Discover Dresden This Year

Dresden is the epitome of beauty and culture. This magnificent city lies on both sides of the Elbe River and is often called the Florence of the East and the state capital of Saxony. From baroque buildings to gleaming gardens to museums and other tourist attractions, there are many things to do in Dresden. Let me help you discover Dresden as I list down some of the best places to see in this glorious city.

dresden-castle

1. Explore the Residenzschloss Dresden Castle (or Royal Palace)

The Dresden Castle of Royal Palace is one of the oldest buildings in the city. One of the most popular castles in the European continent, it served as the residence of the electors and kings since the 15th century. Today, the Residenzschloss Dresden Castle contains an array of museums. You can find here the Historic Green Vault, which is known as one of the richest treasure chambers in Europe. Another museum is The Dresden Armory, which houses valuable collections of weapons and costumes.

The Coin Cabinet is where you can see the oldest and most renowned collections of coins, medals and banknotes, and the Collection of Prints, Drawings and Photographs, where you will get to appreciate 515,000 works representing eight centuries of over 20,000 artists.

2. Visit the Frauenkirche Dresden

frauenkirche-dresden

Dresden’s Frauenkirche, which translates to Church of Our Lady, is one of the city’s most important edifices. This Lutheran church was designed by the architect George Bähr. However, he did not even live that long to see its completion. It was completed in 1743 but was later destroyed during the Allied bombings in World War II.

The church ruins had been put together as a war memorial. Then in the 1980s, plans for reconstruction started, and its reestablishment was completed in 2005. You can still find the old damaged cross at the church’s new altar. The reconstruction of Frauenkirche Dresden symbolizes the international reconciliation after World War II.

This church is truly something you can’t miss when you go to discover Dresden. Remember to check out the fantastic view over the city of Dresden and its surroundings. The viewing platform is open to visitors all year round.

3. Wander Around the Zwinger

The Zwinger in Dresden is a baroque palace situated in the old town. It is very grand, and you will be mesmerized by its beauty. Wandering outside the building is worth your time because of its unique and intricate architecture. Zwinger was meant to stand as a testament to the glory of Augustus the Strong’s time in power. It was later developed into a cluster of cultural venues till its destruction in World War II.

The reconstruction began in 1945 with the help of the Soviet military. It was later restored to its pre-war condition in 1963. The exterior and the surrounding views of this palace are enough to feast your eyes on. But if you want to explore the museum complex, head inside the Porcelain museum, which features 20,000 porcelain artefacts.

4. Relax and Enjoy the Views at Brühl’s Terrace

If you want to see the scenic and wide-ranging view of the Elbe River, then head out to Bruhl’s Terrace. Bruhl’s Terrace is where you can also find the 400-year-old Brick Gate, the only surviving original city gate in Dresden. Furthermore, you can also see the relics of the old town bridge, the medieval defence system, the casements and the bastion.

Bruhl’s Terrace, also known as the balcony of Europe, is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the stunning view of the Elbe and the other side of the city.

5. Discover Dresden and Stay at Taschenbergpalais

taschenbergpalais

If you are looking for a great hotel in Dresden, then Taschenbergpalais should be at the top of your list. Taschenbergpalais is a palace hotel that is just in front of the Zwinger and beside Dresden Castle. This hotel was built in the 18th century by Augustus the Strong. Some famous past guests of this grand hotel include President Jacques Chirac of France, Prince Albert II of Monaco, and designer Karl Lagerfeld.

It features 213 rooms and suites. Dine in the Palais Bistro or have a coffee break at the Cafe Vestibul. Other amenities of this historic hotel include a spa area with a sauna, a pool, a steam bath, massage treatments and a fitness centre.

6. Enjoy Your Time at the Großer Garten or the Grand Garden

Spending quiet time in a garden is something I love to do. That’s why this park is one of the things that I had to include on the list. The Großer Garten is a Baroque-style park in central Dresden. This huge park was established in 1676 on the instruction of John George III, Elector of Saxony. The rectangular-shaped park has been open to the public since 1814. A miniature railway runs in the park from April to October.

Other features of the park include a souvenir shop at the main station where you can also buy refreshments, The Summer Café which is located at the Palace Pond, and The Boat Hire and its Beer Garden, which is located on the western shore of Lake Carolasee.

This is truly a great place for walking, jogging, skating and riding a bike—a perfect place to spend time with friends and family.

7. Shopping in the New Town

Dresden won’t disappoint when it comes to shopping. You can either go to Innere Neustadt, the Baroque Quarter or go to a much hipper place at Äußere Neustadt.

The Baroque Quarter welcomes guests with galleries, museums, and boutiques. In contrast, the trendy Äußere Neustadt offers its visitors with various bars, restaurants, cafes, music hubs and chic shops. Dresden’s two shopping secrets are must-visit places when you travel to Dresden.

Dresden is an incredibly beautiful city. I was mesmerized by its rich history and architecture. Though it was heavily destroyed during WW II, it has recovered quite well and is now one of Germany’s most beautiful historic cities. The combination of baroque architecture and romantic landscapes makes Dresden stand out from other German cities. Plan your trip now and discover Dresden this year!

Best Lakeside Destinations in Europe

The lakes in Europe have been a favorite summer destination for a long time. It is ideal for those who want to enjoy nature. It is also best for those who do not want to be on a crowded beach. Check out my top 5 lakeside destination choices when in Europe.

1. Lake Como Italy

Lakes can be deep and Lake Como is among the deepest in Europe. It measures 400 meters deep and is listed to be the 5th deepest lake while the other four are all found in Norway. A lot of wealthy people come to visit as well as royal families and tourists. Many stars from Hollywood and all over the world have also built their residences on its shores.

Watersports lovers find Lake Como a haven. They can enjoy water skiing, windsurfing, and wakeboarding when visiting here. They can even do diving and enjoy a day at the spa while looking at the picturesque sceneries all around. The temperature in areas surrounding the lake remains warm even during winter. This is why a lot of hikers and explorers enjoy hiking all year round.

2. Lake Geneva Switzerland

Lake Geneva is found sitting in the Alps. It is shaped like a crescent and serves as a border to France and Switzerland. Activities for visitors include boating, antique shopping and even walking the steep streets made of cobblestone.

If you ask me, the most stunning areas to visit can be found on the western shore. This is where the lake sits against Mont Blanc where a picturesque snowy scene can be seen.
If you’re looking to visit for watersports or swimming, then you have to come between June and September. The waters of the lake remain warm despite being situated against the Alps.

3. Lake Bled Slovenia

Lake Bled is located in northwestern Slovenia. The main attraction for most tourists who come here is the bluish-green waters. Aside from that, the tiny island in the center of the lake makes it more interesting.

The 16th century Bled Castle offers visitors a magical view especially when the quiet waters stay still surrounding it. During winter, the lake is mostly frozen. However, you can reach the castle using the traditional “pletna” boat during warmer months.

Water Sports activities are mostly sought after in the lake. Aside from that, hiking and biking are also popular choices.

4. Lake Hallstatt Austria

Austria takes pride in one of its most striking bodies of water, the Lake Hallstatt. The lake was named after the village where it sits. Divers also love the clean waters here making it a prime destination. Aside from diving, pedal boats and rowing are available for rent.

The months of July and August are the busiest as millions of visitors come here during this time every year. If you want a new experience, you can try coming during the winter when the Alpine Village is covered with snow and turned into a winter wonderland.

5. Lake Lucerne Switzerland

This lake is Switzerland’s most scenic body of water. You can go cruising on Lake Lucerne and appreciate the winter landscape of the snow-covered mountains. Visitors can try many activities including antique shopping, cycling, and even skating. During the warmer months, events including musicals and culinary programs take place. Some of Switzerland’s oldest communities can also be found surrounding Lake Lucerne.

6. Trevassack Lake, United Kingdom

As well as the large, well-known lakes like the above there are thousands of smaller lakes that rarely get a mention. In the United Kingdom, where it rains a lot, there are hundreds of lakes and reservoirs dotted around the countryside. Trevassack Lake is one such lake, located in Cornwall in the southwest of the country. Trevassack Holidays runs a watersports centre at the lake, plus there is excellent, brand new family holiday accommodation so visitors can stay lakeside in this beautiful destination.

The Must-See Castles In Europe

Beyond being remnants of the past, castles are a must-see when traveling in Europe. There is simply something so romantic about them, especially when you imagine how the royals spend their days inside them back then. Due to the many royal families in Europe, there is no shortage of castles to visit. Here are the ones you should not miss.

1. Carreg Cennen Castle, Wales

For such a small place, Wales has more castles for every square mile than anywhere else in the whole world. Carreg Cennen is also unique because it is in a state of ruins, but it does not mean that it will not fill you with awe.

2. Hohenwerfen Castle, Austria

Given that the royal family of the Austro-Hungarian empire ruled most of Europe for centuries, it is not surprising to find one castle in Austria making it to this list. The views alone will enchant you, as you can see the Salzachtal Valley and the Berchtesgaden Alps. Being more than 900 years old, it has been home to kings, archbishops and even prisoners (it served as a state prison for some time).

3. Predjama Castle, Slovenia

Built on the side of a 400-foot cliff, it will remind you of Tolkien’s Helm’s Deep. The castle itself also boasts of so many dungeons, castles, and hidden tunnels. They also host an annual medieval tournament every July.

4. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

No other castle is as well-known and as photographed as this fairy-tale castle. It has inspired Disney movies, computer games, and books.

5. Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

This is also quite popular, thanks to being a popular feature in Highlander shows and in many postcards. It is also an important site during the 1719 Jacobite Rising. The surroundings, where 3 locks meet at the bottom of the mountain range will also take your breath away.

6. Hohenzollern Castle, Germany

This castle feels like a dream, being literally in the clouds. While it is the 3rd to have been built on the site, visiting it can be surreal.

7. Hunyad Castle, Romania

The impressive Hunyad Castle is known for being where Vlad the Impaler (the inspiration for Dracula) was imprisoned. It is grand, especially since it has a Gothic-Renaissance influence. It has also been greatly restored after being neglected for years.

8. Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

This medieval fortress has been fully restored, so locals can enjoy the views on top of an extinct volcano named Castle Rock. Since being built in the 12th Century, the Edinburgh Castle has been passed on from the English and the Scots and vice versa.

9. Versailles, France

No list of best European castles is complete without Versailles. While it started out as a hunting lodge, it is now the most popular castle in the world.

Thanks to the centuries of history of this continent, many relics remain for current generations to explore and enjoy. You can discover the different styles and use them to guess how old the structure is. Or you can simply walk through the halls and pretend to be a princess for a day.

Rediscover Rome

Rome, the sprawling, bustling Italian city that is known to the world for its inspiring architecture and art, still has more to offer besides the iconic Colosseum and the largest St. Peter’s Basilica. Look at a touristy destination like Roman with fresh eyes. Rediscover its beauty with this unique guide.

First, Gelato

It’s tempting to hit the big places right away when you’ve reached the city. But breathe for a little while and try the local Italian foods first. Tourists often prioritize sights over tastes but the best way to know the city is by filling the stomach.

Go on a food tour first. Take your pick, though it’d be nicer if you can go to the Trastevere neighborhood where you taste the very foods that put Italy on the world map street style – pizza, gelato, pasta, and more. There’s also another food tour offering near Campo Fiore, where you not only eat but learn how the Italians cook.

Climp up the Janiculum Hill, next to the tallest hill in metropolitan Rome, that offers a breathtaking city view. When in Rome, you definitely trade skyscrapers for leisure walks and stylish architectural sights.

Stroll in the City

Strolling is the best way to experience any city. You’ll discover nooks and crannies you haven’t heard of. If you’re coming from Travestere, take a bus all the way to the city center. You must see Plazza Navona, surrounded by palatial churches and fountains. The infamous fountain of Neptune is definitely not one to miss.

From there, you can go straight to the legendary wish-granting Trevi Fountain featured in many movies via the stately Pantheon building. The tickets are free in the beautiful temple Pantheon, so you can tour around at will. Then you can proceed and have your ice cream sitting on the Spanish steps.

The list of the many other must-see places in Rome are the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the
Vatican, the seat of the Roman Catholic Church. You can definitely have your desktop research and take a self-guided tour. But if you’re in for some deeper, more interesting facts about these sights, book a tour.

Cruise through the River

A unique way to experience the lively city of Rome is to traverse along the Tiber river. Tickets are available for anyone’s grab. The view from a boat deck offers you a quiet but rich experience in the middle of a bustling city.

As you cruise along, your tour will have stopovers at Roman landmarks like Piazza Spagna, Piazza Venezia, and the Castel S. Angelo (the impressive fortress originally built as a mausoleum for the emperor).

And if you want a more localized experience, you can get back to the Trastevere neighborhood and cross the river. The island called Isle Tibertina offers the best evening merriment with many outdoor activities and quality bars, especially during summer.

Cap the night at Campo de’ Fiori

Rome is a city worth walking every waking hour. Spend your last night at the cool district of Campo de’ Fiori, branded as the hipster ground. But really, anyone who’s up for fun and drinks, is welcome. The cobbled streets of the square look equally beautiful and colorful in the daytime, known for its fruits, veggie, and flower markets.

There’s so much more than the historical tours in Rome. Besides the known places, less mainstream districts offer you just about the same exciting and rewarding experience.

Four Tips to Make Your Tropical Island Getaway More Memorable

More and more folks love nothing better than having the cooling effects of water and the gentle rocking lullabies of the ocean breeze to make up their day. And if you’re feeling like you need to check out the wonders of a tropical island paradise, get ready to beef up your much-anticipated experience with these four tips to make your tropical island getaway more memorable, meaningful, and safe.

tropical-island-vacation

Keep your travel documents with you at all times.

Your passport is one of the most important travel documents alongside your tourist visa. Make sure that you have these papers with you wherever you go as they serve as your principal form of identification when establishments in the island ask you for one. While some would actually recommend leaving these documents in your hotel safe, it usually isn’t a good idea if you’re going to avail of a particular service where your identification will be needed. Hot, tropical islands are not recommended for pets so if you plan to travel with a dog, you might want to check some cooler countries.

Protect yourself against the sun, bugs, and many more.

Aside from the usual sunscreen or sunblock lotion, you may have to get prophylactic treatment for some of the more common tropical diseases like malaria. It is quite rare to find an island that doesn’t have malaria-carrying mosquitoes especially those in the Pacific so it is a lot better to be prepared. Also, if you have medications with you, make sure that these are properly documented and that you have an appropriate prescription for them. Local authorities don’t really like the idea of foreign tourists bringing in undocumented drugs into their localities even if there is a medical need for such.

Don’t be afraid to mix with the locals.

Unlike major cities where walking in the street can almost always lead to something truly eventful, local tropical island life is friendlier, warmer, and definitely more hospitable. This is true for most of the inspirational travel destinations around the globe. Many of these folks would love to share with you whatever they have. That being said, you will need to make sure your stomach is up to the challenge. Or, you can find a more polite way of saying ‘no’. The important thing to remember is to share some time with the locals as their knowledge of the island is simply incomparable. Who knows, you might be receiving a real treat before you conclude your trip.

Have fun.

Just because you’re in a largely secluded island, away from civilization, doesn’t mean you can no longer have fun. Whether it is on the beach, in the waters, or even in the jungle, there are plenty of adventures just waiting to unfold right before your very eyes. These are best lived, not merely to see. The only way you can truly enjoy them is to have an open mind and try things you normally won’t even dare think about.

Tropical islands can be exceptionally marvellous places to create fantastic memories that should last a lifetime. By adhering to these tips we’ve shared, you can feel more confident about writing your own life story in the sands of the best tropical islands on the planet.

Hong Kong’s Hottest Tourist Attractions 2019

Almost everyone knows that Hong Kong is one of the world’s best places to shop. It is both a tropical paradise and a cosmopolitan city known for its vibrant multicultural makeup. Restaurants fill tummies round-the-clock while two of the largest theme parks slug it out for the attention of kids and kids at heart. Despite having only 428 square miles of territory, almost all of the world’s best are already in this financial, fashion, culture, travel, and retail center. It is not surprising why more than 65 million tourists flock to this Asian pearl of a city every year. This year, 2019, is not going to be any different, especially with Hong Kong’s hottest tourist attractions.

Monopoly Dreams

Starting June 2019, visitors who are fans of the classic board game Monopoly will get the chance to play a life-sized version of the classic game. Monopoly Dreams is for enthusiasts as well as anyone who would like to have a different kind of fun. Creators integrated 4D interactive projections and state-of-the-art augmented reality technology into classic games like Water Works, Jail, and Chance cards. Keep in mind that this attraction will change the way you play board games. It is best to think hard before going as you will no longer want to play your standard-sized board games from then on.

Marvel Hits Hong Kong Disneyland

Hong Kong Disneyland is welcoming a new brand of characters to beef up the likes of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy. The theme park is on a 6-year expansion program that will showcase a larger Disney castle as well as the entry of Marvel’s iconic superheroes at Tomorrowland. When the Marvel Universe at Disney gets completed by 2023, expect the likes of Iron Man, Captain America, and Black Panther, among others to be permanent fixtures in the Hong Kong attraction.

Impossible Burger 2.0

In 2018, Impossible Foods wowed the Hong Kong crowd with their take on vegetarian-inspired burgers that boast of nothing but plant-based meat patties. Today, there are more than 150 HK restaurants that serve Impossible Burgers. This year, the brand has done the impossible. The Impossible Burger 2.0 boasts of meatier and juicier burgers that its creators, Castelo Concepts, says will make you unable to differentiate between a plant-based meat and a true meat. It may not be a place to visit, but the Impossible Burger 2.0 is one of the best experiences you should try this 2019.

Maruju Aburi Farm

You don’t need to go to Kobe, Japan to enjoy luscious Wagyu beef. You can have one at the recently-opened Maruju Aburi Farm. This is a restaurant that serves ranch-to-table wagyu. This means you get only the freshest and most succulent steaks you will ever have in the world. However, Maruju Aburi doesn’t only serve premium cuts. It is a restaurant that offers nose-to-tail dining. The best part of it is that it doesn’t cost a fortune to enjoy a prime wagyu cut. Now that’s an awesome deal worth having this year.

The year 2019 opens up more fascinating Hong Kong sights and experiences for the whole world to see. And that’s just the tip of an ambitious tourism upgrade of the crown jewel.

How to Make a Portugal Vacation Memorable

Everyone wants to have a holiday to remember, because of the great times and not because of unfortunate experiences. Visitors to Portugal can easily have the best vacation of their lives, as long as they prepare properly. By following these tips, you can relax and enjoy your time in this beautiful country.

1. Do Not Hesitate To Get A Tourist Card

One of the biggest letdowns during a holiday is to worry about going over budget. While spending is a natural part of a vacation, it does not mean you cannot control your expenses or save some money. You can opt to buy a tourist card, like the Lisbon Card that will allow you to take public transportation and get discounts on some entrance fees.

2. Learn Some Basic Portuguese

It is not that difficult to get around the country when you speak English, but learning some phrases in the local language is always a good tip when you are traveling. Beyond learning how to say hello and good morning to be friendly and respectful, you can learn some important words you might need, like medicine, doctor, toilet, help, and many more.

3. Protect Yourself From The Sun

Visitors from the cooler parts of the world are always eager to go out into the sun, not realizing that their skin can get burnt quickly. While this is not a health emergency, a sunburn can make you very uncomfortable and ruin your holiday. Make sure you are ready to stay under the sun by stocking up on sunscreen with high SPF and avoiding the sun between 12 and 3 pm when the sunlight is very intense.

4. Pack Light And Wear Comfortable Shoes

Tons of visitors to Europe do not realize that many of its cities are full of cobbled streets dating back hundreds of years. While they make the streets look beautifully old, they are definitely not friendly to heels and stilettos. You should pack sneakers or sturdy sandals instead to allow you to walk without any problems. These cobblestones are also a menace for big suitcases, as they can run down the wheels especially if they are heavy. Pack light instead with a backpack or invest in suitcases with sturdy wheels.

5. Taste The Local Cuisine

One of the highlights of a Portugal holiday is the food. They have many delicious dishes that you should never miss out on, especially if you have the chance to dine at the local restaurants. Avoid fast food restaurants and ask the locals for recommendations where to try out the cuisine.

6. Drink Coffee

Coffee lovers will love the local cup that will certainly put Starbucks to shame. Watch out, however, because they use strong espresso so you might not want to order too many, otherwise you cannot sleep at night. To make it easy for you, a meia de leite contains 50% coffee and 50% milk, while a galão contains an espresso shot with triple the amount of milk.

Thanks to their beautiful beaches and charming cities, Portugal tops the list of favorite destinations around the world. With these tips, you can plan your holiday perfectly and have a hassle-free time.

Obscure But Spectacular Travel Locations in Europe

Europe has indeed so many cities to explore that many tourists only tend to visit the biggest and most popular ones. Everyone seems to head to major hotspots like Paris, Barcelona, Venice and Athens. However, even though they are not as well-known, the following word travel destinations are secret jewels that have inspired visitors with their charm and beauty, but without the crowds and top prices.

Heidelberg, Germany

Heidelberg Germany

This small city overlooks the Neckar River, offering visitors with beautiful walks along its banks. However, it is the quaint old town that makes it quite unforgettable, making you feel like you are in a different era altogether. Do not forget to visit the castle on top of the hill, which is actually nothing more than just ruins.

Bruges, Belgium

Though rising in popularity, Bruges is still relatively unknown compared to the other Belgian cities Brussels and Antwerp. However, this city boasts of medieval architecture and the many canals, which is why it is called “Venice of the North.”

Ferrara, Italy

This walled city gives visitors many palaces that date all the way back to the 14th century, as well as breathtaking cathedrals. The nine kilometers of ancient walls around it and the wide streets will give you much to see even just walking around.

Padstow, United Kingdom

Boats in Padstow, Cornwall

Travellers from around the world may have heard of Cornwall – a beautiful coastal area in the South West of the United Kingdom. But will have heard about Padstow – a charming fishing town in an amazing area of spectacular seaside scenery and long golden beaches. Padstow is a thriving holiday town where tourists flock for the natural beauty and quaint Cornish way of life. There are plenty of great places to stay in and around Padstow.

Valencia, Spain

Known for its famous paella and the fresh oranges that grow just outside the city, it also has numerous sights for visitors who love architecture and old towns. Beyond the historical buildings, the futuristic structures of the City of Arts and Sciences provide an interesting contrast. The city does not just have beaches, but also a park crossing one side of the city to the other.

Porto, Portugal

This lesser-known city in Portugal is not to be missed, especially if you are into festivals. But the city itself will marvel you, as the old town boasts of cobblestoned streets, a gilded baroque church, and even a truly majestic palace.

Biarritz, France

Beach in Biarritz France

Located in the French Basque Country, this is a top beach destination, especially for surfers. The waters of the Bay of Biscay gives them exciting waves that will challenge their skills on the board. This is why the annual Biarritz Surf Festival draws together surfers and fans from every corner of the globe. If you are not much into surfing, enjoy the unique Basque cuisine and culture by having your fill of pintxos.

Innsbruck, Austria

While this is more well-known as a literal winter wonderland, having hosted the Winter Olympic Games twice, it is also a great destination during the warm months, giving visitors lots of options for hiking, climbing, and even mountain biking.

Gothenburg, Sweden

The fresh and young vibe of this city can definitely be attributed to it being a university city, but it also draws young people to their popular film and music festivals. You can also enjoy the unique Scandinavian architecture as you stroll through the city.

Budapest, Hungary

Of the many underrated capitals of Europe, Budapest is on the top of the must-visit list. Not only does the romantic and historic Danube River flow through this city, it also has old buildings that are simply picture-perfect.

Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn - wonderful travel location in Estonia

This medieval city has also managed to mix together Baltic, Scandinavian, and Russian culture, which by itself is a huge reason to come and visit the city. The old town is also a UNESCO heritage site without the hefty price tag of more popular European cities.

So the next time you plan for your European getaway, forget the usual tourist draws and find yourself touching more authentic cultural destinations like the 10 on this list. You can, at the same time, enjoy a more relaxed holiday away from the hoards of tourists.