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Discover Crete’s Hidden Treasures

Many people take a holiday on the Greek island of Crete and enjoy the fantastic beaches, charming villages and endless sunshine. But Crete offers the visitor much more than this.

As if welcoming people, charming mountain villages, rocky bays, sandy beaches and one of Europe’s best climates were not enough reasons to visit Crete, it is also a historian’s and an archaeologist’s paradise. Its fascinating archaeological ruins and world-class museums are surely a bonus. And in the far northwest, east and south of the island, away from the tourist trail, you can expect to see some really excellent smaller Minoan sites that are hardly visited.

But before heading for the archaeological ruins, check out the stunning collection of the Iraklion Archaeological Museum in Heraklion, the capital of the island. Home to the world’s finest collection of Minoan art and culture in the world, the twenty rooms and galleries provide the perfect introduction to 5,000 years of island history from the Neolithic to the Graeco-Roman era.

The famous Minoan Palace of Knossos, just south of Iraklion, was one of Europe’s finest buildings during Bronze Age (2800-1100 BC) with around 1,400 rooms. Staircases with shallow alabaster steps lead to upper or lower floors and lovely frescoes, with scenes from everyday life, decorate the Palace walls. The King’s and the Queen’s apartments feature blue dolphins, while the throne room contains the oldest throne in Europe, the alabaster throne of King Minos.

If you are feeling more adventurous head for remote Central Crete’s prehistoric site of Gortys, once the largest city in Crete. Besides being the first city to accept Christianity, and with a history as far back as the Minoan period, Gortys was occupied by the Romans in 68 BC and destroyed by the Arabs 900 years later. This layer on layer of civilization brings history to life as you discover an ancient past that helps explain the present.

The great thing about Crete, the largest of the Greek islands, is that it’s big enough to get away to places that are not teeming with visitors all the time. As well as resorts and nightlife you can also enjoy simple pleasures such as sipping a coffee at a roadside café in a mountain village. But, whatever you do, be sure to soak up the island’s history through the archaeological remains of the past civilizations. And remember, entrance to all archaeological sites, museums, archaeological collections and monuments is free on Sundays and public holidays between 1 November and 31 March.

A Quick Guide To The South Of France

The South of France has the enviable combination of miles of coastline and fertile rural landscapes and has been the inspiration for artists, composers and writers as well as the new visitor.

Where is it?

The term “South of France” is usually used to describe the southern stretch of the country’s coastline that runs between Spain and Italy, and the rural inland areas that include Provence and the Lubéron. With its warm climate, fertile landscape and developed coastline, it is one of the most regularly-visited parts of Europe.

Where can I stay?

Unsurprisingly, for somewhere as popular as the South of France, there is no shortage of hotels, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts and camp sites. For a true taste of the area though, stay in one of our recommended boutique hotels. Small and intimate, they are a home from home and turn a basic holiday into a luxury retreat. All of these hotels offer well-designed and contemporary rooms and the service is discreet and impeccable. Good food usually goes hand-in-hand with the cool rooms and public areas – by choosing one of these hotels you’ll be treating yourself to a memorable stay in the South of France.

What can I see?

The South of France is too big an area to be fully explored in a single holiday, which is why many people return year after year. Some of France’s most expensive resorts lie on the south coast, including St. Tropez and Cannes, and where better to watch the yachts and fashions of the rich and famous? The area is famous for its coastline, sailing and water sports and for the cities that lie near it: Nice, Marseilles and Montpelier for example. Inland, Provence is well-known for its rolling landscapes, stretches of vineyards and swathes of wild flowers. With no shortage of historic buildings, local markets and museums to explore, the South of France has something for everyone.

How do I get around?

If you’re planning on exploring the South of France, you should hire a car. The French, like most European countries, drive on the right hand side of the road and the roads are largely well-maintained, although many are toll-controlled and you will have to pay at marked toll stations to use the main road network. If you are planning on staying mostly in one place and just visiting major cities or tourist areas, then opt for the train system, operated by SNCF.

A Cat Island Bahamas Vacation

The Hermitage is a bit of an historical oddity, fascinating & strange. The hike up to see this religious site will take visitors through small villages along beautiful trails, full of island flora & fauna. it is located at the top of Mt. Alvernia, which is 206 feet above the sea & the highest point in the Bahamas. The Hermitage itself is made from the limestone of the cliffs, with each piece painstakingly extracted, shaped & set by hand by the Canadian mule-skinner turned Anglican turned Roman Catholic priest known as brother Jerome. The brother built the structure to scale, designed it to fit his diminutive form. Beloved by the island people, the priest passed away in 1956 after reaching the ripe age of 80.

One of the outer islands of the Bahamas, cat Island is a quiet holiday location for those who’re looking to relax. Among its varied pleasures & activities, a little exploration will turn up a historical oddity or five that add to the individual character of the place. beautiful beaches in natural settings welcome the nature lover & peace seeker alike.

For those interested in water sports, the cat Island Dive Center is the place to contact. They operate out of the Greenwood Beach Resort & have a variety of diving & snorkeling packages available, & there’s plenty of fine areas to explore, offering a wealth of marine life & fascinating geological formations. They also have water sport equipment to rent.

Other historical sites include an Arawak cave, found at Columbus point, & plantation ruins, left over from the islands efforts at joining the worlds cotton growers. Deveaux mansion was eight times the residence of Andrew Deveaux of the US Navy, who participated in the 1873 battles to get Nassau back from italy. Another widely known ruins is the remains of the Ambrister plantation, near Port Howe.

cat Island is the sixth largest island in the Bahamas, & boasts extraordinary beaches. there’s literally miles & miles of virtually undisturbed beaches, where swimming & relaxing can be done in near complete privacy.

Fine meals can be had at several locations on cat Island. Hawk’s Nest Resort & Marina serves a variety of dishes, but among the best are the fresh, grilled fish & the roasted rack of lamb. Fernandez Bay Village is the place to go for creative & delicious native dishes, served either in the dining room or a patio table by the beach. Greenwood Beach Resort’s Bahaman cuisine is complemented by their marvelous breads, which are baked every day.

cat Island is an excellent choice for vacationers who’re seeking a natural beach experience, & enjoy a peaceful & laid-back atmosphere. The island can be explored at a leisurely pace, which is a much better way to enjoy the local flora & fauna, as well as to enjoy the local culture. Because it is so much smaller in population than plenty of of the other islands, it is easier to get a real feel for the people & their way of life. cat Island is an interesting place that will make a lasting impression on its guests.