10 Vacation-Worthy Towns on Croatia’s Stunning Coastline

Having shaken off its war-torn past, Croatia, the European Union’s newest member, is primed to make the most of its future. That means showing off its gorgeous Adriatic coastline to the ever-increasing number of tourists arriving at its shores. The southern city of Dubrovnik has long been a half-hidden European gem, but other coastal towns are following its example. Travelers can explore the walled medieval cities in the morning, search for isolated beaches for an afternoon swim, and at night sample seafood caught fresh that morning. Read on for details on the allure of our top 10 towns on Croatia’s Adriatic coast.

10. Korčula

Wine lovers will adore the island of Korčula, filled with vineyards and said to produce the country’s best white wine. Walls enclose Korčula town, an ancient city filled with narrow, stepped streets. The town itself is overlooked by a number of defensive towers, previously designed to warn away invaders but now used for everything from housing museums to cocktail bars. The town, believed to be the birthplace of Venetian merchant and world traveler Marco Polo, loves to share its history with modern day explorers. Visitors should make a point of seeking out a Moreška performance, routinely given for tourists. This traditional sword dance pits two groups in a mock dance battle over a veiled woman, and its participants are required to be natives of Korčula.

Korčula Croatia

9. Rijeka

For those after more than just a pretty beach (Rijeka proper has few) this is the town to visit. Home to Croatia’s largest port, Rijeka feels more like a Rotterdam or a Naples than a glossy tourist destination. But that grit churns out some polished diamonds. The city, a famous musical hub in its Yugoslav days, boasts a number of venues featuring live music, as well as playing host to other cultural events. The city center reflects Rijeka’s days under Habsburg rule, with its Baroque clock tower its main centerpiece. When done wandering the pedestrian streets of the Korzo, climb the 561 stairs to Trsat Castle. The fortress, dating from the 13th century, is now another great place in Rijeka to catch a concert or take in a performance. Even when there’s nothing going on, the views from the top of the hill make climbing all those stairs worth it.

Rijeka Croatia

8. Pula

Leave the Coliseum to the bustling crowds in Rome and head for Pula instead. This ancient town’s most famous landmark is a 1st century Roman amphitheater, one of the best preserved in the world. Other sites from Roman times include the Temple of Roma and the Arch of the Sergii, while the streets of the old city are still lined with Roman paving stones. Also known by its Italian name Pola, this bilingual city makes the most of its heritage, hosting summer events that recreate gladiator fights and offer visitors the opportunity to taste Roman food and beverages. Those seeking to get away from it all should head 10 kilometers south to Kamenjak National Park on the southernmost point of the Istria peninsula. Jump the cliffs, snorkel the coves or simply find a deserted beach and gaze out at the nearby islands.

Pula Croatia

7. Šibenik

Lacking, as it is, ancient ruins or Roman heritage, many visitors to Croatia don’t bother to stop in Šibenik. But as the oldest Croatian town on the Adriatic, missing out on Šibenik would be missing out on a part of the country’s history. The four fortresses still surrounding the town remind visitors of the natives’ continual resistance to outside rule, dating from the 11th century and the many rulers, including Venice, Hungary, Austria and Italy, that it has seen since. The most noteworthy sight in Šibenik is the St. James Cathedral, a renaissance era church made entirely out of stone and featuring external detailing composed of human faces, said to represent town inhabitants of the 15th century. Šibenik is located near Krka National Park, a similarly overlooked destination which features waterfalls and lakes similar to that of the more famous Plitvice Lakes further east.

Cathedral Šibenik Croatia

6. Zadar

Visiting some towns along the Adriatic coastline can feel more like stepping inside a museum, a room which time forgot. Not so with Zadar. This small city has enough year-round residents to make for some hustle and bustle during the day, while at night Zadar’s bars and restaurants fill up with a mix of tourists and locals eager to sample their delights. That’s not to say Zadar is just any old town, however. When heading out for a walk along the water, visitors might literally stumble upon ancient Roman ruins, like the Augustinian forum near the center of the old city. Newer installations give Zadar a new flavor as well – along the seafront is the Sun Salutation, whose colored glass plates not only create a light show but also collect enough energy to power the harbor’s lighting system, as well as the Sea Organ, which uses the waves to make music.

xbrchx / Shutterstock.com
xbrchx / Shutterstock.com

5. Trogir

The historic city of Trogir is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an excellently preserved medieval town with few modern blemishes. Located just a short drive from Split (another city on our list) Trogir makes an excellent day trip, or visitors might choose to stay just outside of town on one of the many gorgeous beaches. Stroll along Trogir’s seafront and admire its little harbor stuffed with sailboats before ducking inside the city’s gates. Have a look at the Cathedral of St Lovro and its renaissance chapel, then seek out the fortress at the water’s edge. Both sites offer the chance to climb their towers and drink in the view. It’s all too easy to lose several hours within the town’s walls, wandering the narrow, winding streets and discovering charming cafes and interesting shops.

Trogir Croatia

4. Rovinj

Rovinj is one of the few towns in the world where visitors can wake up in a five-star hotel, then head down to the harbor to watch fisherman haul in their catch. Known as Rovigno to the Italian speakers of this bilingual town, there exists plenty of reminders of its Venetian heritage. The Church of St. Euphemia in Rovinj’s center is topped by a bell tower modeled off the famous cathedral of St. Mark’s in Venice, and a climb to its top offers lovely views. While climbing the hill to St. Euphemia’s, take time to stop in the shops along Grisia, where local artists display their work. Those interested in feasting off the fish they watched pulled ashore in the morning should visit the open-air market, selling fresh seafood as well as olive oil, truffles and other culinary treasures.

Rovinj Croatia

3. Hvar

The fabulous nightlife of Hvar is best when the summer crowds swell its population, but September may be the ideal time to visit the island and its eponymous town. The island’s beaches, like nearby Uvala Dubovica, won’t be crowded, but it will still be warm enough to sunbathe and swim. When it’s time to return to town, the central piazza will no longer be stuffed with tourists, making for great people watching as the residents use the early evening to stroll and catch up on one another’s lives. Take in the Renaissance-era harbor, then wander through the old town’s marble-paved roads and browse the quirky shops. Follow the path up the hill to the fort built high above the town, where the best views of the town and nearby islands can be found.

Hvar Croatia

2. Dubrovnik

Long the crown jewel of Croatia, Dubrovnik misses out on the top spot because it’s just too well known. (Relatively) high prices and large crowds make this southern town a bit less idyllic than others on our list, but its treasures mean Dubrovnik can’t be ignored. The old city is simply breathtaking, paved in marble and surrounded by walls dating back to the city’s time as the Republic of Ragusa. Experience that history with a walk around the walls, or dive into the fantastical by seeking out the sites featured in HBO’s popular Game of Thrones series. Seek out Buža, a bar hidden amidst the walls, famous for its incredible views across the Adriatic. But those seeking beaches should bypass the rows of loungers near the center of the city and catch a ferry to the nearby islands instead, where the vibe is much more chill and the seascape spectacular.

Dubrovnik Croatia

1. Split

A town that’s grown from the ruins of a Roman emperor’s palace, now that’s pretty hard to beat. Diocletian’s Palace, which dates from the 4th century A.D., is today a UNESCO World Heritage site, but still hosts homes, shops and restaurants within its walls, descendants of those built by the local population who took up residence here way back in the 7th century. Be sure to take a tour of the underground areas of the palace, and those unafraid of heights can climb the steep, winding stairs to the top of the Bell Tower of St. Domnius for incredible views over the harbor. Split has recently revamped its seafront as well, making it the perfect place for a drink after exploring the center of the city, or just for a stroll at sunset.

Split Croatia Palace

6 Essential Croatian Destinations

It seems like everyone and their dog is flocking to Croatia these days, and for good reason; this country is has everything- beaches, nightlife, history, culture, scenery… all at a relatively low price.  So naturally, it is hard to find a time of the year when Croatia is not overwhelmed with tourists.  But, there are still places you can go that are still undiscovered; little hidden pieces of paradise there just for you with all the wonders of Croatia and none of the crowds.

6. Istria

Located in Western Croatia, Istria is more remote than some of the other Croatian destinations, which is why it has remained hidden from the tourists for so long.  If you are feeling an Italian influence in this part of the country, you are not wrong; Istria has a heavy Italian population and is rich in vineyards, wine and olive oil, rolling hills and rustic hill towns.  Best reached by car, this mode of transportation gives you the chance to really soak in the atmosphere and the scenery; you can stay as long as you want, go where you feel, and you don’t have to be reliant on bus transportation. Istria has a plethora of small towns with friendly locals and amazing food- be sure to try a fresh pasta dish with truffles local to the area!


5. Losinj

Situated in the northern Adriatic, this small, relatively untouched island is less famous than its neighbours to the south, but it is just as beautiful.  It has a classic Mediterranean vibe, with a great fishing port town and beautiful waters, but it also has a slower, more peaceful way of life.  The beaches are empty and the prices far from hostile.  If you are searching for a true, Croatian experience, this island is definitely where you need to be.


4. Galesnjak

This a romantic destination, although it can absolutely be enjoyed as a single traveller.  The island itself is shaped like a heart, almost perfectly so, and thus, is accurately nicknamed “Lover’s Island”.  It is still relatively uncrowded, although crowds are growing.  It is small and completely surrounded by water and bush; most people enjoy camping here as the landscape is so unspoiled.

Hieronymus / Shutterstock.com
Hieronymus / Shutterstock.com

3. Cavtat

Just south of Dubrovnik is Cavtat, a quintessentially pretty village situated on an idyllic bay.  Tradition still reigns here; surrounding the village is miles of fields and red-roofed homes.  Catvat is a relatively close escape from the crowds of Dubrovnik; it maintains all the charm, but has a slightly less stressful atmosphere.


2. Plitvice Lakes National Park

Few places in the world evoke such magic that you feel as if you have stepped into another world.  Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of them.  Located about an hour from Zagreb is this stunning national park; if you were going to visit one place in Croatia, this should be it.  Miles and miles of waterfalls and rivers, lush green trees and crystal clear lakes are what you can expect when you step into the park.  Here, the water seems to effervesce; the trees bloom greener, the waterfalls run fuller; everything is almost indescribably breathtaking.   The crowds are common, so be sure to visit early in the day to get the most out of your visit, but in a place like this, crowds really don’t matter, it is that pretty of a place.

Plitvice Lakes National Park

1. Korcula

The only way to reach this island off of the Dalmation Coast is by ferry, which is perfect because you get the best view of Korcula and its walls and medieval towers this way.  The town is quaint and charming, although small, although it is the relaxing atmosphere people come here for.  As with most islands in Croatia, it is surrounded by the clearest of waters and the whitest of beaches, but here there are less crowds, so you can have the experience nearly all to yourself.

RnDmS / Shutterstock.com
RnDmS / Shutterstock.com

The Best Places To Spend New Year’s Eve in Europe

New Year’s Eve is a time most of us look forward to putting the old year behind us and starting with a fresh slate in the new year. Many people believe that how we ring in the new year also has bearing on what the year will bring us. For travelers, what could be better than celebrating with friends new and old in a far-flung locale, experiencing local traditions and creating new ones? These 10 European cities know how to ring in the new year; get your year started on the right foot by visiting one of these parties.

10. London

More than 250,000 people will crowd along the banks of the Thames to ring in the new year. Big Ben performs countdown services and the stroke of midnight marks the beginning a spectacular 10-minute display of lights and fireworks. The London Eye, the Shard and Parliament are among the iconic buildings lit up to welcome the new year. Looking to stay out of the cold and rain? Head to the soiree at the London Sky Bar, where you’ll find food and a live DJ, plus fabulous views of the revelry in the streets below. Free public transport all night will help get you to one of many after-parties around the city. Visit the Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park and, on New Year’s Day, take in the annual parade, which features a procession of the Queen’s horses, among others.

London New Years Eve

9. Dubrovnik

Croatia may not be a top destination for New Year’s revelers, but the city of Dubrovnik gets extra points for managing to host an almost intimate party, despite the number of people who come out to celebrate. Less claustrophobic than parties in Zagreb and Split, the festivities in Dubrovnik center on Stradun, the city’s main street, where you’re likely to bump elbows with locals on their way to bars and restaurants filled to bursting with celebrating crowds. The city also hosts a number of Croatian performers, offering up a rich program of music and entertainment for the evening. Start with a cozy meal with friends or family, or, if you’re traveling with your honey, consider splurging on a meal at one of the city’s upscale establishments. Join the crowds in Stradun for the stroke of midnight, then keep the party going by stopping off at a local bar.

Photo by: Eventfully Croatia
Photo by: Eventfully Croatia

8. Stockholm

The Swedes celebrate Christmas in a relatively subdued style, which means they’re all the more ready to let loose and party on New Year’s Eve. Revelry is the order of the day in the nation’s capital, with parties becoming raucous and celebrations pouring into the streets. Fill up on a seafood at a restaurant before moving your party to Skansen, which has been the center of Stockholm’s celebrations since 1895. At the stroke of midnight, a well-known Swede will read the poem “Ring Out, Wild Bells,” as streamers fill the air. Party trumpets and fireworks erupt all around the city. After midnight, participate in some club-hopping and keep the party going late into the night; bars and clubs are often open until 3 or 4 in the morning, giving you plenty of time to celebrate the new year.

Stockholm New Years Eve

7. Paris

It should be little wonder that one of Europe’s most iconic cities makes the list as one of the best places to spend New Year’s. The Eiffel Tower is lit up to mark the occasion and crowds of revelers swarm the Champs-Elysees, which provides fantastic views of the tower. The area turns into a massive street party, with both champagne bottles and fireworks popping everywhere. If you’re looking for something a little different, try Montmarte for excellent views of fireworks without the crowd. If you want something romantic, book a dinner cruise along the Seine and listen to a live orchestra as you sail through the City of Lights. Restaurants and nightclubs also hold soirees so you have no shortage of options for how to ring in the new year. On New Year’s Day, the Grande Parade de Paris caps off the celebrations.

Paris New Years Eve

6. Vienna

Vienna, once the center of empire and a beautiful city beloved by intellectuals and artists, is perhaps the best place in Europe to experience an “Old World” New Year’s celebration. The city’s most famous party is the Grand Ball held at the Hofburg Palace, but there are plenty of other opportunities for revelry in the Austrian capital. The city’s famous Christmas markets transform into fairs and the New Year’s Eve Trail will lead you through the Old City. The party begins at 2 in the afternoon and continues long after the clock has struck midnight. Mulled wine is the drink of choice for this crowd. A spectacular fireworks display highlights the Wiener Prater fair at midnight. On New Year’s Day, join the crowd gathered outside City Hall to watch the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s concert on a giant screen.

Photo by: Room Suggestion
Photo by: Room Suggestion

5. Amsterdam

Amsterdam is known as something of a party city for North Americans, and on New Year’s Eve, the city shows that it deserves that reputation, with impromptu street parties filling the spaces between large, organized revelry in public places like Rembrandtplein, Nieumarkt, Museumplein and Dam Square. Outdoor concerts are complemented by indoor parties at bars. Fireworks go on sale the day before the celebrations, so you can be sure to see plenty of displays. Grab a perch on one of the city’s many bridges and watch the colors explode across the nighttime sky, mirrored in the water below. Grab a glass of champagne and some fried treats (like oliebollen, viamse frites and bitterballen) from the street vendors, then head to the club to keep the party going.

Photo by: Amsterdam
Photo by: Amsterdam

4. Reykjavik

Reykjavik receives only 4 hours of sun on New Year’s Eve, which means the locals are more than ready to celebrate with a festival of light. They start with community bonfires, meant to burn away the troubles of the old year. There are no official fireworks displays organized by the city; rather, there are numerous displays put on by private citizens. Fireworks will often start about half-an-hour before midnight, lighting up every corner of the city as almost 200,000 people get involved. Head to Perlan or Landakotskirkja church for the best views of the city. Plenty of small, private parties keep things hopping, and bars and clubs remain open well after midnight. Since Icelanders tend to go out late anyway, you’ll often find revelers up until the wee hours of the morning, dancing the night away.

Photo by: Guide to Iceland
Photo by: Guide to Iceland

3. Istanbul

Istanbul has been on the rise as a must-see destination for travelers, and what better time than New Year’s? While visiting this vibrant European capital is an experience and a half at any time of year, Istanbul one-ups itself on New Year’s Eve. Start your evening with a traditional Turkish meze dinner in a restaurant in Bebek or Istiklal Caddesi, where celebrations are a little tamer. Afterwards, join the jubilant crowd in the streets of Taksim or another part of the city, where revelers will organize impromptu street parties. If the crowded streets aren’t your scene, you can always book a river cruise along the Bosphorus and watch the celebrations from afar as you sail through the city. The best part is that you’ll have one of the best views for the stunning fireworks at the stroke of midnight.

Istanbul new years eve

2. Prague

Prague is known as one of Europe’s most beautiful cities and one of the most beautiful in the world. The “city of a hundred spires” comes alive on New Year’s Eve, which is also known as Silvestr. The streets will be packed with a rag-tag crowd of revelers, and bars, clubs and restaurants will be filled with party-goers. Much of the fun takes place at Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square. Fireworks are set off all around town (and perhaps with a bit of dangerous abandon), with one of the best displays occurring at Letna Gardens, which can be watched from nearby bridges and embankments. Champagne bottles are smashed during the celebrations, which means you might want to bring a helmet to this party, but who could resist ringing in the new year in the heart of Europe?

Prague New Years Eve

1. Berlin

Germany’s capital has something of a reputation as a party city throughout the year, so it makes sense that the city has a go-big-or-go-home attitude toward New Year’s festivities. The highlight is undoubtedly “Party Mile,” a 2-km stretch between Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column, lined with bars, food stalls, music stages, party tents and laser light shows. The fireworks begin promptly at midnight, as do the toasts to the new year. Many people then hit the dancefloors of the city’s clubs, partying until well after sun-up. The Berliner Silversterlauf, the infamous New Year’s Eve “pancake run,” is another tradition in the city. Some people run the free 4-km race on New Year’s Day. Berlin expects to welcome approximately a million revelers to help ring in 2016—maybe you’ll be one of them.

Berlin New Years Eve


The 12 Best Scenic Tram Rides in the World

Some may call them gondolas, others may call them cable cars or aerial tramways but we call them trams. By tram, we aren’t talking about the light-rail or streetcars that run through most of Europe; we are talking about the cable-suspended cabins that seamlessly float through the air. All over the world these trams offer incredible sweeping views of oceans, mountains and cities. From trams that offer free public transportation to those with glass floors, here are 12 of the best tram rides in the world.

12. Roosevelt Island Tram – New York City, United States

It is one of America’s only aerial tramways used for urban mass transit and that fact alone makes this tram pretty incredible. It serves more than two million commuters and tourists a year connecting Roosevelt Island to the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Each cabin can hold up to 110 people and the trip only takes three minutes. The draw for tourists seems to be the sweeping views of Manhattan and the East River it provides from 230 feet in the air. This Tram has been featured in many television shows and movies and continues to be one of the most loved trams in the world.

Stuart Monk / Shutterstock.com
Stuart Monk / Shutterstock.com

11. Gibraltar Cable Car – Gibraltar, Spain

Many people have never heard of Gibraltar mainly because it is a very small British Overseas Territory that is located on the south coast of Spain, often referred to as “The Rock.” One of the highlights here is a trip on the cable car. It has been around since 1966 and not summiting the top via cable car would be like going to the Grand Canyon and not looking over the rim. The ride to the top only takes six minutes, but visitors are provided with an audio guide that talks about the history of the area. Sweeping views over the strait and into Northern Africa accompany riders. At the top visitors will be privy to the view of two continents, three countries and the meeting point of two great bodies of water. There is only one hitch to being at the top of this rock and that is the thieving resident apes that are waiting for you. Make sure to leave all food below and hold onto your camera as these apes love to steal right from your hand.

Gibraltar Cable Car , Spain

10. Table Mountain Aerial Cableway – Cape Town, South Africa

It is one of three trams in the world where each circular cabin rotates a full 360 degrees during the ascent to Table Mountain. The five minute trip up provides spectacular views and has been enjoyed by over 20 million people. A quick fact about this cable car, it was actually one of Cape Town’s first tourist attractions and opened in 1929. On the ride up and at the summit visitors are granted 360-degree views of Cape Town, Table Bay, nearby mountains and the rest of Table Mountain National Park. Also at the top is where you will find three hiking trails, a guided walk, self-serve restaurant and souvenir shop. One of the more popular times to ride this tram is sunset as there seems to be no better place in Africa to watch the sun sink away than on top of Table Mountain. If you are feeling really adventurous, skip the cable car ride back down and rappel down the cliff face.

Table Mountain, South Africa

9. Sandia Peak Tramway – Albuquerque, United States

It is hailed as North America’s longest aerial tram and has the world’s third longest single span. That alone is enough for us to want to get to Albuquerque and ride it today. At 2.7 miles long the tram provides sweeping views of the steep rocky terrain. The trip starts off in the suburbs of northeast Albuquerque and spends 15 minutes taking visitors up to the high desert peaks of the Sandia Mountains. Riders should expect an elevation change of about 4,000 feet and a temperature drop of 30 degrees. It works on a double system where one tram ascends and the other descends, each being able to hold up to 50 people. When this tram was first constructed in 1966 the engineering company touted it as being one of the most difficult tramway construction projects because of the terrain. You can just imagine what those views look like from 3,000 feet in the air.

Sandia Peak Tramway

8. Telluride Gondola – Colorado, United States

This ultra laid back ski town offers an equally cool form of public transportation. It offers a 13 minute tram ride between Telluride and Mountain Village. What makes this tram even better, riders can ride it as many times as they want for free. Since it opened in 1996, this tram has always been free and motors along leisurely at 11 mph operating from 7 am-midnight. This tram offers incredible 360 degree views of the San Juan Mountains and locals refer to it as the “best commute in the country.” Everyone is welcome on this tram including your four legged furry friends as long as they are on a leash. Equipped with ski and snowboard racks in the winter, bike racks in the summer and blankets all year round. This tram has truly thought of everything to make your ride unforgettable.

Telluride Gondola, Colorado

7. Skyline Gondola – Queenstown, New Zealand

The views from this gondola, the steepest of its kind in all of the Southern Hemisphere, are epically amazing. This tram takes visitors 450 meters above Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu to the top of Bob’s Peak. You can even take your bike up on it. But what awaits visitors at the top is what makes this tram one of the best. Besides the awesome viewing platforms and outdoor terraces, there is a plethora of activities that await visitors on this peak. For the adrenaline seekers, paragliding, bungee jumping and luge racing are all offered at the top. For those not quite daring enough, there are plenty of mountain biking trails, stargazing tours and scenic dining options as well. The 222- degree view of the Remarkable Range, the town center looking like a Lego city and the plethora of activities at the top make this one amazing tram ride.

ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com
ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com

6. Dubrovnik Cable Car -Dubrovnik, Croatia

Soar up above Dubrovnik’s orange-roofed walled Old Town on this amazing cable car that goes 1,329 feet up into the air. The original cable car that was opened in 1969 was actually bombed out during the 1991 Balkan conflicts, but has since been replaced and re-opened in 2010. It only takes four minutes to do the entire run, but it remains one of the best ways for visitors to take in the Dalmatian coast anytime of the day. It is possible to buy a one-way ticket up and that often gives visitors the best of both worlds, as the walk down is just as scenic and only takes a mere 30 minutes. We suggest aiming for sunset as the sky lights up with color when the sun sinks beneath the Adriatic Sea over this twinkling city with its snaky roads and rocky islands.

Dubrovnik Cable Car

5. Hakone Ropeway – Hakone, Japan

With over two million riders a year, the Hakone Ropeway is hailed as the world’s busiest gondola, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. This 30 minute journey takes visitors 2.5 miles from Togendai Station on the shores of Lake Ashi to Sounzan Station in Hakone, an area known for its hot spring baths. It makes two stops along the way and promises views of the snowcapped Mount Fuji, the crystal clear blue waters of Lake Ashi, the volcanic fumes of Owakudani and forested mountains. The trams run at one minute intervals to the tourist busy town of Hakone, where locals tell visitors to eat a hardboiled egg that has been soaked in the sulfur rich water in order to add seven more years to their life. We aren’t too sure about the jet black egg, but we are sure about making this tram ride a must do while in Japan.

Hakone Ropeway, Japan

4. Langkawi SkyCab – Langkawi, Malaysia

The SkyCab is located at the oldest part of South East Asia and whisks visitors over jungle and rock that is 550 million years old. There are actually three parts of this tram ride, first the base station located at the foot of the Machincang Mountain where visitors catch the tram. The second station is in the middle at an elevation of 650 m above sea level that provides panoramic views of the main island. There are viewing platforms available and here is the chance to get up close to the unique flora. The top station sits at an elevation of 708 m above sea level and features two viewing platforms that offer dramatic views. The entire journey takes about 15 minutes if you choose not to get off and takes you to the island’s second highest peak, Mount Machincang.

Langkawi SkyCab

3. Ngong Ping 360 – Hong Kong, China

It is hailed as being one of the world’s best cable car experiences and with its choice of cabins, incredible views and cultural village, it is easy to see why. The journey is 3.5 miles one way and takes visitors between Tung Chung Town and Ngong Ping on Lantau Island. To start off the gondola makes a hard turn to begin its journey over the stunning Tung Chung Bay and into the lush green mountains of Lantau Island. The views include the South China Sea, the Tian Tan Buddha Statue, the International Airport and the flora and fauna of North Lantau Country Park. For those visitors wanting to splurge, book the incredible crystal cabins that are outfitted with a glass floor, giving you a bird’s eye views over all the sights. You will end up at the touristy Ngong Ping Village where you can visit the monastery, see the giant Buddha statue and explore the museum of cable car replicas from around the world.

Ngong Ping 360

2. Stanserhorn CabriO – Stans, Switzerland

It is the world’s first double-decker, open-top tram in the world and for those of you who are afraid of heights – you may want to skip it. Opened in June 2012, this cable car zips visitors 3,737 feet to the top of Stanserhorn. The lower level of the car with floor to wall windows fits a comfortable 60 people. Taking the staircase to the top is most recommended where an additional 30 people can fit. Fresh mountain area, 360 degree panoramic views and the wind in your hair is what you can expect up here. It takes just six and a half minutes to reach the top and before you know it the rolling green hills, towering mountains and bright blue waters will be below you. It may be the first open-air tram but we doubt it will be the last.

Photo by: Stanserhorn-Bahn
Photo by: Stanserhorn-Bahn

1. Grenoble-Bastille Cable Car – Grenoble, France

Since 1934, a steel cable has connected Grenoble to the summit all year round, in the world’s first urban route that opened with 12-sided cabins painted blue. Nowadays the cable cars look a little different in their ultra modern bubble shape with floor to ceiling windows in a cool silver and red color. Made of plexi-glass and steel these cabins fit six people each and are responsible for taking visitors from the banks of the Isere River to the ancient Bastille fortifications, in just four minutes. Safety is their number one priority here and in January these cable cars shut down for 20 days in order to perform drills, checks and maintenance. On a clear day, not only will visitors have sweeping views of the city of Grenoble but can also see the gorgeous Alps including the iconic Mont Blanc.

Grenoble-Bastille Cable Car

10 Things to See and Do in Dubrovnik, Croatia

The seafaring history, incredible scenery, and the people of Dubrovnik create one of the most engaging Eastern European capitals—a place where old collides with new at almost every turn. Situated in Croatia’s southernmost region between the towering Dinaric Alps and the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik is as picturesque as it is historically gripping. Following a destructive siege in 1991 through 1992, the city has returned to a lively, flourishing, and exciting destination. From sea kayaking to monument hopping, here are the 10 best things to see and do in Dubrovnik.

10. Cathedral of the Assumption

Constructed over top dual historic churches is Dubrovnik Cathedral of the Virgin Mary, a rich centerpiece in the city’s past. The very first church here was in Byzantine design circa the 6th century. The second, rumored to have been funded by Richard the Lionheart, was a Romanesque church which fell in the 1667 earthquake. As they say, the third time’s a charm; in its place, in 1713, a Baroque designed cathedral was created by Roman architects, who reclaimed the space and jump started some interesting, intertwined history. Take a look inside and spy remnants of the two preceding cathedrals, an incredible Titian polyptych painting rising high above the altar, and plum-colored marble columns along with beautiful gold work, carvings, and the main highlight, The Treasury. Lit by lofty windows, the interior isn’t as gloomy as other churches might be, offering a nice perspective on a centuries-old building.

Cathedral of the Assumption, Croatia

9. Sponza Palace

If Gothic Renaissance style thrills you in the slightest, don’t miss a visit to Dubrovnik’s 16th century Sponza Palace. The stone building is almost entirely rectangular with an interior courtyard built in a blend of Renaissance and Gothic styles. Constructed by local Croatian builder Paskoje Miličević, the palace’s original purpose was as a center where worldwide merchants brought goods to be assessed and settle a type of customs fee. Some of the best attractions inside are the sculptures and loggia (an exterior, covered gallery) crafted by a variety of legendary stonecutters. The loggia is supported by a series of arches, creating a sublime courtyard open to the elements. The open air atrium is a breathtaking sight that has played host to myriad weddings and special events. In its time, Sponza Palace has been a treasury, a mint, an armory, a bank, and even the location of a school.

Sponza Palace, Croatia

8. Sea Kayak the Adriatic Coast

The coastline hugging Dubrovnik and area is spectacular and there are many ways to make it familiar, but kayaking is one of the most unforgettable. Short distances or long, a view from the water is almost mandatory. Experienced kayakers can’t wait to get into the Adriatic waters and explore Dubrovnik’s coastline and outlying areas. For those without much experience but with a boatload of gusto, there are plenty of area outfitters to help to plan a safe and exciting sea journey. One of the best kayaking trips is to the Elaphiti Islands, a group of isles reaching from Dubrovnik to the northern Peljesac Peninsula. Only three of the 13 islands are inhabited which leaves plenty of outdoor landscape to contemplate and three islands where you can dock your kayak, meet friendly locals, cycle and hike the interiors, visit historic landmarks, and eat fabulous seafood dishes.

Kayak Adriatic Coast, Croatia

7. Dubrovnik Beaches

Though not your typical beach destination, Dubrovnik boasts some pretty beautiful coastal stretches worthy of an afternoon, but be warned, what a Croatian will say is a “beach” isn’t what most tourists would imagine. On Banje Beach near Old Town there are umbrellas and loungers for rent along the gravel coast. Most of the other beaches are gravel, smaller pebble, and even outright rocks but there’s still a lot to rave about like clear, cool Adriatic water and enchanting backdrops. Copacabana Beach features a shallow drop into the water and is alongside a waterpark, making it perfect for families. The Lapad peninsula is overtaken with hotels flanking a long pebble beach available to the public. Finally, do as the locals do: go east from Ploce gate, walk by Hotel Argentina and the old monastery, and head down a long flight steps to Sveti Jakov Beach, a neighborhood favorite.

Dubrovnik Croatia

6. Dubrovnik Cable Car

There isn’t any better vantage point in the area than from the summit of Mount Srdj and the way to arrive is by a spellbinding cable car ride, up, up, and away! Don’t confuse the old with the new: the first cable car to whisk passengers to the tip of Srdj began its run in 1969 but met its demise during the Croatian War of Independence; now there’s a new car in town, traveling the route since 2010 when they were finally restored. If you’re in Croatia to explore some of the country’s most beautiful islands, this is where you’ll get an amazing perspective of Lokrum, Saipan, Mljet, and Korcula, see the Adriatic spilled out in front of you, and get an eagle’s eye view of historic Old Town. Head east from Old Town by foot and you’ll arrive in Ploce where you can start your alpine adventure.

Photo by: Son of Groucho via Flickr
Photo by: Son of Groucho via Flickr

5. Saipan

Sipanska Luka and Sudurad are charming fishing towns on Saipan, the largest of the Elaphiti Islands. The old homes, hotels, and shops on Sipanska Luka are a great example of the abundant limestone rock used to build across Croatia. Sipanska Luka is enveloped by a scenic port where boats dot the water, coming and going with fresh catches. The sweeping harbour is a great place to stop for a meal and soak in the scenery. Explore the ins and outs of  town via interesting alleyways and small avenues. Sudurad also features a pretty port, host of restaurants, and a few good hotels. The grand, turreted estate of the Skocibuha family, and a 16th century spectacle, is also in Sudurad and was once used as a summer residence for the merchant, seafaring family. Ferries make daily trips to Saipan but note which town they are docking in when making plans.

RnDmS / Shutterstock.com
RnDmS / Shutterstock.com

4. Put Your Dancing Shoes On

If you’re visiting Dubrovnik anytime in July through the end of August, the city will give you a reason to put your dancing shoes on: Dubrovnik Summer Festival. If there’s one thing Eastern Europeans love, it’s their music. When this festival hits, you’ll hear plenty of local, national, and international songs echoing throughout squares, churches, palaces, hotels, fortresses, and many outdoor areas around the city for almost two entire months. There is also a large showing of films, dance and theater performances at more than 80 venues. Since 1950, this cultural showcase has enticed a growing number of visitors to the Renaissance Baroque capital to experience inspirational customs and traditions through the festival, which first premiered back in 1950. It is a true cultural celebration and a festival of the arts where you’ll see those young and old alike participating in lively and unique events.

Photo by: The Dubrovnik Summer Festival
Photo by: The Dubrovnik Summer Festival

3. Koločep

A few kilometers northwest of Dubrovnik is Koločep Island, a quiet, peaceful island and ideal place to appreciate local life. Most of the bustle surrounds the harbor, which is the essence of life here, where ferries come and go, fishing boats pull their prizes to shore, and hotels and restaurants perch above, offering guests a lovely view, both day and night. Renting a bike and touring the small island is one of the best ways to delve into the natural treasures, cycle alongside flourishing olive groves, spy secluded beaches to sunbathe on, and explore two small island villages. Most visitors rave about the ample walking paths meandering around the island, some leading to cliff tops with amazing views of the mainland and nearby islands. Accommodation-wise, there is one larger hotel and some private rentals—that’s just the thing which keeping crowds from pouring in, leaving a small island beautifully untouched.

Kolocep, Croatia

2. Old Town: Explore

Old Town Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and pedestrian-only location with plenty of fascinating things to see throughout. Founded in the 7th century, you can definitely call the city “ancient” Epidaurum refuges that first founded the islands, naming them Laus. Eventually the Slavs came along and settled across the water in Dubrovnik, which then they called Dubrava, meaning “oakwoods”. In the 12th century, the channel dividing the two groups flooded and the refugees were united with the Slavs, all who were safeguarded by the Byzantine Empire. An ideally preserved, medieval, completely walled city, Dubrovnik’s Old Town is filled with historic attractions and modern curiosities. Among the spectacular, medieval, Baroque, and Renaissance landmarks within the impressive buildings and unforgettable city gates are the 14th century Baroque-style Franciscan Monastery; the 11th century Rector’s Palace (old Town Hall); Sponza Palace (customs house); the Dominican Monastery; and several Baroque-style churches.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

1. Take an Historical Walking Tour

The 10th century walls surrounding the city of Dubrovnik are a sight to behold and a magnificent attraction for tourists. Spanning almost 20 feet wide and up to eight feet high in some spots, the walls were made for one reason only—to keep invaders out. Anyone can walk along the entire stretch of ancient walls; it’s one of the best ways to see some of the sights of Old Town from above and soak in majestic views of the Adriatic Sea and coastline. Two forts, (Revelin Fort protecting the western entrance and Lovrijenac Fort protecting the east) along with dual towers, are built directly into the walls and thought to have been incorporated circa the 15th century to upgrade the city’s stronghold. To find the entrance to the walled walk, go to Pile Gate, the main entrance to Dubrovnik, and you can’t miss it.

travel ettiquette

8 Most Dangerous Cliff Jumps in the World

Cliff jumping is a spectacular and often dangerous past time that involves leaping off giant cliffs into the ocean or other body of water. A sport born in Hawaii, it has gained popularity over time both for spectators and participants. Some locations are more dangerous than others and the most dangerous ones often are also the most spectacular. Following are eight of the most dangerous and beautiful cliff jumping locations in the world ranging from the tropical beaches of Mexico to crystal clear pools of water in Switzerland.

1. Acapulco

Cliff diving has been a tradition in Acapulco since the forties and it is currently one of the most famous cliff jumping locations in the world. The jump is off a 45 foot cliff into the ocean. Divers must consider the wind and the timing of the ocean waves to hit the water when there is at least four and a half meters of water covering the jagged bottom. Cliff divers can be watched by paying an entrance fee to gain access to a viewing platform.

Acapulco, Mexico Cliff Diving

2. Kaunolu

Located on the southern end of the Lanai island in Hawaii, a location often credited with the birth of the sport of cliff diving, the Kaunolu cliff jump is a 82 foot drop into the ocean. Called Kehekili’s Leap, native warriors would perform the dive to show their bravery in this sacred spot. In 2002, it was also the home of the third annual Red Bull Cliff Diving event.

Kaunolu Cliff Diving

3. Polignano a Mare

Located in Italy, the Polignano a Mare cliff jump take-off spot is a roof top terrace 26 meters above the Adriatic sea. To access the terrace, one must walk through a private living room. It has been a site for the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series for several years in a row due to its unique location.

Polignano a Mare, Italy

4. Dubrovnik 

A popular holiday destination in Croatia, the cliffs of Dubrovnik are popular among recreational cliff divers. Cliff jumpers can be watched from a series of bars also situated along the high cliffs.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

5. La Quebradas 

Another popular cliff jumping spot in Mexico, the La Quebradas cliff divers are world-famous for jumping 135 feet into the Pacific Ocean. Tourists can watch the divers climb the cliff, pray at the shrine at the top and then jump. With a shallow landing, divers must time their jump so they hit the water when the waves are at their highest or risk hitting the bottom. There are also night shows with divers making the leap while holding torches. A popular viewing spot for the spectacle is the patio of the Hotel El Mirador which is available for $5.

La Quebradas cliffs

6. Mazatlan

Mazatlan is a lesser known cliff jumping location in Mexico. It is in the Parque Glorieta Rodolfo Sanchez Taboada oceanside park and divers jump off a high platform into shallow water. Like other shallow locations, divers must time their jump with the incoming waves to avoid hitting the water when the depth is only six feet deep. The Mazatlan cliff diving performances are generally held around noon and then again in the late afternoon. Unlike some other performances, these can be viewed free of charge.

Mazatlan Cliff Diving

7. Ponte Brolla 

Unlike many of the other cliff diving locations, Ponte Brolla involves a dive into a natural lake in Switzerland. This location has been used for the Swiss Open, European and World Cliff Diving Championships because of its spectacular natural setting. Divers climb a series of ladders to gain access to the 20 meter tall cliffs.

Ponte Brolla Cliff Diving

8. Algarve

Located on the Atlantic coast of southern Portugal, the Algarve cliffs are popular among cliff jumping enthusiasts. Several large rock formations along the Lagos beaches are ideal for cliff jumping and the landing area for many of these rock formations are deeper than some of the landings in Mexico. There are a variety of heights and difficulties to choose from in the area.

Algarve Portugal