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U.S. Virgin Islands – Exotic and Affordable Caribbean getaway!

by amit.uniyal 7. December 2015 06:19

Here’s one destination in the Caribbean where you would like to spend your winter vacation – U.S. Virgin Islands! If you still haven’t visited this scenic place and planning to do so then you are about to make a perfect choice for your vacation.

If you are an American citizen visiting this exotic and affordable Caribbean destination, then you needn’t worry at all! You won’t require a visa or have to carry your passport. You won’t have to pay roaming charges for using cellphone either. You stand to gain many benefits when travelling to the U.S. Virgin Islands from any of the cities in the United States. Whether it’s about paying fees for currency exchange or sales tax or even plug adapters – you won’t require any of these at all.  The simple reason being that you are technically considered to be on American soil.

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Let’s take a look at the important places you would be visiting in the U.S. Virgin Islands. These places are St. Thomas and St. John. Both the places have all the hallmarks of an exotic Caribbean getaway – be it swaying palm trees, balmy weather, gorgeous white beaches, rum-spiked drinks or unlimited water sports. Here’s an overview of all that a tourist or vacationer might look for when planning to spend holidays in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

How to Reach

American Airlines and Continental Airlines provide nonstop flights services to St. Thomas’ Cyril E. King Airport from New York City. US Airways also conduct nonstop flights from Philadelphia. Prominent cities such as Miami and Atlanta are also connected to St. Thomas with flights operated by American Airlines and Delta Air Lines. For reaching St. John you will be required to take a 20-minute ferry to Cruz Bay from Red Hook, in eastern St. Thomas. Both the places are accessible by ferry services.

Major Attractions and Activities

The U.S. Virgin Islands has some of the most popular beaches visited by tourists in large numbers during most parts of the year. Some of the famous beaches for ultimate relaxation and thrilling moments are Sapphire Beach, Lindquist Beach, Magens Bay, Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay. The Sapphire Beach, Lindquist Beach and Magens Bay are in St. Thomas, while Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay are in St. John.

Snorkeling is one of the best pastimes on both the islands as the waters around here are teeming with sea life. When snorkeling it seems as though you are touring a real-world aquarium. For the beginners, the Trunk Bay on St. John is the best place to start your snorkeling lessons. However, the diversity at Sapphire Beach is biggest attraction for seasoned snorkelers. The Waterlemon Cay atoll off St. John is also surrounded by multitudes of fish, nurse shark, and foot-long starfish. Reaching the Waterlemon Cay is though tedious. You will need to hike along the Leinster Bay trail and reach Leinster Point, on the island’s north shore. After reaching here you can now change into your suit and go snorkeling down few hundred feet below to Waterlemon.

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Exciting river adventures during Caribbean sojourn

by amit.uniyal 16. November 2015 01:03

The Caribbean has some of the gorgeous beaches. But have you ever had a magical experience by spending an entire day on a river. If you haven’t done so yet, it’s about time to get your Caribbean vacations plan ready by now and enjoy whitewater rafting or get pleasant experience of floating down a lazy river on a bamboo raft or tube. Here are some of the places in the Caribbean such as the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Jamaica, where you will find river tourism flourishing.

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Trinidad

Trinidad is among the best places in the Caribbean to get a thrilling experience on a boat ride along the Caroni River to the Caroni Swamp. As the boat motors along the narrow channel you will catch a glimpse of a variety of wildlife and birds. The highlight of boat ride would be however before the settling in of evening when the boat passes by at the edge of a large lake. You will be amazed to see Trinidad’s national bird, the beautiful Scarlet Ibis, on a tiny tree-covered islet visible at a distance from the lake. It’s quite fascinating to see the Ibis settle in the branches and seems as though red flowers have bloomed in the branches of the islet’s trees.

Puerto Rico

A river excursion in Puerto Rico is quite an amazing experience. Seek the services of a tour operator to enjoy a completely different kind of body rafting as you free-float downstream with soaring canyon walls on both sides. The tour includes body rafting down the Tanama River, rappelling, spelunking through caves, and rock climbing. A fantastic experience awaits you in Puerto Rico!

Dominican Republic

A rafting trip on Yaque del Norte River, in the Jarabacoa region, in the center of the Dominican Republic, is what is most sought after by all those seeking an adrenaline rush. Exciting white water conditions exist at the Yaque del Norte River, which also has class II, III and IV rapids as well. The “Tyson Rapid” is the high point with a knockout 12-foot vertical drop. You can also consider tubing excursion along the gentler stretches of the Yaque del Norte River.

Jamaica

Kayaking down the Martha Brae River is a great way to have immense fun in Jamaica. It’s though quite challenging indeed. Trelawny Parish in Jamaica’s tourism hub Montego Bay is the best place to book an excursion on the Martha Brae River. Here you will also come across many tour operators offering river adventure options such as tubing, kayaking and bamboo rafting. Whenever in Jamaica, don’t miss out on exciting river adventures.

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Unlimited fun and excitement galore at Gold Coast Theme Parks!

by amit.uniyal 6. November 2015 00:58

Gold Coast, one of the premier holiday destinations in Australia’s Queensland province, is renowned for its sun kissed beaches, year round wonderful weather, vibrant nightlife, fantastic shopping options and excellent surfing opportunities. Apart from these, Gold Coast is also famous for its theme parks. If you are visiting Australia along with your family and kids, and want to have unlimited fun during vacations, then the theme parks at Gold Coast are surely the best bet to keep you all engaged throughout your holidays. Here are some of the famous theme parks you should consider visiting.

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DreamWorld

Dreamworld is hugely popular with the families. You are assured a fun day out with your family at one of the Gold Coast’s most famous attractions. The theme park is quite expansive spanning in an area of 30 hectares. Get ready to immerse in oodles of fun with a wide range of thrill rides, games and amusement rides. Keep yourself engaged all day by enjoying delectable cuisines at restaurants or chill out at ice cream parlors and cafes. You can also indulge in shopping at gift shops and arcades. The fun at DreamWorld doesn’t end here. You will get opportunity to enjoy the world’s fastest and tallest thrill ride at The Big 9 Thrill Rides. Among other prominent attractions here include the 9 storey high, 64km per hour, 360 degree spinning of The Claw, the 38 storey free fall of the Giant Drop, the Tower of Terror 2, ABC Kids World, Wiggles World, DreamWorld Corroboree, and the Tiger Island.

Sea World Water Park

Do you want to experience the most amazing marine life in Australia? Then the Sea World Water Park is the best place for you to visit now. You will get unique opportunity here to get up close and personal with dolphins, seals, polar bears, and even sharks. This is the best place for an educational yet fun day out with your entire family. The Planet SOS is the latest addition here. This unique 4D animation presentation illustrates the plight of the ever changing environments of our planet. Another exciting experience awaits you at an amazing man-made lagoon system – the Shark Bay – where you will get a chance to see some of the most feared shark species in the world. The Cartoon Network Cartoon Beach is yet another prominent attraction here that will keep your kids endlessly glued with a wide range of attractions, amusements and rides.

Warner Brothers Movie World

The Warner Brothers Movie World has gained reputation as Hollywood on the Gold Coast. This is the place where you can bring the excitement and magic of the movies to your life. A wide range of thrill rides are there to provide you endless joys. Whether you want to cool off on the heart pounding Wild West falls, get your heart racing on the looping Lethal Weapon, go from 0 to 100 km per hour in two seconds flat on the Superman Escape, brave the spine-tingling fun of the Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster or take the pace down a notch with the DreamWorks Shrek 45 Adventure – all these exhilarating and nerve-wrecking moments await you at the fabulous Warner Brothers Movie World theme park.

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Rejuvenate yourself at some best Ayurvedic resorts in India

by amit.uniyal 5. November 2015 01:14

In today’s extremely busy lifestyle, there’s a growing urge among the people for escape from mundane activities of daily life towards ultimate solitude. And, there’s nothing better than to rejuvenate and reinvigorate yourself to once again face the challenges in days ahead. The flourishing Ayurvedic resorts and rejuvenation centers are the best thing where you can search for that elusive ‘slice of life’ that you have been desperately looking for. So, why not plan an indulgent holiday for yourself and discover the ‘healthier’ side of life by visiting some of the best Ayurvedic resorts in India!

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Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort, Kerala

The scenic town of Palakkad in South Indian State of Kerala, where you will get mesmerized with the unmatched beauty of the Western Ghats and the diverse flora, is home to the Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort, where the healing is based on traditional oil massages. The resort, designed to be the first of its kind in the world, believes in the motto of “Return to Nature” by combining a healthy well being with a unique living experience. The visitors are provided treatment for various kinds of ailments/diseases such as nervous debility, obesity, slip disk and spondylitis, hypertension, sinusitis and migraine, infertility, facial paralysis, hetraplegia, paraplegia, skin diseases, bronchial diseases, arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatic arthritis and many more. Special health and beauty care packages are also offered here.

Devaaya Ayurveda and Nature Cure Centre, Goa

Devaaya Ayurveda and Nature Cure Centre is located on Divar Island, just 10 km away from Goa’s capital city Panaji. Spread in an area of 5 acre amidst swaying palm trees, the Centre offers 60 luxurious rooms resembling truw Goan style cottages. A range of Ayurvedic Panchakarma and Wellness treatment programs are offered to the visitors for rejuvenation of their body, mind and soul. The Panchakarma and Wellness packages include healing music, a properly balanced diet, meditation and yoga. Nature cure therapies are also provided at Devaaya Ayurveda and Nature Cure Centre. These include Massage Therapy, Mud Therapy and Hydro Therapy. The packages under Massage Therapy include Oil Massage (pure oil is used), and Vibro Massage (This is a dry massage in which mild talcum powder is applied on the body by machine for reducing friction). Other massages include Under Water Massage, Ice Massage and Partial Massage.

The Leela’s ESPA Spa, Udaipur

The Leela’s ESPA Spa is situated in The Leela Palace at Lake Pichola in Udaipur. It is yet another hotspot for Ayurvedic retreat in the famed city of palaces and lakes. This is the best place in the Desert State of Rajasthan to rejuvenate your body and mind in the royalty-like, opulent ‘haveli’ style tents and spas amidst the welcoming gardens. The visitors here can look forward to meditation, yoga, facials and hot stone massages.

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Must visit popular Dining Destinations in the United States

by amit.uniyal 26. October 2015 05:55

Food tourism is becoming a growing trend nowadays. In recent years it has grown phenomenally in the United States. A recent study said that adults 50 and above have developed a love for the culinary arts and are looking forward to take the road less travelled with more disposable income. According to the study, food tourism will see big revenues in 2015 with the adults 50 and above expected to spend more than $120 billion on leisure travel primarily focusing on the vacation destinations based on the regional cuisines. The study further revealed that 27 million U.S. tourists engaged in culinary activities during their vacations. These culinary activities included taking cooking classes, visiting farmers’ markets, and dining out. The study pointed out that $1,271 per trip was spent by the average food traveller, with 50 percent of the spending on food-related activities.

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If you are the one passionate about foods and interested in food tourism, here are some of the best dining destinations in the United States you should consider visiting.

Portland, Oregon

Portland is the largest city in the State of Oregon. The residents of the city are environmentally conscious. You will find moiré bicycles than cars here. The city is reputed for urban gardening. The art of healthy eating has been mastered by all those residing in Portland. The most popular meal of the day is Brunch, combining healthy protein options with locally grown produce. If you are visiting Portland, particularly for food related activities, you shouldn’t think about getting your traditional comfort food of eggs and bacon. You will have to instead look forward to a kale omelette with a side of smoked-salmon hash.

Austin, Texas

Austin has been popularly nicknamed as the “Weird City”. It is truly living up to its name as well, offering the tourists a mix of traditional Southwestern classics with a modern twist. Some of the classics are undoubtedly worth trying out here. You can look forward to savouring brisket tacos covered in adobo sauce and topped with queso, cilantro and guacamole. Short ribs coated in Thai herbs are also must try. The city is definitely a place for all those looking for some quick eats while on the go. There are over 1,400 mobile food vendors across the county ready to serve you burgers, fried chicken, Tex-Mex, barbecue and more.

Washington, D.C

The very thought of visiting Washington, D.C. conjures the imagery of breathtaking historical sites to your mind. But there’s much more to Washington, D.C. than just the historical attractions. A foodie craze has hit the U.S. capital city now. Here something is offered to cater to everyone’s taste buds. Take a walk around Capitol Hill to get the traditional D.C. experience. You will find here a wide range of sophisticated American, Italian and French inspired restaurants. The D.C. staple Ben's Chili Bowl is worth checking out. It has been serving delicacies to celebrities, politicians, tourists and residents for over 55 years now.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Most people consider New Orleans, the renowned “Big Easy”, famous for its jambalaya, gumbo and other Creole foods. However, there is more other than these to cater of the quintessential foodie’s taste. You can enjoy delicious cuisines at some best Vietnamese restaurants found all over the city. If you want to enjoy something more traditional, you need to grab a po' boy sandwich at one of the many sandwich shops in the city. This Louisiana staple is traditionally a fried seafood or roast beef sandwich served on a baguette with French fries and other condiments.

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Famous fall destinations to consider visiting in the U.S.

by amit.uniyal 14. October 2015 04:35

Now that summer has faded, what better time to take a Fall trip. The United States offers some exciting fall destinations, with the added benefit of less crowds and greater savings. Here are some of the popular fall destinations in the U.S. that you should consider visiting.

Famous fall destinations

San Francisco

San Francisco welcomes the budget conscious traveler. Visit the iconic sights of the Bay Area will keep you mesmerized endlessly. Popular attractions such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, the cable cars, and the seals at Pier 39 can be visited for free. You can also consider seeing multiple art shows at Muir Woods across the bay. The scenic AT&T Park is yet another place to visit for watching Giants baseball for free. This is possible from the archway by the waterfront promenade. Get there early to get great spot.

Orlando

Make memories at the numerous theme parks in Orlando during fall. The theme parks would be less crowded as the kids have now returned to school thus offering a more pleasant experience. Several promotions are run by the Disney World during the slower fall season. Package deals are also being offered by Universal Studios coinciding with the opening of Diagon Alley in the new Harry Potter-themed section. Apart from the theme parks, you can also consider visiting galleries and museums too.

Las Vegas

Most people consider Las Vegas to be an expensive destination. But this isn’t the case always. It can prove to be quite welcoming to the budget travellers as well. But here’s a catch. Las Vegas being highly popular for its casinos would require you to overcome the urge to gamble. This would instantly help you save a significant amount and make your vacation all the more enjoyable. Fall is absolutely a great time to visit the city. The hotels here are spectacles in themselves. There are many attractions as well that can be accessed for free. These include the Bellagio Fountains, the constant acts at the Circus Circus, and the Freemont Street Experience’s Viva Vision Light Show.

Chicago

Chicago, the fabled Windy City, is a great place to visit during the fall season. The weather is pleasant and the outdoor attractions are simply fantastic. The Navy Pier and the Lake Michigan shoreline are at their peak. You can also look forward to visiting the numerous museums in the city by using the excellent public transportation here. You can also gorge on the deep-dish pizza, which is moderately priced and enough to fill up your tummy.

Colorado

Colorado is yet another wonderful place to visit during the fall season. The Rocky Mountain National Park with its horse riding opportunities, hiking trails and beautiful scenery is a major draw among the tourists visiting during the fall months. The Grand Lake and Estes Park situated at the opposite ends of the park entrance are great place for relaxation. Traveling through the tundra across the Continental Divide on scenic Trail Ridge Road is also an awesome experience. You can also indulge in wildlife spotting as well. Elk can be seen strolling through the center of the town.

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Must-not-do list essential before you embark for vacation

by amit.uniyal 29. September 2015 06:10

A vacation or an adventure trip is something everyone loves. Before embarking on your holidays making a must-do list might also be a priority for you. But, do you know that making a must-not-do list is also necessary too. If you still haven’t done so before then here are some of the cultural norms and laws that you need to know beforehand in order to avoid landing into trouble in the destination you are planning to visit.

Kids in Airport

Avoid going in public in bathing suit only in Barcelona

There are two nude beaches in Barcelona. However, the laws in the city are quite stricter when it comes to exposing nudity. Whether you are in swim trunks or bikini, you must not venture in public at all wearing bathing suit only. The Spanish city treats it as illegal, and you might have to pay a fine when violating it. It will also attract looks from offended locals. Always remember to cover up properly before you decide to leave the beach, even though you are not in any nude beaches.

Don’t wear camouflage in Barbados

When you are vacationing in Barbados, make it a point to never wear a camouflage. It is strictly prohibited here as only the members of the military are permitted to do so. The government of Barbados had promulgated a ban in the 1980s for preventing gang members from robbing people or impersonating soldiers. Though this isn’t a problem these days but the offenders can be fined as the law still remains.

Carrying chewing gum to Singapore is illegal

Carrying chewing gum along with you from other country to Singapore is prohibited. The government of Singapore has made the import of chewing gum illegal since 1982 because of the extensive damage done to the public transit system. Before the ban was promulgated, the government had to spend millions of dollars for cleaning up the gum litter and damage. Those who are caught selling or importing chewing gum can be punished with a fine or even jail time. Some gum for “therapeutic” purposes are however permitted now.

Pigeon feeding in Venice is punishable

Tourists consider throwing birdseed in Venice's Piazza San Marco as an innocent pastime. However, the local government has banned the tourists from feeding the massive pigeon population in the city because of the constant damage being brought by them to the statues and also the need for regular cleanup. Those found feeding the pigeons can be punished with a fine.

Kissing and touching females forbidden in Dubai

If you are planning to visit Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) along with your spouse or girlfriend, then you should be aware of the public decency laws prohibiting kissing and/or touching females publicly. The laws in the UAE are stricter than those in the Western countries. If you do so then you might have to pay hefty fines or even land up in jail.

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Important Myths to know about Adventure Travel

by amit.uniyal 21. September 2015 05:22

Have you ever been on an adventure travel? Those adventurous at heart are always upbeat about this. But those who haven’t done so before or been infrequent adventurers might feel hesitant on embarking on such a visit. Whether you want to go for hiking, biking, mountaineering or surfing the coast, here are some of the important myths you need to know before planning adventure travel.

River Rafting

Adventure travel can be dangerous and risky

Most people think that adventure travel can be quite dangerous and risky. But this is farther from truth. The most difficult part that goes into the planning for adventure travel is training, safety and tour operator’s sill level. You need to ensure that you have made the right choice. The tour operator should be experienced and skilled in organizing a climbing expedition, bungee jump or river rafting. You need not worry. The only thing you are required to ensure that you have selected the perfect tour operator who adheres to stringent safety requirements when organizing adventure activities for you.

Too much expense is involved in adventure travel

Here’s yet another myth. Most of the people believe that adventure travel is an expensive proposition. This is also not at all true. You just need to be smart enough when it comes to spending money. Try to do a little research and you will find a host of adventure travel options. Some of these can be indeed quite affordable. The adventure travel comes in different hues. The time, place and activity can be different. The choice is completely yours to choose that is inexpensive or go for the luxurious and expensive option. Also, during your entire vacation period you can opt to stay in moderately priced hotels and eating at economical restaurants. This will help you in saving a good amount of money.

You are required to remain in shape for adventure travel

There are many people who believe that for taking an adventure activity such as a hiking or biking trip you are required to be in robust shape and undertake an exhaustive training regimen before going out. This is also not true in most cases. There some adventure activities that do require you to maintain fitness, but still there are most that remain accessible and want you to maintain a moderate level of fitness. Remember that there are good adventure providers that will first of all assess your fitness and accordingly provide only those activities that really suit you.

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Coolest trends to know for making your air travel enjoyable now

by amit.uniyal 13. August 2015 03:55
Are you a frequent flier visiting for business or leisure to distant destinations around the world? Then, wouldn’t it be the right thing to know the latest trends and goings on in the air travel industry today. Of course, knowing some of the important things beforehand will make your travel hassle free and enjoyable than what it earlier used to be. Here are some of the coolest trends you need to know about air travel trends right now.

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Airport Stays have become more enjoyable

Whether you are travelling in first class, business class or any other travel classes, gone are the days when layovers proved to be a painful experience. Airports these days have a wide range of decent accommodations equipped with various facilities, such as restaurants, spas, swimming pools, bicycle rentals, and of course, well-appointed hotel rooms. So, no worries anymore in case of layovers!

Flying Dreamliners are in-thing now

Dreamliners are the latest in-thing for most airlines, including low-cost carriers. The new Boeing 787 Dreamliners are there for everyone where you will be offered luxurious seats, larger windows and a smoother ride. Apart from these, the engine noise is also less and air quality in the cabins much better. The next time you are planning to purchase business class tickets or consider flying in any other class, do remember to board a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft for an enjoyable journey.

Overhead bins just got much wider

The paucity of space in overhead bins is a real nightmare of modern air travel. But, not any more now! The advent of Boeing 737 aircrafts and other versions in the aviation industry have made the situation less distressing. Today, these aircrafts offer 50 percent more space in overhead bins. This now makes it easier to put your baggage. Whenever planning air travel, flying in a Boeing aircraft is always a good option.  

More options to fly business class at reasonable airfares

Who after all doesn’t want to fly business class, especially when it comes at a reasonable price tag? Today, even low-cost carriers like JetBlue Airways and all-business class French carrier La Compagnie have made it possible for you to book business class flights at much lower rates than what is currently offered by major international airlines. Don’t worry, these low-cost carriers also offer similar facilities offered in business class cabins on other airlines.

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Experiencing Turkey's unique history and cultural wonders

by amit.uniyal 11. August 2015 05:52
Turkey, which is at the crossroads of Europe and Asia (popularly called Eurasia), is a unique land by itself. This country with its rich history, varied culture and natural attractions is a veritable paradise for millions of tourists from world over. Why not plan a vacation to Turkey now and get a fascinating insight into this land of constant contrasts where East meets the West? Visiting Turkey will undoubtedly turn out to be an indeed memorable experience for you.

Istanbul – Home to iconic attractions

Istanbul, the capital city of Turkey, is a treasured wonderland. It is home to many iconic attractions. The Aya Sofia and the Sultanahmet are the two most attractive ancient mosques in the world. These huge architectural marvels stand on the either side of the Sultanahmet Park and are at the core of Istanbul's ancient city. Hearing the call to prayer is a mesmerizing and unforgettable experience. The Aya Sofia or Hagia Sophia has now been converted to a museum. The converted religious symbols from the past and uncovered frescoes in this incredible monument offers a glimpse into its past as a Christian Cathedral and later on converting to a mosque and finally to a museum. However, another iconic attraction the Sultanahmet mosque is still functional. It is popularly known as the Blue Mosque because of the blue hued tiles covering the interiors of the enormous building. Tourists are permitted free entry only after removing shoes and women covering their heads. 

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Apart from these two religious places, the Topkapi Palace is a must-visit place in Istanbul. It has a rich history. Here you can see the sprawling grounds and immaculately preserved harems. The palace offers a glimpse into the lavish lives of the Ottoman emperors and how the sultan used to live with his concubines.  The Topkapi Palace is one of the greatest examples of Ottoman architecture, where you will find many ornate artifacts. All these historic sites are situated close by and can be accessed quite easily.

Ottoman era comes alive at Safranbolu town

A visit to the beautiful small tourist town of Safranbolu would seem as though you are walking down the memory lane into a massive working historic park. The town, which fell into a state of decay and disrepair in the 1970s, was recognized by the Turkish government as a cultural and architectural gem, and finally became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. Strolling down the narrow cobblestone streets between red roofed buildings brings alive the former Ottoman era glory and offers a fascinating glimpse into the country's rich history.

The historic  Safranbolu town looks simply amazing. You will find artisans working in small shops still practicing Ottoman era trades. You can also relive the ancient city's cultural past by relishing Ottoman era food, which are available throughout the town. Many of the Ottoman era's wealthy mansions can also be found, which have now been converted into guesthouses and hotels. In fact, the town's rich history and splendid architecture is aptly reflected in its shops and outdoor market.

Turkey is replete with historic and cultural wonders. These are only amongst the important few described here. You need to at least visit this beautiful country once to enjoy and experience its varied attractions.

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