Sightseeing in France

Eiffel Tower
[Eiffel Tower by Terrazzo, on Flickr]

Looking around France can never be an exhaustive agenda whether you spend days doing it or months. That is how rich the sights in France are.

Musee du Louvre

Philippe Auguste built it in 12th century and it became national museum in 1793.Easily the best in the Europe, the artifacts and sculptures here excel in their artistic value.

Chateau de Chantilly

Chateau de Chantilly holds some of the most arrestingly beautiful paintings. The time spent in the gardens can never leave your memory. A single vestibule leads you to two buildings, the Petit and Grand Chateaux.

Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris

This square is in the center of Paris, the cathedral of Our Lady of Paris at its threshold. The exact center of the city is marked by a bronze star near the entrance to the cathedral.

If Cathedrale Notre dame does not find a place in a list of architectural excellence in France, the list is woefully inadequate. Such is the marvel of the structure built in 13th century.

Chateau de Chambord

One of the largest chateau in the Loire valley, Chateau de Chambord is a fine representation of French Renaissance architectural splendor. The rooms and corridors may pose a problem if you got lost. Keep the audio guide that you can buy at the chateau handy.

Basilique de St-Denis

Can you visualize 43 kings and 32 queens together? Well, they are there alright but in their graves at St-Denis Basilica. You cannot help slipping to a tenebrous mood by the presence of the appropriate funerary sculptures.

Grotte de Lascaux & Lascaux II

To move far back into the past, visit Grotte de Lascaux to see the prehistoric cave paintings. The complexity of the arrangements within the chambers is unbelievable.

Chateau de Versailles

The enormity of this perhaps most famous chateau in France or even the whole of Europe is difficult to comprehend even after several visits. The vainglorious Louis XIV’s insatiable self-importance has resulted in this most aesthetical achievement for you to see and savor.

Center Pompidou

The French, ancient or modern, seem to indulge in things artistic. Georges Pompidou, the erstwhile French president’s desire for a modern architectural structure gave shape to this building. The building has all the modern features like plumbing and air vents. The exhibition includes paintings by Picasso.

Jardin du Palais Royal

The French governments of the modern times knew how to put old buildings to good utility. This palace was built in 1624 and a favorite of Louis XIV, it is the seat of Conseil d’Etat.

Maison de Claude Monet

Giverny, a hamlet lying northwest of Paris is the home to Monet whose paintings are some of the priciest in the world. If you consider yourself as someone artistically inclined, you would not want to miss a pilgrimage to Giverny.

Musee des Beaux-Arts

What will you do if the rooms holding art pieces are themselves pieces of art? You will end up spending the whole day there! This most beautiful galley and its exhibits are among the most enduringly fascinating.

Author Bio:

Adam Prattler prefers to use infographics for visually communicating his data.

Austria Travel Destinations That Rock

Where to Go For Your Austrian Holiday Travels

Vienna State Opera (Vienna, Austria)

If you’re planning your next holiday adventure, you really need to consider Austria. Why, you ask? Well, because the country has so much to offer and travel there is more affordable than you might think. If you’re straddling the fence, we have some of the best travel destinations in Austria. No matter how much time you have to spend on holiday, the list below is going to be more than enough to keep you busy.

Vienna State Opera

You don’t need to be a music lover in order to get something out of a visit to the Vienna State Opera. The architecture alone is enough to want to see it up close. And if you do happen to enjoy classical music, the local orchestra is one of the best in the entire world. You could easily plan an entire holiday around this single location in Austra.

Hohensalzburg Castle

If you’re a big fan of history or architecture (or both), you’re going to love seeing Hohensalzburg Castle up close and personal. This is truly one of the finer examples of what went into making these impressive fortresses that dominated the landscape when they were first built and continue to do so today.

Hofburg Imperial Palace

The Hofburg Imperial Palace is located in Vienna, Austria and is something you definitely have to see if you travel here. Seeing it lit up at night is really special and makes it look even more impressive. From the 15th century to the early 19th century, kings and emperors of the Holy Roman Empire called this place their home. It’s really quite impressive in a lot of respects.

St Anton am Arlberg

If you’re more into outdoor activities, like skiing, you’re going to want to go to St Anton am Arlberg, one of the most well known ski resorts in all of Europe according to some. And even if you don’t want to hit the slopes, the breathtaking beauty of the natural landscape is not to be ignored. You’re going to want to spend a few weeks or months if you travel here on your holiday.

Hallstatt

Another great destination is the small village of Hallstatt. Known for its salt production, it’s surrounded by mountains and near a large lake. You can’t get more beautiful than the natural scenery found here. And the fact that a lot of the town has been around for hundreds of years, it’s really an opportunity to take a look into the past.

Why Austria Rocks

As you can see from just the few examples above, there are a lot of reasons to make Austria your destination when you go on holiday next. From the history and the culture to the natural landscapes that take your breath away, it should be on your list of must-see places before you die.

Bio

Sheila Kurdinger frequently visits Casamundo in order to stay on top of all the great travel destinations and holiday rental deals going on. She’s been fascinated with Austria since she was a little child and hopes to travel there for a year or more someday.

Best Coasters in the world

One of the most exciting thrills around is to scare yourself silly on a rollercoaster. Over the decades, they have become, bigger, better, faster and scarier and it can be hard to choose which one to try next. To help you out, here is a list of five of the best coasters in the world, in reverse order, naturally!

Formula Rossa, Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

At number five is the world’s fastest coaster, the Formula Rossa that is based in the Ferrari World amusement park at Abu Dhabi which is in the United Arab Emirates. Its amazing top speed is one-hundred-and-fifty miles an hour and it reaches this speed in less than five seconds. Guaranteed to take your breath away, Formula Rossa races round its one-and-a-half mile long track at blistering speeds which mean you face some serious g-force. In fact, it’s so fast that the passengers in the front car must wear eye protection to prevent injury from small flying insects.

Steel Dragon 2000, Nagashima Spaland, Japan

At number four is the world’s longest rollercoaster, the Steel Dragon 2000, which is over eight-thousand feet long. Based in the Nagashima Spaland in Japan, you are guaranteed an experience to remember as this ride swoops through tunnels and climbs vast mountains before plunging down seemingly never-ending drops. You will certainly get your money’s worth as this ride takes almost three minutes, despite travelling at ninety-five miles per hour.

Leap-the-Dips, Lakemont Park, Altoona, Pennsylvania, USA

At number three, an oldie but a goodie, the Leap-the-Dips coaster is the world’s oldest wooden coaster that is still in operation. By today’s standards, it is pretty mild and probably not one for serious thrill seekers as it is only just over forty feet high and it rarely tops ten miles per hour. However, if you’re interested in experiencing a genuine piece of rollercoaster history, then it is worth paying a visit to Lakemont Park.

Kingda Ka, Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park, Jackson, Jersey, USA

Number two is Kingda Ka which has the biggest drop of any rollercoaster in the world. Dominating the Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park in Jackson, the Kingda Ka plummets down a truly stomach-lurching drop of four-hundred-and-eighteen feet. And it’s certainly no slouch in the speed stakes with an impressive top speed of almost one-hundred-and-thirty miles per hour which it reaches in just over three seconds thanks to its hydraulic launch system. Blink and you’ll miss this ride as it’s over in just twenty-eight seconds.

Dragon Challenge, Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando USA

At number one is possibly the world’s most entertaining coaster, the Dragon Challenge in the Universal Studios resort at Orlando in the United States. Based on the famous Harry Potter character created by author J.K. Rowling and featuring in a series of very popular movies from Universal Studios, the Dragon Challenge offers two rides in one. There are two dragons to choose from, the Hungarian Horntail and the Chinese Fireball, and as they proceed to twist and turn about each other, there is a moment of genuine terror as it appears that the two dragons will clash before parting at the last second.

Of course, only those of us with very deep pockets can afford to travel the globe in search of coaster thrills. So it may be wise to choose an area that has your favourite ride, along with some other nearby attractions. For example, if you choose the Dragon Challenge in Orlando, you could top up your visit by dropping in on another dozen or so coasters. By venturing a little further out, you could enjoy up to forty-four phenomenal coasters in Florida alone.

If you’re flying in to enjoy Orlando’s coasters, consider a car hire service at Orlando airport. That way, you can find your way easily around Orlando and then set up some trips out to other amusement parks further afield in Florida. After all, if you only make it to Florida once, you will want to make the most of all of the roller-coasters available.

How to Fund Your Next Holiday

Booking a holiday can be one of the most exciting events of the year – and it doesn’t have to break the bank.

Whether you’re heading off to exotic climes on a long-haul trip, or you’re taking a package holiday to a destination closer to home, you’ll need to know your finances are in order, so you can have a worry-free time and just enjoy yourself.

Make Money Online

One great option is to make some extra money by either setting up your own online business or working for others online.

You could either create your own blog site to make money from advertising, or you could write articles for blog sites in exchange for cash.

Another great idea is to create an online shop to sell goods that you or others have produced, or you could make items to sell in other people’s shops for a profit.

Sell Unwanted Things

There are lots of websites like musicmagpie, where you can sell your unwanted stuff in exchange for cash. For more info click here.

Just have a look at what you don’t need, login for an online quote and box your things up to mail free in exchange for cash. Just make sure you don’t sell anything you might need for your dream holiday.

Put Money Aside

Now you’ve got extra money coming in, you’ll need to make sure you don’t just spend it straight away. One way to do this is to get a new bank account to put your money in, but make sure you get a decent interest rate.

Historically, interest rates are at an all-time low, which means that the cash you make from putting your money in a bank account could be close to zero or even reduce in real-terms, if the interest rate is below the rate prices increase each year.

Another option is a tax-free savings account, or you could consider fixed rate bonds. Shop around to make sure you find the best deal available.

Pay by Instalments

If you want to book your holiday well in advance to get the best deals, but don’t have the money up-front, you could apply to pay in easy monthly instalments.

This means booking the holiday and laying down an initial deposit to secure the trip. After the deposit, there will be an amount to pay, usually monthly over a fixed period, with the final amount payable just before you go on the trip.

This way can be better than credit card payments, as you won’t be paying off your holiday for months, or possibly even years afterwards – you can enjoy your holiday, knowing you won’t have debt to come back to when you get home.

Tips for travelling in comfort

Had enough of neck cricks and bad backs from long journeys? Wish you could just use your travel time to rest and refresh? Well here are some top tips to help you travel in comfort.

Luggage
If you want to travel in comfort, the first thing you should do is to pack sensibly. This is the best way to avoid breaking your back or wrenching your arm out of socket under the weight of a huge suitcase. Pack lots, but pack light. By packing plenty of lighter items like vest tops and short and long sleeved t-shirts, you can add and remove layers according to the temperature. This’ll keep you comfortably warm as well as comfortable carrying your bags.

Blanket
It’s worth including a compact fleece travel blanket to keep you warm on any long train or bus rides, especially overnight journeys. These lightweight blankets roll away into almost nothing, so you shouldn’t have any problems fitting one into your bag.

Pillows
Pillows are the simplest way of avoiding a stiff neck after a long journey, but unfortunately they tend to be bulky, so how do you find room for them? Luckily, there are some space saving alternatives to the plump duck down pillow sitting on your bed at home. The most effective are the inflatable neck pillows. They inflate to fit snugly around your neck, preventing your head from lolling into an uncomfortable position while you sleep. Once you’ve finished with it, simply deflate, roll it away and slide it into one of your bag’s side pockets until you need it again.

Shoes
Comfortable shoes are a must if you plan to do any exploring. While it might be tempting to pile in your best heels, these are hardly practical for site seeing. Converse sneakers or similar are perfect. They are snug, lightweight and pack away easily. For the evenings, some comfortable strappy shoes or good quality sandals are perfect and, again, won’t take up too much room in your bag.

Jackets
Depending on where you go, it might be worth taking a jacket. If you’re expecting spells of chilly weather, you’ll appreciate something that’s warm but lightweight like a quilted jacket. Don’t be put off by thinking they won’t be easy to pack, they won’t be too heavy to carry around.

Food and drink
Nothing is more uncomfortable than a rumbling stomach and dry mouth, so it’s a good idea to stock up on plenty of water and some nutritious and filling snacks for the journey. The last thing you want is to be stranded with no clue as to where your next meal is coming from. Long bus rides only make the occasional stop, and train and budget airline food is not cheap.

Sleeping aids
Finally, if you find it hard sleeping on long journeys, you could always use a sleeping aid. You don’t want to lose a whole day to a sleepless night. There are plenty of excellent, over the counter sleeping aids such as Night Nurse and the herbal remedy Kalms. Nothing is going to make a journey more comfortable than sleeping soundly for the duration and waking up at your destination feeling refreshed and revitalised.

The Top Luxury Casinos in the World

Making a choice regarding a holiday destination can be a bit overwhelming for some potential travelers. With so many places to choose, narrowing down one’s choices can require some thought. Probably one of these best ways to do this is to think about what kind of activities one wishes to partake in while travelling. For some, gambling is a popular activity to choose. Therefore, one would narrow their options down to cities with casinos. Some of these casinos are often quite luxurious offering travelers a treat from their usual gambling experience.

Choosing luxury casinos in Vegas is never a wrong decision as some of the best world casinos can be found here. One of these is the Red Rock Casino. While it may not be as well known as some other Vegas casinos, this may be a reason to consider it. Opening in 2006, the casino is part of a resort and spa which providing pampering for its guests. The casino features state of the art gaming with 3,000 slot and video poker machines which you can also fine at sites like http://www.casinoonline.co.nz. Table games number 60 and include roulette, craps, poker, baccarat, blackjack and more. Another choice could be the Westin Casino which also is part of a luxury hotel resort. While offering smaller amounts of casino games, the Westin caters to its patrons’ needs.

Craps is a fun casino game to play when visiting Vegas. The only dice game played in casinos, craps uses it own special table. For those who have only played craps at an online casino, they may be surprised at the excitement surrounding the craps table. One can expect to hear yelling and shouting at this table. Two dice are rolled and are strictly regulated. In fact, they are inspected regularly for wear and replaced frequently to ward off any accusations of cheating.

How To Make The Best Of Long Flights

It’s vacation time, and you’re scouring the Internet for affordable flights to Hong Kong and probably scrambling around to compare quotes on travel health insurance. You find a few options, and the prices are great. Then you look at the amount of time it will take you to get there: 16 hours. Your blood pressure hits the roof at the thought of being on an airplane that long, but until you or someone else invents a teleportation device, you’re out of luck. Use the following time-wasters to keep yourself occupied while you make your way to your vacation destination.

Books

It’s time to read the book you keep telling yourself you’ll read eventually. If no such book exists, get to the airport earlier than usual so you have time to peruse their bookstore. They carry tons of page-turning titles that will keep you occupied for hours.

Movies

You can download movies and TV shows on your laptop, smart phone, or smart tablet and watch them on the plane. Airports also sell DVDs, so if you didn’t think to bring any movies from home, you can pick some up at the last minute.

If you’re desperate, you can always shell out the five bucks some airlines charge so that you can watch the in-flight movies. However, these usually aren’t quality films; airlines get away with playing them on long flights because people are so desperate for distraction they’re willing to watch almost anything.

Games

Gaming is a great way to kill time on an airplane. You can download all sorts of games on to your mobile devices, and if you want to make a serious investment, you can pick up a handheld game console like the Sony PSP.

Music

You can only read so many pages, watch so many movies, and play so many games before your eyes start to dry out. When your peepers can’t take anymore stimulation, close your eyes, put in your headphones, and listen to some tunes. This is an excellent time to figure out exactly what the lyrics are to all those Michael Jackson songs you love.

Talk to the Person Next to You

This may be a stretch, but back when humans didn’t have games, videos, and books to entertain them, they would actually strike up conversations with each other to pass the time. Obviously, if you’re traveling with a friend or family member, this won’t be difficult; things may be a bit more dicey if it’s a complete stranger.

Airplane travelers often complain about sitting next to people who won’t stop talking to them, and you definitely don’t want to be that person. Be sensitive to what the other person is doing. If they’re putting in headphones or reading, it’s best to leave them alone. If they’re just sitting there, go for it. Who knows? They might have a few interesting stories up their sleeves, and you can share some of your own.

Sleep

Nothing makes time fly by more quickly that being unconscious. Bring a sleeping mask and a neck pillow. If you need help entering dreamland, download a delta wave mp3 file and listen to it. These audio sleeping aids are filled with soothing and relaxing sounds that should help you catch a few Zs.

Do you have any suggestions for travelers with long flights ahead of them? Post some of your ideas in the comment section!

Where to Go in Las Vegas with the Kids!

Believe it or not, Las Vegas isn’t just for adults, although it’s no secret that it’s known as a magnet for adult entertainment. However there are plenty of attractions in Vegas suitable for kids. It’s a playground for the whole family! Find cheap flights to Las Vegas at cheapflights.com.

Indoor Climbing
If you want your kids to stay fit and active whilst on holiday, then indoor mountain climbing is a great idea. It’s completely safe, with full safety equipment and instructions by well-trained staff. The Red Rock Climbing centre is the best place to go and your kids will love every minute of it!

Swimming
Swimming is a great way for the kids to cool down and take a break from the scorching temperatures of Las Vegas. Many resorts in Vegas cater their pool areas around families, making them more attractive and safe for kids to enjoy. The biggest pool area on the Vegas strip is at the Monte Carlo resort, with a 520 foot swimming pool separate for kids along with a wave pool. The Mirage Resort also along the Vegas strip is another place worth a visit, with three water slides for the kids to relish.

The Sky Zone
The Sky Zone is the world’s first three-dimensional enclosed playing field. It’s a huge area complete with bouncy surfaces for kids to jump up and down on; they can also play dodgeball whilst engaging with other children.

Animal Exhibits
The Southern Nevada Zoo is an educational experience. Kids have the opportunity to get up close and feed a selection of goats and birds. If goats and birds aren’t to your child’s fancy then The Lion Habitat is an amazing experience for children to see the King of the Jungle, the lion. If you’re on a tight budget, then visit the Silverton Aquarium as it’s free of charge and has an array of tropical fish ready to explore. Another free attraction is the Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo, complete with plant life and 300 varieties of birds, not just flamingos!

The Las Vegas Zoo, a three-acre park has over 150 different types of plants and animals such as wallabies, chimpanzees and exotic reptiles along with beautiful botanical displays where you’ll see rare bamboo trees and scarce cycads.
Games

Circus Circus is renowned for its children activities: it’s packed with arcades, carnival games, miniature golf, laser tag and even a theme park. Gameworks is also a great place to visit with its classic arcade games and a variety of sports such as mini-pin bowling and bungee jumping.

Shows
A must-see show in Vegas is the world-famous acrobats from Cirque du Soleil at the Bellagio Hotel and will amaze both children and adults. It features 85 performers with a 25-foot water pool; you’ll be dazzled by tricks with fire, water and air. It’s appropriate for children of 5 years and older.

About the author:
This post was written by Gail Newland, a freelance writer.

A Journey Through the Streets of Valencia

One of the most beautiful cities in the world, Valencia is located along the Mediterranean coast on the Iberian Peninsula of Spain. As the third largest city in Spain, Valencia full of festivities, activities, culture, and traditions. There is plenty to see and do in Valencia, but before booking travel arrangements, a little insight into this beautiful city is sure to prove beneficial. Also, don’t forget to purchase travel insurance so you’ll have peace of mind throughout your travels in the beauties of Valencia. A service I used (I live in Canada) to help me find the best travel insurance company is Kanetix.ca where I was able to compare multiple travel insurance quote at the same time. You can also check out their other comparison services at the Kanetix homepage for other types of insurance, credit cards and mortgage rates

Weather in Valencia
Valencia is blessed by some of the most beautiful weather in the world. Its Mediterranean location makes the weather warm and comfortable throughout the year. Unlike popular cities to the north, Valencia does not suffer from extreme weather fluctuations between the seasons. With an average temperature of 12 degrees Celsius in the winter, it might be advisable to pack a sweater or two if visiting in the winter months. Summer months are warm, making the beaches of Valencia a popular meeting place. Valencia enjoys over 300 days of sunshine annually, except during the rainy months of October and November.

Getting Around in Valencia
Neither too big nor too small, Valencia is a terrific tourist city. The lovely narrow streets are best explored on foot, which is quite easy since most of the sights are relatively close together. However, some attractions are a bit further away, so taking public transport is recommended. Fortunately, Valencia has an excellent transportation system that can take visitors anywhere they want to go at very reasonable rates. Anyone interested in partaking in the sights of the city should purchase a transit pass at the tourist information office. Transit passes are generally good for three days, and are good for all of the city’s buses, trams, and subways.

Things to Do in Valencia
There is never a shortage of things to do in Valencia. Visitors can enjoy cultural events, beautiful beaches, and a myriad of activities for every budget. The city boasts beautiful beaches, wonderful art galleries and museums, historical monuments and architecture, terrific shopping, and a vibrant nightlife. Visitors to the charming city will definitely want to experience some of the following:

Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady of Valencia: Anything with such a long name is usually definitely worth checking out. Otherwise known as St. Mary’s Cathedral, this beautiful Roman Catholic cathedral is a must-see. Here, visitors can view awe-inspiring Gothic architecture, or perhaps marvel at the 15th century paintings and other beautiful works of art. The views of the city below from atop the bell tower go on for miles in all directions.

City of Arts and Sciences: Locals and tourists alike regularly enjoy the City of Arts and Sciences. As the name suggests, it is a huge complex that takes hours to thoroughly enjoy. The massive grounds are littered with impressive futuristic architecture and outdoor areas that are adorned with serene waterfalls and peaceful gardens. The juxtaposition of nature and technology throughout the complex is simply breathtaking.

Valencia Beaches: Valencia is home to some of the best beaches in all of Spain. Some of the best beaches are La Malvarrosa Beach, Cabanal-Arenas Beach, Pinedo Beach, and El Saler Beach. All of these beaches offer beautiful sand and views of the turquoise Mediterranean. Although they are popular year-round, Valencia’s beaches are a great place to relax, splash in the warm waters, or people watch.

Valencia Nightlife: From relaxing lounges to thumping nightclubs and everything in between, Valencia nightlife offers something for everyone. The most popular nightlife area in the city is the Barrio Carmen. Here, popular discotheques, unique bohemian bars, and posh nightclubs line the streets. Other popular nightlife areas are: Heron City, Canovas, Malvarrosa, and Aragon.

Valencia truly offers something for everyone. The city blends history perfectly with the modern era to create a blend of both beauty and convenience. There is an endless array of places to go and sights to see. For those seeking rest and relaxation, the beautiful beaches and the Mediterranean Sea welcome you almost as warmly as the wonderful locals. A trip to Valencia is sure to not disappoint.

Sources:
http://www.valenciaguide.org
http://intelligenttravel.nationalgeographic.com/2013/01/17/an-insiders-guide-to-valencia-aftiz/

Low cost Madrid

By Vera Petryk

Madrid stands out head and shoulders above most European capitals. And indeed, the capital of Spain is nothing but attractions: gorgeous palaces, interesting museums, wild entertainment and crazy bullfighting attract a significant amount of people. The question is what to do if you cannot afford luxurious suite but still want to see Madrid. For those who are interested in Madrid on a budget below is a list of main tips.

Housing
First of all stay away from any kind of hotel, hostels and apartments should be your best friends for a trip. Although, you may try an absolutely free housing, it is called couch surfing. The main idea of it is to let people travel without any cost of living. You simply log in on a site and find people who are willing to give you a place to stay – a couch. This way you get to meet a lot of new and interesting locals who usually give you tours and show around in the city. In exchange you bring them presents and make sure they have a couch to stay on when they are in your city.

Eating out
It is said that eating out in European capitals is way too expensive. For those who want to prove it wrong I recommend little cafes like Botin or better go to one of the popular canteens that are placed throughout the city. The only thing you get to suffer is noise, nevertheless, the food is what you are really looking for, and it is absolutely delicious. And, if what, it is even good, this way you will get to know the culture better. Important tip is to remember that at noon most of the places in the city are closed for siesta, so be sure you had a good lunch.

Sightseeing
The best way to explore any city is to take a tour. Make sure you order it ahead of time, this way it will be cheaper. I also recommend buying a city card that allows you to visit most of museums and sightseeing spots for free. The greatest thing about the city card is that it gives you a possibility to use public transport without any cost, which saves a lot.

Entertainment
The one and only place to party hard in Madrid is a district Chueca. Known mostly as a gay center it has a huge variety of bars, pubs and nightclubs in Madrid. If you want to save some Euros on alcohol, do it like Spanish, get tipsy at home with “calimocho” beer and red wine, it is really tasty and energetic, after this drink you will go to the party “prepared”.