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Georgia

Atlanta Travel Guide

Georgia’s lively capital certainly has a lot to offer its visitors. When taking a trip to the American South you cannot possibly miss this vibrant city.

The birthplace of famed civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, Atlanta is not only a rich historical centre, but also great fun. The Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site and other high-quality museums provide insight into US history while attractions like the Six Flags Over Georgia amusement park, or Zoo Atlanta mean children can also be entertained. Art enthusiasts will certainly find what they’re after in the acclaimed High Museum of Art, and for those lovers of the open air the Stone Mountain is situated only 20 minutes away. Nightlife is also prime in Atlanta because it is known for its eclectic mix of nightlife styles offering everything from laid-back lounges to the chic and trendy scene that is Midtown. Night owls will certainly find something to suit their taste and style in this city known to be a melting pot of fun.

Many visitors to booming Atlanta are coming for business rather than pleasure, but the city guarantees visitors of all kinds a good time; whatever your interest, you will be welcomed with that famous Southern hospitality and charm.

Best time to visit Atlanta

Spring (March and April) is considered the ideal time to visit Atlanta with its pleasant temperatures and cool breezes. Atlanta can be stifling in the summer, but if you can beat the heat and humidity, late May through August is a wonderful time to enjoy the best of Atlanta’s concerts and outdoor activities. For those looking for a good deal, winters are a good time to travel to Atlanta as the weather is mild and not considered uncomfortably cold. For more information read Georgia’s Climate and Weather.

What to see in Atlanta

-Appreciate the views across Atlanta at the Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield.

-See talented performers at the Fox Theatre.

-Explore the Fernbank Museum of Natural History and gain insight into the history of the world.

-Admire the Ebenezer Baptist Church; the epicentre of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

What to do in Atlanta

-Go back in time at the Atlanta History Center.

-Take a trip to the Georgia Aquarium where you’ll find over 100,000 animals from 500 species.

-Discover your inner child and have some fun with your kids at the Imagine It! Children’s Museum.

-Visit the World Of Coca-Cola and explore their interactive exhibits.

Beyond Atlanta

Only 50 minutes outside of Atlanta by car you’ll find Madison, a town once voted the best small town in America. A hospitable and friendly place, Madison has a great Southern atmosphere and is definitely worth the visit. For something a little different, take a trip southwest (only two hours by car) and explore the Providence Canyon State Park, also known as ‘The Little Grand Canyon’. It has over 1,000 acres of deep and rocky canyons and beautiful native vegetation and wildflowers, making for a unique excursion. Of course the Georgia Mountains only a short distance away also offer that outdoors feel with hundreds of wooded hiking trails, streams, scenic lakes and camp sites.

Getting there

The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is considered the main point of commute in Atlanta. Located 10 miles (16km) south of downtown Atlanta the airport is easily accessible. There are direct flights available from London, as well as other destinations like Paris, Toronto, Cancun, Dakar, London, Johannesburg, Seoul and San Francisco. Get more information on Airports in Georgia. Get more information on Airports in Atlanta.

Did you know?

-Atlanta is home to varied dialects, accents and languages due to the diversity of the population.

-The city got its name from railroad engineer J. Edgar Thompson. It’s thought to be a shortened version of Atlantica-Pacifica.

-There are over 55 streets in Atlanta with the name ‘Peachtree’.

-Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport is truly the busiest airport in the world.

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Savannah Travel Guide

Credited as being the first planned city in the United States, Georgia’s sultry city of Savannah is positioned on a bluff above the Savannah River, a few miles upstream from the Atlantic Ocean state coastline. This Southern belle is full of charm, and her old-fashioned hospitality and small-town atmosphere invite visitors to stroll back in time, right to 1733 when the city was first founded by British General James Oglethorpe with the permission of native Yamacraw Indian chief Tomo-chi-chi.

With one of the country’s largest preserved historical urban areas, one can’t help but experience a sense of this city’s colourful past, as you stroll past grandiose mansions and Spanish moss-covered oaks, sipping mint juleps. The city’s legacy as a major player in the cotton industry is still evident in the Savannah Cotton Exchange, and the Pink House, dating back to 1789 and home to Georgia’s first bank also bears testimony to the economic prosperity of the region. Apart from hundreds of architecturally significant buildings Savannah is also not lacking in restaurants, shops (particularly fine antique stores), Civil War forts, museums, galleries, quaint squares and lovely beaches, all earning it the nickname, ‘the Hostess City of the South’.

Strategically positioned on the north of the Georgia coastline, Savannah serves as an excellent starting point for exploring the scenic barrier islands, resort towns and inlets found along the coast. Of course it is also imperative one try the region’s world-famous shrimp that is caught and cooked in a variety of ways.

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GREECE

Athens Travel Guide

Athens is a city full of life and is breathtakingly well-endowed with cultural and historical attractions:

Athens is charming, challenging and captivating, with legendary attractions, many of which are conveniently clustered within walking distance of the landmark Acropolis. The wondrous remains of classical Greece are an eternal draw card for travellers, but Athens also boasts a unique modern atmosphere and plenty of appeal for foodies, fashionistas and party-animals with some great restaurants, diverse shopping opportunities, and an energetic nightlife.

A holiday in Athens, with its hectic traffic and frenetic pace, may be too daunting for very young children or those that can’t abide crowds and bustle, but anyone with a taste for classical history, colourful street markets, and tasty Greek specialities will revel in exploring this ancient city.

Best time to visit Athens

The winter months are the best time to holiday in Athens if you want to miss the crowds, get the best hotel deals and don’t mind the odd shower; however, the most popular months to visit are the summer months of July, August and September. The summer months can be hot and muggy, so make sure your hotel room has air conditioning. We think the best time to travel to Athens is in spring or autumn, when the weather is still warm but most of the tourists have gone. Read more on Athens’ Climate and Weather.

What to see in Athens

-Lose yourself in one of the best museums in the world: The National Archaeological Museum.

-Wander through the ruins of the Ancient Agora, where Plato and Socrates once spoke.

-Visit the breathtaking Benaki Museum.

-Enjoy a sunset and spectacular views from Lykavittos Hill.

What to do in Athens

-Relax in the lush National Gardens for a break from the heat and crowds.

-Go shopping and dining out in the historic neighbourhood of Plaka.

-Watch the traditional change of the guard at Syntagma Square.

-Take the kids to Allou Fun Park for thrills and giggles.

Beyond Athens

Athens is the travel hub of Greece and boasts the third largest passenger port in the world, providing the perfect means for visitors to island-hop to their heart’s content. The famously lovely Saronic Islands are all an hour or two away from Piraeus Port by boat and Cape Sounion is a very popular day-trip from Athens. There are also many wonderful excursions out of Athens into mainland Greece, including trips to the mysterious site of Delphi, and the splendid Monastery of Daphni.

Getting there

Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport, often just called Athens International Airport, is the main gateway to all the delights of Greece and is situated 20 miles (33km) southeast of Athens city centre. Get more information on Airports in Athens.

Did you know?

-Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world, with a history dating back at least 3,000 years.

-Over 40 percent of the Greek population lives in Athens.

-Athens is considered the birthplace of democracy.

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Thessaloniki Travel Guide

Greece’s second largest city was once the realm of Alexander the Great and was named after his sister, Thessaloniki, when it was founded in 316 BC. The capital of Macedonia in the north, the city sits in a bowl framed by low hills, facing a bay on the Gulf Thermaikos. Despite being one of the oldest cities in Europe, today Thessaloniki is lively and modern, and with its wide avenues, parks and squares, is thought to be much more attractive than Athens.

The main squares are Platia Elefterias and Platia Aristotelous, both on the waterfront and alive with cafes and restaurants, children playing or people strolling. Thessaloniki, having been under Ottoman rule for long periods in its history, has been left a legacy of numerous Byzantine churches, and museums housing Byzantine art and artefacts. The city also has a heritage of early Christian communities, particularly the renowned monasteries of nearby Mount Athos; and a rich Jewish tradition, evident in the synagogues and Jewish Museum.

In 1917, most of the city was destroyed in a massive fire, and rebuilt later. This is not a high-rise city, though, because the area is prone to earthquakes and regulations have been imposed preventing the building of skyscrapers. This means that residents and visitors alike can enjoy the seaside situation of Thessaloniki, with views aplenty from the city streets.

There is a lot to see and do in Thessaloniki besides exploring the ruins, including visits to the Turkish Baths, central market, and cafes and restaurants of Aristotelous Square. Thessaloniki also has a vibrant nightlife, with a number of lively bars and clubs.

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GERMANY

Berlin Travel Guide

For many, Berlin is the epitome of all that is great in German culture and this captivating city, a treasure trove of cultural attractions, is also at the heart of the global interest in Germany’s turbulent history:

Historically, Berlin is one of the most fascinating cities in the world and many people travel here primarily because they are curious about the dark mystique of the capital under Hitler, and the legacy of the Berlin Wall, which featured so prominently in the Cold War imagination. The city has been resurrected as an artistic, vibrant place, and has rapidly regained its pre-war reputation for being a party city. A holiday in Berlin attracts both sophisticated fun-lovers and voracious culture vultures, with a great balance between cultural treasures and exciting modern attractions. Visitors can pass through historic sites like the famous Checkpoint Charlie, take a tour around the iconic Reichstag, or marvel at the splendours of the Charlottenburg Palace, with its impressive collections of art and beautiful gardens.

Berlin’s famous cabarets and nightclubs are in full swing, and its opera and concert venues seldom miss a note; the nightlife in this special city will not disappoint. There are also plenty of shopping opportunities in the many great retail streets and malls, and foodies will be similarly delighted by the selection of quality restaurants in Berlin.

Best time to visit Berlin

Berlin is famed for its long, sunny summers (June to late August) and this is the best time to visit, when outdoor cafes in the parks and gardens (especially the Tiergarten) come alive with events. However, Berlin’s cultural delights, like museums and galleries, make it a year-round destination. Even in winter, often the least popular season to travel in Europe, the Berlin Christmas Markets and New Year’s celebrations make it a rewarding time to visit. Read more on Berlin’s Climate and Weather.

What to see in Berlin

-Visit the Allied Museum for an eye-full of interesting war memorabilia.

-Wander along the Berlin Wall’s Eastside Gallery admiring the colourful art created in the name of freedom and brotherhood.

-Marvel at the magnificent Berlin Cathedral.

-Take your eyes for an adventure at the Hamburger Bahnhof Gallery.

What to do in Berlin

-Stroll through the iconic Brandenburg Gate.

-Explore ancient worlds in the breath-taking Pergamon Museum.

-Take the kids to the endlessly popular Berlin Zoo-Aquarium.

-Shop in the exciting atmosphere of the Potsdamer Platz.

Beyond Berlin

Berlin is a great base from which to explore northern and central Germany and in the unlikely event that visitors exhaust the attractions of the city they can make use of Berlin’s status as an efficient transport hub to travel further afield. The city of Dresden, which suffered terrible destruction during the war, is one of the most popular destinations in Germany and is within easy reach from the capital. Hamburg is also one of the biggest draws to Germany and attracts millions of visitors every year. A little further north is the picturesque town of Lubeck with its remarkable 13th-century architecture. Coastal gems like Sylt also make for fun excursions.

Getting there

There are flights to Germany from cities all over the world and the most popular airport is Berlin-Tegel Airport, situated a convenient five miles (8km) northwest of the centre of Berlin. Another option is to fly into Berlin Schönefeld Airport, which is situated in the area of the city previously designated as East Berlin, and is 11 miles (18km) southeast of the city centre. Berlin Schönefeld is often cheaper and a good alternative for budget travellers. Get more information on Airport’s in Berlin.

Did you know?

-Berlin is the most multi-cultural city in Germany.

-Berlin has about 1,700 bridges, more even than Venice.

-The first set of traffic lights in Europe went up in Potsdamer Platz.

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Frankfurt Travel Guide

Known as Germany’s financial powerhouse, Frankfurt is nevertheless packed with cultural and historical attractions and has a lively nightlife and restaurant scene; Frankfurt is a bustling transport hub which visitors can use as a springboard for the rest of Germany, but this vibrant city may well persuade travellers to linger:

Although millions travel through Frankfurt’s international airport, and many foreigners visit frequently on business, the city is often neglected as a tourist destination. A holiday in Frankfurt can be a very rewarding experience for those who take the time to explore. In this proud, well-organised city visitors will find some superb shopping, marvellous museums, interesting historic sites, world-class opera and jazz and a few really charming neighbourhoods, like Nordend and Bockenheim. For foodies there is plenty of great cuisine to sample in Frankfurt’s celebrated restaurants and for those who enjoy historical sightseeing there are gems like the Eschenheimer Turm, a 15th-century tower once part of the city’s fortifications. Frankfurt is also a surprisingly good city to explore if you’re travelling with kids as there are lots of fun attractions, like the Frankfurt Zoo, to keep young minds amused.

Best time to visit Frankfurt

Those planning to travel to Frankfurt for pleasure should check the events calendar and perhaps avoid coinciding with one of the many large international trade fairs and expos that are held in the city, for this makes affordable hotel rooms and restaurant bookings hard to find. Weather-wise, summer (June to August) is the best time to holiday in Frankfurt, when the weather is sunny and warm, with the occasional wet day. Read more on Frankfurt’s Climate and Weather.

What to see in Frankfurt

-Explore the impressive Historical Museum to learn about Frankfurt’s cultural history.

-Visit the charmingly restored Goethe-Haus, the Baroque home of world-famous author Goethe.

-Marvel at the Gothic splendour of St Bartholomew Cathedral.

-See the Stadel Gallery, Frankfurt’s most celebrated art gallery.

What to do in Frankfurt

-Wander through the different plant kingdoms of the beautiful Frankfurt Botanical Gardens.

-Take the kids to the enormous Senckenberg Museum of Natural History to admire the dinosaurs.

-Stroll through the halls of the Liebieghaus, Frankfurt’s castle-like Museum of Sculpture.

-Take an excursion to Wiesbaden, Germany’s most popular spa resort.

Beyond Frankfurt

Frankfurt is well-situated and well-equipped to be a doorway to the rest of Germany. There are some picturesque villages very nearby which make for fun daytrips – possibly the most popular of these is the historic university town of Heidelberg. Frankfurt is also a gateway to the Fairy Tale Road, the path of the much-loved storytellers the Brothers Grimm, and the Romantic Road which winds through some of Germany’s most charming landmarks. Mainz, the 2,000-year old capital of the Rhineland, is also close by.

Getting there

The enormous Frankfurt International Airport serves more than 50 million passengers annually and is one of Europe’s busiest airports. It is situated eight miles (13km) southwest of the city centre. Alternatively, there is a small commercial airport, Frankfurt Hahn Airport, located 75 miles (120km) from the city, which is convenient for those travelling to Mainz, Heidelburg or Koblenz (although there is easy public transport into Frankfurt). Get more information on Airports in Frankfurt.

Did you know?

-Frankfurt is said to spend more money on the arts than any other city in Europe.

-About one in every four inhabitants of the city is a foreigner.

-Frankfurt is celebrated as the jazz capital of Europe.

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Hamburg Travel Guide

 

Hamburg is a watery city, geographically, historically and atmospherically. It is Germany’s second largest city and lies on the Elbe River, for centuries a major port and trading centre for central Europe. The city has a network of canals that rival those of Venice (it is said to have more bridges than Venice) and is centred on two artificial lakes that take up about eight percent of its total area. Probably because of all the water, Hamburg is also known as Germany’s ‘green city’, sporting something like 1,400 parks and gardens. Modern buildings sit cheek by jowl with historic Baroque and Renaissance architecture, and by night the neon lights dazzle all-night revellers, particularly in the city’s notorious red light district, the Reeperbahn.

Hamburg was founded in 810 by Charlemagne and earned its place in history by becoming the most strategic port in the Hanseatic League of North German cities, which controlled trade in the Baltic and North Seas between the 13th and 15th centuries. A great fire destroyed much of the city in 1842, and a century later World War II bombing raids again laid it waste, but Hamburg bounced back with style, thanks to the wealth garnered from its position as a trading centre. The city’s tourist board claims that Hamburg is now home to more millionaires per capita than any other city in Europe.

Most of the sights of interest to tourists in the city are centred on its maritime traditions, particularly in the harbour area, where the Warehouse District (Alster Arkaden) has been transformed into an entertaining destination offering a variety of shops, cafes and restaurants. Hamburg also has a number of lovely gardens and pretty churches and cathedrals, though there is little genuinely old architecture left in the old town. There are also a number of museums dedicated to history, art, communications, ethnology, and even spices. Further afield, Hamburg is the gateway to the seaside and spa resorts of the Baltic and North Sea coastline.

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Munich Travel Guide

Munich is a city unlike any other in Germany and is the heart of Bavarian Gemutlichkeit, the joy to be found in companionship. This beguiling city is also home to enough cultural and historical attractions to captivate even the most experienced travellers:

‘We’re here for the beer!’ could well be the motto of those who holiday in Munich, a perennial favourite with tourists, which hosts the world-famous Oktoberfest beer festival every year. There are many more reasons to travel to Munich, however, besides sampling its renowned brews and enjoying its friendly beer halls, oompah bands and buxom barmaids. The nightlife in Munich will delight year-round but it isn’t all this historic city has going for it.

The Bavarian city epitomises traditional charm, in some respects to excess, and there is a lot of old-fashioned hospitality going around. But there is also a sophisticated side to Munich, which has numerous impressive museums and art galleries as well as designer stores and world-class restaurants. The city boasts some breath-taking historic architecture and has no shortage of delights for culture vultures and those who enjoy traditional sightseeing. Those who like to buy their way through new cities will also be very happy with the shopping in Munich.

Best time to visit Munich

The busiest time for travel to Munich is during late September for the beer festival, which attracts about six million people every year, but weather-wise the peak tourist season is summer (June to August), when temperatures are warm and mild, though there are frequent thunderstorms. Winters are cold and snowy. The city’s proximity to the Alps makes the weather rather unpredictable. Read more on Munich’s Climate and Weather.

What to see in Munich

-Visit the impressive Alte Pinakothek Gallery to see the work of the old masters.

-See the Hall of Beauties and stroll the lovely grounds of the Nymphenburg Palace.

-Test your knowledge of science and technology at the Deutsches Museum.

-Admire the historic buildings of Marienplatz.

What to do in Munich

-Enjoy a meal in the revolving restaurant at Munich’s Olympic Park.

-Take a sobering tour of the Dachau Memorial Site, the first Nazi ‘death camp’.

-Arrange an excursion to the charming alpine village of Berchtesgaden.

-Explore the beautiful scenery and picturesque towns of the Romantic Road.

Beyond Munich

Munich is a great base for exploring the Bavarian Alps, a paradise for hikers, climbers and skiers. Resorts like Garmisch-Partenkirchen are extremely popular with winter sports enthusiasts, and the striking scenery of lake-side villages like Chiemsee attracts many visitors. Munich is also a natural doorway to the Romantic Road, which winds past fairy-tale villages and castles up to Frankfurt. Stuttgart, which has numerous attractions of its own, is also close to Munich.

Getting there

The Munich International Airport is situated 18 miles (29km) northeast of the centre of Munich, and frequent commuter trains service the airport. Get more information on Airports in Munich.

Did you know?

-80 percent of Munich’s old town centre was destroyed during the war, but much of it has been lovingly restored.

-Munich was founded in 1158 on the lucrative trade route for salt.

-Munich consistently tops opinion polls on the best places to live in Germany.

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Stuttgart Travel Guide

 

Situated among the rolling hills of Germany’s premiere wine-growing region, Stuttgart is capital of the state of Baden-Wurttemberg in southwestern Germany. Dotted with beautiful buildings, impressive parks, and fantastic art museums, this modern city is a good touristic stopover due to its undulating wine estates, annual beer festival, mineral spa culture and acclaimed ballet, opera and philharmonic companies.

Charming olde worlde quarters like the Bohnenviertel (Bean District), with its sidewalk cafés and cobbled streets, meet the modern pedestrianised precincts of contemporary Stuttgart, boasting the latest in European trends, such as Königstrasse, one of the longest shopping streets in Germany. A big city with a small-town atmosphere, visitors will find the bustling art nouveau Market Hall transports them to former, countrified years. Nowadays, this is where organic fruit and vegetables, aromatic cheeses and fresh fish from the North Sea can be found. Another must for any visitor to this city is a trip to one of Stuttgart’s reputed mineral baths, be it the modern and luxurious Mineralbad Cannstatt or the Mineral Bath Berg, which exudes a wistful fifties charm.

In beautiful weather, view the city from atop the Fernsehturm (Television Tower), a 712ft (217m) tower with an observation deck and restaurant at the pinnacle, where on a clear day you can see the Black Forest; head to Schlossplatz, a famous landmark and meeting place for locals and visitors, its green lawns littered with youths soaking up the summer sunshine; or find your own sanctuary in the dappled shade of the ‘Green U’ park, a five mile (8km) natural haven in the city centre.

These features sometimes come as a surprise to the first time visitor to Stuttgart, as people tend to associate the city with its reputation as the ‘cradle of the automobile’. Both the motorbike and four-wheel car were invented in Stuttgart and one of its most famous attractions is the enormous Mercedes-Benz Museum, with scores of immaculate vehicles on permanent display, including their new luxury models, racing cars and reputed antiques. If that doesn’t whet your appetite, head across town to the Porsche Museum, also a delight for petrol heads.

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