Malta’s Fascinating Capital: Top 5 Attractions in Valletta

It’s amazing how much Malta has managed to stay under the radar. Despite being only a 3-hour flight from London and containing some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean, many Brits still have to ask themselves ‘where is Malta, exactly’?

Yacht Marina; Dockyard Creek, Grand Harbour, Malta
Valletta, Maltafoxypar4 / Foter / CC BY

The small island, just south of Italy and east of Tunisia, is actually one of the best value tourist destinations for holidaymakers. With budget airlines now flying from the UK to its capital, Valletta, Malta has helped make the classic Mediterranean holiday affordable for families again.

After you touch down in historic Valletta, be sure to check out these top 5 attractions:

1. Merchant Street Market (may move to Ordinance Street in 2013)

During your visit to the capital, walk through the bustling Merchant Street Market for a real taste of local Valletta life. Vendors sell everything from fresh produce to hand-knitted wool jumpers. It’s the ideal place to pick up a souvenir of your trip. Or, if you’re staying in self-catering accommodation, grab some ingredients from the covered market for your evening meal: from fresh fruit and vegetables to local meat, cheeses and seafood, there is a veritable feast available.

Note that, on Sunday mornings, the Merchant Street Market moves to St. James ditch, located right outside the city walls.

2. Upper Barracca Gardens

These gorgeous public gardens offer an incredible panoramic view of Valletta’s historic Grand Harbour. The park is situated on top of the city’s famous fortifications and is one of the highest viewpoints in all of Valletta.

Before you set off for a stroll through these lush gardens, be sure to remember you camera – the park is one of the best ‘photo ops’  in all of Malta.

3. Fort St. Elmo

Fort St. Elmo is one of the key tourist attractions in Valletta since it gives a great insight into the history of the island as a military stronghold. First established by the Knights of St. John in the mid sixteenth century, ownership (or capture) of the fort has been central to controlling Malta.

Although no longer a military building, the fort is home to the Maltese War Museum, and holds the original George Cross, awarded to the island by King George VI for bravery in the Second World War. As well as the history of the fort, you can also enjoy the beautiful sweeping sea views, and for those with active imaginations, what it would have been like as a fleet of Turkish warships sailed into view.

4. Grandmaster’s Palace

Another of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, the Grandmaster’s Palace is one of the most important structures in Valletta. Once home to the nephew of Valletta’s founder, Jean de la Vallette, the building went on to serve as the official Grandmaster residence, and then the Governor’s residence during British rule. It now contains the Office of Malta’s president and is home to Malta’s House of Representatives.

HDR - Valletta, Grandmaster's Palace State Rooms
Valletta, Grandmaster\’s PalaceMandarX- / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

5. St. John’s Co-Cathedral

This gorgeous 16th-century church was built by the Knights of Malta to serve as the conventional church of the Order of the Knights of St. John. The knights were established as a fighting force to defend the Eastern Mediterranean against attacks from the Ottoman Empire. Malta served as a key base for the Christians, along with Cyprus and parts of modern day Croatia, and was the frontline in the battle between Eastern and Western powers in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

The cathedral itself seems to step straight from the pages of a Dan Brown novel. Its hushed cloisters and dramatic baroque architecture are both imposing and intriguing. Even if churches aren’t really your thing, you won’t regret a trip to St. Johns.

Alternate Places To Visit While In Tenerife

Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands and one of the last remaining European paradise islands. The island offers many different attractions to tourists; including scenic mountains, exotic fauna, and beautiful beaches. Though Tenerife is one of the paradise islands, there are ways for visitors to enjoy the island without spending an excessive amount of money. Below is a list of some of Tenerife’s more affordable tourist attractions and activities. If this article interests you, why not check out Direct Line Holidays for a great deal on holidays abroad.

Loro Parque Zoo

Loro

Loro Parque, or Parrot Park, is a thirty-three acre zoo that houses a variety of exotic flora and fauna. The park has been extremely popular since it’s opening, having attracted more than forty million visitors to date. Loro Parque also houses the most diverse collection of parrots in the world. Some of the other animals housed in the park are orcas, dolphins, sea lions, gorillas, and tigers. Loro Parque also boasts a large penguin exhibit that houses both South American penguins and Antarctic penguins. The park is also home to one of Europe’s largest dolphin show pool and Europe’s longest shark tunnel.

Mt Tiede

Mt Tiede

Mt Tiede is the highest point in Tenerife and serves up an amazing view of its surroundings if you’re brave enough to climb it. Hiking up the mountain is a must if you enjoy the outdoors; just make sure you bring plenty of water and comfortable shoes!

Siam Parque

Siams

Siam Park is a forty-six acre park that features a Siamese theme. The park claims to be the most spectacular water attraction in Europe and it also boasts the largest number of Thai themed buildings outside of Thailand itself. Attractions include Thai themed water rides and other aquatic attractions. Siam Park is billed as the world’s first green water park, utilizing advanced water recycling features and ride water heated by natural gas. Further park features include restaurants that serve Thai themed foods and a floating market.

Horseback Riding

HorseBlack

Horseback riding is an amazing activity to do in any country, let alone a stunning place to visit such as Tenerife. Usually, rides take between 1-2 hours, but you can always extend that time if you really want a longer ride! Most places have started courses for novices, as well as more experienced courses for the more professional riders amongst us. One of the best things about this activity is you can ride along the beach with the sun setting! So if you’ve after that perfect family album photo, make sure you bring your camera and choose the right course for you and your family.

The options listed above are just a few of the more popular and affordable of Tenerife’s tourist attractions and activities. Some of the island’s other attractions include its fantastic hiking trails, scenic mountain roads, beautiful black volcanic sand beaches, and scuba diving locales. Indoor visitor options include museums, botanical gardens, and plenty of places to eat and drink. If a visitor does enough preparation, cheap holidays to Tenerife are a very real possibility.

Europe’s Best City Centre Beaches

If you’re hoping to get away for a spell, there’s every chance you’re looking for a holiday by the beach – you get to soak up some rays, maybe take to the water for a spot of surfing, and spend time relaxing with a book and a cocktail as you kick back on some golden sands.

However, if you’re a more active holiday-goer, you may get a little bored of sunning yourself after a few days, and most beach destinations don’t have an awful lot on offer asides from, well, the beach itself.

Fortunately for you, there are a number of destinations which balance the best of both worlds – some European cities have beaches in them, even ones which are nowhere near the sea! Here are our picks of the very best; choose one to enjoy sun and sand as well as all the traditional attractions of a city break.

Kiev – The Hidropark

Sure, you might not readily associate the former Soviet state of Ukraine with golden sands, but that’s what makes the Hidropark  such a novelty! Staying in the capital, Kiev, you can take a short trip on the metro to the Hidropark stop.

Kiev – The Hidropark
Kiev – The Hidroparkcovilha / Foter.com / CC BY

Here you’ll find plenty of beaches lining the banks of the river Dnipro. There are all the things you’d expect from a decent beach – volleyball courts, swimming opportunities and deckchairs, for example. There’s also a nudist beach, a casino and even an open-air gym!

Prague – The First Prague Beach

The Czech capital is known more for its local beer (known as Pilsner) and for stag nights than it is for beaches, but don’t let that put you off!

Prague – The First Prague Beach
Prague – The First Prague BeachMartijn Booister / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Every summer, the Czechs ship roughly seven hundred tonnes of glorious golden sand into the capital, creating a temporary beach on the banks of the Vitava. Make the most of the good weather and take to the pool, or come later on in the day to enjoy a balmy evening of live music.

Berlin – Strandbar Mitte

If you’re looking for a real luxury break, head over to Secretescapes and see what Berlin options are available to you – it’s an incredible city, with a number of fantastic museums, a great atmosphere and some amazing shopping opportunities.

Berlin – Strandbar Mitte
Berlin – Strandbar MitteEichental / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

The banks of the Spree are also home to more than thirty beaches now, but you’d be best served by the original and the best, the Strandbar Mitte. With beach volleyball, fab beach bars and salsa evenings, you can do a lot worse!

Paris – The Paris Plages

This is the one that everyone knows. From the 20th July right through to the 18th August each year, the French capital is transformed into a beach resort – the roads are turned into blissful beaches, newspaper vendors are replaced with ice cream sellers and the normally-frantic city becomes more of a laid-back place for once!

Paris – The Paris Plages
Paris – The Paris Plagessaigneurdeguerre / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

In our opinion, it’s a vast improvement; you can spend your days on the beach then head up to the top of the Eiffel Tower in the evening. A truly fantastic holiday for all.

Museums of Amsterdam

If you’re looking for something to do during a city break in Amsterdam, the city boasts over 50 museums.

Amsterdam
AmsterdamWerner Kunz / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

The exhibits range from Old Masters on one hand to collections of handbags on the other. Some museums are world famous, while others are little known outside Amsterdam. Check out our guide to some of the most famous and some of the more quirky of Amsterdam’s museums.

Famous Museums

The museums in this category have been included because they are either world famous in their own right, such as Anne Frank’s house, or their collections include works by world famous artists, such as the Rijksmuseum or the Van Gogh Museum.

One of the most visited museums is Anne Frank’s house, where she spent more than two years hiding during World War II. It attracts thousands of visitors a year, which can result in long queues in peak periods. Visitors tour the rooms where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Germans and can view photos, film images and historical documents from the period. At the end, there is an exhibition about the persecution of the Jews and other incidents of more general discrimination. Anne Frank’s original diaries are on display at the house.

The Rijksmuseum is the place to go if you want to see works by past masters. There is an extensive collection of the works of Rembrandt. Other artists on display include Vermeer, Van Dyck and Frans Hals. In addition to paintings, the museum also has displays of sculpture and delftware. The museum is not just concerned with art and culture from the Netherlands, but also contains a large collection of Asian art.

Van Gogh is one of the most famous artists there has ever been and the Van Gogh Museum is a tribute to his work. It houses the largest collection of his paintings anywhere, allowing visitors to see his development as an artist. In addition to his pictures, the museum also displays some of his drawings and letters. It places Van Gogh in the context of his own time by displaying works by other artists painting at the same time.

Amsterdam was the first city to open a branch of Madame Tussaud’s outside London. The Amsterdam branch of Madame Tussaud’s opened in 1971 and is home to wax figures of the Dutch Royal family and other notable Dutch figures, as well as internationally renowned celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and Brad Pitt.

Quirky Museums

Amsterdam is famous for its canals and houseboats. The Houseboat Museum is the only one of its kind in the world and gives visitors a chance to experience what life is like on board a houseboat. Many houseboats are former barges and this one is no exception. You can see how it has been converted to contain a sleeping area, kitchen and large sitting area.

The Museum of Handbags and Purses tells their history, starting in the Middle Ages and finishing in the present day. There are more than 4000 bags on display illustrating changes in fashion and function over the centuries.

The Heineken Experience Amsterdam is a museum not to be missed by lovers of beer. There is an exhibition part of the museum tracing the history of brewing by Heineken in Amsterdam. However, there is also a more light-hearted element, where lovers of beer can watch old beer commercials as well as an actor swimming in beer. There are also opportunities to sample some of the famous beer yourself.

Informative Museums

The Jewish Museum is designed to give an insight into the Jewish religion, culture and history. It offers a mix of permanent and temporary exhibitions which are all related to these themes.

The National Maritime Museum is a tribute to the seafaring past of the Netherlands. The highlight of the exhibitions is a replica of one of the trading ships of the Dutch East India Company. The rest of the museum focuses on the role of the sea in shaping the Netherlands and its culture and includes a wide range of different maritime exhibits.

The range of museums in Amsterdam means there is something for everyone. For those looking to visit a number of museums, it is worth buying a museum card. This offers entry into more than 400 museums in the Netherlands for a single one-off annual fee. All you have to worry about then is booking a hotel and flights to Amsterdam which are daily from most UK airports and take around an hour.

Why You Should Visit in Berlin

Berlin is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. It’s the ideal location for a weekend break for many Europeans, being accessible from all major European cities, and it’s also a favoured stop off point for many travellers on long excursions. It is clear to see why Berlin is so popular. It is a hive of culture and history and its arts and music scenes are positively thriving. Here are a few of the most popular tourist attractions that Berlin has to offer:

First up, you should head over to the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin. This is historically known as the gateway to the city and it still stands today, complete with markings caused by shells and mortars from World War II. One of the things that makes Berlin so fascinating is that is undoubtedly steeped in history. You just have to look around at the sheer grandness of the architecture, much of which was destroyed during the war and rebuilt to its former glory.

Germany is famous for so many things, one being its musical exports. If nightlife is your thing, then there is certainly no shortage in Berlin. Whether you like classical, death metal or techno, there are countless music venues dotted around the city that cater for all types of music. Berlin is renowned for its nightclubs that go on well into the small hours. Clubs such as Watergate and Tresor give revellers the chance to experience some of the world’s finest electronic music in the world’s most exciting venues.

Bavarian cuisine is somewhat a mystery to many people. If you dig deep in central Berlin there are plenty of cafes and restaurants serving up traditional cuisine and tankards of Bavarian beers to wash it down. Expect lots of cabbage, pork and chicken. Favourites are boiled ham knuckles, wiener schnitzel (breaded veal) and lots of cabbage. For many, this won’t sound too appetizing, but you must try it – you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

There are so many historical sites that anyone visiting Berlin should make the effort to see. One way of seeing them all is by taking one of the guided walking tours. They set off throughout the day, usually from around the Brandenburg gate area, and take you round all of famous sites. You will get to see the remnants of the Berlin Wall, the Luftwaffe headquarters and the Jewish memorial. The tours usually take a few hours but it’s by far the best way to see the city.

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This post was provided by Dan Shaw, a travel blogger who enjoys city breaks as well as relaxing on all inclusive holidays

Slovenia’s Culinary Secrets

Slovenia
Slovenia

Where can you get the best pizza outside Italy? You might not expect it, but in…. Slovenia. Yes, Slovenia! On the Mediterranean coast of Eastern Europe, Slovenia’s been intimately connected to Italy throughout its history. Nowadays Slovenia restaurants serve some of the best pasta in the world- and, perhaps unexpectedly, Slovenians take exceptional pride in their pizza. Think thin crispy base, rich tomato sauce, sprinkled with smoked sausage and black pepper. You shouldn’t be surprised if you hear Slovenians saying that their pizza is superior to its Italian counterpart…although you should be the final judge on that!

Italian poets, artists and painters have found home in Slovenia over the years, along with a diverse selection of other peoples from Eastern Europe. All these factors mean food in Slovenia is diverse, if not entirely distinctive. The most traditional Slovenian dish is smoked pork sausage, klobasa, that’s often served in stews or broths, or on its own with potatoes and vinegary salad.

Lunch is the biggest meal of the day in Slovenia, and is generally eaten between 2-4pm. This means that a mid-morning snack takes on extra importance, and it’s something Slovenians take especially seriously! So, if you’ve a sweet tooth and are visiting Ljubljana one morning, you should undoubtedly stop off at one of the branches of Zvezda, arguably Slovenia’s best cake shop. The tables spill out onto the cobbles of the old town, and you can pick from a huge selection of coffees and teas to accompany towering cheesecakes, fruit tarts, and moist, rich gateaux.

For a true taste of Slovenian life, you should definitely eat in a gostilna– a traditional inn, that’s less formal and less expensive than a full blown restaurant (a restarvacija). Portions are hearty, the food is filling, and the interiors are generally quaint – being filled with brass ornaments and, sometimes, roaring fireplaces. Gostilnas lie at the heart of many communities, especially in rural Slovenia, and there’s no better way to experience the kindness and hospitality of Slovenian people.

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All in all, restaurants in Slovenia may well surprise you with their breadth and quality. Slovenian cuisine includes some of the tastiest exports of its many European neighbours – the only disadvantage of this being that you may be spoiled for choice!

Image by CanBerriWren

48 hours in Munich

Best known for major beer festival Oktoberfest, it should come as no surprise that Munich is one of Germany’s liveliest destinations. Built on culture, eclectic architecture and a buzzing nightlife scene, Munich is a spirited and stylish city. But with only two days to explore, planning an effective sightseeing itinerary can prove something of a challenge.


A great way to start your visit is with a trip on Tram 19 which is far cooler and cheaper than any sightseeing bus. An hour or so along this tram-line, beginning at Hauptbahnhof and heading to Ostbanhof, affords views of the palatial courthouse at Justizpalast, the cobbled streets filing down towards Maximillianstrasse, picturesque Lenbachplatz and the Bavarian Stock Exchange building before winding up to the quiet style of the hip French quarter. This relatively short trip allows you to get a feel for the city layout, as well as the spread of its history.


To discover the city’s spiritual side, head to Frauenkirche at Ludwigsvorstadt Frauenplatz. This is one of Munich’s finest and best loved churches and although bombed to near total destruction during the Second World War, the sections of reconstruction seem only to enhance the sense of enduring peace enjoyed here by tourists and locals alike.


As one of the world’s most celebrated science museums, the Deutches Museums is a must-see. Go early, while it’s quiet, and fuel up on strong coffee and sweet kuchen in order to make the most of your visit. Pick up a map on arrival and prioritise your areas of interest as you could spend weeks wandering the curious corridors of this sprawling institution.


If you find that you’re in need of a little refreshment while on your whistle-stop culture tour, look no further than Englischer Garten. Spreading its green fingers farther than the likes of London’s Hyde Park or New York’s Central Park, this is one of the world’s most expansive public gardens. Its grounds are shared peaceably by students, buskers, cyclists, street performers and retirees, making this an excellent place to people watch before nightfall.

 

When night does fall, find a spot of cultural entertainment at the National Theatre which boasts a thriving programme of music, dance and drama all year round. Home to both the Bavarian State Opera and the Bavarian State Ballet, there’s no better place to enjoy a performance from one or two of Germany’s most celebrated cultural troupes. The building itself, reconstructed by Gerard Moritz Graubner in 1963, based on the theatre’s original 1818 plans, is well worth a look, even if you’re too late for tickets.


And of course no Munich bound city break could be complete without giving the local beers a thorough tasting. Weissbeer – a pale, wheat beer – is Munich’s tipple of choice and you’ll find plenty of beer gardens in which to sup a pint or two. Four of the most popular beer stations are found in Englischer Garten, with the largest in Hirschgarten. But Augustinerkeller – 52 Arnulfstrasse – boasts a homely interior as well as large garden making it a great choice at any time of year. It is also one of the city’s few remaining beer houses to serve Weissbeer straight from the wood. Prost!

 

Adriano Comegna writes on behalf of Thomson holidays, a leading travel operator specialising in Package holidays.

Holidays for Vegetarians

Although it is easier than it used to be, finding somewhere to go on holiday as a vegetarian isn’t always straightforward. In the UK it isn’t too difficult but in some countries it seems almost impossible. Here are a few suggestions to make your life easier.

Cook-Your-Own

The easiest way to cope as a vegetarian is to prepare your own food and book self-catering accommodation wherever you go. Every country in the world has fresh produce markets where you can buy wonderful fruit and vegetables, and most have recognisable products in supermarkets. You may not find the variety of pre-prepared meals and vegetarian products that you are used to in the UK but you should be able to get by. If you are staying in a beach-style resort then self-catering accommodation is quite easy to find, and even in cities there are an increasing number of self-catering apartments available for short term rental.

Restaurants Outside the UK

If you are going to restaurants then you are increasingly likely to find vegetarian or vegan restaurants in cities, especially in Europe. If you are travelling to Asia then you may have more of a problem as many restaurant staff don’t understand exactly what vegetarianism means. If you can learn the phrases for “No meat products” and “No fish products” then that might help. You may, however find that food contains items such as fish sauce unless you are very specific, or very careful about what you order. Rice and steamed vegetables is a safe option if you are not sure.

Vegetarian Holidays in the UK

There are a number of websites where you can search for vegetarian or vegan holidays. In addition, The Vegetarian Society and The Vegan Society can provide lists of vegetarian or vegan guesthouses and hotels. Most good hotels will also have vegetarian options for both breakfast and dinner.

Take your own supplies

If there is something that you really love to eat, that travels well, then take it on holiday with you, but make sure you check any customs regulations for taking foodstuffs into another country. Tubes of vegan paste, packet mixes for nut roasts etc are all quite easy to put in a suitcase and can be easily used in self catering accommodation. If you are worried about what you will eat while you are away then it may also be worth taking some multi vitamins and minerals with you, especially if you are travelling somewhere a bit remote where food choices will be limited.

Being a vegetarian shouldn’t limit where you go in the world. It may prove more of a challenge in some areas but see it as a challenge to be overcome, take your sense of humour with you, and you should be fine.

Alex is a journalist and writer who writes about eco holidays and all things green. He also maintains a green blog covering the UK and Europe.

Europe’s Castle Hotels

Mansfield Castle Hotel
Mansfield Castle Hotel

It does not necessarily follow that if you book a room in a castle that it will cost more than staying in a hotel. In fact, many castles in Europe that take in guests are the same or less in price than hotels, and they often include much more than a hotel in terms of atmosphere, being hosted by the owners of the castle, and the opportunity to take meals in the dining room of the castle.

In terms of fairy tale castles right out of a book, look no further than Austria or Germany.

For an elegant castle with its own highly rated gourmet restaurant, take a look at the 13th century Schloss Obermayerhofen in Styria. Luxurious and warm, the rooms have canopied beds and exquisite views. Make a spa appointment for two, walk through the surrounding parkland, ask for the horse drawn carriage to take you for a ride, and savor the experience of being in one of the most romantic castle hotels in Austria.

There is actually a castle in Germany that is a hostel which will easily fit a student budget. Jugenderberge Burg Stahleck Hostel is located in Bacharach, is perched on the top of a cliff, and really does look like a fortress castle with views of the Rhine River Valley. It serves great food in a large cafeteria, is clean and fun, with a bar and friendly staff.

Castle ten Berghe in Belgium is so beautiful inside you will be charmed. It even has a moat! This castle is a B&B and it is affordable and absolutely gorgeous. The breakfast room has a huge royal fireplace and wood paneling. Breakfasts include freshly baked breads, sliced meats, cheeses, juice and eggs. Just under 15 minutes drive from Bruges, this castle hotel is an excellent choice for families and couples.

If you are traveling in Spain near Barcelona you are in for a treat. You can book a room at a huge castle called Parador Cardona. The vaulted stone ceilings inside, rooms beautifully decorated with antiques, gym, sauna, golf, museum, delicious food served in a medieval dining hall, huge buffet breakfast, and cafe/bar, make a stay here breathtaking and memorable.

And for great luxury, reserve a room at the castle in Italy called Castelletto Di Montebenichi, which is located in Chianti. It truly has interior furnishings worthy of a king. Antiques and tapestries fill every room. There is a help-yourself-bar in the lounge, buffet breakfast, swimming pool to lounge around, and stunning views to take in. It may be time to rethink staying only in hotels after you have experienced the delight of staying in an ancient castle in Europe!

Alex is a journalist and travel blogger. He loves blogging about exotic destinations and beautiful scenery and about how to get the cheapest online hotel reservations .

London Olympics 2012

The official Olympic Games have been hosted in one of the World’s capital cities every 4 years since 1896. The next Olympic Games will be held in 2012, and the honour of hosting the games has been granted to London, England.

London olympics 2012
Image by doug88888

With 26 sports involved in London 2012, including sports such as judo, swimming and table tennis, there is plenty of variety for sports fans to choose from. Applications for tickets have now closed, but the allocation process is yet to take place, so applicants in the UK and worldwide wait anxiously to see if they are lucky enough to get a ticket to watch their favourite event.

With our without a ticket for the Olympics, London will still be a great place to visit in 2012 as the atmosphere will have a festival and celebration vibe to it. There are still test event tickets available, and also 70,000 volunteering opportunities, plenty of official merchandise to be bought and no doubt unofficial merchandise in tourist shops throughout London.

There are plenty of places to visit in London, and plenty of cheap London attractions so you can still be a part of the buzz in town even without a ticket for the games. There are also plenty of places to stay in London to be in amongst the Olympic crowds, from humble guest houses to 5 star hotels, there is something to suit every budget, although early booking is recommended.

The Olympics Games are expected to bring millions of extra people in to London and be a fantastic boost for tourism in these troubled times. It’s likely that as the city is expected to be so busy during the Olympics games period, restaurant and service owners will be taking advantage of this and hiking up their prices to capitalise on the increase of visitors. There are is however a way to avoid this, by purchasing restaurant vouchers from Kelkoo Select London ahead of your visit. This way you will guarantee that you won’t go over your budget or even worse go hungry.

In terms of travelling to the games, the official word is that visitors are strongly encouraged to use public transport, walk or cycle to the events.  A lot of investment has gone in to creating special travel card tickets, coach services and park and rides to help visitors get around safely and easily at London 2012.