Discover a wealth of culture in Bilbao

One of the lesser known cities of Spain, Bilbao has a growing tourist population. Situated on the Northern coastline, in Basque Country, it is a major European arts city. The city has undergone significant regeneration in recent years, with the development of some unique architecture such as the Guggenheim Museum and Iberdrola Tower which were built in rundown, former industrial areas.

Bilbao, Spain

Why visit Bilbao?

A trip to Bilbao will give you a flavor of the old and the new cultural influences that abound in Basque Country. It is a compact city, lending itself perfectly to a short break but with plenty to keep you occupied if you wish to make a longer visit. There are a number of good value hotels, guesthouses and studios available in both the old and new sectors of the city. As with all trips, remember to keep yourself covered with travel insurance. Several flight operators fly to the city, including some of the budget airlines so Bilbao is a good choice for a cheap getaway.

Old Town

Casco Viejo, the old quarter of Bilbao is also known as Las Siete Callas (The Seven Streets). This name refers to the original seven streets of the oldest part of the neighbourhood, which dates back to medieval times. You can easily spend a day browsing these streets and all the little alleyways that connect them. Crammed with interesting shops and taverns, the area also includes several old churches and a busy food market offering all kinds of delicacies. The area is focused around the Plaza Nueva, a bustling centre where people meet to socialize. It is the ideal place to take a seat, have a drink and soak up some Bilbao flavor.

Modern Culture

The regeneration of the old industrial area is what has really put Bilbao on the map in recent years. The new architecture showcases some distinctive styles and houses the Bilbao Art District. The masterpiece of this is the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum, for modern and contemporary art. To experience the Art District at its most spectacular, visit during early May when the Arts Weekend is in swing, when it truly comes alive with color.

The modernization of Bilbao will not just appeal to art lovers. Other areas of the city have been upgraded, including a number of parks along the riverside, ideal for spending the afternoon relaxing in the sun. A number of squares and plazas have been built in over the last few decades, creating meeting points in the city. One of the newest, Indauxtu Square, contains some contemporary architectural features which are beautifully lit up in the evening.

For the art lovers, Bilbao is a must see, but it also hosts a wealth of attractions for all tourists to explore.

Best UK city breaks

From the bright lights of London to the flowering bulbs of Cambridge, holidaying away from home doesn’t always bring beach scenes and faraway locations to mind.

City Breaks UK

In fact, taking a holiday closer to home can be just as much fun.

Manchester

From fine dining and cultural events to an abundance of attractions and a great nightlife scene, a trip to Manchester is a must for the entire family.

Begin your tour by visiting the set of one of the UK’s favourite soaps – Coronation Street. The cobbles are open to the public at various times throughout the year and offer a unique opportunity to walk down one of the nation’s most famous streets.

For those searching for something a little more retail orientated, a trip to the celebrated Trafford Centre is a must. Located just five miles outside of the city centre, this retail giant is home to an abundance of big name brands, designer stores and high street favourites. From stylish homewares to fashion favourites, there’s something to suit all and it’s also home to the iconic Selfridges store – the first one of its kind built outside London.

Asides from shopping until you drop, you may also be lucky enough to encounter fashion shows, book signings and film premieres during your visit.

When you tire of shopping, you can even visit the Peak District – an area of outstanding natural beauty just a short drive away. It’s said to be one of the most inspiring and accessible parts of the British Isles so take advantage of your close proximity to it with a trip into the natural environment.

London

Aside from hosting more than 40,000 shops and markets, London is also home to an array of museums, outdoor spaces, restaurants, clubs and world heritage sites. London’s history stretches back over 1000s of years, whilst its many world-class tourist attractions are renowned across the globe.

With so much to see and do in the area, staying a night or two is a must – which is when sourcing hotels in London comes in handy. Those looking to organise a weekend break may wish to check out the many accommodation options available on Hotels4U.

Once unpacked, you can spend your days exploring all that this vibrant city has to offer and when you get a little peckish, you’ll have over 6,000 restaurants to chose from. If you’re travelling with little ones, fear not – this city has something to offer all ages, including the renowned Science Museum and the Natural History Museum.

Cambridge

Just outside of London is Cambridge – an area of outstanding natural beauty. From taking a trip to one of the local galleries to booking tickets for a show at one of the buzzing theatres, to spending the day punting on the River Cam, this is a city brimming with diversity.

The best way to travel around on a sunny day is by bicycle, as the region is home to an abundance of cycle paths which run in and around the city. A few of the must-see visitor highlights include the Parker Library Tour, the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Kings College Chapel and College Grounds and Jesus Green.

5 Destinations That Offer the Best Photo Opps

There are many great things about taking pictures of a place and you have to make sure that you have a great image capturing device with you to crystallize the moment. There are so many cool places to take pictures of and to make sure to catch the essence of the place in action, you will need your Sony digital camera and, of course, your travel gear. For those who are looking forward to an exciting time in places where you can’t help but take a lot of photographs, here are some of the recommended destinations:

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  1. Sicily, Italy. Culture happens to be one of the most attracting things about a place especially when your inner photographer is at work. Landscape alone is not enough inducement to go to a place so when culture and natural beauty comes together, no one can say no to going to a destinations and such is the case of Sicily. With roots that lead back to Arabs and Greeks and the influence of a society which is Catholic through and through, snapping pictures would be hard not to do.

  2. French Polynesia. For those who are planning to set foot in this place, one of the first things that you can remark upon is the warm welcome of its people. With the turquoise lagoons and the moss green peaks, you cannot question the sheer beauty of the place. Yet, at the same time, the island has a haunting feel that you can feel despite the wonders of the place.

  3. Arctic. Due to the changes in the climate, there is a fear that the place will disappear later on and being on this place will surely give you a need to fight for everything that you can find here. There are a lot of fascinating wildlife here including walruses and polar bears and the mere experience of being in the place is such an accomplishment in this lifetime.

  4. The American Southwest (Four Corners). Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah also known as the Four Corners look really pretty in pictures due to the number of subjects that you can choose from and the natural lighting. Taking pictures in the area especially after the spring rains and the snow storms will result to images that look really awesome in pictures. Indeed, you will get so many great pictures from the American Southwest.

  5. Bhutan. Bhutan is an isolated country in the East Himalayas and a majority of the country is composed of rain forests. Capturing a snapshot of this country would be a huge achievement for any photographer given the fact that the number of travellers who are allowed to enter the country is very limited. Dedicated travellers would have a feast over the stunning pictures that they can take of the place. Spring is particularly a good time to catch the blooming flora and the mountains with its snowy peaks make a great background. When you are planning to visit the place, time your arrival to one of the dance festivals to have a fuller appreciation of the culture of the place.

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Photography is a good way to gain appreciation of a place and to have a fuller understanding of the culture of the destination that you are planning to go to. These are just some of the best places that you can go to on your next trip when you are planning to hone your photography skills. The next time that you are off planning your itinerary, be sure to bring your digital camera and at the same time, plan your trip to cover the best grounds.

Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, New Zealand

If you want to have a wonderful holiday in New Zealand, there is one place that could be a perfect one for you to stay during your holiday. It is the place where you can enjoy the beautiful rooms, delicious cuisine, staff’s perfect-scoring service, and fun activities. If you wish to experience all of those mentioned then you should come and stay in Lodge at Kauri Cliffs. This lodge is located in Tapene, New Zealand, 21 kilometers from Kerikeri Bay of Islands Aiorport. Guests can enjoy 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean from this luxury lodge. Staying in this plantation-style lodge you will feel like you are part of the royal family. It has the mixing of a plantation house and a summer cottage. This lodge is designed for the guests to feel like being in a country with a perfect view of the ocean.

This luxury lodge has facilities that will give the guests great satisfaction and comfortable stay. This lodge consists of 23 rooms: One-Bedroom Suite, Deluxe One-Bedroom Suite, and Special Offer – Deluxe Suite. Each suite has fireplace, bedroom with sitting area, bathroom, walk-in wardrobe, and a private patio. It also completed with armchairs, a TV, CD/DVD player, writing desk, and ottomans. Kauri Cliffs Lodge is featured with three private beaches, a golf course, and two tennis courts. There is also a fitness center, day spa, and an infinity pool. Its spa offers you relaxation by providing you sauna or hot tub. This lodge gives all accommodations which include breakfast, pre-dinner drinks, gourmet dinner, and a minibar. You can have special diet menu with request in advance.

Having no idea to enjoy your private beach? No need to worry since this luxury lodge will provide you with its pleasure. There will be a private chef who will kindly teach you about how to make a private barbecue party. You can spend your time swimming in the outdoor pool and feel the fresh air there. In all part of the hotel, you can freely enjoy the WiFi and you can use it every time you like. By staying in this luxurious lodge, you will get some guarantees from us such as the safe booking details that protected by the secure connection. While booking your private room, there will be no charge added. The most important part is about the fee that is lower than the others.

Why Not Do An All Inclusive Vacation

As the cold, snowy months approach us, escape the winter harshness by booking a trip to warm climates, sandy beaches, and unlimited tropical drinks! Not a fan of planning out an itinerary?

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Worried about the extra costs of food/drinks, entertainment, and activities? Not a problem! Check out Thomas Cook all inclusive holidays and let them take the hassle out of planning your vacation. No need to worry about planning out a daily budget for your trip or any other bills that may be included.

Be at total ease knowing that the majority, if not all, of your costs will be covered before you even leave the site. Whether it’s a holiday getaway, or you simply want to get away from it all, Thomas Cook is sure to have a vacation package that will undoubtedly suit your needs!

Thomas Cook offers all-inclusive vacation packages, at affordable prices, no matter the preference of the guest; sit back, relax, and choose from various all-inclusive options and locations including Spain, Greece, Turkey, and many more.

If you’re looking for even more exotic locations, all-inclusive packages are even available for Egypt and the U.S.! Thomas Cook will take care of your flight, accommodations, food expenses, and the minor expenses as well. All that will be left for you to do is pack your bags and sunscreen!

So, where to?

Now that you’ve decided that all-inclusive is the way to go, it’s time to pick the destination! Thomas Cook offers numerous destination options that are stylish, impressive, and easy on the wallet. From family friendly resorts to adult only packages, there is something for everyone. Let’s check out a few options, shall we?

Canary Islands

Starting from £269 per person, Thomas Cook offers over 100 all-inclusive to the mesmerizing and enchanting Canary Islands. From modern hotels to a lively nightlife scene, all who visits will not be able to help themselves from falling in love with this majestic place.

Portugal

Located at the western edge of Europe, Portugal is in a world of its own! Thomas Cook offers numerous all-inclusive packages to this gem of a country. Guests of Portugal will have the opportunity to experience some of the world’s best beaches, decadent cuisine, and lively atmosphere, not to mention the lavish amenities that are available at the resorts. (Can we say spa day, anyone?) With so many options for all-inclusive resorts in Portugal, travelers are sure to find what they are looking for. The hardest part will be deciding which one to choose!

Turkey

This jewel of a country boasts beautiful, and exotic, golden beaches, dazzling blue waters, and sunshine that seems to never end! And how awesome is it that Thomas Cook offers 200 all-inclusive packages to this gorgeous country? No matter if you are traveling with the family or getting away with that special someone, Turkey is most certainly a destination that should be on your ‘to-do’ list!

So, those were just a very few of the destinations that Thomas Cook offers in all-inclusive packages. Flip a coin or simply close your eyes and pick one, either way you will certainly not lose regardless of your decision. Happy traveling!

Finding the Stunning Scenery in Tanah Lot Bali

People who live in Asia will find it hard to enjoy and explore the beauty of a beach. It is because theirs are usually full of forest and jungle. The homes are fulfilled with the high building for working and else. They are willing to spend a large sum of money to find the most beautiful beach in the world. Many of them are staying in that place for weeks to satisfy their desire in beaches. There is actually a country that has an island which provides you with a lot of beaches. This island is popular in the name of Bali Island. Bali will be the top travel destination for those surfing lovers.

Visiting Bali to Give You Some Pleasure

Bali is an island in Indonesia that is rich for the beautiful and wonderful beaches. There are countless beaches you can find in Bali. Two of the famous beaches are Tanah Lot and also Kuta Beach. Tanah Lot is the oldest temple which is integrated with the beach surrounds it. The writer can say that Tanah Lot is located on a big rock offshore. It is one of the oldest temples in Bali. It exists from the 15th century and this temple holds an important part of the mythology and spiritualism of Balinese.

Tanah Lot is also the top travel destination by the tourists who come and visit Bali. It looks like they have been minded that when you come to Bali, you should visit Tanah Lot Temple. Along the street, there are hundreds of sellers who busy try to sell their stuffs in their own prices. Have you ever heard about the proverbs saying that you need to struggle in advance before you enjoy the happiness in the end? Well, it goes the same way there. You need to walk down the rocky street a few meters offshore.

Arrived at the top of the Tanah Lot Temple and enjoy the beauty of the beach will be an outstanding experience. You will see that God has created everything in a perfect way. The beauty of the water, the scenery of all part, the blue sky, and everything seems too perfect to be true. You can capture every single moment you have there and you will be astonished finding the beauty of this place. There will a lot of foreign and domestic tourists too who want to enjoy the same beauty as you do.

Taj Exotica Resort and Spa for A Peace and Quiet Vacation

One of the most popular tourist destinations in the world is Maldives. Maldives has become popular holiday destination for many tourists due to its idyllic views of nature. This island is getting more and more popular each day that more and more foreign tourists flock to this beautiful island. Maldives offers you a lot of great attractions, hotels, restaurants, nightlife, and more. Many of the tourists have experienced visiting Maldives and finding it satisfying. Among the many hotels and resorts in Maldives, there is one that stands out. It is Taj Exotica Resort and Spa. It is the finest resort in Maldives that gives you luxury and comfort with panoramic views. Its location is only 15 minutes from the Male International Airport and you can reach it by a private luxury speedboat.

The Stunning and Romantic Place to Remember

Taj Exotica Resort and Spa is the perfect place to stay for anyone who dreams about a peace and quiet kind of place. This resort provides you uniquely designed villas with scenic Indian Ocean views. It is one of the romantic places has ever been in the world. This finest resort in Maldives is an exclusive and private one for you to have an unforgettable vacation. It is provided with all facilities you need to ensure the comfort of your stay. Taj Exotica Resort and Spa has 64 luxurious villas and offers you excellent accommodation facilities to have relaxed and fun vacation. Natural designed villas, spacious bathrooms, leisure facilities such as swimming pools, plunge pools, and outdoors showers, fitness center and spa are available in this resort.

The finest resort in Maldives, Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, gives you the best service you can ever imagine. You can feel the warmth of the staff’s service who will give personal service to all the guests. You can also do private activities here at this resort such as speedboat cruises, snorkeling, private massages, or private dinners. Those will be one of a kind experience that will make your vacation as the most unforgettable moment of your life. You can also have exclusive intimate celebrations in this resort. Many people choose this place to have their wedding party, anniversaries, honeymoons or wedding vows renewal due to its relaxed and splendor atmosphere of the resort.

Come and stay in Taj Exotica Resort and Spa and you will feel the breathtaking views, warmth service and comfort of the accommodations it offered. Taj Exotica Resort and Spa has become one of the best hotels and resorts in the world and the finest resort in Maldives that you should try to experience. It is the right place for you to have a peace and quiet vacation yet you can enjoy the amazing panoramic views from this resort. All facilities and activities are available to ensure your unforgettable vacation.

Hit the City

Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Marrakech, Istanbul, Berlin, Rome … these are all exotic, inviting, and sophisticated cities that beg for a visit or two. You might think they’re too far away, or expensive, and so should be put on the ‘one day’ list – you’re wrong!

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Paris is around an hour and a half’s flight away, which is probably less than the time it takes to drive to the coast from your home! Istanbul, just four hours away, which is less than a drive to London for me. The sophisticated glamour of Barcelona? Just two hours away.

See, for the time it takes you to drive somewhere you’ve probably seen before, you can fly in less time to a dramatic and new destination, with new experiences to be had, and sights to take in. It really is a no-brainer.

The short distance also makes these cities a fantastic choice for a weekend away from it all, so you can leave your desk on a Thursday evening, jet off for a fantastic weekend away, and return Monday morning, with a whole head full of new memories.

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

Thanks to low cost airlines jetting off to these closer than you think cities, a short break like this doesn’t break the bank either, and I found a fantastic deal on my Istanbul flight with Easy Jet from Birmingham, and when combined with Birmingham Airport parking, it was a real budget-busting weekend away, and one I still cherish now.

You don’t even have to go out on serious sight-seeing trips either, and you don’t have to shop ‘til you drop if you don’t want to, you can simply find a top-class hotel and enjoy the facilities if the mood takes you, maybe a sauna or massage to relax you and take away all your cares.

Of course, if you’re jetting off somewhere like this though, it would be crime not to see some of it, so why not venture out late afternoon for a wander, or in the evening for a meal and a few drinks.

The idea is to get away from it all for a few days, and a short-haul city break ticks all the boxes. It doesn’t have to be too expensive, as you can tailor it to your preferences, and when you add in your all-important extras, such as airport parking, cutting out the need for expensive public transport, not to mention stress, then you’ll find you save even more.

Wherever you’re flying from, you’ll generally find a parking service, such as my regular service of Luton Airport parking, where I’ve always found fantastic value for money, and Heathrow Airport parking for those cheap flights from London too. See, more savings to be had!

When the nights get darker, a few days in an exciting new location can sometimes be all the tonic you need, and with so many exciting cities so close by, we truly are spoilt for choice.

Some of the finest places to visit in Glasgow

The beautiful city of Glasgow, with its astounding architecture and cosmopolitan air, has such a vast array of things to do that you’ll be spoilt for choice should you wander through its crowded streets.

Ashton Lane Glasgow

And, such is the welcoming atmosphere of the city that you’ll feel almost immediately at home once you’ve stepped off the train platform from Queen Street or Glasgow Central Station.

It’s the ideal place to settle down, with properties to purchase in the area – including nearby flats to rent in Paisley if you don’t fancy too much of the big city lifestyle – available at cheap prices for the person looking to bask in the delights of the west coast of Scotland.

So, whether you’re in Glasgow for a day or a lifetime, here are some fantastic places that you can visit.

Kelvingrove Museum

One of the most satisfying locations to wander around in Glasgow, Kelvingrove Museum is filled with a fascinating wealth of cultural artefacts concerning Scotland and beyond.

Just a short trawl through this beautiful building will uncover treats such as Salvador Dali’s Christ of Saint John of the Cross – which features a surreal perspective that has been known to give some viewers a sense of vertigo – as well as many other works that recount some of the most important pieces of Scottish history.

For those on the lookout for more contemporary art, why not try out the GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art), in order to find some left-of-centre works that will please the eye and the mind?

Ashton Lane

If you’re on the hunt for a hip place to hang out in Glasgow, then the wonderful Ashton Lane is your best bet. Situated just off Byres Road, Ashton Lane is a small back road that’s brimming with romantic restaurants, cool pubs and even a highly reputable cinema.

Despite its meagre size, Ashton Lane is a place you can lounge around in for hours, without even noticing the time that’s passed you by.

George Square

Just as you exit Glasgow Queen Street Station, you’ll be welcomed by the sight of George Square, one of the greatest places in Glasgow to simply sit down and watch the world go by. Named after King George III, the square boasts an impressive array of statues commemorating many of the people integral to the path of Scottish history.

And, if you’re looking for a pint afterwards, there are a number of bars surrounding the square, with Georgics underneath the Millennium Hotel offering particularly good service and a fine drinks selection.

Pack and roll!

Do you roll? Do you vacuum pack? Do you layer? Do you cram in and hope for the best?  These are all methods of packing clothes into a suitcase, in case you were wondering.

Packing for Travel

Packing is hell, there is no way to enjoy it, you simply have to endure it and hope it doesn’t tip the scales too much. I certainly wouldn’t risk the first weigh-in being at check-in, so I always weigh my case after I’ve packed it.

In fact, I’m so ridiculously organised, I have a ‘mock pack’ a week before I actually pack, as it cuts down on stress for me, although I can appreciate that probably does sound a little desperate!

I’ve never found much advantage to travel scales; the first time I used them, they lied, and the second time, they broke. No success. These days I weigh myself on the scales, note it down, then weigh myself holding my suitcase, and take away the two.

Then just to be sure, I prop my case on the scales as best I can and see if it is around the same number. It is always is, and I’ve never gone over.

Sometimes being ridiculously organised has its perks, i.e. no excess baggage charges!

My friend swears by rolling her clothes, as she believes she gets more in that way, but I’ve never been able to master that particular technique. I bought a lightweight suitcase instead, and that has saved me a lot in terms of weight allowance.

Another good idea is a large holdall on wheels, because even though it doesn’t protect your clothes from creasing quite so much, you can fit in so much more than in a suitcase. The key here is to pack anything that might burst in several carrier bags, e.g. make up etc, so if it does leak, it won’t be disastrous to your clothes.

I always try and make the most of my hand luggage too, usually putting my straighteners in there, or a pair of shoes that are quite heavy, as I don’t generally put much in the way of day to day things in my hand luggage anyway, so it all adds up to more room for clothes and essentials.

Packing is a nightmare, there’s no way around that, but once it’s done, you are free to enjoy your holiday.

So, where are you heading next summer? I’ve already booked two holidays, and found some fantastic deals on extras, including holiday insurance from Holiday Extras. I like having something to look forward to, and my holiday countdowns are well underway! I may even be tempted to book a couple more, with some great deals on offer at the moment, I do love a winter holiday!

 

You can generally save more on flights from the capital, if you’ve got that sorted, head to Gatwick departures, where you’ll find a massive range of information about your flight and holiday, with a handy checklist, the perfect way to start a stress-free holiday.

 

Hopefully these packing tips will help make your experience a little easier but please, if anyone ever truly masters the rolling technique, let me know!

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