Horseback Riding in Europe: 10 Best Trails

Saddle up and head for the hills of Europe on 10 of the most popular horseback riding trails. With its varied landscape and long tradition of horsemanship, Europe is ideal for a horseback-riding holiday. Every country has its own distinctive history and natural wonders to be explored and horse riding offers a completely different perspective on popular European destinations. From the chateaus of France to the glaciers of Scandinavian, get ready for a ride of a lifetime.

10. France

With their centuries-old tradition of horseback riding, Renaissance chateaus from the 16th century, and vineyards of Bordeaux, France is an excellent place to experience the country by horseback. Like an aristocrat from the Victorian era, saddle up, English style, for an adventure into the ancient woodlands and castles of the Loire Valley. Another popular riding spot is Provence, an area known for its fine food and glorious landscapes that inspired Cezanne. Riders can also discover the rugged, remote Pyrenees of Pays Basque, the region that borders Spain, for a ride through the mountains and rolling hills. Get ready to gallop across sandy beaches of Landes and witness the castles and famous wine cellars of Bordeaux. Following the French riding tradition of Natural Horsemanship, riding experts encourage a non-violent approach to training, which is a horse whispering riding style that has been passed down through generations.

9. Portugal

With its natural diversity and pleasant weather, Portugal has excellent terrain for horseback riding. On a riding holiday of a lifetime, get ready for gallops on deserted sandy beaches, trail rides through mountain ranges, and breathtaking trails along windswept coastlines. In Lisbon and Porto, saddle up and discover the historic architecture of the medieval quarters. For more remote landscapes of the Portugal countryside, head to a romantic pousada, monastery, or manor house for an overnight stay in between trail rides. There are also beautiful rides in Alto Alentjo along the southwest coast and the farmlands and rolling hills of upper Alentjo. Portugal has a long dressage tradition, which is cultivated at the world-class training facility of Lusitano Riding Center. If you’re a novice rider, they offer beginner lessons on the Lusitano horse, a breed considered the best riding horse for its calm temperament and sturdiness.

8. Ireland

After a pint of Guinness and a hearty traditional Irish meal, saddle up on a Connemara pony and head out into the Irish countryside. Like most of Europe, Ireland has a rich history of horsemanship, making it easy to horseback ride across Emerald Isle. Horseback is a great way to explore the highlands of Kerry County or the dramatic coastal cliffs of the Atlantic coast. Ireland is also filled with vast grasslands and meadows, the perfect spot for an epic gallop. It’s also a chance for Americans to reconnect with their distant Irish heritage. Along the trails, you’ll find a rich Celtic heritage in the remote islands off the Atlantic with old stone ruins dotting the landscape. The countryside is also full of medieval castles, ancient monasteries, and famous landmarks. In between trail rides, pop in a historic pub that seems to be at the end of every path.

7. Iceland

Situated on the edge of the Arctic Circle is one of the most rugged and remote landscapes on earth. With its glaciers, dramatic fjords, waterfalls, and volcanoes, Iceland has some of the most scenic horseback riding trails. The region of the North Atlantic is so rough that extra horses are often brought along to prevent exhaustion along the trail. But the extra effort is worth it for an up close look at the country’s stunning natural wonders. But with the Icelandic horse leading the way, you can rely on the sturdy, even-tempered beast of burden to take you safely through the terrain. Often passing through the backcountry, the riding trails typically lead to rustic mountain huts amongst wild mountain backdrops. The landscape might be unyielding, but on horseback, it’s a thrilling ride through the world’s most dramatic natural scenery.

6. Cyprus

Known as Aphrodite’s Isle, Cyprus is full of romantic notions, particularly the legend of the goddess of love rising out of the waves. With its sandy beaches, hillsides, and mountain ranges, the ancient isle has a variety of trails that are ideal for horseback riding. Along the way, you’ll get to explore relics of the ancient world, medieval castles, and Byzantine churches. In a landscape filled with historic wonders and romantic legends, it’s no surprise that Cyprus is a popular honeymoon destination and a vacation on horseback ups the ante in the art of romance. Another horse riding trail is in the countryside of Mesogi in the Paphos region where the Eagle Mountain Ranch offers

5. Greece

In the Cradle of the Ancient World, explore the backdrop to Greek mythology by horseback just like the early pioneers. Starting in Crete, saddle up for a ride through traditional farmlands, rolling hills, ancient olive groves along the rugged coast of the Mediterranean. Back on the mainland, the country is full of major archeological sites, including the ancient city of Athens and the ruins of the Partheneon and Acropolis, among others. The mild Mediterranean weather is also ideal for horseback riding year-round and a cool gallop down the coast at sunset is a favorite activity for Greek riders. From the ancient city of Athens to the rugged coast, Greece is full of unforgettable trail rides for the novice or the expert rider.

4. Norway

With its dramatic fjords, rugged mountain ranges, and ancient woodlands, Norway is full of horseback riding trails. Saddle up on a sturdy, sure-footed Icelandic horse and head out into the Scandinavian countryside for an unforgettable horseback-riding holiday. In the southwest, riders can explore the fjords under the midnight sun, a place where the sun never rises in the winter or sets in midsummer. Norway also contains Justedalsbreen, Europe’s largest glacier, which can be explored by horseback on a guided tour. Along the way, you’ll get the chance to see the Sognefjord and Nordfjord, which cut through each side of the glacier. Deep in the rural area, riders often stop off at rustic mountain cottages before heading out for another day of trailblazing against the backdrop of the Scandinavian heartland.

3. Romania

Deep in the heart of vampire country is the mysterious and ancient Transylvania, the jewel of Romania. Get ready to gallop through green fields, past steep snow-capped mountains, and old monasteries left by monks of antiquity. As the setting for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Romania is an land of intrigue, legends of the Old World, and natural wonders. Follow the trail through quaint folk villages that haven’t felt the passage of time and still plow the fields with horses. The region is also known for the mountains that were featured in the movie Cold Mountain and the medieval villages in the nearby Carpathian Mountains. For an unforgettable experience that will take you back to the 18th century, take a horse and carriage ride to Borgo Pass for a spooky overnight stay in Hotel Castle Dracula.

2. Spain

In a world of stunning natural landscapes, historic landmarks, and medieval villages, Spain is a great place for horseback riding adventures. Starting in Catalonia, head out to the trails leading to volcanoes and pristine sandy beaches. Spain also contains part of the Pyrenees Mountain Range, a rugged landscape ideal for cross-country horse riding. Outside Madrid, a popular trail takes riders to medieval villages that dot the countryside and finally to the Kingdom of Castile in the Gredos Mountains, an area known for its red-roofed Romanesque architecture that was popular in antiquity. The Spanish horse, known as the Andalusian, is the most ancient horse breed in the world. Although their exact origin is unknown, they are believed to be a distant relative of the mustang and quarter horse breeds that are popular in the US.

1. Turkey

At the crossroads of the East and West, Turkey has been a major center of trade and culture throughout the centuries, dating back to the ancient world. For horseback riders, the country has some unique trails the pass through ancient ruins scattered throughout Anatolia, the eastern part of Turkey. Further south on the coast of the Mediterranean, you’ll find a different landscape of dramatic coastal cliffs and sandy beaches for a spirited seaside gallop. Other trails will take you through the Anatolian Plateau, which is considered the heartland of Turkey with its tranquil countryside surround by woodlands. Further along the coast is the Turkish Riviera, also known as the Turquoise Coast. Here you’ll find deserted beaches, mountain scenery, and the famous Lycian tombs carved out of rocks jutting out from precarious cliffs, making the carvings a natural wonder of the ancient world.

7 Spanish Attractions Every Kid Should Experience

Spain isn’t just for grownups and whether you live here or you visit, there is no shortage of things for kids to do. From an amusement park on top of a mountain to the biggest aquarium in Europe to a magical fountain; exploring Spain is fun for all ages. Here are the seven Spanish attractions that every kid, and frankly every adult should experience at least once in their lifetime.

7. Tibidabo Amusement Park, Barcelona

The mountain of Tibidabo overlooks the city of Barcelona and offers spectacular views of both the city and the coastline. It also happens to be the site of one of the best kids attractions in the country. Tibidabo Amusement Park opened in 1899 and is one of the oldest still operating parks in the world. Most of the original rides are actually still in operation here. Attractions here include a pirate area, castle and many rides both modern and original.

The journey to this park is half the fun, as you first need to take a train from the center of Barcelona to the Tramvia Blau, which takes you halfway up the mountain. The rest of the way up is by funicular train and expect breathtaking views. There are no “thrill” rides here but expect a friendly atmosphere, plenty of experiences for the little ones and one heck of a Ferris Wheel that overlooks the entire city.

6. Parque del Buen Retiro (Retiro Park), Madrid

It translates into Park of the Pleasant Retreat in English and as the biggest park in Madrid City, it is certainly worth a trip with the kids. This magnificent park is filled with beautiful sculptures and monuments, galleries, a peaceful lake and home to a variety of events. The best part about spending time here is that both kids and parents love to explore the gardens, the lake, and the towering trees.

A favorite activity here is to rent a rowboat from the lake’s northern shore, an iconic Madrid experience that shouldn’t be missed. Throughout the summer visitors will find plenty of open-air cafes to have lunch at, live music to dance too and numerous children’s events that happen. Mingle with tourists and locals as everyone heads here on the weekends to enjoy the beautiful outdoors.

5. Madrid Zoo and Aquarium, Madrid

Home to approximately 3,000 animals the zoo and aquarium in Madrid is a favorite amongst visitors with kids. It opened in 1770 and is one of the largest zoos in Spain, along with one of the only zoos in the world to house giant pandas. The exhibits at this zoo include a petting zoo, aquarium, dolphin exhibit and an aviary. There are several restaurants on-site along with a boat and train tour. Favorite animals here include the small group of koalas, gorillas, and sea lions and of course the dolphins. Talks are offered throughout the day but note that these are in Spanish.

Give yourself a full day to visit as there is plenty to see and do and make sure to pick up a map as this place is full of hidden twists and turns, and you won’t want to miss a thing! It is best to avoid coming on weekends as it does get busy and we recommended buying your tickets ahead of time online to avoid any lineups.

4. Barcelona Aquarium

Located in the city’s old harbor, the Port Vell, the Barcelona Aquarium declares itself as the world’s most important marine leisure and education center dedicated to Mediterranean undersea life. Kids will love traveling through the aquarium visiting 35 Mediterranean and tropical tanks that are home to more than 11,000 animals from over 450 different species. The highlight of this aquarium happens to be the immense Oceanarium, the only one of its kind in Europe. The transparent 80-meter long tunnel runs through the Oceanarium where you walk among sharks, morays, giltheads, ocean sunfish and more.

There are a total of three sections to the aquarium for kids to explore, the aquarium itself which houses all the different marine life, the Planeta Aqua Section where kids can learn more about water, it is here where the lethal fish are kept as well as the penguins. Lastly, there is the Explora! Zone, a fun area where children have access to interactive learning tools, as well as a play area complete with slides. Count on this being an entire day trip.

3. Poble Espanyol, Barcelona

Built at the beginning of the 20th century, Poble Espanyol is a mock village with over 40 workshops showing 21 different types of craftsmanship at work. If you are looking to do something on the weekend with the kids, this is the place to be. Sundays are the best day to visit with the little ones, as there are organized activities and shows to take part in. Bonus tip: Reserve a meal at one of the restaurants inside and gain free entry to the village.

One of the best ways to explore the village with kids is to take part in a Gymkhana activity with the family. It is a treasure hunt throughout the village that gives clues to families as they search for the hidden secrets. Children ages 3-9 must be accompanied by an adult and it is one of the best ways to get the kids involved while here. A specially designed space for education and family fun, family-friendly restaurants on site and a day full of new experiences is something not to miss!

2. Font Magica, Barcelona

It is one of Barcelona’s most popular attractions and promises to wow both kids and parents. The Magic Fountain was designed by engineer Carles Buigas and was one of the greatest successes of the 1929 International Exhibition, later restored for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. It is Barcelona’s biggest ornamental fountain that offers a spectacular display of music, water acrobatics and lights, which generate over 50 kinds of shades and hues.

During the display the moving jets are illuminated and synchronized to the music and lights, creating a magic dance that will enthrall kids. Make sure you head here from Thursday to Sundays as the fountains do not operate the rest of the week during the summer. Wintertime the fountain only operates on Friday and Saturdays with extended hours over the holidays.

1. L’oceanografic at City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia

It is the largest aquarium in Europe and certainly deserves a visit from families of all ages. Visitors will find over 45,000 examples of 500 different marine species including sharks, Beluga whales, sea lions, penguins and manta rays. This oceanographic park is structured into ten areas for visitors to explore and includes a popular dolphinarium. You will need to spend all day here to explore the entire aquarium with sections dedicated to the Red Sea, Arctic, Mediterranean, mangrove forests, and more.

Most of the aquarium is found below ground wherein a series of massive tanks you can watch the animals. The shark tunnel is one of the favorite things about this aquarium and throughout the year they offer the chance for kids to spend the night sleeping under it. Check out the two-level restaurant, which offers superb views into the aquarium.

The 5 Safest Cities For Women To Travel Alone in Spain

The exotic country of Spain is loaded with World Heritage Sites, friendly locals, delicious cuisine, great wine, world-famous festivals and more. This country can be a little overwhelming for solo female travelers though. There have been and continue to be warning about pickpocketing, car thefts, and scams throughout the larger cities. As a female traveler in this country it then makes sense to travel in the smaller and less known cities, and whether you are looking for beaches, parks or museums to explore, you can find them in these five safe cities in Spain.

5. Vitoria-Gasteiz

This city has a habit of falling off the radar for most travelers and yet it’s actually the capital of the entire Basque Country. It’s one of the safest areas in Spain to travel, which in turn makes it safe for female solo travelers. Visitors here will be pleasantly surprised to find an impressive art gallery whose contents surpass those of the more famous Bilbao galleries, a friendly local population, a great mix of bars and restaurants and a delightful old quarter to explore.

Summertime is the best time to head here as the weather is quite mild and the city is walk and bicycle friendly. It is important to know that English is not widely spoken here so having a translation book or app is handy. Shopping, festivals, sports and your choice of accommodation await females in this ever safe, quaint city that begs to be explored.

4. Pamplona

If you have ever wanted to run with the bulls but have been somewhat hesitant because you can’t find a travel partner, you can rest easy as Pamplona is actually a safe city in Spain to visit as a solo female traveler. The legendary festival of Sanfermines hits this city for eight days in July and many foreign females participate. Otherwise, for the other 357 days of the year, this city is actually a beautiful old center with a slew of cute shops, cafes and green space.

One of the best seasons to head here is fall when the leaves start to change color and the harvest brings delicious wines and dishes to the town. Make sure to go out for pinchos in the old quarter for lunch or dinner, have a siesta in one of the many parks and feel absolutely safe while doing so.

3. Logrono

It is the capital of La Rioja, the wine country in the north of Spain and not only it is incredibly safe for solo females but it is mostly devoid of tourists, giving visitors an authentic Spanish experience. The beautiful old quarter is full of more tapas bars than you can count, full of more incredible red wine than you have ever tasted and is actually incredibly cheap.

There is an abundance of churches to visit here, boasting incredible architecture as well as plenty of palaces to explore. There are a number of choices of accommodations here and count on eating and drinking your way through the city for the ultimate solo getaway.

2. Adra

If you are looking to spend some solo time soaking in the rays in Spain, this small fishing village is one of the safest and most pleasant places to be. It boasts over 300 days of sunshine and a calm and healthy environment where you can still see children playing on the streets. The beautiful sandy beaches here are the real draw for tourists though, as they stretch 13 kilometers. In fact, one could go so far as to say these beaches will be your main focus in this town, as there is not much else to do.

Fortunately for those looking to swim in clear blue waters, snorkel or dive with the rich marine life and spend afternoons curled up with a good book, this is the place for you. There is one hotel in town, numerous apartments that can be rented out, a dozen or so tapas bars that serve great food and drink and a fresh market to visit.

1. Santander

This wonderful city is located in the north of Spain and boasts amazing landscapes, charming beaches, friendly people and is exceptionally safe for female solo travelers. Boasting about 185,000 inhabitants this city spreads along the bay offering a choice of beaches and harbors. In the 19th century, this city was a renowned tourist resort for Spanish politicians, aristocrats, and the upper class, and has kept its wonderful palaces, promenades, old cafes and its famous casino.

There are plenty of museums, churches and public buildings that are perfect for exploring, along with an abundance of parks perfect for picnicking. It is here where you can learn how to sail, join a free city walking tour or hang out on the beach.

The World’s Scariest Stairs

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.

Via Pintrest

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.

Via Pulpit Rock Experience

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.

Via Daily Mail

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.

Via The Beauty of Travel

The 12 Most Unique Movie Theaters in the World

Forget watching Netflix at home or going to a regular movie theatre, all around the world from the United States to Norway to the UK there are some extremely unique theatres to visit. Some take credit for being hundreds of years old while others use new technology to wow moviegoers. From an elementary school turned brewpub/theatre to an outdoor cinema set up in a cemetery; here are our top 12 choices for the most unique movie theatres in the world.

12. Kennedy School, Portland, OR

This one time elementary school has been turned into a 35-room hotel, restaurant, and movie theatre, all thanks to McMenamins, a local empire of brewpubs and entertainment venues. The movie theatre located in the school’s old auditorium is a mix of comfortable sofas, armchairs, and tables for two. It can fit up to 300 guests inside where second-run feature films are shown nightly.

Mommy matinees are shown during the day from Tuesdays to Thursday s where kids and their parents can come enjoy the first show, and it won’t matter to anyone if the wee ones fuss. Admission here is a steal, at just $4 per person and just $2 a child. There is a special theatre lounge and lobby to grab a drink and bite to eat before the show, or put in your order, as servers will come to your seat throughout the movie so you don’t have to miss a minute of it. Not surprisingly there are a number of McMenamins Craft Beers on tap here!

Via Lonely Planet

11. Colosseum Kino, Oslo, Norway

It is the largest cinema in Northern Europe and the largest THX cinema in the world and is dominating in structure due to its large spherical dome. The grey and cream dome looks more like a futuristic spaceship rather than a movie theatre but it was actually built in 1921.

Throughout its 90 year history, the Colosseum Kino has managed to keep up with technological advances such as sounds systems, and ticketing systems. In 1998 the theatre closed down for a period of time in which major interior and exterior renovations were made.

Via Cinemaholic

10. The Castro Theatre, San Francisco

Built in 1922 by pioneer San Francisco theatre entrepreneurs, this is one of the last remaining movie palaces in the nation that was built in the 1920’s that is still in operation. Both outside and it is breathtakingly gorgeous with the inside being just a touch more luxurious. Expect to see foamy balconies, wall-mounted busts of heroic figures and an auditorium that seat over 1,400 guests in a fantasy setting that is both lavish and intimate.

On either side of the screen are large organ grills, a large art deco chandelier hangs from the room and two dramatic staircases lead to the mezzanine and balcony. Showing here are foreign films, classic revivals, festivals and some of the most intense audiences in town.  In recent years the sound quality has been improved, new stage lighting was installed and larger and more comfortable seats were put on the main floor.

9. Electric Cinema, London

Visitors to the Electric Cinema in London should expect luxury service in this adults aimed hideout in the chic Notting Hill Neighborhood. It is one of the oldest working cinemas in the country, opening in 1910 and has run almost continuously since that time. The interior of the theater is made up of 65 leather armchairs with footstools and side tables, three 2-seater sofas at the rear and six double beds in the front row.

To make things even better, individual cashmere blankets are provided for guests. The bar opens 10 minutes before screening time, whereas the movie starts 30 minutes after screening time. Offering wine, beer, champagne and a variety of snacks; one must get their food and drinks ahead of time. On Monday mornings babies and their caregivers are invited to Electric Scream, a screening designed especially for them.

Via YouTube

8. Raj Mandir Cinema, Jaipur, India

It is nicknamed the “Pride of Asia” and is considered the crown jewel of India’s cinemas, and certainly lives up to its reputation. The theatre was created to make guests feel as though they were royal guests of a palace, a place full of style and elegance. Walking into this theatre is an experience unlike any other, high ceilings hung with huge chandeliers, lighting that changes from white to blue and walls covered in artistic artwork.

The seating here is divided into four sections, Pearl, Ruby, Emerald, and Diamond and once you are seated you will be faced with a huge screen covered by velvet curtains. This is such an experience that every single movie showing over the past 25 years has had a full house, now that is something to brag about. There certainly doesn’t seem to be any better place to take in the colorful sights and sounds of a Bollywood film.

7. Cine de Chef, Seoul, South Korea

This cinema gives a new meaning to “dinner and a movie” with its small luxurious theatre. Couples will begin their night by dropping their car off at the valet and taking the private elevator up to Cordon Bleu café for a quick meal before the show. Think upscale cuisine with a twist. Moviegoers are than put into a private screening room that seats just a handful of patrons.

The comfortable reclining chairs were designed by the same people who design seats for the United Arab Emirates Royalty and once you sit down you may never want to get back up. Footstools, side tables, and lamps complete the picture of this awesome yet small venue. Tickets start at just $54 per person for both dinner and a movie.

Via designseoda

6. Rooftop Cinema, Melbourne, Australia

Sitting on a rooftop bar watching a movie play on a large projection screen sounds like a dream come true. In fact, it is actually reality at the Rooftop Cinema in Melbourne Australia. Open daily from 11am-1am it is easy to grab a drink before the movie starts and hang around long after the credits roll. The rooftop cinema is open from December to April and prices start at $22 per person.

The seating up here is incredibly comfortable deck chairs and blankets are available to rent for just $5 for the course of the movie. Showings include art house films, classics, and recent releases. It is fully licensed up on this roof and moviegoers often bring up their cocktails and brews from the bar below. Enjoy the sky above you, the grass beneath you and an incredible view of the Melbourne skyline.

Via Time Out

5. Cinespia at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Los Angeles, CA

The outdoor movie screenings here are hard to beat in terms of being unique as they are held on Fairbanks Lawn, an open grassy field inside the Hollywood Forever Cemetery; yes we did just say cemetery. Moviegoers here are responsible for bringing their own low lying chairs, blankets and pillows as well as picnics, wine and beer (note that no spirits are allowed). The Forever Cemetery is the final resting place for many, including John Huston, Peter Lorre, Bugsy Siegel and more.

The showing range from comedies to horror to old school classics and tickets generally cost $10-$15. Guests arriving at the showing will walk through the beautiful and historic cemetery before plunking down in front of the screen. There are restrooms on site to use and there are no in and out privileges. If you thought that watching a scary movie in a normal cinema was scary, wait until you watch one in a cemetery.

Via Hollywood Reporter

4. Alamo Drafthouse, Austin, TX

This quirky indie movie chain was started by a husband and wife team that had no movie qualifications, other than being devoted movie fans. Striving to create the perfect viewing experience for movie lovers there are some strict rules to follow here in order for everyone to enjoy. Some of these rules include absolutely no talking, no cell-phone usage, no unaccompanied children, no babies and no ads before the movies.

What you can expect is high quality and locally sourced food and beer that are served to your seat. This movie chain also runs some incredible events across their theatres. It once showed the Lord of the Rings Trilogy where viewers were only permitted to eat when the characters ate on screen, or how about the events when they call for every viewer to dress like a certain character. Its how movie showing should be, uninterrupted, fun and enjoyable.

Via Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

3. Secret Cinema, Unknown

Once a month moviegoers can be part of a secret audience, secret location and essentially a secret world. Secret Cinema brings together film, music, art, and theatre to create a larger than life experience in abandoned spaces. This is an entirely immersive experience where audiences must dress up as the characters or of the era of the film. They also have the chance to interact with the spectators and actors while having food and drinks, living in the world of the film before setting in to watch the film.

Tickets are not cheap for the event and start around $75 Great British Pounds per adult. Viewers must register online to receive the secret email for which film will be next on the list. Although this is not a standalone theatre, the concept and the delivery of these movies is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Via Stevenfollows.com

2. Hot Tub Cinema, UK, USA, Ibiza

One way to get people talking is to combine hot tubs and movies, because who doesn’t love both! This company started by combining great films with amazing space, lots of hot tubs and incredible people. The mantra here is that they don’t want you to watch films but instead celebrate them. This means your movie experience will be unlike any other you have had before.

Moviegoers are encouraged to dress up, sing, dance, drink and play, as well as spending plenty of time in the hot tub. With movies such as Dirty Dancing, Free Willy, Back to the Future and other classics, tickets sell out fast. Whole tubs can be rented out by buying 6 tickets for a friend or you can buy a pair of tickets and make some new friends as you share a hot tub. There are personalized tub waiters for each hot tub and you can assure this may just be the best night of your life.

Via AWOL

1. Sol Cinema, South Wales

It prides itself as the world’s smallest solar movie theatre and we have to say this may, in fact, be the most unique movie theatre in the world. The Sol Cinema is actually a mobile cinema in a caravan that is powered entirely by the sun. It can accommodate up to 8 adults comfortably and the choice is yours as to which movie is playing. Inside comfortable benches and surround sounds create the perfect viewing experience.

Guests here will get the utmost luxury treatment complete with a red carpet, usherette service and popcorn to snack on. The idea behind this solar movie theatre came when they wanted to reduce their own CO2 emissions but also show what is achievable with solar power. Creating this small cinema allows hundreds of people to be entertained on a daily basis and gives something unique and incredible to both creators and viewers.

Via Digital Spy

10 Jaw Dropping European Beaches

Travelling to Europe this summer? When you’re there, make sure to travel outside of the city centres to explore the breathtaking coasts along the ocean. There are some incredible beaches for you to lounge on and explore the underwater wonders of these countries. Whether it’s a well known tourist destination, or a top secret location, these beaches will ignite your love for the ocean, warm sunshine and the wildlife that surrounds you.

1. Oludeniz Beach, Turkey

Oludeniz, translated to “Dead Sea” is a national nature reserve blue lagoon that will stun you the moment you set eyes on it. It is listed as one of the top five beaches in the entire world due to it’s location and the aquamarine color of the water. Paragliding is a frequent activity surrounding this beach, so if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, this beach fits the bill.

 

Photos By: Shutterstock

 

2. Navagio Beach, Zakynthos Island, Greece

In 1980, a freightliner ship sailed too far inland due to stormy weather and poor visibility. It was left there to rest and is now the reason for the nickname “Shipwreck Beach”. Navagio Beach is only accessible by boat and is visited by thousands of tourists each year.

Photos By: Shutterstock

 

3. Benagil Cave, Portugal

Yes, it’s really this incredible to look at in person. Technically you can swim to this location but it is strongly discouraged due to the unpredictability of the waters. Take a boat ride to this beautiful cave for some amazing photos and to check it off your bucket list.

Photos By: Shutterstock

 

4. Cala Macarella, Mallorca, Spain

This beautiful inlet of calm waters in the perfect location to go and relax on a Sunday afternoon, especially with a Sushi Bar on site selling group sized tapas. A short walk away is a nudist beach for those tourists who want the full nude beach experience.

Photos By: Shutterstock

 

5. Zlatni Rat Beach, Brac-Dalmatia, Croatia

This beach is translated to “Golden Horn”. It is truly one of the most stunning beaches in Croatia and is surrounded by the Vidova Gora Mountain Range. Swim in the sea and stare up at the mountains with this beautiful tourist destination.

Photos By: Shutterstock

 

6. Calo Des Moro, Mallorca, Spain

Looking for a free activity while in Spain? This beautiful beach is accessible by the road and is privately owned by owners who care deeply about the well being of this location. They prevented a hotel from being built here and are very conscious of the wildlife and plants being well maintained. Sounds like a pretty picture we want to be apart of!

Photos By: Shutterstock

7. Durdle Door Beach, Dorset, England

Looking for a stroll on the beach without the swimming? This beach is so picturesque you could fill up your camera’s memory card with just shots of this location. Known for it’s beautiful arch in the ocean, your eyes will feast on all the greenery and textures on this beach.

Photos By: Shutterstock

8. Nissi Beach, Cyprus

Ready to party? Nissi Beach is known for it’s foam parties, shockingly clean and clear waters and the nightlife. This beach is great for those enthusiastically social travellers looking to make a few friends along the way.

Photos By: Photostock

 

9. Vik Beach, Iceland

Go see the most impressive and memorable black sand beach in Iceland. Vik Beach is filled with icy water and dark sand that will be a completely different beach experience from any other beach in Europe. Car rentals are cheap in this area so you can hop on the road and go see the beach first hand quite easily.

Photos By: Shutterstock

 

10. Chia, Sardinia, Italy

You would think you had gotten lost in the tropics when you arrive at Chia Beach. Other than the crystal clear water, peachy sand and stunning views, there is a flamingo breeding ground in the lagoon behind the beach. If you are visiting in July or August, be sure to arrive very early as the beach can get crowded. In June and September, you’ll be able to find a peaceful beach waiting your arrival.

Photos By: Shutterstock

 

10 Free Things To Do In Barcelona

Taking a trip to Barcelona is truly the trip of a lifetime that requires of a lot of financial splurging. As such, it’s important to find those local secrets about how to experience the city for free, or at least for a very low price. To help you with this, we have put together a list of the top 10 things you can do in Barcelona without pulling out your wallet – not once! First tip: make sure you’re in Barcelona on a Sunday? Want to know why? Read on!

1. Museu Picasso

Experience 4,251 authentic pieces of artwork by Pablo Picasso as you tour through this world renowned museum. The best part is, if you visit on the first Sunday of any month, it is free admission.

Photo By: Shutterstock

2. Catedral de la Santa Cruz y Santa Eulalia

Many cathedrals in Barcelona have an admission fee to get inside. This cathedral is completely free and is a wonderful example of true gothic style architecture.

Photos By: Shutterstock

3. Santa Caterina Market

Experience an authentic Spanish market in this stunning building that is a piece of artwork in and of itself. It’s so beautiful and will give you many options for special items to purchase for your loved ones back home.

Photos By: Shutterstock

4. Roman Remains at El Born Cultural Centre

In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city, a massive discovery was made. Roman remains were found under the El Born Cultural Centre and are currently being excavated and researched. You are able to visit this site for free and see all the discoveries that are being made!

Photos By: Shutterstock

5. Free Walking Tours

Not sure where to turn in the city? Join in on a free walking tour to give you some historical context about the city and help you better understand where you are and the importance behind the city. You may also make a few friends along the way!

Photos By: Shutterstock

6. Park Güell

You can visit this rooftop in Barcelona during the summer for free after 8pm. It’s a wonderful location to watch the sun slowly set and have an incredible view of the city.

 

Photos By: Shutterstock

7. Museums on Sundays

Did you know that every Sunday in Barcelona the museums are free? Explore until your heart is content with the special treat the city has to offer it’s locals and tourists alike.

Photos By: Shutterstock

8. La Rambla

This 1.6 kilometre stretch of pedestrian mall will take your breath away and is a definite must-see before you leave this stunning city. It is lined with lovely trees, sweet little shops and is filled with friendly people.

Photos By: Shutterstock

9. Magic Fountain of Montjuic

This jaw dropping fountain puts on many shows throughout the year to show off it’s beauty. Filled with color, acrobatics, music and so much more, you won’t believe your own eyes when you see this performance. Oh, and did we mention that it’s free?

Photos By: Shutterstock

10. La Barcelonetta Beach

Looking to have a mellow afternoon? This beach has your name written all over it! Bring your bathing suit, towel and a pile of sunscreen so you lay can upon the warm, golden sand. Don’t forget to take a dip in the mediterranean sea while you’re there.

Photos By: Shutterstock

 

15 Best Retirement Cities in Europe

Retirement is an exciting time of wrapping up your many years of service to society and starting a new adventure in life using all the knowledge and wisdom you’ve acquired over the years. Then comes the question of where to live – where you have your whole adult life? Or moving to an incredibly beautiful, new location? Well, it’s not like I’m biased or anything, but I feel like your biggest adventure can start with where you live. Check out these places you may not have considered moving to.

 

1. Pau, France

A well-loved area of France, Pau is also known as the Garden City, filled with woodlands, friendly locals and a lively college student community. It is also in Wine Country and has the ancient town Gaves De Bearn within.

Photo By: Shutterstock

 

2. Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is one of those places that is easy to navigate in and is filled with beauty around every corner. It is Spain’s second largest city and will keep your mind stimulated with all it’s historic landmarks.

Photo By: Shutterstock

 

3. Gozo, Malta

Why wouldn’t you want to live here? Oh my goodness it’s stunning. Retire to Gozo, Malta which is filled with sunshine and the ocean. Welcoming locals will want to involve you in their Karnival traditions and you will never run out of places to explore by foot and by boat.

Photo By: Shutterstock

 

4. Cascais, Portugal

This small town is filled with incredible architecture and breathtaking views. Looking out onto peaceful waters, this little community is filled with incredible restaurants and stunning designer boutiques.

Photo By: Shutterstock

5. Canton of Valais, Switzerland

Home to the world renowned mountain Matterhorn, this incredible location will not disappoint. Visit the Ice Palace nearby or after hitting the slopes,  take a weekly trip to the closest thermal spa. This little spot will hold a special place in your heart once you settle in for your retirement years.

Photo By: Shutterstock

 

6. Abruzzo, Italy

Instead of a city, this region of Italy is absolutely stunning and couldn’t be reduced to just one city. With fantastic house prices and welcoming locals, this area of Italy is well loved by locals and expats alike.

Photo By: Shutterstock

 

7. Paris, France

When you’re surrounded with culture, you can only become a better person. Paris is one of those places where you will always keep learning and experiencing new things while travelling through the city for only 1.90 Euros for public transit. With movies, museums, local grocers and bakers nearby, you’ll always get the best of everything. Talk about a luxurious retirement!

Photo By: Shutterstock

 

8. Halkidiki, Greece

A gorgeous location with reasonable home prices is the perfect recipe for a successful retirement. Who would’ve thought that you could afford a dream location like this?

Photo By: Shutterstock

 

9. Algarve, Portugal

Stunning, isn’t it? With affordable real estate, sunny weather and sandy beaches, I don’t see why you wouldn’t just retire tomorrow and move here as soon as humanly possible!

Photo By: Shutterstock

 

10. Dusseldorf, Germany

Dusseldorf is a city filled with culture and overall joy. Listed as the city with the second best quality of life, retirees will find a vibrant city culture in their new home. The city also is a hub of finance, fashion and the arts, so there is always much to see and do any day of the week.

Photo By: Shutterstock

 

11. Gdansk, Poland

Listed as one of the happiest places to live, Gdansk will light up your life with it’s strong community. Gdansk is also known as the City of Freedom for playing a vital role in the collapse of communism.

Photo By: Shutterstock

 

12. Bruck an der Mur, Austria

This tiny town is clearly under rated. With mouth watering good food, historical monuments tucked away for you to discover, and good health care, what else can you ask for?

Photo By: Shutterstock

 

13. Munich, Germany

Discover the historic and photogenic city of Munich! It is considered the most liveable city by the Mercer Quality of Life Index and has the best healthcare in Germany. You can sleep easy knowing that you will be well cared for in this diverse city.

Photo By: Shutterstock

 

14. Dorset, England

This quaint little county has views that will make you stop in your tracks to fully take in the beauty in front of you. Dorset attracts retirees so many friendly neighbours await, and there is a high level of health for the 65+ age group.

Photo By: Shutterstock

 

15. Bergen, Norway

Did you know that Norway is the world’s happiest country? Bergen is Norway’s second largest city, but has the feel of a small town. Located near dramatic waterfalls, breathtaking Fjords, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there is no shortage of beauty here.

Photo By: Shutterstock

 

7 Exciting Holidays Where You’ll Actually Learn a Thing or Two

For all of you multi-taskers and fidgety folk: have you ever considered going on a holiday that would teach you something you didn’t know before? Travel (no matter where you go and what you see) inherently offers the opportunity to learn new things or to see things from a different perspective. But what if the purpose of your holiday was to acquire a new skill or further your education formally? Here is some food for thought to make your next holiday a learning adventure.

1. Salsa Dancing Holiday, Cuba

Even if you’ve got two left feet, there is no denying the lure of the beat of salsa music, especially if you are in a tropical destination. For your next holiday, why not jump in with both feet (left and other left) and take a Salsa Dancing Holiday? In Cuba, many all-inclusive resorts offer complimentary salsa lessons as part of the resort amenities, but there are a number of planned itineraries available through travel companies that will arrange for dance lessons in different venues and cities over the course of your two-week stay, as well as an opportunity to savor authentic Cuban cooking, lifestyle and of course, music. By the end of your holiday, you’ll be a dancing fiend!

Salsa dancing cuba

2. Big Life Stretch, Spain

Travel opens up opportunities that you don’t have at home, so it stands to reason that if you are seeking to make a change in your life (advance in your career, improve your relationships or work towards that elusive work/life balance) that leaving your familiar surroundings might open your mind and usher in that change. The Big Life Stretch is a one-week retreat near Malaga, Spain in the mountains. You’ll spend a very reflective week, surrounded by nature. Guests participate in scheduled life coaching, and also learn techniques to embrace change, amplified by the natural setting.

Malaga, Spain

3. Learn a Language, Around the World

Instead of stumbling around in a foreign country with a guidebook, trying out phrases, why not make learning the language the aim of the holiday? There are literally dozens of travel companies that offer language travel experiences and courses. You simply need to consider what language you’d like to learn, and where you’d like to go to learn it. Another thing to consider- how do you want to learn? While there is undeniable merit to classroom learning, why not take advantage of local learning opportunities to see your language of choice in action (and use it yourself- which is the real way to learn a language). Seek out travel companies that include field trips, and offer other leisure opportunities (i.e. wine tours, cycling tours, etc.) that will allow you to get the most immersive (and fun) experience that you can.

learning a new language

4. Surfing School, Canary Islands

Surfing is just cool- cool to watch and even cooler if you’re the one of the surfboard. While there are any number of surf destinations worldwide, beginners will appreciate having a school with hands on instructors and a holiday experience meant to help you learn to surf- but enjoy the destination as well. 7 Island Surf in the Canary Islands specializes in Beginner and Intermediate surf lessons (although they offer a range to appeal to different skill levels). All guests need to do is book their flights, and they take care of your accommodations and your lesson plans. They also offer Surf & Spa packages as well as Surf and Yoga/Pilates packages too.

Photo by: 7 Island Surf
Photo by: 7 Island Surf

5. Creative Writing Holiday, France

Got a novel or other piece of writing lurking inside of you? What better way to smash through that Writer’s Block then to visit a locale that is scenic and receive training to be a better (or to start as a) Creative Writer? Abri Creative Writing Holidays in the Cévennes Mountains of the Languedoc region in the South of France offers residential writing retreats and programs to cater to beginners and experienced writers alike. They specialize and offer support with professional tutors in all kinds of genres- from poetry to prose to memoirs. These holidays include food and accommodation, and are limited to 16 people to keep the setting intimate and muse-worthy.

creative writing

6. Photography Holiday, Spain

Taking pictures is a major part of every holiday, but how many of us are any good at it? Why not take the opportunity on your next holiday to learn how to really capture your travel memories- on this trip and on every trip you take afterwards. In scenic Torrix, Spain, Awaken Holidays offers 8 day long all-inclusive vacations (room and board), photography workshops and personalized photography tours. Places this tour visit to photograph include traditional Spanish homes, the mountains, rock formations, and the sun rising over Lake Vineula.

photography

7. Wild Cookery, Scotland

Everyone is familiar with cooking holidays, which are enormously popular, particularly in regions of Italy and France, where travelers flock to learn regional cooking in the most authentic way. If you are looking for a cooking holiday with a twist, consider the Wild Rose Outdoor Cookery and Foraging courses. Head out to the Scottish Highlands for the weekend, where you’ll forage for greens and other ingredients and learn about ancient ways of cooking outdoors, like fireside cookery, hot stones and pit cooking. Pit cooking is the original crock pot, where food simmers in its own juices for hours, and is excellent for cooking soups and stews.

Photo by: Wild Rose Escapes
Photo by: Wild Rose Escapes

12 Things to Love About Ibiza

The island of Ibiza is well-known for its lively nightlife scene, beautiful beaches and more than six million tourists who visit it each year. This is holy ground for clubbers, nature lovers and those looking to get away from it all. Beyond the beach clubs and epic sunsets, there is another side of Ibiza with deserted beaches, crystal clear water for snorkeling, delicious dining options and a city full of history. Discover the best of Ibiza with these 12 things that we absolutely love about the island.

12. Passion Café

With four locations across Ibiza you won’t have to look very far to find these ever popular juice/smoothie cafes and restaurants. Although not hailed as a fully vegetarian café, the emphasis here is on vegan, vegetarian, macrobiotic and raw food dishes. Talk to any regular Ibiza islander and they will you tell this is the first place to head to cure that post-Pacha hangover. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner the most popular location here may be Santa Eulalia with its spectacular sea views. The newest location in the chain, it is cozy, airy, bright and oozing with good energy. Whether you are stopping in for an early morning smoothie or lingering over a romantic dinner, make sure to check out these incredible cafes.

Photo by: Passion Cafe
Photo by: Passion Cafe

11. Hacienda Na Xamena Spa Hotel

This luxury spa hotel in Ibiza will leave you absolutely speechless and is just one of many things we adore about the island. This white washed Ibiza style property is suspended 180 meters high above sea level, in the heart of a preserved natural park. Only a 20 minute drive away from the heart of Ibiza’s frantic epicenter, it truly feels as if you are worlds away. The hotel offers 77 rooms and suites, 4 restaurants, 3 fresh-water swimming pools, tennis courts, spa services, bars and multiple sun terraces. The on-site concierges make visiting here seamless and will arrange day trips, water sports, guided excursions and more. Imagine being able to cook alongside the chef, trek with a mountain guide or take a glass bottom boat ride. This is Ibiza like you have never seen it before.

Photo by: Hacienda Na Xamena
Photo by: Hacienda Na Xamena

10. Dalt Vila

Dalt Vila is the walled fortress, or known as the old city that dates back over 2,500 years ago and provides visitors with the perfect break from the otherwise lively atmosphere of the island. Dalt Vila seems to provide the perfect balance of history and scenery with its high stone walls, cobbled streets and dramatic drawbridges. Make sure to visit both during the day and at night, as daytime leads you to hidden openings in the stone walls and historic churches. Nighttime has a more fairy tale like feel to it as the walled city lights up and long after midnight you will still find all types of boutiques selling their wares. It is not all old world charm here though, in recent years modern restaurants and bars have opened in the area and many clubs send their entourages out into the streets to entice visitors to come inside.

Dalt Vila ibiza

9. Cala d’en Serra Beach

It is one of the hardest beaches to reach but well worth the effort as it’s hard to imagine a more beautiful place on earth. Park your car on top of the hill and descend down the steep mountain trail with little to no shade, bring plenty of water and a hat. What awaits you at the bottom is an absolute tropical paradise complete with two-tone azure waters, rocks to dive off of, lush green vegetation and a relaxed laid back atmosphere. There is fantastic snorkeling here due to the transparency of the water and visitors both young and old can be found frolicking in the waters. If you want to snag one of the few sun beds you will need to arrive at this beach quite early. On the beach is one tiny beach bar that serves up incredible local sea bass, salads and homemade burgers. Escape the hustle and bustle and enjoy the tranquil Cala D’en Serra Beach.

Cala d’en Serra Beach

8. Experimental Beach

This newish beachfront restaurant and cocktail bar was created by the ever-cool Experimental Group and offers a twist on the ordinary. It is situated on the southern side of Las Salinas National Park and offers lunch, dinner, cocktails and sun beds; as well as some pretty stellar yoga classes. Experimental Beach is unique in that it offers everything from fresh juices to beach-side barbecues but on the other hand can throw incredible day parties and has awesome bottle service. The restaurant itself is hugely popular as Chef Alex Larrea has created a menu that includes both traditional tapas and more modern seafood dishes. Be sure to check out the charcoal grilled black cod with sautéed pak choy, a favorite of many. Handcrafted cocktails, an extensive wine list and a vintage-like clothing store all round out this hot new spot in Ibiza.

Photo by: Experimental Beach Ibiza
Photo by: Experimental Beach Ibiza

7. Cas Gasi Hotel

Built in the 1880’s as a family home, this now converted small countryside hotel offers 10 rooms for rent. The idea behind this luxury boutique is to escape to a peaceful haven of the island, while still being an easy reach to all of the islands delights. The country home is surrounded by orange and olive groves, organic vegetable plots, pine forests and an abundance of almond and fig trees. Sticking with the luxurious theme, no two rooms here are the same, boasting their own style, personality and size. Think juniper wood ceilings, terracotta floors, romantic bed canopies, Moroccan bathrooms and more. A gourmet restaurant is on-site exclusively for hotel guests, along with an open air swimming pool, open air yoga deck, wellness center and more. One thing we can guarantee about this hidden oasis, once you are here you may never want to leave.

Photo by: Cas Gasi Ibiza
Photo by: Cas Gasi Ibiza

6. Bora Bora Beach Club

It is the epicenter of beach partying, sun tanned bodies dancing to electronic beats, drinks being consumed all day and all night and a party like atmosphere at all times. The Bora Bora Beach Club is no newcomer to this Ibiza scene, in fact it was around long before many others, but remains one of the best places to party on the island. Sundays are the most popular days to hit this club as it hosts some big name DJ’s that play cool underground vibes. Drink prices here are affordable, although they go up after 6pm, table dancing is definitely allowed and hundreds of people generally fill the club. If you are looking for something a little more relaxed head on over to the large beach-front seating area where you can grab food, a drink and watch sports on the big screen TV’s. The best part about this club, is there’s free admission all day and all night.

Photo by: Bora Bora Ibiza
Photo by: Bora Bora Ibiza

5. Formentera Island

It is often referred to as “Ibiza’s chilled out little sister” and if you are making a trip to Ibiza, Formentera should not be missed out on. Just a 40 minute ferry ride from Ibiza, visitors to this island will find miles of white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, well worn cycling paths, deserted beaches and people looking for the ultimate relaxation. Snorkeling with the incredible marine life is a popular activity here but frankly most visitors come to lie on the beach with a good book, many of them coming to become one with nature, and many of them without any clothing on. This hippie-like vibe is only found more when you eat at one of the small restaurants doted along the shores. Make sure to indulge in the catch of the day as the seafood here is some of the best. If you need a break from the crazy Ibiza disco scene, Formentera is exactly where you should head.

Formentera Island ibiza

4. Amante Beach Club and Restaurant

This beautiful beach club and restaurant is set in a breathtaking hidden cove that overlooks the Sol d’en Serra Bay. Amante offers a taste of Ibiza glamour but still retains some of the rustic island feeling. During the day you will find guests lounging on sun beds or indulging in a classic Mediterranean lunch. When the sun sets, the candles get lit and the area is transformed into a romantic setting perfect for an evening meal. The surroundings here are dramatic rocks, lush greenery and being perched on the cliff which gives visitors the utmost beautiful views of the sea. On Tuesday nights you can snuggle up on full body bean bag chairs with a glass of wine and take in one of their movies under the stars while fitness lovers can attend daily morning yoga classes. Whatever activity you like to do, you will find it here at this hidden oasis.

Photo by: Amante Ibiza
Photo by: Amante Ibiza

3. Benirras Beach

Located in the north of the island this beach is famous for its incredible sunsets and hippie drumming Sundays. The beach is made up of pebbly sand, interesting rock formations, a rocky sea bed and crystal clear water. Many visitors here snorkel these waters as the rocky sea bed provides the perfect hiding spots for plenty of colorful fish. There are a total of three restaurants on the beach, as well as a clothing boutique and small beach bar. We recommended Elements restaurant with its fresh menu and cultural events. The most popular day of the week at Benirras Beach is on Sundays when drummers descend to the beach to “drum the sunset” in this iconic hippie ritual. This drumming ritual has been taking place for years and has become an increasingly popular event, therefore we suggest coming early in order to snag a place on the beach.

Nacho Such / Shutterstock.com
Nacho Such / Shutterstock.com

2. The Hippy Markets

The largest hippy market on the island takes place every Wednesday in Es Cana, where countless stalls huddle beneath the palm trees selling everything imaginable. The original Hippy Market Punta Arabi features goods from around the world, many handmade, with products ranging from leather goods to beaded necklaces to tie-dyed shirts. Live musical and artistic performances take place every market day from 2pm-4pm in the multicultural tent and visitors and encouraged to join in the fun. This market also happens to have a very special kid’s area where children are encouraged to create their own souvenirs to take home. There are many other markets across the island including craft markets, car boot markets, street markets and flea markets. In fact one doesn’t have to go very far at all to shop here on this island.

abimages / Shutterstock.com
abimages / Shutterstock.com

1. Sunset Ashram

It is hailed as having the best sunset in all of Ibiza and if there is one thing that we absolutely love about this island, Sunset Ashram is it. This bohemian beach bar and restaurant is the absolute best spot to watch the sun sink and the day become night. This little spot is located in Cala Conta, tucked into a hillside that provides 270-degree views into the Cala Conto Coves. During the day Sunset Ashram is self-service, no need to book a reservation, just walk in and enjoy the gentle lapping waves. It is at night though that you will need to plan ahead and book a table, specifically one with a great view. Feast on organic salads and curries made with fresh local ingredients, grab a specialty cocktails and listen as the resident DJ spins the beats. Yes it is pricey, yes the service may be slow, but it is undoubtedly the best place to watch a sunset on the island.

Photo by: Sunset Ashram
Photo by: Sunset Ashram