Top 10 Things to Do in Mallorca

London artist Ben Robbins has been coming to Mallorca for over 15 years now, first succumbing to the nightlife of Palma but nowadays he comes to enjoy the more tranquil side of the Island. Here he gives us his views on the top 10 things must do’s while on the island.

1. Palma Cathedral – Standing tall in a striking waterfront location within the city of Palma Mallorca is one of Spain’s finest examples of gothic architecture. Made from golden sandstone, the beautiful interior is accentuated by floods of light filtering through the stain glass windows. A favourite with photographers I have painted this many times.

2. Valldemossa is an artists dream from a distance. Situated in the hills just south of Miramar this picturesque old stone town has a beautiful monastery that once housed Chopin and George Sand. Dating back to the early fourteenth century, the monastery is the second most visited tourist attraction after Palma Cathedral. There are plenty of nice restaurants to enjoy and you will find many Mallorcan holiday villas to rent nearby.

3. Platja de Palma – If you are staying for a short period then Palma’s nearest large beach is more than adequate. This long white sandy beach located next to the islands capital is probably the most self conscious place to hang out on the island. It can get crowded as there are many local holiday apartments to rent nearby.

4. Peninsula de Formentor – At the north east of the island beyond Port de Pollenca you will find the jagged peaks and sheer drops of Peninsula de Formentor. Leading down to one of Mallorca’s finest beaches and hotels, this makes for a great day trip if you have a hire car. You can get a boat from Port de Pollensa to avoid the crowds in the height of season. The Hacienda meets art-deco style Hotel Formentor is worth a visit for a drink or maybe a longer stay if you have the budget. Mallorca Holidays are not complete without seeing this.

5. Palma Restaurants – Palma has by far the best selection of restaurants, cafes and bars the Balearics has to offer. Whatever your taste you will find something to satisfy. I have eaten at so many places over the years but my favourite Restaurant in Mallorca has to be Eden in S’aigua Blava.

6. Palma-Soller train – I have to say this is not to every one’s taste but I find this train ride is a great way to get under the skin of the island. The 28km journey takes you through the mountains and the valleys of the Serra de Tramuntana. Holidays in Mallorca take a new dimension when you see the island from this perspective.

7. Soller – Hidden away in the mountains the country town of Soller is full of old stone mansions and sloping narrow lanes that navigate you around the town. Many of the houses were owned by the regions wealthy fruit merchants centuries ago. Today the town is a picturesque place to walk around and enjoy the surroundings. Soller has become more and more popular with holiday makers and there is plenty of choice when it comes to self catering holidays in Mallorca.

8. Arta – The small town of Arta is situated at the top of one of Mallorca’s steepest hills and is home to arguably the most important Mallorcan shrine. There are some great spots to paint the town from above. Although the town is not quite as dramatic as its setting, the shrine is the main reason to visit the town. Walk 10 minutes up to the Santuari de Sant Salvador for a worthwhile look at this holy place.

9. Deia – Located on the western side of Mallorca half way between Valldemossa and Soller, Deia is a beautiful old village of stone buildings that sits on a spectacular mountain backdrop. The tall Puig d’es Teix mountain (1062m) meets the coast here and at night the moonlight brings the wonder of this enchanting town to life. The mountain road running along the coast is spectacular and makes for a great days driving. Holiday villas in this part of Mallorca can be quite expensive but if you look hard enough there are always bargains to be had.

10. Monestir de Lluc – Sightseeing in Mallorca would not be complete without a trip to the remote valley 35km north east of Soller, where you will find the Monestir de Lluc (Monastery of Our Lady of Lluc). This has been Mallorca’s most important place of pilgrimage since the thirteenth century. With its orange tiled roofs and high-sided dormitories, the building clearly stands out within the surrounding mountains.

Derek Rogers is a freelance writer who represents a number of UK businesses. For Balearic Island holiday advice he Recommends MallorcaCalling.com for Quality Mallorca Holidays.

Top 10 Things to Do in Calistoga

Calistoga is a charming historic town that has much to offer visitors from around the globe.  It is as popular a destination for those seeking an active vacation as it is for those seeking a leisurely, luxurious vacation.  Fine dining, world class wine, famous hot springs and spas as well as beautiful natural scenery and friendly locals make this a great place to visit.

1) Castello di Amorosa –  an exquisite replica of an Italian Renaissance Castle.  It is a winery that visitors can take a one hour walking tour of and taste their delicious wines.  The castle was featured in the Adam Sandler movie, “Bedtime Stories,” and some of the set remains on the property for visitors to look at.

2) Bike Tours – visit Calistoga Bike Shop to rent a bike and get a local map that highlights some popular wine tasting bike routes.  Bike to Sterling Vineyards and take a gondola ride for excellent views of the Napa Valley or visit Clos Pegase for great wine and an outdoor sculpture garden.  One of the best wineries to visit and t in Calistoga Schramsberg Vineyards.  Schramsberg is famous for its Sparkling Wines that have been served in the White House by every president since Nixon.

3) Hot Air Balloon Rides –  Wake up early and get the most magnificent view of the Napa Valley from a hot air balloon ride.  View the wineries, vineyards and local geographic features like the Palisades and the Old Faithful Geyser of Calistoga.

4) Ca’Toga – an art gallery featuring paintings by Carlo Marchiori.  Carlo’s style is that of Italian muralists with figures from Commedia dell’ Arte as well as other unique and whimsical designs.  The gallery has a fantastic mural on the barrel vaulted ceiling of the Ptolemaic Constellations.

5) Solage Calistoga – a beautiful resort located at the top of the Silverado Trail.  The restaurant on the property, Solbar, has a great atmosphere and is the perfect spot to have breakfast by the pool or sip late night cocktails while enjoying the fire lit water fountains. Solage also has a top notch spa, Spa Solage that offers mud themed cocktails and a fantastic couples mud treatment. 

6) Day Spas and Hot Springs- Calistoga has traditionally been a place that visitors have frequented because of the natural occurring mineral pools and mud baths made with local volcanic ash. Calistoga Massage Center is a nice spot to get a massage while Lavender Hill Spa offers intimate treatments for couples.  Many of the resorts including Indian Springs Resort and Spa and Calistoga Spa and Hot Springs use mineral water from the ground as the water in their relaxing mineral pools. 

7) Shopping –  Downtown Calistoga has many unique shops featuring jewelry, clothing, art, furniture and gift items.  Funke’s is a popular spot for men and women’s clothing.  Attitudes and Three Sisters are  great boutiques for ladies, while Mud Puddles is an adorable spot for kids clothing.  Casa has beautiful artwork and paintings.  Calistoga Pottery is a local pottery studio that offers many beautiful ceramic items for purchase.  Nestled among the shops are numerous wine tasting rooms and wine shops. 

8) Hiking and Swimming – Oat Hill Mine Trail is a hike up the Palisades that offers a beautiful view of Calistoga.  The town also recently built the Calistoga Community Pool which is open to visitors as well as residents in the summer months. 

9) Dining- Dining options abound in Calistoga.  Brannan’s Grill is a delicious stop for dinner and drinks that has cozy booths and a plush luxurious atmosphere.  JoLe has delicious small plates made from fresh local organic ingredients and is a foodies paradise.  Calistoga Inn is the locals favorite for night life and is also its own brewery. It is also one of the best places for outside dining.

10) Events – The Calistoga Chamber of Commerce organizes many fantastic events throughout the year.  Calistoga has 5 parades a year including the Christmas “Lighted Tractor Parade” and the 4th of July Parade.  In addition there are music festivals, film screenings, car shows, sprint car races and many other events all year round. 

For information on these visit http://www.calistogachamber.com Have fun!

9 Fun Things to Do In Las Vegas

– The strip at night. Your jaw will drop with the shimmery, shiny lights. It’s just amazing!

– Bellagio Water Fountains. This may seem like a boring option given all that there is to do in Vegas but really, you need to see Bellagio Water Fountains dance and leap.

– Mandalay Bay’s swimming pools. They offer beaches, an outdoor casino, wave pool, lazy river, beach and several large pools. The only draw back to seeing these pools is if you want access to the pool area you will have to show a room key.

– Stratosphere Tower and Thrill Rides. If heights or thrills aren’t your thing you should probably skip this attraction. At the Stratosphere you can ride three different thrilling rides. The Big Shot – will shot you up 160 feet to the top of the Stratosphere and then drop back down like a bungee. If that’s not thrilling enough for you then there’s the X-Scream that hurls you off the edge of the tower at 30 miles per hour. Finally there is the Insanity. This spinning ride is similar to what you would find at a carnival only this ride is hanging off the edge of the building.

– Blue Man Group Show. Ugh, I personally don’t like these guys but I know most people do. If the Blue Man Group isn’t your cup of tea then go see Cirque De Soleil’s O or Lance Burton’s magic show.

– The Hotels themselves. While in Vegas you should definitely check out the amazing hotels themselves. Not only will you see some amazing hotels but it also won’t cost you a thing. Treasure Island, Bellagio, New York New York, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Wynn and The Venetian are some good choices.

– Buffets. No trip to Vegas would be complete with a glutenous trip to the buffet. The Wynn Las Vegas Buffet is one of the best buffets on the strip but it’s not cheap so go hungry.

– The Secret Garden of Siegfried & Roy at the Mirage Dolphin Habitat. This is a very small zoo with rare tigers, lions and leopards. In the Dolphin Habitat you may have a dolphin interaction and play catch with a dolphin.

– This next attraction is not technically in Vegas but if you have a rental car it’s worth the drive to go see the HOOVER Dam. The drive takes less than an hour even on the busiest of days. The dam is just amazing and is a nice break from the bright lights of Las Vegas.

Daisy has been writing articles online for many years. One of her newest sites is about the Zeno Acne Clearing Device and other Acne Skin Care Products that actually work! Please stop by.

Things to See and Do in Nantes

If you are looking for a holiday getaway in France then Nantes could be the ideal place for you. Whether you are planning a weekend trip or a longer trip, you can simply come over and relax in this nice little coastal town which is one of the best destinations in France for a peaceful break.

You will love the fact that hotels here are quite affordable and everything here is priced very reasonably. Nantes won’t burn a hole in your pocket. Food and drink is reasonably priced as are tourist attractions.

Once you arrive you will find that there are a plethora of things to do in Nantes. If you are a sci-fi buff, you should know that Nantes is the place where the famous science fiction author Jules Verne was born. There is now a museum dedicated to him in the city, called the le Musée Jules Verne. Children will particularly love the exhibits here.

There is also the Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne which is the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany and it houses the popular History Museum of Nantes. It has a contemporary layout with a lot of multimedia installations and over eight hundred and fifty historical objects that are connected to Nantes.

Brittany is a splendid picturesque area with so many places to explore and enjoy. Hiring a car at Nantes Airport or any of the other airports in Brittany is something which may be worth your while. Consider how much moving about you intend on doing. Will you be visiting just one part of Brittany or do you plan on seeing as much as possible. Spontaneity is great on a holiday but sometimes a bit of planning can go a long way.

The Machines de l’Ile is an experimental artistic project that blends the imaginations of such masters as Jules Verne and Leonardo da Vinci. It brings to life the creations that they described in their works. It is built on a former shipyard and has a magnificent location. It also has rides and other attractions to ensure a fun filled day for tourists. You can also take a ride on Le Petit Train de Nantes which is a very nice experience for any visitor.

Passage Pommeraye is a beautifully crafted art deco passageway that connects streets. It is situated near one of the biggest shopping areas in the city. It has a beautiful glass ceiling and is a great piece of architecture making it a great place to visit.

You can also visit the Cathedral in Nantes. Although it is nothing like the famous ones such as Notre-Dame, it is till a popular place to visit in Nantes. If you are a beach person, you can spend a great day at the beaches which are just an hour away from Nantes.

Read more about traveling in France by taking a look at car hire Nantes and car hire Rennes

Things to Do in Lviv, Ukraine

An Introduction to the City

Lviv is a beautiful city in western Ukraine and today serves as one of the main cultural centres of the country. It is a moderately sized city of about 730,000 so it is easy to get around and makes for a great place for either a city break or the perfect destination for backpacker’s who want to get off the beaten track for a bit and enjoy a city which is not yet completely overrun by tourism. However, there are still plenty of things to do in Lviv and you certainly won’t be getting bored!
 
Full of history and culture, Lviv is home to some of the finest churches and museums in Ukraine. It also has an extensive old town and a fantastic café culture, making it the ideal place to stroll around during warm summer days enjoying a coffee or a beer in the afternoon.
 
Getting to Lviv

Lviv is served by an international airport though there are currently no budget flights from the United Kingdom. If you are backpacking around Europe then the best and cheapest way to get to Lviv is generally by bus with frequent connections to a number of major cities.
 
Accommodation in Lviv

Lviv has plenty of accommodation options to suit all budgets. Backpackers would likely feel right at home in the Kosmonaut Hostel but if you are on a tight budget and want some privacy, there are plenty of other options such as the Hotel Lviv. You can find plenty of accommodation options and reviews all over the Internet including some on my site.
 
Entertainment in Lviv

You certainly won’t be getting bored in Lviv with an abundance of unique and particularly special entertainment options. No visit to the city would be complete without a night spent at the infamous Kriyivka bar, decorated in a Ukrainian WW2 partisan theme where you have to tell a doorman toting a submachine gun the password so that you can get in! Lots of fun indeed, and particularly unique.
 
There is also no shortage of nightclubs in Lviv and being a highly active student city and home to one of the country’s best universities, there truly are some great options for enjoying the lifestyle and meeting the locals.
 
When the weather is fine as it frequently is during summer, you should spend the evenings at one of the many bars and restaurants down Svobody avenue or even go to a ballet or concert in the beautiful Opera House at the end of the avenue.

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