TravelersPress http://travelerspress.com Travel news, tips, and inspiration Wed, 29 Apr 2015 11:29:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Top 5 Things to Do in Madrid http://travelerspress.com/things-to-do-in-madrid/ http://travelerspress.com/things-to-do-in-madrid/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 13:58:31 +0000 http://travelerspress.com/?p=4460 Buying a travel guide and visiting the most famous monuments is the most common way to discover the capital of Spain. Why go the usual route? Plan a special and unforgettable trip using these five adventures to get the most out of your experience. Let’s take a look!

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Buying a travel guide and visiting the most famous monuments is the most common way to discover the capital of Spain. Why go the usual route? Plan a special and unforgettable trip using these five adventures to get the most out of your experience. Let’s take a look!

Prado Museum: The Most Important Gallery of Spain

Considered to be one of the best galleries in the world thanks to the quality of paintings it hosts, The Prado Museum is a great way to experience the riches of the art world. Building a collection of masterpieces from a the Renaissance and Baroque periods, the Kings of Spain created a phenomenal royal collection to promote artists to the Court.

Among the painters featured are: from the Spanish school-Diego De Velazquez, Francisco de Goya and El Greco; from the Italians-Tziano, Tintoretto and Rapheal; from the Flemish master-Heironymus Bosch and Peter Paul Rubens.

Madrid, Spain

Photo credit: Doug

Real Madrid Football: Matches of High Quality

One of the richest and most successful clubs in the world is the The Real Madrid club. For football fans, they can enjoy a match at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium-especially if they have afforded themselves the luxury of the VIP Box tickets. Attending a game in this venue will give you the opportunity to see and be amazed by the top players such as: Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema or Iker Casillas. Including a commercial center in one of the corners of the stadium, the seating capacity is more than 80 thousand.

The Ancient Tradition of Bullfighting

If you’re visiting between the months of April and October and want to experience real, ancient tradition, then you must attend a bullfighting even in Las Ventas, the most important arena for this event. Because of the acclaim, they have the best toreros and bravest breeds as their stars. These events garner the attention of and have attracted many famous people over the decades. Nobel writer, Ernest Hemingway and director, Orson Wells are included in a larger list of famous attendees.

Bullfighting in Madrid

Photo credit: Peter Morgan

The Flamenco Show: Real Spanish Traditional Music

For music the music lover, the Flamenco show is a top priority. Part of the folk genre born in southern Spain, it has become a highly popular genre in Madrid. Over the many tablaos (stages) of the city, you will find the best singers, dancers and guitarists performing this art with expert use of their voices, heel/floor methods of this specific dance and the exquisite musicality displayed by the guitarists. While you enjoy the show, many tickets also offer a tapas dinner. This is a chance for you to experience two aspects in one event-a great traditional show and taste the delicacies of Spanish cuisine.

Flamenco - Madrid

Photo credit: Flavio

How to Cook and Try a Delicious Dish: The Paella Experience

If you’re a true “foodie” you must try a paella-the most famous Spanish dish. The Paella Experience is a plan that has gained popularity in the city. This experience includes a chef accompanying you to the market, then back to the kitchen to aid you in preparing your meal and then you get to sit and share a special meal with your family. From seafood, to vegetable, to mixed paella, you choose which way you cook your meal. What’s better than learning how to prepare and then eat a fabulous dish? It’s the best souvenir you can take back!

The most difficult decision left to yo now is to chose which of these great plans you want! Pick one or choose all and you can’t go wrong. It will add something very special to your tour of Madrid.

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The Most Beautiful Greek Islands http://travelerspress.com/the-most-beautiful-greek-islands/ http://travelerspress.com/the-most-beautiful-greek-islands/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 08:12:02 +0000 http://travelerspress.com/?p=4747 Greece is one of the most beautiful Mediterranean countries with approximately 1,400 islands, of which 227 are inhabited. In this post we will show you some of the most amazing Greek islands: Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, Corfu and Zakynthos. All of these five islands have amazing sandy beaches, but each is unique in its own way.

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Greece is one of the most beautiful Mediterranean countries with approximately 1,400 islands, of which 227 are inhabited. In this post we will show you some of the most amazing Greek islands: Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, Corfu and Zakynthos. All of these five islands have amazing sandy beaches, but each is unique in its own way.

If you are already thinking about summer holiday these islands may be right choice for you. Here are a few photos of each island, enjoy.

Santorini

Santorini is an island located in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km southeast of Athena. Today’s Santorini island is what remained after an volcanic explosion. Santorini is well known touristic attraction, it is known for it amazing traditional architecture, low-lying cubical houses painted in white.

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Mykonos

Mykonos is an island located in the southern Aegean Sea, about 150 km southeast from Greek mainland, with area of 85.5 square kilometers. Mykonos has many famous landmarks, but most famous are Mykonos windmills. Mykonos is also famous for its white painted houses.

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Rhodes

Rhodes island is located in the eastern Aegean Sea, it is one of the most distant Greece islands, almost 360 km east-south-east from Greece mainland and only 18 km Turkey. It has population of about 115,000. Rhodes Rhodes was famous for the Colossus of the Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

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Corfu

Corfu island is located in the Ionian Sea, it is second largest Ionian island. It was only part of the Balkan peninsula that was never occupied by Ottoman Empire, it was part of Republic of Venice. Most famous attraction on this island is the Corfu city, capital of island

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Zakynthos

Zakynthos island is located in the Ionian Sea. The most famous landmark of Zakynthos is the Navagio beach.

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Top 5 Things to do in London http://travelerspress.com/things-to-do-in-london/ http://travelerspress.com/things-to-do-in-london/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 08:23:22 +0000 http://travelerspress.com/?p=3828 As one of the most popular destinations, London attracts visitors from all over the world. London offers history, culture, and entertainment with a wide variety of excellent attractions and activities. In this article we'll look at 5 things you won't want to miss when you are visiting London.

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As one of the most popular destinations, London attracts visitors from all over the world. London offers history, culture, and entertainment with a wide variety of excellent attractions and activities. In this article we’ll look at 5 things you won’t want to miss when you are visiting London.

1) London Eye:

The London Eye which stands about 135 meters tall is the world’s tallest and largest observation wheel which offers a spectacular view of the city over a radius of 40 km in all directions. One can enjoy a breathtaking view of the houses of Parliament along with Tower Bridge and various such other famous landmarks while seated in relaxing glass capsules that soar in the London skyline. A 4D experience that showcases an aerial view of London with 3D effects and uses water, snow, wind and bubbles to enhance the view is an unforgettable experience.

London Eye

Photo credit: Never House

2) Historic Royal Palaces:

Visiting London without being to these historical royal palaces is definitely not acceptable. These magnificent properties are great pieces of architecture and one just cannot stop admiring their beauty. The Historic Royal Palaces mainly include the Tower of London which house the royal armour and the crown jewels, The Hampton palace which was the hall of Henry VIII, The banqueting House, a historic masterpiece from the era of King George I and the Keningston palace which has a great culture. All these royal palaces reflect the era of the monarch rule ion England and certainly are a must watch on your visit.

Hampton Court

Photo credit: Edwin Lee

3) Kew Gardens:

Declared as a World Heritage Site the Kew Gardens will definitely fascinate you with its vast collection of nearly around 40,000 species of different types of plants and flowers. It is definitely a great treat for all nature loving beings and must visit place as it is not far from the central part of the city.

Kew Gardens

Photo credit: Herry Lawford

4) The London Dungeon:

The dark side of entertainment is at its best in London Dungeon. Spectators are treated to theatrical live shoes and rides with special effects that are scary as well as exciting. A journey through the bad side of London’s history highlighted with dark characters such as Jack the Ripper, Sweeney Todd, Bloody Mary and many more. Also the entire family can enjoy on each of the three available rides that are different in their own way such as Traitor Gate which is an underground boat ride or Vengeance the first 5D ride in the United Kingdom.

London Dungeon

Photo credit: Sarcasmo

5) Madame Tussauds London:

A historical journey that is laced with glamour Madame Tussauds is a must visit place in London and one of the most popular star attractions of the city. An interactive museum that allows you to pose with your favorite celebrity characters from all fields this is surely a moment that you would want to treasure for life.

Madame Tussauds

Photo credit: Alex Jilitsky

Therefore those of you who have already applied for the ESTA application and are planning to visit London be sure that the above listed Top 5 London places will definitely drive you travel crazy.

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Top Five Most Romantic Caribbean Islands http://travelerspress.com/romantic-caribbean-islands/ http://travelerspress.com/romantic-caribbean-islands/#comments Mon, 06 Apr 2015 08:46:55 +0000 http://travelerspress.com/?p=4058 Honeymoon decisions never have been so easy. Here is a list of five lovey dovey islands that will have you singing, “First comes love then comes marriage, then comes… rum”. Along with all the tasty tropical drinks to be consumed on the most breathtaking beaches in the world, these five islands have something special for couples that are seeking adventure, privacy or gourmet cuisine.

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Honeymoon decisions never have been so easy. Here is a list of five lovey dovey islands that will have you singing, “First comes love then comes marriage, then comes… rum”. Along with all the tasty tropical drinks to be consumed on the most breathtaking beaches in the world, these five islands have something special for couples that are seeking adventure, privacy or gourmet cuisine.

1. Jamaica

Are you currently growing out your dreds, or maybe just planning to get rid of that after-wedding stress? Well this is the place for you! Jamaica has a little something for everybody. Even if you aren’t there for the wild nightlife you’ve heard so accurately about, there is plenty of romantic adventures awaiting in Jamaica to make you forget your real world problems and stress.

Every couple should go to The Blue Lagoon while visiting Jamaica. Swim in a crystal clear mix of warm Caribbean Sea and ice cold streams that feed the lagoon from underground.

Blue Lagoon

Photo Credit Pieter Bas Elskamp

Before you go, watch the movie The Blue Lagoon (filmed in this very spot!) so that when you get there, you can pretend to be two goofy teenagers falling in love for the first time. But please, don’t get as graphic as they did with your public displays of affection.

2. St. John (U.S. Virgin Islands)

This island is so perfect for honeymooners; it even has a nickname “Love City” for the allure to lovers everywhere. If you love nature, and your significant other, this is the place for you. A big chunk of this Island is protected National parkland, so there is plenty of opportunity to sneak off into the wild to explore the island, and each other.

3. St. Lucia

While it is true that you can find an oasis anywhere you go looking for one in the Caribbean, St. Lucia is pretty much one big oasis with resorts that would make any traveler swoon. The views available from the showers alone are something to swoon over. The Stonefield Estate Villa Resort and Spa is spectacular, and you can even get a private pool!

Saint Lucia

Photo Credit Justin Elson

This Island is for the type of lovers that like to go non-stop with plenty of choices. Go to the dormant volcano, tour the Island sanctuary for nearly extinct animals nearby, hike or mountain bike jungle trails, swim next to plunging waterfalls and snorkel the reef while celebrating your love for each other.

4. The Grenadines

Get a private villa on the small, secluded island of Mustique where you’ll be waited on hand and foot. For those who truly need a vacation in the truest sense of the word, “Do you want me to wash your clothes now or later madam?” You could definitely get used to this.

5. St. Maarten/St. Martin

Part French and part Dutch, this double governed Island is a whirlwind of culture from restaurants to museums. Le Petit Hotel is my favorite romantic getaway right on the beach. The rooms are super comfortable with soft beds and down comforters and the sound of the ocean to fall asleep to.

St Maarten

Photo credit Stuart Claggett

Walk to restaurant row and try as many of the delightful choices as possible. For a perfect romantic night on the town, stare into each other’s eyes while messily indulging in fresh lobster or Creole shrimp.

Pick one of these destinations for your next romantic getaway, and your love for one another will not stop flowing, much like the rum here. Celebrate being together on these five Islands that cater to those who can’t keep their hands off each other.

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Gold Coast Australia Holiday http://travelerspress.com/gold-coast-australia-holiday/ http://travelerspress.com/gold-coast-australia-holiday/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 08:10:52 +0000 http://travelerspress.com/?p=3581 The Gold Coast is a coastal city in Australia, which is well known by Australian and overseas travelers alike for its glamorous and fascinating tourist spots.

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The Gold Coast is a coastal city in Australia, which is well known by Australian and overseas travelers alike for its glamorous and fascinating tourist spots. Its favorable weather (the area has an average of more than 300 days of sunshine per year) allows tourists to enjoy their Gold Coast holidays throughout the year uninterrupted.

Gold Coast

 

Photo credit: Michael Dawes

How to Get to Gold Coast Australia

This will depend on your current geographical location. If you are travelling by air, you will either land at the Brisbane Airport or the Gold Coast Airport (Coolangata Airport). Visitors from outside the country must have their Australian Visas.

Things to do and See

Theme Parks

No matter the time of the year, this city never lacks exciting things to do. For starters, a visit to the theme parks is always gratifying. The best ones include the following: Movie World, Sea World and Dream world.

Gold Coast

 

Photo credit: Phalinn Ooi

Hinterland

The Hinterland at the Gold Coast is one of the leading tourist attraction spots in Australia and the world. Here, you will see creeks, waterfalls, natural rock formations and three national parks. To get the best view of the Hinterland, drive along the roads in bus tour or in a car. This way, you can easily gain access to several lookout points and see the towering trees lined up along the roads. For more adventurous, the best view is probably while hot air ballooning.

Moreton Bay (Scuba diving area)

For the die-hard adventure lovers, this place is a must-visit. You will get to see marine wildlife and coral reefs. Additionally, the lakes, rivers and creeks allow visitors to do some fishing, while the continental shelf facilitates the more extreme deep sea fishing.

Golf Courses

Gold Coast city also caters for sport lovers. It has the most golf courses per capita in the entire world.

Beaches

There are several to choose from – more than 30, covering a distance of about 40 km. Most of these beaches are patrolled by professional and volunteer lifesavers and have clear signs to direct first time visitors. You will easily notice the patrolled areas as they are marked with yellow and red flags. Some of the beaches worth sampling out include the following: the Surfer’s Paradise, Burleigh Heads and the Broad beach.

Gold Coast

Photo credit: JonasPhoto

Hanging Out

Partying

If you are party lover, Gold Coast boasts of a very rich nightlife. During your first night out, join a party boat and take a gondola to cruise its several canals. A festival is organized at least once every month to complement its ever vibrant night-life.

Shopping

Regardless of your tastes and desires, you will find several shopping locations in the Gold Coast. You may want to check out the following during your stay: the Paradise Centre, Marina Mirage, Pacific Fair and Harbour Town. Also, to do not forget to sample the arts and crafts markets situated at the Cavill Avenue.

Accommodation

According to official records, more than 230 hotels can be found in the Gold Coast region of Australia. Use the internet to read hotel reviews and find out the best hotel for your needs, for instance the number of rooms you would like or the number of rooms you will require.

Gold Coast

Photo credit: Sunland Group

Safety

Always exercise caution during your stay. Be wary of con men purporting to offer you free tickets to theme parks. Violence is also rampant in some night clubs.

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5 Of The Best Historical Spots in Turkey http://travelerspress.com/5-of-the-best-historical-spots-in-turkey/ http://travelerspress.com/5-of-the-best-historical-spots-in-turkey/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 08:44:26 +0000 http://travelerspress.com/?p=3546 Lying on the Mediterranean Sea and bounded by the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea, Turkey is one of the most interesting places to visit in the world. Taking a Turkey trip will give you an experience of a lifetime as you see two cultures from the East and the West blend in one delightful combination.

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Lying on the Mediterranean Sea and bounded by the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea, Turkey is one of the most interesting places to visit in the world. Taking a Turkey trip will give you an experience of a lifetime as you see two cultures from the East and the West blend in one delightful combination.

The landscape in this Eurasian country is a sight to behold, as you see glimpses of minarets and domes, Roman ruins, beaches and misty mountains. There are also plenty of activities to indulge in such as participating in traditional Turkish nights, experiencing a real Turkish bath, sipping the local brew, sampling the local cuisine and exploring all the must-see sights in the area.

Now, if you would like to know more about what makes Turkey what it is today, it definitely pays to visit the top historical sites in the country. When you book a Turkey trip, make sure to book the flights and accommodations in advance. Afterwards, you can start planning your itinerary and include the following historical spots in your list of must-visit places:

1. Cappadocia

If you would like to see a live, romantic historical castle, visit Cappadocia. One of the best ways to see the area is via hot air balloon rides. From above, you can see the rock formations and the stunning landscapes, with the structure itself dating back to 3000 B.C.

Cappadocia

Photo credit: Sergio Molina

2. Didyma

As mentioned earlier, Turkey is a mixture of European and Asian cultures. From the European part is Didyma, which is an ancient Greek temple. It is situated near a popular holiday resort in Turkey called Altinkum; the name is an ancient Greek term for twins, referring to the twin children of Zeus and Leto who are Artemis and Apollo. Past earthquakes destroyed a significant amount of the temple, but the ruins are still worth a visit today.

Didyma

Photo credit: Veyis Polat

3. Ephesus

Ephesus is an ancient city which is a must-visit on your Turkey trip. It is a well-preserved Greek heritage site which used to be home to the Temple of Artemis. Today, there’s a single column standing by the lake which is what remains of the temple, although it is still a sight to behold.

Ephesus

Photo credit: Carlo Columbia

4. Gallipoli

This is a pilgrimage site where thousands of people flock to during the Anzac day memorial celebrations. There’s an area in Gallipoli which showcases memorabilia from the Great War, so you are bound to learn more about the country’s history on your Turkey trip.

Gallipoli

Photo credit: Dennis Jarvis

5. Pamukkale

Also called “Cotton Castles”, Pamukkale is a famous local landmark where you will see stalactites, hot springs, water-filled plateaus, lime stones and a simply magnificent view overall. Inside the Pamukkale Hotel, you can bathe in what is known as a sacred pool so you will have a real Turkish bath experience.

Pamukkale

Photo credit: Le Grand Portage

No matter which of these top five historical destinations you end up visiting, you are bound to learn more about what made the country the Eurasian wonder that it is today on your Turkey trip.

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7 Amazing Castles in Germany http://travelerspress.com/german-castles/ http://travelerspress.com/german-castles/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 09:34:30 +0000 http://travelerspress.com/?p=4268 Germany, one of the largest and most frequently-visited countries in Europe, is known for its many attractions. In this article we will show you the most wonderful German castles. Mostly located away from large cities and big tourist attractions, these castles are alternative idea for your next trip. These amazing castles will take you to world of fairy tales, knights and princesses.

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Germany, one of the largest and most frequently-visited countries in Europe, is known for its many attractions. In this article we will show you the most wonderful German castles. Mostly located away from large cities and big tourist attractions, these castles are alternative idea for your next trip. These amazing castles will take you to world of fairy tales, knights and princesses.

These are the 7 most beautiful castles in Germany.

Neuschwannstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle is located in southwest Bavaria, near Füseen. It was built by Ludvig II of Bavaria, a reclusive king, who wanted to make a castle similar to old German castles.  In this castle he found shelter  from  real life and was able to enjoy his dreams. It immediately became a popular attraction and about 1.3 million tourists  visit it every year.

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Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany

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Hohenzollern Castle

Hohenzollern Castle is located about 50 km from Stuttgart. From the 11th century it was the seat of the Hohenzollern family, who later became German Emperors. This castle was rebuilt two times, the last time in the 19th century when it got today’s look.

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Burg Eltz

Burg Eltz was built in the 12th century in the hills above the Moselle River between Koblenz and Trier. In the past this castle was never damaged in battles so it is a rare authentic medieval castle. Since it was built it has been owned by the Eltz family.

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Neues Palais

Neues Palais was built in the 18th century. It is not a classical medieval castle, but you must visit this building. It was built in 1769 in baroque stile.

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Hohenschwangau Castle

Hohenschwangau Castle was built in the 19th century. It was built on the ruins of the Schwanstein fortress. In WWI and WWII it was damaged, but it is still one of most visited German castles, with over 300,000 visitors per year.

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Lichtenstein Castle

Lichtenstein Castle  was built in the 19th century on the ruins of a castle dating back to the 1200’s. It is located near Kassel and it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Germany.

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Löwenburg Castle

The translation of this castle name is “Lion’s Castle”. It is one of the most romantic medieval castles in Germany

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Visiting the Acropolis in Athens, Greece http://travelerspress.com/visiting-the-acropolis-in-athens-greece/ http://travelerspress.com/visiting-the-acropolis-in-athens-greece/#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2015 09:04:44 +0000 http://travelerspress.com/?p=4476 Greece has many things to offer to any visitor, from sandy beaches and blue sea to ancient monuments. The Acropolis of Athens, located on a high rock above the city of Athens, is one of the most famous ancient attraction in the whole world. Most of the buildings on Acropolis were built in 5th century BC in the Athens Golden Age, between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars.

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Greece has many things to offer to any visitor, from sandy beaches and blue sea to ancient monuments. The Acropolis of Athens, located on a high rock above the city of Athens, is one of the most famous ancient attraction in the whole world. Most of the buildings on Acropolis were built in 5th century BC in the Athens Golden Age, between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars.

On the Acropolis there are remains of a few different ancient buildings, including the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the temple of Athena Nike. The most famous is the Parthenon.

The Parthenon is the dominant structure on Acropolis and it is one of the most photographed buildings in the world. It is dedicated to the maiden goddess Athena. The Parthenon and whole Acropolis of Athens was damaged during Morean War in 17th century, when it was bombed by Venetians.

At the moment the whole Acropolis is under reconstruction, the idea is to be rebuilt as it was originally designed in 5th century BC. If you are planning to visit Greece you should really include the Acropolis of Athens to your trip.

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10 Must-See Attractions in Peru http://travelerspress.com/10-must-see-attractions-in-peru/ http://travelerspress.com/10-must-see-attractions-in-peru/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 08:08:00 +0000 http://travelerspress.com/?p=3972 Peru’s rich landscapes are home to an incredible array of natural and man-made wonders. Eleven of Peru’s best attractions have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a further 8 are being considered.

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Peru’s rich landscapes are home to an incredible array of natural and man-made wonders. Eleven of Peru’s best attractions have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a further 8 are being considered. Although the most visited attractions in Peru are located around the region of Cusco, the south-east of the country, further north, into the Amazon Basin and along the desert coast are many more incredible and noteworthy attractions. Here are the 10 must see attractions in Peru.

1. Machu Picchu

Consumed by the dense Amazon Jungle and lost to the world for hundreds of years, no one really knows for sure the true purpose of Machu Picchu. Built during the reign of Inca Pachacuti, it was thought that the ancient citadel took about 100 years to construct, and was still construction when the Spanish invaded Peru in the 1530’s. Perched on the top of a mountain of solid rock, Machu Picchu and its surrounding scenery leave many visitors lost for words.

2. The Inca Trail

The Incas built more than 20,000 km’s (12,500 miles) of stone paths that connected the entire empire. These Inca highways were used to transport goods, messages and even Inca nobles. Nowadays, a small stretch of trail from KM82 in the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu has become a mecca for avid hikers. Every year more than 70,000 people hike the 4 days trek that negotiates tough maintain passes, visits remote Andean villages and passes by rarely visited Inca ruins. Booking early is essential as permits sell out several months in advance.

3. The Sacred Valley

Once an important agricultural area for the Incas, the Sacred Valley of the Inca’s is home to some of Peru’s most impressive ruins. At the far eastern end of the Valley is the market town of Pisac. Its indigenous market is a popular draw for souvenir hunting tourists; however, the real jewel of Pisac is the Inca ruins located high above the village. At the other end of the Sacred Valley is the fortress ruin of Ollantaytambo, where a climb to the top is the only way to admire this incredible feat of Inca engineering.

4. Nazca

One of the world’s greatest enigmas, the Lines and Geoglyphs of Nazca and Pampas are an incredible sight which can only be truly appreciated from the air. Thought to have been etched into the surface of the desert between 500 B.C. and 500 A.D., historians believe that the lines had astronomical functions. The lines which date back to the Chavin period represent depictions of stylized llamas, spiders, fish and snakes. Some of the largest etchings are over 200 meters (650 feet wide). The strangest etching of all is the spaceman, complete with bubble helmet.

5. Lake Titicaca

Steeped in history and mythological beliefs, Lake Titicaca is a fascinating tourist destination. Lost in the patina of time, the way of life on Lake Titicaca hasn’t changed for hundreds of years and is a million miles away from most visitors’ daily lives. About 2 hours from Puno bay is the small island of Taquile. The island has no roads, agricultural terraces are farmed by hand and ancient traditions live on. On this Quecha speaking island, it’s the man’s job to knit, and boys as young as 4 or 5 years old can be seen creating intricate items of clothing – some of which are considered to be the finest in Peru. Visitors to Lake Titicaca shouldn’t miss out on the Uros, Amantani and Suasi islands either.

Tequille Island

6. The Amazon River

Not many people know that the birth place of the mighty Amazon River is in Peru. From Iquitos in Northern-Peru, where the Ucayali-Apurímac and the Marañon Rivers converge, the Amazon River is formed before snaking its way through Brazil out into the Atlantic Ocean. For luxury Peru travel, Aqua Expeditions and Delfin Cruises offer a selection of high-end luxury cruises which travel into the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve and to the start of the Amazon River. Cruises aren’t cheap and start from US$ 2,500 per person for 4 days.

7. Huascarán National Park

The Huascarán National Park is situated in the Cordillera Blanca – the world’s highest tropical mountain range, and is an outstanding region of beauty. It has 27 snow-capped peaks 6,000 meters (19,685 feet) above sea level, of which El Huascarán (6,768 meters / 22,204 feet) is the highest. The park has some 120 glacial lakes, hundreds of deep ravines and fast flowing torrents and rivers. Huascarán National Park is a mecca for true hiking enthusiasts with the superb 4 or 5 days Santa Cruz trek being the most popular hike.

8. Chan Chan

Included on the list of Peru’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1986, the ancient site of Chan Chan covers an immense area of land on the outskirts of Peru’s northern city Trujillo. Considered to be the largest city in pre-Columbian America, Chan Chan was the capital of the Chimu Culture and was constructed largely of adobe. The monumental zone (6 square kilometres / 15.5 square miles) comprises of nine large rectangular complexes each marked by tall earth walls and includes dwellings, temples and storehouses. In terms of historical importance, it could be said that Chan Chan is a far greater than Machu Picchu.

9. The City of Cusco

Once the most important city in the entire Inca Empire, Cusco (also spelt Cuzco) is not just a stopping off point for visitors to Machu Picchu, but a destination in its own right. During Inca times the city was full of grand palaces, important temples and spiritual sites. When the Spanish invaded Peru in the early 1530s the city was ravished of all its wealth and its important buildings torn down. Nowadays, the Cusco is a living museum of Inca and Spanish history and boasts incredible colonial and Inca architecture.

Cusco

10. Manú Biosphere Reserve

Widely considered to be the most bio-diverse place on the planet, the Manú Biosphere Reserve is a hot-spot for nature loving tourists. The reserve alone has more recorded species of bird than the entire country of Costa Rica, and for that reason alone it is a hot-spot for ornithologists. The diversity of the region is due to its vast topographical range that includes puna grasslands, elfin forest, cloud forest and lowland Amazon Rainforest. The black spider monkey, spectacled owl, puma and giant otter can all be found in the reserve.

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How House Sitting Let Us Experience Life in France as a Local, Not a Tourist http://travelerspress.com/housesitting/ http://travelerspress.com/housesitting/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 07:25:46 +0000 http://travelerspress.com/?p=4094 Over the past year I’ve read quite a few blog posts extolling the virtues of house sitting. Budget travelers cover it because it’s a great way to see the world without paying for accommodation. Slow travelers cover it because most house-sits last for a couple of weeks or more. Finally, pet bloggers cover it because it’s a nice alternative to boarding kennels.

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Over the past year I’ve read quite a few blog posts extolling the virtues of house sitting. Budget travelers cover it because it’s a great way to see the world without paying for accommodation. Slow travelers cover it because most house-sits last for a couple of weeks or more. Finally, pet bloggers cover it because it’s a nice alternative to boarding kennels.

All of these are perfectly valid reasons to get excited about this new travel trend, but for me that’s small potatoes. I’ve personally been house sitting for over a year now, and as far as I’m concerned the best thing about it is the chance to experience a new country as a local; especially if you do it long term. Here’s why.

Photo by Elliott Brown

You Live in a Neighborhood

When you visit a new country as a tourist, you’re immediately shut out from local life. Staying in a hotel, hostel, or vacation apartment in the city center means that your chances of meeting locals drops as soon as you check in to your room. If you house sit, you’re immediately thrown into local life because you’re suddenly part of the neighborhood. The homeowner will have told all of the neighbors about you, so you’re sure to have plenty of friendly faces dropping by to welcome you into the gang.

You Constantly Meet People

Even if nosy neighbors don’t pop round with a gift basket, you’ll still get the chance to meet them. House sits usually come complete with pets to look after. When you’re walking a dog twice a day, the chances of bumping into other neighbors is pretty high. When you house sit abroad, this makes for great language practice. We house sat in the French countryside for six months; we had to become experts in discussing the weather pretty quickly.

The Locals Invite You to Stuff

Although Couch Surfing meet ups and party hostels are great places to enjoy a bit of socializing while on the road, nothing can beat the joy you feel when an invitation pops through your door. In France we were invited to all sorts of events: Christmas carol concerts, barbecues, and the local hunter’s ball (expertly blogged about by my other half). This was a great night filled with wine, meat, and camaraderie that we would have totally missed out on if we’d stayed elsewhere.

You stay in Parts of the Country that Your Normally Wouldn’t

With house sitting you go where the house sits are. If one comes up in your chosen city that’s a bonus, oftentimes however, you decide your next trip based on where you next get accepted for a house sit.

In Australia for example, most people will head to Syndey, Melbourne and the Great Barrier Reef. Sign up as a house sitter though and you may find you’re staying in places like the foothills of the Dandenong Range or Alligator Creek in Townsville, Queensland. Going to places that most people don’t go to is a great way to get a genuine taste of what life is like in that country.

You Get Good at Muddling Through

For the duration of the house sit, that home is your home. If the pipes burst, you’re going to need to find a good plumber; and you’re going to need to explain the problem to him in his own language. If the supermarket is closed on Sunday, you’re going to need to pull together your shopping list and prepare to stand in a queue on Saturday afternoon. Although the daily grind is pretty unattractive to most people (hell, that’s why we travel) there’s something oddly comforting about being ingrained enough in the local culture that you know when a handyman’s trying to rip you off.

Basically, You Really Get to Understand What Makes the Region Tick

House sitting long term really helps you to scratch the surface and get under the skin of the local culture. This results in a few interesting surprises; for example, before we started house sitting we’d never have dreamed that the French would enjoy McDonalds, but come lunchtime in Tarbes McDonald’s was crowded while the quaint brasseries lay empty. As well as picking up on bizarre foodie habits, you also start to get a picture of what people do for entertainment, which evenings are the best for going out, and what time of day you should go to the supermarket at.

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