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7 Reasons Why You Should Visit Florida

 1. For the picture-perfect architecture

Key West is closer to Cuba than Miami, and the result is an unusual “Floribbean” feel. Cycle the Old Town and you’ll come across pastel-coloured homes behind white picket fences, their porches replete with rocking chairs and lined with gingerbread trim – you can imagine drinking iced tea here in the balmy heat.

Press on and you may encounter one of the mansions, looming structures with louvered shutters and soaring turrets, now home to plenty of ghosts (or so it’s claimed). Entering the brightly painted Bahama Village, the tin-roofed conch houses – many of which are former cigar factories – were built by Bahamian settlers and have an authentic Caribbean feel.

2. For the plunderers and polydactyls

The waters surrounding Key West were riddled with pirates in the early nineteenth century. This, along with strong currents and hazardous reefs, paved the way for a booming wrecking industry, with sailors racing to sinking ships to rescue the cargo.

By the 1850s, Key West was the wealthiest city in the USA. Various illustrious snowbirds

7 Tips for Backpacking Australia

 1. Plan a rough itinerary

Spontaneity is one of the best things about backpacking, but in Australia it pays to have at least a rough itinerary, as it’s easy to underestimate how long it takes to get around this vast country. Spending longer than planned pottering around South Australia’s wine country – fun though it is – might mean you have to sacrifice that eagerly awaited trip to extraordinary Uluru or exploring the billabongs of Kakudu.

Three weeks is the absolute minimum to “do” the East Coast by land: Sydney to Cairns via the broad beaches of Byron Bay and the Gold Coast, self-driving the length of Fraser Island (the largest sand island in the world), sailing the gorgeous Whitsundays, diving at the Great Barrier Reef and trekking in Daintree, the oldest tropical rainforest on earth. So to see the rest of Australia, you’ll need to fly or have much more time.

2. Plan where to go when

At any time of year, Australia is a great place to visit but it can get unbelievably hot, as well as surprisingly chilly and

The Best Area to Stay in Lisbon

 Best for the historic centre: Baixa and Chiado

Lisbon’s Baixa, or ‘downtown’, is an appealing oblong of handsome buildings flanked by the squares of Rossio, Figueira and the grand riverfront Praça do Comércio. Its an impressive example of late eighteenth-century town planning in which many of its traditional shops survive. Most of its banks and offices have now been converted into hotels and guesthouses: a plethora of them have opened up in the last couple of years, so wherever you stay, you’ll be right in the thick of it. Consider adjacent Chiado, too, the chic shopping district that’s home to the famous café A Brasileira.

Cash-strapped: Florescente
Feeling flush: Hotel do Chiado

Best for romance: Alfama

The city’s oldest quarter is a fascinating warren of steep, winding streets that thread their way past densely packed houses where life carries on much as it has for centuries. Heading uphill towards the castle, you’ll get some of the best views Lisbon has to offer, across the terracotta roof tiles and the cruise ships that anchor on the broad Tagus estuary. Fado restaurants and souvenir shops are moving in,

Exploring The Best Sights Below London

From glimpses of another world, like the woolly mammoth that once wandered around Canary Wharf, to sobering reminders – imagine the sheer fear of following the masses down to the tube shelters as bomb sirens went off above you during WWII – London’s underground spaces represent a layered tapestry of its history. War, death, plagues, hide-outs and adventure: you’ll find them all beneath modern-day London.

Ride the postal railway

Back in Victorian London, the Post Office had a problem. Millions of letters to deliver, but increasingly crowded streets slowing things down. The solution? An underground rail system that air-blasted mail across the capital on tiny cars.

It was a hit, and not only for post: operators often had to turn down requests for a ride from men on their way home from the pubs near Euston, where the ride began.

In 1927, the system was upgraded to become the world’s first driverless electric railway, trundling 6.5 miles underneath London and linking sorting offices and postal depots from Paddington to Whitechapel.

The line stopped running in 2003, but in 2017, for the first time ever, Mail Rail is opening up to the public. From mid-2017, visitors

7 Travel Resolutions and How to Keep Them

Pack lighter

Next time you’re stuffing a pair of impractical shoes and a bumper-size shampoo into your bag, stop to consider the feelings of future you: the one sporting a sweaty back patch and a face riddled with regret. The ‘I’ll manage’ attitude dissipates in a flurry of expletives as you drag your luggage up a broken escalator, straining your bicep and stubbing a toe in the process. Worth it? Not so much.

Stick to it: Downsize: restricting suitcase volume soon hinders overpackers. Prioritise: it’s OK to take three paperbacks if you’re willing to forgo the laptop. Enlist a ruthless packing buddy who won’t give in to the words ‘but I neeeeeed it!’.

Take better pictures

Sick of returning home from a trip with thousands of hastily snapped images that you’ll never have the time to sift through and edit, let alone share? Whether you’re shooting for social media, an online portfolio or the family album, investing a little time and effort can take your creations from amateur to incredible.

Stick to it: Read up on how to take a decent smartphone snap; enrol on a photography course; join

We Can See Polar Bear Here

Listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), polar bears face an uncertain future. But there is hope. In September 2015, the five states whose territories cover this spectacular animal’s range – Canada, Kingdom of Denmark (Greenland), Norway, Russia and the US – signed the Circumpolar Action Plan, a 10-year global conservation strategy to secure the long-term survival of polar bears, which number between 22,000 and 31,000 in the wild according to the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF). While it’s too soon to measure its success, this joint commitment nonetheless offers some reassurance that these nations are dedicated to the species’ preservation.

Most people who have been lucky enough to eyeball a wild polar bear would agree it’s one of the most thrilling wildlife-viewing experiences on Earth. Still a relatively young industry, polar bear tourism is not without its challenges. An increase in human-polar bear contact in Norway, for example, has resulted in more bears being shot.

It can also be argued that the carbon emissions generated by tourists travelling to the Arctic to spot bears is counterproductive to the marine mammals’ survival. On the other hand, well-managed polar

7 Reasons to Visit Kyiv

Legends of Andriyivsky Uzviz

Nicknamed ‘the Montmartre of Kyiv’, this street is one of the cultural gems of the Ukrainian capital. Every house here can tell a story, every corner hides a legend. With numerous galleries and workshops,Andriyivsky Uzviz has always been the melting pot of Kyiv’s artists, luring them with its bohemian atmosphere and attractive hilly setting. Here you can admire the gracious architecture of St Andrew’s Church and buy handmade souvenirs from one of the local artisans.

Delicious Ukrainian cuisine

Ukrainian food is not only very tasty, but also quite affordable. When in Kyiv, you simply can’t refrain from trying traditional Ukrainian varenyky (filled dumplings) and the legendary borshch (red beetroot soup). For a genuine Kyiv urban snack, try the perepichka (sausage in a fried bun) at Kyivska Perepichka near Teatralna metro station, and taste a magnificent cinnamon roll atBulochnaya Yaroslavna bakery on busy Yaroslaviv Val street.

City of Golden Domes

This proud nickname reflects the architectural splendour of Kyiv’s churches, as well as the prominence of the Ukrainian capital for Orthodox Christians. Visitors are easily amazed by the beauty of the Kyevo-Pecherska Lavra monastery complex and the grandeur of St Sophia’s Cathedral, both Unesco World Heritage sites. You can spend days admiring the medieval frescoes and baroque facades, descending into holy dungeons

Find Family Adventure in The Wintry Canadian Rockies

The best downhill skiing in the Canadian Rockies

Many Canadians start skiing as soon as they can walk. As a result, the Rocky Mountain area has plenty of facilities for children on its slopes. For a full-on downhill experience, the local national parks (Banff and Jasper) are particularly well-endowed offering four major ski resorts with several others perched temptingly on the periphery.

Top of the pile in more ways than one is Banff’s Sunshine Villagewedged high up on the Continental Divide and famed for its heavy snowfalls and ski-in hotel. Next comes diminutive Mt Norquay, an under-the-radar day-use area located just outside Banff town.

However, the prize for the most family-friendly ski resort in the Rockies has to go to Lake Louise. Named for the robin-egg blue lake that enamours hikers and honeymooners in the summer, Lake Louise is the second-largest ski area in Canada (after Whistler) and offers an impressive web of 145 varied runs including lots of beginner terrain. Adding to its kudos are a tube park, bags of ski schools, guided wildlife tours (on snowshoes), and the finest snow-encrusted mountain views you could ever wish to see. In the unlikely event

Tips to Prepare for a Perfect Voyage to Antarctica

Lean on an outfitter for the logistics

Antarctic cruises have the benefit of organized pre- and post-voyage transportation and sometimes include additional excursions aroundUshuaia, Argentina (where most Antarctica-bound vessels call in to port) plus accommodations, on-board meals and expedition gear included in the price. Pick a reputable, International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators-affiliated (iaato.org) outfitter to ensure a safe and environmentally responsible experience.

The more you know, before you go

Reading about Antarctica’s history, geography and wildlife will not only provide pre-trip inspiration, but will help you appreciate the journey as you reflect on the tales of those first explorers who charted the very same waters you’ll be sailing. Antarctica showcases wildlife on a magnificent scale, so learning about the life-cycle and food chain of the continent’s species will provide insight on the mesmerizing and sometimes curious behavior you’ll bear witness to.

If you don’t get a chance to read up before you go, most ships have reference libraries and offer lectures by on-board scientists. You may find yourself sitting next to one of them in the dining hall – pick their brains and you’re guaranteed top-notch dinner conversation.

At

7 Most Beautiful Places in Vietnam

1. Hoi An

The central coast’s centuries-old ancient port has retained its charm despite the throngs of tourists drawn here by the heady mix of wooden-fronted merchant houses, graceful bridges and ornate temples. At night, colourful lanterns are hung from every shop front and light up the narrow streets of the atmospheric old town, casting a romantic shimmer over the Thu Bon River.

2. Sa Pa

It’s the dramatic site of the far north’s Sa Pa, rather than the bustling market town itself, that travellers rave about. If the mist hasn’t rolled in, viewpoints take in green terraces and looming conical mountains, including Mount Fan Si Pan, Vietnam’s tallest peak. Trekkers use Sa Pa as a base to visit nearby minority villages that still practice a traditional way of life.

3. Ha Long Bay

Long on every traveller’s bucket list, Ha Long Bay has been a World Heritage Site since 1994. When the sun rises over the still emerald waters and the bay’s scattered islands, islets and limestone pillars, the seascape is the most beautiful in the world – and even in the cooler off season the fog can add a touch of dreamy mysticism. An overnight cruise on a junk is an experience not to be

7 Tips for Backpacking Central America

1. Pick your countries wisely

Sometimes saving a few bucks is as simple as hopping from one playa to the next. But if you’re selective about the countries on your hit list you stand to pocket a whole lot more change. Costa Rica and Panama consistently rank among the most expensive countries in the area, alongside English-speaking Belize, leaving Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras among the cheaper choices.

2. Know your accommodation options

Hostels and homestays are plentiful in these parts, but if you fancy spending the odd night somewhere more swish, bear in mind that most destinations in Central America are yet to capitalise on the trend for flashpacker-style hostels. There can be a hefty price gap between a dorm bed and a boutique abode.

3. Gorge on local produce

Chocolate, rum, coffee, cheese – you might just be surprised at the array of prime produce Central America’s rich soil nurtures. And best of all, you can go straight to the source. Forget savouring a cup of Guatemala’s single-origin espresso from your local coffee shop, or devouring a bar of Costa Rican chocolate at your desk. Here a number of

7 Best Places to Camp Around The World

1. Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

You can’t talk about camping without waxing lyrical about New Zealand’s out-of-this-world landscapes. Mount Cook (or Aoraki to the Maori) is the country’s highest mountain and the entire surrounding rugged region is the South Island’s finest outdoor playground. Views from the campgrounds here are simply staggering.

2. Devon, England

The southwest of England feels a million miles from the rest of the UK. The campsites on Dartmoor and Exmoor are fantastic places to pitch a tent, while you’ll find spots with unbeatable vistas along the craggy cliffs that sweep down to the Atlantic on the north Devon coast. Come in autumn, when you can watch a huge red sun dip slowly over the horizon.

3. Loch Lomond & The Trossachs, Scotland

The scattered peaks, valleys and villages of the Trossachs – often called the Highlands in miniature – make an incredibly scenic backdrop for a camping trip. Amid these romantic lochs and glens you’ll find everything from sprawling caravan parks to remote wild camping spots; be sure to read the Outdoor Access Code before you go.

4. The Alps, France

The dominion of skiers in the winter months, the Alps transform

7 Best UNESCO Sites in Europe

1. Acropolis, Athens, Greece

Located on a rocky hill, the Acropolis of Athens is the greatest architectural and artistic complex of Ancient Greece. The first fortifications date back to the thirteenth century, although it wasn’t until the fifth century that the sanctuary reached its peak.

Following the Athenians’ victory over the Persians, the city’s influential statesman Pericles rebuilt the citadel, commissioning some of Greece’s most prominent architects and sculptors. Phidias was charged with the construction of the Parthenon, the temple dedicated to the patron of the city – the goddess Athena.

2. Venice, Italy

With its network of picturesque canals and waterways, Venice is an astounding architectural masterpiece whose buildings contain some of the world’s greatest works of art. Founded in the fifth century, it was once a major maritime power that influenced the development of architecture across the city’s trading stations, from the nearby Dalmatian Coast to Asia Minor.

Venice’s harmonious integration with the surrounding natural environment and its magnificent medieval and Renaissance architecture make it one of the world’s most unique urban settlements.

3. Évora, Portugal

Dating back to Roman times, the city of Évora in the Alentejo

The 11 Best Places to Visit in Europe

1. THE ALBANIAN COAST

Looking for Mediterranean sun and sand, but your budget doesn’t quite stretch to Capri or the Côte d’Azur? Simply head further east and you’ll find sun-drenched beaches untouched by modern development. Albania is one of the cheapest countries in Europe, and as yet under explored by the tourist hordes. On its southern Ionian coast, steep grey mountains frame azure seas and golden sands.

Saranda – almost in touching distance of Corfu – is a handy entry point from Greece, from where you can aim for the beaches of Ksamil and nearby islands. Cheap seafood, warm seas and a smattering of isolated Greek ruins and Ottoman towns: the perfect recipe for a classic European sojourn.

2. SARAJEVO, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

Though the scars of Sarajevo’s past as a city under siege are still evident – in the remnants of mortar shell explosions, filled with red resin to form “Sarajevo Roses” and in the museums documenting the horrors of Sniper Alley

The Little Visited Treasures of South India

India is undoubtedly a beautiful country. It presents such an array of interesting scenes and stunning landscapes, taking pictures is irresistible. But this vast country also poses great challenges for photographers: there are so many people, such enormous sights, such a long, rich history – how do you portray this through a lens?

On my most recent trip in central South India, I was faced with such challenges. The journey I took – overland from Hyderabad, through Karnataka and on to Goa – was overflowing with photogenic moments and mind-boggling historical sights.

Once a Muslim stronghold in a predominantly Hindu country, this area of the Deccan plateau is littered with stunning mausoleums, mosques, minarets and forts whose stories simply cannot be communicated through images alone. There are tales of love, life, war and loss to discover through the architectural wonders here; if some believe a picture paints a thousand words, it must be said that in India it only tells half the story.

Here’s the story behind some of South India’s underrated places:

1. Hyderabad

Arriving in Hyderabad – the capital of India’s newest state, Telangana – on the weekend is perhaps one of the

We Can Go Adventure in Here on April

Tackle an Alpine classic when conditions are best

The 75-mile (120 km) Haute Route links Chamonix/Mont Blanc andZermatt/the Matterhorn via some of the Alps’ finest terrain. It ticks off two countries, skirts beneath most of the range’s highest summits, crosses cols, traverses lakes and descends glaciers. Simply, it is the crème de la crème of ski-touring, and only for those with experience.

Long days at high altitude (it tops out at 12,434ft (3790m) Pigne d’Arolla) make it a challenging prospect. The main Haute Route ski-touring season runs from mid-March to late April. This is when the glaciers are safely covered in powder, the weather is generally milder, and the mountain huts are open, heated and cooking up hearty hot meals. Don’t ski? Come back in summer to do it on foot.

  • Trip plan: Skiing the Haute Route takes six days. Allow time in lively Chamonix and Zermatt too.
  • Need to know: You will need both euros (France) and Swiss francs (Switzerland).
  • Other months: Mar-Apr – best snow conditions; Jun-Sep – route hikeable; Nov, Feb & May – conditions not ideal for either.

Discover flowers, festivals and on-foot adventures in Nepal

Quick! You

Where We Go and What We Can Do in France for First Time

Paris

France’s chic, sexy capital has to be experienced at least once. Mix picture-postcard icons with simple Parisian moments and you’ll truly fall in love with the city. Scale the Eiffel Tower then walk or cycle along the Seine, or cruise down it on a bateau-mouche (bateaux-mouches.fr). Venerate Notre Dame then grab a post-cathedral café atCafé Saint-Régis, ice-cream at Berthillon or super juice at literary café of mythical bookshop Shakespeare & Company. Hit the Louvre then collapse on a bench with a Pierre Hermé macaron in the Tuileries orPalais Royal gardens. Delve into hilltop Montmartre with a local Paris Greeter (greeters.paris). Escape to posh leafy Versailles and come back blown away by France’s most famous chateau.

Loire Valley

Stunning châteaux are scattered around the lush Loire Valley. Stand in awe of the Renaissance supertanker of a castle Château de Chambord, and graceful Château de Chenonceau astride the Cher River. Château de Blois with its whistle-stop tour of French architecture, and classicalChâteau de Cheverny where the spectacle of the dogs having dinner steals the show, is the perfect one-day combo. In summer put the gardens at Château de Villandry and Château d’Azay-le-Rideau after dark on your hit list. Base yourself in

A Regional Guide to Europe’s

Italy

Few countries can rival Italy’s wealth of riches. Its historic cities boast iconic monuments and masterpieces at every turn, its food is imitated the world over and its landscape is a majestic patchwork of snowcapped peaks, plunging coastlines, lakes and remote valleys. And with many thrilling roads to explore, it offers plenty of epic driving.

Recommended trip: World Heritage wonders – 14 days, 870 km/540 miles

Start – Rome; finish – Venice

From Rome to Venice, this tour of Unesco World Heritage Sites takes in some of Italy’s greatest hits, including the Colosseum and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and some lesser-known treasures.

France

Iconic monuments, fabulous food, world-class wines – there are so many reasons to plan your very own French voyage. Whether you’re planning on cruising the corniches of the French Riviera, getting lost among the snowcapped mountains or tasting your way aroundChampagne’s hallowed vineyards, this is a nation that’s full of unforgettable routes that will plunge you straight into France’s heart and soul. There’s a trip for everyone here: family travellers, history buffs, culinary connoisseurs and outdoors adventurers. Buckle up and bon voyage – you’re

London Dos and Don’ts

You’ve just breached London social etiquette. Don’t worry, the most you’re likely to suffer is a tut in your general direction – that’s as confrontational as most British people get. Even so, if you’d rather blend in like a local when exploring the capital, keep these dos and don’ts in mind.

Do say sorry

As established, Londoners love to say sorry, so much so they’ll even say it for things which aren’t their fault. This is true of British society generally but everything’s a bit more squashed together in the capital, so there are more opportunities to express regret.

Don’t talk to strangers

It’s absolutely fine to ask for directions, or to apologise, or both, but engaging people in general chitchat – especially on public transport, where escape options are limited – is highly frowned upon.

Don’t confuse London Bridge with Tower Bridge

Easily done. Tower Bridge is the one you’ve seen in photos (it literally has towers and a drawbridge and looks marvellous) whereas London Bridge is a rather drab affair with no distinguishing features (other than a steady stream of slightly dejected tourists).

Don’t take the

8 Hidden Gardens of Washington, DC

Dumbarton Oaks

Famous landscape architect Beatrix Farrand designed this botanical panorama in northern Georgetown. At Dumbarton Oaks, each sweet-smelling garden is more beautiful than the next. Be sure to check the website (www.doaks.org) before your visit to see what’s in bloom, but must-sees include the Orangery, where the climbing ficus dates from the 1860s; the rose garden, arranged by color; the Prunus Walk with its flowering plums; and the Pebble Garden, best viewed from the terrace above to take in the intricate, swirling neo-baroque designs of grey and white stones. It’s a shame that picnicking isn’t permitted on the grounds.

River Farm

Did George Washington ever wander past the centuries-old Osage orange tree that dominates River Farm’s Garden Calm? It’s possible. The first president owned these 25 park-like acres along the Potomac River just south of DC, and the story goes that the tree was a gift from Thomas Jefferson to the Washington family. Among the pocket gardens here, you’ll find a grove of Franklin trees (extinct in the wild), an orchard of pear, apple and plum trees, and an azalea garden with a rainbow of different species. The American Horticultural Society (www.ahsgardening.org)  now resides in the