential part of any visit to Austria. Attractions include the Mirabell Palace whose gardens featured in The Sound of Music; the Hohensalzburg, a beautiful white fortress overlooking the city; the Carolino Augusteum Museum; and the High Altar at Franziskanerkirche. Salzburg is also the birthplace of Mozart. Visit the Mozarteum – the college of music where Mozart composed “The Magic Flute.”

The Hohe Tauern National Park

The Hohe Tauern National Park is one of the last great wilderness areas in Europe. The area has been immaculately preserved and showcases nature at its best. Taking up an area of more than 1,000 sq.km, it lies at the foot of Austria’s highest mountains.The park offers plenty of activities including more than 450km of ski and snowboard slopes and a vast network of nature trails.

The Museum of the Future (Ars Electronica),

Linz Prepare to be visually stunned with five levels of 21st-century technological wizardry. The museum aims to ‘ facilitate and implement the harmonious collaboration of art, technology and society’ and it is this collaboration that is so fascinating.

Eisriesenwelt Caves

First discovered in 1879 by Anton Posselt, the Eisriesenwelt Caves are the largest ice caves in the world. On a tour of the caves you will be given a carbide lamp to guide yourself though the passage. The caves are decorated with all kinds of ice formations including gigantic columns and towers, waterfalls and glaciers. The cave remains frozen throughout the year and even in summer the temperature remains at around 1 degree centigrade

The Benedictine Abbey, Admount

The Benedictine Abbey was founded in 1074 by Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg. The Abbey was destroyed by fire in 1865, the world-famous Baroque library was untouched.

Gurk Cathedral

was founded by the Benedictine order in the 11th century and is regarded as the most outstanding example of Romanesque architecture in Austria.

The Grossglockner Alpine Road

Since 1935 the Grossglockner Alpine Road has played host to more than 50 million visitors. It is the most famous of all alpine roads and terminates at the highest mountain and the largest glacier in Austria, the Grossglockner (3798m). Driving up the Grossglockner Alpine Road is an experience not to be missed, just sit back, relax and enjoy spectacular views.

Vienna – Top Attractions

The Spanish Riding School of Vienna has been cultivating the art of equitation in its purest form for more than 400 years. It trains both horses and riders according to centuries-old methods. The Lipizzans and dressage have become synonymous with the school and you can see them both at any of the shows or special events held here.

The Austrian National library is the oldest in the world. The palatial room with its mesmerizing ceiling paintings by Daniel Gran is regarded as one of the most beautiful library rooms in the world.

The Belvedere palaces were built for Prince Eugene of Savoy. The Palaces’ architecture and interior design are in the Rococo style. They now house two museums which offer an excellent and comprehensive survey of Austrian art from the middle ages to the present day.

Built in 1279, the Hofburg Imperial Palace bears testament to the wealth and power of the Hapsburgs. It was home to Austria’s ruling family until 1918. Today, the Imperial Palace houses the offices of the Austrian president, an international convention centre, the chapel where the Vienna Boys’ Choir perform, the hall where the Spanish Riding School Lipizzan stallions perform as well as various official and private apartments and several museums and state rooms which are open to the public.

The enormous and elegant Schönbrunn Palace is one of Vienna’s top attractions. Originally the 1,440-room summer palace of the Habsburgs, it was designed by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and completed in 1711. Forty of the 1440 rooms are open to the public. The interior is designed in the classic Rococo style of the 18th century with lots of red, white and gold. There are beautiful formal gardens surrounding the palace.

The Vienna Natural History Museum is based in a handsome neo-Renaissance building near the Museum of Fine Arts. This museum has important collections of early Stone Age exhibits. The most famous display at the museum is a Stone-Age body called “Venus of Willendorf,” whose unearthing in 1906 confirms Vienna’s ancient origins.

Austria Holiday Guide

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Barbados


Barbados Destinations Guide

For more than three centuries Barbados was a British colony and retains something of a British feel: the place names, the cricket, horse-racing and polo, Anglican parish churches, and even a hilly district known as Scotland.

The people of Barbados, known as Bajans , take great pride in their tiny island of 430 square kilometres

Tourism plays a major part in the country’s economy and revenues have been put to good use. The infrastructure and public transport are first-rate and there is no sign of the poverty that continues to bedevil some Caribbean islands.\

Where to go
Chief among the island’s attractions are its old plantation houses – places like St Nicholas Abbey and Francia , superb botanical gardens at Andromeda and the Flower Forest , and the military forts and signal stations at Gun Hill and Grenade Hall . The capital, Bridgetown , is a lively place to visit, with an excellent national museum and great nightlife in its bars and clubs

When to go
For many visitors, Barbados’s tropical climate is its leading attraction – hot and sunny year-round. The weather is best, however, during the high season, from mid-December to mid-April, with rainfall low and the heat tempered by cooling trade winds. The peak season also brings the biggest crowds and the highest prices.

Getting around
The bus system in Barbados is excellent, with blue government buses and yellow, privately owned minibuses running all over the island. Fares are a flat rate of B$1.50. Buses run roughly every half-hour between Grantley Adams International Airport and Bridgetown, stopping at or near most of the south coast resorts en route. Services to the resorts on the west coast are less frequent.

Food & Drink
Fresh seafood is the island’s speciality: snapper, barracuda and dolphin fish, as well as fresh prawns and lobster. Most popular of all is the flying fish – virtually a Bajan national emblem.

For snacks , you’ll find cutters (bread rolls with a meat or cheese filling), coconut bread, and more substantial rotis (flat, unleavened bread wrapped around a filling of curried meat or vegetables); all are widely available.

Rum is the liquor of choice for many Bajans. Hundreds of tiny rum bars dot the island, which are an integral part of Bajan social life. On the coast, you’ll find fewer places that cater specifically to drinkers but, all-inclusives apart, most hotels and restaurants will welcome you for a drink even if you’re not staying or eating.

Barbados Destinations Guide

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California

Coastal Northern California Getaways

Bodega Bay

This tiny seaside village on the Sonoma Coast, known for its annual Fisherman’s Festival and nearby whale watching (best time: January to April).

Mendocino

“Lonely and lovely” – Perched on a cliff facing the open Pacific, it’s a must-see for romantic travel in California. Wineries, some very attractive Victorian-era B&B’s, spas, and long walks on the sand are the features of this colorful village, part of the National Register of Historic Places.

Eureka

The restored Old Town is full of history and architecture, and makes a fine afternoon stroll or walking tour.

Sacramento

the political heart of California, with its State Railroad museum and Spirit of Sacramento paddle wheeler tours on the Sacramento River.

Yosemite

Waterfalls, glaciers, rugged peaks, lakes and meadows all come together to form this postcard of a national park and World Heritage Site.

Central California Beach Vacations

California destinations guide beach vacations have always been the classic American beach holiday. The state is blessed with hundreds of miles of superb coastline, excellent weather, and plenty of great roads, restaurants and accommodation along the way.

The Big Sur coastline is just fantastic – it has to be one of the most spectacular pieces of oceanside highway ever. It begins just a few short miles south of Carmel. The rugged coast has powerful surf, jagged cliffs and beautiful redwood trees

Getaway in San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge: The most beautiful bridge in the world. And no romantic getaway in San Francisco is complete without seeing it at least once! Sometimes the Golden Gate can be totally shrouded in fog, which can add to the experience!

Besides driving across it, you’ll want to view it from a good vantage point. We think the best place to see the Golden Gate Bridge is from the Marin Headlands on the north side (look for Battery Spencer on Conzelman Rd). About an hour before sunset is when it seems to look its best! Bridge Toll:$5

Alcatraz

Visit the most famous prison in the world! A short boat ride brings you out to this island-jail. Captivating place that can make you feel so isolated (even though you’re only minutes from downtown!)

Chinatown

Make your way through the crowded streets of vegetable stands, fish and meat stalls, temples and restaurants. An exciting ethnic experience in one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in America.

Things to Do in San Francisco:

Alamo Square

This is the photo you always see of the colorful Victorian row houses, with the city peeking out behind

Ride a Cable Car

A chance to hang on to the poles as it clatters down the streets. The best place to catch a ride one of San Francisco’s cable cars is along Powell Street on the west side of Union Square.

Romantic Getaways in Los Angeles

Malibu

Long walks along the beach enjoying the salty air, sunsets and low tide make Malibu one of the more relaxing romantic getaways in Los Angeles.

Venice Beach

This is the epicenter of California culture and lifestyle, as seen on TV! The 2km Ocean Front Walk is one of LA’s fun romantic spots to just hang out, with T-shirt shops, buskers, art galleries and ice cream stands giving the area an almost carnival feel.

Naples Island Gondolas

How about a romantic ride in a Gondola, ala Venice? Just head down to Long Beach and be ready to be serenaded while floating through the canals of Naples in an authentic Italian gondola.

And of Course…
How can we forget to mention 3 of the most popular romantic getaways in Los Angeles: Disneyland and its new sister-park California Adventure are a fun places to visit in Los Angeles. And Universal Studios is a total special effects experience with over 400 acres of tours, stunts and performances.

Getaway in San Diego

San Diego is blessed with fine beaches, excellent restaurants and great attractions.This area of Southern California also boasts the best weather in America

Great Spots in San Diego:

Coronado Beach

have a cocktail at the Hotel del Coronado’s beach bar and soak up the sunshine and the breeze at this relaxing waterfront chosen as one of the 10 “Best Beaches in America”.

Mission Bay

An ideal place for cycling or picnics, with palm trees, sail boats on the bay, grassy places to stretch out and sandy beaches.

La Jolla

one of the most romantic vacation spots anywhere on the California coast, and a first choice for San Diego weekend getaways. An oceanfront stroll along the cliffs is a must for any couple.

Sunset Cliffs

absorb the power of the crashing Pacific Ocean below, and stay for the fabulous sunsets

Palm Springs Sights and Attractions

Golfing

There are more than 100 golf courses in the greater Palm Springs area, both public and private courses

The Palm Springs Tramway is one of the most “touristy” things to do in Palm Springs. The rotating tram carries you up over 8,000 feet for a grand view of the desert floor

California Destinations Guide

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Caribean

Caribbean holiday guide

are everything you want them to be…from luxury sunshine paradise to unforgettable rainforest adventure From diving to honeymoons, cruising to golf, wedding to eco-adventure, music to history, Caribbean holidays has it all

The men, women and children who arrived from Europe, Africa and Asia have also contributed to the creation of humanity’s richest melting pot. The renowned Caribbean culture of peace and aversion to war is the result of our mutual understanding of others’ beliefs, lifestyles and ability to adapt. The Caribbean today is one of the few places free from internal agression.

The results of this unique meld of history and culture can be seen in our faces, our buildings, our languages, our food, our museums and our monuments.

At the highest levels of achievement, there are Nobel prize winners including St Lucians Derek Walcott, the poet, and economist Sir Arthur Lewis, along with Mexicans Octavio Paz, the writer, and economist Alfonso Garcia Robles.

The Caribbean has also produced some of the world’s most renowned artists, musicians and novelists, such as Trinidad’s V S Naipaul.

Travellers to the Caribbean made a further contribution by finding inspiration and insight here. Famous incomers include Gaugin, Hemingway, Graham Greene and Nöel Coward. You can see their retreats today.

Wherever you are in the Caribbean you are likely to find something or somewhere that will remind you of your homeland – and always something more to expand your horizons.
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Destination-skipping or “island-hopping” is easy within the Caribbean as the islands lie close together. There are inter-island ferries, ranging from old-fashioned schooners where visitors rub shoulders with islanders, fresh produce and crates, to modern hydrofoils that whisk you between islands in air-conditioned ease.
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Holidays are a time for relaxation – but they are also the best opportunity to get a little adventure into your life. The Caribbean offers an extraordinary range of exciting activities on foot, on horseback, by boat or land transport.

Bring some sturdy walking shoes and hike through the stunning scenery. In many Caribbean countries, you can join a free organised hike, follow one of the many marked trails or hire a guide. Trails vary in difficulty from leisurely 20-minute walks to a full day’s journey up steep and difficult terrain.

Hiking or walking brings you closest to the unique beauty of our region. Go on a flamingo watch or join a birdwatching hike and thrill to the sight of some of the most colourful and rare birds in the world. Ask your guide about the exotic plants and animals. Then, after a hard descent, cool off in a whirlpool at the foot of a cascading waterfall.
If exploring by boat is more your style, take your pick from kayaking upriver, through a mangrove swamp or in the sea. Join an expedition in dugout canoes that will take you through wild rapids and falls – and allows time for fishing, camping or mountaineering.

Take the opportunity to explore labyrinthine underground caves with impressive stalactites and stalagmites, bat colonies, rock paintings and underground waterfalls. You may even be able to swim – we have some of the world’s longest subterranean waterways.

Caribbean Holiday Guide

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Croatia

Croatia holiday guide

Croatia is a beautiful country situated on the Adriatic coast. It is known as the country of a thousand islands. If you have ever dreamt about being on a small island alone with someone, this is the place for you. If you are a nature lover, Croatia offers camping, mountain hiking/biking, rafting, scuba diving and skydiving.Croatia Destinations Guide

Besides its natural beauty, it also offers: a unique history, a unique mixture of cuisines, many internationally recognised hotels and helpful individuals

Zagreb is the capital of the country. It may not attract as many visitors as the coastal towns of Rijeka or Split or Zadar or Dubrovnik but is well worth a visit.

The Croatian coast is among the most beautiful in the world. Dubrovnik which was the rival of Venice for centuries, great beaches and more than 1001 islands to choose from.

Dubrovnik

Despite a turbulent history during which it has been occupied and conquered by a succession of its neighbors and European colonial powers, Dubrovnik is now a town at peace, allowing visitors to make the most of its rich vegetation, beautiful lakes, white pebble beaches and crystal-clear sea. Political upheaval has seldom kept tourists away from this uniquely lovely Adriatic port city; for centuries it has drawn those seeking fine accommodations, excellent cuisine, beautiful surroundings and recreational opportunities.

There are numerous churches, monasteries and museums to explore and the coastal belt is awash with marinas, piers and promenades.

Zagreb

Zagreb, capital of Croatia, is the country’s economic center and gateway to Western Europe. The city is sited on the slopes of Medvednica Mountain along the banks of the Sava River, in the northern part of Croatia. The core of the city consists of the preserved medieval city, known as Gradec and Kaptol, while the residential area covers the southern slopes of the Medvednica Mountains. Since the 1950s the city has grown appreciably to the south of the Sava River, and the main industrial area is in the southeast. Besides being a commercial hub Zagreb is a tourist center, and a popular international conference venue, with a history dating back nearly a thousand years. It is rich in historical monuments, museums and galleries, has modern shops, restaurants, sport and recreation facilities and a good transport infrastructure. Its attractions are largely historical, dating from the Palaeolithic Veternica Cave, through Roman culture and the fascinating medieval old town.

Split

The pretty city of Split has a rich history. Since ancient times it has, in various guises, served as the economic and administrative center of the beautiful Croatian Adriatic coastal region, today called Dalmatia. The city sits mainly on a peninsula on the eastern part of the island of Ciovo, although it has nowadays spread onto the mainland and encompasses the mouth of the River Cetina. From the 5th to the 2nd century BC Greek colonists settled the mainland and adjacent islands. Later, came the Romans: in particular the Emperor Diocletian, who, being of Dalmatian origin, elected to build a huge palace at a spot then called Salona, in AD303. A town grew up around the palace, and eventually, by the Middle Ages, the city of Split had begun to develop. Diocletian’s Palace still stands in the very heart of the old part of Split, which charms visitors with its cobbled streets. The greater Split area is characterized by its lush vegetation and green areas, particularly Marjan Hill on the west of the peninsula with its ancient indigenous forest. The city makes an ideal base from which to explore the islands, beauty spots, and historic villages in central Dalmatia.

Croatia holiday guide

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Cyprus

Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and attracts millions of tourists every year. Its historic ties with the United Kingdom make it a strong favourite among British holiday makers.

The charms of Cyprus are many and varied. For a start the weather is sunny and dry for most of the year, and the encircling sea is blue, clear and enticing. There are modern luxury hotels in the coastal resort towns, historic restored city precincts to explore, tavernas and nightlife aplenty.

Cyprus has remote picturesque mountain villages and monasteries, beautiful churches, Crusader castles and fascinating museums. The local people are extremely welcoming of tourists, happy to share with them their innate love of life and camaraderie.

In Cyprus it is possible to mingle with crowds, or seek isolation off the beaten track as the mood takes, even in peak holiday season. For this reason the island is also a favoured destination for honeymooners, a reputation enhanced by the fact that legend has it that Cyprus was where Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love, rose from the sea.

Climate

Cyprus destinations guide enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with abundant sunshine year round. Long dry summers and mild winters are separated by short autumn and spring seasons. Summer is a time of high temperatures with cloudless skies, but the sea breeze creates a pleasant atmosphere in the coastal areas. Winters are mild, with some rain and snow on Troodos Mountains.

Paphos

Capital of the west and positively teeming with history is Paphos, site of the island’s second international airport. The resort town has as its focal point a charming fishing harbour by Paphos Fort, lined with open-air cafes and tavernas that serve a tempting menu of the day.

It was on Paphos shoreline that the mythological Goddess Aphrodite was born, a legend that spawned a massive wave of cult worship from neighbouring countries that lasted several centuries. The large rock that juts from the sea is known as ‘Petra tou Romiou’ – The Venus Rock – while the Baths of Aphrodite at Polis also echoes her apparent penchant for the island. At Palaepaphos, Kouklia lie the remains of the Goddess’ earliest Sanctuary.

Another ‘first’ for Paphos was its early recognition of Christianity. While under Roman rule in 45 A.D., it was here that Saint Paul converted the first ruler to the faith.

The legacy from its remarkable history adds up to nothing less than an open museum. Among the treasures are the remarkable mosaics in the Houses of Dionysos, Theseus and Aion, beautifully preserved after 16 centuries under the soil. Then there are the mysterious vaults and caves, the Tombs of the Kings, the Pillar to which Saint Paul was allegedly tied and whipped, the ancient Odeon Theatre and other places of interest including the Byzantine Museum and the its Archaeological Museum

Larnaca town (Larnaka)

Larnaca, a town with an easy-going pace, has strong links to the past. In the heart of modern Larnaca one finds remains of the ancient city-kingdom of Kition, reminiscent of its glorious days. The Mycenaean Greeks fortified the town with cyclopean walls in the 12th century while the Phoenicians founded a powerful kingdom here in the 9th century. Kition is the birthplace of the philosopher Zeno, founder of the Stoic School, and it is here that Saint Lazarus came to live after his resurrection. In the 18th century it became a commercial centre and seat of the European consulates. The delightful Palm Trees Promenade, its fort, and its old quarters give Larnaka its unique character. The nearby salt lake is a favourite stop-over spot for thousands of migrant birds in winter, whilst on its edge in a tranquil setting stands a popular Muslim pilgrimage place.

The whole district of Larnaca has something special to offer the visitor, including Choirokoitia, the oldest Neolithic settlement on the island, Slavrovouni Monastery and the famous Church of Angeloktisti.