Thursday, June 20, 2013

Discovering Amsterdam's Artwork

Europe is a haven for art lovers. From London to Paris, Prague to Stockholm, the continent is home to some of the most inspiring destinations for artists in the world.

The Dutch capital, Amsterdam, is no exception. The streets of the city are dotted with some of the finest art galleries in Europe, as this map below aptly demonstrates. Feel free to explore by zooming in and clicking the interactive pointers.

View Amsterdam Art in a larger map

Arriving and Staying in Amsterdam

Home to one of the busiest airports in Europe, Amsterdam is one of the most accessible cities in the world. Schiphol Airport is only 6 miles away, and hundreds of flights to Amsterdam  land there every single day.

Schiphol is also a great destination for art lovers on their way home, as one of Amsterdam’s biggest museums Rijksmuseum has a small spin off exhibition in the airport.  Located after passport control, the attraction is free of charge and a great opportunity to get your final art fix before you leave.

Schiphol airport is only a 20 minute train ride from the city centre, so you can get stuck right into the action shortly after you land. If you are really keen on immersing yourself in Amsterdam’s many galleries, try booking a room near Museumplien, which is home to the city’s most iconic museums such as Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum. Alternatively, look for accommodation slightly further north in the city centre to be closer to some of the more off-beat, contemporary galleries.

Exploring Amsterdam’s Galleries

If you haven’t been in Amsterdam before, you should probably start in Museumplien. The hint is in the name, literally meaning “museum square”, because it has some of the biggest museums in the city. If you were to choose one museum in this area, visit Stedelijk. Recently reopened after quite a substantial renovation, it is one of the most important exhibition spaces for modern art in The Netherlands today, and where you will find some of the most popular contemporary pieces in Amsterdam.

After you have endured the crowds at Museumplien, head north towards the city centre and experience some of the smaller, but equally inspiring, galleries. On the Hazenstraat is the Witzenhausen Gallery, which hosts a wide selection of contemporary pieces that deal with a variety of issues such as relationships, love and society. With a sister exhibition space in New York, it is an international institution that hosts a lot of interesting pieces from artists all over the world.

A five minutes’ walk away is the Galerie Fons Welters on the Bloenstraat, which showcases work from more up and coming artists in Amsterdam. The front part of the gallery hosts a space called “Playstation”, which gives younger artists the opportunity to showcase their work. It’s a worthwhile stop for anyone who likes to keep their eyes open for new talent.

Whatever your taste in art, Amsterdam will have a gallery for you. Feel free to explore the map, but it really only scratches the top of the surface. There are many more exhibition spaces in the city, the best of which you are more likely to find by simply exploring the streets and seeing what you stumble upon. You never know what you might discover!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Best Golf Holiday Destinations in Europe

The ceremony and sportmanship, the years of perfecting that swing, the sound of a well timed strike of club on ball, the feeling of self satisfaction as your well placed approach shot creeps up the green towards the pin, and of course; the unmistakable golf attire. With such unique characteristics, is it any wonder that so many people across the globe can think of no better way to spend their holiday and spare time than down on the golf links?

OK, so admittedly the actual act of playing golf may not necessarily be everyone's cup of tea - but surely even the most avid golf hater could find it hard to argue against the pure visual and aesthetic beauty of these wonderfully manicured and picturesque golf courses. If you are lucky enough to be able to get a round, these superb European courses  must rank amongst the continent's finest golfing holiday destinations as well as remaining a source of envy for greenkeepers around the world.


Few UK based golfers can resist the allure of packing there bags and jetting off for a golfing holiday at one of the many great golf resorts available across the coast of Spain and dotted around the regions Balearic Islands. With a much greater assurance of sunshine and more tolerable playing conditions there are likely to be fewer climatic conditions to ruin your round. If the Costa Del Sol is your destination of choice then the  La Cala, Finca Cortesin and San Roque courses offer great options, whilst if Majorca is more your idea of a great holiday you should enquire about visiting the Poniente and Bendinat courses in the West of the island.


For the golfing traditionalists and purists amongst us, a perfect golfing holiday isn't necessarily all about sunshine and exotic locations. For the ultimate golfing experience, a player has to go back to the historical roots of the game which means a trip to Scotland and its many immaculate courses and clubhouses. Whilst only a very select few will have the opportunity to play at the exclusive club at St Andrews , if you have the budget available you may be pleasantly surprised to find that getting a round at the stunning PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles may yet be within your grasp - but ensure you enquire well in advance to avoid disappointment.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Beyond Europe: Exploring India and the Beauty of Goa

Goa is a particularly interesting area in India. Many foreigners live here, making it a cosmopolitan province and is popular with tourists. Whenever tourists think of Goa, they think of the beach life that is found in this coastal province. Why wouldn't they anyway. Goa’s culture makes its beach life particularly attractive to foreigners. It is more westernised than other provinces in the country, partly because of its heavy Portuguese influence.

The world-renowned beaches of Goa provide a relaxing location for peace and quiet, as well as great spots for water sports. Beaches such as the Arambol Beach are famous for its hippy crowd. If you are into yoga, meditation, reki and the likes, you should visit this beach area. For the party crowd, head over to the northern beach of Anjuna. Here, you will find trance parties, hippies, music, and an energetic crowd to top it all up. However, if you are looking for a quiet experience, Baga and Morjim Beach, are good options. It is advisable, however, to look for beaches on the southern part of Goa if you want quiet and seclusion. In all these areas you can find affordable accommodation, as you’d expect in India! Choose from backpacker hostels, cheap hotels like the Holiday Inn in Goa or luxury 5 star hotels that come with all the trimmings.

But Goa is so much more than just the beaches. Despite being the smallest province in India, it still has a sizeable area to offer delightful experiences. As stated earlier, the area has a lot of Portuguese influence. As a result, there are quite a number of ancient Portuguese buildings around worth touring. The Fort Aguada is one of the most famous structures in Goa. The streets of Panjim, Goa’s capital, also bear signs of the Portuguese architecture especially in the Sao Tome area. What’s more, a visit to Old Goa, also known as Golden Goa, reveals the full extent of the former colonial power’s influence. Grand churches stand along this glorious section of the city. The SE Cathedral, for example, is an imposing structure, complete with tapestry and paintings influenced by Portuguese royalty. There are many other ancient churches in this area too.

Even with Portuguese structures, Goa still has Indian culture. There are temples, shrines, and festivals that are much like the rest of the country. The local festivals are colorful affairs, with vibrant street processions to celebrate. Even though Goa has a more relaxed lifestyle compared to the rest of the country, festivals are still very exciting affairs.

You can learn more about Goa in its museum areas. The different museums here focus on different aspects of Goa’s history. The Museum of Goa Daman & Diu showcases the archaeological side of Goa, complete with Hindu relics. The Archaeological Museum of Goa leans toward the Portuguese influence of Goa. Other museums in the area also include the Naval Aviation Museum, not forgetting the Menezes Braganza, both of which highlight a special aspect of Goa’s history and culture.

One of the undiscovered gems in Goa is its nature. While most come here for the beach life, they miss out on some of the interesting wildlife on offer. The area boasts of a national park, five wildlife sanctuaries and even a bird sanctuary for aviary lovers. These areas form enjoyable alternatives to going to the beach.
Whatever you choose to do, there’s no doubt you’ll love Goa. With something everyone set in a beach paradise, there’s nowhere quite like it.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Beautiful British Holidays in the Lake District

For a break from the fast paced lifestyle of the UK’s cities, many flee to the serene and breathtaking surroundings of the Lake District. Many people look for travel destinations outside the United Kingdom, though there are many destinations within the UK that will make for a phenomenal holiday. The beautiful Lake District is one such destination. Tourists that come here are lured to this magnificent gem as it is close enough to reach for many local visitors but still far enough away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Things to do
The Lake District has gained popularity with people from all walks of life seeking a relaxing holiday near the lakes shores. Activities here include water sports and adrenalin adventures such as canoeing, kayaking and wind surfing. However for people looking for something quieter there are various parks and trails that you can go on either on foot or your bicycle. This will give you the opportunity to take in the scenery amongst the natural beauty of the lake and surrounding wooded area.

Family Fun
A holiday in the beautiful Lake District is ideal for the whole family. There are many activities appropriate for all ages. Children can go swimming, biking and hiking in the area. Since many families flock there every year, accommodation in the Lake District is usually child friendly and hence comfortable and safe. For families that are more adventurous, there are various campsites that will give you the opportunity to have some outdoor fun with the family.

Couple’s retreat
This is also a great destination for a couple looking for a romantic break. There are many quaint cottages in the area that would be ideal for a getaway. You can go on long walks scenic surroundings; enjoy multiple couple spa treatments and breathtaking views while having dinner in this picturesque town. There are also many places to go swimming and the evenings provide many fun events to enjoy.

Food and Drink
Apart from the beautiful natural surroundings, the social atmosphere in the area is fun and vibrant. There are many pubs and restaurants where you can go to enjoy a meal after an activity filled day. You’ll be able to find some traditional, wholesome meals as well as experience some fine dining in the local inns and restaurants. Visitors will also find that they are able to buy locally made foods at the farmers markets such as preservatives and breads. One can even travel to the local breweries and try a glass of ale.

Few places can measure up to the beauty that you will find in this area. The lakes, panorama of mountains and hills make it an incredibly rich area to visit. It’s no wonder that so many people travel here to experience it. Not only is it remarkable, it is also filled with history and culture. So, instead of worrying about the stresses of travelling abroad, why not consider a trip in the beautiful British Lake District? It is well worth the effort.

This is a guest post from John at, a guide to the best things to see and do in the Lake District.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Overwater Bungalows: The True Meaning of Luxury

In the world of beach luxury, it doesn't get much better than overwater bungalows. These bungalows are designed with luxury, privacy, and exotic nature in mind. They typically fuse modern facilities with natural material to create beautiful holiday residences. They also sit on top of the ocean, allowing you to enjoy the delights of the sea throughout your stay. These residences are very intimate too, making them the perfect romantic destination.

What facilities to expect 

An overwater bungalow is an en-suite facility. It is designed like a hotel room, with a beautiful bed area, relaxing lounge, along with access to the sea. For more luxurious overwater bungalows, you even have a Jacuzzi and/or swimming pool area overlooking the ocean. For those built over coral reefs, they may have transparent floors that allow you to catch a glimpse of colorful fish and other sea creatures.

Where can they be found?

Most of the world’s overwater bungalows are located in the Asian islands of the Maldives. These beautiful islands are home to a wide assortment of luxury water bungalows run by some of the world’s most prestigious hospitality groups. Bora Bora comes in second, also with a large assortment of beautiful but very expensive bungalows. You can also find them in the Tahiti, Malaysia, Philippines, Caribbean, and Moorea.

Cheap options

For the average traveller, forking out between $800 - $1200 per night to enjoy these fine facilities is way out of their price range. Yet these are prices that are common when browsing through the list of elite overwater bungalow resorts. Fortunately, there are places in the world that you can stay for as low as $150 - $300 and still enjoy these luxurious facilities.

The Golden Palm Tree Sea Villas in Malaysia is the world’s biggest overwater bungalow resort. With a whooping 392 water villas, it quadruples the second largest in the world! This allows the resort to offer much more affordable pricing, as low as $106 per night. The villas themselves are quite large, with some even having 3 bedrooms, great for a family vacation.

Another resort worth looking into is the Medhufushi Island Resort in the Maldives. This 4-star resort offers stunning views, quality amenities, as well as great hospitality at prices that will leave you puzzled. The villas are perched over a beautiful lagoon, and the place receives great reviews. It is surprising therefore when you can pay $274 per night! Other places worth looking at include Meeru Island Resort & Spa in the Maldives, Vilu Reef Beach Resort also in the Maldives, Intercontinental Tahiti Resort, and the Hilton Maldives Irufushi Resort & Spa.

How to choose best overwater bungalow

In order to enjoy your stay, pick the water bungalow according to your needs. If you are looking for privacy, pick one out in the water that is facing the sea rather than the island. Also, if you are not too good at swimming, stick to bungalows that are closer to shore. Ensure that you pick the location properly too. Picking a bungalow in a coral area is great for seeing many different sea creatures, but may be scary for those who don’t want to swim next to unknown sea animals.

This is a guest post from John at