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So you got to Dubai. Where to eat?

Dubai may not be as renowned as Singapore for its gastronomical delights – but does it surprise you that there’s no shortage of excellent dining options here? This is a world-class destination, after all! If you’re spending some time in Dubai, you have to make it to at least one of these restaurants; ideally, all of them! 

● At Al Mahara, in the Burj Al-Arab, Dubai’s swankiest hotel, star chef Nathan Outlaw – awarded two Michelin stars – carries you in a make-believe submarine ride to a restaurant with wall-high aquariums that make it appear like it’s underwater. The theme – as one might expect – is seafood, and the top-rated chef is constantly coming up with great dishes, making this one of the best places to eat in Dubai. 

● Al Hadheerah is the restaurant of the Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, set out away from the city in the midst of the sand dunes. This restaurant has fourteen live cooking stations, where skilled chefs prepare authentic Arabian food, while guests are serenaded with live entertainment. If you’re looking for local flavours, look no further! For an extra helping of culture, the Emirati Heritage Museum is nearby. 

● If you like Asian fusion, you’ll adore Zheng He’s, where traditional Chinese flavours blend with modern Western presentation. The food is authentic – some of the best Chinese food you’ll find outside of China – and the ambience is spectacular, with mellow-lit tables out on the dock, overlooking the splendid Burl Al-Arab hotel. For any true foodie, this is a must-stop – and for anyone who just likes Chinese!

● Fancy Japanese food? You can find it in Dubai, at the Atlantis Hotel’s star restaurant, Nobu – a chain created by globally renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa. Here you’ll get the best and most modern take on Japanese, blended with the Arabian influence that makes food in Dubai so special. Try seared black cod served with sweet miso sauce, or yellowtail topped with jalapeño. And if you want to learn the restaurant’s secrets, sign up for one of their cooking classes! 

● At Choix Patisserie and Restaurant, three-Michelin-star-rated French chef Pierre Gagnaire takes creative cuisine to its limit. Located at the InterContinental Dubai Festival City, this restaurant is famous in the city – and beyond – especially with its high tea. Enjoy European and British flavours like the fish of the day, beef rib eye, or mushroom tortellini. 

● Trust Dubai to offer something a little unique – which it does at Table 9, where Gordon Ramsay-trained chefs Nick Alvis and Scott Price have created a casual but memorable dining experience. Here a multitude of different chefs showcase their creativity and try to outdo one another. Table 9 is famed throughout Dubai for the entirely unique quality dishes that it brings to the table – each with personalized service. Options include a four-course menu, or seasonal favourites like king crab ravioli and portobello mushroom carpaccio. 

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Two Backpacking Cities in Europe, you can’t miss!

If there is one continent that is the most frequented by tourists and travelers alike, it is Europe. Europe’s western part is dotted with historical sites, marketplaces, cultural attractions, and gastronomical experiences. Now, while the common perception about Europe is that it is an expensive destination, numerous backpacker experiences have proved otherwise. Provided our trip is planned in the sense that we have a clear itinerary, we know which transportation passes to take, we are clear on which hostels to stay on the way, we have researched in advance about where to eat, our trip would turn out to be quite an economical and yet adventurous one.

Two western European cities which are most popular with backpackers are-

Amsterdam – The capital of The Netherlands, this city is known for its canals, cobblestoned streets, coffee shops, the famous Rijksmuseum, and a lot more. Commonly, the city tends to have a cozy vibe. Travelling within the city is easier here as there are numerous shops from where you can hire bikes.

Amsterdam Highlights 

If art and history interest you, then Amsterdam is your place to be. Famous for the Vincent van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum, and the Anne Frank House, these sites are a must visit. If you love your drink then you can’t miss the Heineken Experience, a historical brewery that is now run as a corporate experience center. If you are visiting this city for a gastronomical experience, then Amsterdam would not disappoint you. One would find numerous cuisines from across the world being served here including the famous coffee shops it brings in legacy. Food Festivals are quite common in Amsterdam which happen all year round. A backpacker has numerous options to stay in Amsterdam as there are many hostels present here apart from hotels. We have given you enough reasons for you to visit this beautiful city which can be done on a shoestring budget.

Paris – The capital of France is popularly known as a city of the romantics. Its monuments like the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Arc de Triomphe, etc. require no introduction. This city is a must-visit on every backpacker’s bucket list. While Paris has got the ability to cater to the wealthiest of travelers through its chic hotels, fashion streets, and Michelin star restaurants, the backpacker also finds that he has numerous options at hand. 

Paris Highlights Paris is a city which has a lot of museums, but it is Louvre which is the most famous as it houses the most famous painting in the world, the Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo da Vinci. Montmartre in Paris is famous for lovely pastries and bread at economical prices. France is a country which is world-famous for wine so one cannot miss the numerous food and wine tasting tours being organized here which cater to all budgets. The Rue de Steinkerque is a place where one can shop within a budget. Paris provides numerous options for backpackers to stay including hostels and bed and breakfast accommodations. No wonder backpackers make a beeline to Paris.

So, whenever you are thinking of going on a backpacking tour, do not hesitate for a second before zeroing down on Europe. This place has every type of attraction one can think of. All one needs to do is plan well in advance. If the situation arises, do not hesitate before taking the help of travel experts while planning a trip so that they can help you with their expertise and make your trip even more memorable. So, do not wait anymore, start planning now!

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Mediterranean Islands in Europe which is are a must visit!

Is it the sea, the strange sense of security, or just that wonderful feeling of escaping from life on the mainland that makes an island break so special? Whatever the exact chemistry, islands make brilliant holiday destinations, and nowhere more so than in the Mediterranean in summer. With the help of our experts, we’ve created the definitive list for this summer

The Mediterranean, or the Med as it’s often abbreviated to, defines a group of twenty-one countries. Each country is unique and has its own distinct culture. With so many different destinations to choose from, it’s not easy deciding which is the perfect one for your getaway break. The tourists make a beeline to the rivieras over here, in the summer season, to sample the Mediterranean Sun, sand, and sea. That said, the best places where one can sample the best of what the Mediterranean Sea has to offer is the Mediterranean islands.

Some of the best Mediterranean islands which one can visit are –

Santorini (Greece) – This volcanic island is world-famous for its black sand beaches, white houses, blue domes, bazaars, blue sea, etc. It is a place where you can sample some of the best seafood which the Aegean (a sea which is a part of the Mediterranean region) can offer. The ambience of Santorini island is unmatchable. Tourists make it a point to observe the sunset from Santorini as it is a vision that one can never forget.

Mykonos (Greece) – This island, also a part of the Cyclades Archipelago like Santorini is famous for its azure blue sea and sandy beaches. The seaside restaurants serving cuisine which includes seafood fresh from the sea is another attraction. Tourists in their bathing suits either swimming or sunbathing is a common sight on the beaches of Mykonos. In the evening the dance clubs are a popular attraction for the visitors as Mykonos is one of the hubs of Electronic Dance Music.

Ibiza (Spain) – A part of the Balearic Islands, Ibiza is famous for its nightlife. That said, there are numerous activities in Ibiza like scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, jet boating, etc. for the adventurous streak. Those who wish to indulge in cultural tourism can check out the archaeological sites of Sa Caleta and Puig des Molins too. The Renaissance-era fortified upper town of Ibiza, also known as Alto Vila, is also worth a visit. Ibiza has often been considered a victim of its image as a party destination but, the reality is that parts of Ibiza are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. So, when here, you are assured to get a sample of a bit of the modern world, the neo-modern world, and also the early modern world.

Sardinia (Italy) – This large island is surrounded by azure blue seas and sandy beaches. It consists of historical towns and archaeological sites as well and is a traveler’s delight. In comparison to other islands in the Mediterranean, this island offers options like trekking, in the hinterland, as well. The main town of Cagliari is a place popular for shopping on the island. The famous beaches on the island include Chia Beach, Costa Esmerelda, Lu Impostu, etc. The cuisine of Sardinia, to which fresh seafood and wine are integral, is a must-have when visiting the island.

These are just four of the many more islands which can be found in the Mediterranean region which offer simply magical experiences. Consult a travel expert so that they can help you with the destination you would like to visit. So, do not think twice. Start preparing for a trip which you would remember for a lifetime!

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UNESCO tour, anyone?

Greece has a lot of UNESCO world heritage sites – far more than you might expect for a nation of only 130,000 square kilometres. Touring the country, one is never far from a site of world heritage – and truly world heritage, because the ideas that came out of Greece have expanded into something that’s truly global. 

Greece has 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, with 14 more awaiting official nomination. In other words, if you want to know the history of the whole world – particularly, the civilisation that’s enveloped it – start here. 

Every Greek tourist knows about the Acropolis in Athens. Many may have heard of Delphi, or the ancient-ancient city of Mycenae. We’re going to take an up-close look into some of the less-known ones: 

Sanctuary of Asklepius at Epidaurus: this site was famous throughout ancient times as a healing centre. It was believed that a god had been born here. Patients would sleep in a special dormitory, and then recount their dreams to a priest, who would suggest a method of healing. Epidaurus is also home to an ancient theatre – the best preserved in modern Greece – with such good acoustics that, if you stand in the centre and speak, people sitting anywhere in the stands can clearly hear you.

Meteora: on sheer rocks that seem to rise from the forest below, seemingly built, or placed there by God, monks in the 13th century constructed a whole host of monasteries. Today, six of the original twenty-four are still open, and provide a breathtaking introduction to medieval Greek culture. 

Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki: Located in the far north of Greece, the city of Thessaloniki was the second-most-important centre of the Byzantine empire. Immerse yourself in the history here, and discover a period when this part of Greece was very connected to Eastern Europe and Turkey, all joined under one of the most powerful empires of the modern age. 

Old Town of Corfu: the most recently-added Greek UNESCO site (in 2007), The old town of Corfu blends the architectural style of the Greek islands with that of Venice. It has large two- or three-storey buildings, and the second largest square in Europe (after Venice’s Piazza San Marco) – Spianada Square. 

Monastery of Saint John and Cave of Apocalypse in Patmos: this is where – according to tradition – Saint John the Theologian was inspired to write the Book of Revelation (the last book of the Bible). It remains an important Christian pilgrimage site, as does the entire island of Patmos. The main city, Chora, is extremely picturesque and home to this 10th century monastery, which stands on a hill in the middle of the city. 

Delos: the island where the god Apollo was born, according to mythology. It was long a pilgrimage centre of the ancients. Close to Mykonos (and easy to get to from there), the entire island is uninhabited and has become an open-air museum.

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Make a trip to Dubai into a beach getaway

Dubai is better known for its oversized malls than as a spot to spend a relaxing day at the beach. But Dubai has beaches! Situated right on the Persian Gulf, Dubai is a prime destination for soaking up the sun – dressed modestly, of course!

 Here’s a list of the city’s best beaches:

 ● The Beach at JBR. As the name might suggest, the beach is here. The Beach is near the Dubai Marina in the south, and offers a Dubai-sized variety of restaurants, retail, and fun. There’s a cushioned jogging track and outdoor gym. Then, when you’re tired from the workout, there are cabanas for hire. When the temperature isn’t murderous (i.e., October to April) there are also open-air markets, and free yoga sessions four mornings a week. 

● Kite Beach. This beach is named for the flocks of kitesurfers who frequent the area. It’s Dubai’s top spot for water sports: wakeboarding, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. Fully equipped with washrooms and changing facilities, free Wifi, beach tennis or volleyball, cafes, and a fleet of food trucks serving burgers and kebabs. 

● La Mer. La Mer is a lively dining, shopping, and entertainment precinct, located in the heart of Old Dubai. It’s got colorful cabanas for hire. A trampoline playground for the kids. Restaurants galore. And a water park – for when the beach itself isn’t fun enough – with five water slides and a surf machine. 

● Sunset Beach. This beach – also known as Umm Suqeim Beach – is right next to Umm Suqeim Park. It’s a good beach for families, and you’ll probably see some local kids while you’re there.There are washrooms, showers and changing cubicles, plus Smart Palms that supply free Wi-Fi to beachgoers. It’s also Dubai’s only real surfing beach – for beginners – with small to medium swells. And, as the name might suggest, it’s an ideal spot to watch the sun go down!

 ● Riva Beach Club. Want to go to the beach on the palm? Riva is one of Dubai’s private beach clubs, with affordable day passes – which often include free drinks and other perks. Swim in the ocean, and then freshen up in a pool that’s chilled during the hottest time of summer. Eat at an excellent Mediterranean restaurant, and then stop for cocktails at the gazebo bar. 

● Nikki Beach. If you didn’t think of Dubai as a beach resort spot, that means you haven’t been to Nikki Beach yet. This place takes luxury and relaxation to the next level, complete with white sand, turquoise water, endless palm trees, and a swim-up bar. However, you’ll have to leave the kids in the hotel room for this one. Anyone under twenty-one is not permitted. 

● Black Palace Beach. This may not be the easiest beach to find – but it’s well worth it when you get here! It’s squarely between Palm Jumeirah and Burj Al Arab in Al Sufouh. (Your phone or your travel agent can help you get here.) Black Palace Beach lacks the facilities common in most Dubai beaches – but that’s part of this place’s secretive nature. It’s a haven for locals and expats who are in the know, and not at all a spot overrun by tourists. 

● Al Mamzar Beach Park. North of the city, near the border to the emirate of Sharjah, lies a whole complex. Al Mamzar has five sandy beaches, a swimming pool, playgrounds, and 260 acres of gardens. Bring the whole family. Eat a picnic at one of the 25 designated spots – each complete with barbecues. Rent bikes and zip around on the bike paths. Take the kids on the train. But men, be aware: Mondays and Wednesdays are “Ladies’ Days”, when males over age 4 aren’t permitted to enter.

 It’s worth noting a couple of things about Dubai’s beaches – that apply to the rest of the country, as well! Dress conservatively; no string bikinis, please! Regular bikinis are okay, but shouldn’t be worn outside the resort areas. NO topless sunbathing, and NO alcohol in public. 

That said – as long as you’re respectful of the local customs outside of the resorts – Dubai can be an incredible beach getaway! What better to do in the sweltering spring or autumn?

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