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.

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.

Why Try Cornwall for a Holiday or Vacation

The UK’s leading holiday destination is undoubtedly the picturesque county of Cornwall. Located right next door to Devon, which is also popular with tourists, Cornwall offers an amazing experience for holidaymakers. Cornwall has attractive beach towns and fishing villages, exceptional sandy beaches, jaw-dropping sea cliffs, rugged moors, dense forests and rolling countryside to discover. It is a fantastic location to visit for a holiday or vacation, consisting of many natural, historical locations and picturesque destinations such as castles and Celtic ruins. And now with a big selection of fantastic tourist attractions, activities and restaurants, it’s no wonder that Cornwall holds the title of the UK’s leading vacation destination.

Great Weather

But why is it so great? To start with, the weather is milder in this remote, south westerly part of Great Britain. Because of that the Cornish peninsula boasts subtropical gardens which motivate and impress visitors. Its steep cliffs are natural tourist attractions worth the journey alone. With its location at the far fringes of mainland Britain, this peninsula is almost surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and bordered on its north eastern edge by the River Tamar, giving it an island feel. This helps to offer Cornwall it’s own character and culture, and a real sense of pride and self-reliance in its citizens.

St Michael's Mount Cornwall

All this makes Cornwall an original and celebrated holiday location for visitors from the UK and many places worldwide. it is always voted the UK’s leading tourist area and for fantastic reason. It’s an amazingly spectacular location with its own laid-back culture and wonderful environment. No wonder families return here again and again to holiday in Cornwall holiday cottages and have fun together in this stunning location.

Celtic Heritage

Cornwall has rich Celtic heritage still intact from its days as a backwater far away from English power. It is at Tintagel where the legend of King Arthur was created. And there are Celtic crosses and monoliths to check out everywhere.

In more recent centuries Cornwall became one of the nation’s important places as its production of tin and clay were exported worldwide for the manufacturing of industrial materials. The remains of these markets can be seen dotted around the landscape. The noticeable outlines of tin mining engine houses are obviously all over and permanently connected with the county of Cornwall. And it’s this human communication with the landscape and environment that is now safeguarded in lots of UNESCO World Heritage Sites around the county.

Dramatic Cornwall Scenery

Untamed Beauty

In spite of it’s industrial past, Cornwall remains an untainted and rural location. There are still wild, wilderness areas and sensational countryside to check out and farming stays a big part of the economy below. If you step away from the towns and villages, and crowded beaches, to find the interior, you will find yourself in a landscape untouched by time and raw and reliable in its spectacular charm.

It is a backwoods with a laid-back environment, you should not be mistaken for thinking Cornwall is old-fashioned. Just recently Cornwall has actually experienced a little a revival and end up being a little bit of a trendy area, with a huge array of trendy hotels, great dining establishments, art galleries, cool stores and hip bars, coffee shop’s and dining facilities opening up in all corners of Cornwall. Star chef Rick Stein has really originated the culinary revolution in Cornwall, now followed by other Michelin starred dining facilities and wonderful dining establishments up and down the county.

Excellent Accommodation

There are many excellent hotels, bed and breakfasts, guest houses, self catering lodges and hundreds of holiday cottages for rent in Cornwall. There are many local holiday companies who can help you find the perfect base for your adventures in this beautiful part of the country. Using these holiday accommodation options as a base, you can explore and enjoy the best that Cornwall has to offer. For those people looking for a less costly vacation, there are various exceptionally located caravan parks and campsites around Cornwall to choose from.

Newquay is among the primary destinations for a holiday in Cornwall and is world-famous for the sport of surfing. The coastline in Newquay and throughout Cornwall routinely produce great waves to be enjoyed by surfing enthusiasts of all abilities. Together with kite surfing, stand up paddle boarding, mountain biking and other modern-day activities, surfing is one of the main reasons for adventurous people to visit Cornwall. But it’s also an excellent destination for people who want to do nothing more than a short walk along the beach.

Perfect for a Holiday or Short Break

Whatever you prefer to do on holiday, Cornwall has something for everyone. From romantic couples, to groups of friends, to families with kids, teenagers or students, Cornwall is a superb place to visit for a really special vacation.

The Best Countries in the World to Visit for Nature Lovers

There’s no doubt that we live in a very beautiful planet. From the deepest oceans to the highest peaks to the most rugged terrains and to the flattest of regions, the planet we live in is full of remarkable contrasts. While most of us are content on seeing the beauty of this planet through pictures alone, there are those who prefer being with nature to feel what it’s really like to be one with Mother Nature. Here are the six of the best countries or places in the world to visit for nature lovers.

Banff, Canada

Banff-Canada-Natural-Wilderness

Covering an amazing 2,500 square miles sprawled in the Canadian version of the Rockies, the Banff National Park boasts of turquoise lakes that are fed by Canadian glacial systems, abundant wildlife, breathtaking Rocky Mountain peaks, and outworldly scenic drives. There are more than 1,000 miles of well-maintained hiking trails that take you on a sunset stroll by the river or even let you feel the Alpine breath of glaciers. There are nearly 120 miles of mountain bike trails making the exploration of Banff more exciting.

Plitvice, Croatia

 

Plitvice-croatia-natural-travel-attactions

Travelers who love to study geologic formations will marvel at what the Plitvice National Park in the Dinaric area of Croatia has to offer. It boasts of being one of the planet’s most impressive and truly magnificent karst entities. It features canyon-like formations, carved by water that flows through the Mesozoic limestone and guarded by dolomitic rocks. Aside from its karst features, Plitvice is known for its forest communities made up of Alpine beech, beech-fir, spruce, and silver pine, among others. Animals that live off these forests abound. It is truly one of the most mesmerizingly beautiful, natural travel destinations in the world.

Pembrokeshire, Wales

Stunning-Sea-Views-in-Pembrokeshire-National-Park

UK travellers have long known that Wales is a first class destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. It’s an incredibly beautiful, but small, country attached to the United Kingdom. Wales has a lot to offer for nature lovers from the mountain top wildernesses of Snowdonia National Park, to wildlife rich estuaries, and thick pockets of native forests to the wild expanses of the Brecon Beacons. But perhaps one of the country’s most beautiful areas for a vacation is Pembrokeshire in the South West of the country. This is a little populated region with some of the most stunning coastline you are ever likely to see anywhere in the world. Here you will see high cliffs, crashing waves, small sandy coves and a plethora of wildlife including seals, dolphins and all sorts of sea birds. The sea views here are astonishing – providing sights you will remember for the rest of your life.

Göreme, Turkey

valley-of-love-Göreme-Turkey

What makes the Göreme National Park so special is its natural land formations that have been shaped by several millennia of erosion. Ancient dwellings can still be seen from these natural rock formations as if you’re essentially looking at a gigantic anthill. But don’t underestimate these dwellings as they provide the world of solid evidence of the exceptional brilliance of Byzantine art from the post-Iconoclastic era.

Khao Sok, Thailand

Khao Sok-thailand-beautiful-travel-location

Actively promoted by the Thai Tourism Ministry as the place where nature meets adventure, Khao Sok is nothing less than a magical place for nature lovers. Covered in the world’s oldest rainforest of evergreens, deep valleys, exciting caves, tall and imposing limestone mountains that reach for the sky, and breathtaking lakes, the Khao Sok National Park is undoubtedly one of the planet’s best when it comes to nature adventures. It’s also within popular southern Thai destinations like Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi, and Khao Lak.

Tongariro, New Zealand

Tongariro-National-park-new-zealand

The moment you set foot on Tongariro National park, you will instantly be transported to Middle Earth, specifically to Mordor, in the Lord of the Rings franchise. Its fantastic and very unique landscape can be both incredible and surreal at the same time. Trek the Tongariro Alpine crossing and you’ll find yourself traversing Ruapehu, Tongariro, and Ngauruhoe volcanic peaks.

From space, Earth is a gem in a sea of darkness, lit up only by distant stars. On Earth, these places are fitting testaments to just how beautiful this planet really is. For more travel inspiration, check out this video:

How to Make the Most of Your Next Beach Vacation

Not all of us are lucky enough to live near the coast where the morning is typically greeted by the warm, life-giving breath of sunshine or saying adieu to the day as the sun sets in the horizon, turning the sea into a glimmering ocean of little fireflies. Sure enough, lucky are those who are afforded these views. But it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll forever be confined to seeing the concrete jungle of the city. You can always go on a seaside holiday vacation and make the most out of it. That way when you do get home you’ll be bringing with you nothing but a bucket full of wonderful memories of sun, surf, and a whole lot more. Here’s how.

beach vacation

Plan your trip early

Unless you’re the type of holiday vacationer who prefers to pack up unprepared, there’s only one way you can truly enjoy the most out of your seaside holiday vacation: plan for it. When we say plan we don’t necessarily mean you are going to write every detail of your trip. Just a general idea of what you want to accomplish and how you want to accomplish it should be enough. This also means you’ve got to set your budget as well as the things you are going to do. Make sure to put an allowance into everything as you will never really know what can happen when you’re already there.

Also think about when you’d like to take your vacation. For the best prices, it’s sensible to avoid peak times of year. Also think what the weather might be like in your choice of destinations. It’s no use arriving on holiday in the middle of a monsoon, or when the air temperature is chilly.

planning a beach vacation

Book your holiday well in advance

Just as planning your trip early on can help you enjoy your holiday trip, booking early can also help you feel less stressed. In addition to the great savings you’ll get, you will also be able to spend more time preparing for your holiday getaway since you have all the reservations and bookings taken care of in advance. Remember to shop around as several holiday companies may have a similar holiday at wildly different prices, and there are always special offers especially on winter breaks.

For more inspiration on travel planning, check out this handy video:

Study the best beachside locations

When looking for a place for your next vacation, obviously you will want to choose a beautiful destination with a clean, sandy beach, offering good facilities and stunning sunsets or sea rises. You will also want to discover what activities are available in that location such as nightlife, surfing or walking.

Also think about the type of accommodation available in these locations. Do you want to stay in a laid-back beach cabaña, a luxury hotel, a campground or in a self catering apartment? Your preferred choice of accommodation will usually dictate the type of locations you can visit within your budget.

People from different places often have different customs, traditions, beliefs, and practices. While it is important to be well-informed about the different festivities and things to do in a particular holiday destination, it is equally crucial to have a basic understanding of the local customs and traditions. Some locations require visitors to remain discreet in their choice of beach wear. Remember, you will be mostly interacting with local folks so it would really pay to learn a few things about their culture.

tropical beach holiday

Let loose, but be vigilant

Enjoy every moment of your trip. However, you should still keep an eye on things. Holiday tourist destinations even those located in the beach are magnets for unscrupulous activities. Scammers will always be out to spoil your planned holiday. Instead of bringing home many fond memories with you, you’ll perhaps end up with nightmares of your ordeal. So, let loose but do not ever let your guard down.

Having a really fabulous time during your much-deserved seaside holiday vacation is easy if you plan enough for it. Understanding local customs and letting loose while remaining vigilant are some of the keys to help you relish the memories you will be making while on your dream getaway. If any, it’s immersing oneself in the beauty of the place that makes a beach vacation all the more worthwhile.

 

Holiday Cottage Recommendations in Spain, France, Austria and Italy

Are you looking for the best holiday destination for your family’s coming holiday trip? There are tons of cottage rental options available throughout Europe but there are also other families who are trying to book probably at the same place. Vacation rentals including cottages, villages and holiday homes offer a laid-back way to enjoy a wonderful continental location while having a comfortable self catering base for a holiday with your family.

vacation-rentals-pool

Here are our pick of recommended holiday cottages in Spain, France, Austria and Italy that the whole family will love.

France

If your family is the adventurous type and if you are looking for fun activities to do, La Ferme du Soleil is perfect for you. They have classic Alpine houses and chalets that can fit a big family. The area also offers paragliding and hot air balloon rides.

If there is more than one family going on the trip, you can go to La Jardin a la Francaise, Dordogne. The manor has eight bedrooms, two family suites, children’s game room and an adults’ sitting room. It is perfect for a holiday reunion. On top of that the property also has a swimming pool that everyone can enjoy.

Austria

If you are looking for something unique and new, the Ufogel cabins in Austria are the place. What makes the cabin interesting is its modern unique design. Located in the Alps, Nussdorf, the cabins are built from combined metals, glass and wood. It may look a bit small but it can fit five people.

For bigger families, Ferdi mountain base in Austria has 4 bedrooms that can sleep 8. It is located in the Dachstein Mountains and includes a sauna and yoga room. Fun activities that you can do with the family are hiking, rock climbing, skiing and biking.

Spain

Casa Lucinda in Galicia is one of the best villa spots located in South of Spain. The country cottage includes 4 bedrooms that are near Playa de Miño and Playa de Perbes beaches. It also comes with a spacious garden, kitchen and a fantastic view of nature. The kids would also enjoy visiting a nearby nature park, Fragas do Eume.

If the family prefers a pool you can opt to stay in Villa Carmen in Mallorca. It is also near Cala Santanyi beach. Or you can opt for the La Veranda cave house in Andalucia. The villa includes 7 bedrooms with 6 bathrooms, kitchens, pool and a large hot tub.

Italy

Casa Lola in Le Marche is perfect for big families who enjoy the outdoors. It includes 7 bedrooms and a private pool, which can sleep up to 14 with 4 twin beds and 3 bedrooms with double beds. It’s near the mountains, a lake and a deer park that the kids can visit.

Villa Ulisse in Sicily is the closest to the beach. It has 3 bedrooms and fenced gardens should the children and the family want to enjoy a lovely day outside. It also has a covered terrace for family bonding time.

Our selection is specific to the needs of a family that wants to bond and celebrate together during the holidays, especially for big families who enjoy travel and leisure outdoors. There are tens of thousands of other cottages and holiday homes throughout Europe. A good place to research these holiday properties for your next vacation are at sites like AirBnB, Owners Direct and TripAdvisor.

8 Most Creative Ways to Save Money for Travel

There is always that dream destination that you have been planning for years. Many people never get to realize their dream, and one of the most common reasons is not having the funds for it. What they do not understand is that by making a few lifestyle changes or taking creative steps to raise the money for it, they can finally set foot in the holiday destination they have always wanted. Here are my tips for saving money so you can travel more often to far-flung destinations around the world.

saving money for travel and vacations

Choose Cheaper Travel Destinations

If you’re strapped for cash, maybe the first lesson is to research the cheapest places in the world to travel. There are many countries in the world, which are nowhere near as expensive as at home. Take advantage of low costs and favourable exchange rates to make your travel budget go further while on vacation in a foreign country. This video on YouTube gives a great introduction to some of the cheapest travel destinations on the planet:

Learn To Pamper Yourself

If you study your monthly expenses, there is a big chance that a lot of your money is going to expensive beauty services. Regular hair coloring, waxing or tanning can really add up. But why opt to pay a lot of money to the salon when you can do most of these basic activities yourself? Learn how to apply hair color yourself or just let the sun do the bleaching. While you are it, do your own manicure and save some dollars along the way. Let’s face it, you’ll have to look after yourself while you’re away, so why not start now and save money for your next trip?

Stop Social Spending

While going out to dinner with family or close friends is not bad, trying to keep up with others may be. There is no need to spend so much money competing with others. A perfect social media picture is definitely not worth it if you will have to spend all your money for the month. Dave your pennies, you will need it to experience all those wonderful attractions and restaurants when you are travelling.

Overlook the Brands

When it comes to some items, buying a well-known brand is an investment. However, when it comes to small things like a box of facial tissue, you can opt for a lesser-known brand to save a few cents. Over time, these cents will grow.

Earn Through Your Car

driving for extra travel cash

A good extra job or income is to find someone to share the expenses with you. While you can organize with colleagues to carpool, you can also earn some money on the side as an Uber driver. Even renting it out can give you additional cash.

Reduce Housing Costs

Even as simple as looking at your housing expenses, you can already end up with some savings. For example, disconnecting that cable service you barely use or doing your home improvements yourself. You can also rent out extra rooms in your home through sites like Airbnb.

Free Workouts

Many people waste so much money on that yearly subscription to the gym and stop going after one month altogether. You can also do your exercise at home, looking for some free or cheap workout options or even watching through YouTube. In fact, you might find it even easier to work out at home and maybe you will be more enthusiastic about staying fit. This is not something you can overlook; you will have a much better travel experience on your next vacation or longer trip if you are fit and healthy.

Be Paid To Travel

travel blog writing

This is my favourite one, and something i have been aspiring to for a long time with this travel blog. Some companies actually offer money to ordinary people to travel, especially if they have a good blog and an active social media presence. They benefit by getting good exposure and web traffic from the destinations and subjects you write about in a travel post. You can also join contests that offer vacation money as a prize. You might even find a “job” that requires you to travel like leading tour groups.

Determination is what sets apart those who reach their dream destination and those who do not. After all, saving for travel requires some discipline and sacrifice. But it’s a sacrifice that is well worth the effort. You won’t be disappointed when you are in some exotic location around the globe.