Connect with us

Travel

New Zealand Travel Guide: Best Places to Visit And Things To Do

New Zealand is in its way a mysterious and very remote from European state in the southwestern part of the Pacific Ocean, located on two large islands, called North and South, and about seven hundred other small islets. New Zealand is, in fact, a country of mystery and a tasty morsel for lovers of exotic travel.

The state, due to its geographical location, is somewhat isolated from the rest of the world. The closest prominent neighbor of New Zealand is Australia, located “some” 1,700 kilometers away and is separated by the Tasman Sea. Also, among the neighboring states, it is worth mentioning New Caledonia, which is approximately 1400 kilometers away, and Tonga and Fiji (1800 and 1900 km, respectively). The area of ​​the country, taking into account all the islands, is 268 680 square meters. Kilometers. The population of the country is not very large – 4,951,240 people. The capital is Wellington, with a population of 418,500. The country’s currency is the New Zealand dollar. There are two official languages ​​- English and Maori.

The Cook Strait separates the South and North islands. Of the seven hundred other islands, the largest can be distinguished – Stuart, Auckland, Kermadec, Bounty Islands, Antipodes, Campbell, and others. The total length of the country’s coastline is 15,134 kilometers. The largest island in New Zealand in the South Island, with an area of ​​151,215 sq. kilometers, through which the Southern Alps ridge stretches with the highest point of the country – Mount Cook (3754 meters). The east of the island is mainly covered with agricultural plains.

The western part is more famous for its glaciers, fjords, and numerous natural beauties, so there is a low population density, which cannot be said about the area of ​​national parks. Even though the North Island is somewhat smaller (115 77 sq. Km), it is here that foremost of the population of New Zealand due to the flat landscape and many convenient harbors and bays. However, there are serious mountains here, such as the Ruapehu volcano with a height of 2797 meters. In the middle of the island is the largest lake in the whole country, Lake Taupo, from which the main river of the country, the Waikato, 425 kilometers long, originates. The rest of the natural attractions of New Zealand are best found on the South Island.

Politically, New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy with a clear parliamentary structure. At the same time, the Constitution of New Zealand does not exist, but there are only several constitutional laws adopted at one time or another. At the same time, the country, together with the Cook Islands and Niuzh and Tokelau and the Antarctic territory of Ross, forms the Kingdom of New Zealand, whose monarch is now Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. At the same time, the queen has no real power in the country, and her representative on the island is the governor-general, who is appointed on average every five years. The governor-general is, in essence, the guarantor of constitutional rights in the country and usually oversees the work of parliament, sometimes acting by the initiatives of the prime minister or the queen herself.

The New Zealand Parliament consists of a Governor-General and an electoral House of Representatives. The leader of the party that wins the majority in the House of Representatives becomes the prime minister. The executive power in the country is the responsibility of the Cabinet of Ministers, who are also members of the House of Representatives.

Climate and weather in New Zealand

Climatic conditions in New Zealand are quite different on the two main islands. If the North Island is dominated by a subtropical and rather mild climate, then the South Island is located, in fact, in the temperate zone, where it can be very cool. In addition, an important climatic factor in the South is the ridge of the Southern Alps, because of which the winds blowing from the west cannot reach the flat part of the island, turning the east of the island into the driest part of the country. Most of the small islands located in the Tasman Sea have a tropical climate due to the warm East Australian Current passing here.

Precipitation falls fairly evenly throughout the year, with a slight decrease in its level in the summer months. The average level is 600-1600 millimeters per year. The average annual temperature depends on the island: on the South it is slightly more than +10, on the North – around +16. As you know, in the southern hemisphere, the winter months are June, July and August, so July has been honored to be the coldest month in New Zealand. It is especially cold in winter in the mountainous regions of the South Island. It is warmest on the islands in January and February, which are equivalent to our July and August. The annual temperature range in the country’s largest city, Auckland and the capital Wellington, is approximately 30 degrees, with the lowest temperatures around zero and the highest around +30.

Cities and regions

The territory of New Zealand is divided into 17 districts. Nine are located on the North Island, seven on the South Island, and one on the Chatham Archipelago. Each of the districts has its interesting specifics, and, for example, the northern resort areas are strikingly different from the south with their temperate and sometimes even harsh climate. However, at the same time, New Zealand remains itself everywhere – a mysterious country with a unique nature and culture at the junction of European and island civilizations, which is alive and well to this day.

Northland

The northernmost region of New Zealand (this can be seen already by the name) is located at the North Island’s elongated tip. The capital of the region is the city of Whangarei. Bordering the Auckland region to the south, Northland covers an area of ​​13,941 km² and is home to approximately 148,000 people. Traditionally, it is considered an agricultural and forestry region, but recently it has been increasingly associated with tourism. The fact is that Northland is located in the subtropical zone and has excellent beaches and bays.

Moreover, many beaches are pretty deserted and not affected by civilization, making visiting these places even more enchanting. As well as the beautiful forests of New Zealand’s coniferous giants – the cowrie trees. It is in Northland that the famous Bay of Islands is located – one of the leading natural beauties of the country.

Auckland

The northernmost region of Auckland is the most populous in the country, with a population of 1,300,000, most of whom live in the country’s largest city, also called Auckland.

Surrounded by a whole “complex” of beautiful extinct volcanoes, Auckland is perhaps the most picturesque city in Polynesia. Following the precepts of multiculturalism, several cultural traditions, such as European, Asian and Polynesian, are mixed at once. Moreover, the city is often considered the unofficial capital of the whole of Polynesia, as it is home to the world’s largest Polynesian community. The city is located in a very picturesque place. In addition to about 50 volcanoes, there are three beautiful bays, the Hanuya mountain ranges in the southeast and Waitaker in the west. Auckland is located on a narrow isthmus between Munger Bay on the Tasman Sea side and Tamaki Strait and Hauraki Bay on the Pacific side. This is partly the uniqueness of the city because it has access to two seas at once. At the same time, it is worth noting the convenience of both bays of Auckland – the southern Manuaca Bay and the northern Waitemata, across each of which is thrown over a bridge. 

Waikato

It is the largest region on the North Island and the fourth largest in the entire country, covering an area of ​​24.025 km². This territory has access to the Pacific Ocean in the north and the Tasman Sea in the west. At the same time, Waikato combines the features of an important agricultural region while at the same time possessing relatively high mountainous and forested areas. It is in this region that New Zealand’s largest lake, Taupo, is located. Also, one cannot fail to mention Raglan on the coast of the Tasman Sea – perhaps the best place for surfing. Well, and that it was the territory of Waikato that was chosen as the country of the Shire hobbits in the Lord of the Rings trilogy by Peter Jackson. The capital of the region is Hamilton.

The capital of the Waikato region, Hamilton, is located 130 kilometers south of Auckland and is the 4th largest metropolitan area in New Zealand. The city’s total population is 143,000 people, and with the suburbs, it reaches more than 203 thousand people. Initially, the town developed as the center of an agricultural region. Still, recently it has been declaring itself as a promising scientific, technical and educational center, which only increases its popularity and, accordingly, the influx of population. The city was founded by the British in 1864, and already in 1867, the railway from Auckland reached it. In the XX century, the town grew steadily and got its present size. Which, of course, are not very large, which does not prevent Hamilton from living a rich cultural life. Various events take place here, such as the Soundscape Music Festival and some sporting events. 

Bay of Plenty

Bay of plenty is translated from English as the Bay of Plenty. This area received such a name during the voyages of James Cook, whose team was very warmly received by the local tribes. Located in the northern part of the island, this region is washed by the waters of the Pacific Ocean. In the depths, there are many natural beauties, including the geysers that have turned the Bay of Plenty and, in particular, the city of Rotorua into one of the country’s main tourist centers. The capital of the region is the city of Tauranga, whose population is 111 thousand people. In total, the Bay of Plenty has about 260,000 inhabitants.

The most populous city in the Bay of Plenty region, Tauranga was founded by Europeans in the early 19th century, although it did not receive city status until 1963. The city seems to frame the port, although at the same time there are magnificent beaches. In addition, Tauranga has earned itself fame as the capital of the kiwi fruit, which has become the unofficial symbol of New Zealand. The city is known more for its landscapes than any cultural dominants like museums, so it is not surprising that it is pretty popular with outdoor enthusiasts, primarily surfers, kitesurfers, kayakers, and divers. 

Located 60 kilometers south of the capital of the region on the shores of the lake of the same name, the city of Rotorua, with a population of 56 thousand people, is one of the main tourist centers of the country and the most beautiful thermal resort. Maori settled in this area since ancient times, and the first Europeans appeared only in the 20s of the XIX century. In 1883, it was decided to develop the site as a spa resort, declaring it a “special area” and soon connecting it to Auckland by rail and express train. It was a very far-sighted decision to focus on the tourism component of the region, and today Rotorua, with its geysers, mud baths, and thermal springs, is considered a trendy holiday destination for both New Zealanders and visitors to the country. 

Gisborne

The Gisborne region is located at the northeastern tip of the North Island, with its capital in the city of the same name. It is a sparsely populated and relatively isolated area. The total population is 46,000, three-quarters of whom live in the town of Gisborne. In addition, there is a very high percentage of the Maori population – higher than in the country. The territory is mainly covered with hills and forests, and perhaps the most exciting thing in the region is the Te Urewera National Park in the west of Gisborne.

Taranaki

The Taranaki region, named after the mountain located on its territory, is located in the southwest of the North Island. The population is approximately 110 thousand people, 60% of whom live in the capital of the region, New Plymouth, or its vicinity. By the way, there is a pretty severe Maori representation here. The region’s main natural attraction and symbol are, of course, Mount Taranaki, with a height of 2,518 meters. Taranaki is a predominantly agricultural region with very fertile volcanic soil and plenty of rainfall. However, there are oil and gas fields at the same time – both on the island itself and in the sea. Although, in general, Taranaki is not the most interesting place from a tourist point of view.

Manawatu-Wanganui

This relatively central region is located in the middle of the North Island but has access to the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The capital of the province is the city of Wanganui. In total, about 232 thousand people live in Manawatu-Wanganui. The two main urban areas are the capital city of Wanganui and the city of Palmerston North, but roughly half of the population lives here in rural areas. The region’s name is formed by the confluence of the terms of the two main rivers of the region – Manawatu and Wanganui, with the area of ​​the former being populated chiefly by Europeans and the area of ​​the later representatives of the Maori. The relief in the region is very diverse, as well as the temperature. For example, during the winter months in the volcano area, it can be pretty cold, while the climate is relatively mild in the flat areas. The main occupation of residents is agriculture. At the same time, the region is known for its gorgeous national parks. For example, Tongariro National Park is one of the largest and oldest in the country, established in 1887. Its area is about 800 square kilometers, on which there are several volcanoes sacred to Maori. About a hundred years ago, another large national park was established in the region – Wanganui. At the same time, it is not a problem to do active rest in national parks – rafting, skiing, or tramping (as they call hiking in New Zealand). About a hundred years ago, another large national park was established in the region – Wanganui. At the same time, it is not a problem to do active rest in national parks – rafting, skiing, or tramping (as they call hiking in New Zealand). About a hundred years ago, another large national park was established in the region – Wanganui. At the same time, it is not a problem to do active rest in national parks – rafting, skiing, or tramping (as they call hiking in New Zealand).

Hawke’s Bay

Region located in the east of the North Island on the Pacific coast. Hawke’s Bay has two administrative centers at once – the cities of Napier and Hastings. The region’s population is 155 thousand inhabitants, with the lion’s share living in the area of ​​both capitals. A feature of the region’s coastline is, in fact, a vast bay, after which this administrative region was named. Not the most popular area among tourists, however, it has its own “chip,” being the center of New Zealand winemaking. The local climate with warm and mild summers and cool winters is ideal for growing grapes, which local farmers have successfully done for decades. Moreover, Hawke’s Bay wines often win various winemaking awards. The region has a remarkable cultural life.

Napier

The Hawke’s Bay region capital is located in the southeastern part of the Bay of the same name, 18 kilometers north of another important city in the area – Hastings, which is often referred to as the “twin city” of Napier. The population of Napier is only 58 600 people (2010). However, despite this, the city is of great economic importance since there is both an airport and a seaport, which, for example, is not observed in Hastings. Napier has long acquired the significance of an exciting place from a tourist point of view, with a large concentration of curious old buildings built in the first half of the 20th century in the then fashionable Art Deco style. 

Wellington

The region, centered on the capital of all New Zealand, Wellington, is located at the southern tip of the North Island, surrounded by the Tasman Sea to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. The region is home to about 483 thousand inhabitants, most of whom, of course, are residents of the capital. Geographically, the area combines both flat and foothill territories. As for the economic situation, Wellington has long been ranked as the most prosperous region in New Zealand.

Wellington

It was named in 2011 by the authoritative portal LonelyPlanet, “the coolest little capital in the world,” Wellington tries to fully justify this title and many others, which various organizations rating award it every year and magazines. As the state’s capital, Wellington is the seat of the New Zealand Parliament and Cabinet of Ministers. Also, most of the diplomatic missions of foreign states are located here. Despite its status as a political center, Wellington is also known as a city with the richest (considering its size) cultural life, including permanent exhibitions, art festivals, and much more. 

Marlborough

A small region at the northern tip of the South Island centered on the city of Blenheim. This is far from the most prominent part of the country, and it should only be said that just over 45 thousand people live here. In the west and south of the region, mountains dominate, eventually turning into the Southern Alps, and between these two regions lies a long valley, where Blenheim is located. This is where the famous vineyards are located in Marlborough province, responsible for most New Zealand wines. First of all, this is the local white Sauvignon, considered one of the best on the planet. The region is also famous for its picturesque coastline, indented by beautiful valleys.

Nelson

Nelson is both a city ​​and a region in the north of the South Island, covering an area of ​​only 444 square kilometers, making it the smallest part of the country. The city region has a population of 60,500, making Nelson the 9th most populous city in New Zealand.

City of Nelson

The very first city on the South Island, Nelson, was founded in 1841 thanks to the activities of the New Zealand Company, and the settlement received its name in honor of the famous Admiral Nelson. There are several good beaches and a port within the city limits, safely sheltered by an impressive 13 km long natural stone strip called Boulder Bank. For ships to enter the Bay formed by this strip, it was necessary to make a kind of cut with a width of 150 meters in it. Port of Nelson is perhaps the most amazing in all of New Zealand. Around the town are several beautiful national parks in the first place, Abel Tasman National Park, and in addition to his national parks Kaurang and Nelson Lakes, which makes the Nelson region even more attractive. By the way, in Nelson, on the top of a hill in the center of the city, the New Zealand point Zero is located – the geographical center of the country, marked by a strange sculptural composition. 

Tasman

This region is located in the northwest of the South Island. Its capital is the city of Richmond. In total, a little more than 47 thousand people live in the territory of Tasman, which is even less than in the tiny neighboring Nelson. With mixed terrain, combined with the high mountains and valleys, the plains, the region has become “home” to the three national parks that he “shares” with the adjacent Nelson – Abel Tasman National Park, National Park Nelson Lakes, and Kahurangi park. The Tasman and Nelson regions are often considered a single area and are called Tasman. Overall, Tasman is an agricultural region with no significant cultural attractions, but remarkable for its National Parks.

Canterbury

Canterbury is the largest region of New Zealand, located in the east of the South Island on the Pacific coast. It’s the capital and the most populous city on the island (and the second most populous in the country) in Christchurch. In the west of the region lies the massive ridge of the Southern Alps. Two rivers serve as the peculiar borders of Canterbury – Conway in the north and Waitaki in the south. The total area of ​​Canterbury is 45 346 square kilometers. The population of the region for the summer of 2010 was 565 800 people.

From an economic point of view, Canterbury is developed in several planes at once – this is tourism, agriculture, fishing, the forest industry, and coal mining and hydropower. So, unlike most New Zealand regions, in Canterbury, the prevailing sector of the economy is difficult to determine. In addition, the inhabitants of the area do not shy away from winemaking, making delicious white wine. At the same time, such economic development did not have the best effect on the ecological state of the region, which is mainly expressed in the pollution of lowland rivers. But despite this, the water in the city of Christchurch is one of the cleanest on the planet.

Christchurch

The second most populous city in New Zealand and the largest city in the South Island. In total, about 390,000 people live in Christchurch. Located near the confluence of the Avon River into the Pacific Ocean, the city is considered the main economic, cultural and educational center of the island. Of particular importance are the seaport of Christchurch and the presence of an international airport. 

West Coast

As you might guess, this New Zealand region is located on the western coast of the South Island. The map represents a narrow province stretching for 600 kilometers along almost the entire western coast, like the South American country of Chile. Canterbury borders the region in the east, and the Southern Alps ridge itself can be considered the border. The administrative center of the region is the city of Greymouth. In total, about 31 thousand people live on the West Costa (or West Costa) territory, which makes this area one of the most sparsely populated in the country. The basis of the economy here is the timber industry and coal mines and placer gold mining in some places. In the 60s of the XIX century, this area witnessed an actual Gold Rush. Today this region with beautiful nature (incredibly rocky shores and lagoons),

Otago

Otago Is the second largest region in New Zealand, located south of Cantebury, also on the Pacific coast. It covers an area of ​​32,000 square kilometers, and the population of the region is 207 and a half thousand inhabitants. Otago has been actively inhabited since the first half of the 20th century, and most of the settlers were from Scotland, which is still reflected in the local way of speaking. By the way, the overwhelming majority of Europeans are about 80 percent. More than half of the population of Otago live in the capital of the region Dunedin or its suburbs. However, other important cities in the area, especially Queenstown, an important tourist center of the South Island and New Zealand. Among other cities in the region, it is worth highlighting Oamaru and another resort town – Wanaka. As in other areas of the South Island, in Otago, coal mining is developed and agriculture, in particular, winemaking. Many high-quality grape varieties grow in Otago, particularly sauvignon, merlot, chardonnay, and others.

In the west of the region are the high peaks of the Southern Alps, with many mountain rivers and beautiful glacial lakes and valleys. Rivers that subsequently flow over more flat terrain often overflow during severe downpours and sometimes very strongly. In general, the landscapes in Otago are very diverse – from high mountains to rugged hillside areas in the southeast. Hence, the local nature is a topic for another conversation. with many mountain rivers and beautiful glacial lakes and valleys. Rivers that subsequently flow over more flat terrain often overflow during severe downpours and sometimes very strongly. In general, the landscapes in Otago are very diverse – from high mountains to rugged hillside areas in the southeast. Hence, the local nature is a topic for another conversation. with many mountain rivers and beautiful glacial lakes and valleys. Rivers that subsequently flow over more flat terrain often overflow during severe downpours and sometimes very strongly. In general, the landscapes in Otago are very diverse – from high mountains to the rugged area in the southeast, so the local nature is a topic for another conversation.

Dunedin

The second-largest city in the South Island, Dunedin, with approximately 116.5 thousand inhabitants, is considered one of the most important cities in New Zealand from a cultural and historical point of view. Dunedin is located in ​​the Otago Peninsula and the harbor, which is the main port of the region. The port area itself and its suburbs are located nearby on the remains of a former volcano. The city is known primarily as a significant educational center headed by two universities – the University of Otago and the Polytechnic University. At the same time, the share of young people among the urban population is considerable – over 20 percent. The University of Otago is the oldest in the entire country, founded in 1869. You can read more about the city here.

The third-largest city of Otago with a population of 10 and a half thousand inhabitants and at the same time one of the main tourist centers of the whole country. Queenstown is located closer to the west of the region, in the foothills of the Southern Alps. It is built around a picturesque cove called Queenstown Bay on Lake Wakatipu. This mountain lake, stretching in the shape of a Z, was formed by melting glaciers from the surrounding area. The views from Queenstown are genuinely stunning. There are several more beautiful lakes in the Queenstown area, in particular, Lakes Javea and Wanaka. The climate in Queenstown is quite peculiar – here, the summer can be sweltering (up to +30), but winters are sometimes harsh. The city is in the shade of rain, so there is not as much rainfall as on the east coast. 

Southland

It is the southernmost region of New Zealand. It occupies the entire southwest of the South Island. It also includes the country’s third-largest acutely island, Stewart Island. Just over 94 thousand people live in Southland. Like Canterbury, the area became the new home for many Scottish settlers in the 19th century. The earliest Europeans were whalers, seal hunters, and missionaries in the region. From the very beginning, contact with the Maori in these lands was quite close. In the west of Southland, there are many beautiful coves, and, in principle, there are enough mountains in the region and, as a result, rivers that tend to flood at the wrong moment. So, in 1984, a very large-scale flood occurred in the area, causing significant damage to Southland’s infrastructure. As the southernmost and most distant region of New Zealand, Southland does not have the most friendly climate, but there is no need to say that it is cold here. The lowest temperature ever observed here is -18, so even the most southern regions of Russia are far from that. The average temperature in winter is 5.2 degrees above zero, in summer – about 15. It is worth noting separately that from Southland, it is better than anywhere else in New Zealand to watch the aurora borealis – a unique natural show of indescribable beauty.

The capital of Southland and the commercial center of the entire region, Invercargill also holds the title of New Zealand’s most southwestern city. Surrounded by farmlands and national parks, the town of 52,500 is not particularly touristy. For the most part, busy with commercial and educational activities, the city does not offer its guests significant attractions. Still, it serves as an excellent launching pad for travels deep into the exciting tourist region. 

Chatham Islands

Considered a separate region of New Zealand, the Chatham Archipelago is located nearly 800 kilometers to the east from the South Island. It consists of 10 islands, only two of which are inhabited – these are the largest islands of the Archipelago, Chatham, and Pitt. About 650 people live on both islands, belonging to three ethnic groups – Europeans, Maori, and Moriori. In the latter, in the middle of the 19th century, they were subjected to the most brutal genocide by the Maori, which is remembered to this day. The locals are mainly engaged in fishing and farming, but more and more tourists come here looking for adventure in such remote corners of the world as this Archipelago.

Where to go in New Zealand

Fiordland National Park

©istock

The most, perhaps, the majestic, beautiful, and frightening with its grandeur part of New Zealand, united in the Fiordland National Park, which occupies almost the entire southwest of the country. This land of fjords was created by glaciers about a hundred thousand years ago, transforming it into a fantastic composition consisting of mighty waterfalls, ancient untouched forests that creep right up to dark waters, and silent granite peaks, among others which are numerous picturesque glacial lakes. This area today looks almost the same as it did thousands of years ago. Of course, civilization has not bypassed it, and there are towns and villages here. For example, this is the town of Te Anau, from which tourists begin their journey deep into this beautiful area. But the natural diamonds in the crown of Fiordland are three fjords – Milford Sound, Dusky Sound, and Doubtful Sound, each of which is stunning with its picturesqueness. Fiordland’s leading lakes are Wakatipu, Te Anau, Wanaka, Ohau, or Rakaia, the first of which is the longest in the country. All these lakes are fancifully sandwiched between high cliffs and mountains, which form a genuinely fabulous landscape. Each penetration into the depths of this region, rugged by mountains, rocks, and valleys, runs the risk of ending up in a place where no human has ever set foot. By the way, there have already been scientific discoveries in Fiordland. So, in 1948, on the shores of Lake Te Anau, a takahe bird was found, which was considered extinct before. Now in the town of Te Anau, you can find a monument to this feathered creature. The whole Fiordland is one solid mystery that you cannot help but touch,

Milford Sound Bay is the most stunning part of New Zealand’s largest national park, Fiordland, located in the southwest of the South Island and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This place amazes the imagination with its grandeur and, at the same time, indescribable beauty. It is not surprising that the Milford Sound area has become a natural magnet for tourists, who arrive here about half a million every year. This primarily applies to January and February – the summer months in New Zealand. Milford Sound can be reached in a variety of ways, and there are many different tours available. First of all, these are cruises that can bring a truly unforgettable experience, although their conditions are not as close to nature as during hiking in the mountains of Fiordland.

Nevertheless, during cruises, you can fully enjoy the views of mighty rocks protruding from the dark water and decorated with green trees, sometimes descending directly to the water. Imposing is the Maitre peak, which rises to 1692 meters. Flocks of dolphins complement all this natural cocktail, often “chasing” cruise yachts, as well as constant “guests” of this coast – torrential rains.

However, most tourists are not intimidated by this, and many of them prefer hiking in the mountains of Fiordland to cruises. Roads and trails leading to Milford Sound begin in Te Anau, a small town on the shores of the lake of the same name, the second largest in the whole country. From here to Milford Sound is approximately 120 kilometers. True, there is nothing particularly remarkable in Te Anau itself, which, of course, cannot be said about the natural beauty of this region – the Alps and, again, Lake Te Anau.

Tongariro National Park

©istock

Everyone who has watched The Lord of the Rings is familiar with Tongariro National Park. It was in these places that many scenes of this cult trilogy were filmed. The park is located in the middle of the North Island, almost halfway from Auckland to Wellington. Established in 1897, the park is nearly 800 sq. kilometers, as its main symbols are three volcanoes – Ruapehu (2797 m), Ngauruhoe (2291 m), and Tongariro itself (1968 m), all of them active and located almost in the very center of the park. In addition, like many other volcanoes, these are of sacred significance to the Maori. The nature of the park is carefully preserved so that civilization is practically not felt here, which allows it not to disturb flora and fauna. As in the rest of the country, this park is especially rich in flora with many unique plants, which you rarely find anywhere. There are also many exciting birds, particularly the symbol of New Zealand kiwi, thuja birds, mopoke owl, blue duck, and others. The Hacapapa ski resort, founded in the first half of the 20th century, is located in the park.

Kelly Tarlton Underwater World Aquarium

©istock

Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World is a beautiful and somewhat custom aquarium, built-in 1985 by New Zealand scuba diver and marine explorer Kelly Tarlton in huge unused waste tanks, finished with acrylic. Here, earlier than in most aquariums, special curved tunnels were used for inspection, as well as a conveyor belt for the slow movement of visitors. The construction of the aquarium, completed in 1985, lasted ten months. Tarleton used large sheets of pure acrylic to create it, which was shaped when heated. Due to the use of acrylic and the refraction of light, the aquarium inhabitants seem three times smaller.

The aquarium is located in one of the suburbs of Auckland near the ocean. In total, the length of the aquarium tunnel is 110 meters, and up to 2000 sea creatures live in its waters, including several species of sharks at once. Naturally, many artificial caves and reefs were created in the aquarium. In 1994, the complex was replenished with a copy of Robert Scott’s hut and a colony of chinstrap penguins, for which a special pavilion was created. All of this is now part of the Antarctic Encounter, the most popular aquarium exhibition. However, with the already mentioned 110-meter tunnel, the aquarium itself does not experience a shortage of visitors either. Another part of the aquarium – Sea Creatures – consists of aquariums with individual inhabitants of the seas and rivers, for example, octopuses, piranhas, sea horses, and others.

Bay of Islands

©istock

This is perhaps the most scenic spot on the North Island and one of the most popular tourist destinations. In addition to the natural beauty, the area is also home to some important historical sites. Paihia is the main port of the Bay of Islands, so this is where the overwhelming majority of tourists arrive. One option is a cruise from Auckland. It is also worth noting that in Peyhia you can find quite budget hotels, with prices that are hardly available in the country’s main cities. The main feature of the bay is, as you might guess, many small beautiful islands scattered throughout the basin. There are about 150 of them in total, which is quite an impressive number. There are many exciting and even exciting things to do in the Bay of Islands – from diving to swimming through a hole in one of the enormous rocks.

As already mentioned, the area of ​​the Bay of Islands is also of great historical importance – it was here that almost the first contact between Europeans and Maori took place. So in the towns of Waitangi, Russell and Kerikeri, there are many exciting and rather old buildings by New Zealand standards, beautiful and significant at the same time. In addition, in the Bay of Islands, the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior was blown up in 1985, and today divers are being taken to the place of its death.

Sky tower

©istock

The tallest structure in the southern hemisphere, the Sky Tower, is located in Auckland’s business district, dominating the entire city. As one of the city’s prominent landmarks, the Sky Tower is 328 meters high and attracts over half a million visitors annually.

Today owned by SKYCITY Entertainment Group, Craig Moller Ltd. designed the tower from 1994 to 1997. The upper part of the tower has two restaurants and cafes, with one of the restaurants located at an altitude of 190 meters, rotating 360 degrees every hour. However, the main venue of Sky Tower remains SKYCITY Auckland Casino, which is open for entertainment 24 hours a day. There are three observation platforms on the tower at once, the main of which is located at an altitude of 186 meters. Its unique feature is the 38mm thick glass floor, which creates the feeling of walking in the Auckland sky. The highest observation deck, “Skydeck,” is located 220 meters from the ground, and it offers the most impressive view into the distance at once for 82 kilometers. Besides, from a height of 192 meters from the Sky Tower, you can make a parachute jump controlled by special equipment, preventing a person from colliding with the tower in the event of a strong gust of wind. In this case, the jumping speed can reach 85 kilometers per hour. The building, of course, is used primarily for telecommunications purposes. For example, the world’s most giant FM transmitter is installed here. Also, one of the features of the tower is the stunning lighting, which uses different colors, often denoting one or another significant event taking place in the country – be it St. Patrick’s Day or the rugby cup. Naturally, it is used primarily for telecommunications purposes. For example, the world’s most giant FM transmitter is installed here. Also, one of the features of the tower is the stunning lighting, which uses different colors, often denoting one or another significant event taking place in the country – be it St. Patrick’s Day or the rugby cup. Naturally, it is used primarily for telecommunications purposes. For example, the world’s most giant FM transmitter is installed here. Also, one of the features of the tower is the stunning lighting, which uses different colors, often denoting one or another significant event taking place in the country – be it St. Patrick’s Day or the rugby cup.

Auckland Domain Park

©istock

This park, covering an area of ​​75 hectares in the Auckland suburb of Grafton, is the oldest in the entire city. Founded in the 40s of the XIX century, the park occupied the area around the Pukekawa volcano, on the outskirts of the crater of the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Pukekawa is the oldest extinct volcano in the Auckland Volcanic Region. There was a volcanic lake in its crater, which eventually turned into a swamp, which practical Europeans drained. As a result, a small slag cone remained in the center of the hole, and a ring of volcanic tuff was located around the crater.

This area was first used by the inhabitants of Auckland as a source of drinking water and only in the 60s of the XIX century turned into what would later become the Auckland Botanical Garden. The park has undergone numerous changes. A considerable number of trees were planted here, some of which are considered very rare. In 1898 a wooden cricket pavilion was built. In 1913, the Auckland Industrial Exhibition was held here, which only confirmed the functionality and convenient location of the park. In the 1920s and 1930s, thanks to the efforts of one of the local businessmen, many marble statues were erected in the park, and the entrance was decorated with a beautiful Art Deco gate. And finally, in 1929, the park’s main attraction was opened – the remarkable building of the Military History Museum, created in neo-Greek style and recently renovated. The park has witnessed many exciting events – from the first-ever rugby league match to the visits of Queen Elizabeth II and the Pope.

 

Related:  10 Most Famous Places to Visit in Rajasthan

Travel

Vacations Forever: 5 Best Resort Towns You Should Move to ASAP

Do you want to be on vacation all year long? Fewer people are using their part-time vacation homes as primary residences nowadays, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be a great choice for you.

Let’s go through the top resort towns you should move to if you want to be permanently on vacation.

1. Jackson Hole, United States

If you’re a big fan of skiing, you’re sure to enjoy Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Jackson Hole has very low crime rates, so it’s a safe place to live if you have a family.

It’s also home to some excellent schools, so you don’t need to be worried about your children’s education. However, Jackson Hole does have high costs of living, particularly for a city in a less populated state.

2. Estepona, Spain

Do you enjoy the south of Spain? Consider moving to Estepona. This city, which is located on the Costa del Sol, is populated along the coast. There are tons of amazing water sports you can try out when you visit Estepona.

Plus, you can check out interesting museums when you live in Estepona, like the Antonio Ordóñez Museum of Bullfighting, the Ethnographic Museum, and the Paleontology Museum. And, Estepona is home to delicious restaurants, so you’ll never get tired of eating the local cuisine. Those who are looking for a place to live in Estepona should check out choosemarbella.com.

3. Cartagena, Colombia

If you’re looking for a great beach city, you’ll certainly want to consider Cartagena. There are plenty of resorts you can check out, or you can hit the beaches yourself.

Cartagena is also one of the cheaper cost of living options when it comes to beach cities. However, if you’re a vegetarian or have dietary restrictions, Colombia can be a difficult country to navigate.

4. Palm Springs, United States

Palm Springs is an interesting resort city. It’s extremely popular with seniors and members of the LGBTQ community (along with, of course, people who fall under both categories).

Palm Springs is the perfect place to live for people who love golfing or playing tennis. But be forewarned, you’ll need a car to get around Palm Springs since things are spread out and public transportation can be limited.

5. Todos Santos, Mexico

While Cabo San Lucas is one of the most popular resort city choices out there, it’s probably not a place you want to live long term. So, why not try out one of the neighboring towns? Todos Santos is one great option.

Todos Santos is home to a great community of artists, so people who love creativity won’t want to miss out. Plus, Todos Santos is one of the safest resort towns out there. And, the city is becoming more and more popular, so you’ll be trendy by moving to Todos Santos.

Move to These Resort Towns Today

Related:  Peru Travel Guide: Best Places to Visit And Things To Do

What are you waiting for? Any of these resort towns are a great option for your next stage in life.

Are you looking for more lifestyle advice? Make su

Continue Reading

Travel

Estonia Travel Guide: Best Places to Visit And Things To Do

Estonia is one of the brightest, most versatile, and diverse countries in northern Europe. Situated on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea and washed by the waters of the Gulfs of Riga and Finland, Estonia offers tourists an incredible selection of natural landscapes, ancient monuments, and architectural wonders. Millennia of history, cultural traditions, lively and fascinating, historic cities, castles, and fortresses of the Crusader era, museums, and elegant museums from the time of the Empire. Two thousand five hundred islands, virgin forests and National parks, lakes, swamps, meteorite craters, and hundreds of kilometers of beaches – this is all Estonia!

With the latest technological advances, Estonia offers a unique cocktail of experiences where all the ingredients are perfectly matched. Excursions, entertainment, historical routes, shopping, gastronomic wonders, spa hotels, and the best beaches of the Baltic Sea – whatever plan you go on vacation, Estonia will undoubtedly bring them to life.

Despite its modest size, Estonia can surprise even the experienced traveler. It is easily accessible from any corner of Europe – by air, land, and water. Tallinn, the delightful and ancient capital of Estonia, and the main cities of Sweden and Finland are only hours apart. Guests from Warsaw will be delivered by a comfortable bus, and residents of St. Petersburg should not be late for the evening train. Breakfast can be ordered in the heart of Tallinn.

Magical Tallinn, an actual teleport city, a time machine in action.
The entire old town is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as an example of conservation in northern Europe.

From a bird’s eye view, its shape repeats the heart – this is probably why it regularly steals hearts from impressionable tourists!

It is enough to climb one of the observation platforms to leave your own there, and there are many of them in the city.

And then walk the whimsically twisted streets, admiring the ancient fortress walls, towers, and underground passages – the Tallinn fortress is more than 700 years old, and it is also considered the standard of medieval architecture.

In addition to the fortress, the historic part of Tallinn will offer ancient temples, medieval mansions, museums, and, of course, restaurants – to celebrate your acquaintance with the city tastefully, and you have a choice of 1001 restaurants. Many of them have earned the laurels of the best in northern Europe.

The second most important city in the country is Tartu. It is considered the intellectual capital of Estonia, and it is not for nothing that its foundation is attributed to Prince Yaroslav the Wise. The oldest university, the most picturesque ruins of the cathedral, the most beautiful Botanical Garden, and the most “advanced” museums are located here. Another reason to visit Tartu is fairs, festivals, and other entertainment events. Thanks to the university and the student body, it is also the funniest city in Estonia.

In Narva, Rakvere, and Põltsamaa, ancient fortresses and majestic castles fans should take a ride.

Life here is quiet and unhurried, and only occasionally, the city’s peace is disturbed by music festivals and historical reconstructions.

The “summer” capital of Estonia, stylish and bright, will offer its guests spa hotels, health resorts on the shores of the Gulf of Finland, a pretty port with yachts, and the Old Town of the Hanseatic League.

But the main thing for tourists who come here is eight kilometers of sandy beach, the best in the country.

Those who love everything at once should go to Haapsalu. One of the most famous spa resorts, renowned for its traditions and admirers, Haapsalu also has a worthy historical dimension.

A medieval castle and an old cathedral, a vibrant Old Town, the Seaside Promenade – culture is perfectly combined with vacation motives.

And, of course, you cannot leave Estonia without seeing its islands. Choose the largest and most beautiful island of Saaremaa and its capital, old Kuressaare. The local Bishop’s Castle is considered the most harmonious in the country, and the climate is one of the best on the coast.

In short, why would you not come to Estonia – to have fun, improve your health, or intellectually enrich yourself, you will have a great vacation. Estonia will take care of this!

History

Estonian history is a journey of thousands of years. This northern country has managed to preserve the traditions and customs of its ancestors, Viking sagas, and tales of overseas kings while remaining a modern European state.

Estonia: the beginning of the beginnings

Historical evidence of life on these lands can be found already in the 9th millennium BC. The appearance of the first people on the territory of modern Estonia is associated with the end of the last known ice age. According to archaeologists, the oldest site of primitive people appeared on the banks of the Pärnu River, not far from Sindi, approximately in 9500 BC. There are several such settlements. They all belong to the Kund culture.

This ancient cultural stratum existed until the 5th millennium BC and is named after the Estonian city of Kunda. Its influence spread to the eastern Baltic states, Poland, and southern Finland. The settlements of hunters and anglers used stone tools of labor and defense, which are found in many archaeologists, right up to the Mesolithic period.

Over the millennia, cultural layers have changed, and along with them – the traditions of the peoples inhabiting these lands. Already in the third millennium BC, the inhabitants of the settlements began to raise livestock, and by the first millennium, this trade became the main activity of the settlers.

The path to the emergence of statehood

Three thousand years ago, the inhabitants of the territories that make up modern Estonia chose a sedentary lifestyle. As a rule, the new settlers preferred the coastal regions, and here the first settlements were built, fortified, and defended. Their traces can be found to this day on the island of Saaremaa, and these are Ridala and Asva, as well as the settlement of Iru near Tallinn.

At the same time, sea and land contacts with neighbors begin to develop. Archaeologists designate this period as the culture of stone burials. It is associated with the resettlement of the ancestors of the Germans from Scandinavia.

Estonia, at the beginning of our era, is the land of agriculture and cattle breeding. Already in the early Middle Ages, customs and traditional ways of rural life appeared, which Estonians managed to preserve to this day. Many historic villages still exist today.

The early Middle Ages are a crucial period in the formation of Estonia. New, fortified settlements are being built, a system of administrative registration of territories has been formed, and a small farm is taken as a unit of measurement – a typical family farm. There are still many of them in Estonia. The entire territory of the state is divided into 8 regions and counties, these are Virumaa, Läanemaa, Rävala, Saaremaa, Sakala, Ugandi, Harju County, Järvamaa.

By this period, an early feudal model of society was formed, where elders ruled the lands. The major Estonian epic, which tells the story of the medieval giant Kalevipoeg, was written just in the spirit of that time.

In the same historical period, around 1030, the campaign of Prince Yaroslav the Wise began in the northern lands. He founded the city of Yuryev, present-day Tartu.

A little later, local tribes recaptured Tartu. In the following centuries, the ancient Estonians, on the one hand, and the inhabitants of Pskov with Novgorod, on the other, regularly “exchanged pleasantries.”

Such raids on neighbors were considered in the Order of things. One of them even went down in history. It is known that the Estonians conflicted with the Scandinavian Vikings. The inhabitants of the largest Estonian island – Saaremaa, mainly distinguished themselves in this confrontation.

Possessing a solid fleet at that time, the Oeselians, that is, the islanders kidnapped the Norwegian Queen Astrid and her son, Prince Olaf.

Subsequently, it was canonized, and one of the most outstanding examples of medieval architecture in Estonia, St. Olaf’s Church, was named in its part.

The Estonian Vikings are also credited with the destruction of the Swedish capital of Sigtuna at the beginning of the 12th century. Visiting the island of Saaremaa, you can see with your own eyes the treasures of the Vikings, which were found here in many.

The Early Middle Ages: From the Crusaders to the Reformation

The beginning of the Middle Ages in Estonia is associated with the spread of Christianity. The faith of Christ came to these lands later than to central Europe, and if at the beginning these were missionary movements, then the planting of a new religion took place with fire and sword. Various organizations – the Teutonic Order, the Pope, German archbishops, Denmark, and the Kingdom of Sweden – advocated for Estonia’s conversion to Catholicism. Pagan ancestor cults have always been extreme in these parts, so the Northern Crusade decided to take drastic measures. In history, he remained under the name of Livonian.

The crusaders reached the Estonian lands by 1208. And in 1217, the battle of Viljandi took place, where the Estonians were defeated. Two years later, the territories of northern Estonia were conquered by the Danes, the south of the state began to belong to the German Order of the Swordsmen.

As a result of the conquests, these lands fell under the control of the powerful Livonian Order, which had occupied a substantial part of the modern Baltic.

At the same time, the Danish king granted Tallinn, which was considered a pearl among cities, the privileges of the Lübeck city law.

According to these laws, the capital of Estonia, like other cities of the Hanseatic League, was governed until the beginning of the twentieth century.

The conquered lands were transformed into bishoprics. Some of them were subordinate to the supreme authority in Riga. Denmark ruled others.

Of course, this did not consider the interests of the local population, and conflicts were inevitable.

The most famous uprising was St. George’s Night, which marked the Peasant War of Liberation beginning.

The riots, which the Danish authorities could not cope with, forced them to sell the land to the Teutonic Order. The era of German rule in Estonia began.

German landlords wielded tremendous power here for the next 700 years. The territories of modern Estonia and Latvia are called Livonia – a medieval community of interconnected small principalities that were part of the German church territories of the Holy Roman Empire. The feudal system formed in medieval Estonia put German knights and Catholic bishops at the pinnacle of power.

The rights and freedoms of residents were constantly infringed upon, right up to the introduction of serfdom. Taxes and taxes reached unprecedented levels, and all administrative and judicial power belonged to the German magistrates. At the same time, the Estonians themselves, who constituted the majority of the population, remained predominantly peasants and did not have personal freedom.

In large cities, merchant guilds and artisan communities were formed, and Rewal – modern Tallinn, Dorpat, now the city of Tartu, Pernau, familiar to us as Pärnu, and Viljandi were part of the powerful Hanseatic League. This commercial and defensive amalgamation of merchant guilds and merchant cities quickly became a monopoly in northern Europe.

Traces of those times are still easy to find on the streets of Tallinn.

Walking through the Old Town, pay attention to the medieval warehouses, equipped with hooks sticking out above the attic for lifting loads.

Perhaps due to the eternal conflict of interests of the trading cities with their merchants and the Catholic clergy represented by the German bishops, the Reformation movement in Estonia received support.

The middle of the 16th century was accompanied by riots, where ordinary people revolted against the Catholic clergy.

One of the manifestos of the Reformation, which the locals supported, was the holding of divine services and the publication of books in Estonian.

Middle-Ages: from the Livonian War to the Russian Empire

The sixteenth-century turned out to be a turning point – the Livonian Order, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Russian tsar, Sweden, and the Danish kingdom started a major conflict over the division of territories. It remains in history as the Livonian War. Estonia became one of those lands for which they fought. Both the population and the economic component of the cities suffered greatly during the hostilities. As a result, the state was divided between Sweden, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and Denmark.

Later, by the middle of the 17th century, all the territories of modern Estonia were ceded to the Kingdom of Sweden. The foundation of the University of Tartu, one of the oldest in Europe, dates back to this time. A significant event took place in 1632, at the direction of the Swedish king Gustav II Adolf.

Until the end of the 17th century, the economic stability of Estonia was ensured by trade. Large cities – Narva, Tallinn, Tartu, stood at the crossroads of trade routes, through which goods went to Europe or Russia and back. The agricultural sector also functioned well, and crafts were developing.

The Great Northern War changed the balance of power in the region. It ended in 1721 with the surrender of Sweden, and the Estonian lands came under the control of the Russian Empire.

Estonia as part of Russia

Most of the Baltic territories in the middle of the 18th century were ceded to Russia. Northern Estonia turned into Revel province, and southern lands, together with Latvia, formed Livonia. Emperor Peter the Great restored the rights of the German nobility, and they constituted a solid layer in the highest authorities. In religion, complete freedom was also allowed for both the Lutheran faith and the Russian Orthodox Church.

In the spheres of culture and education, progress was observed, books, newspapers, and magazines were published in Estonian, educational societies were actively working, defending the rights of the people, and literacy of the population was almost universal.

The population also recovered, undermined by wars and epidemics.

An important historical milestone was the abolition of serfdom by Tsar Alexander the First. It happened in 1816.

In the middle of the 19th century, Estonia and the rest of the empire entered the era of capitalism.

The industry developed by leaps and bounds, mechanical engineering, textile, and agricultural industries formed the basis of the economy.

Success in the economic field and the development of educational programs contributed to the birth of the Estonian national movement.

Towards a free Estonia

Activists of the national movement, formed at the end of the 19th century, demanded equal rights for Germans and indigenous people, Estonians, whose interests were infringed upon. These societies united writers, educators, journalists, representatives of the intellectual elite. They fought not only for legal rights but also for restoring traditions such as the Song Festival, ethnographic festivals, the first Estonian theater. However, despite these bold attempts, the Russians and Germans remained society’s economic and political elite.

In the wake of patriotic movements and extreme provocations, strikes and unrest broke out throughout Estonia. The tsarist government responded with harsh repression, but the uprisings continued in 1916, leading to the 1917 revolution. The interim government was entrusted with managing the former Estland province.

Riots continued this time between Estonian nationalists and Bolsheviks. However, now the First World War intervened in the plans of the future Soviet government. Estonia remained neutral in this conflict, demanding independence.

The wish came true on February 24, 1918 – finally, Estonia became a free state.

The first Estonian republic existed until 1940. The Second World War, its sad consequences, and the subsequent incorporation into the USSR lasted almost fifty years.

Estonia regained independence in 1991 with a rally known as the Singing Revolution.

Over the past thirty years, the state has been actively developing.

Tallinn’s old town was renovated for the 100th anniversary of independence.

Estonia is a member of the UN, the European Union, and NATO, a technically advanced and progressive country.

The system of electronic elections exists and is actively used here, and Skype was invented.

In 2002, Tallinn hosted the Eurovision Song Contest, and in 2018, the anniversary year for Estonian independence, many museums, palaces, and cultural sites were renovated.

The Tallinn Christmas market was recognized as the most beautiful in Europe by the European Best Destinations Association in the same year.

And regardless of political trends, time of year, and the weather outside the window, this beautiful, diverse, and close country is always waiting for you to visit!

Climate and weather in Estonia

Weather in cities

Several factors influence the Estonian climate. The proximity of the Baltic Sea, the Gulf Stream, Atlantic cyclones, temperate continental regions, fifteen hundred islands – this combination can be safely called unique.

The warmest month of the year is July, and the coldest is February.

However, the transitions between seasons are smooth and comfortable, and the country’s inhabitants are unfamiliar with both severe touches of frost and sweltering heat.

Estonia, located both on the mainland and on the islands, is surrounded by water on three sides. A large part of it is swamped, and the sea and the unusual natural relief create their microclimate. The weather in Estonia is most often described as humid and calm, relatively mild.

Winter in Estonia starts as expected – in December. As a rule, snowfalls at this time, which greatly adorn the landscapes, and there is a light frost conducive to walking.

It is one of the most popular tourist seasons of the year and is the time to celebrate Christmas and New Year.

January and February are colder and frosty, and there is a lot of snow. However, the air temperature rarely drops below – 6 … 8 ° C.

The weather is conducive to winter fun – ski runs, skating rinks in parks, sledding, fishing are open.

Estonians are a very athletic nation, and most of the time, joining their winter walks is entirely free.

Spring comes to Estonia not earlier than the second half of March. At this time of the year, frosts are still possible, mainly at night, but the sun is peeping more often.

April is also a fantastic month; May is considered more successful for a visit to the country. Spring can be seen in all its glory – in blooming parks, meadows outside the city, and bright city flower beds. Walking around Old Tallinn, do not deny yourself the pleasure of sitting at a table in an outdoor cafe – in May, such gatherings in the air are already quite comfortable.

If the purpose of your visit is to see summer Estonia, plan your trip in July. June is more like a warm spring than our usual summer. However, the month is exceptionally sunny and not too grainy.

The best time to visit Estonia is in June and July.

July is considered the warmest, sunniest, and driest month of the year. The air temperature warms up to + 22 … 24 ° C. + 30 ° C in Estonia is an abnormal heat. Such temperature cataclysms do not happen often.

Despite quite hot daily temperatures for Estonia, summer nights remain cool.

This feature of the local climate dictates to tourists their own rules for collecting luggage – a light jacket or sweater is required even in the middle of summer.

July and August are perfect for exploring Estonian cities and relaxing on their beaches.

The water temperature off the coast of Tallinn is usually around + 20 ° C, in rare cases warming up a few degrees higher.

Another good season to visit Estonia is autumn.

September usually welcomes guests of the country with dry, warm, and sunny weather.

This is an excellent time for both city walks and outdoor recreation. The first frosts and rains come with the onset of October, and although the average temperature is around + 10 ° C during the day, the mood is spoiled by prolonged precipitation.

It is freezing and wet in November. This is the time of real northern autumn, with fogs and falling snow. A warm hat and mittens are a must, or you can keep warm at the numerous spas, as well as at Christmas markets, which also start in November.

Estonian cities and regions

The territory of Estonia, divided in the 13th century by the knights of the Livonian Order into eight historical regions – Maakondas in Estonian, today, with the recognition of independence, has been divided into 15 counties. Almost all of them, to a greater or lesser extent, are of some interest to travelers.

Northern Estonia

The country’s history in stone can be studied in the regions of Harju, Lääne-Viru County, Ida-Virumaa. Here you will find the ruins of ancient castles, noble estates from the times of the empire, palaces, and all this against the backdrop of dunes and seemingly pristine coniferous forests. The main cities of the north of the country are the capital Tallinn, the seaside Paldiski, Maardu with its lake.

In addition to the beauties of ancient Tallinn, with its great fortress and streets of the Old Town, Harju County attracts with its excellent preservation of medieval buildings.

Temples and fortresses, historical landowners’ estates – manors, the Vasalemma palace, and park complex.

The views are also in order here – 17 landscape zones protecting unique natural monuments, including karst fields, heaths, springs, swamps, picturesque coastal cliffs.

County Ida-Viru County is famous for its ancient megaliths in Lahemaa National Park, on the coast of the Gulf of Finland.

Noble estates, the “village of captains” Käsmu, where the first ship of Estonian production was launched, the family estate of Admiral von Krusenstern, as well as a tour of the Neeruti National Park – you will not have time to get bored. Don’t miss Rakvere Castle – built-in 1226 by the Danes, it is perfectly preserved for its advanced age.

Ida-Viru County will appeal to nature explorers. Sea ledges – Klint, the highest waterfall in the country, the Oru landscape reserve, the most interesting in Estonia, the Alutaguse adventure park, the beaches of Lake Peipsi, and the opportunity to kayak on the Kurtna lakes.

Western Estonia

The western regions of Estonia – Saaremaa, Hiiumaa, Pärnumaa, and Läänemaa, are an opportunity to have a fantastic seaside holiday, combining vacation with viewing architectural masterpieces. In this region, sea resorts, spa centers, mud baths, and sanatoriums are concentrated.

Saaremaa county is located on the largest island in Estonia and encompasses the islets nearby. They are loved by fans of sea sports – surfing and kiting, thanks to their windy weather. And in the holiday season, you can go swimming with seals, organized by the employees of Vilsandi National Park. Do not miss the Kaali meteorite crater, which is filled with water of an unusual jade hue. The lake is round in shape, 100 meters in diameter, and you can swim in it in summer.

The capital of the county is Kuressaare. There is a sea harbor, an airport, and the Episcopal Castle, one of the most beautiful in Eastern Europe.

The Old Town has also survived in Kuressaare, with colorful historical buildings.

Surfers and beachgoers also love hiiumaa.

The second-largest island in Estonia offers tourists a picturesque coastline with a total length of 310 km, wind, and waves for fans of sea activities, as well as hiking trails.

You can walk, for example, to the Kõpu lighthouse – the most ancient navigational landmark in the Baltics.

The largest county in Estonia is Pärnumaa. Its capital, the seaside port city of Pärnu, is considered the main Baltic resort in Estonia. Perfect sandy beaches with white dunes surrounded by pine forests are found here.

Neighboring Läänemaa attracts visitors thanks to the county capital, the old town of Haapsalu. Famous for the traditions of mud therapy – the first clinic in the country was opened here, he has not lost his “qualifications” even now. Do not miss the old Kurhaus on the seaside promenade – a beautiful wooden building from the 19th century with a concert hall. And in the center of the city, you will find a 13th-century bishop’s castle, whose ruins are majestic.

Central Estonia

The center of the country is beautiful during the warm season. Gardens are blooming, historic estates are opening their doors, and landscaped parks are inviting guests. Raplamaa, Viljandi County, and Järvamaa counties offer many exciting walks.

For example, in  Raplamaa, it is suggested to visit the “Golden Ring of Raplamaa Manors.” The program includes noble estates, old churches, historical manors, which are now open as crafts centers. Hikers should pay attention to the limestone plateau in Maryamaa parish.

Viljandi County is visited for the sake of the central city – Viljandi, with a very ancient and venerable history. The first settlements here date back to the 5th century BC, the Viking Age. Written references to the city date back to 1154, and in the 12th century, the first permanent settlement appeared on the site of Viljandi. At the beginning of the XIII century, these lands were conquered by order of the Swordsmen, and already in 1224, a stone fortress was erected here, which was considered the largest in the Baltic. The defense and the city were called Fellin. Under this name, they were part of the Hanseatic League. 

In  Järva will appeal to fans of nature and lovers of history. Here you can visit the historic Albu estate and then walk in the Kõrvemaa landscape reserve. Bird watchers will especially appreciate this park; you can watch rare black storks and golden eagles here.

Eastern Estonia

The legendary shores of Lake Peipsi are the birthplace of the Tartumaa and Jõgevamaa regions. The historical battles of the Russian-Swedish and the Livonian War did not pass unnoticed; numerous castles and fortresses in the east of the country have survived to this day in the form of picturesque ruins.

County Tartu County  – the citadel of knowledge and scientific progress. Tartu, the region’s central city and the second most populous in the country, boasts a rich history. One of the oldest in Eastern Europe, Tartu was founded by Yaroslav the Wise in 1030 as the city of Yuryev. In addition to the university, one of the oldest in Europe, Tartu is famous for theaters, museums, architectural monuments, pretty streets of the Old Town.

The vicinity of Lake Peipsi, located nearby, will be an excellent competitor to seascapes.

You can come here for a whole vacation and not have time to see all the exciting places in the area – ancient manors, the famous “Onion Route” – a historical route through museums and castles, the beautiful Alatskivi Palace.

The amazing glacial landscapes of Jõgevamaa county take us back to the time of the epic about the exploits of Kalevipoeg, the giant warrior.

Mysterious protected forests, lakes, giant boulders, as if forgotten here by a strong man – everything breathes with legends.

One of the most exciting places in the county is the town of Põltsamaa. Once there was the capital of the Livonian Kingdom, with its castle, which welcomes guests in the city center today. By the way, Põltsamaa is also considered the wine capital of Estonia – fruit and berry and fruit wines are produced here, arranging colorful festivals and fairs in summer.

South Estonia

In winter, the southern regions of Valga County, Võrumaa, and Põlvamaa are especially popular with Estonian residents and visitors. The best ski resorts are located here, and the hilly terrain is favorable for snowmobiling and sledding. Valga County is also popular with professionals – it hosts the qualifying rounds of the European Championships and the World Cup in cross-country skiing. In summer, the freestyle jumps are used as an observation deck.

Põlvamaa will appeal to fans of ethno-tourism. Here are the settlements and villages that have preserved the traditional way of life, all against the backdrop of marvelous nature. National parks offer hiking trails of any degree of difficulty, and you can walk along swamps, cliffs, and canyons.

An additional highlight is meteorite craters, and there are four of them in the area. Moreover, the diameter of the deepest is about 80 meters.

Võrumaa county will appeal to wildlife researchers. The main pride of the region is the Hinni Canyon, a mysterious valley that gives rise to the Rõuge Trail. Having passed it to the end, you will see the pasture of the indigenous abodes of these places – the reindeer.

The largest lake in Estonia and the country’s highest point, Suur Munamägi Hill, 318 meters high, is also waiting for you on the route.

Where to go in Estonia

Tallinn Zoo

©istock

The Tallinn Zoo was founded in 1939.

Related:  30 Surprising Tourist Attractions in India That You Cannot Miss

Today the collection numbers over 350 animal species living on 89 hectares. The zoo’s expositions include Alpine, Central Asian, South American, Arctic, and many other zones.

The zoo is proud of the collection “Tropical House,” rare for northern latitudes: the inhabitants of the tropical jungle were settled here.

Town Hall Square

©istock

Each ancient European city has its central square with a town hall founded in medieval times. Such areas were usually used as a gathering place during some important events and as a trading platform. Tallinn is also no exception and has its center – Town Hall Square.

Monument to the battleship “Rusalka.”

©istock

A bronze angel on the seashore holds a cross in his hand held high above his head. He points to the place of death of the battleship “Rusalka.” The statue, created by the sculptor A. Adamson, was installed in Kadriorg Park in 1902 on the 7th anniversary of the shipwreck.

Fat Margarita Tower

©istock

A medieval maritime city is, first of all, towers and fortress walls, in a word, structures intended to defend the city from invading invaders. Today the Great Sea Gate and the Fat Margarita have turned into monuments reminding native Tallinn residents and guests of the town about the terrible times. Fat Margarita was “born” in the 16th century: a giant armory tower (155 loopholes) with a diameter of 25 meters and a height of 20 meters was erected next to the Sea Gate.

Kadriorg Palace and Park

©istock

Kadriorg is considered a prestigious area of ​​Tallinn. The tranquil area is famous for its rich history and the main attractions – the Kadriorg Palace and park. Now on its territory is the residence of the Estonian president and several embassies of other states. The preserved wooden houses are also of interest; Estonia’s prominent figures of literature and art lived in them in the 1920s – 1930s.

Related:  Switzerland Travel Guide: Best Places to Visit And Things To Do

Aquapark in Tallinn

©istock

Aquapark in Tallinn is a water spa at the Kalev Spa hotel located in the center of the “old town” next to Kanuti Park. Town Hall Square is just a 7-minute walk from the water park. In addition, within walking distance of many attractions is the center of Tallinn – Dominican Monastery, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Dome Cathedral, St. Peter and Paul Church, St. Nicholas Church, Church of the Holy Spirit, Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, Toompea Castle, Kiek-de- Kyok and other objects.

Continue Reading

Travel

Czech Travel Guide: Best Places to Visit And Things To Do

The Czech Republic, or the Czech Republic, is a central European state bordering Poland in the north, Germany in the west, Austria in the south, and Slovakia in the east. The capital of the Czech Republic is the city of Prague, which is one big attraction in the open air. The country covers an area of ​​78 866 km², has 10 610 947 people (2016). The largest cities are Prague, Brno, Pilsen, Ostrava.

According to legend, the ancestors of today’s Czechs, led by their leader Czech, settled on the territory of the modern Czech Republic, which has been inhabited since the Stone Age. The first chronicle mentions settlements on the Czech land date back to the end of the 9th century when princes from the Přemyslid clan united these lands. In the Middle Ages, the Czech kingdom had significant influence. Still, the religious conflicts that arose (the Hussite wars in the 15th century and the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century) significantly weakened it. Soon the kingdom fell under the rule of the Habsburgs and became part of Austria-Hungary.

After the end of the First World War and the fall of Austria-Hungary in 1918, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Subcarpathian Rus united into the independent republic of Czechoslovakia. Germany occupied the country in 1939. At the end of World War II, the Czech Republic found itself in the Soviet camp, which predetermined its history until 1989. On January 1, 1993, Slovakia separated from the Czech Republic, and both countries gained independence. Today’s Czech Republic has been a NATO member since 1999, and it has been a member of the European Union since 2004.

The Czech Republic is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Regardless of the season, the country annually is visited by about 50 million people—the choice of tourist routes in the Czech. Republic is so extensive that it is worthwhile to decide in advance which direction of tourism interests you at the moment and which should be left for subsequent visits. The most attractive are historical routes since the country has many objects that will be of interest to fans of antiquity: castles, fortresses, castles. Some cities in the Czech Republic are included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List.

Climate and weather in the Czech Republic

The climate of the Czech Republic is moderate continental with features of the sea. Summer in the region is warm, with daytime temperatures of + 23 … + 25 ° С, with a lot of precipitation. Winter is cloudy, cool, in the day around 0 … + 3 ° С, and at night -5. -2 ° С, snow often falls. In winter, ski resorts start operating in the mountains. 

The minimum precipitation occurs in spring and autumn, and this time is considered the most comfortable for excursions and travel around the country.

The weather in the Czech Republic rarely surprises: in summer, as a rule, it is not hot, and in winter, it is moderately calm, so tourists visit the country all year round. 

  • Pilsen Region  – This region attracts tourists with its old Baroque buildings, nature reserves, folklore, and delicious food. Local beer is considered one of the most delicious varieties in the whole Czech Republic and beyond.
  • The South Bohemian Region is the greenest and most picturesque region of the Czech Republic, with a rich history and unique architectural sights. A third of its area is covered with forests and seven thousand pounds.
  • Stí nad Labem  – this area is also called the “Gateway to the Czech Republic,” as it is surrounded by hills – former volcanoes, from the tops of which an impressive view of the whole Czech Republic opens. The region will be attractive for those who like to explore ancient cities and their architecture. And for those who prefer rest among the picturesque nature – there are many reserves here. Thanks to volcanic soils, the region grows the highest quality hops in the world.
  • Liberec Region  – the region is famous for its magnificent nature and ski resorts. It is also considered the birthplace of a precious stone – Czech garnet.
  • Hradec Králové Region  – the region is home to the highest mountains of the Czech Republic – the Krkonoše with numerous ski resorts, a large number of castles and fortresses, and the most significant Czech zoo – an authentic African safari.
  • Pardubice Region  – looks like heaven on earth. Along with its magnificent nature, this region is proud of its history and technical monuments. On the National Stud Farm territory in Kladruby nad Labem, you can see how the white breed of Starokladruby horses is bred.
  • The Olomouc Region attracts tourists with its nature reserves and the Jeseníky Mountains with exceptional climatic conditions. This area is rich in its cultural traditions and ancient monuments.
  • The Zlín Region has Czech traditions and folklore, good wine and plum brandy, delicious food, and mysterious castles. Visit the local town of Zlín with its unusual architecture in the Czech Republic. Thanks to the local businessman Tomáš Bati, who invited the most distinctive architects in the 1930s, the city has become a natural monument to functionalism.
  • South Moravian Region  – This hospitable region is considered a wine-growing region, as 96% of the Czech vineyards are located here. A region with beautiful picturesque nature and UNESCO Intangible Heritage Sites.
  • Central Bohemian Region  – the atmosphere of local towns and villages is created by the legacy of ancient royal dynasties, the prints of which can be found all over the region.

Old cities of the Czech Republic

In addition to castles in the Czech Republic, it is worth visiting ancient cities, in which a vast number of historical and architectural monuments are concentrated.

Czech Krumlov

Cesky Krumlov is the most famous historical area of ​​South Bohemia, located in the Sumava foothills, famous for its stunning ensemble of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings. Cesky Krumlov Castle is the largest in the Czech Republic after Prague Castle, and it is also included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. The ensemble of the castle consists of 40 buildings and palaces, five courtyards, and a garden.

The castle on the old trade route was founded in the 1st half of the 13th century by representatives of the Vitkovich family. The architecture and the castle’s name determined its geographical location: the court was located in a loop formed by the bend of the Vltava River (die Krumme Au – crooked meadow). Podhradie got the name Latran (latus – side, side), and it was also planned to consider the river’s bends. Initially built in the Gothic style, the vast castle complex has changed – first in the Baroque style, then in the Rococo style. In the city, tourists will be interested in a garden and a park, theater, galleries, cellars. The dominant feature of the old town is the church of St. Vitus rising on the steep bank of the river. Buildings decorated in the sgraffito style, red-tiled roofs, and gilded turrets give Krumlov a unique charm and style.

Not far from Krumlov, only 32 kilometers away, there is a new (opened in 2012) attraction – a wooden observation tower at the top of Kremlin, above Lake Lipno. This tower is unique among structures of this kind for its pedestrian zone – a wooden suspended frame begins on the ground and gradually rises to the top of the building. In 2012, this site was named the best new Czech landmark.

Telc

Telč is a city on the water, Moravian Venice, whose layout is due to the presence of three artificial reservoirs and a bypass channel – the former castle moat. The city’s historical core is an old fortress, which has retained its appearance since the Middle Ages. The Gothic castle on the water was founded in the 13th century, and the building acquired its modern appearance during the reconstruction in the 16th century. The main building of the old city is a palace with rich interiors:

  • The Golden
  • Blue
  • Theater and Knights’ Halls
  • The All Saints’ Chapel
  • A treasury
  • A banquet hall decorated in the sgraffito technique

Jindrichuv Hradec

The town of Jindrichuv Hradec is home to the third-largest castle complex in the Czech Republic, built in the 13th century on the historical border between Bohemia, Moravia, and Austria. The complex’s main building is a Gothic palace with valuable paintings, the Church of St. John the Baptist with rare frescoes, and a former Minorite monastery. The city is famous for its annual classical music (Concertino Praga) and folk music (Folková růže) festivals.

Brno

Brno is the capital of Moravia and the second most important and largest city in the Czech Republic. The most recognizable symbol of Brno is the Gothic castle of Spielberg, the silhouette of which is depicted on Czech coins. The court was founded in the 13th century on the summit of the Spielberg mountain. 

Once in Brno, it is worth exploring the Moravian Gallery, the second largest museum in the Czech Republic, famous for its rich collection. The gallery, founded in 1961, contains objects of free art – not only painting, graphics, and plastic arts from ancient times to the present, but also photography, applied art, and graphic design.

Also noteworthy in Brno is the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, the Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the Church of St. Jacob, the Town Hall, the Church of St. Michael.

Kutná Hora

The historic town of Kutná Hora, the second largest after Prague in the 14th century, became famous for its silver mines. In the 16th century, after the cessation of silver mining, its importance fell, but the town retained its charm, becoming one of the most famous tourist centers in the country. Tourists may find it interesting to visit the Chapel of All Saints, built around 1400 at a Gothic cathedral in the cemetery of the Cistercian monastery in Sedlec. As a result of the cholera epidemic of 1318 and during the Hussite wars at the beginning of the 15th century, the cemetery grew considerably. The arriving bones began to be piled up in pyramids. In 1870, by order of the Schwarzenberg’s, woodcarver Frantisek Rint decorated the chapel’s interior with bones from 40,000 skeletons, from the altar to the chandelier.

It is worth visiting Vlašský Dvor – a cultural monument of Kutnogorsk, which is a complex of buildings from the 13th – 14th centuries, once the residence of Czech kings, with an old mint; the stone palace Hradek, which today houses the Silver Museum with an exciting exposition; Cathedral of St. Barbara – Czech Notre Dame de Paris.

Plzen

Plze, the fourth largest city in the Czech Republic, located in the country’s west, stretches at the confluence of four rivers – Uslava, Uglava, Radbuza, and Mži. Pilsen is famous for the following attractions: the tallest church tower in the Czech Republic (103 m) – the tower of the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew, the cathedral itself with the late Gothic Sternberg Chapel, the Town Hall, the dungeons, the Museum of West Bohemia, the third largest synagogue in the world in the Moor-Romanesque style.

As you know, Plze is the capital of Czech brewing, and Plze beer of the Prazdroi and Gambrinus brands is brewed here. The beer is produced according to the old technology, unchanged since the century before last, and the inimitable taste to the drink, according to the Czechs, is given by the Pilsen water, its malt, and the unique storage conditions in the cellars. You can learn more about the history of the Plzeský Prazdroj brewery in the Brewery Museum.

Memorial Terezin

The Terezin Fortress was founded at the end of the 18th century at the confluence of the Laba and Ohři rivers, 5 km south of Litoměřice. During World War II, the German invaders set up a concentration camp for Jews in the fortress, the so-called Terezin ghetto, which housed a little less than 140,000 people (of whom 33,000 died while in the ghetto). Some of the Jews (88,000 people) were deported to Auschwitz and other death camps. By the end of the war, 17,247 people had survived in the ghetto. Soviet troops liberated Terezin on May 9, 1945. Today Terezín houses the Memorial to the Victims of the Concentration Camp.

Medical resorts of the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is a recognized destination for health tourism, and the country is famous for its thermal and mineral spas, the most famous of which is Karlovy Vary. The city was founded by Emperor Charles IV century. 1358 appeared in a place where 132 mineral springs break through to the earth’s surface, 12 of which are with healing water. The resort has a glorious history; the entire world elite came here to improve their health: monarchs, prominent political figures, famous people of art. The city’s streets repeat the bends formed by the Teplaya River, across which openwork bridges are thrown. The town is decorated with picturesque buildings of different eras, parks, squares. In addition to medical procedures shown for a wide range of diseases, and pleasant walks in the bosom of nature, you can always enjoy your time here. For example, the city hosts the Karlovy Vary Film Festival – the second most important in Europe after the Cannes Film Festival.

Marianske Lazne -the second most important resort in the Czech Republic after Karlovy Vary, whose history begins in 1528 – discovered Ferdinand’s spring. Today there are about 40 mineral springs here.

Another Czech town with a spa tradition is Frantiskovy Lazne, popular mainly among women, as the local mud successfully treats infertility.

You can find out more about the country’s resorts in our article “Therapeutic spas of the Czech Republic,” which tells about the most popular places for treatment on the waters.

Water parks

Aquapark Babylon is located in Liberec and is part of the largest entertainment center in the Czech Republic Babylon. The interiors of the water park resemble antique baths, and the most popular attractions are the “wild river” and the adrenaline “space bowl.”

The AquaPalace water park is located in the village of Čestlice near Prague – it is the largest water park in Central Europe. The complex consists of the Palace of Waves, the Palace of Adventures, and Relaxation. There is a diving tunnel for lovers of deep-sea diving, and sauna lovers can visit the classic Finnish saunas, Roman baths, and Russian baths.

The Aqua-Olomouc water park is located in Olomouc and is famous for its adrenaline-pumping attractions. Visitors are also offered a massage, solarium, and tepidarium (dry heating zone).

Where to go in the Czech Republic

Prague Old Town

©istock

The Old Town of Prague (Old Town) is the central, oldest, and most popular part of the Czech capital. Everything that Prague is associated with is concentrated here: narrow cobbled streets, unique buildings built in different architectural styles from Gothic to Art Nouveau, beautiful copper doorknobs, orange roofs, and the indescribable charm of a medieval city.

Related:  20 of the Best European Capital Cities to Visit in 2021

The Charles Bridge

©istock

Charles Bridge is a famous Prague landmark, one of the recognizable symbols of the city, so adored by tourists.

The medieval Charles Bridge over the Vltava River is a pedestrian, free entrance, open around the clock.

The bridge connects two historical districts – Stare Mesto and Mala Strana.

The length of the Charles Bridge in Prague is 515.76 meters (usually rounded up to 520 meters).

Golden Lane

©istock

In the very center of Prague Castle, there is a picturesque street called Zlata Ulichka. Along the cobblestone pavement, there are tiny multi-colored “gingerbread” houses built into the arches of the former fortress wall.

National Park “Bohemian Switzerland”

©istock

This reserve, which has no analogues in Europe, stretches from the town of Tisza in the Ustecky region to the Shluknovsky ledge in the Decinsky region. The park was founded on January 1, 2000, and became a Czech extension of the German Sächsische Schweiz National Park (Saxon Switzerland), founded 10 years earlier (1990). The Bohemian Switzerland Park is part of the vast natural complex of Labske Piskovce, and the main object of protection is the characteristic sandstone phenomenon – the “rocky sandstone town” of Etrschowické and Dečinské Stena, and the associated biological diversity. Tourists love to visit observation decks with unique views of sandy cliffs, bridges and castles created by nature. The park is popular with fans of active sports: climbers, cyclists, rafting and hiking enthusiasts.

Millions of years ago, the sea stretched here. Having collapsed, it left behind a unique land of high sandstone cliffs and towers, rocky arches, ravines and mountains with truncated peaks.

Wild nature, which for a long time developed without human intervention, was discovered at the end of the 18th century by two Swiss artists of the Romantic era – Adrian Zingg and Anton Graf. Depicting this land in engravings and describing in poetry, they quickly spread the fame of it throughout Europe. The sites along the Elbe River canyon have become the cradle of modern tourism, becoming one of the first actively visited tourist attractions in Europe.

One of the most famous landscape painters of all time, Caspar David Friedrich, came here for the motives of his paintings. The owners of the local estates quickly realized the attractiveness of the local dense forests and romantic outlines of the cliffs, they went to great lengths to make these places more accessible by building roads and bridges. On the Mariana Rock, the Wall of Welhelm and the Rudolph Stone, steps were made, benches were placed, and gazebos were placed on the peaks. Along the roads, new taverns and lodging places were opened for tourists, walking paths appeared, and the wild river Kamenice began to be used to move between the gorges.

Not only artists came here for inspiration. Forts of robber knights, rock towns, legends about gnomes and fairies influenced the storyteller Hans Christian Andersen, poet R.M. Rilke, composers K.M. von Weber, Richard Wagner and others.

Related:  Holidays in Austria: 10 Best Places To Visit Right Now

And today the Pravcicke Gate is a symbol of “Czech Switzerland”, conquering artists, for example, the snow-covered Silent Rocks became the scenery for the film “The Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”. It was here that Lucy visited the cave of the faun Tumnus, and all four brothers and sisters crossed the rocky bridge for the first time and looked at the endless forests of Narnia.

One of the main attractions of Bohemian Switzerland, along with the Pravcické Gate, is a romantic boat trip along the Quiet and Wild Canyons on the Kamenice River. It is a short but impressive boat ride with a gondolier between two sheer cliffs – in places so deep that direct sunlight hardly gets here.

This was once a serious obstacle for the inhabitants of local villages. Once in 1877, at the U Zeleného stromu tavern in the town of Hřensko, five brave souls made a bet that they would sail on rafts from the Dolskoy mill to what was then called the “end of the world”. On rafts 4 meters long, they really safely reached Hrzhensk, in fact, becoming the founders of the tourist water route. The local prince Clari-Aldringen invited specialists from Italy, under whose leadership, through the labor of over two hundred workers, these sites became available to the public. Suspended bridges were thrown here, tunnels were built with the help of explosives. On May 4, 1890, the grand opening of the “Quiet” (“Edmond’s”) canyon took place. Since then, “at the very end of the world”, in fact, nothing has changed much,

Related:  10 Most Popular National Tourism Destinations

Moravian Karst

©istock

The Moravian Karst, or Moravian Karst, is a nature reserve, one of the largest karst massifs in Europe, located in the Czech Republic, 30 km north of Brno.

The area stretches 25 km in length. Its width in some places is 6 km. The natural park covers an area of ​​92 sq. km. The highest height of rock formations in reserve is 734 m. The lowest place of Kras is the Macokha abyss, which has 138 m with the Punkva River at the bottom. For tourists, unique bridges (Upper and Lower) were equipped over the abyss, from which a stunning and, at the same time, a terrible panorama of the gorge opens up.

The most popular among tourists are the caves of the Moravian Kras, of which there are about 1,100 pieces. Only five underground cavities are equipped for excursions in the Moravian Beauty, among which it is worth mentioning the Punkva cave, through which the Punkva underground river of the same name flows; deep cave Macokha; Katezhinskaya cave with unique limestone formations – helictites growing horizontally; the Balcarka stalactite cave and the Stolbsko-Shoshuvsky caves with spacious underground corridors. Other attractions of the Moravian Karst include the Empty Trough and Dry Trough karst canyons and the White Water Gap.

Unique flora and fauna protect the reserve. Many species of plants and animals are endemic. In some caves, ancient rock paintings have been found on the walls.

On the reserve territory, the so-called “ecological trains” run, delivering tourists to remote points of the park. Tourists should remember that it is stably cold even in summer in the caves, so it is worth bringing a set of warm clothes with you.

Dancing House in Prague

©istock

The Dancing House in Prague is the image of a couple in dance, expressed in urban architecture. The house consists of two towers called “Ginger and Fred,” referring to the famous Hollywood dancer and actor couple Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. The comparison is indeed justified: one tower is straight, has the shape of a cylinder, expanding upward, and symbolizes a man. And the second tower – glass, depicts the figure of a woman with a narrow waist. In the dance, she seemed to lean against her partner. The building’s less flattering nickname is The Drunk House.

Continue Reading

LATEST

Travel2 days ago

Vacations Forever: 5 Best Resort Towns You Should Move to ASAP

Do you want to be on vacation all year long? Fewer people are using their part-time vacation homes as primary residences nowadays,...

Travel3 weeks ago

Estonia Travel Guide: Best Places to Visit And Things To Do

Estonia is one of the brightest, most versatile, and diverse countries in northern Europe. Situated on the eastern coast of...

Travel3 weeks ago

Czech Travel Guide: Best Places to Visit And Things To Do

The Czech Republic, or the Czech Republic, is a central European state bordering Poland in the north, Germany in the...

Travel4 weeks ago

Sri Lanka Travel Guide: Best Places to Visit And Things To Do

Sri Lanka is a small island state located in South Asia near the Indian subcontinent. The country received its modern...

Travel4 weeks ago

Chile Travel Guide: Best Places to Visit And Things To Do

Chile is one of the most remote states from Europe, located in the southwest of South America, stretching out as...

Travel4 weeks ago

Sweden Travel Guide: Best Places to Visit And Things To Do

The Kingdom of Sweden is a state in Northern Europe, located on the Scandinavian Peninsula, the Baltic Sea islands, and...

Travel4 weeks ago

Switzerland Travel Guide: Best Places to Visit And Things To Do

Switzerland, or the Swiss Confederation, is a state in Western Europe bordering Germany in the north, Italy in the south,...

Travel4 weeks ago

Montenegro Travel Guide: Best Places to Visit And Things To Do

Montenegro is a European state on the Balkan Peninsula on the Adriatic coast. The country, covering an area of ​​13,812 km²,...

Travel1 month ago

Uzbekistan Travel Guide: Best Places to Visit And Things To Do

Uzbekistan is a state in Central Asia with a rich historical heritage, ancient cultural traditions, and unique architectural appearance. Travelers...

Travel1 month ago

Croatia Travel Guide: Best Places to Visit And Things To Do

The Republic of Croatia is a state located in the west of the Balkan Peninsula. Northwest Croatia has a border...

Popular