Keen to follow the footsteps of James Bond? In this week’s 123RF World Travel Guide series we begin our journey celebrating life in Cuba’s buzzing Havana. Next, we take it up a notch in the Casino Royale backdrop of a splendid Czech Republic town.
Following that, join us as we embark on a gastronomic odyssey in Denmark’s outstanding Noma. Finally, we dive into the whale shark populated waters of Djibouti for an once in a lifetime experience.
Life is never a dull moment in Havana. Image via Karel Miragaya@123RF.
From the outside, Cuba seems like its worn out. It’s a place that has failed to grasp the rapid developments of the modern era. In short, Cuba is so yesterday. However, a closer look shows the 123RF World Travel Guide that the land of the cigars is bursting with life. Havana is at the heart of this. The city is brilliant, bold and beautiful. Its 500 year history springs to life as you take a stroll on its vibrant streets and feast your eyes on the vividly painted buildings. Havana’s art is also on the rise, and the National Museum of Fine Arts truly embodies this. For the best of the city, head over to Malecon. This street holds the soul of the city, as it acts as the rendezvous spot for anyone with a pulse.
If Havana’s spirit is proves too hot to handle, then head over to Varadero. This stunning beach resort town offers something for every traveler. For adrenaline junkies, try out one of the water sports in the warm Caribbean sea. Meanwhile, nature lovers can head for a hike and uncover the town’s best views and amid ancient cave and lush settings. Finally, for those in search of the ideal resort getaway, simply lay on the beach and work on your tan while sipping on a classic Cuban Mojito.
The beautiful Kyrenia bay is the perfect postcard for the gorgeous Cyprus.
This compelling island is home to glorious beaches, ancient ruins and rich cultures. This east meets west nation is now widely regarded as a tourist hot spot, and rightfully so. The 123RF World Travel Guide recommends travelers to begin their journey in the southern parts of Larnaka and Lemesos. The former is accommodates the famed salt lake and gorgeous beaches. Next, make your way to the imposing Troodos Massif. This mammoth mountain park offers an unparalleled ambiance of peace and tranquility amid ancient monasteries and the great wilderness. North of this area lies the beautiful Kyrenia Range. The town’s harbor is one of the most iconic sights in the city, along with its majestic Venetian castle. The town’s winding alleyways also holds fascinating sights of the Ottoman era Cafer Mosque and archaic Roman tombs.
Finally, no trip to Cyprus is complete with visiting the timeless Paphos. This ancient city holds the Nea Pafos archeological site and its collection of colorful mosaics of Greek myths. However, it’s the Tombs of Kings which takes the top spot in the 123RF World Travel Guide. This UNESCO World Heritage Site promises a truly magical experience, as it leaves travelers in awe of its underground tombs and chambers.
45. Czech Republic
Prague’s stunning views are next to impossible to beat during summer.
Czech Republic is a place where history comes to life. The country boasts an impressive list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites along with “a city of a thousand spies”, a spa town and the birthplace of one of the world’s best beverages, the pilsner. Prague is first on the list. The historic Charles Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in the world. The St Vitus Cathedral is not too far behind, as it forms a perfect postcard of the city. Although Prague is the cradle of Czech history, the city has refused to be left behind. Its timeless culture and heritage has seasoned the city’s rapidly evolving culinary scene.
Meanwhile, Karlovy Vary has also matched up to the fame of the nation’s poster child. The classy town shines with a touch of European splendor. Coupled with the colorful architecture, it is little surprise that Karlovy served as a backdrop for Bond’s Casino Royale and was an inspiration for the Grand Budapest Hotel. Finally, the 123RF World Travel Guide recommends ending your Czech odyssey at Plzen. The proud beer capital offers travelers to be a part of history as it continues to produce Urquell Pilsner, the world’s first pale lager.
46. Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
The Tower of the Juche Idea was built in honor of Supreme Leader Kim II-sung’s personal philosophy. Image via nndrln@123RF.
Despite all the fuss surrounding the world’s most secretive country, it is possible to travel to North Korea. Contrary to popular belief, obtaining a visa is not the biggest hurdle. However, bear in mind that a tour here involves travelers being accompanied with two appointed North Korean tour guides. Pyongyang remains to be the tourism top spot. While you’re here, check out the Tower of the Juche Idea and Moran Hill.
The later is lovely place for a stroll and offers a welcoming respite form the controlled day to day life. Furthermore, Paektu Mountains is another place worth visiting in your North Korean travels. Believed to be sacred to locals, the mountains offer beautiful views of North Korea’s vast landscape. Thus, proving to the 123RF World Travel Guide that this nation has much to offer to the booming tourism industry.
47. Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Kordofan giraffe is one of the nine recognized subspecies of giraffes living in Africa.
Not to be confused with Congo itself, the DR Congo is a much smaller country. For starters, Congo was colonized by Belgium, while its smaller counterpart was controlled by the French. Therefore, Brazzaville remained as the capital for Congo, and Kinshasa was DR’s prized possession.
The later is a city that one experiences, rather than visits. Bursting with life, the city promises to offer a great insight into the daily lives of the Congolese people. The Marche Central is the best spot to do just that. Meanwhile, for history buffs, the National Museum boasts an amazing ethnographic collection Additionally, do head out to the Garamba National Park for the last remaining population of the kordofan giraffe in the DRC.
Copenhagen’s Nyhavn Canal offers some of the best views late in the evening.
This Scandinavian gem is beautiful, eco-friendly and still retains its viking charm. Life here is good. The people understand life is meant to be enjoyed, and not spent being stuck in an office. The 123RF World Travel Guide identifies Copenhagen as the heart of this Danish delight. Forget Lyon or Naples, Copenhagen is the new culinary mecca and Noma spearheads this evolution. Additionally, sous chefs from high end eateries have rapidly begun to open up their own establishments which sources organic ingredients from their own farms. Therefore, promising a treat for every palate and wallet.
For a fairy tale affair, head over to the historical Tivoli Gardens. From 1843, this amusement park has continued to entertain its patrons, with its carnival-like atmosphere. But Tivoli is best seen at night. Beautiful lights illuminate the Danish sky and this sprawling park transforms into a Disney production. Just remember to leave a glass slipper behind for prince charming to come running after you. For nature enthusiasts, head over to Bornholm. The island’s medieval fortress ruins, Hammershus, is a sight to behold, along with rocky cliffs, lush forests and perfect beaches.
The salinity levels of Lake Assal is 10 times more than the sea.
What? Where? Why? That’s the reaction when you bring up Djibouti as a possible travel destination. Thankfully, the 123RF World Travel Guide is here to put an end to your curiosity. Firstly, it’s a country, and not just a mere city or port. Secondly, it’s situated in east Africa, precisely on the Horn of Africa, between Ethiopia and Somalia. Finally, what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in beauty. Lac Assal perfectly embodies this. Regarded as one of the world’s best natural wonders, this crater lake lies over 150 meters below sea level. The continent’s lowest point is encircled by dark volcanoes. In turn, forming a remarkable sight with the aquamarine water and the surrounding salt field.
If Lac Assal is earth’s wonder, then Lac Abbe is from another planet. This apocalyptic landscape mirrors the set of 1968 Planet of the Apes. This setting is just as eerie as it is sensational, with several limestone chimneys reaching for the stars. While you’re here, don’t miss out on Djiboiti’s diving scene. Famed for its whale shark sighting, this tiny country proves it has much to offer, especially for travelers looking to satisfy their thirst for adventure.
Next up on our 123RF World Travel Guide, join us as we uncover the world’s best ecotourism destinations in Dominica and visit marvelous Italian colonial architecture in Eritrea. Alternatively, catch up on our previous series where we fell in love in the “Venice of China” and explored Croatia’s stunning 1000 islands.
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