Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Best of St Petersburg in 48 Hours: Travel Blog plus 1 more

The Best of St Petersburg in 48 Hours: Travel Blog plus 1 more

Link to Travel Blog

The Best of St Petersburg in 48 Hours

Posted: 07 Mar 2013 07:34 PM PST

Russian holidays are not complete without a visit to the historic and beautiful city of St Petersburg. Founded in 1703 by Tsar Peter the Great, St Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia. Originally, the city was a small fortress. Peter the Great captured this fortress from the local peoples, intent on turning it into a major seaport to enhance Russia’s trade prospects. The Tsar had the Peter and Paul Fortress erected, setting the foundations for Russia’s trade with maritime nations. This Baltic city has many fascinating cultural and historic sites that must be included on any Russian holiday.

The Historic Centre of St Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a highlight of any visit. Architecture buffs will appreciate the different styles incorporated into this area, including Baroque, Neoclassical and Russian-Byzantine. To get the best experience you can in Russia, both cultural and historical, we'd recommend booking yourself onto an individual or group tour via a trusted travel company such as Regent Holidays, one of the first tour operators to offer holidays in Russia. With over 40 years of experience, you'd be sure to see and learn more about Russia via English spoken guides.

Nevsky Prospekt is the bustling main street of the city. Lined with upscale shopping, palaces, monuments, and more, this street has been mentioned in literature by prominent Russian authors such as Fyodor Dostoevsky and Nikolai Gogol. Tourists can experience the nightlife of St Petersburg on Nevsky Prospekt, which is also home to the city’s most expensive real estate. A stroll down Nevsky Prospekt leads tourists into the Palace Square, which is home to the famous Alexander Column.

The Winter Palace served as the official residence of the Russian monarchy for almost 200 years. The Palace is also known as the start of the Russian Revolution with the Bloody Sunday massacre in 1905. Today, it is one of the most famous museums in the world and attracts millions of visitors each year. The Winter Palace is among several buildings that comprise the State Hermitage.

The State Hermitage is the place to visit for those wanting art and culture on their Russian tour. This complex contains the Hermitage Theatre, the Old Hermitage, the Small Hermitage, and the Winter Palace, among other lesser buildings. Here, visitors can see paintings, sculptures, and artefacts from all around the world. The State Hermitage has something for everyone with modern, classic, and even prehistoric art. 

Peter and Paul Fortress served as the base of the city and a prison for political prisoners. Leon Trotsky, Josip Broz Tito and Tadeusz Kosciuszko are among the famous names that have served sentences here. In 1917, the Bolsheviks attempted to take the garrison, however they surrendered to the government without conflict. Later that same year, the Bolshevik’s were successful in taking the Fortress and, in 1924, it was converted to a museum. Click here for more travel advice on Russia.

The Best of St Petersburg in 48 Hours is a post from: - Travel Directory

5 reasons to visit Madeira

Posted: 07 Mar 2013 05:12 PM PST

There is no doubt that the island of Madeira is re-entering its hay day. After being struck by deadly flooding in 2010, the island is back to its best and is returning as a top pick for holidaymakers from all over Europe and farther afield. But what is it that keeps people coming back to this unique little island, and what should you definitely not miss while you are there?

1. Gourmet indulgence

The food and drink in Madeira is unique and delicious enough to be the only reason to visit this island. Traditional Madeiran cuisine is a sumptuous fusion of the Mediterranean herbs, fish dishes and flavours combined with a distinctly African twist. Try the evil looking, but delicious, 'espada', or scabbard fish, served with intensely sweet local bananas, or the typical 'Picado' which is a beef and garlic dish. As well as sampling the Madeiran wines on offer, try a Nikita, which is a refreshing drink made from beer, ice cream and pineapple.

2. Fabulous flowers

The vibrancy and colour of the people of Madeira are only further complemented by those of the gardens and flowers. For over 300 years people have brought species of plants and flowers to the island, and today the place is bursting with colourful displays in the parks and botanic gardens.

3. Sun, sea and seals

The coastline in Madeira is a peace seekers paradise, with miles of quiet beaches and hidden coves to discover. Take to the water to enjoy anything from windsurfing to scuba diving, or take a boat trip out to see to spot dolphins and seals. Companies in Madeira offer trips out to the Desertas Islands, 12 miles off the coast, where you might catch a glimpse of some of the 40 or so monk seals that live here, some of the very last of the species left in the world.

4. Wild mountains

Madeira is famous for its volcanic interior and miles of unspoilt mountain countryside. When other islands were felling their trees for resources, Madeira committed to protecting theirs, which is now the biggest original Laurel forest in the world. Looking like a set from Jurassic Park, visitors can make the most of these mountainous areas by walking some of the 1,300 miles of 'Levadas'; old water courses that wind their way up to mountain peaks and back down again.

5. Luxurious accommodation

All across the island, the accommodation is stepping it up a gear. From gorgeous cliffside hotels such as the Madeira Regency Cliff which offer unrivalled views of the sparking blue ocean, to the traditional high teas served at Reid's where style and elegance from Churchill's reign is delivered in abundance, the facilities here are in a different class. There are also new boutique and spa hotels opening up here and there, such as the Vine in Funchal which features a bath at the end of the bed, and the cabins on stilts at the Quinta das Eiras.

5 reasons to visit Madeira is a post from: - Travel Directory