The articles on this blog have now been transferred to www.travelandphotos.co.uk
The articles on this blog have now been transferred to www.travelandphotos.co.uk
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Contact Profly Video for aerial video and photography.
If you’re not adverse to rubbing shoulders with the more sophisticated holidaying type, Monaco could be just the place for you.
Nestling in the Mediterranean and boasting an all-year warm climate, Monaco has long been the haven of the world’s glitterati, sun-seekers and tax evaders, and it won’t take you long to realise why.
Monte Carlo is home to some of the world’s most famous casinos, but there’s much more to the area than roulette wheels and fur coats. The Lavotto Beach in particular is a ridiculously sumptuous stretch of fresh white sand, adorned with the bronzed limbs and glittering necks of the rich and successful.
The nearest airport for cheap flights is Nice.
One of Monaco’s real plus points is its sense of intimacy, and a short walk will bring you into Monte Carlo’s bristling downtown, overflowing with steaming restaurants and bubbling boutiques.
The elegant rooms of the Hotel de Paris have attracted elite diners since 1865, and will satisfy the most gourmet palette, while more homely eaters will be happier in one of the local joints that serve up the delicious Monegesque cuisine – a combination of French, Italian and Mediterranean influences.
Besides the traditional beach, shopping and indulging fare typical of a luxury destination, Monaco also offers some quirky entertainment for travellers of a more adventurous persuasion.
The famous Jardin Exotique is home to over 7,000 different varieties of cactus, the Musee Oceanographique is Europe’s top aquarium and perfect for the inevitable rainy family day, while the Palais du Prince is the royal seat at Monaco’s heart, and dates back to the Grimaldi dynasty of the 13th century.
Whether you’re an aspiring Paris Hilton or more a rugged Michael Palin, there’s something in Monaco to satisfy every traveller’s taste. Book now!
Oozing historic charm and Old World sensitivity, Boston is steeped in colonial pride with the plaques to prove it.
From Ivy League schools to Nike Town, Boston also provides an unexpected charm with its distinct neighbourhoods, ethnic foods and quaint cafes.
It’s the commercial and cultural centre of New England and there are no shortage of activities to keep visitors busy.
Boston is home to The Bull and Finch Pub – the inspiration for the hit TV series, Cheers.
Located on Beacon Street, the pub’s facade was used for the opening credits, making for an essential photo opportunity.
Whale watching tours and harbour cruises are hugely popular while shopping in the city’s picturesque Quincy Market – a Covent Garden clone – is also de rigour.
Be sure to bring comfortable shoes because whether you’re walking or running, Boston’s best seen on foot.
Another must-see is Harvard School, one of the US’s best universities, located in the suburbs of the city.
Roam the beautifully-kept school grounds while trying to keep that inferiority complex in check.
And if you’re pining for something to remind you of something closer to home, Irish pubs and bars are ubiquitous in the city.
Indeed, walking the streets of Boston, one is likely to see more tri-colors and Irish pubs than in Dublin.
Although Luxembourg is probably hidden under a cake crumb when you spread a world map out upon the kitchen table, fear not, good things come in small packages.
Away from its capital Luxembourg is something of a miniature bucolic idyll. The countryside is akin to something out of Postman Pat, rolling lush hillsides crisscrossed by rivers and peppered with quaint villages and hamlets that seem ethereal due to their absolute fairytale perfection.
Luxembourg’s patriotic people are justifiably proud of their heritage and the nation’s archaic motto is inscribed everywhere throughout Luxembourg City, ‘Mir w lle bleiwe wat mir sin’ – ‘We want to remain what we are’.
After two separate German occupations, one can understand this protectiveness over their relatively undiscovered isle.
A staunch member of the European Union and a Goliath of international finance, Luxembourg is a microcosm of prosperity that larger nations often aspire to.
The north of the country offers fabulous skiing and hiking and the Moselle Valley, just east of Luxembourg City, is one of Europe’s finest wine-producing regions.
Handily, the capital is no more than an hour’s drive from anywhere else in the country, so Luxembourg’s charms are always accessible.
The Western France city of Bordeaux has always been associated with the exceptional quality of its wine, but there are also some historical gems to be found in its port area. Taking a city break to Bordeaux is more than just wine!
This worldwide renown is undoubtedly thanks to the role the city has played in the commercialisation of its wines.
The wine trade has left an indelible mark on the city. Once full of wine merchants from abroad, Bordeaux has kept the traces of its history.
From Saint Pierre to Sainte Croix, one can find best examples of XVIIIth and XIXth century architecture throughout old Bordeaux.
The port is well-served by churches: the Saint Michel district is dominated by its gothic spire and Sainte Eulalie, which is full of convents bears witness to the great wealth of the city during the Middle Ages.
The stone banks of the river is an ensemble decorated with mascarons and sculpted arches, stretching for more than 1km along the Garonne.
The building of the Palais Rohan marked the modernization of the city in the XVIIIth century, that continued with the quarter of the Grand Hommes, close to the Grand Theatre built by Victor Louis and the superb Allees de Tourny, leading to the jardin public.
Not only the mountains are beautiful in Switzerland. Swiss cities, too, offer all you could want for a relaxing and varied holiday.
Historic sights, cutting-edge contemporary architecture, cosy cafes, buzzing nightlife, shopping in romantic alleyways, a rich and varied cultural life… And all so compact, that you can easily reach everything on foot.
I visited Zurich last year and I was very impressed.
Watch this funny video about what Switzerland can offer!
Honfleur, located in the lower Normandy region of France, has finally been discovered.
One of the few remaining old-style ports in Normandy, this tiny fishing village for so long remained in the shadows, but gradually the tourists hordes are becoming aware of its picturesque charm.
Indeed, despite a plethora of restaurants, cafes, shops, making it every inch a commercial village, it still manages to maintain its small-town façade.
The main attraction of Honfleur is the harbour, where fishing vessels lie next to small pleasure boats. A perfect place to stroll around without a care in the world.
As for eating, the restaurants – and there are many – all inevitably offer fresh fish and the town is a seafood-lover’s delight
The streets, meanwhile, are small and mostly cobblestones, adding to the village’s attraction. The main square has several terraces, and is also a great place to relax.
The town’s shops all have colourful facades, but most offer touristy articles. The old fort, at least what’s left of it, dominates the harbour and you can take a horse & buggy ride around town if walking-fatigue sets in.
There is a distinctly old church (Saint Catherine), made out of wood (built in the 15th century), which is worth a visit. The Saint Etienne church, meanwhile, was built in the 14th century, has a maritime museum, and is also an impressive sight.
Honfleur celebrates its lifeline with a large shrimp festival every October, so if you’re quick you could still catch it.
The festival celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2004 so you could be there for a landmark occasion.
Honfleur in bloom – a lovely summer tourism hotspot!
Watch this video about pretty Honfleur
If you are already thinking about the colder weather before Christmas, you may be looking to get away from it all by going on holiday somewhere a long way from the cold, dark days offered in the UK. Well a Jamaica holiday could be just the thing to lighten the spirits and kick back for a relaxing break.
One of the best places to stay on this charming Caribbean island is the area known as Ocho Rios. It is a very popular destination as it is a major cruise port, and has plenty to cater for the enthusiastic tourist. It can boast some stunning beaches, the most impressive of which are Turtle Beach and Mallard Beach.
This is also the part of Jamaica where novelist Ian Fleming penned his James Bond classics. Film fans will relish the chance to visit the James Bond Beach, and the Golden Eye Hotel, which was once the residence of Fleming himself and where Doctor No was filmed. There is an impressive array of Bond artefacts, including the desk at which Fleming would bring Bond to life. Just next door is the Firefly plantation, which was owned by Noel Coward, and is also open to tourists.
A short distance away you can check out Dolphin Cove, surrounded by a rainforest. Here you can enjoy the amazing experience of swimming with dolphins, and marvel at other tropical fish. You should also pay a visit to Dunn’s River Beach, which can be found by the simply sensational Dunn’s River Waterfalls. You are able to bathe in small whirlpools, climb the falls and you can’t help but be astounded by the natural visual beauty of the area.
As most people are aware, Jamaica is also synonymous with Bob Marley. Reggae enthusiasts should go and visit the Bob Marley Mausoleum, situated in Nine Miles. This is both the birthplace and the final, and controversial, resting place of Marley. For more Bob Marley sightseeing, you can go to the Bob Marley Museum which is in the island’s capital, Kingston. Here you can take your time and explore everything to do with the reggae legend in what was actually his old studio. Alternatively, you can pop along to the Bob Marley Experience and Theatre, situated in Falmouth. You can watch films about the man himself, and do souvenir shopping in what is believed to be the biggest ensemble of Marley memorabilia in the world.
Another of the most popular resorts in Jamaica is Montego Bay, which is often referred to as MoBay. This is frequented in the main part by Americans, enticed by the luxurious resorts and hotels that will cater for your every need.
In contrast to this, you may want to sample life in Negril. This area is far more laid back and typically Caribbean. The beaches are quieter, many of them nudist, and in the streets you will feel a far more local and authentic atmosphere, with traditional eateries and modest accommodation found in what is known as the West End.
Culture vultures will be fascinated by a trip to Runaway Bay. This doesn’t pull in the tourists like other places in Jamaica, even though it has its special place in history. This was the region where, as its name suggests, the Spanish fled from the British and is a delightful place to stay.
Another reason to have a Jamaica holiday is for the party lifestyle. The locals love to let their hair down and have fun, and there are a few festivals which encapsulate this attitude. At Christmas time Jamaicans celebrate Junkanoo, while in the week that follows Easter, you can savour all the action of Carnival, one of the Caribbean’s liveliest festivals.
Voted ‘Best city in the Americas’ by Conde Naste Traveler magazine, visit Vancouver and get a unique destination that packs in big city lifestyle and outdoor adventure in equal measure.
Vancouver is located on the south-western shore of British Columbia, Canada and is blessed with a multicultural history that explains its huge diversity. Variety is the spice of life and whether you want to scale mountains, hop on a jet-ski or simply sip cocktails by the pool, Vancouver is bound to have something to grab your imagination.
In terms of activities, the city boasts a thriving watersports scene, with 11 beaches perfect for swimming, boating and canoeing. The rich diversity of marine life in the local waters also makes Vancouver a scuba diver’s dream – and the current winter season is a perfect time to go as reduced plankton levels and increased visibility means divers can usually see for about 20 metres.
Several areas – notably the Queen Charlotte islands and the Fraser and Thompson rivers – are also renowned fishing hotspots, and the waters off the western coast are prime whale watching sites, with killer and pacific grey whales making regular appearances as they run north in spring and south in autumn.
Skiing, of course, is high on the menu as Vancouver is surrounded by ridges. Grouse Mountain, the closest slope to the city centre, is known to offer atmospheric night skiing, while Cypress Bowl, Hollyburn and the swanky Whistler resort all boast high quality powder and good facilities.
Those of a more cultural persuasion will also be spoiled for choice. The Vancouver Art Gallery, a renovated old court house, has been a world-renowned centre for both historical and contemporary art for 75 years. Located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, the gallery showcases a variety of exhibitions and is currently displaying work from Brian Jungen, Takao Tanabe and the British Masters.
History buffs will be keen to dive into the Maritime Museum, where visitors can immerse themselves in the history and rich maritime traditions of the Pacific Coast. There’s the opportunity to step back in time to 1944 and get on board the St Roch, Canada’s celebrated RCMP schooner, while children will be entertained in the museum’s Discovery Centre.
The braver traveller with a stern stomach will be keen to get on board the Lookout – a glass elevator that shoots guests 169 metres up to a futuristic viewing area, from where the fantastic 360° panorama of the city uncurls. Educational plaques and free tours provide information to illuminate the vast glow beneath your feet, giving a real sense of the city’s history and scale.
Before hitting the town and indulging your senses in the cuisine and buzzing local nightlife, there’s no better way to lower the pulse for a restful afternoon than a visit to Vancouver’s Dr Sun Yat-Sen classical Chinese garden, the first uniquely Chinese horticultural space to be developed in the Americas and a soothing oasis amidst the hubbub of the downtown. Stone-laid paths, jade pools and shaded pavilions contribute to the garden’s restful air and visitors will leave feeling relaxed, tranquil and at peace.
Finally – the food. No holiday is complete without some good old fashioned gorging, and if seafood’s your thing you’ll be in for a real treat. That isn’t to say the cuisine is based solely on fish, however – there’s a huge variety of things to eat, with the surrounding fertile farmland producing some real wholesome treats. Wash down the meal with some locally fermented Okanagan Valley wine and you’ll be in the mood for more!