Archive for the 'City Guides' Category
It is fair to say that almost everyone, wherever they live in the world, has heard of Paris.
Paris is the third most visited city in the world. With around 42 million tourists per year it is bettered, in terms of numbers, by only New York and Orlando.
The city is also the ‘capital of romance’, a notion inspired; for example, by films featuring such big screen legends as Elizabeth Taylor in “The Last Time I Saw Paris” and Meg Ryan in “French Kiss”.
City of sight-seeing par excellence
Like many major cities, Paris would not be as impressive without its unique geographical location on a river and incredible architecture; the former, the River Seine, providing the backdrop for much of the latter. Counted among these architectural masterpieces are Notre Dame Cathedral, with its famous fictional hunchback connection; the character made famous in the novel by Victor Hugo and the subsequent film; the Place de la Concorde; the Grand Palais des Champs Elysees and the nearby Eiffel Tower.
Paris is famous for its wide avenues, numerous green spaces and its sense of vastness and depth; the city itself occupying an area of around 35 square miles.
A city for shopaholics
Paris is synonymous with high fashion and good food, so quality shops and restaurants and the famous Parisian cafes abound in the avenues and squares, particularly along and off the famous L’Avenue des Champs Elysees. In Paris it is possible to take guided tours of the well-known shopping areas by bus or for the hardy shopper, on foot.
Paris night life
No Paris guide would be complete without at least a brief mention of its diverse theatre and night time entertainment venues. Arguably the most famous and longest established of these is Les Folies Bergère, in the rue Richer, which opened in its original incarnation in 1869 and is famous for its high-kicking chorus line.
Travel by air
Cheap flights are available from almost anywhere, just check the internet for the best bargains.
If ever a city is a must-see, it is Prague. Even the most oblivious of tourists would enjoy a break walking around such a stunning city. With no knowledge of the history or culture of the city, you could spend days on end entranced by the architecture. Once you understand a little bit more about the history, however, the city become irresistible. There are plenty of cheap Prague hotels on offer, so this really could be a holiday which does not break the bank.
As well as walking through the city, you can relax at a cafe on the bank of the Vltava River. This experience is made even more enjoyable with the realisation that the unique Czech beer is extremely cheap! Many of the attractions are also free, such as the John Lennon Wall. Few cities celebrate graffiti in much the same way as Prague. Whilst the original paintings of Lennon himself have been covered up by years of original artwork, this is an attraction which is constantly changing, and you can even add to it yourself! The Jewish Quarter makes for a more sombre visit, with an overcrowded cemetery and plenty of synagogues, but it makes up an intriguing part of Prague’s history and is very accessible.
Prague Castle, however, is really the city’s main attraction. Home to the Czech crown jewels and the offices of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, it looks like something out of a fairytale and, being the largest castle in the world, is surely worth a visit. King Charles IV also had a bridge named after him, which used to be the only way of travelling from the castle to the town. Credited with making Prague flourish as a city during his reign, his is a fascinating history that you can learn about on one of Prague’s many guided tours.
Amsterdam developed from a tiny fishing village along the River Amstel, from which it got its name. From a flourishing commercial centre in the 12th century, the town grew into the thriving metropolis it is today. A melting pot of diverse cultures, Amsterdam exudes a warmth that is sure to make visitors fall in love with it.
You will certainly find the distinctively Dutch features in Amsterdam intriguing. Biking is a very obvious part of the capital’s way of life and this passion for cycling is reflected nationwide, with more than 15,000 km of designated cycle lanes and largely flat terrain offering a real alternative to travelling by car. Additionally, bicycles in Amsterdam outnumber the population of the city and the cars put together.
As a leading producer of flowers in the world, Amsterdam is associated with the tulip flower, which curiously, is not native to the country but was imported to the Netherlands from Turkey.
Much of Amsterdam was reclaimed from the sea, which explains the completely flat nature of the land. The country’s highest point stands at only 323 metres above sea level. Amsterdam stands at about four metres below sea level. A massive 25 percent of the city’s surface is made up of navigable waterways. With 65 miles of ancient canals, Amsterdam is still the most watery city in the world.
Besides walking and cycling, boat cruises around Amsterdam are ideal for sightseeing.
Art and history enthusiasts will love the city for its many museums and art galleries. More than half of the country’s 70 main museums are in Amsterdam, the most famous ones being the Van Gogh and the Anne Frank Museums.
Athens is an ancient city steeped in history and culture. From the rise and fall of the Ancient Greek Empire, to the Mediterranean climate and delicious cuisine, there are dozens of reasons why Athens is one of the best places to take a holiday.
Thousands of years of history
Greece is home to some of the world’s most treasured historical sites. No trip to Athens would be complete with a visit to the Acropolis. The Acropolis is home to a whole host of irresistible tourist attractions. You can marvel at the ancient Parthenon and walk among the ruins of the Agora. In these places you can experience what life was like during the time of the great philosophers and thinkers of Athens.
A trip to the Benaki museums is also warranted, as it contains some of the greatest treasures in the world. The Benaki museum has artefacts dating all the way back to the Palaeolithic era, as well as Frankish, Turkish, and of course ancient Greek artefacts from throughout the ages.
If you fancy a bit more modern fun, then consider going to one of Athens’ night clubs. Here, some of the most famous electro house music DJs burn music long into the night, while party goers dance the night away.
The most agreeable climate in the world
Athens is located near the coast of the Aegean Sea. Since Greece is a peninsula, it is surrounded on three sides by water. This quality, coupled with its close proximity to the equator, makes Greece and Athens one of the most temperate places on Earth. It is never cold, always dry, and never too hot. Even if you do get a little sweaty, you can always jump into the clear blue water of the ocean to cool off.
The Capital of Japan, Tokyo is a mix of modern design and fascinating history. One of the world most populous cities, you will find plenty to explore from history and culture, to shopping and entertainment. It’s a fast paced city, for some it’s hard to adjust to; there is a big focus in the city on technology and fashion, both of which can change in a blink of an eye.
Behind all the technology shops and fashion outlets there is some fantastic architecture to explore, from the shiny high rise buildings to traditional Japanese structures, nestled in the green spaces in the city, areas of tranquillity. This is the core of the city, places such as the Shintō shrine is a moment of came away from all the hustle and bustle.
You can break down where to visit in Tokyo into four areas:
The Tsukiji Fish Market is surprisingly a popular tourist spot, with tours so you can easily navigate this bustling market. Also in Central Tokyo is the Imperial Palace, the main residence of Japans Imperial Family.
Here you find a more traditional Tokyo with Asakusa, which retains a lot of traditions, as well as Sensoji temple, a Buddhist temple. There are also some beautiful parks such as Rikugien which is a Japanese styled park and Ueno Park which has a number of museums and a zoo.
In the south of Tokyo you have Odaiba a manmade island in Tokyo Bay, home to a shopping and entertainment district. You can also find, Roppongi Hills a massive complex featuring offices, apartments, shops, restaurants, a hotel, art museum, observation deck and more.
Western Tokyo is a great spot for shopping and popular with younger people, you have Shibuya a popular shopping district, Shinjuku which is home to the world busiest station; here there are a number of hotels and businesses as well as the twin towers of the Metropolitan Government Office. And not forgetting Harajuku, the home of the eclectic Harajuku fashion scene and cosplay culture.
It takes around 12 hours to fly from the UK to Tokyo and temperatures are favourable year round.
Berlin, the largest city in Germany, is known for its lively nightlife, street art, museums, palaces, clubs and cafés. Thanks to its varied architectural styles, most tourists are pleasantly surprised when visiting this location for the first time.
Since Berlin has many cultural and historic sites, the first thing you may wish to do is to visit some of these. A few highlights include the domed tower of the Deutscher Dom, the Museumsinsel, the great Kulturforum, , Bundestag (parliament building), Kollhoff Tower and of course the Berlin Wall. One aquarium and two zoos displaying the largest range of species in the world are some other notable tourist attractions.
Besides visiting different landmarks, you will have the chance to explore Berlin by going on a tour or opting for different recreational and entertaining activities such as wandering around parks, public gardens, lakes and beaches. Or you can enjoy delicious coffee drinks at one of the open-air terraces, have dinner at an elegant restaurant or attend one of the numerous parades or festivals.
The Köppen climate classification system places Berlin among the cities dominated by a temperate oceanic climate. Summers are warm, with temperatures ranging between 12 and 25 degrees Celsius. Winters are mild and humid, with average temperatures hovering around zero degrees Celsius.
Travel and accomodation
To get to Berlin, you can choose one of the hundreds of flights available each month. A regular flight from London to Berlin does not take longer than two hours. The two airports, Tegel International and Schönefeld, are 15 and 35 minutes, respectively, away from the centre of the city. Train travel from the UK takes about ten hours.
Once you have arrived in Berlin, you can choose a variety of ways to get around the city. The most common are the underground services, trains, trams, buses and cabs. Additionally, Berlin welcomes travellers with a wide array of lodging options, including hotels, bed and breakfasts, hostels and holiday apartments.
New Orleans, Louisiana is a combination of culture, cuisine and FUN! Many people come from around the globe to experience the infamous Bourbon Street. If you love seafood, then Acme Oysters is a must-stop destination on your visit; here you can try the Oyster Rockefeller dish. New Orleans has a lot of amazing food so be prepared be full and satisfied by the end of your trip.
For the love of music
One thing New Orleans is best known for is its Jazz music. Fat Catz on Bourbon Street has amazing live music. Many people take an alligator tour in the Louisiana swamps. Here you can grab a beer and feed some alligators marshmallows! Do not visit New Orleans without trying Jambalaya, crawfish and a Po Boy dish. It is said that in New Orleans the party never stops – and this is true! New Orleans has an open beverage policy which means you can grab a drink and walk about town. If you are feeling a little frisky you can even get your naked body painted!
New Orleans is definitely the place to have a bachelorette or bachelor party. Before you leave it is important that you stop in at the Cafe DuMonte. Here you can indulge in a bene and rich chicory coffee. There are two locations and there is usually a long line, but as any local will tell you, it is worth the wait. New Orleans is home to a fusion of Southern US and French cuisine.
Dubrovnik is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and a prominent Mediterranean tourist resort. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this city will impress you with its surprising entertainment alternatives, tumultuous nightlife, stunning architecture with fascinating sculptural details, spectacular historic sites, churches, fountains, museums and monasteries.
Things to do and see in Dubrovnik
Here you can take a multitude of typical excursions to the Peljesac Peninsula, Korčula Island, Konavle valley, Cavtat town and other neighbouring destinations. Or you can also opt for sailing and boat trips, swimming, sunbaths, shopping and festivals.
If you love wandering around cities, Dubrovnik boasts a rich assortment of attractions: the Bell Tower, Sponza Plaza, Pile Gate, Placa Stradun, Old Port, Fort Lovrijenac, Franciscan Monastery Museum, Natural History Museum and many others.
While the modern Dubrovnik is renowned for its frenetic nightlife and wonderful beaches, in the old town you will find numerous picturesque spots including restaurants, bars, boutiques and bazaars.
The best time to go to Dubrovnik is from middle of May through September. These months are usually very dry and feature temperatures ranging from 25 to 35 degrees Celsius. Experiencing a typical Mediterranean climate, the city has mild and rainy winters, interspersed with thundery weather.
Plane, train, car and ferry are the four main transport options that connect London to Dubrovnik, though the most comfortable and economical way to travel is by plane. A direct flight to Dubrovnik takes less than two hours. Since Dubrovnik provides many transport options including bicycles, buses, car rentals and boats, you will find getting around a city has never been easier.
Dubrovnik offers a wide range of places to stay, which vary from five-star hotels to villas and apartments. The best type of lodging alternatives that you will find will depend on the area that you want to visit.
Three fields where a tourist on a budget can save money are meals, entertainment and accommodation. These are areas where a thriving city such as London can offer visitors a number of excellent alternatives.
Entertainment on a budget can easily be found in Regent’s Park or Hyde Park. Visitors can mingle with the crowds, row on a lake, or find a pleasant spot for a picnic.
Dining in London can be classy without being expensive. To begin with, an individual or a family can enjoy great meals at one of the city’s budget eateries. Lunch at Fortnum & Mason, or afternoon tea at the Ritz Hotel, present the double treat of reasonably priced food at one of London’s iconic meeting places.
For a refreshment break during the day, or relaxation in the evening, travellers can enjoy one of the atmospheric English pubs such as the 18th century Mayflower, or the Victorian era Princess Louise.
For many visitors to London, the ambiance of the city is enhanced by staying in one of the popular and professionally managed bed and breakfast establishments. London bed and breakfast: Jesmond Dene offers a friendly and homely atmosphere not found in the hotel chains.
Bed and breakfast accommodation, while allowing the tourist to sleep and eat in comfort, also gives a family more money to spend when on holiday on entertainment and sightseeing. If a visitor wants to experience the comfort and service of a first-class B&B London has many to choose from. A perfect example is the Jesmond Dene Hotel, which maintains its reputation by offering cleanliness, a prime location and comfortable appointments ideal for a relaxing stay.
In New York, speed is everything. Taxis must be there when you need them and coffee must be perfect and zippy. Quality, however, is just as important. Here then are the top five food trucks in the city for a fast lunch that will tempt your taste buds.
Milk Truck Grilled Cheese
Sandwiches are the name of the game here. The bread is sliced and the sandwiches are put together by hand. Try the Bacon Cheddar Blue, or the Malted Ball French Vanilla shake and you might just become an addict.
This truck is famous for its amazing hamburgers and fries – all made with love. With their meat, bread and cheese sourced from some of the city’s top suppliers, their focus is on premium quality first and foremost.
Comme Ci Comme Ca
These guys are well known for their ‘home style’ family food and great service. Headed up by chef Samir, you can get a chicken and lamb sausage, basmati rice with chicken, a Moroccan kota sandwich or even cous cous with cinnamon.
Known for serving the best falafel in NYC, this truck serves a delectable green falafel sandwich with saffron aioli fries. Their date, lime and banana smoothie is famous as well. They can pump out over 300 sandwiches in under two and a half hours during lunchtime.
So, the next time you are hungry and looking for a fast lunch in the big city, why not check out these gourmet food trucks for something beyond the standard sandwich and coffee.