Category Archives:Europe

Contiki Europe: What it’s really like

It’s pretty much an Australian rite of passage that at some point in your 20’s you will jump on a Contiki tour bus, see way more countries than thought possible in a short amount of time, drink copious amounts of alcohol all while claiming to your friends and family back home that you are ‘finding yourself’.

contiki europe review

In 2014, 6 months after I had just turned 18, I headed off on my first big trip away from home and as scary as it was, I felt comfort that I was part of an organised tour and did not have to worry about where  was going to sleep each night.

The Contiki tour I went on was called European Contrasts and it saw us travel to 13 countries over 29 days.

I won’t lie and say I wasn’t tired or sick or hungover pretty much every day but contrary to belief, you actually do a lot more than drink! I had the best experience of my life in Europe and if you’re thinking of doing a Contiki tour soon, here’s my favourite things about these famous tours!

It’s not just all Aussies!

A big misconception is that you’ll be put on a tour with 50 other Australian’s which will feel like you never left home.

Although there is a big chance over a third of the tour will be from Australia, Contiki is also very popular with Americans, Canadians and Kiwi’s as well as people from the UK and even other European countries.

The range is normally quite diverse which is cool because then you get to make friends all over the world and you’ll never know when you’ll find yourself needing a bed to crash on in the future.

Everything is organised for you but the freedom is still there!

contiki europe review

When you book a tour, you get the advantage of knowing everything is booked and paid for and you can then focus instead on deciding if you’ll have pizza or pasta for dinner in Italy (the answer is always both btw) rather than how you’re gonna get from London to Paris.

However, each day you have the opportunity to choose what you want to do with extra optional activities that are provided or not provided.

You want to go paragliding in Austria, go ahead! If that’s not your thing, no problems! Our tour guide kept telling us, ‘it’s your holiday, you decide what you want to do’!

The themed parties.

Toga, tight white and bright, P party, just to name a few! Because Contiki own a lot of their accommodation around Europe, there is often plenty of time for themed parties! These are the best fun because where else in Europe could you seriously dress completely different and head to a club? Nowhere!

At the Contiki accommodation, there are often multiple tours staying here at the same time giving you a chance to party with new people every night in hilarious costumes!contiki europe review toga party

AMAZING SIGHTS with express entries!

Ever visited somewhere and been overwhelmed with what to do and where to go while you’re there? I know I always want to make the most of my time and have trouble fitting everything in.

On Contiki, you always get to see the best and most incredible sights and attractions of each city. This means you won’t have to choose between Vatican City and the Colosseum because it’s a definite you will get to experience both!

Also, because you are on a tour, this often means express entry. Say goodbye to waiting in lines for hours (let’s be honest, ain’t nobody got time for that) and say hello to more time eating gelato!

Lastly, Contiki is the perfect taste of Europe!

Basically, you have 1-2 full days in a city then the next day will be a travel day with stops along the way. This is the perfect way to see all the major sites and discover the countries you want to explore further on your next trip.

contiki europe review

You also learn the places you don’t want to go back to in future (Liechtenstein I’m looking at you).

Some people don’t like the idea of being rushed so if this is you, maybe look at tours that don’t stop in so many countries however I felt most cities we has adequate enough time to see and do everything (apart from Paris that is, you can never have enough time in Paris!) For those first timers to Europe, Contiki is the way to go!

If you are thinking of doing a Contiki tour and have any questions, please comment below! Or have you done a Contiki and think I’ve missed something, would love to hear from you too!

Learning Spanish Online: My Journey to Fluency

¡Hola amigos! I have always loved the Spanish language, but since studying it at school I haven’t really put it into practice. It doesn’t help that I’m now living in Australia, which is about as far from a Spanish-speaking country as you can get.

As I’m approaching the big 3-0 (only six months of my beloved twenties left…), I have been trying to tick off a few life goals; one of which is to be fluent in Spanish. To help me stay motivated, I am planning on travelling to Spain for 3-6 months next year (maybe longer, who knows!), which is very exciting. I will be attending immersive Spanish lessons when I’m there (any school recommendations in Sevilla would be much appreciated!), but I want to arrive being able to at least hold a decent conversation.

So, I have researched a whole range of online Spanish learning resources and settled on a few, which I will be reviewing over the course of the next six months: SpanishPod101, Rosetta Stone and Duolingo.

I have been using each of these tools for about two months now, so below are my first impressions.

Duolingo for Spanish

Duolingo is such a fantastic idea and is a great way to introduce people to new languages. It’s actually more like a game (and a very addictive one at that!). I am about halfway through the Spanish course and am finding that my vocabulary recognition is good, but I have no knowledge of grammar from it.

Since getting Rosetta Stone and SpanishPod101, I have just been using Duolingo on and off while I’m waiting for the bus.

Rosetta Stone Language Learning Suite Version 3

This is the latest addition to my language learning arsenal and by far the most expensive. However, I am really enjoying it so far, and it is certainly a step up from Duolingo. The way Rosetta Stone teaches language is through the full immersion method. In other words, there are absolutely no English translations. The sceptic in me believes this is simply a smart business move to cut down costs of translating into multiple languages, thus appealing to a global audience. Anyway…

A definite negative for me is that without the translations you have to work out what a sentence means; this is relatively easy in the first few lessons, but it gets increasingly difficult when more complex grammar comes into play. I have been learning languages for a while so I’m largely familiar with the way the grammar works, but for someone completely new to learning a foreign language, it would probably be very difficult.

However, I would like to get to the end of the course to be able to give a full review on how this method works.

One unique feature of Rosetta Stone, and most likely what justifies its high price point, is its advanced voice recognition system. While it can’t replace speaking to a native, it is a good chance to perfect your speaking skills.

Spanish Pod 101

I don’t know if it’s the chirpy voices of the presenters or the cheesy intro music to each of the podcasts, but I simply LOVE SpanishPod101. I purchased a basic 3-month subscription for less than $25, which is a bargain. What’s great about SpanishPod101 is that you can link it up to your iTunes and listen to one of their thousands of podcasts on the go. It really breaks down topics into easy-to-digest chunks, giving you a much deeper insight into particular phrases, grammar and cultural aspects that you simply don’t get anywhere else that I have found. There’s no listen and repeat going on here.

I have mostly used the podcasts so far, but they do also have lots of video tutorials, as well as PDF downloads and cheat sheets. It would take years to get through all the content they have on the site — so it really is a great resource.

That’s it from me for now, but I’ll be posting updates on how these tools (and my Spanish) is going over the next few months. If you have any recommendations or experiences, please share in the comments below 🙂 ¡Hasta luego!

Spain’s Best Historical Attractions

Spain is one of the most visited countries in the world. Although the country is renowned for its beautiful beaches and warm weather, some of the most popular attractions in Spain are the historical and cultural monuments. So if you’re a history buff, read on!

History buffs rejoice

Spain is home to some of the world’s oldest and most historic buildings and monuments; in fact, it has more UNESCO World Heritage listed sites than any other country in the world and the second most World Heritage cities after Italy.

Wherever you go in Spain you will come across architecture that dates back hundreds of years including breathtaking cathedrals, castles, palaces and more. However, there are several specific historical and cultural monuments in Spain that attract more visitors than others, and we look at some of the most popular below.

La Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Barcelona

La Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Barcelona
La Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Barcelona

The beautiful La Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona is one of Spain’s most visited attractions. Featuring the architecture and art of Antoni Gaudi, the exquisite Roman Catholic cathedral is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site despite never being completed.

The architecture of the cathedral blends Art Nouveau with Gothic, which is what makes its design so unique. Unfortunately, Gaudi died approximately a quarter of the way through the project. Using his drawings, the cathedral was slowly built over the next few decades.

Tours of La Sagrada Familia Cathedral are available throughout the year.

Cave of Altamira, Santillana del Mar

The Cave of Altamira is home to some of the world’s oldest examples of early human life. Within the caves are paintings from the Upper Paleolithic era and the paintings are the first prehistoric ones to be found in the world.

Cave of Altamira, Santillana del Mar
Cave painting at the Cave of Altamira, Santillana del Mar

The caves are situated approximately 30km west of Santander in northern Spain. Currently, you cannot access the actual caves as carbon monoxide from the breath of visitors was damaging them. However, there are plans to open the caves for a brief period for visitors in the near future. There is a replica cave for visitors to see.

Monastery and Site of the Escorial, Madrid

Monastery and Site of the Escorial, Madrid
Monastery and Site of the Escorial, Madrid

The Monastery and Site of the Escorial is one of Madrid’s most popular historical attractions. Situated approximately 45km away from the centre of Madrid, the Monastery and Site of the Escorial is a historical residence of the king of Spain.

The impressive buildings date back to the 15th century and there are numerous sections that you can visit. The Basilica, Palace of Phillip II, Pantheon of the Princes and Gardens of the Friars are particularly exquisite.

Visitors are able to walk around the beautiful buildings either alone or on guided tours. Tours are available in several languages, including English, and are well worth doing to find out some interesting facts.

Vizcaya Bridge, Portugalete

Vizcaya Bridge, Portugalete
Vizcaya Bridge, Portugalete

For those interested in spectacular engineering projects, the Vizcaya Bridge in Portugalete is one of the most amazing of them all. Built in 1893 it is the world’s oldest transporter bridge and was designed by Alberto Palacio – a disciple of Gustave Eiffel’s (the creator of the Eiffel Tower).

The bridge was built to connect to cities on opposite sides of the Nervion River without disrupting maritime traffic. The bridge is 164 metres tall and is still in use today, being able to transport six cars and almost one hundred passengers on every trip. The gondola runs every 8 minutes during the day and once every hour at night. It is a popular tourist attraction for visitors from around the world.

Tower of Hercules, A Coruna

Tower of Hercules, A Coruna
Tower of Hercules, A Coruna

The Tower of Hercules, situated in the town of A Coruna in north-western Spain is one of the oldest monuments in the country. Dating back to the ancient Roman period, the Tower of Hercules (in Spanish: Torre de Hercules) is 180 feet tall and was built as a lighthouse that looks out over the North Atlantic coastline of Spain.

Not only is the Tower of Hercules a National Monument of Spain but in 2007 it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Despite being built so long ago, it is still the second tallest lighthouse in Spain, after the Faro de Chipiona.

The lighthouse is situated approximately 2.5km outside of A Coruna and is one of Spain’s most visited historical monuments.

Hotels in Brig Switzerland: Quick Guide

The historic and picturesque town of Brig in Switzerland is a popular destination for tourists from all around the world. Brig is situated close to the Italian and Swiss border and is surrounded by the beautiful Swiss alps.

The scenery is truly spectacular and is what draws most of the visitors to the town. In the summer, the mountains are a beautiful bright green and in the winter, it is a snowy wonderland. 

Activities in Brig

During the summer, the most popular activity is walking, and there are over 150km of marked hiking trails throughout the town and around the region. There are also lots of cycling routes. The Rosswald viewing platform offers unrivalled views over the town and beyond. Another popular attraction is the Brig Baths, which is one of Switzerland’s largest open-air thermal centres.

In the winter, there are eleven ski lifts up into the surrounding mountains. The Hohstock ski tunnel is one of the most popular winter attractions, especially for skiers and snowboarders. There are several small skiing areas in the town that are busy during the winter months.

Another popular attraction is the Stockalper Palace, a large and impressive well-preserved baroque palace in the heart of the town.

Accommodation in Brig Switzerland

There are plenty of accommodation options in Brig ranging from budget bed and breakfasts up to world-class luxury resorts.

hotels brig switzerland

The 3-star Art Furrer Schlosshotel is set in a quiet and tranquil location just a five-minute walk from the town’s centre. The hotel offers spectacular views over the Alps and Brig, and the hotel itself is in a traditional Swiss style. This hotel is a great place for a romantic getaway at a great value price.

If you are travelling with your whole family, the Hotel Central is a fantastic budget family hotel right next to all of the most popular attractions in Brig. It is located next to the entrance to the car-free Brig Old Town. It has all the facilities that you might need, including cosy rooms and several restaurants. Pets are also allowed at this hotel.

If you like your accommodation to have a bit of history, the Hotel Du Pont certainly offers this. It is the oldest family hotel in Brig, and also has one of the best restaurants in the town. The prices are very reasonable and the surrounds are stunning. It is a great hotel for families.

hotel du pont brig switzerland
Hotel Du Pont, Brig

Located in front of the main station of Brig is the impressive Minotel Victoria Hotel. Right in the heart of the town, this city is historic and traditional on the outside but modern and full facilitated on the inside. They have a restaurant serving local cuisine and there are family rooms for those with kids. It’s a great hotel for getting to all the sites of this beautiful town.

The Hotel Ambassador is situated in a quiet location 200 metres from the central Brig train station. The rooms are well-priced and modern with a Swiss twist. There is also a fantastic restaurant serving a variety of cuisines located at the hotel. You will be in a great location for easy access to all the skiing and hiking spots that Brig has to offer.

 

Weather in Spain: When should you go?

One of the biggest reasons many travellers choose Spain for their vacation is the beautiful weather. However, Spain is a large country that has a range of climates, from the icy mountain regions to the blazingly hot summers in Seville. So let’s take a closer look at what you can expect weather-wise if you visit one of my favourite countries in the world — Spain. ¡Vamos!

About Weather in Spain

Spain is renowned for its warm, sunny weather and if you head there during the summer months you will almost always be guaranteed plenty of sunshine wherever you are in the country. However, there are quite clear variations in weather patterns around the country so before you head there you may want to check the weather in different parts of Spain during different seasons. For example, the country’s capital of Madrid can exceed 90 degrees in the summer months but due to its elevation can drop down to a cool 25 in winter.

weather in spain

Not only does the weather in Spain vary between seasons but there are huge variations between different cities and regions. The south of Spain is best known for its exceptionally warm weather, whereas the northern region is much milder.

Below we take a closer look at the specific weather in Spain during different seasons.

Seasons in Spain

The weather in Spain can be divided into four seasons, much similar to the USA: spring, summer, fall and winter.  In Spain the seasons are equally divided into three months each in length: summer runs from June through August; spring runs from March through May, fall runs from September through November and the winters from December through February.

The temperature variations between the seasons vary in different regions of Spain. The hottest major city in Spain on average is Seville in southern Spain – with average July temperatures of 66/95 (low and high). The coldest city in Spain on average is Santiago, with average July temperatures of 61/72 (low and high).

Summer in Spain

Summer in Spain is the warmest time of the year and also the most popular time for tourists to go and visit. Temperatures across Spain rarely go below 60 Fahrenheit during the summer months and regularly exceed 90.

The temperatures in central Spain, such as the capital of Madrid, are almost unbearably hot in mid-summer, so most people tend to head to the coastal areas such as Barcelona and Costa del Sol where temperatures are much more favorable.  This includes both tourists and residents of central Spain, so you will find that a lot of shops and restaurants are closed during the summer months.

Winter in Spain

Although the most popular time to visit Spain is during the summer months, the winter can be a lot more tolerable in terms of the weather in Spain. In fact, few people realize that it actually snows in Spain.

The cities that are almost unbearably hot during the summer months are some of the coldest during the winter. A lot of the country is situated at a very high altitude, which makes the winters incredibly cold. Central Spain, including the cities of Toledo, Madrid and Salamanca are the coldest regions of Spain during the winter. As soon as you head north or south from these regions you will find slightly warmer weather.

Southern Spain still has quite warm winters, particularly in the Andalusia region. The north coast is kept relatively warm by the Atlantic Ocean.

Rainfall in Spain

Rainfall can make or break a trip to Spain; even if it is quite cold outside it can still be very pleasant if the sun is shining. Rain is much more common during the winter months – summers tend to be quite dry across Spain.

December is typically the rainiest month in Spain and Santiago (in Galicia) is the rainiest city in the country. Santiago averages 21 days of rain during December and 12 in June.

Valencia, Seville and Granada in Southern Spain see the least rainfall in Spain. During the summer months, there is barely any rainfall at all and the winters have an average of 9 days of rain per month. Rainfall is rarely heavy at any stage throughout the year – it is generally in short spurts.

If you’re already in Spain or about to head there, you can check the latest weather at The Weather Channel.

Five places in Europe to experience a White Christmas

So it’s Christmas. And while beach parties have their own unique vibe, there’s nothing quite as magical as a white Christmas. In the north, bells are jingling and cities are decked out with markets and contemporary Christmas clichés. Leaving Paris and London to Dickens, I’ve searched through my travel journals and atlas to bring you a selection of great places to spend Christmas in Europe.

Amsterdam

 amsterdam

A white Christmas in Amsterdam could mean anything, but right now the city’s red light district is even more colourful. From the Christmas tree in Dam Square, a stroll along any illuminated canal path could end at one of 26 neighbourhood markets, including the main craft market at Museumplein and an ice rink among the stalls at Leidsplein. Alongside the Christmas Palace, the floating Bloemenmarkt (flower market) is ready to sell travellers a pine or two; or for something less traditional, the Pink Christmas celebration at Zeedijk could float a few different boats.

Vienna

 vienna

The City of Lights could turn Scrooge into a Christmas convert. The echoes of the Vienna Boys’ Choir ring through Hofburg Quarter and the cobblestone lanes of the ol’ city, which is lit up all-year-round. Seasonally, red hearts and hot-air balloons decorate trees in Christkindlmarkts speckled around the city. At the city’s gothic town hall, the Rathaus, I like to sample sausages topped with horseradish, while taking in the brass band. And I can almost taste that Chrissie brekkie of hot chocolate and gingerbread.

Zurich

 zurich

I know European cities like to outdo each other with their Christmas trees, but Zurich’s singing tree at Werdmuhleplatz must take the cake, with children’s choirs performing from stands hidden behind the giant tree’s artificial branches. From there, a stroll along Bahnhoffstrasse, stopping at the stalls that pepper the route, will bring you to the main markets in the train station lobby. Surrounded by the Swiss Alps and cosied up in a lakeside restaurant, I could happily tuck into a Chrissie dinner of Zurcher Geschnetzeltes: sliced veal with sliced mushrooms in a cream sauce.

Stockholm

 stockholm

The uptown girls and guys are as pretty as the Christmas lights in the city of islands and the market in the main square of Stortorget is just as delightful, with all kinds of quality goodies to blow Santa’s budget. The real Christmas festivities begin on Lucia Day (December 13), and for the dozen days following I’d be sure to look out for banquets serving up reindeer meat and traditional Swedish candy. I’d also recommend a Stromma dinner cruise through the archipelago – you can listen to the sounds of church Chrissie concerts while working on your seasonal waistline.

Brussels

 brussels

That gateway to Europe too often ignored by travellers, Brussels, has gathered some attention due to its burgeoning Christmas market, which now covers a two-kilometre long stretch from the Grand Place to Place St Catherine with around 240 chalet-style stalls selling gastronomies and gifts. Punctuate your shopping spree with a turn on the indoor ice rink or big wheel, not to mention a few winter warmers at the bar – it’s open for a Christmas tipple until January 5.

Spend Christmas with relatives or grab a group of friends and enjoy an authentic white Christmas in one of these magical destinations in Europe. If you need help booking airfares or accommodation Student Flights can help with student rates or under 26 deals.

Author: Student Flights consultants have spent the Christmas holidays in a variety of locations around the world, so can provide you with some top tips for your trip.

Family-friendly destinations in Europe

Europe is a diverse and exciting continent with hundreds of places to visit. Although a lot of the appeal of Europe is based around its rich history, there are plenty of destinations where you can get your cultural fix and still keep the kids happy. We take a look at five of the best child friendly destinations in Europe.

Corfu, Greece

Corfu is one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations for families – particularly with Aussies and the Brits. It is one of the safest of the Greek islands and much more family-oriented than some of the renowned ‘party’ islands such as Mykonos and Lesbos.

Corfu's beautiful coastline - don't forget your bucket and spade!
Corfu’s beautiful coastline – don’t forget your bucket and spade!

The island is renowned for its stunning unspoilt scenery and vineyards. However, you don’t have to worry about the kids getting bored in Corfu as there are calm and picturesque beaches with a wide range of activities such as snorkeling, sailing, diving and horse riding available. The most popular family beaches include: Kavos, Benitses and Gouvia. Don’t leave Corfu without taking the kids to Aqualand Water Park – a massive theme park with water slides, wave pools and more.

Costa del Sol, Spain

Spain’s Costa del Sol has everything you could possibly ask for in a family holiday- and more. While it may have elements of a cliché European holiday destination, the kids will certainly be happy.

The Costa del Sol is a long stretch of coastline on the Mediterranean coast of Spain and includes the cities of Malaga and Marbella – most international flights arrive into Malaga airport. There are dozens of theme parks and water parks across the region with Tivoli World theme park being the largest and most popular – a perfect day out for the kids.

South-West England

South-west England isn’t what most of us Aussies picture England to be like – it’s a very relaxed and beautiful part of the country and a great place for a family holiday. There are four main areas of south-west England – Dorset, Somerset, Cornwall and Devon – all with their own typically English charm. Picture rolling green hills, a dramatic coastline and enchanting English stone cottages.

A very popular destination for English families, the south-west region is best visited during the summer months when the beautiful beaches are alive with tourists and locals alike. Horse-riding is also a very popular activity in the region.

Kids love the wild Dartmoor ponies
Kids love the wild Dartmoor ponies

Nice, France

Nice – on the Mediterranean southern coast of France – is one of those places you’ll want to head back to year after year. Much different to the hectic lifestyle in Paris, Nice is perfectly designed for a family holiday.

During the warm months, you’ll see dozens of kids flying kites or building sandcastles along the Promenade des Anglais. You can watch them enjoy themselves while you sip on a coffee or cold drink at one of the many cafes lining the popular beach. Another good place to take the children is the Parc des Miniatures – with hundreds of model buildings of famous local buildings.

Obergurgl, Austria

Although the majority of the European destinations we have looked at so far are best visited during the northern hemisphere summer – there are still plenty of ways to have a great family holiday during the winter months.

Europe is home to some of the world’s best ski slopes, and one of the best ski resorts for families is Obergurgl, Austria. The slopes and resorts at Obergurgl cater perfectly for young children and you’ll find dozens of ski schools for your little ones. Another bonus is that all kids under the age of 8 ski for free in Obergurgl – and there are significant reductions up until the age of 16.

Rome: the basics

Rome is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. As the capital of Italy and a major European hub, Rome has lots to offer anyone who visits.

As one of the oldest and most recognizable cities in the world and with a history dating back to the Roman Empire (where do you think the name came from?!) nearly 3,000 years ago, it is no wonder that tourism in Rome continues to flourish.

Some of the world’s most outstanding and historical buildings and monuments are located in the city alongside beautiful parks, bustling nightlife and world-class shopping and dining options.

Trevi Fountain, Rome

Rome appeals to visitors of all ages and interests and you will never fall short of things to see or do either during the day or at night.

Important Rome Tourism Information

The official language spoken in Rome is Italian. While many people in the touristy areas will speak good English it is important that you take an Italian phrase book with you and try to memorize some simple phrases before you leave. Spanish, Portuguese and French are also quite widely understand to a limited extent.

While in Rome you will need to use the Italian currency – the Euro. You can change your own currency into Euros prior to arriving in Rome or you can do so at the airport or any of the banks in the city.

Food can be very cheap to buy in Rome and is generally of a very high quality. The Italians are renowned for their wonderful cooking particularly pizza and pasta. Be careful about eating out in restaurants and cafes close to popular Rome tourism sites as the prices will be put up accordingly. Tipping is not mandatory in Rome and legally restaurants are required to include it in the price.

 

Popular Rome Tourism Sites

Rome is the world centre for famous tourism sites. Few people that visit Rome won’t recognize the famous landmarks scattered across the city.

If you are on a budget then you should make use of the one week a year when all Rome tourist sites that are publicly owned have no admission charge. The week usually runs in the middle of May each year.

The most impressive Rome tourism sites are in the area of Ancient Rome. Some of the most popular Rome tourism sites include the Colosseum, Piazza Venezia, Roman Forum and the Domus Aurea. The Pantheon should also not be missed – it dates back to 125 AD.

Colosseum, Rome

Another popular Rome tourism area is the Catholic area of Rome. Rome is a very Catholic city and there are over 900 churches in the city. It is hard to pick just a few of these churches to visit as they are all so impressive, but St. Peter’s Basilica, San Giovanni and Santa Maria churches are particularly impressive Rome tourism landmarks.

To find out more about the rich history of Rome, you should pay a visit to some of the world-class museums and art galleries located in the city. Popular museums include: the Vatican Museum, Galleria Borghese, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna and the Capitoline Museum.

Getting to Rome

Rome has two main international airports: Leonardo da Vinci/Fiumicino International Airport and Ciampino International Airport. Most budget airlines such as EasyJet and RyanAir fly into Ciampino Airport.

Most major cities in Europe offer direct, regular flights into Rome as well as many international cities.

You can also get to Rome by train from around Italy and other European destinations. The main train station in Rome is Termini Station.

If you prefer to travel at sea then you can get to Rome on one of many cruise ships that dock at the city’s Citavecchia harbor. There are ferry services to and from cities such as Barcelona, Tunis, Toulon and Porto-Vecchio.

Poland’s top attractions

Poland is an exciting country that has seen an increasing number of tourists visit over the past few years. Many of you may not be aware of many of Poland’s most famous attractions, so have a read of our guide to see some of the most fascinating and wonderful things that Poland has to offer.

About Poland Attractions

Poland is a diverse country with a wide range of attractions to suit every traveler. Many of the most popular Poland attractions are based around its spectacular scenery ranging from beautiful sandy beaches in the north to the rugged mountain landscape in the south. 

Many Poland attractions are located in the main cities including the capital of Warsaw, however if you want to see a side of Poland that not everyone sees – don’t be afraid to leave the main cities to explore the less-visited Poland attractions.

Types of Poland Attractions

There are all different types of Poland attractions available to visit, whether its historical monuments, museums, art galleries, architecture or the more modern side of Poland that can be found in some parts of the major cities.

Poland has a very strong culture and even in very contemporary parts of Poland you will experience this. The Poles are very proud of their culture and history, so there are plenty of Poland attractions that reflect this.

You’ll find that Poland attractions have strong influences from other parts of Europe – due to its central location in Europe. It is this eclectic multi-cultural mix that makes Poland attractions so fascinating to its visitors.

There are both man-made and natural Poland attractions and many people like to incorporate both into their vacation. We look at some of the most popular Poland attractions below.

Most Popular Poland Attractions

Poland is a very large country and as such there are hundreds of Poland attractions to see – and it would take several visits before you could see them all. However, there are some that are must-see’s on anyone’s travel itinerary.

Although most visitors head to Poland’s cities, the Bieszcady Mountains are one of Poland’s hidden gems. The best way to visit one of the leading Poland attractions is to head to the town of Zakopane, where most visitors start their mountain adventures.

The city of Gdansk is one of the best Poland attractions and attracts millions of visitors every year. Gdansk is over 1000 years old and it is full of beautiful historical attractions including the Gothic Church, Church of St. Catherine and the Church of St. Nicholas. You’ll also find some of the best restaurants, shopping, hotels and entertainment at this exciting Poland attraction.

Not many people think of heading to the beach when they’re booking a holiday to Poland; however the northern coastline is one of the top Poland attractions. The Baltic coastline has stunning sandy beaches and pristine sand dunes and cliffs. The coastline is popular with those that enjoy water ports such as windsurfing, kayaking and sailing.

The historic country is also very well known for its castles – another of the top Poland attractions. You’ll find ancient castles dotted around the beautiful Polish countryside, many of which you can walk around and explore. You’ll find castles in Warsaw, Krakow and Lubin as well as many of the other major cities.

Almost every trip to Poland includes a visit to the capital city of Warsaw. Warsaw is a very interesting city and won’t disappoint. Almost 80% of the city was destroyed during World War II, but it has been completely rebuilt and is now full of things to see and do. Some of the best Poland attractions you’ll find in Warsaw include: Stare Miasto, Lazienski Royal Park and the numerous museums such as the Polish Military Museum and the Historical Museum of Warsaw.

Other popular Poland attractions include: Krakow, Czestochowa, Masurian Lakes, Auschwitz, Tatra Mountains and Wroclaw.

Summary of Poland Attractions

When it comes to Poland attractions you’ll never run out of things to see – whether you want to experience contemporary Polish life in the cities or visit historical monuments and beautiful countryside.

Speak to your travel agent or look online to find everything that Poland has to offer – so you can make sure you’re not missing out on the best that Poland has to offer.

Have you been to Poland? What were your favorite attractions?

Mykonos: Find your perfect beach

The Greek island of Mykonos is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. Mykonos is renowned for its blend of lively European nightlife, ancient culture and beautiful beaches. There are beaches to suit every holiday-maker, and we have selected the best that Mykonos has to offer.

Best Beaches for Couples

Mykonos isn’t all about all-night partying and booze-fuelled boat cruises, it has a romantic and relaxed side to it that is ideal for visiting with your loved one. Whether you have been with them for a while or you’re simply enjoying a holiday romance, there is no better place to get in the mood for love than on a pristine Greek beach (cliché sunset optional).

The best beaches for couples looking for quiet seclusion include Elia Beach (clothing-optional) and Agio Sostis. Although if you go exploring you may find small beaches that are completely empty. The North of the island is typically much quieter than the South.

Agios Sostis Beach, Mykonos. Photo: Lorena

Best Gay-Friendly Beaches

Greece is a notoriously gay-friendly country and Mykonos is one of the most popular choices in Europe for gay travellers. As well as a vibrant gay nightlife, there are several beaches that are predominantly gay. Super Paradise and Elia are two of the best choices, as well as a small unnamed beach that is situated between the two.

Super Paradise is probably the most famous gay beach in Europe. This clothing-optional beach is accessible by water taxi from Paradise Beach and is divided into gay and heterosexual corners.

Best Beaches for Watersports

Not everyone is simply interested in topping up their tan and sipping on cocktails while on holiday. If you prefer an action-packed trip then visit some of Mykonos’ best beaches for watersports. Watersports are very popular in Greece, with some of the activities you’ll find available including scuba diving, pedal boats, waterskiing, jet skiing and windsurfing.

Psarou Beach is considered to be one of the best for watersports and also has a tempting beach bar for when you need to unwind at the end of the day. Other beaches that are good for watersports include: Platis Gialos Beach, Agios Stephanos Beach and Kalafatis Beach (renowned for its calm waters).

Best Beaches for Parties

A huge number of visitors to Mykonos are looking for a good time that involves a lot more partying than it does relaxing. Mykonos holds some of the world’s best beach parties, some of which run throughout the day and night for the hardcore party-goer.

The famous Paradise Beach attracts a large number of young people to its regular beach parties. The nearby Super Paradise Beach is equally as popular and has a wide range of bars and nightclubs to choose from.

Best Beaches for Families

If you’re travelling to Mykonos with the whole family you probably want to avoid the booze-fuelled party atmosphere you’ll find at some of the other beaches favoured by the younger crowd. One of the most popular family beaches in Mykonos is Platis Gialos Beach, which offers stunning crystal clear water and a long stretch of golden sand; however it can get very crowded during the summer months. You’ll find a range of watersports and other facilities that are suitable for the whole family.

 

Been to Mykonos? What was your favorite beach?