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Best Destinations in the South of France

As I sit here in one of the finest Provence vacation rentals that I have found in recent years, my thoughts have turned to the south of France and which parts of it I love the most. I’ll come right out and say it, there is nowhere on the southern tip of France that I don’t like and as such it is pretty hard to choose which are my favorites. With this being said, I was asked by a friend recently, which destination he should choose on his trip later this year to the south of France and that is what I intend to answer for you today.

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The idea of picking a favorite is simply not possible, there is something down here for everyone, for every budget and for every style of vacation that you could be looking for. With that in mind I thought it best to simply present to you what I think are the best destinations in the south of France and then let you choose for yourself which one you should visit when you get the chance, and I will telling my buddy the exact same thing. Without further ado then, here are what I think are the best destinations in the south of France.

Provence

I should probably start with what is right in front of my nose, Provence, the place that keeps pulling me back to it year after year and every time I come I experience something different. If you are looking for a region with historical significance, sheer romance and sun kissed beaches then Provence will be the place for you. There is much to see in this region for any type of discerning tourist, from the quiet harbor of Cassis, the religious center of Avignon, Gordes, the village that is regularly voted as the most beautiful in France to Porquerolles, the jewel in the crown of Provence which offers sandy beaches and clifftop views. If you want to explore the south of France then my recommendation is that you should sat right here.

Nice

The first location in most people’s heads when they think about the south of France is Nice and in all honesty, I echo there sentiments entirely. Over 3 million people head to Nice each year and when you visit you will understand why, it sort of reminds me of Miami with its wide avenues, trendy beaches, glitzy tourists and beautiful cars rolling by. One difference that I think Nice has from Miami is that it is drenched in far more history and culture. Aside form sunning yourself on the sandy beaches of Nice you can also go to see the large collection of Matisse paintings in the gallery, visit the Russian Cathedral and if you are there at the right time you could witness the World’s best jazz musicians descending on Nice for its annual festival, a stage which has been occupied in the past by none other than Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie to name just a few.

St.Tropez

Because of its status, I almost didn’t want to fall in love with St. Tropez quite in the way that I have but it is undeniable, the place is classy, elegant, beautiful and very ‘happening’. Whilst the rich and the famous do call this southern French destination their playground, there is also a lot to see and do for us lesser mortals and traveling to St. Tropez really doesn’t have to cost the Earth. There is a great deal of money in this place however and whilst on the face of it, the town looks like a quiet fishing village, it is only once you look a bit closer at the fisherman’s houses and realize that they are indeed boutique Prada shops that you realize the stature which this once quiet place now has. The restaurant prices are pretty reasonable here and somewhat strangely the most expensive item you will probably buy will be the ticket that gains you access to a private beach. Here in St. Tropez you will be able to lounge by the -highly expensive- beach all day, take a walk along the promenade and ogle at the super yachts before getting dressed up and hitting the town on an evening, the food is great, the clubs are lively and who knows, you just might spot a celeb or two!

So here we are, I have eventually withheld down my favorite places in the south of France to just 3, I have begrudgingly ignored Monaco, Cannes and Marseille ( 3 very nice places ) in favor of destinations where I have fallen in love with just a little more. Wherever you choose to go in the south of France I can assure you that you most certainly will not be disappointed and if you are anything like me, you will be back year after year.

 

13 Apr 2017

Preparation Checklist for Your Upcoming Road Trip

One of the best ways to get away from it all for a while and have an adventure is to pack up the car and head off on a road trip. Roadtripping gives you ultimate freedom and flexibility when it comes to where you want to go and it allows you to see multiple destinations in one fell swoop. The difference between jumping in the car and hitting the road compared with a flight for example is all about the journey and the things that you will discover and the places that you visit that flying would never give you the opportunity to see. Before you head off on that road trip then there are some important preparations that you need to make and here is a quick checklist to ensure that you have everything you need.

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Car Preparation

Your car is likely to be clocking up some miles during your trip and the last thing that you need is any kind of problems like a breakdown, for that reason it is vital that you thoroughly check your car before leaving home. Here are a few things that you need to check.

  • Fluids – Make sure that your car has sufficient levels of brake fluids, water, oil, gas and screenwash before you travel.
  • Tires – Make sure that your tires have sufficient tread and air in them, you will be putting them through their paces during the trip and you may even want to consider putting new tires on before you leave. Michelin tires are one of the most durable on the market and if you do opt for a new set then these will be a great option.
  • Lights – It is very important that you ensure that all lights on your car are in good working order, headlamps, indicators, brake lights and reverse lights. Ask someone to give you a hand when checking and it would also be a good idea to grab some spares to take with you.

For the Journey

You want to make sure that the journey is as fun as it can be and in order to do so you should be loading up on snacks and drinks as well as some in-car entertainment. Music will be vital and if you’re using a digital device then you should make some time and get a playlist put together for your trip. To keep everyone entertained you could plan some in-car games and if you have kids with you then make sure you set time aside to download some movies or games onto a tablet to keep them entertained in the back.

Planning Your Route

Although you do have absolutely freedom when it comes to where you stop during your trip, it is a good idea to have a loose plan or destination in mind for your road trip. Remember that you may not have great phone signal if you are traveling through more remote locations and you should prepare ahead of time for this. Despite technological advancements there is nothing wrong with a good old fashioned map to help you out. If you use something like Google Maps then you can preload your destination and it will still track you with GPS even if you don’t have signal, alternatively you could use a Sat Nav to help you on your journey, getting lost can sometimes be fun, but not always.

21 Dec 2016

3 Surprisingly Affordable Luxury Vacations

When you speak of a luxury holiday, most people would instantly wince at the thought of it because of the expenses that are involved. Surprisingly however, not all luxury breaks need to punch holes on your wallet. You can enjoy lavish holidays without spending too much, specifically in the three destinations that will be mentioned below.

Crete

With many luxury hotels and extravagant villas, Crete is one of the best destinations that you can consider for your next holiday. The good news is that you do not have to spend a fortune just to enjoy the luxuries that it can offer. With a length of about 350 kilometers, the island is one of the most scenic you can ever hope to find and is gifted with an abundance of beaches.

The rich history of Crete adds up to the reasons why it is popular amongst luxury travelers who are on a budget and want to experience a holiday in the Greek islands. Aside from its rich past, it also offers a wide array of exhilarating water activities such as jet skiing, parasailing, fishing, and wind surfing. If you want to play golf, you can also find several golf courses in the island, regardless of your skills. It is also home to great restaurants, many of which can be enjoyed at affordable prices. One thing’s for sure, a holiday in Crete won’t disappoint.

Portugal

Excellent value for money is perhaps one of the best things that you can get when you visit Portugal. With fascinating towns, charming villages and pristine beaches, Portugal is a popular destination in Europe because it is cheaper than most of its neighboring countries, yet it can offer an equally stunning holiday and is ideal for families. If there is only one place you can visit in the country, it would most probably be The Algarve.

If you are looking for cheap resorts that can offer the exceptional services, some of the options that you can consider include the Oporto Surf Camp, the Vilanova Resort, Clube Alvorferias, the Balaia Mar Hotel and the Atlantico Golfe Hotel. There are also many villas that can be rented, which can offer cheaper alternative to hotels if you are traveling as a large group.

China

It is impossible to run out of activities that you can do in China. More than just the multiplicity of attractions, its popularity can be attributed to the fact that China offers a luxury holiday experience in a manner that is budget-friendly. Whether you choose to explore one of its cosmopolitan cities or its native provinces, you can have an unforgettable experience without feeling guilty about your spending.

When in China, you should not miss seeing the Great Wall and The Forbidden City if you happen to be in Beijing. For those who are looking for a more urban feel and vibrant nightlife, Shanghai should be included in the itinerary. More so, the surrounding provinces will also be ideal for those who want to experience more serene holidays. Whether it is affordable hotels or self-catering accommodations, you will have lots of choices in China.

02 Dec 2015

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

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

Best Time To Visit Gibraltar

Beach near the Rock of Gibraltar

There really is no considerable difficulty in planning the best time to visit Gibraltar. This country has a pleasant climate like its neighboring country of Spain. However, Gibraltar’s special location along the Mediterranean coast makes it quite more appealing than most cities in Spain up north.

This country becomes a favorite vacation destination for the British expats because of its less hostile weather. Apart from the friendly atmosphere, Gibraltarians have a friendlier treatment towards the Englishmen that has defended them for many centuries. Although the climate here is warmer, the people’s collective deference for Spain is another story.

Gibraltar’s sense of independence is so strong that oftentimes their animosity towards mainland Spaniards could have violent consequences. For safety purposes, it is not always advisable to enter Gibraltar’s northern borders via on foot or taxi ride during night time. (more…)

22 Dec 2013

The Best Time to Visit The Falkland Islands

Before getting into the information regarding the best time to visit the Falkland Islands, one must know a few very important things about this archipelago. First of all, though it may still be a British territory, this archipelago is pretty much isolated from the rest of the world. Its location is somewhere further south from Argentina, which makes it truly remote and figuratively invisible in the world map. In fact, no one would have probably heard of this archipelago if not for the unfortunate war between the British expeditionary special force and Argentinian military that occupied the island. The casualties in the 1980’s Falklands War have amounted to about 900 souls both among the British and Argentinian forces. Secondly, due to the isolation of Falkland Islands its civilization is only limited to the basic necessities of life. Anyone looking for five-star restaurants and shopping malls should never choose this place for a vacation. However, nature lovers truly find this archipelago a unique paradise.

best time to visit the Falkland Islands (more…)

03 Nov 2013

Travel Escapes: Belgrade!

Belgrade is quickly entering the limelight shared by exciting European travel destinations such as Berlin, Paris and Prague. Complimented by the Sava/Danube River that flows through the capital, the city’s non-stop nightlife, fascinating history and delectable traditional restaurants have been attracting thousands of visitors since Serbia’s tourism boom during the past decade. Perhaps best known for the Yugoslav crisis during the 1990s and Nato’s bombing of Belgrade in1999, which among other buildings left the Police & Army Headquarters desecrated. The remnants of the bombings and Serbia’s eventful past propels Belgraders of all ages to treat every night like a Friday night shaking off the past.

  Danube in Belgrade (more…)

09 Oct 2013