Top Tourist Attractions of Italy

Italy is the best blessed country known to mankind. With honing rare artists like Michelangelo to creating the capital of romance, to preserving the eternal city, to the modernity of Milan, and finally a home to the most number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Italy is oozing with talent and excitement. Obviously the list of places to see in this country is never-ending; you will probably need over a month to explore the true Italian land. But fret not, here is the list of things you cannot miss on your visit to Italy. It is a long one, but be warned – this is the shortest it can get!

  1. Colosseum

One of the wonder of the world, this amphitheatre was built around 80 AD. Popular for dangerous battles between gladiators, lions and criminals who fought for their lives, the Colosseum is an engineering wonder because such a magnanimous circular structure was built on marshy lands and it still stands tall. This is the Italian postcard spot and sees over a million tourists each year.

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  1. Mark’s Basilica

This is a reflection of ancient Italian legacy! Sitting like a perfect puzzle piece in Piazza San Marco of Venice, St. Mark’s Basilica is a wonderful mix of magnificent architectural designs Italy has witnessed. The beautiful Byzantine dome architecture, mosaics mix with precious marbles, oriental adornments and the treasurer of vast art pieces, are collectively responsible for making this a top tourist choice.

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  1. Duomo Cathedral, Florence

Begun building in 1296 and completed in 1436, the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore is the brightest star on the Florence Skyline! The explicit use of colours of green, pink and white depict the various talented artists who have collectively built this glorious structure. One of the largest brick dome in the world, this Basilica is of great significance to the Italians.

  1. Trevi Fountain

Completed in the 17th century, there is no other depiction of fables and myths like this one. This iconic fountain is one of the most popular ‘wishing fountains’ of the world. Well, a wish or no wish, stand in front of this wide and wonderfully carved structure and you will understand the depth of Roman culture at a glance. 

  1. Vatican City

Visit Italy and not walk into Vatican City, how is that even possible? You will find a horde of attractions like the St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Museums filled with a feast of artwork, Sistine Chapel and of course the most popular leader of Catholic Church, Pope Francis.  A walk down the cobbled streets will be overwhelming as you cannot imagine a place that is home to one classical piece of art after another.

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  1. Spanish Steps

Italy has such an in-depth history that you will get lost in all its ancient stories. One such chapter in Italian history is baroque. The Spanish steps are a reflection of Baroque artistry which had a strong influence on architecture in the past. So when you wish you simply soak in the daily Italian culture grab a seat at local cafes of Spanish Steps, relish some Italian bread or Gelato and casually observe the locals live their life!

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  1. Venice Canals

Stitched together on a thread of 150 canals, Venice is the number one water city in the world. Gondola rides on endless canals with the background of picture-perfect colonial architecture creates an incomparable amorous charm. Flocked with lovers for years on end, the Grand Canal has lost it purity, but the aura of romance continues to linger!

  1. Leaning Tower of Pisa

The tilt is what has put this tower of Pisa of the tourist map. Built in the 1100s, the tower started titling to one side during its construction due to a faulty foundation. They say that every year it sinks by 1mm. It was predicted to crash in 2000, but it stands strong even today. Only time will tell when this leaning tower will give way and bid us farewell. All tourists will most certainly hope for never! 

  1. Lake Como

Lake Como in Italy’s Lake District is a painting from a storybook! The serene waters, endless green landscapes splashed with colourful flowers, and clouds crowing the mountains, is a scene that will make your heart skip a beat!  The cherry on the cake is the quaint, picturesque towns which border Lake Como; oh! It feels like you are re-living the opulent times of our ancestral days. Take in the pure air in this region and you will know what utopia feels like!

  • Amalfi Coast

A holiday paradise, you will sink into the beautiful shades of blue on the Amalfi Coast! The Lattari Mountains falling willingly into the ocean forming an indented and beautifully carved coastline and the hillside town cascading down the steep mountains adding a palette of colours to the landscape will be a love-at-first-sight-moment!

  1. Cinque Terre

The Italian coastline is probably the most colourful ones you will witness during all your travel. The Cinque Terre, which is a group of five villages nestled comfortably on the rocky, steep ocean-line, is all set to sweep you off your feet! To get an authentic experience, you must walk or trek through these villages to enjoy the landscapes, mingle in some Italian hospitality and capture breathtaking sunsets!

  1. Pantheon

A place where the royals and influencers of Italy rest in peace, the Pantheon is one monument which has been awarded several records such as the largest brick dome, best preserved ancient structure, most replicated  monument and so on. What makes this impeccably brilliant is the construction which is precise- the height and diameter are accurate and the beam of light from the dome falls at an angle which gives an immaculate character to the interiors.

  1. Uffizi Gallery

An art-lovers paradise, the Uffizi Museum restores the finest artworks of world-renowned artists namely Giotto, Botticelli, Mantegna, Correggio, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Durer, Rembrandt and Rubens and so many more. The Museum is built so creatively that it opens up beautifully to the Arno River. The Uffizi Gallery is beauty at its best!

  1. Pompeii

Like the world knows, Italy is the home of ancient Roman culture. And every sightseeing spot has immense significance. Pompeii is a preserved city from AD 79, where you will see spectacular remains of markets, baths, temples, houses and old streets. Walking down these glorious sights is simply awesome!

  1. Chianti Wine Route

Apart from history, architecture and legacy, Italy is famous for its wine too! Sitting pretty between the historic and artistic cities of Florence and Seina, Chiante is filled with intertwined roads lined with rustic country homes, clad with colourful flowers and huge vineyards. The friendly smiles on locals is an invite to go and mingle with these beautiful people over a glass of home-made wine! Don’t miss such an opportunity!

There is so much more to see in this wonderland that you will have to make more trips to get a comprehensive Italian experience. From the fashion of Milan to the landscapes of Tuscany, you surely do not want to miss out of anything. So make a toast to Bella Italia!

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Glow worm Caves of New Zealand

Twinkle twinkle little star… How I wonder what you are… Deep beneath the earth so deep…Like diamonds shining in heaps!

This is exactly what will come to your mind when you see pictures of magnificent shiny dots lighting up a century-old cave in New Zealand. Yes, the amazingly captured pictures you have probably seen of blue sparkles are actually real – they are glow worms habituating in Waitomo Caves situated on the North Island of New Zealand.

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What are glow worms? This is a species which is slightly bigger than a mosquito and is known as Archnocampa luminous. These are the kind of insects which have a fungus gnat that glow in the larvae stage. The fungus gnats glow as they hunt for strings of mucus and cling onto rock walls, which is why you see the ceiling of cave glowing. The glow is a result of a particular chemical released by this species and the oxygen in the air. Glow worms survive without food for weeks, even months. They are quite smart that way, as they attract their prey (flies, mosquitoes, spiders, etc.) by glowing and enticing them to come closer.

The Waitomo Caves were discovered in the 18th century and is a natural formation as old as 30million years! There are over 300 limestone caves that have been discovered by man so far and each one has cavities and hollows that are awe-inspiring! Yet, the Pipe Organ, the Catacombs and Banquet Chambers of the Glow worm Caves are the best and consequently the most popular tourist spots.

There are guided tours that take you through the dark tunnels with glow worms sparkling on the roof. Since the cave is filled with water, you can hop onto a rafting boat and glide through the black hollow turns – the sight of blue and green specs is just unexplainably gripping! For the adventure lovers, you can jump into the deep cave and take a walking tour of the Glow Worm world underneath. With a torch-helmet you explore the dark waters, but the sights you see of the Archnocampa luminous are probably better than the ones you capture from the boat. There are other fun activities at the Waitomo Caves like rafting, exploring the stalactites and stalagmites, and walking through a nature that you never knew of.

New Zealand is known as probably the most beautiful and talented country in the world; it even has the best of all adventure sports. Yet, the glow worm habitat is a starry wonderland you can never see anywhere else in the world. It is the rarest natural phenomenon and witnessing it is going to be your best lifetime experience. Rest assured!

World’s Most Spectacular Helicopter Tours

Up above the world so high, you will see the views and sigh! Mankind offers umpteen opportunities to appreciate aerial views in several cities and yes, you will thoroughly fancy scenic views of New York City, Sydney, Hong Kong and others. Yet, there are some helicopter tours you must see because they are the most magnificent experiences in a lifetime. Here’s a look –

  1. Victoria Falls, Africa

Your ride in the air will leave you spellbound at how magical our world is! The white sheet acting as the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls looks magnificent from the ground itself; the mist and rainbow can be viewed from a distance of 20 kilometres! Now imagine what this sight from up high will look like?! “The smoke of thunders,” is truly the most thundering experience!

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  1. Glacier Country, New Zealand

Uniquely positioned between snow-topped mountain, Glacier country in New Zealand culminates into an emerald green rainforest at the base. The aerial view will allow to you take in pure white and green pictures and a bird’s eye view of unknown peaks and crevasses. After seeing the untouched heaven-like snow blanket, you will have an opportunity to stroll in the Fox Glacier Township as well. Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it?

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  1. Iguazu Falls

Twice as tall and thrice as wide as the Niagara Falls, the Iguazu Falls separating Argentina and Brazil has been crowned as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The longest waterfall in the world, the only way to totally understand the beauty and speciality of these Falls is in a helicopter. Absolutely nothing will compare to the massive curves of water plunging so dangerously, yet gracefully into the Earth’s mouth. See it, to believe it!

  1. Everest Base Camp

The most mythical and magical spot of Earth is undoubtedly the Himalayan Mountain Range! Trekkers get their share of magical moments on their adventure, but fret not because you can also fly across the majestic range and watch the dramatic Himalayan unfold in front of your eyes! Simply aboard a helicopter from Nepal and traverse to the world’s tallest peak for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

  1. Grand Canyon

America’s National Monument, this is the largest naturally carved canyon in the world. A helicopter ride will take you beyond road access points to get colourful scenes of the Proterozoic and Paleozoic strata. Across the blue sky, the Hover Dam, Kaibab National Forest and Mojave Desert, your heart will skip a beat with every click of the camera!

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  1. Hawaii

More than half of Hawaii cannot be explored by foot since it is impossible to access these point by foot or by road. So, helicopter is your best option to get a bird’s eye view of the dramatic American scenery; from rainforests, to volcanoes, to untouched beaches and gorgeous landscapes! A ride in the air will also get you photo opportunities of secluded tidal waves, waterfalls and flowing lava – something you never even imagined!

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  1. Great Barrier Reef, Australia

What a sight it will be to see the largest coral reef system right from top! The Great Barrier Reef has over 1500 animal species habituating in there, and if you are lucky you can even spot sharks, turtles and sting rays from up there. A ride in the helicopter will fly you for 2000 kilometres over white-sand beaches, the heart-shaped reef, and 500 plus coral species. That is some sight!

Helicopter rides have a peculiar fetish which leaves you mesmerized! These experiences will captivate you with those awesome sights; leave you wondering about the Earth’s formations; and make you thank God for such exceptional life! So go on and fly high!

Travel Guide to Singapore

Singapore is a playground for all kind of tourists – kids, teenagers, adults, families and retired people will all find their share of fun and joy in Asia’s Lion City. The city has endless views, activities and experiences for all its guests that boredom is something you will not know in Singapore. Here is a brief guide for travellers who wish to see what Singapore is made up of –

  1. Dine at the Flyer

If you want to amaze at the spectacular Singapore skyline, there is no better way to do it. The Singapore Flyer is the world’s largest observatory wheel; from each capsule you can get breathtaking views of the harbour and downtown Singapore. To make this view more special, you can opt to have dinner on this one-hour journey where you’ll be pampered with a fine-dining experience. Sounds romantic!

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  1. Gorge on Sea Food

Of course, you have heard endlessly about the Singapore crabs! Yet, this is not the only delicacy you can try here; if you like to experiment with your food, try some stingray and fish-head. If you are up for some more experimentation, go for the deep-fried ants and scorpions! Singapore chefs surely know that a way to a tourist’s heart is through his stomach!

  1. Fragrance Walk at Botanical Garden

This is a paradise of tropical forests and gardens! Very carefully planned, the garden has the famous National Orchid Garden which nurtures 1000 orchids and 2000 hybrids. You can choose to explore the orchid-lined pathways from early morning to midnight since this garden is open for everyone, all day long. So go ahead and wander in some fragrance land.

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  1. Sentosa Sensation

Like the Merlion statue, this too has become the identity of Singapore. A fun theme park filled with entertainment at every nook and corner, this is an ultimate paradise for families. Sentosa is massive- there is a man-made beach, kids entertainment centre, underwater aquarium, light and water show, popular restaurants, the list is endless. So plan your day well! The highlight to this trip is taking the long zip-line and watching Singapore glide by below your feet.

  1. Swim at unimagined heights

Marina Sands Bay is the luxury hub of the city- you will walk by designer stores, a mall, and sky park. The Sky Park has an infinity pool opened to the sky on the 52th floor! This is the world’s largest outdoor pool stretching to 150metres. However, this pool permits only guests to enjoy its benefits. If you don’t fall into that category, you can visit the observatory which is open for all and get amazing view of the Helix Bridge, Gardens by the Bay and the entire city.

  1. Get acquainted with white tigers and orang-utans

Singapore proudly stands as the world’s best rainforest zoo! This place is a happy home to a collection is species from hundred-year old tortoise, to chimpanzees and the famous orang-utans, hippos, and white tiger, and many more. You may also go on a night safari and observe the nocturnal life of these animals. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity!

  1. Wander in the Garden of the Bay

You will be astonished when you enter the world’s largest climate-controlled greenhouse! The green oasis feels like a scene from the movie Avatar with giant trees surrounding you. This is a one-of-a-kind place in the world, so you just cannot miss it!

  1. China Town

Get up close with authentic Singaporean heritage at the bustling China Town. You will walk past several mom-and-pop stores selling knick-knacks, red lanterns and true Chinese food! Your trip will be blessed with some ancient temples in the vicinity as well. This is a must-see in Singapore.

  1. Little India & Arab Street

Singapore is the melting pot of Asia! In fact, if historians are to be believed, Indian culture dates back to 200 years here. You ought to visit the vibrant streets of Little India and Arab Street to know how diverse Singapore is; you may be pleasantly surprised to see a magnificent temple and intricately designed mosque on the streets of Singapore. On your visit relish some Indian street food and authentic meat dishes as well. While walking around, picking up a sari or Indian kurta is also a great option for the shopaholics!

  • Window shop at Orchard Street

Obviously, you cannot come to Singapore and not shop! In fact, you will be pardoned if you only shop here; and Orchard Street is the place to begin your raid. You pass by/walk into over 25 malls and departmental stores on this street which includes all the high-end brands. If you get hungry, there are plenty of cafes, local food stalls and restaurants where you can grab a quick bit, sip of some Singapore Sling and continue your spree!

  1. Know the Quays

Boat Quay and Clark Quay are the evening spots! Popular for being the centre of commerce, these water front areas are lined with night clubs and restaurants one after another. The night clubs have great themes and interiors, while the restaurants serve a variety of cuisines. This sounds like an ideal place to spend some memorable evenings in Singapore!

  1. Walk the Southern Bridges

For the adventure seekers, you can embark on the walking trail which stretches 10 kms from Mt. Faber, Telok Blangah, Kent Ridge and Hort Parks. This is one of the best walking trails of the city where you wander through canopy walks, lush forest and the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore. So pack your bag with some water, a hat and a hand towel and you are set for some interesting, soothing, quality time!

Singapore has the ‘world’s best’ and the’ world’s biggest’ of many things, so you cannot afford to miss such landmarks on your trip. However short or long a holiday, Singapore guarantees an excellent time and unforgettable memories. Just make sure to plan your time well!