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5 unforgettable road trips

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Music in your ears, wind in your hair, nothing but open road on the horizon: without a doubt, road trips are one of the most exciting ways to travel. These five trips have us yearning for a summer full of adventure on the road.

Along the South Island of New Zealand

Fjords, glaciers and deserted beaches: could there be any more beautiful place for a road trip than the South Island of New Zealand? We don’t think so! That’s why this idyllic spot of earth is pretty close to the top of our list of dream destinations. Where do we feel most at home? In lively Queenstown for example, the unofficial party capital of the country. Or at the rugged cliffs of Nugget Point, where you’ll find wild penguins and seals. It’s hard to stop staring in New Zealand; everywhere you turn you’ll find another breathtaking example of nature’s beauty. By the way, New Zealand is great for unexperienced road trip fans, since outside of the major cities you’ll have the streets more-or-less to yourselves.

Foto: flickr, mhx

Photo: flickr, mhx

Across Morocco

A road trip across Morocco? If you’re scratching your head, you’re not alone, as many tourists come here just for a trip to the bustling city of Marrakesh. But the landscape of Morocco is just as impressive. Rocky mountain passes, endless expanses and the sands of the Sahara – all that and more can be found in this tiny country in northern Africa. Not to be missed are the two famous gorges: Dades and Todra. Even if you can’t complete a traverse without an off-road vehicle, it’s worth it even to take a drive through the gorges in a rental car. Spring is an ideal travel time, when it’s not yet oppressively hot but the worst of the winter cold has subsided. Read More »

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Lone wolves? Tips for solo travelers

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Nobody to talk to. Nobody to keep an eye on your luggage on your next trip to the bathroom, and nobody to laugh with years later over memories of a shared experience. Often, we find ourselves feeling held back from packing up our suitcases alone and setting off for adventure. Of course, there are some disadvantages – but traveling alone also offers the possibility to get to know yourself and your surroundings in a new, authentic way, and to travel without compromises at your own speed. So, before you start humming the song “All by myself” as you sadly board the plane, let’s sing an ode to solo travel!

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Photo: iStock.com/littlehenrabi

Before you head out the door, your choice of destination should be thoughtfully considered. Assuming you don’t have a desire to spend your trip communicating with locals through wild hand gestures and signs, it’s a smart idea to take the communication factor into account. For this reason, it’s important to consider a travel destination where English is usually understood, or where you speak the local language yourself. Depending on your taste for adventure, solid infrastructure is also a big advantage, as this will keep your travels less complicated and make sure your most important needs are covered.
For solo travel newbies, city trips (for instance in Europe, the USA, etc.) or trips in areas that are well-traveled by other tourists (like Southern Asia) are particularly good choices, as it tends to be easier in these locations to find accommodations, meet other solo travelers and participate in a variety of activities. Read More »

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Our favorite springtime travel destinations

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Goodbye winter, hello spring. We’re finally leaving our winter depression behind, and return to the most wonderful topic in the world: travel. But where are we headed off to this spring season? We’ve put together the five most beautiful travel destinations for you.

Marrakech, Morocco

Losing yourself in the labyrinthine streets of the city’s historic center is as much a part of a trip to Marrakech as the Eiffel Tower is in Paris. The center of Marrakech, the so-called Medina, is easily the most exciting and colorful mazes of alleyways anywhere in the world: merchants offer their wares for sale, among elegant piles of spices. Children run in packs through the streets, and every so often your path is crossed by a fully-laden donkey.

The beating heart of the city center is the famous Djemaa el Fna square, a pulsing mix of snake charmers, merchants and street artists. The perfect way to take in the hustle and bustle here? Enjoy the sunset over the Djemaa el Fna from one of the surrounding rooftop terraces while sipping a Moroccan mint tea. And one more tip for shopping fans: make sure to arrive with plenty of room left in your suitcase. Marrakech is a paradise for lovers of authentic handmade crafts.

Foto: flickr,  SuperCar-RoadTrip.fr

Photo: flickr, SuperCar-RoadTrip.fr

Madeira, Portugal

Where better to greet the most beautiful season than on the “island of eternal spring?” This Portuguese island is the ideal getaway destination for those of you who have had more than enough of cool winter temperatures. Two weeks after Easter, the so-called “island of flowers” lives up to its name: for two days, the capital city of Funchal transforms itself into a sea of flowers. With the flower festival (“Festa da Flor”), locals and tourists alike eagerly greet the beginning of spring. Read More »

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Higher, bigger, more exciting: new attractions for globetrotters

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You think you know all the major attractions in the world? Then listen up, because you won’t find these eight attractions in most travel guides. We’ll show you which skyscrapers, museums and other highlights have just opened their doors to the public.

Museu do Amanhã, Rio de Janeiro

Futurism par excellence: the Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow) does its name justice. Like a spaceship, it hovers in the heart of the newly redesigned harbor promenade of Rio de Janeiro. Inside, interactive exhibits on future innovations and research are displayed.

One World Trade Center, New York

New York’s newest landmark has finally been completed – and it wouldn’t be America if they hadn’t come up with an outstanding design for the new skyscraper at the site of Ground Zero. The elevator trip to the 102nd floor takes just 46 seconds. From there, visitors are enchanged with a seemingly endless view across the city. Weak knees are just part of the program: if you’re brave enough to enter the Sky Portal, only a glass floor will separate you from the lively streets of New York below.

Foto: flickr, Peter McConnochie

Photo: flickr, Peter McConnochie

Market Hall, Rotterdam

For a little more than a year, Rotterdam has had a whole new hot spot: nowhere else in the world is shopping for fruits and vegetables such an experience as in the newly constructed Market Hall. Inside, this horseshoe-shaped attraction impresses visitors with a colorful ceiling installation by Dutch artist Arno Coenen. Read More »

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Cuba – the rhythm of the Caribbean

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Elderly Habaneros sit at the entry to the house, contentedly puffing their cigars; a few streets over, the throbbing rumba rhythms of a street session bring a rush of blood to the head, while worn, vintage american cars rattle past. The (stereo)typical image of Cuba is often not too far away from the truth.

This socialist island nation in the Caribbean is changing, slowly opening with the gradual relaxation of the US embargo, in the hopes of bringing new life to its domestic economy. The “green caiman,” as Cuba is often called thanks to its unique shape, has a particular mix of white sandy beaches, a lively history and fiery rhythms – reason enough for us to take a closer look at this unique island!

Foto: flickr | Les Haines

Photo: flickr | Les Haines

Awakening and Nostalgia

The memory of the revolution of 1959 is a constant companion, no matter where you are in Cuba. The face of countless Che Guevaras stare with determination from the walls, and anyone willing to give the good-natured Cubans an open ear will be returned with wistful tales of Fidel Castro. Read More »

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Tips that actually help against jetlag

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Your head is buzzing, your stomach aches and all of a sudden, all of the anticipation for your trip is gone. Anyone who has suffered a bout of jetlag knows exactly what we’re talking about. So you don’t have to suffer through your next long-haul flight, we’ve collected the best tips to fight jetlag.

Foto: iStock

Photo: iStock.com/anyaberkut

Jetlag starts in the mind

The agony of jetlag really does start in the mind: that’s why you should set your watch to the local time at your destination as soon as you board the plane. Starting now, there’s no more “How late is it at home?” Your thoughts should be focused exclusively on the journey ahead. When possible, eat your meals at the appropriate times for your destination country. Admittedly, that’s sometimes easier said than done, since at the end of the day as long as you’re on board, you’re at the mercy of the cabin crew. But nevertheless, your body will thank you, and you’ll notice a marked difference in the speed at which you put your jetlag in the rear view mirror.

Foto: iStock

Photo: iStock.com/ra2studio

How your direction of travel determines jetlag

The degree to which you experience jetlag depends largely on which direction you’re traveling. A westbound flight extends your day by “only” a couple of hours, while a flight to the East artificially shortens it. Most people have more of a problem with a shorter than with a longer day, and thus cope much better with flights headed west. Read More »

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The culinary highlights of the Middle East

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Refined combinations and unusual flavors are what make Middle Eastern cuisine a true culinary experience. Today, we’ll take you along on a virtual trip to the most delicious dishes of the Middle East.

Hummus

A widely consumed Middle Eastern specialty is hummus, a puree of chickpeas and sesame paste. The classic version of hummus has been modified into countless inventive variations: whether it’s with beetroot, pistachio, pine nuts, spicy peppers or mushrooms – creativity knows no bounds.

Foto: iStock

Photo: iStock.com/GreenArtPhotography

Baba Ghanoush

This eggplant puree is often served as a “mezze.” The local variations sometimes differ from one another in preparation, but most of the time the eggplant is grilled directly over a gas flame before being prepared further. This is how baba ghanoush gets its distinctive, smoky flavor. Read More »

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Around the world: facts, legends and curiosities of Valentine’s Day

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There it is again: the infamous Valentine’s Day. On the 14th of February, lovers around the world express their affection. But it’s clear: the customs are different depending on where you look. We’ve summarized the highlights for you.

Foto: iStock

Photo: iStock.com/yuran-78

The legend of Valentine’s Day

The romantic holiday of Valentine’s Day is based on a gruesome event. The legend tells of an Italian bishop named Valentine, who is said to have married a young couple in the third century AD in spite of a royal ban. He then handed the newlywed couple flowers from his own garden. On February 14, Valentine was executed by the emperor for his crime – at least, so says the legend.

Valentine’s Day was celebrated even in ancient Rome: in honor of the goddess Juno, women received flowers from their loved ones on this day. To this day, flowers play a significant role in the traditions of Valentine’s Day across much of the world.

Far and wide: flowers of every kind

In German-speaking countries, it’s typical for men to gift their romantic partners with a pretty bouquet. Flowers are also in high demand in Great Britain and the United States. At least as important is the accompanying Vanentine’s Day card. And the more cards the better: particularly among young people, it’s not just about quality, but also the quantity of cards received. Read More »

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Luxurious, extravagant or bizarre: 10 extraordinary hotels across the world

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Thanks to our new integration of booking.com, it’s now possible to book your perfect hotel directly in the app. That’s why today, we wanted to devote a bit more time to the hotels of the world, because after all: these days, you can find just about any hotel imaginable. Here, the hotel really is the star of the vacation! Today, we’ll introduce you to 10 hotels that have inspired us with their unusual lacation, luxury or uniqueness.

In a palace: Taj Lake Palace (Udaipur, India)

A hotel right in the water: The Taj Lake Palace in the Indian city of Udaipur is located in the middle of Lake Pichola and is only accessible by boat. The interior of the palace is a perfect mix of magnificent oriental architecture and stylish luxury. It’s no wonder that the Taj Lake Palace was used in the filming of the James Bond film “Octopussy” with Roger Moore.

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Photo: booking.com

In the treetops: Treehotel (Harads, Sweden)

A designer hotel in the middle of the forests of Sweden: This extravagant treehouse hotel promises a very special experience in the heart of nature. These one of a kind hotel rooms are located at a height of approximately six meters. Read More »

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Asian cities: a best-of

Filed under Asia, City trips
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The contrasts could hardly be greater: In Asian cities, international flair meets fascinating treasures from the past. We’ll tell you which cities in East and Southeast Asia have awakened our wanderlust.

Bangkok

Hectic, noisy and nerve-wracking: That’s Bangkok. Either you love or hate this Thai metropolis that never stands still. Not to be missed is the Royal Palace and the Wat Pho – the temple of the reclining Buddha. Bangkok is also a paradise for lovers of Thai cuisine: Excellent eating can be found in every small roadside food stall.

Foto: iStock

Photo: iStock.com/Suebsiri

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, West and East cross paths. The “New York of Asia” even has more skyscrapers than its American counterpart. The best view of the fascinating, modern megacity can be found from the 552 meter high Victoria Peak. At the same time, Chinese culture is omnipresent in Hong Kong: you’ll encounter ancient Chinese temples everywhere across the city. Read More »

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