Salzburg is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and is famous for being the home of Mozart as well as providing the setting for the movie Sound of Music. One of the best ways to experience Salzburg is to take the Sound of Music tour. Baroque architecture provides a distinct identity to Salzburg. The city centre of Salzburg as well as the Mirabell Palace are two of the most popular places in Salzburg. In fact during the peak season, tourists in Salzburg outnumber the local residents many time over!
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Neuschwanstein Schloss is one of the most famous German castles ever built. Built by King Ludwig II, the mad king of Bavaria, Neuschwanstein is the inspiration behind Disney's Sleeping Beauty castle. Neuschwanstein Schloss was built as a refuge for King Ludwig II, who had become increasingly reclusive after Bavaria lost sovereignty to the Holy Roman Empire. Ludwig created Neuschwanstein Schloss to realize his dreams of a fantastic medieval world of Knights and German Castles. Located in a remote hill above the village of Hohenshwangau in Bavaria, Neuschwanstein Schloss attracts more than 1.3 million people every year, to witness one of the most eccentric German castles.
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Ancient Egypt has captured the imagination of man since time immemorial. With its 5000 year old ancient civilization, Egypt is one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions. A holiday in Egypt here will transport you to another world altogether. A world, which saw the birth of some of the most essential elements of modern civilization; the first writing system, concepts like nation state, religion and bureaucracy. I can guarantee that you will return from this holiday in Egypt as a different person.
Burj Khalifa is the tallest man made structure in the world. Rising to a height of 2722 feet, Burj Khalifa offers spectacular views of the Dubai skyline and shoreline. With 30000 homes, parks and a 30 acre lake, Burj Khalifa is a marvel that is a must visit. The greatest significance of Burj Khaifa for the entire Middle East is that, it has returned the distinction of being home to the world's tallest structure after the Great Pyramids help it for 4000 years!
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Dubai and shopping are synonymous with each other. The Dubai Shopping festival brings the world together to this oasis in the Arabian desert. Malls of Dubai are very popular not only for shopping but also for entertainment especially when the heat is soaring outside. No shopping to Dubai is complete without a visit to the Dubai Souq for some bargains on Gold and other jewelry. Local Dubai fashion is also taking off and there are a few boutiques where you can find those labels.
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One of the most exciting ways to experience Dubai is through a Desert Safari. 4x4 Land cruisers bash you against the Arabian Dunes. After a whirlwind ride that takes you tossing over the sand dunes, a desert camp awaits you. There is a cultural program in the middle of the desert featuring Belly dancing. Arab hospitality overwhelms you during the Dubai Desert Safari with dates on arrival, hookah for smoking and henna painting. Dinner and beverages are served right at the camp. The Desert Safari in Dubai is an incredible experience in the middle of the desert under the gaze of millions of stars!
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January 1-5 - New Year Holidays. Most Russians celebrate New Year on January 1st and since Christmas in Russia is on January 7th, the entire first week of January is a holiday.
January 5th- Christmas. Russians celebrate Christmas on January 5th! This is as per the tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Religion.
February 23rd- Protector of the Motherland Day. Formerly known as the Soviet Army day, Russians celebrate their soldiers on this day.
April/May- Easter. Easter is celebrated in Russia somewhere between April & May based on the Orthodox Calendar. It is celebrated with painted eggs, colourful customs and delicacies.
Week before Lent- Maslenitsa. Maslenitsa is the Mardi Gras of Russia. It is celebrated to welcome Spring. The highlight of Maslenitsa celebration is eating of pancakes, burning of winter effigy and bathing in ice cold water!
April 12th- Cosmonaut Day. ZaaThis day is dedicated to celebrate the sending of Russians to Space. People visit the grave of Yuri Gagarin, the first man to get to Space.
May 1st- Labor Day. Labor Day is quite popular in Russia. The labor unions are recognised on this day. While some people actively participate in the parades, others just relax on this holiday.
May 9th- Victory Day. Victory day is celebrated in memory of the victory of Russia over Germany in the Second World War.
June 12th- Russia Day. Russia Day witnesses parades to mark the declaration of sovereignty by Russia.
July 7th- Ivan Kupala. Ivan Kupala is a celebration of practice of Baptism. Children of Russia pour water on unsuspecting people on this day which also heralds the arrival of swimming season.
November 4th- Unity Day. Unity day is celebrated to commemorate the uprising against Polish occupation in 1612. It is also the feast day of Russian Orthodox icon of Lady of Kazan.
Here is a guide on How to do Rio de Janeiro in 1 day. Rio is the most visited city in the southern hemisphere and with good reason. Christ the redeemer, Sugar loaf Mountain, Copacabana beach where the string bikini and flip-flops were invented, Ipanema beach, the Carnival Street, Maracana stadium and Seleron stairs made it a magical 1 day in Rio de Janeiro. It was all the more fun doing all this as a vegetarian and someone who could not speak Portuguese!
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Hoan Kiem Lake is an enchanting place to visit while in Hanoi. Located in the heart of Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake with its early morning misty air is a wonderful place gets some peace and quiet. Hoan Kiem also plays host to public performances organized on festivals like Tet and on special days like the National Day. Hoan Kiem is also the last surviving habitat for the endangered Rafetus Turtles. A couple of beautiful temples to see around the Lake Hoan Kiem would be the One Pillar Pagoda and Ngoc Son or Jade Mountain Temple.
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Beirut often called the Pearl of the Middle East, is an old city going back 5000 years in history. It is a melting pot of cultures, influenced by Phoenician, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Crusader and Ottoman. Over the years Beirut transformed from a Millionaires playground, to a war torn hell hole and is the party capital of the Arab world today. The Beiteddine Art Festival every summer in the 200 year old Palace, is what the entire Arab World looks forward to. Simply put, Beirut is the fun city of the Arab World.
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From a small trading outpost in the 15th Century, Bangkok has come a long way as one of the most popular Cities for tourists in South East Asia. Bangkok is an eclectic mix of beautiful temples, shopping malls, floating markets, pulsating night life and great restaurants. The Grand Palace serves as the Spiritual Centre for Thailand. You can choose to experience Bangkok from a range of interesting activities like kick boxing, tuk tuk ride, Thai massage, river cruise and lady boy show!
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Bath is a world heritage site and a fascinating city in England. Home to the world famous Roman Baths, Bath has been a center of leisure and entertainment right since Roman Times. While Hot Springs and the Roman Bath are its most famous attraction, Bath is also popular for its theatres, museums and sporting venues. Bath plays host to a slew of cultural events like the International Music Festival, Plays, Guitar Festival, Literary Festival and the Film Festival.
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Nice is a beautiful city in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of France. It has a unique culture within France with its own Language as well as a distinct culture. Nice plays host to many festivals, Carnaval de Nice and the Nice Jazz Festival to name a couple. After Dusk the entire cityscape lights up and that is the best way to explore this part of the French Reviera and seep in the beauty of Nice.
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Adelaide is the capital of South Australia and a great holiday destination. A unique feature of Adelaide is that it is one of the few cities not initially settled by British Convicts! An ideal Adelaide Holiday is made up of sandy beaches, art events, nightlife, fine dining, architecture and boutique shopping. My personal recommendation for a perfect beach experience in Adelaide would be at Glenelg, the beach-side suburb. Some of the other must visits of Adelaide are the botanical garden, the church circuit, Zoo, Central market and Victoria harbor.
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Located in the middle of a Lagoon and dissected by 150 channels, Venice is believed by many people as the most beautiful city ever built by man. Like Hindu Gods, Venice is known by many names- "La Dominante", "Serenissima", "Queen of the Adriatic", "City of Water", "City of Masks", "City of Bridges", "The Floating City", and "City of Canals". Venice has for long been an inspiration to the rest of the world in the areas of Art, Architecture and Romance. Prominent Venetians like Marcopolo and Casanova have left their mark for ever in our world in their own ways.
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The Louvre Museum in Paris is not only one of the largest in the world, but also the most visited. More than 15000 people visit the Louvre every day. Louvre Mona Lisa, the most famous painting in history, is its most prized exhibit. Housing nearly 400000 objects from prehistory to modern times, the Louvre can be an incredible experience over a couple of days or even a week, depending on how much time you have in Paris.
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Champagne in North East of France is a spectacular region not just for its sparkling wines but also for its long and colourful heritage. Right since the times of Emperor Charlemagne, Champagne has been hosting Europe’s most popular Fairs. Champagne has had its tryst with some of the most popular French personalities ever. The legendary Joan of Arc was born here while General De Gaulle was buried in this region. Apart from an unforgettable experience of touring the Cellars and tasting the bubbly, Champagne also offers medieval churches, mansions, museums and designer factory outlets for shopping.
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Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and is synonymous with windmills, clogs, tulips, canals and cheese markets. What is unique about Amsterdam is that it caters to a wide variety of tastes. Its attractions range from 17th Century Canals, Museums with masterpieces of Rembrandt & Van Gogh to De Wallen, the notorious Red Light area. Amsterdam is also a great shopping destination offering bargains on antiques, latest fashion labels as well as some quirky items!
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Queenstown is arguably the adventure capital of the world. Ever since AJ Hackett Bungy invented the crazy sport of Bungee Jumping in this town in New Zealand in 1988, Queenstown had become synonymous with Adventure Sports. If skiing, snowboarding, paragliding, jet boating and sky diving doesn’t appeal to you, the picture postcard scenery definitely will. Personally speaking, my favourite was the Steamer Ride on Lake Wakatipu surrounded by Remarkable Mountain Range.
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When it comes to Hot Mud Pools and Hot Spring Geysers, few places on Earth can beat Rotorua. Located in New Zealand, Rotorua is a hotbed of geothermal activity and home to the world famous Pohutu Geyser located at the tongue twisting town of Whakarewarewa. Rotorua is also a great place to get acquainted with the rich culture of the Maoris. A distinctive smell of Sulphur together with drifts of steam escaping into the air, as many as 15 lakes, the warm & proud spirit of Maoris, natural spa and mountain biking trails are just a few of the things that make Rotorua distinct and unforgettable.
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Cannes, the most famous city of the French Riviera, has come a long way from a sleepy fishing village to the favorite holiday destination of the rich and the famous. While Cannes is synonymous with the Film Festival evoking images of Movie Stars, Fashion, Night life and Casinos, there is more to it. Gourdon the perched village, the perfumeries of Grasse, the glass blowers of Biot, the potters in Vallauris are a few of the lesser known but compelling attractions at Cannes. Le Suquet, the old town with its cobbled streets takes you back in time to another era. The French Riviera has been an inspiration for artists like Picasso over the ages and some of their works can be seen in the Museums, Art Galleries spread all over Cannes.
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Panama is a small country with a big history. Panama is a bridge between worlds in many ways. While the Panama Canal provides a trade bridge between North & South America, Panama is also a key reason behind the rich bio-diversity of the Americas. It provided a route for flora & fauna to migrate between the Americas. Panama was also the bridge used by Spanish to transport Gold from Peru to Spain. With 400 coconut clad islands, white sand beaches and crystal clear Caribbean water, Panama is bestowed with Nature’s bounty. You can even take a weekend getaway to a volcanic crater at El Valle! With 7 Indian tribes still living their life in the traditional style, Panama will appeal to Culture Tourists as well.
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Volgograd is an amazing Russian Holiday destination. It is etched in modern history as the battle ground where the tide of the World War II shifted as the Allies tasted their first major victory against Hitler’s Army. For the heroism shown during the battle, it was awarded the title Hero City in 1945, and King George VI of the United Kingdom awarded its citizens a jeweled sword. Beyond giving a historical perspective, this region greets visitors with an amazing landscape. Blessed with pristine nature, exotic vegetation and teeming wildlife, this culturally rich region of southern Russia is hauntingly beautiful. Enjoy this Russian Holiday by staying with a traditional Russian family in a Cossack village!
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The best way to experience Norway is on a Fjord Cruise. Fjords are long and narrow inlets with steep sides created in a valley carved by Glacial activity. Western Norway abounds with Fjords and is a very popular destination among Cruise Ships. Celebrity Cruises runs several cruise liners and MV Century being one of them which does the Norwegian Fjords route. The cruise originates from Amsterdam harbor and takes you through 4 ports. The first halt is at Olden, the gateway to some of the oldest and largest glaciers in Europe. Flam is the next destination where the sheer mountain walls climb twice as high as the 1500 feet width of the fjords, creating an almost permanent shade. The third port is situated at the mouth of the Storfjord. Alesund is one of the most important fishing harbors in Norway. Bergen is the last port of call. Surrounded by 7 mountains and several fjords, it is Norway’s second largest city.
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