Author Archives: Jeremy

Top family attractions in Tenerife

Loro Parque, with entertaining aquarium shows, are one of the best family attractions in Tenerife

Tenerife has long been a popular destination among families – its wonderful weather, beautiful beaches and excellent resorts all make it a natural choice for parents looking for somewhere to escape with the kids.

There are, naturally, a host of family-friendly attractions on this Canary Island. If you’ve never been before and are wondering what to expect – or just want some new ideas of how to spend your break – check out our guide.

Loro Parque

Loro Parque is undoubtedly one of the best family attractions in Tenerife. It’s home to a wide array of exotic animals – including parrots, penguins, sea lions, aligators, flamingos, tigers, chimpanzees and many, many more. There’s an aquarium with an underwater viewing tunnel, allowing you and the kids to get incredibly close to the majestic sharks that patrol the waters.

There are also several kids’ play areas, where little ones can let off some steam while you and your partner relax with a drink. You’ll also find a cinema in Loro Parque, which shows a film about various ecosystems from all over the world and explains why conserving them is so important.

Siam Park

To cool off from the hot Tenerife sun, head to Siam Park. This is the island’s largest and most exciting water park, providing thrills and spills for people of all ages. There are dozens of adrenalin-pumping rides here, including Tower of Power, the Dragon, the Volcano and Kinnaree.

As well as the slides, there is also a white-sand beach, a wave pool (designed so you can surf), a lazy river and plenty more to keep everyone occupied.

There are also plenty of play areas for little children, so toddlers are just as well catered for as teenagers.

Whale and dolphin watching

You don’t have to stick to purpose-built attractions during your stay, as Tenerife has more than enough natural ones to keep every member of your family happy. One particularly lovely way to spend a day together is to go on a dolphin and whale-watching tour.

There are numerous boats that depart from the island’s harbours each day in search of these stunning marine mammals and, thanks to Tenerife’s location on the migratory route of many species, there is a lot to look out for. Resident species include bottlenose dolphins, pilot and sperm whales, while minke, sei, fin and blue whales, along with Atlantic spotted, striped and common dolphins are just some of the migratory species that pass by.

Camel Park

Camel Park is a great place to come with the kids, especially if your youngsters love getting up close with wildlife. As its name suggests, there are camels here and you can ride them if you’d like to have a go. These animals are ideally suited to Tenerife’s dry, rocky terrain and this is a wonderful way to see some of the island’s arid landscape from a new perspective.

In addition to the camels, this place has a farm where you and the children can interact with animals like donkeys, chickens, goats, ducks and dogs.

Those are just a few suggestions for family-friendly activities in Tenerife – there are many more places to discover and things to do that are bound to enthrall kids, not least of all the stunning beaches for which the island is famous.

Whatever you plan to do during your holiday, make sure you book the best accommodation in a favourable location – you’ll find lots of options here.

18 Jun 2014

The Top Reasons To Visit Craigavon, Northern Ireland

There are quite a few top reasons to visit Craigavon, a charming city in Northern Ireland

It may not seem like a much, but the top reasons to visit Craigavon will be enough to make you appreciate your vacation experience in Northern Ireland. This small settlement in the county of Armagh depicts the simple lifestyle which the Irish have been widely known for. And it also takes you away from the busy, deafening and oftentimes claustrophobic environment of usual tourist destinations in the country.

Craigavon was initially planned to be a “New City” for Northern Ireland, mirroring similiar developments in the nation of Great Britain. But because of certain hitches in the planning, Craigavon was not able to deliver as much as it should in terms of development. In spite of this, changes have brought forth tourism advantages for the nation, with the availability of recreational facilities like shopping centers, parks with artificial lakes, playing fields, public gardens and petting zoos. And those who are fond of skiing would definitely appreciate the artificial ski slopes that have been built in and/or near the area.

One of the top reasons to visit Craigavon is Wetlands Way at Portadown, which is just 3 miles out of the city. This is especially a must for those who enjoy being at one with nature and who love to challenge themselves. However, if this trail does not give you enough excitement, or in contrast gives you too much, you could explore other highlights within this area like the Millennium Court Arts Center, which contains two galleries and hosts a number of creative and cultural events all year round.

The Chimes Coffee House is also something you should look into checking out if you wish to have a taste of Ireland’s very own specialty teas, coffees and home-made delicacies. And the best part about this latter landmark is you get to appreciate a view of St. Mark’s Church.

Within the residential area, people can seek out another one of the top reasons to visit Craigavon, the Tannaghmore Gardens, which is located on Lurgan’s. Unlike the previous options, this site provides guests with up-close interactions with local and rare animal breeds. And just at close proximity is the Barn Museum, where information as well as preserved remains of the animals are displayed.

The Craigavon Golf & Ski Center should offer you more adrenalin-pumping pastimes while in town. But if you’re into water activities, the Lough Neagh and River Bann should extend you enough opportunities to engage in some swimming, canoeing and other water sports.

10 May 2014

Top Things To Do In Sydney

Visiting the Sydney Opera House easily ranks as one of the top things to do in Sydne

The top things to do in Sydney aren’t top secret. In fact, they’re pretty much a giveaway due to its popularity. Known as the Harbor City, Sydney is the oldest, largest and most developed city in Australia and is one of the most visited in the world. It ranks high on the list of most beautiful and livable cities. Sydney is a hub in the Pacific for business, design, culture, art, history, fashion, boating and cuisine. Hence, when you go here, you’ll not only be greeted by iconic sites, you’ll also be able to join in some interesting activities.

One of things you should definitely do is attend a performance at the Sydney Opera House, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built by Danish architect Jorn Utzon back in the 1970s. Many make the mistake of thinking the opera house only offers performances, but it actually is a multi-use venue that hosts around 1,500 types of gatherings each year, attended by more than 1.2 million people. Around the Sydney Opera House, you can enjoy a multitude of cafes, restaurants, bars and shops. Don’t miss the sunrise here which offers amazing views of the Sydney Harbor Bridge and skyline, it’s magnificent.

To add to the list, you could also consider water-based activities as one of the top things to do in Sydney as it is also where you’ll find Bondi Beach, the setting for many surfing, sailing and swimming competitions over the past few years. This widely popular strip of sand surrounded by suburbs is popular with tourists and locals alike, and is a spectacle to see during the summer. There are plenty of bikini clad ladies, good-looking men as well as pods of whales and dolphins cruising the area!

Don’t miss Rushchutters Bay, a very nice suburb near the city center where you can enjoy a bit more relaxed of an atmosphere, but still being just minutes from the Sydney mix. Rushchutters Bay also houses the d’Albora Marina which is a fun place to hang out and check out all of the amazing boats coming and going.

Now, if these top things to do in Sydney don’t satisfy your curiosity, you could always head on out to Luna Park (a popular amusement park), located in Milsons Point, which has been in existence since 1935. Some of the attractions include the Staple Rotor, which has been operated since the park’s opening, the Skylab Ferris Wheel, which gives you a view of the area from 35 meters up in the air, and the Wild Mouse roller coaster, to name a few. Other hangouts you could check out after are the Taronga Zoo, Sydney Observatory, and the Powerhouse Museum.

25 Apr 2014

Japan: A Destination Of Contrasts

Mount Fuji is definitely one of the top reasons to visit Japan

Japan is an amazing destination that offers stark contrasts on many fronts. It is a country where modern skyscrapers co-exist side by side with temples; where technology is extremely advanced and progressive, but nature is highly respected. If you ever make it there, the best way to take in the country is to embrace everything that it has to offer – Nature, temples, urban attractions, and historical landmarks .

One thing to keep in mind is that Japan is much more expensive than people think, and many are rudely awakened when they arrive and see what the costs of accommodation is. The best bet is to rent an apartment and use it as a home base to see local attractions. There are many places to stay in Japan, so make sure you do your research beforehand. Here is a list of some of the top things not to miss on your amazing trip to Japan!

Without a doubt, one of the top reasons to visit Japan is to experience Mt. Fuji. This iconic natural landmark is Japan’s tallest mountain. It is revered for its perfect conical shape. Every year, around 250,000 make the climb to its summit. The best time to attempt the climb on Mt. Fuji is between the July and August (mid-summer).

However, if hiking isn’t your thing, Mt. Fuji is visible from many places, particularly from Kanto, Tokyo. The mountain is most visible from Kanto during the winter. Two more mountains you should consider on your itinerary to Japan are Hakusan and Tateyama. Along with Mt. Fuji, they comprise Japan’s three holy mountains.

Ginza, a neighborhood in Tokyo, is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Japan’s major tourist attractions. It embodies the hip, modern and urban atmosphere of Tokyo. Ginza is within walking distance of the Imperial Palace and other renowned historical landmarks.

The Matsumoto and Himeji Castles are fantastic historical landmarks that are a must on your Japanese itinerary. They showcase different eras of the Japanese Empire. Between the two, Himeji Castle is older. It was built from 1333 to 1346 and expanded from 1601 to 1608. It is better known as the “White Heron Castle”.

Matsumoto Castle was built a bit later, around 1504. Locals refer to as the “Crow Castle”. Much of this castle remains intact despite its long live. Like Himeji, it is one of the 12 castles in Japan that are still in original condition.

Last but not certainly not least is Kinkaku-ji, or the Golden Pavilion. Found in Kyoto, it is one of the most attractive sights in Japan. Kinkaku-ji has clean ponds and pine trees spread throughout the park and at the middle is a temple. The Temple of the Golden Pavilion is not so old as it was constructed in1955. The temple that came before it was built in 1397, but was burned down in 1950 by a radical Buddhist monk.

These are just a few suggestions of the top things to check out in your vacation so think outside the box!

23 Apr 2014

Top Tourist Attractions in Caernarfon, Wales

Of all the top tourist attractions in Caernarfon, Wales, this centrepiece castle is by far the best of the bunch!

Explore the top tourist attractions in Caernarfon and be captivated by the beauty that this place has to offer. Caernarfon is a royal hamlet situated in Gwynedd, amidst the scenic Menai Straits and Mount Snowdon, just to the north of Wales. Subjugated by extraordinary ancient fortress, Caernarfon has caught the attention of many tourists.

Being the most sought-after castle in Wales, the grand Caernarfon Castle should be on top of your bucket list when you visit this royal town.  Situated at the mouth of the Seiont River, these seven multilateral towers were fundamentally created by King Edward I in 1283 not only as a citadel for the British Royalty but also as a government refuge and a military base to contribute more to its powerful facade.

The architectural make-up of this castle was also intricately designed to ensure that it would emanate the walls of Constantinople which embodies the colonial supremacy of Rome and the trance castle of Welsh in their famous folktales. In 1969, the castle received the global recognition as a site of inauguration of Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales thus also gained the eminence as a World Heritage Site.

The other top tourist attraction in Caernarfon that you should also explore is the Royal Welch Fusiliers Regimental Museum. Sited inside the two structures of Caernarfon Castle, this museum takes you to an exhilarating journey of beyond three hundred years of legacy by means of an audio-visual presentation and exhibits.

From there you’ll be inspired as to how the troops of Welch triumphed over the battles during the First World War and be also captivated by the authentic literary works of well-known writers who served the royalties during the war such as Robert Graves, David Jones, Frank Richard and Siegfried Sassoon. Apart from that, you will also find out about the extraordinary way of life of commoners who were of service to the Wales’ prehistoric infantry brigade. This museum has just so much to share that you’ll truly be enthralled as to how its exhibits establish a strong linkage in the unfolding and shaping of Caernarfon’s rich historical heritage.

If you happen to look for a place to simply relax and enjoy the natural beauty of nature then, Dinas Dinlle is the ultimate escapade that you’ve been looking for. Dinas Dinlle beach is situated on the northern shoreline of Llyn isthmus in the middle of Caernarfon and Pontllyfni just in the north part of Wales.

The coastline of the beach draws out for several miles with great regions filled with sand during low tide. The beach is even more highlighted by the natural attractive pebbles in the shoreline. The clean waters of the beach also makes it a spot conducive for fishing, swimming, surfing, canoeing, sailing, jet skiing and even windsurfing. It also has toilets, craft shops and cafes which can make your stay convenient and comfortable.

On the other hand, If an action-packed, thrill-driven indoor experience is what you want then, the Redline Indoor Karting is a worthy stopover not just for you but for the entire family and a group of friends as well. Indoor Karting allows you to experience the matchless blend of speed and adventure that a high-patterned racing kart can give.

Carefully-engineered by motorsports specialists in Wales, you’re ensured with a competitive racing facility and a memorable riding experience. Basically, all the karts are alike so your ability will simply determine your lead in this recreational activity. With available printouts of your lap times and finishing time, you’ll be able to gauge your level of expertise after the race. Beyond doubt, Indoor Karting is not just one of the greatest adrenaline games in the world but also one of the top tourist attractions in Caernarfon, Wales.

Because there’s just so much to see in Caernarfon, the other top tourist attractions in Caernarfon which you might also like to explore are Foel Farm Park, The Bell Tower Cafe, Welsh Highland Railway, Galeri Caernarfon, The Fun Centre, William Mathias Music Centre and Segontium Roman Museum.

11 Apr 2014

Top 5 budget destinations for families

With lower prices than Western Europe, Budapest is one of many excellent budget destinations for families

The UK economy is on the up, so the papers say, and this could be good news for holidays. Why? Well, recent research has shown that sterling has strengthened against a lot of currencies, which is good news when it comes to spending overseas since we’ll get more bang for our buck, while prices have actually dropped in some of Europe’s most attractive destinations. All in all, 2014 looks set to be a great year to go away.

Below are our top five budget destinations for families – hopefully they’ll give you a few ideas for your own holiday, while you can get yet more ideas on this website.

1) Budapest

The capital of Hungary, Budapest is a really interesting place for an affordable family break. Perhaps best for those with older children, Budapest is famous for its rich history and architecture, not to mention its many thermal and mineral springs, which are said to have therapeutic properties – perfect for tired mums and dads!

And if that tickles your fancy, you’ll be hard pressed to beat the Gellert Baths, which offer indulgent bathing for both men and women (in separate sections, mind). This Art Nouveau building is so stunning that you’ll feel like you’re bathing in some kind of cathedral – a truly amazing experience.

2) Marmaris

For several years now, Turkey has been a favourite destination among cost-cutting holidaymakers who don’t want to compromise on sun and fun. Located on the Turkish Riviera, Marmaris is a particular gem, home to a beautiful harbour, grand castle and, of course, stunning beaches.

Among the highlights of a trip here is going on a cruise from Marmaris Bay around the local coastline – something that lots of companies offer. Not only will you be able to see the destination from another perspective, but you’ll also have the chance to stop at various sunspots and relax. Just make sure you sort your visa before. You can apply for a Turkish visa online before hand.

3) The Costa del Sol

Our next suggestion is Spain’s sun-drenched Costa del Sol, which has just about everything a family could wish for – well-priced accommodation, abundant beaches, gorgeous scenery, great weather and food so delicious that even fussy eaters won’t be able to resist.

Plus, there are plenty of destinations within the Costa del Sol that cater for different kinds of holiday. If you fancy soaking up a little culture, for instance, you can head to Malaga, while if you would prefer a more traditional fun-filled family getaway, Torremolinos or Benalmadena might be more your scene.

4) The Algarve

Is there anyone who would object to a holiday in the Algarve? This is Portugal’s best-loved destination – and with good reason. Famous for its soaring summer temperatures, massive array of brilliant beaches and huge selection of activities, it has something for everyone.

The icing on the cake is that the research we mentioned earlier (the Post Office travel report) found that prices have dropped substantially in the Algarve, which means if you go there this year, you’ll pay less for things like food and drink than you might expect.

5) Cape Town

Rounding off our list is Cape Town – the perfect choice for families who are keen to do something a little bit different. Adults and children alike are bound to be thrilled by a trip to the top of the city’s famous Table Mountain (which takes just five minutes on the Cableway), but there’s plenty else to see and do as well.

Boulders Beach should definitely be high on your to-do list if you’re travelling with the family, though. Not only is this a great place to relax, but you can see African penguins here too.

05 Apr 2014

Top Tourist Attractions in Vatican City

The top tourist attractions in Vatican City are beyond belief...

The top tourist attractions in Vatican City are an interesting set of landmarks that lie in the holiest place of the Catholic faith. Vatican City is located within the city of Rome. It has a relatively small land area but ironically, its size does not immediately correlate with its global influence. In fact, the Vatican City is even one of the most powerful nations in the world nearly equal to the United States of America, China, Russia and Saudi Arabia in terms of its economic importance.

The Vatican City remains as one of the most special places on earth because it is a perfectly functional theocracy. It has certain religious authority over the international members comprising the biggest spiritual organization in the planet. While other theocracies fail, the Vatican City remains intact for 2000 years.

1. Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel remains the most iconic of the top tourist attractions in Vatican City. It is located within the complex of the Apostolic Palace, which is the official residence of the pope. What makes the Sistine Chapel so noteworthy is that its interior walls, especially the vaulted ceiling, are decorated with masterpiece paintings of Renaissance history’s greatest artists. Raphael’s frescoes depict the lives of St. Peter and St. Paul in the service of God.

2. St. Peter’s Square

St. Peter’s Square is the most popular among the top tourist attractions in Vatican City – popular meaning it is always flocked with visitors from Italy or beyond. Interestingly, St. Peter’s Square is shaped like a key from aerial view, which depicts the inheritance of the apostle Peter as the chief builder of Christ’s church. The St. Peter’s Square is very crowded during special vigils and papal inaugurations, with the latest event about the cardinal from Argentina being elected as Pope Francis I in March 14, 2013.

3. Casina Pio IV

The Casina Pio IV is a famous learning center for the College of Cardinals that runs the Vatican City. Curiously, this patrician villa is divided into three schools according to their special field. The Pontifical Academy of Sciences is a school focusing on pure sciences such as biology, chemistry and astronomy (with the latter integral for the creation of the Vatican Observatory). The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences is close to the heart of the Catholic doctrine focusing on the global issues that Christian societies face. Lastly, the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas caters to a wide array of academic fields.

4. Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museums store the chronicles of the Vatican institution. The story of Christianity is written in the documents and codices housed in its libraries. Some of these written texts are highly guarded secrets pertaining to prophecies in the past made by saints.

The Vatican Museums also keep and display an extensive collection of relics, especially the types of old weaponry found in the vaults of the Swiss Guard armory. This is the place to investigate Vatican history, whether good or bad.

19 Mar 2014

Fun in the Sun during your Corfu Holiday

A Corfu holiday should include a day on isolated beaches like these ones!

Corfu is a beautiful Greek island cast out into the Ionian Sea, close to the coast of Turkey. It’s known as the Emerald Isle, and for good reason too – one glimpse at those lush hillsides, dense forests and sparkling blue seas and it’s clear to see how it got its name.

Like its neighbouring islands, Corfu has a fascinating story to tell and is peppered with ancient ruins. Its history is smattered with battles and conquests which span the last several centuries, and its legacy survives in the form of crumbling walls and fallen temples, towering fortifications and echoing castles. Wander among the remains and learn about the Ancient Greece lifestyle, the advances of the Ottoman Empire, Turkish sieges, and even the Napoleonic Wars.

It’s fair to say that if you’ve got a Corfu holiday on the agenda, you’ll never be short of fascinating things to see, do and experience. But of course, a trip to this beautiful island offers so much more than a history lesson – something that the kids will be happy to know!

Today, a Corfu holiday take many different forms. Check out a tour operator like Thomas Cook holidays to get an idea of the different types of package holidays available. You can enjoy family fun in the sun on one of its beautiful beaches, a day’s shopping trip in its incredible capital city, or pick up the tempo in its buzzing party resort of Kavos.

If you’ve got a laid-back beach break on the cards, this lovely island is happy to oblige. Head to beautiful Acharavi or Aghios Georgios in the north, and enjoy a laid-back lifestyle with wide sandy beaches and quiet, traditional tavernas – perfect for trying the local cuisine or enjoying a Grecian nightcap at the end of another gorgeous day.

In Corfu resorts like Sidari and Govia, you’ll find a livelier vibe which tempts in tourists looking for somewhere upbeat, with plenty of home comforts and nearby activities. These resorts lay on plenty of entertainment both day and night, so you’ll never be short of things to do.

For fun in the sun, the beautiful Emerald Isle of Corfu ticks all the right boxes…

12 Mar 2014

Planning an all inclusive holiday – what do you need to know?

Planning an all-inclusive holiday isn't as hard as you think - follow our guide and you'll be chilling in this pool before you know it!

So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and book that relaxing all inclusive holiday you’ve been dreaming about all winter – good for you. The only question is, what do you need to know before you do? Our guide will help you get to grips with what to look into before handing over your cash.

All inclusive deals aren’t all the same

The first and arguably most important thing you need to bear in mind is that one all inclusive package can vary an awful lot from the next. So, don’t make your booking without thoroughly checking exactly what you’ll be getting. You can pretty much bank on food and drinks being included, for instance, but often you’ll find some of the fancier drinks are excluded.

If you’re planning an action-packed trip, it’s also worth finding out whether any onsite activities are part of the deal (or water sports at the local beach, for instance), since this could help you decide whether or not this really is the best option for you. Similarly, if you think there’s a lot included that you just won’t use, it could be worth looking around some more, because you may well find there’s an offer better suited to your needs elsewhere.

Food and local restaurants

Enjoying some good food is part and parcel of a decent holiday, and when you’re going all inclusive you’ll largely be tied to the restaurants at your chosen resort – after all, you’ll have paid to eat there, so it’s unlikely you’ll want to pay extra to eat somewhere else every night! So, check out what kind of food is on offer at each venue. As well as thinking about whether you like the sound of it, consider how much variety there is – if there isn’t much, you may well get bored of what you’re eating after a few days.

While you’re likely to want to eat at the resort most of the time, occasionally you might like to treat yourself to lunch and dinner out. So, you should also take a peek at what kinds of restaurants are nearby – and what sort of reviews they get.

Location

The next thing you need to think about is the location of your hotel. When doing so, keep in mind the facilities and activities included in your deal – they may well mean you’re happy enough to stay somewhere a little further out from the centre of the action, purely because they offer you plenty to do.

If, however, you’re really set on visiting certain attractions or spending lots of time out and about, you should make sure there’s plenty of scope for you to get around easily. It’s worth considering the cost of transport, too, because this can have an impact on your overall budget.

Budget

Speaking of budgets, while all inclusive deals can be great for making sure you don’t overspend and seeing your overall holiday cost at a glance, you need to do your sums before booking. First of all, check whether there could be any hidden charges – if you’re unsure, don’t be afraid to ask.

Again, you should also make sure you fully understand what is – and what isn’t – included in the price you’re paying. Remember to add on any attractions that you expect to go and see, as well as any known travel costs. Doing all this will help you build up an accurate picture of the overall price of the holiday, as well as work out how much spending money you’ll have per day. Another way to make your trip more feasible is to leverage credit card points, click here to learn more.

Flights and hotel transfers

You’ll often see all inclusive deals encompassing hotels, flights and transfer costs. Because they’re so simple, these often seem particularly appealing, but it pays to stop for a moment and look carefully at the individual costs. Often, it’s actually cheaper to organise your flights, transfers and hotel separately.

Why? Chiefly because it allows you to select the very best deal for each, not to mention giving you the freedom to pick flight times and suchlike that best suit you – Holiday Nights is a good place to look.

17 Feb 2014

Discover Desert Landscapes and the Red City in Jordan

Wadi Rum is one of the amazing natural assets that are just begging to be discovered in Jordan...!

Jordan is becoming an increasingly popular place to visit for a walking holiday and with very good reason, as its desert landscapes are truly spectacular and provide a wilderness experience like no other.

Another attraction of hiking in Jordan is that you can visit some amazing historical sites as you walk, including the breathtaking city of Petra. Also known as the Red City, this was once an important stop on the trade routes from east to west, although much of its charm for travellers lies in the fact it remained undiscovered by the western world for centuries.

We’re going to take a look at some of the highlights of a trekking tour in Jordan – if this interests you, Explore Worldwide can help you organise your ideal holiday.

Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum is a desert valley where you’ll find some incredible rock formations and beautiful scenery. The cliffs and rocks here have been carved into bizarre shapes by the power of the wind and they really are a sight to behold.

This part of Jordan was made famous by TE Lawrence, who was based here during the first world war and who went on to write about his experiences. He described the landscape as “vast, echoing and god-like”.

However, Wadi Rum was being used centuries before as a trade route and it’s one the local Bedouin people know well. They still live a semi-nomadic life in the desert and visiting one of their camps will give you an insight into how they survive in what seems to be such an inhospitable environment.

Among the most famous – and impressive – rock formations in Wadi Rum are the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, a towering red-stone cliff, and the Burdah Rock Bridge. Dotted throughout the valley are thousands of petroglyphs and inscriptions that indicate that the area has been inhabited by humans for centuries.

Petra

Petra is Jordan’s most famous tourist attraction and with very good reason. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is quite incredible, with the original city having been hewn out of the cliffs and other buildings developed around it in its sheltered location among the mountains.

It was the Nabateans who developed it into a thriving hub for traders crossing the desert from the Orient to Arabia and it was a bustling city until the Roman era, when trade routes were diverted and Petra gradually lost influence.

Despite being known to the local Bedouins, it was forgotten by the rest of the world until the early 19th century when Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt stumbled across it. Although many of the buildings were in ruins, the tombs and chambers that had been carved out of the cliffs themselves are still in remarkable condition.

One of the highlights is the Treasury, which greets travellers as they enter via the Siq Gorge. Obelisks, temples, tombs and a Roman-style theatre are some of the other things you can discover as you wander around the city.

If you’ve got the energy for a bit of a climb, make your way to the Al Deir Monastery, which stands at the top of a flight of 800 steps that have been cut out of the rock. In addition to the archaeological treasures themselves, there are two museums onsite that have been designed to give visitors a better understanding of Petra’s history, as well as to showcase artefacts that have been recovered here.

15 Feb 2014