Tag Archives: Iceland

The Vikings: Top 50 Viking Sites for Travelers

Many tourists who visit the United Kingdom or Nordic countries ask where they can see real Vikings. However, no country or tribe has ever been called a Viking nation. ‘The Vikings’ is simply the word for “sailors” or “pirates” in Old Norse, a language spoken in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden during the Viking age.

The Nordic (literally “the North”) countries have an interesting history going as far back as to the end of the last Ice Age. Scandinavia was covered by an ice sheet around 10,000 BC.

As the ice melted, the north Germanic peoples populated southern coastal areas and Finns and Sami migrated from the Ural Mountains. Thus, the Nordic countries were among the last parts of Eurasia to be settled by humans.

The Vikings

The Vikings mainly came from three countries of Scandinavia: Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. These were primarily Norse seafarers who spoke the Old Norse language, and sailed, raided, and traded across wide areas of northern, central, eastern, and western Europe.

Nordic countries

Nordic countries

The Viking Age

The Viking Age was during the 9th and 10th centuries, when the Norsemen sailed the seas and rivers of Europe, reaching as far as Canada, North Africa, and Central Asia.

While overseas adventures were nothing new to the Norse peoples, their range, intensity, and frequency of travels became significantly high between the 8th to 11th centuries.

The Norse were the first people known to have crossed the Atlantic ocean. Iceland was settled during the 9th century, with Reykjavík as its first settlement. Shortly after, Greenland and parts of today’s United Kindom was also attacked and settled by the Vikings.

A pearl necklace from the Viking age

www.artoftravel.store/

Top Viking Sites To Visit

Below is the list of over 50 top Viking sites you can visit in the Scandinavian or Nordic countries, Latvia, Germany, United Kingdom, and Canada.

Odin on an eight-legged horse (Norse mythology)

Note: It’s important to note that most of these Viking sites are only open from late Spring to start of Fall season. When planning your trip, just make sure that the place is open by simply Googling.

Sweden

Ale Vikingagård

A Viking farm, north of Göteborg which is open every Sunday. Events throughout the year including feasts and markets in the spring (early May), autumn after harvest time in late October to early November and around Jul, a Norse pagan celebration at Christmas time.

Birka

Viking Age grave field at Birka archaeological site on Björkö Island, Sweden

Birka is a UNESCO World Heritage site near Ekerö, Stockholm. Birka was established in the 8th century and was an important trading center in the Viking Age. There is a museum on the island of Björkö, including a reconstructed Viking village. Roleplays, guided tours, craftsmen, and events are planned throughout the year.

Foteviken Museum

An open-air Viking museum, south of Malmö, Foteviken Museum is centered around a large Viking settlement reconstruction. The area is an important archaeological site of the Viking Age and the naval Battle of Fotevik was fought around here in 1134. Experimental archaeology, roleplays and season program and engaging activities for the whole family.

Gamla Uppsala

Gamla Uppsala (aka the “Old Uppsala”) is a former settlement outside the modern day city of Uppsala, and was the political and religious center of Viking-era Sweden. It was once the site of a legendary Norse pagan temple, which brought visitors from all around Scandinavia.

The temple was however lost; no-one knows what it looked like, or where it stood exactly. The site also hosts some impressive burial mounds and a large museum.

Gamla Uppsala Museum

The Old Uppsala Museum is in Disavägen and houses many of the Viking era archeological findings from Old Uppsala.

Gotlands Museum

Gotlands Museum is located in Visby, Gotland. Though Gotland’s Golden Age was during the Hanseatic League years from the 13th century, the island was a commercial center long before, possibly the home of the legendary Goths.

Gunnes gård, Ryttargatan

A reconstructed Viking Age farm, mostly open during summer.

Gustavianum, Akademigatan

Is the university museum of Uppsala University, and among other things they exhibit findings from Vendel- and Viking-era boat burial field in nearby “Valsgärde”. FREE entry for people under 19.

Järnåldershuset i Körunda

A reconstructed Viking Age longhouse, north of Nynäshamn.

www.artoftravel.store/

Medeltidsveckan (Medieval Week)

In Visby, Gotland. While conversion to Christianity in the 11th century marked a divide between the Viking Age and the Middle Ages, Gotland remained an autonomous region of peaceful mariners and merchants until Sweden annexed the island in the 17th century.

While the people of Gotland were not true Vikings, this festival week creates a Viking-like (sailers, pirates, or mercenaries) atmosphere.

Rök Runestone

The world’s largest runestone, near Ödeshög, and also the oldest known written record in Sweden. The name of the village Rök has the same roots as rock or stone, which means that Rök Stone is a tautology.

Stallarholmen Viking Festival

Annually the first weekend of July, in a village near Strängnäs with plenty of runestones and other Viking-age artifacts.

Storholmen

A reconstructed Viking village situated on the shore of Lake Erken, north of Norrtälje. A small nature reserve of Norr Malma to the south, including a large graveyard from the Iron Age. The whole region – known as Roslagen – is steeped in history.

In the Viking Age, there trade with the East was important. There is a nice 18th-century inn and restaurant nearby and a child-friendly lakeside beach.

A reconstructed Viking village

Swedish History Museum

If you’re interested in older Scandinavian history, from the Stone Age to the Vikings, you will want to visit the Swedish History Museum. In the Gold Room, you’ll find gold treasures from the Bronze Age to the 16th century.

Trelleborgen

In the modern port town of Trelleborg in Scania, close to Foteviken Museum or a 20-minute drive from Malmö. One of only seven known Viking Ring Castles from the 980s.

“Trelleborg” is the name of the town, the castle and a general term for Viking Ring Castles. It is 143 meters in diameter and was largely reconstructed with palisades and houses in 1995.

Watch role plays and reenactments or engage in the Viking market, and Viking board games. Stories from Norse mythology are occasionally dramatized here, but only in Swedish. FREE for people under the age of 20.

Uppåkra Arkeologiska Center

Uppåkra Archaeological Centre is located south of Lund. A historical museum by and about the Viking-era archaeological site Uppåkra. This area was supposedly a cultural and religious center in Scania with a pagan temple but was abandoned in favor of modern-day Lund around year 990.

Vikingatider, Ådalsvägen

At the village of Löddeköpinge near Lund. An archaeological Viking-themed open-air museum and landscape with Viking houses and farms. Engage in everyday activities of the Vikings at the farm or in the workshops.

Guided tours (in English) of the settlement and surrounding landscape and special events throughout the year, including re-enactments, craft shops, and markets.

Årsjögård

At the lakeside village of Årsunda, south of Sandviken. An open-air museum centered around a reconstructed Viking farm in the midst of a historic region known as Järnriket (The Iron Realm). Experimental archaeology and occasional role plays, re-enactments, feasts, music, and crafts.

Learn more about the cultural history of this area, in particular, the Viking Age. The Sörby grave-fields with 90 burial mounds and stone settings are nearby, as are the popular lakeside bathing site of Strandbaden at the lake of Storsjön, locally known as “Gästriklands riviera”. At Strandbaden you will find a camping site and restaurant.

www.artoftravel.store/

Vikingaliv, Djurgårdsvägen

A Viking museum opened in 2017. Does not exhibit any archaeological findings, but rather showcases information about the era and a Viking themed-train ride, as well as replicas of Viking craft.

Norway

Lofotr Viking Museum

Located on the island of Vestvågøya in the Lofoten archipelago, is a huge reconstructed Viking Chieftains hall situated in a dramatic landscape. The hall holds exhibitions and there are walking paths in the surrounding landscape.

In the summer it is possible to sail with a Viking ship replica nearby. There are seasonal events and programs with roleplays, Viking feasts, Viking Festival and more. 

The Viking Ship Museum

Located in the University of Oslo, the main attractions here are the all original Viking ships such as Gokstad, Oseberg, and Tune. The Viking Ship Museum is part of Museum of Cultural History, a department of Oslo University.

Museum of Cultural History also houses Historical Museum with a permanent exhibition themed around the Norse and Vikings in particular. Tickets include admission to both museums within 48 hours. The Bygdøy island can be reached by road or ferry (in the summer).

Gokstad Mound (Gokstadhaugen)

Gokstad is in Sandefjord. The burial mound at Gokstad where the Gokstad ship was discovered in 1880. The ship is the largest found in Norway and is now on display in the Viking ship museum, Oslo. The Norwegian government has asked UNESCO to include the mound on the world heritage list.

Stiklestad (Trøndelag)

The site of the battle in the year 1030 where King Olav died.

Trondenes historical center, Trondenesveien

Displaying more than 2,000 years of history in the region, which was a Viking power center (Tore Hund from Bjarkøy just north of Harstad killed St Olav at the Battle of Stiklestad, according to the saga).

Three Swords

Sverd i fjell, (literally “Sword in Mountain”), is a monument outside the center of Stavanger, beside the Hafrsfjord. The swords themselves are massive and in the background is the fjord. The monument commemorates the battle of Hafrsfjord in the late 800’s where Harald Hårfagre beat his eastern opposition and became the first King of Norway.

Midgardsenteret, Borrehaugen

New museum in Birkelyveien about history, religion, and wars of the Vikings, next to Borrehaugen, the Viking cemetery.

Kaupang

Around 800 AD, a Viking trade post was established here, and today it is both an archaeological site and a venue for Viking events in the summer.

Bronseplassen

Open May to September. Reconstructed houses from the Bronze Age and Viking times and is located in Høvåg, approx. 15 km west of Lillesand. There are also bark boats, labyrinth, offering space and cemetery.

Avaldsnes

A former Viking settlement, nowadays featuring a Viking farm, a history center, burial mounds and archaeological excavations.

Gulen Assembly, Eivindvik

Gulating was the Viking era legislative assembly and high court (þing) for West Norway. The site had a central location along the shipping lane (the highway of the time). The assembly may have been established by Harald Hairfair around year 900 (perhaps older) and existed until 1300.

Originally Gulating was a “common assembly” where all “free men” joined for the annual meeting, later only delegates from each district.

Two ancient stone crosses mark the original site, and new monument marks a later site nearby. Similar assemblies and laws existed for Trøndelag and for Eastern Norway. When Norway’s modern constitution was crafted in 1814 the name Storting (grand assembly) was adopted.

Frosta assembly, Trøndelag

Frostating was the Viking era court and general assembly for the Trøndelag area, similar to Gulating for Western Norway. The “Thing hill” is marked and can be visited.

Denmark

Bork Vikingehavn

In the village of Bork near Skjern and Ringkøbing, at the bottom of a large lagoon. A Viking village and harbor area with Viking ship replicas and a town market. Re-enactments and roleplays that varies throughout the year. Great for kids.

Fyrkat

Viking Ring Castle and re-constructed Viking houses. Sometimes roleplays and craftsmen. FREE to the public.

Jelling Monuments

A UNESCO World Heritage Site in Jelling, a Viking Royal residence. Enormous stone ship monument, burial mounds, runestones and 10th-century church. Newly built exploratorium bringing the site’s rich history to life. Good for all ages. Free.

Lindholm Høje

Pagan Iron Age and Viking Age burial grounds with hundreds of stone-set grave sites. There is a museum building.

Ribe Vikingecenter

A large Viking Center and open-air town museum reconstructed at the former site of a large Viking town. Re-enactments, craftsmen, roleplays and experimental archeology of varying themes throughout the year. Ride Icelandic horses, help the farmers, watch the falconry displays, shoot with bows or learn to fight like the Vikings; there are many activities here suited for all ages and interests.

Sagnlandet Lejre

March – December. Large open-air Viking and pre-historic center with themes reaching back to the Stone Age as it unfolded in Scandinavia. Located in Lejre, a former royal homeland in the Nordic Iron Age and early Viking Age. Engaging activities for all ages.

Trelleborg Castle

A Viking Ring Castle, one of the only seven known of its kind. A small museum and some reconstructed Viking buildings.

Viking Ship Museum

A museum with several original Viking ships, a Viking research center, a harbor with copies of Viking ships, and a shipyard making new ships. Study the originals, watch how archaeologists preserve them and engage on a small sea-voyage with replica ships in the summer months. FREE for children under the age of 5.

Greenland

Norse settlements in Greenland

Vikings settled parts of Southern Greenland, starting with Erik the Red, who gave the landmass its name to make it sound appealing to travelers. Remains and reconstructions of the Norse settlements can still be visited, some of them forming a world heritage site.

Iceland

The Settlement Exhibition

Run by the Reykjavík City Museum, this exhibition in central Reykjavík was built around the oldest archaeological ruins in Iceland. As the name indicates, these ruins date to around the year 870. This interactive exhibition brings you the early history of the area that today forms central Reykjavík. FREE for children under 18.

A Viking Ship in Reykjavík, Iceland

National Museum of Iceland

This museum, located right by the University of Iceland campus, takes the visitor through the history of a nation from settlement to today. Includes a café and a museum shop. FREE for children under 18.

Reykjavík City Museum

In the suburb of Árbær, and frequently called Árbæjarsafn (Árbær museum), this open-air museum contains both the old farm of Árbær and many buildings from central Reykjavík that were moved there to make way for construction.

The result is a village of old buildings where the staff takes you through the story of a city. The staffs are dressed in old Icelandic clothing styles and trained in various traditional techniques, for example in making dairy products or preparing wool. FREE for children under 18.

www.artoftravel.store/

Þingvellir

Also spelled as Thingvellir in English, it’s the place where the Icelandic parliament (Alþing) met for a few days every year from 930 until 1798. This yearly event also served as a supreme court and a huge market and meeting place for people from all over Iceland.

Vikings landing in Iceland

The Settlement Centre, Brákarbraut

A media center showcasing the Viking sagas, stories or descriptions of their everyday life.

Eiríksstaðir

Around 150 km north of Reykjavik, Eiríksstaðir is an open-air museum centered around the recreation of the homestead of Erik the Red and his son Leif Eriksson (considered to be the first European to set foot in America).

Saga Centre

In Hvolsvöllur, 15 km to the southeast of Hella. A museum showcasing Njals Saga, the main saga of the Icelanders.

Snorrastofa

A museum and research center showcasing Snorri’s Saga, written by the 12th and 13th-century writer Snorri Strulasson.

Viking World, Keflavík

A museum with five Viking exhibitions, including a replica of a ship.

Germany

Haithabu

Located at the southern end of the Jutland peninsula, Haithabu was once the site of the largest Viking town in Scandinavia. Now an open-air town museum with reconstructed Viking houses. Experimental archeology, craftsmen and engaging roleplay and reenactments of the former life in the Viking Age town.

Latvia

Grobiņa Viking Settlement

The west coast of Latvia has Viking heritage, where there was once a settlement named Seeburg (now in Grobiņa city).

United Kingdom

Jorvik Viking Centre, England

The world famous Jorvik Viking Centre is a must-see for visitors to the city of York and is one of the most popular visitor attractions in the UK outside London. Welcoming over 16 million visitors since 1984, Jorvik Viking Centre invites visitors to journey through the reconstruction of Viking-Age streets as they would have looked 1000 years ago.

Lindisfarne, England

An early Christian monastery at the Northsea rocky shore. The Norse raid at Lindisfarne in AD 793 usually marks the beginning of the Viking Age.

Up Helly Aa (Shetland Islands)

Europe’s largest and most famous fire festival. It takes place on the last Tuesday in January. Over the year the ‘Guizer Jarl’ or Viking Chief and his squad prepare costumes, weapons, and a replica heraldic style Viking Galley and torches.

There is a torchlight procession of over 800 participants and then the Galley is ceremoniously burned. Tickets to the halls are by invitation only, but public tickets are available for the Town Hall from the committee. Although the Lerwick festival is the largest and most famous, eleven other fire festivals are held across the islands.

Battle Abbey and Battlefield

The Abbey was established after 1070 on the site of the Battle of Hastings in 1066, the Pope has decreed that the Norman conquerors should do practical penance for the deaths inflicted in their conquest of England. William the Conqueror initiated the building, but it was only completed and consecrated in 1094 in the reign of his son William II (Rufus).

The Abbey is in an incomplete, partly ruinous state, having been dissolved during the Reformation, then re-used as a private home. Visitors can stand on the reputed site where Harold was slain on 14 October 1066.

Bayeux

A cathedral town which features the Bayeux tapestry, which chronicles the Norman invasion of England, culminating in William’s victory over Harold in 1066.

Canada

L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site

A UNESCO heritage and archaeological site in Great Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland. It features the remains of the North American Viking settlements described in the Vinland Sagas: depressions in the ground that were once the foundations of houses, a sod longhouse reconstructed according to Viking-era building methods, plus some unearthed artifacts displayed in the museum contained in the visitors’ center.

Norstead, Newfoundland

Located just down the road from the L’Anse aux Meadows UNESCO site, Norstead takes a more interactive, living-history approach to the subject of the Norse incursion into North America, with a “village” of reconstructed longhouses populated by costumed interpreters reenacting daily life in a 12th-century “Viking port of trade” with a respectable degree of historical accuracy.

www.artoftravel.store/

15 Places To Go For The Best Northern Lights Experience

The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis is a phenomenon that can be seen with the naked eye from late-August to mid-April when the sky turns dark around 6 PM to 6 AM. The colorful light display is highly visible in the Auroral Zone, which is between latitude 65 degrees and latitude 72 degrees.

Parts of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, the British Isles, the Scandinavian Peninsula, and Russia are the best places to experience the Aurora Borealis.

Experiencing the dance of Northen Lights

Best Northern Lights View

In this post, we will provide you with the list of 15 best places from where you can experience one of the most sought-after bucket list worthy destinations to view the Northern Lights. Auroral displays can appear in many colors although as you’ll notice, pale green and light pink are the most common. Shades of red, yellow, blue, and violet can also be in the mix.

Fairbanks, Alaska

As the largest city in the interior region of Alaska, the city lights may distract you so you may want to go farther into the northeast to Chena Resort from where you can view the Aurora while relaxing in a hot spring. You do not need to be observant at all times because they provide an Aurora alarm service which alerts guests when the light show starts.

As seen from Beaver Creek Scenic River in Alaska

Murmansk, Russia

Located above the Arctic Circle in northwest Russia, be prepared because temperatures can drop to as low as -40 degrees Celsius in the Russian winter. This season also brings polar nights where the sun is constantly below the horizon. During this period, the sky will be completely dark, increasing your chances of viewing the Northern Lights.

www.artoftravel.store/

 

Yellowknife, Canada

Located in the northwest of Canada, Yellowknife is just 250 miles from the Arctic Circle. A half-hour drive will bring you to Aurora Village, a teepee campground where you can view the Northern Lights from the comfort of warm and cozy viewing chairs.

As seen in Yellowknife, Canada

Labrador, Canada

Found in the eastern part of Canada, the forbidding terrain and extreme climate keep the region pristine. The top of the ski trail at the Birch Brook Nordic Ski Club, located near central Labrador, will provide you with a view of the Northern Lights reflecting on vast snow-covered trails.

Yukon, Canada

You do not need to be on land to be able to view the Northern Lights. The partnership between Tourism Yukon, Air North, and the Yukon Astronomical Society now offers flights from Whitehorse, Yukon that specifically flies over the Auroral zone to allow viewers to see the Aurora from the air. You can now enjoy the beautiful northern lights from 36,000 feet above the Yukon.

As seen from Yukon Territory, Canada

Abisko National Park, Sweden

Surrounding mountains and prevailing winds create an atmospheric effect that clears the sky over this region found on the center of the Swedish Lapland. The cloudless winter night creates an excellent viewing condition of the sky along with the view of the mountains and alpine meadows.

Tromso, Norway

Located above the Arctic Circle, this city in northern Norway is a famous site for viewing the Northern Lights. You can make the viewing more special by boarding the Hurtigruten, the Norwegian coastal steamer, so you can view the Aurora in a fjord. Don’t worry if you fall asleep, the ship provides wake up calls when the Aurora is visible.

As seen from Norway

Svalbard, Norway

A remote archipelago located north of Norway known for glaciers and frozen tundra, the islands here have long, dark, cloudless nights with dry weather – ideal conditions for viewing the Northern Lights. Although you will find more polar bears than people, there will be no shortage of attractions, from dog-sledding to backcountry skiing.

 

www.artoftravel.store/

 

Luosto, Finland

Santa’s Hotel Aurora glass igloos provide visitors with a different experience as they view not just the Northern Lights, but the whole arctic scenery from inside a Lapland hut-styled room with glass roof and walls. Here you can view the Aurora from the comfort of a fully equipped hotel room just a few steps from the reception and other services.

As seen in Finland

Oulanka National Park, Finland

Located in the Lapland regions of Finland, Oulanka National Park is one of the best places to go to see beautiful scenery backdropped by the Northern Lights. Comprised of pine forests and river valleys, you can find various camping areas from where you can view the Aurora.

Another shot of the dancing Aurora from Finland

Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

A region close to the Arctic Circle, this town in western Greenland is the main air transport hub so getting here will be easier than the other locations. Having clear skies 300 days a year also makes this a prime location for viewing the Northern Lights.

Thingvellir National Park, Iceland

The Northern Lights are visible from the whole of Iceland but you can improve the experience by viewing it from Thingvellir National Park, located in a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which is a popular tourist destination because of its history and geology.

As seen from Iceland

Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

The largest national park in Britain, located in the Scottish Highlands, where you can perform daytime activities like skiing and hiking. Once night falls, one of the best places to view the Northern Lights is in Glenlivet Estate. Awarded a Dark Sky status, this location ensures that there are no artificial lights that prevent you from seeing the Aurora.

As seen in Scotland (Picture credit)

Isle of Skye, Scotland

The British Isles frequently have cloudy skies, but when the cloud cover breaks during the winter, the low light pollution paired with the breathtaking view of jagged mountain ranges, sea cliffs, pools, and moors makes for a beautiful scene backdropped by the Northern Lights.

On an Alaskan Crusie Ship

When you book a cruise ship going to Alaska during September, you would probably think that the highlight of the trip would be on one of the cruise shore excursions in the rugged outdoors, but you may be pleasantly surprised when the Northern Lights suddenly presents itself at sea.

Aurora Borealis

That’s it! These top 15 places offer unique perspective and view of the Northern Lights.

One tip in general: for those planning a visit to these areas, don’t make it a trip just for the Aurora Borealis because this phenomenon is elusive and you might be disappointed when you don’t see it. Clouds, weather, light pollution, time in hand, things that are not in your control can affect your viewing experience.

Having other activities planned will ensure that you will enjoy your trip whether you see the dancing Aurora Borealis or not.

Also, these aren’t the only places where you can view the Northern Lights. Sometimes, the Aurora presents itself in unexpected locations. So if you find yourself in the auroral zone in the evening, just face north, look up, and you just might get lucky.

Let us know in the comments below if you have experienced the mystical dance of the northern lights. What do you think? Please do share if you have any special moment or thought that came to you while viewing and experiencing the Aurora Borealis.

 

www.artoftravel.store/

Around the World for Christmas Buffet

The smell of fried chicken fills the air, and there is nothing better than wolfing down a plate loaded with roasted turkey during winter. But other than your cozy little fireplace, there are many places throughout the world where you can eat a hearty buffet.

Let us go on a Christmas Buffet around the world.

FLY TO JAPAN

Many may consider Japan as a non-Christmas country. However, in the past few years, this nation stepped up its game. Even though you will not see many favorite Christmas traditions, you have to taste their delish Christmas dishes. The best thing you can have during Christmas here in Japan is the tasty kick of heat in Kentucky Fried Chicken. For dessert, there is a light sponge cake decorated with a decadent cream and vibrant strawberries. Unlike the western countries, Japan has its own Christmas meals which are not too heavy on the palate.

A SPICY CHRISTMAS IN MADAGASCAR

The dense atmosphere of this African country paired up with a delightful plate of food screams exotic!

www.artoftravel.store/

When you have the chance, taste Akoho misy Sakamalao – the traditional Christmas dish including chicken cooked with garlic and ginger paste. This dish is also cooked with coconut stew and served with rice. Apart from the overflowing plates of chicken, pork is also a common dish in Madagascar. But for dessert, you need to sweeten your mouth with the signature fruit of Madagascar, the Lychee.

COOKIE JARS OF ICELAND

In the chilly winter wind and snowy backdrop, one craves something warm and baked. What better way to celebrate Christmas than cookies and cakes? The fluffy cakes and yummy cookies are not the only delicacies in an Icelandic Christmas Buffet. There is another dish that you are not likely to find anywhere else in the world, reindeer. When you hear reindeer you might immediately think of sleighs, but in this age who needs a sleigh? Hence, the poor fellas make it to the dinner table, and did I mention how lip-smacking they are? Other than reindeer, you can taste the smokiness of the lamb, and seabirds which make it to the buffet.

CHOCOLATEY CHRISTMAS

Tsokolate is the decadent, drool-worthy and delish dessert served in the Philippines. When the rich chocolate liquid slides down your throat, it is just heaven! Other desserts include a version of custard made with coconut cream. However, it is the main dishes that will blow your mind! The carefully cooked pig on a stick is a roasted version of Lechon. Do not worry about the richness of the meal; silky smooth pasta graces the plate to enhance the wow-factor of the Philippine Christmas Buffet.

WHIPPED CREAM IN AUSTRALIA

When the hemisphere changes, so do the demands of the palate. In Australia, turkey and ham are not widely preferred dishes. Due to the change of seasons in Australia, a Summer Christmas needs something different. Barbecue gives the meal the necessary kick to elevate the buffet from standard to festive. However, the grills are not solely used for steaks. Seafood is much loved among the Aussies. Thus, if you receive barbecued prawns in your Christmas Buffet, do not look shocked. They wrap up the meal with a chunk of whipped cream folded through bits of fresh fruits. Sounds like a party for your taste buds!

HEALTHY X-MAS MEAL IN ETHIOPIA

After attending all the New Year’s Celebration around the world, you can end up in Ethiopia. The celebration of Christmas is different here because Ethiopians follow the Julian Calendar. And according to that calendar, Christmas falls on January 7th. Thus, you have more time to plan your exclusive tour. The traditional meal of Christmas consists of a thick stew of juicy chicken and fresh veggies. You can scoop up the spicy gravy with a soft flatbread called injera.

TRY CUISINES OF LEBANON

It is not just one dish that makes a celebration standout, but rather the entire meal which makes it special. From the finger licking spiced rice to the flavor bombs of minced meat, everything on the plate reflects perfect home cooking. Whatever you eat in a Lebanese buffet, do not miss the Kibbeh Pie, which is undoubtedly the star of the meal. Besides, there is a refreshing middle eastern salad seasoned with mint to cleanse your palate.

To take the memory of your Christmas buffet with you, buy some sugar-coated almonds from the nearby store, or tell your host to pack it for you.

Tour the world this Christmas with no intention of stopping your mouth. Say yes to cookies and cakes, turkeys and ham, and whatever delicacies await you this holiday season!

www.artoftravel.store/

10 Unusual Spots To Add To Your Travel Bucket List

Cheers to the wanderers, gypsies, explorers, travelers, and the free-spirited. You will see many new and unexpected additions to the travel list in here. So, refresh your bucket list with these amazing travel destinations.

THRILL WALK, SWITZERLAND

Image Credit

Buckle up for the incomparable thrill in Switzerland. It is not new that Switzerland does everything in its power to attract tourists. But on June 9th, 2016, Schilthornbahn AG opened the new “Thrill Walk” cliff path at the Birg mid-station.

The walk consists of railings, glass and air segments which even scare off the bravest hearts. At the height of 3000 meters, a 200-meter long walk is a sheer madness! But braving the odds is what explorers are best known for. The effort and courage pay off when you reach the observation and see the panoramic view.

FOOD INK, LONDON

Image Link

After taking London by storm, Food Ink is now ready to take over the world. This pop-up restaurant uses 3-D printing technique to cook a three-course meal. If you want a quirky dining experience, then be ready.

Food Ink embarks on a world tour this year. Although a three-course meal costs $250 per head, the experience of tasting tech-food is epic. Jazz up your bucket list and at least head for having a look at how the 3-D chef works at Food Ink.

PIKE PLACE MARKET, SEATTLE

Pike Place Market is not just a 40-year-old market in Seattle. It is the largest food market in America. A hefty amount of money was invested in improving the Marketplace. An extra of $34 million ensures the building of more stalls.

And an extra 30000 square miles will let shoppers wander easily rather than clumsily in the marketplace. It is the best place in America for food enthusiasts as well as those who want to buy something local from the artisan shops.

BELMOND ANDEAN EXPLORER, PERU

Image Link

The scenic hike to Machu Picchu is now a different thing altogether and is a top addition to your bucket list. Peruvian rail launched the Andean Explorer which takes ten and a half hour to trail through the quintessentially beautiful landscape of Andes.

There is an open-air car that allows you to take pictures of the stunning landscape, and not just that the services of the train are beyond luxury. Drink in the natural splendor while experiencing the symphony of Peruvian music.

ROTTNEST ISLAND, AUSTRAL

 

www.artoftravel.store/

Rottnest Island is all set to open the Pinky’s Eco-Retreat and Beach Resort. This resort emphasizes sustainable tourism. Hence there are eco-star tents. There are options according to price for all kind of travelers, starting from $75. It has a café, restaurant, bar and a deck to give you a fantastic view of Perth.

Not just the facilities but the 63 stunning beaches play a major role in tempting visitors. Come, and be part of our generation’s move towards a new travel trend: Sustainable tourism, at one of the best islands in Western Australia.

TALAMANCA, COSTA RICA

Image Credit

Talamanca in the Southern Caribbean region of Costa Rica is home to an indigenous tribe of Bribri. The individual tour guides of this region planned to open a tour agency. A tourist can choose an itinerary focusing on rivers, farms, forest, indigenous reserves, wildlife or a combination of all these.

The costs of the tour are cheap, approximately $40 per person, and it started from April 2017. Live like the Bribri ancestors amidst the pristine natural landscape. This ought to be on your updated travel bucket list.

ALL BLACKS EXPERIENCE, NEW ZEALAND

Image Link

With the increase in tourist numbers, New Zealand needs more all-season attractions to lure tourists. All Blacks is a step towards it. This attraction will stand in Wynyard quarter. Everybody knows about the passion of Rugby in New Zealand. All Black’s Experience is to immortalize the great players and the passion. The event is held in Auckland.

AMERICAN REVOLUTION MUSEUM, PHILADELPHIA

Image Link

While refreshing your bucket list this year, keep in mind that the world is now obsessed with the current American Politics. If you want to enhance your knowledge of America’s political history, then the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadephia is your place.

The museum opened on April 19, 2017. It exhibits everything that shaped the history of American Politics. The three-story building just two blocks away from Liberty Bell displays the historical tent of George Washington (second floor). It is the same tent he used during the War of Independence. There is also a Museum shop and café on the sidewalk to engage the estimated 500,000 tourists/annually.

LAVA CENTRE, ICELAND

Image Credit

Want to unveil the mysteries of nature? Lava Center is an Earthquake and Volcano center in Hvolsvollur, Southern Iceland. Those who want to explore the fiery heart of Iceland can take a tour here.

From molten lava oozing out of Volcanoes to record-breaking earthquakes, everything is within an arm’s reach. And the best thing about it is the proximity to Iceland’s other tourist attractions. What are you waiting for? We all agree that Iceland is a destination to be explored.

AMERICAN WRITER’S MUSEUM, CHICAGO

 Image Link

All those who have a writer’s streak, here is what your heaven looks like. The American Writers Museum founded in 2010 in Chicago, Illinois displays many exhibits related to writers. It represents everything that is American Literature and writing.

It opened in April 2017 this museum boasts exhibits like Writer’s Hall, Word Water Fall, The mind of a writer, Children’s Gallery, Writing across America.

www.artoftravel.store/

Game of Thrones Real Filming Locations You Can Visit

With the fantastic progression of season 8 (thus far) of Game of Thrones, we thought of creating this summary page to refresh your memories.

Below are some images of real-life filming locations of Game Of Thrones. Yes, these sites are real and very much as magical as you see on the screen.

Must see: Game Of Thrones World Map of Seven Kingdoms

The Dark Hedges – Kingsroad

The Dark Hedges is a popular Northern Irish tourist attraction. Two lines of stately beech trees planted by the Stuart family in 1775 to line the entrance to their Gracehill House mansion.

But this is better known to Game of Thrones fans as the Kingsroad, as seen when Arya and Gendry first meet.

Photo by The Art of Travel Partners

Bardenas Reales – Dothraki Sea

 

Who would have thought that The Spanish Badlands of clay, chalk, and sandstone would become the favorite of so many viewers!

This out of the world location is the Bardenas Reales near the Town of Tudela, Spain, where the Khaleesi meets another Dothraki Tribe in the sixth season. One of the stunning real-life locations of Game of Thrones.

Image Credit

Seville – Arena of Meeren

 Image Credit

The most expensive scene shot in the entire series of The Game of Thrones as well as the history of Television is in Plaza de Toros, Osuna, Spain.

Photo by The Art of Travel Partners

It is the set for the first meeting of Tyrion and Daenerys. Aside from the vibrant shrines, you can enjoy the first GoT themed Restaurant in Osuna Cassa Curro.

Image Credit

Essaouira & Marrakech – Astapor

Image Credit

This city is 100 Km west of Marrakech (Morocco), and its Red Walls make it a believable Red City of Astapor, one of the breathtaking real-life locations of Game of Thrones.

It is here that Daenerys buys the army of world-famous unsullied soldiers, “Slay the masters, Slay every man who holds a whip, but harm no Child.”  These are the exact words of the Dragon Queen when she frees the slaves.

Image Credit

Grjotagja – Jon & Ygritte’s Love Nest

 Image Credit

In North Eastern Ireland lies the Love cave of Jon Snow and Ygritte. The small volcanic cave has a spring where the temperature escalates till 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It is no doubt that Jon Snow and Ygritte were getting hot in this cave. *Winks*

If you wanna get as hot as them, then you can visit this sizzling real-life filming site of Game of Thrones.

If you wanna get as hot as them, then you can visit this sizzling real-life filming site of Game of Thrones.

Image Credit

Vatnajokull – North of the Wall

Wonder what lies beyond the wall (except the White Walkers of course!) The largest glacier in Europe sweeps across this frozen landscape in Iceland. You can play dress up as a GoT fan and snap some “really cool” pictures here.

Image Credit

Dubrovnik – King’s Landing

Image Credit

King’s Landing is shot in the Old Town, Dubrovnik, Croatia. We all know that Cersei had that walk of shame a long time coming, but if you would like to know her path of Walk of Shame, then take the steps of Church of St. Ignatius Loyola.

It is where one of the most hated characters of GoT suffered humiliation. That is how close you get to find real-life Game of Thrones Locations.

Image Credit

Minceta Tower – House of the Undying

Every Game of Thrones fan remembers how the tiny Drogon and his siblings fried the Undead who tried to lure and trap Daenerys and her dragons.

The House of the Undying is nothing other than the highest point of the Dubrovnik City Walls in this old Croatian City. Or to be precise, it is called the Minceta Tower.

No better Real Life Game of Thrones location than the place where the Mother of Dragons fried her enemies, is there?

Image Credit

Lokrum – Qarth

Image Credit

In the season 2, we see a lot of Daenerys in Qarth. The real-life locations of the Game of Thrones’ Qarth is Lokrum (also in Croatia).

It is a small island just a 10 Minutes boat ride from the coast of Dubrovnik. The fortress in which Daenerys stays is one of the highest on the Island which gives you a panoramic view of the Protected National Park.

Sibenik  – Braavos

Image Credit

All Arya’s fans know well that her internship at the House of Black and White wasn’t a child’s game. But Braavos is such a city which brings to life the inner wildness of Arya’s character.

Even though most of the House of Black and White scenes were shot on a made-up stage, nevertheless, the real-life locations of The Game of Thrones’s Braavos is Sibenik, Croatia.

It is here, in the alleys and plazas of the old town of Sibenik that Arya does most of her wanderings.

Image Credit

Castle Ward – Winterfell

Image Credit

It is in Castle Ward that Robert Baratheon made his entry to Winterfell. The real-life location of Game of Thrones, Winterfell is Castle Ward in Ireland which is a sprawling land of 820 acres.

This gothic and classical architecture, the woodlands, and sunken gardens make you think that you are seriously in the North.

Image Credit

Also, the Doune Castle, a medieval stronghold near the village of Doune in central Scotland, was used as the set for Winterfell in the pilot (pictured below).

Photo by Otter CC BY-SA 3.0

Dragon Skull – Jurassic coast

A spectacular dragon skull the size of a double-decker bus appeared to have been washed up on Charmouth beach on Dorset’s Jurassic coast in England.

Photo by TaylorHerring CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Azure Window – Dothraki Wedding

The Azure Window at Ras-id-Dwerja, on Gozo (in Malta), was the site of the Dothraki wedding in season one of Game of Thrones.

Photo by Felix König CC 3.0

Any fan theories you have got on how the Game of Thrones might end? If so, let us know in the comments! You have one month to figure this out!

10 Destination Ideas for a Christmas Vacation in Europe

Europe is a popular travel destination and has a lot to offer.

However, if you are already fed up with the crowds in big European tourist centers, such as Paris, Berlin, Rome, Venice or Amsterdam, try going there in winter for a change, during the low season. Or just choose less popular, but still magnificent cities of

Or just choose less popular, but still magnificent cities of Central, Eastern and Northern Europe. In fact, Christmas is a great time to try something new, don’t you think? Here are ten less famous European destinations, which become just magical during the Christmas time.

Prague, Czech Republic

If you are not afraid of Prague’s chilly winters, you have a great chance to enjoy its famous Christmas markets, concerts, castles and underground restaurants. Even the most jaded travelers won’t be able to resist the charms of the city.

Prague is famous for its magnificent gothic architecture and unique folkloric traditions. You’ll also be glad to know that the prices in the capital of Czech Republic are very reasonable. So if you are a traveler on a budget, you shouldn’t be afraid to spend too much in this medieval city.

Innsbruck, Austria

While Innsbruck is undeservedly avoided by travelers during the summer season, in winter, this town on the Inn River becomes crowded with skiers and other winter sports lovers. Innsbruck is crowned with the Austrian Alps, offers numerous ski resorts, winter attractions and all-inclusive packages for the best Christmas vacation in the Old World.

Vienna, Austria

In Vienna, you’ll have a delightful old-fashioned Christmas, with the smell of mulled wine and hot chocolate. There will be magnificent holiday decorations on imperial architecture, ice skating rinks, and outdoor Christmas markets.

Don’t miss the Vienna Boy’s Choir performance. Or visit one the world’s most famous Viennese Christmas Balls. The capital of Austria really gives you an opportunity to make yourself feel like a 19th-century aristocrat, waltzing to the famous works of Johan Straus in a real imperial ballroom.

Budapest, Hungary

Couples skating hand-in-hand, families having fun, clouds of breath in the frosty air, you won’t find a more picture-perfect Christmas holiday anywhere other thanBudapest. The capital of Hungary boasts an enormous outdoor skating rink in the picturesque park Városligeti Műjégpálya.

And if you get cold, the numerous thermal baths of Budapest are at your service!

The city is also number one in the best affordable destinations in Europe list. This is another compelling reason to visit this beautiful city.

 

www.artoftravel.store/

Valkenburg, Netherlands

Christmas Shop in Amsterdam near the Flower Market By Tobias Niepel CC BY 2.0

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.

However, if you are looking for new impressions and one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts, Valkenburg is a place for you.

The city is home to the oldest and the largest subterranean Christmas market in Europe. It is located in a labyrinth of underground caves. Underneath the town, you will find sculptures, an 18th-century chapel, mural drawings of Roman times and even Santa himself. The market works from mid-November until just before Christmas. During these weeks, the whole town transforms into a glittering winter wonderland.

Riga, Latvia

Image Credit

The popular Riga Christmas market in the Town Hall Square offers not just souvenirs, Christmas gifts, and locally crafted items, but also numerous interesting events for both children and adults.

In the heart of Latvia’s capital, you will find a carousel of wooden figures, riding ponies, and horse-drawn carriages. Children will also enjoy the animal corner, with live sheep and rabbits, and the cat house with habitats of local animal shelter. Of course, you shouldn’t miss an organ concert in the famous Riga Cathedral (Rīgas Doms), as it is a truly fabulous performance!

Tallinn, Estonia

The capital of Estonia is known for its Christmas spirit and the medieval Old Town, whuch is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The world’s first Christmas tree was set up in Tallinn in 1441. Nowadays, on Town Hall Square, you will find not only the famous tree but also numerous little huts selling their goods, handcrafters at work, snow sculptures, national foods and drinks and a mini-zoo.

Copenhagen, Denmark

For a fairytale European Christmas, you can’t choose a destination more magical than the hometown of Hans Christian Andersen.

Of course, you can visit the famous and always crowded monument of the Little Mermaid.

But forget about it for the rest of Christmas vacation and just enjoy your time in the capital of Denmark. Enjoy the fairy streets and houses of old Copenhagen. Enjoy the warm, cozy cafes with big windows and flurrying snow outside. 

And in the heart of the city, there is a Tivoli amusement park, which transforms into a really magical place around Christmas, with illuminations warming the heart and hot mulled wine warming the body.

Lapland, Finland

What is a Christmas without Santa? And where to look for Santa, if not at his house? You will probably be surprised to find that there is a place in the world where Santa Claus lives.

It is a small town of Rovaniemi in Finland, the official hometown of Santa. It is a wonderful place, and not only for children. For the new experience, you can choose to sleep in an igloo hotel or try fly fishing. If your budget is not limited, you can even go on a husky safari. A 2-hour ride will cost you around 150 euro, but it is definitely worth it. At the same time, your children can make cookies with Mrs. Claus or enroll in Elf School. Rovaniemi is a perfect destination for family Christmas vacation!

Reykjavik, Iceland

Although Reykjavik may be too cold and dark in winter, it is still worth visiting during Christmas time. The capital of Iceland offers its winter visitors not just the Yule Town Christmas market, filled with holiday decorations, treats, and gifts, but also unique holiday traditions, such as the 13 Yuletide Lads. And, of course, it’s your chance to see the northern lights, a marvelous natural phenomenon which you will not soon forget.

 

www.artoftravel.store/