With cobblestone streets, architectural feats, delicious pastries, bustling markets, and an atmosphere overflowing with history, it’s no wonder that Paris is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. With so many things to do and see, planning your visit to the City of Lights can seem overwhelming.
No matter where you travel to, planning an itinerary centered around your own unique interests is always the key to having a good time. That said, if you’re looking for a true Parisian experience, there are a number of tried-and-true things that deserve to be at the top of your list for things to see and do in Paris. To help give you a base upon which you can begin to build your own customized itinerary, below are four essential experiences everyone visiting Paris should have.
When you think of Paris, you likely think of its iconic Eiffel Tower. Considering it’s featured in more movies, photographs, and calendars than anyone can count, the Eiffel Tower is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Constructed by French engineer Gustave Eiffel for the World Exhibition of 1889, it was, at the time, the world’s tallest building at 312 meters. If you’re worried about heights, you’ll be happy to know that the construction of the tower is so sound that it never sways more than nine centimeters, even in strong winds.
The Eiffel Tower is most spectacular at night when the 20,000 lights lining every inch of the tower light up together in performance. These 200,000-watt light shows last five minutes and happen every hour on the hour starting at dusk and lasting until 1 a.m. In addition to the tower itself, the view from the top is a must-see. However, due to popularity and recently added security measures, if you wish to ride to the top of the Eiffel tower, you should reserve plenty of time for waiting.
Rue des Martyrs
There are so many famous tourist attractions to check out in Paris that many of the smaller, more authentic experiences can be easily overlooked. One such experience is wandering Paris’s old market streets. Namely Rue des Martyrs. The street is an old historic route in the Pigalle district leading up to the village of Montmartre. Plus, it’s home to a neighborhood market that’s been in operation for over 200 years. Filling this market is around 200 shops and restaurants.
For foodies, it’s heaven. No matter your preferences, you’re bound to find something that lights up your palette. In fact, there are plenty of options for fruit, fish, pastries, chocolate, and gourmet cafés. If fashion takes priority, you can spend your time hopping from one chic boutique to another.
There is your standard museum experience, then there is the Louvre. As the world’s largest art museum, the Louvre has 675,000 square feet filled with works from nearly every corner and civilization of the world. The museum is as interesting for history enthusiasts as it is for art connoisseurs. The three most famous and most popular pieces inside the museum are:
The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci;
Venus de Milo by Alexandros of Antioch, and;
Winged Victory of Samothrace.
To get the most out of your visit to the Louvre, you’re better off prioritizing pieces that actually interest you instead of going straight to the crowd-pleasers. Or, for a truly unique experience, you can go in with no plan at all. With over 35,000 pieces scattered throughout the Louvre, you’re bound to find something that interests you no matter where you go.
Notre-Dame de Paris
If you grew up watching Disney movies, you likely came across The Hunchback of Notre Dame at some point in your childhood. While there may not be a hunchback currently inhabiting it, the Cathedral of Notre-Dame is certainly a real place and a must-see during your visit to Paris. The Cathedral of Notre-Dame’s real history is worth a feature film in itself. Although its foundation was first laid in 1163, it wasn’t until 170 years later that its design was actually fully constructed. Then, after nearly being destroyed during the French Revolution, the Cathedral was restored from 1841 to 1864 by architect Viollet-le-Duc.
On April 15, 2019, a fire caused severe damage to the Cathedral, especially the roof and spire. As a result, the Cathedral and its immediate surroundings are closed to the public. Despite the closure for reconstruction, tourists are encouraged to visit areas closeby to take pictures. So don’t let this unfortunate circumstance keep you from seeing this masterful piece of architecture.
There has never been a better time than now to be a solo female traveler looking to explore Europe. Cities are becoming safer, female-friendly hotels are popping up and it is getting easier to meet other solo female travelers around the world. Here are 20 safe European cities for female solo travelers.
20. Vienna, Austria
Austria is ranked number 4 on the Global Peace Index, making it an excellent and safe country for female solo travelers to visit. Vienna, the capital of Austria has earned the name of “city with the highest quality of life” several years in a row.
Vienna is full of stunning architecture, music, and history. There are plenty of museums to visit, such as Sigmund Freud’s house. This museum will help you understand why Vienna is known as the “city of dreams”. You may also want to make a stop at Prater park to see the iconic Riesenrad Ferris wheel landmark. Finally, be sure to head to a local restaurant and try authentic Austrian food such as Wiener Schnitzel (a thin, breaded, pan-fried veal cutlet), Sachertorte (chocolate torte), or an Apfelstrudel (apple strudel).
19. Edinburgh, Scotland
Between the breathtaking landscapes, ancient castles, and rich history, Scotland has a lot to offer. Scotland, a region of the United Kingdom ranks 45 on the Global Peace Index and is considered safe for female solo travelers. There is so much to do and see in Edinburg, the capital of Scotland. To begin, if you visit in August, there is a month-long arts festival called Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This festival offers theatrical performances, comedy shows, and many other activities that would be perfect for a female solo traveler, especially if you’re hoping to meet new people.
Moreover, consider taking a guided tour of Edinburgh Castle and take in the medieval architecture. After visiting the castle, be sure to head to Calton Hill which is a high point in the city that allows you to catch a full view of Edinburgh. Finish your day at a local pub and indulge in authentic food while meeting the locals.
18. Berlin, Germany
Berlin, Germany’s capital is home to 3.5 million residents. Berlin is rich in history and full of culture and would be an excellent place to explore on your own. There are many restaurants, markets, and cafes in Berlin that will make you feel comfortable dining alone.
Discover what this city has to offer by taking a free walking tour, use the bike-sharing program, or hop on public transportation. Be sure to check out the Brandenburg Gate, and the Holocaust Memorial, and the remnants of the Berlin Wall.
17. Bruges, Belgium
If you are a solo female traveler looking to immerse yourself in a fairy tale this would be the city to visit. Straight off a postcard, the city of Bruges is loaded with cobblestone streets, historic houses, and canals. It is here where you will be inspired to take long strolls throughout the streets and enjoy Belgian pints of beer by street-side cafes while people watching.
This city is extremely safe, for all travelers and welcomes visitors, especially in the summertime when it becomes peak travel season. There is a range of good hotels along with budget hostels that will meet any traveler’s budget, and English is widely understood throughout. Female travelers will feel safe as locals are willing to lend a hand if needed and are more than happy to give advice on where to go, what to see, and where to grab the next pint of beer.
16. Santorini, Greece
If you want to see jaw-dropping scenery, be sure to add Santorini, Greece to your travel wish list. The emerald Mediterranean Sea is enough to take your breath away, but also the picturesque white villas are a sight to see too. Many people travel to Santorini with a partner or friend but that doesn’t mean you can’t travel there solo.
With friendly locals and an affordable bus system, you’ll be able to navigate your way across the city.
15. Paris, France
Paris, France is known as the city of love. So it may seem ironic that one would travel there alone. However, exploring this beautiful city alone means that you don’t have to abide by anyone else’s opinions or plans. Further, exploring this city is easy and best to do either on foot or by taking the metro.
There are so many amazing things to see and do in Paris, France. Be sure to check out the iconic Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the Arc de Triomphe. You should also enjoy a bottle of wine and a baguette all to yourself during your stay too.
14. London, England
London, England is an excellent destination for solo female travels. Traveling through this city is easy from the amazing public transportation system to the remarkable hostels, hotels, and Airbnb’s. Not to mention English is their first language.
During your stay, be sure to visit Buckingham Palace, take a tour of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and visit one of the many museums London has to offer. You should also dine at a local pub to indulge in traditional British food such as fish and chips, or a Toad in the hole. Further, dining at a pub will also help you meet the locals as well as other solo travelers too.
13. Oslo, Norway
Oslo is a dream for female solo travelers, alas a bit expensive at times. It is Norway’s largest city and a great cultural city destination that is overflowing with things to see and do. Female solo travelers will feel safe no matter where they stay but may feel some extra comfort if they choose to stay on the women-only floor of the 130-year old Grand Hotel. Here they will find rooms stacked with books, magazines, a yoga mat, toiletries, and a female room-service menu, without the room service charge!
Wandering around the Vigeland Sculpture Park, which is 80 acres and feature 212 bronze and granite sculptures, you are sure to meet other solo travelers who will become quick friends. Head out to one of the many vibrant nightclubs or theaters with new-found travel friends for an unforgettable experience.
12. Dublin, Ireland
Ireland is a very safe country. According to the Global Peace Index, Ireland ranks number 12 in the world. Further, as a female solo traveler, you will feel comfortable dining alone and you may even run into another solo traveler during your stay.
Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is laden with historic buildings including the captivating Dublin Castle. Some other great places to see are the St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the National Museum of Ireland, and other must-see historic Attractions in Dublin.
11. Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal is a wonderful place for female solo travelers. To begin, there are many safe and affordable hostels to stay in where you will meet many other solo travelers too. Secondly, Portugal ranks 3rd on the Global Peace Index.
Lisbon is full of rugged yet wonderful architecture and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. Consider having a beach day all to yourself, or explore the Castelo de S. Jorge or the Jerónimos Monastery. Exploring this beautiful city is easy and can be done either by public transportation, on foot, or on a bike.
10. Stockholm, Sweden
Built over 14 islands and connected by over 50 bridges this lovely cosmopolitan city is home to more than two million people. It is known for its gorgeous modern architecture, friendly people, and captivating waterways. Women are treated equally like men here and solo female travelers will face no issues in terms of harassment, drink spiking, or pickpocketing.
There is a slew of budget hostels throughout the city that are both affordable and safe, and a great way to connect with other travelers. This is a great city to experience Nordic culture in its modern and multicultural avatar, as well as dine on delightful local food. English is widely spoken here, and the locals are often teased for speaking a mix of Swedish and English-nicknamed Swinglish. Women will have no trouble finding people to talk to, tours to take and culture to experience here in Stockholm.
9. Cardiff, Wales
Cardiff is the capital and largest city of Wales. This city is also considered one of Britain’s safer cities and for that reason, it is Wales’s most popular tourist destination. Along with being a safe city, Cardiff is full of culture, has many captivating castles and if you meet the locals they’ll surely share some of their ancient Welsh legends.
Further, students make up about 10% of Cardiff’s population which means younger female solo travelers will surely be well taken care of. There are many things to see and do in Cardiff. During your stay be sure to check out the National Museu, Cardiff Bay, and Cardiff Castle.
8. Helsinki, Finland
The capital of Finland is one of the best cities for female solo travelers, thanks to its friendly locals, its reputation for being safe and beautiful. This walkable city is loaded with lovely parks, free city events, music, and shopping. Solo travelers will delight in the 20th-century architecture, the Helsinki Cathedral and the National Museum of Finland, which are always, home to other visitors.
One of the best things to do when you first get into the city is to take a walking tour, in order to fully appreciate the city’s cultural heritage, then move on to the shopping and dining. One cannot travel here without taking a dip in the Yrjönkatu Indoor Swimming Pool, (the oldest pool) built-in 1928. Recently renovated to house three pools and wonderful saunas, this is where women meet after work and have a sauna and swim followed by a drink, all done without any clothes on.
7. Prague, Czech Republic
Immerse yourself in the alluring culture of the Czech Republic by visiting its capital, Prague. There is an abundance of things to see and do in the wonderful city of Prague.
Prague is not only a beautiful place to visit but the country, the Czech Republic ranks in the top 10 of the Global Peace Index. Consider meeting other solo travelers by taking a walking tour, or keep to yourself and explore one of their many museums, or even check out a show at the State Opera.
6. Copenhagen, Denmark
The capital of Denmark is a vibrant and colorful city, which still manages to maintain a small-town feeling. New meets old in this fairytale-like city that features ancient buildings and towering glass and steel skyscrapers. Many of the state-run museums in this city are free admission, making it easy to save on spending and you can’t miss out on visiting the world’s oldest amusement park- Tivoli Gardens Amusement Park.
This city offers a unique experience that is perfect for female solo travelers called ‘Meet the Danes.’ This service arranges home-dinners with a Danish family or a single woman and her friend. Expect a traditional Danish meal and plenty of conversation with your new-found friends. Don’t miss the goddess Gefjun fountain that depicts the mythology of Denmark’s creation and magic within the Norse religion.
5. Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona, Spain is known for its captivating architecture and art and would be a great destination for female solo travelers. For starters, the public transportation system is excellent. You’ll have the option of taking a bus, metro, trains, or trams, however, you will also be able to see a lot of the attractions on foot too. While Barcelona is generally safe, it’s always important to still take precautions such as keeping your personal belongings close by to prevent pickpocketing and don’t flash around money or expensive belongings.
During your stay be sure to check out the Sagrada Familia church, designed by Antoni Gaudi, and the Picasso Museum.
4. Zurich, Switzerland
Zurich is an extremely safe city and therefore traveling alone as a female here is also incredibly safe, and downright breathtaking. Snow-capped Alps loom in the background, museums and art galleries line the streets and the nightlife is something to speak of. Female travelers will find no shortage of shopping to do here, cobblers, tailors, metalsmiths, candle makers, jewelry makers, and watchmakers fill the streets.
Choices of accommodations are endless here and if you feel nervous at all in this city we suggest heading over to Lady’s First Design Hotel, which was built especially for female travelers. The ancient center is the perfect place to stroll through the winding lanes and look up to the tall church steeples, stopping for coffee at sidewalk cafes. Further, Zuri-West is where to find the hottest nightlife in the city, just in case you are looking to meet new friends that want to dance the night away.
3. Sorento, Italy
Sorento is a coastal town located in the southwestern part of Italy. This charming town faces the Bay of Naples on the Sorrentine Peninsula. Be sure to make your way to Piazzo Tasso, a central square in Sorrento that offers plenty of restaurants and shopping. Here you can try their famous Gelato, or drink a cup of delicious coffee.
Not only is there a lot to see and do in Sorento, but it’s also a popular vacation spot for Europeans. This means that you’ll hear a lot of English in both the restaurants and in the streets of Sorento which will only make traveling by yourself even easier. Further, you’ll find that it is easy to navigate around the town which will only add to a stress-free experience.
2. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam received the nickname “Venice of the North” because it has many beautiful canals. This charming city has something for every type of female traveler. Whether you enjoy history, are a party animal, or prefer to simply take in the scenic view, Amsterdam has it all.
According to the Global Peace Index, the Netherlands ranks in the top 20 in the world. There is plenty to see and do in Amsterdam and you will most likely run into other solo travelers too.
1. Reykjavik, Iceland
It has been rated as the number one safest country for women to travel to alone and Iceland has been beckoning female solo travelers for as long as it can remember. This is the ultimate travel adventure for the traveler who loves the outdoors. Think glacier hiking in the Pingvellir National Park, skiing at Blafjoll, and Viking horse riding at Thingvellir.
If you aren’t the outdoorsy type, don’t worry there is plenty for you to do here including the chance to relax and de-stress in one of the many thermal pools and spas across the city. If you’re lucky you may even get to witness the famous Aurora Borealis. This city happens to be famously expensive though and we highly suggest staying at a hostel instead of a hotel to save money. This city is notoriously safe, even at night and as a female solo traveler, make sure you put Reykjavik on your bucket list.
Visiting Paris as a tourist, seeing sight after sight- like the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, and The Louvre- can get very overwhelming and exhausting. So take a break from the lines and spend time exploring Paris’ nitty-gritty- you will discover what makes Paris a world-class destination time and time again.
10. Montmartre/ Pigalle
This is the nightlife district of Paris. Home to the clubs, cabarets, and bars of Paris, this quarter is where the famous Moulin Rouge bar is found- although it is more of a tourist destination than anything. If you want a real Parisian night on the town, opt for one of the local cabarets or clubs instead; if you can get in, be sure to make your way to a dance floor- it is an oddly satisfying feeling joined all the locals, dancing their night away. Montmartre is the hill on which sits the beautiful Sacré Coeur church; here you can be sure to get one of the best views of all of Paris. The streets running around the church are considered the artist quarter of Paris, although today it is mostly commercial and geared for tourists. You won’t find much local here anymore, but it is still worth a walkthrough for the atmosphere alone.
People come to Batignolles for the relaxing, café culture commonly associated with Parisian life. All along the streets here are rows and rows of tables and chairs, perfect for a coffee, croissant, and people watching. Parks are in abundance here; although it is a bit further from the heart of Paris, people come here to experience a more laid back, Parisian way of life.
8. La Chapelle
La Chapelle in Paris is characterized primarily by its rich diversity; walking a few blocks down one of the streets will attack your senses with food from all over the world- Indian, Pakastani, and Moroccan, just to name a few. Ethnic shops and restaurants definitely dominate here, and if you are looking for traditional Parisian cuisine, this quarter may not be the place. But, this neighborhood is evolving and gentrifying, as young couples and artists are quickly realizing the draw of this diverse, immigrant population. There is still traditional Parisian architecture and important landmarks to be explored in this intensely multicultural area, but it is the atmosphere and intoxicating energy that you will remember from this area- it will surely keep you here longer than perhaps you had planned!
7. Opéra- Grands Boulevards
The quarter of the Grands Boulevards is the main shopping area of Paris. Running from the Place de la Madeleine in the 8th arrondissements to the Place de la Bastille in the 11th, this district is packed full of all the big Paris department stores. The Boulevard Haussmann is the heart of all the shopping, and if you are so inclined, hours could be spent on this street alone (credit cards, anyone?). However, this district is more than just shopping; home to some important historical sites (Place de la Bastile) as well as beautiful architectural ones, like the Opera House, one could quite easily spend their entire Parisian vacation in this district without feeling cheated in the slightest.
6. Quartier Latin
The Latin Quarter is the young, hip, vibrant part of Paris. As the traditional student quarter, covering most of the 6th arrondissement, this part of Paris is full of cafés and restaurants; you’ll find the traditional French cuisine here, but try some of the many ethnic options lining the boulevards- the street food here is divine. Boulevard Saint Michel is a famous street in Paris, filled with many little shops and bookstores- if it is raining, step into one of the many cinemas on this street! (even if you don’t speak French, it is a quintessential Paris experience). This is the young Paris; partiers and locals give this quarter its pulse. However, if you are looking for a peaceful stay, do not be based here, as the music and laughter continue until the early morning hours!
5. Saint Germain des Près-Odéon
Saint Germain is one of the more upscale, posh neighborhoods of Paris. It is in this neighborhood that you will find the impeccably dressed and proper Parisians out for a stroll (even the carriage-pushing mothers are perfectly coiffed in Dior or Chanel). The streets are lined with many artistic shops and galleries, although the best artists often line the promenade along the Seine! The food is great, although a bit more upscale than some of the other neighborhoods, but there are some little food stands tucked in and amongst the narrow streets that offer some cheaper, local alternatives.
4. Invalides- École Militaire
This part of Paris is largely administrative. It contains many impressively large buildings, like the French National Assembly, as well as the house of the Prime Minister and the Musée d’Orsay. This area is also home to one of the most visited landmarks in all of Europe, the Eiffel Tower. Around the Eiffel Tower, the crowds are often overwhelming and the lineups are usually long, but once you get your obligatory “holding up the Eiffel Tower” picture, wander away from the crowds and toward the quieter, more residential streets. Here you will find some of the best architecture in Paris, and you can spend hours exploring the many streets and important buildings. This part of town (away from the Eiffel Tower, of course) feels very local; there are plenty of little cafés and patches of green where you will see Parisians enjoying their lunch breaks. It may not be as flashy as some of the other Parisian districts, but there is a certain authenticity that almost makes you feel as if you are a Parisian yourself!
3. Notre Dame- Ile de La Cité
Few tourists see Paris without a visit to the famed Notre Dame Cathedral; in fact, it is one of the Paris landmarks that should not be missed. But, few realize that the cathedral is actually centered on an island in the middle of the Seine, the Ile de la Cité. This is essentially the center, the heart, of Paris. One of the first settled locations in Paris, it has grown and evolved over the years into a vibrant neighborhood, although it still maintains much of its original, Parisian charm. Accommodation is extremely pricey on the island though, so your best bet is to stay off the island itself, but there are plenty of quaint streets and traditional architecture to fill up your day- and your memory card!
Hip, edgy, diverse, modern, and traditional: all words used to describe the Bastille neighborhood in Paris. Popular with students, young adults, and artists, the Bastille streets are filled with eating and shopping options; here is where you go if you are looking for something Parisian without breaking the bank. And due to this area’s role in the French Revolution, the Bastille neighborhood has some of the richest history in the country, and even the rest of Europe. Bastille is definitely a fun place to hang out and discover the nitty-gritty of Paris, and staying here won’t break the bank either!
1. Le Marais
In recent years, Le Marais has become a hip, chic place to live. Situated in the 4th arrondissement on the north bank of the Seine, it has row after row of beautiful historical buildings and quaint residential homes. The narrow streets are home to many local artisan shops and second-hand thrift stores, as well as countless local cafés and restaurants. Since the opening of the Pompidou Centre (an architectural interest in its own right), this area has become quite popular with tourists, although it still maintains a feeling of authentic Paris sometimes lost around some of the more famous landmarks.
Stairways have the ability to be beautiful, graceful and elegant but not all stairs are created equally. There are hundreds of thousands of staircases around the world that are downright scary, for many different reasons. Some have caused death, many are falling apart and others lead to eerie experiences. From the depths of Paris to the peaks in Yosemite to the tops of temples; here are 12 of the world’s scariest staircases.
12. Inca Stairs, Peru
The Inca Stairs leads up to one of the most famous photographed peaks, carved into the side of Huayna Picchu and they are among the scariest stairs in the world. If you want to ascend these stairs you will have to be one of the first 400 visitors to the ruins, as in recent years the park has capped the number of climbers.
A total of about 600 feet of steep granite rocks create the stairs and in recent years metal chains have been added to some parts that are especially dangerous. The stairs lead to the Moon Temple, one of the least visited worship places in Machu Picchu and many do not make it all the way up them as they are that scary. The views from the top are surreal, overlooking the Urubamba River and the ruins below.
11. Moaning Cavern Stairs, California, USA
The bones of approximately 100 prehistoric humans were once found at the bottom of these stairs, in this largest single-chamber public cave in California. In order to reach this cave, that is big enough to fit the Statue of Liberty in, climbers must descend 235 stairs, 144 of which are on a spiral staircase.
This damp cave is known for its eeriness, sounds of moaning and wailing are often heard as visitors make their way down. Back in the early 1900’s before the stairs were built visitors were actually lowered into the cavern in buckets with only candles or whale oil lamps to light the way. The history of this place, along with the creepy sounds will surely make the hair on the back of your neck stand straight up.
10. Cape Horn Stairs, Chile
Cape Horn is known as the last piece of land on earth before Antarctica and this tiny little piece of land is visited by few people. Most people come here to visit the Albatross Monument, a monument dedicated to the thousands of sailors that lost their lives in the treacherous seas. To climb these stairs you must first be able to get here, a harrowing thought considering only seven cruise ships disembark at the Island.
Grab your rain gear and some water as you land on the island to face 162 slippery ocean sprayed stairs. By the time you reach the top you will most likely be soaked, cold and wind whipped. The hardest part of the stairs comes at the top when the stairs flatten into tiers of wooden boardwalk, slippery, soaked and covered in mist. The reward when you climb these stairs is access to a place that few ever get to visit.
9. Sagrada Familia, Spain
It was clear when architects built this Roman Catholic Church they did not consider the number of people who would be coming here to worship. Gaudi has envisioned a forest canopy when designing the rooftop here but didn’t quite think of what the stairs would look like when more and more people came.
The spiral staircase to the top is downright scary, void of any banisters or handrails. It coils high and long against the tightly enclosed walls and at anytime hordes of people are trying to ascend and descend. Many people avoid this church simply because of the stairs and if you think are brave enough to challenge it, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
8. Flørli Stairs, Norway
These stairs pride themselves on being the longest wooden staircase on earth, made up of 4,444 steps that ascend 2,427 feet from the bottom. They start at the edge of Lysefjord and run to the top of the mountain in the small village of Flørli. The stairs run alongside the former water pipes as the now abandoned village of Flørli used to be a power plant village.
The stairs seemingly cling to the side of the mountain and provide breathtaking views all the way up. Count on questioning every creak you hear as you ascend up as these stairs, as they are both old and noisy, due in large part to the fact they are wooden. The hike up will take you anywhere from 3-5 hours and at the top, you will be rewarded with fantastic views and a history lesson from the historic hydropower hall that still exists.
7. Angkor Wat Temple Stairs, Cambodia
These stairs were supposedly created to be steep, in order to remind climbers that heaven is hard to reach. Therefore it seems there is no shame in hanging your head, dropping down to your hands and knees or pulling yourself up with the ropes provided to reach the uppermost temples. The stairs are actually inclined at a 70 degree angle and are known to be some of the steepest stairs in the world.
Many people have actually spoken out about these stairs, proclaiming that it’s not right to have tempting stairs in a worship area. Take extreme caution if you choose to climb these stairs as one missed step can lead to you tumbling down them, sure to cause injury and maybe even death.
6. Half Dome Stairs, California, USA
Located in Yosemite National Park, these next stairs lead up to the most iconic peak in Yosemite Valley but getting up here is only possible for about 400 people a day. Snag one of these hard to get permits between Memorial Day and October to attempt this gruesome seven mile all-incline hike. What awaits climbers is a climb up a rock face along a cable ladder, for more than 400 vertical feet. It is absolutely essential that climbers check the weather forecast before attempting this hike as people have fallen to their death.
Proper footwear and gear is a necessity and be aware that if you try and climb these stairs without a permit, you will face possible jail time and fines. Hikers will be rewarded at the top with incredible panoramic views of the Yosemite Valley and the High Sierra.
5. Catacombs, Paris
Most everyone has heard of the Catacombs, the home of the remains of more than six million people, and if visiting isn’t scary enough, one has to contend with the creepy staircases. To reach the actual catacombs visitors will have to descend 130 steps, a narrow spiral stone staircase that leaves many claustrophobic. The sun and light quickly fade away as you descend into the darkness where bones and skulls await.
There is another set of stairs that await visitors on the way out, this one made up of only 83 stairs and most people ascend them quickly, wanting to get back into the fresh air and sunlight. A dizzying spiral staircase leading to rooms of bones; yup we think that qualifies as one of the scariest sets of stairs in the world.
4. Taihang Mountains Spiral Staircase, China
Far southwest of Beijing is a 300-foot tall spiral staircase that draws visitors from all over the world. That, in fact, was the goal of this incredible staircase when it was built, to encourage visitors to come to the Taihang Mountains in Linzhou. This so called “Stairway to Heaven” is built right on the side of the mountain and offers incredible views. But not just anyone is allowed to climb this staircase.
All potential climbers here have to sign a form stating that they have no heart or lung problems and that they are under 60 years of age. Looking more like a beanstalk, this dizzying staircase is not meant for the weak and visitors who plan on going on should be in good shape. No one quite knows what will happen if you lie about your age, but we suggest sticking to the rules and getting here before you turn 60.
3. Pailon del Diablo Waterfall, Ecuador
Translate the name of this waterfall into English and you get “The Devil’s Cauldron”, therefore it should come as no surprise that these stairs are extremely scary! They were built to blend into the landscape and at first glance, you won’t even notice them but be aware, these steps can play tricks on you. The steps themselves are made out of smooth, oversize pebbles that become slippery from the mist of the waterfalls and offer extremely little traction.
When looking down at them they create an illusion of a slippery stone slide and the chance of falling off is high. For those of you who want something to hold onto, there is a metal railing that runs the length of the stairs. Don’t depend too much on it though, it gets slippery from all the water droplets and some say it’s really not that sturdy. The view of the waterfall from the top though is totally worth trekking up and down these stairs.
2. Haiku Stairs, Oahu, Hawaii
These stairs are actually so scary that they have been banned, as in no one is allowed to use them anymore. This rickety set of 3,922 stairs lead half a mile up Oahu’s Koolau Mountain Range. These stairs were actually contrasted in 1942 by the U.S Navy as a means to install communication wires and were nicknamed the “Highway to Heaven”. Daredevil hikers quickly discovered them after WWII and started to climb them for their absolutely incredible views.
In the 1980’s the stairs were officially closed to the public due to safety reasons, although many chose to ignore it and still climbed them. Nowadays there is a guard placed at the bottom of the stairs and many of them were destroyed when a storm blew through in 2015. It is unsure what the future of these stairs is, but if they ever happen to reopen we suggest tackling them, as even though they are scary, the views are beyond words.
1. Mount Huashan Heavenly Stairs, China
It is considered one of the most dangerous walks in the world and although the name deceives you with the word “heaven”, these stairs are more like hell. No one in history has actually even counted the number of steps, perhaps they lost count as they peered over the edge and were faced with a deathly drop. The stairs are carved into a sacred Taoist mountain and go so high up into the mountainside you lose track of them.
The side stone steps are supported by a single railing in which many trekkers hang on to as they ascend up. Unfortunately, if you thought these steps were the most dangerous part, you would be wrong. What awaits climbers after these steps is a trail known as the most dangerous on earth, a horizontal walkway consisting of planks fastened to the side of the mountain with just a single chain.
It is an art form most associated with holy places, mostly Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages but stained glass can be found in so many different venues around the world. If you are lucky the sun will hit the glass just right, giving way to indescribable beauty and illumination. Stained glass windows aren’t just there for beauty but they most often tell a story, educate and inspire people. From the largest stained glass window in the world to medieval churches to modern-day takes on this art form, here are seven examples of incredible stained glass throughout our world.
7. Chapel of Thanks-Giving, Dallas, Texas
The most prominent and recognizable feature of the Thanks-Giving Square is the Chapel of Thanksgiving, thanks to the Glory Window; one of the largest horizontally mounted stained-glass pieces in the world. The chapel is a small spiral tower and the window was designed by Gabriel Loire who designed it to feature brighter colors as the spiral reaches its apex, becoming brighter as it reaches the center.
The spiral shape of the window was inspired by the spiraled shape of the chambered nautilus, a squid that lives inside a shell. The spiral is made up of 73 panels of glass and is one of the most unique stained glass features around the world. The chapel is part of a three-acre complex that also includes a garden and museum, dedicated to how Thanksgiving is celebrated around the world.
6. Erawan Museum, Bangkok
There are thousands of temples to discover in Bangkok but if you are looking for incredible stained glass, the Erawan Museum is the place to find just that. This whimsical museum is actually a sculpture of the three-headed elephant, Erawan, from the Hindu mythology and boasts an amazing stained glass ceiling. German artist Jacob Schwarzkopf was in charge of the project and took a traditional approach to the job, asking glass companies to use the ancient procedure of blowing the glass to produce the stained glass.
The stained glass is semi-abstract although it represents the story of the earth and consists of the five continents at the middle with the sun shining to provide energy to all life forms. Surrounding this is the ring of 12 zodiac signs and the human figure depicted in various gestures. Awe-inspiring to look at, don’t forget to explore the rest of this awesome museum.
5. Resurrection Cemetery, Illinois
It is here where you will find the world’s largest stained glass window, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Pickel Studio created this window that sits over 22,000 square feet of faceted glass and contains 2,448 panels. Work on this stained glass started in the 1960’s and since then over 1,000 new and exciting windows and walls of glass have been added. One of the most impressive places in the world to see such an extraordinary amount of stained glass.
4. Winchester Cathedral, England
In 1642 the cathedrals huge medieval stained glass West Window was deliberately smashed by Cromwell’s forces following the outbreak of the Civil War in 1642, a tragedy to the beautiful works of art. After the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 the broken glass was actually gathered up and used again.
But this time there was no rhyme or reason to the design, the glass was placed randomly after it was determined it would be too hard to put back together. What results is a collection of colorful pieces that shine in the sunlight and tell a story of history, tragedy, and rebuilding.
3. Chicago Cultural Center, Illinois
Hundreds of thousands of visitor’s flock here each year, not just to marvel at the beautifully stained glass domes but also because of the many free public events it hosts. The landmark building is indeed home to two magnificent stained glass dome though, one that claims to be the largest stained glass Tiffany Dome in the world. In the south side of the building is that claim to fame, the Tiffany dome that stands 38 feet in diameter with some 30,000 pieces of glass.
This dome was restored in 2008, bringing even more visitors to gaze at its beauty. The second dome is located on the north side of the building and is a whopping 40 feet in diameter and features over 50,000 pieces of glass designed in an intricate Renaissance pattern. Whether you are coming here for the free festivals, art exhibits or family events, make sure to check out these two incredible stained glass works.
2. Sainte-Chapelle, Paris
This royal medieval Gothic chapel located in the heart of Paris boasts some of the most impressive stained glass in the world. There are a total of fifteen huge 13th-century windows that fill the nave and apse and despite some damage, are still in incredible condition. The windows are practically floor to ceiling and display a clear iconographical program.
A painstaking seven-year restoration of the windows was completed in early 2015, a process that removed centuries of dirt from the thousands of panels. It is best to visit on a sunny day when the deep blues and red stand out best, in images that depict Old Testament scenes and the Crucifixion. One does not need to be religious to appreciate this incredible artwork.
1. Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, Netherlands
This building features a modern take on stained glass, according to designers the buildings façade is a screen of colored relief glass that depicts famous images from Dutch television. There are hundreds of panels of glass that represent images from all genres and eras and although difficult to see the images clearly from all angles, they can be seen more clearly from the inside. Described as cathedral-like, this is one of the most impressive modern stained glass displays out there.
The building itself is actually housed both underground and above ground, 10 stories’ in total with five of them being below the surface. Inside the building houses the national broadcasting archives which encompass over 700,000 hours of television, film, music and radio footage.
Travelling can be very pricey but so incredible. Sometimes places are expensive just because of the hype that surrounds in with celebrity travel, media or even just Pinterest. But what places are truly worth saving up for? Don’t get sucked into the trendy travel locations, save up for a trip that will make you check some items off your bucket list and continue to be enriched with valuable life experience.
1. French Polynesia
Ready for the trip of a lifetime? It’s pretty pricey but worth every penny. The French Polynesia has so many islands of beauty to offer including Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Ra’iatea and Taha’a, Tuamotus, and last but not least, Marquesas. Know for their uber relaxing spas and stunning black pearls, you’ll be ready to live there permanently by the end of your trip. The best time of year to travel is between May and September to avoid rainy season.
Find your place in the middle of no where. With friendly locals and a historically rich landscape, this island won’t disappoint. Snorkel, dive and zipline through the islands’ stunning surroundings to have an unforgettable experience that you will reminisce about for years to come.
Bienvenue to the City of Love! You need to see this destination at least once in your lifetime to understand what the hype is all about. Stroll through the streets of Paris, visiting historical landmarks and eating incredible food. Oh, and don’t forget about the delicious wine at every meal.
Make the flight to this tropical paradise that is covered in stunning cliffs, volcanoes, jungles, canyons and just about everything in between. With multiple islands, there’s no shortage of things to do and see on your bucket list trip. Snorkel with the friendly wildlife in the ocean, learn to surf and hike some risky trails with jaw dropping views. You won’t get photos like this anywhere else in the world! Hawaii is truly a traveller’s paradise.
You will definitely want to save up for this amazing destination. It’s everything you hope it to be and so much more! Go to the Blue Lagoon and swim in the bright blue hot springs, then hop in a car and camp anywhere on the island. That’s right, you can camp anywhere in Iceland! If you are the adventurous type, this trip is definitely for you. You can whale watch and visit some incredible geysers that make stunning photos. Last but not least, go visit the countless waterfalls that are scattered over this heart stopping landscape. Needless to say, it’s a perfect vacation.
6. Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada
Looking for a peaceful, rejuvenating getaway with first class treatment? To describe the beauty of this location leaves me at a loss for words (very uncommon). Having been there, all that can be said is that the fresh air and beautiful scenery is a sight for sore eyes and the perfect way to wake up every morning.
Take a long trip down under and explore every inch of this incredible country. With hot weather, the world famous Great Barrier Reef and the 12 Apostles, you’d think that would be enough! But guess what? You can visit Kangaroo Island to see the country’s most popular animal roam freely. The cost is steep but the experience definitely worth it. Head down to Australia!
It seems that France was created with hundreds if not thousands of opportunities to snap the perfect photo, as it is loaded with 2,000+ miles of shoreline, seven major mountain ranges and a slew of urban vistas, valleys and plains. Getting up high here is easy, as a rooftop is often just a short but steep climb away, as are the cliffs that are beckoning to be traversed. Prepare yourself for some of the most beautiful views from these seven different places around France.
7. Nice’s Colline du Château
It was once a fortified structure for military purposes that sat atop this 92m hilltop overlooking the Nice Bay but was destroyed in 1706 by order of Louis XIV. Nowadays the place has been turned into a park and garden, where locals come to hang out and where tourists stop to take in the incredible views. To reach the park visitors have a couple options, the first is to walk up montee Lesage and climbs the steps at the eastern end of rue Rossetti, while the second lets you take the elevator up from under Tour Bellanda. Either way you reach this park, expect views of the sapphire sea stretching out below you, the Baie des Anges and the old port. Complete with palm tress and promenades, this is quintessential Riviera.
6. Aiguille du Midi
The Aiguille du Midi is a 3842m peak in the Mont Blanc massif of the French Alps, and about as close as you can get to the summit of Mont-Blanc without actually hiking to it. It also happens to be one of the highest mountain peaks served by an aerial lift system. For those of you looking for one of the most stunning view in France, head to the center of Chamonix Town where you can catch a ride on the cable car. The cable car brings you to the summit terrace where you will have a clear view of Mont-Blanc and the surrounding mountains. If you dare, step out into the glass room that is suspended above the chasm for the ultimate experience. Also from the terrace visitors can get on-board the Panoramic Mont Blanc cable car, which connects France to Italy offering astounding views along the 5km journey. The top station on the Italian side offers 360-degree views of the Mont Blanc massif.
5. Provence’s Villages
Provence is full of awe-inspiring views, green hills, tiled roofs, shimmering lakes and meadows bursting with lavender and sunflowers. Haut-de-Cagnes is one of the best-preserved perched villages and make sure you catch the view from above of the medieval city walls, stone archways and cobbled streets. Avignon on the other hand offers miles of lavender fields as well as an impressive view of the world’s most famous one-fifth of a bridge from Doms Rock. Sit yourself at anyone of the café tables in Gordes, Roussillon and Menerbes where you can watch the world pass by below, as well as look onto miles of green hills and tiled roofs, all while sipping an impressive glass of rose.
4. Calanques National Park
This National Park sits in the south of France between Marseille and Cassis and those visitors looking to take advantage of the best views here should hit the many hiking trails. There are about 12 walk able miles in this park that run along the coast, offering the best of views. Think steep-walled inlets the contain pools of sparkling seawater, sandy beaches that stretch on for miles and white limestone cliffs. Try to avoid visiting from June to September as the risk of fire is high and many of the beaches are closed. It is easy to pause along the trail and imagine that you are deep in the Caribbean as you look our onto the pale rocks and the color of the water that sparkles beneath the sunlight.
3. Le Mont Saint-Michel
It is one of France’s most recognizable landmarks, an island commune in Normandy that held strategic fortifications since ancient times, and has been the seat of the monastery since the 8th century AD. The abbey and monastery sit on top in a gravity-defying move while the great halls, stores and housing all fall below it. Visiting here shouldn’t be missed for a couple reasons. One is the view from the top out into the bay; on a sunny day visitors can see for miles and miles. Make sure to look down at the surrounding village while you are up there. The second view though is actually from afar, like many iconic buildings this Norman abbey is perhaps even more beautiful from a distance. At the turn of the 20th century a French politician even went for far as to call the seaside route by Champeaux, between Avraches and Granville, the “most beautiful kilometer in France”. Head to this vantage point on the northeastern coast of the Mont Saint-Michel Bay for a view that makes this look like a castle adrift in the sea.
2. Basilique de la Madeleine
For visitors looking to combine an incredible view with a sacred experience, make sure to head the Basilique Ste-Madeleine in Vezelay, one of the largest Romanesque churches in France. Pilgrims have been climbing the hill to the Abbey of la Madeleine for centuries, not just for the religious aspect but we imagine for the incredible views that await visitors at the top. Below stretching out are the green, blue and gray hills of Burgundy, overflowing with vineyards, rivers and forests that sprawl out as far as the eye can see. If you happen to visit during summer or winter solstice, a special view awaits you as the church was designed so that on midday on each solstice, nine pools of sunlight fall upon the exact center of the nave, forming a path of light leading to the altar.
1. The Eiffel Tower
Nothing screams France more than the Eiffel Tower, and it simply wouldn’t be a list of beautiful views without including this majestic looking building. It is seemingly perfect from every angle and we suggest viewing it at both day and night. In the evening there is no better view of it from a boat on the Seine, when the tower shimmers both above Paris and in its reflection in the river, helped by the sparkling lights that it puts off for five minutes every hour. The view from the Eiffel Tower also deserves special recognition. The third platform has one of the best views over Paris, stretching about 70km on a clear day, all the way to the outskirts of the capital. If you want finer detail of the city itself, head down to the second platform where you will see all of the city’s most famous monuments.
There are two ways to visit Europe, the first is with kids and although that seems overwhelming at first, this continent is actually quite kid-friendly. The second way to travel this beautiful continent is without kids, before you have them, and when you have all the time in the world. Whether you want to visit Europe to party, for a romantic getaway or to have the experience of a lifetime, there are hundreds of cities to do just that. These 8 places in particular though deserve a visit before you have kids. Think long strolls on the beach, the Eiffel tower at night and getting up close and personal with celebrities.
8. Paris, France
Known as one of the most romantic cities on the planet, there is no better time to visit Paris than before you have kids. It is truly a city where you want to embrace the clichés, whether you are strolling the streets hand in hand or taking a sunset boat ride down the Seine. Visit the Eiffel tower in the day and again at night when the lights are twinkling and it’s picture perfect. Take your time wandering through the amazing museums and ancient historic sites. Sip coffee at a sidewalk café and people watch for hours, or hole up in tiny boutique hotels where no children are allowed. Dine at five star restaurants, meander through the cobblestone streets and find romance in this city of love. Only then will you truly appreciate just how special it is.
7. Barcelona, Spain
Spain’s second largest city deserves two visits, one before you have kids and one with the kids in tow. There are so many things to see and do in this colorful city that is a mix of modern design and old-world charm. Visitors sans-kids will spend hours wandering through the outdoor European markets, window shopping and strolling through ancient city walls and stone corridors. The nightlife is alive in this city and whether you are looking for a vintage concert hall or the rapid rhythms of flamenco, you will find it here. The city’s wild side comes out in the wee mornings as party-goers hit the clubs sometimes as late (or as early) as 3am. Sun-drenched beaches beckon visitors to their shores, to hike, jog or simply swim in the deep blue waters. As you wind your way through hidden squares, fountains, and palaces along the Mediterranean; it will become abundantly clear why you got here before you had kids.
6. Munich, Germany
Germany’s unofficial southern capital flourishes throughout the year, but especially during the summer and Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest is definitely the most famous celebration in Munich and everyone should plan on heading here once in there lifetime to celebrate, preferably without kids. This 16-day festival involves consuming a large quantity of Oktoberfest beer along with a mixture of attractions. Visitors will be privy to amusement rides, side stalls and games, traditional food, parties, parades and a slew of traditional Bavarian gear. If you are visiting the city outside of Oktoberfest time, make sure to take in the world-class art galleries and museums, churches, palaces and castles, and impressive parks.
5. Mykonos, Greece
It’s the party place in Greece, perfect for those looking to get one last shin dig in before having kids. It is here where you will find a mix of holidaymakers, cruise-ship crowds and fashionistas, all coming together for one great party. This whitewashed paradise is in the heart of the Cyclades and visitors should be prepared for beach bars, loud dance clubs and lots of people. If you want to explore the quieter side of this party island, head to Delos- a small uninhabited island that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its impressive archaeological sites. Or head to one of the many museums that dot this island. Little Venice and The Windmills is a popular spot to watch the sunset and grab a cocktail at one of the many outdoor bars/cafes.
4. Cilento, Italy
The Cilento coast is absolutely beautiful with its small bays, dramatic cliffs and seaside villages, and has this stuck-in-time feeling. It is one of the lesser-known areas in Italy and you won’t find throngs of tourists or really any kid-friendly activities, thus why visiting here before you have kids is the best choice. If you are after romantic isolation, head inland to the Cilento National Park where you will find incredible hiking trails and mountain inns that serve delicious wines and some of the best fresh mozzarella you will ever taste in your life. Famed for its orchids, streams and towering waterfalls, there is no shortage of beauty that will surround you in this park. The park also has a colorful history that is worth exploring while in the region.
This former Portuguese colony has grown to be one of the top gambling destinations in the world and if you want a vacation packed with glitz and glam before you have kids, this is the perfect destination. If you have deep pockets there is only one way to spend your money here and that is at the Grand Casino where you will gamble alongside the rich and famous, where the dress code is strict and the entry fees are high. Other than gambling though, Monaco offers its fair share of things to see including Monaco-Ville, a medieval village made up of pedestrian streets, century homes and picturesque buildings. There are a slew of exotic gardens to be found here, along with an art gallery, opera house and the Prince’s car collection. This is not a budget destination and thus is best done before kids, and at a time when you have some extra money to spend.
2. Cannes, France
It was once a small fishing village but is has turned into a glamorous and equally expensive seaside town in France, considered to be one of the social hubs of Europe. When this town shines the brightest though is in May as it plays host to the Cannes Film Festival, drawing the rich and famous to its shores from all over the world. Fans flock here to see actors, celebrities and directors on the famous steps of the Palais des Festivals at the end of La Croisette. If you prefer to visit the rest of the year, there are plenty of things to see and do. Walk the narrow winding streets of Old town where the view from the castle ruins at the top is excellent, or head to one of the beaches to soak up the sun. Dine at one of the local restaurants serving up regional fresh produce sourced directly from the markets.
1. Berlin, Germany
Move over New York City, Berlin is the city that truly never sleeps; a city full of Germans who love nothing more than a good time. This is a great city to visit before having kids, as it is full of iconic sites, sky bars, chic restaurants, boutique hotels and a party that literally never stops. It is here where you can take in top international performers at theaters or concert and opera stages. Berlin is a city full of museums, artists and a colorful history, where modern architecture and historical buildings meet. There is an endless amount of shopping, parks to explore, open-air cinemas, beach bars, forests and more here. The relaxed vibe of this city will enthrall you, suck you in and make you never want to leave. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
While it is very easy to spend a lot of money when staying at a nice hotel there are some places around the world that have world class service and rooms that easily fit into any budget. With a little searching you can find hotels that offer luxury accommodations, great facilities and locations. Next time you are looking to get away for a weekend getaway, head out on a business trip or even once in a lifetime family trip, you don’t have to settle for a small room in a substandard hotel because you are afraid it might break your budget. Take some of these suggestions for amazing hotels that you can book for under $100 a night.
15. Chatrium Hotel Riverside -Bangkok, Thailand
The Chatrium Hotel Riverside is a multiple award winning hotel located adjacent to the Chao Phraya River, just 30 km from the International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand. A Grand Room with a city view is under $80 and comes with a private balcony. At 60 sq. meters the room comes complete with a kitchenette and dining area, coffee and tea making facilities, bathrobe and slippers. The hotel offers a business center that includes everything necessary if you just can’t leave work behind. A 35 meter infinity pool overlooking the river with an outdoor Jacuzzi awaits along with a fully equipped fitness center. Head to the Nemita spa on the ground floor and get a relaxing massage or do pick up some items in the shops. Also on the premises is a Starbucks Coffee Shop and the Saizen Japanese Restaurant. The hotel also has facilities for meetings and weddings.
14. Sri Bungalows -Ubud, Bali
For under $100 you can book a suite at the Sri Bungalows. The bungalows located in Ubud Bali comes with handsomely appointed suites with a private balcony overlooking the rice terraces. The rooms are stylishly appointed and other facilities include two swimming pools, restaurant and full service spa so you can enjoy a Balinese massage. The bungalows cover two floors and are surrounded by gardens and terraces. The hotel is only a short walk to the Ubud Market and the Monkey Forest. For a relaxing stay in a tropical paradise the price is hard to beat.
13. Radisson Blu Hotel -Cebu, Philippines
Located in the second largest city in the Philippines, Cebu is a popular destination because of the proximity to beautiful beaches and laid back lifestyle. The number one rated hotel in Cebu can also be had for under $100. The Radisson Blu, located 11 kilometers from the International Airport is conveniently located near all the popular tourist sights. With rooms offering goose feather pillows and duvets the Radisson will surely please. The hotel’s restaurant, Feria, offers both à la carte options and a buffet and with five master chefs the food runs the gamut of Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, Mediterranean and International cuisines. The hotel has a large tropical pool outside along with a fully equipped state of the art fitness center and spa. For those staying in a business class room or suite the business class lounge is open daily. The hotel also has a 180 seat lobby bar a pool bar and a tea bar serving 21 different teas from Sri Lanka, China, Japan and South Africa.
12. Riad Viva -Marrakech, Morocco
Located in the city center, 15 minutes from the airport, the Riad Viva Hotel offers visitors a relaxing stay in beautifully appointed rooms. The hotel offers guests a wide range of amenities including free WiFi, 24 hr. room service and airport transfers. With a combination of Moroccan style and luxurious amenities guests can be assured of a royal stay. The hotel has a pool along with a steam room and restaurant. The friendly staff can also help in arranging tours to the Ourika Valley, a Berber village, the magical city of Essaouira or point you to the best shopping in town. You can also check out the cooking classes offered by the hotel so you can learn how to use all those aromatic spices and flavors to impress your friends when you return home.
11. Hilton Anatole -Dallas, Texas
You don’t have to travel half way around the world to get a good hotel deal. The Hilton Anatole in Dallas offers the business traveler or visitor to the city comfortable rooms with all the amenities. A room with a King Size bed can be had for under $90 and has just about everything you need as a traveler. The hotel has a full business center and conference facilities and also offers an ATM, currency exchange, clothing store, onsite convenience store and concierge serve. Feel like getting a little exercise? Head to the Verandah Club with fully equipped fitness center, 25 meter lap pool, cross training and boxing gym or enjoy racquet ball the jogging track or basketball courts. The V Spa is the perfect place to get a relaxing massage or spa treatment. In addition to room service there are 5 dining establishments at the hotel including SĒR Steak + Spirits serving up tender steaks and fresh seafood on the 27th floor.
10. Hotel Paseo Del Arte -Madrid, Spain
Located just a 100 meters from the Atoche Train Station, the Hotel Paseo Del Arte is a 4 star hotel in the heart of Madrid. Comfortably appointed rooms are tastefully furnished and offer a panoramic view of the interior garden or the city. Complete with desk, free WiFi, flat screen TV with international channels, and marble bathroom guests are in the perfect spot to explore the city. The hotel has a fitness facility, shops, coffee shop and bar. The restaurant serves a breakfast buffet and along with regional and international cuisine. With 260 rooms the hotel is less than 15 km to the airport making it easily accessible. The hotel is located in the area known as the Arts Triangle and within walking distance to several museums, parks, shopping, restaurants and the famous Madrid nightlife.
9. Century Plaza Hotel and Spa -Vancouver, B.C.
The Century Plaza Hotel and Spa is a family owned and operated located in the center of downtown Vancouver. The hotel prides itself on providing the best service possible. With a business center, conference facilities and indoor pool, the Century Plaza is the perfect place for business travelers and families visiting the city. Since opening the Absolute Spa at Century Plaza Hotel 12 years ago, the Spa has received over 50 awards and is the favorite of celebrities like Zac Effron, Elle McPherson and Gwyneth Paltrow when in town. With an ozonated swimming pool, eucalyptus steam room and relaxation lounge the Spa is the perfect place to get pampered. The hotel also features the C Prime Italian Steak and Wine Restaurant. Using locally sourced meats, vegetables and seafood Chef Bruce Woods has made the restaurant one of the hottest destinations in Vancouver. A coffee shop, salon and Vancouver’s iconic comedy club The Comedy Mix are also available to guests.
8. Sana Hotel -Berlin, Germany
The Sana Hotel is a 4 star Superior Class hotel located on the west side of Berlin. With 203 rooms including suites and apartments the Sana offers a wide choice of accommodations. A double room can be booked for less than $100 and prices go up from there. Facilities include a breakfast room, restaurant serving Portuguese cuisine, two bars, terrace garden, fitness center and massage services. The F8/eight Bar & Lounge seats 50 and guests can relax with fine wines and spirits while listening to live jazz. A smoking bar also exists for those that enjoy a fine cigar. In addition to massage services the wellness area on the 7th floor offers an indoor swimming pool, sauna and Turkish bath. The Sana Hotel is also centrally located for sightseeing with the Brandenburg Gate less than 5 km. away, as well as the zoo, museums and cultural facilities being nearby.
7. The Signature at MGM Grand -Las Vegas, Nevada
Located just off the famed Las Vegas Strip, The Signature at MGM Grand offers an elevated level of personalized service. Luxuriously appointed suites start at just under $100 and have all the amenities you might expect in luxury hotels costing much more. With a private pool complete with personal cabana and in suite spa services to the spacious suites with granite and marble bathrooms and kitchenettes the hotel does everything possible to pamper the guests. The hotel concierge will ensure you get tickets to the best shows and hard to get restaurant reservations and has a gourmet delicatessen on the premises. Whether you are hitting the Las Vegas Strip, spending the day golfing or seeing the sights you can relax and unwind in your private suite at night and get the rock star treatment from a dedicated staff that does everything the ensure you have the ultimate Las Vegas experience.
6. Golden Tulip Amsterdam West -Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam is known for offering cheap backpacker accommodations with over 180 hostels in the city. For those not wanting budget sleeping arrangements with noisy neighbors there is an alternative. Conveniently located to Schiphol Airport and the city center the Golden Tulip Amsterdam West makes exploring the city easy. With rates under $100 you can have the comfort of a spacious room with heated floors, a rain shower and free internet access. Comfortably appointed rooms have been designed to be soundproof so guests can get a good night’s sleep uninterrupted by the wild Amsterdam nightlife. The buffet restaurant seats 300 and is open for breakfast and dinner and the modern bar is a great place to relax and have a cocktail, cup of coffee or a slice of homemade pie. The tram stop is a mere 50 meters from the hotel for easy commute to the famous sights such as the Anne Frank House and Van Gogh Museum.
5. Relais Spa Chessy Residence -Paris, France
Visitors to Paris know hotels and pretty much everything else can be pricey. With a little searching you can find gems such as the Relais Spa Chessy Residence near Disneyland Paris. A premium room with free WiFi, unlimited spa access and shuttle to Disney Land can be scooped up for under $100. The rooms have a small office area and a discreet kitchen with hot plate. Hotel amenities include pool, steam room, sauna, gym and spa treatments. The Franklin Bar makes for a cozy place to relax with friends for a drink while the Brasserie Flo restaurant serves up sophisticated French cuisine. The hotel staff strives to ensure each guest gets the VIP treatment.
4. Chateau Victoria -Victoria, B.C.
Sitting on the location of a former mansion the Chateau Victoria is a boutique hotel offering a touch of opulence to guests. The hotel has a colorful past due to a parrot that inherited the old mansion that previously stood there and some swear they have seen the well-dressed ghost of Victoria Jane, the previous mansion owner, roaming the halls. Whether you see a ghost or not one thing you can be assured of. The hotel goes out of the way to make to feel comfortable and the rooms complete with free WiFi and big comfortable beds await the tired traveler. The hotel’s Vista 18 restaurant offers regional cuisine and has an extensive wine list. The hotel bar, Clive’s Classic Lounge, has been listed as one of the top hotel bars by several publications. The hotel offers in room spa treatments and massages and the hotel has a lap pool, hot tub and fitness center.
3. Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba -Tokyo, Japan
While Tokyo has its share of pod hotels, where you get to sleep in what resembles a submarine torpedo tube, there are other options. One such option is the Grand Nikko Tokyo Diaba Hotel, a 5 star resort located just 20 minutes from Haneda International airport on 15 minutes from downtown Tokyo. A superior Double room can be booked for under $100 during the week and the hotel comes with such amenities as an outdoor terraced swimming pool with fantastic views of Tokyo, a wellness salon, acupuncture center and has a medical clinic on the premises. The hotel fitness center is fully equipped and has trainers on staff and the hotel has several shops on site. There are eight restaurants at the resort including sushi, Chinese and Italian and the Ruy Lopez Bar stocks liquor from around the world along with fine cigars.
2. Lancaster House -Bogota, Colombia
Lancaster House in Bogota Colombia is a boutique hotel designed in the art deco style. The 4 star hotel has two bars, restaurant, gym and sauna. Gatsby Restaurant serves traditional Colombian and International food while the more relaxed Bistro 106 is a great place to relax and get a lighter meal or dessert. Relax in the piano bar with a game of billiards or a cocktail before heading up to your luxurious room. The Junior Suite comes equipped with a living and dining area, work space and kitchen. The hotel also offers a mobile spa service so guests can book a massage or just relax in the sauna. Located in an upscale neighborhood close to embassies and near the major shopping areas the Lancaster is centrally located for easy access to all the city has to offer.
1. Kaani Village and Spa -Maldives
The Kaani Village and Spa located in the beautiful Maldives offers guests a pampered option to staying at a discounted beach hotel. With a Double Deluxe room overlooking the pool that comes with a breakfast included the hotel makes a perfect base to enjoy the island. The Sampa Spa at the hotel offers tradition Thai massage as well as aroma massages performed by two masseuses at once. The hotel has a pool and restaurant and the hotel staff can arrange activities such as fishing, dolphin watching, scuba diving, snorkeling or an island tour complete with picnic. Rated number 3 out of 40 small boutique hotels by TripAdvisor the Kaani Village and Spa does everything possible to pamper guests and make your stay memorable.
For many people, pets are more than just a companion—they’re like family. That means many of us like to travel with our pets. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same opinion of our four-legged friends and, in many places, you’ll find that Fido isn’t welcome to join you. Things are a bit a different in Europe: many countries are incredibly pet-friendly, which makes them perfect destinations for pet lovers from around the world. Here are 8 pet-friendly stops in Europe.
The Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Denmark and Norway tend to get a bad rap with travelers who want to bring their pets with them on holiday; these 3 Northern European countries are considerably less pet-friendly than other European countries. Still, that doesn’t mean pets are never welcome. A good example is Norway’s famed fjords, which you can tour via cruise liner. Your dog is more than welcome to join you on the trip and will be treated as a guest too. Oslo, Norway’s capital, has many pet-friendly hotels, so finding accommodations for you and Fido shouldn’t pose too much of a problem. Norway also has plenty of open space, meaning travelers and their dogs can get their daily exercise. Shops, restaurants and public transit pose more of a challenge to four-legged travelers, who may not be welcome inside most establishments.
7. United Kingdom
With the introduction of the (PETS), the United Kingdom has become an even friendlier destination for you and your four-legged friend. More and more visitors are bringing their pets with them on holiday, most notably those from other EU countries; cats and dogs arriving from North America and other places are still required to enter quarantine on arrival. Once quarantine is over, however, the U.K. opens up to four-legged travelers. The National Rail system allows dogs of all sizes, provided they’re leashed, which means you can travel anywhere you want, whether it’s Cornwall in the south or north to the Scottish Highlands. The British Isles also offer plenty of green space with lots of national parks to visit, which makes for ideal dog-walking conditions. Pet-friendly accommodations are available throughout the U.K.
Some parts of Ireland are pet-friendly, while other parts are not so friendly toward four-legged travel companions. Dublin is often considered very pet-friendly, and many restaurants and cafes are quite happy to have your pup accompany you on outdoor terraces and patios, provided that they’re leashed. Hotels and other accommodations are often pet-friendly as well, although you want to call ahead and ensure that Fido is welcome. While dogs are often unwelcome on walking trails, particularly because they cut through sheep country, a few trails welcome leashed dogs: Killarney National Park admits four-legged friends, as do some of the trails in the Wicklow Mountains (although not the Wicklow Way). Your best bet in Ireland is to take a cottage vacation—a popular option with pet owners, since you’ll be in the countryside.
The Netherlands are perhaps most famous for being incredibly cyclist-friendly, but Dutch cities like Amsterdam are also rather pet-friendly. Much like other parts of Europe, many restaurants are pet-friendly, often allowing diners to bring their leashed pet with them to outdoor dining areas. Hotels are often pet-friendly, and shops may allow dogs inside (although it’s best to ask). Amsterdam in particular recommends itself as a great pet-friendly destination for those traveling with dogs, thanks to plentiful parks. Vondelpark, the largest and best-known in the city, is a great location, while Oosterpark is divided into 2 zones: a children’s zone that is dog-free and the other where dogs are welcome. This park is well-known to the locals and is becoming more popular with tourists traveling with their pooches.
Think of Switzerland and you’ll probably think of Bernese mountain dogs and St. Bernards bounding through the snow to rescue stranded skiers in the Alps. Given dogs’ importance, it should be little surprise that the Swiss are fond of dogs—and of four-legged travelers. Most restaurants are more than happy to welcome you and your furry dining companion (even if Fido won’t be ordering off the menu). Like other places in Europe, dogs are also welcome in most shops and hotels, although you might call ahead to ask about specific pet policies. Public transit is also pet-friendly; all cats and dogs are allowed on trains, although you’ll often need to purchase a half-price, second-class fare for animal companions. Smaller animals may be required to sit in a purse or basket for travel—but it’s still better than boxing your friend up in a carrier.
Italians love their furry friends and most of the time, you’ll be able to bring your dog with you into stores, hotels and even restaurant dining areas. Northern Italy is usually considered to be more dog-friendly than the south, but Rome is also cited as one of the most dog-friendly destinations in Europe. Yes, even in a big tourist center, dogs are more than welcome. Public transit also welcomes furry travelers, often without a carrier, although a muzzle may be required during your ride. Some places may also ask you to purchase a fare for your four-legged travel companion—although often at a discount of 50% or more. Most hotels will welcome pets, although some charge extra fees. Good practice is to call ahead to to a restaurant or hotel before you make your reservations.
While Germany isn’t the most pet-friendly place in Europe, the country is pretty friendly toward your four-legged friends. Much like other parts of Europe, pets are welcome on public transit, so long as they are on a leash; a muzzle may be required, but there’s no reason to put your pup in a carrier. Small dogs are often welcome in the dining areas of restaurants, although larger breeds may not be as welcome. Dogs are often welcome in shops as well, and you can expect most accommodations to be pet-friendly. Of course, it’s always a good idea to call ahead and ensure that Fido will be welcome—and to suss out if there’s any additional fees for having him tag along with you to dinner or to your hotel.
If you’ve ever wanted to visit Paris and lunch at a bistro, but can’t bear the thought of leaving Fido out of the experience, don’t fret. France is consistently rated as the most pet-friendly country in all of Europe—and that’s saying something, considering how pet-friendly most European countries are. Dogs are more commonly permitted into dining areas than not; in fact, it would be strange to see an owner leave their dog outside while they went into a shop or restaurant. As a result, many hotels are pet-friendly, as are other establishments. If you plan to travel about, public transit is also pet-friendly, allowing you to take your pet with you on the train, often on a leash rather than in a carrier. So go ahead and make your dream trip to France a whole-family affair!