Explore historic San Antonio in Texas

The state of Texas has certainly been witness to many events that have shaped American history including being home to the Houston Space Centre and the state where President Kennedy was assassinated. Arguably though, its most important claim to fame is being home of the Battle of The Alamo. Tour this and other historic sites by visiting beautiful San Antonio for your next spring break.

Visiting San Antonio

Located in South Central Texas, San Antonio is the 7th most populous city in the USA. April sees the cooler air move across the state, with temperatures averaging 27C (81F). The pleasant weather makes the south a much more comfortable to explore, as you enjoy the sunshine without the searing heat. There are many fantastic places to stay on offer in the city, from iconic hotels such as The Fairmont Hotel to timeshare resorts.

Historic San Antonio

San Antonio is home to the most visited site in Texas, The Alamo. It started life as a mission back in 1718, one of 5 along the San Antonio River. Initially it sought to convert the native population as well as be a focus point for the Catholics in the region. However, it became a famous icon during the Battle of the Alamo, with famous fighters such as Davy Crockett fighting to protect it from the siege being undertaken by the Mexican troops. Much of the site still remains for you to walk amongst a history that is almost palpable even today. The perfect accompaniment to The Alamo is a visit to the San Antonio Missions National Park.

To get a sense of life in the Wild West, there is no finer place to visit than the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum. Not only can you enjoy this historic saloon which dates back over 130 years, but you can also visit the Texas Ranger Museum which hosts a fine array of artefacts from life as a sheriff during this iconic period.

Antonio Attractions

After The Alamo, arguably the best attraction in San Antonio is the River Walk. It is a thriving, cultural area with bars, restaurants and shops lining the river bank. The nightlife here is spectacular, with The Majestic Theatre and Arneson River Theatre perfect accompaniment to an evening of dining and drinking. During the day, enjoy The San Antonio Museum of ArtRipley’s Believe It or Not! or Dinosaur Quest all within walking distance of one another.

For lovers of the natural world, there are two must-see destinations to visit here.  The San Antonio Zoo and Aquarium is a popular attraction and is often seen as one of the best zoos in the USA, home to over 750 different species of animal. SeaWorld is the world’s largest marine life theme park, hosting a wide range of aquatic themed rides and exhibitions, as well as being home to thousands of species of marine wildlife.

San Antonio in April

There are many festivals and events to enjoy throughout April, giving the city even more of a draw to tourists. The main attraction is the Fiesta which runs from the 18th-24th April and is the biggest festival in San Antonio. Dating back to the late 19th Century, the Fiesta sees a wide range of events including many parades, the most popular being the Battle of the Flowers. Other events include concerts, parties and sampling some fine southern cuisine.

Another great festival to attend is the Poteet Strawberry Festival, which runs from 12th-14th April. This is one of the oldest and largest agricultural festivals in Texas and offers up the chance to sample some of the state’s fresh produce. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also parades, fireworks and even a Rodeo on offer to enjoy.

Take a spring break in Cardiff, Wales

Wales’ Capital Cardiff is a fantastic destination for a weekend break. Perfect for those who like some culture, some sport and some entertainment, Cardiff is set against the backdrop of the beautiful Welsh landscape. Here’s my guide to the best that Cardiff can offer.

Cardiff Capital

Located in East Wales and not far from the border with England, the Welsh capital Cardiff is the base for many of the country’s important buildings including the national stadium and Welsh Assembly. In relative terms, Cardiff is a mere infant of a city having only been granted that status in 1905. The city is easily accessible from air, rail, sea and road with London a two-hour drive away along the M4 motorway. Temperatures in April reach highs of 12C (54F).

Cultural Cardiff

Go to Cardiff for a cultural break and you’ll find your weekend filled with many interesting and different sites to see. Take your exploration of Cardiff’s cultural history up to date by heading for Cardiff Bay and to the Millennium Centre. This beautiful building is the cultural home of the city, hosting theatre performances and exhibitions daily. You can even take a tour of the centre itself, taking in the backstage areas and exploring the design of this iconic building.

For some spiritual respite, there are a number of cathedrals and churches within the city to visit. My top choice would be Llandaff Cathedral, which is not only an inspiring Gothic building but also is linked to the Cathedral School which was the school as featured in Roald Dahl’s biography ‘Boy’. Nearby, you’ll also find the Norwegian Church where Dahl was christened.

Historic Cardiff

For me, the obvious place to start was at the National Museum and Art Gallery which delves deep into the city’s past both historically and artistically. See moon rocks, prehistoric skeletons and one of the finest art collections in Europe. The perfect accompaniment to the museum is a trip out to the open air museum of St Fagans Natural History Museum. Both museums are free of charge to enter.

Make sure you also take the time to visit both Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch. Both are excellent and very different examples of the widespread castle architecture that is spread across Wales.

Cardiff’s Doctor

For anyone who is a big Doctor Who fan, Cardiff is a must see destination. Since the programme was brought back to the small screen in 2005, Cardiff has been the base for this iconic programme and there are many Doctor Who locations to visit in the Welsh capital. Take a tour of the shooting sites before heading off to The Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff Bay. Step into the Tardis, explore actual sets and costumes used in filming and come face to face with some of the Doctor’s arch enemies.

Sporting Cardiff

2014 sees Cardiff become a European Capital of Sport and by visiting its Millennium Stadium, it’s easy to see why. Cardiff is the home of the national rugby and football teams, as well as the country cricket team and Cardiff City Football Club. Whilst here, try to get tickets to see a rugby match at the national stadium for a truly spine-tingling experience. Your alternative destination is the previous national stadium at Cardiff Arms Park for a chance to see the national sport played out in front of roaring, passionate fans.

Cruise the Arctic Circle for an unforgettable holiday

There is more to travelling the globe than picking the hotspots. So once you begin to tire of lazy beach life, set your sights on one of the coldest regions on Earth, the Arctic Circle.

April in the Arctic promises highs of -12˚C during the day with a drop to around -19˚C at night, but with this chilly climate comes a wealth of wildlife that is too good to miss. Polar bears, humpback whales, walrus, seals and puffins will be waiting for you as well as the spectacular glaciers and icy blue waters.

The best way to explore this mystical region is by cruise, fitting in all the destinations you wish to visit in one trip. While in the Arctic Circle you can see such places as Spitsbergen, Greenland and the Canadian Arctic, getting a real taste of life at the top of the globe.

Greenland

With the impressive titles of largest island and northernmost point of land on Earth, the remote towns and ice fields of Greenland are a must-see stop-off on your cruise. This area consists of cliffs as high as 2000 metres as well as grand mountains and numerous glaciers. The coastline is heavily dented with numerous fjords and is home to the Inuit people. Dependant on your time in Greenland, you can enjoy a wealth of activities including a journey over the magnificent snow-covered landscape while dog sledding or enjoy the hot springs for some relaxation and rejuvenation. From here you can also visit the islands of Baffin Bay where you can whale watch and see the Beluga whale. There are also many plant and tree species there which thrive on the bay shores for those who want to see all that arctic nature has to offer.

Spitsbergen

As the most accessible region in the Arctic Circle, the Svalbard Archipelago is located 600 miles from the North Pole and is a magical world of spectacular glaciers, snow-capped peaks and endless ice. With deep fjords winding through beautiful meadows, you will not be disappointed by the panoramic views. Also known as Spitsbergen, this is a great destination to see arctic seabird colonies including the Puffin. You can also see the Arctic Fox, the Svalbard reindeer and the southern vole. As well as marvelling at the wonderful nature and wildlife of this area, you can also enjoy the breath-taking experience of an ice cave tour where you can walk along the passages formed by the melted water under the glacier.

Canadian Arctic

Some cruises also take you through the Northwest Passage on to the north of Canada, and into the realm of the Polar bear. You can also spot reindeer, snowy owls and even the endangered northern right whale known as the bowhead. If you fancy something a little sporty that will bring you up close and personal with the Arctic Ocean, then kayaking could be just what you’re looking for. Nanavut is a world-class destination for this and the venues are endless. Take this opportunity to touch an iceberg and watch as the marine life swims past you including the mighty walrus. You can also visit Hudson Bay which is a large body of saltwater in north-eastern Canada. It is the second largest bay in the world and is perfect for a spot of fishing in the clear water lakes and stocked ponds.

With stunning scenery, unusual wildlife and a break from the ‘sun, sea and sand’ norm of the package holiday, a cruise around the Arctic Circle is definitely something to tick off the bucket list. All you need to do is pack your thermals, charge up the camera and say goodbye to a holiday tan.

Take a late season Skiing holiday in Austria

With many resorts in Austria staying open for the whole of April, and some well into summer, don’t be fooled that you’ve missed the skiing season and will have to wait until October/November time. Austria is the ideal getaway for those looking for a final opportunity to enjoy the slopes before the summer sun melts away all the snow.

The benefit of skiing in Austria in April will mean quieter slopes, cheaper flights and ever so slightly warmer weather with highs of 20˚C and lows of 11˚C. It is still advisable to pack lots of warm clothing so think about opting for lightweight luggage so that you can pack thick woollies and chunky knits without going over the strict baggage allowances.

Here are four destinations that have a lot to offer for your skiing holiday in April.

Obergurgl

This beautiful non-glacier resort opens early and closes late due to its altitude of just under 200 metres. The 2012/13 ski season plans to end on April 21st and this resort has plenty of activities planned for the final week including the chance to ski with a German World Cup racer as well as a chance to enjoy the local fare and traditional music. Obergurgl is compared to the ski resort of Vale in the USA because of the top class accommodation and because it is seen as an exclusive resort. The skiing in this region is split between two areas including the bowls around the hamlet of Hochgurgl and above the village itself. Recent investment in the resort has transformed the old chairlift heading up from Untergurgl to Hochgurgl with a brand-new fast two-stage gondola.

Sӧlden

As one of the main glacier resorts in the Tyrol region, Sӧlden takes pride in being the boisterous neighbour of Obergurgl. It is split into three main areas named the Giggijoch area, the Gaislachkogl area and the glaciers. This resort has a pleasant mixture of terrain and offers those looking for a challenge on the slopes, a run for their money. Down past Hochsolden, the red and black runs can often be testing and to the left of the Roβkirplbahn chairlift, the short bump run will challenge even the seasoned skier. To end the skiing season, Sӧlden has not one, not two but three festivals to close with style. First of all there is the Electric Mountain Festival which ends in early April and the Gay Snow Happening which has a week of celebrations into mid-April, and the Maxx Mountain Festival which runs until the end of April.

Stubai Valley

There is no spring closing in Stubai Valley as the glacier means snowy conditions remain well into the summer. It is actually possible to ski year round and with five inviting villages offering 100% snow guarantee from October to June, it is the ideal destination to improve your technique. Whether you visit Filpmes, Telfes, Neustift, Schonberg or Mieders, you will find slopes to test all abilities. Stubai Valley also boasts a lively nightlife and there will be plenty of après ski activities to keep you entertained for the duration of your stay. An all-round destination without limitations, this area has some of the highest slopes in Austria.

Kaprun

The official end of the winter in Kaprun is April 14th but because of the good snow conditions, the lift passes then move into Glacier Spring which lasts from the 15th through to the 20th May, and then into summer mode which runs from the 21st onwards. As a smaller resort, Kaprun is sometimes overlooked by its neighbours but with the altitude and great skiing conditions it is a fantastic choice for your skiing holiday. For those who are more confident on the slopes, the Kitzsteinhorn and its glacier offer challenging ski runs on picturesque snow topped mountains, while the smaller village hill area of Maiskogel brings you a selection of easy blue runs to build confidence.

Holiday in Marseille, France – Europe’s Capital of Culture

2013 sees Marseille take on the mantel of being a European Capital of Culture. July is a great time of year to explore the many cultural sites that France’s second largest city boasts. Here’s my guide to what you should see and do in Marseille this summer.

Cultural Marseille

Seen as the ‘Gateway to the West’, Marseille is a great place to experience French culture and to explore its ancient past. The Old Port is a great place to start. See the fishermen unload the catch of the day before heading off to the legendary fish market at Quai des Belges which certainly creates an intoxicating atmosphere. This part of the city really retains its heritage, and if possible, take a drive along the coastal roads to drink in the scenery.

To delve into some literature, there is nowhere more atmospheric than a trip to Chateau d’If. Situated on If island just off the coast of Marseille, this imposing fortress is France’s answer to Alcatraz and here you can even see the cell where Dumas’ Count of Monte Cristo was held.

Spiritual Marseille

One building dominates the Marseille skyline more than any other, that of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde. Here you’ll not only be able to appreciate the wonderful architecture and spiritual decoration inside, but the views from here across the city are spectacular. Arguably as iconic is the Abbaye de St. Victor, which dates back to Roman times. It has had a colourful history and has seen many important figures through time visit and make their final resting place here including a number of saints. Today the crypt is home to the remains of Pope Benedict IX.

Another great site to visit is the Cathedrale de la Major, the largest 19th Century church in France. This Gothic cathedral is an architectural delight, with beautiful decoration inside and out. Make sure you don’t visit on a Monday as the cathedral is closed.

Marseille Museums

If exploring museums is your idea of heaven, then head for Marseille’s Old Port and you’ll be in your element. You really do have your choice of places to visit but there are a number of museums which I would class as must-see attractions. The Musee de Docks Romains is great for an introduction into the city’s ancient past, as the site is a former Roman warehouse and houses many important ancient artefacts discovered in and around the Old Port. Follow this up with a trip to the Musee d’Histoire de Marseille which brings the city’s history up to date.

Marseille also has museums dedicated to the artistic side of the city. The Musee Cantini is a fantastic exploration and celebration of Modern Art, featuring work from Picasso, Breton and Kandinski  France is well-known for its spectacular Fashion scene too and what better way to delve into this than to visit the Musee de la Mode which is dedicated to fashion.

Need to knows…

Sitting on the Cote d’Azur in the South of France, Marseille is simply stunning in June as the temperatures begin to rocket but still manage to remain comfortable. Temperatures average 70 degrees, and with over 11 hours of sunshine each day and minimal rain, its great beach weather. With such a great coastal location, there are many popular beaches in Marseille and nearby to the city. Plage du Prophete is a fantastic place to take the children, whilst Plage Bonneveine is set up perfectly as a beach resort. For something special, make the trip out to Calanque de Morgiou and you’ll find a beach paradise.

You’ll find the weather perfect for getting out and about and exploring. The very best way to explore is to either take advantage of Marseille’s sprawling tram network or to hire one of the many bikes available for rental across the city.

The best way to explore Marseille’s cultural sites is to purchase a City Pass. Take your choice of purchasing a ticket for 24 or 48 hours, which will cost €24 or €29 depending on which ticket you choose. Tickets can be pre-booked online or bought from tourism offices in the city.

Golfing Holidays in the Algarve

When you love a sport, it can seem as though life keeps getting in the way of you playing it. With a stressful job, family commitments and not enough hours in the day, it can mean that the time dedicated to your hobby may soon dwindle to nothing.

Golfing holidays are the perfect opportunity to mix glorious sunshine with a few rounds each day to help improve your skill and enjoy your favourite pastime. As one of the most popular destinations for golf, the Algarve in Portugal has an expansive selection of golf courses for you to choose from. When travelling in April you can expect a very pleasant 15˚C so you can enjoy moving from hole to hole without feeling too overheated or catching a chill.

Benamor Golf – Tavira 

This 71 par golf course was inspired by the picturesque old church next to the site of the clubhouse, and of course by its stunning location. At an impressive 5500 metres in length, the course has 18 holes and is undulating not hilly. Benamor offers a pleasant playing experience for players of all skill levels and it benefits from a professional for lessons and a golf clinic year round. With the agreeable weather and amazing views of the mountains in the north, and the Atlantic Ocean in the south, you can fully enjoy the driving range, putting green and putting course practice areas. Strategically placed water hazards and sand bunkers will test your strategy and striking ability, as well as the indigenous almond, fig, cork and olive trees which are great in playing terms and aesthetically pleasing.

  • Prices: €45 per person with manual trolley or €70 per person with a buggy
  • Created by: Sir Henry Cotton
  • Website: benamorgolf.com

Ocean Golf Course – Vale do Lobo

As suggested in the name, this golf course has the benefit of leading gently down to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and also runs alongside a nature reserve. Composed of two nine-hole golf courses designed by Sir Henry Cotton in 1968 and 1972, they merged into one course in 1995 after his death. On the Ocean golf course you can expect challenging and spectacular Par 4s and Par 3 holes as well as taking in the stunning views afforded in Vale do Lobo. There is a maximum handicap of 28 so if you are a novice this may not be the course for you. With 18 holes and a 73 par, the undulating fairways of the Ocean golf course will test your strategy and skill.

Praia D’El Rey

The complete golfing challenge, the Praia D’El Rey is a spectacular golf course with a par of 73 and a maximum handicap requirement of 36 for men and women. Set amongst extensive pine forests and undulating dunes, you can marvel at the spectacular views over the Atlantic Ocean and the Berlengas Islands beyond. A regular choice for private and sponsored events, its deep bunkers and sandy dunes contrast sharply with the lush fairways offering a unique experience. At Praia D’El Rey you can enjoy a mixture of seaside links and parkland holes to fully test your skill.

With the scenic backdrop of the Algarve, there is much to do other than golfing if you tire of improving your handicap. Here is the top attraction in the Portuguese region to keep you and the family entertained for a day.

Zoomarine

A theme park inspired by marine life, Zoomarine places a strong emphasis on conservation and education. As well a fantastic array of marine animals to see there is also water slides and merry-go-rounds to keep children amused as well as adults. The park opens for the year in mid-March so will be up and running for your April holiday to Algarve. You can spend the day enjoying the dolphins, sea lions and seal shows as well as the older children and adults enjoying a swim with the dolphins. So if you’re going to have a break from golfing, what better way than spending it than with the oceans most interesting animals.

  • Prices: €27 for adults, children less than 3′ 3″ go free and over this height it is €18.
  • Website: zoomarine.pt/en

There is also a great selection of courses that are exclusive to those staying in the resorts attached to them, so be sure to check out the range of package Algarve golf holidays before you book up for April.

Visit the Fes Festival of Sacred World Music in Morocco

Morocco in north-west Africa is a colourful and exotic gateway to the great continent, being just over 14 km across the Gibraltar Strait from mainland Europe. Its ancient cities, rugged mountains and the Sahara Desert make it a vibrant and exciting place to visit. Its cultural and spiritual riches make it an obvious inspiration for a celebration of sacred music.

Fes Festival

The Fes Festival founded in 1994 by Morrocan Philanthropist Faouzi Skali. Reflecting the spirituality of the holy city in which it takes place, it is organised by The Sprit of Fez Foundation to bring together musicians and performers from all over the world to break down musical and political boundaries. This years festival takes place from 7th to 15th June and the program includes free daily concerts in the city’s Boujloud Square as well as special musical journeys through the heart of the old city or Medina, including Sufi nights in the gardens of Dar Tazi. All of the concerts take place in the evenings due to the heat of the day in the city, but exhibitions and workshops connected to the festival take place in museums and public places throughout the days. Artists this year include Patti Smith and flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia performing in a celebration of Andalusia, this years theme.Full details of all artists and events are available on the website. Tickets and passes for the special events can be purchased online or at the festival.

Fes

Fes lies at the heart of Morocco, the original capital and the religious and spiritual centre of its people to this day. It is the cross roads between the other main cities which strengthens its feeling of the real centre of the country. Fes el-Bali (Old Fes) the medina or walled old gown is the largest living medieval islamic city in the world with its winding lanes, shops, markets, restaurants, mosques, dye pits and tanneries. The city is most easily reached via Casablanca by train with a 4.5 hour journey but trains also connect to Marrakesh, Tangier and Rabat.

Where to stay

To get a real feel for the city a stay in a riad, a traditional medina house-hotel built around a courtyard). Riads come in all sizes and styles to suit your budget and each room normally has an en-suite bath and sitting area. You can book a room,  or rent an entire riad and live like pashas of old.  Make sure to double and triple check your reservations, as it’s not uncommon to arrive and be told that your reservation has been changed. It’s also wise to make sure a guide can meet you on arrival at the medina to show you the way through the tiny alleyways which are confusing to newcomers. Modern hotels and Riads are all reviewed online by previous visitors and travel experts.

Moroccan Excursions

If you want to explore a little more of Morocco you can book trips to the following nearby attractions.

Middle Atlas Mountains

You can take an excursion to walk or horse ride in the mountains to the south of the city. A good destination at the festival time is Sefrou, just 30 minutes from Fez, where the dark sweet cherries of the same name are harvested and celebrated in June.

Volubilis and Moulay Idriss

An hour and a half north-west of Fez is Morocco’s largest and most important Roman remains. A World Heritage site it is a great place to wander an enjoy the ruins and the views. Be sure to take a hat as there is no shelter and plenty of water to drink. The nearby sacred town of Moulay Idriss, with its holy founders tomb, can be a good destination to add to your itinerary and allow some shelter from the heat of the day.

5 Best holiday destinations in March

Timing is one of the most important aspects in ensuring that you truly get the most out of your overseas adventure, so it pays to do a bit of research before you leave. Picking the right season not only gives you the chance to see your destination at its best, but also allows you to pack accordingly. Here are 5 of the best travel destinations for a March holiday.

United States of America

Spring is starting up in March throughout the USA, making it the perfect time to travel. From the Grand Canyon to Las Vegas, there’s something for every style of traveller. Take a cycling tour through the scenic Oregon Coast, check out the relaxed living in Hawaii or take a famous American road trip to make sure you see the most from this unique and diverse destination.

Southern Europe

The warming effects of spring see Southern Europe awaken from its cold winter slumber. While still not too hot, the increasing warmth and length of days make March a great time to spend discovering the best that Southern Europe has to offer. The temperature is perfect to get outdoors and explore for the adventurous traveller, with everywhere from the Cote D’Azur to Sicily starting to feel the sure signs of spring.

Africa

Always wanted to experience the magic of Africa, but been deterred by the heat? March is the perfect time to discover this land of wild beauty and spectacular safaris. With the dry season keeping away most of the rain and the tail end of summer giving way to the cooler change of autumn, this is a great opportunity to see Africa without sweltering in the heat. North and East Africa are the best to visit during this time for perfect climate conditions. If you fancy climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. There’s also the stunning annual migration of wildebeest and zebra across Kenya from late March. Well worth checking out at least once in your life.

Australia

March is the perfect time to explore Australia. As autumn sets in, the scorching hot days and wild summer storms give way to clear skies and a cool breeze. With such perfect weather and ideal temperatures, you can start to explore everything that this stunning continent has to offer. The sun is still warm enough to encourage a swim on golden beaches or a stunning snorkelling session on the reef. Take a food and wine trail through Tasmania, explore the Snowy Mountains via horseback or discover the wealth of arts and shopping in any of the capital cities.

Caribbean

What could be better than relaxing on the sands of a pristine beach with the tropical breeze rustling the trees and a seemingly endless expanse of glittering water. The Caribbean is a top spot to travel to in March, however be careful to avoid the price spike and rush of tourists during the Easter holidays. For dive enthusiasts, the Cayman Islands are an absolute must-see, while Barbados offers the very finest in dining and boutique accommodation. Of course Jamaica is a popular stop, with many travellers including it on their travel bucket list.

These are some of the best travel destinations that you can visit for a memorable March holiday. Make your holiday one you’ll never forget by experiencing these spectacular travel locations at their very finest.

Celebrate Queen’s Day in Amsterdam

April sees the streets of Amsterdam come alive to celebrate Queen’s Day with parties, concerts and atmospheric, busy markets appearing across the city. There really is no better time to visit this iconic city. Here’s my guide to the best of Amsterdam and its colourful festival.

Koninginnedgag

Held on the 30th April each year, Koninginnedgag (Queen’s Day) celebrates the birthday of the Queen. 2013 marks the last ‘Queen’s Day’ following Queen Beatrix’s decision to abdicate and so from 2014, the festival will be known as Koningsdag and will be celebrated on 27th April. The festival has been celebrated since 1885 and is marked across the country, with main festivities held in Amsterdam.

Festivities start the night before, with parties and concerts starting in the early evening and celebrating through until dawn. With so many events available throughout the city, the great thing about them is that many are free of charge such the Click Open Air rave. I would also recommend either the festival at the Olympic Stadium or Loveland’s Queen’s Day celebrations.  Mix in with the locals and don orange attire to really get involved in the celebrations.

The Vrijmarkt (flea markets) spring up across the city as sellers are allowed to offer goods without tax, making the shoppers flock to get a bargain. Everything you can possibly imagine is up for sale and for the very best market, head for the Jordaan quarter for a truly atmospheric shop. The canals become packed full of boats, all wonderfully decorated to celebrate and it’s quite a sight to behold standing on one of the canal bridges.

Iconic Amsterdam

There are many iconic images of Amsterdam, from tulips and clogs to the notorious red light district and cafes and you can experience all of these iconic elements during your stay in the city. April is the perfect month to see the tulips in bloom so take a short trip south to the Keukenhof gardens. Within the city, visit the Amsterdam Tulip Museum and the Bloemenmarkt for a true sensory delight.

There really are only two ways you should make your way around the city and that’s either by bicycle or along the canals. Hire your bike and take to the streets or even book yourself a cycle tour to show you the sights. There are 165 canals in total winding their way through Amsterdam so you’re well-connected by water wherever you need to go. I would definitely recommend seeing the Prinsengracht where the canal is lined with houseboats or the Brouwersgracht which is as picture perfect as you can possibly get.

To delve into the grittier side of Amsterdam, take a peek at the Red Light District just to experience this seemingly iconic space. There are even tours available which not only explain the history of the area and how it became so famous but also point out beautiful historical buildings.

Historic Amsterdam

There are many historic sites and museums to visit in Amsterdam, so start with a trip to the Amsterdam Museum. The museum gives a great overview of the history of the city with artefacts dating back to the middle ages. From here take a trip to Museum Amstelkring where you walk into a beautiful ornate building and one of the oldest museum’s in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is of course known for being the home of Anne Frank, with the city’s landscape poignantly described in her diary. For a moving experience, visit the building which housed the secret annex in Prinsengracht 267. The house gets extremely busy so it’s best visiting first thing in the morning. Afterwards take a trip to the Joods Historisch Museum which looks at Amsterdam’s Jewish culture and is the perfect accompaniment to Anne’s house.

Artistic Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a delight for art lovers, home to many museums, galleries and former homes of artistic geniuses. Start your journey by exploring the Rijksstudio at the Rijksmuseum, home to thousands of masterpieces from artists including Rembrandt. To learn more about this legendary artist, visit the Rembrandt House Museum to see where he lived and the space which inspired his work.

The city is also great for those who appreciate modern art, with the Stedelijk Museum being the best place to visit.  Sitting within Museum Square, the museum is home to over 90,000 pieces of art from a wide range of artists including Van Gogh, Pollock, Warhol and Mattisse. Close by, you’ll also find the Van Gogh Museum. Here you’ll get to learn more about Van Gogh’s life and see many of his works including ‘Sunflowers’.

The world’s best destinations for famous drinks

Let your thirst guide you as you explore the world’s best beverages. From Belgian hand-crafted beers and fine French bubbles to the tradition of whisky in Scotland, a true connoisseur will jump at the chance to discover the very finest that the world has to offer. Here are several of the world’s must-visit destinations for the thirsty traveller.

Fiery Whisky – Scotland

As the home of traditional whisky, Scotland attracts a range of thirsty travellers seeking the very finest specimens of this distinctive spirit. Every part of Scotland imparts its own unique flavour in the whisky that it produces, so taking the time to tour around this magnificent island is definitely a must. Explore the stunningly dramatic landscape, the sometimes harsh climate, and the picturesque countryside whose wild beauty will stay with you for a lifetime.

Beer Bliss – Belgium

The Belgians haven’t just introduced the world to the wonder of eating mayonnaise with their fries, their beer has created a benchmark for boutique flavours and unique handcrafted brands. With over 450 varieties of this delicious drink, beer lovers from across the world flock to Belgium for an authentic experience steeped in cultural tradition. Drink from personalised glasses specifically designed to enhance the flavours of that particular beer, tour through breweries or just relax in an old fashioned café with a beer and some delectable Belgian chocolate. Pure beer bliss.

Sophisticated Champagne – France

If you consider yourself to be a connoisseur of all things sparkling, a visit to the Champagne region in France is essential. Take a leisurely tour along the Champagne Route, a picturesque journey through the vineyards and villages that make this unique wine-making region so special.

As the home of the incredible wine used to make toasts and celebrate special occasions around the world, a visit to the Champagne region would be incomplete without a very special tasting. Indulge in a Champagne degustation, a delicious journey through some of the region’s finest vintages and makes.

Wine Lover’s Paradise – Cape Town

Wine and fine dining go hand in hand for travellers seeking the best sensory experiences in Cape Town. Due to the sheer size of the wine growing area, it is recommended that visitors take a tour to get the most out of their experience. For the top wine routes in Cape Town, consider exploring the Stellenbosch, Helderberg, Contantia Valley, Franschoek and Durbanville Valley routes.

These will take you through some of the most magnificent wine growing regions in Cape Town, with extraordinary landscapes and breathtaking scenery everywhere you look. For the dedicated wine aficionado, a visit to Cape Town’s famous wine routes is an absolute must during your travels.

Your taste buds will thank for the chance to sample the world’s finest beverages. This is just the start of the incredible journeys you can go on in your search for a seriously top drop, and will give you the opportunity to experience the unique culture and atmosphere of these amazing countries. Make sure these destinations are at the top of your list if you’re a discerning-ly thirsty traveller.

Follow by Email
Facebook
Twitter