Untitled design (1)

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.

blank

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. 

blank

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. 

blank

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. 

blank

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. 

blank

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.

blank
Untitled design (10)

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. 

blank

● 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. 

blank

● 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. 

blank

● 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!

blank

 ● 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. 

blank

● 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. 

blank

● 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. 

blank

● 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.

blank

 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?

Certified New Orleans Travel Professional

blank
blank
blank
blank
blank
blank

Dominican Republic Specialist

blank

USA National Parks Specialist

blank

USA – Regional Expert

blank

Seller of Travel Registrations: CA: 2130335-70 | WA: 604118560 | IA: 1419 | FL: ST41147 Copyright ©2020 | Wish List Travel | All Rights Reserved