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Croatia has been a hidden holiday gem for centuries. This beautiful Balkan country plays host to pretty fishing villages, famous ancient ruins and a genuinely diverse environment complete with pine forests, rolling hills, pebble beaches and crystal clear waters. George Bernard Shaw once said "Those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik” and when you experience Croatia for yourself, it’s not hard to see why.
Also known as the "Pearl of the Adriatic”- Dubrovnik has an alluring charm that can be compared to that of Venice or Amsterdam. The main pedestrian area, Placa is a mélange of cafés, shops and excellent restaurants. The Placa is also the perfect place to spend long lazy lunches dining on authentic Croatian food such as fresh seafood and crispy-skinned lamb from the spit.
Dubrovnik has a long and varied past. It was built in the 13th century while its well-preserved city walls and towers were built from the 14th to the 16th centuries. The city is home to many beautiful and exquisite buildings. Churches, monasteries and museums ornamented with finely carved stone recall an eventful history and a vibrant artistic tradition.
Its architectural gems include the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin, Dominican Monastery, Jesuit Monastery, Onofrio Fountain, Fort St. John, St. Blaise’s Church and Sponza Palace, not to mention the mighty City Walls which have protected the Old Town and Harbour of Dubrovnik for centuries. These magnificent walls surround the marble streets and baroque buildings that exude a pearly light in the Adriatic sun. Beyond the city is a heavenly landscape of beaches, wooded peninsulas and a sea strewn with lush islands.
The city of Mostar is situated in the scenic valley of the Neretva River at the foothills of the Velež Mountain in Bosnia & Herzegovinia. When you think of Mostar, you think of MostarBridge. The city rose to prominence as an early trading point due to its strategic location and even the name Mostar is inextricably linked with the famous bridge with “Mostari” meaning “Bridge keepers”. The bridge was constructed during the reign of the Ottoman Empire in 1565 but it was notoriously destroyed during the recent civil war. Thankfully, the bridge has been gracefully restored to its former beauty.
Montenegro, the Hidden Pearl of the Mediterranean, is situated in the south of the Adriatic. It lies on the Balkan Peninsula in the very heart of Europe. Not only an excellent choice for holidays, Montenegro has many other remarkable characteristics: history, culture, fantastic weather, beautiful nature and the sparkling blue Adriatic Sea. Among some of the most wonderful sites in the country are the Baroque village of Perast and its 19 palaces, the unique island of “Our Lady of the Rock” and the UNESCO World Heritage region of Kotor.
With the Czech Republic’s combination of rich historical heritage and glorious architecture, the country has become highly desirable destination and tourists from all over the world flock there. It’s no wonder that this small country has as many as 12 UNESCO World Heritage sites within its boundaries.
There are not many countries in the world where you will find so much beauty in such a small area. History has left its mark on the country in the form of its many wonderful medieval towns and elegant chateaux. However, its stunning landscapes of meadows, forests and bordering mountains are equally as enticing as its famous cities.
At the heart of the Czech Republic is the extraordinary city of Prague. Thanks to its intriguing beauty, the city has earned nicknames such as the “Golden City” and “Mother of Cities”.
The city centre is a mix of stunning architecture, from Gothic, Renaissance and baroque to neoclassical, art nouveau and cubist. Radiant sites linger around every corner and off every bridge in the Old Town and Castle District. Here you will find a symphony of beauty and elegance unlike anywhere else in the world.
Every building style over the past millennium has left permanent traces of its existence here. As opposed to many other European cities, Prague was spared the destruction of both world wars and has retained its originality, something only very few cities on the old continent can boast. Romanesque rotundas stand side by side with Gothic churches, whose towers help to make up the distinct panorama of the city. The spectacular Baroque gardens offer breath-taking views from its many terraces.
One of the most popular tourist attractions is the majestic St. Vitus Cathedral which is located inside the complex of the Prague Castle at Hradcanske namesti. It is a Roman Catholic Cathedral with a graceful Gothic style of architecture and its history of St. Vitus Cathedral dates back to the 10th century.
As well as being the highest point of the city, the Cathedral is the largest and the most historical importance in Czech Republic.
After a long day spent in the city centre, you can visit one of the many elegant restaurants offering first-class service and wonderful views where you can dine on authentic Czech food. Czech mouth-watering specialities include various sauces and meat and dumplings, baked poultry, freshwater fish. Delicious sweet cakes are also typical of the local cuisine and don’t forget to test some of the world famous Czech beer.
Only twenty years ago, Iceland’s fantastic scenery and mystical frozen landscapes were little known outside of this stunning country remaining the secret of the native inhabitants. Today, Iceland is one of Europe’s most popular travel destinations! As well as its awe-inspiring nature, its charming capital city Reykjavík with its rich Viking History is sure to entertain all who visit. In summer, the country rarely sees darkness and everywhere is covered in a blanket of deep green. During the winter, it’s a frozen wonderland where you can marvel at the dazzling, undulating kaleidoscope of colours that is the spectacular Northern Lights.
Iceland’s capital Reykjavik offers the perfect combination of Viking heritage and modern city life. The Icelandic people are known for their warm nature and are very welcoming to visitors. The dreamy picturesque volcano and mountain top landscapes that surround the city paired with the fresh Arctic Ocean air found there, makes visiting Reykjavík a truly unforgettable experience.
Reykjavík may be a young city but it is full of interesting museums where you can find an abundance of art, history, photography, archaeological heritage and marine memorabilia. The vast majority of these museums are within walking distance from Reykjavik city centre such as the Settlement Exhibition, the Reykjavik Art museum in Hafnarhus and the National Gallery of Iceland. Other noteworthy museums include the Living Art Museum in Reykjavik, Arbaer Museum and the Einar Jonsson museum where you can view a stunning array of Icelandic Folklore sculptures.
The capital’s National Museum gives an excellent overview of Iceland’s history and culture. The most fascinating section of the museum delves into the Settlement Era, with swords, silver hoards and a great little bronze model of Thor on display. However, the most treasured artifact in the museum is a beautiful 13th-century church door. The door is carved with the touching story of a knight and his faithful lion.
The beautiful Hallgrimskirkja church is visible from almost anywhere in the city. The tower of the church is among the city’s highest buildings and offers spectacular views of the whole city. It is the largest church and the sixth tallest architectural structure in Iceland and is designed to resemble the basalt lava flows of Iceland's landscape. The observation tower provides entrancing views of the whole city and the surrounding mountains.
The famous Golden Circle is located in southwest Iceland a short distance from Reykjavík is one of the most popular attractions in Iceland. It contains the startling beautiful Thingvellir National Park. Aside from being a site of spectacular natural beauty, it is also a site of extreme historical importance and was once where Iceland's ancient parliament convened. The park is also where the Silfra can be found- a rift created by the pulling apart of the American and Eurasian tectonic plates.
Iceland is famously home to many spectacular geysers which have long filled tourists with excitement and wonder. The most visited geysers can be found on the Golden Circle route where several Geysers erupt every few minutes. “The Great Geysir” is the most famous of all the Geysers in the Golden circle hurling boiling water up to 70 metres into the air.
Iceland's most famous waterfall, the magical Gullfoss tumbles 105 ft into a steep-sided canyon, kicking up a sheer wall of spray. The literal translation of Gullfoss is "Golden Falls". Its name is derived from the rainbows that form above the waterfall by the constant water spray and the sun. This astounding waterfall undoubtedly crowns the "Golden Circle”.
Finally, the Blue Lagoon is a unique wonder of Iceland and a result of volcanic activity the island is so famous for. In the middle of flat black lava fields of the Svartsengi National Park, the huge, outdoor lagoon is filled by naturally heated geothermal water which comes from 6,500 feet below the surface of the earth. It is full of minerals, silica and algae which have been proven to be very good for the skin. The water is almost startlingly blue in colour, and the white of the silica on the black lava rocks around the edges makes an amazing contrast.
Lake Garda is a location simply bursting with colour and vibrancy like no other. With a spell-binding backdrop of the deep green Dolomites Mountains, the honey-coloured stone of ancient Roman ruins, winding paths of fragrant rosemary hedges and verdant olive groves- this beautiful oasis will truly captivate you. Each little pretty harbour village brings its own discoveries- a church rich with Renaissance frescoes, ancient walls, a stunning botanical garden, a flower-lined promenade or a delicious glass of local wine.
Whether strolling along the Grand Canal, looking out from one of the many bridges, or floating along on a gondola ride, it is easy to why Venice spellbinds tourist year after year. Home to world famous sights such as the Doges Palace, Basilica of St Mark and the Campanile- La Serenissima, the most serene of cities is sure to stay etched in your memory for a long time to come.The world famous Piazza San Marco, also known as the “drawing room of Europe”, is an elegant colonnaded square dominated at one end by the dreamy domes, arches, and one and a half square miles of glittering gold mosaics of St Mark’s Basilica. The Basilica resembles nothing else in Christendom - from its four great bulbous domes to its sumptuous golden altarpiece (Pala d'Oro) decorated with priceless jewels; this masterpiece will leave you overwhelmed with its beauty.
Surely one of the most beautiful places on earth- Lake Como will leave you marvelling at its beauty. There really are few combinations in life better than sunshine, clear water and fresh Italian food; this glorious region has all three in abundance! Lining the shore are perfect little lakeside villages, while sprawling villas with magnificent gardens adorn the hills. The towns could not be more picturesque, with narrow cobbled lanes, pretty buildings glowing gold in the evening sun and quaint restaurants with Juliet-style balconies overlooking the great swathes of blue water.
With sculptures by Michelangelo, paintings by Caravaggio, frescoes by Raphael and fountains by Bernini, Rome is without doubt one of the world’s great art cities. The impressive St Peter’s Basilica’s beauty is hard to overstate. With its staggering 42 metre dome & marble Pieta by Michelangelo and embellished with mosaic and stucco ornaments- the church is simply breathtaking. There really is too much to do and see in Rome but some of the other must see attractions include the Roman Forum, Michaelangelo’s greatest canvas- the ornately embellished Sistine chapel, the Colosseum and the spectacular Trevi Fountain.
With its rich history and vibrant atmosphere, Florence, the undisputed birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and is the ultimate destination for history and art lovers. As the afternoon sun fades in this wonderful city, the streets look as if they've been dipped in honey, making you feel as though you have stepped into a postcard of renaissance Italy. Florence has produced numerous historical legends such as Leonardo De Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli, to name just a few, and their masterpieces are not confined to museums but spill out onto the streets, decorating the squares and adorning the facades of palaces and cathedrals. Ponte Vecchio is another Florence must-see. This ancient bridge, built in AD 972, is Europe's oldest to be constructed entirely from stone and provides a magical view of the city at dusk. Don’t forget to visit the masterpiece that is Michelangelo’s statue of David a must see when in Florence.
The most famous wine in Italy is indelibly associated with the Chianti region, extending roughly over the two main city provinces of Florence and Siena. Chianti is noted for its brilliant ruby-red colour and its red and black berry taste with a hint of spiciness. As the proverb goes, “when in Rome…”- you cannot leave Italy without taking full advantage of its abundance of mouth-watering cuisine. Bruschetta is a Roman specialty that will have you hooked and traditional main dishes like the flavourful Spaghetti all'Amatriciana featuring a hearty sauce of bacon, onions, tomatoes, wine and Pecorino cheese will have you pining for more, long after you return home.
The artists of the Renaissance began their careers in Tuscany and much of their work can be seen in the buildings throughout the region, including the World famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. The Campo dei Miracoli (Piazza del Duomo) also boasts the Cathedral (Duomo) of Pisa - a grandiose building of Romanesque architectural with an astounding façade, richly decorated with four tiers of open galleries housing stunning statues decorated with marble inlay.
Just outside the city of Naples is the incredible archaeological site of Pompeii. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79 covered the whole town with a layer of ash and pumice-stone freezing Pompeii in time. The evidence of the daily life of ancient Pompeii is everywhere- walk inside any dwelling and you'll see the frescoes, gardens, fountains and kitchens almost as they were when the volcano erupted.
Famous for its glamour having played host to Brigitte Bardot and Jackie O previously, the island of Capri is home to one of the most incredible natural wonders in Europe- the Blue Grotto. Its name and beauty are due to the intense turquoise coloured waters which are caused by the light being filtered into the cave. In keeping with the calibre of celebrity which has visited and continues to visit this beautiful little island- there is a pretty impressive collection of upmarket stores such as Prada, Versace, Gucci and Ferragamo. Capri is famous for its slacks and leather sandals which can be widely purchased on the island.
Stretching for around 100 miles along the Adriatic coast, the region of Le Marche is home to the province of Pesaro and Urbino. With its lush landscape of rolling hills, highlands and rivers, it’s easy to see why it is nicknamed Riviera delle Colline or "Riviera of Hills”. Pesaro is the birthplace of composer Gioacchino Rossini. His house is now a museum (Casa Rossini) where many of his works are exhibited, such as paintings, caricatures and manuscripts. Hidden away in the Apennine Mountains, Urbino is a jewel of Renaissance art and architecture to rival anything seen in Tuscany or Umbria. The birthplace of painter Raphael, Urbino’s impressive Ducal Palace houses one of the most important collections of Renaissance paintings in Italy.
With baroque cities, white-washed hill-top towns, olive groves, deep turquoise sea and excellent cuisine, it is not surprising that word is spreading about Puglia! The region is well known for its pilgrimage sites such as San Giovanni Rotondo, the site associated with Padre Pio. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the magnificent Church of St. Nicholas (Basilica di San Nicola) in Bari. Founded in 1089 to shelter the stolen relics of St. Nicolas of Myra, the Basilica is a majestic edifice that became the model for later Puglian Romanesque churches.
Visitors who really want to explore this amazing country may want to venture outside the mainland and visit some of Italy’s beautiful islands - none of which are more popular than the heavenly Sicily. Taormina, Sicily’s most attractive resort commands a splendid ridge-top view of the sparkling turquoise Mediterranean from its stunning hillside, as Mount Etna (the highest Volcano in Europe) rises majestically in the background. Located in the North West of the island, the stunning Palermo beaches are the ideal place to take an evening walk, as the sunset casts a vibrant orange glow over the city. It is little wonder the island was once described as ‘the greatest work of art and nature’.
Renowned for beautiful beaches, Sardinia is another absolute must-visit. Here you will find mile upon mile of pearly-white sands, waters of dazzling shades of aquamarine and emerald green, rugged cliffs, tiny coves and picturesque harbours begging to be explored. Sardinia also has a rich history with evidence of the earliest inhabitants provided by the remains of numerous prehistoric settlements.
We are sure you will agree, with such resplendent cities as the radiant Florence, Venice, Rome and fashion capital of the world, Milan to name but a few contrasted by its stunning coastline- Italy will stir your senses in a way that no other country in the world can!
A heritage resulting of the intertwining of classic European Christian culture, Islamic culture brought over from North Africa and Jewish culture has resulted in the exuberant styles of art and architecture that make this country the incredible destination it is today. With both Atlantic and the Mediterranean coastlines, four official languages spoken and architecture similar to that of North Africa, France and Italy, it can feel as though you are moving from county to country as you move between regions within Spain.
Barcelona’s Old Town is home to one of the greatest concentrations of Gothic architecture in Europe and is the site of Antonio Gaudi’s remarkable Sagrada Familia with its amazing towers and facades, shining in the dazzling sun. From the marvels of Modernisme to the famous and great Picasso, the energy of this amazing city in truly infectious and will surely leave you with a lasting impression.
The beautiful Madrid’s calling cards are its many astonishing art galleries, its fine restaurants and tapas bars, and a population that’s mastered the art of living the good life. If art is not your thing though, fear not, Madrid is famous for many things other than art. The shopping in Madrid is reputed to on par with London, New York and Milan with a vast array of designer stores located in the heart of the city for you to peruse. Madrid also has some impressive sporting pedigree on its doorstep being home to the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium where the soccer team Real Madrid and its team of Galácticos play. Madrid is also home to the Spanish Royal family and the Royal Palace. Although they don't actually reside in the Palace favouring a more modest abode on the outskirts of the city- the Palacio Real de Madrid is as fine a palace as one could wish to visit. The palace dates back to the 10 century where it was built on the site of a fortress. Nowadays, it is home to an exquisite collection of some of the works of the finest artists the world has seen from paintings by Caravaggio to a Stradivarius Cello believed to be worth in the region of 20 million.
The imposing Pyrenees and the Picos de Europa mountain ranges are sure to fill you with awe, while the snow-capped Sierra Nevada located in “the frying pan of Spain” Andalucía are truly inspiring. The Picos de Europa is one of the most striking mountain ranges on the Iberian Peninsula. Its impressive jagged limestone peaks contrast beautifully with the lush valleys rich in wildlife (such as hedgehogs and wild boar) and a dazzling variety of wildflowers.
The region of Andalucía- famous as being the home of the Flamenco is comprised of the Provinces of Huelva, Seville, Cordoba, Jaen, Granada, Almeria, Cadiz and Malaga. A rugged mountainous region, it contains Spain’s highest mountain range, the Sierra Nevada. The coast around Malaga, the 'Costa del Sol' is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe and boasts stunning, picture-perfect golden sandy beaches.
The region is also rich in historical importance. The Phoenecians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Moors and Christians have all left their mark on Andalucía which has influenced the people, culture and architecture. This has resulted in the Modojar style of Architecture, a mixture of Arab and Christian styles. Two extraordinary examples of this architecture are the Mezquita, a Mosque turned Cathedral in Cordoba and the exquisite Alhambra Palaces at Granada, but examples can be found all throughout Andalucía.
Food and wine are national obsessions in Spain and with good reason- it is has the perfect conditions to produce both. The country is famous for its delicious paella, tapas, jamón and olive oil. No matter where you eat in Spain, a feast for the senses is guaranteed. The best and most interesting places to eat are the Tapas Bars where drinks & Tapas are available.
Spain’s story is told through its amazing arts and architecture, magnificent Roman ruins and incomparable jewels of Islamic architecture. The home of greats such as Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso and Antoni Gaudi- Spain is a place where you can’t help but feel inspired whether it is the moment you stand in front of an architectural masterpiece or when a flamenco performance stirs something deep in your soul.
Beijing’s imperial grandeur is truly awe-inspiring and it is without doubt one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Situated in the northwest of the city, the incredible Summer Palace, recognized as "The Museum of Royal Gardens", is certain to take your breath away with its sheer opulence. The gardens of the Summer Palace feature hundreds of architecturally distinct buildings, towers, pavilions, pagodas and bridges, with over 3000 of the ancient structures being man-made.
Most visitors to the exquisite Forbidden City, lying at the city centre, are immediately overwhelmed by not only the scale of the palace, but its sheer grandeur. This grandiose complex is the pinnacle of extravagant Chinese design. Almost every roof in the city is covered with dazzling golden tiles. Its name in Chinese is Gu Gong. The Forbidden city was the imperial palace for 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties.
The Great Wall of China is one of the greatest sights in the world and at over 20,000 km long; it is truly an incredible feat of ancient defensive architecture. One of the Seven Wonders of the World, its winding path over rugged country and steep mountains takes in some spectacular scenery.
The incredible city of Xi’An is home to the Shaanxi History Museum. This museum will take you on a fascinating journey back through time to look at the history of one of the oldest civilisations in the world. The town is also home to the Qin Shi Huang Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum, a collection of 6,000 life size statues of horses and people. The statues are remarkably lifelike with each soldier having a different and unique facial expression - a true testament to the level of workmanship involved.
Shanghai is known as the 'Paris of the Orient', and is arguably the most beautiful city in the Far East. Located in the centre of the city, Shanghai Xin Tian Di showcases the historical and cultural legacies of the city. The street is unique because of its interesting construction - it retains the antique walls, tiles and exterior of the Shikumen housing of old Shanghai. However its interior embodies a totally different world of international galleries, boutiques and restaurants. Here, you will get the taste of both Shanghai in the 1920's and the modern lifestyle of urbanites of the 21st century.
Located to the northeast of Shanghai’s old city, Yuyuan Garden is the only surviving garden built in the Ming Dynasty. The garden has more than forty deftly designed ancient constructions, like the giant Rockery, the Iron Lions, Exquisite Jade Rock, and the Deyue Pavilion, all of which are divided by dragon walls, wound corridors and beautiful flowers.
Whether gazing upon the splendour of the Forbidden City, taking in the stunning architectural masterpiece that is the Great Wall or studying the detail on the faces of the Terracotta Warriors, you are sure to be transported to a magical place.
India's capital city, Delhi, has seen the rise and fall of several dynasties and this is evident through its amazing architecture. History buffs have a host of gems to choose from such as the dramatic Red Fort and Jama Masjid. The massive Red Fort (Lal qila) is the ruins of a fort which was once one of the most grandiose displays of power in the country. India’s largest mosque, the Jama can hold a mind-blowing 25,000 people and is beautifully constructed of alternating vertical strips of red sandstone and white marble.
A trip to India would not be complete without a visit to the astonishing Taj Mahal- the 7th Wonder of the World. The Taj Mahal is situated on the banks of the Yamuna River and is by far India’s most recognized landmark. Completely made of beautiful marble, it took 22 years and 20,000 workers to complete. Words cannot do the Taj Mahal justice, although it may be a sight common to all, nothing replicates seeing this Wonder of the world in person in all its glory.
Jaipur is home to some of the most beautiful monuments in the world such as magnificent CityPalace and the intricate and fascinating facade of the Palace of the Winds. It is known as the Pink city named after the glorious pink structures that line its wide streets. In 1876, Maharaja Ram Singh had the entire old city painted pink- a colour associated with hospitality. At sunset, the buildings are bathed in a magical pink and golden glow. Upon visiting the magnificent City Palace, it’s clear for all to see why the Royal Family of Jaipur was regarded as being the wealthiest in all of India. The huge complex of stunning gardens and sumptuous buildings beautifully blends both Rajasthani and Mughal architecture.
Ranthambore National park is another must see on your Indian adventure. Spread over an area of 1,334 sq km, the park is most famous for its population of tigers and it is one of the best locations in India to see the majestic predators in their natural habitat.
The Venice of the East- Udaipur is one of India’s most enthralling cities. The shimmering Lake Pichola seems to illuminate the white buildings while the Aravalli hills give a serene backdrop- little wonder it is often called the most romantic city in India. A land of imagination, this is a country sure to inspire, thrill and confound you all at once.
Nature has blessed Vietnam with a bountiful harvest, soaring peaks like the Hoang Lien Mountains, a beautiful coastline with white sand beaches like Quy Nhon and Nha Trang. It is blanketed from head to toe with a patchwork of emerald-green paddy fields, timelessly tended by peasant women in conical hats. Vietnam is ideal for the explorer in you as it has so much to offer in terms of culture and sights. These sights include the UNESCO World Heritage Site of My Son, a series of impressive tower-temples located in the Champa Kingdom and much more.
The mainland of Australia is comprised of five states: New South Wales, the Northern Territory, the Southern Territory, Queensland, and Victoria.
New South Wales has more than a thousand kilometres of Pacific coastline and a consistently mild climate, attracting a constant stream of visitors. The city of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory makes an excellent base to explore the region's natural wonders including the famous, Uluru – or Ayers Rock. Cairns in Queensland is the perfect place to stop if you want to explore the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef.
New Zealand has many different landscapes, environments, and ecosystems to enjoy. You can discover stunning rugged countryside & mountains, spectacular glaciers, volcanic plateaus, subtropical forests and miles of coastline with gorgeous sandy beaches. This epic landscape has been used in many films, including Lord of the Rings. New Zealanders are known for their honesty, friendliness and openness. The Kiwis have a unique and dynamic culture with British, Maori, Pacific and Asian influences.
Canada is the kind of place where you can help but inhale deeply and be glad to be alive to witness the beauty of nature’s creations. Home to extremely rare animals such as polar bears, grizzly bears, whales and moose and the spectacular Niagara Falls, Canada is a country that will astound you at every turn.
Its cities have also long been celebrated for their charm and uniqueness. Founded by French Catholic settlers in 1642, Montreal has staunchly maintained its French language and culture. In fact, with the French signs, cobblestoned streets and wrought-iron balcony railings of the old town, you may be mistaken for thinking you have found yourself in France. Tucked into the southern end of the St. Lawrence River, the Paris of Canada has long been considered one of the most beautiful and cultured cities in the world and is home to a number of architectural masterpieces - the most significant of which is the Gothic Revival Notre Dame Basilica. Designed by Irish architect James O’Donnell and built between 1824 and 1829, the church has a stunning medieval-style interior that features walnut-wood carvings, exquisite stained-glass windows, 24-carat gold stars in a vaulted blue ceiling, as well as one of the largest Casavant organs in North America.
A popular oasis in the heart of the city, the Montréal Botanical Garden is recognized as one of the world’s largest and finest botanical gardens. It boasts ten greenhouses, home to colourful and vibrant tropical plants unique to this environment. Of special note is the Japanese Garden, a magical place where you will find Koi fish swimming in the shade of broad-leaved water lilies as the sun reflects the multicoloured stones and gurgling waters spill over artfully arranged cascades.
The country's leading industrial metropolis of Toronto stands on the north-west shore of shimmering Lake Ontario. Few cities have a skyline to rival Toronto's which is even more striking seen from the pretty offshore islands which encircle the harbour. The tallest skyscrapers cluster together in the old city centre, constantly augmented by new ultra-modern structures sheathed in aluminium, eloxal and glass. The 1,815 feet high CN Tower is a truly dazzling sight as is the huge arched canopy of the Skydome which lies at the foot of the Tower.
Once described as “one long curtain of woven foam”, the majestic Niagara Falls is sure to inspire you! Blindingly white in the sunlight, the vast clouds of spray show dark against the falls creating a mesmerizing spectacle. However, the falls' most captivating feature is the ever-changing colour of the water.
Known as the City of Legend, Saint John has the largest and richest collection of turn-of-the-century architecture in all of Canada. Located on the beautiful Bay of Fundy, the city centre's unique atmosphere of elaborate brickwork, big roman arched windows, gargoyles and intricate scrollwork are the magnet that draws the crowds of tourists all year round.
From the combination of Colonial and Art Deco architecture splashed in shades of lemon, strawberry, mint and vanilla to the rainbow parade of Classic American cars no younger than 50 years old, Havana is a city truly bursting with vibrancy and life.
Havana’s OldTown is full to the brim with charm and every street is an opportunity for a quintessential Havana photo, complete with classic car, cobbled alley, candy-coloured building and a Cuban flag fluttering in the breeze. Music seems to be forever present and the city itself seems to sing! It is the vitality and character of the people that is the most striking when you find yourself in Cuba. Their socialising is not done online but instead people converse in the park, from their balconies and on the corner of the street resulting in a spiritedness that has being lost in many other countries.
While in Havana, make sure to visit El Floridita and La Bodeguita, the favourite haunts of American novelist Ernest Hemingway's. You can also visit his home which is now a museum so revered that visitors can only peer in through the windows. The idolism that the author continues to inspire among locals can be explained by Hemingway's great love affair with the island, which he first frequented in the Twenties, finally moving there permanently in 1940. The country provided the backdrop for much of his writing and he even donated his Nobel Prize for Literature to the Cuban people. The Tropicana cabaret show is another must see when you find yourself in Havana- a lavish spectacle of dancers and colourful costumes which wonderfully showcases the extreme passion and free-spirited nature of the Cuban people.
Known as the land that produces the world’s best tobacco, Pinar del Rio offers beautiful landscapes of valleys, mountains, rivers, cliffs and green, fertile land. The region, which is a biosphere reserve and a safe haven for several animal species, was named after the aboriginal tribes that lived there before the Spanish invaded. Pinar del Rio is also home to Cuba’s largest caves of which Santo Tomás (45 kilometres long and the third largest cave in Latin America) is the largest. Closer to the capital is Soroa (also known as Cuba's rainbow) which is home to a glittering 22-meter waterfall, lush hills and a beautiful orchid garden, where orchids from all regions of the world are cultivated. The GuanahacabibesNational Park is Cuba's largest forestry reserve and is separated from the rest of the island by an isthmus of white-sand plains.
The Hershey train is an electric marvel of its time and the only one of its type in Cuba. Aboard this charming little train, you will pass through fields worked by solitary farmers and occasional Brahman cows, each one with an ever-present white Egret (Heron) standing elegantly beside it. The line was built when sugar was king, trade with the US was brisk and Cuba was on a high. The Hershey Train is still the best way to see the Island’s enchanting countryside!
With shallow sandy waters that turn the ocean 50 different shades of turquoise and blue, the resort town of Varadero truly is a sight to behold. A tropical paradise lapped by the iridescent waters of the ebbing Atlantic, the natural beauty of this part of Cuba will stop you in your tracks! Whether swimming with dolphins, snorkelling amongst the thriving coral reef or simply enjoy a cocktail and a good book- a visit to Valardero is the epitome of a tropical island paradise.
The city that never sleeps, the Big Apple- whatever you know it as, it is said by many to be the most remarkable city in the world. Manhattan and its breathtaking skyline and sights, featured a thousand times on screen, are even more heart stirring in real life. Walk in the shadow of the skyscrapers, gaze at the Statue of Liberty, see a Broadway show, climb the Empire State building, stroll Central Park, window shop on 5th Avenue or visit one of its world famous museums. Whatever you chose, there is something for everyone in New York City.
America’s third-oldest national park, the incredible Yosemite National Park boasts unparalleled wonders sure to stop you in your tracks. Some of its incredible attractions include El Capitan, (the world’s largest granite monolith), the dazzling Yosemite Falls (one of the tallest waterfalls in the world), the wondrous 5,000 feet Half Dome and the giant sequoias of Wawona.
A unique and breathtaking metropolis, San Francisco takes great pride in its unrivalled attractions, renowned museums and its unique neighbourhoods which are treasures of its own. Home to the astounding Golden Gate Bridge and the famous Alcatraz federal penitentiary- there is plenty to do and see in San Francisco. No visit is complete without a stroll through San Francisco Chinatown, the largest Chinatown outside of Asia as well as the oldest Chinatown in North America.
Where else could you shop next to the canals of Venice one minute and stroll down a French boulevard the next? Las Vegas has long being the destination for those looking to fit a lot into a short visit. Even though it may be the gambling Mecca of the world, there is plenty more to Las Vegas than casinos. Be inspired on the strip by taking in the fountains of Bellagio, choreographed to dance along with classic Vegas songs such as Hey, Big Spender and Luck Be a Lady.
Enjoy the glamour and charm of the ever-sunny City of Angels. Los Angeles is the second largest city in the United States and the second most visited city behind New York. With its beautiful palm-lined streets, amazing boulevard, the Hollywood Hills and Santa Monica Mountains providing a green backdrop, it’s no surprise that Hollywood is the home of show business. It was once stated that “to visit Los Angeles and not see the Chinese Theatre is like visiting China and not seeing the Great Wall”. With its 40-foot high curved walls and copper-topped turrets, the theatre does not disappoint. In the forecourt, ten-foot tall lotus-shaped fountains and intricate artistry flank the footprints of some of Hollywood’s most elite. As much as the Chinese theatre is a must see, so too is the Wax Museum and Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.
The spectacular Grand Canyon is located in northern Arizona and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the United States. Carved over several million years by the Colorado River, the canyon is a mile deep and 277 miles long. The Canyons overwhelming size and its intricate and colourful landscape offer visitors spectacular vistas that are unmatched throughout the world. While in Arizona a visit to the Museum of Northern Arizona simply cannot be missed. First established in 1928, the museum boasts a collection of more than five million Native American artefacts, natural science specimens, and fine art pieces.
Nowhere else in the United States can a visitor see so much alpine country with such ease as the Rocky Mountain National Park. As you follow the Trail Ridge Road (an 11,000 feet high ridge) you will see tiny tundra flowers and other wild blooms contrast with sweeping vistas of towering summits while Alpine lakes reflect the grandeur.
Boston is a one-of-a-kind American city that has long being popular as one of the most historical states in the USA. Located along Charles river, the city is home to the nation's oldest botanical garden, the Boston Public Garden where you can admire rich and unusual plants, the sparkling Lagoon, stunning fountains and the Swan Boats created and operated for over 100 years by the Paget family.
The Museum of Fine Arts, New England's largest art museum, can not be missed during your visit Boston. It is known for its collection of works by Claude Monet--the largest collection of paintings by the French Impressionist outside of France.
Newport, Rhode Island, is an enchanting city by the sea and is definitely one of New England's most beautiful areas. Take a sunset stroll along one Newport's famous Cliff Walk, one of the most scenic and romantic walking trails in all of New England, where you will see the region’s legendary mansions and stunning gardens as well as spectacular ocean views. A mere 60 miles from Newport, Cape Cod is surrounded by the sea and is one of the few places on the East Coast where it’s possible to see the sun setting over the Atlantic Ocean
Everything in Texas is big! The state stretches over 773 miles from east to west with a total land and water area consisting of almost 7.5% of the total land area of the United States. Apart from its dazzling skyline, Dallas is most famous for being the site of the 20th century’s most notorious political assassination-John F Kennedy. The Sixth Floor Museum occupies the former Texas School Book Depository, the building from which Lee Harvey Oswald was said to have assassinated John F Kennedy.
America's South has played a central and defining role in American musical history and it is impossible to think of American music in this century without such Southern influenced genres of music as ragtime, jazz, blues, country, gospel, rhythm and blues and rock'n'roll. Jazz is synonymous with New Orleans, also known as the Big Easy, and there’s no bigger name in the history of the genre than Louis Armstrong. Located just steps from the French Quarter, the 32-acre Louis Armstrong Park was founded in 1980 in his honour and contains a larger-than-life, bronze statue of Armstrong by sculptor Elizabeth Catlett.
Sun Studios, Memphis is a place of pilgrimage for anyone who has an interest in music. It is here that greats, such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and many others started their careers under the leadership of Sam Phillips. Here you can see the very microphone Elvis sang "That's All Right Mama", the piano where Jerry Lee Lewis first played "Great Balls of Fire" and the room that Johnny Cash recorded "Walk the Line".
Nashville is the lifeblood of country music and home to the amazing Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum where you can take a tour through the Country Stars careers, lifestyles, and history. No where else, in the world, will you find such a collection of Country Music Memorabilia.
Culturally speaking, Mexico is like a patchwork quilt of languages, dialects and customs. In addition to the well-known Mayans and the Aztecs, dozens of ethnic groups have, over the centuries, contributed to its fascinating fabric. The Spaniards brought a lot of change, but Mexicans chose what to keep, and weaved it seamlessly into their own customs. It's as if nobody conquered the country-but were they themselves absorbed by Mexico.
An upbeat, bright, energetic city, Mexico City wears its heart on its sleeve- couples and friends openly embrace in the street, the sound of loud laughter and music is constantly in the air and the architecture is a contrastingly beautiful from the old neighbourhoods to the steel skyscrapers. Mexico is well known as a country for art lovers- with the murals of Diego Rivera a must see. Some of his most famous works include “Mexico through the Centuries” (México a Través de los Siglos) and “Dreams of a Sunday Afternoon in the Alameda” and can be found at the National Palace in Mexico City- itself an awe-inspiring sight!
The colonial neighbourhoods of Coyoacán and nearby San Ángel are definitely worth a visit. A walk along Coyoacán's cobbled Avenida Francisco Sosa leads to secret gardens and Spanish estates hidden behind the walls of buildings painted pink, blue and ochre. A short walk away is the Frida Kahlo museum, known as the "Blue House" where the famous painter was born in 1907.
The city’s National Museum of Anthropology has 23 permanent exhibit halls. Archaeology exhibits are located on the ground floor and ethnographic exhibits about present-day indigenous groups in Mexico are on the upper level. Here you can learn about how the country’s cultures changed over time, culminating in the Mexico (Aztec) exhibit, full of monumental stone sculptures, of which the most famous is the Aztec Calendar, commonly known as the "Sun Stone.”
Teotihuacán is an ancient sacred site located 30 miles northeast of Mexico City, Mexico and its ruins are among the most remarkable in Mexico and some of the most important ruins in the world. Teotihuacán means "place where gods were born," reflecting the Aztec belief that the gods created the universe here. Constructed around 300 AD, the holy city is characterized by the vast size of its monuments, carefully laid out on geometric and symbolic principles.
Don’t miss the chance to visit the Shrine of Guadalupe- the most visited Catholic religious site in the World. There are actually two basilicas dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe, next to each other on the northern outskirts of Mexico City. The original 1531 Basilica Antigua (Old Basilica) is a classic piece of Spanish Colonial architecture, with Mudéjar elements and ornate retablos and today houses holds a museum of impressive religious art.
Argentineans treat life like a rare, aged cognac that needs to be appreciated and enjoyed. Whether it is soccer, tango or great wines, Argentineans are best known for their passionate approach to everything they do. It is a country where the mantra is “each moment of each day is to be cherished and enjoyed” – whether cooking a meal or dancing in the streets.
Buenos Aires is a capital sparkling with charisma and life. Often dubbed the Paris of South America; it is brimming with cosmopolitan charm, from its wide, tree-lined boulevards and the brightly coloured huts of La Boca to its excellent restaurants and world famous wines. The city constantly offers unexpected entertainment either in the form of its impromptu Tango performances.
The pretty Plazo de Mayo has played a fundamental role in almost all the important political and social events in Argentina's history and it is home to a number of beautiful and historical buildings- the most iconic of which is the pink-coloured Renaissance-style palace Casa Rosado. It was here that Eva Perón, the first lady of Argentina who fought for women's suffrage, gave her famous speeches to the poor from the lower balcony. Addressing the crowds below as los descamisados, or "the shirtless ones" (a slang term for the working class), she reclaimed the phrase as a symbol of labour pride while her swooning supporters referred to her affectionately as "Evita."
The impressive Metropolitan Cathedral has a variety of different architectural styles which have being added over time. Its dome, nave, statues and altarpieces pertain to the 18th century and are marked by Neo-Renaissance and Neo Baroque style while the façade was built in 19th century in the Neo-classical style. The walls and ceilings are adorned with spectacular frescoes which describe scenes from the Bible and in 1907 the cathedral’s floor received Venetian-style mosaics designed by an Italian Carlos Morra. Inside lies an ornate, marble mausoleum containing the remains of General José de San Martín, the South American liberator regarded as the "Father of the Nation.
Tango star Carlos Gardel, is a name synonymous with the seductive dance so it’s perhaps appropriate that a restaurant where he used to dine hosts the perfect, classic, tango experience. The show includes many local varieties of tango and celebrates the long, complex history of the dance. Argentineans believe that being paired with a really good dancer is like falling in love for three minutes and as you watch the couples glide across the floor, chest-to-chest- her eyes closed and one arm draped softly around the back of his neck-you will see why.
The mighty Iguazú Falls is one of Argentina's star attractions and its beauty draws people come from all over the world every year. Made up of an incredible 275 individual waterfalls and cascades, the falls will leave you in awe. At its largest and most dramatic juncture, the water is churned into thick creamy clouds that tumble through rainbows of light to spectacular effect. The Falls receive about 1 million visitors a year and have been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1984.
From its sweeping plains and passion-filled Tango to its dazzling natural wonders Argentina truly is a feast for the senses and a country that is sure to stay in your heart for a very long time.
Brazil is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world with the capital Rio de Janero having its fair share! The stunning Copacabana Beach is with its crystalline, turquoise tropical waters and dazzling palm-lined white sands is the perfect location for soaking up the quintessential Brazilian beach experience.
The towering figure of Christ the Redeemer, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, stands at the summit of the Corcovado and is an incredible sight to behold. This monumental 30-metre statue, designed by Paul-Maximilien Landowski, has being watching over Rio de Janeiro since 1931. You can also take a cable car up to the beautiful Sugarloaf Mountain which stands 1,299 feet above Rio's bustling metropolis and the picturesque Guanabara Bay. From the vantage point of your cable car carriage known locally as a Bondi you are about to take in one of the most stunning views the world has to offer!
Ranging from the lavish Art-Deco styled buildings to more historic and classical structures, Rio’s architecture is a tourist attraction in its own right. The 17th century Igreja da Candelaria is an interesting mixture of several architectural styles, from Baroque to Neoclassical. Rio’s Opera House is considered one of the masterpieces of the Neo-Baroque style. Built in 1909, it is filled with gilded mirrors, statues, murals, stained-glass windows and sparkling chandeliers.
No visit to Rio de Janeiro is complete without experiencing the glamour and vibrancy of a spectacular samba show. At the incredible Plataforma Show, you'll be entertained by colourfully costumed dancers, exciting music and vigorous and sensuous dance moves. The show combines thirty beautiful mulata-dancers and a skilled male cast who will take you on a cultural journey through the popular music of Brazil, (Samba, and Capoeira) and a grand finale of a parade showcasing the decadent carnival costumes.
The breathtakingly beautiful Iguazu Falls is guaranteed to inspire you. What makes this waterfall so unique is that the numerous islands and inlets along its edge create 275 separate waterfalls that vary in height between 200 and 269 feet. Iguazu National Park (a World Heritage Site) is home to many rare animal species such as the giant otter, the jaguar, the puma, the red-spectacled parrot and the giant anteater. The clouds of spray produced by the waterfall maintain a lush growth of vegetation and the park also affords amazing panoramic views of the falls.
Egypt’s treasures don’t end with its incredible architectural jewels. From the dazzling light of the desert and the intense turquoise waters of the Nile (the world's longest river) to the humbling panoramas of the golden deserts and the inviting warm waters of the Dead Sea, Egypt is a diverse land that is just waiting to be explored.
Journey back to an ancient world where giant pyramids were a gateway to the afterlife and Kings was guaranteed eternal preservation. The Pyramids of Giza, the oldest standing manmade structures in the world, continue to capture the imagination of millions of visitors from around the world. Of the 7 wonders of the ancient world, these impressive buildings are the only ones remaining and stand as a testament to the power of the Pharaohs, who could marshal tens of thousands of slaves to construct these colossal monuments. Carved from the bedrock of the Giza plateau, the Sphinx still remains a beautiful mystery-the reasons behind its creation are still unknown. Its impressive features (which are still remarkably visible) and its sheer bulk will make you feel like you are right back in ancient times.
Egypt is also famous for its incredible Temples. There are two adjacent temples in Kom Ombo, one dedicated to Horus the Elder, the Falcon God of Sky and War and the other for the crocodile deity- Sobek, God of Creation and Fertility. These breath taking temples offer excellent examples of hieroglyphs and carved columns. There is also a fantastic museum with mummified crocodiles on site. The temple complex of Karnak was built over a period of 1500 years and is the largest religious structure ever made. Lining the entrance is an avenue of a 40 ram-headed Sphinxes, built to protect the Temple. The remarkable Great Hypostyle Hall measures 103m in length and 52m in width and contains a vast forest of 134 papyrus columns. The walls of the Hall are decorated with impressive carvings which portray the military actions of Ramesses II.
So gargantuan are these thickets of columns (that a crowd of fifty people could easily stand atop the capital of the largest column) and so overwhelming their myriads of hieroglyphs you will be dizzy from craning your neck up to take in these grand buildings.
No visit to Egypt is complete without a trip to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo which contains the world's most extensive collection of antiquities from the time of the Pharaohs. Designed in the neoclassical style by Marcel Dourgnon, the Museum boasts 107 halls filled with artefacts dating from the prehistoric through to Roman periods. Among the treasure you’ll find here is the famous Tutankhamen’s coffin. Made of solid, hammered gold it weighs over 450 pounds.
South Africa is known for its diversity, with eleven official languages and different ethnic groups, including Caucasian, Indian and racially mixed communities. South Africa offers stunning natural scenery, vast open spaces, lively cosmopolitan cities and is particularly rich in plant biodiversity. South Africa is also world renowned for its safaris. The famous Kruger National Park is one of the most popular wildlife-watching spots in the world.