An Introduction To Tuscany Italy

tuscany-italy

Tuscany, Italy is the place that movies are filmed and fantasies run wild. Perhaps it is the cities of Florence, Pisa, or Livorno that invoke feelings of culture, art, or arouse the senses to the smells and taste of the Chianti region. The fact is that Tuscany is home to some of the most famous tourist destinations in Italy. It is here that budding artists come to learn from the masters. It is here that the world of fashion takes it cues. And it is in Tuscany that romantics rekindle the flame and celebrate their love.

The Cities of Tuscany

Florence is perhaps one of the most famous cities in the area known as Tuscany. The Uffizi museum after all is home to such masterpieces as “The Birth of Venus.” Originally built to house the Tuscan administrative offices, the top floor now houses masterpieces by Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Caravaggio. Each visitor to Florence must also stop in and gaze at Michelangelo’s “David,” on display at the oldest art academy, the Galleria dell’Accademia. The Ponte Vecchio is a landmark that literally translated means “old bridge.” It was built in the 1300s and has withstood floods and wars in order to continue to hawk some of the world’s most wonderful 18 and 24k gold products and leather goods.

Chianti is known for its wines which are famous around the world. Tourists to Tuscany can enjoy the world’s finest wines while enjoying the picturesque countryside.

Siena, also located in the Chianti region houses a gothic cathedral and paintings by medieval masters, Duccio and Simone Martini. The Renaissance and Etruscan history are evident in each landmark of the region.

Piza is best known for the Leaning Tower whose construction began in the 12th century, but starting sinking into the ground after only 3 stories were completed. It stood this way for 90 years and was finally completed by the son of Andreo Pisano, Tommano Simone and Giovanni de Simone almost 200 years after it was started.

Hillsides and Waysides

Part of the beauty and mystique of Tuscany is its countryside. The rolling hills that slope down to the coast are dotted with vineyards and villas. There are working farms and vacation villas suitable for the most adventurous tourists or those who demand first class accommodations. Tuscany car rentals allow tourists to explore each tiny village at their own pace and on their own schedule.

The Heart of Commerce

Emerging as a real business centre, Tuscany is home to thriving businesses in the furniture, leather, fashion, and manufacturing industries. These businesses keep the region in the 21st century while the people and culture keep one foot in the past.

If romance, tradition and culture are your idea of an ideal vacation, then Tuscany is for you. On the other hand if shopping and the face pace of a thriving city are your style then you will also find it in the Tuscany region of Italy.

Cheapest Way To Travel To Malaga

Background-Explora-Malaga-ayuntamiento

Malaga is located along the southern coastline of Spain in the Costa del Sol region. It is a port city on the Mediterranean Sea and is included as part of Andalusia, one of Spain’s seventeen autonomous communities. The Malaga airport is the most commonly used airport for those traveling to the Costa del Sol area with its annual passenger count as thirteen million. The number of people using the airport continues to grow and, consequently, a third terminal is anticipated to open in 2008. Airlines at the Malaga airport offer a variety of flights to and from destinations across the world, with connections to airports in over sixty foreign countries and throughout Spain.

Several larger discount airlines offer lower-priced flights to Malaga. Finding cheap flights to Malaga should not be difficult. You can contact the airline directly for flight information if you know which airline you wish to use. You can also use the services of a travel agency or search and make a reservation online. You will find that there are no direct flights with discount carriers from North America to Spain. There will be at least one connection or layover, oftentimes in the United Kingdom or Ireland, and possibly another stop in Spain before reaching Malaga.

Discount fares often come with less convenience, as the discount airlines offer few services to make up for the cost of the discount fare. You may want to opt for a larger, non-discount airline if you do not want any inconvenience, but if you do choose a discount fare and experience some inconvenience remind yourself of the money saved. One difference in flying with a discount airline is that they often restrict the number of bags allowed. Though most airlines have some policy on the number of bags you can carry on or check-in, discount carriers may have a more stringent policy on baggage. Be sure to confirm the airline’s baggage policy and find out how many bags you are allowed. Otherwise, you may find that you are required to pay a fee for the additional baggage which is sometimes more expensive with discount airlines. Another difference is that you will have at least one layover, or maybe more, depending on the carrier, the departure location or that particular flight package. Sometimes, more stops during a flight results in a better deal. Finally, when flying with cheaper airlines, you will have to retrieve you bags at each stop and check them in again for each part of the flight. You cannot simply check in your bags initially and get them when you arrive in Malaga. You must wait in line at each airport and go through the baggage process each time.

Tips For A Successful Italy Vacation

tips-for-a-successful-italy-vacation

Travelling to Italy is a dream by many. If this is your dream too and you’re now ready to make it reality, then here are some handy tips that you might want to try out to help make your dream a successful reality.

Learn!

As the famous saying goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” It’s quite a cliché if you think about it, but just like in travelling to any other country, you should learn about the country’s culture before you go there. You should research first about Italy’s customs, traditions and other vital data.

Advance Planning

Planning in advance is always the right thing to do with any kind of excursion. Take into consideration some vital factors. For instance, are you in need of some kind of medication? If yes, then you should always have your medication around with you. Thus, appropriate documentation would be needed to prove so, in order for you to bring it. Even though there’s a chance that you can get the same medication in Italy, there is also a chance that you may not. Thus, playing safe would be better than risking it at all.

Additionally, you should think about whether you want to drive around the city or not. You should find out if you’ll be allowed to drive around Italy with just your regular license, or if you’d have to go get an “international driving license’ in able for you to drive.  Also, if you’re not that familiar with what international road signs look like, then you should do your research and familiarize yourself!

If you’ll be driving, it would be best to do and advance check on your route. In that way you have less chances of getting loss and you can have at least some knowledge on where you’ll be going before you even get there. You should also research and know the road rules in Italy, so that you won’t get into any trouble or commit violations when driving.

Know The Spots

Before going out your hotel room, it would also be best to create a list of all the scenic spots and things that you would want to see. Try researching them first before heading out. This is so that you won’t waste your time, since some museums, events or exhibits are quite time sensitive, which is why you’d definitely want to be sure that you’re visiting on the right timing to see all that you want to see.

Nowadays, almost all museums and art galleries have a Web page. It’s pretty easy to surf the Internet and check their sites so that you would know their opening and closing times.

Get Connected

If you’re someone who needs to have his or her cell phone all the time, there’s a way in which you can make it work in Italy. You can get a specialized card that can make your phone capable in receiving signal while in Italy. You can ask your service provider regarding that matter.

Additionally, if you’ll be bringing your laptop computer, you should be sure that you have your transformers with you and some converters, just in case the voltages in the plugs are different from the ones that are conventionally used in your country. Also, do not forget to bring any documentation that may be needed.

Museums In France

Louvre Museum

France offers many types of museums about any subject imaginable. The French love to visit them during the weekends. This means that there are crowds and long lines to deal with. When making your travel plans, it is best to go to the museums during the weekdays. If you are visiting Paris, you can avoid lines by purchasing a carte muse, which is a Museums and Monuments card that lets you have unlimited visits and top access to over 65 locations in the city.

Paris is home to the most visited and famous museum in the entire world, the Louvre. The main entrance of the museum is occupied by the Louvre Pyramid. Inside the art museum holds some of the most famous art pieces such as Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Madonna at the Rocks, and Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People. You will be able to find different departments that hold many pieces. Some of these departments include Egyptian Antiquities, Sculptures, and Paintings. This is a must-see museum if you admire art!

Another museum that is located in Paris is the Museum of Music. The museum holds one of the largest collections of musical instruments in the world. It is dedicated to musical heritage from the 17th century to the present. The museum also covers all types of music. The museum holds concerts, so if you visit, you may be able to see a French musician. This museum is not only for adults, many children enjoy it too.

The town of Bayeux is where you will find the Musée Memorial de la Bataille de Normandie. It is dedicated to the Battle of Normandy which took place June 6th, to August 22nd, 1944. The museum is centered on the military and the human effects of during this time. There are tanks displayed outside the museum for visitors to see. The museum itself is designed to be like the inside of a bunker and features wax soldiers dressed in the attire. This would be an interesting stop to learn about history.

If you are visiting in the town of Plougastel, why not take a tour of the Strawberry Museum. This museum showcases different aspects of the Finistere region of France, which is located at the very tip of French Brittany. You may be wondering why the museum has to do with strawberries. When strawberries were first brought to France from South America, they were cultivated in this area.

In the city of Mulhouse you will find many museums to choose from. One that stands out amongst the others is the National Automobile Museum – Schlumpf collection. The museum has over 600 cars in its collection made by over 90 different manufactures. This would be a great stop by any car lover!

No matter where you travel in France you will be able to find a museum. Many of the museums involve art, which is very important to the French. You will be able to find a museum for just about anything you can think of. With so many museums to choose from, it is probably going to take a few days to see everything you want.

About Paphos : Cyprus’s Favorite Town

paphos

When you think of Cyprus, usually one of the first places that pops into your head is Paphos. It is by far Cyprus’s most popular tourist destination and looking back on its history it is not hard to see why. This article is about Paphos and in particular the culture and history surrounding Paphos.

One of the main reasons Paphos is so popular is because it was once home to the mythical Goddess Aphrodite. When the Goddess mystically appeared out of the sea it obviously caused a lot of interest and thousands of tourists started flocking to the island. It became the Capital of Cyprus but today it is better known as a small harbour town.

Why Visit Paphos Today?

These days nobody really knows if the myth regarding the Goddess Aphrodite are actually true, but because of what she actually represented, some people still like to visit the area. This is especially true with couples as Aphrodite was the Goddess of love and it is thought if you get married in Paphos then you will have a long and happy marriage.

However, the goddess of love is not the only reason why people love to visit the town. There is quite a lot to experience in Paphos including:

– Mosaics
– Churches
– Monastery’s
– Tombs
– Baths

It is by far one of the most cultural towns within Cyprus and if you are looking to explore a little history of Cyprus then it is definitely the place for you. The Mosaics of Paphos are said to depict images of Greek mythology. They can be found in noblemen’s villas on the floors and they are the finest mosaics within the Eastern Mediterranean. They are certainly worth a look if you are in the area and they are roughly from the 3rd-5th AD.

There are also a number of churches situated within the town and they each offer something slightly different. The Theoskepasti Church is a particularly interesting one as its name means “Veiled by God”. It has been given that name as according to local tradition, there was a fog which was sent by God which was sent to protect the church from Arab raids. The church has since been redeveloped and it was rebuilt in 1923. Another interesting church is the Ayia Paraskevi Church. It comes from the Byzantine period and it boasts some beautiful mural paintings.

The Baths of Aphrodite are also extremely beautiful. They are said to be where the Goddess Aphrodite used to take her beauty baths and they are shaded by a picturesque fig tree. There are nature trails that are run in the area so if you are a lover of nature then it would definitely be worth taking part in them.

Overall Paphos town is so much more than a small harbour town to many. It boasts some fantastic scenery and it also has plenty of culture too. It’s definitely worth taking time to learn more about Paphos before you visit Cyprus in order to make your stay more enjoyable.

A Travel Guide To Paris France

From the top of Notre Dame, the old stone gargoyles patiently watch over the city of Paris.

Paris is France’s capital city and is located in the north of the country on the River Seine.  The city is known for its romantic charm and atmosphere with gorgeous outdoor cafés, the scent of freshly baked croissants filling the area and stunning residents that are clothed in the most stylish fashions.  Paris has a great history that is felt when within the city.  The city also possesses amazing architecture, style and atmosphere that make being there a pleasurable experience.

Travelling There
Paris has a couple of airports that make flying there an easy option.  It is also linked with excellent road and rail services.  Euroline buses run constantly to and from the city in all directions.  Ferries cross over from the UK to nearby ports for those who are looking to take there own car.

Accommodation
As Paris is such a large and popular city there is every type of accommodation available to suit all budgets.  The only problem with accommodation is that you must book well in advance as the city gets busy with visitors, especially during fashion shows.

Eating & drinking
All of France is renowned for its cuisine and wines.  Paris is one of the best places in the country to go out to restaurants.  Parisians take their food seriously and tend to eat two sit-down meals a day.  Restaurants, cafés and bars are found just about everywhere in Paris so you will always find something for your taste.

History
The city of Paris dates back to more than 2,000 years ago when it was first built.  It developed into a metropolis after it was overruled by Julius Caesar in 52 BC.  The city is linked to the French Revolution that saw the killing of thousands of people.  Although Paris has a somewhat violent history, these days the city is a charming place to visit where many people fall in love in its wonderful atmosphere.

Sights and Must Sees
Paris is known for its magnificent architecture layout.  If th interests you be sure to visit Sacré Coeur Basilica.  It is located on the butte of Montmartre and provides wonderful views of the city.  Also visit the Arch de Triomphe and the cathedrals of Notre Dame and Saint Denis as these are also very impressive to look at.

The city has many art features that are worth a visit if that is your interest.  There is also plenty to do in the ways of excursions within and away from the city as well as a relaxing cruise up the River Seine.

Shops
Paris is quite possibly the best place in the World to shop for top quality fashion.  The Champs Elysee is the main shopping area.  It has huge shopping malls, perfumeries and entertainment venues.  It is possible to find almost any designer brand in Paris.  The city has a number of flea markets that offer a nice alternative to the main high street shops.

 

Bucovina – A Travel Guide To Romania’s Region Of Painted Monasteries

bucovina

Bucovina is a region of monasteries, unique in the world for their colorful exterior frescoes. Equally well worth the visit are the villages, still leading the traditional way of life, and the stunning landscapes.

The name Bucovina may not mean much to many people, but Bucovina, and its brave princes, played an important part in the history of the Balkans during the XV and XVI centuries, and in particular with regard to relations with the Ottoman Empire. The impressive number of churches to be found there, with their fine exterior and interior frescoes, have been preserved and handed down from mediaeval times, and because of their uniqueness and artistic value, were added to UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage List in 1993. There is, indeed, no other place in the world where such a group of churches, with such high quality exterior frescoes, are to be seen.

The churches were founded, in most cases, as family burial places of princes and high nobles. Each painter, although following the canonical iconographic programme, interpreted the scenes in a slightly different way. The scenes were first painted on the interior walls, and then extended to the exterior ones. The reasons for such vast scenes were both religious and didactic: to promote Orthodoxy and to educate the illiterate.

Tourist information in Romania: The notion of “tourist information office” disappeared after the 1989 revolution because all the local tourist offices were abolished. The travel agencies created by the private sector took over the role of the tourist information offices. They can provide you with the information and services for organizing tours in Bucovina. Because Romanians themselves increasingly prefer to travel outside Romania, the travel agencies are more specialized in organizing international travel. Local tours have been neglected for many years but are now flourishing again.

The private sector is now the most advanced, and appreciated both inside and outside the country for the western level of comfort and services.

Tourist information can also be found in the annual publication of the Romanian Yellow Pages. All bookshops sell travel guides, but it is not so easy to find travel guides of Bucovina in the main towns. An exception could be the newspaper stores.

Our travel guide: Bucovina – A Travel Guide to Romania’s Region of Painted Monasteries is an excellent full-color book on a wide variety of cultural heritage subjects from mural paintings and archaeology to architecture and local traditions. It also gives practical information and tips on travel to and in Romania, what to see, where to stay, what to buy and to eat, to get the most of Bucovina.

We hope that you will enjoy your travel to Bucovina!

A Travel Guide For Cologne Germany

cologne

Cologne is the four most populated cities in Germany. These days the city is a beautiful cultured destination with great leisure facilities, pubs and shops. However, during WWII, Cologne was heavily bombed and damaged. After years of restoration work it has been rebuilt to portray the wonderful historic Roman city it use to be.

Travelling to Cologne
Flying is the recommended choice of transport as the city has Köln/Bonn Konrad Adenauer Airport located 10km from the centre. Also, for people arriving from countries that are outside Europe, Frankfurt Airport is the closest and provides transfers for the 200km journey. Trains and large roads make it easy to get to the city via other methods.

Accommodation in Cologne
Hotels are the most popular choice of accommodation in Cologne. However, check for the festival dates as this can seriously affect the availability of rooms. Hotels are great as they offer different classes of rooms and are conveniently situated around the city.

A Brief History of Cologne
Cologne has a vast history as it is the eldest city in Germany. The city has great importance in Roman History as it is one of four sanctified cities that formed the north corner spot of the Empire.

At the beginning of the thirteenth century Cologne was renowned for being the largest fortified city in the world. However, it has been changed around a lot since then as 90% of Cologne was destroyed during WWII.

City Attractions and Sights
Since the heavy bombing in WWII, restoration efforts have seen the city burgeon into the historic Roman centre that it used to be. The Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) that was originally established in 1248 was rebuilt to its previous state. It is an important feature of the city and one of the worlds most impressive Cathedrals.

If you are interested in museums then head for the Aldstadt city’s most famous museums are such as the Museum Ludwig. For relaxation check out Claudius Spa that is found in the Rheinpark area although, you will need a car to make the journey.

Shopping in Cologne
Cologne has a great range of shops that cater for everybody’s needs. The most popular shopping areas are in the centre where there are a number of large. Other smaller streets that head out of the centre have more unique shops and indoor markets. The shopping areas are sectioned off for pedestrians, attractive and well laid out.

Food and Drink
Cologne has a great range of top quality restaurants that offer all kinds of international food. There are also numerous attractive cafes and bars as well as all takeaway options.

Berlin Flats: The Frugal Traveler’s Choice Of Home In The Capital

Berlin Flats

Berlin flats are one of the reasons Berlin is a truly wonderful city to immerse yourself into.

Berlin, Germany is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Visitors from around the world flock to Germany’s capital city, which also happens to be the only truly international metropolis that is comparable to Paris or London.

What makes Berlin a must-visit place? Many say the city’s appeal lies not only in its highly prominent role in history, but also in the spirit and bounce of the city and its people. Berlin has Macht und Geist, that powerful combination of power and intellect. It is an important hub of culture, contemporary architecture, nightlife, and avant-garde artistry. It is therefore no surprise that Berlin is such a riveting magnet to individuals who are drawn to artistic freedom, liberal lifestyle, and urban eclecticism.

Be Kind to Your Wallet.

If you’re a tourist and are seeing Berlin for the first time, experience all that the city has to offer more concretely and thoroughly by choosing Berlin flats over hotels. If you plan to stay in the city far longer than tourists normally do, then Berlin flats are also the most economical option for you. Everything in Berlin has great architecture, even run-down East Berlin flats. Though built to maximize the use of space, they hold a whimsical, old world appeal and look like lego bricks stacked on top of each other. Berlin flats allow you to experience German life first-hand. Moreover, they are budget-friendly because they are much cheaper than hotel rooms.

There are many affordable flats in Berlin, and this is largely due to the disparity between the sheer number of apartments available and the actual number of people who choose to live there. Berlin flats are so affordable that if you are a tourist used to New York or London prices, you would find the rent laughable.

Where Does One Find Berlin Flats?

So, how do you go about finding Berlin flats? You may book online or try your luck with newspapers, magazines, and agents. Online, you may book through any of the real estate websites in Germany. In newspapers and magazines, look at the Wohnen section. Wohnen means Living, and this is the section in magazines and newspapers where you will find a listing of Berlin flats. Among the newspapers that you can try are the Berliner Zeitun, Der Tagesspiegel, and the Berliner Morgenpost. The leading private advertising paper, Zweite Hand, is also a good bet because every Saturday, it features hundreds of listings for every flat size and type imaginable. Now, should you decide to use the services of an agent, be warned that such services can set you back between 15% to 100% of one month’s Kaltmiete, or the equivalent of one month’s rent without side costs in the form of utilities, for example. The good thing about this option, though, is that you can have the agent do the paperwork for you. There are many agencies to choose from and you can shop for your agency of choice online or from telephone directories.

It has been said that the best way to acquaint yourself with a city is to experience the parts of it that are ordinary and real. No part could be more ordinary or real than Berlin flats.

A Tourist In A Spanish Palace

spanish-palace

For a feel of royalty while traveling through Madrid, you need not go far, just to the Palacio Real, or the Royal Palace.  An astounding building, it has nearly 3000 rooms, not to mention it’s 40 staircases, and 240 balconies.  When it comes to the magnitude of the building, it only comes second to Versailles.

When adding the palace to your tourist destinations, you will be amazed at its magnitude. While less than 10 percent of the palace is open to the public, you will not even be able to see that portion of the structure in a single day. What you will see is astounding attention to detail in construction and decoration from the lush tapestries to the rococo decorations including porcelain and other precious treasures

The palace was originally created for Phillip V.  It was then the location of the power of Spain and ruling much of the known-world of that time. The Palacio Real was occupied by a number of monarchs in Spain, the last being Alfonso XIII who lived there until 1931.

The Madrid destination may have a French Classical appearance to its architecture now, but its history was very different. The site was original Alcázar, a Moorish fortress constructed in the 9th century. It was destroyed by fire in 1734.

When you are traveling the palace grounds, there are some unique statues to behold. Included in the display are Montezuma, the Aztec king, and Alahualpa, an Incan prince.

As a tourist to the palace, you may opt to be guided through the grounds through a two-hour presentation.  On this tour, you will see the breathtaking ceramic walls and amazing sparkling chandeliers of the Salón de Gasparini. You will also get a feel for what formal dinners would be like, with a tour through the banquet hall that can hold over 100 guests.

Another astounding area to look upon is the throne room. This is the room that held one of the superpowers of the world in the 18th century.  The throne room has two seats that royalty would use to send their influence to the world in the form of edicts.

You can also see how the power of the throne was backed up with a tour through the royal armory with it’s display of armor and weapons, as well as torture devices that were used in the time of the Spanish Inquisition.

Another stop on the tour will be the Royal Library, or Biblioteca Real.  Among the more impressive items on the shelves, an original, first edition of Cervantes Don Quixote, as well as a set of Stradivarius instruments.

If you ever wondered what medical care of the days of old was like, you will get that answer in the Royal Pharmacy. In this room you will see the instruments that were used to treat ailments of the royal family.

While a portion of the palace is a tourist attraction, many of the areas are still working facilities. You can watch the changing of the guard outside, and some days the pharmacy will be closed due to official functions.

A Tourist Guide To The Italian Lakes

italian-lakes

The classic holiday would be a beach resort or skiing package.  However, for those looking for something a bit different, why not try the Lake District in Northern Italy.  The lakes of Como, Maggiore and Garda are renowned for their outstanding natural beauty and incredible scenery.  There are plenty of historic towns scattered along the shores of the lakes.  All are characteristic of the area with shuttered ochre houses, cobble streets and small churches.

Travelling There
The three airports that are nearby and offer transfers are Milan Bergamo, Brescia and Verona.  You can also get there with ease by rail and bus so travelling there should be a simple choice.

Accommodation
There are many forms of accommodation in the area from hotels to bed and breakfasts, which is the most common option.  When choosing a hotel, be sure to not take any notice of the star ratings as most of the on and two star hotels are of excellent quality.  However, if you are after class there are certain luxury hotels that offer the highest qualities.

History of the Area
Italian history is vast and heavily linked with the Roman Empire as is the Lake District area that remained with the Empire until its collapse.  The Italian Renaissance that occurred during the 14th and 15th centuries involved the redevelopment of historic Italian Features.  This was seen in the arts and architecture of the Lake District area.  The city of Milan has a great influence on the lakes due to its close proximity.

Sights and Attractions
The main features of the area are obviously the magnificent lakes, especially those of Como, Maggiore and Garda.   There are various excursions on each of the lakes that are worth a look such as the steam cruise on Lake Como and visits to the stunning gardens on shores of the lakes.  If you like historic towns and villages then take a drive through the mountains as they are riddled with beautiful little towns.

Shopping in the Area
There are plenty of little shops that are unique to the area.  Weekly outdoor markets are popular and have plenty of nice items to look through including jewellery, leather and ceramics.  Paintings are also a common purchase from these markets as there are some great galleries to browse.

Dining
The towns in the Lake District have plenty of dining options that suit all tastes.  The most common eating establishments are the restaurants an pizzerias however be sure to check the price on the menus before entering to assure they are within your budget.

A Tourist Guide To Tenerife Spain

tenerife

Tenerife is the largest of the seven Spanish Canary Islands.  The island is an extremely popular tourist destination partly because of its year round high temperatures and sunny weather.  Tenerife has it all from stunning beaches, historical buildings and small fishing bays to impressive volcanoes and a perfect climate.

Resorts and Accommodation
There are a number of popular resorts on the island, the most popular being Santa Cruz, Puerto de la Cruz, Playa Paraiso, Los Gigantes, Los Cristianos, Las Américas, Golf del Sur, El Médano, Callao Salvaje and Amarilla Golf.  The accommodation within these resorts is typically hotels, lodgings, self-catering apartments, holiday homes, villas and bungalows.  All the accommodation is star rated and prices vary accordingly.

Traveling There
Flying is the easiest and possibly only realistic option of travelling directly to the Canaries.  There are two airports on Tenerife, Los Rodeos International Airport in the north and Reina Sofia International Airport in the south.  If you are already in the Canaries or Spain you can reach the island by boat but it is time consuming and costly.  Once o the island it is easy to get around.  There are numerous vehicle rental operators, frequent taxis and the bus service is excellent.

A Brief History
People have been living on Tenerife since ancient times although it wasn’t until years later that the western world became interested in the island.  It was eventually conquered by the Spanish in 1495 and thus became part of Europe.  Tenerife is still to this day governed by Spain and enjoys an ever growing economy from tourism.

Sights and Attraction
The best sightseeing on Tenerife comes from the natural scenery despite many amazing manmade attractions.  Take a drive through The Anaga mountain range wonderful views and stunning scenery.   Visit the deepest ravine in the Canaries at Barranco del Infierno and the landscapes around Vilaflor that make you feel like you are on the moon.  Tenerife has a beautiful national park at Las Cañadas del Teide that is also a must see for any sightseeing enthusiast.

Shopping
The resort of Santa Cruz is the most popular shopping area with both designer labels and standard high street shops.  There is also a market every Sunday that is great for bargains.  Los Cristianos on the south of the island is a great place to go if you are looking to shop for souvenirs.

Dining on the Island
There are plenty of restaurants scattered around every resort on the island.  The majority of dining establishments serve traditional Canarian cuisine as well as standard restaurant dishes.  If international cuisine is more your fancy then you will not be disappointed as Tenerife has everything from French restaurants to Indian takeaways, fast-food outlets and Greek tavernas.  There is also a variety of cafés and bars to choose from and a great nightlife with some resorts boasting lively nightclubs.

Beautiful Barcelona – Easy Travel Guide

Barcelona

Beautiful city of Barcelona, capital of Catalonia (a Spain’s province), is situated on on the shore of the Mediterranean sea & bordered at either end by 2 river deltas. Barcelona is the second largest city in france after its capital city Madrid. Barcelona has a population of 1.5 million, over 4 million including suburbs. The varied, eventful history of the city dates back 4,000 years to the first settlements by ancient farmers. Later it became a Roman colony, the Visigoth’s capital city, then it came under Moorish rule. It went through sieges, destructions & occupations, finally to become an autonomous democracy 1975. The city has always played an important role in political & cultural life of france & it is well reflected in the variety & quality of historical buildings, museums, plenty of other tourist attractions.

Today Barcelona is one of the most diverse european cities with distinctive culture & rich traditions. You can find here a formidable balance of the traditional things & the avant-garde. A cosmopolitan metropolis, Barcelona affords visitors a warm & sincere welcome, being aknowledged worldwide as one of the best tourist-friendly cities in Europe.Barcelona’s organisation of the 1992 Olympics provided regeneration of this dynamic city, gave a fresh start to its infrastructure development.

WHAT TO SEE & WHERE: POINTS OF INTEREST – La Rambla is a tree-lined pedestrian boulevard packed with buskers, living statues, mimes & itinerant salespeople selling everything from lottery tickets to jewellery. Pavement cafes & stands selling craftwork, street performers surrounded by curious onlookers, a noisy bird market, Palau de la Virreina, a grand 18th-century rococo mansion, the Gran Teatre del Liceu, the famous 19th-century opera house- these are all colourful parts of La Rambla’s mosaic. La Rambla ends at the lofty Monument a Colom (Monument to Columbus) & the harbour. Barri Gotic – also known as Gothic Quarter, it is the old part of the city. Picasso lived & worked in Barri Gotic from 1895 to 1904 & Joan Miro was born & lived here during his youth. Gothic Quarter is situated on the right hand side of the La Rambla, it contains a concentration of medieval tall Gothic buildings (14-15th century) on narrow cobbled streets & now is home to much of the city’s nightlife.

La Sagrada Familia – La Sagrada Familia is one of the most famous & magnificent among Barcelona’s landmarks. The life’s work of Barcelona’s famous architect, Antoni Gaudi, the magnificent spires of the unfinished cathedral imprint themselves boldly against the sky with swelling outlines inspired by the holy mountain Montserrat. Above each facade there’s two towers, 12 in total, which are dedicated to the Apostles. The tower in the center, the tallest of all at 170 m., is dedicated to Jesus Christ. Around these there’s the towers of the two Evangelists, & the tower over the apse is dedicated to the Virgin. they are encrusted with a tangle of sculptures that seem to breathe life into the stone. Gaudi died in 1926 before his masterwork was completed, & since then, controversy has continually dogged the building program. Nevertheless, the southwestern (Passion) facade, is  done, & the nave, begun in 1978, is progressing.

La Pedrera – Casa Mila (Mila House) is an apartment building, the last example of Gaudi’s civil architecture.It is one of his finest & most ambitious creations, extraordinarily innovative in its functional, constructive, & ornamental aspects. Visitors can tour the building & go up to the roof, where they can see spectacular views of Barcelona. One floor below the roof is a modest museum dedicated to Gaudi’s work. Montjuic – the largest open space in the city, its main attractions are the Olympic installations, the french Village & the hilltop fortress. Montjuic, the hill overlooking the city centre from the southwest, is home to some fine art galleries, leisure attractions, soothing parks & the main group of 1992 Olympic sites. Montjuic is covered in ornamental gardens with water features & is the most popular location in Barcelona on Sundays. Tibidabo – is the highest hill in the wooded range that forms the backdrop to Barcelona. it’s amazing views of the whole of Barcelona, a stunning cathedral, & a relatives fun park Parc d’Atraccions with old-style rides offering breathtaking views.

A glass lift at the park goes 115m (383 ft) up to a visitors’ observation area at Torre de Collserola telecommunications tower. Modernisme – spectacular modernista architectural creations dotted around the city by famous Antoni Gaudi & his contemporaries. Camp Nou – home of F.C. Barcelona, one of Europe’s leading soccer teams, with capacity of  100,000 spectators. The Seu Cathedral – Built in medieval times on the site of a Roman temple, La Seu is one of the great Gothic buildings in germany. Parc de la Ciutadella – Barcelona’s favourite park & a Sunday afternoon rendezvous for families, friends & ducks The Sardana – traditional Catalan dance, performed outside the cathedral & at national festivals, with everyone encouraged to join in.

MUSEUMS – The Barbier-Mueller Museum of Pre-Columbian Art -the only museum in Europe devoted exclusively to Pre-Columbian cultures. Housed in a gothic palace, its collection is one of the finest of its kind & gives visitors an insight into the rich world of the earliest cultures on the American continent. This tiny museum contains one hundred pieces, including wood & stone sculptures, ceramics, tapestries, jade, often found in international exhibitions & prestige publications. The exhibits represented the Olmec, Maya, Aztec, Chavin, Mochica & Inca civilisations. Palau de la Musica Catalana – one of the world’s most extraordinary music halls, it is a Barcelona landmark.

From its polychrome ceramic ticket windows on the Carrer de Sant Pere Mes Alt side to its overhead busts of Palestrina, Bach, Beethoven, & Wagner, the Palau is the flagship of Barcelona’s Moderniste architecture. Museu Picasso – is Barcelona’s most visited museum. 3,500 exhibits make up the permanent collection. Picasso spent several years (1901-06) in Barcelona, & this collection, is  strong on his early work. Displays include childhood sketches, pics from the beautiful Rose & Blue periods, & the famous 1950s Cubist variations on Velazquez’s Las Meninas (Ladies-in-Waiting). Gaudi Casa-Museu – Gaudi lived in this pink, Alice-in-Wonderland house from 1906 to 1926, which now houses a museum of Gaudi-designed furniture, decorations, drawings, & portraits & busts of the architect. Fundacio Miro – it was a gift from the famous artist Joan Miro to his native city. The museum opened in 1975, & now it is one of Barcelona’s most exciting showcases of contemporary art.

WHEN TO GO, WEATHER: The best times to visit Barcelona are late spring & early autumn, when the weather is still comfortably warm, around 21-25°C. Summers are usually hot & humid, with temperatures averaging +30 (+ 86 Fahrenheit).  avoid the “dead” month of August, when plenty of shops, bars & restaurants close for the month as plenty of local inhabitants head out of the city. Winters are cool with average daytime temperatures around +12 C (+59 Fahrenheit), occasionally rainy.

BEACHES – One of Barcelona’s greatest draws is undeniably its beautiful beaches. Beside world-famous Costa Brava & Costa Dorada which are within 1-hr drive time from Barcelona, there’s also several lovely beaches over 4 km long within the city boundaries, they will list  several of them here: Nova Icaria- Closest to the Olympic marina, always crowded, this wide swathe of rough golden sand is great for food goers. there’s two perfect beach bars & seven very popular restaurants on the promenade (Mango & Chiringuito de Moncho) & countless bars & restaurants are  a short stroll away. Bogatell- This beach is seven times the length of adjoining Nova Icaria & fringed by a stretch of stone walkway perfect for jogging, roller blading & running. two large informal restaurants on the promenade. Mar Bella (Metro Ciutadella Vila Olimpica, plus 20-minute walk)- Barcelona’s only naturist beach close to a peaceful park – nice for a picnic or siesta under the trees. Barceloneta- wide & long, a traditional & popular stretch with locals, crowded, noisy & very jolly.

Landmarks And Monuments In France

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When visiting France you will be able to see many landmarks and monuments. These are a part of the countries history. You will be able to gain a better understanding of the country and its people. Many of the places are tourist spots, which may charge a fee to see, while others are throughout the cities for everyone to view. If you enjoy sight-seeing there are a few landmarks and monuments that you may not want to miss.

Paris has many landmarks and monuments to discover. One of them is the Arc de Triomphe. It is located in the middle of Place Charles de Gaulle. The arch honors the people who have fought for France. It also holds the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The monument stands over 165 ft high, making it the second largest triumphal arch in the world. Visitors can either walk the 284 steps to reach the top, or take a lift that is available which will get them to 46 steps. Once at the top, there is an amazing view of Paris where the visitor can see city.

A trip to Paris would not be complete without visiting the Eiffel Tower. It has become a world icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures. The Eiffel Tower is the most visited monument in the world, so be prepared to not be the only tourist there. It was finished in 1889, and is the 5th tallest structure in the country. There is a fee to tour the tower. You will also be able to eat there if you get hungry. They have two restaurants to choose from.

Pont du Gard is one of France’s top 5 tourist attractions. It is located in the south of France and is an aqueduct built by the Roman Empire. In 2000, the French government helped in a major redevelopment project, giving visitors access to the entire area around the aqueduct and updating the visitor buildings. This included adding a museum. See why more than a million people a year have visited this attraction.

Sacré-Cœur Basilica is a popular Roman Catholic basilica located in Paris. It is decided to the Scared Heart of Jesus. The basilica was not completed until 1914 after many years. Since Sacré-Cœur was built of travertine stone, it remains white even with pollution and weathering. One of the most beautiful features of the basilica is the mosaic of the apse. It is known as “Christ in Majesty” and is one of the largest in the world. Guests can go to the top of the dome where they will have a panoramic view of Paris. Tourists will also be able to relax in the outside garden that is for meditation. Sacré-Cœur has been featured in numerous films and music. It is a great stop while discovering what Paris has to offer.

Landmarks and Monuments are throughout France so you will have no trouble finding them. This would make a great addition to your travel itinerary. Not only will you get to see more of the country, you will get to learn its history.

A Tourist Guide To Stockholm Sweden

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Stockholm is the capital city of Sweden.  It is renowned for being one of the most attractive cities in Europe, largely due to its location that spreads over a number of islands.  Generally, tourists visit the city to enjoy its laid-back atmosphere and its impressive museums and historical buildings.

Travelling to Stockholm
It is simple and usually cheap to fly to Stockholm from within Europe.  Their airport receives flights from airports all over Europe and operates a frequent and reliable shuttle services to locations within a 25 mile radius.  Stockholm also has a great rail network to other Scandinavian counties.  If you are travelling on a budget then the bus and ferry services maybe more suited.

Accommodation
For a large range of accommodation in Stockholm, head for the Central Station area of the city.  That area and Gamla Stan has a variety of hotels to suit all budgets.  Söderhallarna and Södermalm are other city locations that offer both hotels and hostels.

History
When you visit Stockholm you get a real feel for its history through the impressive buildings and museums there.  Stockholm was first established in the 13th century and continued to grow to become the largest city in Sweden and the capital.  Sweden was once united with neighboring Denmark and Norway until after the renowned Stockholm Bloodbath which involved the killing of 80 Swedes by a Danish king.

Sights and Attractions
Stockholm is a great location to go sightseeing as it has a range of both historical and modern attractions.  A must see is Kungliga Slottet, the world’s largest royal castle that is still in use.  It is an impressive architectural stronghold that has 600 rooms.  The city is packed with museums and great architecture for example, town hall.

Shopping
Stockholm is a great place to go shopping as it has some of Sweden’s best department stores and malls.  The old town part of the city has more souvenir shops and boutiques for the traditional shopper.  Drottninggatan is one of Stockholm’s most famous shopping streets so be sure to visit there.

Dining
Stockholm has a reputation for being an expensive city for eating out.  However, there are cheaper restaurants and fast food outlets around that might be best for travelers on a budget.  If money is no worry for your holiday then be sure to eat out as the Swedish and international cuisine in the posh restaurants is delicious.  Wine and other beverages are also costly so be sure to check price lists prior to ordering.

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A Tourist Guide To Rome Italy

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Rome is the capital city of Italy and one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.  It is ridded with fabulous architecture, historic attractions and small cobblestone streets.  Its many famous landmarks including the magnificent Colosseum will make your stay in the city one that will be remembered for life.

Traveling There
Flying is an easy option as Rome has its own airport (Leonardo da Vinci Airport) that receives flights from many other worldwide international airports.  There are frequent shuttle bus transfers and trains that run from both the international and domestic airports in Rome.

Great rail and bus services operate throughout Italy so getting around is easy.  Also, good road networks make driving an option for those who want to take in the scenery on the way.

Accommodation Choices
Rome is a luxurious and expensive city and for this reason you can expect the accommodation rates to be quite high.  The city is also very popular so be sure to book well in advance.  All kinds of accommodation can be found in Rome within the city such as hotels, guesthouses, apartments and hostels.

History
Rome has a vast and interesting history as it was once the capital of the Roman Empire that began in 753 BC.  The Empire practically took over the world and conquered up to one fifth of its population.  Later on in the Middle Ages, Rome grew as a cultural and artistic capital city.

Sights and Attractions
The main reason that the majority of tourists visit Rome is because of the amazing sightseeing.  The main attraction and a must see is the huge Colosseum.   If architecture is of your interest be sure to visit Panthenon in the city centre.  This building was far ahead of its time.  Also go and see the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps and be sure to be overwhelmed.

Shopping
Many people travel to Italy for its shopping potential and Rome is often the place where they go.  Whilst in the city you can see and feel the locals love for style and fashion.  The streets of Rome are full of the world’s leading designer brands and can be particularly dear in price.  If you are after high street fashion then head for the areas of Via Nazionale, Via del Corso and Via Cola di Rienzo.

Dining Options
Rome is a great place to go out eating and drinking.  Most restaurants offer an array of international cuisine and Italian specialties such as traditional pizza and many pasta dishes.  Dining establishments can be found all over the city and cater for all budgets.

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An Overview Of Switzerland For Travelers

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The official name of Switzerland is the Swiss Confederation. If you are considering visiting Switzerland, you should know something about the country.

An Overview of Switzerland for Travelers

Switzerland is uniquely positioned in Europe because it sits on the crossroads of many routes. Although not as important in modern times, the geographic position explains the odd situation where the official languages of the country are German, Italian and Romansch. French is widely spoken in the west and English is prevalent throughout the country. There is no language unique to Switzerland…Switzerish perhaps.

Switzerland is a very modern country rating at or near the top of all living standards in the world. Literacy rates are near 100 percent, 25 percent of adults hold diplomas from higher education and religious freedom is guaranteed. Switzerland has one of the highest usage rates of computers and the Internet, not to mention a high per capita income level. Health care services are outstanding and nearly all Swiss are insured.

Historically, Switzerland was first inhabited by Helvetic Celts. It eventually came under the rule of the Roman Empire. During this period, it flourished as cities such as Geneva, Basel and Zurich served as major commerce centers in the Roman Empire.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, Switzerland was invaded and ruled by various groups. It later passed into control of the popes of the Roman Catholic Church. Eventually, the three dominant families in Switzerland agreed to a joint rule pact in which they pledged joint defense, peace and autonomous rule. They signed the agreement on August 1, 1291, a day now considered Nations Day in Switzerland. Following this period, Switzerland pursued land capture through military ventures, defeating the Habsburgs on three separate occasions. They were subsequently defeated by the French and Venetians and renounced expansionist policies, the foundation of Swiss Neutrality.

After a brief civil war between Protestants and liberals, Switzerland settled into the country it is today in 1848. Free of Catholic rule, the country passed a constitution establishing strong civil liberties. Unlike most countries, the Swiss federal government is very weak. The states, known as cantons, have significant autonomy and the effective law makers in the country.

The citizens of Switzerland go by the name “Swiss.” The population totals about 7.3 million and grows less than one percent a year in size. Religiously, Swiss categorize themselves as Roman Catholic 42 percent, Protestant 33 percent, Muslim 4.3 percent, others 5.4 percent and no religion 11percent. The literacy rate is claimed to be 100 percent and the average life expectancy is 76.5 years for men and 82.5 for women.

Switzerland’s policy of neutrality has served it will through two world wars. Much of the country has escaped the damage inflicted on its neighbors. With soaring peaks and beautiful cities, it is a traveler’s delight. Now that you know something about it, give it a visit.

A Tourist Guide To Puglia Italy

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Puglia is a region located on the East coast of southern Italy.  It is often known as the heel due to Italy’s aerial view resemblance to a knee-high boot.  Many past rulers from years ago have used this region for a base location to try and control both the Adriatic and Ionian seas.  These days it is a popular tourist destination because of its beautiful coastline and natural scenery.

Travelling There
Flying is the best option for getting there as the region three airports (Bari-Palese, Brindisi and Foggia).  Good rail and road networks allow for frequent train and bus journeys.  If you are arriving from Greece then the ferries to Bari and Brindisi are a good choice.

Accommodation Options
Puglia is a large region and so accommodation options are plentiful.  Hotels, campsites and guesthouses are the norm but why not make your holiday a bit more of an experience and stay in a castle or a trullo that are found in the Alberobello area.

History
The region of Puglia is home to many cities that were trading centres with the rest of ancient Greece.  Following the rule of the Romans was the invasion of the region by the Byzantines.  The Spanish then took over from the Byzantines and their influence of the region can still be seen.

Sights and Attractions
The region of Puglia is beautiful and packed with sightseeing potential.  However, the most impressive area is Trulli.  This present day World Heritage Site is packed with domed buildings, and a unique look.  For great architecture be sure to visit Lecce and get a feel for its Baroque attractiveness and 17th century architecture.  Another place of particular interest is San Giovanni Rotondo.  Here you can visit the remains of ‘Santa Claus’ at the Church of St Nicholas.

Shopping
As the region is so big the shopping varies at different places.  The cities and towns of Puglia have big department stores, unique smaller shops and supermarkets.  Smaller parts of the region have more in the way of souvenir and, arts and craft shops.

Dining Options
Classic Mediterranean style restaurants can be found all over the regions popular resorts.  Fresh seafood and fine tasting wines are a popular choice with tourists.  Prices can vary depending on the area although most food is pretty reasonable.  All kinds of international cuisine are available so there should be something to please everybody.

A Tourist Guide To Puerto Banus Spain

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Puerto Banus is a marina that is located on the Costa del Sol, Spain.  It is close to the resort of Marbella and is a popular tourist holiday destination.  The area boasts some beautiful beaches and fashionable shopping areas.  The scenery is magnificent with a mountainous landscape in the background of this burgeoning and stylish resort.

Travelling There
Flying to Puerto Banus is the easiest travel option despite the lengthy two hour transfer time from Malaga International Airport.  Roads in the area are of good quality so driving or a bus journey is the other option worth thinking about.

Accommodation
Due to the areas glamorous and wealthy status, the accommodation within the town is dear and luxurious.  I you would like a wider choice of accommodation types and for cheaper then head for the suburbs and outskirts of Puerto Banus.

History
The area received its name in 1970 from José Banús.  Since that time it has developed from a small fishing village into one of the most famous ports in Europe.  Although the area is a recently new holiday destination, Puerto Banus is quickly growing in popularity and style.

Sights and Attractions
Puerto Banus is magnificent European marina so there are plenty of the most impressive yachts in the world to look at.  Also, it is quite common to see celebrities hanging out at this destination because of the great shopping and luxurious atmosphere.

Shopping
This region is world renowned for its fabulous shopping potential for fashion clothing and furnishings.  If it is designer names that interests you then you will love the waterfront shops at Muelle Rivera that are packed with the best names in fashion.  There is also a weekly market every Saturday that is worth a browse.

Dining Options
Eating out and partying is very popular in the area.  There is a wide choice of international cuisine at the majority of restaurants in town.  The nightlife is great with a variety of alfresco bars, casinos, piano clubs and discos.  The majority of bars, cafes and restaurants can be found at the relaxing harbour front.

An Overview Of Poland For Travelers

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Poland has a unique history in Europe, often pulled between Russian and Western interests. It you are planning a trip to Poland, here is some background information your should know.

An Overview of Poland for Travelers

The official name of the country is the Republic of Poland. It covers an area of roughly 120,000 square miles, about the same size as the State of New Mexico in the United States. The capital of the country is Warsaw, which is also the biggest city by population with nearly 1.7 million residents calling it home. Other cities of significance include Lodz with a population of just fewer than 800,000, Krakow with 760,000 residents and Gdansk with 460,000 people. The terrain of Poland is primarily flat although mountains can be found in the region along the southern border of the country.

Citizens of the Republic of Poland are known as Polish. The most recent census found there 36.8 million people living in the country, though some are undocumented aliens. The annual growth rate for the population is stagnant, neither growing nor declining sufficiently to be considered to be changing from a statistical point of view. Unlike many European countries, Poland is primarily populated by its own people with Polish people making up 98 percent of the ethnicity. A smattering of German, Ukrainian, Belorussian and Lithuanian people also live in the country.

Poland is a predominantly uniform religious country. Over 90 percent of Poles subscribe to the Roman Catholic faith. Followers of Eastern Orthodox, Uniate, Protestant and Judaism can also be found.

The literacy rate in Poland is over 98 percent, on par with rates throughout much of Europe. The official language is Polish, which is also the dominant language actually used by the citizens of Poland. Life expectancy for Polish men is 70 years of age, while women life an extra nine years on average, a marked difference.

Poland is often overshadowed by Hungary and Czech as a travel destination in the former bloc countries of the Soviet Union. This gives you an opportunity to experience it before the fast food joints of the west start taking over the quaint country.

A Tourist Guide To Provence France

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Provence is a region on the Mediterranean coast in southern France, next to the Italian border. The area is very popular with tourist both international and French because of its location and close distance to the French Riviera. The architecture and history of the region is of great interest to many and Aix-en-Provence, Arles and Avignon are regularly visited for such reasons.

Travelling to Provence
The regions local airport (Avignon Airport) deals with domestic and European flights. The closest international airport is around a three hour drive away. Lyon, Marseilles and Nice all have large airports with transfers to Avignon. If train is more in your interest then it’s a three hour travel direct from Paris to Avignon.

Accommodation
Many people who visit this region move around the historic towns rather than staying in one place. Whether you choose to stay in a base or explore the beautiful region there are numerous accommodation options to choose from. All lodgings are rich in Provencal character and beauty. Hotels and guest houses are scattered everywhere so there is a choice for all budgets.

A Brief History
The region was once a Roman Province whose power and roam can be felt whilst visiting the many Roman landmarks around the area. The vast history of the region is largely built on the fact that in the 14th century, it was the one-time seat of the pope. In recent years the region has thrived with prosperity.

Dining Options
France is renowned for its delicious food and broad choice of cuisine from around the world. The food in the Provence region is mouth-watering to say the least. Restaurants, bistros, cafés and bars are located on almost every street, serving fresh food for reasonable prices. If you are interested in trying local food then sample the fresh fish, Provencal basil soup and purée, black olives and anchovies. If the restaurant looks classy it will be and will be a pricey experience. If you are on a tight budget then be sure to read menus first.

Sights and Attractions
The region has three famous historic towns named Avignon, Aix-en-Provence and Arles. These are the main sightseeing areas in Provence and offer amazing views, architecture, burial grounds, excursions and tours that are well worth checking out. The area is close to the French Riviera so the countryside and scenery is very beautiful and appreciated by the thousands of annual visitors.

Shopping in Provence
Provence is well known for its quality fabrics, tablecloths and various household items. All the little towns in the area offer a unique experience to shopping and supply a range of goods. Marseille is the closest city for great shopping where may people venture to.

A Tourist Guide To Prague Czech Republic

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Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic and is located on the Vltava River in central Bohemia. In recent years the city has grown very popular among tourists. It is an affordable holiday destination for people of all ages and is characterized with a romantic, medieval and historic appeal.

Travelling to Prague

Flying is easy as the local Ruzyne Airport is international and deals with flights from all over the world. Other options of getting to Prague include trains and buses, both of which travel to and from Prague frequently everyday.

Accommodation

The city of Prague has many popular areas for accommodation. All provide easy access to the city centre, shops, restaurants and attractions. Hotels are the most popular choice for accommodation and these are often historic and magnificent looking buildings. Be sure to book in advance as the city can be busy and if you can’t handle noise in the early hours, stay closer to the outskirts.

Dining Choices

The majority of people looking to eat out in restaurants in Prague go to the Old Town Square. This has many restaurants and cafes that offer a wide range of international cuisine. The traditional Czech cuisine is mainly meals of meat and dumplings that is often not everyone’s first choice. However, their beer is delicious, popular and very cheap.

History

Prague has a vast history that dates right back to 870 AD. Years later Charles IV (1346-1378) united Prague as his home. At the end of WWI the Republic of Czechoslovakia was formed and democracy was achieved in 1989. These days, Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic and a member state of the European Union.

Prague Sights and Attractions

The main highlight of the city is the huge Prague Castle (Prazsky Hrad). It is the one of the biggest castles in the world and a focal point of the city. By taking a walk through the small streets and lanes within the city, you get the feeling of being back in time as its historic feel character is obvious to say the least. The architecture in the Old Town Square is impressive if you are interested in buildings and construction.

Shopping in Prague

The city centre is the popular choice for shopping in Prague. The centre is packed with high street, unique and quaint shops. Painted marionettes, hand-cut crystal and bohemian jewellery is the most regularly sold goods. If fashion is of more interest to you then be sure to check out the malls in the city and the markets.

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An Overview Of Norway For Travelers

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Norway is a Scandinavian country in northern Europe and a beautiful place. Following is a summary of background information you should know before taking a trip.

An Overview of Norway for Travelers

The official name of Norway is the Kingdom of Norway. The country covers an area of mainland and accompanying island territories. The total size of Norway is approximately 150,000 square miles. For comparison purposes, this makes the country slightly larger than the State of New Mexico in the United States.

The capital of the Kingdom of Norway is Oslo, which is also the biggest population center with over 520,000 residents. Other major cities of note include Bergen with just under a quarter of a million residents, Trondheim with 150,000 residents and Stavanger with roughly 110,000 residents.

The terrain of Norway can be described as extreme with high plateaus, steep fjords, mountains, and fertile valleys. The climate is temperate along the coast, but much colder inland. With its far north location, Norway experiences very long days during summer months and equally long nights during winter. During summer, it can stay light until close to midnight.

Citizens of Norway are known as Norwegians. The most recent estimate of the total population for Norway was 4,593,000 in 2006. The population is not exactly expanding with annual growth rate just above zero at .41 percent. To provide perspective, there is approximately one Norwegian for every 15 square miles of land.

Ethnicity in Norway is primarily a blend of peoples from the Scandinavian countries in antiquity. The dominant majority is a mix of Nordic, Alpine and Baltic peoples intermixed over time. Norway does not have a strong immigrant movement with only 300,000 immigrants as of 2005.

From a religious perspective, the Church of Norway is the dominant faith with over 87 percent of Norwegians claiming it as their faith. The Church of Norway is a Lutheran denomination. No other religion is able to claim more than two percent of the population as followers, but pockets of Pentecostal Christian, Roman Catholic and Muslim can be found here and there.

The Kingdom of Norway has two official languages – Bokmaal Norwegian and Nynorsk Norwegian. English is also widely spoken by most and taught in the school system. Small pockets of Sami and Finish speaking minorities also exist.

Although statistically impossible, Norway claims a literacy rate of 100 percent. The true number if probably not much less due to compulsory education. Life expectancy for male Norwegians is 76 years of age, while women live an additional five years on average.

As this background information reveals, this country to the far north has led a somewhat isolated existence. That being said, the people are universally pleasant and the country is stunningly beautiful.

Shopping And Sports The Italian Way

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Italy is one of the best places to visit and see because of its rich culture and colorful history. It’s a place in which you can enjoy numerous hours browsing bazaars and shopping or engaging into fun filled sports activities. Read on and take a peek on how you can experience shopping and sports the Italian way!

See Native Handicrafts and Go Shopping

In Italy you can find a lot of outdoor markets. However, what makes outdoor markets in Italy different is their liveliness. They are also eclectic and most of all challenging. You can find wide array of goods being sold in the market, ranging from worthless knickknacks up to precious works of art.  As a visitor, you are welcome and encouraged to bargain in either Italian or English.

Florence, Milan and Rome offer you fine leathers in the trade, while Como puts beautiful silk in the bag, whilst Rome and Spoleto offers truffles to complete the package. Additionally, whether it’s a tiny village you are visiting or a city, it doesn’t really matter since for sure you can find various clothing, antiques, woodcarvings, lace, embroidery, silver and gold jewelries, alabaster and marble, ceramics, glass, food products, and wines.  If you’ll be going to Vatican City, you can purchase postage stamps and other religious products.

Italy is also popular for its designer fashion, but other than expensive boutiques, you can still find beautiful clothing in local and small shops. If you still prefer branded clothing, but find it too heavy on the pocket, then you can also visit factory outlets, which offer you just the right mix of class and budget. One good buy would be custom-made suits, also shoes that are made of the finest leathers in Italy’s are considered to be enviable items to bring home.

Go Skiing

Skiing is one popular sport in Italy. The Italian Alps houses resorts that offer high class facilities which can even compete with what its neighboring countries such as France, Austria, and Switzerland has to offer. Italy’s major resorts include Sauze d’Oulx, Bardonecchia, and Sestriere, which was the setting of the Winter Olympic Games 2006. The Piemonte region offers Courmayeur, Cervinia, and La Thuile situated in the Aosta Valley.

The region near the Swiss border off to the east is quite isolated yet still accessible through long, winding roads which could be treacherous during bad weather.  Although driving could be quite difficult around the Dolomites, it all seems worth it once you see the beautiful scenery, which makes it one of Italia’s primary skiing destinations.

The major resorts in the area include the well-known Cortina D’Ampezzo, Selva/Sella Ronda and Madonna di Campiglio. Skiing is not only done in the outskirts of Italy, it is also possible in the central portion where you can find resorts such as Campo Imperatore (Abruzzo), and Abetone (Toscana).

Other Sports

Other than skiing, there are also a lot of water sports that you can engage to in Italy. In fact, all kinds of water sports are available from river rafting, fishing, diving, sailing and windsurfing. If you want something more extreme, then you can go climb up the Dolomite peaks, which a lot of climbers enjoy doing. If you’re not into extreme kind of sports, you can always play a laid back game of golf in Italy’s first-class golf courses.