The 12-mile (20km) chug along Geirangerfjord, a Unesco World Heritage site, must rank as the world’s loveliest ferry journey. Long-abandoned farmsteads still cling to the fjord’s near-sheer cliffs while ice-cold cascades tumble, twist and gush down to emerald-green waters. Take it from Geiranger and enjoy the calm as you leave the heaving port or hop aboard at quieter Hellesylt. Prime your camera, grab a top-deck open-air seat and enjoy what’s literally the only way to travel Geirangerfjord’s secluded reaches.
This small private island is only minutes from Island Harbour. It’s fringed by soft, sandy beaches, but the reason most tourists visit this attraction is for its food.
The family-run Scilly Cay restaurant has been in business for over 30 years, and its fresh seafood dishes are divine. Not a fan of fish? No worries. There are plenty of other offerings on their menu. You really can’t go wrong.
The sea views and pretty vistas of Island Harbour are as rewarding as the fresh fare, and the walls lined with conch shells are Insta worthy.
The restaurant is only open for lunch from 11am on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. The kitchen closes at 3:30, but guests are welcome to lounge until 5pm, so plan your trip accordingly.
The easiest way to reach Scilly Cay is by boat from the Island Harbour pier. That said, if you have access to a helicopter, you can always hitch a quick ride through the sky.
“Nobody can be a true hero unless he has been on the Great Wall” goes the popular Chinese saying, one that clearly demonstrates the importance placed upon this unique ancient monument.
The magnificent Great Wall of China – known in Chinese as ‘Changcheng’, or the ‘Long Wall’ – stretches more than 6,000 kilometers from the fortresses of Shanhaiguan in the east all the way to Jiayuguan in the west, passing through Hebei, Tientsin, Beijing – where the best preserved sections of the wall can be visited – Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, and Gansu.
Averaging six to eight meters in height but rising as high as 16 meters – and wide enough in places for five horses or 10 men to pass – the wall boasts numerous battlements and watchtowers. Some of the wall’s oldest fortifications date back as far as the 7th century BC, with the best-known areas added around 210 BC when its various sections were joined together.
Today, the most visited section of the wall is near Badaling Pass northwest of Beijing, easily reached by public transport or organized tours. Other restored sections worth a visit include the section near Gubeikou, 130 kilometers from Beijing; and in Mutianyu, just 70 kilometers northeast of Beijing.
The Arctic Circle runs across northern Finland, right through the town of Rovaniemi, giving it claim to being the Gateway to the Arctic. In the summer, this means the famous Midnight Sun.
While the sun only stays above the horizon for a full 24 hours in Rovaniemi on the summer solstice in late June, from late May to early August it never drops far enough for it to get dark. Locals are out enjoying their great outdoors throughout these “White Nights” and welcome tourists to join them.
Rovaniemi is in the center of a vast natural area of rushing rivers for canoeing, swimming, or fishing, with trails alongside them for hiking and cycling. The city is best known (ask any Finnish child) as the home of Santa Claus, right astride the Arctic Circle at Santa Claus Village. You can meet reindeer here or visit a Sami reindeer farm.
To learn more about the Lapland culture and about the natural history, meteorology and geology of the Arctic, visit the stunning Arktikum Science Museum.
On the River Noord between Rotterdam and Dordrecht is the famous village of Kinderdijk (“Children’s Dike”), which takes its name from an incident during the St. Elizabeth’s Day flood of 1421 after a child’s cradle had been stranded on the dike.
The big draw these days are the fantastically preserved 18th-century windmills. Now UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the 19 Kinderdijk windmills, built between 1722 and 1761, are the largest surviving concentration of windmills in the Netherlands.
Originally used to drain the fenlands, these majestic buildings with their impressive 92-foot sails are open to the public from April to October, including special Mill Days when the sails are set in motion. These picturesque windmills make for a fun excursion for those based in Rotterdam during their Netherlands stay.
Originally brought to world attention in 1934 by the fictionalised documentary Man of Aran, these islands have been entrancing visitors ever since. This is a taste of Ireland as it once was. Gaelic is the first language, there are a mere 12,000 inhabitants, and once ashore, you’ll feel as if you’re in a time warp. There are three islands, the largest being Inishmore, then Inishmaan, and the smallest is Inisheer.
Wild, windswept, rugged, and utterly unique, the islands offer a visitor experience quite like no other. Once experienced, the great stone fort of Dun Aonghasa and the towering cliffs of Aran will never be forgotten. The local culture is quite different from that of the mainland, the archaeological heritage cannot be found elsewhere and the rich scenery is simply breathtaking.
The beautiful Black Forest with its dark, densely-wooded hills is one of the most visited upland regions in all of Europe. Situated in the southwestern corner of Germany and extending 160 kilometers from Pforzheim in the north to Waldshut on the High Rhine in the south, it’s a hiker’s heaven.
On the west side, the Black Forest descends steeply to the Rhine, crossed by lush valleys, while on the east, it slopes more gently down to the upper Neckar and Danube valleys. Popular spots include Germany’s oldest ski area at Todtnau, the magnificent spa facilities of Baden-Baden, and the attractive resort of Bad Liebenzell.
Other highlights include the spectacular Black Forest Railway. It’s centered on Triberg with its famous falls, and Triberg itself, home to the Black Forest Open Air Museum.
The best way to catch them all? Grab a map of the Black Forest Panoramic Route, a 70-kilometer driving tour that takes in the very best views over the region, along with its top historic attractions, including stunning castles and numerous medieval towns and villages.
On the tumultuous Pacific Ring of Fire, Rotorua is one of the most active geothermal regions in the world. This is a land where the earth speaks. Boiling mud pools, hissing geysers, volcanic craters, and steaming thermal springs betray the forces that birthed much of New Zealand’s dramatic topography.
Visitors can take a walking tour of these geothermal wonders and soak in steaming mineral springs while visiting a variety of interesting attractions in order to learn about the region’s rich Maori history and culture.
Adventure seekers will also find plenty of things to do. Sky-diving, luging, and mountain biking are some of the activities on offer. Trout fishing is also popular, and Rotorua is the gateway to the ski fields of Mt. Ruapehu.
Nearby Wai-O-Tapu is also a popular tourist attraction with colorful hot springs and the famous Champagne Pool and Lady Knox Geyser.
The opulent Marina Bay Sands resort complex includes a high-end luxury hotel, a mall with a canal running through it, the ArtScience Museum, and the Marina Bay Sands Skypark Observation Deck–a vantage point for taking in the entire city. The Skypark’s viewing deck and infinity pool are found in the ship (yes, ship) that tops the hotel. Only hotel guests are allowed to use the infinity pool, but anyone can visit the observation deck.
From the Skypark, you can see the innovative double helix bridge, the port, the Gardens by the Bay (101 hectares of land converted into waterfront gardens), and the impressive skyline.
While up there on top of the city, guests can grab a snack or a coffee at the rooftop restaurant or pick up some keepsakes from the souvenir stand. You can purchase a photo of yourself green-screened in front of the massive hotel as it’s all lit up at night, but the cost is steep at 50 Singapore dollars–better to ask a fellow tourist to snap a photo of you if possible. The elegant opulence of the Marina Bay Sands exemplifies Singapore’s style and status as a major international city in Southeast Asia.
The second largest island in Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, Manukan Island, is off the coast of Kota Kinabalu and accessible by boat.
The island has significant markers that draw frequent visits from tourists and Kota Kinabalu residents. One of them is the long stretch of white-sanded beach made paired with sparkling clear waters.
As the waters are easy to swim in for beginners and are refreshingly clear, Manukan Island is the best snorkeling site out of all five islands in Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park. It’s not hard to find clownfish or other vibrant-colored fish lazily swimming about.