Thursday, September 19, 2013


Cadiz, founded in 1100 BC on a peninsula 76 miles (122km) south of Seville as a Phoenician trading post, is the oldest inhabited city in Europe and a popular holiday destination. It had to wait, however, until the 16th century before it came into its own as a launching point for journeys to the newly discovered lands of the Americas. From here Columbus set out on his second voyage. Sir Francis Drake later famously raided the city, as did Napoleon. The city's old town is picturesque and Moorish, with cobbled streets and squares, presided over by the Cathedral with a golden cupola. There is a gallery displaying some of Goya's works, and some lush parks on the headlands which offer panoramic views of the bay. The city is also home to some of Spain's loveliest beaches, including La Playa de la Caleta situated between two castles of the Old City, and La Playa de la Victoria, which is the most visited by holidaymakers for its safe bathing and watersports. 

Shopping A great place for quality Andalucian items like ceramics and leatherwork is Belle Epoque, close to the Museo de Cádiz. For incredible local foods go to Hecho in Cádiz. There are excellent food markets at Mercado Central de Abasto (the Central Market), La Merced and San Jose where high quality wine, sausages, and cheeses can be bought. 

Restaurants They say that Cadiz is home to the best fried fish in the world - and the best in town can be found at Las Flores Freideria on Plaza Topete. 

Nightlife Cadiz has a lively nightlife scene, with something for everyone, from laid-back beach bars serving tapas and ambient music to all-night clubs. The foundation for most evenings out is laid by tapas and sundowners, and the practice of botellón, which involves buying your own alcohol and drinking while strolling the plazas or the beach. The main nightclubs are on Playa Victoria beachfront, and tend to open around 10pm. The most popular club in town, from 4am when it opens, is El Hoyo on Calle Manuel Rancés. 

Activities Take a tasting tour along the Jerez wine route. Stroll cobbled stone alleys of the beautiful ancient old city or take some time out to visit Puerto del Cabrito for a view across the Straits of Gibraltar to Africa. Visitors to Cadiz should be sure to include on their holiday itinerary a trip to the town's cathedral and the Fine Arts and Archaeology Museum. Kite surfing in Tarifa is also a popular activity in Cadiz. 

Negatives Cadiz is a well-developed, hugely popular destination and therefore not suitable for those wanting a quiet holiday or looking to experience a traditional Spanish village. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Cuenca, Spain

Just two hours southeast of Madrid lies Cuenca, one of the most charming small towns you'll find anywhere on the Iberian peninsular. Located on a steep spur, above the confluence of two deep river gorges, Cuenca's magnificent geography is matched only by the architectural wonders contained within its medieval city walls. In fact, the entire town centre of Cuenca is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (and has been since 1996), and visitors to Spain who are looking for a romantic town to wander around in for a few days are strongly encouraged to give Cuenca a try.


 Full of Moorish fortresses, Gothic cathedrals with 'unum ex septem' signs outside (if you pray while looking at one of them, you'll get five years' worth of forgiveness for your sins), rococo-style convents, museums and parks, the most endearing feature of Cuenca is in fact its 'hanging houses', residences with cantilevered balconies that overhang the deep river gorges below. The strange angularity of these buildings is said to have inspired the artistic movement known as Cubism. A wonderful place to ramble around for a couple of days, Cuenca is an ideal stop for those travelling to Barcelona from Madrid.


Monday, September 2, 2013

20 places in the world which are worth to see

The world we live in is full of wonderful places that many of us do not know that really there. We all know the joys of the great metropolises like New York, Paris, Rome, London ... and the beautiful beaches of Hawaii, the Caribbean, Cuba ... but there are other parts of the planet, and places that are beautiful, but not very well known. 

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Glacier National Park-Montana
The Giant Buddha of Leshan,China
Natural Pool, Santorini Greece
Garden Nishinomary, Japan 
Bora Bora
The Subway, Zion National Park, Utah
Infinite Pool, Hotel Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
Angkor Thom, Cambodia
Antelope Canyon, Аrizona
Carrera Lakes, Buenos Aires
Langkawi Sky Bridge
Capilano Bridge, Vancouver
Cliff Restaurant near Sanyou Cave above the Chang Jiang River
Terengganu, Malaysia
Castle Elian Donan, Scotland
Marqueyssac Gardens, France
Great Wall of China
Zakynthos, Greece

The Faroe Islands, Denmark

The Faroe Islands  are 18 islands in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of Scotland and halfway between Iceland and Norway. The Islands are a self-governing island territory of Denmark.The Islands have a population of nearly 50,000  and a language and culture of their own. When visiting the Faroe you are never more than 5 km (3 miles) away from the ocean. The countryside is dominated by steep mountains.The Faroe Islands are undeniably beautiful: green, rugged and wind-swept. Most visitors to the islands come between early July and late August.

One of the main reasons that people visit the Faroe Islands is the incredible nature and scenery. The Faroe Islands turn extraordinarily green during the summertime. The fresh air, the deep blue ocean, the vertical sea cliffs and the green mountains with their picturesque valleys, is something which would amaze anyone who enjoys being surrounded by nature. There are bus rides, horse trekking, mountain hikes and boat trips which allow you to enjoy the magnificent wild green landscape. Sometimes the summer fog creates a mystical landscape, in which you may vividly imagine the great history and mystical stories belonging to the islands. 

Colmar, France

An attractive town in northeast France, Colmar is one of the most popular tourist draws to the Alsace region. Founded in the 9th century, the city boasts many beautiful architectural landmarks, including churches, museums, theatres, mansions, monuments and fountains, many dating back to the 13th century. Colmar is surprisingly big for a medieval city, but visitors should still be able to walk around on foot without much trouble. In addition to its beauty, Colmar is a lively city with music festivals and other events throughout the year. It is also a centre for the German and French-influenced Alsatian cuisine, and visitors can sample local specialties like quiche Lorraine, Black Forest cake, Sauerkraut, and the many varieties of Alsace wine. Attractions in the town include the Musee d'Unterlinden (Museum under the Linden Trees) which is a small but popular art and history museum with an impressive collection of artefacts. The most famous piece is the magnificent Issenheim Altarpiece. Little Venice, a particularly pretty neighbourhood in Colmar, is a good place to take a gondola ride and enjoy the medieval architecture passing you by. The Eglise des Dominicains is a lovely church which now houses Martin Shongaurer's painting 'Madonna of the Rose Garden'. The gothic Eglise St-Martin is also well worth a visit.

Sintra, Portugal


The picturesque resort town of Sintra, 18 miles (29km) north-west of Lisbon, lies at the heart of one of Portugal's most appealing holiday regions, abounding with natural beauty, historical and cultural attractions and plenty of leisure opportunities. Sintra itself, characterised by lush greenery, bright splashes of flowers and elaborate 'wedding cake' palaces, was described as a 'glorious Eden' by classic poet Lord Byron. No wonder it was once chosen by royalty and nobility as the place to build their summer holiday retreats and, in more modern times, has been accorded the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sintra is actually an amalgamation of three villages, sprawling down a steep granite hillside, so the layout is a little confusing for visitors on holiday. The huge Palacio Nacional, with its tall, conical chimneys serves as a landmark in the centre of Sintra, and makes a good starting point for walking tours of the key attractions of this fascinating fairy-tale town, captured by Christian Crusaders from the Moors in 1147. A fun way to see the town and surrounds is aboard the historic 100-year-old Sintra Tram, which connects Estefanea to Praia das Macas. It is open for rides for the public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for a couple of Euros. 


Shopping Shopping in Sintra becomes a tour of traditional Portuguese folk art and crafts. Do not expect a frenetic spending spree in glitzy modern malls. Sintra's shops are tucked away in narrow cobblestone streets, waiting to be ferreted out by those who appreciate fine holiday souvenirs, like hand-painted ceramics, lace, beaten copper and bronze, embroidered linen and jewellery. Goods come from all over the country, including the Azores. Prices can be steep, but most merchants are open to a little bargaining. Best place to shop is the Praca da Republica and Sao Pedro Square. Those who are seeking modern designer clothing and houseware will have to travel out of town to the huge Cascais Shopping Centre, the area's largest shopping mall. 

Restaurants The best Sintra restaurants tend to keep their offerings local, often with international overtones. Some delicious specialities of the region to look out for are Negrais suckling pig, Merces pork, roast kid, bass and shellfish of all sorts. Then there are the pastries, particularly Sintra queijadas, which are like mini-cheesecakes, made to an age-old recipe. Cream cakes and local jams complete the temptations, all of which should be accompanied by some excellent Portuguese wines. Classical, comfortable dining is offered at Tacho Real on the Rua de Ferraria; for 'haute' Portuguese fare it is hard to beat the luxurious ambience of the Palacio de Seteais; and another recommendation is the rustic Refúgio da Roca on Estrade do Cabo da Roca, Colares. Of course Sintra does have a McDonalds too, but for the best in local fare, try GSpot Gastronomia and Restaurante Dom Pipas, both tucked away in small villages. 

Nightlife Sintra is certainly not a party town, but as one appreciative visitor remarked: 'When there are so many marvels to enjoy during the day, who needs nightlife?' Evenings tend to be spent sedately, dining and wining. There are, of course, several bars in the town, some of which occasionally offer live music and can work up quite a buzz. The liveliest bars and cafes are on the Rua das Padarias, Rua Fonte da Pipa and Rua da Ferraria. Late night owls should enjoy the Adega das Caves bodega, which is open until the wee hours on the Praca da Republica, drawing an international crowd. 

Activities Most tourists are drawn to Sintra for sightseeing, and there are plenty of historic buildings and museums to fill a busy holiday itinerary including the Sintra Modern Art Museum, Toy Museum and Archaeological Museum. Sintra also offers all that is necessary for a seaside holiday, its golden sands, clear Atlantic waters and magnificent coastline ensuring it is a real fun-in-the-sun pleasure spot. Best beaches are Sao Juliao, Magoito, Macas, Grande and Adraga. There are opportunities for a host of water sports, with surfing and fishing being the most popular. The clifftops provide perfect platforms for paragliders. Golfers are also drawn to Sintra to the Estoril-Sol Golf Club, which lies at the foot of the Sintra mountain range. Although only a 9-hole course it is sought after for its beautiful forested setting. 

Negatives Sintra has little to offer the young clubbing and party set, being more of a sightseeing or beach holiday destination. Its close proximity to Lisbon means that it is often crowded at weekends in summer. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013


Vibrant cities. Thousands of miles of beaches. Food and wine galore. Australia offers something for all sorts of romantics. So if you’d enjoy gourmet dining and a show at the Sydney Opera House, or spending the day snorkeling through the Great Barrier Reef - or both – go DownUnder and try some romance Aussie style. 

10 Day Sydney & Heron Island Retreat  FROM  $3335
Package includes 4 nights of the famous Sydney at The Menzies Hotel and 4 nights at the breathtaking Great Barrier Reef on Heron Island.
9 Day Rainforest & Island Paradise  FROM  $4399
Package includes 4 nights at the breathtaking Port Douglas in the Eucalyptus Bungalow of the Thala Beach Lodge and  4 nights at the legendary Great Barrier Reef in the Lagoon Deluxe Room on Hayman Island.
8 Day Sydney & Reef Retreat  FROM  $5159
Package includes 3 nights Sydney, Shangri-la Hotel, a Luxury hotel located in one of Sydney’s premier locations. Followed by 4 nights Hamilton Island, Qualia Great Barrier Reef. Designed to relax the mind and spoil the senses

Call Your Travel Agent :
(954) 559 0642

Shore Excursions:Roofs and History of Alberobello, Bari Italy

This half day tour visits the fairy tale town of Alberobello which has become well known for its curious whitewashed, round structures with gray, stone, cone-shaped roofs. These houses are called Trulli and are common in the region of Apulia but Alberobello is unique because it is an entire city of them. The word Trulli comes from the Latin turris, which means dome. 
After meeting your driver and licensed guide you travel along a scenic road through olive groves and along the sea in the traditional and timeless area of Southern Italy until you reach Alberobello. 
The old town of Alberobello has about one hundred of these interesting buildings located on a hilltop surrounded by olive trees. While the exact origin of the circular buildings with stone teepee roofs is not known, it is said that the tradition is 5,000 years old. A common theory is that they were popular in the Middle Ages when house taxation was heavy.The buildings were temporary and could easily be moved to avoid being taxed. 
Today the buildings are permanent and a visit to the interior is a treat. The roof covers a common area which is separated by colorful curtains which pose a sharp contrast to the stark white walls. Simple furniture made from olive wood is the work of local farmers who have lived in these buildings for generations. 
The buildings stay cool in the hot summer because of the stone walls and in winter they rely on the hearth for heat. 
In 1996 the town of Alberobello was added to the UNESCO list of heritage sites. After visiting the village you return to the pier in Bari. 
Please note: This tour is not suitable for our guests traveling with a wheelchair. This tour requires extended periods of walking over difficult terrain. Tour length might vary to fit ship’s scheduled departure time. 


Shore Excursions:Best Of Ephesus, Izmir Turkey

This full day excursion visits the most exciting and historic sites of the region: the House of the Virgin Mary, Ephesus Open Air Museum, the Archaeological Museum of Ephesus and the Basilica of St. John. 
You will visit the shrine thought to be the House of the Virgin Mary. Tradition states that Mary, accompanied by John the Apostle, came to Ephesus at the end of her life.
In 1967, Pope Paul VI claimed the site authentic and each year a traditional service, celebrated by Orthodox and Muslim clergy, honors Mary's Assumption into heaven.
Upon reaching the once powerful City of Ancient Ephesus and the Open Air Museum of today, you will proceed on a guided walking tour which is approximately one mile.
You will return to the coaches through the Arcadian Way that still bears groove marks from ancient chariot wheels.
At the Ephesus Archeological Museum, you'll be escorted through the nine exhibits tracing the religious and chronological history of the ancient city. Filled with attractively displayed mosaics, statuary, and other artifacts, the museum exhibits several marble statues of the Mother Goddess Artemis, goddess of nature, childbirth, and the harvest.
Combining the information at the Open Air Museum and the Archeology Museum will give you a very fulfilling idea of the city of Ephesus and its importance in the ancient times.
You will stop for a traditional Turkish open-air lunch inside the premises of the largest Steam Train Museum of Turkey before continuing the tour.
Overlooking Ephesus are the remains of St. John's Basilica, a once great church built on a 2nd century tomb thought to hold the remains of St. John. While the church is now in ruins, there are many frescoes, mosaics and graceful columns that attest to the glory that marked the place where St. John, the Evangelist, lived and died.
This site requires stair climbing at the entrance and walking over uneven dirt, stones and gravel walkways. The site has some fallen ruins and some light climbing will be required.

There will be time for browsing and shopping once back in Izmir or you can return directly to the ship.
Departures (Local Time)
8:30 AM (Hours: 7)
1:30 PM (Hours: 7)

Variety Cruises: Greece

Variety Cruises: Greece: You'll sail onboard the Panorama II, an intimate 49-passenger luxury yacht.

From the Parthenon and the temple of Zeus to the treasures of the National Archaeological Museum, Athens is rich with the relics of ancient Greece. And for thousands of travelers each year it’s also the point of departure for a modern-day odyssey. The Panorama II takes you and 48 other passengers in luxurious comfort from Athens to six ports of call to unravel the wonders of antiquity and the Byzantine Empire around the fascinating Peloponnese coast. The vessel is one of seven cruise ships owned by Variety Cruises, a Greek-owned small ship cruise line with a large American client base.

Variety Cruises: Greece: All of the upscale cabins feature porthotels or windows.

One of the joys of small ship cruising is that you can get to places the large cruise vessels have to pass by. 
And so it is with this itinerary, which takes you to the ancient cities of Nafplion, with its Venetian and Turkish buildings and twisting labyrinthine streets, and Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games. 
The other benefit of small ships is that with so few people on board — Panorama II, your on-water home during this itinerary, is actually more a yacht than a ship and holds just 49 passengers — you soon get to know everyone, whether over a drink on deck or in the lounge, or at dinner. 

Variety Cruises: Greece: With just 49 passengers on board, you can’t help but make friends.

There are some fascinating excursions on this cruise, visiting everything from an ancient healing sanctuary to the spectacular Dirou Caves, to the tip of the Peloponnese, a desolate region of underground lakes and rivers, windswept landscapes and towers. 
Over the eight days you’ll uncover Greece's rich history. But this cruise is also all about relaxing. The itinerary is unhurried, and with a full day at most ports, there’s time to relax and check out the local cafés and restaurants at your leisure. 

Itinerary: Antiquity to Byzantium Aboard the Panorama II

Duration: eight days, seven nights 

Variety Cruises: Greece: This fascinating seven-night cruise sets sail from the Greek capital, Athens.

Day 1: Athens
Embark between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m and enjoy a welcome drink onboard as you meet your crew and fellow passengers. The ship will set sail for Palaia Epidaurus in the evening as you tuck into dinner at sea.
Overnight at sea; dinner included 

Variety Cruises: Greece: In Mycenae you'll visit the ancient city's remains, including the palace and Agamemnon Tomb.

Day 2: Palaia Epidaurus
After an early breakfast you can join an optional excursion to ancient Epidaurus, known throughout the Greek world as a healing sanctuary. Reputedly the birthplace of Apollo’s son Asclepius, the town is home to several civic monuments and an impressive theater, despite being looted by the Roman general Sulla and later by pirates and Goths in 395 AD. You'll enjoy lunch on the ship and sail to Nafplion in the afternoon.
Overnight at port; breakfast, lunch and dinner included 

Variety Cruises: Greece: Nafplion is home to Venetian and Turkish buildings and twisting, labyrinthine streets.

Day 3: Nafplion to Mycenae
Today's excursion is a walking tour of Nafplion, a beautiful city that is home to Venetian and Turkish buildings and twisting, labyrinthine streets. You'll then drive through the countryside of Argolis toward Mycenae, where you'll visit the remains of the ancient city including the Lion’s Gate, the Palace, the Agamemnon Tomb and the museum. Lunch will be back onboard the ship as you sail to Monemvassia in the afternoon and on to Gythion in the evening.
Overnight at sea; breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Day 4: Gythion
After an early morning arrival in Gythion you can join an optional excursion to the Mani Peninsula to explore Cape Tenaro and the spectacular Dirou Caves, with their stalactites and stalagmites. Mani is at the tip of the Peloponnese, a desolate region of underground lakes and rivers, windswept landscapes and towers. In the evening the ship will set sail for Pylos.
Overnight at sea; breakfast, lunch and dinner included 

Variety Cruises: Greece: You'll stop in Pylos, a cute seaside town in the southwest corner of the Peloponnese.

Day 5: Pylos
Pylos is a cute seaside town in the southwest corner of the Peloponnese. The bay was the scene of a notable naval battle between European and Turkish fleets in 1827, which consolidated the independence of Greece. On the optional excursion you'll continue to Nestor’s Palace to examine the prehistoric remains discovered in 1939 by the American archaeologist Carl Blegen. You'll then make a short trip to the town of Hora to see the a superb archaeological museum, which holds thousands of artifacts recovered from the site. In the evening you'll sail to Katakolon.
Overnight at sea; breakfast, lunch and dinner included 

Day 6: Katakolo to Olympia
After disembarking at 7 a.m. in the port town of Katakolo, there's an optional excursion to Olympia, one of the ancient world's most famous and important sites, revered as the birthplace of the Olympic Games. It was also the greatest Pan-Hellenic sanctuary for the worship of Zeus. Olympia existed well into Roman times, until its demise in the 3rd century AD, when fires, earthquakes and invading tribes from the north left the ancient site in ruins. From 1875 onward excavation work, spearheaded primarily by the German government, revealed the fantastic treasures from antiquity that sit today in the marvelous archaeological museum. The most thrilling sight is the stadium, which looks much as it did 2,000 years ago. In the afternoon you'll travel overland to Patras on the north coast of the peninsula to board the ship and depart for Itea on the Gulf of Corinth.
Overnight at port; breakfast, lunch and dinner included 

Variety Cruises: Greece: You'll explore Delphi's ancient ruins complex, built on the side of a mountain.

Day 7: Itea to Delphi
This morning's excursion departs for Delphi to explore the ancient ruins complex, built on the side of a mountain. In its prime, Delphi was famous for being the site of the most important oracle in the classical world. Visitors would travel across Greece to consult the oracle for advice and give thanks by offering treasure to the god Apollo. You'll visit the adjoining museum before returning to the ship to cross the Corinth Canal. In the evening you'll return to the port of Marina Zea in Athens.
Overnight at port; breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Day 8: Athens
The Panormama II arrives in Athens in the early morning. Disembark after breakfast for your flight home.
Breakfast included