• Ajman Tourism launches interactive digital map for touristsTravel And Tour World

    Published on : Monday, March 1, 2021

    Ajman Tourism Development Department (ATDD) is showcasing an interactive digital map for the emirate of Ajman, providing visitors with key information on top tourist attractions, hotels, cultural and sports facilities, and their directions. Ajman digital map includes the emirate’s tourist sites, hotel establishments, restaurants, shopping malls, and parks, in addition to the government departments, universities, and other organisations. The map is updated regularly and includes attractions, new establishments, and additional information of interest to the visitors.

    Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, Director General, ATDD said in a statement that the interactive map includes comprehensive information for the emirate’s visitors to make their stay in Ajman an unforgettable experience.  He said that Ajman interactive digital map is a new distinction added to the record of achievements and the interactive map comes in line with the efforts to add new services that will enhance the Emirate’s position as a leading tourist destination and also falls in line with Ajman’s 2021 vision.

    Mohammed Ali Al Bloushi, Digital Transformation and Artificial Intelligence Advisor, ATDD said in a statement that through the map, the department is aiming to provide the Emirate’s visitors with key information on Ajman’s prominent landmarks, on a single platform. The map also highlights the major tourist attractions in Ajman city, Masfout, and Al Manama.

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    Tags: Ajman, Ajman Tourism, Ajman Tourism Development Department (ATDD)

  • 12 Best Things to Do in Victoria, BC (with Map & Photos)

    Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia, is set right at the southern tip of Vancouver Island. Thanks to its mild climate and wealth of things to do in Victoria, it is a very popular tourist destination with both Canadians and international travelers alike.

    As it boasts an abundance of parks and lovely green spaces, Victoria is fittingly known as the ‘Garden City’. While it certainly has a charming coastline and beaches to explore, as well as a scenic waterfront, the city is also dotted with interesting museums and historic tourist attractions with some attractive architecture on show.

    With whale watching tours, sightseeing cruises and ferry rides also on offer, lively yet laidback Victoria is well worth visiting if you have the chance.

    12. Abkhazi Garden

    Abkhazi Garden© dreamstime

    A very peaceful and picturesque place, Abkhazi Garden is set just a short drive to the southeast of downtown Victoria. Here you’ll find an exquisite heritage house, as well as lovely grounds and gardens to wander around.

    The property is named for the Prince and Princess Abkhazi who lived here and began creating the landscaped garden with all its diverse fauna and fabulous vistas in 1946.

    In addition to ambling peacefully about its paths and taking in all the natural beauty, visitors can enjoy tasty treats in the teahouse. Due to its scenic nature, Abkhazi Garden hosts weddings and private events during the year.

    11. Chinatown

    Chinatown© dreamstime

    The oldest Chinatown in Canada, this vibrant part of Victoria with all of its bustling businesses and busy restaurants, is located in the heart of the city. As well as having countless shops to browse and dozens of delicious dishes to try, the area also boasts attractive architecture and was designated a National Historic Site in 1995.

    Following the discovery of gold in Fraser Canyon in 1858, thousands of miners, many of them Chinese, migrated from California to British Columbia and set up home. Initially just a collection of wooden huts, Victoria’s Chinatown is now dotted with such sights, as the ornate Gate of Harmonious Interest and Tam Kung Temple, as well as the narrow and atmospheric Fan Tan Alley.

    10. Victoria Bug Zoo

    Victoria Bug Zoo© dreamstime

    Just a short stroll from Chinatown is one of the city’s most unusual, yet oddly alluring, attractions; the Victoria Bug Zoo. Packed into its two rooms are around fifty fascinating species with exhibits and knowledgeable tour guides on hand to teach you all about its insects.

    Since opening its doors in 1997 the mini zoo has educated and amazed people in equal measure with its wonderful world of bugs. As well as walking sticks and praying mantises, it has leafcutter ants, tarantulas, and glow-in-the-dark scorpions. Each insect or arachnid is more impressive than the last!

    Besides teaching you everything there is to know about insects, the zoo’s enthusiastic guides often take beetles and bugs out of their tanks so you can get a closer look.

    9. Goldstream Provincial Park

    Goldstream Provincial Park© dreamstime

    Just twenty minutes’ drive to the northwest of town is the Goldstream Provincial Park, which is sure to delight both nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. The park has huge swathes of temperate rainforest and tantalizing hiking trails, with beautiful scenery and nature wherever you look.

    Founded in 1958, the picturesque park and its diverse landscapes are dotted with thick cedars and fir trees which conceal some spellbinding sights. These include epic views from atop the lofty Mount Finlayson and gushing Niagara Falls (not the world-famous one).

    The park is mostly known, however, for the annual fall salmon runs in the Goldstream River and the numerous bald eagles that swoop down to catch them.

    8. Fisherman’s Wharf

    Fisherman's Wharf© dreamstime

    Located around the corner from the city’s Inner Harbour is colorful Fisherman’s Wharf, which is the perfect place to grab some seafood or buy some souvenirs. Food kiosks and unique boutiques line the wharf, while float homes and fishing boats bob about offshore. Ferries and sightseeing tours also depart from its docks.

    Built in 1948 to accommodate commercial fishing vessels, the wharf has a very lively feel to it with something going on all the time. As fishermen unload their catches, harbor seals and herons can be spied along the waterfront while the music of street performers rings in the air.

    Alongside shopping and sampling fresh seafood, you can also rent kayaks here and arrange whale watching tours.

    7. Victoria Whale Watching

    Victoria Whale Watching© dreamstime

    Whales live and feed in the straits and seas that surround Victoria, so no trip to the city is complete without taking a whale watching tour. Many companies run excursions from the Inner Harbour, with April to October considered to be the best time of year to see them up close and personal.

    From the decks of comfy catamarans and open Zodiac-style boats, you can spy pods of whales either feeding or migrating through the Georgia Strait. In addition to orcas and grey whales, are humpback and minke, with seals and sea lions also swimming about.

    Adding to the awe-inspiring experience are the knowledgeable crew members who teach you about these majestic marine mammals.

    6. Craigdarroch Castle

    Craigdarroch Castle© dreamstime

    Perched atop a hill overlooking downtown is the massive Victorian-era mansion of Craigdarroch Castle, which exhibits some of the most attractive architecture in the area. Built back in 1890 for a wealthy coal baron, it is now protected as part of a museum with tours taking you around the National Historic Site.

    Looking every bit like a fairytale castle, the well-preserved property boasts turrets and stained-glass windows, as well as wrap-around porches and balconies. Inside elegant halls and suites are decorated with lavish furnishings and period pieces.

    Particularly known for its intricate woodwork, the mansion has 39 rooms to explore with informative displays highlighting the history of the castle and the Dunsmuir family who lived here.

    5. Beacon Hill Park

    Beacon Hill Park© dreamstime

    Just south of the city center, Beacon Hill Park sprawls over a huge area and has countless landscapes, views, and outdoor activities to enjoy. While pockets of woodland can be found here and there, much of the park consists of landscaped gardens with stupendous coastal scenery and shoreline on show.

    Since being established in 1882, the picturesque park has been a firm favourite with both locals and tourists alike due to its excellent amenities and delightful nature. Besides ponds and flower-filled fields, you can find playgrounds, picnic areas, and playing fields with a petting zoo and water park also on offer.

    Additionally, it has one of the world’s tallest totem poles to check out and fantastic views from its prominent hilltop.

    4. Butchart Gardens

    Butchart Gardens© dreamstime

    One of the most popular places to visit in Victoria, the Butchart Gardens are a twenty-minute drive north of the city in a very serene and secluded spot. Located in what was once a limestone quarry, the gardens have lots of flowers and plants, pools and fountains to explore; all carefully placed and planted to please the eye.

    Now a National Historic Site, the sprawling gardens were begun in 1904 by Jennie Butchart as a passion project. They have since grown to include Italian and Japanese gardens, as well as statues and pavilions.

    The striking Sunken Garden is one of its standout sights. In total, it is home to 900 kinds of plants ranging from tulips and daffodils to roses and chrysanthemums.

    3. Parliament Buildings

    Parliament Buildings© dreamstime

    Dominating the south side of the city’s Inner Harbour is the spectacular set of structures that make up the seat of British Columbia’s government. Besides their important function, the Parliament Buildings are also very impressive with exquisite domes, turrets, and facades rising above the surrounding grounds and waterfront.

    Built in the 1890s, they exhibit an array of architectural styles with Renaissance and Romanesque elements, as well as beautiful Neo-baroque features. On tours of the buildings, visitors can learn all about their history and that of the legislative assembly and province.

    While its lofty blue dome is its undoubted highlight, the Parliament Buildings look best in the evening when the facade is magically lit up with thousands of little lights.

    2. Royal BC Museum

    Royal BC Museum© dreamstime

    Another of the city’s main tourist attractions is the Royal BC Museum which offers a fascinating look into the history, culture and nature of British Columbia. Set just a stone’s throw from Chinatown, it has many artifacts and exhibits to peruse that are related to the region.

    Since being founded in 1886, its colossal collection has grown and now includes over seven million objects and specimens. While some dioramas and displays focus on the animals and ecosystems of British Columbia, other sections look at the traditions and heritage of the First Nations peoples.

    With so much human and natural history to explore, the Royal BC Museum is not to be missed when in town.

    1. Inner Harbour

    Inner Harbour© dreamstime

    Home to many, if not most of Victoria’s major sights, the Inner Harbour is lined by beautiful buildings and green spaces, with fishing boats and floating homes bobbing about the bay. As well as its wonderful waterfront, there are also attractive historic streets to wander along with countless cafes and restaurants dotted about.

    While the Parliament Buildings and Edwardian-style Empress Hotel dominate the harbour, other attractions, such as Miniature World and the Maritime Museum, also lie nearby.

    Thanks to its innumerable street artists and entertainers, the area has a very lively feel with concerts, festivals, and cultural events held in the summer months. People also take whale watching tours from its docks and watch floatplanes take off from the harbor’s airport.

  • 12 Best Things to do in Albuquerque, New Mexico (with Map & Photos)

    Although often overlooked in favor of Santa Fe, the state’s largest city Albuquerque is well worth visiting for its many magnificent museums and attractive Old Town full of historic adobe buildings. Showcasing a delightful mix of Spanish and Native American influences, it has a rich history and heritage to delve into with countless art galleries and cultural tourist attractions to be found around town.

    Located near the center of New Mexico, the sprawling city occupies the Rio Grande Valley with the soaring Sandia Mountains to be spied in the distance. As it lies near to so much stunning scenery, there are many outdoorsy things to do in it Albuquerque with hiking and mountain biking being particularly popular.

    One of the best times to visit is in October when the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta takes place, and the city’s clear blue skies are dotted with hundreds of hot air balloons.

    12. Turquoise Museum

    Turquoise Museumflickr/miguel

    Located just a stone’s throw away from downtown is the superb Turquoise Museum which can teach you all there is to know about the glittering gem. As well as delving into the history of mining and crafting turquoise, it has lots of interesting artwork, jewellery and shiny specimens to peruse – all made out of the colorful gemstone.

    While the museum was opened in 1993, the Lowry family have been involved with and passionate about the precious blue and green mineral for generations. On tours you’ll hear about their history of mining and studying turquoise, how the mineral is manufactured and myths and uses of the gem around the world. It also has a great gift shop where you can buy jewellery and souvenirs.

    11. Casa Rondena Winery

    Casa Rondena Wineryflickr/Britt Reints

    Nestled on the northern outskirts of Albuquerque is the Casa Rondena Winery which has exquisite award-winning wines for you to try in its tasting room. The attractive estate also acts as a hub for the arts in the area, as it hosts a number of cultural events and festivals over the course of the year.

    Founded in 1995 by John Calvin, the family-run winery exhibits some lovely architecture with a terrific Tricentennial bell tower to be found amidst its gorgeous grounds and fertile vineyards. In its tasting room you can sample some of its wonderful wines paired with tasty cheese boards, crackers and chocolates. In addition to the annual Festival de Musica Rodena, the pretty property regularly hosts weddings, concerts and special events.

    10. American International Rattlesnake Museum

    American International Rattlesnake Museum© dreamstime

    A very interesting and educational place to visit, the American International Rattlesnake Museum is dedicated to the preservation of the slippery snakes. As well as snake-related artworks, artifacts and exhibits it also boasts the world’s largest collection of different species of live rattlesnakes.

    Located in Old Town Albuquerque, the small animal conservation museum houses over thirty kinds of rattlesnake, all of which reside within the appropriate recreated natural habitat. Through displays and demonstrations, visitors can learn about each species and hopefully cure any fears or phobias they may have about the cold-blooded creatures. The museum is also home to a Gila monster – the largest lizard in America – and has a gift shop that sells all kinds of snake-themed souvenirs.

    9. Albuquerque Museum

    Albuquerque Museumflickr/City of Albuquerque

    Offering up a fascinating look into the history, culture and heritage of both the city and Southwest is the excellent Albuquerque Museum. Also located in Old Town, its ever-growing collection includes everything from art installations and interactive exhibitions to artifacts and archaeological findings with an outdoor sculpture garden also on offer.

    Since being founded in 1967, the museum has educated countless generations on the history and art of the region. Alongside early maps and conquistador armour you can also find artworks by Georgia O’Keeffe among others and historic wood carvings and weavings by Native American peoples. On top of this, it regularly hosts temporary exhibitions and cultural events and operates tours around the historic home of Casa San Ysidro which gives guests a glimpse into Spanish colonial life.

    8. San Felipe de Neri Church

    San Felipe de Neri Church© dreamstime

    Just a minute’s walk from the museum is the stunning San Felipe de Neri Church which lines the north side of the Old Town Plaza. One of the oldest surviving structures in the city, it was built in 1793 during the Spanish colonial period and has remained in continuous use since then.

    Exhibiting a magnificent mix of architectural influences, the centuries-old church sports two twin bell towers that rise up above its thick, earth-colored adobe walls. Inside, its Gothic Revival-style interior decorations such as its wood-carved altar and pulpit, both of which are painted white, give it a more European appearance. The charming church also adjoins an old rectory, convent and school while its small museum displays some gorgeous religious art and artifacts.

    7. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science

    New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science© dreamstime

    Set on the eastern edge of Old Town is another of the city’s main sights – the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. Through interactive exhibits and dramatic dinosaur-filled displays you’ll explore over twelve billion years of natural history starting with the birth of the universe.

    After learning about these early origins you can then witness the dawn of the dinosaurs, experience the ice age on Earth and see skeletons, fossils and paleontological findings up close. Since opening in 1986, the museum has been a firm favorite with both locals and tourists alike due to its well-presented galleries and hands-on activities. In addition, it is also home to a fantastic Planetarium and a 3D cinema which screens educational yet entertaining films.

    6. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

    Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta© dreamstime

    Every October, thousands of people from around the globe flock to the city to watch and take part in the absolutely incredible Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Over the course of its nine days, more than five hundred hot air balloons rise up slowly into the clear blue sky, making it the largest festival of its kind in the world.

    What began in 1972 with just a few balloons has since turned into Albuquerque’s most famed and photographed event. Seeing the sky full of balloons of different colours, shapes and designs is an amazing experience with the Mass Ascension being its main event. You can also go up in a hot air balloon yourself and bask in beautiful views of the city below and the other balloons around you.

    5. Petroglyph National Monument

    Petroglyph National Monument© dreamstime

    Just to the west of town you can find the phenomenal Petroglyph National Monument which lies on the other side of the Rio Grande. While it boasts lava-scarred landscapes and volcanic cones for you to explore, the sprawling site is mostly known for its captivating collection of carved images which number more than 24,000 in total.

    Remarkably well-preserved for the most part, these fantastic figures, symbols and signs were etched into the volcanic rock by both Ancestral Pueblo peoples and early Spanish settlers. The earliest of them date to around 3,000 years ago with large groupings to be found around Boca Negra Canyon and Piedras Marcadas. In addition, the monument’s many trails take you past some splendid scenery and commanding viewpoints.

    4. ABQ BioPark

    ABQ BioPark© dreamstime

    As it is home to not only an aquarium and botanical gardens but a zoo too, it is no wonder that ABQ BioPark is one of the city’s top attractions. Impressively enough, the largely outdoor environmental museum also encompasses the recreation area of Tingley Beach which has pretty paths, ponds and picnic areas to enjoy.

    After having explored its beautiful botanic garden, which is dotted with desert plants and flowers, you can then head to its excellent aquarium. This again mostly focuses on local species that can be found in the Rio Grande and saltwater marshes of the Gulf of Mexico. The undoubted highlight is the park’s zoo which houses everything from elephants and gorillas to lions and polar bears.

    3. Sandia Peak Tramway

    Sandia Peak Tramway© dreamstime

    Rising up dramatically above both Albuquerque and the Rio Grande Valley are the soaring Sandia Mountains which lie on the northeastern edge of the city. To reach the top of the 3,163-metre-high mounts, visitors can take an unforgettable ride on the Sandia Peak Tramway which is remarkably the longest aerial tram in the Americas.

    From the desert floor, it only takes fifteen minutes to rise to the summit of Sandia Crest with divine views over the Land of Enchantment on offer from both the cable car and mountain peak. At the top, you’ll find souvenir shops, a sky bar and restaurant as well as countless hiking trails. In addition to enjoying some simply spectacular sunsets, superb skiing can be had in the winter months.

    2. Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

    Indian Pueblo Cultural Center© dreamstime

    An absolute must-visit when in town, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center preserves and promotes the Pueblo peoples’ rich history, culture, art and traditions. Owned and operated by the nineteen Pueblos of New Mexico, its innumerable exhibitions and events offer up an interesting insight into their past and present.

    Founded in 1976, the cultural center now occupies a state-of-the-art site that lies just a short drive to the north of Old Town. Here you’ll find an art gallery, gift shop and museum which houses exquisite artworks, artifacts and informative exhibits on their history and culture. Besides this, the centre also hosts lots of cultural events, lectures and workshops over the course of the year with its traditional dances and performances being particularly popular.

    1. Old Town

    Old Town© dreamstime

    The most popular place to visit in the city is Old Town Albuquerque which is the original site the Spanish settled in the 1700s. Spanning around ten blocks in total, it boasts several attractive adobe buildings and has lots of interesting historic landmarks and museums to check out.

    Set around its central plaza are countless art galleries and shops selling Southwestern souvenirs and Native American artworks as well as the centuries-old San Felipe de Neri Church. Its cobblestone streets are also home to some great restaurants and bars while talented street performers lend the area a lively atmosphere. In addition, you can also find many of Albuquerque’s main tourist attractions and museums in or around the Old Town.

  • 12 Best Things to Do in Halifax (with Map & Photos)

    The capital of Nova Scotia, the seaside city of Halifax, lies on a huge harbor of the same name and is an important economic and cultural center for Atlantic Canada. This was the first port of call for most European immigrants to the country in the 19th and 20th centuries.

    Stretching three kilometers in length, its waterfront is home to historic wharves and warehouses, markets and museums. Despite its smallish size, there are many things to do in Halifax. Besides delving into the city’s seafaring past, you can also explore the peninsula’s parks and gardens, excellent art galleries and beautiful old buildings. There are also many tourist attractions relating to its rich maritime history and heritage.

    12. Seaport Farmers’ Market

    Seaport Farmers' Market© dreamstime

    Set along the city’s waterfront is the Seaport Farmers’ Market which is, remarkably, the oldest continually operating market of its kind in North America. Founded in 1750, its countless stands and stalls have fish, fresh produce and baked goods to buy with the market open almost every day of the year.

    Over the years, the historic farmers market has been held in many locations. Many of its vast array of vendors moved to the vibrant arts and cultural district of Halifax Seaport in 2011. Here you can sample some local Canadian staples, shop for souvenirs, or stop off for a bite to eat or a coffee at one of its stalls.

    11. Fairview Lawn Cemetery

    Fairview Lawn Cemetery© dreamstime

    Located around ten minutes’ drive to the northwest of the city center is the peaceful and picturesque Fairview Lawn Cemetery. Mostly known for being the final resting place for over a hundred victims of the infamous sinking of the RMS Titanic, its paths take you past rows of sombre graves and memorials and monuments to the maritime tragedy.

    In total 121 of the sunken ship’s crew and passengers are interred here with many of the gray granite markers inscribed with their name and date of death. Among the most popular are those of William Denton Cox and The Unknown Child; both of which have interesting and informative plaques on the unfortunate victims.

    10. Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

    Art Gallery of Nova Scotia© dreamstime

    Another of the city’s standout sights is the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, situated a stone’s throw from the waterfront in downtown Halifax. Now located in Dominion Building, the museum was opened in 1908 with further floors to be found in the adjacent Provincial Building.

    While its collection of 18,000 photos, paintings and sculptures mainly focus on local Nova Scotian and Canadian artists, its exhibits also include plenty of works by international artists.

    Its galleries house more than fifty works by the folk artist Maud Lewis, as well as artworks by several First Nations artists. With 2,000 images by photographer Annie Leibovitz on show next to portraits of numerous Nova Scotia notables, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is not to be missed.

    9. Discovery Centre

    Discovery Centre© dreamstime

    Full of incredible exhibits and interactive experiences and activities, the Discovery Centre is sure to educate and entertain both adults and children alike. Since opening in 1990, the science museum has stimulated an interest in science and technology for countless generations of locals and tourists.

    Set next to the Seaport Farmers’ Market, its interactive, hands-on exhibits explore everything from energy and the ocean to space and flight. The state-of-the-art center also has exciting experiments and science shows for visitors to watch which explain and highlight how the world works.

    Also, the fun and family-friendly museum’s on-site cinema shows educational films with discovery days, science lectures, and technology workshops regularly taking place.

    8. Point Pleasant Park

    Point Pleasant Park© dreamstime

    Occupying the southernmost tip of the Halifax Peninsula is Point Pleasant Park which lies just ten minutes’ drive from the city center. Besides boasting some interesting historic sights, it also has great outdoor activities to try and commanding views out over Halifax Harbour.

    Dotted about its scenic and sprawling confines are the Sailor’s Memorial and Prince of Wales Tower, the oldest remaining Martello tower in North America. Once home to numerous batteries, the park now has thirty or so kilometers of trails to hike, run or cycle along amidst its verdant forests.

    During the summer months, it also hosts Shakespeare by the Sea when numerous outdoor plays and productions take place.

    7. Halifax Harbour Ferry

    Halifax Harbour Ferry© dreamstime

    When in town, a great thing to do in Halifax is go for a ride on the Harbour Ferry which is the longest-running ferry service in North America. Since 1752, boats have ferried both passengers and goods across the massive expanse of water, with trips from Halifax to Dartmouth now only taking fifteen minutes.

    From the Halifax Ferry Terminal, visitors can either take a ferry to Alderney Landing or Woodside, both of which are located in Dartmouth. Once powered by horses and then by steam, the fast ferries now whisk you to Dartmouth’s growing arts and dining scenes in no time at all.

    On the way, you can enjoy divine views of Halifax Harbour and snap photos of the city’s scenic shores and skyline.

    6. Halifax Central Library

    Halifax Central Library© dreamstime

    As it boasts some of the most attractive and unique architecture in the city, Halifax Central Library is certainly worth stopping by.

    Since opening in 2014, the library has been a firm favorite with both locals and tourists alike and regularly hosts talks, cultural events and shows. Besides its huge collection of books, it also has art installations and an auditorium on offer alongside cosy cafes and community rooms.

    Said to resemble a stack of books, the distinctive design of the five-story structure has earned lots of plaudits with the interior of the modern building being just as striking. This is because its sun-filled central atrium is crisscrossed by stairways which lead up to a sunroom gallery space and rooftop cafe and terrace.

    5. Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

    Canadian Museum of Immigration© dreamstime

    Situated on the Halifax Waterfront is the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, one of the nation’s most important museums. As over a million immigrants passed through the former ocean liner terminal between 1928 and 1971, it is often compared to Ellis Island in the States.

    Founded in 1999, the museum shows visitors what it was like to immigrate through Pier 21 in the past. As well as exploring the ocean immigration shed’s artifacts and exhibits, there are oral history interviews to listen to and short videos to watch. The museum is also home to a moving memorial and a lovely wall of service, honour and tribute to all those who contributed to Canada as a nation.

    4. Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

    Maritime Museum of the Atlantic© dreamstime

    Looking out over Halifax Harbour is the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic which offers a fascinating look into the city’s seafaring heritage and culture. One of the most popular places to visit in town, it has a huge collection of over 30,000 items to explore, with its artifacts and exhibits relating to the sinking of the RMS Titanic being one of its main attractions.

    First opened in 1948, the museum is home to everything, from charts and small crafts to models of ships and the CSS Acadia; a steam-powered survey ship. While some galleries look at the history of sailing or the age of steam, others focus instead on events such as the sinking of the Titanic or the devastating Halifax Explosion of 1917.

    3. Halifax Citadel

    Halifax Citadel© dreamstime

    Set in the center of the city is the star-shaped Halifax Citadel which looms over downtown from atop of its prominent hilltop. Such is its strategic position that four forts have been built in the same spot since 1749 with the current citadel having been completed in 1856.

    Besides wandering around the grounds and fortifications of the National Historic Site, visitors can also stop by its on-site Army Museum. As well as weapons and uniforms, it has interesting exhibits on the fort which was used during the American Revolution, American Civil War, and both World Wars, amongst others. A popular time to visit is at midday when reenactors fire the traditional noon-gun which acts as a reminder of the fort’s role in Halifax’s history.

    2. Halifax Public Gardens

    Halifax Public Gardens© dreamstime

    Just to the southwest of the citadel, you can find the Halifax Public Gardens which were first opened in 1875. One of the finest Victorian-era gardens in North America, its gorgeous grounds have paths and ponds to amble past with flower beds, fountains, and sculptures also dotted about.

    Enclosed within its intricate wrought-iron gate, you can find a huge variety of trees, plants and shrubs with the gardens having been created out of two older pre-existing parks. At its heart lies a beautiful old bandstand which sometimes hosts concerts, ceremonies and celebrations in the summer months. Due to its scenic splendour, the gardens are a very popular place to picnic or take wedding and prom photos.

    1. Waterfront Boardwalk

    Waterfront Boardwalk© dreamstime

    The undoubted highlight of any visit to Halifax is going for a stroll along the Waterfront Boardwalk, home to most of the city’s main sights. The boardwalk stretches three kilometres in total, and as well as historic buildings and heritage vessels, has museums, markets and monuments to visit.

    As it lines the edge of Halifax Harbour and offers some epic views, wandering along the waterfront is certainly one of the best city walks in Canada. Besides all its attractions, there are countless shops and restaurants to visit, with art galleries and studios occupying its wharves and warehouses.

    From the Waterfront Boardwalk you can also take some great ferry rides and boat tours which again highlight the city’s maritime history and heritage.

  • 12 Best Things to do in Ottawa (with Map & Photos)

    Once a humble lumber town, Ottawa was controversially chosen by Queen Victoria to be the capital of Canada all the way back in 1857. Since then, it has grown into the country’s fourth-largest city, and it now has countless world-class museums, tourist attractions and fascinating National Historic Sites to check out.

    Set at the spot where the Ottawa, Rideau, and Gatineau rivers meet, it lies in the southeast of Canada on the border with Quebec. Things to do in Ottawa include visiting important institutions such as the Canadian Parliament and Supreme Court, as well as exploring the city’s beautiful buildings and attractive architecture.

    In addition, plenty of parks and green spaces dot the city while the remarkable Rideau Canal which runs through the heart of the capital offers up some great outdoor activities and sightseeing cruises.

    12. Supreme Court of Canada

    Supreme Court of Canada© dreamstime

    Perched atop of a high bluff overlooking the Ottawa River is the Supreme Court of Canada which lies right next to the city center. The highest court in the country, it was built between 1939 and 1945 with Queen Elizabeth herself actually having laid the first cornerstone.

    Thanks to its outstanding Art Deco architecture and close proximity to Parliament Hill, the court is very popular to visit with tours taking you all around its interior. While the Grand Entrance Hall is certainly its standout sight, it is also interesting to see the courts where trials take place and hear the history of the building. Outside you can find some superb statues of Canadian Greats and snap great photos of the court and its chateau-esque roof.

    11. Rideau Hall

    Rideau Hall© dreamstime

    The official residence of both the Canadian monarch and Governor General of Canada, the stately Rideau Hall can be found just ten minutes’ drive to the north of downtown. In total, the massive mansion has 175 rooms to explore with the fancy residence, and its grounds are open to the public for tours throughout the year.

    Built back in the 1830s with later governors adding ever grander elements, it exhibits some lovely Regency-style architecture with enormous wings lying to either side of its main facade.

    Inside, the humongous Rideau Hall is sumptuously decorated with fine furnishings and period pieces dotting its ballrooms, state rooms and private apartments. Besides learning about the National Historic Site, visitors can enjoy strolling around its gardens which contain lots of uniquely Canadian landscapes.

    10. National War Memorial

    National War Memorial© dreamstime

    The focal point of the capital’s Confederation Square, the National War Memorial lies just a short distance from Parliament Hill and many of the city’s other main sights. Originally erected in 1939 to commemorate the Canadians who died during World War I, the moving memorial has since been rededicated to all Canadians killed in all conflicts both past and future.

    Towering to 21 meters in height, the granite arch is adorned with striking sculptures that represent various branches of the Canadian forces. These bronze figures can be seen emerging from the arch, allegorically passing from war to peace and liberty. Lying at its foot is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and ceremonial sentries who perform the Changing of the Guard each hour.

    9. Royal Canadian Mint

    Royal Canadian Mint© dreamstime

    Just a short stroll to the north of the National War Memorial is the Royal Canadian Mint which, until 1969, manufactured much of the country’s coinage. Nowadays, however, the National Historic Site only produces hand-crafted collector and commemorative coins as well as medals, medallions and gold bullion bars and coins.

    The headquarters of the Royal Canadian Mint now occupy an historic Tudor-Gothic style building that looks very much like a castle as two turrets line its entrance. Visitors can take tours around the facility to see how the coins are designed and produced, learn about the mint’s history and even hold a solid gold bar. In addition, there is also a shop where you can buy gifts and souvenirs of your visit.

    8. Ottawa Locks

    Ottawa Locks© dreamstime

    While 47 in total can be found dotted along the Rideau Canal, it is the steep set of almost step-like locks at its northern end that attract the most attention. Known as the Ottawa Locks, they can be spied in between Chateau Laurier and Parliament Hill with the flight of eight locks making for some fabulous photos.

    Completed in 1831, the small series of locks really are an astonishing engineering achievement as they connect the Rideau Canal to the Ottawa River 24 meters below. Despite lying in the heart of town, the Ottawa Locks are set in a serene spot amidst leafy parks, hills and historic buildings. As such, many people enjoy walks here and take photos of boats rising up and down the lock system.

    7. Notre Dame Basilica

    Notre Dame Basilica© dreamstime

    Both the oldest and largest church in Ottawa, Notre Dame Basilica was built in 1841 and boasts two towering twin spires which can be seen from both the city center and Parliament Hill not far away. While its neoclassical exterior looks quite austere, its inside is a feast for the eyes with elaborate carvings and magnificent stained-glass windows wherever you look.

    Now preserved as a National Historic Site, the cathedral’s exquisite interior is home to hundreds of sculptures of religious figures with the carvings in its choir being particularly impressive. Besides this, it also has a huge pipe organ on show while glittering stars dot its colorful ceiling. During the summer, visitors can take tours of the basilica and learn about its fine features and interesting past.

    6. Canada Aviation and Space Museum

    Canada Aviation and Space Museum© dreamstime

    Lying just fifteen minutes’ drive to the northeast of the city center is the Canada Aviation and Space Museum which is home to a huge collection of artifacts and aircraft. Through its extensive exhibits you can learn all about the history and evolution of aviation in Canada and the country’s significant achievements in space.

    Established in 1964 on Rockcliffe Airport, a former military base, the museum’s humongous hangar houses over 130 civilian and military aircraft. Besides seaplanes and the Space Shuttle Endeavour’s Canadarm, it also has lots of vintage bushplanes from the 1920s to ‘40s on show. Besides exploring the museum’s interactive exhibits, visitors can try out its flight simulator or even book a sightseeing flight over Ottawa in the summer.

    5. Canadian Museum of Nature

    Canadian Museum of Nature© dreamstime

    Boasting one of the best natural history collections in the world is the Canadian Museum of Nature which remarkably houses more than fifteen million specimens. Set just a short stroll to the south of the center, its interesting artifacts and exhibits explore over four billion years of the Earth’s history.

    Originally founded in 1856 in Montreal, the massive museum now occupies a fine Tudor-Gothic Revival-style building which itself is a National Historic Site. Inside you can find everything from dioramas and displays on mammals and minerals to dinosaur fossils and the full skeleton of a huge blue whale. In addition to all its galleries on geology and exhibitions on Canada’s landscapes and wildlife, the museum also showcases some artwork and films relating to natural history.

    4. Canadian War Museum

    Canadian War Museum© dreamstime

    Set not far from downtown on the banks of the Ottawa River is the Canadian War Museum which serves as both a museum and memorial to the country’s military past. Inside its strikingly modern building are lots of excellent exhibits to explore which shine a light on Canada’s contributions to World War I and II and many other battles beside.

    Opened in 1942, its collection of over three million items includes everything from uniforms and weapons to tanks, planes and even a replica of a WWI trench. Accompanying them are informative displays, photos and short clips of film. The museum also has a moving Memorial Hall for visitors to stop by and a Regeneration Hall which fittingly looks out over Peace Tower.

    3. National Gallery of Canada

    National Gallery of Canada© dreamstime

    One of the largest art museums in North America, the National Gallery of Canada can be found on the banks of the Ottawa River overlooking Parliament Hill. While its captivating collection is a treat to peruse, the gorgeous glass building in which it is housed already makes for a spellbinding sight as it is designed to look like a cathedral.

    Inside, the architectural marvel is just as impressive as its galleries are packed with fabulous photos, paintings and sculptures by Canadian and international artists. Alongside renowned names such as da Vinci, Michelangelo and Picasso you can also find exquisite artworks by the indigenous peoples of Canada. One of its most famous works is the striking spider sculpture Maman which lies just in front of its entrance.

    2. Rideau Canal

    Rideau Hall© dreamstime

    Running right through the center of the city is the remarkable Rideau Canal which connects Ottawa to Lake Ontario some 200 kilometers away. One of the capital’s standout sights, it is lined by pretty paths to walk, run or cycle along with sightseeing cruises in the summer and ice skating in the winter when the water freezes being particularly popular.

    Now primarily used for pleasure boating, the charming canal was actually built between 1826 and 1832 to secure supply and communications routes in the case of war with the United States. The National Historic Site has lots of picturesque parks, lakes and towns for people to stop off at along the way as well as the spectacular Ottawa Locks to check out in town.

    1. Parliament Hill

    Parliament Hill© dreamstime

    The city’s main attraction for most visitors, the phenomenal Parliament Hill can be found right in the heart of downtown, overlooking the Ottawa River. Perched atop of a rocky outcrop, its complex of gorgeous Gothic Revival style buildings is home to the Parliament of Canada which is the seat of the country’s government.

    Built between 1859 and 1927, the Parliament Buildings exhibit some astounding architecture with the prominent Peace Tower rising up high above its Center Block. Besides basking in breath-taking views of the capital from its observation deck, you can also take tours of the House of Commons and its grounds which are dotted with statues and memorials. Many people also enjoy watching its Changing of the Guard ceremony which takes places daily in the summer.

  • 11 Best Things to Do in Burlington, VT (with Map & Photos)

    Nestled in the northwest corner of Vermont is the vibrant city of Burlington which lies on the scenic shores of Lake Champlain. Despite its small size, there are several interesting and entertaining activities and things to do in Burlington; from breweries and Ben & Jerry’s to museums and markets.

    Thanks to its sizable student population, the city has a lively feel to it and a thriving arts and culture scene. Interesting architecture and historic tourist attractions can also be found while the state’s endless farms and fields, and the lake’s islands, are never far away.

    The largest city in Vermont, Burlington is well worth checking out if you have the chance. Fall is a particularly popular time of year to visit for the colorful foliage.

    11. University of Vermont

    University of Vermont© dreamstime

    Sprawled over a huge part of the city center is the hilltop campus of the University of Vermont. One of the oldest and most prestigious institutes of higher education in the States. Founded in 1791, it has attractive architecture to check out, as well as a museum and highly thought of theater.

    While wandering around its grounds you’ll come across beautiful old buildings, such as the Old Mill, Williams Hall, and the Billings Memorial Library; all built over a hundred years’ ago.

    Visitors can also stop by the fantastic Fleming Museum of Art or watch a production at the Royall Tyler Theater.

    10. Shelburne Farms

    Shelburne Farms© dreamstime

    Situated to the southwest of the city, the enormous agricultural estate of Shelburne Farms is set in a scenic spot on the shores of Lake Champlain. Once the property of the Webbs – wealthy relatives and descendants of the Vanderbilts – the working farm now educates people on how the land can be used environmentally, economically, and in a culturally sustainable manner.

    Popular with both locals and tourists alike, the large estate has farmland and woodlands for you to explore as well as a shoreline to stroll along. An important example of a Gilded Age farm it has many historic buildings dotted about and was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 2001.

    With inns, a restaurant and a children’s farmyard also on offer, Shelburne Farms makes for a family-friendly day out.

    9. Magic Hat Brewery

    Magic Hat Breweryflickr/Doug Kerr

    Situated between Shelburne Farms and the city center is the magnificent Magic Hat Brewery. One of the most bizarre places to grab a beer in Burlington. Widely credited with having helped turn Americans onto craft beer, the microbrewery was founded in 1994.

    Located in an abandoned factory on an industrial park, it has an enticing ‘Artifactory’ tour around its eclectic and artistic interior which showcases how its beers are produced.

    Besides beer brewing, you can also shop for souvenirs and sample some of its lagers and experimental IPAs, all of which have whacky names. A popular choice is its aromatic, not quite pale flagship brew, #9.

    8. ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain

    ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain© dreamstime

    On Burlington’s waterfront is the ECHO Leahy Center which is home to exhibits and aquaria on the ecosystems of Lake Champlain. An innovative science and nature museum, it was established in 2003 to instill a sense of wonder in nature and scientific discovery.

    Through its amazing exhibitions, you’ll learn about the history of the lake and all its amphibians and invertebrates, reptiles, and fish. Visitors can also try out its hands-on discovery centre, enjoy panoramic views over the lake and watch educational nature films at its on-site cinema.

    7. Shelburne Museum

    Shelburne Museum© dreamstime

    Set next to Shelburne Farms is this museum of the same name which impressively boasts the largest collection of Americana in the States. Founded in 1947 by Electra Havemeyer Webb, its captivating collection consists of over 150,000 items with prints and paintings, folk art and furniture, and even architecture on display.

    The sprawling site also has thirty-nine beautiful old historic buildings, including a sawmill, school, and railway station. It also has the Ticonderoga steamship to check out which used to plough the waves of Lake Champlain.

    With so much of New England’s fascinating history and heritage showcased, the Shelburne Museum is certainly well worth visiting if you have the chance.

    6. Burlington Farmers Market

    Burlington Farmers Marketflickr/CSM

    Every Saturday morning in summer, thousands of people descend upon the Burlington Farmers Market to buy and sell their wares. From May to October, the market is set up in the central City Hall Park. For the rest of the year, its rows of stalls occupy the University of Vermont’s Davis Center.

    Founded in 1980, the market has been very popular with both locals and tourists alike and almost everything for sale is produced by Vermont farmers. While wandering around you’ll see colorful fruit and vegetables sold alongside baked goods, cheeses, and crafts.

    The market is a great place to sample some local produce, buy some souvenirs or simply stop off for a coffee and enjoy the atmosphere.

    5. Lake Champlain Ferries

    Lake Champlain Ferries© dreamstime

    Making up much of the Vermont – New York state border is Lake Champlain which also crosses over into a small part of Canada in the north. Dotted about its reflective waters are idyllic islands and charming lakeside communities with ferries running regularly from Burlington’s King Street Dock.

    Impressively enough, Lake Champlain Ferries has operated since 1826 with its cruises popular with both locals and tourists. Some people set off across the lake to Port Kent in New York, while others head to Grand Isle which has superb scenery and outdoor activities to enjoy.

    The company also runs some great sightseeing cruises where you can learn about the history of the lake and surrounding area as you take in the beautiful views from its bows.

    4. Waterfront

    Waterfront© dreamstime

    Just a short stroll from Burlington’s bustling downtown area is its waterfront which looks out over the scenic shores of Lake Champlain. While both the Echo Leahy Center and Perkins Pier can be found here, most of the lakeside is taken up by a park and promenade.

    Besides ambling along the waterfront and enjoying fabulous views over the lake, visitors can walk, cycle or picnic among the park’s gardens and colorful flower beds. While its scenery can be enjoyed at any time, during the summer Waterfront Park also hosts concerts and cultural events.

    With cafes and ice cream stands dotted about and boat trips departing nearby, Burlington’s waterfront is one of the best places to spend time in the city.

    3. Church Street Marketplace

    Church Street Marketplace© dreamstime

    The heart and soul of life in the city, Church Street Marketplace is chock full of fun things to see and do. Set over four blocks of Burlington’s downtown are around a hundred restaurants and shops with an outdoor pedestrian area.

    Established in 1980, its popularity has grown year-on-year with countless open-air cafes and chain stores found next to local art galleries, boutiques and, of course, Ben & Jerry’s. Besides all its booming businesses, the area also has interesting architecture and historic sights for you to check out, while its street performers add to its ambience.

    2. Ben & Jerry’s

    Ben & Jerry'sflickr/Shannon McGee

    When in town an absolute must is stopping off for a scoop of Ben & Jerry’s, the iconic ice cream company is synonymous with both the state and the city. Founded in Burlington in 1978, the world-conquering brand has a colorful scoop shop in Church Street Marketplace, as well as a fun factory you can take tours around at Waterbury.

    At its corner shop, you can lick, sip and slurp on some of its signature cups, cones and sundaes with plenty of flavors to try out. Besides cool classics, such as Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Phish Food, there are also warm waffle cones and hot fudge sundaes to enjoy.

    Although it lies a half-hour drive to the southeast of the city, the Ben & Jerry’s factory is worth visiting for its film on the origins of the ice cream empire and the ice cream you can sample in the scoop shop.

    1. Island Line Trail

    Island Line Trailflickr/Fred Murphy

    One of the most picturesque places to visit in Burlington, the idyllic Island Line Trail takes you past breathtaking scenery and viewpoints. It stretches 23 kilometers and runs from Oakledge Park to South Hero on Grand Isle, passing through Burlington’s Waterfront Park.

    The flat, paved path follows the route of the old Island Line railroad which used to run along the shores of Lake Champlain. Nowadays, however, the trail is used by walkers, joggers and cyclists who can gaze out over the lake and see beaches, lighthouses, sailboats, and sunsets as they go.

    While all the scenery certainly is spellbinding, the undoubted highlight is crossing the Colchester Causeway which connects South Hero to the mainland. Reaching almost five kilometers in length, the narrow trail is a pleasure to walk along as the lake shimmers around you on all sides.

  • 12 Best Things to do in Bar Harbor (with Map & Photos)

    A very popular place to visit, particularly in the sunny summer months, the lively seaside town of Bar Harbor can be found on the northeast coast of Maine’s magnificent Mount Desert Island. As it lies just a stone’s throw from Acadia National Park, many people use the town as a base from which to explore its wonderful wilderness with lots of excellent outdoor activities also being on offer.

    Despite its small size, the charming town is packed with lots of great shops and restaurants with pretty parks and interesting historic tourist attractions also dotted about. Only adding to its allure is its scenic setting on the shores of Frenchman Bay, with boat tours around its waters and whale watching trips being an absolute best things to do in Bar Harbor.

    With so much dramatic coastal scenery nearby and tons of terrific trails, nature spots and islands to explore, Bar Harbor really is one of the best places to stay if you want to make the most of your visit to Maine.

    12. Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

    Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse© dreamstime

    Set just half an hour’s drive to the southwest of the seaside town is the brilliant Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse which looks out over the wild waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Perched atop of a craggy cliff, the lighthouse and its gleaming white tower make for some fabulous photos due to the dramatic coastal scenery all around it.

    Located within Acadia National Park, it lies at the entrance to both Bass Harbor and Blue Hill Bay with the historic Head Light having been built all the way back in 1858. Now the private residence of a local Coast Guard member, the National Historic Landmark is one of the most popular places in the park thanks to its fetching features and phenomenal panoramas over the ocean and islands.

    11. Agamont Park

    Agamont Park© dreamstime

    One of the most popular, peaceful and picturesque places to visit in town is the attractive Agamont Park which can be found at the northern end of Bar Harbor’s Main Street. From atop of its grassy knoll you can enjoy breathtaking views out over Frenchman Bay and all the boats and islands that dot its shimmering surface.

    Situated on the former site of Agamont Hotel which burned down in 1888, the small urban park has some pretty paths and benches for visitors to make use of with a wonderful water fountain lying at one of its entrances.

    Most people however visit for its divine views with the prominent hilltop also looking out over the bustling Town Pier. From here you can stroll along the scenic and serene Shore Path which takes you along the town’s captivating coastline.

    10. Atlantic Brewing Company

    Atlantic Brewing Companyflickr/duluoz cats

    Lying just fifteen minutes’ drive to the west of town is the Atlantic Brewing Company which is one of the best places to enjoy a freshly pulled pint or ale or IPA in the area. After having outgrown its former facilities, the brewery moved to its current charming countryside location – a nineteenth century Maine farmstead – in 1998.

    Visitors can take tours around the brewery to see how small-scale beer production works in practice as well as sampling some batches of beer in its taproom. Its gorgeous grounds are also home to the Mainely Meat BBQ which serves up lots of sizzling treats. Due to its success and popularity, the brewery has also opened another location in Midtown which serves bar bites and its signature beers.

    9. Village Green Park

    Village Green Park© dreamstime

    Set right in the centre of Bar Harbor is the verdant Village Green Park which has lots of pleasant paths and impressive historic landmarks to check out. Once the site of the Grand Central Hotel, it was turned into a public park in 1899 when the antiquated old building was torn down.

    Nowadays visitors to the park can find a beautiful bandstand, an antique Italian fountain and a cast iron clock alongside many other landmarks; all of which are at least a century old.

    Besides this, it also has some fantastic flowerbeds and lovingly landscaped lawns to wander around with booming bars and cafes lining its edges. As it also hosts lots of open-air concerts and festivals, Village Green Park is certainly well worth checking out when in town.

    8. Park Loop Road

    Park Loop Road© dreamstime

    Winding its way around the east side of Mount Desert Island is the phenomenal Park Loop Road which takes you to and through some of Acadia National Park’s most scenic spots. Stretching for 43 kilometers in total, the scenic route is a delight to drive along with spectacular scenery, landscapes and nature wherever you look.

    Starting just outside Bar Harbor, the one-way road meanders its way through vast forests and past lovely lakes and ponds before taking you to the top of Cadillac Mountain. It then snakes along the island’s craggy coastline and cliffs with lots of incredible viewpoints and natural wonders to stop off at along the way.

    Its many highlights include the thrilling Thunder Hole which lies just off its southern shore, the gorgeous Jordan Pond and the saltwater swimming area of Sand Beach.

    7. Abbe Museum

    Abbe Museum© dreamstime

    A very interesting and educational place to visit, the excellent Abbe Museum offers up a fascinating look into the rich history and culture of Maine’s Native American people, the Wabanaki. Through its astounding array of artifacts, ethnographic exhibitions and archaeological findings you can learn all about their heritage and traditions which span thousands upon thousands of years.

    Set right in the center of town, the museum is located in a splendid Sieur de Monts building and was first opened all the way back in 1928. In its colossal collection you can find everything from hooks and harpoons to baskets, blankets and beadwork with its main exhibition – People of the First Light – highlighting how the Wabanaki survived and thrived in the area.

    As well as hosting lots of cultural events and workshops, the museum has a smaller second site for you to visit in the national park.

    6. Downtown

    Downtown© dreamstime

    Despite its small size, Downtown Bar Harbor has lots for you to see and do with a wealth of great bars and restaurants to be found alongside pretty parks and a wonderful waterfront. Here too, you’ll find lots of tour operators with many offering boat trips, kayaking and rock-climbing tours, as well as epic whale watching excursions.

    With so much going on, you are almost certain to spend quite a bit of time in Downtown with its charming, colourful streets being packed with cosy cafes, souvenir shops and ice cream stands. In addition to this, there are lots of B&Bs and rental homes for you to choose from with Bar Harbor being particularly busy in the sunny summer months and fall foliage season.

    5. Ocean Trail

    Ocean Trail© dreamstime

    Taking you all the way from Sand Beach to Otter Point is the awe-inspiring Ocean Trail which is one of the prettiest and most popular paths to hike along in the whole of Acadia National Park. Very easy to access, the terrific trail lies fifteen minutes’ drive to the south of town and stretches just over three kilometers in total with lots of dramatic coastal scenery and viewpoints to enjoy on the way.

    Hugging the rough, rugged and rocky coast, the path meanders its way past such stunning sights as the famous Thunder Hole and the majestic Monument Cove. While lush forests lie to one side, the other looks out over the wild waters of the Atlantic which pound the idyllic isle’s jagged rocks and craggy coastal cliffs.

    Beside basking in the beauty of the Maine coastline, you can also stop off to go swimming at Sand Beach or snap photo after photo of the incredible Otter Cliff.

    4. Land Bridge to Bar Island

    Land Bridge to Bar Island© dreamstime

    As it only appears at low tide, strolling across the Land Bridge to Bar Island really is one of the most amazing and unforgettable things to do when in Bar Harbor. The rest of the time the isolated island and its tantalizing hiking trails are separated from the town and Mount Desert Island by the waters of Frenchman Bay.

    When the tide goes out however, a wide strip of sand, gravel and mud emerges which visitors can hike, cycle and even drive across. Besides enjoying the unique experience, Bar Island itself is well worth visiting for its pretty paths, verdant forests and delightful views. You do need to be a bit wary though of the time if you don’t want to be stuck on the uninhabited isle and have to call a water taxi.

    3. Bar Harbor Boat Tours

    Bar Harbor Boat Tours© dreamstime

    With so much stupendous coastal scenery, wilderness and wildlife lying nearby, no visit to Bar Harbor is complete without taking one of its brilliant boat tours. While some take you to see the historic lighthouses that dot Frenchman Bay and the captivating cliffs of Acadia National Park, others instead head off in search of seals, puffins and whales.

    As sightseeing cruises around the surrounding waters are so popular, there are now lots of tours to choose from that cater to all kinds of interests. Besides the aforementioned examples, you can also take a family-friendly fishing trip, a seafood safari where you sample different delicacies as you sail or even a photo-themed tour to sunset spots.

    With lots of idyllic islands dotted about and fabulous views over the Maine coastline wherever you go, taking a boat tour really is one of the best things to do when in the seaside town.

    2. Shore Path

    Shore Path© dreamstime

    Another of the most popular things to do in Bar Harbor is to stroll along the scenic and serene Shore Path which winds its way along the side of Frenchman Bay. A firm favorite among both locals and tourists alike, the picturesque path stretches just over two kilometers in total and takes you past lots of lovely scenery and viewpoints.

    Built all the way back in 1880, the charming coastal trail starts at Agamont Park and the Town Pier before slowly wrapping its way around the craggy coast of the bay. As you amble peacefully along its paved path you’ll pass the tantalizing Town Beach and lots of cosy cottages before reaching some phenomenal viewpoints overlooking Egg Rock and the pretty Porcupine Islands off in the distance.

    1. Acadia National Park

    Acadia National Park© dreamstime

    Boasting everything from enchanting forests and crystal clear lakes to lots of breathtaking coastal scenery and the tallest mountain along the States’ Atlantic seaboard; Acadia National Park really is a treat to explore. As all of its wonderful wilderness lies just a stone’s throw away from Bar Harbor, many people use the town as a base from which to visit all its stunning sights and scenery.

    The only national park in New England, it was founded way back in 1916 with Acadia sprawling over half of Mount Desert Island, part of the Schoodic Peninsula and a number of offshore islands. Besides its incredible scenery, landscapes and nature, the park has lots of outdoor activities such as hiking and kayaking to enjoy with moose and black bears to be spotted from time to time amidst its remote reaches.

    With so much captivating coastline to explore and so many special things to see and do, Acadia National Park is not just one of Bar Harbor’s top sights but one of New England’s too.

  • 12 Most Beautiful Scottish Islands (with Map & Photos)

    While most people instantly conjure up images of Edinburgh and the Highlands or tartan and tweed when they think of Scotland, the northern nation is actually home to a host of breath-takingly beautiful islands. In total, it has over 900 offshore islands to explore with the arresting archipelagos of the Shetland, Orkney and Inner and Outer Hebrides being its four main groupings.

    Among the endless array of Scottish islands are some that are very mountainous in nature with others being flat and fertile. While some are isolated and inhospitable, others have been inhabited for centuries if not millennia with phenomenal prehistoric sites and crumbling castles and churches scattered about their scenic shores. Yet other islands in Scotland still boast incredible coastlines with sheer cliffs and steep sea stacks to be found alongside beautiful beaches and secluded and sheltered coves. With so much going for them, it could take a lifetime to visit and explore all of Scotland’s awe-inspiring islands.

    12. Eigg


    Set just to the south of Skye is the attractive island of Eigg which is one of the scenic and secluded Small Isles. A very popular and picturesque place, it boasts everything from beautiful beaches and interesting historic sights to commanding views and wonderful wildlife watching opportunities.

    Mostly made up of a massive moorland plateau, the idyllic isle rises up dramatically above the wild waters all around it with its fertile reaches having been farmed and fought over for centuries. At its southern end, you can find the prominent volcanic rock of An Sgurr which towers to 393 meters in height with Eigg’s quartz beach. The ‘singing sands’ can be found at the opposite end of the island.

    Many people also take the ferry to Eigg to go birdwatching or to see the remnants of the monastic community of Kildonnan with the mysterious Massacre Cave also being a popular draw.

    11. Staffa


    Another of the Inner Hebrides’ incredible islands is Staffa which is lined by lots of spectacular and steep sea cliffs. So named by the Vikings due to the resemblance of its basalt columns to the staves of their log houses, the uninhabited island can be visited by ferry from the nearby Isle of Mull.

    Volcanic in origin, the isolated island is a treat to sail around thanks to its captivating cliffs with its standout sight being the fabulous Fingal’s Cave. Set near the southern tip of the isle, the cavernous cave is made up of lots of breath-taking basalt columns which look very reminiscent of the renowned Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.

    Besides this, Staffa has lots of other sensational sea caves for visitors to check out with some serene scenery and birdlife also being on show. Over the years, lots of royalty, writers and celebrities have visited the awe-inspiring island which is now a national nature reserve.

    10. Lewis and Harris

    Lewis and Harrisdreamstime/©

    Impressively enough, Lewis and Harris is the third largest island in the British Isles with only Great Britain and Ireland being bigger. Although often referred to as separate entities, they make up two pretty parts of the same isle with the low-lying Lewis in the north contrasting delightfully with the rugged and more mountainous Harris in the south.

    Located in the Outer Hebrides, it has been inhabited for millennia with lots of clans considering it their ancestral home. As such, a myriad of amazing historic sites are scattered about with centuries-old churches and castles to be found alongside iron age houses and stone circles. The most famous and photographed are the Callanish Stones as the remarkable ritual site and its circle of standing stones are so well-preserved.

    In addition, its craggy coastline has lots of sparkling white sand beaches to lounge on with some great watersports to be had offshore. With a picturesque peat plateau to hike around, charming coastal towns to stop by and lovely lunar-like landscapes and lochs to explore, Lewis and Harris is certainly worth visiting if you have the chance.

    9. Tiree


    Often nicknamed the ‘Hawaii of the north’ due to its sun-kissed sandy shores and staggering array of superb surf spots, Tiree is the most westerly island of the Inner Hebrides. The smallish, scenic and sunny Scottish isle is accessible either by ferry or by plane and is particularly popular among avid windsurfers.

    Due to the huge amount of sunshine it receives, the low-lying island is very fertile with its name actually meaning ‘land of corn’ in Gaelic. Lining its shores are lots of wonderful white sand beaches with the wild waters of the Atlantic attracting kayakers and kiters, surfers and yachters alike.

    Besides exploring all of its beautiful bays and coves and enjoying its excellent water sports, visitors can also check out all of the island’s attractive architecture as well as listen to some Scottish folk at the Tiree Music Festival.

    8. Islay


    While it is rightly renowned for its wealth of world-class whisky distilleries, the idyllic isle of Islay has much, much more going for it. Known as the ‘Queen of the Hebrides’, it has lots of spellbinding scenery and seascapes for guests to enjoy as well as lots of wonderful water sports and wildlife.

    The southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides, Islay lies just forty kilometers north of the Northern Irish coast. As it has been inhabited for millennia, lots of interesting historical and archaeological sites are dotted about its low-lying lands. Of these, its standout sights are undoubtedly the ornately carved eighth century Kildalton Cross and the Dun Nosebridge iron age fort.

    While many people come for its history and scenery or to spot the bountiful birds that reside within its remote realms, Islay is of course home to nine highly regarded whisky distilleries. As such, no visit can ever be complete without sampling at least one of its strong and smoky flavored drinks.

    7. Shetland Islands

    Shetland Islandsdreamstime/©

    The northernmost part of the United Kingdom, the scenic and secluded Shetland Islands are set in the Northern Atlantic, in between Scotland, Norway and the Faroe Islands. Made up of a hundred or so islands, the spectacular subarctic archipelago is a treat to travel around with craggy coasts and colossal sea cliffs to be found alongside lots of wild and wind-swept wilderness and wildlife.

    Due to their isolated and inhospitable nature, only sixteen of its isles are inhabited with Mainland being home to most of its population. As the archipelago was dominated by Scandinavia for much of its early history, its people and their history, culture and heritage showcase an interesting mix of Norse and Scottish influences.

    While the islands are largely low-lying and treeless, their serene shores hide away lots of beautiful beaches as well as countless coves and cliffs. The Shetland Islands are also known for their wildlife with everything from otters and seals to puffins, dolphins and even orcas to be spotted in its waters.

    6. Iona


    Despite its small size, the incredible island of Iona certainly has a lot to it and has been an important sacred and spiritual center for centuries. Located in the Inner Hebrides, it lies just off of the Isle of Mull with lots of people visiting for its picturesque and peaceful nature and its ancient abbey.

    Founded back in the year 563 AD, the awe-inspiring old abbey exhibits lots of attractive architecture and is widely considered to be the birthplace of Celtic Christianity in Scotland. On top of this, it also used to be a center of scholarship with the renowned and richly illustrated Book of Kells having been created within its cloisters.

    While many people still come to Iona Abbey on spiritual retreats, others instead explore all of the island’s lovely landscapes with lots of fantastic fauna and flora and wonderful wildflowers on show.

    5. The Orkneys

    The Orkneysdreamstime/©

    Situated just fifteen kilometers off the north coast of Scotland is the astounding archipelago of The Orkneys which is made up of around seventy or so islands. As well as being home to lots of arresting archaeological sites, it also boasts lots of captivating coastlines with rugged cliffs and sea stacks to be found alongside secluded bays and coves.

    Most of the archipelago’s population lives on Mainland which is dotted with picture-perfect seaside towns and villages. Here too you can find lots of marvelous megaliths, stone circles and ancient houses such as at Skara Brae which collectively are known as the ‘Heart of Neolithic Orkney’.

    While its rich history and heritage is fascinating to delve into, the Orkneys also have lots of sublime scenery and nature for you to enjoy. A very popular place to visit is its second-largest island of Hoy which is home to huge cliffs and steep valleys and ‘the Old Man of Hoy’ – a stupendous sea stack.

    4. St Kilda

    St Kildadreamstime/©

    The westernmost islands of the Outer Hebrides, the incredible archipelago of St Kilda lies far off both North Ulst and Lewis and Harris. Surrounded by the wild waters of the North Atlantic Ocean, its small scattering of islands boast lots of spellbinding scenery as well as the highest sea cliffs in the whole of the United Kingdom.

    As the isolated archipelago has been inhabited for millennia, a number of interesting archaeological sites are scattered about its wild and wind-swept reaches. Besides the more than a thousand unique cleitean stone structures that dot the islands, you can also find the ruins and remains of medieval villages and abandoned old blackhouses.

    In addition to this, St Kilda has lots of wonderful wilderness and wildlife for visitors to explore with the archipelago being an important breeding ground for countless seabird species. Its standout sight, however, is undoubtedly its craggy coastline and the colossal cliffs that line its secluded shores.

    3. Arran


    As it is home to everything from lofty peaks and gorgeous glens to hilly Highlands, lovely lochs and charming towns and villages, the Isle of Arran is often referred to as ‘Scotland in Miniature’. Set just off of the west coast of Scotland, it lies in the deep coastal waters of the Firth of Clyde and is easily visited from both Glasgow and Ayr.

    Due to its scenic splendor and easy accessibility, Arran has long been a popular place to visit and has been inhabited since the early Neolithic period. Besides seeing phenomenal prehistoric sights such as the standing stones at Machrie Moor or the atmospheric Giants’ Graves, visitors can stop by the ruins of Lochranza Castle and Brodick’s well-preserved castle and heritage museum.

    With so much great hiking to be had and so many stunning landscapes and coastal cliffs, caves and coves to explore, the Isle of Arran is definitely worth checking out if you have the chance.

    2. Jura


    Located just to the northeast of Islay in the Inner Hebrides is the bleak, barren yet beautiful Isle of Jura. Dominated and defined by three colossal and conical mountains which are known as the Paps of Jura, it is very sparsely populated with its rugged and remote reaches being a delight to explore.

    While much of it is made up of blanket bog, some stupendous sheltered beaches can be found here and there with terrific trails taking you right up to the top of its prominent peaks. From their soaring summits, you can enjoy commanding views over their scenic surroundings with the island actually being named after the bountiful deer that vastly outnumber its inhabitants.

    One of its standout sights is the remarkable whirlpool of Corryvrecken that can be viewed from its northernmost tip. Besides exploring all of its delightful landscapes, Jura also has a couple of great gin and whisky distilleries for you to stop by.

    1. Skye

    #1 of Scottish Islandsdreamstime/©

    Undoubtedly the most renowned and recognized of Scotland’s innumerable islands, the irresistible Isle of Skye boasts lots of simply spectacular scenery with majestic mountains and phenomenal views wherever you look. The largest and most northerly of the Inner Hebrides, it lies just off of the west coast of Scotland and is actually connected to the mainland by a bridge.

    As it is often shrouded in mist, its dramatic landscapes look all the more mystical with fabulous photos to be had of its craggy peaks, rock formations and sea stacks. Among its most famous sights are the stunning series of rocky pinnacles that make up both the Quiraing and the Old Man of Storr with its fantastic flickering Fairy Pools also attracting lots of visitors.

    In addition to all its breath-taking natural beauty, Skye has lots of captivating castles such as those of Armadale and Dunvegan for you to check out with hiking in the Cuillin mountain range always being a popular pastime.

    Map of Scottish Islands

  • 10 Most Beautiful Norwegian Islands (with Map & Photos)

    While most people know Norway for its phenomenal fjords and the flickering Northern lights, the Nordic nation is also home to plenty of breathtakingly beautiful islands. Remarkably enough these number over 230,000 in total with most of them lying just off of the country’s rough and rugged coastline which is impressively one of the longest in the world.

    Much further afield you can find the isolated and icy island of Jan Mayen and the glacier-coated archipelago of Svalbard, both of which are situated high up in the Arctic Circle. While some of the innumerable islands in Norway are inaccessible and uninhabited, others are dotted with picture-perfect fishing villages and are very popular among tourists due to their stunning scenery and landscapes.

    With so many to choose from, the Norwegian Islands certainly have something for everyone to enjoy with the lovely Lofoten Islands being one of the most famous and photographed places in the country.

    10. Senja

    Nestled away in the far northwest of Norway is the scenic, secluded and often snow-coated island of Senja. The second-largest isle in the whole of the country, it is home to everything from fabulous forests and fjords to an incredible coastline that is presided over by lots of prominent peaks.

    While often overlooked by foreign tourists, Senja is known domestically for its delightfully diverse and dramatic scenery which has seen it labelled ‘Norway in Miniature’. Its undoubted highlight is its wild and rugged western coast which certainly ranks alongside the renowned Lofoten Islands in terms of its breath-taking beauty.

    Besides being home to lots of lovely landscapes, Senja also has charming fishing villages for you to check out as well as the world’s largest troll statue.

    9. Vagsoy

    In contrast, the idyllic isle of Vågsøy is situated hundreds and hundreds of kilometers to the south of Senja in Vestland in Western Norway. It lies on the northern side of the mouth of Nordfjorden which is one of the longest and loveliest fjords in the whole of the country.

    As it is located on open ocean, the wild waters of the Atlantic pound its wind-swept shores which are quite rugged and mountainous in nature. Looking out over the waves are a number of wonderful lighthouses with those of Hendanes, Krakenes, and Skongenes making for some fantastic photos thanks to their stupendous seaside settings.

    The island’s largest town of Maloy is also a delight to visit as it is set in a scenic spot beneath two mighty mounts with stunning views on offer from their soaring summits. On top of all this, Vågsøy has the sandy beach of Refvik to visit as well as the unique mushroom-shaped rock of Kannesteinen.

    8. Tromsoya

    One of the best places in the world from which to see the Northern Lights or explore the icy realms of the Arctic Circle is Tromso which can be found in the far north of the country. Most of the city is set on the small island of Tromsøya which lies in a serene strait with snow-topped mountains rising up all around it in the distance.

    While many people simply use it as a base from which to see the huge swathes of snow and ice that surround it, the city itself has lots of handsome historic wooden houses to check out alongside many magnificent museums and the attractive Arctic Cathedral. The island too also has a lot going for it with Prestvannet lake and its nature reserve being a very pretty and peaceful place to visit.

    For incredible views out over the whole of Tromsøya, the city, and its surroundings, take the cable car to the top of Mount Storsteinen on the mainland and revel in its unrivaled panoramas.

    7. Jan Mayen

    A very isolated, icy, and inhospitable island, Jan Mayen is surrounded by the freezing cold waters of the Arctic Ocean. Only inhabited by a handful of hardy members of the Norwegian Armed Forces, the otherwise deserted and desolate isle is named after a Dutch whaling captain who was credited somewhat controversially with its discovery in 1614.

    Now protected as part of a nature preserve and identified as an Important Bird Area, Jan Mayen is made up of two geographically distinct parts. While the southern section of the island is quite low-lying and is home to lagoons, its northern side is dominated by the breath-taking Beerenberg volcano which towers to 2,277 meters in height and is dotted with glistening glaciers.

    As it lies hundreds and hundreds of kilometers off Iceland, Greenland and Norway, the bleak, barren yet beautiful island is very hard to access and is only seldomly visited by tourists.

    6. Kvaloya

    Not to be confused with the island of the same name outside of Tromso, the captivating Kvaløya can be found even further to the north in the Arctic Circle. In fact, its main claim to fame is that it is home to Hammerfest which claims to be ‘the northernmost town in the world’.

    Despite having been founded centuries ago, the town doesn’t have all that many sites of interest besides a couple of churches and museums as it has been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times. It is, however, an important center of Sami culture with the Mikkelgammn Sami Camp teaching you all about their rich history, heritage and traditions.

    In addition to all of the fun festivals that take place in town over the course of the year, Hammerfest makes for a great base from which to explore Kvaløya’s scenic splendor. Just a stone’s throw away you can find everything from majestic mountains and sweeping sandy beaches to lots of delightful coastal landscapes which are often covered in sparkling snow during the depths of winter.

    5. Hidra

    Set right down in the south of Norway is the awe-inspiring island of Hidra which lies at the entrance to the fantastic Flekkefjord. Inhabited for millennia, it boasts a fascinating past for you to delve into with lots of spellbinding scenery also being on show.

    While its indented coastline is very rough and rugged, its interior is coated in lush forests and fertile farmland. The island is almost divided in two by the ravishing Rasvagfjorden with the small Eie Canal having been built through its remaining narrow isthmus to allow boats to pass through.

    To enjoy phenomenal views out over Hidra and the nearby islands, head to Hagasen Fort which was built during World War II by the Germans. From atop of its prominent peak, you can also spy the centuries-old Hidra Church which is one of its standout sights alongside its coastal museum and the colourful cabins of Sma hytter – an interesting art installation.

    4. Mageroya

    Located in the extreme north of Norway is the marvelous Magerøya which lies along the Barents Sea, just off of the Porsanger Peninsula and its adjacent fjord which stretches endlessly inland. The incredible island is mostly known for being home to Nordkapp or the North Cape which is billed as the northernmost point of mainland Europe.

    Standing atop of the steep and sheer coastal cliff and looking out over the wild waters of the Arctic Ocean is an amazing experience as all you see are the shimmering waves reaching over the horizon. Long a popular tourist destination, its breath-taking panoramas have been enjoyed for centuries with the Sami once having used its precipitous plateau as a sacrificial site.

    Besides this, Magerøya also has lots of bleak and barren but bird-filled landscapes to explore with terrific trails taking you along its craggy coast and to the top of Grakallfjellet, its highest point.

    3. Vesteralen Islands

    Home to lots of wonderful wilderness and spellbinding scenery, the arresting archipelago of the Vesterålen Islands can be found just to the north of Lofoten. Although its captivating coastlines and mighty mountains are just as impressive as those of its nearby neighbor, it is thankfully overlooked by many tourists and so makes for a very picturesque and peaceful getaway.

    Encompassed within its scenic confines are around ten islands for you to explore which lie scattered off Northern Norway’s indented coast. Dotted about its fantastic fjords and serene and secluded coves are a number of quaint fishing villages with Andenes being a great base from which to take boat trips and whale watching tours to and around the rest of the isles.

    In addition, some lovely lakes lie hidden amidst its mountains with part of Moysalen National Park and its epic and undisturbed coastal alpine landscapes to be found on the island of Hinnoya.

    2. Svalbard

    Mostly made up of gorgeous glittering glaciers with majestic mountains and fjords crisscrossing its isolated islands, the astounding archipelago of Svalbard can be found high up in the Arctic Circle. Located midway between Norway and the North Pole, its icy expanses are famed for being home to more polar bears than people with it being one of the best places in the world to see arctic animals.

    As the islands are so inhospitable and inaccessible, only Spitsbergen is inhabited with a couple of small settlements spread around its snowy shores. From here, you can take brilliant boat tours to the surrounding islands which are home to lots of stupendous national parks and nature reserves.

    As well as polar bears, the winter wonderland also has arctic foxes and reindeer for you to spy amidst its stunning snow-coated scenery as well as the innumerable seals, walruses and whales which swim about its wild waters.

    1. Lofoten Islands

    Renowned and recognized the world round for their distinctive and dramatic landscapes, the lovely Lofoten Islands really are a treat to travel around and can be found just off of the nation’s northwest coast. Connected to the mainland by a series of tunnels and bridges, the archipelago boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the whole of Norway with phenomenal views wherever you look.

    Rising up impressively above its scenic shores and sheltered inlets are lots of marvelous mountains with fabulous fjords cutting their way through them. Dotted about here and there you can also find beautiful beaches and charming coves with sheep-filled fields and farmland set among all of its untouched and unspoiled nature.

    Add in all of its epic outdoor activities, its picture-perfect fishing villages and of course the swirling Aurora Borealis, and it is no wonder that the Lofoten Islands are such a popular place to visit.

    Map of Norwegian Islands

  • 10 Best Places to Visit in Virginia (with Map & Photos)

    Home to some of the most interesting historic tourist attractions in the whole of the States, Virginia is a fascinating place to explore. The first state to be settled in 1607, it later played a major role in the Revolutionary War, American Civil War and the Civil Rights movement. As such, a myriad of monuments, memorials and museums can be found almost everywhere you go.

    Among the best places to visit in Virginia are several colonial cities with a rich history, such as Charlottesville and Williamsburg, and the state also has stupendous scenery to enjoy. In the west, for instance, you can find the awe-inspiring Appalachian Mountains, while the Atlantic Ocean coastline features beautiful beaches and lively resort towns. With the spectacular Shenandoah National Park and outstanding outdoor activities, Virginia is a rich and rewarding state to explore.

    10. Roanoke

    Roanokedreamstime/© Larry Metayer

    Located in a vast valley amidst the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, the charming city of Roanoke is a treat to visit and explore. It is often called the ‘Star City of the South’, due to the colossal lit star atop the mighty Mill Mountain that shines out over its streets and suburbs.

    Historically an important transport hub thanks to its strategic setting in the southwest of the state, in recent years the city has developed a thriving arts and culture scene. There are now theaters and cultural centers to check out, as well as many music venues and museums. Of these, the Taubman Museum of Art is well worth visiting for its huge collection of artworks, while the Virginia Museum of Transportation showcases the history of Roanoke’s railway.

    Although home to enticing attractions and an increasing number of excellent restaurants, most people use Roanoke as a base to explore the breathtaking Blue Ridge Parkway and the endless Appalachian Trail.

    9. Norfolk

    Norfolkdreamstime/© Ramunas Bruzas

    Known for being home to the largest naval base in the world, the city of Norfolk has much more to it. World-class museums and pretty parks are found along its winding waterfront. Set in the southeast of the state, it lies at the heart of a major metropolitan area and is surrounded by the cities of Chesapeake, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach.

    As the city is located on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay and the Elizabeth River, its history has been shaped by its relationship to the waters around it. Once considered a raucous and rowdy port town, it now sports several sparkling state-of-the-art museums. Additionally, there are some phenomenal performing arts centers with exciting entertainment options

    As well as the wonderful Waterfront District and captivating Chrysler Museum of Art, visitors can stop by Nauticus, a marvelous maritime center which hosts the incredible USS Wisconsin. With historic homes dotted about and beautiful beaches to enjoy, Norfolk certainly has a lot going for it.

    8. Charlottesville

    Charlottesvilledreamstime/© Joe Sohm

    Consistently ranked one of the best places to live in the States, the charming college town of Charlottesville is just as picturesque to visit as a tourist. Known for its wealth of interesting historic sights, it acts as a major cultural center for the region. It’s also home to the prestigious University of Virginia and its pretty campus.

    As well as boasting beautiful buildings and arresting architecture, the small city has historic homes of two US presidents for you to tour. While the former residence of James Monroe is quite modest, Thomas Jefferson’s majestic Monticello plantation has gorgeous grounds and gardens to wander.

    It was the latter too who founded the University of Virginia and designed many of its grand Greek and Roman-style buildings. Its remarkable Rotunda is one of the city’s standout sights. Thanks to its sizable student population, Charlottesville has a lively, youthful and cultured feel to it. Its quaint countryside surroundings are also dotted with wonderful wineries.

    7. Mount Vernon

    Mount Vernondreamstime/© De Fagundes

    Nestled in the northeast of Virginia is Mount Vernon, the plantation home of George Washington, the first president of the United States. Due to its proximity to Washington, DC, and huge historical importance, it attracts millions of visitors each year.

    Set in a scenic spot overlooking the Potomac River, the expansive estate was the home of Washington from 1754, until he died in 1799. The outbuildings and gardens are a treat to explore and have demonstrations on how the plantation worked. But the highlight is the massive mansion at its heart which was designed and decorated by the great man himself.

    Full of fabulous furnishings, family portraits and period pieces, and over 20 rooms, visitors will get an insight into this influential figure’s life. You can also learn more about him and his achievements at the site’s museum and education center, as well as pay your respects at the moving George and Martha Washington memorial.

    6. Richmond

    Richmonddreamstime/© Felix Mizioznikov

    One of the oldest cities in the States, Richmond has been the capital of Virginia since 1780. It is awash with interesting and impressive historic sights, many of them relating to the role it played in the American Civil War.

    Set on the banks of the James River, its scenic streets have astounding antebellum architecture for you to enjoy, with magnificent monuments, museums and memorials dotted about. Must-see sights include its centuries-old State Capitol and the sensational St. John’s Church. Here Patrick Henry famously gave his ‘Give me liberty or give me death speech’ during the Revolutionary War.

    Besides exploring its array of American Civil War sites, visitors can also stop by one of its craft breweries or live music venues. With lovely riverside walks, and even white water rafting to be had on the James River, Richmond is certainly not stuck in the past. It has a wealth of fun and exciting things for you to see and do.

    5. Arlington

    Arlingtondreamstime/© Joe Ravi

    Situated across the Potomac River from Washington, DC is the densely populated county of Arlington. Made up of endless urban sprawl and picturesque parks along its winding riverfront, it is home to the Pentagon and the Arlington National Cemetery.

    Established during the American Civil War, it is in the Arlington National Cemetery that many of the most famous figures from the United States’ history are buried. As well as the grave of President John F. Kennedy, the most visited sites in the cemetery include the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Iwo Jima Memorial. Besides being moving monuments to those who lost their lives, these memorials are amongst the State’s most renowned and visited landmarks.

    In the cemetery, you can find the attractive Arlington House, while the imposing Pentagon can be spied just outside it. Visitors need to book in advance if they want to take an informative and engaging tour around the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense.

    4. Alexandria

    Alexandriadreamstime/© Jon Bilous

    Set just to the south of both Arlington and Washington, DC is the town of Alexandria boasting one of the best-preserved historic districts in the country. Founded in 1749 on the western bank of the Potomac River, it has charming cobbled streets to explore.

    As well as exhibiting early American architecture, the beautiful buildings of the Old Town also house boutiques and antique shops. Dotted about its quaint center are cafes and restaurants to try out with a host of handsome historic homes to visit. The centuries-old Christ Church and the grand George Washington Masonic National Memorial are among the most popular; both are National Historic Landmarks.

    While Alexandria is now a very pretty and pleasant place to visit, it was also once the site of the second-largest slave market in the States. Visitors can learn about this at the Alexandria Black History Museum and Freedom House Museum; both of which have superb exhibitions on the history of the city.

    3. Virginia Beach

    Virginia Beachdreamstime/© Mvogel

    With almost 60 kilometers of sun-kissed sandy shores, it is no wonder that Virginia Beach is a popular holiday destination. Located at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, its attractive Atlantic Ocean coastline offers up an astounding array of attractions, as well as a wealth of water sports.

    Lining the broad, beautiful beach are hotels and motels, as well as an oceanfront boardwalk dotted with souvenir shops and seafood restaurants. As well as a great place for a stroll, cycle or skate, it has mini-golf, arcades, amusement rides and live entertainment. Also, the Virginia Aquarium and Ocean Breeze Waterpark are close by.

    While it has some great museums and galleries, most people come for the beach or to go kayaking, surfing and whale watching. With lovely hikes and nature to be enjoyed at the nearby Black Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia Beach caters to all ages and interests.

    2. Williamsburg

    Williamsburgdreamstime/© Khairil Junos

    Once the capital of the Colony and Commonwealth of Virginia, Williamsburg is renowned for its rich history, and the role it played in the American Revolution. Set in the southeast on the vast Virginia Peninsula, it is home to captivating Colonial Williamsburg, one of the largest living-history museums in the world.

    Wandering about the historic district is a delight as you pass beautiful old brick buildings and colonial-era churches and houses. As well as seeing the state’s first capitol building and the Governor’s Palace, you can also gain insight into the culture of the time by watching historical reenactors at work.

    You can also visit pretty plantations along the James River and the charming campus of the College of William and Mary. The university’s sizable student population lends the modern part of the city a lively and youthful feel.

    1. Shenandoah National Park

    #1 of Best Places To Visit In Virginiadreamstime/© Sborisov

    Nestled in the north of the state is the stunning Shenandoah National Park, sure to delight nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Home to spectacular scenery and nature, it is a treat to explore with epic hiking and views.

    Protected and preserved since 1935, its vast forests cover part of the rugged Blue Ridge Mountains, looking out over both the Shenandoah Valley and the winding river down below. Weaving along the ridge of the narrow park is the delightful Skyline Drive, stretching 169 kilometers in length and featuring some phenomenal viewpoints.

    The picturesque park also has scenic trails to hike, mountain bike or horseback ride; with the Appalachian Trail being the most famous of the lot. With fantastic fishing, camping and wildlife watching also on offer, Shenandoah is one of the best national parks in the country.