Travel guide for Athens.
The gateway to Nicaragua's eastern and southern regions lies in Boaco and Chontales, ranching departments that adhere to a traditional lifestyle and a slower pace that's easy to adapt to. Known for their cheese industry, these departments receive few visitors. Boaco, capital of the department of the same name, and Juigalpa, capital of Chontales department, are small-scale commercial centers that hum with low-key activity as the area's ranchers come to take care of business. Juigalpa is home to several of the region's main sights, including a nationally-recognized zoo and a museum that displays some of the country's most important pre-Columbian artifacts. A few days in Boaco and Chontales gives visitors a chance to experience the pleasure of rural life in Nicaragua. Aguas Claras Hot Springs, tel. 244-2916. Just a few miles west of the Empalme de Boaco, the hot springs of Aguas Claras (entry $1.75) are the area's main draw, with good reason. The complex includes five geothermally-heated pools, a good restaurant ($$-$$$), ranchos with hammocks, and the area's best hotel ($$), which has 20 rooms situated in a main building and in cabins. Juigalpa is perhaps best known in Nicaragua for its zoo. The town also boasts Nicaragua's best museum of pre-Columbian artifacts, as well as some of the nation's liveliest fiestas patronales. Perhaps most importantly, Juigalpa allows you to experience life in a typical friendly ranching town. In Juigalpa, Museo Arqueológico Gregorio Aguilar Barea is famous for its Chontal statues, dating back more than a thousand years; the museum has some of the best pre-Columbian pieces in the country. As for Río San Juan, this secluded region, located in the southernmost section of Nicaragua and largely covered by dense jungle, offers some of Nicaragua's most interesting adventures. The Solentiname Archipelago, located in Lago de Nicaragua and accessible by boat from San Carlos, has a fascinating lifestyle and a beautiful natural environment. Solentiname's secluded location and infrequent public transportation renders it a challenge to visitors, but the lucky few who make it here are rewarded with beautiful views, a unique artistic culture, and possibly the friendliest people in all of Nicaragua. Solentiname is most famous for its unique Primitivist-style painting, and over 50 painters and artisans to live and work on the islands. In addition to its artistic tradition, Solentiname is also a nature lover's paradise, with abundant bird life, white-tailed deer, iguanas, caimans, howler monkeys, and, less commonly seen, boa constrictors. The beauty of the islands is at its peak when the end of the rainy season brings lush foliage, but the archipelago is pleasant to visit year-round. Another draw of the archipelago is the petroglyphs and carvings that remain undisturbed in their natural setting; locals can offer directions. This guide contains all the information you need, from where to stay and where to eat to how to get around, what to see and what to do. Color photos and maps throughout.
If the ups and downs of mountain trails and picturesque forests lure you, Italy will seem a land of fantasy. Hiking, backpacking and trekking ventures in this exciting country are not your usual organized tours with bus transportation, first-rate hotels, meals and guides. What you will get here is the freedom of a true down-to-earth, under-the-stars, roughing-it adventure – though there are also hundreds of easy one-day walking routes to be found as well. Italy offers some of the finest and most varied walking in Europe – from the gentle, mysteriously beautiful hills of Etruria with their picturesque walled towns and villages, to the dramatically eroded peaks of the Dolomites; from the splendid snowy sky line of the Gran Paradiso to the long ridge of the Apennines with their great diversity of flora, extensive views and, for mountains, fairly stable weather conditions; from the hot lava flows of Mount Etna to the wildlife-filled National Park of Calabria. The relatively mild climate makes Italy a perfect location for year-round hiking and backpacking. Spring is the time for educational hiking. With the aid of local maps you can easily combine tourist sights with leisurely walks and secluded trails. During the summer months the northern regions with their beautiful streams and panoramic scenery will add breathtaking excitement to backpacking vacations. When fall rolls around, the colorful flora found in the central wooded areas, such as the famed National Park of Abruzzo, will have you wondering whether it is Italy you are exploring or Canada. And don't pack up your gear during the winter. This is the period when all warm-blooded birds, and hikers, head south. Though the nights can be cool, the warm sea-breezes off Sicily will keep you moving over the rolling hills for days. Most veteran hikers, however, agree upon four or five locations as being the ultimate in beauty, history and walking pleasure. Beginning in the north-west, near the French and Swiss borders, is the Gran Paradiso National Park. Encompassing the four valleys of the Gran Paradiso Massif, this area contains some of Italy's finest alpine scenery and wildlife. To the east, in the Brenta Dolomite mountains, is the Stelvio National Park. Hiking and trekking adventures here can be planned to fit any schedule – a few hours, a single day, a week or more. In central Italy, the Abruzzo National Park offers thick forests, mountains, rivers and lakes, not to mention an abundance of wildlife. Here, too, routes can easily be combined to fit any schedule. An unusual outing is found along the west-central coast within the borders of the National Park of Circeo. Here you confront not only forests and mountains, but the sea as well. To the south, adventurers enjoy the mild climate and splendor of the National Park of Calabria, which is actually three separate areas stretching along the Sila Mountain ranging from Lake Cecita to the tip of the boot near Reggio Calabria. While these are among the favorite walking areas, there are thousands of others. This guide tells you the details about the best of them all, with suggested daily itineraries, what to look out for, the flora and fauna, the risks, and much more. Filled with color photos.
If castles, cuckoo clocks, and bell-laden cows dominate your image of the Alps, you are - like most travelers - missing out on one of Mother Nature's greatest gifts. It's a secret Europeans like to keep to themselves. In addition to its wealth of cultural sights, the European Alps offer a wider range of outdoor recreation than any other similarly sized region in the world. Adventurers of all ages hike hut-to-hut on multi-day treks, skiers slide year-round on glacial slopes, and Sunday walkers stroll forested trails. Bikers loop icy blue lakes, and mountaineers scale up waterfalls and down canyon cliffs. Modern adventurers run the gamut from rich to poor, young to old, and native to transient foreigner. So take a look around. That bus driver. . . This tour guide. . . Your hotel concierge. . . They may just be showing you the Europe they think you want to see. Take a moment to ask how they spend their own free time - odds are that each will spend a day outdoors this weekend. Europeans cherish their wilderness areas, and none more so than the pristine forests of the Alps. Here is a guide to the best adventures in the mountainous regions of Switzerland. Based on experience gained through more than a decade of living in, traveling around, and writing about the Alps, we spotlight the best outdoor adventures. This is a guide that's ideally suited to on-the-go travelers who seek the best of the Alps - those sights and adventures most worthwhile, most easily reached, and most indicative of the Alpine experience. what all our readers have in common is this: the desire to experience rather than simply look at the Alps. Want to know where you should go? All the details are here!
This guide rounds up hotels for each destination that have both a prime location and reasonable standards of comfort, narrowing coverage to those hostelries offering particularly memorable stays. Our hotel picks are categorized by price range - but you should be aware that seasonal fluctuations can be great, particularly in the resort areas. While luxury houses across Europe maintain similarly exquisite standards, hotels at lower ends of the scale tend to vary by region in comfort and cleanliness. Breakfasts are normally included in budget and moderate room rates. Luxury hotels usually tack on a substantial charge. However, the meal is not an American-style feast, but a modest buffet spread of bread, meat, cheese, and jam, normally served with a choice of juices and coffee or tea. Bidets are a common European feature, a great little gadget intended for washing your nether regions. I've heard of some creative uses, too, ranging from a sock-soak to a baby bath. High-tech versions prove a real hoot, with water jets that have controls for pressure, temperature, and pattern; built-in blow dryers; and (requiring some imagination) portable remote controls. A wide range of accommodations are available, including youth hostels, private rooms, mountain huts, guesthouses, hotels, and spa resorts. I've included mostly hotels here. When booking lodging at the lower end of the price range, expect to share a bath; at the upper end, expect to pay extra for breakfast. While Switzerland shares cuisines with each of its neighbors, its most intimate culinary relationship is with France. Along with the northwestern corner of Italy, Switzerland and France dish out an astounding array of cheese dishes. The fondue Savoyarde is the most famed of the cheese mixes here, a bubbling pot of fromage made tangy with white wine and a shot or two of kirsche liqueur. Raclette, too, proves another oozy favorite: The traditional service involves a large block of cheese melted tableside over an open flame - and served with a mix of steamed potatoes and pickled vegetables. Other open-flame affairs include chunks of meat with fondues bourguignonne, a pot of hot oil; chinoise, a pot of boiling bouillon; and Bacchus, a pot of spiced local wine. Grilled specialties, mixed salads, and a variety of sweet and savory crêpes all prove popular, too. Unless there's a host posted at the door, European restaurants intend for you to come in and seat yourself. (Leave your coat and umbrella at the door.) In casual and traditional settings, it's not uncommon for strangers to share your table. Although it seems an oddly intimidating question to pose, you shouldn't be afraid to join a stranger's table, either. Just ask if the seats are free. You're not necessarily expected to chat - although it is a pleasant way to meet strangers. Oddly, Geneva holds the world's largest foreign celebration of American Independence Day each 4th of July - fireworks and all. When Christmas rolls around, festivities include a month-long International Christmas Market at Fusterie Square, a Christmas Tree Festival, and La Coupe de Noel, a nippy lake-swimming competition. Finally, in the midst of the holiday season, comes the Escalade, Geneva's favorite party. Carnivale comes to town during the pre-Lenten season, and Le Bol d'Or draws over 500 crews for a prestigious sailing regatta. Geneva's Musical Summer takes center stage from June through September, Swiss National Day is celebrated at Bastions Park on the 1st of August, and the Fêtes de Geneve Summer Festival brings shows, concerts, parades, and food to the city's shoreline in early August. For drinks in Old Town, Café La Clemence has a big terrace on the Bourg de Flour. Later, English-speakers congregate at the old Shaker's Club at Rue Boulangerie 7 or nearby at Flanagan's Irish Bar. Both are in old town. Several disco venues dot Geneva's outskirts, but for dancing action in the city center, try l'Inderdit or drag-show-driven Le Loft; both stay ope
For most visitors Peru’s main attractions are Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley (Valle Sagrado de los Incas), and Cusco. Machu Picchu is the most popular tourist destination in all of South America. Visitors come to witness the archeological record at Machu Picchu, at the fortress of Ollantaytambo, in the Incan metropolis of Cusco, and at hundreds of other sites. The image of Machu Picchu is inseparable from the name Peru. Most visitors carry this icon in their imaginations, and arrive to compare and confront the reality. It is an anticipation that never disappoints. Machu Picchu seemingly materialized from thin air in 1911 when Hiram Bingham “discovered” it hidden under densely overgrown jungle, abandoned and forgotten by its citizens. It is a tale of the adventure of exploration and discovery. The city’s mystique is tied to the sudden conquest of the vast Inca Empire by the invading Spanish Conquistadors. Today Machu Picchu’s history is being re-interpreted, and visitors can witness the past coming to light. Researchers including archeologists, anthropologists, historians, architects, and environmentalists are marveling at the city’s perfect integration of architecture with geography. The dramatic terrain and lush vegetation of the Sacred Valley is another attraction for the intrepid traveler, offering outdoor thrills and adventures. Hiking the Inca Trail into Machu Picchu is a most authentic way to arrive, and to explore the exotic landscape. It’s an experience that many hikers dream of. The towering Andes Mountains have an appeal beyond the archeological sites and ancient civilizations. The jungles, cloud forests and alpine ecologies attract adrenaline addicts looking for mountaineering experiences, white water rafting and kayaking thrills, and jungle tours. A tour through Cusco and the Sacred Valley is also a journey through a range of climates. At the heights along the plateau in Cusco it is a chilly, arid alpine desert. Travelling down from the Andes, and descending the Sacred Valley, is a trip into a moist tropical cloud forest. Most journeys into the Sacred Valley begin in Cusco. The Inca Empire grew to fullness once the capital was established at Cusco, and the city remains the most visual record of the empire’s downfall. The Conquistadors stripped the Inca palaces and temples of gold and then set to work eradicating the culture, demolishing the monumental buildings. This proved too big of a job even for these determined conquerors. Incan stone masonry defeated the invaders efforts, and the foundations of the major monumental buildings of Cusco were left standing to serve as the foundations of the new Spanish structures: the cathedral, the church, governor’s palace are all built on top of Inca stonework. Peru has many other attractions: Lima’s urban charms, and this guide covers Lima in detail, the great beaches, the Amazon jungle, etc, but Machu Picchu, the Scared Valley and Cusco outshine them all. Everything you need to know is here: how to get around, what to see and do, the history and culture, where to stay, where to eat, and more.
Plunk in the center of Idaho is the 2.3-million-acre Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. Central Idaho offers the Gem State's most exciting, most literally down-to-earth, splash-and-dash adventures. The two big rivers running through it, the Salmon and the Middle Fork of the Salmon, attract adventurers from the world over. Ketchum/Sun Valley, Idaho's oh-so-trendy resort area, and the North Fork Road, an on-the-edge throwback to times past, point up the contrasts you will find here. This region's western border skirts the eastern edge of hourglass-shaped Region 1. The northerly line follows Hwy 12, the Wild & Scenic Lochsa River Corridor, described in Region 2. Adventure tourism drives scattered towns such as Salmon, Challis and Stanley, situated between the Snake River Corridor and the vast wilderness areas of the Salmon, Challis, Sawtooth, Boise, Payette and Nezperce National Forests. The folks you will meet here differ from Snake River Corridor residents. They are descended from early prospectors and settlers or have come in search of a frontier lifestyle. Many live by guiding visitors on river running, horse packing, fishing, hunting and other backcountry adventures. Life in the open, doing exactly what they want to do where they want to do it, gives these hardy folk a wry sense of humor and a homespun philosophy. Another brand of tourism drives the Wood River Valley, where Ketchum and the Sun Valley Ski Resort hold sway. Scratch the surface of this area's self consciously Western ethos and you'll find Madison Avenue. This huge chunk of Rocky Mountain splendor is an enormous, tantalizing saddlebag crammed with surprises. Its stunning beauty will emblazon unforgettable images on your memory; its quiet beauty will steal into your soul. This is the ancestral home of the Lemhi Shoshone, Sheepeater and Nez Perce Indian tribes. These people took sustenance from the land on which they lived and from the rivers running through it, in return treating the land with thankful reverence. Today, the Nez Perce occupy a reservation on the Camas Prairie (see Region 1), while the Lemhi Shoshone and remnants of the Sheepeater tribe share the Fort Hall Reservation with the Bannocks of Southeastern Idaho. Between 15,000 and 2,000 years ago, the area between the northeastern edge of the Snake River Plain and the thrusting Sawtooth Mountain Range experienced a series of violent, earthshaking volcanic eruptions. Lava seeping from fissures flowed south to the Snake River Canyon, creating a weird landscape comprised of layer upon layer of cooling lava. The heart of this volcanic jumble has been preserved as The Craters of the Moon National Monument. The deep volcanic ash layering the Snake River Plain is today's fertile soil. Idaho 75 slices southward through the lovely Sawtooth Valley. Granite snow-frosted peaks, stretching over 10,000 feet to grab the azure Idaho sky, march in jagged procession on the west. On the east, the less imposing White Cloud Peaks rumble off into the Challis National Forest. The young Salmon River frolics through the Valley, having been spawned beneath 10,225-foot Bromagnin Peak. And then there are the majestic Sawtooth Mountains. The Tetons are famous for the profile presented from Wyoming's Jackson Valley, but their majesty doesn't approach the grandeur of these jagged sawtoothed peaks. Keep a southerly eye open for a tantalizing glimpse of this giant's ripping saw about five miles before Stanley Basin heaves into view. Numerous mountain lakes lie cuddled in mountain declivities. Most are accessible only via foot or horseback. Stanley Lake is an exception. Turn right at the Stanley Lake sign, drive a short way and here, glistening in a deep dish, reflecting McGown Peak, is the most charming mountain lake you'll find anywhere. You can camp here and hike a trail to Bridalveil Falls. This guide has all the details you need to know for a visit to Central Idaho - the hotels, the restaurants, what to see and do, how
Utah is home to canyons and mountains, desert and abundant waterways, thriving cities. The setting for novels by Zane Gray and Edward Abbey, film characters Thelma and Louise and Butch Cassidy, Utah has harsh country for individualists and tamer areas for the meeker at heart. The Beehive State (so called because of the industriousness of its residents) is the geological crossroads of the elevated tableland known as the Colorado Plateau, the western slope of the Rocky Mountains and the Great Basin, the huge expanse of land cradled between the Sierra Nevada and Wasatch mountain ranges. The state boasts six national monuments, five national parks, countless wilderness areas and thousands of additional acres of public lands accessible for hiking, biking, skiing, rafting, fishing, and much more. Needless to say, these natural spaces provide one of the greatest year-round concentrations of adventurous pastimes. The preponderance of rugged, virtually primeval terrain lends itself naturally to high adventure. Furthermore, the territory has long been pre-eminent in the pantheon of spiritual places to the native peoples who were first to settle here, and whose ancient mysteries and modern presence are keenly felt today. If you want to experience the special nature of this exceptional area, and to get out and do things, this book is for you. It provides all the nuts-and-bolts information you need to plan and accomplish an informed trip, as well as specific details on a variety of adventures. Ride a horse for a day, raft through rapids the next. Climb mountains for a week and know all the best fishing spots in advance. Ski at world-class resorts or snowmobile over hundreds of miles of groomed trails. Climb through ancient Indian ruins. Steer a jeep or a mountain bike over the Wasatch Plateau. Soar above it all in a glider, a balloon, or take a scenic motorized flight. Trek through labyrinthine canyon country with a llama to carry your gear. The state’s population base is clustered around a 100-mile-long swath of mountains known as the Wasatch Front. There you’ll find the capitol, Salt Lake City, two university towns (Logan and Provo) that are home to high-tech industries, and the up-and-coming former railroad center, Ogden. The cities make great jumping-off places for high-country adventures. Venture beyond the Wasatch and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a crowd of people anywhere. Utah is also home to some of the world’s best skiing. Feather-light snow, which dries out over the vast Great Basin, frequently slams hard into the Wasatch Range. The result: feet, not mere inches of white stuff, cover the mountains. The majority of resorts are clumped within an hour’s drive of Salt Lake City. This guide covers it all, focussing on Northern Utah (see our Southern Utah guide for the other half!). Plus the best places to stay and eat are detailed, as well as the touring information you need, plus the adventure - on foot, on wheels, on snow, on horseback, in the air... everything you need to make your trip unforgettable.
The Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR) is one of those almost-undiscovered travel destinations that is too quickly becoming a stop on the main tourist trail. It's a land of incredible contrasts - beautiful scenery, raging rivers, poor infrastructure, great food, fabulous UNESCO world heritage sites, and incredibly poor people. The country is slowly awakening to the possibilities of adventure and eco-tourism, but there is still a long way to go. Still, Laos is a country not to be missed. You can see waterfalls that pass more water than Niagara Falls (in the rainy season), cycle around islands in the Mekong where life is almost unchanged from 50-100 years ago, visit hundreds of Buddhist temples and thousands of saffron-robed monks, trek into the hill tribe areas and ride elephants, kayak in the many rivers, visit former royal palaces that are now living history museums, and so much more. There are no true beaches - Laos is a landlocked country - but there are miles of rivers that are as big as lakes after the rains fall. For some reason, Laos still seems to be off the radar screen for many travelers. It arguably offers some of the best cultural immersion possibilities with the least outside influence in all of Asia. Laos is officially landlocked, but with the Mekong River running virtually the entire length of the country, there's no shortage of water access. You can float, or ride a power boat from the far north to Vientiane (and beyond) if the water is high enough. The sunsets over the river are nothing short of spectacular. Luang Prabang is a small village with enough temples to accommodate the needs of a large city, and no two are alike. The ride from Luang Prabang to Vientiane is truly beautiful - rugged, steep and thrilling. Along the way you can break up the trip by stopping at Vang Vieng (Van Vieng) or other sleepy towns. Vang Vieng is a backpackers' haven that has managed to keep its small town feel. Before you leave Luang Prabang you should head north to visit the Plain of Jars to see where the ancestral Laotians lived and how they were buried. The Plain of Jars is a sight to behold and well worth the trip. The Laotian mountains are rugged and largely pristine.The people are warm and friendly, and the baguettes, pastries, and café au lait rival anything to be found in France. It's easy and relatively inexpensive to get around whether you choose to fly, take buses or mini-buses, hike, bike, or float down the Mekong River.You can visit dozens of Buddhist temples in and around Luang Prabang. The bus ride through the center of Laos between Luang Prabang and Vientiane is breathtaking; the scenery is marvelous and rugged. You can stop off in small villages, find a guide, and hike the backcountry, or rent a bike and ride around Luang Prabang. You can drift down the Mekong and watch the spectacular sunsets. This is just a start. All of the details are here in this guide: how to get around what to see and do, the hotels, the restaurants, the culture and history. Plus there are color photos throughout.
Why visit this part of the world? It is relatively safe, untrammeled by tourists, and still gives a taste of the "old" Southeast Asia and French Colonial empire. There are tremendous waterfalls, impressive rivers, huge lakes, wildlife, elephant rides, jungles, wonderful people, and fabulous food. The costs are a fraction of those "at home" and the experience will last a lifetime. Once you've been, the region will call you back again and again. Adventure awaits. Eco-tourism in the area is in its infancy, and cultural, adventure, and active travel only at the toddler stage. Still, changes are happening at a near-lightning pace, so you are in for a real treat. The people are warm and welcoming; the temples are spectacular; the museums are fascinating; the opportunities to explore and experience unique cultures are almost limitless; and the variety of action-packed and light adventure opportunities is boundless. The main attractions, hands down, are the temple complexes at Siem Reap - Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and the surrounding temples and monuments. Next is Phnom Penh with its Silver Pagoda, National Museum, and remnants of Colonial architecture. Finally, there are the beaches and park at Sihanoukville, the Tonle Sap, and nearby Battambang. Angkor Wat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the most incredible places you could ever hope to visit. Plan on three days just exploring the main temple complex, and another day or two for the temples and sights in town and outlying temples. Another not-to-be-missed adventure to consider is the speed-boat ride from Siem Reap through miles of floating villages, to the former resort town of Battambang. There's still a lot of Colonial architecture to be seen, and much of it is in better repair than in Phnom Penh. Dinner along the river in a market restaurant is a great way to unwind after your speed boat ride. In Cambodia there's so much to see and do, or you can kick back, relax, and do nothing. This guide has all the information you need: how to get around, what to see and do, where to stay and eat, the history, the culture and more. Filled with color photos.
Writers, painters, historians and philosophers have long been inspired by the dramatic landscapes of the Veneto Region and, by translating astute observations on canvas or in print, have captured the beauty of a land and a people that have evolved over many centuries. Situated in Italy’s northernmost zone, few other regions boast such diverse landscapes. From the low sandy coastline where the Veneto meets the Adriatic Sea, to the mighty Alpine peaks, rolling hills, thermal springs and lagoon systems, the varied landscape makes for lively getaways any season of the year. Veneto, a name that derives from Veneti, a pre-Roman people who once inhabited the area, is divided into seven provinces: Belluno, Padua, Rovigo, Treviso, Venice, Verona and Vicenza. Here, we focus on the last two provinces. Verona and Vicenza. Lake Garda, a popular summer vacation spot, is both the region’s and the country’s largest natural lake. Most other lakes in the region are artificial and considerably smaller. Vicenza is an important Renaissance city with an impressive number of buildings dating back to the 1500s, many of them attributed to Andrea Palladio. It was during this period that Andrea di Pietro della Gondola came to Vicenza as a 16-year-old stone mason and through a combination of his own talent and a fine network of mentors, grew to be the great architect who dramatically transformed Vicenza’s urban image. His finest works in the city include the Teatro Olimpico, the Basilica Palladiana and the Palazzo Chiericati. Despite Verona’s status as a forward-thinking cosmopolitan province, the vast ruins, castles, churches and fortifications anchored throughout the territory provide a solid reminder of its significance to the Holy Roman Empire, the Scaligeri dynasty and the Venetian Republic over the centuries. On the western side of the Veneto region, Verona is an extremely diverse province that is divided into several zones: Lake Garda and the Olive Riviera, Monte Baldo, the Lessini Mountains, Valpolicella, Est Veronese, Bassa Veronese and, of course, the city of Verona. As one of the most prosperous cities in northern Italy and the second-most visited in the Veneto, Verona’s streets exhibit an interesting mélange of Roman, medieval, Renaissance and Venetian influences. And with unmistakably firm roots in classical tradition, the city that underwent significant urban development following World War II has a cosmopolitan identity that its high-fashion stores and impeccably dressed businessmen reflect. At the crossroads of two important Roman roads, Verona served as a critical strategic and commercial center for many centuries. It began as a colony of the Roman Empire in the first century BC and was joined with the Empire in 49 BC. The arena, one of the world’s best-preserved Roman amphitheaters, was built to accommodate upwards of 20,000 spectators and, along with the Roman theater and the city’s gates, Verona maintains its Roman identity today. This guide tells you everything you need to know about this region - the history, the culture, then and now, the places to stay and eat, the sights, and the best ways to see them, the hotels, the restaurants, how to get there and how to get around. Loaded with color photos.
"We made a four-day visit to the Giant's Causeway into an easy & memorable excursion thanks to this guide book which we had on our Kindle." - Amazon reviewer. Northern Ireland has a fascinating variety of landscapes. Its tourism areas correspond roughly to the Six Counties that make up the North: the drama of the Causeway Coast and its inland Glens; Derry City and County Londonderry; the Sperrins mountains and surrounding moors, taking in County Tyrone and parts of Londonderry; the Kingdoms of Down; the city of Armagh and its county; and the Fermanagh-Lakeland region. The capital, Belfast, is on the border between County Antrim and County Down. Belfast's setting is very attractive, nestling in a semicircle of hills, where the River Lagan enters Belfast Lough. About a third of the population of Northern Ireland – half a million people – live here. It was in Belfast that the Titanic was built and the dock where that was done has been preserved as it was, along with the cranes and equipment used. Even the offices where the ship was designed remain as they were and can be toured. And then there is County Antrim, which is absolutely beautiful. Its coast, from the busy port of Larne to the resorts of Portrush and Portstewart, is dotted with beaches and rocky inlets. Inland there are nine steep-sided glens, which descend from the inland plateau to the sea. In addition to wonderful scenery, with forests, rivers and waterfalls, the landscape is dominated by spectacular ruins of fortresses built by Gaelic chieftains and Norman invaders. Next comes Derry, the second-largest city in Northern Ireland. It stands on a hill on the estuary of the river Foyle, which divides it in two. The area called Cityside includes at its core the only intact medieval walled city in Ireland or the British Isles. Facing it across the river is the Waterside area. Saint Columba founded a monastery here in 546. Take a walk along the walls of the medieval city. Criss-crossed by mountains, moorland and inland waters, the Sperrins has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. What makes it such a wonderful region to visit is that it is so peaceful. Tyrone is the largest county in the North yet has the smallest population, so its roads are very quiet.There are also nature trails and forest parks to explore. From the 18th to the last century, a huge number of its people left to seek new lives in North America and there are many places to visit closely associated with them, including the ancestral family homes of many US Presidents and other prominent figures, such as the Mellons, who founded Pittsburgh, Davy Crockett, President Woodrow Wilson and Ulysses S. Grant, 18th US President. Next comes County Down, where St. Patrick settled. He landed for the first time in Ireland on the shore of Strangford Lough in 442 AD and is believed to be buried at Downpatrick. County Down is a great destination for anyone interested in outdoor activities, such as walking, golfing, riding, or watersports. The region is dotted with prehistoric monuments, including standing stones, cairns, and dolmens dating from around 3000 BC. There are also fascinating stately homes and their wonderful gardens, forest parks and other beautiful sights to enjoy. County Armagh has much to see as well. Visit St. Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral, built on the site of the saint's church. Brian Boru, who drove the Norsemen out of Ireland in 1014, is said to be buried in its churchyard, and among other interesting monuments is an 11th-century high cross. In Fermanagh-Lakeland, there are many little wooded islands in the lakes, with evidence of ancient cultures and ruins from the Early Christian era. These are just a few of the special places described in the North of Ireland. All of the hotels and places to eat are detailed as well, plus the recommended hikes, walking tours, bike trips, boat tours and more. Entertainment, shopping, how to get around, sightseeing and much more a
If castles, cuckoo clocks, and bell-laden cows dominate your image of the Alps, you are - like most travelers - missing out on one of Mother Nature's greatest gifts. It's a secret Europeans like to keep to themselves. In addition to its wealth of cultural sights, the European Alps offer a wider range of outdoor recreation than any other similarly sized region in the world. Adventurers of all ages hike hut-to-hut on multi-day treks, skiers slide year-round on glacial slopes, and Sunday walkers stroll forested trails. Bikers loop icy blue lakes, and mountaineers scale up waterfalls and down canyon cliffs. Here is a guide to the best sights and adventures in the mountainous regions of Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. Based on experience gained through more than a decade of living in, traveling around, and writing about the Alps, we spotlight the best gateway cities, the best sightseeing bases, and the best outdoor adventures. This is a guide that's ideally suited to on-the-go travelers who seek the best of the Alps - those sights and adventures most worthwhile, most easily reached, and most indicative of the Alpine experience. Here, we cover the places where you're likely to end up when crossing the European Alps and the places that you shouldn't miss in-between, even if you have only a few days or a week to spend. In short, what all our readers have in common is this: the desire to experience rather than simply look at the Alps. In all, 58 destinations are covered here. Nineteen are spotlighted in detail, with in-depth information about what to see and where to sleep, eat, play, and party. In selecting these bases, we've weighed popularity, practicality, and convenience: Spotlighted destinations, then, include gateway cities (common fly-in entry points), towns particularly popular with Alpine travelers, and smaller recreational resorts easily reached via major transit routes. Then, 39 more destinations are covered in brief, profiling bases well worth a somewhat longer stay or a diversion from a pre-planned route. Often smaller or more remote, these memorable villages, valleys, and resorts are, in fact, some of our favorite places. "This book is a great general guide to all the skiing areas in the Alps. Better than any other book I looked at. Since I was unfamiliar with the Alps, I referred to it often on my ski trip to Switzerland and France. It gave the perfect amount of background info to each location and then had good, concise sections re: where to eat, where to party and where to stay. Bravo to the authors for obviously putting effort into creating an easy-to-read, concise and informative resource." -- Rahmit Olsen (Amazon reviewer). "An avid skier and hiker, the author has explored terrain ranging from Switzerland's Matterhorn to South Korea's Muju Mountain. The author of more than 800 travel features, hotel reviews and destination guides, she shares her vast knowledge of ski and adventure travel in the Alps and Europe." -- Ingram Advance Magazine. "As portable as they are helpful and heavily illustrated as well, the volumes in this series remain very reliable in making certain that adventure is a major ingredient of your trip." -- Booklist. Here is all the practical travel information you need - places to stay and eat, travel advice, emergency contacts and more - plus condensed sections on history and geography. The author is fascinated with the destination and the text is lively, revealing and a pleasure to read. Detailed town and regional maps make planning day-trips or city tours easy. Adventures covered range from town sightseeing tours and nature watching to sea kayaking and jungle excursions. Travelers looking for a more relaxed vacation may want to sign up for language classes or take a course on traditional regional cooking - these cultural adventures will introduce you to the people and give you a truly unique travel experience. Maps and photos throughout.
The Swiss Confederation spans some 41,293 square km in west-central Europe. Bounding Switzerland are Germany to the north, France to the west, Italy to the south, and Liechtenstein and Austria to the east. Around 70% of Switzerland's terrain is mountainous, much of its land rippling along the Bernese, Rhaetian, and Pennine Alps. The mighty Rhine River drains 68% of the land here, and some 60% is either pastureland or forest. Switzerland enjoys a high standard of living, with among the world's lowest unemployment, highest income, and longest life expectancy rates. The Valais region encompasses Switzerland's most rugged terrain. Our coverage extends from the gateway city of Geneva to the upper reaches of the Walliser Alps along the Italian frontier. Visitors are apt to enter the region in Geneva, a small, cosmopolitan city between the border of France and the western end of Lake Geneva, known in French as Lac Leman. The city bustles with the business of international organizations, plays along a garden-lined lakefront, and harbors a pleasant pedestrian old town. The city of Lausanne lies across the lake, drawing visitors for its own pleasant lakefront and the Olympic Games History Museum. Beyond, in the Valais region, protrudes the magnificent Matterhorn Peak, with famed Zermatt at its foot and secluded Saas-Fee just over the hill. In southeastern Switzerland next to the border of Italy, Zermatt reclines amid a cluster of 38 4,000-m peaks. Above the town towers the distinctive hook of the Matterhorn crest. But, curiously, few here pay much attention. In this glamorous, clamorous town, electric taxis tear through the alleys, moving shoppers, sightseers, and skiers at a frantic pace. For this jet-setting clientele, Zermatt isn't a place to relax; it's a place to play, and play hard. Set in the larger area of the Bernese Oberland, the Jungfrau tourist region enjoys the distinction of being Europe's most visited Alpine playground - and its easy to see why. At its center lies Interlaken, a large town encircled by mountains and flanked by two long lakes, the Thunersee and the Brienzersee. In the town hub, an impressive network of mountain railways, passenger ferries, and cable cars make it easy to explore the surrounding Alpine grandeur. Set on the northern edge of the Alps, the lakeside town of Zurich has a large, well-preserved old town and an impressive wealth of art and architecture. Well-connected links head north to spectacular Rheinfall. To the south, at one point of the spidery Vierwaldstättersee, the city of Lucerne draws tourists year-round for its lovely lakeside old town and its easy access to the nearby mountain recreation areas, including the famed Titlis Peak above Engelberg. All of the details you need to know are in this guide - where to stay, where to eat, where to play and where to party. Plus the mountain climbing adventures, the hikes and walks, the bike trails and much more.
In addition to its wealth of cultural sights, the European Alps offer a wider range of outdoor recreation than any other similarly sized region in the world. Adventurers of all ages hike hut-to-hut on multi-day treks, skiers slide year-round on glacial slopes, and Sunday walkers stroll forested trails. Bikers loop icy blue lakes, and mountaineers scale up waterfalls and down canyon cliffs. Europeans cherish their wilderness areas, and none more so than the pristine forests of the Alps. Modern adventurers run the gamut from rich to poor, young to old, and native to transient foreigner. So take a look around. That bus driver. . . This tour guide. . . Your hotel concierge. . . They may just be showing you the Europe they think you want to see. Take a moment to ask how they spend their own free time - odds are that each will spend a day outdoors this weekend. Want to know where they go? Soaring to Europe's loftiest heights, the majestic Mont Blanc nestles in eastern France, anchoring the s between France, the southwestern corner of Switzerland, and the northwestern corner of Italy. The mountain provides a focal point for adventurers in all three countries. Although other Alpine regions in France certainly merit consideration, Chamonix is by far the most convenient for a quick introduction to the French Alps. The cheerful old town sees a steady, year-round stream of sporting tourists who come to enjoy its legendary mountaineering challenges and skiing terrain. The resort of Courmayeur, Italy, lies at the opposite end of the Mont Blanc Tunnel, and the Valais region of Switzerland nestles just over the Col des Montes pass. The region's vast wealth of natural sights and cultural diversity make it an outstanding option for a quick, looping tour of the Alps. This guide tells you all about the things to do in the area, the hikes, walks and bike trails, where to stay and eat, what to see and do.
In addition to its wealth of cultural sights, the European Alps offer a wider range of outdoor recreation than any other similarly sized region in the world. Adventurers of all ages hike hut-to-hut on multi-day treks, skiers slide year-round on glacial slopes, and Sunday walkers stroll forested trails. Bikers loop icy blue lakes, and mountaineers scale up waterfalls and down canyon cliffs. Europeans cherish their wilderness areas, and none more so than the pristine forests of the Alps. Modern adventurers run the gamut from rich to poor, young to old, and native to transient foreigner. So take a look around. That bus driver. . . This tour guide. . . Your hotel concierge. . . They may just be showing you the Europe they think you want to see. Take a moment to ask how they spend their own free time - odds are that each will spend a day outdoors this weekend. Want to know where they go? Here is a guide to the best sights and adventures in the mountainous regions of Alpine Germany. Based on experience gained through more than a decade of living in, traveling around, and writing about the Alps, we spotlight the best gateway cities, the best sightseeing bases, and the best outdoor adventures. Here, we cover the places where you're likely to end up when crossing the European Alps and the places that you shouldn't miss in-between, even if you have only a few days or a week to spend. For each region, we've selected a handful of bases - villages, towns, national parks, and resorts - and highlighted the sights and adventures convenient to each. Land of fairy tales, fanciful castles, and fabulous Alpine terrain, Bavaria squeezes a wealth of attractions into a compact section of the Alps. The region centers on the bustling metropolis of Munich, a historical city famed for both its grand architecture and its great beer. To the southwest, plains stretch into Alpine foothills fronting Füssen and its famous castles. East of Füssen, mountain byways wind back to the quaint village of Oberammergau and to nearby Garmisch, home of the Zügspitze, Germany's highest peak. Farther east, the Berchtesgaden region towers into Austria, harboring the unspoiled landscape of Berchtesgaden National Park and its pristine Königsee. This guide tells you all about the things to do in the area, the hikes, walks and bike trails, where to stay and eat, what to see and do.