Globetrooper News: Around The World
Britain is a small country, packed with so many things to see and do that it makes sense to pop in a car and go on a little tour. Whether you already live here or are thinking about travelling from abroad, I can’t rate a car holiday any higher. You take your car, rent one, or get a motor home and just go on a round trip, taking in everything from Land’s End to John o’Groats and all the magnificent wonders in between. It is quite a lot to think about it and can be quite tiring, though, so here are some tips that I have learnt that might help you make the most of it.
We might as well start with the most important factor of a driving holiday: the actual driving. Now, if you’re coming from abroad, you might want to make sure you’re prepared for driving on a different side of the road. Using a gear stick with the wrong hand can feel awful, so it’s best to either get an automatic, or practice in a carpark before you get on the road properly. If you’re a local you should be a very competent driver as driving the length of Britain will throw challenges at you that you might not have faced yet. My advice would be to brush up on your theory knowledge, by doing a couple of mock exams on toptests.co.uk, just to brush the cobwebs off, as you will find road signs and all sorts of situations that you might not see in your local area.
This is obvious to me, however you won’t believe the amount of people I’ve spoken to who just got in their car and went where the mood took them. It’s best to draw out a very specific map and time line and stick to it. This will mean that you will get to all the areas you need to get to and experience as much as possible. And on this topic, you should plan to see a variety of different areas, so don’t just stick to major cities, but go hunting for quaint Cotswolds villages and rugged highland lochs. There’s more to Britain than Birmingham, Manchester, and Glasgow.
A lot of people think that a car holiday would be cheaper than a regular holiday, but this isn’t always the case and so you will need to plan costs and try to find ways of doing this cheaply. Planning hotel stays in advance can be helpful as you will get good deals, or go with the motor home idea, which will drastically cut down on costs. It is also a good idea to drive a diesel car because even though it is more expensive for fuel, the fuel lasts a little longer for long journeys and so I would personally recommend it. Food is also another issue and you should be looking to buy as much food from supermarkets as possible and bringing it with you wherever you go, although don’t miss out on the local restaurants. If you want to try as much food from the various places as possible, I would check places like Trip Advisor first, just to see if people have already found bargains.
That’s the three main bits of advice I can offer you, but the biggest advice I can share is that you should see everything and anything as you never know when this little isle will throw another hidden gem at you.
Asia remains the most culturally diverse continent and comprises of many developed and developing countries. These countries are worth exploring because of their diversity in terms of culture, tradition, food and locality. Having a family trip to Asian countries will be the most memorable one for your life and economically cheaper too. Be it the Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand or any other Asian countries, every country speak its own volume. One can fly down to any of the Asian country under cheap tickets and luxury flying experience. If you’re planning to have trip down to Asian countries then below are list to which one must explore:
Malaysia Truly Asia rightly describes this country. The country is blessed with mix culture and attracts millions of tourists every year to explore different foods, culture and the tradition that is followed. For kids, there are theme parks, for adults who love adventure have options to trek in the jungles and many more options. From beaches to high rise buildings, Malaysia is a truly developed country. Kota Bharu is a must visit location for family. Located in Peninsular Malaysia, the place is at the Thailand border and is the busiest marketplace in Malaysia. There are many more places in Malaysia which are perfect for family trip.
This is among the top family destination and is the land where majority of population is of Indians. The country has some of busiest shipping port and many big shipping companies are located here. There are some locations for family visits like- Universal Studios Singapore, water parks and world’s largest aquarium. The most spectacular place is the Marina Bay, which is known for its man-made structure. Enjoy some great food and shopping destinations where one can get to shop some best brand. Though the country is quite expensive, but is worth exploring.
This is yet another family destination in Asia. Travelling here is much easier with the availability of MTR train system. Ocean Park and Disney Land are two important tourist places to be enjoyed by both adults and kids. Along with these, places like Victoria Peak, Lantau Island, Man Mo Temple, Clock Tower are worth exploring.
Comprising of different Gulf countries like Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar and many more, each of these places are worth visiting with family. Known for its strict and traditional culture, the countries are well-developed. Visit Dubai to enjoy the alluring nightlife and visit man-made marvellous structures. If you want to take your family for shopping, then visit Dubai during the shopping festival the time when one can enjoy buying apparels from great brands under best rates.
Asian countries are great to be explored with family and offer many things to learn and acquainted with. So the next time you plan a trip for your family, zero down any of the Asian country.
China is a fascinating place, and one where both contemporary and ancient values have blurred to create a rich cultural landscape. From soaring skyscrapers and evolved technology to bizarre, ancient cultures, China is a country unlike any other in the world.
Did you know that the number four is still considered as a portent of bad luck in China, for example, due to its phonetic similarity to the national word for ‘death’. To this day some buildings avoid having fourth floors to distance themselves from the association, which is why you rarely see a fourth floor in either hotels or commercial structures.
5 of the best Hotels in China
While ancient traditions may be prevalent in Chinese hotels, however, contemporary structures of this type are among the best in the world. Here are five of the best and most spectacular:
1. The Ritz Carlton, Hong Kong
In Hong Kong, visitors are often wowed by the towering, 118-storey International Commerce Centre (ICC). Sitting atop this majestic structure is the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong, which includes soaring architectural elements and spectacular glass artwork. Views from the Ozone Bar on the 118th floor are particularly beguiling, as travellers can look out towards a shimmering skyline.
2. Rosewood, Beijing
The first China property for the world famous Rosewood Hotel and Resorts brand, this hotel is the very embodiment of contemporary sophistication and elegance. A five-star location with 283 luxurious rooms, each of which offers incredible space and a beautiful open-plan layout. With a wonderful meld of textures and Oriental aesthetics, it remains one of the most popular hotels in the East.
3. The Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanhai
Surrounded by the shimmering landscape and skyscrapers of Lujiazui, this hotel offers a stunning meld of style, space and comfort. The resort is also renowned for its huge array of world class eateries and bars, while the spa is famous for offering one of the most legendary services known to man. The 44 superior suites must also be seen to be believed, so long as you have the income to book a room!
4. Aman and Summer Palace, Beijing
Location plays an important role in the appeal of the Aman and Summer Palace, as it sits just steps from the East Gate of one of Beijing’s most iconic landmarks. This is considered to be the best location from which to explore Beijing, while the hotel itself is also blessed with a unique design that screams traditional Chinese architecture. It is known as a serene and idyllic retreat, so ideal for those in need of a peaceful getaway.
5. Amanfayun, Hangzhou
The second Aman-based resort on our list, this hotel is the very embodiment of a traditional Chinese village and one that is distinguished by winding pathways, shaded courtyards and peaceful living quarters. Surrounded by more than 14 hectares to the west of the beguiling, UNESCO World Heritage Site on the outskirts of Hangzhou (West Lake), it is retreat that offers spiritual harmony despite being located just 20 minutes from the bustling city centre.
A common definition of heritage refers to a “special possession” and a legacy to be celebrated now and preserved for future generations. UNESCO works to encourage the recognition, protection and conservancy of natural and cultural heritage sites around the world. The main criteria for a site to be considered worthy of is their outstanding value to humanity.
For over 35 years Portugal has been an affiliate of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and there are 15 registered locations scattered across its landscape, both rural and urban. This is remarkable, especially given its size, but it’s no surprise as Portugal has long been revered for its beauty and cultural significance.
We’ve chosen 7 spectacular sites to give you a taste of what makes Portugal so special.
As a city Lisbon hits all the marks: it’s opulently attractive, has a multi-layered history and is positively bursting with things for visitors to see and do. Chief among the attractions are two UNESCO World Heritage monuments located in Belem on the Tagus River that stand as tributes to the Portuguese Age of Discovery. Often called “the jewel” and the penultimate symbol of the age, theJerónimos Monastery was built in homage to the discovery of a sea route to the Orient and its lush ornamentation is still considered the finest example of the exuberant style of Manueline art. Jutting into the river downstream, the Tower of Belem stands sentry for visitors to bask in its military architecture and the spectacular panoramas of the river.
As the summer residence of Portuguese royalty the town and cultural landscape of Sintrahas many magical charms that are well celebrated by more than just UNESCO. Tucked in lush forested hills, Sintra is still home to palaces, lavish estates and a Moorish castle that boasts staggering views across Lisbon. Blending local and exotic flowers and fauna, the town embodies a gorgeous combination of parks and gardens that has influenced landscape architecture around the globe.
The Historic Centre of Porto is a maze of winding streets and alleys that offer a glimpse into the city’s past as well as views of the Douro River. Its Praça da Ribeira is a wonderful spot to sit in and soak up the atmosphere while watching the world go by.
The smaller city of Guimarães has been a part of Portugal’s national identity since the 12thcentury. Its technical traditions and distinctive architecture illustrate the city’s progress and its integration into its surrounding landscape. It’s been named part of Heritage of Humanity and a European Capital of Culture due to its outstanding preservation and future-oriented policies.
The Alto Douro Wine Region has been a regulated wine producing area since 1756, the oldest of its kind. The wine produced today from its fertile land is recognized worldwide for its quality as well as a manifestation of the backbreaking evolution of winemaking. The landscape, both literal and ethnic, has been a crossing of cultures for centuries and has been carefully cultivated by countless generations to bring it to its current venerated position for legions of wine lovers to explore and enjoy.
In one of the loveliest, most gratifying cities in Portugal, the Historic Center of Evora is a circuit of medieval walls, 16thcentury palaces and mansions that are all under UNESCO protection. The cityscape offers a glimpse into understanding both the history and the culture of the country and its influence on the architecture of Portugal as well as further afield, such as Brazil.
Although it’s known more for sun seekers than culture vultures, the Algarve has its own version of historic places to visit. Albufeira might top the package-tour list but it has a very pretty picturesque old center with whitewashed buildings lining every narrow, twisting lane. If you want to escape the crowds altogether, make the trip to the beautiful Olhos de Agua beach to beat the heat and take respite in its sandy beach and lapping waves. There perfect destinations if you’re looking for a sunshine getaway at the last minute.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites are universal and belong to every individual and Portugal has many truly “special possessions” waiting to be explored!
Images by littlemisspurps, AiresAlmeida and Sean MacEntee, used under Creative Commons license
Summer is just around the corner and you might be one of the many people who just haven’t had the time to get round to booking a holiday yet. Never fear – last-minute bookings are straightforward and exciting, and they often take you to places never before considered. If you’ve got Europe in mind, take a look at these off-the-beaten-track, up-and-coming destinations and see what deals you can find. You could be off on an affordable and entertaining break in no time at all!
Image by Dennis Jarvis via Flickr
1. Bulgaria – Plovdiv
Nestled in between Greece and Istanbul, Bulgaria maybe the lesser known neighbour but it is an equally good host. You could head to the sunny resorts along the Black Sea coast, or, soak in the fascinating culture in the city of Plovdiv. Wander along the cobbled streets and take in the Roman, Byzantine and Thracian influences. Explore the Roman amphitheatre, ruins of Eumolpias and Church of Sveta Bogoroditsa.
Image by Sue Tupling via Flickr
2. Croatia – Korcula
With Dubrovnik fast becoming a holiday hotspot, you should escape tourist crowds by heading to Korcula island – you can get there by ferry from the mainland! The picture-perfect landscape is built up with red roofed houses, medieval squares and quaint churches, set against dense, green forests. Visit St Mark’s Cathedral, the House of Marco Polo and Land Gate.
3. Croatia – Istria
Shared with Italy and Slovenia, Istria is a triangular peninsula with cute villages and hilltop settlements. Walk through the cobbled piazzas of Rovinj and Novigrad, check out Roman relics in the port of Pula and make your way inland to wander around pretty hilltop towns such as Motovun and Groznjan.
Image by Vera & Jean-Christophe via Flickr
4. Iceland – Reykjavik
The perfect blend of Nordic charm, natural beauty and cosmopolitan lifestyle, Reykjavik is the world’s most northerly capital city. Enjoy a picnic in front of the Parliament building at Austurvöllur, pay a visit to Reykjavík Art Museum, or catch some live music as part of its vibrant nightlife. Iceland’s capital is also a UNESCO City of Literature, so take a pen and paper along, in case you get inspired.
5. Malta – Mdina
Small in size but perfectly formed, Malta has a big offering of destinations for the perfect getaway. Mdina is a city on the island with a history that stretches over 4000 years. The ancient walled city displays fine examples of medieval and Baroque architecture and you should go to the catacombs, St. Paul’s Grotto and the Domus Romana Roman villa.
Image by dr_zoidberg via Flickr
6. Malta – Valletta
The capital of Malta, Valletta (or The Fortress City), has cosmopolitan offerings in a hugely interesting, historical setting. Take in the beautiful gardens, such as The Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens and Hastings Gardens. St John’s Co-Cathedral and Museum is also a must see, with its beautiful Baroque art.
Image by Trish Hartmann via Flickr
7. Montenegro – Kotor Bay
Nestled in between Croatia and Serbia, Montenegro is a small country with Adriatic Sea coasts. The Bay of Kotor is a UNESCO World Heritage site, offering relaxed fishing spots and a mountainous landscape to get the adrenaline pumping. As its popularity increases, so do the region’s hotel and dining options.
Pick any of these destinations and you’ll have plenty to tell all your friends when you talk about the European gem you discovered this summer. Do you have a well-kept holiday destination secret that isn’t on the list? Share it below!