4 Things To Know Before Traveling To Barcelona

 

Words will never be enough to describe the beautiful streets, delicious food, interesting smells and amazing art in Barcelona. Here are four travel tips for Barcelona which will come in handy for your next visit.

Planning Ahead

If you decide to rent an AirBnb, hostel, hotel or just crash at a friend’s house; try to get familiar with the area a couple of days before your arrival. If arriving by plane, one of the best ways to get to and from the Barcelona airport is to use a car service called Blacklane.

Transportation

Barcelona and the metropolitan area have several options for public transport; buses, taxis, metros and more. One more thing to note is that Barcelona is a very pedestrian friendly city so don’t be afraid to use your feet to move from point a to point b.

Another unique transportation option is the Barcelona Bici system. If you get the chance to ride a bicycle in the city, do so! Not only is it a beautiful way to see the city but it’s also great exercise as well.

Eating

The food in Barcelona is simply amazing. Barcelona has a very rich culture in every way. In the culinary aspect, you get all this delicious food in one place and it is full of diversity.

Be sure to visit Mercat de Sant Josep to stimulate all of your senses. It is the oldest, most complete market in Barcelona with history and architectural value that are really incomparable. Vegetables, meat, fish and a thousand other products will enchant your soul.

Delicious options wait for you in every neighborhood; Passeig de Gracia, the Rambla, Barceloneta, the Raval and many more. In every barrio you’ll find very cool, intimate restaurants with the most amazing food.

Nearby Barcelona

Once you’ve hit all the touristic spots in Barcelona and you’ve cycled from the beach to the

Tibidabo and from Montjuïc to Parc Güell; rent a car and visit the nearby towns. Some recommended places to visit are:

  • Casteldefels
  • Sitges
  • Montserrat
  • Sant Cugat

Fortunately there are a wide variety of activities and things to do in Barcelona for all types of visitors. The recommendations above are just a small sample of what you can experience during a trip to one of Spain’s most popular cities.

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Top European city-break alternatives

Where are you planning on going for your city break this year? Paris? Berlin? Madrid? There are plenty of popular destinations that should spring to mind, but why not go somewhere a little different? There are so many incredible cities in Europe, all with beauty spots, historical monuments and places of cultural significance of their own. Here are our top alternatives to the same old destinations…

  • Vienna

Austria’s capital has so much to offer intrepid explorers. Thanks to the decadence and splendour of the former Imperial rule, there are more grand palaces and magnificent structures to behold in this city than you’ll probably ever see in one place again. The most notable are the Belvedere, the Hofburg and the Schönbrunn, but Vienna is also famous for its huge contribution to music. Why not take in an aria or ballet in the spectacular surroundings of the Vienna State Opera house (click here for information on tickets), before heading to Donauinse in the centre of the city for their free festival?

  • Krakow

One of Poland’s most picturesque cities, Krakow is a stunning place to visit with a rich history and plenty of quirky local customs for you to discover. From medieval Wawel castle that looks as though it’s straight out of a fairy tale, to the magnificent St Mary’s Basilica which forms the main feature in the central square of the city, this city is a photographer’s dream. History buffs will love the Wawel Cathedral which is over 900 years old, while adventurers might prefer a hike up into the Tatra Mountains where they can learn how to ski.

  • Lisbon

Heading over to Portugal for hotter temperatures, Lisbon is often bypassed by sun-worshippers in favour of the Algarve. For culture-vultures though, you couldn’t wish for anything more, as Portugal’s capital is packed with things to visit. Jerónimos Monastery is an absolute must-see experience, as this World Heritage site is a perfect example of Gothic architecture, but many might prefer to see the medieval Belém Tower or Moorish São Jorge Castle. Amidst all the sightseeing though, you can always stop for a coffee at one of the many cafes and restaurants in the pretty Rossio Square.

  • Seville

You may have heard this city referenced in the famous opera ‘The Barber of Seville’, but we’d bet you’ve never thought of visiting. With cities such as Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia on offer in Spain, Seville is often left out of the action, but it has so much to offer. For those who’d like a relaxing break, take a stroll around the calm, manicured gardens of Maria Luisa Park, where there will be plenty of fountains, monuments and plazas around for you to find the perfect picnic spot. Afterwards, you can head into the main town and see Seville Cathedral, the famous wooden artistic structure of the Metropol Parasol, and Seville’s Museum of Fine Arts.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article – have you been to any of our alternative destinations? Let us know what you thought in the comments section.

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Where to see Elephants on Every Continent

Elephants are fascinating enormous animals that many people travel the globe to see. Whether you are viewing them in the wild or in an enclosure in a zoo, watching the antics of these intelligent animals is sure to enthral everyone. Elephant viewings are now available on most continents and here are 5 of the best places where you can see these gigantic mammals.

The Zoological Center Tel Aviv

The Zoological Center Tel Aviv in Israel is situated upon 250 acres and it has the largest collection of animals in the Middle East. There are over 1,600 species of animals from all over the world located here and you can drive through the African Safari section. On your drive you have the chance to view both Asian and African elephants, lions, hippopotamus, crocodiles, and families of gorilla and orangutans. If you’d like to visit this beautiful destination, you can find information about Tel Aviv here.

San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo is in southern California, USA and it has more than 3000 animals that you can view. It is a great place to head if you want to spend a day walking and viewing many kinds of species of animals. One of the highlights of the zoo is Elephant Odyssey that has 2.5 acre enclosure for three female Asian Elephants and three female African elephants. You can view these fascinating pachyderms as well as African lions, jaguars, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects and arachnids in captivity. There is also a historic section that has an artificial tar pit, and representations of the ancient animals of southern California.

Colchester Zoo, UK

Colchester Zoo is located in Colchester, England and it is listed as the 11th best zoo in the world. It is on 60 acres of parkland and lakes and there are more than 260 species of animals. It is a great place for a family excursion and you can hand feed giraffes and elephants. There are also other exotic species of animals like Komodo Dragons, white rhinos, ostrich, and zebra. There are plenty of warm areas if the weather is bad and there are great places to eat.

The Chobe National Park, Botswana

The Chobe National Park can be explored during a safari in Botswana and is renowned for its huge elephant population. September and October are the dry season and this is a great time explore the river as there is nowhere else for the animals to drink. You can go camping under the stars, stay on a houseboat or if you’d prefer to indulge yourself you can spend your evenings in a luxury resort.

Taronga Zoo, Sydney

On a trip to Australia, you are not going to be short of things to do, and there are plenty of opportunities to see animals both in the wild and in captivity. Taronga Zoo in Sydney is built on a bushy hillside that showcases a collection of native Australian animals as well as animals from other areas. The view of the harbour is stunning from within the park and you can take a fabulous ferry ride to get to it. There are eleven elephants in the zoo and if you go to the website prior to your visit then you’ll see pictures of each elephant including a description of their personalities so you can learn about them before you meet them.

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6 Things To Do On Your Trip To Australia

Visitors to Australia are never short of exciting activities and adventures to choose from. This is a country packed with unforgettable destinations – the only problem is how to pack it all into one trip. The best way to experience Australia is to take a gap year or extended vacation, set yourself up in some budget-friendly accommodation, then get ready to have the time of your life. Here are a few quick ideas of how you could spend your time in Australia in order to truly get the best out of this beautiful country.

One of the best Things To Do On Your Trip To Australia: get a quokka selfie!

  1. Study and travel. If you’re planning to spend an extended period of time visiting Australia and want to take advantage of the excellent education system to gain some qualifications while you’re here, then applying for a course as an international student could be a great option. There are so many courses and degrees available here in Australia, from master’s degrees to vocational courses, so make sure you check out graduate visa schools online if you’re looking to learn. Many courses offer flexible study arrangements and visa support, so you can enjoy your Australian adventure while getting a solid education.
  2. Road trip along the Great Ocean Road. Whether you’re visiting as an international student or taking a holiday from the 9-5, this road trip is an absolute must-do for tourists and locals alike. This Victoria-based road stretches along the continent’s coastline, providing truly breathtaking views and an unparalleled road trip experience. Bring your camera and prepare for some serious photo shoots.
  3. Visit Sydney Harbour Bridge. Any visitor to Australia knows that Sydney is a hotspot for urbanites, but there’s no greater sight than the gorgeous and iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. If you want to really do this piece of sightseeing right, get harnessed up with BridgeClimb and climb up the arch of the bridge for the best possible view of the city and its surrounding scenery.
  4. Dive in the Great Barrier Reef. One of nature’s most precious gifts is located just off of the Queensland coast in Australia. The Great Barrier Reef is a stunning and completely unique glimpse into the beauty of the ocean, with a dazzling scene of sea life, islands, coral cays, and countless other gorgeous sights. There’s nothing like it in the world, and it’s something everyone should see at least once.
  5. Soak up the rays at Bondi Beach. Bondi is Australia’s most famous and arguably most popular beach, and it’s for good reason. This beach is real hotspot for watching surfers at play, getting a killer tan in the gorgeous Australian sun, and enjoying a delicious breakfast at one of the beach’s many buzzing cafes. Make sure you grab a surf lesson while you’re there if you really want to experience Bondi in true local style.
  6. Visit Kakadu National Park. It’s so important to get a full picture of Australia’s rich cultural heritage while you travel, and Kakadu National Park is the perfect place to do just that. This gorgeous wildlife reserve offers amazing hikes and swimming spots, as well as an insight into Aboriginal culture through the ancient rock art that fills the park. It’s the ideal place to get into nature and learn from the past.
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Vancouver or Toronto? Which is Canada’s Top City to Visit?

Canada’s two most popular cities, Toronto in the East and Vancouver in the West, each offer visitors a great experience, but given the choice, which city should you visit?  After you read these descriptions of the amazing things to do in both cities, we are sure you will be ready to get a cheap flight to Canada.

There is a reason why Toronto has Canada’s busiest airport, the city is simply a top choice for those who want to experience one of the best cities in the world.  Toronto is known for its Maple Leaf’s hockey team, its international film festival, the CN Tower, and it’s most famous current resident, the musician Drake, but with gems strewn around the city like confetti there are many more reasons to get here.

The city abounds in upscale dining with bunches of cafes, bistros, and restaurants whose offerings rival New York and London, and its shopping is comparable to Los Angeles or Hong Kong.

Those visitors interested in the outdoors have many choices from the Toronto Islands, to beaches to dozens of parks and hiking paths. Or get in a round of golf at one of Toronto’s top golf courses. For culture freaks, Toronto has museums and galleries galore. And for families, the city abounds in activities for young people including the Ontario Science Centre.

But even with all of this, Toronto is different and much more. The city is set on the northwestern shore of beautiful Lake Ontario, and with a fast growing population of 2.6 million, it is now, the fourth largest city North America. Toronto is a very modern city, with almost every building being built during the past twenty years. In 2005 there were only thirteen skyscrapers and today the city has 50 with 130 more being planned or built.

For business, Toronto is Canada’s top city, with a booming business sector and many large international companies setting up shop here and many of Canada’s top companies having their home offices in the city.

With so many reasons to come, how could you possibly stay away from Toronto?

Vancouver, Canada

In 2015, the Quality of Living survey ranked Vancouver as the best city in North America for quality of life, for the second time. The survey looks at personal freedom, crime, political stability and air quality.

Even with these major accolades, Vancouver is still an under-rated destination that excels at being a modern, traveler-friendly place with a moderately mild Pacific Northwest temperature and a host of reasons to visit again and again.

Many say Vancouver is blessed with more natural beauty than any major city in the world. With its gorgeous sites including: the North Shore Mountains, English Bay, Vancouver Island, its temperate rain forests, and an active volcano, Mt. Baker, Vancouver is a wonder to behold.

For gastronomes, the city can’t be beat. You can find every style and taste here and because a large part of Vancouver’s multi-cultural mix comes from Asia, the best Korean, Japanese and Chinese food in North America can be found in Vancouver.

The climate, the ocean and the mountains combine to make Vancouver and area a year-round playground. You can sail, play tennis, snowboard, swim, windsurf, run, mountain bike, paraglide, and ski nearly year round here.

For entertainment, the city features the Vancouver Canucks hockey team, and a full range of museums, parks and sites to engage visitors of all ages, for days on end. And of course the is Vancouver’s famous Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains that with over 8,100 acres of snow-covered slopes, offer the ultimate in big mountain skiing experiences

The city is also a top film and television location destination, with many top films shot here every year. And downtown Vancouver is home to many of Canada’s most successful businesses.

Both Toronto and Vancouver offer a stunning array of amenities and attractions for visitors and each has its own unique character. Which city is the best to visit depends on your personal preference. Is it the big city allure of Toronto, or the beauty and charm of urbane Vancouver? Our vote is you visit both!

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Great French Vacation Destinations That Aren’t Paris

France makes a great holiday destination, and although Paris is the first French destination that comes to mind for many, France has so much more to offer! From sun soaked Nice to the snowy Alps, life is good on vacation in France.

Vacation Villas

No matter where you choose to travel to, or even if you plan to visit several stops during your trip, vacation villas are the way to go. Rather than staying in tourist-laden hotels, vacation villas (or chalets) offer privacy and homey comfort, and are often situated in the best locations. Check out vacation rentals in France to view some of the amazing properties for rent throughout the country.

Nice

Nice is basically the perfect combination of all the elements that make up a great vacation destination. It’s easily accessible by road, air, and train. Nice Côte d’Azur Airport is the countries third largest airport, coming in only after Paris’ two airports. The city also has a great train station, and this costal location is only 5 hours away from Paris by Thalys train. For those who don’t know, trains in France, and Europe in general are top notch, and a really comfortable way to get around. Highways in the area are also well maintained and pleasant. For adventurous souls, Nice is also a great place to get to by boat, if you’re lucky enough to be one of the many yacht owners that sail their way into Nice each year.

Furthermore, Nice has a great climate! It’s hot and sunny during the summer months, but the sea air keeps you feeling good, rather than overheated. During the winter visitors will want to pack a light jacket, but take sunglasses too because the sun mostly shines even during these chillier months. Spring is a beautiful time to visit too, because the costal town blooms up beautifully and the terraces all over town are bustling with people.

This pretty blue coast town is made even more interesting by its glamorous atmosphere. While remaining authentically French, the town is also frequented by the rich and famous, making this a great location to bust out your trendiest clothes, and sip champagne while people watching. There is no shortage of high end hotels and trendy restaurants and beach clubs, so visitors are sure to stay busy hopping from bar to café to restaurant.

Nice has a pretty beach, but its covered in pebbles. Personally I think the feel of the pebbles under my beach towel is quite pleasant, but visitors with delicate feet will want to pack some water shoes if they plant to go out for a swim.

More: Pickpocketers targeting Chinese tourists

Les Trois Vallées

Les Trois Vallées is one of the largest, and most popular ski destinations worldwide. There are a few different calculations circulating on the exact diameter of the area, but most reckon this winter sport hotspot has over 600 kilometers of pistes connected by 180 ski-lifts. Although the area features eight resorts, Its my opinion that renting a chalet is the way to go. The fireplace is all yours to enjoy, and if you choose the right chalet, you’ll still be up close the buzz of the après-ski festivities and the ski lifts.

The area is home to Europe’s highest valley: Val Thorens, which is 2300 meters high. As the name Les Trois Vallées implies, there are two other valleys in the area besides Val Thorens. Mèribel is one of them, and Courchevel is the other. Each valley has a slightly different personality type. Mèribel is especially popular amongst the British travelers, and après-ski here is an experience that you probably won’t remember (due to excessive consumption of Schnapps and Lager!). Courchevel is a hotspot for the uber-rich, with many of its wealthy visitors being Russian. This is also the home base of the Moët-at-Five brigade. When visiting this trendy winter location, you’re likely to see a lot of fur coats. In between each of these popular destinations are many smaller, more authentic alpine towns such as the picturesque village of St-Martine de Belleville.

The best time to visit Les Trois Vallées is of course, during the winter months and early spring. It is during these months that snow is abundant and the pistes are at their best, and the towns are bustling with people. If you plan a visit for during the summer months, be aware that many of the resorts will be closed, and some lifts too. That said, during the warmer months when the snow has (mostly) melted, this mountainous region makes a great place to head to for mountain biking and hiking or, for the not-so active types, fondue eating and view enjoying!

For fans of sun or snow, Nice and Les Trois Vallées are two great locations in France truly worth visiting. Bon Voyage!

You might also enjoy: Top destinations for your honeymoon

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Top Island Destinations for Your Honeymoon

Getting married and looking for the perfect honeymoon destination?. There are so many choices, so how do you pick the perfect one? Here are three top destinations for your honeymoon, where you can’t go wrong.

Belize

Although Belize is the second smallest and least populated island nation in Central America, this tiny island nation is filled with beauty and adventures that would appeal to just about honeymooners. Belize is one of Central America’s least crowded and visited countries, giving travelers opportunities to explore without the crowds of tourists one might expect.

Located between Mexico and Guatemala, Belize is the perfect destination for exploration, relaxation and romance. With more than 400 islands, white sandy beaches, the longest unbroken barrier reef in the western hemisphere (and second largest in the world), and 298 kilometers/185 miles of coastline, Belize is a world-class scuba diving destination where you can swim with bus-sized Whale Sharks and dive with friendly nurse sharks. On land, the Black Howler Monkeys will always be your companions (and probably keep you up at night with their howling). Visitors love to explore the ancient Mayan ruins, visit the many rainforests, make island hopping day-trips, hike, go cave tubing and of course lay on the many white sand beaches. Couples can dance to the local marimbas, and create their own special moments that last a lifetime.

Belize resorts to consider for your honeymoon include: Belize’s top beach area is the Ambergris Caye Region with resorts there: Azul Belize, Cayo Espanto — just offshore of Ambergris Caye El Secreto Resort and Las Terrazas Resort and Itz’ana Resort & Residences.

Maldives

The Maldives is known to be one of the best honeymoon destinations, with resorts occupying 100 if the island nation’s more than 1200 islands. Simply put, a Maldives honeymoon is exclusive and secluded and as close as it gets to paradise. Crystal clear lagoons, vibrant coral reefs and palm-fringed beaches come as standard, while candlelit dinners under starry skies, and customized benefits packages make for an extra special start to married life. Overwater villas that sit on stilts provide direct access to the ocean and are the height of romantic.

In terms of things to do, life beneath the water’s surface is where the Maldives really shines. The island’s abundance of marine life throughout the country sets it apart from other dive destinations. There are vast numbers of fish to see including: Parrotfish, Snappers, Jacks, colourful Sponges, invertebrates and Gorgonian Fans and Sweetlips at every site where the water flows. The highlights also include: Manta Rays that grow to an amazing 8 meters in length and weigh up to 2,300 kilograms, beautiful and docile Whale Sharks and 26 Shark Species including Hammerhead, Whitetip and Tiger sharks. Beach activities abound and island hopping day-trips also are a leading activity among guests.

The top honeymoon resorts to consider on the Maldives include: Gili Lankanfushi Maldives, Cocoa Island, Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, Dusit Thani Maldives. Keep in mind that each resort occupies its own island and sometimes availability is limited. So if you are reading this post about the Maldives it is best to call a good travel agent and enquire about available rooms and prices in paradise.

Oahu, Hawaii

Hawaii’s most popular island, Oahu has the beauty and a wealth of near endless activities that attracts honeymooners from across the globe. From outdoor adventures to world class shopping, a thriving nightlife, and historical sites, Oahu offers it all.

Surfing knows no equal here, and the Oahu’s North Shore waves are world famous and hosts the Triple Crown of Surfing. The crystal blue waters of Oahu also offer great conditions for snorkeling (try Hanauma Bay or Sharks Cove), kitesurfing, swimming and scuba diving. There is plenty of hiking with trails running throughout the island. Or you can simply spend an enjoyable day with your loved one at the beach, particularly the famous Waikiki Beach in Honolulu.

Couples can also visit the many cultural sites including the Polynesian Cultural Center’s authentic luau, and its Polynesian village exhibits, and the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Bishop Museum, or the famous Iolani Palace to see how the Hawaiian royal family lived. For military history buffs, visiting Pearl Harbor, including the USS Bowfin, USS Missouri and Arizona Memorial, is one of the best things to do in Oahu.

There are so many romantic places to visit and take pictures and the island is filled with nightclubs including the Sky Waikiki is a 7,000-square-foot nightclub and lounge with a fire pit, and world class restaurants overlooking the water, lovers will never tire of the amenities.

These three destinations offer honeymooners the chance to start their lives together with a memorable stay at a beautiful, fun-filled location.

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The World’s Best Places for Wildlife Photography

Wildlife photography is an art in its own right. Some people, like Michael Palin and David Attenborough, seem born into it. Others, like Elvis Dzebic, grow into it. All of them have one thing in common, however, which is that they know where to go for the best shots. So if you fancy yourself a bit of a wildlife photographer, and you have some money to travel, where should you go?

  1. Bristol Zoo Gardens

At Bristol Zoo Gardens in the United Kingdom, you can get up close to some 450 different species of animals from all over the world. Additionally, you can learn a lot about the different animals by attending the expert talks. In the summer, there is huge festival and music event, allowing you to take shots of the perhaps this planet’s wildest animal of all: the human.

  1. Ranthambore National Park

This park in India is one of the country’s most famous attraction for tourists interested in wildlife. In fact, thousands of photographers flock here every year. Do make sure you know what the opening times are, as they change depending on the season. Essentially, you can only enter the park when there is daylight.

  1. Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park in South Africa is perhaps the best known wildlife park in the world. It is absolutely huge and you can see countless animals in their natural environment. Because this park is so big, it is recommended that you go for a few days, and there is plenty of accommodation available for you to do that. Plus, the guides are very well-trained, so they can tell you exactly where to go and at what time to get the best pictures.

  1. Jasper National Park

Canada’s Jasper National Park is the country’s largest rocky mountain park and you will be able to take some truly unique snaps there, focusing specifically on local wildlife in its natural environment. Again, it is a huge park and spending a few days there is the best option. You can travel into the park using a variety of different means, including horse riding. July and August are peak season, but it is open all year long.

  1. Adelaide Zoo

Adelaide Zoo in Australia is the second oldest in the country, and it is home to around 1,800 different animals, including many endangered ones. Between 10.30am and 2.30pm, you can tag along with a guided tour, so that you can see it all.

It can be difficult to decide just where you want to go for the best wildlife photography. You need to think about exactly what it is that you want. If you are most interested in knowing for a fact that you will be able to see animals, then a zoo is perfect for you. If you want to risk not seeing anything but, if you do, catch a truly unique shot, then national parks may be the better option. Either way, you are guaranteed to have a good time.

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Reasons Why India is the Perfect Destination for a ‘Coming of Age’ Trip

It’s becoming a common trend for young high school graduates to take some time off before continuing their academic career. Many choose to use this time to see the world and experience different cultures. India is the perfect place to travel to if you want to wow your senses, and potentially make a difference too.

Visas and Other Paperwork

For many gap year travelers, this may be their first solo traveling experience, and the learning begins well before takeoff. Since this is probably the first experience the young adult has with securing his or her own visa India makes a great starter destination that doesn’t ask its visitors to jump through too many hoops. The process for securing a tourist visa for India is simple, and in many cases the application can be processed online. You can easily find all info on the Indian Visa application form.

A Sensory Experience

When I first traveled to India as a seventeen year old, what struck me the most was that India was just so different, and my senses almost couldn’t keep up with all that there was to see, smell, taste and hear. The country has a smell of its own that for me was really hard to ignore or forget, and the cities are just flooded with bright colors, market stalls, fast moving tuk-tuks, rickshaws, motorcycles, cars, busses and even cows. There are people everywhere!

Food in India is just as striking and different as everything else. From teas to curries, flavors are strong and warm and spiced. Each region will have its own delicacies and flavors, but each dish is sure to tingle your taste buds and leave you wanting more.

As a tourist, your ears are wide open, constantly listening to voices of passerby’s, beggars, and stallholders hoping to sell their goods. Horns are honking, cowbells are rattling, music is playing… and through your ears your heart and brain are being filled by this priceless experience.

Even after a train ride into the countryside, your senses are still going wild with all there is to see, smell, hear and taste. The smallest villages are no exception to India’s spirituality, and they feature temples adorned with colorful plants and paint. Communities burn their trash just outside of their villages so a smokey smell seems to linger in most all areas, and the people will approach tourists openly and kindly.

Related: Urban ladders mission: to beautify homes in India

Making a Difference

During my coming of age trip to India, I had the opportunity to work with a local United World College to help build schools in small rural villages, and I also helped collect and dispose of trash. These are just two examples, but there are countless charity programs that are looking for young volunteers to help with tasks big and small.

For young fresh minds hoping to see more of the world, India is an ideal travel destination. Straightforward visa processes, and the potential to make a difference in the lives of the locals are great incentives. And more importantly, I believe that the way in which India explodes the senses and opens the mind is something truly valuable.

You might also enjoy: 10 Underrated Travel Destinations

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5 Breathtaking Mountains in WA You Must Visit Before You Die

Washington State has several amazing mountains that attract and excite visitors all year round. Gaining access to these natural wonders is simple no matter where you live. You can book complete mountain packages in places as far flung as the Cascades in Washington, to Australian Blue Mountains tours with Dingo Travel. To help you decide where to go, here are all of Washington’s mountains you have to visit:

Mt. Rainier

Mount Rainier, at 14,411 is the tallest mountain in the Cascades, the largest mountain range in Washington State. The Cascades extend from British Columbia in Canada, through Washington, Oregon, to Northern California and includes volcanoes (the High Cascades) and non-volcanic mountains (the North Cascades). Mount Rainer has a very recognizable profile as it is in full view from Seattle, providing a magnificent backdrop for the city.

Mount Rainer is part of a national park that was founded in 1899, and is the most reachable glaciated peak in North America. For tourists, Rainier offers a multitude of unique and spectacular visual delights include: ice-blue glaciers, multicolored flowers, and magnificent waterfalls.

For hikers and climbers, there are dozens of trails for different skill levels climbers: amateur (Disappointment Cleaver), climbers (Kautz Glacier Route) and for the very experienced, Liberty Ridge, is one the top 50 climbs in the U.S.  There are a number of guide companies that will happily take you up Rainier for a fee, or you can for a lesser price make the climb unassisted.

Rainier offers lots of amenities for everyone at Mount Rainer including: gift shops, a visitor center, restaurants, and even a classic lodge. Every year nearly 2 million people visit Rainier.

Mt. St. Helens

Mount St. Helens is in the top two of America’s most active volcanoes, with an elevation of 8,365 feet. In 1980, there was a major eruption that caused a mile–wide crater and took 57 lives. This was the most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States. It began putting out ash and steam again in 2004 and it continues today.

Mt. St. Helens and the surrounding Gifford Pinchot National Forest, get tens of thousands of volcano seeking visitors each year and just as many who come because of its abundant outdoor leisure activities, including hunting all year round, mountain biking in the spring and summer, and snowmobiling and skiing in the winter. The climb to the crater rim takes 8 hours and you need to bring boots because it’s rocky and there will be some climbing.

There are a bevy of ways to enjoy the mountain that include everything from hiking to climbing, to even a helicopter ride over and into the crater. To hike to the summit of Mount St. Helens, all climbers must register and obtain a climbing permit. There are also plenty of easy to traverse lower trails call for more info at mshinstitute.org. And with tons of activities for the young people, this mountain is definitely aimed at family entertainment. Be sure to check on any planned activities before you go. Finally there are several hotels and bed and breakfasts in the area that make great accommodations.

Mt. Adams

Mount Adams glaciers are nearly gone, but at 12,281 feet it is second tallest mountain in Washington State. Because of its more gentle slopes, less experienced climbers choose Mount Adams to climb. The most popular route up the mountain is called the South Spur Route, which is gentle and scenic. To reach the peak, most people, get a permit and spend two days climbing with a break for the night about 3,000 meters up where there is a flat landing. A more difficult route to the top which will take crampons, an ice ax, and the skills to use them, is called the Adam’s Glacier route. If you want to really press it, the route can be travelled in about 14 hours. There are campgrounds near and accessible where you can park to get to Mount Adams.

Mt. Olympus  

Mount Olympus is the tallest and most prominent mountain in the Olympic Mountains in the Western part of the state. It was named by an explorer who thought it looked like the home of the Greek Gods. Although at 7,800 feet it does not meet the height of the original Mount Olympus in Greece, with its heavy winter snowfalls and large glaciers, it is just as majestic. It is also the central attraction of Olympic National Park, which features rain forests, mountain goats and elk herds. For climbers, this mountain requires a big time commitment because of the approach via the Hoh River (two days), a climb to the summit (one full day), coming back down (another day). But the amazing views, lush surrounding and of course the peak, makes it worth it. For the non-climber there are various trails including the Hall of Mosses Trail and the Spruce Nature and the very popular Hoh River-Five Mile Island Trail that is more than 10 miles long and parallels the Hoh River.

Glacier Peak

If your hope is to find a remote place to camp, climb or hike, Glacier Park might be your best choice. With an elevation of 10,541 feet and sitting 70 miles from Seattle, in the middle of a remote 500,000 acre forest, Glacier Park takes you off the beaten track and back to nature. But roughing it has its rewards and in this case they are mind blowing views, great trails and a real chance to get directly in touch with nature. There aren’t many amenities this way, except for a few lodges, so come prepared to rough it, if you plan on staying a while. This means little cell phone access by the way. Hiking is available for all level hikers with numerous trails that take you through the park and up the mountain a bit. While climbing is strictly for the experienced.

 

 

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