Zanzibar (or, Unguja) is an Indian Ocean archipelago off the coast of Tanzania. While the larger island of Madagascar and the beaches of Kenya and South Africa remain ever-popular with international tourists, this semi-autonomous island state flies below the radar. Only 22 miles from Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar is the perfect destination to connect with East African culture while you reflect on your mainland safari experience.
Stone Town (Mji Mkongwe)
The natural starting point for your Zanzibar stay, Stone Town is the oldest part of Zanzibar City. As an example of a traditional Swahili trading town, this myriad of alleyways and bazaars constitutes a lesser-known UNESCO World Heritage Site. Plucking elements from Swahili, Indian, Arab, and European architecture, the buildings are fashioned from coralline ragstone and mangrove timber before being lime-washed. Spend a night at the Emerson on Hurumzi or at least make a reservation for the Emerson Zanzibar Tea Ceremony where three types of spiced tea is accompanied by savory appetizers and Zanzibari sweets.
Jozani Forest (Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park)
This dense complex of jungle and wetlands is home to the rare red colobus monkey, a species endemic to Unguja. Nature trails weave you through the greenery where you can also expect to spit dancing butterflies. It’s hoped that some Zanzibar leopards might still dwell in the forest although it’s possible that they have been driven to extinction. Tourists are welcome to explore Jozani Forest independently or with the support of a wildlife guide.
London is one of Europe's most captivating cities. Founded by the Romans, the English capital has survived fires, plagues, and wars to blossom into a powerhouse for the arts, upscale global cuisine, and unique experiences. When the temperatures plummet, the holidays bring light, festivities, and copious mulled wine to the city streets. Illuminations, caroling, and ice skating – wrap up warm and experience London in winter.
In the heart of London’s theater district, Covent Garden is a year-round hub for dining, shopping, and culture. The winter holidays arrive in the piazza and old Apple Market in late November when the square is festooned with lights and a densely decorated Christmas tree. Despite the chill, the stylish restaurants of Covent Garden never shy away from providing an al fresco dining experience on their heated patios. The surrounding luxury hotels are primed for winter-inspired traditional afternoon tea starring mince pies.
Festive Window Installations
Department stores in London vie for the number one position of most enchanting window displays during the holidays. Harrods – the world's principal luxury department store – is emblematic of winter in London. Last year’s theme saw the iconic Knightsbridge facade transformed into a giant gingerbread house courtesy of Dior. Selfridges on Oxford Street, Liberty London near Carnaby Street, and the entire avenue of Regent Street are equally worthy of a window shop (or spot of gift-buying). This retail center is richly decorated with street lights as well.
Basel, Switzerland, is a border town between Germany and France. Situated along the Rhine River, Basel is steeped in history, yet it is a very cosmopolitan city.
As we strolled through town, the guide explained the architecture and city life. Many streets are pedestrian only, but you have to be aware of people riding bicycles. Basel is one of many European cities where you see how many people use their bicycles as their transportation year-round. We first saw the Basel Munster, the 13th-century Gothic cathedral that sits high above the Rhine River with two towers.
Located in both Argentina and Brazil, Iguazú and Iguaçu national parks are considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. These sister parks preserve what remains of the sub-tropical Interior Atlantic Forest and comprise a system of 275 waterfalls, cataracts, and rapids. Over 2,000 species of plants are found within the parks alongside 400 species of birds and close to 80 mammals. Both parks are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These are the highlights of Iguazú National Park, Argentina, where you will have the closest encounters with the falls.
Devil’s Throat (Garganta del Diablo) is the star of Iguazú Falls. Crashing down from a height of 82 meters (269 feet), this colossal waterfall has an average flow of 1,800 cubic meters per second – which would fill 36 Olympic swimming pools in less than 60 seconds. A walkway connects the Ecological Train Station with a viewing platform that enables visitors to stand paces from the falls. This is a fully sensory experience; be prepared to get a little damp and be amazed by the roar of the cascades.
UNESCO World Heritage sites are selected due to their outstanding physical or cultural significance. Over 1,000 natural, cultural, and mixed properties sit on the list, with new sites inscribed every year. Celebrated destinations include the Galápagos Islands, Stonehenge, Ha Long Bay, Yellowstone National Park, and Machu Picchu. This article shines a spotlight on less-traveled UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Azores, Portugal: Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture
Criteria: III, V
Date of inscription: 2004
An autonomous region of Portugal, the Azores is an Atlantic Ocean archipelago situated halfway between Lisbon and Boston. Pico is the second-largest island of the nine, with a viniculture heritage that dates back to the 15th century.
Crisscrossed by linear walls (currais) that run inland from the rocky coastline, the Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture was designed to shelter grape plots from the elements. Although subject to adjustment over the years, winemakers in the region around Criação Velha continue to employ traditional techniques when cultivating and harvesting wine on this small volcanic island.
This subtropical chain of islands is a unique choice of UNESCO destination for wine enthusiasts.
There is so much more to San Diego than beaches – not that this isn’t enough to justify a trip. This perpetually sunny city in Southern California is also known for its incredible food. Cuisine in San Diego hones in on the freshest seafood in the country alongside ingredients plucked from local farms. After all, San Diego County holds the monopoly on the volume of farms.
Influences from Mexico and Southeast Asia bring a tantalizing twist to the food scene, with a bounty of fish tacos and sushi eats scattered throughout the city. This is where to seek the sunshine and best food in San Diego.
Most Beautiful Beaches in San Diego
San Diego’s 70 miles of coastline is divided into 31 glorious beaches with plenty of options to cater to all interests.
Just north of La Jolla Cove, the beach frequented by sea lions, Torrey Pines State Beach is the number one destination for hikers and wildlife enthusiasts. This state park is best visited in tandem with Sbicca, an oceanside bistro with a roof terrace devoted to the classic dishes of Southern California.
The birthplace of democracy and one of the oldest capital cities in the world, Athens is a magnet for those with an interest in ancient and classical history. As a modern metropolis, the city offers excellent shopping across markets and the designer stores of Voukourestiou Street and contemporary Greek cuisine with an emphasis on seafood. Athens is the perfect starting point before exploring the best Greek islands. Especially if you choose one of these three luxury hotels in Athens with eye-popping views.
King George Hotel
Located in the heart of historic Athens, the King George Hotel is within walking distance of the Acropolis, the Botanical Garden, and Voukourestiou Street. All rooms and suites are lavishly appointed with period furniture, elegant chandeliers, and marble en suite bathrooms. The Penthouse Suite unfurls onto a private outdoor pool with views of the citadel and Parthenon.
Headed up by the esteemed Asterios Koustoudis and Nikos Livadia, the Tudor Hall Restaurant serves gourmet cuisine using seasonal ingredients of the highest quality. Fish dominates the a la carte and degustation menus while the wine list is thoughtfully curated to complement the current offering.
In addition to dining at the rooftop bistro with Acropolis views, the 5-star hotel offers 24/7 private in-room dining.
Floating in the Indian Ocean off the southeast coast of Africa, Mauritius is a luxury vacation destination with outstanding natural attractions. As one of the most culturally diverse island nations in the world, numerous languages are spoken, countless festivals are observed each year, and the cuisine is a delight for epicurious explorers. These are the most unique experiences waiting for you in Mauritius across nature, food, and culture.
See the “Underwater Waterfall” from the sky
Perhaps the greatest optical illusion on earth, the Underwater Waterfall of Mauritius is the quintessential icon of the country. Situated off the Le Morne Peninsula, this natural phenomenon is caused by underwater currents and the movement of sand and silt sediments. Despite its appearance, it’s perfectly safe to swim, sail, and surf over the surface of the waterfall. However, the best way to experience it is from the sky. Shared and private helicopter tours depart from Mauritius Airport as well as the various helipads and offer one of the most unforgettable activities in Mauritius.
When traveling to Amsterdam for the first time, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. The “Dam on the River Amstel” is one of the prettiest European cities, with attractions spanning the remarkable Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and the Royal Palace.
Find your feet in the Dutch capital with a wander around the picturesque Nine Streets (De Negen Straatjes) district. Located between the Prinsengracht and Singel canals, this petite area is inclusive of the following streets:
The district is known for its evocative scenery, atmospheric cafes, and high-end shopping. While there are fewer cultural institutions within the borders, several of Amsterdam’s major sights are right on the cusp.
Anthony Bourdain sums it up perfectly if you want to understand how important food is to the Portuguese travel icon and chef extraordinaire.
When he visited Portugal back in 2009 with his show ‘No Reservations,’ he said, “Portugal was the first country where I went to a show, where, you know, they have four-hour lunches, and they’ve been talking about what they’re having for dinner.”
No truer words have been spoken. The Portuguese dining experience is as iconic as the hundreds of dishes they’re famous for. We know you can’t try them all, but here are seven authentic Portuguese dishes you can’t come home without trying…
If you’re after some classic Portuguese comfort food, you may want to try caldo verde is a beloved northern Portuguese dish. A delicious soup made with onions, mashed potatoes, garlic, shredded kale, and chouriço or chorizo sausage, caldo verde is hailed as one of the ‘7 wonders of Portuguese gastronomy and the perfect complement to an evening of rhythmic ‘Fado,’ Portugal’s national sound.
Polvo à Lagareiro
For adventurous seafood lovers, fresh octopus is a common ingredient you’ll find in most restaurants across the country, especially in coastal regions like the Algarve, polvo a lagareiro is a popular but simple dish served on a bed of oven-roasted potatoes with herbed garlic oil.
If you’ve ever been to Southern Africa, you’ve likely had piri-piri chicken. While piri-piri is popular across Portugal, this spicy dish originated in South Africa when Christian Portuguese sailors brought bird’s eye chilies, the main ingredient, to South Africans. If you’re not a fan of too much heat, you can ask for your piri-piri to be mild, medium, or extra fiery.
The “toe” of Italy, sun-kissed Sicily is known for its ancient ruins and beaches backed by craggy rock structures. Mount Etna simmers on the northeast with frequent displays of blazes, closely monitored by volcanologists. It’s partly down to the volcanic geology of the island that Sicilian wine production is so exemplary, partly due to its Mediterranean climate. This, in turn, explains why Sicily has blossomed as a leading destination for golfers.
Mediterranean golf vacations in Sicily
Cooled by a gentle sea breeze, Sicily is one of the best places in Europe for a golfing vacation with courses scattered across the island.
Over on the west coast, the Verdura Resort is a top-ranking golf hotel with luxurious suites that accommodate couples and families. Ocean-view rooms come with private balconies while superior suite options have the added benefit of a private plunge pool.
Making full use of the natural contours of the island, the resort features three golf courses – two 18-hole courses plus a shorter putting green. Designed by the architect, Kyle Phillip, the par-73 East Course and par-70 West Course meander across the headland with sea views. The West Course in particular supplies challenging conditions. Fortunately, the resort is equipped with a driving range where you can hone your technique before venturing out.
With its bathtub-warm water, white-sand beaches, and overwater bungalows, the Maldives is the symbol of luxury travel. This archipelagic state consists of 1,192 idyllic coral islands dispersed over 180 kilometers in the Northern Indian Ocean. An utterly unique destination, around 150 islands provide the setting of a luxury resort committed to upholding the highest standard of hospitality, privacy, and facilities.
Velaa Private Island
Situated in the Noonu Atoll, Velaa Private Island is named in honor of the sea turtles that live in the azure waters.
Committed to exclusivity, this high-end resort consists of 45 luxurious residences including the Sunset Deluxe Water Villa, and Ocean Pool House. The vast majority are built over the water and come with a personal infinity-edge plunge pool. Honeymooners may reserve the Romantic Pool Residence, a villa suspended over the lagoon accessible only by boat.
Amenities at Velaa Private Island include a state-of-the-art spa with Ayurvedic treatments and therapies plus yoga and meditation classes. In addition to a sauna and steam room, the facility contains the only “snow room” in the Maldives.
Click One of the longest continuous mountain ranges in the world, the Andes extend through Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. At 6,959 meters, Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the whole of the Southern Hemisphere. The earliest Andean settlements date beyond 10,000 years, with the emergence of the Inca Empire cited to around 1400. Exploring the Andes offers a glimpse at past traditions as well as the modern culture of the range.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Of all the places of interest in the Andes, Machu Picchu sits at the top of the list. This high-altitude Incan citadel was constructed in the mid-15th century and once consisted of approximately 200 buildings. With Machu Picchu translating to “Old Mountain” the architecture was adapted to suit the landscape with terraced pyramids providing a solution to the varying terrain.
Highlights include the Temple of the Sun, the House of the High Priest, the Royal Tomb, and the Cave of the Sun. A limited number of trekkers are permitted to climb Huayna Picchu, the iconic peak, each day. This may be visited in tandem with the Temple of the Moon, a mysterious cave compound with impressive stone masonry.
Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, is a charming destination that captivates travelers from all over the world with its stunning architecture, delicious food, and rich history. Visitors can explore Alfama’s cobblestone streets, ride on one of Lisbon's iconic trams, or relax in one of its many parks.
This coastal city is perched on the banks of the Tagus River and is known for its steep hills, colorful buildings, and vibrant neighborhoods. You can explore the city's iconic landmarks like the Belém Tower, the São Jorge Castle, and the Jerónimos Monastery, or simply wander through the picturesque streets of Baixa.
From indulging in the local cuisine to enjoying the lively nightlife, Lisbon has something for everyone. With so much to see and do in Lisbon, it’s no wonder why it continues to be one of Europe’s most popular destinations. Download this guide to discover the best things to do and see in Lisbon and make the most of your trip.
I hope you enjoy this guide to Lisbon.
Fans of Downton Abbey may visit the palace used as the principal filming location for the English historical drama series chronicling the lives of the Crawleys and their servants.
Located in the North Wessex Downs Area of Natural Beauty (AONB), Hampshire, the majestic country estate of Highclere Castle is only 65 miles west of Central London.
A history of Highclere Castle, England
The foundations of Highclere Castle date back to Anglo-Saxon times when Bishop William of Wykeham oversaw the construction of a medieval residence and formal gardens in 749. This original property was reconstructed in 1679 upon passing ownership to Sir Robert Sawyer. The palace that stands today was built in 1842 by Sir Charles Barry – the same architect behind the Palace of Westminster in London.
Highclere Castle was used as a hospital during the First World War and as a refuge for evacuated children in the Second World War.
Today, the castle is the private residence of George and Fiona Herbert, the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. Lord and Lady Carnarvon employ a full staff including chefs, gardeners, housekeepers, and those responsible for welcoming tourists to the mansion.
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