Category Attractions

Santorini: Where to stay, what to do and where to eat

Santorini WWW

Oia is the only place to base yourself on Santorini. This is the source of all Santorini’s iconic images that grace the covers of travel magazines.

Here is everything you need to know to enjoy your stay in Oia: Where to Stay, What to do, and Where to Eat.

Where...

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Santorini: Plan Your Trip

Santorini the Low Down

Ah, Santorini…its curving white cubed buildings and blue church domes, pots of fuchsia bougainvillea, and winding staircases descending to the lapis lazuli waters of a drowned volcanic crater. One of the world’s major sigh-inducing images, for sure. No wonder, then, that it’s on all hot lists as the perfect island escape.

A long history

Once upon a time, it was a rather ordinary round, brown blob in the Aegean Sea. But the island classically known as Thera was smack bang on important trading routes as an outpost of the sophisticated Crete-based Minoan civilisation. Then, some 3600 years ago, one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history gouged a massive crater and all that remained was a mere crescent-shaped landscape, with striated red, black and ochre cliffs embracing a flooded caldera, a few other specks of land becoming satellite islands.

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In the Wake of Bikini Models: 8 Adventures on Aitutaki in the Cook Islands

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The world’s most beautiful lagoon can be found on Aitutaki, a tiny unspoiled dot in the South Pacific. Having visited recently, I can vouch for its massive WOW factor. Aitutaki is in the north of the Cook Island archipelago, which is scattered across 2.2 million square kilometers, halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii.

It is likely to get a lot better known thanks to the recently launched world’s most beautiful safety video, Air New Zealand’s Safety in Paradise.   In the video, Aitutaki starred alongside the 2014 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models who were celebrating 50 years of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. And just in case you have any doubt how the regular punters feel about ...

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McLarenVale: Australia’s quirkiest and most laid-back wine region

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Just 40 kilometers south of Adelaide, McLaren Vale’s undulating vineyards start in the foothills of the Mount Lofty Ranges and meander down to a pristine coastline of white sandy beaches on Gulf St. Vincent. McLaren Vale is part of the coat-hanger-shaped Fleurieu Peninsula, named by French explorer Nicholas Baudin. Its proximity to the sea creates a mellow Mediterranean climate that is marvelous not only for the vines but also for winemakers, whose laid-back style creates an easy-going ambiance that seduces all who visit. With an irreverent clutch of eccentric personalities at the helm, McLaren Vale wins the award for the quirkiest wine names in the business. Dead Arm Shiraz, Derelict Vineyard Grenache, Woop Woop, and The Mongrel head the list.

While winemaking defines the region today, McLaren Vale was a magnet for Italian immigrants after World War II and became one of the earliest places in Australia to grow olives and almonds. Today there is still a smattering of groves, orchards and dairy farms amongst the acres of Shiraz and Grenache, Italian varieties, Cabernet and some gutsy whites and this local produce is put to good use in McLaren Vale’s terrific restaurants and winery cafes. There are plenty of natural attractions, too, including marvelous beaches and the dramatic gorges of the Onkaparinga River, which offer spectacular bushwalking and rock climbing.

All in all...

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Insider’s Guide to Kyoto: The Golden Temple and other Highlights

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Know Before You Go:

When the Vikings were still raiding England, Kyoto became the imperial capital of Japan, at the beginning of the Heian period, and remained so until the court moved to Edo, or Tokyo, in 1868 during the Meiji Restoration.  To cater to the sophisticated tastes of royalty, Kyoto developed a thriving cottage industry of skilled artisans…kimono makers, wood-block artists, potters, lacquer ware craftsmen and fine woodworkers…which still survives, admittedly in a much smaller way, to this day.

Although it has been ravaged by wars, fires and earthquakes, Kyoto’s cultural treasures helped it to be spared from US bombing raids during World War II and as a result it is one of the few Japanese cities with pre-war buildings such as merchant townhouses.  With it 1600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines as well as a bevy of palaces and gardens, it is a must-visit historic destination.

First time visitors are, however, often surprised that Kyoto is also a busy modern city whose key industries include information technology and electronics (Nintendo has its headquarters here), higher education (there are 38 universities), and film and television production. If you take the bullet train you will arrive via the futuristic glass and steel Kyoto train station, one of Japan’s tallest buildings.  While, of course, you must savor Kyoto’s historical treasures, don’t ignore the contemporary city, with its thriving food markets, fusion restaurants and cutting edge design stores, where local craftsmen use their traditional artisanal training to create contemporary pieces.

Compar...

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