Category Archives: European Destinations

Sightseeing on the Costa Blanca Spain

Sightseeing on the Costa Blanca Spain. Do you dream of long summer days, lounging on a beach with friendly people and spending your time soaking in the Mediterranean? You’ll love Spain, specifically their Costa Blanca, a beautiful stretch of Mediterranean coastline in the province of Alicante. Your holiday can be spent exactly how you’ve dreamed: relaxing, sunny and warm. The weather isn’t the only thing that is sunny and warm; the people here are happy to see you and are always ready for a conversation. Holidays in Spain are made that much better when you allow yourself to be completely absorbed by the culture.

These holiday rentals in Spain could be a lot less expensive than you think. Do some research on all of the available homes and options. You’re sure to find something that will fit you and your family perfectly. There is a price range for any budget, so don’t be afraid to consider this fantastic area for your next holiday. Your stay here will be memorable yet relaxing, exactly what you want. The Costa Blanca has a way of putting you in the right mood and keeping you there for the entirety of your stay. Once you leave, you’ll wish your home could be a little bit more like Spain.

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There are plenty of seaside cities that have holiday rentals in Spain. Try one of the lovely homes in Jávea Spain. Javea has a long history, but it also has adapted to a growing tourism industry, meaning that there are plenty of exciting venues to visit. Residents of Javea would like to make you feel at home and keep you coming back for more of their beautiful city. These people are warm and welcoming, and they will make you feel as though you have been old friends forever. The best way to experience Javea is to allow yourself to be completely swallowed up by the strong culture there.

Javea Spain is the home of many friendly Spanish people who would love to show you how wonderful holidays in Spain can be, and they’ll welcome you to join them in their annual festivals. Each year in May, the Fiesta de Santa Cruz happens, and all of the residents have a contest of who can make the most beautiful cross out of flowers. The Fiesta de Nuestra Señora del Carmen takes place every July. This is the fiesta of the sailors, and the sailors spend the morning on the water, celebrating the Virgin Mary by scattering flowers. These festivals are beautiful ceremonies with a long tradition, so watching the residents of the city taking part of them can be extremely moving. Spaniards are known for their intense sense of religion and history. These festivals are something you can only experience in Spain.

If you do choose to stay in Javea Spain, be sure to check out Javea Old Town. This section of the city offers you the best uniquely Spanish experience that you could ever dream of. Wander down the narrow streets and get lost in the history. Just be careful to not get lost for real! These streets are designed quite differently from any streets you’ll find in the United States or the United Kingdom. Take a map, but allow yourself to turn down quiet roads and peek your head into one of the many cafes. This is a part of the city remains true to the Spanish culture. You’ll get the most authentic experience here, and you won’t regret seeing these beautiful Spanish buildings and restaurants.

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However, be warned:  Once you stay in one of these cities, it will draw you back for another holiday. You will think of your holiday rental as your own, your personal retreat. These holiday rentals in Spain won’t disappoint you; you’ll be back for more. Once you go home, your heart will always keep a piece of Spain and always long for another experience there.

Spain’s people are warm and personable. Strangers become friends easily. You might get the sense that they know something about living that you don’t know, something that makes more fun and interesting. The cities on the Costa Blanca want you to feel at home. Visitors are always amazed by the amount of effort the townspeople put in to making sure that everyone is having a relaxing holiday.

Don’t wait any longer to fulfill your dreams. The many holiday rentals in Spain are calling for you. Now all you have to do is book a rental and get on your way. Spend your time a little more like a Spaniard:  relax, socialize and be happy. Take the chance now and make sure that you’ve seen this unforgettable area in Spain. The Costa Blanca will stay in your heart forever, and you might even get “homesick” for your new favorite holiday spot.

City Holiday In Aalborg

Aalborg is the 4th biggest city in the kingdom of Denmark, but potentially the most vibrant and interesting town apart from the capital. In Aalborg you can explore centuries of danish culture as the city has well maintained and accessible memories from its own ancient history as it developed from a fortified trades post and fisherman’s town to a classic industrialized manufacturing city and onwards to a forward looking and modern center of culture and education.

To those interested in history and architecture there are well preserved old castles and townhouses, an underground museum under the main pedestrian streets taking you by elevator down into a fascinating excavated display of the areas ancient history. One location of particular interest will be Jens Bang’s House which is a salient example of spectacular historic architecture. Such examples are found all over the town of Aalborg, but generally in the form of actively used buildings such as the ancient monastery, the underground cave bar and shops elegantly built into ancient architectural pearls.

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Aalborg is far from just a working museum celebrating the past though, new and interesting buildings are found all over town. A prime example is the Utzon museum by the fjord that separates the two parts of town. The building celebrates the architecture Utzon, who designed the famous opera house in Sydney – but in reality it stands out in its own right with interesting shapes and a wealth of cultural activities inside.

Speaking of cultural activities, don´t you dare cheating yourself out of the complex called Nordkraft. From the outside it looks like a giant industrial factory building – and in fact that is exactly what it was. A classic industrial coal power plant in the middle of town, but genius visionaries have transformed it into one of the most vibrant and riveting cultural powerhouses (pun intended lol) in northern Europe. Nordkraft houses a literal flood wave of cultural entities including a music venue, several theaters and performing arts groups and workshops … all of it carefully fitted into the old coal power plant production halls, cellars and cavernous rooms. You can almost smell the sweat of tireless workers feeding the plant a hundred years ago whilst wandering the wondrous halls of modern culture, experimental theater or watch an independent movie in the underground cinema Biffen Aalborg.

Nordkraft aalborg

It may sound as though Aalborg is exclusively about culture, architecture and history, but in fact it has a reputation as the party capital of Denmark as well. Not least due to the bar strip Jomfru Ane Gade (Virgin Ane Street). Jomfru Ane Gade is one long strip of old traditional townhouses made into bars, restaurants and discotheques. During the weekend the narrow little pedestrian street is a pure haven for party people of all ages. Unlike many other bar strips around the world, Jomfru Ane Gade is surprisingly peaceful and friendly in its atmosphere. Despite the huge crowds, the excessive intake of alcohol and the loud disco music a happy and welcoming vibe is generally always in the air.

Nothing beats a night out in Aalborg. Apart from Jomfru Ane Gade every street corner has a traditional danish bodega, the casino is tempting the gamblers, strip clubs are readily available and fancy cafés are spread out all over town with the most famous one being Ib Rene Cairo

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Apart from the parties Aalborg caters to families with a nice choice of activities such as guided boat tours on the fjord, an impressive zoo, an annual carneval and weekly live music events, several amusement arcades and trips to the small island Egholm with all its natural beauty and a traditional inn serving fresh fish and other delicate dishes.

Aalborg is a relatively small town for a city holiday but has plenty of offerings to keep you amused and interested throughout your stay, whether you love to party, study architecture or simply fancy a nice varied time in a charming city full of activities and sightseeing attractions.

North Cape – The Northern Tip Of Europe

If you drive north through Europe through the swedish woodlands, across norwegian mountain passes and way past what seems like the point of no return, sooner or later you will reach North Cape, the very northern tip of Europe. Situated on a small northern island, Magerøya, the north cape is a spectacular place to visit. The north cape itself is fairly high cliff facing the sea to the north. Where the cliff ends, so does Europe and nothing else will appear to the north for 2000 kilometres – where you will reach the north pole.

The cliff of north cape in itself is farely bare but has a few facilities for tourists such as a cafeteria, a small shop, toilets and the like. None of the services are particularly exciting and everything is excessively expensive – so do yourself a favour and bring plenty of supplies with you upthere. Admission to the North Cape area used to be free for all, but they now charge a fairly excorbitant fee – though you can pay to join the Royal North Cape Club and get free admission at all times.

Despite the expenses and rather lacking facilities, the North Cape is well worth a visit due to its highly unique features. Basically, you can sit on the edge of giant cliff facing the north pole and enjoying the sunset. Except. The sun never sets. It will almost reach the water level on its downward path out in the horizon, but before they meet, the sun starts going up again. It may sound like a plain and silly thing, but actually spending the night watching a sun that never sets is one amazing trait of nature. The midnight sun can be experienced from 14th May to the 31st of July. The sun will reach its lowest point at 00.14 – 00.24 during this period. Obviously this timeframe is when to come to the north cape as well – if you come just outside this period, the sun will set but only just.

If you fancy an adventure to the north, fill the car with supplies and go see the sunset that never happens.

 

Søndervig – Beach Resort in Denmark

Most people will think vikings, icy winters and unlimited supplies of streaky bacon at the mention of Denmark, but actually the tiny northern european country sports some rather exciting beach resorts as well. One of those is Søndervig, located on the western coast of Jutland, and within easy driving distance of the airports in Billund and Karup. In itself Søndervig is a tiny town cuddled in just behind the sand dunes protecting the flat field of Jutland from the roaring north sea, but in the summertime its quite a busy little resort with some of the most marvellous sandy beaches in northern Europe.

The danes are fairly strict about protecting their nature and as such you wont find any developments, beach bars or hotels on the actual beach. The downside to this of course is the lack of beer or meals with a sea view, but on the upside it means passing from the resort over the dunes reveals kilometer after kilometer of undisturbed sandy beaches. The only buildings on the beaches are bunkers left behind by the german invaders during the second world war, it appear Hitler had little regard for danish building regulations. Staying close to Søndervig itself, the sand beach will be rather full of skinny dipping tourists and couples making out in the dunes, however if you want undisturbed peace and a sandy beach all to yourself you merely have to walk a couple of kilometres in either direction.

In terms of organisation and functional facilities nobody matches the danes. Everything is clean and tidy, there are plenty of informational posters, guides and info stands readily available in several languages, public toilets are conveniently located and kept clean etc. On top of these official facilities the Søndervig beach resort has a strong selection of restaurants featuring steak houses, traditional danish meals at the inn, italian pizzas and pasta as well as trendy café offerings. On the entertainment front theres nightclubs, bodegas and bars to cater for your thirst and cravings to show off your suntan on the dancefloor. The most popular nightclubs would appear to be Brændingen sporting a classic disco style and 60eren for the slightly older audience.

Now its all well and good with sandy beaches, but Denmark is known to be rather cold and rainy for most of the year and indeed you dont get the same guarantee of blistering sunshine at all times as you would have in a mediterranean or caribic resort. However, danish summers tend to be mainly warm and sunny, and on days where the beach doesnt seem appealing there are plenty of other activities to explore in the area.

Dont cheat yourself of a visit to the annual sand sculpture festival located within the town borders of Søndervig. Sand artists from all over the world compete every year and create amazing sculptures in the sand, that are then put on public display. Its cheap and quite an impressive experience. If you fancy trying your luck fishing Søndervig has plenty of options too. You can either try your luck with heavy equipment in the actual ocean or pay to have a nice and relaxing time at one of the many local put and take lakes, where catching a trout or two is more or less guaranteed.

One of the newest additions to the entertainment industry round Søndervig is the amazing Adventure Park (formerly Adventure Golf). The main feature is a form of golf that mixed real golf with minigolf in a fantastic themepark setting which will prove entertaining and challenging for families with kids of all ages, experienced golfers and people who never held a golf club in their life before. However this creative new form of Adventure Golf isnt the only thing on the menu at the Adventure Park, you can play Minigolf and an exciting form of Football Golf. Theres a FUN4all Game Room and a decicated Playland along with Shooting Simulators and all sorts of sports integrated in a fantasy wonderland type of setting. This place is certain to bring days of entertainment and pleasure to any and all families who love a bit of sports and scenery out of the ordinary. To top it all off, unlike most things in Denmark, the Adventure Park is surprisingly cheap, which is really rather surprising as it must have involved massive investments to establish this little piece of sports Narnia in a beach resort – but you really should take advantage of it and grab the family for a fun day at the Adventure Park Søndervig

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Once youre done playing around in the Adventure Park (if its actually possble to stop), we would recommend a trip into the historic town of Ringkøbing. Located a short 15km drive inlands by the lagoon, Ringkøbing is a very traditional danish town with ancient buildings, museums and a charming little city centre with outdoor cafees and narrow streets.

Now theres plenty of good reasons to try a beach holiday in Søndervig, especially if you are happy to explore other activities than sunbathing on days when the weather is too cloudy or cold. However, Denmark is excessively expensive compared to most other destinations, so you need a solid wallet to finance a pleasant vacation in Western Jutland which might deter a fair bit of the crowd that would otherwise consider it an alternative to greek, spanish or french beach resorts. If you have a bit of cash, Søndervig is lots of fun and caters for all your needs though.

Moraira – Spanish Village Resort

Moraira is one of the smaller beach resorts on the Costa Blanca. Located in the middle between Valencia and Alicante it has easy access to both those cities international airports. Moraira itself lives a quiet life as one of the smallest beach resorts on the Costa Blanca built around a the original village and a relatively limited but very well maintained and attractive sandy beach.

The inhabitants of Moraira are to a large extend english, german and dutch expats opting for the relaxed lifestyle in Spain and making no compromises by opting for a quiet resort like Moraira for the purpose. You wont be lacking charming options for a sea view meal in Moraira though with its generous supply of outdoor cafés, promenade restaurants and english pubs such as the Madhatter for wilder entertainment purposes.

The activities in Moraira are obviously more limited than in busier nearby resorts such as Benidorm, Calpe and Altea, however in many ways enjoying the peace, recharching the batteries and having an undisturbed time is equally that much easier within the realms of the cosy beach town of Moraira. There are live music events to be found in Moraira, particularly an annual festival with mainly english coverbands and regular performances at the irish pub. A few nightclubs will provide you with the pina coladas you need and several tapas places caters for the rumbling tummy.

Moraira a weekly outdoor market, occational charity events and local fiestas but truth be told, dont go there for the party atmosphere and wild nightlife, go there if you want to enjoy a more tranquil holiday in the sun to meditate on your own or with your family in a safe and manageable environment. Those inclined to hunt for parties, mad fiestas and nightlife would be much better catered for by choosing a holiday in Javea or Benidorm, as those bigger resorts are significantly more geared towards those types of activities. Having a nice peaceful time in Moraira is pure bliss though.

 

Malung – The Swedish Wilderness

Far, far up north in Scandinavia we find a destination entirely different from the ones we usually look at. There are no beaches in Malung, no wild nightclubs, the sunshine is sparsely distributed and you wont find hordes of tourist guides ready to hold your hand whilst explored. That is however exactly the attraction. The small town of Malung is the capital of a vast area of isolated and indisturbed nature, endless forest and streaming rivers, snow covered mountain tops and quiet lakes hidden away kilometres away through the wilderness.

During the swedish summer month temperatures are generally rather mild and pleasant in this part of Sweden. You wouldnt exactly go here to catch a suntan, but the weather isnt likely to stop you exploring the wilderness either. And exploring is exactly what you should do. Get yourself a tent, a compas and plenty of supplies and head out into the vast rewarding forests.

Try your luck fishing in the streaming river Västerdalälven that has a natural habitation of salmons, sea trouts and other exciting potential captures. You can find advice and buy a permit to go fishing in one of the local fishing accessories shops. Even better though, try discreetly getting to chat to local sports fishers out there as they might just reveal some of those secrets that will help you land a giant salmon or find the perfect spot to practice your fly fishing skills.

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For a more relaxing fishing experience there are plenty of lakes full of pikes, bass and other interesting species spread around the forests. The beauty of the fishing around Malung is that you tailor it exactly as you please, every type of fishing environment is ready and waiting and you wont even have to compete for a good spot at the lakes or rivers. Theres plenty of room, plenty of fish and plenty of nature to enjoy whilst youre at it. Hunting is very much the same, the area has a diverse and exciting wildlife and huge areas ready for hunting – but check with the local hunting shops first for required permits and areas you may use.

In terms of places to go in general, Sweden has a socalled “allemandsret”, which basically allows you to camp anywhere in the wilderness for free unless the area is clearly marked as a no-go (which it wont be round Malung). In this way you can camp for free where ever you like and explore on your own terms. There are campsites spread around the area as well, that can be useful for gaining access to facilities, a hot shower and purchase of fresh supplies.

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Malung itself is a relatively small village with few outstanding events happening, the main feature by far is the nature surrounding it. There are however all you might need of shops and restaurants as well as a couple of bars. Dont go to Sweden for drinking though, its excessively expensive and the state has a monopoly on selling alcohol, driving up prices and the level of inconvenience. Malung has a few interesting events through the year such a Scandinavian folk festival with traditional swedish folkmusic from rather well known bands in the genre. During the winter theres a huge ski resort nearby as well to look into. But overall, go to Malung if you fancy exploring the wilderness, wants an extraordinary fishing or hunting trip, or if you simply enjoy the peace and quiet of vast sparsely populated areas full of wildlife, rivers and forests.

Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer – The Gypsy Capital

Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer or Sant Marie De La Mer is a coastal city on the french part of the mediterrenean. These days it is largely a beach resort with heavy tourism, busy beaches, hotels and campsites roaming with holidaymakers from all over Europe, but Sant Marie De La Mer is in fact much more than that. If you look at the cultural history it is a destination of pilgrimage as well as a popular seaside resort, with a central mediterrenean location in Provence, in the Bouches-du-Rhone.

These days the centerpiece of Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer is the beach. A vast sandy beach that stretches for kilometres along the coastline with shallow waters making it extremely family friendly. However, the actual village is built around its famous ancient church of the eleventh century, that countains the mummified remains of the saint Mary (or the three marys that are the objects of pilgrimace and spectacular annual festivals). From the church the charming little village is spread out in a labyrinth of narrow cobbled streets with outdoor café serving refreshments on every corner, craftsmen producing leather belts from tiny stores and a wide range of other original goods for sale directly from the producers. Sadly these days, these original traits are under heavy pressure from cheap and tacky tourist shops, standard tourist nightclubs and burger bars but you can still find the charming spots wandering around town, which is well worth doing.

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During the busy holiday season between Christmas and New Years, the village has an entertainment program named the Camargue. Thus, one can attend the “Abrivado”, which means a bull run taken away by cowboys (horsemen Camargue) carrying torches, visitors can admire the sunset with cowboys and bulls roaming the streets. Children can enjoy the bouncy castles while their parents stroll through the streets with live music, or visit the crypt housing St. Sarah. Each May 25, more than 10,000 gypsies from around the world flock to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer to venerate their holy “Black Sarah” or Sara-la-Kali. Her relics are carried through the streets at the gypsy festival and into the ocean in a heap of flames. A spectacular sight not to be missed. Every year also sports the vierginenco festo (the virgin festival), which is a ceremony for girls aged 16 that celebrates their change of status to that of an adolescent woman. Theres further festivals and monuments relating to the roma gypsies treating it as a holy city or mediterrenean capital and its always worth looking out for these gypsy fiestas as they tend to be entertaining, inclusive and rather mad.

The area surrounding Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer include a vast natural park with the opportunity to go on safaris and admire a range of wild life, a high speed canal for windsurfers and long stretches of undisturbed beaches away from the main tourist areas. Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer is still well worth a visit, especially during the gypsy festival season, even though it has developed from a real hidden gem to more of a traditional tourist beach resort

Vacation in Porto – Port Wine and History

Porto is the second city of Portugal located where the Douro river meets the sea. For a metropolitan holiday Porto gives you the opportunity to experience a strangely intimate and almost village style charm with its ancient building, the history of great seafarers written into the stonewalls of historic buildings and old port wine houses still spread along the Douro river as they have been for hundreds of years.

The most exciting part of Porto has to be port wine houses, certainly for us enthusiasts. You can literally walk in off the street to the well preserved original production facilities of still active port wine houses, get a guided tour through ancient and modern production facilities and finally taste the goods of that particular house. Head down to the Douro river and theres an almost endless supply of such port wine houses to visit, tour and taste.

Porto furthermore sports most of the dishes from the traditional Portuguese kitchen, but with a natural focus on seafoods, being a seaside town. One of the most common dishes of Porto is the delicious Tripas à Moda do Porto, that is served in largely every establishment round town. You shouldnt visit Porto without trying the Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá either, its a creative dish based on codfish which too is served in a majority of traditional restaurants in town.

Apart from eating and drinking, which are two of the main ingredients of life in Porto it seems, the old town of Porto is one of the most charming and atmospherical places to visit, certainly in any major city. In many ways it has similarities to the latino quarters in Paris, but the Porto version has narrower streets, a more traditional preservation and an even more vibrant atmosphere. Spending a few days just wandering the spiderweb of narrow cobbled streets, shopping in tiny specialist stores and enjoying the life round the countless cafees and restaurants is bound to recharge your batteries. Porto is a very distinquished and different kind of big city holiday option, but it certainly has the activities, charming features and vibrancy to pull it off.