Top 8 Backpacking Destinations for 2013

Backpacking is one of the most fulfilling holidays that you can ever take. Not only does it give you the chance to get in touch with local cultures and practices in ways that more luxurious forms of travelling would, it can also be done on a tight budget.

The hardest part of backpacking though is choosing your destination. Here, we look at eight of our favourites this year.

New Zealand

New Zealand is known for its breathtaking landscapes, and we’re all familiar with just how beautiful it is. The other plus point is that there is no language barrier, and living conditions are generally very good. This makes it a good choice for first time backpackers.

Greek Islands

Hopping around the Greek Islands is a perfect balance between culture and relaxation. You’ll find everything from deserted white beaches to lively and vibrant resorts that cater for young clubbers.

Peru

The Inca Trail is high up on the list for many backpackers, and for very good reason. There are many ruins along the way, not to mention Machu Pichu, that are as stunning as all the travel brochures with lead you to believe.

Serbia

If you enjoy skiing, Serbia is the ideal destination. On top of this, there are many museums and galleries to discover that give a fascinating insight into this corner of the globe.

India

India has a rich and colourful history, and there is no end to its delights. You’ll probably want to see the TajMahal, but beyond this, you’ll need to do your planning, It’s a vast country, and it can take over 24 hours to travel from one part to another. Be prepared for less than favorable travelling conditions, but know that it’s definitely worth it.

Thailand

Thailand is cheap, fun, and easy to get around. Whether you want to party or explore ancient temples and local markets, you’ll find plenty to keep you entertained. Many travellers love the opportunity to reconnect with their spiritual side whilst in Thailand.

Antigua

Antigua holidays can be a dream come true for backpackers. You’ll find a mix of coffee shops, pubs, international restaurants, and typical Spanish American culture. Taking a language class while you’re there can be particularly fulfilling.

England

England may not seem like the most exotic of choices, but it is a backpacker’s mecca in many ways. Transport systems are advanced and generally reliable, and you’ll find everything from rugged coastlines to bustling and diverse cities. The countryside in particular is something that must be explored.

Will you be backpacking in 2013? Which of these destinations appeal to you most?

This article was brought to you by Ruth Richards on behalf of The Holiday Place. The Holiday Place offers tailor made and multicentre breaks to some of the most captivating destinations in the world.

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Italy packages: 5 cities you must visit when in Italy

Italy’s charm transcends all boundaries, cultures and religions. It is a destination which can be best described as an unworldly experience. The country is a beautiful tapestry of art and architecture, history and culture, shops and food. And the variety is so rich that it would be a sin to miss out on any of its following 5 cities.

Here are the top 5 cities which must be a part of your Italy packages:

i.    Rome: Rome is the name which is an embodiment of human history. It has, for generations, attracted artists and historians from round the world, enraptured and drawn by its Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and Sistine Chapel. If history can be made tangible than Rome would be its most vehement form. Book your package for Rome now!

Image Source: Wikipedia

Image Source: Wikipedia

ii.    Pisa: Pisa’s Leaning Tower is an attraction which is enigmatic and extremely crowd-pulling. It has singlehandedly catapulted Pisa into the coveted destinations under Italy tourism. Other than this tower, this city has plenty of other attractions including the Baptistry, the Duomo and the Camposanto Monumentale.

iii.    Venice: Venice is the poetry of Italy. Its canals and gondolas have made it to the top of global honeymoon destinations. It is romantic, enthralling and an extremely picturesque city which also has its usual share of restaurants, museums and landmarks to offer.

Image Source: Wkipedia

Image Source: Wkipedia

iv.    Milan: Milan’s biggest USP is its fashion and its shopping destinations. Most Italy packages include Milan in the program since it is the numero uno shopping city in the world. Plus, it also has a rustic look with its old-age castles and churches adorning the whole city.

v.    Florence: Florence combines several things in itself. It is a haven for art and is noted for its wine. It is also home to some remarkable landmarks, like the statue of David or the Piazza della Signoria, and it is a food-lover’s paradise.

Switzerland Tourism: 5 Things I Really Love About Switzerland

I was still a kid when the late Bollywood director Yash Chopra opened the floodgates of fantasy and showed us a beautiful, almost incredible, vignette of Switzerland in his lovey-dovey films. Back then, I was pretty impressed and always wanted to have a slice of Switzerland tourism, provided someone pays for my trip. And then, years later, when I finally did get that chance to tour this country, I was skeptical! I felt that the country, after all, may not be as fancifully exuberant or as poetically charming as it was showcased in those Bollywood rom-coms.

But hey, I was wrong! I found this out the moment I landed on the Swiss soil. The sight which my eyes feasted on for the next few days is something which they won’t forget in a hurry. The Alps are not just mightily picturesque. They are epitomes of tranquility and appear to have jutted out right from some fable story. I can go on and on about the scenic beauty of this country. But then, I need to really move on, and point out a few other good things which Switzerland has to offer.

Here is a list of some of the best things I like about Switzerland:

i.    The train journey: Journeying through train back in my country was a horrendous experience. But it was in Switzerland that I discovered how good it can feel while you are seated inside a luxurious seat and the engine charges down those snowy mountains and the cold wind whips at your face! The Glacial Express journey is something I recommend to everyone, even to my miserly neighbor who, I know, would never take his family for an exorbitant Switzerland trip (even if he wins a million dollar lottery).

Image Source: wikipedia

Image Source: wikipedia

ii.    Architecture: Believe me, Switzerland has a very lively collection of buildings. And the great thing is that they come with some delectable variety! So, you have that quaint architecture which would pull you around its arms of nostalgia, and you also have some new-age modern designs coming up which can make you awed at the engineering skills of the ingenious man.

iii.    Chocolates and bonbons: Anyone who is into chocolates and bonbons will never be able to hate Switzerland. Switzerland tourism tempts you with its local chocolate factories and bonbon-selling shops. Yes I know even my native country sells chocolates like anything! But once you have tasted the Swiss chocolates, you are not going to get satisfaction out of anything else. Besides, in Switzerland, one can always take a tour of the factories and see the workers manufacturing these delicious little things!

Image Source: Wikipedia

Image Source: Wikipedia

iv.    Cuisine: Switzerland knows how to make you yield to temptation! I used to be a very choosy eater especially in offshore countries! But this place brought about a change in me, and made me eat like a glutton! Places like Post Haus, Heimberg and Chlosterli can make you lick your fingers over and over again.

Image Source: Wikipedia

Image Source: Wikipedia

v.    Skiing: Finally, I love this country for its adventure sports. There is no better place in the world to enjoy skiing. The snowy slopes are so fresh and windy, that I wish I could scream and say, ‘These mountain are mine’!

Botanical Garden Of Ooty: Your Date With Fossil Trunk And Monkey Puzzle Tree

Botanical Garden is counted amongst the top places to visit in Ooty. This good, old and grand garden is full of hundreds of flowers, plants and trees. Spreading over 50 acres, it is also hailed as one of the finest and most well-preserved botanical parks in India.

Image Source: Wikipedia

Image Source: Wikipedia

The garden opened its gates way back in 1847. Hence, it is needless to say that when you walk inside this garden, you not just stroll into a green paradise, but you also walk inside the very realms of Indian history. With over 650 species of plants, this place has plenty to brag and boast about. Some of its more popular and unique assets are the Monkey puzzle tree, Cork tree and paper bark tree. But the star attraction and an instant crowd-puller is the Fossil tree trunk which is believed to be over 20 million years old. Besides, there are many small ponds which are laced with stunning water lilies and lotuses.

The humongous garden is divided into several sections for the convenience of the tourists. The 6 major sections are:

•    Lower Garden
•    New Garden
•    Italian Garden
•    Conservatory
•    Fountain Terrace
•    Nurseries

Flower Show: One of the highlighted events of the garden is the Flower Show which is an annual ritual. Tourists get to feast their eyes on some rare species of flowers and potted plants during this event. The number of visitors also spiral up during this festival which usually lasts for a couple of days.

Image Source: Wikipedia

Image Source: Wikipedia

At some corners, tourists can also catch sights of statues and artifacts which add a dash of vintage charm to the corner. You can also ogle at some local birds which enjoy free residence over the giant trees.

Timings: 8 am- 6:30 pm (open every day)

Entry fee: Rs 20 (for adults), Rs 10 (for children)

Note: Rs 30 would be charged extra for bringing a camera

Top 5 things to do in Spain

Spain is a lovely holiday destination and a potpourri of attractions, landmarks, culture and adventure. From its beautiful churches to its mesmerizing architecture to its fascinating markets, the country certainly has that enamoring quality. Spain packages pack in a lot of attractions.

Here are the top 5 things you should do in Spain when traveling for the first time:

i.    Visiting Barcelona’s cathedrals: Barcelona is a town famed for its heritage buildings. It has some old cathedrals which have survived the test of time to give the visitors an enchanting peek into the past. Santa Maria Del Mar and the Barcelona Cathedral are two must-visit churches.

Image Source:WikiPedia

Image Source:WikiPedia

ii.    Cycle at Andalucia: Andalucia is picturesque, serene and encircled by soothing villages. Cycle trips arranged in this region is one of the highlights of Spain tourism. With so much sunshine and so many hills smiling down at you, breezing through the slopes on a cycle can be like a revisit to lost childhood.

iii.    Dancing in Flamenco style: Spain’s most famous dance form is Flamenco. Every year, local festivals are arranged in cities like Madrid where Flamenco is the star attraction. These festive parties are a fun thing because of good food and an exciting fusion of culture.

iv.    Visit El Tajo Grand Canyon: El Tajo Grand Canyon is a place of history and nature, and is thereby often a part of Spain packages. The place is in a ruinous and dilapidated state. So, those who have a penchant for ruins would feel like being in heaven in this area. In the vicinity, there are opportunities to take a bite of the local wildlife and to shop, eat and sightsee at Ronda.

Image Source: ehow.com

Image Source: ehow.com

v.    Shopping: Shopping and Spain go hand in hand. Madrid’s Augusto Figueroa is the most recommended shopping address for any tourist. Though one can shop for anything and everything, Spain tourism is particularly noted for shoe-hunting.

Top 5 things to do in Greece

Greece is a rare combination of history, art and beaches. The ever-so-popular country continues to be visited and thronged in humongous numbers and promises one perfect holiday. There is so much to see and so much to do in this part of the world that it is very hard to handpick the top 5 things.

Nevertheless, most Greece packages advise these top must-do things:

i.    Indulging in water sports: Greece has some fabulous beaches which are not only picturesque but are very congenial for water sports. Holiday lovers must make sure to try some cool sports on these shores with the turquoise sea nearby. Kite boarding is very famous with the tourists and so is kayaking. Every other major beach sport is available.

Image Source: wikipedia

Image Source: wikipedia

ii.    Enjoying sunset at Santorini: Greece tourism receives excellent traffic at Santorini which is considered amongst the most hypnotic destinations on Earth for viewing sunsets. This is a great place to feel the exuberance of true romance, and it is also a corner which is a favorite with nature photographers.

Image Source: wikipedia

Image Source: wikipedia

iii.    Touring the Acropolis: Acropolis is the most famous landmark situated in the city of Athens. It stands for the country’s history, heritage and art. It is also one of the most published images of the country and is included in most Greece packages.

iv.    Exploring the National Archaeological Museum: Athens is also home to some great museums and the best one, undoubtedly, is the National Archaeological Museum. Anyone who is interested in history should make it a point to visit this place. The time spent inside its walls would be worthwhile and extremely informative.

Image Source: wikipedia

Image Source: wikipedia

v.    Gazing at the Temple of Poseidon: The Temple of Poseidon is associated with the country’s history and mythology. It is noted for more than one reason. And its ruins will definitely take you back through the time warp. Greece tourism postcards have this temple flaunted all over them.

Fort Aguada, Goa Tourist Places to Visit

Fort Aguada is one of the most famous attractions and the best fort which Goa has to offer and one of the best places to visit in Goa. This fort, built in 1612, is domineering in size and unassailable in stature. It sits majestically by the Sinquerim Beach on Mandavi River’s shore and offers visitors a chance to take a joyride to the 17th century.

History favors this fort which has some interesting tales and legends to offer. Constructed by the Portuguese for trading and security reasons, it is now one of the biggest prides of India. In the mid-19th century, a lighthouse was also constructed in its premise and it further cemented its prestige as a hypnotizing structure guarding the entrance to the Arabian Sea.

Image Source:WikiPedia

Image Source:WikiPedia

There are no charges or fees levied on the tourists for visiting this attraction. It is symbolic in a way, since it also speaks for the fort’s own disposition of liberty and dominance. But you can hire a professional guide if you desire to learn a thing or two about its past.

Aguada Fort can be visited round the year and there is no best time to visit Goa, which itself is a 365-day destination. But if you plan to make the most of your visit, then try visiting the attraction during the late afternoon and stay on till the sunset. Also, it would be ideal to skip the monsoon months between June and September.

Image Source:WikiPedia

Image Source:WikiPedia

The view from the fort is surreal and panoramic. Photography is permitted. So, make sure to try your fingers over the cameras. Thankfully, there are no major or annoying restrictions and one can bring about anything.

The area in the vicinity is a hub of commerce with vendors and hawkers jostling for customers. Their voices may appear cacophonous at first, but they melt with the panorama brilliantly well. They have virtually turned the area into an exciting picnic spot with plenty of eatables available at hand.