Top Backpacking Destinations Of 2016

A backpacking travel does not mean that you have to go without exploring the world. In fact, much of the world is not best discovered in a luxury hotel suite, but with a few belongings tucked into a knapsack. So, here are some of the world’s top backpacking destinations of 2016.

porto portugal

Portugal

Portugal is a fantastic coastal haven for backpackers. You can fly down and begin your trek from Porto and make your way leisurely to the Algarve, which is the southernmost tip of Portugal. It is an interesting walk with gorgeous scenery, delicious seafood and friendly locals.

walking in Tasmania

Tasmania, Australia

The untouched beauty, preserved forests, sprawling vineyards and open spaces that lead directly into the Pacific Ocean have helped Tasmania to earn its unbridled reputation. You can stop along your way to enjoy a dip in the ocean or discover a unique rock formation. Although this island was once a jail for British outlaws, today it is a top backpacking destination.

Indonesia

Bali, Indonesia is the perfect destination for a backpacking traveler, who is traveling on a budget, but wants to sunbathe, dine, drink and explore like royalty. Bali features stunning golden beaches, and cheap food and accommodation.

Colombia

Colombia has varied terrains, from the laidback Caribbean coast to football madness and a fierce political history. Colombians are one of the friendliest and most inquisitive people you will ever meet.

Santa Elena, Costa Rica

This small and charming Central American town boasts wonderful walking trails and comfortable but cheap accommodations. The friendly locals will take you for a salsa twirl and also show you where to get the best seafood.

Nicaragua

The Central American country of Nicaragua boasts world class surf beaches and chilled atmosphere. It is a lot more affordable and relaxed, and attracts a huge surfing community and adventurous travelers. With its colourful buildings, picturesque churches and forts, cobblestone roads and stunning archipelago setting, Granada, Nicaragua will soon wear down your camera battery.

Turkey

Cappadocia in Turkey has a unique landscape of windblown rocks and hidden crevices. The locals are just as colourful as the colourful painted churches and they readily offer a cozy place for tea. Their homesteads are carved in the side of cliffs and gutted boulders.

Inca Trail, Peru

If you are an adventurous backpacker, then the Inca Trail is a prime backpacking destination. You can trek along the Peruvian coastline to find secluded beaches, lively little towns, spicy food and friendly locals.

Get ready and pack your bags to see the world’s top backpacking destinations of 2016. It is always good to experience a bit of everything, even the bad and ugly mixed in with the good. Most young people go on a back packing trip after they finish university. When finishing university students always have a load of belongings which they don’t have space for. One good way of storing these belongings is in a self storage locker, many of which can be rented for a few pounds a week and you can store almost anything you want.

The main family Holiday Destinations this Summer

This guide of the Top family holiday destinations this summer will help you to decide where to spend your vacation. Our guide covers several popular tourist destinations, including some that you might not be aware of. Book up early to get the best prices. Before booking a destination make sure you compare hotels. Comparehotelprices.co.uk is a good site to visit when comparing accommodation.

"Paris Louvre"

Paris

Paris is a popular tourist destination for many reasons. If you have young children then they will love to visit Disneyland Paris. This is very convenient to visit from the UK thanks to the channel tunnel. Remember though, if you are visiting during the summer holidays then it will be busy. You must book up well in advance if you are planning on visiting during the school holidays.

"London-Eye-capsule-view-over-the-Thames-river"

Staying in the UK

Although many people want to jet off somewhere warmer for the summer, there’s no reason you have to. If the weather is kind then there are plenty of top tourist attractions here in the UK.What’s more you will even be able to travel in your own car which will reduce the cost. When travelling with very young children, it’s often easier to stay in the UK. Popular tourist destinations in the UK include Wales, Devon and the Isle of Wight. You might even want to consider a UK city break. These are especially interesting if your children are studying the Great Fire of London, or similar historical events at school.

"Barcelona_MuseoZoologia"

Barcelona

Barcelona has something for everyone, from the ancient Gothic quarter, to beautiful beaches for the kids. There are also a few theme parks for the kids. As Barcelona is just a short flight from the UK, it’s easy to travel to even if you have very young children.

Take a Cruise

If you’re not sure where to go on holiday in the summer then consider taking a cruise. Although cruises are often seen as a holiday for honeymoons, or old couples they are perfect for families with kids. Make sure you choose a cruise with plenty of activities for children. This is also a great way to travel somewhere new in style and enjoy your whole holiday.

Wherever you choose to go on holiday be sure to have a good time. Remember to pack plenty of sunscreen and make sure you have travel insurance for you and your family.

Barcelona Gaudi’s greatest achievement

Gaudi’s Barcelona architecture cannot be compared to anything else in the world.

Barcelona, ​​capital of Catalonia is one of the most visited cities in the world, often chosen for short trips. Bustling, colorful, soulful, has that something that can enchant and attract. At first fire the average tourist usually goes to the las Ramblas street. This central promenade stretching from ​​the Catalan square to the column of Columbus and the beach, allows you to see the hallmarks of Barcelona and its heart, surrounded by bars, cafes and stalls in the open air. You’ll find yourself walking in the crowd (beware of pickpockets) poured back and forth from early morning to early morning the next day. You can sit down for a moment over coffee or tapas, choose exotic fruit from a stall, relax by the sea or to delve into the side streets. Because all the charm of Barcelona it is best to slow walk combined with discovering and admiring the successive corners. And the best thing you can “discover” in Barcelona is Gaudi architecture.

"Barcelona"

Gaudi, a brilliant architect has created a total of two dozens of major works, and almost all are found in Barcelona. The most famous – and both the most visited in the city – is a temple of the Sagrada Familia, houses Casa Mila and Casa Battlo (“casa” in Spanish means precisely “house”), and Park Guell. You will recognize these wonders by the walls like a stormy sea, balconies and fanciful creatures, decorative mosaic like fish scales, and wavy-shaped roof chimneys smoke. Gaudi’s projects cannot be confused with any other.

Antoni Gaudi is probably the most well-known figure linked to Barcelona. Born in the mid-nineteenth century, in the town of Reus (today known mainly due to one of the airports serving the city of Barcelona) since childhood have plenty of time to invent. Because of rheumatism he spent his childhood mostly at home by himself. He began designing small forms – gates, fences, cabinets or gas lantern exhibition (which can still be seen in Barcelona). But even if already earned the name by his larger projects there were no interested buyers: his projects were too bold ahead of its time. And perhaps Gaudi would not become famous if it wasn’t for a wealthy architect – Count Eusebi Güell. Eusebi was not scared of fancy forms, arcs instead of angles and colorful patterns. He was a patron of Gaudi financing his other works – in example the palace and the famous Parc Güell. As a result, Barcelona took on the character. As the capital of Catalonia, and one of the most visited cities in the world, Barcelona is often chosen for short trips.

Barcelona. Gaudí houses on the map of Barcelona

One of the first works of Gaudí, considered a precursor of his style, is Casa Vicens custom built for a wealthy craftsman. Today you can see it only from the outside – it is private property, currently offered for sale anyway. Dark pink building, finished in white and gray tile is massive thanks to turrets and arches.

Casa Vicens Gaudi

Since 2002, which was also the International Year of Gaudi, the public is now able to enter the interior of Casa Batllo. If you don’t want to pay the fee you can also admire it from the outside. This is one of the favorite spots in Barcelona, ​​almost always occupied by crowds of tourists with cameras and eyes widened with surprise. Buildings that Gaudi rebuilt at the request of a local industrialist, also called a “house of bones” because the surrounding windows and columns in the balconies are strikingly similar to crossbones. The building has a beige-blue facade and is decorated with colored stones, ceramics and glass. The roof is to remind the husk covering the bulk of the dragon. The interior is similarly unique and colorful, and is also designed by Gaudi.

Another well-known home is the Casa Mila, also known as La Pedrera. A few stories curled oval building with no shapes is also called a “house without edges”. There is not a single right angle in that house, and that interior furnishings presented in several rooms comes from the era of Gaudí. But the biggest attraction of this place are strange chimneys roof. It is meant to be one of the most beautiful views of Barcelona.

casa-batllo

Another great place to see in Barcelona is Park Güell. Originally supposed to be settlement-garden for the rich, but because of little interest of people willing to live in it, it became a public park, which resembles a fairy-tale land sinking in green. Some of the highlights of the Park include the Column Hall, which was originally intended for the trade fair, the famous checkered mosaic-tiled bench and the house where Gaudi lived (today it is in the museum).

Last but not least from the Gaudi’s main landmarks is the Sagrada Familia. Penitential Church of the Holy Family is a symbol of Barcelona’s most famous design of the innovative architect. He devoted his life to the project until the very end, but this time miscalculated and could perform only one-fourth part of the project. Therefore, although the soaring towers of the temple can be seen from afar, it all can be seen only on the model. Construction continues, of course, with interruptions, for 130 years and, according to skeptics there is no end in sight. According to the optimists it will be finished by 2030, when the sky will score more than ten new towers.

Avoid Tourist Crowds and Lines in Europe with these Simple Tips

If you have ever been to a major tourist attraction – whether in a big city or at a rural site, it does not really make a difference – then you will know that standing on your feet, in the sun, waiting in a long line can be an absolute kill joy. It can zap the life right out of you when all you will want to do is take a nap after a long, well-deserved foot massage. And, if that sounds melodramatic, then perhaps you have never been in this situation before, because it seems to be a universal experience.

standing in line

The good news is that there are definitely tricks of the trade to avoid these scenarios to begin with, if you know what you are doing of course. Let’s take a quick look at some ways to avoid the long lines. Be warned, in some cases, there is simply no getting around the fact that there will be lines, but you can still lessen the load in pretty much every case.

Know the seasons, and go when the tide is low

Just like how the tide rises and falls like a sin curve with the day and night cycle, so too does the current of tourists at different times of the year. Typically, family trips peak in the summer, when schools get off. In Europe, August is usually the time when the breadwinners of the family take their allotted time off to tour other parts of Europe and the world. Holiday seasons such as Halloween and Easter time are obviously other periods when things get busy.

Thus, to avoid the busiest times, go when others are not. This applies to days of the week, as well. Weekends will be busier at the British Museum than say, on a Tuesday morning. Going later in the day to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa will probably mean fewer people as well.

Plan in Advance

If you make reservations at certain sites, your benefit of foresight will allow you to skip some freakishly long lines that can seem downright endless. Some notorious cases in Europe of snake-like lines include Rome’s Vatican Museum, Florence’s famous galleries (the Accademiaand the Uffizi), the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, and the Eiffel Tower in Paris. These are just to name a few, of course, but bypassing these lines is as simple as doing a bit of homework and getting advance reservations. Make sure to smile at the poor souls in line as you bypass, because they just might be grumpy to see you getting through so easily. And saving time and energy this way means you will be good to go, fully taking advantage of those Rome Opera Tickets you managed to nab.

Look for Shortcuts

No, this does not mean cutting a line, or doing anything illegal. However, there usually are unorthodox ways around things and strategies that reward you for not just following the herd. Side doors, guided tours, a different ticket vendor with shorter lines, or special combo passes that will let you bypass waits. The Louvre, for example, has a secondary, underground entrance, while Venice’s St. Mark’s Basilica has a bag check pass (as long as you have something to check) that lets you skip to the front of the line.

The top attractions in Europe are notorious for long lines and extended waits so be sure to know the best time to visit, plan in advance and look for shortcuts and you’ll be on your way to getting more time for enjoyment and less time standing around.

5 Things to Do in Canberra

Canberra is a very beautiful city with so many interesting attractions that will make you fall in love with it even more. There will be no boring moment when you visit this capital of Australia. It may be one of the youngest cities in Australia but it is also one of the most surprising ones. The combination of natural and man-made attractions will amaze you.  We list down some of the fun activities that you can do if you visit Canberra.

air baloons in canberra

First of all, when touring the city, it is advisable to rent a car. Finding car hire in Canberra is actually easy. This makes your road-trip stress-free and it will allow you to save a lot of time! So it’s best that you look for reliable cars first before planning your itinerary. Renting cars is pretty much common in the region to make commute convenient.

Canberra-Spring5

So now, here are the activities to try when visiting the city.

  1. Wine and more wine

If you’re wine enthusiast then Canberra is one haven for you! The Canberra District Wine Region with 33 wineries and just 35-minute drive from the city is the place to go to! It is the home of classic cool-climate wines. Visit Four Winds Vineyard that also offers good food. You can also try to visit Poachers Pantry that will welcome you with sample cool climate wines at their cellar door. Another winery worth checking out is Lerida Estate, with overlooking view of Lake George.

  1. Visit the Old Parliament House

Do not let the word “old” fool you. This Old Parliament House that used to be the home of Australian politicians is now home to the dynamic Museum of Australian Democracy. It offers different attractions to celebrate different festivities in the city. It is perfect for the entire family from small children to teens to mommies and daddies. They will surely enjoy activities in-store for various events.

  1. Devour some chocolates

Chocolate lovers are in for some delicious treats when visiting Robyn Rowe Chocolates, located in a small village of Murrumbateman, a half-hour drive from the city. The place is very popular for their smooth, creamy and delicious chocolates, which are made on-site using some traditional European methods. You will also taste some of the region’s best products like honey, walnuts and the local’s pride homegrown Clonakilla muscat.

  1. Tour the National Gallery of Australia

Do you enjoy visiting art galleries? Canberra offers you a glimpse of rich culture and artistic side of Australia through various exhibitions and galleries featuring national artists and up and coming artists. You can check out in advance the schedules of exhibitions so you have an idea what to expect and the time or day of your visit.

  1. Ride around a man-made lake

Lake Burley Griffin is one of Canberra’s most prominent and popular landmarks. You may try some water activities like kayaking, windsurfing or yachting. But the best way to experience this wonderful view is by cycling around 35-kilometre perimeter. You will appreciate more the man-made lake; the beautiful scenery and it will give you a relaxing feeling.

Enjoy Canberra by trying out the activities mentioned in this post. Make every moment special by spending it with your loved ones. And remember pictures immortalizes your vacation, so take as much photos as you can.

Everything you Should Know Before Leaving your Country for a China Tour

Travelling overseas can be a harrowing experience, full of unexpected bumps and challenges along the way. Take stress out of the equation by remembering to do these 10 things before you leave for China with a tour.

China

Image by lain via Flickr

Over the last 4 years I have travelled to and through every single country in South East Asia. I’ve experienced much of what’s great about these countries, and I’ve suffered through the worst travel blunders in the history of human kind. And even an ounce of my own personal travel failure stories is worth something for the soon-to-be world traveller.

But how about I save you the stories for brevity and just deliver some cold hard facts you need to consider before any travel to South East Asia –namely China.

China has got it all and the world has noticed. Tourism numbers for China are falling off the charts, year after year, and with good reason. Its economy is booming, it has a rich, beautiful, authentic culture, and a lot of sights to see.

And without further adieu, here are my best China travel tips!

1. First Time? Travel with a China Tour

China is as complex as it is beautiful, and as with any tourism hotspot, it also comes with its own unique set of challenges. You do not know what you do not know, and a China tour is probably the best way to travel for first –or even second or third-timers.

By booking a China tour with companies that excel at ensuring comfortable, quality trips to China such as The China Travel Company, you are quite likely going to avoid things like;

  • Overpaying for hotels, attractions
  • Winding up in shady neighbourhoods
  • Missing out on key cultural sights and events
  • Being alone in a strange place

The China Travel Company can support your journey with either a group tour or self guided adventures in China. So if you’re looking to make new friends along the way and share your experience, take a group tour. If you’d rather be in control of your China trip, then go with the self guided option. There’s something for everyone.

2. Bring Financial Backup

Bank machine ATMs sometimes gets hungry, and on a bad day they might even gobble up your bank card. It’s happened to me and I didn’t have a backup that was easy to manoeuvre. To make matters worse, my bank wouldn’t send my card outside of my home country. So I had to get it mailed to a family member and then sent over to China where I was staying. It took 6 weeks to arrive!

Imagine that. While I relied on trusting strangers enough to send them money via PayPal to convert into the local currency, it isn’t something I’d suggest. Consider back up cards, packing more than one wallet with more than one bank card or credit card, and keep all of your bank’s contact numbers handy.

3. China Travel Immunizations

Travelling in China also means it’s possible you might catch some freaky viruses. It’s never happened to me, so I’m not sure whether it’s because I’ve got all my shots or not –but never take a risk on your health. Ever. Trust me. I’ve seen my fair share of completely avoidable illnesses. Thank goodness they weren’t mine.

4. Insurance

Personally, I’m a fan of World Nomads. They find the best travel insurance deals local to my home country and I can even file claims while still travelling. They also cover “adventure activities” most insurance companies won’t cover.

This is only the beginning, other tips that don’t need their own paragraphs include;

  • Never pack for eventualities, if you need it once your whole trip, pick it up along the way and avoid lugging things you don’t need all over China
  • Ensure that you have 6+ months left in your passport from the date your journey ends
  • Don’t forget important prescriptions but leave them in a clearly labelled container so crossing the border is a breeze

Spending time in Greece

Although the country is going through a crisis, it is still a place you will enjoy spending time.

Spending time in Greece will not be a costly affair, but you should make it a point to plan ahead of time and follow a fixed routine so that you enjoy your time in Greece.

If you are looking for some ideas, here is a list for you!

Santorini Architecture

If you want to cherish your wedding beginnings, you should think about Santorini Architecture because it has a stunning picturesque view where you will notice deep-blue water, spectacular sunsets, multicolored cliffs, blue-domed churches and white-washed homes.

If you choose the west coast, you will find upmarket celebrity settlements. This means that you will have to shell out slightly more to be on the west coast. So, if you have a low budget, you should choose the east coast.

Santorini-Greece-91

Meteora

Not many know that the Eastern Orthodox monks have found the perfect asylum in Meteora. Here, you will see rock pillars that are scattered but are not accessible. However, the sculpted landscape will help you find peace.

So, if you are looking for an ideal place for spiritual contemplation, you should consider visiting Meteora.

Little Venice

Whenever we hear the word ‘Venice’, you will notice that pure, love-related feelings flow in our mind. Little Venice is no different. With a vibrant atmosphere, you will feel like spending a romantic day with your partner in this location.

At the same time, this place has found popularity because it is a great party destination for celebrities and fashionistas. So, if you want to get crazy and let your hair down in Greece, this place should be on your list.

Beaches of Crete

Beaches of Crete are not just like any beach in this world. They are different and you will feel the difference when you remove your shoes and slippers and walk in white sand and feel the cold breeze take you to another world where you can enjoy the soothing environment and look around at the vast stretches of rocky and sandy gold coastlines to coves with glistening colored pebbles.

It is an ideal spot to be with the kids. Make sand castle buildings with your kids or click some selfies with a clear background to make it a perfect vacation for self and your family.

Benaki Museum

For lovers of art, Benaki Museum is a great spot. This is not a people-packed museum, but it gives a holistic portrayal of Greece where you will witness the country’s artistic and cultural transformation. So, if you are interested in it, you should mark it and visit Benaki Museum.

Mount Olympus

If you are looking for adventure in Greece and have some experience, Mount Olympus should be an ideal spot for you.

Remember, if you want to climb Mount Olympus, you should have the necessary gear and accessories. Buy them from Target.com at a discount. Also, look for coupons for Target.com for an additional discount at Chameleon John.

Have you visited Greece in the past? If yes, which spot was the most interesting in your case?

A Grecian Tour: The Ionian Islands

Kefalonia , Greece

Some say the Ionian Islands provide the best sailing routes of the entire Mediterranean. With light winds, beautiful scenery and protected waters, the islands make for one of the best yacht charters for beginners. There are many sites and routes that are unspoiled by tourists and are considered some of the most tranquil areas for a Greek holiday.

Begin your yacht journey from Corfu. From Corfu visit Plataria, just 51 kilometres away. Here you can fish your day away and in the evening eat your weight in prawns and watch the sun set over Corfu. You can’t possibly get anything better than that.

Kefalonia sea

Get adventurous in Sivota with mountain biking, waterskiing, wakeboarding and other water sports. The water is warm and gentle but with perfect breezes off the coast, which make this island ideal for water activities. With clear waters and sheltered bays, snorkelling and scuba diving are particularly popular in Sivota. Venture off the beaten path and discover coves, wondrous green hills and secluded beaches.

The stunning islands of Paxos and Antipaxos are just 16 kilometres from Corfu. Paxos is considered the smallest island of the Ionians; its small island charm means no hotel resorts or cheesy bars but rather strings of olive trees, fishing villages, beachfronts and boutique villas. When you’re on land, you can always find a grocery shop to stock up on provisions.

Assos, Kefalonia

The west coast of Paxos consists of limestone and caves but the east is everything but. There are 30 beaches that are reachable by car or on foot, and others only by boat. You can try your hand at some water sports, but other than that, there’s not too much excitement happening on Paxos, which is all part of the appeal.

For an extended trip, head down to Lefkas, Meganissi, Ithaca and Kefalonia, the southern Ionian Islands. Fortunately, the winds in the south Ionian are light and easy for those beginning to sail.

In Lefkas, as you walk around the town you can enjoy the smell of fresh, Mediterranean flowers, olive oil and other cuisines. Take some time to delight in the architecture, clear waters and the locals.

The beaches in Ithaca aren’t perhaps Ionian’s absolute finest, but this is made up for with an abundance of hiking trails.

Myrtos Beach, Kefalonia

Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian Islands and it’s a popular tourist place surrounded by small villages, monasteries, breathtaking landscape and, of course, beaches. One of the most visited spots is Melissani Cave. Enter through an underground path and tour the cave by boat. Thanks to the size of the islands, there are plenty of activities to take part, but alternatively you can simply anchor down and take in the overall splendour.

There are many destinations when planning a yacht charter holiday, but nothing is quite as beautiful as the Ionian Sea. The Ionian Islands are full of charm, azure waters, stunning cliffs, greenery and sites you can’t miss. Sail your way through these islands and get lost in the Greek culture, cuisine and the Mediterranean Sea.

Phuket

Planning Thailand again… I will treat myself!

I’m planning a new trip to Thailand in October this year; I hope I can make it.
I read about an interesting event on Phuket during that period, it’s called the PHUKET VEGETARIAN FESTIVAL and it’s held mainly in Phuket Town and in all Chinese temples of the island.

Phuket Vegetarian

Besides the fact that for one week they will serve many vegetarian food everywhere, there are some worshipping activities which might seem pretty much splattering; many local people will turn into ‘mediums’ and will practice hazardous piercing on their body and face, some will step on ladders made of blades, and others will walk on burning charcoals. I’ve seen a few pictures already, very impressive, I’m curious about the whole history and philosophy behind all of this; I want to interview some locals once there.

Thailand

The advantage of attending such event is that I can enjoy the beach. I know it’s not the best time of the year for the weather, but who knows? I might be lucky.
For my stay in Phuket this time I want my own private pool. Yes, you heard me well. A friend of mine told me that renting a villa in Phuket would be cheaper than a good hotel, especially in low season. She recommended me to book a property in PHUKET using the website HOLIPLANET, because they are specialized on apartments and villa rentals. It’s a new platform, I had a look at it and the choice of properties in Thailand is really not bad. I’ve even found a few villas with one bedroom and pool, which for me would be perfect. The prices are interesting too, I wouldn’t expect it.

Pool villa Holiplanet
I thought that staying in a house I would enjoy much more space and more privacy. And being low season I don’t want to be stuck in a tiny hotel room if it will be raining. It will be a sort of retreat for me, I want to avoid the crowd of a resort or a hotel.
On the way back I will stop a few days in Bangkok for some unrestrained shopping! I was curious to see which offers has HOLIPLANET in BANGKOK, and they have a good number of serviced apartments available also for a few days only, and some of them, WOW, really affordable! So I thought, why not? Once again I can have more space for writing my articles about this experience in the evening without being immersed by my shopping bags!

Vienna christmas market

Cruising through the Christmas markets in Europe

There are many river cruises across Europe to choose from but one of the most original ones are just about to start, mainly the Christmas markets river cruises. Christmas markets originated in Germany and Austria and that’s where the cruises or trips usually start. Here are the top three Christmas markets in Europe, which are visited by scores of tourists each year both by road and river.

Nuremberg-Christmas-Market-

Nuremberg, Germany

Christkindlesmarkt is a Christmas market that is held annually in Nuremberg. It takes place during Advent in the Hauptmarkt, the central square in Nuremberg’s old town, and in adjoining squares and streets. With about two million visitors a year this Christmas event is one of the largest markets in German and one of the most famous in the world. Every year the Christmas market begins on Friday preceding the first Sunday in Advent and ends on December 24th, unless that day is a Sunday.

Nuremberg+Christmas+Market

Vienna, Austria

At the traditional Vienna Magic of Advent, the Rathauusplatz becomes a shining fairy tale land. The 150 or so sales stands offer Christmas gifts, Christmas tree decorations, sweets and warming drinks. The trees of the surrounding City Hall park are festively decorated and radiate in a sea of lights. There are lots of offers here for children in particular.

Other highlights in Vienna over the Christmas period include the festive illuminations of the historic Shoenbrunn Palace (a former home of Austrian Emperors) which provides a stunning backdrop to the Schoenbrunn Christmas Village which also has many market stalls as well as festive concerts to get you in the holiday mood. Possibly the most authentic Christmas Market of Vienna is the Spittelberg market in the historic quarter; specialities include local handicrafts. The markets typically begin from 17th November until Christmas Eve, and are open from 9am until 9pm, giving you plenty of time to explore.

Vienna-Christmas-markets

Vienna christmas market

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest Christmas markets are a great place to find quality folk trinkets, decorations and gifts. You can find there everything from gloves, woollen hats, candles, jewellery and decorative iron products. After browsing the stalls, refuel with local cuisine and Hungarian specialities such as sweet pastries, Kurtoskalacs, roast chestnuts, and warm mulled wine. Head to the front of Gerbeaudcafe to soak up the festive atmosphere, here you’ll find street entertainers and performers, dancers, brass bands, choirs and string orchestras all popular each winter.

The highlight of the Budapest Christmas market is the musical Advent calendar, where you can look into the Gerbeaud House windows to find contemporary works of art which at 5pm are opened and accompanied with beautiful lights, impressive fanfares and beautiful chimes. In the nearby square, a giant Christmas tree and advent wreath can also be found: the perfect photo opportunity. There’s plenty to do for young market goers too; children can enjoy puppet shows, play houses, Father Christmas games and other child friendly entertainment.

Budapest_ChristmasMarket_BIG

Mulled-Wine-at-the-Budapest-Christmas-market