Best Islands to Visit in Greece

Greece, albeit its current issues as a nation, is one of the most beautiful countries that there is in the world. It does have an unfair advantage though. Greece is home to thousands of islands that are all as scenic and as beautiful as you could ever imagine. Many of these islands are small spots of concentrated paradise. With literally thousands to choose from, its hard to pick exactly which island would best for your holiday. So here is a quick guide to a few of the countries best islands to visit and soak up some Grecian culture.

Chios

This is a tiny island near Turkey, just a short boat ride away in fact. Chios is the perfect island for sightseeing, especially for someone who loves ancient history. In the center of the island is Nea Moni. Nea Moni is an 11th century monastery that is still in pretty good shape considering how long its been around! You can also make your way to the south of the island to see ancient medieval villages and the walls and towers that once protected them.

Skiathos

If you love taking holiday to explore a bit of nature, then this is the island for you. This northern island is a home to plenty of beautiful sandy beaches and pine covered hills. There is a nature conservatory on the island and there is plenty of wildlife to look in on as you walk around the forest trails. You can also see monasteries, Byzantine churches, and visit plenty of museums.

Rhodes

Another island near Turkey is Rhodes. This island is the perfect mix of history and relaxing holiday. Rhodes is known for its historic Old Town, Temple of Apollo, the Governor’s Palace, the Rhodes Footbridge, and the Acropolis of Lindos just to name a few. But it isn’t all about history for a holiday on this island. There are plenty of beachfront resorts to take in the sun and small villages to get some modern Greek culture in.

Crete

This is largest of all of the Greek islands. This may also be the island that has the most variety of activities and things to do. There are several options for hiking, bike riding, swimming, gorge trekking, and much more. As any part of Greece there is also great history to experience. You can visit Knossos Palace from the Minoan civilization and several archaeological sites scattered throughout the island. Crete flights are not hard to find either. If you can find a cheap Crete flight, why not go?

Santorini

Maybe the most famous of the Greek islands, Santorini speaks for itself. The whitewashed buildings set against the back drop of a deep blue ocean set the stage for a dramatic view that is hard to believe is real. The cobblestone streets of the city are lined with cafes and tavernas filled with Greeks doing what they do best, enjoying life.

 

 

Quiet Retreats for Artists

Many artists are at their most productive in quiet, distraction-free settings. When they have beautiful, natural surroundings to inspire them and provide subject material, the benefits can be even greater. As such, a quiet retreat can give you a chance to get more deeply involved with art and to get fresh ideas that will continue to feed positively into your future work.
Untitled4

A number of locations around the world can be ideal for artists. They provide the combination of quiet seclusion and beautiful, inspirational surroundings that can be beneficial for so many artists. A break to any of these locations can give you the perfect chance to practice your craft, whether you are a professional or a talented and dedicated hobbyist.

Getting Ready for Your Retreat

When getting ready for your retreat, it is usually best to make sure you have a good supply of all the art materials you are likely to need. A quiet retreat in inspirational surroundings can help artists be incredibly productive, so it is important to ensure you will not run out of anything vital. If you do, the seclusion of the location could make it difficult to buy any more supplies.

Supplies are often best bought online. This allows you the chance to conveniently browse an extensive range, and have them delivered straight to your door. Online shops are often also able to offer better prices, as online businesses have fewer overheads than traditional shops. A site such as http://www.jacksonsart.com/ can be the ideal way to stock up before you leave.

Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia

Sidi Bou Said is a small yet relatively famous coastal village in Tunisia. Buildings follow an attractive, distinctive blue-and-white colour scheme. Around it, the sea stretches in one direction and scenic hills in another, providing plenty of visual material for art. The village is known as one of the country’s top photo opportunities on account of being charmingly picturesque. For the same reason, it has also long been a popular spot with artists.

Sidi Bou Said has an excellent atmosphere for artists. Delightful cafes and old-fashioned cobbled streets create a relaxed, pleasant atmosphere that is good for creativity. Many artists live in and visit the village, meaning there will be other enthusiasts to share your passion with and a number of studios and galleries to enjoy. It is not hard to find art for sale in the village either.

The Lake District, England

The Lake District is one of England’s most popular quiet spots, and is also known as one of the most scenic areas in the UK. For this reason, it has long been a popular spot with artists and other creative such as writers who wish to practice their craft in a quiet place with no distractions.

The beautiful scenery of the Lake District has always inspired artists, and it looks likely that it always will. Incredible views which are perfect for capturing with paint or pencils about, but there is little else to distract you from your craft except for pleasant cafes and small, charming buildings.

Mount Fuji, Japan

Mount Fuji and many of the other mountains in the range provide artists with an attractive opportunity for a quiet retreat. They provide beautiful scenery that is unlike anything else in the world. Where most mountains offer rugged scenery, many Japanese mountains are known for offering landscapes that seem more quiet, gentle and mystical. This scenery will provide a unique source of inspiration for artists of every kind.

As well as unique scenery, the mountains of Japan offer quiet and seclusion that is ideal for focussing on art and avoiding distractions. On top of this, they provide the opportunity to immerse yourself in the unique culture of Japan, which will also help to provide inspiration and bring new ideas and influences into your artwork.

 

 

Image attributed to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/desiitaly/2228883174/

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/africa/tunisia-the-blue-and-white-village-of-sidi-bou-said-928152.html

Turkey: A food lover’s paradise

Of all the countries that I have been lucky enough to visit on my travels, I can safely tell you that the food I had in Turkey is amongst some of the best in the world. It just never once let me down when I was on holiday there, you can get the most amazing kebabs on pretty mush every street corner or restaurant that you visit. The best thing is that it is cheap and so tasty! When travelling one of the biggest things that you have to get used to is the food, in Turkey it takes no time at all to adapt to the local cuisine. I mean seriously, who doesn’t love a great kebab? It doesn’t matter if you are a vegetarian because the flavours are so good in all of the dishes that taking away the meat and adding more vegetables makes no difference to the taste at all.

images (32)

If you go on your holidays to Turkey then you should try as much food as you possibly can. The great thing about Turkish food is that it is not too unhealthy for you. It is a myth that kebabs are fattening and unhealthy. If you break it down, you have a wrap, meat and salad all of these ingredients are healthy for you and contain most of the things we need to have in our diet. I advise you to not even think about how healthy each dish is when you are ordering your food in Turkey because you should indulge in everything that you see, you will regret not trying everything when you get home.

Remember all of those kebabs you have had back home in the UK, I’m sure some of them have been in the early hours of the morning. Some of them I know will  not have been very tasty but still kebabs in the UK are of quite a good standard. Well, I know that when you get home you will not want to eat another kebab, that’s because the kebabs in Turkey are absolutely amazing! It doesn’t matter if you are splashing out on an expensive meal or eating from a makeshift street stall, your taste buds will be overjoyed with the kebabs that you are served.

Breakfast time in Turkey is also brilliant, it’s a very simple affair but still very tasty. You will usually web presented with a buffet that includes; fresh bread, a huge number of spreads, selection of cheeses, cold meats, olives, eggs and tomatoes. You may be lucky enough to get served fresh Turkish coffer as well, it’s the best way to get your day started before you go and explore the sites.

The Best Beaches in Europe

The weather is so bad back home in the United Kingdom that it is really time to start thinking about beach holidays. It is absolutely crazy that we don’t go on more beach holidays in Europe! Some of the best beaches in Europe are on a couple of hours away by plane, so you could book a holiday right now and be lounging on the beach tomorrow – it really doesn’t get much better than that does it? We are so fortunate to live so close to a beach lover’s paradise, especially with the amazing travel offers that you can always find at this time of year. The first couple of months of each new year is always the best time to be on the look out for great travel deals, it is the slowest time for the tourist industry so they are doing everything they can do coax people in to booking their holidays. So get online or call into your local travel agent as soon as possible to snap up some of the best deals you are ever likely to find, don’t hesitate when it comes to booking because before you know it your dream holiday could be gone! If you are still undecided about where to go, here are 3 beaches that you have to consider.

download (31)

El Palo Beach, Malaga, Spain

Malaga is the biggest city not the Costa del Sol, even though it is a big and busy place it is without doubt one of he best places in Europe for a relaxing beach holiday. There seems to be endless kilometres of beautiful sandy beaches, it is aimed at tourists so you have everything you ned here. It is the ideal place for a family holiday, El Palo is the place all families should head to for a great family holiday.

Praia de Faro beach, Faro, Portugal

This is the place every water sport enthusiast should head to, there are countless amounts of water sports for you to enjoy here; jet skiing, windsurfing, scuba diving, snorkelling and banana boat rides are just some of the great things that you can enjoy here. The thing I love about it is that Faro has an airport which makes travelling here as easy as pie.

Paloma Beach, Nice, France

Some of the world’s most famous beaches can be found in the South of France, the region is full of glitz and glamour. It is a celebrity hotspot that attracts the top A list celebrities from Hollywood. Paloma Beach is the place to head to if you want to try and do a bit of celeb spotting, but you have to make sure that you are on the right side of the beach – half is private and half is for the public. I love it here, but make sure you dress to impress!

How To Have A Truly Relaxing Holiday

There seems to be an unspoken agreement amongst western consumers – we can never admit that there’s anything stressful about being on holiday. It’s fine to moan all the way to the airport, for the duration of the flight and all the way back from the airport too, just as long as you don’t confess to one moment of stress during your dream weekend in paradise.

images (27)

It feels ungrateful somehow – there could be lightening storms for two weeks and we’d still make an effort to see the sights. If you’ve waited all year for a fortnight in the sun, you’ve got to enjoy it and that’s that. The reality can be a little different – there are lots of stressful things about going on holiday, says Independent journalist Howard Jacobson. The key to having a good time is managing these things, so here are some tips and tricks that you can use to make sure that you have a truly relaxing holiday.

Pick The Right Season – you have nobody to blame but yourself, if you accidentally end up picking the rainiest month of the year for your trip. There is a vast wealth of climate data available online, so make sure that you pick the right season for your chosen destination. Whilst travelling out of season might be cheaper, is it worth two weeks stuck inside a hotel room during the wettest part of the year? You can’t plan for unexpected showers, but you can give yourself the best possible shot at a sunny, relaxing beach holiday, say the experts at ToUncertainyAndBeyond.com.

Have A Relaxing Flight – if you must travel a significant distance to your chosen airport, why not consider staying in a nearby hotel on the night preceding your outbound flight? It is bound to eradicate a lot of stress and worry – you will be able to get up, grab your suitcase and step right into the airport. Plus, you’ll get to start your holiday one day early. There’s nothing quite like twenty four hour room service and a luxurious queen sized bed to make your forget your travel worries. Visit Direct Asia for more information and advice on finding the right travel insurance for your next trip.

Bring Your Own Sunscreen – the price of sunscreen overseas is bound to be at least twice the cost as it is at home – it is a guarantee. There is a very good reason why overseas vendors can get away with charging tourists so much for the essentials. It’s precisely because they’re supposed to be essentials – if you arrive at your chosen destination without them, it won’t be long before you realise your mistake. For those travelling to hotter climates, there is nothing more important than sunscreen, says Best Health journalist Lisa Evans.

Rainy Day Entertainment – if you want to avoid the rainy day blues, make sure that you pack some indoor entertainment. Hopefully, you won’t need it but you can’t predict or change the weather – it is a good idea to be prepared for all circumstances. This rainy day entertainment doesn’t have to be anything sophisticated – it can take the form of board games, electronic books, portable movies or even a pack of playing cards. If you’re prepared for all eventualities, you’ll never have any reason to get stressed out or unhappy.

 

Author Bio: Anna Gleeson is a freelance journalist currently living in Thailand. She recommends Direct Asia for more information and advice on how to have a truly relaxing holiday. Anna can usually be found enjoying a cocktail on the beach after work.

 

Post-university gap years: what are my options?

Lots of people choose to take a gap year before they go to university, but what if you finish studying and decide that you’d like to take a bit of time out before joining the world of full-time work? You’ll be pleased to hear there are plenty of options open to you.

We’re going to run through a few of the possibilities that await when you’ve finished your finals and picked up your degree.

Globetrotting

There’s a lot to be said for travelling at any point in your life and after you’ve finished university is as good a time as any to jet off overseas. In fact, this is a fantastic time to go, as you won’t have big financial commitments (like a mortgage) or family ties that need to come first.

The world really is your oyster when you’re in your early 20s and where you choose to travel and how long for is entirely up to you. If you’re nervous about going solo, consider joining an organised tour that will show you the world without the stress of having to arrange every part of your trip.

South America, Asia, Australia, Africa – the opportunities for discovering new places and meeting new people really are endless.

India is one destination that often appeals to gap year travellers because of its spirituality, variety and the opportunity to see somewhere completely different. If you’re not sure where to start, a tour – like those offered by Explore Worldwide – is your best bet. You can choose to focus on a particular region, such as Rajasthan, or spend longer and discover several places around the country.

Working holiday

If your budget won’t quite stretch to an extended holiday, working overseas is another brilliant choice and one that can give you valuable experience. To get the most out of this option, it’s worth carefully considering what you want to do when you return to normal life, so that you can pick work that will give you transferable or relevant skills.

However, there are some great seasonal jobs out there that will allow you to see a bit more of the world and try new activities, such as working a ski season in one of Europe’s or America’s winter resorts. This doesn’t mean you need to be able to ski, either, as there are always positions for chalet hosts, bartenders and chefs available, as well as instructor roles.

Voluntary work

Another option that is great for university leavers is voluntary work, which will allow you to help a charity or cause close to your heart and travel at the same time. There are various projects all over the world that enable you to get involved in conservation work, assist local communities and teach youngsters. It’s worth pointing out that you don’t need to travel to get involved in this kind of scheme – there are plenty of charities in the UK that would love to have some extra help.

Of course, carrying out voluntary work while you’re overseas is a wonderful way to give something back to the people you meet during your trip. It also presents a great opportunity for sustainable travel – ensuring that the communities you visit benefit from local tourism and that your stay doesn’t have a negative impact on them or the surrounding environment.

The Dramatic Eruption Which Preserved History

There is something fairly foreboding about a volcano, especially one that is not extinct and hasn’t erupted for seventy years. When will it go again you may be thinking? Vesuvius and the wonderfully preserved ruins of Pompeii receive huge numbers of tourists each year and if you are considering an Italian holiday you should look at Naples and its surroundings very closely indeed.

aaaaa

There is the richness that can be found throughout Italy, the wonderful Italian cuisine that has evolved over the years based upon olive oil and locally produced fresh produce. No other city though can offer you the chance of going to see such a famous volcano.

Pompei and Pompeii

If your base is Naples, one of the tours you should certainly do is a trip that incorporates the modern town of Pompei, the ruins of Pompeii and Vesuvius itself. Pompei gets tourists in its own right. It is where many go to pay their respects to the Madonna in a place where a 19th century miracle cured a child suffering from epilepsy. Many hope for similar miracles to cure their ailments and the revenue they have brought to the town has been most welcome.

International travellers may concentrate more on the Roman ruins. Daily life in ancient Rome is portrayed in the Antiquarium di Boscoreale with a whole variety of exhibits. They range from fishing rods to dormice cages. The riches of Pompeii are held in many museums in the world and as a result photographs of exhibits held elsewhere are also displayed on the walls.

The eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD had the benefit of preserving Pompeii far better than the weather worn remains in Rome. The frescoes still adorn the walls of the buildings which are largely complete. The excavation project is far from complete and fairly recently a large frescoed leisure complex was found when roadwork was being done on a local motorway.

Vesuvius

It is certainly worth taking one of the many official tours from Naples because you can then be certain of getting official and accurate information on what you are seeing rather than rely on local guides who are not always as knowledgeable as they seem.

Vesuvius was probably 600 metres higher before the 79AD eruption. It was green and well vegetated; it would not really appear to be much of a threat. It is a rich and fertile area that today’s population use to their benefit; all 700,000 of them that would be close enough if another eruption occurred.

Further afield

If you decide to mix your enjoyment of Naples to see other attractions you may also decide to go down to Capri or Sorrento neither of which are quite as chaotic as Naples and there is time to relax away from the bustle and just take in the surroundings over a coffee. This is a beautiful and dramatic coastline and well worth the effort to jump aboard a tour to let the locals show you its delights.

Image attributed to         Commons.wikimedia.org Pastorius

Ideas for casino holidays

While at one time it was suggested that the rise of online casinos might lead to the death of land-based ones, in fact all it seems to have done is increased the section of the populace interested in playing casino games.

images (11)

 

The result of this is that people are viewing vacations as an opportunity to visit some of the best casinos around the world, and resorts offering these are now holiday hot spots. Of course one of the top ones will always be Las Vegas, as this is one of the gaming centres of the world and boasts stunning casinos like the MGM Grand and the Bellagio, but it is far from the only casino vacation option you have.
Indeed just within the United States there are plenty of other great places to spend a gambling holiday, from the unofficial ‘rival’ to Vegas – Reno – to New Orleans and Connecticut. Yes, you heard that right: Connecticut. This is not somewhere many traditionally associate with the thrills of all night casino games, but nowadays it is home to two of the best casinos in America.

If you want size, the Foxwoods establishment is the largest in the world, while if you want style and class, the Mohegan Sun Casino will deliver amply on both counts. If you aren’t planning on spending 100% of your time in these casinos though, it might be an idea to save travelling costs and play online blackjack, as Connecticut really doesn’t have much else to offer.
New Orleans in Louisiana is another great option for those looking for alternatives to Las Vegas within America and – unlike Connecticut – choosing New Orleans for your casino vacation will ensure that you also get to experience other entertainment options, like music, as well. Indeed most probably still associate New Orleans more with music, but vacationers there have the option of gambling on one of the casino riverboats, which cruise down the Mississippi. Thus you get to play all the casino games you want, with a side order of romance that is unique to this particular locale, and there is a dash of this in the hearts of most amateur gamblers.

Smarter Tourism

Momondo.com is a travel search engine based in Copenhagen, Denmark. The site was launched in 2006 with the objective of providing travellers with a greater variety of options on flights. Since its initial launch, Momondo has expanded its offer to include train journeys, holiday rentals (including villas and apartments both direct from the owner and via real estate agencies), hotel accommodation, and car rental services.
Unlike some of the bigger comparison sites (such as Expedia, Kayak, and Skyscanner), travellers can use Momondo to search for charter, low-cost, and regional flights. Another feature that distinguishes Momondo from other travel flight aggregator websites is that when you perform a search in Momondo, all results are displayed in a single page. Momondo’s robots search for the best results from over 800 individual sites (travel agencies, airlines to travel websites) and has been designed so that users do not have to deal with multiple new browser windows displaying different search results.

Some of Momondo’s key features include the site’s Flight Insight tool, which can help travellers find the most convenient route by showing up to 6 variables that can affect the price and availability of flights on a given date. Momondo users can modify their search according to variables like seasonality, day of the week, the time left until a flight’s departure, airline, airport of departure, and time of the day.

c

Flight shown: New York to London

d

Travellers can also use the price calendar option if their dates are flexible and want to find when the cheapest flights depart. Another interesting feature is Momondo’s rating system. When users search for a flight on Momondo, the results will be listed with a rating between 1 and 10, which is based on the price-flying time ratio.

For added convenience, the prices of goods and services are quoted in the currency of the destination country, although they can be modified, as the site operates in 27 currencies. To facilitate its use by travellers from all over the world, Momondo is a multilingual platform operating in 18 languages, from English to Russian, including Turkish, Chinese, and Norwegian.

Momondo users also have the option of registering to receive daily fare alerts on their preferred routes (left), and because user friendliness matters, Momondo has been developed to be fully functional on desktop computers, tablets, and mobile phones. For best results, mobile users can download the free Momondo app, which allows them to browse travel products and make bookings on the go.

Driving Italy’s Spectacular Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast is considered to be one of the most scenic stretches of coastline in Italy. There are impressive mountains, turquoise waters, attractive villages and beautiful gardens. Driving along the coastal road is an excellent way to see this part of the country.

download (28)
Ravello, Amalfi and Positano are among the towns that you can visit while driving along the coast.

Ravello

Ravello is an attractive town which is located on the cliffs above Amalfi. There are wonderful views from the town, as well as a magnificent cathedral and some pleasant gardens.

Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo are the most famous gardens in Ravello. They both offer excellent panoramic views to enjoy while walking among the tropical plants.

You can also visit Ceramiche d’Arte Carmela, which sells some beautiful ceramics. Ravello is famous for ceramics, so you will find several shops selling brightly painted pottery.

Amalfi

After visiting Ravello, you can drive to Amalfi. The Duomo di Sant’Andrea is one of the highlights of the town. This impressive cathedral has been remodelled several times, but the 11th century Byzantine doors remain. You can take a self-guided door around the cathedral and cloisters.

When you have visited the cathedral, you may like to explore the shops and cafés in the town.

If you want to get away from the busy town for a while, you can visit Valle della Ferriere and take a walk to the waterfall.

Positano

When you have left Amalfi, you can continue west to Positano. This town is well known for having expensive boutiques and shops. There is also a good choice of places to eat, including some reasonably priced options.

There are several churches that you can visit in Positano, such as the Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta e Cripta Medievale. This beautiful church is near to the sea, so you will need to walk down some cobblestones to get there as the road does not stretch this far. There is a crypt under the church, where you can learn about the history of the building.

Exploring the Amalfi Coast by road will give you the opportunity to see some stunning scenery. Car rental companies, such as National Car Hire, can be found in the area, so it should be easy to hire a car for the journey.

Although driving along the Amalfi Coast can be a rewarding experience, some of the roads can be challenging. The roads are very narrow in places, so there is not always room for two vehicles to pass each other. If you meet a bus or a coach, you will need to reverse until the road becomes wide enough for the vehicle to get past. There are also sheer drops at one side of the road. There are barriers, but those who are afraid of heights may find the experience a little daunting.

Despite the challenges, the Amalfi Coast is well worth a visit. You can see some wonderful views and visit some attractive and charming villages. The Amalfi Coast is considered to be an area of exceptional beauty.