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Friday, 15-Mar-2013 01:52 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Spain: Fuerteventura

If you're dreading the chilly winter climate in the holiday season, a great option would be to head for the Canary Islands where you can celebrate a warm and sunny Christmas and New Year for a change!

This archipelago off the North Coast of Spain, close to the African coast, is one of the most popular tourist destinations for visitors from Europe and the UK, attracting nearly 12 million visitors annually. The year-round sunshine amounting to nearly 3000 hours annually, the gorgeous golden and volcanic-sand beaches, warm and clear blue ocean and the relaxed atmosphere combine to provide that holiday of a life-time, whether you're a single traveler, a couple or you're with the entire family.

Fuerteventura is one of the larger islands among the Canaries and though it has the best of facilities for tourists, it has still managed to remain unspoiled. The coastline offers some great surfing, while the pristine waters of the Atlantic Ocean are the habitat of a wonderful variety of marine life, including whales, dolphins, hammerhead sharks, marlin and sea-turtles. The Gran Tarajal Fishing Open Championships are held here annually. This area is also known for its great deep-sea fishing expeditions and whale-watching excursions. The deep shelf off the land-mass is ideal for diving and there are several internationally-certified diving schools here. Kite-surfing and wind-sailing are other exciting water-sports available.

As in the rest of Spain, March is the Carnival Month and September is the festival of its patron saint, the Virgin de la Pena. The idol dating back to the 15th century is carried out in procession accompanied by traditional musicians and dancers all dressed in their local costumes. For music-lovers, there are year-round performances of Canarian music and dance and also shows by local rock bands.

The capital city, Pueblo del Rosario has a beautiful natural harbor, pretty winding alleyways and streets and is also home to many museums and universities. There is a huge sculpture park located here with great displays by famous artists, and it hosts an annual live sculpture art event.

The Corralejo or stark sand-dunes in the north are contrasted with the gentle sandy beaches in the south of the island. Local cuisine consists of a variety of fresh seafood, goat meat and cheeses and cooked in pimento oil.

An interesting feature here would be the displays of local martial arts and Canarian wrestling. Native games like boules, cycling, motocross, dirt-rallies and other activities are also available. Fuerteventura has several star resorts, luxury hotels and also budget accommodation.

If you're looking for a holiday that will satisfy the entire family, Fuerteventura is a great option!

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Friday, 15-Mar-2013 01:50 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Spain: El Hierro

The tiniest of the Canary Islands, this autonomous community of Spain is home to a population of just 10,000 people, but is fast becoming one of the most unique holiday destinations in the world. For travelers who are passionate about exploring natural environments, this is indeed a paradise. With its mysterious caves, volcanoes, juniper and pine forests and wild and unspoiled mountain country, El Hierro is a UNESCO designated biosphere reserve and more than half its territory is protected for the rare flora, fauna, geographical and cultural features.

The southern part of the island and the El Pinar region is renowned for its magnificent pine forests and this area provides opportunities for amazing hiking trips, scenic drives and trekking expeditions. Cycling and biking options are also available along the mountain tracks. As you move out of the pine and juniper forests, you arrive in La Restinga, the island's tourism hub. The erstwhile serene fishing-village is now one of the best-known scuba-diving locations and marine reserves in the country. Located along the shores of the beautiful Mar de las Calmas or Calm Ocean, the warm volcanic waters are the habitat of several species of marine life. The sleepy little town is great for a peaceful and relaxed vacation spent lounging on the beach, eating tapas at one of the local restaurants and taking long walks. There is not much in terms of excitement or night-life but for these, you can always take a ferry to one of the other islands.

The capital of El Hierro, Valverde is a peaceful and placid city, set amidst very attractive natural landscapes. Situated on a mountain-top, this is the only Canary Islands capital that is not located on a sea-coast. However, the beach is never far away on this tiny island and from Valverde, you can access a number of quiet beaches like Timijiraque, El Tamaduste, Charco Manso or La Playas. Some of these beaches are very pretty, with black volcanic sand and they offer comfortable accommodation and restaurants serving local delicacies. Valverde also offers great photo opportunities, with its pretty white-washed houses nestling on the mountain-slopes, narrow twisting streets and the beautiful Santa Maria Church with magnificent Genoese sculptures.

The northern part of the island is richly endowed with natural vegetation and has some interesting old settlements of the original inhabitants of the island. There is also an important religious festival held in Moncanal every four years which offers glimpses into the island's cultural and historical traditions.

If you're looking for a Spanish holiday that's unique, serene and relaxed, far from the tourist traps, El Hierro is the perfect choice.

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Friday, 15-Mar-2013 01:49 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Sagrada Familia: Barcelona

Visitors to Barcelona would not like to miss one of its main attractions, the Sagrada Familia basilica, a magnificent Roman catholic church. This architectural wonder is the brainchild of one of Spain's most famous architects, Antoni Gaudi. However, Gaudi died before completion of the project and the church still remains unfinished, though work on it is still in progress.

Design: Funding for the initial project was through contributions by people of the city of Barcelona and the inspiration for it came from a local bookseller who had traveled to the Vatican City and wished to have an equally impressive cathedral in his own native city. Antoni Gaudi began the work in 1883 but events like the Spanish Civil War interrupted the construction.

Currently a UNESCO World Heritage site, the cathedral's original plan envisages a magnificent set of 18 towering spires, of which only eight have been completed at present. Once it is fully complete, this will be the tallest church on earth! The facade of the building is filled with intricate sculptures of the Holy Family and events from the life of Jesus. The vast interiors of the church are supported by numerous intricately carved porphyry columns and present a wonderful example of Gaudi's art nouveau style. The facades that have been finished represent Nativity, Passion and Glory of Christ and the three entrances to the basilica represent Faith, Hope and Love. Gaudi visualized these as various symbols in the Christian faith and his work is presently being carried out by contemporary architects from all over the world.

Tourist attraction: At present only certain parts of the church are open to the public. The church was consecrated in 2010 and a magnificent organ has been donated by the Spanish Royal family who were present for the first mass here. The crypt, nave and two of the towers are accessible by elevator and spiral staircases. There is also a good museum and a souvenir shop on the premises. The church though unfinished, is regularly used for services. All revenue collected from tourism goes towards completion of the building, as it is not funded by any government agency or even the church.

Though the Sagrada Familia has had contrasting reviews from architects and tourists from all over the world, with some of them finding it strange and whimsical, ugly or beautiful, amazing or spiritual, it has become one of the most enduring symbols of Barcelona and no visit to this city would be complete without a tour of the Sagrada Familia.

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Wednesday, 13-Mar-2013 05:14 Email | Share | | Bookmark
World’s Most-Visited Tourist Attractions

According to the United Nation’s World Tourism Organization, France is the most visited country of the world, following by USA, China and Spain. Attractions are aplenty in these top tourist destinations in the world, which are also home to the world’s most-visited tourist attractions.

Most-Visited Tourist Attractions in the World

Times Square in New York City

Attracting millions of tourists throughout the year, New York City’s Times Square is touted to be the most-visited tourist attraction in the world. Dotted with cafes and stores, the bustling square of the busiest US city is a great place to experience the cosmopolitan culture of New York.

Central Park in New York City

The lush greenery in Manhattan surrounded by the city’s skyscrapers draws a large number of tourists. The Belvedere Castle, zoo and horse-drawn carriage rides are the popular attractions of the most popular park of New York.

Las Vegas Strip

To the south of the city of Las Vegas, the 6.8 km long Las Vegas Strip is home to the finest casinos, hotels, skyscrapers and restaurants. Renowned for its infamous sensuous nightlife, Las Vegas Strip is one of the world’s key tourist attractions.

Niagara Falls

Every year millions of tourists visit Ontario in Canada to witness the might of the fascinating Niagara waterfalls.

Disney World in Orlando

The Magic Kingdom of Orlando’s Disney World is the most popular theme park in the world. Adorned with fairytale castles, exciting rides and other interesting recreational facilities, it is admired by children and adults alike.

Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

The bustling medieval marketplace of Istanbul dotted with shops selling Byzantine-style jewelries, carpets and numerous other items is the leading destination for bargain shopping.

Disneyland in Tokyo

The marvelous theme park of Tokyo with its lovely architecture and interesting rides draws numerous visitors each year.

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

The gorgeous Gothic cathedral of Paris is one of the best examples of impressive medieval European architecture. Notre Dame de Paris boasts of a marvelous façade and a breathtakingly beautiful interior.

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

The expansive greenery on the coast of the Pacific captivates millions of tourists. Home to rhododendron forest, Japanese tea garden, museums, playgrounds and numerous plants, it is a slice of paradise in San Francisco.

Forbidden City, Beijing

Adjacent Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City is the former residence of the Chinese royals. Adorned with gardens, pavilions and lavish halls, it is one of the most-visited attractions in the world.

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Monday, 11-Mar-2013 07:12 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Sightseeing In The City Of Barcelona

Barcelona is one of the most charming cities in all of Spain that has the most modernistic tendencies. It is a great place for all kinds of holidays including beach holidays that attract all kinds of sun seekers from all over the world. There are many places in Barcelona that you should really take time to visit as they will be very rewarding and according to the kind of experience that you are looking to achieve, it is very easy to make a perfect holiday package in the area.

Sightseeing in Barcelona is one of the most interesting things that you may choose to engage in while in the region. One of the places to visit is Barrio Gotico also known as the gothic centre. It is a very old part of the city and definitely very interesting. There is a square here called Sant Jaume that was a formation of the rooms. There are other fortifications as well as remains that one can see here. Placa Nova portal is one of the interesting things that you will be able to see. There are also other areas that used to be palaces. One of these is used as the town hall.

Here you will also be able to see the mountain called Taber. On the very top, there stands a mill house. Before the Romans got here, there used to be a settlement of tribes from Iberia. The location is Called Paradis.

There is also Plaza del Rei where you will find a cathedral made in gothic times as well as several palaces that are from the medieval era. All these are interesting places to explore and discover new things as well as learn loads of history.

Another interesting place is Las Ramblas. This is a stretch of about two kilometres and lies in between a port and Plaza de Catalunya. This may be called the heart of Barcelona. Here, there is a mix of many people from all age groups as well as social standings. There are a lot of activities ranging from shoe shines, flower as well as vegetable selling, theatres on the streets, business galleries, nice cafeterias and nice terraces as well as the very best theatres in the city.

There are several very interesting buildings that can be found in Barcelona. One of these is Academia De Sciencias which translates to the academy of science. There is an interesting watch located here that goes back to 1868. Another building is Betlem church made in gothic style as well as a palace called Moya. All areas hold great interest.

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