Most Scenic Drives in Australia

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Most Scenic Drives in Australia – If you are visiting Australia, there are some drives that you absolutely must try.

The scenery is absolutely breathtaking. If you rent a car or go with a friend, travel in a vehicle that is comfortable and robust.

A durable SUV is recommended.

If you are ready to view Australia at its finest, consider these Australian scenic drives.

Here are my top 5 favorites

Most Scenic Drives in Australia - Blackall Range Tourist Drive
Most Scenic Drives in Australia – Blackall Range Tourist Drive

Most Scenic Drives in Australia – Blackall Range Tourist Drive

If you want an exquisite view of Sunshine Coast, explore Glasshouse Mountains Road and Blackall Range Tourist Drive.

There are some of the views that give the full range of the mountains to the coast.

This can be viewed for Maleny.

The drive takes you through the towns of Montville and Mapleton.

The end of the drive ends in Nambour, which is a popular town in Australia.

Eyre Peninsula Drive

Eyre Peninsula Drive
Eyre Peninsula Drive

Eyre Peninsula Drive is an impressive 745 kilometers that spans the entire peninsula.

Most people are impressed by this scenery.

Great Ocean Road

Great Ocean Road
Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road allows drivers to travel along one of the most spectacular portions coastline.

The scenic road begins in Melbourne.

Along the route, you will travel through some incredible seaside towns.

Along the way, you will view The London Arch, The Grotto, 12 Apostles and The Blowholes.

The limestone formations of the 12 Apostles are also memorable.

Great Ocean Road is also an old war memorial.

The road is 1000 kilometers in length.

Many people travel to the area to walk along the waterfront and to take long walks.

Mount Gambier can also be reached from this scenic drive.

Some of the best wineries are also along this route.

Mornington Peninsula

Mornington Peninsula
Mornington Peninsula

Mornington Peninsula is only an hour away from Melbourne, Australia.

The scenic drive is an ideal place to drive. Along the drive, there will be vineyards, olives groves and sandstone cliffs.

Many people enjoy this drive and consider it to be one of the best.

Try the Mornington Peninsula and take time to try some of the best Australian wines along the way.

The Great Tropical Drive

Great Tropical Drive
Great Tropical Drive

If you want to be engulfed by lush and tropical greenery, try Great Tropical Drive.

This stretch of road from Cairns to Townsville is lined with rain forest and beaches with palm trees.

Drivers will pass through Port Douglas and Daintree.

The famous Great Barrier Reef and Mission Beach is also along this route.

These top five scenic drives in Australia can be calming and awe-inspiring.

If you are impressed by the landscape of Australia, these five scenic drives will provide a cross-section of the splendor that Australia has to offer.

Consider taking several scenic drives when visiting Australia.

Melbourne’s Laneways

Melbourne’s Laneways
Melbourne’s Laneways

A big city that has kept its small-town appeal, Melbourne is full of unique lane ways and out-of-the-way bars and restaurants.

Listen to the best live music, drink in a bar with honest-to-goodness atmosphere, and marvel at the tightness of jeans worn by Melbourne’s hipsters.

Here you can find vintage fashion, vintage vinyl, and a rocking alternative scene.

Stick with the theme and stay in a funky hotel, save some money in a B&B, or live it up in a fancy hotel.

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Driving in Australia – Top 5 Best Tips To Consider

Will you be driving in Australia? Australian drivers enjoy the same clear, concise driving rules and publicly posted directions like most countries of the world.

Driving in any new city or country is always a challenge, even more when you need to drive on the “wrong” side of the road!

The key is in knowing the basics, keeping the rules in check, and remaining calm and cool, like a local.

Then you’ll be able to enjoy seeing the sights in Australia.

There are five key things to consider before you head out on a road trip in Australia:

Take time before you travel to study roads and maps of the areas you’ll be visiting.

Review rules of the road in major all major Australian cities as these may vary.

Plan an itinerary to avoid unfamiliar travel routes.

When using a service such renting a car, request any extra information or driver manuals they might have specific to visitors.

Do your best to become familiar with the terminology of road use (like “hook” turns)

Best of Australia’s Big Cities
Best of Australia’s Big Cities

Roads and Maps – a Traveler’s Best Friend

Travel agents often supply Australian maps showing major highways and roads in Australia.

Study these to gain insight into the intricacies of road and highway configurations.

Australian maps

Then be sure to drill down further with more detailed maps of the areas you will be visiting.

With a little bit of effort, it is possible to work toward feeling more comfortable on the road once you arrive at your destination.

You may also consider experiencing Australia by train for part of your journey.

Rules of the Road – Learn the Variables

At first, traffic signals in Australia might be confusing.

You can watch this video about traffic signals in advance to you know what they are like.

They provide strict interpretation of each change in color.

One thing that may take some getting used to is that there are no right turns allowed when a traffic signal is red.

Always make sure to take your time and study their traffic signals and posted signage.

With this knowledge, traffic signals will be easier to understand and follow when you are there.

driving in Australia

Plan an Itinerary – Avoid Unfamiliar Travel Routes

With advanced planning, travelers who plan to rent a car should advise the agent of their travel itinerary.

You’d be surprised how often you’ll meet helpful, knowledgeable people who offer assistance with unfamiliar travel routes.

Most agencies have mastered the art of getting travelers in Australia from one destination to the next, so make sure you take advantage of this.

Request a Driver’s Manual for Visitors

Request a driver’s manual for visitors that reflects Australian driving habits and tips on how to navigate traffic in large cities.

driving in Australia

You can also hop online and search for other specifics as well as tips and tricks.

Any information you manage to find beforehand is a great reference to have and makes for good reading whilst you’re traveling.

driving in Australia

Become Familiar with Terminology of Road Use

There are certain terms used to describe Australia’s roads.

In some parts of the world, a traffic circle is referred to as a “roundabout.”

When travelers encounter right turn arrows at busy intersections, this is similar to the “yield” signs seen elsewhere.

Also, remember you’ll be driving with a steering wheel on the right side of the car.

This will be the trickiest part of all!

Driving in Australia to the capitals

It’s likely you may want to road trip through Australia.

One popular thing to do is to visit Australia’s capitals.

This way, you will capture the spirit of each area while still having a destination and itinerary in mind.

Going on a whistle-stop tour of Australia’s capitals?

Here are a few things you should not miss….

Melbourne

Get lost in Melbourne’s lane ways, have a drink in a spit and sawdust pub, and listen to some great live music.

Go to the seaside at St Kilda, ride the roller coaster at Luna Park, or take a Neighbors tour for a behind the scenes look at one of Australia’s most famous soaps.

Go to an AFL game and cheer on the local team.

Enjoy trying a new cuisine in an up-and-coming restaurant.

Then, shop for vintage fashion, and stay in a boutique hotel.

Sydney

No matter how much time you have in Sydney, you’ll want to stay longer.

Climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge, take a tour of the Opera House, and wander through the Botanic Gardens.

Go surfing, lie around on Bondi Beach, or take in the sights at Darling Harbor.

Find a bargain in the markets, taste the best international cuisines, and find out more about Sydney’s fascinating past in museums and galleries.

Stay in a cheap (and hopefully cheerful) hostel.

Or you may want to indulge in luxury in a fancy hotel with spectacular views, such as those offered at the IBIS Darling Harbor.

There is much to do while visiting Sydney en route to Brisbane.

Brisbane

Get hands-on at Queensland Museum and Sciencentre.

Decide to get arty at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), or take in a show at Brisbane Powerhouse.

Climb Story Bridge, or get your pulse racing on a ghost tour.

You can take a whale or dolphin watching cruise in Brisbane as well.

Discover Brisbane’s past at the ANZAC Square Memorial, the Old Government House, or at the Queensland Maritime Museum.

Read about the reasons to visit Cairns Australia.

Perth

Take a cruise along the Swan River, cuddle a koala at Perth Zoo, or wander round Kings Park and Botanic Garden.

Hang out at Cottesloe Beach or City Beach, expand your mind at Scitech, or breathe in Perth’s past at St Mary’s Cathedral and the Perth Mint.

Take a tour of the Art Gallery of Western Australia or the Western Australian Museum, explore the heritage walking trails, or see the penguins at Penguin Island.

Adelaide

Discover fine art at the Art Gallery of South Australia, find an oasis at Botanic Park or Adelaide Botanic Gardens, or meet some Aussie wildlife at Cleland Wildlife Park or Adelaide Zoo.

Find out more about the history of Adelaide at Ayers Historic House, at Tandanya, the National Aboriginal Cultural Institution, or at the Migration Museum.

Wherever your Australian road trip takes you, you can be sure to spot some incredible wildlife and scenery.

Tips for Going Walkabout on an Aussie Road Trip

Australia is a big, big country. Its terrain is dramatic and varies greatly by region; snow-capped mountains give way to tropical coastlines, while the red center contains out-of-this world rock formations.

It’s impossible to see it all, but from watching fairy penguins on the Southern coast to trying bush tucker in Alice Springs, an Australian road trip guarantees memorable moments and unforgettable sights.”

Here are some considerations for planning an Australian road trip, whether you are planning a weekend trip or are ready to go walkabout:

Immerse in a Coastal Paradise

Aussie Road Trip
Aussie Road Trip

Most of Australia’s major cities are on the coast, and they make great starting points for road trips. Learn about driving in Australia before you go.

Melbourne is a popular entrance point for the Great Ocean Road, with its sweeping coastal vistas and the iconic Twelve Apostles rock formation.

Driving from Sydney to Brisbane puts you on the Pacific Coast Touring Route, which includes Hunter Valley’s wine country and the verdant rain forests of Barrinton Tops National Park.

Perth is the gateway for the Coral Coast
Perth is the gateway for the Coral Coast

Perth is the gateway for the Coral Coast, where visitors can experience the Pinnacles Desert, snorkel next to reefs in Coral Bay or Shark Bay, and swim with manta rays, dolphins, whale sharks, and hundreds of tropical fish.

Perth is also only a short boat trip from spectacular Rottnest Island where visitors can bike across the island to stunning beaches and encounter native quokkas along the way.

Cairns is a good place to get on the Great Tropical Drive, which parallels the Great Barrier Reef and provides access to the Undara Lava Tubes.

Get Native in the Red Center

Australia Outback
Australia Outback

The Outback, Australia Outback dusty and sparsely-inhabited center, can be explored easily and safely by sticking to major roads. The massive sandstone formation of Uluru is a must-see, as is Kata Tjuta nearby.

Towns such as Broken Hill or Alice Springs allow a glimpse into outback life, and the MacDonnell Ranges and Kings Canyon are great places to see gorges and water holes, to admire Aboriginal art, and to take in fiery sunsets.

Australian Road Trip Tips

Tourists accustomed to driving on the right side of the road should take time to familiarize themselves with driving on the left before tackling any difficult routes and should pay attention to local driving hazards such as tram lanes in Melbourne or wildlife on rural roads.

Helpful tips when planning your trip across the great country.

It’s important to recognize the distance between services while driving through the Outback and to plan accordingly:

Extra water is essential, and extra fuel couldn’t hurt.

Avoid driving at night if possible, as many of Australia’s most famous animals are nocturnal, and a kangaroo through the windscreen is one wildlife encounter that should definitely be avoided.”

Most importantly, in the case of car trouble, tourists should stay with their car instead of setting off in search of help.

If in doubt about the advisability of a route, ask a local for advice.

Travel Around Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island is a truly stunning destination that has something for everyone.

Famed for its abundant wildlife and pristine natural environment, outdoor travelers will certainly find plenty to do.

If you prefer something a little more luxurious, indulge in a decadent health and beauty retreat.

For the gourmet traveler, there’s plenty of locally produced food and wine to sate your appetite.

Whatever your inclination, exploring the island should be your first priority.

Travel Around Kangaroo Island
Travel Around Kangaroo Island

Here are the 4 best ways to travel around Kangaroo Island.

Nocturnal Guided Tour

If you’re looking to meet some of the island’s shyer residents, taking a nocturnal wildlife tour is an absolute must.

There are a huge range of Kangaroo Island tours, however this is one of the most memorable.

On the island, there are a number of species who only really get active during the night time, and taking a tour allows you to get closer than ever before.

Your expert guide will show you the best places to look, and will teach you about the delicate environmental balance that makes Kangaroo Island such a thriving home for wildlife.

Explore on Foot

Exploring on foot is one of the best ways to truly immerse yourself in the natural beauty and famous environmental diversity of the island.

There are a range of tracks to suit all ages and fitness levels, from gentle strolls to more challenging hikes.

See the freshwater lagoons, ancient sand dunes, stunning coastline and even watch whales and dolphins from atop the cliffs.

Whichever walk you choose, you are guaranteed to fall in love with the spectacular scenery of Kangaroo Island.

Quad Bike Action

For those looking for something with an action packed vibe, you simply can’t go past a quad bike tour of the island.

From gentle daytime rides that even the kids can enjoy to all terrain extreme adventures, there’s something for everyone when it comes to exploring the island by quad.

Everyone from beginner to experienced riders are catered for, with specialized quads and varied tracks to suit your skill level.

If you aren’t keen on riding but don’t want to miss out on the experience, you can even choose to join as a passenger on the leading guide’s quad for a truly unmissable view of the action!

Kayak Adventure

There’s simply something magical about kayaking in such a pristine natural environment.

Whether you’re exploring the island’s lagoons or cruising along the coastline, you can truly immerse yourself in your surroundings when you choose to discover Kangaroo Island by kayak.

If you’re just starting out or simply want to know more about this incredible destination, book yourself in for a guided kayaking tour.

With so many diverse ways to explore the island, you’re bound to find one that you will love.

Kangaroo Island is a fascinating destination, and is home to such a rich array of unique flora and fauna.

Make sure you leave plenty of time to truly discover the natural beauty and delve deeper into what makes this incredible island so special.

Traveling has become more comfortable and dynamic with the presence of some really amazing private transport options such as camper vans and yachts.

Now, travelers can explore with utmost comfort and explore at their own pace.

Here are 3 trips to try around the world that you can try in your own transport and make some wonderful memories:

Trips to Try
Trips to Try

Camper van Trip in Australia

These days, camper vans have become so very popular among travelers.

Although there are plenty of camper vans available for rent in some popular travel destinations in America, Europe and Australia, many people simply love having camper vans on their own.

Camper van trip has become very common in Australia.

Having a camper van and going on a self-drive road trip across Australia allows one to experience the best of east and west coast of Australia.

You can also go on the whole Australia trip on a camper van with some good planning, preparation and flexibility.

Australia is a big country but its cities are small and you can easily explore multiple cities in a day.

The best part of a camper van trip is that you can quickly move from one place to another and at the same time stop wherever you find or see something cool something unique.

Exploring Queensland – 5 Stops Along The Way

Queensland is one of Australia’s most exciting states, famous for its many world heritage sites and natural wonders – there are a lot of places to visit and things to do in the state so before visiting you should definitely do some planning.

Here are 5 places we recommend putting on your itinerary when exploring Queensland …

Fraser Island

Fraser Island

Made up of sand that has been accumulating for 750,000 years on volcanic bedrock, Fraser island is considered to be the largest sand island in the world.

But unlike many sand islands, it’s actually a lush island with an abundance of plants and wildlife (thanks to some funghi in the sand) – the island has over 100 freshwater lakes with some of the cleanest water in the world, with Lake McKenzie being the most popular to go swimming.

The champagne pools is another swimming spots on the island and nature’s on Jacuzzi, formed by waves crashing into rock pools – taking whale watching tours from the island is also popular, but you can even spot them from the Seventy-Five Mile Beach between June and September.

Cairns

Cairns

One of Queensland’s most northern cities, Cairns is becoming more and more popular as people start to find out just what a great hub it is for bucket-list adventures.

Everything from hot air balloon riding to white water rafting, game fishing and wild life exploring, the outskirts of Cairns are a playground for outdoor activities – meaning Brisbane is the ultimate base.

Many people also choose Cairns as their base for exploring the Great Barrier Reef.

Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef

Perhaps Australia’s most beautiful and famous natural wonder, the Great Barrier reef is an experience unlike any other.

Being the world’s largest coral reed system stretching over 2600 kilometers, composed of 2900 individual reefs and 900 islands, diving Great Barrier Reef is simply any diver’s must0-do!

But you don’t have to be a diver to enjoy the reefs, just bring some snorkel gear along and you will be able to see a ton of incredible fish and corals.

Noosa

Noosa

Noosa is one of our favorite towns on the Sunshine Coast, it has a really nice relaxed and yet sophisticated lifestyle – the beaches are gorgeous, and the surf is perfect for beginners.

Everyone seems to be out enjoying sports, from backpackers to retirees who in their late 60’s are out paddle surfing.

Noosa is also a good base for exploring the narby Noosa National Park and Great Sandy National Park.

Also make sure to visit Australia Zoo, run by the Irwin family (you know Steve Irwin, “The Crocodile Hunter”). It’s a great zoo and you can tell that they treat their animals very well.

Lamington National Park

Lamington National Park

It might be surprising, but Queensland isn’t all about beaches.

Situated only two hours south of Brisbane, this is a good end to your journey if you’re planning to fly out from Brisbane.

The national park is absolutely stunning, so peaceful and an abundance of wild life – many claim that it features some of the best walks in the country with views, creeks, waterfalls and forests.

Spend the night in Binna Burra, an eco lodge founded in 1933 in one of the most beautiful areas of the park.

What are some of your favorite places in Queensland that you would recommend?

(photo credit: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 13, 4 – 2 – 3 – 4 –  5)

Weird Exotic Fruits Around The World Awakens Your Curiosity

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Some people don’t like the word “exotic” – others jump at the opportunity to say that this or that fruit isn’t exotic anymore or isn’t Exotic Fruits for this or that country. How to eat well on the road.

But you know what?

I like the word exotic – it awakens a curiosity within me, an excitement of a world that perhaps is not yet as mainstream as people make it out to be. Wildlife Tours in South America

Sure, the world does feel smaller and smaller, and there are foods in our supermarkets today that nobody would have ever heard of 10 years ago – but to me, there are many fruits that I have yet to taste or only had the privilege of trying once – and those, in my opinion, are exotic …Why and How To Be Vegetarian On Your Travels

Weird Exotic Fruits Around The World

Kiwano Melon – Africa

Also known as the African cucumber, this slimy looking melon with horns is native to the African Kalahari Desert – today you can also find it in California and New Zealand.

Some people say it’s the most disgusting fruit they’ve ever tried, others say it reminds them of a blend between banana, lime, passion fruit and cucumber – an unusual blend indeed…!

Durian – South East Asia

Exotic Fruits
Exotic Fruits

One of the strangest tasting experiences I’ve had is with the Durian – this big, spiky, evil-looking fruit has some dedicated fans, but even more people who avoid it at all cost.

The reason why it’s such a strange experience to taste it is because you’re fighting your own senses.

Your nose tells you to stay the hell away, while your tongue tells you to continue eating.

The fruit actually tastes pretty good, but the smell is stomach-turning, which is why you will see signs everywhere in South East Asia banning the fruit.

Everything from hospitals to hotels to buses put up big signs warning anyone from bringing the fruit inside.

Wood Apple – Sri Lanka

When I first saw the wood apple I thought it was inedible.

The shell looks like a rock, and the insides look rotten.

But don’t let the look – or funky smell, fool you, because it tastes great – if you don’t want to eat it as it is, order a wood apple smoothie or juice, and you will be hooked!

Ugli – Caribbean

Ugli - Caribbean
Ugli – Caribbean

This is a fruit I have yet to taste, and to be honest I had never even heard of this fruit until just a few days ago.

The next time I plan a vacation in the Caribbean, this will be at the top of my list!

Just the name alone makes me want to try this fruit, and the fact that the name describes the look of it is even better!

The Ugli looks a bit like an ugly version of an orange, and tastes like a mix between a grapefruit, orange and tangerine – the fruit is a favorite among locals, can be found everywhere from tiny street stalls to Caribbean luxury resorts.

Jackfruit – India

Jackfruit - India
Jackfruit – India

Seriously one of the tastiest fruits I’ve ever had, the yellow flesh of the Jackfruit is sweet and mild, similar to pineapple – only better…

The fruit is one of the largest tree-borne fruits in the world, so I would suggest buying the flesh by itself rather than the whole fruit.

Snake Fruit – Indonesia

Snake Fruit - Indonesia
Snake Fruit – Indonesia

Snake fruit, or Salak, is a fruit I haven’t seen anywhere outside Asia.

It looks like an imaginary snake egg, with a shell like the skin of a snake.

The snake egg has a sweet and sometimes tangy taste to it, kind of like pineapple but with a completely different consistency, like an apple, and it looks like huge peeled garlic cloves.

One of the reasons you don’t see it much in places where the fruit doesn’t grow is because it goes rotten only a week after picking.

Even in a country where the fruit grows it’s hard to spot the tasty ones from the bad.

Be careful when eating it, avoid the red parts as they’re a bit sour, and remember that the pulp inside is inedible!

Sapodilla – Caribbean

Sapodilla is basically nature’s cotton-candy. It is super sweet, like syrup. Someone once described it as a caramel-covered pear.

It’s definitely a highlight for people taking luxury holidays in the Caribbean, but picking them is an art form.

As they are picked before they ripen, they must be stored in certain ways.

Some bury them underground, others wrap them up in clothes to speed up the process.

Feijoa – South America

With a consistency of a pear and a flavor like something between guava, pineapple and strawberry – this fruit really has combined the best flavors in the world..!

While it is native to South America, it’s mainly grown in New Zealand today – it’s also Nathan’s favorite fruit 😉

Other exotic fruits worth trying: Longan, Lychee (one of my favorites), Rhambutan, Santol, Mangosteen (yum!) and Dragonfruit (yuck!). What are some exotic fruits you have tried?

Here are some of the reasons why Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Simply the Best

Here’s a challenge for you: name different ways in which you can use olive oil.

How many have you come up with?

You’ll find, in fact, that it can be used in more ways than you might think: cooking, baking, salad dressings, sauces, dips, health products and to fuel oil lamps.

It even plays a role in some religious ceremonies, including Catholic baptisms.

The term “extra virgin” olive oil denotes a very fine grade of oil with a very low acidity, typically less than one percent.

Olive oil from Greece is world-renowned and extra virgin olive oil from this relatively small country is particularly celebrated.

Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Greek extra virgin olive oil is considered the world’s best:

Grown on trees native to the Mediterranean area, olives have been part of Greek gastronomic practice for thousands of years.

How far?

Possibly as far back as 2, 500 BC and it’s believed that the Greek island of Crete was where they were first grown.

With all that experience, it’s hardly any surprise that Greece trumps the rest of the world when it comes to making good oil.

Olive oil consumption in Greece is high and a reported 80% of Greek olive oil produced is extra virgin — far higher than any other country.

Olive oil from Italy and Spain, also big producers of olive oil, includes around 65% and 30%, respectively, of the extra virgin variety, and many other olive oil producing countries make only about 10%.

So, on your next weekend in Athens, make some room in your holiday for a walking food tour to taste some of this world-famous extra virgin olive oil and learn more about the history of their product as well.

The Quality of the Olives

While you’re sitting in a quaint Greek cafe, surrounded by the Acropolis and other ancient monuments, dipping fresh bread in the finest olive oil, and tasting the local cuisine, stop to consider just what the olives went through to get there.

Extra virgin olive oil is best made from perfectly ripened olives, often picked by hand to avoid any bruising.

The whole olives are then pressed, without heat or chemicals, and a trained tasting panel samples the product to ensure the taste is spot on.

The oil is then taken off to the laboratory to verify the oil has a very low acidity and no defects.

Greek extra virgin olive oil

The Health Benefits

Studies have proved what many have claimed for years to be true: extra virgin olive oil has a number of health benefits.

When you hear the world “oil,” you might assume the product is fatty and bad for you.

Olive oil, however, is high in monounsaturated fats, which can actually help lower your cholesterol.

The Mediterranean diet, heavy in extra virgin olive oil, has been shown specifically to lower the risk of having a heart attack and stroke.

Extra virgin olive oil also contains high levels of antioxidants and has been shown to lower the incidence of some cancers and protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

As you can see from above, the Greeks sure know their stuff when it comes to olive oil.

They’ve been making it so long that they could almost make it in their sleep and still make finer oil than the rest of us.

Do they deserve such a fine reputation?

Most definitely.

Weird Foods From Around Europe

When traveling Europe you will find a wide variety of foods, be able to sample the best pasta in the world, the freshest baguettes and the sweetest eastern European treats. foodies bucket list

Many people travel to Europe, even by River Cruises In Europe, simply for the reason to eat and indulge in all the different types of food that can be found across the continent.

But truth be told that while many food sensations derive from Europe, you can also find a lot of weird foods that makes you wonder what the heck they were thinking when they came up with it, foods that are still today loved by the locals.

So next time you look for some Europe home rentals, have a look at the local cuisine and see what you can expect to find on the menus in the country you plan to visit.

Rotten Herring – Sweden

Rotten Herring – Sweden

Scandinavia has come up with some foods that only those without a sense of smell could even consider tasting. The fermented herring, is one of them.

It is exactly what the name reveals: rotten fish, preserved in a can that has so much gas in it that it actually swells up into a little ball before it’s opened.

It was only a few years ago that they got rid of a law that only allowed the dish to be enjoyed during a special time in the year.

The fish smells so strong that when a house has fermented herring for dinner, the whole neighborhood get the disgusting smell in their own homes.

So even if there is no longer a law, people tend to respect each other and still only eat this meal on the third Thursday in August.

Buried Shark – Iceland

Buried Shark – Iceland

Hákarl is the name of this very weird dish, and is often described as “buried shark”.

This dish, which is an Icelandic delicacy, is served during the Icelandic mid winter festival Thorrablot.

It’s usually consumed together with a shot of “brennvin” (really strong alcohol) and as many people describe it as the vilest thing they have ever tasted you could see why they want to drown the taste in alcohol!

But it’s not the taste which makes this such a crazy meal, but what it actually is: shark meat that has been buried under ground to decay and rot for months, only to be dug out and then hung out to dry for another couple of weeks.

Deep Fried Mars Bar – Scotland

Deep Fried Mars Bar – Scotland

Today these greasy treats can be found in other countries, but Scotland was the place where it was invented, and is still the place where you can find deep fried mars bars in abundance.

What simply started as a fun thing between the local kids and the chip shop Stonehaven, has now become a global cultural and gastronomic phenomenon.

I have to say that it really doesn’t taste as bad as it sounds – but it is just as fatty..!

Maggot Cheese – Italy

I’m sure you’ve all tried moldy cheese before, and many agree that it tastes surprisingly nice.

Well, in Sardinia they have taken fermented cheese to another level.

Casu marzu is a traditional Sardinian sheep milk cheese – containing live insect larvae…

The larvae, which are translucent white worms about 0.3 inches long, are introduced to the cheese to bring an advanced level of fermentation to break down the cheese’s fats.

The cheese becomes very soft with liquids seeping out.

When disturbed these worms can jump up to 6 inches up in the air.

Some people clear the larvae from the cheese before eating it, while others don’t…

The Meat and Beer Sandwich – Portugal

Weird Foods From Around Europe

Out of all the foods above, this one is probably the most likely to give you a heart attack.

Originally from Porto, the francesinha sandwich is a success among beer and meat lovers as it combines the “best of both worlds.”

Between the two bread slices are wet-cured ham, linguica (Portuguese pork sausage), fresh sausage, and steak or roast meat.

The whole thing is covered with a thick layer of melted cheese and drenched in a hot tomato and beer sauce, served with french fries.

I guess you can imagine what that would taste like!

(photo credit: 1 – 2 – 3 – 41 – 3 – 4)

Dealing With Culture Shock While Traveling

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Culture Shock While Traveling – One of the things you’re likely to face at some point during your travels is culture shock.

These can range from the smallest details to massive moral issues, and even on arranged group holidays it’s impossible to avoid, so it’s crucial to learn how to deal with it whenever it shows up.

I’m far from the ideal person when it comes to dealing with culture shock, but after traveling for so many years I’ve been forced to find a way that works, to avoid awkward or downright horrible consequences.

Here are a few culture clashes I’ve experienced, and how I dealt with them…Rwanda Safari Holiday

Dealing With Culture Shock While Traveling “Smile and Laugh At It” Tradition

A couple of weeks ago I received a very interesting comment on an old post, where this person complained about how angry he gets when there are misunderstandings between him and locals, then they just laugh it off and make fun of him.

He didn’t say which country he meant, but I had a strong feeling that he was talking about Thailand.

In this country, often nicknamed “the land of smiles”, people smile and laugh at everything – especially in awkward situations.

This can sometimes be liberating, but also incredibly frustrating – the Thai people use their smiles and laugh to avoid “losing their face”, or even to help you to avoid “losing your face”.

For example, if you bump your head into a doorway, they point, smile and laugh at you – not in a rude way, but to relieve you from the embarrassment – this in the West usually means the complete opposite, and some people feel offended by it.

Culture Shock While Traveling
Culture Shock While Traveling

How To Deal With It:

Remember why they’re laughing, and the more frustrated and angry you get the more they will try to “cover up” by laughing and smiling.

Don’t show that you’re frustrated, instead work the other way around and smile while you try to get your point across.

The Contradictions Of Hygiene

Japan is famous as the country where burping is encouraged as a way to show gratitude to the chef.

You will find that burping is common and not at all frowned upon in many other countries too.

Whether you take morocco holidays in Africa, or travel east to India and Malaysia, you will be sitting at a restaurant, or walking the streets and almost always hear someone doing a clear, loud and proud burp.

This is not frowned upon at all, but then eating with your left hand is.

Apparently, the left hand is seen as dirty as that is the hand you use when going to the bathroom – and since they mush and mix all of their food with their fingers, they keep the left hand out of the way.

The weird part is that before sitting down to eat, they only ever wash their right hand – no wonder the left hand stays dirty..!

How do I deal with it:

Honestly, I ignore it as best as I can. I’m getting used to the burps and nose picks, and I eat the way I want – just because you’re in a foreign country that doesn’t mean that you have to do everything they do.

Value your own health above “fitting in”, and don’t be so hard on yourself – who cares if someone gives you a strange look for eating with your left hand?

You know better, you know if it’s clean or not.

Oh, and I ALWAYS carry toilet paper around, I’m not getting near those hoses they have in the squat toilets!

Keep Things In Perspective

During my travels I have heard the most offensive and obscene comments thrown at me or people around me, and sometimes this is tough to deal with.

But you have to put things into perspective, and not let yourself get sucked in or bothered.

Because the only person who will be affected is you, besides, what you see as offensive, in their culture could actually be a compliment.

A friend of mine spent a whole year in Rwanda, and while she lost heaps of weight, her friend put on quite a lot.

The locals they got to know said to her friend “you’re so fat!

You have gotten so fat lately!”

Something that’s not very fun to hear as a Western person, but is actually a compliment there.

Finally, culture shocks are part of the travel experience, and one of the things that make traveling so exciting and crazy – see every culture shock as a great experience. Rwanda Safari Holiday

Communing with Nature In a Kimono

Communing with Nature In a Kimono – Regardless of country or nationality, nature is of course a big part of all of our lives.

We are impacted and influenced every day by the weather.

Natural disasters ravage every part of the globe in different forms, and all our modern conveniences are built on, out of, or with natural materials.

The seasons bring different events, customs, and feelings to all of us.

Though our modern lives can seem removed from the natural environment, there is no escaping the fact that we are forever and inextricably tied to and dependent on mother nature. Japan is no exception and is in fact sometimes referred to as a country that is tuned into nature and really reveres it.

We’ll leave that judgment up to each individual.

However, as the recent earthquake and tsunami have shown, the country is battered by the forces of nature quiet frequently and often savagely.

Communing with Nature In a Kimono
Communing with Nature In a Kimono

There are also a lot of festivals and events in Japanese culture that celebrate the seasons.

These include cherry blossom festivals and hanami (literally, “flower watching”) parties in the spring, moon viewing in the fall, and the custom of eating eel in the summer to give stamina and strength during the long hot and humid days (perhaps the last is just a good marketing campaign by a company that sells eel?).

Either way, the interaction with nature is important and gets expressed through various media.

Japan, whose economic performance has been derided for decades, should use this strong link to nature to stand out in the new clean economy.

Whether its often rigid society and inept political system can do enough to support such a transformation is the question.

If you’re in the DC area and want to hear an interesting lecture touching on the theme of nature in Japanese culture.

What on earth do Japanese kimonos have to do with nature and environmentalism?

Well, if you listen to scholar Ann Marie Moeller, she may be able to explain it to you at the Texile Museum in Washington, D.C.

Kimono and Green: The Color of Gods and Youth The color green plays a particularly important role in the nature-oriented culture of Japan.

From the green used to identify kabuki actors to the green of an obi signaling a geisha in training, this color has communicated information about its wearer for centuries.

Plants that remain green throughout the year were considered auspicious since they were obviously favored by the forces of nature.

These plants continue to have symbolic significance on modern kimono.

These plants continue to have symbolic significance on modern kimono.

Join scholar Ann Marie Moeller as she draws connections between the Japanese reverence for nature and the use of green in the nation’s textile arts.

Fantastic ideas to Tap into Your Adventurous Side When Traveling

Tapping into Your Adventurous Side When Traveling ~ When traveling, it is so easy to just lay back and enjoy the moment, let the days go by, often not ever leaving our comfort zone.

Every country around the world is full of adventures, new places to see, beaches to enjoy, mountains to climb.

Why not make your memories last and explore the wilder side of life instead?

It’s never too late to enjoy living life to its fullest and start working on becoming a little more adventurous when traveling.

As you’re planning to book a travel tour, why not go for a mountain hike, give white water rafting a whirl or try your hand at surfing?

Many people enjoy bungee jumping and zip lining when on vacation and there’s so many different countries that have activities such as these.

Go ahead and live a little, visit some fun places where these sports can be experienced.

Adventurous Side When Traveling Zip Lining
Adventurous Side When Traveling Zip Lining

Bungee jumping from a bridge, parasailing and parachuting go hand in hand.

If these adventures are a little too much for you, play it safe and do a little zip lining from the top of a mountain or take a ride in a hot air balloon.

Research some of your destinations to find what adventures fit your needs or work on ticking off a place from your travel bucket list.

Most countries will have tours and activities that can help you bring out the adventure in you.

Rock climbing can be a fun adventurous experience for those who enjoy the outdoors, mountains, hikes or even trekking.

Be prepared to stretch yourself and get out of your comfort zone as you head for the mountains.

If rock climbing seems a little too harsh for you, there are always options such as hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing or 4 wheeling.

Adventurous Side
Adventurous Side

There are so many hiking trails around the world for you to seek out, be sure to do your research first and pick a spot that fits your physical condition, likes and needs.

Do you enjoy being in the water?

This can be a great opportunity to seek out some water-related adventures.

You can try your skills at white water rafting or if you’re looking for something less extreme you can go kayaking or canoeing.

If your plan is to visit a beach, seek out fun activities such as snorkeling, diving, jet skiing or surf maybe?

Adventurous Paddle Boarding
Adventurous Paddle Boarding

Paddle boarding is a also a trendy activity, a little adventure but a relaxed sport if you’re not too open to pushing your limits.

Food can also be a big part of being adventurous when traveling.

Many countries have different foods that will certainly push you out of your comfort zone.

Do a little tasting, try something new, it will always make a good story when you’re back home from your travels!

Travel is such a great experience, very often we get caught out regretting not being adventurous enough or not taking that tour, not jumping off that waterfall, not ending that hike at the summit.

Tapping into your adventurous side
Tapping into your adventurous side

Tapping into your adventurous side is much easier than you think, chances are you’ll enjoy your new adventures so much that you’ll keep wanting more.

The perfect motivation for planning your next tour!

(Photo credits: 1 – 2 – 34)

Beautiful Camping Spots Around The World

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Beautiful Camping Spots Around The World – The first time Nathan and I traveled around the world was in 2008.

We barely had enough money to survive for a few months.

Beautiful Camping Spots Around The World
Beautiful Camping Spots Around The World

Many people have asked us how we managed to keep our travel costs to such a bare minimum, especially when traveling through countries like New Zealand.

One of our “secrets” was camping – we’re not big campers or go hiking much, in fact neither of us had ever gone camping before, and had no idea what we had signed up for.

Our camping adventure was a pretty crazy story in itself, but we’ll save that for another time.

Watch the video below to see what happened to our lovely tent :p)

The best thing about camping however, was not the money we saved, but the beautiful camp spots we found.

If you want to stay only meters from the beach and wake up watching the sunrise from your bed, you can stay either in exclusive five star hotels – or at a great camp site.

We thought we would share some amazing campsites around the world, both for those on a budget as well as those who like to splurge (apparently this is called “glamping”).

Remember to protect against mosquitoes.

Corcovado National Park – Costa Rica
Corcovado National Park – Costa Rica

Beautiful Camping Spots Around The World

Corcovado National Park – Costa Rica

According to National Geographic, this remote national park is “the most biologically intense place on Earth.”

In other words, it is home to a huge variety of wildlife.

Among the animals here are four monkey species, tiger herons, sloths, scarlet macaws, and pumas – the list is long.

There are camping sites at each of its entrances on the Osa Peninsula, which makes for an awesome base to explore the lagoons, waterfalls, empty beaches and of course the largest tropical primary lowland rain forest in the world.

4 Rivers Floating Lodge - Cambodia
4 Rivers Floating Lodge – Cambodia

4 Rivers Floating Lodge – Cambodia

Located on the Tatai River in Cambodia, this tent resort is probably as far away as you can get from the normal camping holiday.

You couldn’t be any closer to the waterfront, in fact, your hut is actually floating on the water.

These days being away from everything does not need to mean disconnecting from everything.

You can be one with nature when you’re out jungle trekking, kayaking and rafting.

Then return to your floating tent and relax or browse the internet.

Lido Vacanze – Italy
Lido Vacanze – Italy

Lido Vacanze – Italy

We all know that staying in Venice can be very expensive.

You will be surrounded by water  but you wouldn’t want to take a refreshing dip in it.

The Camping Union Lido Vacanze is a great alternative to get a bit of both.

It’s close to Venice and has its very own private beach that’s more than a kilometer long.

Being one of the largest campsites in Europe, it also has nine bars and seven restaurant within the complex, if you just want to have a “night in”.

Just view the Zoover holiday reviews and you will be convinced.

Golden Bay – New Zealand
Golden Bay – New Zealand

Golden Bay – New Zealand

Golden Bay was one of our favorite campsites in New Zealand.

It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places in the country.

The sand really is golden, a beautiful contrast to the turquoise waters and native forest surrounding you.

It’s a popular area to go hiking in.

You can choose everything from a one-day hike to two full weeks exploring the bays, hidden beaches and unique forest.

Or do the whole route in a kayak, if you want.

Camp for free!
Camp for free!

Camp for free!

Another budget tip, if you really want to keep your costs low, is to check if there are any free camp sites in the country you’ll be visiting.

In Sweden, Norway and Finland you can camp pretty much anywhere for free.

In Netherlands, there are certain places where you can camp for 72 hours for free.

You can find camp sites in the Netherlands on Zoover.

There are also maps on Google where you’ll find the free ones.

Camping In Europe Where To Go!

Now we are well into the twenty-first century, it seems that the ordinary all-inclusive, package holiday style break has somewhat had its day.

It now seems that people are looking to do something different and unique on their treasured time off.

It seems that camping seems to offer the most diversity when it comes to providing a unique feeling to your holiday Camping Gear List

Camping In Europe

Here are some examples of what camping breaks have to offer.

The Coast

Camping on the coast provides a genuinely unique experience.

If you find the right campsite, in the right place, camping by the coast is worth it for one thing.

The feeling of waking up to the unique sounds of the coast – the birds and the waves crashing in.

Then you get the completely unique feeling of unzipping your tent, feeling the sea breeze on your face and waking up to stunning views of the sea.

The best example of this is Treen Farm Campsite in Cornwall which was recently voted the second best coastal campsite in the UK by the Telegraph – situated three miles from Lands End it really gives a sense of being pitched at the end of the world.

Inner City

Believe it or not, it is possible to find campsites in the middle of the most urban areas.

For example, Crystal Palace Caravan Club Site is right in the heart of London situated south of the river near Brixton.

It welcomes tents which provides a really unique angle to both camping and a city break.

Inner city campsites are not just available in London but further afield from New Zealand to the US.

Hiking Holidays

It seems like an obvious relation – camping and hiking. But it really is something that you must try if you haven’t before.

This style holiday is often suffixed by “I don’t think it’s my kind of thing”.

But there is nothing like setting camp surrounded by the hills you are ready to tackle the following day.

Festivals

Often a forgotten aspect of the music festival experience is camping.

Whilst festival camping quite rightly has the reputation of a crowded, Glastonbury style mud-fest, the new family aspect to music festivals has meant there has been improvements.

It is now clearly marked on maps and signs where is best to camp for you.

The Leeds Festival offers a color coded system so you can find which color suits the type of Festival experience you fit with most.

There is also a specific area for families which offer improved facilities.

Glamping

Glamping is a new sensation and is defined by the hybrid of “Glamorous” and “Camping”.

It offers all the facilities of a hotel in a camping style environment.

It is a worldwide sensation that has brought camping to a totally new market.

Glamping sites, or “Glampsites” are springing up all over Europe.

Europe

The standard Brit may only think camping on the continent doesn’t extend as far as the South of France – but Europe really offers a different type of experience compared to camping in the UK.

For example, there are not many other places where you can camp at over 2,000m above sea level.

This is available at the summit of Rochers-de-Naye in Switzerland where you can camp or stay in a yurt whilst taking in the stunning views.

(photo credit: 11 – 2 – 3 – 4  – 5)

Best Entertainment Cities Around The World

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Best Entertainment Cities – What makes a destination popular is that it has something to offer that makes it stand out from the rest, something that makes people feel like they’re experiencing something special and unique.

Here are some of the best entertainment cities that are famous and perfect for those who hate being bored..!

Best Entertainment Cities Around The World

London – Music, Comedy and Theater

Not only does London offer some of the best theaters and musicals in the world, but there are plenty of local live music concerts on nearly every day of the week, not to mention the big artists who all have a few gigs in London on their Europe tours.

Whenever there is a block buster movie premier, London is the place to be – there are simply events every day of the year in this city, on any budget.

Unlike Las Vegas, entertainment in London doesn’t have to break your budget, and you can often get the chance to watch a show for a quarter of the normal price, if you stay updated.

Just recently my favorite comedian, Michael McIntyre, had a bunch of test shows in London to test his new material – the tickets sold for only 10 pounds – need I say more?

Las Vegas – Where Bigger Is Better

Best Entertainment Cities Around The World - Las Vegas
Best Entertainment Cities Around The World – Las Vegas

Nothing is quite like Las Vegas in terms of…well, anything.

The fact that you can get some of the best, highest quality and freshest fish in a city which is surrounded by desert tells you something – anything is more than possible in Las Vegas…

That goes for everything Las Vegas is about; show girls, drive-through weddings, roller-coaster rides passing you in the hotel reception, casinos so big you get lost trying to find your way out…

In Las Vegas – more is more, and bigger is better.

Orlando – Theme Parks

While amusement parks normally don’t cater to everyone, Orlando has so many different types of theme parks that there really is something for all likes here.

From visiting the bizarre Biblical-themed HolyLand, to the unbeatable Universal Studios, and the must-visit Walt Disney Land, even adults will be guaranteed to enjoy themselves here.

Orlando – Theme Parks
Orlando – Theme Parks

With water parks like discovery cove Orlando even manages to attract those who are just looking for a nice time at the beach – with gear, drink and food included.

If you plan in advance which places you want to visit, there are many Orlando tickets you can take advantage of that offer cheaper prices when combining parks than they would cost separately.

Sydney – Relax, Surf & Enjoy

Sydney is a cosmopolitan city with world-class entertainment, but with a laid-back vibe of a small town, which is why I love this city so much.

You can relax by the beaches during the day, and slowly make your way to the nightclubs lined up along the beach walks, or spend the evening at the IMAX Theater, which has the biggest movie screen in the world.

Watching a 3-D film on that screen is really a surreal experience.

Thanks to its year-round pleasant weather, Sydney also hosts a large number of events throughout the year, many which are outdoors and free for the public – from food festivals to outdoor concerts.

Which cities would you add to this list?

Wonderful Valentine’s Day Destinations

When it comes to memorable holidays, Valentine’s Day ranks near the top of the list – as with any other holiday, what initially appears to be months away suddenly creeps up on us like a thief in the night.

The good news is that no one can have any excuse to not be prepared, for Valentine’s Day always fall upon February 14th!

What is interesting about this romantic day is that unlike other festivals steeped in tradition and dogma, Valentine’s Day is truly what we make of it, for better or for worse.

Why not transform this year’s day into one which will be remembered (for all the good reasons) for years to come by selecting unique and romantic destinations on the European map?

Paris, France
Paris, France

Paris, France

It goes without saying that France may very well be the romance capital of the world.

Many couples choose to partake of the Parisian nightlife which is punctuated by an unforgettable view from atop the Eiffel Tower.

Hearts will certainly melt even on the coldest days of winter.

Besides Paris, France plays host to a multitude of unique and tranquil settings sure to captivate the senses and bring an added air of love to the atmosphere.

Couples may choose to visit the quaint towns in the Alsace region blanketed in snowy mountaintops or perhaps instead journey to the south of France and experience the Mediterranean climate of Montpelier which basks in the sun during most winter days.

Additionally, travelling to this prime destination is only a quick flight away from the United Kingdom aided by express trains to London.

Dublin, Ireland

Why not take a quick excursion to where much of the Valentine’s Day lore began?

Dublin offers couples the ability to visit the shrine of St. Valentine himself. The relics of this famous figure are placed on display every February 14th and a special mass is held in honor of the saint.

After the mass, many couples decide to take a brief excursion to Killiney Hill with panoramic views of the Irish Sea on one side and nearby towns and Dublin itself.

If we then intermingle city life with the natural beauty and wonder of Killarney with its numerous waterfalls and placid lakes, it is no wonder why Ireland has become one of the most sought after Valentine’s Day destinations.

London, England
London, England

London, England

It is said that London is the city for lovers and this rings especially true for Valentine’s Day activities. Couples can absorb the visual stimulation of the Cirque de Soleil which plays at Royal Albert Hall while dining afterwards at the Skylon restaurant.

The Royal Observatory also has special treats for those who wish to gaze up at the heavens while in one another’s arms, as they have a Valentine’s Day planetarium show with excellent views of the “lover’s moon”, of course with weather permitting.

These are but a few of the many attractions London offers every year – a walk through the history-laden streets taking in the unique skyline before a romantic meal may be all that’s needed to remember this year’s February 14th as a standout day.

These destinations are some of the most popular and breathtaking in all of Europe for Valentine’s Day.

Don’t get caught out – “Surprise! – I forgot!”

Why not plan ahead and make this year’s celebrations some of the most memorable yet?

Belgian chocolate is much better sampled in Belgium 😉

Most Luxurious Holidays Around the World

Are you dreaming of a luxury break in a prime destination? If yes, keep on reading and we will provide you with recommendations on some of the best Most Luxurious Holidays Around the World to check out.

For sure, you will experience lavish holidays in these places and you will have a vacation you will never forget.

How to properly prepare for your holidays

Most Luxurious Holidays Around the World Maldives
Most Luxurious Holidays Around the World Maldives

Overwater Bungalow in the Maldives

If you love the beach, nothing can perhaps be a destination as luxurious as Maldives.

This is no place for towering hotels. Rather, this is a paradise that is populated with luxury overwater bungalows.

Your lavish accommodation will be above the pristine waters.

Just a few steps out of your room, you can already plunge in the crystal-clear water of this paradise.

You can even have your own Jacuzzi in your bungalow, and of course, the service of a trained butler.

Stay at Claridge’s in London

When planning an escape in London, you might be overwhelmed with the number of options for accommodations.

Among others, if it is luxury that you are after, Claridge’s should be your top pick.

This five-star hotel is one of the most iconic in London, specifically in Mayfair.

More than its prime address, it takes pride of having facilities that are unrivaled by other hotels.

Aside from its art deco architecture, it has signature suites that scream of luxury. It is also home to some of the best bars in the area and has always been ranked as one of the best places to have an afternoon tea.

Most Luxurious Holidays Around the World Cottage in the Cotswolds
Most Luxurious Holidays Around the World Cottage in the Cotswolds

Self-Catering Cottage in the Cotswolds

One of the things that you will like about the Cotswolds is how intimate it is, giving it a charm that you cannot find in any other holiday destination.

When in the Cotswolds, have a memorable time by booking a self-catering cottage.

This is going to let you live at your own pace.

You will also get to enjoy privacy, as opposed to staying in a crowded hotel.

Beach Break in Sri Lanka

When you speak of exotic beaches that can offer luxurious holidays, Sri Lanka should be on the top of the list.

It has an endless selection of hotels that can provide you with a comfortable stay in well-appointed rooms complemented with world-class hospitality.

Jungle Beach Resort, Amanwella, Ceylon Tea Trails, Sama Villas, and Ulagalla Resort are just some of the most popular choices.

Whether you are on a honeymoon or with your family, you will not run out of resorts that are perfect for extravagant beach breaks.

Winery Tour in Tuscany

When you speak of regions in Italy that are best for wine lovers, one of the most highly recommended is Tuscany.

If you are looking for a luxurious break, this one of the best destinations that can be taken into account.

Take a winery tour and stay in lavish vineyards. You will experience not only the finest wines and food, but also accommodations that will be unforgettable.

This is especially recommended if you are traveling as a couple and looking for a place that exudes romance.

Where To Celebrate New Year’s Eve Fireworks

New Year’s Eve is one of the most celebrated events throughout the world, and every major city competes over having the most spectacular events, firework displays and parties, attracting tourists from all over the world.

An interesting study from Opodo ranked the 10 most popular destinations to celebrate New Year’s Eve for Europeans this year, a list which turned out to be much more varied than we would have expected…Exploring the City with Kids ~ Tips for a Memorable New York Getaway

New Year's Eve Fireworks
New Year’s Eve Fireworks

New Year’s Eve Fireworks in New York City

Despite the long distance between USA and Europe, New York attracts the most visitors from Europe, all wanting to get a bite of the excitement and awesomeness that is the Big Apple.

Perhaps no New Year event is as famous as the “drop of the ball” on Times Square, a tradition that has been going since 1906.

Celebrating New Year’s Eve on Times Square is a once in a lifetime experience that will definitely make for a memorable night. Also, some of the Best Shopping in New York City.

Bangkok

Bangkok is one of those cities that can be anything you want it to be: romantic, crazy, sexy, fun… Anything is possible in this city, meaning there are loads of ways to ring in the new year.

CentralWorld is the biggest place for the countdown to the new Year, where hundreds of thousands gather to celebrate with light and sound shows, live performances and more.

But there are also some very beautiful and peaceful ways to celebrate, such as lighting candles at Wat Sraket temple.

Lagos (Nigeria)

Being the largest city in Africa, Lagos is a chaotic and busy city year round. New Year’s Eve is as busy as ever, if not busier, with lots of fireworks and partying.

In Nigeria they have many different ways to celebrate the New Year, a popular one being to attend one of the traditional masquerades in the country.

London

When it comes to Europe, London is a prime destination to celebrate the New Year, and their free New Year’s Eve fireworks display at the EDF Energy London Eye is famous around the world – and not to be missed!

Another unique event is the New Year’s Day parade on January the first, for those who aren’t too hung over to get out of bed…

Cape Town

In Cape Town, one night of partying and celebrating is simply not enough. This year there are four music festivals held over the New Year holiday, all with their own appeal to party-goers, with parties lasting for several days.

Victoria Falls Carnival, Rock the river SA, Rezonance NYE Festival, and Boomerang New Year’s Eve party are some festivals this year that are worth checking out.

Sydney

Although very far away from Europe, Sydney is still in the top 10 for European travelers over New Years – and what is more iconic than watching the fireworks from Sydney Harbour over the Harbour bridge?

The firework display on the Harbor bridge is one of the most spectacular in the world, and definitely something very special to see.

The complete list of top New Year’s Eve destinations; Reykjavik (7), Dubai (8), Berlin (9), Jo’burg (10).

We will be spending this New Year’s Eve in Berlin – where will you be celebrating?

Europe Beach vs City
Europe Beach vs City

(photo credit: 1 – 12 – 3 – 45 – 1 – 2 – 1 – 2)

Top 5 Food Festivals Around The World

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Top 5 Food Festivals – it is and always will be our most basic of preoccupations – our social lives are organized around it, business deals made over it, from idle chit chat to serious conversation.

Our discussions made over food have shaped the modern world as we know it; we as human beings LOVE food, even vegetarians.

It pervades into every aspect of our lives and with the proliferation of the travel and tourism industry in the last 50 years, cuisines from every corner of the globe have been exported, translated and transferred.

From luxury holidays to budget backpacking great food can be something that is not constrained by price.

Top 5 Food Festivals
Top 5 Food Festivals

Whether it’s an international gathering or a lone street stall, why not get inspired the next time you are on your travels; recreating your favorite dishes from the other side of the neighborhood or the other side of the world is a wonderful way to relive the adventure and the memory. Best Beer Festivals in the World

Top 5 Food Festivals

Taste of Chicago

Taste of Chicago
Taste of Chicago

Described as the world’s biggest picnic Taste of Chicago will celebrate 22 years of foodie festivities in 2012 promising a smorgasbord that unites the entire city from July 11- 15.

Innumerable vendors, large and small, and leading restaurateurs from across Chicago participate in the event which sees 5 days of annual feasting; from traditional Chicago-style pizza to South American delicacies, Caribbean and Creole cooking to European and Asian food – there is something to suit every palate.

July is a wonderful month to visit Chicago which is a fascinating and vibrant city at any time of the year with a host of museums, galleries, cultural attractions and free events making up a busy annual calendar.

The Crave Sydney International Food Festival

The Crave Sydney International Food Festival
The Crave Sydney International Food Festival

From the land where livestock seemingly outnumbers the people, the waters are bountiful with seafood, and where sun ripened fruits and vegetables grow perennially it’s no wonder that Sydney hosts one of the biggest food festivals in the world.

Taking place throughout the month of October annually, events are organised across the Sydney area with celebrity chef conferences, cook offs, pop-up restaurants and specialized features such as the ‘Sugar Hit’ for those with a serious sweet tooth or the ‘World Dinners’, celebrating signature dishes from across the globe.

For an early morning treat there is also the Bondi Breakfast, masterminded by celebrity chef Bill Granger which last year saw 5000 tourists and locals descend upon Bondi Beach to enjoy the sunrise with a bite to eat.

Taste of London

Taste of London
Taste of London

Part of the larger ‘Taste Festivals’ organisation which sees events take place in Amsterdam, Dublin and Edinburgh from the end of May to early July, Taste of London is the pinnacle of these gastronomic galas.

The festival features a range of activities from the colourful ‘Taste of Jamaica’ celebrating London’s Caribbean community to celebrity demonstrations from the likes of Gary Rhodes and Theo Randall; there’s even a Circus Bar where patrons can sample innovative cocktails while gazing at the weird and wonderful.

Culinary master classes, cookery schools and even a flyby experience from British Airways demonstrating the link between taste, smell and dining at 50,000ft, round off this four day extravaganza.

Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival

Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival
Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival

Not that we’d ever need much of an excuse to jet off to the idyllic Caribbean island of Barbados, but every November the country’s leading culinary lights gather to launch the now renowned Food, Wine and Rum Festival.

The Bajan people are known the world over for their generous hospitality, sincerity and warmth and food (and alcohol) are a central feature of this social identity.

Run in conjunction with the Visit Barbados tourism board the event brings together the entire island with food, dance, drink and music; events include late night soirees, cooking demonstrations with the island’s finest chefs, wine tasting lessons, exclusive luncheons and a Bajan fiesta.

Let’s not also forget that most enjoyable Barbadian staple of rum; with a series of tastings and tours dedicated to the liquor that has become synonymous with the island.

Brusselicious – Brussels, Belgium

Brusselicious - Brussels, Belgium
Brusselicious – Brussels, Belgium

The Belgians can be described as an eccentric bunch- the home of Tintin and Renee Magritte – the country’s capital also plays host to an ambitious yearlong food festival, the first of its sort, in 2012.

With a name as flamboyant as Brusselicious one might anticipate as so often seems the case a rather reserved or underwhelming affair but the organizers have been true to their word and arranged some rather spectacular events.

Dominating the skyline is the aptly named ‘Dinner in the sky’, a 22 person dining platform that every week throughout the course of June is transported to a different iconic location within the city and hoisted high into the sky by an industrial crane.

The diners will be joined at each site by a Michelin award winning chef who will prepare in mid-air, a sumptuous feast.

Another familiar site in Brussels is the tram and it seems appropriate that this most faithful of public servants should be rebooted for the 21st century.

Honorable mentions:

A few culinary conventions that didn’t quite make the list but are wonderfully weird in their own right.

Noche de Rabanos (Night of the Radishes) Oaxaca, Mexico

Yearly celebration involving the carving of elaborate radish based sculptures depicting deistic scenes – World Testicle Cooking Championship, Ozrem, Serbia.

Yes it’s exactly as it sounds, bulls’ testicles or Rocky Mountain Oysters as they are also known fried to your liking – Road Kill Cook off and festival, Marlington, WV, USA – Only in America.

10 Surprising International Food Etiquette Rules

This world is a different place for all of us after all. It may be that we are aware of our table manners, but what about the rest of the world?

Are the food etiquette of others similar to ours or are they too different?

Passing some bread to the other person may seem satisfactory in your culture.

But how will others react if it denotes an entirely different meaning?

For example, what if you were on one of our Thailand Luxury Trip?

The answers to all these interesting questions are here:

Not Eating With the Fork Is a Norm in Thailand

You can either eat with a spoon or with your hands.

Fork plays quite a limited role here: you can just use it to push the rice on your spoon.

That’s it!

Don’t worry about this tough etiquette because many Thai dishes can be eaten with hands too.

Eating Rice:  Sticking the Chopsticks Upright Is Not Allowed In Japan

Remember that even the slightest mistake can be caught easily on the dinner table.

So, the best way to use chopsticks according to the Japanese culture is to observe how your Japanese friends are using those.

Follow them, and you will find yourself a pro in eating with chopsticks!

Eating With Your Right Hand Is Considered The Norm In Middle East

In the Middle Eastern countries, whether you want to eat food with a spoon or a fork, you can use your right hand only.

You Should Drink Your Coffee before Noon in Italy

Italy has its own culture of excessive coffee consumption.

This has also brought up one odd rule into this: drinking cappuccino before noon will save you from getting your stomach upset.

In France, Bread Is NOT an Appetizer

Having lunch with the French will give you an entirely different feeling.

Though they speak French, they have their own sets of preferences.

Do not ask for bread as an appetizer because the French consider it a part of the main meal.

China: Flipping the Fish Is Not Allowed

Are you wondering how to eat the other side of the fish without flipping it?

Since it is the norm in China not to flip the fish, you will have to take out the bone before eating the rest of the fish.

This way, the fish will not be flipped!

Do Not Use Your Hands. Instead, Use Knife and Fork in Chile

The main reason behind this etiquette is that the people of Chile are extremely formal during the lunch or dinner.

So, even if you want to eat fries, use a fork rather than your hands.

Receive the Glass from the Elders with Both Hands in Korea

This is a symbol of respect.

This way, you can also please the elders of Korea.

Shake the Cup of Coffee When You Had It with the Bedouins in Middle East

Ever made Bedouin friends in the Middle East?

Just notice how they shake cups when they do not want more coffee.

So, if you have had enough coffee, you just need to tilt your coffee cup twice.

Use Tokens Wisely In Brazil

In Brazil, placing orders is carried out by using tokens.

There are various token colors used too.

Fun Festivals Around The World

Finally the cold winter weather is starting to subside in the northern hemisphere, giving space for spring to shake things up and give everyone a reason to celebrate!

March, April and May are months full of festivals and events all over the world, giving you an opportunity to experience the best of a country’s culture – or simply an excuse to party and go crazy.

Here are some awesome festivals around the world that will be happening in the next few weeks and are well worth traveling across the globe to experience.

Songkran - Thailand
Songkran – Thailand

Songkran – Thailand

In Thailand it is time to celebrate the coming monsoon season, which will bring the rain many have been longing for.

They celebrate it with a festival called Songkran, where people head out to the streets with water guns to spray everyone who walks past.

If you walk on the streets where the festival is celebrated, prepare to get soaked!

Get yourself a water gun from the nearest 7/11 and join in with the play fight – Songkran is also celebrated as the traditional New Year.

Naghol – Vanuatu

Every year villagers come together to celebrate the harvest of yams, an important staple in the people’s diet in Vanuatu – the festival is most famous for its “land diving ceremony”.

During the ceremony men and boys dive to the ground from high rickety wooden towers – with only two thin vines attached to their ankles..!

It gets worse, the divers’ heads have to lightly touch the ground when they jump – something which is very dangerous if the vines aren’t measured properly.

This celebration was really the first “bungee jump” invention, which inspired the New Zealander AJ Hacket to invent a safer and more modern version.

Whether you choose to try this crazy thing out, or opt for the safer option in nearby New Zealand, you would definitely need travel insurance from Debenhams..!

Cherry Blossom Viewing – Japan

The cherry blossom season has a huge importance to the people of Japan, who celebrate the days when the flowers finally blossom, and when they only a few days later fall to the ground, like pink snow flakes.

This is one of the most beautiful things to see, and in Japan literally everyone has picnics in the parks to view the flowers.

Dates: The cherry blossom season varies from year to year depending on the weather forecast, but this year most of the cherry blossom trees will be blooming during the end of March and early April.

Sinhalese New Year - Sri Lanka
Sinhalese New Year – Sri Lanka

Sinhalese New Year – Sri Lanka

This is a festival we didn’t actually know about until we realized that we would actually be traveling in Sri Lanka during this festival.

Just like in many other countries in South and South East Asia, this is the time when the Sinhalese celebrate the traditional New Year (the Tamil people celebrate the similar Tamil New Year during the same time), an ancient celebration which marks the end of the harvest season and is one of two times of the year when the sun is straight above Sri Lanka.

There is a lot of focus around food during this celebration, and families practice a variety of rituals in exact timings of which are determined by astrological calculations – from lighting the fire to making the milk rice to entering into the first business transaction and eating the first morsels.

It seems like it’s a very family oriented festival, but we’ll keep you updated and share more about it once we’ve been there and experienced it, and if you have been there during this time we’d love to get some tips!

What are your favorite spring festivals and events?

Foodie Traveller
Foodie Traveller

The foodie traveler

The foodie traveler sees a country through its food – the traditions, rituals and ingredients that make a region unique.

If this sounds like you, let your stomach do the walking to the top five countries for the foodie traveller.

Foodie traveler to China

For the budget conscious foodie, there’s no better destination than China.

Step out of the taxi when you arrive in Shanghai and head straight to Nanjing Soup Dumplings for an out of body experience as you sink your teeth into the delicate wrapper of a xiaolongbao and savoir the rich pork soup with pork mince therein.

To discover the art of properly prepared dim sum, head to Tim Ho Wan in Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong, for dim sum that is not only prepared traditionally and perfectly, but for less than $AUD3 per dish.

Foodie traveler in America

We could mention the burgeoning food truck culture in Portland, Oregon, where you can find everything from boutique Japanese food to Korean/Hawaiian fusion.

We could also tell you about The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen in San Francisco, where the humble grilled cheese sandwich has been elevated to an art form.

Or we could tell you about the markets in New York, where the DIY foodie will find every ingredient necessary to produce a fantastic feast.

We could advise you that the crabmeat salad at Clancy’s in New Orleans will permanently alter the way you think about seafood.

We could go on, but it’s really just better that you go there and find out for yourself.

Foodie traveler to Japan

From the hustle and bustle of Tokyo to the serene countryside, there are foodie experiences to be had all throughout Japan.

Feast on Okonomiyaki in Kyoto, slurp on Ramen in Tokyo, try fork tender Hida beef in Takayama and wrestle slippery soba onto your chopsticks in Okinawa.

Japan is definitely a foodie destination not to be missed.

Foodie traveler to Australia

You don’t even have to grab your passport to discover some of the best foodie experiences in the world.

Be a tourist in your own country and head to Bruny Island in Tasmania for hand crafted cheeses and fresh oysters, or to Sydney for the best Chinese food outside China.

For European delights, look no further than Melbourne, Australia’s melting pot of European countries, with Greek tavernas next door to French bistros and Italian gelaterias.

Foodie traveler to Italy

In Italy, food isn’t fuel – it’s an innate part of Italian culture.

Since there are so many regional specialties to sample, Italy tours are a must for the foodie traveler.

You could start in Tuscany, for some rustic fare characterized by bread, legumes and vegetables.

Or what about Piedmont, where you can marvel at the astounding variety of cheeses on offer while you dip slices of bread into bagna cauda, igniting your senses with the complex flavors of garlic, anchovies, butter and olive oil.

And who could resist Naples, the birthplace of pizza?

These destinations are just begging to be visited so book your trip today and give your tastebuds an adventure they’ll never forget.

(photo credit: 1 – 1 – 2 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 )

5 World’s Most Dangerous (But Awesome) Sport Locations

Updated:

World’s Most Dangerous Sport Locations – Often when traveling, we like to try new sports, like bungee jumping, diving, golf and and other fun things like that.

Well, if you’re looking for an extra challenging place to do it, or are just a bit of a nutcase looking for some fun – you will definitely want to visit these places below…

World’s Most Dangerous Ski Run – Corbet’s  Couloir, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

World's Most Dangerous Ski Run
World’s Most Dangerous (But Awesome) Sport Locations

How would you like to ski down a 60-degree slope?

Even better, a slope which starts off with either a 4 meter jump following a skid to avoid the rocks, or a 6 meter jump without rocks at the bottom?

Whichever of the two you choose, be prepared to be scared and avoid falling because you risk sliding the whole way to the bottom with no way of stopping.

World’s Most Dangerous Tennis Court – Burj Al Arab, Dubai.

The worlds highest tennis court is situated 1000 feet above the ocean standing atop the fourth highest hotel in the world – Burj al Arab in Dubai.

The tennis court is circular in shape and when no session is at play, it doubles as a helipad.

The photo on the right was from when the two famous tennis players Andre Agassi and Roger Federer played earlier this year – I wonder what happened to the balls that fell off the edge?

World’s Most Dangerous Golf Course – Camp Bonifas, South Korea

World's Most Dangerous Golf Course - Camp Bonifas, South Korea
World’s Most Dangerous Golf Course – Camp Bonifas, South Korea

You would think that golf isn’t a very dangerous sport, and if you go to the Scottsdale golf course or those amazing Hawaii golf courses then that is probably true, which is why this golf course might blow your mind – well, hopefully that is the only thing it will blow, but it could literally blow you in pieces.

I’m talking about the most dangerous golf course in the world – Camp Bonifas in South Korea right on the border to North Korea.

When they built the course they realized that they wouldn’t be able to fit 18 holes in the camp, so instead they decided to compensate by making it really difficult – which resulted in a 1-hole golf course surrounded by LIVE minefields on three sides.

World’s Most Dangerous Dive Spot – Blue Hole, Egypt

World's Most Dangerous Dive Spot - Blue Hole, Egypt
World’s Most Dangerous Dive Spot – Blue Hole, Egypt

The Blue Hole is a submarine sinkhole (a kind of cave) at a depth of 130 meters.

It is known as the most dangerous diving spot because of the large number of deaths that have occurred from people diving in the hole.

Many inexperienced or overconfident divers sometimes have trouble finding the tunnel connecting the Blue Hole and open water and end up descending too deep…!

World’s Most Dangerous Cliff Diving Spot – Ponte Brolla, Switzerland

The Swiss seem to love every crazy adrenaline sport there is, and they have the natural resources for it – Ponte Brolla is renown as one of the most famous, extreme and dangerous cliff diving, or ”tombstoning” spots in the world.

Several World High Diving Federation championships have been hosted here, where the divers face a 26 meter (78ft) jump into ice cold water.

This sport might look like a fun and easy thing, but it’s not nicknamed ”tombstoning” for nothing…

Making Your School Sports Tour an Unforgettable One

School sports tours can be really exciting for teams.

However, without the right preparation and organisation, you can find yourself in a spot of misery or discomfort.

It’s important to get your packing right – it can hugely influence how much you enjoy yourself on your trip.

Sports Tour Itinerary

Your parents will want to know where you’ll be and what you’ll be up to.

It’s a good idea to request an itinerary for School Sports Tour from your teachers.

There may be certain activities on the list that you’ll need to bring kit for.

It also gives you a good impression of what you’ll be getting up to and where you can be found on each day that you’re away.

In addition, for extra information, visit Burleigh Travel’s page on school rugby tours – they have a range of great insightful points on this.

Emergency Details

Of course, your tour is likely to go off without a hitch, but just in case it doesn’t, you need a list of emergency numbers to call.

Also, if you’re going overseas, you should make photocopies of all your important documents, such as your passport.

It’s possible to lose really important documents, and when you’re in another country, this can have a devastating impact on your trip, if you haven’t got back-ups.

Sports Tour Entertainment

One of the less pleasant aspects of touring is all that travelling.

Keep yourself occupied by bringing travel games, hand-held consoles, MP3s (you can even upload audio books onto here), and anything else you can get away with!

Be careful though not to take anything that will make you feel travel sick.

Seeing as you’re with your friends, it might be nice to take things that you can share, such as a portable DVD player.

Do Your Research for your

Sports Tour

Always plan ahead for the weather.

You can’t perfectly predict what each day will bring, but make sure you have the right clothes to match the probable weather conditions.

When in doubt, take layers so you can add or take away clothes when needed.

The Essentials

It’s worth writing out a list of everything you need to pack for you journey, so you don’t forget anything important.

Your inventory should include travel-sized toiletries, medication, a reusable water bottle, cash, and your sports kit.

It’s also important to take waterproofs and a towel. If you know you’ll be hitting the beach on your journey, remember to take swimwear.

Oh, and bring plenty of healthy snacks!

Although it may be tempting to buy a massive bag of sweets, you’ll get a massive sugar crash, which will make you feel terrible.

It’s best to keep things delicious but healthy, when you get the munchies!

Charged Up

Before you leave on your School Sports Tour, make sure that all of your electronic devices are fully charged.

You don’t know when you’ll next get an opportunity to put juice on your phone or music player.

And it’s best to keep your phone charged up, just in case your parents want to get in touch with you.

(Photo credit: 1 – 2 – 3)

My Favorite Countries To Visit For Budget Spa Relaxation

Updated:

When I want to treat myself a little extra, I like to visit a spa resort and Visit For Budget Spa- I love the luxury of having a massage, facial or just soaking in a hot bath and letting the water wash away my troubles.

Since spa visits are rather expensive in Europe, I like to take the opportunity to have a few spa days when I travel to cheaper countries.

Here are 3 places I recommend if you want to travel somewhere where they have cheap spas:

Favorite Countries To Visit For Budget Spa

Indonesia (Bali)

Visit For Budget Spa
Visit For Budget Spa

Bali is full of health and spa resorts where you can get all from one day treatments to a whole month intensive detox.

We tried to book a week stay at a detox resort in Amed a few years back but you had to book in advance at that place, so instead we tried out some cheap facial treatments and body massages at different spas in Ubud.

Ubud turned out to be the perfect place to reside for a few days and relax and charge the batteries for a few days before continuing traveling.

The area itself is so beautiful, and the vibe of the place is very calm and relaxed.

New Zealand

Few other countries have such an abundance of hot springs as New Zealand.

No matter if you travel through the North or South island, the hot springs are never far away.

hot springs as New Zealand
hot springs as New Zealand

For those traveling on a budget, New Zealand has some great options to give yourself a bit of luxury.

The reason why I think New Zealand should be on the list is not the luxury, but because you can really get something on every budget.

Everyone can afford treating their skin with healing waters.

There is everything from luxury spas, water theme parks with spa pools, to baths which are something in between where you can either choose to just enjoy the day trying out the different thermal springs with healing properties or buy a package including treatments and meals.

Hanmer Springs is a place like that

I really enjoyed spending a few days there.

There are plenty of pools with different temperatures, it’s usually not very crowded and you can add on other treatments if you like, which are not very expensive.

But the cheapest way to enjoy the healing hot springs is of course for free.

There are both free pools like ”the butcher’s pool” (don’t ask why it’s called that, I have no idea!) near Taupo and also many hidden hot springs all over New Zealand that you can find if you have a car to take you there.

Many locals know about these places, otherwise digging your own Jacuzzi pool at the Hot Beach is a fun option..!

So yeah, New Zealand is full of spas, baths and hot springs – you will be guaranteed to find something for your budget there.

Thailand

In Thailand you can live like a star, and get pure luxury for a very small price compared to Europe and in the West.

While you can get dirt cheap foot and body massages in small parlors on the street there are also many high class quality spas and health resorts where you get amazing treatment by professionals for a quarter of the price at home.

Thailand is also a great example for having a variety of choices.

You can stay for months, weeks, days or just a few hours at a resort and get different treatments, all from the traditional Thai massages to Swedish massage or more experimental treatments.

I liked how easy it was to book a few days at a spa in Thailand – you could always book at the last minute, and there were many last minute spa deals online and pamphlets in the cities advertising great places.

Among all the massages we also did a colon cleanse in Thailand.

It’s really expensive to do in other countries and since it’s not the most enjoyable thing to do you don’t want to spend a huge amount of cash on it, so Thailand was the perfect place to try it, and it was all very professional.

Not Traveling Anytime Soon?

If you can’t leave the country and take cheap spa breaks in any of the places mentioned above, there are still ways to get a cheaper treatment and massage in your hometown.

Look up if there is a massage/beauty school in your area, they will most likely offer treatments for a much cheaper price than in professional parlors.

The great thing about these places is that most often the students who get to practice on real customers are about to graduate from their course and are just as good if not better than professionals.

Luxury Locations You Have to Sample

Luxury Locations ~ The time has come to plan your vacation.

Let this be the year that you pamper yourself in luxury on your vacation. Imagine a luxury cruise or visiting an ancient city.

You could also try renting a villa on the beach, staying in a historic castle, or relaxing under a coconut tree on a pristine beach with an expert masseuse.

Even families with kids take luxurious vacations.

Luxury Locations You Have to Sample Yangtze River
Luxury Locations You Have to Sample Yangtze River

China

Take a historic luxury cruise along the Yangtze River in China.

This river is one of the longest waterways in the world and the travel through the historic Yunnan province is a great way to relax and get away from it all.

Get comfortable on the deck and enjoy the glorious sight of the Three Gorges.

The Three Gorges Dam is the largest hydroelectricity producer in the world and is an engineering marvel.

Visit villages and experience life as a villager in China, try local tea, and explore the many historic sites that this 5000-year-old civilization has to offer.

Luxury holidays in China offer a unique cultural experience.

Finish your day by watching the fabulous sunset with the breathtaking wonder of China’s nature in the background before heading off to a meal of fine dining.

Things To Do In Scotland
Things To Do In Scotland

Imagine staying at an ancient castle in Scotland with full modern amenities.

Live like royalty as you spend your days travelling through the beautiful rolling hills of purple heather and take in the spectacular sites of the natural lochs.

Sample locally made whiskey at one of the many private distilleries and try interesting local cuisine like Haggis.

Israel

Travel in style through wondrous country of Israel, a country that is steeped in rich history, and culture.

With your own guide, the best accommodations and the itinerary of your choosing you can check out the wonders at your leisure.

Visit Jerusalem and be amazed by the rich historical sites and religious areas that this city has to offer including the Old City, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

When on holiday in Israel you should travel to the Dead Sea and float this one of a kind natural wonder.

Make sure you travel to Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean coast and check out everything this amazing city has to offer.

Don’t forget to sample the local delicacies like falafel and delicious almond pastries.

Aegina, Greece
Aegina, Greece

Greece

Travel to the ancient country of Greece.

This country has hundreds of ruins that you can visit including the Parthenon temple, and the Acropolis citadel.

Visit one of the glorious beaches and soak up the Mediterranean sun.

Consider renting a villa on a hillside and enjoy fabulous cuisine and some of the best wine in the world.

Thailand Luxury Locations
Thailand Luxury Locations

Thailand

Relax in style on one of the many pristine beaches that Thailand has to offer.

This country is renowned for its spa services and you relax in luxury in one of the many private spas before heading out for some sun.

Join one of the many beach parties going on at night before heading to our private and tranquil resort for a night of blissful sleep.

Luxury Holiday Destinations and Luxury Hotels

If you’re going on holiday this summer, you should do so in style – here’s a round-up of the top holiday destinations if you’re craving luxury and exclusivity.

Luxury Holiday Destinations Maldives
Luxury Holiday Destinations Maldives

The Maldives

With over a thousand islands dotting the Indian Ocean, there’s no shortage to choose from.

Perhaps because of their exclusivity, the Maldives are a favored destination of celebrities—Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise honeymooned here, and Beyoncé and Jay-Z chartered a yacht to explore the islands.

If like, 99.9% of the population, the notion of crystalline clear waters, charming thatched roofs and a thirty-degree year-round temperature sets the pulse racing, the Maldives are for you.

In the Maldives, the five-star resorts that are car-free and feature seamless transitions for sea to shore, are the icing on the cake.

Sandpiper Bay
Sandpiper Bay

Florida

For tropical gorgeousness and celebrity appeal, Florida is a luxury destination closer to civilization.

Miami has a legendary nightlife frequented by hip-hop moguls, pop stars, and high flyers, and Florida’s stretch of coastline offers numerous opportunities to book a luxury hotel with its own beach.

The idyllic Sandpiper Bay is one of Florida’s more alluring spots.

You can visit Florida with Club an all-inclusive vacation at this exclusive resort.

Ecuador
Ecuador

Ecuador

If you haven’t yet heard, the jungle may beat the beach as the new exotic destination.

While the joys of sandy beach may become monotonous after a few days, the Amazonian jungle is a constant source of wonder.

Ecuador’s small patch of Amazon is the most bio-diverse on the planet, and the opportunities to immerse yourself in wildlife are many.

There are bird-watching ventures, boat excursions down the Amazon and night tours where you can encounter even more species.

Luxury lodges with accompanying spas and all-inclusive packages have developed across Yasuni National Park and the Napo River Valley, so there are plenty of opportunities to arrange a luxury holiday in the jungle.

Amalfi Coast
Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast

A classic destination for ancient Romans and modern movie stars alike, the Amalfi Coast is a continental favorite for those craving stunning settings, famously fantastic food and a location with historical and cultural importance.

The Roman emperor Tiberius built his summer villa at Capri, and Pompeii was known as the playground for wealthy Romans until Vesuvius erupted and buried it in volcanic ash.

In the fifties and sixties, classic movie stars like Sophia Loren and Paul Newman chose Amalfi as their favored holiday spot.

The Amalfi may not look exactly as it did a couple of thousand years ago, but the stunning cliffs, charming towns and Neapolitan cuisine that bring forth its legions of admirers haven’t disappeared.

Between private islands, remote jungle lodges and exclusive beaches, there are plenty of luxurious options for you to choose from.

The hardest part will be making that choice.

Luxury Hotels
Luxury Hotels

If you are looking to book a luxury holiday, it may be worthwhile waiting just a little longer, as the following five luxury hotels are all set to open next year.

Four Seasons Hotel – Manama, Bahrain

Located on an island in the center of Bahrain Bay, upon completion, this 47-story hotel will rise over 200 meters above sea level, dominating the Manama skyline.

The luxury hotel complex will offer 260 guest bedrooms and a ‘Skypod’ restaurant, which will offer un-rivaled views of the city.

Bahrain, situated off the western shores of the Persian Gulf, receives around 8 million tourists every year and has a reputation as one of the region’s most liberal countries.

It also annually plays host to the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix.

The Castle Hotel – Dalian, China

With a wonderfully distinctive castle design, this hotel overlooking Xinghai Bay is sure to be a popular choice for tourists heading to Dalian, China.

The hotel will offer 301 beautifully decorated guest bedrooms, each with amazing views and will host four high-class restaurants and a spa.

Dalian itself is a popular tourist city due to its choice of beaches and its importance in modern history; its ports played a major role in the First Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War.

Mukul Hotel – Guacalito de la Isla, Nicaragua

Named after the Mayan word for ‘secret’, this hotel is situated in a new 1,700-acre private beach community on the Emerald Coast of Nicaragua, in central America.

Scheduled to open in January 2013, this luxury boutique hotel will offer 37 ocean view accommodations, each with a private pool and private staff on hand to attend to your every need.

There are six spas and Guacalito de la Isla also plays host to an 18-hole golf course.

Hotel Sofitel So – Singapore, Singapore

The Sofitel So Singapore, is neo-classical accommodation with 134 guest rooms and more than 20 suites.

The hotel is set to offer a fantastic blend of the latest technology mixed with classic Singaporean style and is situated within walking distance of both the Orchard shopping belt and the Marina Bay area, which hosts the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Singapore is noted for its fine cuisine, which mixes elements of Indian, Chinese and Malay food.

Leonardo Hotel – Berlin, Germany

It is hard not to be impressed by the the amazing glass and metal structure of the Leonardo Hotel.

Designed by Eike Becker, the hotel is situated on the Friedrichstrasse Spree waterside and will offer 311 luxury rooms, a VIP lounge and a Bohemian style interior.

Berlin itself is Germany’s capital city and the third most visited city in the European Union.

Popular tourist attractions include what remains of the Berlin Wall, in Friedrichshain and Museum Island, the site of five internationally significant museums.

These top luxury destinations are sure to please you.

Many families with kids are taking luxury vacations as well.

Top 5 Luxury Hotels In The Seychelles

Perhaps one of the most beautiful places on earth, the Seychelles Archipelago is comprised of 115 stunning islands – home to an array of unique flora and fauna and juxtaposed by the elegant luxury of its hotels, it is a destination not to be missed.

The exclusivity of these properties is mirrored in their high levels of service, with pampering and relaxation never far away – to discover the top 5 most luxurious hotels and resorts  very best the Seychelles has to offer.

Top 5 Luxury Hotels In The Seychelles
Top 5 Luxury Hotels In The Seychelles

(photo credit: mahlatini.com)

Banyan Tree Resort

The gentle sway of nearby palms and the lapping waves of the Indian Ocean set the scene for a very pleasant stay at the Banyan Tree Resort.

A mix of contemporary and colonial design, the high sloping ceilings and airy verandas, awash with a sea breeze, allow for certain relaxation

Maia Luxury Resort & Spa
Maia Luxury Resort & Spa

(photo credit: mahlatini.com)

Maia Luxury Resort & Spa

True indulgence, however, can be found in the luxury spa treatments and yoga sessions of Maia Luxury Resort & Spa.

Located on a small forested peninsular, the resort offers guests the chance to kick back and take it easy with over 300 different species of plant and flower to admire in the 30 acres of gardens the resort offers.

Four Seasons Resort

With the air scented by the smell of cinnamon trees and punctured by the chirps of tropical bird life, enjoying your infinity-edge pool becomes all the sweeter.

There’s one of these pools found in each villa in this hideaway atop a hill, luxury has never been easier.

Fregate Private Island

Possessing an almost otherworldly quality, this private island boasts seven idyllic beaches to enjoy – holding strong eco-policies, Fergate has worked hard to conserve the natural wildlife on and around the island, including the Giant Aldabra Tortoise.

With a Jacuzzi in every villa and large terraces from which to look out from it is also the perfect place for romance.

Fregate Private Island
Fregate Private Island

(photo credit: mahlatini.com)

North Island

Literally fit for a King; North Island was the first choice of future King and Queen of England, Will and Kate, for their honeymoon in May 2011.

North Island is the height of exclusivity in the Seychelles, with intimate and comfortable villas, hand made by local craftsmen – such accommodation affords perfect beachfront views and furthers the evanescence of reality; this is a place you can easily lose yourself.

Unusual Hotels From Around the World

Best Spa Destinations In Europe

People have been indulging in spas, hot pools and healing treatments for a really long time, and today there are more Spas offering treatments inspired from all over the world, than every before.

Europe has some absolutely incredible spas for all types and likes, many offering some tempting spa offers – so what better way to start or finish your holiday than with a relaxing spa experience?

During our travels we have visited many spas in Europe and picked up a few spa vouchers along the way.

Best Spa Destinations In Europe Blue Lagoon Iceland

Here is a sum up of 4 top destinations for spa lovers in Europe:

Iceland

Iceland with its Icecaps and glaciers, volcanoes and waterfalls, geysers and hot pools – is a perfect destination for those wanting both some adventure as well as a relaxing holiday enjoying some of nature’s work: the hot springs.

Iceland is richer in geothermal activity than any other country, and has around 800 hot pools, some even with geysers!

The Blue Lagoon in Grindavik is the most famous one, with its beautiful milky turquoise water – but if you think it’s too crowded, there are many others to choose from!

Hungary

Budapest is often recognized for their many spas and baths in the city, and for a good reason too.

There are both modern bath houses as well as traditional ones to choose from, but for the most unique and traditional experience, the old traditional baths are the best.

Gellert Bath is one of the most popular ones, built in 1912 and 1918 the building is in true Art Nouveau style with a gallery and glass roof.

The 15 million gallons of water which flows into 118 springs daily is known for its medical indication, helping joint illness, asthma, spine problems among others.

Other famous baths are Szechenyi Spa, built in Baroque style, being the largest bath.

There you can be sure to see groups of men sitting in the baths for hours playing chess and women small talking.

Istanbul – Turkey

Istanbul is famous for its Turkish hammam baths, where you can indulge in some traditional treatments like the authentic Turkish massage, steam baths and of course a cup of Turkish tea.

The Cagaloglu hammam is one of the most popular Turkish spas, a classical spa that is almost 270 years old!

Tuscany – Italy

The hot pools in Tuscany have been enjoyed for centuries, and the spas in Tuscany all have a long and fascinating history dating back several hundred years.

Many of the thermal springs, such as Bagni San Filippo were already known and used by Etruscans and the Romans.

Campo Muri is one of many historical spas, which was used in the middle ages, and then rediscovered again in the 19th century.

Giuseppe Garibaldu came here to recover from injuries he got from Aspromonte, which was a good decision as the waters here have healing dermatological capabilities.

There are plenty of more spa destinations in Europe, and in the future we will share some more places worth visiting for a relaxing holiday in Europe…

(photo credit: 11 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 1 – 2)

Bizarre Beaches From Around The World

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Bizarre Beaches From Around The World – If you’ve traveled for a long time to many places with countless paradise beaches you know what I mean, when I say after a while all the beaches start to look and feel the same.

Well, if you want to experience something different from the typical beach, I suggest you check out these bizarre beaches below…

Bizarre Beaches From Around The World

Glass Beach – Fort Bragg, California

Glass Beach – Fort Bragg, California
Glass Beach – Fort Bragg, California

Could you have imagined that a ”town dump” would become one of the world’s most beautiful man-made beaches?

Neither would I, but after various clean-up programs this garbage area has turned in to a beautiful beach, since the waves have done a fantastic job wearing down and smoothing the glass bits into tiny smooth pebbles.

Today the glass pebbles cover the whole beach – bizarre, but beautiful.

Another proof of how nature can turn the ugliest things around into something good.

Punaluu Black Sand Beach – Big Island, Hawaii

Punaluu Black Sand Beach – Big Island, Hawaii
Punaluu Black Sand Beach – Big Island, Hawaii

While black sand beaches exist in many places around the world, the photos I’ve seen of those in Hawaii are simply some of the darkest shades of black I’ve seen.

Together with the green jungle, cold blue water and white surf – this volcanic beach just stands out of the crowd, and it’s also a great place to watch the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles.

Hot Water Beach – New Zealand

This is the only one on the list that I have actually been to, and let me tell you – it’s a really cool experience!

We got the tip from a family we met in New Zealand who had arranged one of those New Zealand holiday packages, and decided to check it out ourselves.

The sand is boiling – literally…

Early in the morning, when the tide is low, the sand in the beach is burning hot in some places from hot water coming from a volcanic underground reservoir..

Hot Water Beach – New Zealand
Hot Water Beach – New Zealand

The hot water (which contains a huge amount of salt) is easily found when you dig in the sand and make little ponds to hang out in.

In some places the sand is so hot it burns when you step on it, but in other places you could dig out your own spa bath and warm up as the sun rises over the ocean.

Ocean Dome – Miyazaki, Japan

Imagine a perfectly white beach where the sun always shines, the weather and water is always warm and the surf is perfect.

Bizarre Beaches From Around The World Ocean Dome - Miyazaki, Japan
Ocean Dome – Miyazaki, Japan

Is there such a place in Japan? Well, now there is…

If this massive (actually, the world’s largest) 300 meter long and 100 meter wide indoor pool wasn’t bizarre enough, there is a fake volcano ”erupting” every hour, after which waves are created which you can surf on.

Another thing advertised with this place is that you avoid swimming in polluted water, which makes you think:

– is this really the best way to fix the problem with polluted waters? To just built an artificial beach, and let the water stay polluted?

Chilling out at this crushed white marble sand beach would be a pretty crazy day out, and perhaps will make you think about what the future holds.

Green Sand Beach – South Point, Big Island, Hawaii

The fact that two of the most bizarre and awesome beaches I’ve heard of are in Hawaii is good enough reason for me (and you) to buy a ticket there right away.

Green Sand Beach – South Point, Big Island, Hawaii
Green Sand Beach – South Point, Big Island, Hawaii

This beach has GREEN sand!

The reason for the green color are the crystals of Olivine in the sand, minerals locally known as ”Hawaiian Diamond”.

Rumors say that some people have found Olivine crystals big enough to sell as gems on this beach.

The crystals come from the eroding headland, and sadly, eventually the supply will run out and the beach will look like any other…

Which of these beaches have you been to?

Also if you know of any other bizarre beaches around the world – please share!

Best of Cuba Beaches

Rum, Fidel Castro, the Cha-Cha-Cha dance and the birthplace of Salsa – Cuba is famous for many things, and every year over 2 million travelers visit the country to explore its many treasures.

From the historical streets of Havana and world heritage sites to a vibrant music scene there is a lot to experience in Cuba, but few things beat the beautiful beaches, historic cars and fragrant Cuban cigars.

Incredible Cuba Beaches

With its crystal clear, turquoise water and white sandy beaches, Cuba has some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean islands.

Best of Cuba
Best of Cuba

There are different beaches for different tastes, from the more developed Varadero to less developed beaches like Playa Paraíso and Playa Sirena where you can’t find much else than a simple beach side restaurant.

Cayo Sabinal is a beautiful secluded beach protected by coral reefs, and a great place to spend some time in if you’re interested in eco tourism.

If you’re interested in more developed beaches Varadero is the most popular beach-resort destination for Cuba all inclusive holidays, but Guaralavaca (another popular destination) is prettier, less busy and no way near as massively commercialized.

Historic Cars Cuba
Historic Cars Cuba

Historic Cars

In Cuba you will see the coolest 1950’s cars everywhere, some in brand-new condition, others on the verge of collapse.

The funky retro Fords, Pontiac’s and Buick’s cars parked next to bright colorful buildings make for some amazing photo opportunities – however this might not last much longer.

The reason why there are so many cars from the 1950’s is because for almost half a century there was a law prohibiting Cubans to freely sell and buy any cars made after Fidel Castro’s 1959 Revolution.

The only cars they were allowed to freely buy and sell were cars that were on the road before 1959, but since year 2011, this 50-year ban is now dropped – this is great for the citizens, but who knows how many of these awesome cars will still be on the road in a few years?

Cuban Cigars
Cuban Cigars

Cuban Cigars

The one thing that Cuba is perhaps most famous for are its cigars – and unless people stop smoking cigars altogether, they will remain synonymous with Cuba.

Pinar del Rio is the capital of the cigar industry, but the best place to actually spend time in is the little city of Vinales and the surrounding valley, a 20 minute bus ride away.

It’s considered to have the richest soil for growing tobacco in the world, and some of the most respected farms are located in the valley – huge uniquely shaped limestone hills and caves are scattered over the valley between large fruit and tobacco fields.

Horses are as much a part of Cuba as tobacco is, and the best way to get around the valley is on horseback ride along the tobacco field paths.

The Colors of Cuba
The Colors of Cuba

Cuba:

land of rum, fat cigars, vintage cars and Latin music – if you want to experience a completely unique culture with a raw yet delicious flavor, there is no better place to go than this sun drenched Caribbean island where wit, storytelling and skill seem infinitely more valuable than wealth.

Holidays to Cuba give you an action-packed itinerary and the opportunity to see all of the country’s highlights.

If you’re unsure about going it alone and would like some help from local experts, a multi-destination holiday like this could be the perfect option.

Havana

Cuba’s vibrant capital gives the impression of a place where time has settled down to retire, causing everything to slow down.

It’s no wonder, then, that visitors get the feeling of having been transported back to a bygone era.

Soft guitar music drifts through open doorways in the old town, classic fifties cars fill the streets, and faded colonial architecture stands proud. Havana

Hemmingway

One of Havana’s most famous residents was American writer Ernest Hemmingway, and visitors to the city won’t go long without discovering some reference to him.

For the ultimate Hemingway experience visit the Floridita bar in Havana where he whiled away the house sipping on mojitos.

It was during his residence that he wrote some of his most famous works including The Old Man and the Sea, and you can find traces of Cuba in much of his writing.

To learn more about Hemmingway’s life visit his former home, Finca Vigia, which has been preserved as a fascinating museum.

Rum and Cigars

Cuba’s most celebrated exports can be enjoyed and explored throughout the island.

For an insight into the cigar making process visit Partagas Cigar Factory where you can take a tour and watch the experienced staff drying, rolling and boxing cigars as the rich smell of tobacco fills the air.

You can, of course, purchase your own and sample the goods with the accompaniment of a quality measure of rum.

Continue your education by taking a look at the rum making process on a visit to a factory in the Pinar del Rio province.

The whole area is a joy to explore with natural pools for swimming, coffee plantations and verdant valleys.

Cienfuegos

This enchanting city known as ‘The Pearl of the South’ is like something from an old fable. Pastel colored palaces and mansions stand between swaying palm trees before the turquoise lure of the Caribbean Sea.

Of course there are the unavoidable signs of development and industry, but on a boat tour around the Bahia de Cienfuegos the hustle and bustle of modern day living can seem a world away.

The city, like Havana, has earned UNESCO world heritage status – it is no wonder that so many, like Hemmingway, fall in love with this charming island and its unique ambiance, causing them to return time and again.

World Class Beach Destinations

Whether you’re someone who loves dedicating entire holidays to lounging around on the sand or you simply enjoy taking the odd stroll along the coast, I think it’s pretty safe to say that when it comes to holidays, decent beaches are something the vast majority of us look for. 

So, I’ve decided to spend this post talking about what I think are the world’s very best beach destinations.

Fingers crossed this list will give you a few ideas for booking your next break…

Phi Phi Islands (Thailand)

I don’t know about you, but whenever I think of idyllic beaches, I imagine aquamarine water, soft white sand and streaming sunshine – so exactly the kind of beaches found on the Phi Phi Islands in Thailand.

Part of the Krabi Province, these isles are most famous for their starring role in the film adaptation of Alex Garland’s stunning novel, The Beach.

It’s well worth visiting the particular island featured in the movie – especially if you have the image of that secluded beach lodged firmly in your mind – which is Phi Phi Ley.

Maya Bay is the iconic stretch of sand from the film and is famous for being unbelievably scenic and surrounded by colossal limestone cliffs.

Whether you’re planning to make a beeline for Maya Bay or you’re happy to soak up the sun on any of Koh Phi Phi’s beaches, the best time to come here is between November and April, since during this period, there tends to be less rain

Menorca (Balearic Islands, Spain)

Next on my list is Menorca, which is one of the Balearic Islands.

A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, this island is celebrated for its incredible coastline and lush inland areas, which make it a real joy to explore.

Of course, you’re bound to be more interested in its beaches, so I’ll focus on those!

There are more than 100 beaches to choose from in Menorca, which is one of the reasons I think this is such a great destination for a seaside holiday (by the way, you can book hotels near the water through companies like Sovereign Holidays).

But sheer volume of bays doesn’t cut it – it is the quality of the beaches here that really makes this location stand out from the crowd.

Not only do they all share glorious crystal-clear water, but there is also plenty of variety in terms of the type of beaches on offer – including tiny secluded coves and broad sandy stretches.

Among the best is the shell-shaped Cala Galdana, which has golden sand and wonderfully calm waters.

Playa de Binigaus in Migjorn Gran, meanwhile, has white sand and is surrounded by lush vegetation.

As a quick warning, the latter is a favorite among nudists, so if you come here be prepared to see some skin!

Skiathos (Greece)

Last up we have Skiathos, which is one of the Sporades Islands. While Greece as a whole enjoys a great reputation for its beaches, Skiathos is often said to possess the very best in the country.

There are around 60 beaches to choose from on this cosmopolitan island, but wherever you go you can expect a combination of white sand and beautifully clear water.

Among the top places to head to is Koukounaries Beach on the south-west of the isle, which is known for the lush pine forest that reaches up to the water.

If you’re happy to make a little effort to get to your World Class Beach Destinations, meanwhile, Lalaria is a real highlight.

You can only get here via boat from the port in Skiathos (and that’s reliant on the weather), but the trip is well worth it.

You see, Lalaria has unusual white rock formations that make it an especially scenic and charming destination, not to mention a particularly memorable place to relax.

(photo credit: 1 – 2 – 3 – 1 – 2 – 5

Top 5 Places To Live Around The World

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Places To Live Around The World – Whenever I visit a place there is always that little list in the back of my mind ranking the place on a scale from 1 to 10 on how good I think it is, for example: food, fun things to do, friendly people, vibe, nature, nightlife, shopping etc.

After ranking all of these, the final question comes – which I’m sure you all have in the back of your minds as well: Could I imagine living here?

Few places have made it all the way to this final question, but those which have truly are amazing.

During the Europe Train Challenge we also had a small “secret” mission: trying to find a place where we could settle down for a few months after the challenge.

We found many places in Europe we would like to return to and see more of, but we’ll leave those for the future when we know more about them.

Top 5 cities to live around the world

Innsbruck, Austria

Top 5 cities to live around the world
Top 5 cities to live around the world

We absolutely loved living in Switzerland for 5 months a few years back, but it was just so expensive.

Austria, the neighboring country, has the beauty of Switzerland, access to budget airports, fast trains connecting with the whole Europe, it’s cheaper than Switzerland and they speak German – a language we both want to learn fluently.

You can also ski all year round in a few places, enjoy the beautiful nature all year round, and Innsbruck still has good night life and is quite buzzling, but far from a big-city atmosphere.

Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand

The adventure capital of the world, if you want a crazy and fun experience – this is the place to be! Bungee jumping, river rafting, sky diving, water rock climbing etc.

There are few adventurous things you can’t do here, and the rest can be found in other parts of New Zealand.

As Queenstown is Nathan’s hometown, it’s always a favorite place of his, as he knows many of the hidden gems around there.

London, England

While I don’t think I could live there for too long, as I’m more a nature-person than a city-person, settling for a while in London is something I would love to try out.

London, England
London, England

I love the action in big cities, the fact that there is always something to see and do, and there are always new things going on.

In London I believe it’s hard to get bored with the many concerts, events, clubs and cafes, shops etc.

Plus, London is the best place to live in Europe if you want great flight deals, it’s like the gate to visiting the rest of the world, when it comes to flying.

Chiang Mai, Thailand 

There is a reason why so many travel bloggers settle in Chiang Mai;

It has a great climate (not too hot not too cold), it has cheap accommodation, some of the best food in Thailand (and so cheap!), adventure sports which we love, and friendly people.

Chiang Mai, Thailand 
Chiang Mai, Thailand

The one thing it doesn’t have is a beach and some surfing, but you can easily take a budget airline to our second favorite Thailand place, Koh Lanta, or to some surf spots in Bali and Philippines via Bangkok – piece of cake 😉

Sydney, Australia

Sydney is close to the dream life for sun and fun.

Although many think Melbourne is a good rival and has better coffee, food and cultural things, I would prefer Sydney because of the relaxed atmosphere and closeness to beaches.

You can also just take a weekend trip to Melbourne, stay in one of the Melbourne hotels and enjoy the cultural life for a few days before heading back to Sydney again.

Sydney, Australia
Sydney, Australia

When we where there we stayed in one of the Sydney hotels close to the water, I truly fell in love with the laid back lifestyle.

Surfing in the morning before work, taking each day as it came, the people acted far from the typical “cosmopolitan-stressed-suit-people” but the city still had shopping, fun things to do and great nightlife.

Popular Countries To Live Abroad

Today the world is so much more accessible than ever before and you will find an increasing number of people seizing the opportunity to move abroad and discover a new lifestyle – here are some popular Countries To Live Abroad…

Australia

Countries To Live Abroad Australia
Countries To Live Abroad Australia

From surf and sun to exotic wildlife and amazing nature, the reasons why so many people dream of moving to Australia are many.

But the reason that makes you want to stay, is the relaxed vibe and atmosphere of the people.

Even Sydney, which is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the country, has a laid back vibe and the people are extremely friendly and open minded.

You have the exotic nature with western culture and English language, making it an easy place to move to – while New Zealand also is an attractive place to move to, the salaries are significantly higher in Australia.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica
Costa Rica

The crystal clear waters with amazing diving, the vibrant people, some of the most ideal climates in the world, and the cheaper costs of living makes Costa Rica one of the most popular places to move to, especially for Americans.

The country is known for its high quality of living (Costa Ricans have one of the highest life spans in the world), and if you’re looking for an easy life and a simpler lifestyle, Costa Rica is it.

With stunning beaches, great surfing, and exciting nature, there is plenty to explore in this little country.

Colombia is also becoming more and more popular, but Costa Rica is still in the lead.

Singapore 

Singapore 
Singapore

Singapore is a fascinating place, and I was surprised to see just how mixed the population was.

Singapore is truly a melting pot of people from different ethnics, cultures and religions from all over the world, living in harmony together.

With places like Chinatown and Little India, you can step into a “different world” every day, and as English is the official business language in Singapore many people are completely fluent which makes it very easy as a foreigner.

Singapore is also one of the safest countries in the world, and everywhere you go the streets are immaculately clean.

But all of this has a price, and it is a high one – if you get a job in Singapore, you will most definitely be able to pay the bills, and there are plenty of jobs to find in Singapore – in fact they have an extremely low unemployment rate – if you need affordable hotels in Singapore to stay while you look for a permanent place.

Spain

Spain
Spain

Spain has long been a favorite country for northern Europeans to relocate to, and while the economic crisis surely has affected the number of people moving there at the moment, there are a lot of Brits, Germans and Scandinavians who have been living there for decades, madly in love ever since they went on their first Costa del Sol holidays.

I would say that it’s not a wise decision to move there if you need to find a job (they’re hard to find and the wages are low), but if you’re a freelancer and can work anywhere you like, or retired.

Spain still has the sun and Sangrias, and those two reasons alone are often enough for a lot of people to pack their bags and find a home.

Thailand

Thailand
Thailand

Life in Thailand is easy – it’s comfortable, cheap and very well connected  both internationally as well as within the country, to make traveling easy.

Whether you want to find an apartment for a month or a year, it’s really easy to do in Thailand, without binding yourself too much.

Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Krabi province are popular places to settle down in Thailand – and they all have their perks.

Thailand is a beautiful country with exotic flora and fauna, beaches in the south and hill tribes in the north.

Before you move

Before selling your house, packing your bags and chase your dream in foreign lands and find your Countries To Live Abroad, go there for a shorter trip first to see how you like it.

Visit the country and stay there for a couple of months preferably, to really get an idea of what life is like there.

(photo credits: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – cheetah100 –  Berto Garcia – avlxyz – Fred Hsu)