Category Archives: Europe

Petit Palace Cliper Gran Via

5 Quirky Boutique Hotels in Madrid

Looking for a Madrid hotel? Here are five of the best upscale and boutique places to stay in the Spanish capital…

Osuna Hotel

quirky luxury in SpainFound in the Palomas neighbourhood, close to Juan Carlos I Trade Fair Ground (IFEMA) and Barajas Airport, Osuna Hotel might seem best-suited to business travellers on first appearances – but it also has a lot to offer those in Madrid on leisure. The city centre is ten minutes away by taxi, and the hotel itself has a whole host of fancy facilities. One large, secluded pool lets you take your morning dip, while the poolside restaurant El Mirador serves up Mediterranean fusion cuisine. All rooms have internet access, air conditioning and smart modern décor.

 

 

 

THC Bergantin Hostel

Quirky boutique madridFound just a block from Madrid’s main square the Puerto del Sol, THC Bergantin Hostel is perfect for first-timers to the city as it puts you within walking distance of all the main sites. The beautiful Royal Palace, Real Theatre and Almudena Cathedral are all easily reachable on foot from your front door, as well as party areas like Huertas where you can get plates of tapa alongside every drink. The hotel itself has just 15 tastefully-decorated spacious rooms, so it’s great for a more intimate and romantic break away. Perks include Wi-Fi access, air conditioning and free city tours arranged by helpful staff.

 

 

Petit Palace Cliper Gran Via

Next to Madrid’s famous main shopping-and-sightseeing thoroughfare the Gran Via, Petit Palace Cliper Gran Via puts you in the centre of the action. Other must-see places nearby include the gorgeous Parque del Retiro and Madrid’s ‘golden triangle’ of museums, the Prado, Reina Sophia and Thyssen. The Reina Sophia holds Picasso’s masterpiece, Guernica. At the hotel itself, you’re treated to the ultimate in style and comfort for relatively low rates – rooms have plasma TVs, airy balconies and hydro-massage showers in bathrooms. There is free Wi-Fi throughout the building, and a full breakfast is served daily. You can also rent bikes from reception.

 

 

High Tech Madrid Aeropuerto

boutique hotels madridIf you’ve got an early flight to catch, you’re travelling on business or you just like the fuss-free convenience of staying near the airport, High Tech Madrid Aeropuerto has everything you need and style in spades. There is a free shuttle bus to and from the airport, so you don’t have to worry about catching a train or shelling out for a taxi. The hotel owns a large outdoor pool for taking advantage of the city’s famous sunny days. Inside, your room is kitted out with the latest fancy technology, including a flat screen TV, hydro-massage shower and free Wi-Fi access. You can also sweat out your cares in the sauna, or treat yourself to local delicacies like Iberico ham at the restaurant. Popular business and conference areas Fuencarral, Chamartin and the Paseo de la Castellana are on your doorstep.

 

 

THC Latina Hostel

madrid hostels and hotelsFound in the stylish La Latina neighbourhood, about half an hour’s walk south of Madrid’s main square the Puerta del Sol, THC Latina Hostel offers stylish and affordable rooms that feel like a home away from home. With luxuries like LCD TVs, parquet floors, modern décor, pretty balconies and free Wi-Fi, you’re sure to be comfy here. Outside, the neighbourhood is calm and safe, and you’re only a short walk from the bustle of local bars and restaurants that Madrid’s tourists haven’t claimed for their own yet. You can rent bikes from the front desk ,and La Latina Metro station is four minutes’ walk from the hotel – from here you can whiz to the centre of town in ten minutes flat.

cc image of Gulfoss, Iceland courtesy of Bryan Pocious

5 of the World’s Most Amazing Waterfalls

How does one decide which waterfalls are the most amazing in the world? Is it the tallest, the widest, the fastest, or the most scenic? There are just so many to choose from. Check out the story below and be blown away by the magnificent waterfalls that grace our planet.

Victoria Falls, Zambia

cc image of victoria falls courtesy of ebel on FlickrVictoria Falls means “the smoke that thunders” in the language of the Kololo Tribe. It is one of the largest waterfalls in the world. When David Livingstone first stumbled upon it in 1885 he was completely awestruck by its beauty, describing the falls as “scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.”

The waterfall is where the Zambezi Rivers drops over a 108 metre vertical wall into a narrow gorge below. The fall at its widest is 1.7 kilometres across. Such is the intensity of the falls that mist can be seen several kilometres away. Pure majesty!

Angel Falls, Venezuela

The Angel Falls are the tallest in the world, dropping an amazing 979 metres from a table top mountain. The falls are frequently shrouded in clouds adding to their mystique and beauty. Getting to the falls is quite an adventure; you will travel by boat for four hours and then a take a 90 minute uphill climb. When you finally spy the falls after all that hard work you will be exhilarated. They are breathtaking.

Iguazu Falls, Brazil

The Iguazu falls are beyond compare. They are made up of 275 different waterfalls across an area of 3 kilometres. The combined flow of water is nature at its most powerful: around 1000 cubic metres per second! Nothing can prepare you for the sense of grandeur that the waterfalls evoke. It is an incredibly energising place; watching the sheer volume of water fall is awe inspiring. There is an abundance of wildlife around the falls, including banded-tail coaties, parrots, toucans and butterflies.

Gullfoss, Iceland

cc image of Gulfoss, Iceland courtesy of Bryan PociousGullfoss means “Golden Falls’ and is arguably Iceland’s most popular waterfall. Gullfoss is unique in that features two separate drops, one a short distance from the first, at right angles to each other. The falls produce glorious sprays of mist that are rainbow filled in certain lights. The Hvita River from whence the falls come is glacial and the colour of the falling water reflects its’ origins. The first drop is 11 metres and the next around 13 metres.

Yosemite Falls, USA

Yosemite Falls are the iconic symbol of the beautiful Yosemite National Park in California. The waterfall drops in three points: the Upper Fall plunges 435 metres; the next drop known as the Middle Cascades, tumbles a further 200 metres; followed by the last drop, The

Lower Fall, which drops a final 100 metres. The Yosemite falls are one of the tallest in the world. The double attraction of the falls is that they are easy to access and stunningly beautiful. The makes them once of the most popular waterfalls to visitors from all over the world.

uk roadtrip

The Best UK Road Trips

Going on a road trip is one of the best adventures, and the cheapest, you can have to break up the everyday routine of university life or work life. Just hop in your car, fuel up and drive towards the different sights UK has to offer. Whether you are in England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland, there are a number of trip routes that offer interesting sceneries.

England road trips

Take the M5 from Bridgwater and head west to A39 to start your Atlantic Highway road trip. Take in the watercolour sceneries of Somerset and feast your eyes on the wild hills on the east or the Atlantic coastline to the west. Pack your surfboard and head on to Newquay in Bude, Cornwall. Watch out for the rocky shores of Combe Martin or the charming villages of Brendon Hills and Selworthy village.

uk roadtrip

From Bude, drive on to Mousehole, at the tip of Cornwall. Take Route B3306 to Land’s End and experience the rolling green plains dotted with grazing cattle. Have a hearty dinner of fresh fish and potatoes at the Gurnard’s Head and treat yourself to some Cornish tea. However, if you only have half a day to spare in your busy schedule, there are other road trips available. From London, another route takes you from the A23 to Brighton, which has superb shopping, a buzzing nightlife scene, and a glorious stretch of coastline.

Wales

Wales is a small country but with a variety of vistas. Drive across the Denbigh Moors through the EVO Triangle composed of the A543, the A5, and the B4501, three roads forming a triangle. It was called such as it is EVO magazine’s favourite car testing grounds. Drive through the smooth winding roads and enjoy the peaceful scenery of the moors.

Take the A493 and see the sweeping vista of jagged cliffs lining the Atlantic coast. Visit the Church of St. Cadfan in Tywin or the Dysynni Valley beyond it. Wales is so small you can go from the north coast to the south coast in half a day.

Scotland

Explore the Highlands from Invergarry to the Isle of Skye and enjoy a view of the mountains. Check for snow-capped peaks during the cold season, and some lambs enjoying the grass at the foot of the mountains. Visit Loch Ness in Inverness on your way from Glasgow, Scotland’s capital city. Take the scenic coastal route from Edinburgh to Berwick-Upon-Tweed which takes just under two hours. North Berwick features two medieval castles open to the public—Tantallon Castle and Dirleton Castle.

Northern Ireland

Aching to escape the busy city life of Belfast? Put your car in gear and drive out through the A2 towards Northern Ireland’s coastal route. Just follow the brown road signs saying “Causeway coastal route” and the road will take you through the coastal towns. Visit Carrickfergus Castle in the town of Carrickfergus. Built in 1777, this Norman castle is open to visitors from 10am to 4pm daily. Explore the Giant’s Causeway and decide for yourself whether to believe the legends portraying giants as the builders of the causeway, as stepping stones towards the sea. However, scientific theories suggest that these unusually-shaped stones were actually created by violent volcanic eruptions from 60 million years ago. Whatever the truth, it’s a splendid sight to behold.