Last summer we shared our beginner’s guide to Nova Scotia – and now it’s time to introduce you to one of Atlantic Canada’s other great provinces: Prince Edward Island.
Aptly nicknamed the Garden of the Gulf thanks to its calming landscape, Prince Edward Island is one of the best provinces in Canada if you’re looking to relax and get away from it all (while still having plenty of outdoor activities to sample). Here’s a quick guide to get you started!
Things to do
Explore its capital
Prince Edward Island only has two urban areas, one being the capital of Charlottetown. It is however only home to 34,000 people and you’ll find church turrets punctuating the skyline rather than skyscrapers. When visiting Prince Edward Island this will likely be your base for exploring the wider island and it’s well worth taking a day to wander around (especially in the evening when the sun sets over the harbour).
Visit the Anne of Green Gables house
Anne of Green Gables is a classic piece of Canadian literature, and deep within the Prince Edward Island National Park you’ll find the very house that inspired the book. Here you can wander through the Green Gables House, stroll around several museums, and take an afternoon walk along the Haunted Woods and Balsam Hollow trails as described in the book.
Listen to sand sing
No, you didn’t misread that. The sand found along Basin Head is a unique white silica sand that makes a “squeaking” noise when walked on. The cliffs also boast a beautiful red hue thanks to the high iron concentration that oxidises upon exposure to the air.
Technically the Acadian Forests stretch across Atlantic Canada and into New England – but they’re every nature lover’s dream no matter which state or province you are in. The Acadian Forest Region is actually a combination of the Northern Hardwood and Boreal forests – creating a unique blend of hardwood and softwood trees found nowhere else on earth.
Play a round of golf
There are 27 golf courses on Prince Edward Island. Which is no surprise given the natural beauty of the island – the island is also small enough that it’s not impossible to play more than one course in one day.
Food & Drink
With a landscape barely touched by urban development and the Atlantic Ocean right on its doorstep, it’s no surprise that Prince Edward Island is a world of wonders for foodie travellers. The island is very proud of its farm-to-table ethics, where any dish you eat could have easily been caught or harvested only 10 minutes away from the restaurant. They are also a variety of food tours and experiences on offer for anyone who wants to learn more.
Seafood is especially popular with lobster, oysters and mussels on almost every menu. If it’s vegetables you prefer, then you’ll find potato farms everywhere you turn. Potato farming is actually one of Prince Edward Island’s primary industries (McCain chips originated on Prince Edward Island!) and you’ll even find a potato museum!
If you also enjoy a good tipple, you’ll love the several wineries and distilleries on the island. They range from fruit wine, to craft beers to local vodka (again, the potato industry) – and most offer tours.
Getting there and getting around
Prince Edward Island is best when slotted into a wider Atlantic Canada itinerary. Halifax in Nova Scotia offers direct flights to the UK that only take 6 hours. After landing you can then take an internal flight to Charlottetown, hop on the PEI Express Shuttle, or hire a car and drive across the Confederation Bridge (or hop on the ferry). Top tip: when leaving the island via the Confederation Bridge you’ll be asked to pay a toll-tax.
The island is only 120 miles long, and you can easily explore it in a week – no matter your mode of transport. The pace of life is much slower on Prince Edward Island and is somewhere where you’d even be encouraged by the locals to slow down your car and take in the view.
Other important information
Prince Edward Island’s tourist season is during our summer – if you go outside of the summer month you’ll find some attractions aren’t open
Prince Edward Island is in the Atlantic Time Zone and is four hours behind the UK
They use the Canadian Dollar, which you can obtain in most Barrhead Travel branches and on our website
There’s always been something romantic about a secluded island. Maybe it’s the lack of other people. Maybe it’s the nightly sunset. Maybe it’s the sunrays slipping through the windows in the morning. Whatever it is, islands have always been one of the most popular honeymoon destinations.
The world is not exactly short of islands, however, so it can be difficult to decide what one is the best fit for you. Whether you’re looking for complete seclusion, somewhere same-sex friendly, food adventures, or an island-hopping extravaganza – we have you covered.
If you want complete relaxation
It has to be the Maldives. With overwater villas that lead into the warm Indian Ocean, it’s not hard to understand why this one of the world’s top honeymoon destinations. The overwater villas are not the only romantic thing about the Maldives – most of the resorts on the island are home to delicious food, sumptuous spas and perfect beaches.
If you want same-sex friendly
The island of Mykonos is one of the most welcoming islands in the world for same-sex couples. And even better: the island boasts many different sides. There’s the buzzing nightlife on one end, and then there’s secluded coves at the other. So no matter what kind of honeymoon you and your sweetie are after you’ll find it on this Greek island.
If you believe food is the way to the heart
Thailand is always popular with travellers seeking exotic flavours – and the islands dotted along its shore are no exception. Even more, these islands come with a side-serving of luxury resorts and beautiful beaches.
If you want all-inclusive
The Caribbean is always going to be the top destination for couples who want to leave the wallet at home. Across these warm islands you’ll find plenty of resorts that include multiple restaurants, watersports and cocktails within the upfront price.
Another option in the Caribbean is a cruise. Many cruises offer all-inclusive packages (or even packages where you can bolt on what you know you’ll definitely use) and offer you the chance to explore multiple islands.
If you want adventure
For some couples, romance is getting up at the crack of dawn and embarking on a hike to watch the sunrise. If you’re one of these couples, then we recommend the Azores. A hidden volcanic gem in the Atlantic Ocean, couples can dip their toes into vivid blue crater lakes, take a boat trip out to spot whales, indulge in outdoor activities and relax in thermal spas.
If you want something really adventurous
If you and your sweetheart don’t mind some snow, head to the island of Svalbard. Found right up north in Arctic Norway – there is something eerily romantic about the snow-capped mountains and sparkling glaciers. And remember to book yourself a snow safari – the island is actually home to more polar bears than people!
If you want to island hop
Like variety in your relationship and travels? Jet off to the Pacific Ocean and explore the islands of Hawaii. Each one has its own distinct personality and it would be a shame to stick to just one. With flights regularly connecting the islands you can explore high-energy Oahu, secluded Kauai, beachtastic Maui, and the volcanic Big Island.
If you want to take the kids
If you and your other half already have a family, why not make your honeymoon about family time? If this is the case try the island of Mauritius. This Indian Ocean gem offers a better-rounded holiday than the Maldives (or Seychelles) that is sure to keep every member of the family happy.
If you’ve been on honeymoon already, let us know in the comments where you went!
Philadelphia is a city that will excite and inform you in equal measures. Full of history and culture, there are no shortages of fascinating historical landmarks and museums. But it’s also got all the modern flair you would expect from any large American city – with shopping, delicious restaurants and distinctive neighbourhoods. Here’s everything you need to know before your first trip to America’s birthplace.
Things to do
Explore American history
Philadelphia played a crucial role in the creation of the United States – it was even the temporary capital while Washington DC was built! Historic attractions include Independence Hall – where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were debated and adopted, the Liberty Bell, Independence National Historical Park, The Betsy Ross House (where the American Flag was designed!) and the former house of George Washington.
Wander between the neighbourhoods
Philadelphia is home to vibrant – and distinct – neighbourhoods. Eat delicious dim sum in Chinatown, explore the cobbled streets of Old City, soak up the Italian vibes of South Philadelphia or go for a relaxed walk in Rittenhouse Square.
Treat your taste buds
While you’re in the city you need to try the famous Philly cheesesteak. But there’s more to the city’s rich foodie scene. The Reading Terminal Market and Italian Market are both iconic landmarks and definitely worth a visit. The city is also home to a wide mix of restaurants thanks to the city’s rich cultural mix.
Admire some art
Philadelphia is home to the oldest art gallery in the USA, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. The city was also home to Thomas Eakins, whose portraits of 19th Century Philadelphians make him arguably the greatest American painter. Plus, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is the third biggest art museum in the world.
Shop ‘til you drop
Make sure you book a sizeable luggage allowance as Philadelphia offers plenty of shopping opportunities – the clothing and shoes are even tax-free! The King of Prussia Mall is also one of the biggest in America and boasts eight department stores including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s. But if you prefer something unique, wander around the side streets and you’ll find an infinite number of independent owner-run boutiques.
How to get to Philadelphia and find your way around
Philadelphia International Airport is a twenty-minute drive from the city centre and offers 4 non-stop flights to London a day. There’s also a railway line that connects the airport to Philadelphia’s downtown area (plus taxis charge a flat rate of $28.50 between the airport and Centre City).
If you’re planning a multi-centre break, Philadelphia is only two hours from New York City, 90 minutes from Baltimore, and three hours from Washington D.C via car. Philadelphia also sits on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) rail track, which connects the city to Boston, Baltimore, Washington D.C. and New York City.
Philadelphia is very easy to navigate and is rated as one of the USA’s most walkable cities. The city centre is compact and uses the grid system, with many notable attractions less than 20 minutes away from each other by foot.
Other important information
Like all of the USA, English is the official language, the currency is US Dollars and visas needs to be arranged in advance. Philadelphia also has a similar climate to the UK, with the same seasonal pattern. The 4th of July is considered one of the best times to visit with fireworks and street parades but other months still have a friendly atmosphere (with smaller crowds).
If you’ve been to Philadelphia before, what would advise would you offer first-time travellers?
If you haven’t already been to Florida, chances are it is on your list. And while the thrilling rides and attractions of Orlando definitely steal the limelight, the beautiful coastline should be on your list as well.
One of the best stretches of coastline has to be Clearwater Beach. Set on the west coast of Florida, it overlooks the warm waves of the Mexican Gulf, where beach-bums and water sports enthusiasts can both enjoy their chosen pastimes. Not only that, but the city itself boasts indie shops, restaurants and quaint attractions to see you through into the evening. Here are seven reasons why Clearwater should be on your travel bucket list.
1. Award-winning beaches
Have you really been to Florida if you didn’t stop by one of many white-sand beaches? The beaches in Clearwater are an excellent choice and are even award-winning. Clearwater Beach and Sand Key Park are two main ones, with white sands, the warm currents of the Gulf and on-duty lifeguards.
2. Marine Life
It’s not just beach-bums and water sports enthusiasts that love the exploring the Gulf coastline. Whether it’s bottle-nosed dolphins, turtles or the elusive manatee – you’ll find lots of beautiful creatures swimming around the shores. The best way to see them is to take a boat trip.
3. The Dolphin Trail
The water isn’t the only place where you’ll find dolphins in Clearwater. On land, take the “Dolphin Trail” that showcases one hundred, six-foot tall, fiberglass dolphins – each one decorated by a local artist and sponsored by a local business. See how many you can find.
4. A festival every night at Pier 60
Pier 60 throws a party two hours before the sun goes down – every single evening. Each night is different, where you might be greeted by local musicians one evening then a fire-breather the next. These events are also family-friendly, and there’s a playground very close to Pier 60.
5. Fishing and boating opportunities
The Gulf shoreline lends a hand to any holidaymakers or locals who enjoy fishing. There are a number of fishing and scuba diving tours that take people out regularly.
6. Tasty food
You’re going to be hungry after a long day at the beach – and Clearwater is not short of restaurants. Seafood is especially popular and one of the best places to try a fish-platter is Nauti-Nancy’s. But you’ll also find plenty of All-American diners and Caribbean inspired cuisine.
7. It’s the perfect end to an exhilarating Orlando break
Orlando is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world, but a week exploring the parks tires most families out. So there’s no better way to relax than to hire a car and drive down to Clearwater and enjoy a few days on the beach before catching a flight back to the UK.
Costa Daurada is one of the most popular beach destinations in Europe - and with a name that literally translates into “the Golden Coast” it’s no surprise as to why.
But with a coastline that stretches for 82km, it can be difficult to choose which stretch of beach is right for you. Below we’ve rounded up 10 of the best beaches in Costa Daurada – including family-friendly resorts and hidden enclaves perfect for a romantic stroll.
1. Cunit Beach, Cunit
If you have young children who aren’t experienced swimmers, this is one of the safest beaches. The 2km stretch of sand is broken up into seven half-moon-shaped breakwaters, creating a shallow pool. Each mini-beach also boasts an array of family-friendly facilities including sun-loungers, toilets, water sport rental, football posts and pedalo rental.
2. Calafell Beach, Calafell
Calafell is the perfect resort if you’re looking for a combination of beach and history. The town itself is located 1.5km inland. The beach is 5km of golden sand with warm, calm and clean waters. Another beach perfect for families.
3. Coma-Ruga Beach, el Vendrell
The town of El Vendrell is home to three Blue Flag beaches, but Coma-Ruga Beach is the most centrally located. Clocking in at 2km in length and 120 metres, the beach is home to sun lounger rental, umbrella rental, toilets, showers and water sports. But you need to get there early as this one can get busy.
4. Els Muntanyans Beach, Torredembarra
This is a remarkable place due to the last brackish waters since the "Delta de l'Ebre" that are preserved along its 2km coast, and are of environmental significance. Visitors will find this to be a great destination all year round, where beach-goers can enjoy a variety of activities while taking care to respect the environment, including sunbathing, taking a dip in the sea, relaxing, hiking and observing animals and plants in their natural habitat.
5. Cala de Tamarit Beach, Altafulla
Resting at the foot of Tamarit Castle, to access this small cove you will have to park the car in a nearby urbanisation, take a short trip through the forest and climb over a few meters of rocks but we assure you that the reward is worth it. La Cala de Tamarit is no more than 50 meters long and you will not find showers or snacks. A corner to truly disconnect!
6. L’Arrabassada Beach, Tarragona
This is a very popular urban-beach that is perfect for everyone. You’ll find cafes, bars, restaurants, showers, toilets, lockers, umbrella and sun lounger rental, a large car park, water sports rental, a children’s play park and even a surf practising area. Plus, the beach is cleaned daily, has lifeguards, and disabled access.
7. Cala Penya Tallada Cove, Salou
This isolated cove is home to soft sands, fragrant pine trees and beautiful vegetation. There are no facilities here but it makes up for that in terms of natural beauty.
8. Platja de la Llosa, Cambrils
Passing the Port of Cambrils, this 1km long beach (which has Blue Flag status) is facing a seafront promenade full of restaurants where you can try some delicious rice dishes. The beach is subdivided into 8 different coves for docks and is home to all the services you need. It is also a good area for water sports.
9. Platja Cristall Beach, Mont-roig del Camp – Miami Platja
There are only a few other places in Catalan where you will find a sandy area that is as beautiful and extensive as the Crystal Beach. Stretching for more than a kilometre, Playa Cristall offers everything you need from loungers, parasols, good restaurants, activities, kindergartens, parks and a boardwalk. But, in case this was not enough, when you reach the northern end of the beach you will find 10 beautiful coves, surrounded by vegetation where you will enjoy exceptional crystalline waters
10. Platja de l’Almadrava, l’Hospitalet de l’Infant
Finally, we have Almadrava which clocks in at one and a half kilometres long. It has Blue Flag status and is equipped with a sports area and a play area for the little ones, ideal for enjoying a beach day with friends or family.
When many people dream about their honeymoon they picture sandy beaches, shimmering blue seas and a luxury 5* resort. Then there are couples who don’t want to get away from it all and their dream honeymoon involves a bustling city or exploring hidden caves.
What if we told you that there’s a popular honeymoon destination that offers all of this? Well, there is - and it’s Thailand. One of South-East Asia’s most popular holiday hot spots, it is also the perfect place for a romantic escape. Below we’ve rounded up five reasons why you should definitely consider Thailand for your first holiday as a married couple.
1. Luxury Resorts
It’s your honeymoon so you’ll want to treat yourself, and Thailand is not short of gorgeous hotels. Throughout the country you’ll find a mix of famous hotel chains as well as beautiful boutique accommodations. Even better, 5* accommodation is much more affordable in Thailand than in many other destinations.
2. Beautiful beaches
Want to treat your new spouse to a romantic walk on the beach? Thailand is home to some of South-East Asia’s most exquisite beaches. Many of Thailand’s 5* resorts are even found on uninhabited islands so you’ll have the whole stretch of sand to yourself.
3. There’s still the option for adventure
Relaxing on a beach or unwinding with a couple’s massage isn’t for everyone. If you and your sweetheart would rather be trekking up mountains or exploring a street market, you won’t be disappointed. From Buddhist temples and world-class dive sites to famous nightlife, Thailand offers more than just romantic candlelit dinners.
4. Delicious food
It’s been said that the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, and Thailand definitely listened. Enjoy a romantic dinner with a sensual aroma of colourful soups, delicious flavours, fresh fish and beautiful desserts. Then toast to your future together with a fresh watermelon cocktail.
5. Ease of travel
The last thing you want to feel on your honeymoon is stressed. Thankfully travelling to and around Thailand is easy. Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok is a major hub, but international flights can also deliver you to Chiang Mai in the North, Pattaya to the East and Krabi and Phuket in the South of Thailand. Inter-city trains and domestic flights are also easy to come by. English is widely spoken and used in street signs.
If you’ve been on honeymoon to Thailand, let us know in the comments why you’d recommend it.
If you’re looking for a holiday destination that offers golden beaches, a stunning coastline and warm waters, then look no further than the Algarve.
Located in southern Portugal - where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean – the Algarve is well-suited to beach-bums looking for isolated alcoves with sleeping fishing villages. But the best bit? The Algarve has been awarded 50 Blue Flag awards over the years thanks to their dedication to providing clean and safe beaches for holidaymakers. Here are just 10 of the best beaches in the Algarve.
Arrifes Beach, Albufeira
Sometimes referred to locally as Praia dos Três Penecos (beach of triple rocks in English) because of three large isolated rock formations that dominate the horizon, this beach is as beautiful as it is popular.
To reach it, there are wooden steps from the car park that descend into the sands. The beach is also home to a bar (that is closed in the winter), toilets, showers and – in the summer – it is patrolled by lifeguards.
Praia da Luz
Praia da Luz was originally a traditional fishing village, which has slowly become a popular beach destination with luxury villas. Its beach extends the whole way along the urban town. Along the beach you’ll find windsurfing and diving schools, as well as discos, restaurants and shops.
Praia da Dona Ana, Lagos
This was once described as the ‘Best beach in the World' by magazine Condé Nast Traveller. In typical Algarve style, it is nestled between golden cliffs where it will catch the sun but also avoid Atlantic winds. But having Blue Flag status also means that it has all the facilities you would expect as well as including a cafe built into the cliff-side.
You’ll find this golden stretch of sand located down a hill from the resort town of Oura. Home to a promenade lined with cafes, bars and some nice restaurants, Oura beach is a little more laid back than the beaches closer to Albufeira town itself. It also stretches for 2km when the tide is out so you’ll always find plenty of space.
If you’re looking for a relaxing Algarve holiday in a quaint tourist town, we recommend Olhos d’Água. The main beach here is lined by old fisherman huts and surrounded by the characteristic red sandstone cliffs. There are also a series of small cove beaches that surround Olhos de Agua. After this the coastline opens up to the beautiful Praia da Falésia beach, which extend for 5km and leads to the stylish town of Vilamoura.
Praia do Amoreira, western Algarve
If you’re looking to get away from it all, we recommend this isolated spot. Perfect for naturalists, with endless rock pools harbouring starfish and sea urchins. Plus, the undertow current creates amazing waves for surfers. There’s also no restaurants or bars nearby, so we recommend taking a picnic.
Praia do Barril, eastern Algarve
If you’ve seen images of numerous metal anchors positioned permanently into the sand – here is where you’ll find them. Known as the Anchor Graveyard, the anchors were left by the tuna-fishing boats that once fixed their large nets there.
But history isn’t the only thing you’ll find here – Praia do Barril beach itself is really popular with windsurfing and sailing.
Praia do Martinhal, western Algarve
This another beach that is perfect for sporty types looking for activities. Surf, body-board and windsurfing are popular in the azure waters, while volleyball and football are regularly played on the sands. But if you’re not feeling too confident yet, there’s a surf school where you can sign up for lessons. There are also restaurants and cafes nearby where you can sample some of the Algarve’s fresh seafood.
Praia do Armado, western Algarve
If you’re a pro-surfer (or like to watch pro surfing) then this is the Blue Flag beach for you. This is Portugal’s premier surfing beach and the venue for many national and international body-boarding and surfing competitions, with its own surf school on site. There is also beach bar on site.
Praia da Marinha, Lagoa
You could argue that we’ve saved the best for last. It is widely considered to be one of the best beaches in Portugal, having won countless awards and being regularly used in tourist board campaigns. However, the beach is a bit out of the way and requires a car plus a walk down some steep steps – though this does mean that there is significantly less people. Praia da Marinha is about half an hour’s drive from Albufeira in the Lagoa area, and is well sign-posted.
There’s no arguing that Napa Valley is primarily famous for producing some of the world’s finest wine. But this scenic county in central California is much more than just wineries and rolling vineyards.
Located north of San Francisco, Napa Valley works as a day-trip or as a relaxing end to a busy city-break in one California’s urban hubs. Aside from the obvious wine tasting tours (which are considered some of the best in the world) you’ll also find plenty of laid-back activities as well as beautiful outdoor pursuits in this beautiful but popular county. Here’s just a taster.
1. Sip fine wine
We’re going to start with the obvious though. Napa Valley is home to more than 400 wineries, some owned by multigenerational families, others by massive corporations – and a few by celebrities. Shortlisting the best wine tasting experiences in Napa is another blog post entirely – but an insider tip is to move away from the large wineries along Highway 29 and head to the hills, where a plethora of medium- and smaller-sized wineries awaits. Also, most wine tours are by appointment only so remember to research and book before you go.
2. Treat your taste buds
Wine has always been the perfect accompaniment to delicious cuisine, and Napa Valley isn’t short on that either. The Oxbow Market is the perfect place to try some regional food and wine, including fresh seafood and locally made jams. If it’s high-end sit-down dining that you’re looking for, then head to Yountville – which potentially has one of the world’s highest concentration of fine-dining restaurants.
3. Rent a convertible
Take advantage of California’s sunny weather and hit the Silverado Trail on the east side, which curves through the landscape from Napa to Calistoga. Plus, Calistoga is a hot springs town – making it the perfect place to rest after a day of driving.
4. Explore the great outdoors
If you’re into hiking, head to Westwood Hills Park and try the three-mile long trail. Alternatively, tackle the five-mile path to the top of 4,343-foot-high Mount St. Helena in Robert Louis Stevenson Park, outside Calistoga.
5. Admire some art
Originally a winery, the 217-acre Di Rosa now displays an impressive collection of works by Bay Area artists. It’s well worth a visit, and official guided tours highlights the 125-year-old residence and sculpture garden. Then in the evening, head to the Cameo Cinema, a historic cinema house in St. Helena, which dates back to 1913 and showcases a mix of indie, foreign, and first-run Hollywood films.
If you’ve been to Napa Valley, what is your favourite thing to do?
Prague is the perfect city break for a romantic weekend.
Unnervingly beautiful but also filled with fine-dining restaurants, there’s plenty of little date spots hidden within the city. If you and your beloved are heading off to the Czech capital sometime soon, here’s our top six romantic activities for couples in Prague.
Stroll Through Petrin Park
For an affordable date, take your sweetheart’s hand and walk through Petrin Park. A mere 10 minutes’ walk from the Charles Bridge, the park surrounds its namesake hill and is a popular recreational ground for the locals. Popular spots include the Rose Garden, Petřín’s lookout tower, Štefánik's Observatory and the Mirror Maze.
Vintage Car Ride
If your sweetheart isn’t a fan of walking for hours, hire one of the city’s many vintage cars - but don’t worry, they come with a driver so you can snuggle up in the backseat. The drivers are also trained tour guides so they can verbally illustrate the history and significance of all the sites you pass.
Admire the city from above
Prague is a beautiful city, and the skyline is the perfect backdrop to a romantic evening (or even a proposal). There’s an abundance of beautiful look-out spots to choose from, including attic bars and riverside restaurants to historic look-out towers.
Secure your love with a padlock
Just like many of Europe’s key cities, Prague also has two bridges decorated in padlocks. The first one can be found in the district of Mala Strana and after a wander you’ll find the small padlocked bridge over one of the canals. Or head over to Naplavka, and walk along the metal train bridge that is a stone’s throw away from Prague Castle.
Take a River Cruise around the city’s canals
Take the scenic route through the city on board a river cruise and admire the buildings on the banks of the Vltava River. There are a few liners to choose from, plus you can really treat your other half with a special dinner cruise.
Purchase jewellery made with local ruby gems
If you’re jewellery shopping in Prague, keep an eye out for the labels Czech Garnet, Bohemian Garnet or Turnov Garnet. This is the trade name for a type of Garnet called Pyrope that historically is mined in the north of the Czech Republic and has the deep red colour and from Latin it translates as Fire-Eyed.
If you’ve been on a romantic weekend getaway to Prague, let us know what your favourite activity was?
There’s a reason why Dubrovnik and Split were the perfect places to bring King’s Landing to life – it’s because they themselves are historical cities with beautiful monuments and fascinating buildings.
We’ve already shared a location guide to all the Game of Thrones filming spots at the end of Season 6 – but there are plenty more historic buildings that are worth scouting out when you land on Croatia’s shores. Here are 10 historical sites to get you started – some of which ended up on the television show and some that are still waiting for their famous debut.
1.Dubrovnik’s City Walls
Dubrovnik’s city walls showed up in many Game of Thrones scenes and were actually one of the primary reasons producers chose this city to bring King’s Landing to life. Surrounding most of the city, they are actually considered to be one the great fortification systems of the Middle Ages, as they were never breached by a hostile army during this time period. In 1979, the City Walls (along with the Old City of Dubrovnik) joined the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
2. Diocletian’s Palace
The Diocletian’s Palace forms about half the old town of Split, so it’s very hard to not notice. Originally constructed as an ancient palace for the Roman Emperor Diocletian at the turn of the 4th Century, its size means that it more closely resembles a fortress (in fact, one half of the structure did house the military garrison).
3. Pula Arena
Rome is home to the world’s most famous amphitheatre – but some of its walls have fallen down. The Pula Arena on the northern coast of Croatia, however, still stands in its original glory. It is also the best preserved ancient monument in Croatia and even made its way onto the Croatian 10 kuna banknote.
On the surface of it, the island of Hvar is where young yachters hang out and sunbathe (it’s actually the sunniest spot in Croatia). But when you wander beyond the harbour you’ll find a world of abandoned ancient hamlets, craggy peaks, vineyards and lavender fields. Top sights include the Tvrdalj, St Stephens’ Square and St Stephen’s Cathedral.
Just outside the western wall of Dubrovnik, you’ll find Fort Lovrijenac (or St. Lawrence Fortress in English) - an ancient fortress and theatre famous for its plays and importance in resisting Venetian rule. Originally the Venetians wanted to build a fort in the same spot and would rule the city if they had succeeded. The people of Dubrovnik built the wall within three months so, when the Venetians returned with their building materials, the spot was already taken.
6. Dubrovnik Cathedral
Dubrovnik's Cathedral (full name Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin) dates back to the 7th century and was built on the site of seven other previous cathedrals (nearby archaeological excavations have actually found the foundations and walls of two older churches).
Even though the building is fascinating itself, it’s the Treasury that is most interesting to history buffs. The treasury holds 182 reliquaries, including relics from the 11th to 18th centuries. Its most important possession is the gold-plated arm, leg and skull of Saint Blaise (patron saint of Dubrovnik).
7. Euphrasian Basilica
A beautiful example of Byzantine art and architecture, this 6th-century Euphrasian Basilica is found in the coastal resort of Poreč. Its most striking feature is its golden mosaics, especially the one above the apse depicting Christ and the Apostles. It was also built on the site of a Roman villa whose floor mosaic can still be seen in the Basilica garden.
8. Salona Roman ruins
Salona was once the provincial capital of Dalmatia in the time of Diocletian and the Salona Roman ruins are one of the largest Roman settlements in the region. It is believed that a community of 60,000 people lived here, but fled when the city was sacked by Avar and Slav tribes. What you see in the ruins today is the base of the amphitheatre, trunks of columns and gravestone carvings scattered around an extensive archaeological park.
9. Trogir Cathedral
Trogir Cathedral is considered a work of art and effortlessly blends Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Which isn’t surprising as it dates back to the early 1200s and took more than 400 years to build. The cathedral tower is 47m high and is one of the most noticeable buildings in Trogir’s skyline.
10. Walls of Ston
Did you know that Croatia is home to the second longest stone wall in Europe? If you didn’t, you do now. It clocks in at 5.5km and surrounds the ancient city of Ston, and dates back to the 14th Century. And for more history head inside and explore Ston itself, where you’ll find narrow quiet streets and noble ancient houses.