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Historical Landmarks of Europe you want to visit!

Landmarks are landmarks for a reason. Europe, with its centuries of rulers, wars, artwork, and more, as well as the wealth and opulence that came with colonial power, has more than its fair share of landmarks that are recognized not just in their native nations but around the world, and we’ve created a list of the ones you need to make sure you see.

With its many dynasties, past and present, Europe’s landmarks are often dominated by castles and palaces. Europe is a continent whose history, art and architecture have made a deep impression on the rest of the world. The world cannot complete its school education without studying the achievements of the ancient Greeks and the Roman Empire. One has found himself to be deeply influenced by the artistic achievements of the renaissance painters and architects. So, it is natural when travelers decide to go to Europe to see the wonders of the Antiquity and Renaissance Age firsthand. That said, Europe has got so many such destinations that it becomes important for one to prioritize as it is not possible to cover all the heritage destinations in one go. So, here are some of the major heritage destinations in Europe worth visiting –

Athens – The capital city of Greece, one of the oldest and the most important city-states during the Antiquity period. Its citizens included Aristotle and Plato. Some of the major attractions amongst monuments over here include the Acropolis (which includes the Parthenon, the Temple of Zeus, Hadrian’s Arch, Theatre of Dionysus, etc.). Athens has got some of the best museums in the world and the museum at Acropolis, the National Archaeological Museum, and Byzantine and Christian Museum are some of the famous museums in Greece.

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Rome – The capital of Italy presently and the capital of the almighty Roman Empire earlier, this old city has got history flowing through its veins. As the political capital of the Roma Empire and later as the Spiritual Center of the Christian World Rome has always occupied center stage in Human Civilization’s consciousness. This makes a trip to the city a must, a place which would never run out of attractions. From the Colosseum to the Pantheon, from the mausoleums of Augustus and Hadrian to the Forums Rome has many remains from the Roman Empire. These are some of the popular draws for millions of tourists all over the world.

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Paris – The capital city of France this historical city has heritage sites spanning from the Middle Ages to the French Renaissance and from the French classical period to the Modern Era. Landmark monuments like the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Cathedral of Saint Chappelle, the Palais de Louvre, the district of Marais, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower are just some of the numerous monuments present in Paris. One can also not forget that Paris is also the home of arguably the world’s best painting, the Mona Lisa.

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These three cities are just three of the many well-preserved historical centers which one can visit in Europe. Cities like Prague, Krakow, London, Barcelona, etc. are also amongst some of the most highly rated heritage sites in Europe. They are frequented by many visitors from across the world. The best part about these sites in Europe is that they are easily accessible by Air and there are plenty of options available for hotels. 

That said, to get yourselves the best deals you must get in touch with the best travel experts as it is them who will get you the best hotels which are closest to these landmarks and at the best deals possible!

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Our top ten things to do in Cayman Islands!

I am often asked how I have chosen the top 10 list, that I put up on my blog.  While in college I found it much easier to create a list when I started studying for a test or writing a term paper. Knowing that it is easy to understand why I create a top ten list, now as to how do I decide what goes on the list, simply put it is things I would like to do or have done in Cayman Islands.  I have chosen things on this list either because I have come across them while studying for certifications, personal experience, research, or client recommendations. Each of the item on the top 10 has a link, which will open a new window for more information.

 Let us know what you think of our list in the comments below the list. 

 1. Stingray City

Stingray City is among the Cayman Islands’ most popular attractions. Aquatic lovers mingle with marine life by wading among friendly stingrays that congregate near the sandy shore. This once-in-a-lifetime experience lets you get up close to these magnificent animals. Experience the majestic southern Atlantic stingrays in only three feet of water as you brush up against these creatures. Stingray City is a group of sandbars located 25 miles off the shore of Grand Cayman, and offers tours ranging from 3 to 5 hours. During the tours, you can swim with, feed, and take memorable photos with these friendly rays.

 2. Seven Mile Beach

If soft coral sand beaches, stunning turquoise waters and calm waves aren’t enough to sell you on a visit, maybe what’s located on and near the beach will. Seven Mile Beach Grand Cayman is home to many of the area’s best resorts, bars, restaurants, shops, natural wonders and more. It’s a popular destination that never seems to be too crowded. You will have no problem finding a peaceful space all your own right in the middle of it all.

 3. Scuba Diving

Devilishly deep drop-offs, wicked wreck dives and some of the coolest coral in the Caribbean have made the Cayman Islands a world-class dive destination. Grand Cayman’s North Wall plunges deeper than 1800 metres/6000 feet and offers beautiful wall diving with opportunities to see spotted eagle rays and sea turtles. Grand Cayman also offers accessible shore diving on great coral reefs with little to no current. Cayman Brac offers a good mix of wall, wreck and reef diving for all experience levels.

 4. Go to Hell

The tiny town of Hell is located in the West Bay area of Grand Cayman. It’s about a 10 minute drive north of Seven Mile Beach. You’ll know you’re there when you turn onto Hell Road!

 5. Cayman Turtle Center

Cayman’s largest land-based tourist attraction, Cayman Turtle Centre: Island Wildlife Encounter hosts more than 200,000 visitors each year. Educational, cultural and entertainment programmes are consistently being created and updated to enhance the experience that can only be found at our world-renowned attraction.

 6. Histoic Great House Pedro St James

Discover the unique heritage and culture of Cayman via this lovingly restored window into the 18th century that’s only a 20-minute drive from George Town. It a time in the Cayman Islands when most people lived in tiny, thatch-covered houses, a wealthy Englishman, using slave labour from Jamaica, created an astonishing 3-storey building called Pedro St. James.

 7. Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Garden

Enjoy the simple elegance of a traditional Caymanian garden with the startling beauty of an exotic floral display.  Spend an hour or two… or a full day! One thing is certain, each of our visitors will leave with a greater appreciation for the delicate balance of nature and the dedicated care in it’s preservation.

 8. The Crystal Caves

We stopped at the Crystal Caves during our short trip to the Caymans and were very happy with our decision. We’ve never seen anything like these caves and likely never will! Andre, our guide, was funny and very informative throughout our tour — he actually played in the caves as a kid! They take you through 3 cavesCayman Islands

 9. Mastic Trail

Mastic Trail is a 4.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Bodden Town, Cayman Islands, Cayman Islands that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round

 10. Visit Georgetown

It is well worth a trip to George Town, the capital of the Cayman Islands. It is the financial hub of the Cayman Islands and where the government conducts its business. It is also home to the high–end jewellery and beauty stores.

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Our top ten things to do in Greece

I am often asked how I have chosen the top 10 list, that I put up on my blog.  While in college I found it much easier to create a list when I started studying for a test or writing a term paper. Knowing that it is easy to understand why I create a top ten list, now as to how do I decide what goes on the list, simply put it is things I would like to do or have done in Greece.  I have chosen things on this list either because I have come across them while studying for certifications, personal experience, research, or client recommendations. Each of the item on the top 10 has a link, which will open a new window for more information.

 Let us know what you think of our list in the comments below the list. 

Santorini

“Santorini is a gorgeous Cycladic island that sure knows how to stop you on your tracks with its mesmerizing beauty. From its glorious sunsets and staggering multicolored cliffs to whitewashed buildings and ash-laden calderas, Santorini is definitely blessed with a unique landscape. Its beauty makes it one of the top spots to visit in all of Greece, but so does its delicious Greek food restaurants!”

Acropolis

“Visiting the Acropolis is one of the highlights of your visit to Athens, a must-see site that epitomises Ancient Greece. This rocky hill is topped by the Parthenon temple dedicated to Athena, Goddess of wisdom and war who planted the first olive tree on this very spot to found the city of Athens. On a visit in late February, we experienced warm and sunny weather, making Spring the ideal time to visit he Acropolis before the scorching heat and crowds of summer descend on Athens.”

 Knossos

“If you have an interest in Greek mythology and archaeology, then the ruins of Knossos Palace make for an interesting stop during a visit to the island of Crete.”

National Archaeological Museum 

The National Archaeological Museum of Athens, is not just the best museum in Athens. It is also the best museum in Greece, and dare I say, one of the best in the world. 

 Mountain of the Gods

“Being the largest mountain in Greece and the second highest in the Balkans, Mount Olympus understandably created awe to the ancient Greeks that believed that that was the place where their gods lived. The origin of its name is disputable since there are plenty of theories surrounding it. The most prominent is that “Olympus” meant sky”

 Cruise the Islands

“Cruise journeys keep you in rejuvenated mood in the midst of sea waters. In fact, such journeys make for an amazing family tour. Here, we have enlisted 11 best Greek island cruises you mustn’t miss out during your European vacation plan.”

 Rhodes

“Rhodes itself has a pretty long (sometimes turbulent) history, incredible natural beauty, stunning architecture, and of course lip-smacking food that I’m almost certain you’ll devour as soon as you touch down.”

 Greece’s beaches 

“Paradise Beach on the island of Mykonos attracts thousands of party lovers from across the globe every Summer. The golden sands and clear waters makes Paradise Beach Greece’s number one open-aired seafront clubbing destination – giving Ibiza a run for its money!”

 Patmos 

“The history of the Greek holy island of Patmos is fascinating. Initially, it was known as Letois after goddess Artemis, the daughter of Leto. Patmos is also referred to as Jerusalem of the Aegean and is popular among Greek orthodox people.”

 Delphi 

“As we walked to each section of Delphi, we were greeted with more and more ruins, as well as spectacular mountain views. “

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Three places to visit in Europe, if you Love Drinking Wine

A glass of Wine can tell you a story of the different wine regions and wineries in Europe when made with minimal use of oak.  Best way to experience European Wine Tours is to go on a Wine Tasting Holiday. From rooftop cocktails to river cruises here are the unmissable experiences in one of the Best Wine Destinations in Europe.

Wine consumption has held historical significance in Europe, and it is an integral part of the European culture. Wine is also an often-used ingredient in the cuisines of Europe be it Greek cuisine, Mediterranean cuisine, Spanish cuisine, French cuisine, Italian cuisine, or other cuisines.

The wine’s come in various varieties namely Red Wine, White Wine, Rose Wine, Sparkling Wine, etc. The sweetness of the wine, its alcohol content, and other aspects of its taste are decided by the winemaker. So, in every country, in every region, you stand a chance of tasting a wine that has a unique flavor. Given how common it is to find quality wines in Europe it is also common among travelers to either make wine sampling a part of their trip to Europe or they come to Europe specifically to go on the wine trail. So, some of the regions where the travelers go, to sample the local wines from the wineries are:

France – The consumption of wine is popular in French Culture. The French love to match wine with their food. It is commonplace for travelers to go on Wine Tours across the countryside of France. Those who do not have that much time on the itinerary go on Day tours for a wine tasting which is organized from cities like Paris. The regions of Burgundy, Chardonnay, Bordeaux, Rhone Valley, etc. are world-famous for their wines.

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Italy – Italy is one of the largest producers of wine in the world. Just like the French, their wine is also world-famous. Wines from regions like Prosecco are valued the world over. They have been producing wine since the pre-Roman period. Other famous wine-producing regions in Italy include the Tuscan region, the Piedmont region, and the Lombardy region. In Italy, the concept of agritourism is very popular. In this concept travelers often rent out farmhouses or rooms in farmhouses so that they are closer to nature and also, they can taste the local cuisine and the local wine. Wine tours are also common here.

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Spain – Spain is one of the top three wine-producing countries in the world. While many parts of Spain produce wine, but it is only the world-renowned regions where wine tasting tours happen. Regions like La Rioja Alavesa, Ribera del Duero, Marco de Jerez, Priorat, Navarre, etc. are some of the major regions where wine tasting tours happen. As the Spaniards prefer to combine their food with wine it is common for quite a few places to serve Spanish fare along with wines during such tours.

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So, when traveling in Europe it will be a very common feature for a traveler to find a locally produced wine accompanying their food. Even a small island like Santorini in Greece serves its own style of wine along with its local cuisine. This is why traveling on a wine tasting journey to Europe can be like traveling through a wonderland with so many varieties of wine on offer. So, the best thing for you to do is to consult a travel expert so that they can curate the ‘best’ wine experiences for you so that you can have a trip of your lifetime!

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Our top ten things to do in Ireland!

I am often asked how I have chosen the top 10 list, that I put up on my blog.  While in college I found it much easier to create a list when I started studying for a test or writing a term paper. Knowing that it is easy to understand why I create a top ten list, now as to how do I decide what goes on the list, simply put it is things I would like to do or have done in Ireland.  I have chosen things on this list either because I have come across them while studying for certifications, personal experience, research, or client recommendations. Each of the item on the top 10 has a link, which will open a new window for more information.

 Let us know what you think of our list in the comments below the list. 

1. Croagh Patrick

‘But the mountain got its name from Ireland’s Patron Saint, St. Patrick. The story goes that after spending 40 days and nights fasting at the mountain peak, St Patrick was set upon by demons and snakes. He promptly banished them from the island. Ireland has been a snake free zone ever since!’

2. Stay in a castle

‘We’ve all heard the stories about “once upon a time” where a Prince heroically saves a Princess in some sort of way and they live together in a magnificent castle, so naturally, fairytale castles hold a special place in our hearts.’

 3. Guinness Storehouse

‘Nearly 6 years ago, I had the opportunity to visit one of the most iconic beer landmarks in the entire world. I was on my first ever trip abroad between my sophomore and junior year of college and had just finished studying abroad in Spain.’

 4. Giant’s Causeway

‘The Giant’s Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking hexagonal columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption.

However, legend says that the columns are the remains of a causeway built by a giant (Finn MacCool) to use as a bridge to Scotland. MacCool was challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Benandonner. MacCool accepted the challenge and built the causeway so the two could meet. However, MacCool outwitted Benandonner, leading him to flee back to Scotland, destroying the causeway along the way so MacCool could not follow.’

5.  Sean’s bar

‘Welcome to Sean’s Bar. Located in the town of Athlone, which is a 90-minute drive due west from Dublin, Sean’s Bar is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland, especially after its claims of being the oldest pub in Ireland were accepted by the Guinness Book of World Records back in 2000.’

6. Ring of Kerry

‘Driving the Ring of Kerry was a fantastic experience full of quintessential Irish sights- colourful towns, green fields, craggy cliffs, small islands, windswept beaches, low mountains, castle ruins, and ancient stone forts.’

 7.  Bushmills Distillery

‘The Old Bushmills Distillery produces single malt—that’s it. “We’ve always stayed true to 100% malted barley,” explains Master Blender Helen Mulholland. That’s really the history of Irish whiskey on the whole as well; at least until the Crown imposed taxes on malted barley. That of course led to an evolution of Irish whiskey based on the usage of unmalted barley’

 8.  Leap Castle

‘There is stiff competition for the title of “Ireland’s Most Haunted Castle”. Yet if the history of the castle is the single deciding factor, then there is only one clear winner, and that is Leap Castle in Offaly. People have dwelt on the site of the castle since at least 500BC, and possibly even back to neolithic times.’

 9.  Spike Island

‘Spike Island sits in Corks harbour, one of the world’s largest natural harbours. It is 104 acres, half a mile in length and one third of a mile in breadth. Its prime location has been the reason for its use as a monastery, defence and prison. Its history is rich and varied. The town of Cobh looks across the harbour to it. In September 2017, at the World Travel Awards, Spike Island was named ‘Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction’, ahead of the Acropolis in Athens, Buckingham Palace in London, and the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It is one of the tourist attractions that Cork has to offer.’

 10. Cliffs of Moher

‘A cold wind blows as I walk along the legendary Cliffs of Moher. The most famous natural landmark in Ireland rises dramatically out of the ocean, waves crashing into rocks far below.’

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Get off the mainland!

When you go to Greece, it’s really a must to hit the Greek islands. Not only is it what the country is famous for. Each of the Greek islands has something unique, and each of them has its own, good reason to go to it. 

Let’s start with a half dozen:

 Milos: Have you ever been to a beach with sand that’s so white it looks like snow? That’s Milos – an unreal, un-crowded Greek island that’s like something out of a movie – or maybe an alien planet. From beach relaxation to cliff jumping for the adrenaline junkies, Milos has it all! 

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Mykonos: Here’s the classic Greek party island. Overrun and overcrowded? Maybe. But there’s a reason. Mykonos is the place to be in the Aegean. Nightlife galore. Food to die for. Pristine white buildings that feel like a movie set. This island has it all, and well earns its crowds! However, unlike some of the smaller, laid-back Greek islands, you can’t just show up here and expect to find a decent accomodation. For the best hotels, book with 3-6 months of anticipation.

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Naxos: This is one of the more picturesque islands in the Aegean. Here you can drive (or hike!) up into the hills and catch a spectacular view of a delightful, quaint town across the valley. Perfect for families, this is an island where you can bring your kids to relax – or run all around, if that’s what the kids prefer doing! 

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Paros: This island is the ideal place to take a break from all the running around to ancient ruins. And just chill. Where else can you stand on a stone dock on the shores of the Mediterranean, and gaze at the pile of vibrant white houses on the hill beyond, topped by a two-spited white cathedral? A less touristy island than many, the locals here are fantastic. And the food – often straight from the sea – is, if possible, even better. A must-see in this stunning country. 

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Antiparos: Does this name resemble any other island we’ve talked about? Paros, maybe? Well, as you might suppose, Antiparos is located right next to Paros – a mere five minute ferry ride away. But in terms of tranquility, it’ll feel like you stepped into Heaven. Not that Paros is a bustling metropolis, but Antiparos is even more tranquil – and the water is, somehow, even more translucent and blue! 

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Sifnos: If you’ve never tried Greek cooking, you’re going to want to, on Sifnos. This island’s most famous inhabitant is Nicholas Tselementes, who – in 1910 – wrote the first Greek cookbook. And on this island, a feast is just a matter of course. It’s not just moussaka; it’s stewed capers and chickpea croquettes and stewed capers are taverna staples, and potteries that produce the casseroles used for revitháda (baked chickpeas) and mastello (lamb with red wine and dill).

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Our top ten things to do in New Orleans

I am often asked how I have chosen the top 10 list, that I put up on my blog.  While in college I found it much easier to create a list when I started studying for a test or writing a term paper. Knowing that it is easy to understand why I create a top ten list, now as to how do I decide what goes on the list, simply put it is things I would like to do or have done in New Orleans.  I have chosen things on this list either because I have come across them while studying for certifications, personal experience, research, or client recommendations. Each of the item on the top 10 has a link, which will open a new window for more information.

 Let us know what you think of our list in the comments below the list. 

  1. Festivals

“Part of what makes New Orleans such a great place to visit, are the various festivals. Below we’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular festivals that take place annually in NOLA. Whether you’re into food fests or are only in town for the local musicians, there’s sure to be one festival that suits your fancy!”

2. Music

“New Orleans may have been named one of National Geographic’s 10 Essential Sounds of America for its position as the birthplace of Jazz, but jazz isn’t the only music genre with unique ties to the Crescent City.”

 3. French Quarter

“As the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans, the French Quarter exudes history. It houses centuries-old buildings and holds millions of stories. From museums to shops to bars and restaurants, there is plenty to do in the Quarter. Below are our top 10 things to check out during your next visit to the French Quarter.”

 4. Sports 

“New Orleans and sporting events are almost as synonymous as New Orleans and Mardi Gras. You can truly read the city’s heartbeat through the success of the New Orleans football team. On a Sunday game day, it seems nearly every local in the city has on their black and gold. Whether you travel to New Orleans to root on the home team or the opponent, the energy is irreplaceable and a considerable part of making New Orleans a unique city in the U.S. Football is undoubtedly at the top of the New Orleans sports hierarchy, but not the only intriguing and exciting option.”

5.  New Orleans Cemeteries and Haunted Tour

“Whether or not you believe in ghosts, you can’t deny that New Orleans has a supernatural atmosphere. Between the city’s history of Voodoo practice, tales of vampires, hauntingly beautiful above-ground cemeteries, and secret torture chambers, there are plenty of spooky tales to go around. If you want to learn about this fabled side of New Orleans, take a haunted tour! What better time than the Fall, with Halloween approaching? We’ve made a list of our favorite”

6. National World War 2 Museum

“Three levels of World War II memorabilia await, including huge model displays that you can drive toy tanks over and replicas of life-size submarines, as well as life-size bunkers you can walk inside, thousands of artifacts from guns to patches and flags to uniforms. The museum could quite literally have been picked up from Washington, D.C. alongside any of the other Smithsonian’s buildings and been dropped here overnight.”

 7.  Mardi Gras

“In the name of helping other travelers do more during Mardi Gras than roam Bourbon Street and eat at Café du Monde, here’s a unique first timer’s guide to Mardi Gras in New Orleans to immerse you in New Orleans’ craziest season. Includes practical advice, offbeat tips, and plenty of planning resources.

 8.  Culinary Tour

“If you tell someone you are going to New Orleans, you’ll immediately get a list of all the great places to eat from them. We put a question up on our Facebook page asking what people loved about New Orleans and nearly everyone mentioned their favourite place to eat! That’s because New Orleans food is one of a kind.

 9.  Swamp Tour

“There is a ton to do in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana but a must do is to wander out of the city for an authentic New Orleans Louisiana Swamp Tour. I visited NOLA this past October for my friend, Ashley’s, Bachelorette party. Being 20 weeks pregnant at the time, seeing the swamp tour on the itinerary was something I was really looking forward to. It was the perfect day activity to chill, see something new and be outside.”

 10. Plantation Tour

“No visit to New Orleans, Baton Rouge, or Lafayette in south Louisiana would be complete without exploring the New Orleans plantations, some of America’s most interesting, and tragic, history. Mixed in with present day farms and scattered houses are the restored Antebellum-era “big house” plantations, some with refurbished outbuildings and slave cabins.”

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Our top ten things to do in Bahamas

I am often asked how I have chosen the top 10 list, that I put up on my blog.  While in college I found it much easier to create a list when I started studying for a test or writing a term paper. Knowing that it is easy to understand why I create a top ten list, now as to how do I decide what goes on the list, simply put it is things I would like to do or have done in Bahamas.  I have chosen things on this list either because I have come across them while studying for certifications, personal experience, research, or client recommendations. Each of the item on the top 10 has a link, which will open a new window for more information.

 Let us know what you think of our list in the comments below the list. 

1. Pirates of Nassau

“The Pirates of Nassau Museum is one of those museums that really will entertain the whole family. Whether your children are toddlers or a little older, they’ll find plenty to see and do at this unique Caribbean museum.”

2. Lucayan National Park

“The hiking trails are easy for most anyone who would visit the park and the guide at the beginning gave us a great description to barely even need the map. Hiking around the top loop, you’ll visit Ben’s Cave, a Sea Cave and Hammock, as well as a burial ground from earlier inhabitants. The caves are quite impressive and the hike is a beautiful walk along Bahamian flora and fauna”

 3. Pompey Museum of Slavery & Emancipation

To most cruisers, a day in Nassau generally entails some time at the beach bookend by shopping at the straw market and a drink at the perpetual Spring Break of Senor Frogs. The Bahamas cruise port is not known for high cultural or historic significance; but those willing to skip a day at the beaches can take a journey and explore the emancipation story of the African slave population in the tropical New World.

 4. Paradise Island

“Atlantis Paradise Island, a renowned oceanfront vacation destination for all ages, showcases one of the world’s largest outdoor marine habitats with educational and interactive marine programs featuring dolphins, sea lions, and other aquatic animals. Its 141-acre Aquaventure water park with exhilarating water slides, 11 distinct pools, and miles of white-sand beaches also underscore the outstanding features of this expansive resort. “

5. Scuba Diving

“If you’re getting set to go scuba diving in The Bahamas, prepare to be amazed. Not only are the beaches stunning and the marine life thriving in this part of the world, travelers can island hop in this tropical archipelago to experience multiple scuba sites. Many people go to this island chain just to dive and depending on how long you’re there, you’ll be able to scuba dive off the coasts of many different islands, some uninhabited.”

6. Fort Charlotte

“By day, Nassau Paradise Island is a sun-drenched, picture-perfect vacation destination. But at night, do things get a little eerie in Paradise? According to local lore, some of the most popular and historic sites in and around Nassau are haunted! And with The Bahamas’ colorful history as a pirate hangout, it’s no surprise these chilling tales have been passed down. “

 7.  Nassau Straw Market

“A shopping highlight for many visitors to Nassau and the nearby resorts on Paradise Island, the Bay Street straw market is a favorite for locally-crafted souvenirs and other Bahamian finds. Bay Street itself is lined with quirky shops, restaurants and bars, but it’s the bartering and handmade goods that make the straw market a must-visit for vacationers and cruise goers alike. Open every day of the week, from 8 am to 8 pm, the straw market is conveniently located just a few minutes walk from the cruise port.”

 8.  The Heritage Museum of the Bahamas

“I was thrilled to learn that my friends were arriving via cruise with a port of call in Nassau. Although they only had a few hours to spend here, I knew exactly where to take them for an enjoyable and memorable time. I made sure I showed them the historic Graycliff — the first 5-star luxury hotel and restaurant in the Caribbean.”

 9.  The Garden of the Groves

Arrival at Freeport on Grand Bahama Island was again early in the morning. We booked a Carnival shore excursion here that would include the Garden of the Groves botanical gardens and the Lucaya marketplace. Upon arriving at the gangway at 8:00 a.m., we discovered the weather had taken a turn. Nassau had been beautiful and sunny. 

 10. The Swimming Pigs

“You float across the shimmering waters of Exuma’s 365 cays and islands, and the view reminds you that things just can’t get any better. Like the ice in your crisp and cool tropical beverage, your heart begins to melt.Your boat approaches an ivory-white beach, and 20-something adorable pigs and piglets hastily make their way to you for a playful encounter in the shallow waters.Welcome to Pig Island… Where all pigs go to heaven.”

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Greece has ancient history. But even Ancient Greece had ancient history!

The ruins of the city of Mycenae – located in the Peloponnese, in the south of the Greek mainland – represent an entire civilizations that flourished in the second millenium BCE (1000-2000 BCE). And dominated the Greek landscape in times that date back to the fall of Troy. Back to what was ancient history even as the Ancient Greeks, like Homer, were telling stories about it.

Have you heard of King Agamemnon? He was a mythical king – and the brother-in-law of the famous Helen of Troy. Who may not have been so Mythical. Mycenae is where he is purported to have ruled.

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The Mycenaean culture is sort of a pre-Greece to the Ancient Greeks. By the time of Herodotus, this was already long deserted and almost a thousand years old. But, for a long time – long before the dominance of Greek city-states like Athens and Sparta – the Mycenaean culture dominated the Greek mainland. 

The well-preserved city is, frankly, amazing. Even the Ancient Greeks marvelled at it, crediting the creation of the high stone walls to the Cyclops, because they couldn’t otherwise conceive of how it had been done. The architecture is quite different from that of other Greek ruins. There are no columns here! Rather, Mycenae is made up of huge blocks of stone, and – in ways – bears more resemblance to Machu Picchu than to the Acropolis.

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There are other benefits to visiting Mycenae, too. Mycenae lies away from the beaten tourist path, which means that visitors will glimpse a part of the country that’s not as familiar with tourists. It’s more authentic, and the people won’t be after getting the most euros out of your wallet; they’ll be genuinely friendly. You can dine out and taste the true flavours of southern Greece. You can buy souvenirs that are truly authentic. 

Many people come as a day trip from Athens, because the drive only is about an hour and a half. But if you don’t stay closer to this ancient stronghold, you’re really missing out on the experience. Mycenae is well worth at least a full day to visit – not just for the ruined city, but for the joy of exploring the Peloponnese. Stay somewhere closer, like the Apollon Hotel in Argos, a mere 11km south of the ruins.

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And as you’re coming here – or leaving back to Athens – the ruined city of Corinth is well worth a visit. Yes, it’s the place where Saint Paul was sending his many letters to the “Corinthians”. It’s definitely rich in history – and features prominently in the shared knowledge of Westerners.

A visit to Mycenae is truly special. It will be unlike anything else you do in Greece: ancient or modern. So give this ancient-ancient city a chance – and let it amaze you!

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Three things guests love about… Sandals Grande St. Lucian. A full review.

repoated from Sandals Blog

By Kylie Morrow | October 7th 2019


Sandals Grande St. Lucian in a nutshell

Accommodation Type: 5 star all-inclusive resort (adults-only).
Location: Pigeon Point, Saint Lucia.

Recommended airport: Hewanorra International Airport (UVF).
Transfer time to resort: 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Best Sandals resort for:
Sandals Grande St. Lucian is located on its own peninsula, on one of the most beautiful beaches. The resort offers an excellent spa, some amazing scuba diving and access to two Sandals golf courses. Stay in 1 resort, play at 3!

Atmosphere: Sophisticated, Laid back, Social.

Restaurants:
12 restaurants on-property
9 restaurants at Sandals Regency La Toc
6 restaurants at Sandals Halcyon Beach

Overall review of Sandals Grande St. Lucian

sandals grande saint lucian main pool

Sandals Grande St. Lucian is located in the picturesque and historic Pigeon Island in the north of Saint Lucia. Once an island, but now linked to the mainland, the area remains relatively private, and just as beautiful, if not more so, than ever before. The largest Sandals resort in Saint Lucia, Sandals ‘Grande’ also attracts great guest satisfaction. In fact, of over 8,000 reviews, 88% (!) voted their stay at Sandals Grande St. Lucian as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Very good’.

The sunny shores of Sandals Grande St. Lucian are enough to keep you smiling throughout your vacation in Saint Lucia; there’s just something about the ambiance that’s uplifting, and happy. The resort is especially popular with honeymooners, though some prefer the intimacy and quietude of the Sandals Halcyon Beach. For Sandals Grande St. Lucian, here are the top three things guests love most about the resort:

Three things guests love about Sandals Grande St. Lucian

1. Guests love the famous gourmet crepes.

sandals grande saint lucian josephine's gourmet creperie

Discover the sweet life at Josephine’s Gourmet Creperie during your stay at Sandals Grande. Of the 12 amazing restaurants at the resort, this one stands out for its authentic French crêpes and mouthwatering desserts. At Josephine’s Gourmet Creperie you’ll find sweet and savory treats including crêpes stuffed with chicken and spinach and mouthwatering apple and oat crumble. For lunch or dinner, try the Jerk shack for traditional and contemporary Jerk Style Cuisine. When the sun goes down, there’s lots to explore, but it’s worth fitting the Olde London Pub into your schedule for an upscale gastro pub experience.

Insider tip: The most popular restaurants at Sandals Grande St. Lucian require a reservation. Make sure to make some dinner reservations on arrival, especially during peak season! For dress-codes and opening times, see: restaurants at Sandals Grande St. Lucian.

2. Guests love JJ’s Speedboat Tour around the Pitons.

the pitons on the saint lucian coast

There’s a lot to do and see around Saint Lucia, and fortunately for guests who stay at Sandals Grande St. Lucian, quite a few attractions can be found near the resort. Even with that said, during your Saint Lucia vacation you’ll have lots of time to explore the rest of the island, and a highly recommended option is JJ’s Speedboat Tour excursion around the Pitons. You’ll enjoy amazing views from the water, with a tour that’s faster paced than the traditional. Once you get to Soufriere, you’ll enjoy land stops in the Sulphur Springs which is great for a skin nourishing mud bath, and at a local waterfall. You’ll also get to enjoy some snorkeling in one of the best places for diving in Saint Lucia, drinks, and a buffet lunch.

3. Guests love the Red Lane Spa.

couple enjoying a relaxing massage at the red lane spa in sandals grande saint lucian

There’s an exclusive yet laid back feel to the Sandals Grande experience, and the Red Lane Spa, often described as ‘magical’, is also a combination of both. You’ll feel relaxed yet pampered with the endless options of private sessions that you can choose from at the spa. Try the new Night Blooming Jasmine Massage, a Happy Hour Mani & Pedi, or simply a Salt Bath Soak. You’re guaranteed to leave feeling more rejuvenated than you did when you arrived.

A relaxed resort with wonderful staff, you’ll feel right at home at Sandals Grande St. Lucian. While there, or before booking your trip, read up on the in-demand Over-the-Water Bungalows at the resort and the Sandals Golf and Country Club, which is located nearby. Guests at Sandals Grande also have access to two other resorts in Saint Lucia, Sandals Halcyon Beach, and Sandals Regency La Toc, which means more food, and more fun!

Popular tours and excursion at Sandals Grande St. Lucian

Soufriere Experience.

guest enjoying a dip in the mineral mud bath

Board your speedboat on the beach and cruise down the west coast of the island to Soufriere before heading further south to Anse L’Irvogne. Along the way you’ll be able to marvel at the majestic twin peaks of the Pitons, a UNESCO world heritage site, before docking at the Soufriere Harbor.

Then we’ll switch up the transportation and start a relaxing drive through Soufriere to the famous drive in volcano. Here you can take a therapeutic dip in the mineral mud bath before heading to the Toraille Waterfall and botanical gardens for a refreshing swim. Enjoy a freshly prepared creole buffet lunch before returning to the boat for the homeward journey; we’ll make a quick stop at Anse Cochon for snorkeling and swimming on the way, before a final stop at the beautiful Marigot Bay.

Insider tip: Sandals Grande St. Lucian repeat guests often recommend to spend at least one (half) day outside of the resort to explore the island. The famous Pitons are a must see! Make sure to book tours and excursions before arrival to ensure availability.

Treetop Zip Trip.

guest having fun on the treetop zip trip

Trained guides take you on the ride of your life. The zip line ride is a system of integrated cables and rigging designed for maximum thrill and exposure to the best views of the rainforest. Our course consists of 12 zip lines – including the island’s longest, fastest and highest. Our lines extend up to 800 feet between platforms and reach heights up to 150 feet above the forest floor. Between zips there is plenty of time to take in the unique panoramic views and observe the magnificent flora and fauna indigenous to the forest. After the ride, relax and enjoy complimentary local refreshments while surrounded by the beauty and serenity of nature.

Soufriere Adventure Cruise.

guests having fun on board the soufriere adventure cruise

Take a relaxing catamaran day cruise down the West Coast to Soufriere. Guests will enjoy the rugged beauty of the coastline and the spectacular view of the majestic Pitons. In Soufriere, a walking tour of the Sulphur Springs and the lush Botanical Gardens takes one to the picturesque Diamond Waterfall. After lunch at a local restaurant, recommence your catamaran cruise to Anse Cochon for some snorkeling. Then it’s on to the quaint town of Marigot Bay for a photo opportunity.

Expert tip: Still not sure which Sandals resort is right for you? Read ‘Which Sandals resort is best for you? The ultimate guide’ and find out!

Recent Sandals Grande St. Lucian Awards

Awards Sandals Grande St. Lucian won in the past 5 years alone, not counting the awards that were won by Sandals Resorts as a chain:

  • World Travel Awards: Saint Lucia’s Leading Resort 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019.
  • World Travel Awards: Saint Lucia’s Best Resort Spa 2016, 2017, 2018 (Red Lane Spa).
  • American Academy of Hospitality Sciences: Five Star Diamond Award 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018.
  • World Travel Awards: Saint Lucia’s Best Spa Resort 2016.
  • Flight Centre: Best Honeymoon Resort 2016.
  • MLT Vacations Quality Assurance Awards 2014, 2015.

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