Europe

7 Places you Need to Visit in Italy

Italy is an enchanting country with a rich culture that is fascinating for people to explore. More than 45 million people visit this exciting country that combines history and modernity perfectly. The food is delicious, the wine is fabulous and there are so many things to do and see. Here are 7 of the places you need to visit in Italy.

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Rome

Rome is one of the most fascinating and most beautiful cities in the world and you can visit some of the most iconic landmarks of the world and enter a separate country. The Colosseum has stood for more than 2000 years and this iconic landmark is a must see. The Vatican City is filled with artefacts, glorious art and rich history. You can join tours that beat the lines and see these places at your own pace.  There are many glorious beaches that are less than an hour by bus from the city. This is a great way to beat the heat in the summer and get some people watching in.

Tuscany

A vacation in Tuscany will provide you stunning landscapes, beautiful seaside villages, wine production, and exciting cities like Pisa and Florence. It is known for as the birthplace of Renaissance and you can visit works by the famous artists Donatello, Michelangelo, and Leonardo de Vinci in the city of Florence. Pisa is known for the Leaning Tower of Pisa and visiting this iconic landmark is a must for all who visit the area. Tuscany is famous for its wine production and Chianti is the most popular wine.

Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast needs to be experienced by driving the scenic roads and by taking a boat trip along the coast to explore all of the inlets as well as the gorgeous scenery.  You must stop in the beautiful towns of Positano, Ravello and Amalfi and see the many wondrous churches, beautiful gardens and villas.  Make sure that you take the time to relax in the sun and drink Limoncello, a lemon drink that the area is famous for.

Sicily

Palermo is the capital city of Sicily and it was the centre of many trade routes during the medieval era. It has been influenced by the Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantine Greeks, Arabs, Normans and Spaniards and it is a great place to learn more about history. You can join walking tours that explore the historical centres or focus on the food and wine of the area.

Umbria

Umbria is located in central Italy and it is known as the “green heart” of Italy. It is a network of small intimate lovely towns with many historical locations to visit. There are plenty of charming villas situated in the peaceful countryside, which are perfect if you like walking, horse riding or cycling. In the capital city of Perugia you can find Etruscan, Roman and medieval monuments in its historic centre. Assisi is an area in Umbria that is known for religious pilgrimage and millions of people visit annually. It is the birthplace of St Francis who was also buried there in Basilica di San Francesco.

Naples

Naples is the capital of the Italian region Campania and it is the third-largest municipality in Southern Italy. Be sure to make time to visit Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Cappella Sansevero, and take a guided tour of Teatro San Carlo.

Venice

Venice is built on a series of islands that are all connected by bridges or canals. Be sure to take a romantic gondola ride down the famous Grand Canal that this city is known for. Be sure to make time to visit the beautiful Basilica di San Marco. Venice is known for its hand blown Venetian glass and you can pick up many treasures to take home.

The Best 4 Ways to Explore the UK

The UK is an exciting country and there are so many different things for you to explore. You can see ancient artefacts, bustling metropolitan cities, stunning landscape, and iconic landmarks and there are so many ways to travel around the country. Here are the best 4 ways to explore the UK.

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Take The Train

You can easily take the train to visit most popular tourist destinations in the UK. Taking the train is brilliant as you can get immersed in a good book, enjoy a picnic, look at the beauitful scenery, and then before you know it you will have arrived at your destination. Trains are usually punctual and the schedules are easy to find online and you can plan your whole trip in advance. You can also download apps to help you. There are different rail passes available that can save you money so it is best to do research beforehand. Some of the passes must be bought in your country of origin and some of them can be bought in the UK.

By Canal Boat

For something quite different you can explore the canals of the UK by narrow boat.  There are many companies that rent canal boats and you can get them in different sizes. The canals take you past beautiful scenery and small towns and you can get out and explore wherever there is a dock to tie the boat to. In England the Thames has plenty of locks for you to explore and you can easily visit places like Bath, Oxford, Stratford upon Avon, and even the capital city of London. You can also explore Northern Ireland by heading out on Loughe Erne which is a labyrinth consisting of 150 islands. You can travel along the River Erne from Lower Lake to Upper Lake. The route is dotted with historic castles, monasteries, beautiful scenery, that you can watch from the boat or get out and explore.

Cycle

Cycling is a great way to get in shape and it allows you to eat a lot of great food without being worried about gaining weight. There are plenty of cycling routes in the UK and you can join a guided tour or set your own course. You can choose challenging hilly routes or stick to flat lands if you prefer. You can also find roads with less traffic on them so your trip is peaceful. You can ride your way past charming villages, Roman ruins, stop in historic towns, and visit castles, historic churches, and many other sites. You can stay in bed and breakfasts, give glamping a try or stay in 300 year old houses. There are lots of different great foods that you can indulge in to keep up your strength.

Drive

You can easily rent a car right from the airport and drive throughout the UK. Rental cars usually come with GPS or you may be able to use the GPS on your phone so you can drive without the headache of getting lost.  There may be discounts available online or in less busy seasons. You could get a self-drive holiday package; tour operators like Great British Trips offer a  tour planning service where they can help you organise your holiday before you get there so that you don’t miss out on anything.

Dive, Swim or Just Relax on a Blue Cruise

People used to talk about the ‘freedom of the open road’; the ability to go anywhere and do anything. Roads are getting increasingly busy everywhere so for genuine freedom and independence why not try the seas? The Turquoise Coast of Southern Turkey offers guaranteed warm seas from as early as Easter until the return of winter. The clear and crystal waters are perfect for swimming and diving, a sun tan is taken as read and with the flexibility of a charter, gullet or yacht, your time is your own.

There is a road that hugs the coast and winds below the mountains behind, starting west of Fethiye near Kalkan and continuing along to the next tourist town which has become a popular destination for holidaymakers and particularly those interested in diving. Kas has become one of the top diving venues in Turkey.

Kas

The ongoing journey from Kas to Olympos is stunning but it is worth spending a little time enjoying what Kas and the immediate vicinity has to offer first. Indeed there is the small Greek Island of Meis just offshore and immigration formalities are so simple that lunch in its small harbour and some duty free goods is a nice way to spend a few hours.

Kas was a small fishing village but the growth of tourism and traffic along this coastline has led to the construction of a much bigger facility offering berths to many more boats. It does not mean the town has lost its charm and there are friendly bars and restaurants hugging the old harbour.

There is plenty of local advice available on the things to see and do while experienced captains will know the things that have provided the most enjoyment to clients in the past. There are several sites for divers to visit and with the freedom of a charter there are no times restrictions.

The Highlights en route to Olympos

Heading east there is the sunken city of Kekova. It is forbidden to anchor above the City which dates back many centuries. It was destroyed by an earthquake in the 2nd Century, rebuilt by the Byzantines but finally abandoned because of its vulnerability to Arab attack. Not far away is Simena Castle which sits in a prominent position overlooking the sea. It was built by the Knights of Rhodes on the site of old Lycian foundations. It is fairly well preserved and those climbing to see it are rewarded with spectacular views out across the sea.

Demre is the modern day settlement where the ancient Lycian City of Myra was once situated. There is so much for those interested in history and culture to see it is certainly worth spending some time here and perhaps researching before the holiday to decide on priorities.

Olympos

Heading further east there is Olympos, an ancient Lycian city which it thought to have been first settled in the 4th Century BC. It certainly had its own coins and it is believed that Julius Caeasr was in the Roman army that took the city in 78 BC. Tourists enjoy the place for more than just history however; it is a beautiful setting.

The coastline continues east with plenty more to see. The Kas Antalya Blue Cruise is comprehensive offering modern day holiday pleasures of sun, sea and sand but also the rich history and culture of this part of the world. It has played its role in many famous civilisations from Lycian through Persian, Greek, and Byzantine well before the more modern ages of Italian City States and Ottoman. Set sail on a real experience.

Cruising down this coastline is great fun. The local cuisine includes seasonal fruit and vegetables, herbs and olive oil, used to make mezes and lovely salads. The seas have red mullet, bass and bream that can be caught on a line and put on a BBQ for lunch or dinner. Lamb and chicken are popular main courses and Turkey’s very sweet desserts are a good way to finish, perhaps with Turkish coffee. Turkey’s wine is ever improving and when it comes to eating fish, the famous spirit, raki, is a regular accompaniment. Take to the seas and go with the flow for a memorable holiday.

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