Travel

The myth of Troy continues to draw visitors to the Dardanelles

The myth of Troy continues to draw visitors to the DardanellesCanakkale, Turkey  - A large wooden horse stands at the entrance to the archaeological site at Troy as a reminder of the legend that surrounds this ancient city. Every year hundreds of thousands of visitors pass by the horse which is popular with children who never fail to climb the ladder into the belly of the 20-metre-high figure.

Strawberry fields threaten Spain's Wild West

Strawberry fields threaten Spain's Wild WestEl Rocio, Spain  - Can this really be Spain? The Atlantic beach is deserted for as far as the eye can see and beyond that only a lonely Mercedes-Benz Unimog offroader grinds its way up a sandy incline.

There are no multi-storey hotel complexes, villas or golf courses in these parts. Sand dunes are the only topographical feature - miles of them untouched but for the hoofprints of passing deer.

Japanese tourists are best, French the worst

Japanese tourists are best, French the worstMunich  - Japanese and German tourists have been ranked as among the most polite and uncomplaining, according to a new survey while Germans are also appreciated for their tidiness and cleanliness.

According to a poll among 4,500 managers from 27 countries, the Germans do not complain as much as visitors from other countries and were ranked fourth best in the category among tourists from 16 countries.

Erotic Airways taxis for take-off

Sydney  - Joining the "mile high club" can be a pretty sordid affair unless you travel by executive jet. For most, it's a quick coupling in a cramped 747 toilet.

Brisbane-based Erotic Airways, the brainchild of commercial pilot Craig Justo, was formed in 2006 to bring a bit of romance into the qualification process. Couples, even threesomes, could hire a twin-engine Beech H-18S for a joyride and a romp over Australia's east coast.

Justo describes what was on offer: "Satin sheets, champagne, strawberries, flowers and even a certificate to show their friends."

Czech Republic's Southern Bohemia a region of culture and kayaking

Czech Republic's Southern Bohemia a region of culture and kayakingPrague - What is the name of the Czech Republic's biggest lake? The answer is the man-made Lake Lipno. The lake lies on the border to Austria, nestled between the rolling mountains of the southern Bohemian forest.

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain the South Bohemia Region has become very popular with tourist, especially with anglers and water sports enthusiasts from abroad. One angler managed to catch a 25 kilogram zander and with a little luck you can catch carp, pike, bass or catfish.

Dolphins, monks and kings: Sailing halfway around Ireland

Cork, Ireland  - Ireland's coast is perfect for sailing holidays whether you're a competitive seafarer seeking challenging conditions or someone who likes to set foot on dry land at the end of a day's leisurely cruise.

The dramatic and craggy coastline on Ireland's south and west is steeped in history. Over the centuries it has seen countless shipwrecks, failed invasion attempts, French and Spanish armadas, and Viking raids, as well as one notorious occasion in the 17th century when the inhabitants of a West Cork village were carried off into slavery by Barbary pirates.

Cuba marks anniversary of the revolution

Cuba marks anniversary of the revolutionCuba marks anniversary of the revolutionHavana - Hawkers with their mobile snack bars are enjoying good business at the moment in the pedestrian zone in San Rafael in Cuba's capital Havana. A bread roll with pork (Lechon), a plastic cup of oyster cocktail (Ostion) and a portion of ice cream cost together five peso.

Whales ahoy! South Africa's Hermanus has its very own whale crier

Whales ahoy! South Africa's Hermanus has its very own whale crierHermanus, South Africa  - The strident sound of the horn is the signal that these two German visitors have been waiting a long time to hear. Suddenly, they and their fellow tourists dash from the market place to the cliffs and start scanning the waves, binoculars at the ready.

The Netherlands' Groningen offers enchanting mansions

The Netherlands' Groningen offers enchanting mansionsGroningen, the Netherlands - The north-east province of Groningen in the Netherlands once boasted around 200 castle farms or fortified manor houses yet only 16 have survived the ravages of time.

The good news is that many of these former "Borgen" which dot the landscape have been turned into museums, bed and breakfast hotels or art galleries. One attractive example is to be found in the little village of Midwolda.

Digitally "revived" Rembrandt paintings at Amsterdam exhibition

Amsterdam  - Art lovers have yet another reason to visit Amsterdam now that Dutch experts have digitally "revived" the work of the Netherlands' most famous painter, Rembrandt.

The exhibition "The Complete Rembrandt, Life Size" displays all of the surviving works of the renowned 17th century painter. The works are all digitally enhanced reproductions that, experts claim, show his work in greater detail than anyone in modern times has ever seen.

"The result is amazing," Stefanie Derks of Local World publishers told the German Press Agency dpa. Local World has just published the exhibition's accompanying book.

Book direct flights to regions with poor safety standards

Frankfurt  - Passengers are advised to only book direct flights when travelling to regions with low plane safety standards. Some airlines use new or well maintained planes to fly to Europe and North America to avoid being put on safety blacklists such as one maintained by the European Union.

However, planes that fly passengers to the airline's home country can be either very old or less well serviced. That is sometimes the case with planes used for the connecting leg of the homeward bound journey. Airlines follow this strategy with the aim of cutting costs, says Joerg Handwerg, spokesman for Germany's airline pilots' association, Vereinigung Cockpit.

Enjoy the slow pace of life in Florida's Fort Myers region

Fort Myers, Florida  - One of the traditions guests observe in the restaurant on Cabbage Key island in south-western Florida is to sign their name on a one dollar note and tape it to the wooden roof beams. There are an estimated 70,000 dollars pinned to the restaurant's walls.

It is midday and the restaurant is packed with people. As the waiters serve cheeseburgers, guests take it easy and lean back in their chairs.

Everyone is relaxing here as they are in a place where life passes by at a snail's pace. Cabbage Key can only be reached by boat and is an island where the tempo is very slow.

Hiking by the Rhine in Germany

Hiking by the Rhine in GermanyWiesbaden, Germany  - The Rhine seems to take its time beside the Rheinsteig trail, meandering in sweeping arcs past gentle slopes and vineyards between Wiesbaden and Bonn. Now and then rugged cliffs narrow the course of its dark waters, which mirror the half-timbered houses on the shoreline in splashes of colour.

The river swerves as if to draw out its own enjoyment of the view. Near Boppard, it even doubles back in a long loop before heading north again. All this is spread out like a tablecloth before hikers on the Rheinsteig trail, much of which is in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

New superliner takes to the waves

Venice  - A stylish new superliner with 225 luxury suites, a hilly, nine-hole golf putting course and a private diamond showroom has taken to the waves off the Italian city of Venice.

The 198-metre cruiser was built at the T Mariotti yard in Genoa and is the first of three 450-passenger vessels ordered by the Seabourn line for delivery by 2011. It is also the first major new luxury cruise ship to make its debut since 2003. The Odyssey weighs in at 32,000 gross tons.

Exploring the Pyrenees on horseback

Exploring the Pyrenees on horsebackSaint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France  - Time was when only farmers and smugglers knew the trails through the Pyrenees. The mountains along the border between France and Spain are still largely deserted today. There are lots of sheep, cows and horses, though, all wandering around freely.

Horseback riders suit this scenery well, and hikes on horseback are a great way to explore the region.

Tourist arrivals in Hong Kong slump nearly 15 per cent in June

Tourist arrivals in Hong Kong slump nearly 15 per cent in JuneHong Kong - The number of visitors to Hong Kong fell by 14 per cent in June compared to the same month last year, preliminary figures from the city's tourism board showed Tuesday.

Board chairman James Tien blamed the decrease in visitor on the economic crisis and a reaction to strict anti-swine flu measures which have quarantined some infected visitors.

The former British colony of 7 million people attracted a record total nearly 30 million visitors in 2008, but that figure included one-day visits.

Rainy June further clouds Croatia's crucial tourism outlook

Rainy June further clouds Croatia's crucial tourism outlookZagreb - Croatia is bracing for a huge decline in tourism as a rainy start to the summer season has aggravated the negative effects from the global financial crisis, a report said Monday.

There were 9 per cent fewer tourists in Croatia in the first five months of the year - and the fall is expected to accelerate to between 12 and 15 per cent in the first half - the internet portal Index said.

Vietnam's leading travel company to buy hotels overseas

Vietnam's leading travel company to buy hotels overseasHanoi - Vietnam's leading travel service company will buy five hotels overseas to expand its operations and develop its brand internationally, a company official said Monday.

"Taking advantage of falling property prices in the economic crisis, we decided to buy hotels overseas to expand our operations and develop our brand name into an international one," said Nguyen Huu Tho, general director of Saigontourist Holding Company.

"This is the first time a Vietnamese tourist company plans to buys hotels overseas."

Singapore's ailing tourism industry plummets further in May

Singapore's ailing tourism industry plummets further in MaySingapore - Singapore's ailing tourism industry plummeted further in May as hotel room revenue fell a heavy 37.7 per cent compared to a year earlier and the number of visitor arrivals was back to a double-digit decline, the Singapore Tourism Board said Friday.

In May, hotel room revenue in the city-state reached an estimated 112 million Singapore dollars (82.4 million US dollars), down from 180 million Singapore dollars a year ago.

Total visitor arrivals came up to 730,000, a decline of 13 per cent compared to May 2008.

Tourism in Mediterranean countries Greece and Cyprus down

Tourism in Mediterranean countries Greece and Cyprus downAthens/Nicosia - The key tourism sector for Mediterranean country Greece fell by 11.6 per cent in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2008, according to data from the Central Bank of Greece Thursday, highlighting the impact of the global economic slowdown.

The statistics were also gloomy for the eastern Mediterraean island of Cyprus were tourism fell by 7.5 per cent compared to the same period last year.

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