Hakone is one of the most beautiful day trips you can take from Tokyo. It’s only a short 2-hour train ride away and transports you from the out of the metal metropolis of the city, into the lush green landscape of the Japanese countryside. Hakone is famous for their hot spring onsens, stunning view of Mount Fuji across Lake Ashinoko and unparalleled natural scenery.
Vienna is the capital and largest city in Austria, and as of 2001, the entire town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has been named the "City of Music" or the "The City of Dreams" and for good reason. Vienna is home to some of the most interesting architectural masterpieces in Europe.
Vincent Willem van Gogh, better known to the world as just Van Gogh, is one of the most prolific (if not THE most) artists of all time. A tall order but for anyone who has ever had the chance to view his work, especially in person, can tell you; his painting are more than painting, they are expressions. Emotionally compelling images of pain and suffering mixed with astonishing beauty.
If there one thing I like to do more than anything else it's to explore locals marketplaces. Whether it's a rural farmer's market no bigger than a few tables of tomatoes or a giant European market hall, there is something so exciting about being surrounded by a myriad of colours, aromas and flavours local to that city.
L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue's Sunday market is one of the largest and most impressive outdoor flea markets in Provence. Walking along the picturesque Sorgue River, you can buy everything from food to antiques, vintage clothing, fine art, fresh cut flowers and even some of the best handmade goods the country has to offer.
Dresden was so heavily bombed during WWII that almost nothing remained of the baroque city. Huge restoration projects took shape after the war was over and now visitors can walk through the city without ever knowing that only 60 years ago, it was all but rubble. On this guided tour we take you to all the most popular sites in Dresden's Historic Old Town.
The Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (or Old Masters Gallery) is honestly the best art gallery I ever had the pleasure of visiting. It doesn't feel too big nor too small. It's like a grand old home that someone has decorated with exquisite pieces of arts — a stellar collection that's lovingly curated.
One our first day in Prague we set out with our fantastic tour guide Barbora, from Prague Guides, who met us at our hotel and took us on a comprehensive tour of Prague from local's perspective. Prague Guides were so affordable and gave you an intimate and personalised experience that is unmatchable.
The walk takes about 30 minutes; it's a bit steep but walking through the woods and trees as you climb is a pleasantly quiet experience. We chose to walk down the hill and very much could see the appeal of wanting to take the stroll up and avoid the lines for the funicular. But it was rather rainy, and we figured it would be best to go with the funicular option.
Fremont Street is often seen as the "other side of Vegas". The main strip on Las Vegas Boulevard is often the only place visitors go and don't dare to venture outside of it. But what little people know is that Fremont Street is the site of the original "strip" where all the top casinos in Vegas once stood before the expansion in the mid 1980's that saw newer, swankier hotels opening up along Las Vegas Boulevard.
After walking around the Imperial Palace Gardens all morning, we were due for a bit of rest before facing the rest of the day. Half way towards our next destination we decided to take a rest in the next large park we came across. This turned out to be Hibiya Park.
There are hundreds of Shrines to see in Tokyo, and deciding which ones to see can be tough. I often feel like I'm missing out if I don't make it to every big item on the "must-see" list. The Meiji Shrine was one of those locations you see on every list, and I thought I'd be remiss not to see it.
One of the most iconic images of Japan has to be the bright, vermillion coloured torii gates of Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto. Many people come to Fushimi Inari Taisha not knowing the scope of it. They see the images online and think it's just a few small alleyways - this is far from the whole picture. The main shrine sits at the base of the Inari mountains, but a path of thousands of torii gates behind the building leads visitors up 233 meters above sea level to visit 4 kilometres of sub-shrines finally ending at the magnificent mountain top shrine.
One of the best ways to explore a city is with a local guide. Free walking tours are offered in larger cities across the world, but more often than not, you get what you pay for. They also usually have huge tour group numbers and only take you through the most popular attractions, you probably have already seen. Our Ryokan suggested Waraido Guided Tours which give 5-hour walking tours of the Kyoto Backstreets, through hidden alleyways to discover the roots of Kyoto itself.
The first half of our WaRaiDo Guide Networks walking tour of the backstreets of Kyoto took us through traditional Japanese fan workshops, shrines to health, the largest wooden temple in Japan and a tasting of freshly made tofu!
As the afternoon wore on into the evening, we headed for the famous Gion District of Kyoto for an evening walking tour. The Gion district is known the world over for their famous Geisha's who walk up and down these streets, on their way to tea houses where exclusive guests enjoy an evening of traditional Japanese entertainment.
The Philosopher's Path (or Tetsugaku-no-Michi as it is known in Japan) is one of the greatest exploratory walks you can experience in Kyoto. The Path is located in the northern area of Higashiyama district at the base of Kyoto's East Mountain.