My Favourite Places to Visit on a European Backpacking Adventure!

My Favourite Places to Visit on a European Backpacking Adventure!

I’ve always absolutely adored Europe. When I was twenty, I hit the road with my first travel backpack in my first ever solo backpacking adventure. I dreamed of sipping wine in posh French cafes, meeting an Italian hunk and soaking in the hustle and bustle of a Croatian market.

It was that very first trip that made me fall in love with travel and convinced me to take my first steps into blogging. Since then, I’ve traveled across Europe four times, most recently with my boyfriend by car. Every time I return to Europe I am startled and amazed at the incredible landscapes, cultures, food, and buildings.

Europe is well known for its gorgeous architecture, with medieval castles and churches aplenty dotted around the various countries. There are also plenty of stunning natural attractions too, from splendid beaches and rolling countryside to soaring mountains and marvelous lakes.

World-class museums and art galleries, diverse cuisines, excellent shopping areas and varied cultures all add to Europe’s magnetic appeal.

On my most recent travels around Europe, I was able to peek behind the curtain and explore some more off the beaten track countries, such as Bulgaria and Albania. Exploring Eastern Europe was simply awesome! In order to get you stoked to travel around Europe yourself, I’ve put together the ultimate list of twenty incredible places to visit on your next European adventure.

1. Blue Lagoon, Grindavik, Iceland

One of Europe’s most ethereal attractions, Iceland’s Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa surrounded by lunar-like terrain. The milky blue waters of the Blue Lagoon are hot all year round; you can bathe even when the wind is whipping around your ears. Naturally boiling water is piped from inside the earth, first passing through a geothermal power plant to supply the city with electricity. It is then used in a communal hot water and heating system, before emptying into the stunning Blue Lagoon. I absolutely love Iceland and have been lucky enough to visit the Blue Lagoon twice! The entire country is absolutely stunning and best when road tripped!

2. Venice, Italy

Venice is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places in the world and exploring the winding canals by Gondola is definitely a bucket list experience! Venice isn’t cheap, so it’s well worth looking at staying in a hostel or an Airbnb rather than a hotel, or better yet, keep your eyes open for a housesitting opportunity. I really love all of Italy, it’s full of gorgeous people, tasty food, excellent wine and incredible architecture but Venice might just be my favourite city in all of Europe… For even more Venitian inspiration, check out this post from Hello Cuppies showing the best of Venice in Spring. 

3. Preikestolen, Stavanger, Norway

Norway is wild! And it doesn’t get much wilder than Preikestolen – Also known as Pulpit Rock, Preikestolen is a magnificent sheer cliff with a flat area on top. Soaring high above the waters of Lysefjorden, it offers spectacular views of Mother Nature’s handiwork. Wear suitable shoes and take wet weather gear for hiking the 2.4-mile track. If you’re camping, be sure to tell somebody where you are going and when you plan to return.

4. Rural Romania!

Most people instantly think of Dracula, based on the real historical figure Vlad the Impaler (not a particularly chill sounding dude) when you bring up Romania but this is a country that offers so much more than vampires. Romania offers some truly incredible hiking, amazing Romanian food, stunning castles, cheap beer and friendly people in droves. Romania was the first country in Eastern Europe that I properly sank my teeth into and I absolutely loved it. To see what I’m talking about, and get some itchy feet yourself, check out this article with plenty of gorgeous photos summing up some of Romania’s best holiday sights. 

5. Buckingham Palace, London, UK

The elegant Buckingham Palace is the official home of the UK’s Queen (the lady, not the band). Located at the end of the sweeping Mall, the palace presents an impressive site. Try and time your visit for the changing of the guard and watch as long traditions are played out before your eyes. Although it’s only possible to go inside the palace at certain times of the year, admiring from the outside is still high for many travelers to London. Book a cheap hotel in London and take time to discover the city’s multitude of other fine buildings too.

6. Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland

Sitting at the end of The Burren, the picturesque Cliffs of Moher soar above the wild waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The cliffs are more than 700 feet tall at their highest point. Rugged and dramatic, like much of the county’s stunning scenery, the Cliffs of Moher are popular with hiking enthusiasts and this is a great place to get out and amongst nature for a spot of camping. Pack you walking boots and socks and outdoor gear. Boat trips are also a great way to enjoy the natural splendors. I’m truly in love with Ireland at the moment and even thinking about moving there for a bit for some chill time so I can focus on building up my new blog. For more Ireland inspiration, check out Drifter Planet’s Guide to the hidden gem of County Mayo – I’ll definitely be paying this hidden corner of Ireland a visit next time I’m in the Emerald Isle!

7. Palace of Sintra, Lisbon, Portugal

The UNESCO-listed Palace of Sintra is often among highlights of a trip to Lisbon. Blending elements of Gothic and Manueline architecture, it is the country’s best-preserved royal home from the middle ages. There are many beautiful decorative touches inside the palace. Lisbon itself is an awesome party city and a great place to kick back with a few beers for a long weekend!

8. Split, Croatia

Croatia is one of the best countries in the world to go on a road trip. This summer, my boyfriend and I hit the road in a rental car and drove all the way from Dubrovnik, famed for its incredible architecture and use as a Game of Thrones set, to Split – one of the best towns in Europe for partying, shopping and chilling on the beach! Check out this travel guide to Split for more inspiration.

9. Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

I couldn’t exactly miss out The Eiffel Tower! Recognized almost all over the world, the Eiffel Tower is one of Europe’s most-visited structures. Towering high in the city’s skyline, it is impressive when viewed from afar and when gazed up at from underneath. Go to the top too for far-reaching city views! It’s especially beautiful at night.

And if you’ve got up to a week in Paris, be sure to check out this 7-day itinerary from Travel Passionate!

10. Neuschwanstein Castle, Fussen, Germany

Nestled in the glorious Bavarian countryside, Neuschwanstein Castle is like something straight from the pages of a fairytale book. Towers and turrets rise from the exteriors, with many small windows breaking the walls. The insides are as beautiful as you would imagine. Visit the German capital of Berlin afterward for a more industrial vibe with more historic sites.

11. Houses of Parliament, Budapest, Hungary

Sitting alongside the River Danube, the Gothic Houses of Parliament are one of the Hungarian capital’s most photogenic sites. The red roofs accentuate the cream walls and the jagged spike-like features create an edgy appearance.

12. Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic

Finished in the 15th century, Charles Bridge was, for a long time, the only way to cross the Vltava River to reach Prague Castle. An important part of Prague’s history, the long stone bridge is also very attractive. When viewed from a certain angle it also beautifully frames the elegant Prague Castle behind.

13. Auschwitz, Krakow, Poland

A visit to the notorious former Nazi concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz will never be a pleasant experience. It is, however, somewhere that you should visit when in Europe. Learning about the horrors of the past helps to ensure that similar atrocities play no part in humanity’s future. You can also pay your respects to the thousands of people who died during the Holocaust.

14. Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium

The medieval buildings that surround Brussels’ Grand Place are attractive and photogenic. Many of the historic buildings were guildhalls in times gone by. The city’s main square is especially atmospheric in the late evening when the buildings are illuminated in the darkness.

Visting Bruges isn’t a bad idea to tack on to your stay while you’re in Belguim anyway!

15. Matterhorn, The Alps, Switzerland

One of the most impressive mountains in Europe, The Matterhorn rises up from The Alps like a jaded pyramid. While you probably won’t want to actually attempt to climb the mountain (if you do, make sure you have the appropriate gear and a travel first aid kit!), it is a must-see sight from afar.

16. Sistine Chapel, Vatican City, Vatican City State

One of the most spectacular sites throughout the Roman Catholic world, the Sistine Chapel is within the Pope’s official residence. Known for its stunning paintings on the ceilings and walls, many people visit to see the famous works by Michelangelo, in particular, the Last Judgment.

17. Grand Canal, Venice, Italy

Venice is famous for its network of waterways, with the Grand Canal being the area’s main thoroughfare. Lined with elegant buildings, gondolas and water taxis regularly traverse the waters of the Grand Canal, further adding to the charming scenes.

18. Oia, Santorini, Greece

While there are numerous scenic sights on the Greek island of Santorini, the pretty cliff-side village of Oia is a particularly favorite spot. The famous postcard views of whitewashed buildings and churches with striking blue domes cling to the rugged cliffs, the deep blue waters of the sea in front of them. It’s a great place to soak up a renowned Santorini sunset too.

19. Lake Bled, Julian Alps, Slovenia

Lake Bled is a picturesque lake in Slovenia’s Julian Alps and one of the most amazing places I have ever been! Surrounded by forests and mountains, a small island with a medieval castle sits majestically in the middle of the clear blue waters. Little Osojnica Hill offers terrific views of the lake, island, and surroundings. I only spent one night at Lake Bled but I yearn to return soon! Check out this post for more info on things to do and where to stay if you are visiting Lake Bled. 

20. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

The UNESCO-protected Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia is a natural marvel. Lakes and waterfalls sparkle seductively among the surrounding greenery-clad karsts. The different colored lakes are all connected, with natural stone dams separating bodies of water.

And so there you have it my traveling friends, twenty of my favorite places to visit in Europe! Choose any country on this amazing continent and you’ll find plenty to see and do. Where are your favorite places in Europe? What have you seen that absolutely blew you away? Tell me in the comments! 😀

4 Amazing Travel Ideas For An Employee Rewards Program

4 Amazing Travel Ideas For An Employee Rewards Program

As work environments across industries become ever more stressful, there is a greater need to have an enticing employee rewards program.

Indeed, travel is a fantastic way of letting your staff know that you appreciate their great efforts. Whether you choose to give them a plane ticket voucher after meeting a tough deadline, or even a package vacation after years of fantastic service, rewards like these will encourage employees to work harder for your company’s goals,

You can learn more about employee engagement programs, as well as travel and experiential rewards for great employees on the Online Rewards website. For now, here are some top tips for creating an employee rewards program your staff won’t forget!

1. Reward Your Employees With A Trip To Orange County

To reward your employees, a package vacation to California’s Orange County is a great choice.

A trip to Orange County has something for everyone, with a coast dotted with beaches and numerous family theme parks. Disneyland and Universal Studios are just some of the great options! The city of Los Angeles is also an urban powerhouse of culture and creativity.

If your employee isn’t a fan of theme parks, there is still plenty for them to see and do along the Pacific Coast Highway. Wine buffs will love the Paso Robles wine route for a taste of fine vintages and culture.

2. Help Your Staff Discover Mindfulness With Employee Rewards

When it comes to employment engagement programs, mindfulness is key. Taking time to breathe in and live in the moment helps workers to deal with difficult situations, negotiate better and care more passionately about their tasks and duties.

Rewarding an employee with a mindful vacation after a stressful assignment is a great way of recognizing their work. From the Himalayas to the Scottish Highlands, you will find a fantastic, meaningful and deep getaway for the perfect employee.

3. Treat A Star Employee To A Sport Package Reward

Want to show a sports-mad employee that you appreciate their work? Check out the possibility of sending them to their favorite team’s game. Simply choose an employee rewards package that gives your staff coveted seats at an important match.

Supporting a team through highs and lows is proven to have a beneficial effect on general wellbeing and happiness with one’s social life. It also reduces feelings of alienation and loneliness, according to a study by Murray State University.

Giving your employees the rare chance to see a match live in a stadium will bring a significant boost to your employee engagement program.

4. Give Your Employee The Ultimate Reward With Luxury Accommodation

When it comes to giving a great employee the gift they deserve, there’s nothing like an all-out luxury holiday. A five-star vacation anywhere in the world will make your staff feel valued and ready to give their all once they return to work!

Maybe you’ll reward your employee with a sumptuous cruise around the Caribbean. Perhaps you’ll treat them to a stay in one of the world’s finest hotels. Either way, your generosity won’t be forgotten!

 

Visiting Berlin: 6 Tips To Make It The Perfect City Break

Visiting Berlin: 6 Tips To Make It The Perfect City Break

Oozing history, culture and night-time excitement, Berlin is one city that has it all. A European landmark with a penchant for reinvention, a city break here will have something for everyone.

With so much to see and do in the German capital, make sure you give yourself ample time to see everything. Book a Berlin airport transfer to make sure you waste no time when you step off the plane.

Here are my top tips for an amazing break in this ever-changing city.

1. Experience Berlin’s Amazing Historical Monuments

One of the many reasons people choose to visit Berlin is for its numerous cultural and historical sites. The beautiful Reichstag building attracts many tourists, as well as the remains of the Berlin Wall as well as the stunning Brandenburg Gate.

The solemn Holocaust Memorial on Cora-Berliner-Strasse also commemorates the city’s dark history during the Second World War.

2. Visit Vibrant Cabarets In Berlin

In the 20s and 30s, Berlin was a thriving hub of hedonism and debauchery- just think of the hit Broadway musical, Cabaret! That decadence lives on today in several vaudeville-style venues across the city.

Check out Bar Jeder Vernunft, Absinth Depot Berlin or Prinzipal for a taste of this burlesque spirit.

3. Sip A Sophisticated Cocktail in Berlin’s Best Bars

For a classy beginning to a night out in Berlin, begin at one of the city’s many great cocktail bars. Whether you’re looking for an old-fashioned or an inventive, modern beverage, the city’s mixologists are some of the best you’ll find anywhere.

For a more mysterious experience, ring the doorbell at Beckett’s Kopf on Pappalallee to gain access to an elegant bar. The bohemian Green Door bar in Schöneberg is also a wonderful choice, and was one of David Bowie’s favourite spots while recording here.

4. Go To A Live Music Venue

When it comes to cutting-edge music, the German capital is THE reference for all genres!

For the best in rock and electronic music, check out Junction Bar on Gneisenautstrasse for daily live shows. Meanwhile, Piano Bar Van Gogh offers regular jazz concerts in an intimate setting.

Classical music fans will be spoiled for choice, with the excellent Berlin Philharmonic and Staatsoper giving regular recitals.

5. Experience The Notorious Nightlife

If Berlin has to be famous for one thing, it should be its exciting and exclusive nightlife. This is where you will experience the most modern music, style and drinks – if you manage to get past the bouncer, that is!

This city is also home to some of the most high-end nightclubs in the world. Berghain, is the most infamous – known throughout Europe as the hardest club to get into. If you’re turned away there, try other options like Tresor or Watergate.

6. Find Some Quirky Berlin Accommodation

Berlin is full of creativity and quirks – this is especially true when it comes to finding a place to stay!

For a retro vibe, choose Ostel Das DDR, which replicates life in the former East Germany. The Eastern Comfort Hotel is also a popular choice among tourists looking for something beyond a typical city break hotel, as it’s built in a converted boat on the river!

5 Luxury Vacation Options To Treat Yourself To

5 Luxury Vacation Options To Treat Yourself To

We all need a little indulgence in our lives, especially when it comes to a luxury vacation!

Maybe you’ve won a jackpot with NetBet Online Casino. Perhaps you’ve just got a promotion. Or maybe you’ve simply saved up for that dream holiday.

Whatever your reason for taking a luxury vacation, take the chance to let your imagination run wild! Discover these tantalizing options below.

1. Rent A Private Island

Imagine a long sandy beach, a spacious villa and a pristine swimming pool right at your fingertips. Now, imagine not having to share that with anyone!

Private islands are all the rage in luxury travel, and are often associated with glamorous celebrities. However, it’s possible to rent your own if you know where to look.

Some of the most famous private islands can be found in the Maldives, Fiji and Tasmania, among other regions. Bring a group of your closest friends, or perhaps that special someone, to share this once in a lifetime experience.

2. Splash Out On A Luxury Spa Break

Seeking a luxury vacation that leaves you completely relaxed and at peace? Treat yourself to an intensive pampering session at one of the world’s finest spa centers.

You’ll find some of the best high-end spas in Europe. Visit Acquaforte Thalasso Spa in Italy for soothing thalassotherapy. This treatment that involves soaking yourself in saltwater pools in a tropical garden. In the same spa, you’ll also get to try zero-gravity yoga.

If you want to combine skiing with your spa treatment, book a spot in Germany’s Schloss Elmau. Perched high in the Bavarian mountains, this spa offers relaxing facial, physiotherapy and tai chi classes, among other treatments.

3. Take The Road Trip Of A Lifetime

Going on a road trip can be one of the most rewarding things you can ever do. However, splashing out on luxury vehicles and destinations can make it truly amazing!

Check out some routes in North America or Europe for inspiration. In both continents, you’ll find lots of luxury locations, especially along California’s Pacific Coast Highway.

For a truly luxury vacation, you’ll want to rent a high-quality motorhome. Many modern RVs come equipped with real leather furnishings, king-size beds and even “master bathrooms”!

4. Live Like A Queen In An English Mansion

This experience is a must for any fan of Jane Austen or Downtown Abbey! There are hundreds of luxury homes and mansions available to rent dotted across the British Isles.

The Cotswolds area is an ideal starting point for anyone interested in Victorian architecture. Meanwhile, visitors craving some coastline should check out historical mansions in Devon.

Many of these homes are listed buildings with a rich history. Visitors will feel like they’re travelling back in time to another world, with all the comfort of a luxury vacation.

5. Spend Your Luxury Vacation At A Bali Resort

Bali is a great location for young travellers on a budget. However, its numerous resorts make it ideal for luxury vacations!

Wherever you go, prepare to be pampered. Many Balinese resorts assign butlers to their guests on arrival, ready to give you treats like scented face towels and fruit skewers on the hour. Others provide daily wellness classes or complimentary beach activities.

Between Bali’s natural beauty and these amazing resorts, your luxury vacation in Bali will be one to remember.

 

 

 

4 Amazing Motorcycle Journey Destinations

4 Amazing Motorcycle Journey Destinations

Going on a motorcycle journey is one of the best road trips imaginable. It’s a free-spirited, adventurous and fun way to see awe-inspiring landscapes in a short space of time.

To make sure it’s the perfect trip, make sure you have the best budget motorcycle boots and get some Kawasaki accessories. Once you have your preparation done, you can start planning this trip of a lifetime.

Here are four inspiring tips to planning the perfect motorcycle journey!

1. Ride Through Bow Valley and Icefields Parkway, Canada

Known as one of the most scenic motorcycle journeys in the world, Alberta’s Bow Valley Parkway is a wonder of nature. This amazing route encompasses mind-blowing mountains, cascading waterfalls, varied wildlife and ancient glaciers.

The famous route also includes the Columbia Icefield, an Arctic wonder in the Canadian Rockies. Bring suitable clothes and shoes so you can explore when you arrive.

To truly enjoy this 400km bike trip, pace yourself and go midweek to avoid the crowds.

2. Bike From Big Sur to Orange County in California

The home of dozens of beautiful beaches, exciting theme parks and some of the best roads in the U.S., California is an ideal location for motorcycle journey with friends.

Drive along the Pacific Coast Highway and take in the beauty of Big Sur, with its towering forests and stunning strands for surfing. For a bit of Gatsby-esque decadence, stop off at Hearst Castle, a luxurious 1920s mansion that must be seen to be believed.

Continue as far down as Orange County, and end your motorcycle trip by relaxing by the sea or exploring everything that Los Angeles has to offer.

3. Go To Antrim For Ireland’s Best Motorcycle Journey

The Antrim Coast Road is a top pick for those planning a motorcycle journey – especially since it was picked as one of the key filming locations for Game Of Thrones.

This trail has been steeped in myth and legend since ancient times. The Giant’s Causeway is the result of incredible volcanic activity thousands of years ago. However, ancient storytellers claimed it was built by a giant named Finn McCool.

As the road twists and turns, appreciate tiny fishing villages and delicious yet unassuming restaurants. Stay a night and take a time to visit Bushmills, one of the best traditional whiskey distilleries on the island of Ireland. There are plenty more road trips around Ireland, and considering how beautiful it is, there isn’t a wrong choice.

4. Explore Australia’s Great Ocean Road

One of the greatest scenic drives in the world, the Great Ocean Road in Victoria is another adventurous motorcycle journey option. There’s something for everyone in this exciting mix of rugged coastline, lush rainforest and mountains.

Head straight to the Bay of Islands for some enviable Instagram opportunities. Here, you’ll see amazing limestone formations and wonderful sunsets. For more surfing opportunities, go to Bells Beach.

Surfing fans should also visit the Australian National Surfing Museum. This beautifully designed space celebrating the history and culture of surfing in Victoria.

Pro Tip For The Perfect Motorcycle Journey

Make sure you have your equipment and spare parts ready before you go. It’s also a good idea to brush up on traffic rules

8 Ways To Make Your Next RV Road Trip Epic

8 Ways To Make Your Next RV Road Trip Epic

It’s official: going on an RV road trip is the new must-have holiday! Maybe you’ve been drooling over your friend’s photos of her coastline RV tour. Perhaps you’re just craving a personal – and geographical – journey.

The good news is, planning a road trip in an RV or motorhome is easy! Follow these simple suggestions to make it the journey of a lifetime.

1. Book An RV ASAP

For any big trip like this, you’ll need to be prepared early. Rent an RV or motorhome with RVShare to see the best selection. Whether you’re looking for a retro camper or something a little more luxurious, you’ll find plenty of inspiration. You’ll also avoid last-minute stress too!

2. Pick Some Great RV Road Trip Buddies

Before you invite everyone to join you on your RV road trip, remember this: travel can make or break friendships. Only hit the road with friends that you’re happy to be in constant contact with.

A road trip in an RV can be one of the best adventures you’ll ever have, and is one of the best ways of seeing the world. On the other hand, it can be a nightmare with the wrong people around you – especially when you’re driving long distances. Pick adventurous, dependable buddies who you share numerous interests with to avoid any mid-journey bust-ups.

3. Brush Up On Driving Rules

No matter where you go on your RV road trip, you need to be aware of traffic rules in your chosen country. Remember that you may have to drive on the other side of the road once you reach your destination, or that driving laws may be stricter.

Check out the norms and best practices wherever you go, and always err on the side of caution.

4. Bring A Real Map

Even though Google Maps has revolutionized travel as we know it, you’ll need an old-school paper map for your RV road trip. It’s possible that you may lose reliable Internet connection on your travels, or may struggle to find WiFi in some areas.

Real maps also help you plan your trajectory, and make for a great souvenir at the end of your adventure!

5. Make Sure You Get Enough Sleep

If you’re the designated driver, you’ll have the added responsibility of keeping everybody safe. If you’re feeling tired, don’t be afraid to tell your fellow travelers. Pull over and grab a coffee, park the RV for a quick nap or even pass the baton to one of your friends.

6. Don’t Rush It

Give yourself plenty of time and breathing space to enjoy your road trip. If you feel like your under pressure to get everything done in a few days, you won’t get the most

Pick a few key sites you’d like to see, but don’t feel like you have to commit to everything. Sometimes, the experiences that surprise us end up being the highlight of any road trip.

7. Create The Perfect Playlist

Nothing brushes road trip boredom away like some carpool karaoke! Get creative and curate your own special selection of tunes to keep your spirits up on long stretches of road.

If Spotify playlisting isn’t your thing, download some thought-provoking podcasts for the road, or simply enjoy old classics like “I Spy”!

8. Reserve Your Campsites

RV parks and campgrounds can fill up well in advance. To make sure you’re able to stay at the best campgrounds, make your campground reservations with RoverPass. It’s best to do so at least three months before you plan to start your road trip.

9. Let Yourself Go!

Wherever you decide to venture, from Orange County to the ancient Silk Roads of Asia, embrace your freedom. Liberated from baggage limits, long queues and strict itineraries, take in all you can during this trip of a lifetime.

10 Easy Tips For The Perfect Trip To Los Angeles

10 Easy Tips For The Perfect Trip To Los Angeles

Los Angeles boasts the best in theme parks and celebrity credentials, but that isn’t all. The so-called ‘City of Angels’ also offers beachside activities, exciting nightlife and a whole lot of film history.

The hit movie La La Land portrayed LA as a youthful hotspot of ambition, with moments of stunning natural beauty – if you know where to look.

Not sure where to begin? Start brainstorming your dream LA trip with this helpful list.

1. You’re Going to Need a Car

Los Angeles is a fun and free-spirited city, but it’s BIG. You can’t get around LA without a vehicle, so check out sites like Miles Car Rental. From economy class to luxury cars, this website will help you find the best deal.

2. Discover Old Hollywood At Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures is the only major studio in Hollywood that has been open since cinema’s Golden Age. As a result, visiting the site is a must for any movie aficionados. Hear stories about Hollywood’s first generation of stars, or witness new TV shows or movies being filmed.

3. Walk Along LA’s Boardwalks

Escape the bustle of urban LA and relax by the Pacific Ocean on Santa Monica Pier. Known for its iconic Ferris wheel and retro cotton candy, this boardwalk is a family favorite for good reason. Venice Beach has a more bohemian vibe – stroll along the nearby Abbot Kinney Blvd to find cute vintage stores and bookshops.

4. Hire A Car and Drive The Pacific Coast Highway

The scenic Pacific Coast Highway links LA with other great hotspots like San Francisco, San Jose, Orange County and Malibu. It also offers some of the best ocean views you’ll get in a lifetime! Hire a car from LA and hit the road for some unforgettable sights.

5. Taste The Best At LA’s Food Trucks

Feeling hungry? Head straight to one of L.A.’s famed food trucks. Traditional taco trucks like El Chato have been joined by contemporary contenders, which serve everything from grilled cheese to lobster. Check out the website or social media of your truck of choice to find their location, but brace yourself for long lines.

6. Get Back To Nature At Runyon Canyon

Check out nearby natural wonders by hiking Runyon Canyon. Offering spectacular scenery and dog-friendly routes, this natural park also holds free yoga classes up to four times a day! Visit the Runyon Canyon Yoga Facebook page for more info.

7. Stargaze At The Top Of Griffith Park

Climb to the top of Griffith Park for jaw-dropping and romantic views of the city. Griffith Observatory, perched at the top, even featured in a particularly dreamy scene in La La Land! The observatory also features great exhibitions on all aspects of the cosmos and is open six days a week from 12pm to 10pm.

8. Check Out LA’s Famous Art Scene

LA is mostly associated with stars of the silver screen, but it’s also a world-renowned epicenter of art. Los Angeles County Museum of Art is home to numerous exhibitions and is the biggest gallery in the western United States. The Getty Centre is also a feast for the senses, with striking galleries, gardens, and architecture on view.

9. Sample Los Angeles Nightlife On Sunset Strip

Once the sun goes down in West Hollywood, it’s party time on Sunset Strip! This once-seedy area has become a hub of after-dark activities and music. Try Pearl’s Liquor Bar for delicious cocktails on a rooftop patio.

10. Let Loose At A Theme Park

End your perfect Los Angeles adventure with a visit to a high-octane theme park. Both the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim and Universal Studios Hollywood are perfect days out for young families and adrenaline junkies. Drive to the park of choice early in the morning to make sure you have enough time to explore!

5 Lesser Traveled Vacation Destinations in Europe

5 Lesser Traveled Vacation Destinations in Europe

Europe has always been a big travel hotspot. Destinations like Paris, Venice, London, Rome, and Barcelona have enchanted visitors for ages. But as travel becomes more and more accessible, travelers are beginning to venture outward—and explore new places.

Of course, these less popular spots have always had their fair share of visitors. But as more people set out to find adventure, these unique travel spots have their own appeal.

Whether you’re setting off on a plane or securing your gear to the top of the car with Vault Cargo lashing straps, these five European destinations should be on the top of the list if you’re looking for a unique experience.

Standing stones on European beachAlgarve, Portugal

Bypass a trip to the French Riviera in favor of a trip to Portugal—a country that is definitely underrated. Algarve is one of Portugal’s most popular spots, offering a temperate Mediterranean climate and stunning white sand beaches. Cliffs and coves decorate the coastline, creating gorgeous vistas and hidden spots to explore as you go. Break away from the Algarve beaches and you’ll find plenty of beach bars, restaurants, and shops to keep you busy throughout the trip. Head inland to encounter some more unique spots like historic villages with stone castles and hiking trails that wind past wildflowers, meadows, sprawling hillsides and groves of trees. 

Eastbourne bridgeEastbourne, England

Another coastal region, Eastbourne is not somewhere most people frequent when they head to the U.K. But that doesn’t mean that the small town doesn’t have anything to offer travelers. A local pier hosts a variety of annual events while Victorian hotels line the beachfront. These interesting buildings are a great place in which to create a base for the trip. Eastbourne is known for its culture, home to a variety of art galleries, theaters, music venues and cinemas throughout. Around town, you’ll find activities like miniature golf and laser tag as well. Not far from here, travelers can visit Beachy Head, where they can view unspoiled beauty in the form of seaside cliffs, a lighthouse, and surrounding farmland.

Colorful central town fountainRhodes, Greece

Greece has an endless supply of stunning islands to visit, and Rhodes is no exception. Like everywhere in Greece, you’ll find a lot of history and anthropological landmarks here. The Old Town portion of the city, dating back to Medieval times, has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With narrow alleys, gates and busy town squares within, a trip to Rhodes is like stepping back in time. Visit the cobblestoned Street of the Knights or pay a visit to nearby Museum Square, where you’ll find a blend of museums, churches, and cafes. Outside of Old Town, you’ll find an aquarium, a paradisiacal garden, a national theater, working harbors and more.

Castle in rocky hillsideCosta Brava, Spain

Situated on the Spanish coastline, this region stretches up to the French border. Like all regions of this colorful country, culture reigns supreme. Part of Catalonia, Costa Brava is home to an endless array of museums and art collections. It also served as a popular spot for artists to paint on location; Picasso and Dali both painted in Costa Brava. Aside from culture, guests will experience the beautiful beaches, which often have some rough terrain but also small bays. Several rivers also wind through the area, emptying into the ocean along the coastline. Visit charming villages, hills in the sprawling backcountry or even local little-explored caves.

Dalaman, Turkey

Although a good deal of Turkey lies in Asia, part of it is located in Europe so it has a home on this list. The must-visit area of Dalaman recently saw the addition of an international airport, but it has kept its small-town charm without a tourism boom. As such, it’s a nice place to disappear for a while—without crowds or tourist traps. Get an authentic Turkish experience exploring Dalaman. The nearby Dalaman River is a popular spot for white river rafting adventures while paragliding is common in this area. The blue water of Sarsala Koyu beach—and the shade provided by the mass of trees on shore—also makes for a relaxing afternoon.

There are plenty more, like destinations in the north of Spain, and many spots in Eastern and Central Europe, like Cesky Krumlov, in the Czech Republic, or Bucharest, Romania. Any more to add to the list?

18 Awesome Things to Do in Orange County, California

18 Awesome Things to Do in Orange County, California

The diverse Orange County offers plenty of fun in Southern California. With something for everything, there are numerous things to do in Orange County that cater to almost all tastes, interests and ages.

With so many excellent things to do in Orange County, a good night’s sleep is essential to fill you with energy for each exciting day. Book comfortable and stylish Orange County vacation rentals and enjoy the perfect base while discovering the best of the area.

1. Meet Your Favorite Characters at Disneyland

Located in Anaheim, Disneyland is a firm family favorite in Orange County. The varied rides, shows, eateries, stores and other attractions make it a great choice, however, for people of all ages. Disney California Adventure Park, part of the Disney resort, is ideal for all-adult groups. The rides are more thrilling and alcohol is available to buy. The spirit of Disney is still alive and ell though, making you feel young at heart.

2. Squeal and Shriek at Knott’s Berry Farm

Another fun theme park in Orange County, Knott’s Berry Farm is in Buena Park. The large theme park has whizzing roller coasters, water rides, nostalgic rides and rides that are suitable for the whole family. There’s also a good choice of entertaining shows, as well as places to eat, drink and shop.

3. Spot Whales and Dolphins in the Sea

There are several places along the coast in Orange County where you can arrange a wildlife-spotting boat trip. Dolphins often swim playfully alongside boats and whales make large splashes in the waves. Examples of where to start your excursion include Dana Point and Newport Harbor.

4.Tour the Spooky Mission San Juan Capistrano

Now in ruins, the historic Mission San Juan Capistrano dates back to the 1770s. Steeped in history, the former colonial outpost is believed by many to be haunted. Visit in March to see the famous swallows returning to the mission to build their nests for the summer.

5. Be Transported to Asia in Little Saigon

Did you know that Little Saigon in Westminster has the biggest community of Vietnamese people outside of Vietnam? Experience Asia as you feast on Vietnamese food, explore the myriad small stores, see where locals live and observe a different culture.

6. Take a Trip to Balboa Island

Located at Newport Beach, visiting Balboa Island is among the most popular things to do in Orange County. Easy to reach, a road connects the island to the mainland. You can also catch a ferry. Laze on the sandy beaches, rent a bike and peddle around the island and learn more about the area at the Balboa Island Museum and Historical Society. Don’t miss the historic Balboa Pavilion.

7. Admire Art at the Bowers Museum

Located in downtown Santa Ana, the Bowers Museum is home to thousands of pieces of eye-catching artworks. Exhibits display Native American, Asian, African and Pacific art, with pieces that represent art from numerous countries, regions and cultural groups from around the world.

8. Appreciate Nature and Tranquility at Fullerton Arboretum

Fullerton Arboretum houses lots of lush foliage and colorful flowers throughout its gardens. Discover what grows in the Mediterranean, see typical flora from the desert, wander through woodlands and relax in well-maintained community gardens. Visit the potting sheds, museum and information center to learn more about the arboretum, its plants and how the plants are grown and cared for.

9. Take it Easy at Corona Del Mar State Beach

The long and wide beach at Corona Del Mar offers something for everyone. You can relax and soak up the sun as you bask on the sands. You can explore the underwater world with a diving adventure. You can harness the power of the waves and go surfing.

10. Soak up Some Culture at Casa Romantica

Located in San Clemente, Casa Romantica is a major cultural center. Contained within the former home of the city’s founder, the center now offers a range of programs and events for people of all ages. Those interested in music, the arts, history and literature will be spellbound. There are also pretty gardens to enjoy.

11. Visit the Area’s Oldest Regional Park, Irvine Park

Irvine Park, located in Orange, was the first regional park in Orange County. Combine history and nature as you see the old buildings and take part in a range of activities. Paddle boating, pony riding, cycling and walking are popular. The park is also home to Orange County Zoo and the Irvine Park Railroad.

12. Stir Political Interests at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum

The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum is both where the former US president was born and where he is buried. The museum gives much information about the life and career of the USA’s 37th president, with numerous artifacts and exhibits. You can also see a presidential helicopter.

13. Stroll Along Seal Beach Pier

Seal Beach Pier is the second-longest wooden pier in the state of California. Admire the views and go fishing. The nearby beaches are great for relaxing, swimming and surfing, and you can see many stingrays in the warm waters at the mouth of the San Gabriel River.

14. Go Hiking at Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park

Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park is located in San Joaquin Hills. The rugged park has a long Native American Heritage. Explore caves and see fossils with a walk along one of the varied hiking trails. Cycling and horse riding are other great ways to explore the park.

15. Get a Bit Tipsy at Laguna Canyon Winery

Learn more about local wine production and see the process at Laguna Canyon Winery. Of course, you can also sample a range of wines produced at the winery. Whether you’re into reds or whites, or perhaps fancy something bubbly, you’ll find the perfect glass to savor.

16. Soar Above Orange County Great Park

Orange County Great Park can be found in Orange County’s city of Irvine. It is known for its balloon ride, from which you can enjoy sweeping views over the park and beyond.

17. Be Inspired at the International Surfing Museum

The International Surfing Museum is located at Huntington Beach. The museum seeks to showcase and preserve surfing history and traditions from around the world. Learn more about surfing greats, see an array of boards and other memorabilia, watch surfing movies and more.

18. Board the Luxurious Queen Mary

The historic Queen Mary is based at Long Beach. Day tours of the elegant ship are possible, as well as longer live-aboard expeditions. Constructed in the 1930s, she is one of the grandest vessels ever built.

Other great things to do in Orange County include visiting Catalina Island, taking the kids to Discovery Cube Orange County and observing diverse creatures at Santa Ana Zoo. Join a game of volleyball at Doheny State Beach, pack a picnic for a day at Salt Creek Beach Park and enjoy San Onofre State Beach. Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is ideal for nature lovers. Add Orange County to your global travel wish list and have a fabulous time in Southern California.

5 Reasons You Might Want to Travel the World

5 Reasons You Might Want to Travel the World

People decide to visit places for different reasons, and some of it may even surprise you.

The most widespread reason is to travel for fun. What drives people to this type is their need to visit a destination which is unlike their usual residence in order to enjoy in different activities and to rest. In general, those places are sea sides, campgrounds or amusement parks like Disneyland.

1. Cultural Tourism

However, if the traveler’s main goal is to discover a certain location with the purpose of learning about traditions and background of the place, then we are talking about cultural tourism. Cultural tourism also includes getting familiar with certain customs, way of life, experiencing carnivals and fairs so that you learn about the mentality of a particular region you are exploring. Cultural tourism is also throwing yourself into a locals life and giving back. Volunteering while travelling is one of the best ways to fully embrace the local culture. It can also include visiting museums and other cultural sites.  A sub-branch of this kind of traveling is Ethno-tourism.

2. Nature Tourism

Nature tourism, as the name says, involves getting in touch with nature and exploring natural beauties and wilderness. This type of tourism is useful because it is developing ecological consciousness and preserves nature resorts and national parks. Usually is followed with activities like mountain hiking, photographing landscapes and wild animals in their habitat.

3. Sports Tourism

Sports tourism includes visiting venues of sports events, like World Championships in basketball, Olympic games, Formula One races and similar. Besides that, it can also include going to particular place in order to do sports, such as going to the mountain for snowboarding or paragliding. Do hot air balloon festivals count? They should!

Bicycle tours are a type of tour that involves riding bicycles for sake of contentment or exploration. They do require some level of physical fitness, depending on the distance and the terrain. Their distance may vary from short one-day routes to longer expedition tours that can take up to several weeks, which includes bringing your best backpack, a tent, and some camping tools.

4. Religious Tourism

There is also a type of tourism driven by religious motives, when believers go to holy sites, in order to participate in a certain religious ritual. For example, Muslims around the world gather once a year in Mecca, Christians go to Jerusalem to visit Jesus grave on Easter. Of course, many people also travel to celebrate getting married or as most people call it, a honeymoon! These are often insanely beautiful and luxurious honeymoon destinations and I can’t blame them!

5. Medical Tourism

Latest, but certainly not insignificant branch of tourism is medical tourism. This kind of tourism is becoming more popular because of the great disproportion in medical treatment costs in different countries. People decide to take their surgeries, dental procedures or aesthetic interventions where they find it more affordable. Plus, the price range of medical treatments can vary so much that in some cases people realize that they can visit more countries at once. This also includes spa tourism for post-operational recoveries.