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.

The Ski Chalet Experience in Europe!

Ski Chalets
Image by Toprural

Ski Chalets really are a home from home in another country, and provide an enjoyable experience designed for people from all over the world. France and Austria are the two most popular ski destinations in Europe, closely followed by Italy, but for the best ski chalets, you are definitely best sticking to Austria or France. The great diversity with these chalets is that they can sleep numbers from 6 to 40, meaning that you could either travel as a family or with a large group of friends.

Chalets are like personal hotels, that are put together to serve your needs. When you arrive you are usually greeted but someone that will take care of you on your stay, usually cooking for you or looking after the washing and what not. In some cases these people are referred to as “Chalet Girls” and not only do they help to look after you on your stay, but have good knowledge of the area and can provide good ski routes. So the ski chalet experience is one where you can enjoy the slopes but be catered for as if you were in the comfort of your own home.

For families or small groups of friends, between 6 and 8 of you could benefit from staying at a beautiful ski chalet in France called Chalet Pia. This chalet is a contemporary styled apartment like appearance and provides cosy and warm close quarters for visitors. There is always a dining and lounge area for each of the chalet apartments. As with most chalet deals, you will be fed breakfast and a 3 course meal most nights as well, this is a perfect place for large families to visit!

For those of you looking for a party adventure with a large group of friends, I bet you though you wouldn’t be able to find a place that could sleep up to 40 of you! Well then you should consider taking a look at the Chalet Mounty in Austria, this resort can take a huge number of visitors, and the best thing is that it is hosted by Crystal Ski enthusiasts, that will cook for you, take you out on ski trips and give recommendations on places to visit, even taking you out to a few of them! This is the jkind of place to take a group of friends that are looking to have a wild time, and enjoy a mass social event where you can all enjoy each others company and meet new friends!

These are just two examples of top quality chalets in Europe, there are many more, but these really stand out for two distinct reasons, they both cater for specific niche markets, one for families and one for large groups!

Bio:

Mark works for a Ski Chalets tour operator with Ski Resorts in France and Austria!

Five fab European resorts in a nutshell

Val d’Isère, France

Developed from a small alpine farming village, Val d’Isere has grown to become one of the most favourite skiing resorts in France. Having been named as one giant natural fun park, this resort really does offer something for everyone in terms of skiing and snowboarding. With over 150 kilometres of pistes and nightlife almost as exhausting as its mountain pursuits, Val d’Isere offers plenty to keep you busy!

Saas-Fee, Switzerland

Nicknamed the pearl of The Alps, Saas Fee is a beautiful resort offering plenty of snow and sun-rays throughout the entire skiing season. With lots of flat learner slopes, the resort is perfect beginner skiers and snowboarders whilst for intermediates and experts, the spectacular setting amid high peaks and glaciers makes the skiing that little bit more exhilarating. Described as “the prettiest ski village in Europe”, Saas Fee is host to an appealing après ski atmosphere which can accommodate for party-goers, oldies and families alike.

Mayrhofen, Austria

The resort of Mayrhofen, surrounded by the ski-mountains of Ahorn and Penken, is a simply superlative holiday destination. Even when little snow has fallen, the resort offers unspoilt ski fun and super pistes. As one of the largest snowboard parks in Europe, Mayrhofen offers irresistible challenges for snowboarders and freestyle snowboarding. For skiers there are 157 kilometres of piste for pure enjoyment. Mayrhofen is regarded as one of the best Austrian resorts for partying and après-ski alongside friendly local services and traditional home cooking.

Cervinia, Italy

With direct access to the skiing area of Zermatt and the Klein Matterhorn, Cervinia is based in an area that offers one of the largest skiing areas in the Alps. The resort is situated in a higher-altitude than the average resort and offers a paradise for beginner skiers and snowboarders. With the extensive terrain that stretches through three valleys in two countries, Cervinia is an ideal base for intermediates and experts to go off and explore. The apres ski and nightlife in Cervinia is slightly quieter and relaxed than other Italian resorts and may appeal more to couples and families.

Bansko, Bulgaria

The recently new and exciting resort, Bansko, has the best snow record and the longest ski season of all Bulgarian ski resorts. The two main ski – centres- Chalin Valog and Shiligarnika offer 70 kilometres of piste with runs and tracks for all types of skiers, suiting both beginners and experts. This well developed resort is host to both modern and traditional restaurants and bars serving up incredible hospitality, local dishes, fine wines and authentic Bulgarian entertainment.

This post has been written by travel blogger Rebecca Kelly from Simonseeks.com; a community of travel enthusiasts, experts and celebrities sharing their thoughts on the best places to visit around the world., ranging from cheapest places to stay in Paris to the best boutique hotels in New York.

Top 5 Walks in Europe

Top 5 Walks in Europe
Top 5 Walks in Europe

Europe is a continent of many, vastly different landscapes and climates. From the warm Mediterranean to, dark forests in Germany and dramatic cliffs in Scotland. Therefore choosing the best location to walk in isn’t always that easy, you are spoilt for choice! Ask yourself what you want from the holiday, are you looking for a sunny warm climate, or a bracing, dramatic experience?

Either way, here is a selection of some of the best walks in Europe:

Hadrian’s Wall. In the North East of England, Hadrian’s wall is one of the UKs many World Heritage Sites. Walking the full length of the wall will take about 5 – 6 days but there are many places to stay along the way and many pubs to sample the local ale in!

The Loire Valley. The Loire Valley in France is an exceptionally beautiful area and this is a very comfortable walk with many places to stay along the way. It is no wonder that it is known as the garden of France with numerous World Heritage Sites along the way. Most of the tracks are paved and there are several notable attractions along the way including the lovely town of Azay-le-Rideau.

The Knoydart Peninsula. This is a walk for those who enjoy exploring rugged and remote places. It is a unique place as it is part of Scottish mainland yet can only be accessed by the sea. On the peninsula there is also Scotland’s most remote pub, making the walk all the more worthwhile!

Swiss Alpine Pass. This is Switzerland’s classic hike, crossing 16 mountain passes and taking 18-20 days it is one for the fit only, although you can cheat slightly using chairlifts and other modes of transport in places. The weather can be changeable and the terrain rough but the vistas are stunning, as you would expect. When you complete it you can also brag that you have walked across Switzerland.

Besalu to Olot. In Catalonia, Spain there are some of the best cliff edge walks in the world. This route will take you from the beautiful medieval town of Besaul all the way to Olot. Along the way are some spectacular cliff edge walks with drops of up to 500m all against the back drop of dramatic volcanoes. It’s not all cliffs though, as you will walk through some stunning meadows and pastures, with plenty of places to stop for the delicious local cuisine along the way.

Tom is a keen walking enthusiast and loves walking holidays in Europe. 

The Top 5 Largest Cruise Liners – And Their Best Features!

Oasis Of The Seas

In a world where bigger is always better, aside from skyscrapers and some bridges, some of the biggest things that you are likely to see (if you live by the coast) are massive cruise liners that you can see miles off the coast.

Now while most of these ships are huge, there are a couple that dwarf the rest and are virtually floating cities that can hold as many as 6,000 passengers at one time.

I thought it would be a great idea to highlight the biggest cruise ships, who owns them, and a quick rundown of their best (and most impressive) features.

Who Is Behind The Largest Cruise Liners?

Before we get into the huge numbers and impressive features, I think it is important to mention that all 5 of the largest cruise ships are owned and run by just one cruise company – Royal Caribbean International.

With 42 ships in their fleet and over 25% share of the cruise market, Royal Carribean is definitely one of the major players in the industry – and having the 5 largest ships is just icing on the cake for this global cruise juggernaut.

  1. MS Allure of the Seas

    Holding the title of the worlds largest passenger liner, the Allure of the sea was created to be identical to it’s ‘sister ship’ the Oasis of the Seas, but is actually 2 inches longer.

    At 360 meters long and weighing over 200,000 tonnes, this ship definitely creates a feeling of awe when pulling into a dock.

    Interesting Facts:
    The Allure of the sea is the first cruise line to haves its own Starbucks, as well as being guest to Taylor Swift, for the first concert of her Speak Now World Tour.

  2. MS Oasis of the Seas

    Being the sister ship of the Allure, we already know the key stats for this ship. So let’s just straight to the interesting facts.

    Home to a full mini golf course, multiple night clubs and five swimming pools, there is plenty of things to entertain every member of the family.

    Now home to The Dreamworks Experience, this Oasis now has 3D movies, ice shows and water shows with some of your favourite Dreamworks characters.

  3. MS Freedom of the Seas

    The MS Freedom of the Seas, shares 3rd place with both the Liberty and Independence below – as they are all part of the ‘Freedom Class’ of ships based on the same frame.

    Being able to to house 3,600 passengers and 1,300 crew at capacity, the freedom class ships are not exactly dwarfed by it’s larger cousins.

    Interesting Facts:
    Complete with water park and 11 path rock climbing wall, the Freedom would satisfy the most active of cruisers.

  4. MS Liberty of the Seas

    The Freedom, Liberty and Independence are basically the same ship, so the features are practically the same on each ship.

    Equiped with a nice skating rink, boxing ring and full sized sports courts there is defintely plenty to do on the Liberty.

  5. MS Independence Of The Seas

    The MS Independence wraps up the top 5 largest cruise liners, with it’s gross tonnage of 160,000 tonnes and 339 meters of length – it is no baby.

    Cruising through a range of destinations in Europe and the Caribbean, be sure to check out their Casino, Shops and cantilevered whirlpool.

Kenneth Beckham is a cruise fanatic, he loves finding packaged cruises with airfares included as it allows him to see the world from two very different perspectives – one from a birds eye view and the other sailing the high seas.

Activities To Make Your Next Holiday A Great One

Holidays are supposed to be a time of great joy and time spent with the family.  It should not be a time where the children are fighting or complaining that they are bored. Many families will worry about whether or not the holiday they plan will be too difficult or not safe for their child.  This article will help to give you ideas regarding safe and healthy trips that will keep your children engaged and not from being bored.

Cycling Through Europe

One of the most exciting activity holidays is cycling through Europe.  This is an activity that is safe and fun for the entire family while at the same time very easy to plan and organize.  If you have children traveling with you it is important that you check with the tour operator to be sure the tour plans will be easy enough for your child to participate.  You would not want to get stuck with a tired and crabby child while you are trying to cycle yourself.

Cycling Through Europe
Cycling Through EuropeMiss Jo|????? / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Safari In Africa

There is nothing more exciting than seeing your children’s faces when they are observing wild animals.  This is what makes an African safari one of the best types of family activity holidays.  These trips can include all sorts of activities such as hippo spotting while on a boat trip, visit to area farms, drives through nature reserves that require 4x4s as well as many other different activities.

There are many different companies that specialize in safaris all over Africa but you will find that Kenya and Tanzania will be your most popular destinations.

Ranch Stays Located In America

What little boy does not have the dream of being a cowboy?  When you take a ranch holiday you and your family will get the true cowboy experience.  Activities on this type of holiday will include horseback ridging, as well as learning to work like a cowboy does on a real ranch.  You should be sure that you do not get involved in a working ranch holiday or a cattle drive if you are traveling with children.  These involve being on a horse for a long period of time and will also require that you have an extensive amount of riding experience.  These can often prove to be difficult for children.

Sailing In The Greek Islands

The Greek Islands is the destination you are looking for if you want the best holiday ever.  These vacations offer you beautiful scenery as well as having calm and steady waters for sailing and swimming.  For those who do not know how to sail there are basic sailing lessons that are offered or you can rely on a professional to take you out on the water.  Of course if water is not your idea of a good time you might find that visiting the towns or just loving the sun on the beach is plenty for you.

Conclusion

These activity holidays listed above are just a few of the most popular ones offered.  You can find many more by researching activity holidays on the Internet.