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Tuscany – Italy

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florence, tuscany
Florence

Tuscany, Italy is one of the most stunning, picturesque places to see in Europe.  Located in Central Italy, the capital being Florence this is definitely a tourist hotspot for a quick getaway, or longer!

How to Get There?

If overseas, the easiest way to get there is to fly to either Pisa International Airport or some airlines fly to Florence Airport.  With the introduction of cheaper and cheaper budget airlines over the recent years, it is very reasonable to get here by air.  If you’d prefer there are also trains from a few different European cities.  Paris, Geneva and Munich being 3 of the most popular, be prepared for a train journey between 5-8 hours though.  There are buses you can catch that travel the distance, but they’re much longer and the price really isn’t worth it compared to train or flying.

When is the Best Time to Visit?

Our top time to visit is between June and August.  Before and after these times, prices can rise by over 50% because of the major festivals that take place, so if you’re not going for a festival, avoid these times, you’ll have a much quieter and cheaper time with fantastic weather still to enjoy.

What is there to do there?

Without wanting to make this list too long as we could go on forever.  There is so much to do in Tuscany that you’ll never see it all! Whether you want to go sightseeing for all the beautiful landscapes, architecture or ocean views if you’re on the west side of Tuscany.  Or perhaps you’re taking a family holiday and want to educate your children, there are plenty of museums that are fun and interesting for people of all ages.

How about shopping?  Amazing shops and the classic sort of shops you can expect to find in Tuscany are Wine shops and their specialty of making leather goods such as handbags.  Lastly, as you would expect in Italy there are many fine restaurants to choose from to indulge in all of your favourite tastes!

Chianti landscape with bottle of wine in Italy

Eiffel Tower – Paris

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eiffel tower in paris, france

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the world!  Undoubtedly regarded as one of the most romantic as well due to its nature and location.  Construction started in 1887 and finished 2 years later and was highly criticised by France’s leading artists for its design at the time.  The tower is 324 metres tall, which is the equivalent of about an 81-story building!

How to Get There?

It’s very easy to get to the Eiffel Tower and there are many ways to do it.  Either by using the Paris Metro using Line 6 or 9 exiting at stations “Bir-Hakeim” or “Trocadero” respectively.  There are also several bus routes available, but it is best to check locally if these are running as sometimes the times can change.  Our favourite though is to go via boat, there is a bus boat available and you can get your tickets from here.

When is the Best Time to Visit?

There’s never a bad time to visit, standard European weather is unpredictable so you may find yourself in the rain or bright sunshine!  Either way, it’s stunning whatever the weather!

What is there to do there?

There are a few things to do there, besides the views obviously!  There is a restaurant and a buffet so you can stay whilst you grab a bite to eat!  A transparent floor on the 1st floor for a breath-taking vertical drop view!  At the top, there is a small champagne bar as well to toast any special occasion you might want to celebrate up there.  There are also some interactive screens and displays so you can keep the children (or yourself!) entertained and also learn at the same time.

eiffel tower in paris, france eiffel tower in paris, france eiffel tower in paris, france eiffel tower in paris, france eiffel tower in paris, france

Island of Aruba – Caribbean

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aruba, caribbean

Aruba, located in the Caribbean is actually part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.  It’s 18 miles north of the coast of Venezuela and measuring nearly 20 miles long and 6 miles across at its widest point.  It is part of a collection of other Dutch Islands and sometimes known as the Dutch Caribbean.

How to Get There?

Aruba has its own airport so you can hop onto a flight from many different North American airports, including Miami, New York and Toronto.  There are a lot more, but these are the main ones. Once there, if you booked to stay in one of the many resorts, they will probably have arranged a pick up for you from the airport.

When is the Best Time to Visit?

The best time to visit Aruba is between the months of April and August.  They have the least chance of rainfall. Be aware though, due to trade winds the island of Aruba can be gusty at times! This is great for the windsurfers though! It also adds a nice breeze to those hotter days.

What is there to do there?

There is a bit of everything for everyone!  For the beach bums, there are a number of great beaches for you to sit at all day (don’t forget the sun lotion though!).  For the night life, there are also casinos located in some of the hotel resorts!

You can go to the Arikok National Park to see some of the great wildlife Aruba has to offer, we would advise to arrange a tour so as you get the best and safest experience though.  There are also some historic sites around the island to visit as well, so as we said, something for everyone!

aruba, caribbean

aruba, caribbean

aruba, caribbean aruba, caribbean

aruba, caribbean

Virunga National Park & Gorilla Trekking – The Congo

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The Virunga National Park is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is one of the most biologically diverse areas on earth.  It also contains two active volcanos, but unfortunately it is under constant threat, mainly due to the poachers who are after the Gorillas in the area.  Thanks to the wonderful work of the rangers and wardens in the area there has been a significant improvement and hopefully more is to come!

How to Get There?

It is not the closest place to get to, the nearest airport is Kigali and a taxi ride is roughly 3 hours to the border crossing.  Thankfully these taxis are nowhere near as expensive as we face and will set you back around £75.  Once there, there is a large choice of lodges in the area and the park has its own transportation services between them and the areas you will want to visit.

When is the Best Time to Visit?

Anytime really weather wise, but be sure to check local government offices for any alerts that may be around.  This area of the world has some conflict and we advise you to use your own judgement with the aid of an informed government body.  Don’t let this warning deter you from going though altogether, many people go and say it is well worth it to experience what it has to offer.

What is there to do there?

There are 3 main trekking tours available, the first of which is to see the mountain gorillas.  This is the most popular trek and people say it has changed their lives once they visit.  As gorillas are so similar to ourselves, people look upon them with admiration as they tend to their young in the most sensitive ways.  You are allowed to spend time with them (up to 1 hour) but there is a strict set of rules in place so as to avoid disturbing them beyond what they will find comfortable.  They are social creatures as well!

The next tour is to see the Chimpanzees, this one is for people who do not wish to come in contact with the wildlife and for that reason is a much cheaper price.  Lastly there is the volcano tour!  This one is definitely for the sightseers!  Trekking up an active volcano is such an experience you will never forget!  You get to head up to the rim of the volcanos and see the hot gasses exploding up through the lava!  Pictures never do justice of actually being there!

Please be advised, with the animal treks, if you feel unwell in the slightest, CANCEL your tour as they are very susceptible to human illness and can cause harm to them.

Virunga National Park

Guana Island – Virgin Islands

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guana island

Guana Island, in the Virgin Islands is a supreme piece of the world which is conserved very well and is greatly suited to people who love nature and luxury all in one!  It is privately owned by the Jarecki family who have done great work in keeping its history and nature intact.

How to Get There?

As with many of the Virgin Islands there is a hub where people usually go to, this is the Virgin Island’s Beef Island airport which can be accessed from either San Juan, St Thomas, Antigua or St Maarten.  The island has a boatman who will be there waiting for you to take you direct to the island!  There are also private charters available for the more affluent traveller!  Contact the resort directory to plan these.

When is the Best Time to Visit?

Between the months of April to June are some of the best times with mild weather and little rain.  July and August are usually slightly warmer, but there is an increased risk of rainfall, so bare that in mind.

What is there to do there?

As you can imagine with a private island retreat, there is a lot to do here!  It’s really up to you how much you want to experience.  Once you’ve paid for your holiday, all meals are included in the price and all of the activities so there is no reason not to enjoy these.  They include hiking, massages, yoga, tennis courts and some water activities include, snorkelling and scuba diving!

guana island guana island guana island guana island guana island

Bigar Waterfall – Romania

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Located in the Caras-Severin County in the western end of Romania is the Bigar Waterfall!  The locals call it “The Miracle from the Minis Canyon” because of its importance and beauty to them.

How to Get There?

To get there is a bit of a drive, it is in the Anina Mountains on the road between two cities, Oravita and Bozgovici.  There are a few tour buses from the nearby cities.  We would recommend you drive yourself though so you can view at your own leisure as there is also a nearby nature reserve with even more spectacular views.

When is the Best Time to Visit?

It’s beautiful year-round, but we would recommend either late spring or early summer.  You’ll get to see all the flowering of the local wildlife when we feel it is at its best looking.

What is there to do there?

It’s mainly for sightseeing, but don’t be fooled, there is a lot more to see around the area as well!  The whole place is a large nature reserve, so it is a great place for photographers to capture some great shots!

Igloo Village – Finland

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The Igloo Village as it’s commonly known is called the “Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort” and is in Finland.  People come here from all around the world for the views of the Northern Lights that can be viewed in a very unique way!  View them from the comfort of your bed with a glass topped igloo!

How to Get There?

There’s a couple of options, either to the Helsinki airport if you want to stay part of your trip in the capital as well.  Or if not, there is a closer airport, Ivalo.  This is a 30 minute shuttle ride to the Igloo Village.

When is the Best Time to Visit?

The Glass Igloos are only open during peak season for viewing the northern lights.  They start around the end of August and are open until the end of April.  Anytime during this period is a great time to go.

What is there to do there?

There’s plenty of winter activities to do that are slightly out the norm!  How about snow mobile safaris, ice-fishing and husky hiking?

They also have a range of on-site facilities such as an ice-bar, saunas and a few restaurants.

Spitting Caves, Hawaii – North America

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Photo by And Drink the Wild Air

The Spitting Caves in Hawaii are in Honolulu but they are not a mainstream tourist destination due to the danger they pose. However, we feel they are worthy of a mention due to their beauty, just be warned that cliff jumping, especially in this area can be dangerous.

How to Get There?

As we said they are in Honolulu and are located near a residential village at Lumahai Street.  There is a trail located close by and all the locals will be able to point you in the right direction.

When is the Best Time to Visit?

Anytime really, the views are spectacular!  Sunrise is a particularly beautiful time to visit though.

What is there to do there?

As we said, this is more for the adrenaline junkies, so there is cliff jumping (dangerous), but it’s also well worth it for the views it offers and it’s natural beauty as it’s unspoilt by any manmade areas.

Golden Horn Beach – Croatia

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The Golden Horn Beach in Croatia is the more popular name of what is actually called the “Zlatni Rat” beach.  Its distinctive shape is obviously where it gets its name from and attracts tourists from around the world.  The Golden Horn beach is regularly in the top 10 beaches of Europe and for good reason!

How to Get There?

As it is located on the southern part of the Island Brac, the quickest way is to hop onto a ferry.  There are many regular ferry connections from all the nearby ports.  You could also take a bus or taxi, but the ferry is the most cost effective and most scenic way to get there!

When is the Best Time to Visit?

The usual European summer times apply here, June until August being the peak times!

What is there to do there?

Well there is obviously the usual beach goers who head here to soak up the sun rays!  But it is also very popular with windsurfers among other water sports, so if this is your thing, definitely give this a try!  There is also a self-service restaurant, cafes and parachute rides!

The Great Ocean Road, Victoria – Australia

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Great Ocean Road national park in VIctoria, Australia – at sunrise. Panoramic view from lookout towards 2 apostles

The Great Ocean Road is in Victoria, Australia.  It stretches for over 60 miles (100km) and if you wish to do the entire walk, it will take around a week!  Obviously, that’s not for everyone so there are many shortened ways to view the best spots.

How to Get There?

It is roughly a 2-hour bus trip from Melbourne so it is easily accessible for everyone.  You can hop on a bus or even a ferry for a more scenic route.  If you’re not near Melbourne, don’t fret.  They also have a nearby airstrip so you can fly in from other parts of Australia.

When is the Best Time to Visit?

There isn’t really a good or bad time, with it being Australia, the summer months are September through February.  But there are great views year-round.  Be sure to check local weather reports for any parts which may be closed during winter months due to bad weather, however this is quite rare.

What is there to do there?

There are many fantastic viewpoints, some of which you might not realise without a tour guide, or some prior research.  So, it is best to do your homework beforehand.  Some sections are more for hiking, so you may way to avoid them (or aim for them if hiking is your thing).  Some sections, such as the Aire River has no bridges, but it offers great views because of this!