Archive for 03/31/2012

London Guide

London Guide
London is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — consider printing them all.

Tower Bridge at night, bridging the River Thames.

Noisy, vibrant and truly multicultural, London is a megalopolis of people, ideas and energy. The capital and largest city of both the United Kingdom and of England, it is also the largest city in Western Europe and the European Union. Situated on the River Thames in South-East England, Greater London has an official population of nearly 8 million people — although the figure of over 14 million for the city’s total metropolitan area more accurately reflects London’s size and importance. London is one of the great “world cities,” and remains a global capital of culture, fashion, finance, politics and trade.

London will host the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Districts

The name London originally referred only to the once-walled “Square Mile” of the original Roman (and later medieval) city (confusingly called the “City of London” or just “The City”). Today, London has taken on a much larger meaning to include all of the vast central parts of the modern metropolis, with the city having absorbed numerous surrounding towns and villages over the centuries, including large portions of the surrounding “home counties”, one of which – Middlesex – being completely consumed by the growing metropolis. The term Greater London embraces Central London together with all the outlying suburbs that lie in one continuous urban sprawl within the lower Thames valley. Though densely populated by New World standards, London retains large swathes of green parkland and open space, even within the city centre.

Greater London consists of 32 London boroughs and the City of London that, together with the office of the Mayor of London, form the basis for London’s local government. The Mayor of London is elected by London residents and should not be confused with the Lord Mayor of the City of London. The names of several boroughs, such as Westminster or Camden, are well-known, others less so, such as Wandsworth or Lewisham.

History

Settlement has existed on the site of London since well before Roman times, with evidence of Bronze Age and Celtic settlement. The Roman city of Londinium, established just after the Roman conquest of Britannia in the year 43, formed the basis for the modern city (some isolated Roman period remains are still to be seen within the City). After the end of Roman rule in 410 and a short-lived decline, London experienced a gradual revival under the Anglo-Saxons, as well as the Norsemen, and emerged as a great medieval trading city, and eventually replaced Winchester as the royal capital of England. This paramount status for London was confirmed when William the Conqueror, a Norman, built the Tower of London after the conquest in 1066 and was crowned King of England in Westminster.

London went from strength to strength and with the rise of England to first European then global prominence and the city became a great centre of culture, government and industry. London’s long association with the theatre, for example, can be traced back to the English renaissance (witness the Rose Theatre [3] and great playwrights like Shakespeare who made London their home). With the rise of Britain to supreme maritime power in the 18th and 19th centuries and the possessor of the largest global empire, London became an imperial capital and drew people and influences from around the world to become, for many years, the largest city in the world.

England’s royal family has, over the centuries, added much to the London scene for today’s traveller: the Albert Memorial, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Royal Albert Hall, Tower of London, Kew Palace and Westminster Abbey being prominent examples.

Despite the inevitable decline of the British Empire, and considerable suffering during World War II (when London was heavily bombed by the German Luftwaffe in the Blitz), the city is still a top-ranked world city: a global centre of culture, finance, and learning. Today London is easily the largest city in the United Kingdom, eight times larger than the second largest, Birmingham, and ten times larger than the third, Glasgow, and dominates the economic, political and social life of the nation. It is full of excellent bars, galleries, museums, parks and theatres. It is also the most culturally and ethnically diverse part of the country, making it a great multicultural city to visit. Samuel Johnson famously said, “when one is tired of London, one is tired of life.” Whether you are interested in ancient history, modern art, opera or underground raves, London has it all.

Tourist Information Centres

Details of London’s primary Tourist Information Centre are given below. There are other more minor centres and those are listed in the relevant district articles.

  • Britain and London Visitor Centre (BLVC), 1 Regent St, SW1Y 4XT (nearest tube station Piccadilly Circus), ? +44 870 156 6366, [5]. M 09:30-18:00 (Oct-Mar), M 09:30-18:30 (Apr-Sep), Tu-F 09:00-18:00 (Oct-Mar), Tu-F 09:00-18:30 (Apr-Sep), Sa 10:00-16:00 (Oct-May), Sa 09:00-17:00 (Jun-Sep), Su 10:00-16:00, Public holidays: 10:00-16:00. Closed 25-26 Dec and 1 Jan. Visit London is the official visitor organisation for the capital and has a lot of free information for visitors in several different languages. It also acts commercially and can have some astoundingly good last minute deals on accommodation.

Get around

The city has one of the most comprehensive public transport systems in the world. Despite residents’ constant, and sometimes justified, grumbling about unreliability, public transport is often the best option for getting anywhere for visitors and residents alike.

In central London use a combination of the transport options listed below – and check your map! In many cases you can easily walk from one place to another or use the busses. Be a Londoner and only use the tube as a way of travelling longer distances – you’re here to see London – you can’t see it underground!

Source: http://wikitravel.org/en/London

Attractions of Malaga

malaga

Due to its location on the Costa del Sol on the southern coast of Spain, Malaga has long been a popular destination for tourists seeking the typical combination of sun and sand but with the attraction of little more sophistication. Malaga manages to provide exactly with its unique mix of culture, modern amenities and high quality accommodation options. The area around Malaga is also home to many world class gold courses and has become a Mecca for golfing enthusiasts from around the globe.

The history of the area as a tourism center goes back many years and continuous development has seen the growth of a very capable and efficient transport infrastructure. For through traffic the Autopista del Sol keeps vehicles away from the accommodation areas while providing a fast track route to other resorts on the Coast del Sol. The international airport at Malaga is also a model of efficiency and being located a only a few kilometers from the city center is easily and quickly reached by air travelers.

Tourism has been so popular for Malaga in recent years that the airport is undergoing substantial redevelopment that will see a new runway, new terminal buildings and a doubling of capacity.

The history of Malaga is very similar to that of many other coastal towns in this part of Spain, having seen ownership and occupation by various groups including the Greeks, Romans and the Moors. Each has left their own legacy of architecture, tradition and artistic culture.

Like many Spanish Cities, Malaga has a straight and wide avenue, in this case called the Paseo del Parqu, which was once the centre of the original town. The avenue is surrounded by gardens on both sides and provides a focal point for local and tourists alike who may be seeking to while away a few relaxing hours. However subsequent development and enlargement of the city has also created other areas of focus, most notably the harbour or marina area as a primary example.

Weather is of course an important part of Malaga’s attractiveness and because of its location on the Mediterranean sea with a mountainous area to the north, the city is protected from cooler northerly winds and is blessed with around 300 days of sunshine every year; one of the highest average temperature patterns in Spain. The beaches are what many people come to Malaga for and in recent years the beaches have been subject to comprehensive regeneration and cleaning. The beach at the Malagueta is one such area and now boasts a 2.5 kilometer stretch of 60 meter wide golden sand.

Malaga is also famous as being the birthplace of Picasso and the place where he spent the first ten years of his life, and as such provides a number of museums and galleries exhibiting his work. (The most famous Picasso museum is in Barcelona where he moved to when he was fourteen and regarded as his true home). Malaga also has a famous theater but the town is also liked for its modern culture. The city has many fine restaurants and bars and boasts an exciting and thriving nightlife. Popular areas in the evening include the Plaza de Uncibay located to the north of the Cathedral and in the south of the city La Malagueta which is more fashionable and popular with younger generations. Don’t forget however that, like many Spanish cities, nightlife rarely gets underway until after midnight, so don’t be surprised if many venues appear to be quiet during the earlier part of the evening.

The Calle Larios is a well known street in the center of the commercial district. It is home to many famous shopping names and makes a great starting point for anyone wanting to explore the city.

Tourists wishing to visit the city will find many airlines flying to Malaga from most locations in Northern Europe and in the early season cheap flights can be found making a short break to the city very affordable.

Sharm El Sheikh a Winter Sun Destination

Sharm

When it comes to selecting a destination for a winter break there may be many things to consider but really only two things matter: sunshine and warm temperatures. Of course a nice beach, decent scenery, fantastic restaurants, perhaps a bit of history and culture will add value but with warm weather most destinations can write of their chances.

So given the weather patterns of Europe during the winter months, very few locations can claim to be attractive to winter sun seekers. The main candidates are typically the Canary Islands, Cyprus, Turkey perhaps, Dubai for those who can afford it and finally Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt.

Sharm is a custom built holiday resort, developed purely to attract sunseekers keen to get away from their cold, wet and dull Europe homes during Winter and early Spring. Sharm has tried to include everything the holidaymaker needs to enjoy an off season break. The weather is a given with warm sunny days almost guaranteed but on top of that there are luxury hotels, well maintained beaches, plenty of watersports to try and a feast of shopping opportunities for those so inclined.

Its location on the Red Sea also provides the resort with some fantastic diving and snorkeling opportunities and there are plenty of specialist scuba diving holidays and dive training schools using the area.

The original development of the area for tourism started in the 1970s when the land was still owned by Israel. The beach north of Sharm at Naaama Bay saw the first hotels being built and that beach is still popular today as an alternative to the main Sharm area. When the land was returned to Egyptian control in 1982 a plan was developed to turn the area more carefully into a holiday resort with building heights being restricted in an attempt to preserve the skylines.

During the summer months Sharm is perhaps not suitable for families with small children as daytime temperatures can regularly reach the high 30’s right through from June to September but during the winter months the average daytime temperature is usually at least 20 degrees Celsius making the location an obvious choice for those yearning for warm sunshine.

Visitors to the resort who are contemplating a trip to the Pyramids may wish to consider the amount of traveling involved. The great Pyramids are certainly a sight worth seeing but the 8 hour road journey from Sharm may put off many people but there is always the option of taking a flight to Cairo which only takes an hour. There are visa regulations to watch out for. A visa is not required just to visit Sharm but will be required for any travel outside the area.

The resort has certainly benefited from some well controlled development and planning rules and the choice of attractive luxury hotels will satisfy even the most discerning. Hotels on Nabq Bay overlook the offshore Tirana island. Other bays include Tiger Bay, Garden Bay and the lovely Sharks Bay with its golden sand and fantastic views.

Sharm Old Town is also very interesting, with its picturesque marina area and curious market. Once you put the incessant pestering of the traders to one side and concentrate on enjoying the experience there is plenty to enjoy, but be careful not to show too much interest in a particular item as the traders are relentless in their pursuit of a sale.

A trip to Sharm El Sheikh would not be complete without a snorkeling trip to see the coral reefs of the shoreline. Boats trip are reasonably priced and armed with a snorkel and set of flickers even average swimmers can enjoy the fascinating sights. A typical trip can last up to seven hours in total so make sure you are fully prepared with water, food and sun screen if temperatures are high. One of the more unusual excursions on offer is an overnight mountain walk on Mount Moses. Here it will be cold rather that hot weather that should concern you. Temperatures can drop very quickly at altitude after dark and warm clothing will be required. There will be Bedouin tents lining your route for those in need of a cup of tea but the highlight comes towards the end of the walk when, if you are lucky, a most amazing sunrise will reward you. There are also horse and desert camel riding to enjoy put during the winter season many people are quite content just to lie in sun and relax.

Book Sharm El Sheikh Hotels now from ONLY £7 per room per night http://holidayhotelbuddy.co.uk/sharm.htm

Camping in Rural Italy

Camping-In-Italy

With so many quality campsites positioned along the coast of Italy for holidaymakers to be close to the sea, it is easy to forget that there are also good campsites to try inland in rural Italy. Camping in the countryside among the trees and fresh air is at the heart of the camping experience. Take a look at three of Italy’s campsites that put you close to the sights of the cities while helping you to enjoy the delights of the countryside.

With so many quality campsites positioned along the coast of Italy for holidaymakers to be close to the sea, it is easy to forget that there are also good campsites to try inland in rural Italy. Camping in the countryside among the trees and fresh air is at the heart of the camping experience. Take a look at three of Italy’s campsites that put you close to the sights of the cities while helping you to enjoy the delights of the countryside.

Florence Camping

One good place to spend your Italy camping holiday is Camping Norcenni Girasole Club near to Florence. A scenic region known for its art, Tuscany is situated towards the north of Italy. Camping here puts you close to the vineyards that produce the world famous Chianti wine, so you can also enjoy wine tasting excursions during your stay. The campsite is located on the slopes of the green Arno Valley, cut by the Arno River which flows through the city of Florence.

Florence is a vibrant city, packed with art and stunning architecture. The churches and cathedrals are striking in their decoration, design and size, because of the competitive nature of their architects and patrons, who each aimed to surpass the splendour of other buildings in the city.

Camping Norcenni Girasole Club is just thirty minutes from the city of Florence and is easily reached by train from the station at Figline Valdarno. Like the best of Italy’s campsites, there is a modern water park on site. It is a stylish lagoon pool, with small islands, peppered in the central pool. The complex has fun water slides and you can drift along the ‘lazy river’ channel.

Rome: The Eternal City

Rome is an enthralling, labyrinthine city densely packed with interesting and romantic sights. It is a wonderful place to explore on foot, but there is so much to see that it will be tiring if you don’t make use of the buses, trams and metro transport. This is the home of the Roman Empire, with famous sites such as the Trevi Fountains, the Colosseum and the Spanish Steps to visit on your Italy camping holiday. And don’t forget the breathtaking Vatican City.

As well as being 45 minutes away from the capital of Italy, the Camping i Pini, Rome campsite is also close to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli.

With barbecues provided, and a choice of activities including boules and volleyball available, there is plenty of opportunity to spend time in the fresh air.

Lake Maggiore

For camping in Italy’s rural Northern Lakes region, there are a number of sites to choose from along the banks of Lake Garda, but further north on the Swiss border is the Isolino Camping Village, set on the banks of beautiful Lake Maggiore. This is a tree lined campsite with great views of the surrounding mountains and the lake, where you can play beach volleyball or take a pedalo out on the water. The Borromean Islands are occupied islands in Lake Maggiore visit via the town of Stresa, or enjoy the delights of the gardens of the Palazzo Borromeo – just one of the beautiful places you can visit from the quality campsites in Italy.

Golf Courses in Madrid

Golf In Madrid

Madrid has many famous and well maintained golf courses. The golf courses in Madrid are Olivar de la Hinojosa Golf Courses, Campo Villa de Madrid Golf Course, Las Lomas Bosque Golf Course, Real Sociedad Golf Course, Cabanillas Golf Course, Los Retamares Golf Course, La Herreria Golf Course, La Dehesa Golf Course as well as Aranjuez Golf Course. The climate in Madrid is pretty warm and ideal for golfers. One may find the most challenging golf courses in Madrid.

Many championships are held each year in these golf courses. These golf courses in Madrid have outstanding facilities for the players including equipments. One can practice with great ease for as log as one wants. The scenery in these courses are also worth watching. One has to see these courses to believe that such beautiful views exist.

These courses are located in fantastic locations and the landscapes are really lively. Not only this, if one wants to learn golf and wishes to be a good player, many teaching professionals are also available which one can hire for the purpose. One can learn tips and tricks from them and start practising.

Many tourists as well as golf lovers visit this place in order watch the golf tournaments and championships. So, golf courses in Madrid also have facilities and services which any good golf course should have. Accommodation for all people who visit this place is also taken care of. The owner of these golf courses spend huge amount of money in order to maintain the standard of these golf courses.

If one wants to view the golf course before selecting the best it is better to get information from the internet. Today all information is available on the internet. One can view all the golf courses and accordingly decide which course is the best.

If one wants to watch live championship one can plan accordingly so that live tournaments can be viewed. The information regarding these tournaments can be viewed on the internet. If one has some favourite golf player then one can view when a particular player is going to play and plan the holiday accordingly. In this way, one can watch favourite players and enjoy the holiday. The glory and fame of these golf courses depends on how well the golf course is maintained and the number of people visiting it.

The design of every golf course is unique and different. The design of the golf course is the most important feature of golf. Well designed golf courses also require lot of maintenance. Maintaining the golf course is really tough. It requires huge efforts and many people are involved apart from lots of money to be spent.

Nowadays many leaflets as well as booklets are also available. One can also gather information from any of these. The design of some of the golf courses in Madrid is so extraordinary that some people just come to see the golf course. Basically all the golf courses in Madrid confirm to international standards.

Top 7 Ibiza Secrets

Ibiza Guide

Ibiza is known as the best party island in the Mediterreanean sea, but you do not need to be a clubber in a latex outfit to enjoy a vacation on the Balearic island. After living on Ibiza for several months and writing a travel guide about the island I have acquired a lot of knowledge. Here s a list of little known facts about the sunny island:

1. Cheap
If you look past the extreme prices of drinks in the hottest clubs, Ibiza is actually fairly inexpensive. The resorts are struggling to keep up with Mallorcas new built vacation spots and the 80s and 90s styled hotels are decreasing their prices to get people to buy vacations at their hotels.
2. Brits dominate
If you head for the resort of San Antonio and visit the resorts West End district you will not feel like you are in Spain at all! There are so many kebab joints, Chinese restaurants, Fish & Chips places, strip joints, nightclubs and party pubs that it resembles any English mid sized town on a Saturday night.

3. Ibizas gay town
Ibiza Town is home to a big gay community in the summer months. Visit the towns Sa Penya area along the harbour to experience the gay side of Ibiza. Expect narrow streets filled with bars, clubs and a few restaurants.

4. Very quiet outside peak season
The peak season in Ibiza is in June, July, August and September. The rest of the year the island is pretty quiet and you get to have all the beaches and restaurants to yourself. A visit to Ibiza in May, June or October guarantees pretty weather and nice sunny days without the crowd.

5. Watch the sunset at Cafe del Mar, or somewhere else
It is hardly a secret, but a visit to Ibiza is not complete without enjoying the view of the sunset with a cocktail in your hand. The most popular place to watch the sunset is at the world famous Cafe del Mar in San Antonio. But there are several other beach side cafes where you can get the same view, pay less for drinks, and have less people around you.

6. Use your beach towel
Is your budget tight? In these times it may be worth your while to stretch your euros a little bit further. My top money saving tip is in the sunbed area: Do not hire sunbeds at the beach every day, €5 a day for sunbeds accumulate to €70 for 14 day stay. Use your beach towel or enjoy life at the hotel pool.

7. Great gourmet food at the supermarket
If you go to the beach you can pick up some nice serrano ham, cheese, baguettes and a few beers at one of the many supermarkets. Eat them at the beach instead of paying for lunch or dinner at fancy restaurants.

Top 5 Places To Visit In Mallorca

Mallorca

People from all across the world and especially so from northern Europe have been coming to Mallorca for years now, first succumbing to the nightlife of Palma however at the moment people come here to enjoy the more peaceful side of the Island. Here are top 5 places to look at when you visit the island.

Palma Cathedral: Located inside the town of Palma Mallorca is one of Spain s best examples of gothic architecture. It stands tall in a dazzling waterfront and is made from golden sandstone; the stunning inside is emphasized by floodlights sifting through the tinted glass panes. A preferred with photographers and is one of the most photographed sites in Mallorca.

Valldemossa: Located in the hills just south of Miramar this charming historic stone town has a gorgeous monastery that one time was a home to Chopin as well as George Sand. Constructed way back in the early fourteenth century, the monastery is the second most visited tourist spot after Palma Cathedral and is any artist’s dream from a distance. There are a number of good restaurants to have a nice meal. In addition, you will come across a number of Mallorcan holiday villas to rent in close proximity.

Platja de Palma: This extensive clean sandy coast is situated close to the islands capital and is perhaps the most crowded place to go around on the island and spend time. It can get jam packed, because there are quite a lot of local holiday apartments to rent in close proximity. Therefore, if you plan to stay for a short time in that case Palma s nearby huge seaside is more than enough.

Peninsula de Formentor: Located at the north east of the land mass away from Port de Pollenca you will come across the serrated mountains and steep falls of Peninsula de Formentor. Gliding down to one of Mallorca s best seashores as well as hotels, this makes for an excellent outing if you have a rented automobile. You can catch a yacht from Port de Pollensa to keep away from the crowds during the peak tourist period of the year. The beautifully styled Hotel Formentor is worth a stopover for a drink or perhaps an extensive stay if you have the resources. Your Mallorca Holidays would not be considered complete without seeing this.

Palma Restaurants: Beyond a doubt, Palma has the most excellent collection of restaurants, cafes as well as bars the Balearics has to put forward. Doesn’t matter what your taste you will come across something to contend. You must have eaten at so many places over the years however; believe me by far one of the best you may come across is Restaurant in Mallorca Eden in S aigua Blava.

You can never go wrong on your Mallorca holidays if you visit the above top 5 tourist spots while you are in Mallorca. So, don’t waste your time pack your bags and make an arrangement and enjoy your stay at one of the most favorite holiday destinations in Europe.Mallorca

Montenegro Travel Guide

Montenegro

Montenegro (Montenegrin: Crna Gora, ???? ????) is a country in the Balkans, on the Adriatic Sea. It borders Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the north, Serbia to the northeast, Kosovo to the east, and Albania to the south. To the west of Montenegro is the Adriatic Sea.

Montenegro’s tourism suffered greatly from Yugoslavia’s tragic civil war in the 1990s. In recent years, along with the stabilized situation in the region, tourism in Montenegro has begun to recover, and Montenegro is being re-discovered by tourists from around the globe.

In 2007, the country received peak level of tourism which almost reached pre-war volumes. As a result, many roads have been renovated (reducing driving time) and many hotels have been constructed or renovated.

Climate

Montenegro’s lower areas along the coast enjoy a Mediterranean climate, having dry summers and mild, rainy winters. Central and northern regions have Continental climate, where temperature varies greatly with elevation. Podgorica, lying near sea level in the valley of the central region, is noted for having the warmest July temperatures in Montenegro, averaging 35-40°C (95-104 F).

Cetinje, in the Karst at an elevation of 670m (2,200 ft), has a temperature 5°C (10 F) lower. January temperatures range from 8°C (46 F) from Bar on the southern coast to -3°C (27 F) in the northern region.

Montenegro’s mountainous regions receive some of the highest amounts of rainfall in Europe. In the northern mountains, snow is present throughout the spring.

Terrain

The terrain of Montenegro ranges from high mountains through a segment of the Karst of the western Balkan Peninsula, to a narrow coastal plain that is only one to four miles wide. The coastal plain disappears completely in the north, where Mount Lovcen and other ranges plunge abruptly into the inlet of the Gulf of Kotor.

Montenegro’s section of the Karst lies generally at elevations of just below 1,000m (3,000 ft) above sea level-although some areas rise to 1800m (6,000 ft). The lowest segment is in the valley of the Zeta River, which flows at an elevation of 460m (1,500 ft).

The high mountains of Montenegro include some of the most rugged terrain in Europe. They average more than 2,100m (7,000 ft) in elevation.

History

Montenegro was founded as a state under its present name in 15th century, continuing the tradition of the Slavic state of Duklja. It was able to maintain its independence during the reign of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans, as its independence was formally acknowledged at the Congress of Berlin in 1878. After the World War I, fighting for the Allied powers, it was absorbed into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, which later became the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929. Montenegro was also later part of various incarnations of Yugoslavia, until it regained its full independence from the federation of Serbia-Montenegro on the June 2006 referendum. Montenegro was the only subsequent republic of the former Yugoslavia that supported Serbia during the wars of the Former Yugoslavia in the 1990.

Montenegro is officially divided into 21 municipalities, which can be grouped into five regions:

Bay of Kotor
This bay is considered one of the most beautiful bays of Europe, and features the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Perast and Kotor, as well as other typically Mediterranean towns.

Budva Riviera
The main tourist drag with nice beaches, historic villages and wild nightlife.

Central Montenegro
This is the heart of the country with the state capital Podgorica, the historical capital Cetinje and the industrial center Nikši?. It is also home to natural beauty, such as Skadar Lake National Park and Lov?enNational Park.

Montenegrin South Coast
The Mediterranean coast around the towns of Bar and Ulcinj, the latter one having an Albanian majority.

North Montenegrin Mountains
This region is entirely situated within the Dinaric Alps, famous for its untouched wild nature. A must is the Tara River Canyon in DurmitorNational Park. Žabljak is Montenegro’s winter sports capital.

Cities

  • Podgorica — the capital and biggest city in Montenegro, experiencing a huge architectural boom in the last couple of years
  • Be?i?i — with a 2km long fine sandy beach, it is home to numerous resorts and hotels
  • Budva — most popular resort with great beaches and vibrant nightlife
  • Cetinje — the old royal capital of Montenegro, with a large number of museums, monasteries and former embassies
  • Herceg Novi — founded in 1382 and located in the entrance of the Bay of Kotor
  • Kotor — an ancient fortified town located deep down the Boka Kotorska bay, UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Nikši? — the second largest city in Montenegro and economically important
  • Perast — beautiful small village, a UNESCO World Natural and Historical Heritage Site
  • Tivat – a small town in the Bay of Kotor, quickly emerging into a major touristic, business and transport centre
  • Žabljak — center of Montenegrin mountain tourism

Other destinations

  • Biogradska Gora National Park — some of the last remaining untouched forests in Europe
  • Durmitor National Park — rafting through the Tara Canyon, the deepest canyon in Europe, is one of the most popular activities in Montenegro
  • Lov?en National Park — beautiful mountain with natural, cultural and historical scenery
  • Mount Ostrog — the amazing monastery situated on the almost vertical cliff of Mount Ostrog
  • Skadar Lake National Park — the largest lake on the Balkans and the natural habitat of the very diverse flora and fauna
  • Sveti Stefan — picturesque town-hotel, a former fishermen town on the small peninsula near Budva (currently closed for renovation)

Get in

Holders of travel documents containing a valid Schengen visa, a valid visa of the United States of America or a permission to stay in these countries may enter and stay, i.e. pass through the territory of Montenegro up to seven days, and not longer than the expiry of visa if the period of validity of visa is less than seven days. Visitfor more details. However, border guards are not fully aware of this information, and they might tell you that you require a visa to enter Montenegro. Stay calm and politely ask them to recheck their information. They will fill a form with your passport and car registration information which can take up to 1 hour!

As of Nov 2010, nationals of the following states may enter, pass through the territory of and stay in Montenegro up to 90 days with a valid travel document without a visa: Andorra, Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Greece, Holy See, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Macedonia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Nicaragua, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, El Salvador, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uruguay, United States of America and Venezuela.

The exemption from the visa requirement also applies to the holders of valid travel documents issued by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.

By plane

Podgorica airport is Montenegro’s main international airport. It is situated 12km (7.5 miles) south of Podgorica. It is a hub for Montenegro’s national airline carrier, Montenegro Airlines.

One can get from the airport to Podgorica center by taking the minibus, which usually waits in front of the terminal. The taxi to the center will be more expensive, usually at €15. From the city center (Republic Place) to the Airport, metered Taxi costs 5-6 Euros.

One thing to notice about Podgorica airport is the lack of bus service to the coast. Hence, as soon as you exit the terminal, you will be surrounded by guys asking if you want a taxi. At this point, they are competing to see how much they can squeeze you for. Montenegro is most definitely not a cheap country, but still, keep your wits about you. Hotels in Kotor will offer airport transfer for approx 70-80 euros, so don’t listen to guys quoting EUR120 or more for the drive to the coast. If you say “forget that”, and take a taxi to the centre, they may try to bargain when you’re in the car… at least here it’s one-to-one.

Tivat airport is situated near the city of Tivat, on the Montenegin coast. It has regular flights to Belgrade throughout the year, and has charter flights to major European destinations during the summer. Tivat airport is 20km from Budva and Herceg-Novi and 60 km from Bar.

Destinations covered from these airports are listed in detail on the website of ‘Airports of Montenegro’. Destinations covered by Montenegro Airlines, as well as booking information, can be found on the website of the carrier.

Dubrovnik airport in Croatia is a half hour drive from the Montenegro border and the coastal city of Herceg-Novi, and is served by many major airlines, so it might be a good option for tourists coming by plane.

By train

There is a regular passenger train service from Subotica through Novi Sad and Belgrade. The train goes through Bijelo Polje, Kolasin, Podgorica and ends in Bar, Montenegro’s main seaport. Travel by train is the cheapest way to get to Montenegro, but the quality of service is not very good. There are overnight trains with sleeping cars for around €25, which must be booked in advance, but are a more comfortable option.

A cheap way of traveling to or from Montenegro might be the Balkan Flexipass.

A ticket from Podgorica to Bar cost €2,40 (may 2011). Expect delays. Train from Mojkovac leaves at 17.11hr and takes about 3 hours to Bar. From Podgorica-Bar leaves around 19.06.

By bus

Montenegro is well connected with neighbouring countries and ticket prices are all under €25. During the summer, more seasonal lines are being introduced.

By car

European routes E65, E80, E762, E763 and E851 pass through the country.

There are no roads in Montenegro built to full motorway standard, as all roads are of single carriageway type. Almost all roads in Montenegro are curvy, mountanious roads, and speeds over 80km/h are not permitted. The general speed limit within a built-up area is 50km/h. Roads in the northern mountanious region require additional caution during the winter.

Driving with headlights is obligatory, even during the daytime; so is the use of seat belts. A €10 ‘ecological fee’ for passenger cars is collected at the border posts when entering Montenegro. The fee is valid for one year.

By ship

There are regular ferry lines from Bar to Bari and Ancona in Italy. Lines operate almost daily throughout the year, and get more frequent during the summer. A trip to Bari takes around 8 hours. A 2 hour trip by ship to Durres, Albania from Ulqin Lines connecting Montenegro with Italy are Bar-Bari and Kotor Bari. To check the timetable, go to website with all Adriatic ferry routes.

Getting around

By train

There is local train service, operating from Bar, through Podgorica and Kolasin and Mojkovac to Bijelo Polje. It is the cheapest way to travel from north to south and vice versa, the quality of service is not on the high level. It might also be dangerous; an accident with 44 casualties occurred in 2006. Tickets can be purchased on board.

By bus

This may be the easiest way to get around Montenegro. Buses are frequent (especially during the summer), safe and are more or less on schedule. Ticket prices within Montenegro are all under €15. Examples of prices: Podgorica-Ulcinj €6, Podgorica-Cetinje €3,Cetinje-Kotor €5, etc. Local buses usually have no airconditioning.

Besides the buses, there are minibuses at bus stations that are usually slightly cheaper, but are actually a faster and more comfortable option.

By car

As there is no real highway in Montenegro; most roads are two-lane only, with frequent addition of a third overtaking lane, and generally are not up to European standards. Most roads are curvy and mountainous, so speeds over 80 km/h (50 mph) are rarely legal, and rarely safe.

The speed limit is 80km/h on the open road, unless signs specify otherwise. The speed limit inside the cities is 50km/h.

The use of safety belts and headlights during the day is compulsory, and the use of cellphones while driving is prohibited. Signposts used in Montenegro are almost identical to those used in EU countries.

Local drivers tend to drive fast, and to get involved into dangerous overtakings. Traffic jams are common during the peak of the summer season. Pedestrians are noutorious for jaywalking in every Montenegrin city.

Drivers tend to be extremely vocal, so don’t take it personally if a driver yells at you.

Hitchhiking

Hitchhiking works pretty great in Montenegro. See Hitchwiki for more details.

Specific roads

Roads from Podgorica to Bar and to Niksic are fairly good and easy to drive on.

The roads from Podgorica through Cetinje to Budva and to Petrovac are both in good condition, but are curvy mountainous roads which rarely permit speeds over 70km/h.

The road from Podgorica north to Kolasin, and then on to Zabljak or Serbia, is considered dangerous during the winter, especially the part through the Moraca canyon. It is recommended that one takes the bus to the north during the cold or rainy days, as bus drivers are experienced and know the road.

The old road from Cetinje to Kotor is mostly a narrow one-lane road offering stunning views of Kotor from above, but exercise extreme caution when passing on-coming traffic, over-taking and around corners.

Sight Seeing

Montenegro may be small in terms of area, it boast stunning mountainous landscapes, dramatic coast lines, historic monuments and truly beautiful walled towns. The Montenegro coast is just as gorgeous as that of its better known neighbour, Croatia, and it is for good reason that its main tourist destinations can get crowded in summer. Nevertheless, if you can’t visit at another time, don’t let their popularity hold you back. Even the largest of cruise ship crowds will not stop you from enjoying this country’s magnificent Riviera and Medieval coast towns, especially if you’re willing to get up early and do your sightseeing ahead of the others.

Of the country’s many churches and monasteries, the Serbian Orthodox Monastery of Ostrog deserves special attention. It’s spectacularly located against a practically vertical background, some 15 km from Nikši?. Founded in the 17th century, it’s one of the most visited pilgrimage destinations on the Balkans and boasts a magnificent view over the Bjelopavli?i plain.

The Riviera

The Bay of Kotor is probably one of the prettiest bays in the world. On its deepest point lies the equally stunning town of Kotor, a beautifully preserved fortified, Medieval town with a vibrant history. Wandering through its labyrinth of narrow and cobblestoned streets, you’ll come across lively piazzas, many ancient churches and lots of pleasant bars and restaurants. Don’t miss the 12th century St. Tryphon Cathedral, the Church of St. Luke and the Orthodox St Nicholas Church. Kotor is locked between the blue sea on one side, and a dramatically steep cliff on the other. It’s a heavy walk uphill, but climbing the 1500 steps will allow you to see the old fortifications on the top as well as provide some amazing views over the bay.

Budva is the country’s most popular tourist destination and boast some great beaches as well as a lovely, walled town centre. The old town centre is picturesquely located on a rather small peninsula, and its narrow, winding lanes hide a multitude of historic buildings, churches and small squares. Among the most interesting monuments here are the 7th century St. John’s Church, the 8th century Santa Marija of Punta and the 12th century Church of St. Sava. The medieval town fortress is referred to as Citadela and right next to it is the colourful Church of the Holy Trinity, built in 1804. Budva’s over 30 km long Riviera has been called “The Riviera of Sandy Beaches” and is dotted with lovely hamlets and a wealth of historic monuments. A strip of hotels and restaurants separates it from the impressive mountain massifs of Lovcen. From Budva, it’s an easy bus ride to the unique Sveti Stefan resort.

The small but gorgeous town of Perast saw some of its best architecture arise in the 17th and 18th century, when it belonged to the Republic of Venice. That typically Venetian, baroque architecture has been wonderfully preserved, with highlights including the Bujovic, Zmajevic, Badovic and Smekja Palaces which were once owned by wealthy maritime captains. All the way in the south, Ulcinj is one of the Adriatic’s oldest towns, with a delightful centre and lots of natural beauty around. It also makes a good base from where to explore the old centre of nearby Bar, Lake Skadar or even a cross border visit to Albania. Although less spectacular than nearby Kotor, Herceg Novi (roughly translated as New Castle) is another charming Montenegrin town with a beautiful old centre and a good number of interesting churches, squares and fortresses.

Natural attractions

Although Montenegro’s magnificent sea side scenery is best known among travellers, it’s mountainous inland has some grand panoramic views to offer, too. The country shares the large freshwater Lake Skadar with neighbouring Albania. It has National Park status and offers great opportunities for hiking, bird watching and wildlife spotting. Of the many friendly fishermen’s towns around it, Virpazar is the most convenient one for travellers. A real must-see is the splendid Tara River Canyon, with its steep banks rising up to 1300 meters above the River Tara waters. It’s the second longest canyon in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The canyon is located in Durmitor National Park, which is a World Heritage Site of its own and boasts a rich flora and fauna as well as snow-covered high peaks, several canyons and many glacier lakes. The most visited one is Black Lake, at walking distance of the town of Žabljak, which serves as a traveller’s hub for mountain and winter tourism.

Buy

Montenegro has the euro (EUR, €) as its currency. Therewith, Montenegro belongs to the 23 European countries that use the common European money. These 23 countries are: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain (official euro members which are all European Union member states) as well as Andorra, Kosovo, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino and Vatican which use it without having a say in eurozone affairs and without being European Union members. These countries together have a population of 327 million.

One euro is divided into 100 cents. While each official euro member (as well as Monaco, San Marino and Vatican) issues its own coins with a unique obverse, the reverse as well as all bills look the same throughout the eurozone. Nonetheless, every coin is legal tender in any of the eurozone countries.

Hundreds of new ATMs have been installed in most major cities. The ATMs accept most international VISA and Mastercard Credit/Debit cards.

Eat

Apart from the hotels located in towns and summer resorts offering half-board and full-board accommodation, and those along the roads and communication lines such as restaurants, pizza places, taverns, fast food restaurants and cafes, there is a choice of national restaurants offering traditional Montenegrin cuisine.

In addition to the standard European and Mediterranean cuisine, Montenegro offers a variety of healthy food products and local specialities.

Cold hors-d’oeuvres include the famous njeguški pršut (smoked ham) and njeguški cheese, pljevaljski cheese, mushrooms, donuts and dried bleak. The main courses specific for the northern mountainous region are boiled lamb, lamb cooked in milk, cicvara in fresh milk cream (buttered corn porridge), boiled potatoes with cheese and fresh cream. A selection of traditional recipes of the central and coastal parts will include the kastradina (dried mutton), smoked and fresh carp (from Skadar lake) and a variety of fresh sea fish and seafood dishes. Donuts served with honey and dried figs are traditional desserts in these parts of Montenegro.

Products of animal origin are supervised and approved by veterinary and health authorities according to EU standards.

Drink

Wine

Montenegrin vineyards and the production of quality wine is part of the tradition of southern and coastal wine makers.

The best known Montenegrin wines are the premium whites: “Krsta?”, “Cabernet”, “Chardonnay” and reds: “Vranac”, “Pro Corde”. All of them are produced by the famous company “Plantaže”, but there’s also some home-made wines of high quality, like Crmni?ko wine.

1L bottle of “Vranac” red wine will cost you from €8 to €15 in the bar or restaurant and it is well worth it! Also, you can buy a bottle of “Plantaze”‘s wine for about €2-€4 in supermarkets.

Brandy

The continental region and north are more oriented towards the production of aromatic fruit flavoured brandy (plum brandy – šljivovica, apple brandy – jabukova?a). Grape brandy “Montenegrin loza”, “Prvijenac”, “Kruna” or home made grape brandy (lozova rakija, lozova?a) is a must-try, and a good choice to “warm up” before going out in the evening.

Beer

“Nikši?ko” beer is the best known beer in the Montenegro, and most common alcoholic beverage, which cost from €0.50 to €2.50. It is produced as a draught beer, or bottled, in both “Nik Gold” and lighter “Nik Cool” variant. The dark variant, “Nik tamno”, is praised among beer lovers.

Other

Other alcoholic drinks can cost anywhere between €1 and €10.

Stay safe

Montenegro is generally a safe country. There is, like all countries in the world, a number of criminal activities, but police forces are generally fast in their duties. The number is 122, as well as the international distress call 112. When travelling in the areas bordering Kosovo, it is recommended you keep to the main roads. Unexploded landmines may remain along the Kosovo border. You should also avoid areas where there is military activity.

In the resort towns such as Kotor, Budva, Sveti Stefan and Herceg Novi, beggars and pickpockets are not uncommon. As in many other European locations, beggars are part of organized crime groups. Do not give them money. Doing so may also make you a target for more aggressive approaches. Always carry your bags in the safest way, slung around your shoulder with the pouch in front (with your money carried under your clothing) where you can keep your arm or hand across it.

Original article: http://wikitravel.org/en/Montenegro

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Luxury Milan – Top Five Luxury Experiences in Milan

Lake Como

Lombardy, the home of Milan, accounts for almost one quarter of the economy of Italy. With the huge economic success of the area, and of Milan in particular, it has become a perfect place for luxury holidays and short breaks. I’ve been driving the Milan shuttles for a fair few years now, and thought I’d explain why we have the best of everything here in Milan; if you can afford it, Milan can offer some of the most luxurious experiences in the world. I’m going give you a rundown of the top five experiences Milan can offer so you can see what I mean…

Restaurant: Cracco Peck

Voted one of the world’s top 100 restaurants, Cracco Peck offers sumptuous food and drink at the table of Carlo Cracco, know to many as the last word in Italian cuisine. The restaurant was recently redesigned by top designers Gian Maria and Roberto Beretta, and is even more elegant and inviting than before. Cracco Peck is, without doubt, the best place for luxury cuisine in Milan (and arguably in all of Italy)!

Hotel: The Hotel Principe di Savoia

The Hotel Principe di Savoia has been a centre for foreign travellers since the early 1920’s, and has everything you could possibly want from a five star luxury experience. Having been a driver on the Milan shuttles for so long I know all the hotels well, but this has to be the cream of the crop. They have a first class spa, restaurant, meeting rooms and a pool. The rooms are also what you’d expect from five star luxury, with a variety of suites to suit your personal choice and all the usual refinements.

Scenery: Lake Como

While not in the city itself, you can get a train, taxi or one of several shuttles from Milan to the area. Lake Como is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and is the backdrop for some of the best spas, short break hotels and lake cruises in Italy. Crowned by the thrusting mountains, the smooth, deep blue lake water is breathtaking, and shows off natural luxury at its greatest.

Entertainment: La Scala

La Scala – or Teatro alla Scala to give it its full name – is one of the world’s most famous opera houses. It has played host to hundreds of famous productions and directors, including Daniel Barenboim and Toscanini. Inaugurated on 3 August 1778, the theatre has weathered World War Two bombings and rough renovations, and remains a meeting place for the wealthy and influential in Milan. Seeing an opera or recital there in the luxury boxes is magical, and the height of Milanese entertainment and culture.

Shopping: Via Montenapoleone

One of the most common things people on Milan airport transfers ask me is “Where’s the best shopping area?” Milan is known for its fashion boutiques and high end shops, and my answer is always the same. For luxury shopping, you have to go to the Milan fashion district, and specifically to the Via Montenapoleone. With boutiques representing Armani, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada and more, this is the epitome of stylish, luxury Milan.

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