Top 4 Underrated Tourist Destinations in Europe

When most people think about going on a vacation in Europe, the first thing that springs to mind is a trip to England or France. However, Europe has far more to offer than its most popular traveling destinations.

The countries of the “Old Continent” are all rich with history and art and provide a diverse mixture of different cultures. While some of the biggest metropolises have long established themselves as prime tourist destinations, such as Paris or Rome, many other cities are offering a different, but equally enticing experience.

If you are planning to take a trip through Europe and are willing to walk the path less trodden, below are some of the most beautiful underrated European cities waiting to be discovered.

Bucharest

Although the capital city of Romania has acquired the reputation of somewhat of a bachelor’s party mecca in the past several years, thanks to the nightlife and stag activities it offers, it still remains under the radar of most conventional tourists.

Bucharest is teeming with history and an interesting mix of Moorish, French and Soviet architecture. There are organized tours of the Old Town, as well as the largest Parliament building in Europe, but you can also explore the city on your own, either by public transportation or Uber.

Thanks to its location, the city is also a great starting point if you want to explore the rest of the country. There are several tourist attractions in its immediate vicinity, most notably the castle of Vlad the Impaler, the historical figure who was the inspiration for Brem Stoker’s Count Dracula.

Belgrade

The capital of Serbia was built on the confluence of two rivers: Danube and Sava, and the cities’ riverboat clubs offer some of the best nightlife in the region. Although many people visit Belgrade with only this aspect of the city in mind, there are also many other reasons to mark it as one of your destinations.

The most famous tourist attraction in the city is the Belgrade Fortress overlooking the two rivers. Most of it is open to the public and is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon walking among the fortress walls and through the connected park. There are also organized tours of the fortress if you are looking to find out more about its turbulent history spanning over sixteen centuries.

To truly experience Belgrade, however, you would need to take a walk through the streets of its old town, and enjoy the architecture from some of the many cafés or restaurants.

Bruges

This small city in Belgium with a population of less than 200,000 is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe. Nicknamed the Venice of Belgium, because of its many canals, and scattered with churches and museums, Bruge truly has the feel of a place right out of a fairy tale.

 If you are a medieval history enthusiast, it is definitely the next European town you should visit. Instead of busy nightlife, this Belgian gem offers a more peaceful experience with less crowded streets and comfortable inns and pubs.

Apart from medieval architecture and museums, Bruge also boasts a considerable number of chocolate shops. If you have a sweet tooth, you will be happy to indulge in some of the finest chocolate you have ever tasted.

Naples

In contrast to busy Italian cities, such as Rome or Milan, this often overlooked town has a much more authentic Italian feel to it. With winding cobblestone streets, traditional Italian food and scattered piazzas, Naples is a perfect representative of the traditional Italian spirit.

However, this doesn’t mean you should visit Naples solely for an authentic experience, as it has its own share of attractions. Numerous churches and cathedrals, as well as three castles and a royal palace, make spending a few afternoons sight-seeing well worth.

In addition, it is a great lodging place if you want to visit the ancient ruins of Pompeii, which are only a short drive away, or the island of Capri, which can be reached by boat. Like with many other Italian cities, you should, by all means, give their pizzerias a try.

Conclusion

The list of underrated European cities could go on virtually forever. With so many different countries and cultures, there is limitless potential for exploring the continent. Whether you are looking for a weekend out in a foreign country, or a lesson in history, there are many cities and places across Europe you probably haven’t even heard of, that can provide you with an unforgettable experience.

Hopefully, next time you find yourself wondering where to spend your vacation, you will do some research and opt for a less famous destination. Not only will such a decision to save you some money, but it would also lead to a unique adventure you can talk about when you return home.

Your Guide to Jerusalem Events in Spring 2020

Jerusalem is an ancient city, and as you would expect, it balances its fascinating past with its inspiring present. The city is not short of cultural and historical attractions with everything together within a compact area. You can comfortably explore everything on foot. However, the spring is almost here as the blossom trees and their sweet scent become more evident. You can tell the sunnier days are just around the corner. As we draw closer to the spring season, it’s only natural to get ourselves adequately prepared to enjoy the Jerusalem outdoors.

However, before all the fun starts, finding a place to stay is just as important. In as much as you want to enjoy yourself, you need somewhere you can relax after a long day or when you don’t have somewhere to go. It would be best if you book one of Dan hotels in Jerusalem, where you can relax comfortably. The Dan Jerusalem, for example, include an outdoor pool, a spa, and spacious rooms. The hotel is set on the slopes of Mount Scopus close to the light rail. It is an excellent place to stay while in Jerusalem, especially during the winter.

So, once you’ve secured a place to stay, the following are some events you should be looking forward to this spring.

Jerusalem Marathon

This spring, everyone is looking forward to the ninth Jerusalem Marathon. Its unique setting provides a running track which is varied in its terrains and narrates the story of the entire city. Within the marathon, you get to enjoy some fantastic views and diffuse some of the unique cultures of Jerusalem. The best thing about this marathon is that it is divided into three categories; full marathon, half marathon and a 10km run. There’s something for almost everyone in one of the best ways to see and enjoy a unique city.

Harucon Convention

The convention is set to be held at the international convention centre in Jerusalem. It attracts people from all over the world and has come to be recognized as one of the best events of spring. Being a well-known convention, it features lectures, workshops, independent and commercial stands, panels, movie screenings and cosplay competition, among others. It’s an excellent convention that has a lot to offer for almost everyone.

Ramparts walk

Ramparts walk, atop the grand Old City walls that were built by Sultan Suleiman the magnificent, is exciting when the days are bright and mild due to the warm weather of spring. The best thing about this walk is that you get a chance to peek into the day-to-day life and the hustle and bustle of the old city. From here, you get the opportunity to enjoy amazing views of the charming neighbourhood of west Jerusalem, Judean Desert, and Yemin Moshe. This place is worth your time and gives you some memories that won’t fade away anytime soon.  Be sure to bring a camera along to capture an interesting perspective that this walk always has to offer.

Spring presents several activities and events to engage in while in Jerusalem. Just make sure you choose something that you will enjoy and make great memories with. If possible, bring a camera with you to capture every moment you spend in this unique city. Also, take your time in choosing the best place to stay to ensure you don’t face some challenges along the way. Your comfort should come above everything else.

Savour the natural beauty of the UK with Regatta

The natural beauty in the UK ranges from stunning dramatic castles to breath-taking sceneries. A vacation in the UK is undeniably  the best way to reward yourself.

Regatta is dedicated to helping you make your trips in the UK a memorable experience worth cherishing, and one that is a cheaper alternative to a European break. Check out some of the spots they’ve highlighted on their interactive map as an alternate destination or take a look at the places listed here.

The following is a list of five marvelous tourist attraction spots in the UK

Windsor – This historic town is a short train ride west of London. Its lovely Thames-side setting and the many medieval half-timbered buildings along its quaint old cobblestone laneways attract tourists from all over the world. It houses the spectacular Windsor Castle, the world’s largest inhabited castle; Windsor also houses Legoland Windsor, a fun family resort set on 150 acres of parkland close to the town centre and Royal Ascot, the UK’s most famous horse-racing venue.

Medieval York- One of northern England’s most popular tourist destinations, the medieval city of York, harbours one of the country’s most magnificent cathedrals. The country’s largest medieval church, York Minster, also the ancient City Walls, which stretch almost five kilometres around the old medieval city centre and offer excellent views over The Shambles, a narrow 14th-century roadway, famous for being the inspiration for Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley thanks to its fine old timber-framed buildings, many of which hang over the street below.

Liverpool and Manchester- When visiting Manchester, one must visit Castlefield, popular for its well-preserved Victorian houses, canals, and Roman ruins. Manchester Cathedral and the historic Town Hall, Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester Art Gallery and Chinatown are other attractions.

Liverpool, an hour’s journey by train, offers cultural excitement because of its association with the Beatles. Music fans are drawn here for the numerous walking tours and bus tours of Beatles sites, such as The Beatles Story in the renovated Albert Docks area; the famous Cavern Club, where the band made its debut in 1961; as well as the former homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Besides this, there are many historic buildings, lovely gardens, parks and museums and world-class art galleries.

Canterbury – Only an hour’s train ride from central London, Canterbury has attracted pilgrims for more than 1,500 years, ever since St. Augustine first started converting pagan Anglo Saxons to Christianity here in AD 597. Its famous attraction is Canterbury Cathedral (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Canterbury Roman Museum, built around the remains of an original Roman townhouse and its unique mosaic are the signatures of the city.

Cardiff – Cardiff offers a full spread of all the fun experience imaginable. The Cardiff Castle located in the middle of the city and built on the ruins of an ancient Roman fort; the old Victorian shopping arcades; the Cardiff Bay now home to numerous fine restaurants, theatres, galleries and shopping arcades on the lovely Mermaid Quay make up some of the brilliant activities you can enjoy in this friendly capital.

How to get around in Cancun: airport transfers tips

Once you have enjoyed yourself to the fullest in Cancun, you can’t miss the opportunity to travel from Cancun to Tulum to complete an experience in one of the most popular tourist areas in the Yucatan region. Below we provide you with the best transportation options to make this trip as comfortable as possible.

On board ADO buses

The most economical option of all is to choose this bus route. You can take them at the terminal located in the Cancun Hotel Zone, where you can take the bus that best suits your schedule, and travel (for an hour and a half or two hours) in a comfortable and spacious bus with air conditioning service until you reach your destination.

The ADO company offers you exclusive amenities unique to a company with so many years and so much recognition; among the most outstanding is the fact that they have a service to choose your travel companion, this being another woman in case you are traveling alone. As well as the overweight luggage service without extra charges, which is excellent for travelers who want to save as much as possible. There is also a cell phone recharge service in all available phones, so you can always stay in touch with your loved ones throughout your trip.

Finally, it is recommended in this section to make sure that the destination is the town of Tulum, and not the Archaeological Zone, because this would mean having to make an additional transfer that represents more time and money than you had planned to spend.

However, it contrasts with private transportation, as this is much more comfortable when moving between destinations, you can easily move to any destination in the city in a matter of minutes, the comfort is not compared with any other transfer service, especially the Cancun to Tulum Shuttle service, undoubtedly an experience to be lived sometime in life.

Iconic Sculpture of Playa del Carmen

You can make a trip through the mentioned ADO buses until you reach the terminal in Playa del Carmen, where you can board buses to get to Tulum in an economic way, the advantage is the saving of the ticket and being able to know more about the locations; however, the disadvantage of making this stop, is that you could have to walk some blocks, not to mention that the whole trip between waiting, transfer and transfers can take approximately 3 hours.

Because it represents so much mobilization, it is not recommended to take this stopover if you are traveling in large groups, as it could present difficulties, however, for lonely travelers or small groups of backpackers it would represent an option full of adventure and quite economical that allows the journey through Playa del Carmen additionally.

Transportation through private transportation

One of the most requested services by tourists who come to Cancun looking to try new experiences, because it is very comfortable, especially if you are going to spend a lot of time in a destination and do not want to carry the responsibility of a car, simply take you to your destination without problems and then pick you up when you leave again at the airport, to go to Tulum take a transfer from Cancun to Tulum is the easiest thing you can do.

The option that is never discarded is to rent a taxi for the one and a half hour transfer to Tulum. We recommend taking them at the main terminals, at the Cancun airport or from a reliable taxi line to travel with maximum security. Remember to agree on the fare with the driver before boarding, and do not forget that it is possible to lower the cost of the service by sharing the taxi of at least 4 seats with another person who also has the beautiful city of Tulum as his destination.

This is a good option since you avoid stopovers, travel privately with close proximity to your luggage and with great comfort (although this also represents a higher fare than all the options above).

With all these options you can’t miss a trip from Cancun to Tulum and get to know the beauties of a place full of history rich in the Mayan past. Dare to take the tour from Cancun to Tulum, and cross out a new place in your list of paradisiacal destinations along the Riviera Maya!

Exploring Africa with Kids – What You Need to Know

Exploring Africa with your kids is one of the most exciting adventures you can embark on as a family. Africa is a vast continent rich in culture, languages, food, history, landscapes, and of course, fantastic safari experiences.  Each African country is unique in its way, and regardless of where you go, there will be so much to see and do. As such, it is understandable that you might feel a little overwhelmed as you start planning your safari trip. This is why we have come up with our best tips on what you need to know as you plan your first African safari with kids.

Think of where to go

Africa has over 50 countries, and one of the first things to decide about is where to go. This should be directed mainly by what you are interested in. For the quintessential safari, East Africa’s Kenya and Tanzania, as well as South Africa and Botswana, are sure bets. If you are interested in out of the box adventures such as gorilla trekking, then Rwanda and Uganda are good options. An excellent way to make a decision is to list down all the things you would like to see and do and narrow down the places where they can be done with ease.

Photo of elephants taken during an African Safari trip.

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Think of your children’s ages 

While there are no hard rules about the ages of children, those above six years are more likely to enjoy, understand, and appreciate an African Safari. Some lodges will restrict group safaris to children over five years; this should not be an issue if you are doing a private safari.

If you are traveling with young kids, we encourage you to book a private van for your family so that you can have some freedom for yourselves. Using a private vehicle also means that you do not have to adhere to strict game drive schedules which make things a lot easier for kids.

Discuss expectations

After checking all the tips above, the last thing to do is discuss your family’s expectations during the safari. Kids will be better prepared if they know that they will encounter different cultures, food, and environment.  Let them know that they might have to forgo some luxuries, such as Wi-Fi in the jungle. Advise them that wild animals are, well, wild, and they should not provoke them in any way.  During a game drive, it might be a while before anything exciting happens, and to counter boredom carry binoculars, cameras, or animal coloring books.  Finally, remind everybody to keep an open mind and have fun!

Tourist on an African safari filming a Giraffe

Source: Bought from Shutterstock.com

Book family-friendly accommodation

Most African countries will have different types of accommodation, from lodges to tented camps of all budgets. You want to book a camp that caters to families, such as one with family rooms. This can be two or three interconnected rooms so that your kids don’t have to sleep in a different place. A family-friendly lodge is also likely to have childminders, a children’s pool, a playroom with toys and games, and kid-friendly meals. If you are traveling during the Easter holiday or Christmas, such lodges will have many more activities for kids planned. All these will go a long way in making your safari more comfortable.

As the saying goes, “The best way to explore a new place is with the people who were born and raised there.” So, instead of purchasing a predetermined family safari itinerary, work with a tailor-made tour operator such as MasaiMarasafari.in or AjKenyasafaris.com. Their guides were born and raised in Africa, and they will customize your trip to accommodate your family travel plans and budget.

Tourist on a Kenya Safari with MasaiMarasafari.in.

Source: Bought from Shutterstock

Combine several activities

The excitement of being in Africa and coming face to face with the big five, or witnessing the great migration at the Masai Mara National Park can be exhilarating. Unfortunately, the excitement can wear off pretty quickly for kids, and you want to plan for other kinds of things to do. For instance, you can prepare for cultural visits, short hikes, horse riding, swimming and some time at Africa’s beautiful beaches. This will not only break the monotony but also increase your chances of seeing and doing more during your safari.

Plan to carry personal items

When traveling with kids, it is safer to bring some personal items with you rather than planning to buy at your destination. While Africa has big cities with almost anything you could want, most safari destinations are far removed from the cities. You might not get a chance to shop during your transfers from the airport to the parks. We advise that you bring your prescription medicine and items of personal nature. Depending on the weather, carry the appropriate clothing and footwear, and be up to date with the necessary vaccinations. Your travel consultant should be able to advise you appropriately on this.

Your Guide to Navigating London’s Attractions

London is a vibrant multicultural metropolis. There is a contrast between the historic sights and the vibrant cultural scene. This makes it a thrilling experience to visit London. It also offers an amazing shopping experience. It also includes unlimited sights and vibrant culture for every traveler.

If you have never been to London and you’re contemplating whether a day tour within the city is worth it, here are some famous tourist spots that may help you decide:

  • Covent Garden: Covent Garden is considered to be one of the most famous areas in the city due to its theaters. Neal Street is a haven for shoe lovers with its range of shoe shops.
  • SoHo: It is a lively and thrilling area of the city that houses an impressive array of cafes. It also houses blues and jazz bars, and the core of the gay scene in London.
  • Kensington and Chelsea: This community is home to a few of the posh shops and affluent citizens in London. It also houses Notting Hill, which has become a famous neighborhood.
  • Camden: This is famous for being the area where hippies and punks tread the streets together. It is home to a lively mix of music venues, markets, tattoo parlors, restaurants, and boutiques.
  • London City: This is about one square mile in area. It is close to the largest skyscrapers and business districts in London.
  • Westminster: This includes sights like the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace. People can visit the British Government through the House of Commons Strangers’ Gallery.
  • Shoreditch: This is best known as London’s trendy East End design center. It offers great vintage shopping, street art, nightlife, and awesome food.

What to do in London

Visit the Wilton Music Hall

It is a magnificent building considered to be one of the world’s oldest. This music hall features a broad range of events like theater and classical music. It also includes comedy and cabaret, all in a unique atmosphere.

Visit the British Library and museums

London’s cultural icons are highlighted in many free museums. The British Museum holds world-renowned exhibits. The Tate Modern displays the finest of British and International Modern Art. The British Library has some reading rooms that have large collections of books. There’s always something new to be found. This is because of the frequent modification of exhibitions.

East London street art

Banksy is the most popular street art export in Britain. There are also several street art pieces across East London. These include Christiaan Nagel’s signature mushroom sculptures. You can also schedule your travel in time for the London Art Fair if you love art.

Shopping

Shoreditch has a fair proportion of coffee shops and eccentric fashion designers. This is to compliment the shopping scene. It is because it has developed a reputation as the birthplace of London’s retro boutiques. Oxford Street draws most visitors searching for souvenirs. Harrod’s is a world-class shopping sight. Thus, you should visit it when you are in London.

Visit the Thames River

Thames is an important part of the history of the city. Its Clipper boats take visitors through the Tower Bridge. They can also go to the historic sites and to the Canary Wharf’s iconic commercial district.

Warner Brothers Studio tour

For fans of the Harry Potter series, it is a must to visit this site. This tour takes guests from Dumbledore’s office to the Diagon Alley shops. It also takes them to a few popular locations shown in the Harry Potter movie.

Market tour

Borough Market has a lot of great food options and is the most renowned market. Some fantastic markets include the Portobello Market in Notting Hill. There is also the Old Spitalfields Market in East London. Here you will find everything like clothing, antiques, and food.

London is undeniably one of the majestic places to see. If you’re visiting anytime soon, make sure you have the right tools so you won’t have problems in navigating and to be able to make the most out of your travels.

Top 5 must-do things at New Mexico

Booking your tickets to New Mexico but don’t know where to go? You didn’t find anything you would like to do there on the internet? Are you even thinking of changing the destination of your trip? Don’t worry! We will help you make your trip worthwhile by sharing the 5 things you definitely should do when you go there.

1. Visit Santa Fe Opera House

Located seven miles north of Santa Fe and looking directly at the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of the Rockies is the Santa Fe opera house. This opera house was built in 1956 and has since been a tourist attraction. If you are looking for a place to dine while watching the sunset and watching the open-air theatre, this is your ideal spot. Add this to your checklist of things to see and you won’t be disappointed.

2. Visit the museums there

Mexico City is filled with museums, from folk art to history and nuclear science you will find it all there. If you are a lover of dinosaurs and big bang theory and other historical things then visit the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Albuquerque. If you are a fan of folk art and visiting Santa Fe then Museum of International Folk Art is your place to be. With pieces of art from many countries, this museum will become your best-visited place on this trip.

3. Go horse riding at the Ghost Ranch

We are not sending to you a haunted ranch. Ghost ranch got its name from rumours that were spread by cattle thieves to keep people away from their things. It’s a beautiful, vast, natural place, formed by miles of desert, cottonwood trees, and mountains. You can satisfy your craving for hiking and horse riding there. If you are out with your brushes and paint and looking for scenery to paint, go there and you will be amazed.

4. Don’t forget to visit Red River

Are you sitting in your hotel room getting bored out of your mind? Want to do some outdoor activity? Pack your gear and get on a bus to the town of Red River. This small town located in Taos County with its Red River Ski & Summer Area has been a great getaway destination since the 1950s.  With outdoor activities like fishing, warm weather skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, hiking, biking, and horseback riding this can be an ideal spot for you.

5. Try out a glass blowing class

Want to do something different, something new? Get yourself enrolled in a glass blowing class of Elodie Holmes where you will learn to hand-sculpt pieces by using the traditional glass-blowing method.

New Mexico has lots to offer to anyone who’s willing to leave homes to come to visit its beautiful museums, deserts, resorts, and its wide blue sky. We discussed five of the best things to do but we are sure no matter what you like to do there, you will find to do.

WHY YOUR NEXT TRIP SHOULD BE TO FUKUOKA

When you want to go on a trip that will give you a fresh experience and not just another cliché, you should book a flight to Fukuoka. It is the capital city of the larger Fukuoka Prefecture in Japan and also the biggest city in the island of Kyushu. This city provides you with a unique travel experience that you’ll definitely remember for years to come. With a wide array of activities to choose from such as surfing, bird watching, nature walks, and fine dining, coming up with the perfect itinerary might be quite the tedious task. In order to help you avoid sifting through tonnes of information, here are some of the reasons why Fukuoka should be your next travel destination.

Exploring the numerous shrines

Fukuoka is known for its numerous shrines that have stood for thousands of years. Visiting these historic sites is a great way to learn about the culture of the locals. Hakazaki Shrine is known to be one that has great importance in the history of Japan. In 1274, Mongolians invaded the city and burnt down the original shrine, since then it has been rebuilt and attracted many tourists from around the world. Another shrine to visit is the Atago Shrine. It is located on a hillside and provides a nice view of the whole city all the way to Hakata Bay. As a bonus, this is also the area where storks are known to nest which attracts many bird watching enthusiasts. Sumiyoshi Shrine is another one of the many shrines found in Fukuoka. It is located near the Naka River and was not constructed in the normal Buddhist style.

View the city from the Fukuoka Tower

Standing tall at a height of about 234 meters, it’s no doubt that the views from the Fukuoka Tower will leave you in awe. The tower also has a restaurant on its top floor that gives you an amazing dining experience with the panoramic vistas it offers. The tower is also considered as one of the national symbols of the city of Fukuoka.

Speaking of dining in the sky, Cathay Pacific provides the most comfortable experience that can be likened to it. Cathay Pacific has world class comfort that will ensure you get value for your money. On top of that, their in-flight entertainment promises a flight that is far from boring. With their return trip fares going for quite pocket friendly price, Cathay Pacific promises a wonderful flight experience that will leave you refreshed and ready for your vacation without breaking the bank.

Go Surfing

If you like an adventure that also incorporates a workout, surfing is the way to go. Fukuoka has numerous beaches dotted around city that provide amazing surfing conditions. You can visit these beaches during the summer when the waves aren’t too big if you’re only a beginner.

Watch a sumo match

If you’re like many visitors of Japan and you’re looking to immerse yourself in the culture of the locals, then watching a sumo match should be part of your itinerary. Fukuoka is the best place to experience this amazing sport especially around November when the season is at its peak. Some of the popular wrestlers can even be seen on the streets promoting their fights.

Check out amazing robots at Robosquare

When visiting Fukuoka, you should definitely explore Robosquare to see and interact with some cool robots. You’ll also get to see some of these robots being built and repaired. In addition, there is a gallery where you can learn about the mechanics behind some of the robots. This place beckons cybernetics enthusiasts and is also ideal for younger visitors since it provides an avenue for them to learn about robotics.

Checkout the roof garden at ACORS Building

The ACORS Building is located in the wider Tenjin Chuo Park and is especially popular for its roof garden. The garden hosts up to 75 different species of trees with a total of about 35,000 plants. The best time to visit the garden is in the morning when you can catch the plants glowing during sunrise. Unfortunately the park closes at 4pm which doesn’t allow for the plants to be seen during sunset.

The 5 Hottest Travel Destinations in New Zealand

New Zealand is undeniably one of the most charming countries in the world. The country is a relatively small island tucked away in the Pacific Ocean, with a population of approximately 4.5 million people. Its location far away from Australia and other continents makes it one of the go-to places for tourists that are looking to explore some of the world’s most sacred treasures.

In March 2018, New Zealand played host to over 3.8 million tourists. Picturesque landscapes, laidback Maori culture, and vibrant festival scenes are the primary highlights of a holiday in New Zealand. This post shall highlight the top spots you might consider visiting whenever your dreams take you to this glorious country.

1. The Fiordland National Park

The Fiordland National Park is New Zealand’s largest national park. The 12,607 square kilometers park occupies the southwestern region of the South Island and is a significant park within the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site.

The fastest means to access the park is through a road drive from Queenstown to Te Anau, along the SH6 and SH94. You may also fly into airports located within Te Anau or other nearby towns, such as Milford Sound and Manapouri.

Vegetation in Fiordland National Park is predominantly dense forests with hundreds of plant species, including ferns, shrubs, and silver beech. There are also numerous wild animals to sight, mostly the endangered native animals and birds. Examples include possum, red deer, and dolphins, as well as birds like kakapo, mōhua (yellowhead), and takahē.

Besides game watching, Fiordland is famous for its refreshing boat tours to nearby points of interest like the Milford Discovery Centre & Underwater Observatory.

Camping in Fiordland National Park allows you a more intimate encounter with its natural wonders. Some of the most popular campsites around the park include Fiordland Great Views Holiday Park, Getaway Te Anau, and more. Visit HitTheRoad.Rentals to learn more about camping in New Zealand. The brand works with over 83 Campervan providers in North and South New Zealand all with real customer reviews.

Another great way to explore Fiordland National Park is by taking a boat cruise to Milford Sound, which is the most spectacular fjord within the park. Other activities in and around Fiordland include hiking, tramping, trout fishing, and mountain climbing.

The best time to visit Fiordland National Park is during the warmer months of December through April.

The pristine waters of Fiordland

Image Source

2. Taranaki

Taranaki is located on the western coast of North Island, midway between Auckland and Wellington. The easiest way to get to Taranaki is to fly in, but the most exciting way is to take a road drive along New Zealand’s oldest heritage trail, the Forgotten World Highway SH43.

Taranaki is the ultimate adventure destination, featuring activities that suit travelers of all kinds. Popular things to do include surfing, hiking, snowboarding, mountain climbing, and watching the beautiful sunsets.

One of the special recommendations is the Pouakai Crossing, a full-day hiking tour that passes through the Pouakai Tarns. If you go on this hike on a calm day, you can see the magnificent reflections of the enormous Mount Egmont in the water. Most tourists prefer to head directly to the mountain for a full outdoor adventure, which includes mountain climbing, chartered flights over the mountain, and skiing, which happens between June and October.

If you’re into surfing, you can cruise the Surf Highway 45 and explore Taranaki’s top surfing destinations. And while you’re at it, you might consider visiting the Sugar Loaf Marine Park to swim with the seals and other marine animals.

February to mid-April is the ideal time to visit Taranaki.

3. Whangarei Falls

Whangarei Falls is arguably the most popular natural feature in Whangarei city. Nestled within Whangarei Scenic Reserve, the falls are an excellent destination for those who cherish the wild side of nature.

The 26 meters falls is located within a 10-minutes’ drive from downtown Whangarei or 2.5-hours’ drive from Auckland.

Besides sighting the mighty falls, the scenery is also perfect for photography, which makes it a preference for most honeymooners. There’s an opportunity to climb in behind the falls, and if you’re lucky to be there early enough, you can behold the rising sun as it hits the pristine waters, leaving your body covered in rainbows.

Climbing the slippery rocks around Whangarei Falls is an adrenaline-pumping adventure. However, the thought of getting behind the falls to enjoy a clearer view of the rolling landscapes and the sprawling Whangarei city makes it worth the risk. Are you afraid of heights? No need to fret, as you can still enjoy picturesque views of the waterfalls by taking a 30-minutes loop walk. Or, you can follow the trails down the Hatea River for a short but fulfilling walking safari.

The ideal period to visit the Whangarei Falls is during the summer months of December through February.

Cascading waterfalls

Image Source

4. Muriwai Beach, Auckland

Muriwai Beach is a top destination to include in your travel itinerary of New Zealand. Located within a 40-minutes drive from Auckland, this beach is famous for its enormous black sand dunes, incredible surfing opportunities, and surreal sunsets. The Muriwai Surf School, located close-by, offers lots of surfboards and sand yachts for hire, as well as surfing tuitions.

Apart from surfing, other watersports activities include hang gliding, paragliding, and fishing. However, ensure you check with the local authorities for the most suitable areas to go fishing or paragliding. Aptly named the Wild West Coast, Muriwai can get really wild during stormy days.

If you’re a nature lover, you might consider bushwalking along the Hilary Trail. Towards the southern end of the beach is the Muriwai Regional Park, a haven for golfers, cyclists, and horse riders.

A notable nearby point of interest is Maori Bay, located far south of the beach. The bay is famous for its steep cliffs and rocky terrain, which offer nesting spots for the region’s only colony of the Australasian gannets.

You can visit Muriwai Beach during the driest months from November to March. However, January till March is the ideal period for swimming at the beach, as the waters are calmer then.

Piha

Piha is a chic town situated along the rugged coastlines of Waitakere Ranges. It’s rather secluded location makes it ideal for travelers looking to escape the bustling city life.

The town is within a 40-minutes’ drive from Auckland city and is renowned for hosting international surf competitions. Piha is actually the most popular surfing spot in New Zealand. Its powerful waves make it a preference for seasoned surfers. As a beginner, you can take short surfing lessons at the Piha Surf Academy before hitting the water.

But surfing isn’t Piha’s only claim to fame. The beautiful black sandy beaches, incredible sunsets, and massive wilderness walking trails are more reasons to visit this quiet town.

While driving to Piha, remember to stop by the Piha Lookout along Piha Road to sample the town’s picturesque views from a vantage point. The Lion Rock, located in the middle of Piha Beach, also offers sweeping views of the pristine waters of the Tasman Sea.

Piha is also endowed with one of New Zealand’s most iconic waterfalls – the Kitekite Falls. The 40-m high cascading waterfalls are located within the town’s native forest in the Waitakere Ranges, making it ideal for hiking and walking safaris.

The best period to visit is from January to March when the temperatures are moderate, and rainfall is limited.

A surfer gliding amid raging waters

Image Source

There go our top recommendations for the most exotic destinations in New Zealand. Provided you visit any of these spots during fair weather, there’s no limit to how much fun you can experience.

5 Truly Vietnamese Coffee Drinks to Try in Hanoi

It was the French that brought coffee and coffee culture to Vietnam, but the Vietnamese have found ways to make it well and truly their own. The country is known for its strong robusta coffee, a bitter and intense coffee variant that most locals temper with the taste of sweetened condensed milk in a drink called cà phê nau in the north and cà phê sữa in the south.

Indeed, Vietnam has become a mecca of sorts for people who love their cup o’ joe, but the country has so much more to offer by way of coffee drinks. If you love coffee in all its forms, a visit to its coffee capital of Hanoi on a combo tour package with Traveloka should prove both meaningful and enjoyable. Book one today by visiting https://www.traveloka.com/vi-vn/packages/vietnam/region/ha-noi-city-10009843 and read on for some of the best Vietnamese variations on your favorite beverage.

Cà Phê Sữa Đá (Iced Milk Coffee)

Iced drinks are prevalent in Vietnam, where the climate is somewhere between sultry and temperate. The most popular coffee-based beverage in the country is cà phê sữa đá (known as cà phê nâu đá in the north), where Vietnamese-grown coffee meets sweetened condensed milk, ice, and water. This is also the basis for many other Vietnamese coffee drinks.

Why condensed milk? In the old days, fresh milk was hard to come by in Vietnam. The dairy farming industry was only just getting started, and access was restricted to those who could pay for the privilege. Additionally, condensed milk can be stored for a long time without spoiling, which used to be an advantage in a hot and humid country. It also was—and still is—the perfect counterbalance to the extremely dark and strong robusta coffee and the way it’s preferred by many Vietnamese: coarsely ground and filtered through a phin or a French drip. The result is extremely concentrated and almost impossible to drink without sweetening. Vietnamese iced milk coffee is sold everywhere, from the major cities to the coastal towns. Just nip into any establishment that sells coffee, and it should be the first listed item on the menu.

Cà Phê Trứng (Egg Coffee)

Cà phê trứng is a uniquely Hanoian specialty, an improvised concoction borne out of necessity in 1946, during the Anti-French Resistance War. Hard times brought on a milk shortage in the city, which forced a bartender named Nguyen Van Giang to devise an innovative solution to continue serving his regulars at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel. He added whisked chicken egg yolks as a milk replacement, and it proved enough of a hit that the drink continues to be served all over the city even today, long after the end of the war.

Modern cà phê trứng has come a long way from its frugal origins. Robusta coffee is topped with whisked eggs, sugar, and condensed milk to create a beverage that is closer to a sip-worthy indulgent dessert reminiscent of custard or Italian tiramisu. Certain establishments even go as far as to serve cà phê trứng with other creamy ingredients such as cheese and butter, further upping the “dessert” factor. In Hanoi, it is said that this coffee is made best at the Giang Café, which is owned by the family of its inventor.

Cà Phê Dừa (Coconut Coffee)

In this variation, robusta coffee is blended with condensed milk and coconut cream to create a beverage that’s distinctly tropical in flavor. There’s nothing more refreshing if you order it with ice or as an ice-blended beverage on a hot day in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.

For the best cà phê dừa or cà phê cốt dừa in Hanoi, head to The Note Coffee in Hoàn Kiếm, a well-respected establishment when it comes to Vietnamese coffee. There’s also Spacebar, a co-working space-slash-café, if you’d like to get a bit of work done while enjoying your cup. Coconut coffee is also well-enjoyed as a beachside drink For the best cup and a phenomenal view, head to Cộng Café in Da Nang, where it is one of the specialties.

Sữa Chua Cà Phê (Yogurt Coffee)

Yogurt was also brought to Vietnam by the French, and it has been incorporated into many a dish and dessert here. Vietnamese yogurt is creamy, rich and luxurious, making it the perfect base for toppings such as fresh fruit or granola. In Hanoi, however, an 83-year-old café has mixed it with coffee, and thus sữa chua cà phê was born.

Created in 2012 by the proprietor of Duy Tri Café, sữa chua cà phê is a straightforward concoction that consists of a full glass of thick yogurt topped with a layer of coffee that’s black as night. You can have it with ice if you so choose, but the yogurt has already been frozen beforehand, so all you need to do is stir and enjoy.

The establishment creates their own special blend of coffee by roasting their own mix of robusta andarabica beans, setting them apart from other shops in the area. Visit them in Yen Phu or just search for sữa chua cà phê—they’ve become so popular for this drink that Google maps will lead you straight to them.

Cà Phê Bạc Xỉu (Saigon-style Coffee Milk)

Described as “coffee for people who don’t like coffee,” cà phê bạc xỉu is a variation on the more famous cà phê sữa đá. The ingredients are the same: dark robusta coffee, sweetened condensed milk, water, and ice. What differs is the proportions; where cà phê sữa đá is still recognizably a cup of coffee, cà phê bạc xỉu is better described as a glass of condensed milk, flavored with a bit of coffee and loaded with ice. The specific ratio is about 3 parts condensed milk to 1 part coffee—or even less.

Bac Xiu is a truncated Chinese expression commonly used by the people of Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City. The full expression is “Bạc Tảy Xỉu Phé,” which roughly translates to “white glass with a little coffee.”  It’s a good start for people who aren’t yet fond of the beverage, and is often given to little children. You can order it anywhere you can order a regular iced milk coffee.

With so many cà phê variations in Hanoi alone, no coffee lover will ever be bored—perhaps just a touch over-caffeinated. Be sure to drink plenty of water between your cups of Vietnamese joe! Also, keep in mind that most traditional Vietnamese coffee shops do not serve food; the local custom is to eat elsewhere and then relax and unwind at a café after a meal, so fill up before heading out.

Author: I’m  Jaylin: SEO Expert of Leelija Web Solutions. I am a content manager, and the author of travelforu.info and a full time blogger. Favorite things include my camera, travelling, caring my fitness, food and my fashion. Email id: editor@leelija.com