Posts Tagged With: Europe

5 Reasons to Fall in Love with Venice

The beautiful Italian city of Venice is regarded by many to be the most romantic destination on Earth. Incredible architecture and history creates a world as if from a fairytale; whether you are riding on a gondola with a loved one or dining on gelato in one of the remarkable public squares in the heart of the city. Maybe it is the water surrounding the city, perhaps the fountains said to bring partners closer or perhaps simply because it is a popular destination for couples, but there is no denying that there is romance in the air of Venice.

Here are five of the many reasons you will fall in love with the city of Venice.

1. The Lagoon Locale

There is no denying that the cuisine, people, architecture and history contribute to making the city of Venice a romantic and wonderful destination. However, the lagoon location is what makes the destination truly remarkable. Getting around the city can be achieved by a number of unique transportation methods such as a private gondola, a bustling water taxi filled with locals or even vaporetti, large boats known as water buses in Venice. This makes something as ordinary as getting to work or finding your hotel an adventure that won’t soon be forgotten.

2. The Bridges

It might seem strange to list something as ordinary as bridges on this list, but that is simply because the bridges in Venice are far from ordinary. The Ponte di Rialto, or Rialto Bridge, was built over eight hundred years ago and remains an iconic symbol of the city to this day. The Zattere Bridge over the Giudecca Canal is another popular bridge that offers beautiful views over the city. It is on this bridge that some of the most incredible pictures are taken of Venice, not to mention the fact that a large number of marriage proposals take place on the bridge each year.

Source: Wikimedia

3. The Dining Experience

There can be nothing more romantic that dining on exquisite Italian cuisine on a restaurant terrace just feet from the Venetian canals. Lights from the restaurants and street lamps illuminate the seating area to create a truly intimate setting for your loved one. Sip on a glass of local red wine as you dine on some of the regional specialties in Venice. The city is known in particular for the dish of local cuttlefish in black ink served over a rich corn polenta.

4. Amazing Architecture

Many writers and artists who describe Venice mention the way the light is reflected in the city. The medieval architecture is a variety of colours in some places and when the light hits the structures in the morning it is an entirely different scene from the evening sunset. Some of the most amazing architecture to explore includes the Palazzo Ducale, the Torre dell’Orologio, the Basilica di San Marco and the San Giacomo di Rialto, a church built in the fifth century. Simply strolling around Venice on foot allows you to see all these incredible structures and more.

Source: Wikimedia

5. Affordable Accommodation Options

Perhaps the only downside to the beautiful city of Venice is that it can be expensive at times. Unfortunately, accommodation costs are often the largest part of a vacation budget. While the hotels may be expensive, Venice apartments can be a far more cost-effective alternative that saves travellers money. A self catering holiday means that you rent a home or an apartment in Venice and enjoy a fully equipped kitchen for your own use. Buy fresh local foods from the Rialto Market or the i Tre Mercanti and prepare classic Italian meals for a portion of the price of restaurant meals three times per day.

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Top Family Friendly Beaches in Ibiza

Renowned for its electric and non-stop night life, Ibiza may not be the first destination that springs to mind for a family holiday. But who said Ibiza isn’t family friendly? Only 45km and 25km wide, surrounded by warm waters, sandy beaches and beautiful landscapes, with plenty of fun to be had, there is definitely more to this beautiful Balearic Island than clubs and booze. If you do your research, there are a great number of family friendly resorts, beaches and activities to choose from.

So if you’re heading to Ibiza for your family holiday this year, here’s a helpful rundown of the top family friendly beaches to visit using car hire Ibiza to get you started.

Cala Nova

Found on a beautifully rural part of the island near to Es Cana resort, Cala Nova boasts a long wide curve of sandy beach. The crystal clear water remains shallow quite a way out across the golden floor, meaning its perfect for the kids to paddle in. Parasols are an added benefit, meaning that you can keep the kids in the shade when that Balearic sun starts to beat just down a little too hard. It also benefits from the presence of lifeguards and nearby restaurants to keep hungry tums satisfied.

Playa Den Bossa

This is one of the best known beaches on the island and despite being busy it’s a really fun beach on which to spend the day. The large expanse of sand is great for ball games and the waters are shallow meaning its safe for young children. Enjoy the great views of Ibiza’s Old Town and head to one of the many beach bars and cafes for a delicious lunch. The only thing to remember is that there is limited shade so make sure you are prepared and take some cover ups.

Talamanca

Talamanca boasts a calm and sandy, gently shelved beach and located in a sea inlet, it is protected from winds. At 50m off shore, the depth of the water is only 1.5m which should reassure families with children. The clear waters also make for great snorkelling for older children and there are pedalos available for hire if you fancy a fun activity after lunch at one of the restaurants on the promenade.

Cala Conta

Stunning views of the turquoise waters and nearby islands make Cala Conta one of the best beaches on the island for adults. The shallow waters lapping on the shores also make it an ideal playground for children. There’s no natural shade but the abundance of loungers and parasols will surely do the job, and with toilets, showers and lifeguards on hand you’ve surely got everything you need.  At the end of the day, be sure to nab a table at one of the beach side restaurants and take in views of the fantastic sunset.

Cala Lena

Cala Lena boasts not only a beautiful curving beach that is gently sloped and backed by pine trees, but good water sports facilities for older children and adults to enjoy too. If you happen to get bored of the beach, be sure to explore the nearby market or take a wander in the landscaped gardens and woodland to cool off.

You can’t really go far wrong in your search for a family friendly beach in Ibiza as long as you stay away from the large cities and towns. This guide is sure to help create wonderful memories of your family beach holiday in Ibiza.

Author Bio: Kerri Ware is a travel blogger and writes for Economy Car Hire, a car hire broker offering great deals for car hire across Europe and beyond. Follow them on Twitter @economycarhire.

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Summer Hot Spots in the South of France

The south of France is a popular and beautiful place to visit at any time of year. In the summer, however, the region truly comes alive. Warm weather, al fresco dining, beautiful beaches and an influx of travellers from around the world make it an exciting place to visit during the summer months. If you are thinking of visiting the south of France this summer, consider heading to one of these popular hot spots:

Cannes

This coastal destination is home to a large annual film festival that brings in some of the world’s most talented actors. It is, however, much more than just a playground for the rich and the famous. Each summer the city comes alive in the Old Historic Town, the beachfront promenade of La Croisette and the nearby islands that make for the perfect summer adventure. Cannes is an upscale and exciting destination and one of the most popular places for European holidays.

Source: Wikipedia

Bagnères-de-Bigorre

This town in the south-western region of the country is often a place that few international travellers are familiar with. However, it is perhaps one of the best possible summer vacation spots for those who enjoy adventure and outdoor recreation. It is a quiet and charming town known for several spas and resorts. With a location near the Pyrenees Mountains and the Spanish border, Bagnères-de-Bigorre is the ideal place for hiking and mountain biking in the summer months.

Nice

The French Riviera is a wonderful place for South of France holidays, and no place along the Riviera is more remarkable in the summer than the city of Nice. The city boasts a rich history, ruins, medieval architecture, several fascinating art museums and archaeological sites. Of course, the biggest attraction in the city of Nice are the beautiful beaches along the coastline. Keep in mind that many of the most attractive sandy beaches in Nice are privately owned and will charge entry fees during the summer months. Accommodations include budget hostels, mid-range hotels and a number of luxurious boutique hotels and private villas.

Marseille

This Mediterranean port town is the third largest city in all of France. Each summer, residents begin to spend time outdoors and the sidewalk cafes and terraced restaurants of the city do a booming business. Take a boat trip from the historic Vieux Port, tour the incredible Palais Longchamp and dine on regional favourites like the seafood Bouillabaisse served with freshly made crostini.

Aix-en-Provence

For a chance to visit a truly classic Provençal destination, Aix-en-Provence is a wise choice. The city is known for being home to the painter Cezanne, for being a wealthy city and for boasting incredible architecture. The best way to spend a summer day in Aix-en-Provence is to stroll along the cobblestone streets and take in sights like the fountains on Cours Mirabeau, the wrought iron bell towers and the museums holding some of Cezanne’s earliest and most famous works. It is a remarkably safe city for families to visit and includes several affordable hotel options for travellers.

Source: Wikipedia

Bordeaux

This city in the South of France is best known for producing some truly incredible wines. Many of the largest wineries in the region open up for public tours and tastings in the summer months. Be sure to arrange a trip to favourites like Saint Emilion or the Médoc during your stay. Other attractions in the city include ancient Roman architecture like the Victory Arch or the fascinating Musee D’Aquitaine. This museum boasts hundreds of exhibits featuring relics and artefacts that are thousands of years in age. Admission is free for the general collection but it is well worth the additional €5 to view the travelling displays.

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How to Spend a Cruise Break in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is one of the most breathtaking vacation destinations in the Adriatic and has earned its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It looks out over the sparkling blue Adriatic Sea and panoramic views of its magnificent landscapes. Many Cruise stops stop at Dubrovnik, however many cruisers simply sit on the stunning beaches.

There are plenty of exciting things to see on shore:

Dubrovnik’s Ancient City Walls

You can’t visit Dubrovnik without taking the time to walk the historic city walls and checking out the ancient forts. The views are spectacular including panoramic views of the sea, mountains and even the old town, quite a sight from above. It takes a couple of hours to walk the length of the wall and it’s best to do this in the morning or evening because it can get extremely hot during the middle of the day. Make sure you take a bottle of water around with you. Along your walk you’ll find cozy cafe’s and restaurants where you can also stop off and enjoy a nice cool drink.

Old Town

Old town is one of the most popular areas in Dubrovnik; filled with charming side streets, beautiful views and many lovely experiences to enjoy. At the end of the old city walk you’ll find rocky beaches where you can work on your tan with the sparkling Adriatic breezes cooling your skin. At the port area you’ll find several restaurants, bars, shops and cafes serving all kinds of treats including everyone’s favorite, ice cream!

Stradun

Stradun is one of the most photographed streets on the planet and you’ll find it in the middle of old town. This charming street is known as the “heart and soul” of Dubrovnik. You can enjoy an unhurried walk along its marbled stone path and get a one of a kind glimpse of life in this remarkable city. You’ll find a variety of fun cafes and shops along the way where you can relax and take your time exploring all its unique places.

Park Orsula

Park Orsula is nestled on a high cliff 200 meters above sea level and is the home of St. Orsula church that dates back to the 14th century and which was restored in 2003. Today this beautiful park hosts a variety of musical festivals, concerts and other special events. Don’t worry, you can visit anytime you like when you spend your holiday weekend in Dubrovnik.

For a unique view of old town and Dubrovnik, the city offers a cable car ride that travels up into the magnificent hills to the top of Srd Mountain which is the perfect way to get a feel for Dubrovnik. When it comes to photo opportunities, this view of old town and the surrounding landscapes won’t disappoint! You’ll see some of the best views of the area and will get the chance to create a photo journey that will be the envy of all your friends and family.

This is a guest post by Rhys Wynne of Hotel in Dubrovnik. Find out more things to do in Dubrovnik on his website. Photos sourced by Rhys Wynne.

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Summer in Kusadasi, Turkey

We thought we’d share with you where we are going for our first trip of 2012.

In June, we’re heading to the resort of Kusadasi in Turkey, on the Aegean coast.

One of the reasons we chose Kusadasi was the help of this blog post by As We Travel.

Have you ever been to Kusadasi? We’d love to hear  your experiences, thoughts and recommendations.

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