12 Photos That Will Make You Want To Visit Nova Scotia in Canada

by Lindsay Shapka in , , , ,


Though Canada’s east coast has been occupied and built up longer than most of Canada by outsiders who brought farming, building, and industry to the “New World”, there is still something raw, wild, and just beautiful about this part of the country.

Yes, a lot of that beauty is a result of human occupation, but there seems to be a symbiosis between the land and the people who live in it, and a respect for the roaring ocean that is always close by.

These 12 photos show some of my favourite parts of this stunning province, and showcase why it is worth the visit.

The boardwalks that take you from a gravel parking lot on the side of the road, through the sand dunes, and out onto the beach that is stunning if it is shrouded on fog or glowing under the blue sky!

The happy, multi-coloured buildings found everywhere you look — in cities, villages, and on farms!

Sleepy fishing villages with moss covered roofs in quiet coves.

Fishing nets, boats, traps, colourfully painted floats, and the fishermen themselves are full of character.

The lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove — it doesn’t matter how touristy it is, this will always be one of my favourite spots!

Short ferry rides that give you views of small villages along the water and shorten your drive time.

Stunning parks are found throughout the province, like this one in Halifax.

Weathered, historic buildings that have held their own through winter storms and bright sunshiny days.

It’s just so ridiculously beautiful — I mean, look at those colors!!

Everywhere you turn, you seem to be at the beach, which is almost more beautiful in the fog than it is in the sunshine.

I could stare at the rough and wild Atlantic Ocean that crashes against the shoreline for days.

The colourful buildings in the North End of Halifax that have so much character!

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Visit Nova Scotia in Canada
Visit Nova Scotia in Canada


Your Guide to The Top Cities and Countries to Visit In 2019

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,


Lush green rainforests, storybook castles, rugged mountain peaks — where are you dreaming of visiting in 2019?

There are a lot of articles out there already about the top places to visit in 2019 so, to make things easier, I've rounded up the best to give you a one-stop spot to plan your 2019 adventures.

Here are the top five destinations for the year according to National GeographicLonely PlanetTravel + Leisure, and Conde Nast Traveller — four of my favourite travel publications!

National Geographic’s “Where to Travel in 2019”

1. Mexico City, Mexico (see image above)
The local food scene is the biggest draw according to the article, with a focus on handmade corn tortillas.

2. The Peruvian Amazon
Did you know that the Amazon rainforest covers more than half of Peru?!

3. Fanjinshan, China
This sacred Buddhist site is China’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Site.

4. Dakar, Senegal
The center of the fashion world in Senegal, this city is known for its incredible nightlife.

5. Dordogne, France
An annual celebration in this region called the Félibrée turns 100 in 2019 and the castles and landscape make this destination look like it’s out of a fairytale!

Click here to see all of the destinations on this list.

Lonely Planet’s “Best in Travel 2019”

*Note: This article contains multiple lists, but I’ve focused on the cities for this post.

1. Copenhagen, Denmark
Dubbed the “capital of cool”, this city is a hub of fashion, food, and culture!

2. Shenzhen, China
Considered to be the ‘Silicon Valley’ of China, this city is bursting with tech innovation.

3. Novi Sad, Siberia
The 2019 European Youth Capital, this city is quickly developing its cultural assets as it is set to be the 2021 European Capital of Culture.

4. Miami, USA (see image above)
Always a popular destination for beaches and nightlife, Miami has transformed into a “burgeoning center for the arts, a foodie destination and an innovator in urban design”.

5. Katmandu, Nepal
Still rebuilding after the 2015 earthquake, this city is in a phase of rejuvenation — tourism dollars can only help!

Click here to see all of the destinations on this list. 

Travel + Leisure’s “The 50 Best Places To Travel in 2019”

1. The Adirondacks, New York
”Clear lakes, pure air, and 46 high peaks to climb” — what more could you want?!

2. Alberta, Canada
The majestic Canadian Rocky Mountains, incredible museums and art galleries, and a robust foodie scene — this province in Canada has a lot to offer!

Read The Anthrotorian’s Guide to Trekking The Sulphur Skyline Train in Jasper, Alberta

3. Alsace, France
This region produces some of the best wine in the world and has incredible dining to go with it.

4. The Andaman Islands
This chain of more than 300 islands is between India and Thailand and is the definition of paradise.

5. Armenia (see image above)
A new liberal government has made this stunning country more welcoming and accessible to tourists.

Click here to see all of the destinations on this list.

Conde Nast Traveller’s “Top Holiday Destinations 2019”

1. The Peloponnese, Greece
Escape the crowds of Santorini and check out this even more stunning under-the-radar Greek destination.

2. Egypt
If museums are your thing (they are definitely mine!), the Grand Egyptian Museum is opening in January of 2019.

3. Matera, Italy
This romantic and historic city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

4. Perth, Western Australia
A foodie and wine destination, this city is also a great jumping off point for adventures in Australia’s “wild west”.

5. The Scottish Highlands
Step into the wild wilderness that looks like a movie set or cuddle up near a fire in the local pub.

Click here to see all of the destinations on this list. 

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Your guide to the best cities and countries to visit in 2019
Your guide to the best cities and countries to visit in 2019


15 Photos That Will Make You Want To Visit Lagos in Portugal

by Lindsay Shapka in , , , ,


Lagos Portugal Algarve

Stretching 150 km along the southern coast of Portugal, the Algarve is arguably one of the most beautiful and varied coastlines in the world. 

You can find solitude on sandy islands, action-packed golden beaches with amazing nightlife, and the famous breathtaking cliff-backed shorelines that have taken over Instagram. There are also charming towns packed with cafes, restaurants, bars, shops, and lots of cobblestone streets to wander through when the sun goes down. 

If you are looking for resorts and nightlife, the east and center of the long coastline is where you should base. The west is a little quieter and more rugged. If you are looking for the best of both worlds, head to my favourite spot — Lagos.  

 

Why Lagos?

Lagos sits right on the coast with an old town that is surrounded by a 16th-century wall enclosing picturesque plazas, cobbled lanes, churches, charming restaurants, fantastic nightlife and more. Many of the hotels, guesthouses, hostels, and rental apartments are located outside of the old town but are easy to walk to. There are also a lot of grocery stores and markets if you are wanting to self-cater. 

Nearby beaches offer every type of activity imaginable, but you are also close to the rock backed nooks that you can climb down to if you are looking for a more secluded spot for the day. 

Getting there 

Portugal has fantastic train and bus networks that you can use to get all over the country. You can access Lagos from Lisbon by train, and there are also coastal trains that run back-and-forth along the cost if you would like to visit different towns and beaches during your stay. 

You can pre-buy your tickets on the Comboios de Portugal website. (TIP: The first-class ticket is usually only a few Euros more than the regular class. If you are looking for more space, a quieter car, and free wifi consider sitting in a first-class car.)

When to go

As with any location with a beach, as soon as summer hits locals and tourists alike flock to the sand and clear blue water of the Algarve. The summer months will find towns and beaches packed with people and temperatures soar. 

By October, the tourists clear out, but if you are (like me) okay with hitting the beach in around 20-degree weather (78-degrees Fahrenheit), then the fall and spring are lovely times to visit. You'll be sharing the town and beaches with locals, some expats, and the odd tourist, and prices will also be significantly lower. 

Watch out for

The beaches and towns along the Algarve are some of the busiest areas in Portugal in the summer months and the pickpockets know it. Keep your eye on your belongings, especially when laying on the beach.

Be careful if you decide to search out a cliff-backed beach, as the cliffs can often be unstable. And, make sure you are aware of ocean conditions — some areas can experience dangerous currents and winds.  

Surrounded by a historic wall, there are only a few paved roads that cars, and pedestrians, can use to access the town of Lagos through curved entryways. 

The streets of Lagos are paved with unique patterns laid out in cobblestones. Buildings are painted white, orange, pink, or blue, or are covered in stunning Portuguese tiles. 

Sun drenched streets make the tile-covered buildings in Lagos look even more beautiful. This shot was taken on my visit there in November when it was still hot enough to lay on the beach all day, but not hot enough to be packed with tourists. 

Cafes, restaurants, and charming souvenir shops spill out into the cobblestone pedestrian street in Lagos. 

One of the famous cliff-backed, secluded beaches, Praia do Camilo is a bit of a hike to get down to but is SO worth it. It is about a 40-minute walk from the heart of Lagos, but there are also local buses that will drop you off near this spot. 

A rock face at Praia do Camilo from the beach level. To the left is a passage through the thick cliff that gives you access to a smaller, more private beach on the other side. 

The homes that are located outside the city walls are colourful, covered in stunning flowers, and are often available for rent if you are looking for a base to have a longer stay in the area. 

Because of the year-round beautiful weather, even in November, these stunning flowers were in full bloom. 

There are hiking trails along the coast from Lagos heading west to a historic lighthouse. They take you past incredible views, to the top of staircases that lead you to secluded beaches, and go for miles. 

Near the lighthouse, there are caverns in the rock that can be accessed by boat. If you aren't interested in the hike, there are boats that leave from Lagos that will give you the ocean-side view of the cliffs. 

Looking east from the top of the cliffs near Lagos, you can see other whitewashed towns dappled along the coastline. 

The golden sand and stunning blue waters of the Praia Dona Ana, located just outside of central Lagos. 

I was surprised to see how many unique and colourful shells are washed up on the beach every day — most of them completely intact. The beaches of the Algarve are a beachcombers dream! 

Gotta love having a quiet, secluded spot to set up a selfie at sunset! Nothing better than getting that perfect shot for Instagram :) 

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Lagos Portugal Algarve
Lagos Portugal Algarve



The Most Epic Road Trips in the World

by Lindsay Shapka in , , , ,


Road trips are one of the best ways to travel because you get to experience everything hands-on — the culture, the people, and the scenery of every place you visit (or pass through). Some of the best parts of a new place, that you would miss if you are rushing from place-to-place on a plane or train. 

That’s why I love this awesome infographic guide to the longest roads (aka most epic road trips) in the world!

It includes travel times, cool stops, and fun info about each route, like The Golden Quadrilateral Highway in India (such an awesome name), which takes you past the Taj Mahal and India’s countryside.

Or, the Pan-American Highway that is longer than the length of the equator! I had no idea this road even existed! There are some seriously dangerous spots on this trip though, like the Summit of Death, a mountain pass in Costa Rica that many travelers don’t make it through. Also the Darien Gap, a stretch of swampland that is basically completely untouched because no one can access it. Travel at your own risk!

Check out the full infographic below!



Longest Roads in the World



GUEST POST: The 10 Best Cities To Visit In China

by Lindsay Shapka in , , , ,


The 10 Best Cities to Visit in China

China is a huge and diverse country, which can be overwhelming to travel through — especially if you have a limited timeframe or budget. There are cities full of skyscrapers and those will transport you back in time, but they all hold a uniqueness that will make you want to linger a little longer. 

To help you plan your trip, I've narrowed down the huge list of cities in China to the ones that you absolutely must see as a first time (or repeat) visitor.

Beijing

The Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Great Wall of China — you could spend your entire time in Beijing exploring all the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, but some of the most interesting parts of this city can be found within its traditional narrow alleys.  

A few of these alleyways are even protected to preserve them from future development, and you are definitely going to want to wander through them to capture a glimpse of what everyday life is like in this city. I recommend the alleyways near Nanluoguziang and Ping’anli to see and experience. 

When it comes to art and culture, the 798 Art Zone, which used to be filled with Mao-era factories, is complete with contemporary art galleries, bookshops, and cafes. It is the perfect destination for a relaxing and people watching at any time of day.  

Xi’an

Beijing may have a lot of cultural attractions, but Xi’an has its fair share as well.

The awe-inspiring Terracotta Army Museum was discovered in 1974 by local farmers, and this archaeological site contains a staggering collection of life-size terracotta sculptures that depict the army of Qin Shi Huang. 

The Hanyangling Mausoleum also displays terracotta figures from two thousand years ago and it is not as crowded as the other museum. 

While in Xi’an, you will also want to visit the Muslim Quarter and take a bike ride along the top of the impressive city wall. 

Shanghai

Shanghai is fast-paced and glamorous but also has an undercurrent of history. 

Walking down the Bund, which is the historic and glitzy walkway on the waterside, is necessary as is visiting the fabulous Yuyuan Gardens. 

There are also a number of hip neighborhoods throughout the city, including Tianzifang, The Cool Docks, and M50, and you will want to wander through a couple of them to check-out what all the hype is about.

Chengdu

The food in Chengdu is amazing and you will love eating your way through this city. 

Start with rice cakes and sesame sauce before diving into the spicy chicken on a stick, but do not forget to try the Sichuan hot pot. This infamous dish is a spicy broth that you can dip a number of different types of food into. You will be able to try any of these delicious dishes at any restaurant, market, or tea house in the city. 

Once you've experienced all the food in Chengdu, you will find that the city is relaxed and low-key. 

One of the more popular places to visit is the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, and once you've been there it is all about the local parks. The best park is People’s Park, where you can relax by the lake, practice calligraphy on the pavement, or join in on one of the many dance classes that are always on offer. 

Guilin

Nature abounds in Guilin with rolling green hills, beautiful water, deep dark caves, and jagged rocks. 

Most people that visit cannot believe that this area is a city at all due to all the beauty that lies before them. Embrace the tranquility and enjoy the solitude that Guilin has to offer canoeing, kayaking, hiking, cycling, and spending time in nature. 

Guangzhou

This city has long been part of the famous Maritime Silk Road and one of the best times to visit is during the Canton Fair. 

People do arrive in this city for more than business though, and you will love sites like the Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family and the Bright Filial Piety Temple. At nighttime, the city is best experienced by a cruise along the Pearl River. 

Hong Kong

Hong Kong really heats up after the sun goes down, and the best place to see it all is from Victoria Peak where you can capture magnificent panoramic views of the city well above the sprawling high-rises, while also catching a glimpse of the laser light displays and fireworks. 

Kowloon and Lan Kwai Fong are the best places to head for a late-night meal and a night out on the town. 

Sanya

Sanya is not a traditional city in any way, and there are no fast-moving crowds to be found anywhere. Instead, you will find white sand that meets warm waters on the shoreline as well as people who want to spend their time either relaxing or out in the water. 

Jet skiing, surfing, snorkeling, diving, and swimming are the most popular water sports in Sanya, and you will find that there is always something fun and exciting to do. 

Shaxi

Located along the old Tea Horse Trail, what makes this city amazing is that it has been completely restored instead of rebuilt. 

The original walled town and the Old Town Market Square are definite must-see destinations while you are in Shaxi, and then you can head out towards the mountains for some fantastic hiking.     

Tibet

"Technically" a part of China, Tibet is like a totally different world.  

The attractions are breathtaking — three of the best places to visit in Tibet include the Potala Palace, the Jokhang Temple, and Barkhor Street. 

*     *     *

If you choose to visit one of these ten cities in China and there are numerous local tours that you can take to explore them in-depth. Just like a Halong Bay tour in Vietnam, any of the tours that you find in China will include great information about the places that you are seeing, as well as give you the opportunity to meet many of the locals that live there. 

Meeting locals is the best way to experience and learn about not only a city but the culture and traditions as well. So, talk to as many locals as you can and listen to what they have to say. You will find that your time in China will be that much better because of it! 

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The 10 Best Cities to Visit in China
The 10 Best Cities to Visit in China

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Meet The Author

Jessica Watson has been writing for websites and blogs for four years now. Currently, she is the editorial manager at Bhaya Cruises who are offering best cruising services in Vietnam



15 Photos That Will Make You Want To Visit Lisbon

by Lindsay Shapka in , , ,


Portugal's capital city, Lisbon is enchanting with its maze of steep cobblestone streets, stunning tiled buildings, sun-drenched squares, outdoor cafes, and beautiful historic sites. 

If you still need to be convinced that you should add this destination to your travel bucket list,  what makes this city even more appealing is that fact that it is one of the most affordable places to visit in Europe (you can get a coffee and a croissant for 1 Euro!). Plus, the location of the city gives you access both to mountains and water, its restaurants are packed with delicious local delicacies and amazing Portuguese wine, and the people are unbelievably welcoming.

What more could you want?! 

One of the easiest (and most fun) ways to get around the city is on one of the many streetcars that pass through the narrow historic streets that most cars can't (or aren't allowed) to travel down!

The Arco da Rua Augusta sits at one end of the huge main square (Praca do Comercio) facing the water. The square is bordered on two sides by lemon-yellow buildings and covered in cobblestones.

It was the place where anyone arriving to Lisbon by sea used to disembark, and it is always bustling, full of restaurants and cafes, and one of the best spots to watch the sunset. 

A view of the Praca do Comercio from the other side of the Arco da Rua Augusta. You can see straight through to the water beyond. The arch marks the beginning, or end, of the main pedestrian street that is lined with shops and high-end cafes that trickle out into the street. Once the sun begins to set, it is the place to see and be seen whether you are a visitor or a local out for an evening stroll. 

A view into the interior courtyard of the breathtakingly detailed Mosteiro dos Jeronimos. This monastery is a UNESCO world heritage site and was home to monks of the Order of St Jerome for four centuries before the order was dissolved in 1833. 

One of the most photographed historic sites in Portugal, the Torre de Belem (Belem Tower) is also a UNESCO world heritage site and is said to epitomize the Age of Discoveries

If they aren't covered in tiles, the buildings in Lisbon are painted in pastel hues that make the streets feel like they are always basked in a morning glow. 

Laundry hanging in the sunshine off of wrought iron balconies is a common sight throughout the city, as are doors that have a character all their own. 

The 360-degree views from the Castelo de Sao Jorge are impossible to capture in a single photograph. Built in the mid-11th-century, the castle allows you to take in the terracotta rooftops of the entire city — handy if you haven't gotten your bearings yet! 

A quirky attraction, this wrought-iron elevator (Elevador de Santa Justa) was built in 1902 by Gustave Eiffel's apprentice (the creator of the Eiffel Tower in Paris). It is Lisbon's only vertical street lift and you can ride it to the top for fantastic city views!

Freshly baked Portuguese tarts sit in bakery windows — but not for long! 

Restaurants and cafes spill out into the streets giving diners the chance to people watch while they eat and enjoy a little fresh air. 

Lisbon isn't all historic buildings and cobblestones! The Parque das Nacoes, located in the north-eastern part of the city, was built for Expo '98 and is full of modern architecture like the Gare do Oriente train station pictured above. 

The breathtaking Basilica da Estrela is huge and is decorated with complex patterns in pink and black marble. 

There are massive churches all over the city, some in the more ornate gothic-style, and others that are a little more austere like this one. 

Almost every single building facade in Lisbon is covered in tiles, a result of the art of tile-making being brought to the city by the Moors hundreds of years ago. It is a feast for the eyes to wander through the town center and take in all the different patterns and designs! 

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Traveling By Plane? 6 Essential Winter Air Travel Tips You Need To Know

by Lindsay Shapka in , , , ,


Are you avoiding below-zero temperatures and traveling to a warm-weather destination? Or, are you heading right into the storm and traveling somewhere cold to enjoy winter sports? 

Whether you are leaving from a snowy destination or headed to one, these are the essential winter air travel tips that you need to know to make sure your vacation gets off to a good start! 

Get to The Airport Earlier Than Usual

Icy road conditions as a result of weather mean potential delays as you travel to the airport, and you don't want to arrive too late to check-in or be stuck in a line at security. 

Because cooler temperatures mean that everyone will be wearing more layers, this also means longer lines at security, as it will take each person a few minutes more than normal to get themselves — and all of their belongings — through the checkpoint. 

Check-In Online

Almost all airlines now allow online check-in — either through a website or an app — at least 24 hours before your flight time. You will be able to select your seat, pay any baggage fees, and provide contact information where you can be reached if there are any disruptions to your flight. 

If you still have to check a bag when you get to the airport, you should be able to skip the line and just drop it in a designated area. If not, checking in online allows you to skip the check-in lines altogether and head right for security when you arrive! 

Be Accessible

Make sure the contact info you have provided can be checked regularly or easily accessed. That way you will receive any flight status updates as soon as they happen and not only when you are in front of the screens at the airport. 

Keep in mind that you might not be using your cellular data while traveling in a foreign country, so email might be a better way to reach you than a telephone number.

Check Your Flight Status Before Leaving For The Airport

Icy runways, blizzards, fog, freezing rain — there are so many winter-related events that can cause flight delays or cancellations. Avoid waiting at the airport, or arriving for no reason, and check the status of your flight about an hour before you plan on leaving for the airport. 

Essential Winter Air Tips

Pack To Prevent Security Delays

Here are some tips to keep in mind when packing:

  • Valuables, Electronics, Documentation, and Medications should be in your carry-on bag, NOT your checked bag. Make sure that all medications are clearly marked with their original labels.

  • Keep any gifts that you are traveling with unwrapped.

  • Most airlines allow one or two carry-on bags. Though the sizes vary slightly, they are consistently only permitted to be 10kg in weight. Make sure you are aware of your carry-on allowance to avoid any unexpected fees.

  • Remember that any liquid or gels are only allowed to be in containers that are 100ml/100g/3.4oz, and must be kept in a clear plastic bag. There are bags at the airport you can use, or a Ziploc bag works as well.

  • Galaxy Note 7 phones are not permitted on board any airlines at this time.

  • While it is important to have a name tag attached to the outside of your bag in case it gets lost, make sure you have your information on the INSIDE as well. You never know when an exterior baggage tag might be ripped off in transit!

Make Sure Your Passport is Up-To-Date

If you are traveling outside of your own country, you will need a valid passport.

While all passports have an expiry date, you should think of your "real" renewal date to be 6 months earlier than the printed one.

While you may be able to get on the plane still, many countries won't allow entry to foreigners whose passport expires in less than six months. You don't want to fly all the way to your destination and have to turn around and fly right back! 

NOTE: If you are traveling with children, you will have to have additional documentation like birth certificates, legal documents, or letters of consent. 

Visit IATA Travel Centre for details regarding country-specific passport, visa, and health entry requirements for destinations around the world.

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Essential Winter Plane Travel Tips