A Perfect Day In Prague

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With castles, cathedrals, palaces, gardens, and cobbled lanes aplenty, it’s difficult not to have a good day in Prague. However, many visitors never leave the well-trodden route running from Wenceslas Square, through Old Town Square, across the Charles Bridge, and up the hill to Prague Castle. To locals, Prague is so much more. Here’s one perfect day that helps keep you clear of crowds and selfie sticks.

Rise and Shine

Perched high on a bluff over the Vltava River, the seventeenth-century Vyšehrad Fortress is one of the Czech nation’s spiritual homes: Its cemetery is the final resting place for some of the country’s most beloved figures, including composers Antonín Dvořák, Bedřich Smetana, and Alphonse Mucha. Seen from atop the fortress walls, the sunrise reflects beautifully off the river as it burns through the mist and is worth waking early for.

Vyšehrad Fortress (Photo: Czech Tourism).

Stretching along the river from Vyšehrad to Šítkov Water Tower, the one-mile pedestrian-only Náplavka riverbank thrives in early evening, when locals come down to unwind and sip cold suds. In the morning, it’s almost all yours, with the city’s famous skyline rising higher on the horizon with each step. Cross Legií Bridge to the west bank for coffee and breakfast on the outdoor patio of Café Bella Vida.

Prague’s fairytale-like Wallenstein Gardens hide behind a tiny door off sidewalk on the way to Malostranská Metro station. Created in the 1620s along with the adjacent palace, this well-manicured baroque garden merits exploration with a frescoed pavilion, an artificial cave with stalactites, a koi pond, a pair of albino peacocks, and couples stealing kisses among the hedges.

Wallenstein Gardens
Wallenstein Gardens (Photo: Prague City Tourism).

Midday

The National Gallery of Prague has branches throughout the city, but its largest is north of the river bend in the Holešovice neighborhood, popular with expats and hipsters. The fairly unattractive building from 1928 was the first example of Functionalist architecture in Prague, but its art collection – including works by Picasso, Renoir, van Gogh, and Klimt – never fails to impress.

West of Holešovice along the river, hilltop Letná Park not only provides panoramic views of Prague, but also historical significance: During 1989’s Velvet Revolution, nearly a million people came here to protest the communist regime. Today, Letná remains tranquil under the spread of leafy trees and is home to a popular beer garden. Happily, in Prague, it’s never too early to raise a mug.

Letná Park
Letná Park (Photo: Prague City Tourism).

Continue on from the park to the Nový Svět neighborhood, where the old city walls still run along the backside of the castle district and cannonballs from the eighteenth-century Prussian siege protrude from buildings. Ring the doorbell of the U Raka Café and step into its gorgeous, tiered garden for perhaps the best apple strudel in town. 

Nový Svět neighborhood Prague
The Nový Svět neighborhood (Photo: Mike Dunphy).

Evening through Late Night

The retro-furnished Pilsner Urquell bar and restaurant Kolkovna Olympia may open its doors to a major tourist artery, but its traditional meaty menu features some of the best versions of Czech classics in town, particularly its much-loved roast pork knee with horseradish, mustard, and sauerkraut.

These former royal vineyards of Riegrovy Sady now make up the main playground of the trendy Vinohrady and Žižkov neighborhoods, east of the main train station. Come evening, half the neighborhood can be found strolling the paths, picnicking on the grass, tossing Frisbees to dogs and children, and relaxing at one of two great beer gardens. The western slope is the best spot in Prague to watch the sun go down behind the castle.

Riegrovy Sady Prague
The former royal vineyards of Riegrovy Sady (Photo: Prague City Tourism).

Krymská Street in Vršovice has become Prague’s epicenter for all things cool, with cafés, clubs, bars, and boutiques spilling down the cobbled hill. By nightfall, particularly on weekends, many of the revelers take their drinks outside, creating an unofficial block party.

Krymská Street
Krymská Street (Photo: Mike Dunphy).

Adapted from: www.blog.virtuoso.comPublished:

19/07/17

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The Best Destinations for your Summer 2017 Trip to Europe

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Madrid, Spain

Madrid, Spain

Photo: depositphotos.com

Best for: Solo travelers

Enjoy open-air movies and theater performances, rooftop terraces, beautiful parks and alleys, outdoor activities, dances, yoga classes, sport and music events. Although summer months are quite hot in Madrid, this is a time when the city never sleeps; there are plenty of national and international events and many guests (but not as many as in spring and autumn). You will surely have a lot of fun and make exciting acquaintances.

Advice: don’t forget to bring a hat, suntan lotion, and a water bottle – these things will make it easier to deal with the heat.

Nice, France

Nice, France

Photo: depositphotos.com

Best for: Couples

Mediterranean coast, turquoise seas, white-sand beach cafes, and amazing promenades .What could be more romantic than the stunning French Riviera in summer? Nice is a special city – a wonderful combination of Italian chic and Mediterranean maritime freshness. Here everything is full of romance.

Berlin, Germany

Nice, France

Photo: depositphotos.com

Best for: Groups

Berlin is wonderful during the summer months. It is especially nice in August, when everyone is preparing for festivals. There are so many amazing places in Berlin! But only in summer can you visit the International Beer Festival and numerous outdoor activities that are not available in other seasons. Hang out at street cafes and restaurants, lounge in the parks and quaint alleyways, and generally enjoy the warm friendly atmosphere of the German capital.

Bruges, Belgium

Bruges, Belgium

Photo: depositphotos.com

Best for: the whole family

Bruges is one of the most exciting destinations in Europe. Its mysterious streets along with cozy ambiance, attractive squares, and lovely cafes make everyone fall in love with this amazing city. There is a stereotype that the best seasons to come to Bruges are spring and autumn. Whether it is true or not, you can check for yourself. However, our travel agents suggest you visit in July and August, and for good reason: the temperature is extremely comfortable (21C) and the city looks like a fairytale.

Corfu, Greece

Corfu Island, Greece, Europe

Photo: depositphotos.com

Best for: Honeymoon travelers

Greece is an incredible place for diverse travel. Whether you are searching for an opportunity to do all kinds of surfing, including wind and kite, or you would like to enjoy the beautiful streets of Corfu Island, its wonderful atmosphere, warm summer weather and romantic seaside. One of the best destinations for honeymooning couples, this Greek island is a truly magical, romantic and ideal place for your perfect summer trip.

Published: 13/07/2017

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Why is Paris One of the Most Romantic Places in the World?

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Romantic Paris

Romantic Paris. Photo: depositphotos.com

Why is it so popular among lovers, newlyweds, and happily married couples?

Whether you are a fan of this city or not, you have to admit that Paris is very special. As a favorite destination for romantic holidays, the French capital greets thousands of excited tourists every year. There is something in the air in the city of Paris, and you feel it when you first step in to the “Romance Capital.”

It all started 900 years ago when beautiful Héloïse fell in love with her teacher, Peter Abélard. She was only 17, so they were forbidden from dating, but their love was so pure and true that they decided to run away. They got married in another city, and Héloïse gave birth to a son.

However, their story was not always happy. Héloïse gave up her love to Peter Abélard; she did it for his dream. They went through a lot of difficulties and suffered long for love’s sake. In the 19th century, their grave was moved to Père Lachaise Cemetery. Since that time, lovers have come to Paris on the 14th of February to honor the memory of their love.

Romantic Paris

Paris. Photo: depositphotos.com

Paris is a city of beautiful parks, famous galleries, wonderful museums, fine perfume, and exceptional people. There are many remarkable places to go with your significant other to create everlasting memories: a trip down the Champs Elysée, an excursion to the Louvre or Versailles, and, of course, a climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Walks along the banks of the Seine River are most romantic.

Parisian courtyards are simply excellent. Small lodges are decorated with flowers. Old street lights shine around historical areas that were laid out in stone. And in fresh air cafes, it is possible to spend a perfectly romantic summer evening with a glass of red or rosé wine. In the gray of winter, young couples prefer to be wrapped in a plaid blanket drinking hot chocolate and listening to romantic music.

Strolling along the streets of Paris one can see many couples kissing, embracing, and looking extremely loving. Paris is wonderful in any weather and during any season. If you visit this city with your significant other, your relationship will become even stronger and more romantic. Come to the city of lovers and you will have pleasant impressions and unforgettable memories.

Published: 03/07/2017

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Majorca

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Mallorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands, an archipelago and autonomous community which is part of Spain located in the Mediterranean Sea. As of the 2009 census, the population of the capital city of Palma proper was 401,270, and the population of the entire metropolitan area was 621,000, making it the twelfth largest urban area of Spain. Nearly half the population of Majorca lives in Palma. The Cabrera Archipelago, though widely separated from Palma proper, is administratively considered part of the municipality. Its airport, Son Sant Joan, has more than 22 million passengers each year.

Majorca Valldemossa typical village with flower pots in facades at Spain. Photo: depositphotos.com

Some parts of Mallorca have multiple coastline resorts that are rather isolated and make perfect destinations for those who don’t like noisy parties and crowded areas. You can also visit stunning shores with vast surrounding territories of secluded white-sand beaches, turquois seas, and with an amazing number of activities. They are located mainly in the south of the city, where the tourist flow is not so huge. Private beaches of the Caribbean are perfect for those who search for amazing atmosphere and memorable nature! You will be able to choose from 200 beaches to find a place that suits you.

Sailing is an important part of holidays in Majorca. A series of international regattas is conducted annually, and top-ranked yachts can be seen along the entire coastline. Snow-white sails make the excellent view extremely romantic. Crystal clear waters and bright underwater beauty make this destination a  favorite of divers, surfers and sailors. Boating excursions to various points around the island are also available for less experienced seamen — they last all afternoon or even the whole day.

Photo: depositphotos.com

Majorca is a place with a unique history where the atmosphere is just unbelievable. You can enjoy a set of delightful buildings forming the very special city architecture. Here in the capital of the island, Palma de Majorca, every street, stone and building tells the beautiful history of this wonderful port city. Here you can admire impressive architecture from the Middle Ages made before modernist creations. Palma is also a place of various nighttime entertainments, with high level restaurants and a collection of bars and night clubs.

Photo: depositphotos.com

The rich cultural history of the island has left a huge impression: here you will plunge into an atmosphere of incredible castles and palaces, monasteries and cathedrals, majestic manors and gardens, art galleries and museums. City visitors can enjoy beautiful aqua parks, adventures parks or farms where small children can safely play with domesticated animals. The resorts of Majorca are ideal for family vacations. Don’t forget special local festivals when children are able to participate.

Beautiful Castles of Europe

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Visiting these castles is a wonderful experience.  It’s a great opportunity to explore the history of kings, and amazing stories of famous alliances and vendettas. Discover the ancient history of European regions and nations, brave conquests and cruel wars, and the tales of families who made and re-made Europe. Visit the most beautiful castles in Europe, and feel the history surrounding you in these ancient buildings.  

Photo: depositphotos.com

Hohenwerfen Castle, Austria

Overlooking Austria’s Salzachtal Valley, surrounded by jagged peaks of the Berchtesgaden Alps, this castle was primarily a place where kings lived. Later, it was home to archbishops and even prisoners (the structure was a state prison for some period) for more than 900 years. Today, Hohenwerfen Castle is where hundreds of tourists come from all over the world. It is also the site of Austria’s famous falconry center where hunting performances are held, and visitors can witness these extraordinary events.

Photo: depositphotos.com

The Palace of Pena, Portugal

This splendid castle is situated on a hilltop above the resort town of Sintra, located in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains. Being a royal sanctuary for a long time, the forested terrain is scattered with Clair villas and houses. The palace itself was originally created by King Ferdinand II and is arguably considered one of the greatest constructions of 19th-century romanticism in Portugal, with wonderful architecture and a magnificent interior. The palace of Pena was created in such a way that it is easily visible from any point in the surrounding park. The verdant areas of the beautiful grounds around the castle are perfect places to feel the vibes of the past.

Photo: depositphotos.com

The Alcazar Castle, Spain

The Alcázar of Segovia (literally, Segovia Castle) is an impressive, ancient stone fortification and World Heritage Site located in Segovia, a historic city northwest of Madrid, Spain. The most famous Spanish castle, it was purportedly the inspiration behind Cinderella’s Castle in Walt Disney World (though the information wasn’t confirmed by Disney). The castle looks beautiful and can be seen from long distances as it was built on top of a rocky crag and had no natural defensive advantage, which is typical for most castles. Located near the confluence of two Spanish rivers, Eresma and Clamores, The Alcazar is unique due to Muslim influence. It was originally built by Islamic warriors called Moors (Muslims from North Africa) and is representative of wooden construction in that era. It was highly influenced by Islamic architectural trends and Early Modern Spanish building styles. The Alcázar not only has a beautiful exterior design, but also a magnificent interior.  

Photo: depositphotos.com

Predjama Castle, Slovenia

Pedjama Castle is a marvelous place for all castle lovers to visit. It is a Renaissance-style castle located in the center of a historical region in south-central Slovenia. Constructed in an early Renaissance style, it was built into the mouth of a cave. It is eminently famous in Slovenia itself and in all Europe. It is a wonderful site – picturesque, audacious, and mysterious. Situated in the middle of a towering cliff, it is listed in Guinness World Records for being the largest cave castle in the world.