5 Tips for Visiting Portugal During Carnival Season

Portugal is the home of carnival and each year hundreds of thousands of visitors arrive to enjoy up to ten days of riotous celebration.  The roots of carnival go way back into Portuguese history and the celebration is a complex brew of Catholic tradition, folklore and political satire which gets richer as each year passes.  Carnival literally means ‘put away the meat’, it’s the traditional big blow out before the start of Lent, a period during which Christians gave up eating meat, fish, eggs and fat. 

The celebrations culminate on Shrove Tuesday, better known to everyone outside the UK as Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday).  Carnival takes place all over Portugal but most visitors from outside of the country head to the Algarve, which is where some of the biggest celebrations take place.  So, if you and your mates are heading down that way, here are some tips to bear in mind.

Accommodation

If you’ve not booked a hotel well in advance, then you are probably too late but don’t despair there are other options.  You may still find an Airbnb or two, but if you’re travelling with friends you are unlikely to find anything large enough.  Consider instead renting some self-catering accommodation, not only will this give you plenty of space but it will also mean that you don’t always have to go out to eat and when you are all carnivaled out you’ll have somewhere comfy to relax.  In terms of location, then Lisbon is the obvious choice.  It’s got good transport links with local airports and it’s full of great places to eat and drink.

Where to go

Wherever you are you will see evidence of carnival but to see the best celebrations you’ll have to move out of Lisbon. Carnaval de Torres Vedas, about 40km from Lisbon, is generally reckoned to be about the biggest carnival around, although the celebrations on the Portuguese island of Madeira are also pretty spectacular. The Carnaval de Alcobaco, Leira is the most ‘Brazilian’ of the carnivals, dominated by samba bands, samba dancers and DJs playing, yes you got it, samba.

Getting around

Portugal has a great public transport system but as you can imagine it’s liable to get a little crowded around carnival time, so it’s well worth considering hiring a car, especially if there’s a group of you.  The anarchic spirit of carnival means that you have to be flexible about timings and you’ll need to be prepared to do a fair bit of walking.

Dressing up

You’ll see some of the most outrageous costumes you’ve ever set eyes on, the Matrafonas or Maria Cachuchas are men in drag and the Cabecudos are people in flamboyant costume with impossibly large heads, so let yourself go, you won’t be out of place.  Even though Portuguese winters are considerably warmer than the ones in the UK it will get chilly later on, so have something warm with you.

Pacing yourself

Ten days of eating, drinking and dancing is a pretty tall order, so build in some downtime so that you can recover your strength, you don’t want to be too exhausted to enjoy the culmination of the celebrations on Mardi Gras Tuesday.

Why is Cancun the ideal destination for your vacation?

There is no doubt that Cancun is an ideal place for anyone who wants to vacation and spend the best days in peace and serenity by the sea with a fantastic view; That’s why Cancun is one of the most visited destinations in the Caribbean Sea. Besides having the most exclusive views and the most popular activities, Cancun is an ideal place to host the tourists coming from outside, because it is considered a city with an immense mix of cultures. You should not feel strange if you visit Cancun and feel part of this place, since every day this city receives thousands of tourists from around the world. Their job is to make them feel comfortable, so let yourself be spoiled by the inhabitants of the city and enjoy the best times here during your vacation.

The main reasons why people visit Cancun daily is to have a wonderful time of harmony and to get to know the city and its surroundings, like Tulum, Playa del Carmen, and why not? The archaeological zone of Chichen Itza.

What is there to discover in Cancun?

Cancun has relevant sites that go according to the time of day, for example, in the mornings, you can visit the beautiful beaches of the hotel zone. If you are looking for fun, you can enjoy the beach clubs that are open to all adults who want to join a party of sun, sand, and sea (also swimming pools), where you will enjoy live music with DJ’s of national and international stature.

If your trip is about discovery and exploration, visiting the Mayan Museum of Cancun could be the place you were waiting for. Inside it, you will also have the opportunity to visit the small archaeological zone of San Miguelito and further on, located almost at the end of the hotel zone, the ruins of the King!

You will be traveling with children, and none of the above activities have entirely convinced you?

You can get an Airport car rental Cancun and take them to visit the most important areas of the city, besides in Cancun there are two water parks that you will love to visit together with them.

Outside the city, you will also find two other famous parks Xel-ha and Xcaret, for which if you find it more comfortable, you can get a Cancun Airport Transportation service in Cancun to move quickly to these places, because usually, the drivers know the way entirely.

In the afternoons you can visit the shopping malls, the most recommended ones are located in the hotel zone, Plaza la Isla has a dock that you can visit and enjoy while you have lunch in one of the restaurants near it. Watching the evening in these places is also one of the most beautiful activities you can live in the city if you want to get away from the landscape of the beaches and go to a view of the spectacular lagoon.

Another place is Puerto Cancun Marina Town center, where you can find relevant shops for any tastes and demands, besides the food area is in front of an artificial lagoon, and the view is amazing.

At night if you are looking for fun. You can visit the night clubs in the city, one of the most important is coco bongo, and without fear of being wrong is the oldest in the area, so as you can imagine, the service and quality of the shows offered in this place are exceptional. The tickets are a little bit expensive, but you will have different attractions in one night just by visiting this place!

You can also visit the Captain Hook pirate ship, which will give you a different level of experience at sea! This ship represents a particular fight between two pirate ships, where you can enjoy the performance of excellent interpreters, and if you are lucky, you can be part of the show. With a four-course dinner, this is one of the activities you can’t miss in Cancun.

The outskirts of Cancun are also one of the reasons we mentioned before that people visit this incredible tourist site,.that’s why we want to tell you about Tulum and Chichen Itza, even though they are not inside Cancun, you can visit them easily if you rent a car in Cancun. In this way, you will not depend on the time provided by any of the groups of travelers who got a package tour to the city in addition to probably being more economical. You can enjoy at your own pace and time each of these beautiful attractions that were once important to the Mayan culture.

Best places with colder weather

When most people think of a relaxing holiday, sandy beaches, warm sunshine and refreshing drinks usually come to mind. For some, however, holidays can also be a time to explore the chillier antipodes of the world. If you find yourself overheating throughout the year and you need to take off for colder climes, then you still need to know what destinations are best to make the most of your time.

Having a quick look at some of the world’s premier cooler destinations is a good way to find some inspiration. Though they have their weather and climate in common, not all cold areas of the world are alike. It is important that you find other interesting things to do in your destination and make the best choice for you.

Let’s look at five of the best places to cool down and visit if you enjoy colder weather.

Iceland

Iceland makes the top of this list because it has “ice” in its very name! Beyond the cold weather, however, Iceland is a great tourist destination. The country has made serious attempts to appeal to tourists in the past decade which makes the possibility of finding affordable accommodations much easier. For some true cold-weather fun, you can explore the Skoftafell Ice Cave for starters. Beyond that, the country is filled with volcanoes, geysers and hot springs that are worthwhile to explore.

Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn is an increasingly popular tourist destination for those seeking to venture into Eastern Europe. The city’s old town makes for great viewing, especially when the snow has fallen and the city is covered in a blanket of white. You will still be able to enjoy the architectural marvels in the city, including Kadriorg Palace. Tallinn is also known for its musical culture, so you are sure to stumble upon some great acts if you pass through at any time of year.

Salzburg, Austria

If you want to experience an authentic Austrian Christmas market, then schedule your holiday plans to visit Salzburg this year. With many historical sites to explore, including the Fortress Hohensalzburg, Schloss Hellbrunn and Salzburg Cathedral, you will never run out of things to check out. Be sure to sample some of the local festive cuisines and stop by the Café Tomaselli for a delicious coffee.

Nagano, Japan

With many hot springs, old-fashioned and traditional accommodations and opportunities for skiing and snowboarding, you are sure to love Nagano if you enjoy winter holidays. Having a look around the city will let you see why it was chosen as the former site for the Winter Olympics. For those who need a break from the snow, check out many of the historical Buddhist museums or enjoy some local Japanese cuisine.

Montreal, Canada

As the second-largest city in the northern country of Canada, Montreal makes for a great cold holiday destination. During the Canadian winter season, you can expect to find numerous Christmas markets, bustling shopping districts and diverse cultural exhibitions. The city is known for its thriving culinary scene with more restaurants per capita than anywhere else in the world.

Stay Warm And Have Fun

The five options outlined here are only a few of the great tourist cities found in colder climates. There are many more great options throughout the Northern and Southern Hemispheres that are sure to please. Norway, Sweden and Finland, for example, offer a great opportunity to experience Scandinavian culture in the cold.

Explore one or a few of these places on your next holiday adventure, but remember to take some opportunities to warm up every once in a while.

Music City’s Best Travel Apartment: The James

Using travel apartments has become one of the hottest ways to stay in a new city while on vacation. Which makes sense, when you realize that there’s a lot that a classy travel apartment can offer that no other architectural host can. For example, even a fancy hotel can’t guarantee your privacy the way having your own apartment does.

However, travel apartments’ new popularity and rise in our culture does not mean that they are all going to be great. Just as there are nicer camping sites, nicer hotels, and nicer in-law houses, so too are there travel apartments of higher quality than their compatriot apartments. So, we set out to discern which was the finest travel apartment in all of Nashville. It wasn’t going to be easy, because Music City is one of the best tourist cities in the United States, and it’s home to several metric tons’ worth of travel apartments.

To determine which travel apartment in Nashville was most deserving of being called the number one spot to stay, we judged each apartment on several criteria. The three primary criteria are the apartment itself, the location of the apartment within the city, and how close the apartment is to attractive Nashville locations. Most of the time, people place too much value on the quality of just the apartment.

Think about the nicest place you’ve ever stayed in for a night…would that place still have been nice if it had been located next to a pig farm and train tracks? With all this in mind, we’re pleased to announce that we have found the nicest travel apartment in all of Music City: The James. Learn more about The James below.

The Apartment

Even though we’ve just asserted that people put too much emphasis on an apartment’s quality, that doesn’t mean that the layout, amenities, and general feel don’t constitute some of the most important criteria for ranking an apartment. So let’s get the obvious one out of the way: is The James an apartment of top-tier quality? The answer is a hands-down yes. Not only do guests at The James Apartments get their own full kitchen and personal washer and dryer, theyalso get more amenities than you can count.

We’re talking coffee, tea, complimentary toiletries, and complete and total privacy. In addition to your stylish, large, and fully furnished apartment, you can take advantage of The James’ public areas. Need to sweat? Have at it in The James’ state-of-the-art gym. Hungry post workout? Grill yourself a steak on the rooftop terrace! Nashville’s gorgeous skyline and bright pink sunsets won’t let you down.

The Neighborhood

Welcome to one of the largest neighborhoods in Nashville–and the single best one for visitors. We almost called this article “James and the Giant Gulch,” but that reference might be a little dated.

Anyway, moving on. Located between the historic Music Row and the bustling downtown, The Gulch is an upscale, safe, and attractive neighborhood. You’ll have access to plenty of Music City entertainment in The Gulch, alongside a huge number of retailers and boutiques that have made The Gulch famous as a shopping destination. Pretty cool to be able to have a good time without leaving your neighborhood, eh?

The Attractions

As noted previously, one thing that many people fail to account for when deciding where to stay in a new city is how close that place is to exciting music venues and other attractive destinations. Rather than having you take our word for it that The James is near to some amazing places, we figured we’d just provide a couple of examples. Take a look at these two easily walkable attractions.

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

This isn’t your standard museum. This museum holds one of the largest collections of music in the world, and it’s the largest music museum in the United States. Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is the perfect place for children and adults alike to have an informative and fun experience. The Country Music Hall of Fame holds instruments and other notable memorabilia related to every musician that’s been inducted into the Hall of Fame since its creation over half a century ago. Located an eight-minute walk from The James, The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum shines like a major chord in a minor song.

Ascend Amphitheatre

Bring yourself on up to Ascend Amphitheatre. Set inside the Metro Riverfront Park, this is the perfect destination for those wanting to listen to a rockin’ show. You and 6,800 other music fans can all get your dance on together at Ascend. The Amphitheatre brings in world class talent to perform, so check and see how your time in Music City lines up with their performance schedule, and buy your tickets in advance!

We promise there’s plenty of cool non-music-related attractions near The James that doas well. Tasty food and fun bars are located on every block of Nashville, and the best way to find the ones you like is to pick a direction and start walking. Since you’re headed to Music City, the last thing you need to do is decide on the perfect travel playlist. If you’re lucky, maybe you can hear the same song performed live in Nashville that you heard while on your way there!

The Best Casinos to Visit in Monaco – A…

Las Vegas may be the most famous casino destination in the world, and Macau may presently be the most popular, but neither would have existed if it weren’t for Monaco. The Principality of Monaco was arguably the first gambling resort on the planet, and it has secured its place as the world’s most luxurious casino destination.

Monaco is home to several famous casinos that offer poker players and gamblers a host of exciting games. You could play stud poker, Texas Hold’em or video poker. Alternatively, you could try your luck at craps, blackjack, or the roulette wheel.

If you’re a keen poker player, you’ll undoubtedly want to visit this famous hub of classy casinos. The only problem is some of Monaco’s casinos are exclusive, so you may need an invite to get in if you’re not a noteworthy celebrity or banker. However, some casinos have an open policy, so you’ll certainly be able to soak up some of the glitz and glamour associated with this luxury gambling destination.

Take a look at the following best casinos in Monaco. You may find you want to book a flight to Monte Carlo today!

Sun Casino

Situated atop a cliff with stunning sea views, Sun Casino has a much more relaxed feel than other Monte Carlo casinos. It has an everyone-is-welcome policy, so you won’t need to wear a fancy tuxedo to get in. With a lively and spacious gaming floor, you will find much more besides poker to play. You’ll discover plenty of casino classics like roulette, blackjack, and craps. Sun Casino also features around 300 slots, but table play is generally more popular.

Poker players can take part in games like Ultimate Texas Hold’em. You can even play video poker. With bustling bars, live music from famous DJs, and screenings of live sports events, there is much to enjoy at this casino if you want to take a break from trying for a straight flush.

Casino Café de Paris

If you want to play Texas Hold’em poker and other games at a casino that’s a little different, check out Casino Café de Paris. The casino’s exterior looks as though it’s straight out of 19th-century Paris. But the interior is science-fiction-themed. So, as well as poker, you can play punto banco, blackjack, roulette and more amongst neon Star Trek-like designs.

Even if you’re not a fan of sci-fi, this casino is one of the best in Monaco for poker players. It has stunning facilities, and you also have the chance to play against the celebrities that often frequent this casino. Casino Café de Paris also has a beautiful terrace where you can soak up the sun, enjoy some drinks, and play more than 100 themed slot machines.

The Casino de Monte Carlo

The Casino de Monte Carlo is the most famous casino in the sovereign city-state. This establishment is where Monaco’s reputation as a luxurious gambling resort began. The casino opened in 1863 with the intention of creating more wealth for the royal family. Four years later, the casino received a vast amount of publicity when Joseph Jagger became the man who “broke the bank at Monte Carlo” after discovering and capitalising on a bias in one of the roulette wheels. Today, The Casino de Monte Carlo is a top destination for the rich and famous.

You might think that this casino sounds like it’s straight out of a James Bond movie, and you would be right. It featured in both GoldenEye and Never Say Never Again. With an exceptionally ornate and glamorous interior design, and a main-gaming room that oozes style, The Casino de Monte Carlo is perhaps the classiest casino in the world.

As well as games like stud poker and video poker, you can play baccarat, craps, a variety of slot games, and the traditional French game of Trente et Quarante. The only drawback of The Casino de Monte Carlo is you will need to look the part if you want to get in. The casino has strict criteria, so it’s imperative you dress to impress.


How to Plan Your Dream Trip to Innsbruck

When you decide you want to explore everything Innsbruck has to offer, it can be hard to know where to start. There’s so much to see and do in this beautiful corner of the world that we thought it about time we put pen to paper on a few bright ideas. That means all you have to do is take a look at the following wise words, pick out your favorite ideas, and then get busy planning the trip of a lifetime. Ready to get started?

Take to the Slopes in Style

If you want to really create memories that will last a lifetime, you’re going to need to take to the slopes the minute you arrive. It’s what the area is known for, it’s where some of the greatest skiers and snowboarders have honed their skills for decades, and it’s where you can break your own personal records. Take a look at the speedcheck area and you’ll be able to see just how fast you’re powering down the mountain.

Head Over to Ambras Castle

When you want to give your legs a rest from the adrenaline of the slopes there’s nowhere better to head to than Ambras Castle. It’s the historical attraction that’s been drawing visitors for centuries, and when you see it up close and personal it’s easy to see why. The pond and ornate gardens are truly a joy to behold, offering you all sorts of sights and scenes you’ll remember forever, no matter the time of year.


Marvel at the Golden Roof

You might not think that taking a look at a roof can beat your time exploring the mountains, but that’s because you’ve never seen a piece of architecture quite like this. The way in which the beautiful finish dances with the light from every angle is sure to leave a lasting impression on you. Just what you want from your dream trip.

Embrace Tyrolian Culture

When you think of Austria you’ll probably think of Vienna first, but there’s so much more to the country than just its beautiful capital. Innsbruck is living proof of that, and as the capital of the Tyrol region it offers you a window into a distinctly different culture that’s been thriving in its own right for centuries.

The highlight has to be the unique culinary creations you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Groestl, peckknoedel, and of course the delicious kaesespaetzle will all get those tastebuds of yours dancing with delight. And once you’re finished with the main course, why not take a short walk to one of the many outdoor food markets?

The Christmas Markets Simply Cannot be Missed

Last but not least, make sure you find the time to sample the delights of the Christmas markets.

They’ve the beating heart of the region at the special time of year, and allow you to lose yourself in a real winter wonderland for a few hours. Perfect for finding the unique gifts your friends and family will treasure.