Tag Archives: museums
Situated in the wonderful town of Monmouthshire are the top destinations in Abergavenny. Abergavenny is a settlement in the United Kingdom filled with rich customs and legacies and there are just so much to see in the town with an accessible town capital that can be effortlessly reached even by foot. Plus, Abergavenny is also considered as the point of entry to South Wales where you truly take pleasure in spending your vacation spree within an eye-catching, laidback rural area.
To start off your journey with the top destinations in Abergavenny you better visit Abergavenny Castle. Abergavenny Castle greatly exemplifies that of a motte type of fortress in Great Britain. The castle after it was refurbished still comprises some of its wall remnants thus showcasing a quite striking facade of the castle even after it was revamped. What’s more to enjoy about castle is that it has some famous legends to share as well which might actually tickle your imagination. In addition to that, the castle pasture extends far-reaching the River Usk, offering a scenic setting in all seasons of the year.
Several beautiful small churches can also be found within Abergavennay, all of which possess its inimitable make-up. Just close to the town, a quite jagged church of Cwmyoy can be seen which are one of the top destinations in Abergavenny. Cwmyoy Church features a spire that is bending over at a striking viewpoint. Also, in close proximity to Cwmyoy is Llanthony Abbey, a great portion of the structure has already been destroyed but still contains several thriving arches.
If you would like to explore more of Abergavenny’s heritage then you better stop by at the Abergavenny Museum. The museum is dotted in the floor of a torn Norman Castle where you can actually do picnics during summer season and stroll during the chilly weather. Before, the museum structure was a hunting lodge created by the Marquess of the town. At present, the museum’s exhibits somewhat tells a beautiful tale of the extraordinary town ranging from its ancient history up to the current setting thus is one of the top destinations in Abergavenny.
Moreover, the museum showcases a playroom for kids where there are plenty of chances to have fun. During some special instances also, workshops are being tendered by the museum personnel for a more dynamic learning. After your tour, it is highly recommended that you visit the little souvenir shop to buy some nice keepsakes of your visit.
Europe is a hive of cultural attractions, but if it’s history you’re particularly interested in, then there are some destinations that really stand out. Of course, in terms of individual attractions there are enough to write about to fill a library, so today we’re going to focus on the top attractions of three of the continent’s most exciting historical cities.
Before we get started, though, it’s worth pointing out that you don’t always need to take several holidays to see the highlights of several places. In fact, if you are particularly interested in Europe’s history and want to explore a number of destinations in a single trip, then you ought to book a cruise, since you can find itineraries that include great combinations for history lovers, like Messina, Rome and Athens.
The gateway to Sicily, Messina is a port city that has welcomed a diverse array of people to its shores over the years, with Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Byzantines being just a few of those who landed here and helped shape the local culture.
Like many of Europe’s most dazzling historical cities, Messina’s past can be discerned in amongst the modern constructions. One of the most important historical buildings, for instance, is the Duomo of Messina, which was built in the 12th century by Roger II of Sicily.
While this building is very historic, it’s only the lower part that’s been preserved as it once was – you see, the cathedral was actually destroyed by an earthquake in 1783, and then again by bombings in 1943, meaning it has been rebuilt several times.
While you’re here, look out for Fontana di Orione – a beautiful fountain in the square outside the cathedral. This was built in the 16th century by one of Michelangelo’s students, Giovanni Angelo Montorsoli.
As well as being one of Italy’s most beautiful urban destinations, Rome is among its most historical and important. Its crowning glory is the Colosseum – once a stage for gladiatorial battles and other blood-soaked contemporary entertainment, this Roman amphitheatre is one of the city’s top tourist attractions.
In its heyday, it could hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators. While it’s not in pristine condition, an incredible amount has survived given the fact that it’s around 2,000 years old – and exploring it today you can really get a feel for the impact it would have made back in Roman times.
Another must-visit is the Vatican – the tiny independent walled state that has acted as the home for Catholic popes for centuries. The historical highlight here is the Basilica of St Peter, which has a beautiful 17th-century facade and impressive dome, and is one of the largest churches in the world.
Athens is virtually synonymous with ancient history, and no visit here is complete without a trip to the mesmerising Acropolis. First, though, you might like to visit the Acropolis Museum, which was created back in 2009.
Here, you can peruse the remarkable finds at the Acropolis site, including sculptural decorations of the Parthenon (you can also watch a really interesting video on this subject on the third floor).
Of course, the real highlight is the Acropolis itself, which sits right in the heart of the modern city. Standing tall on Sacred Rock above the modern streets, the complex is home to world-famous buildings like the Parthenon and the Erechtheion.
Of course, these are just a few of the top historical sites in Europe, but you have to start somewhere. Once you start exploring, it’s hard to stop … that’s the beauty of the travel bug!
The top tourist attractions in Portugal are unique to the country even though it shares the Iberian Peninsula with Spain. It owes its unique identity to its geographical and cultural separation from its Spanish speaking neighbor. While Portugal might not be the richest country in Western Europe, it has is a rich land with lively cities and plenty of attractions to see an enjoy.
1. Cristo Rei
This Christ the King statue is the country’s most iconic landmark. The Portuguese had it built to give thanks because their country was spared from harm in the second World War. Cristo Rei resembles the world-renowned Christ the Redeemer Statue in Brazil. Situated in Lisbon, Portugal’s capital and largest city. It hasn’t moved an inch since its completion in 1969.
2. National Museum of Ancient Art
The museum of Ancient Art has the most expansive collection of Portuguese art from before the 19th century. Like Cristo Rei, you can find it in Lisbon. Included in its displays are a variety of artworks including sculptures, drawings, and paintings. The oldest collections in the National Museum of Ancient Art are from the Middle Ages. Works of famous artists such as Cristovao de Figueiredo, Francisco de Holanda, and Garcia Fernandes are part of the impressive exhibits.
The Algarve is a region located in the most southern part of the country and is home to some of the most amazing beaches Portugal has to offer. The Algarve is one of the top tourist attractions in Portugal with more than 10 million tourists coming to visit every year, with a high percentage of British notably escaping the winters back at home. There are many beautiful coastal towns to choose the perfect accommodation and you can stay in everything from hostels to 5-star hotels. For a unique experience, check out Villa Plus, they’ve got a large list of amazing villas to enjoy with your better half or the entire family.
4. Monsanto Forest Park
Home to pleasant countryside, there is no better place to see natural beauty than in Monsanto Forest Park. It has more greenery than anywhere else in Portugal. The area contained by the park used to suffer from reduced wildlife until the government deemed it a protected area. Today, it has an ecological park, a thriving flora, and a recovering population of animals.
5. Berardo Collection Museum
The Berardo Collection Museum opened its doors to the public in 2007 in Lisbon. Unlike the National Museum of Ancient Art, it displays modern artwork. There are more than a thousand individual pieces currently on display. And with more than 2.6 million tourists visiting every year, Berardo Collection is one of the world’s most visited museums.
Works by famous artists like Pablo Picaso, Jackson Pollack, Salvador Dali, and Andy Warhol are part of its exhibits. Berardo Collection Museum is definitely one of the top tourist attractions in Portugal not to miss if you’re an art lover.
“The City of Brotherly Love”, the pride and joy of Rocky Balboa, the 5th largest city in the United States, and the heavenly site of my birth, Philadelphia! Philly, as it is more commonly known, is one of the oldest cities in the country and has more cool stuff to check out than any long weekend can offer. You’ve been waiting for it, I’ve been slacking on it, but now, it’s time. Here’s the Philadelphia Travel Guide!
The first Europeans to stake claim on the Delaware Valley where Philadelphia is located, were the Swedish believe it or not in the early 1600’s. It remained under their control until the 1680’s when William Penn was awarded the territory of Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania stands for Penn’s woods) by King Charles the II of England in 1681. Penn, who decided to leave England because of religious persecution, established the Pennsylvania territory as a place for people to practice whatever religion they chose freely, a truly progressive idea for the time.
He wanted to create a town that would be a center for government, but wouldn’t be overcrowded with residential and commercial properties and would boast a multitude of parks and gardens. Penn’s unique grid-layout city at 90 degree angles was the first major US city to be planned as such. By the early 1700’s, Philadelphia began to boom, and one famous resident, Benjamin Franklin, is credited with so many urban advancements, that it’s almost unthinkable to believe one man did so much for one place (think post office, fire brigade…electricity!)
Philadelphia was the location of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and served as the nation’s capital from 1790 until 1800 while Washington D.C. was under construction.
Today, Philadelphia has expanded to be the 5th largest city in the country with a population of over 1.5 million people.
Where to Stay in Philadelphia
Philadelphia sprawls over a large land area, but it also has one of the biggest downtowns in the USA. That being said, you will most likely opt to stay in downtown, known as Center City. This core has many different neighborhoods and is generally accepted as being from the Delaware River to the Schuylkill River (pronounced SKook-ill) and from South Street to Fairmount Avenue.
Some nice areas to stay are in Rittenhouse Square, Washington Square, Olde City, Fairmount and Fittler Square, all of which offer good dining options, nightlife and walking distance to the lion share of the city’s best museums and attractions.
What to See in Philadelphia
If museums are your thing, and even if they aren’t, there are some must-sees in Philadelphia. Firstly, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is famous in its own right. The iconic neo-classical façade looks like a massive Greek temple, and it overlooks the city from its perch atop a small hill in an acropolistic fashion. It is affectionately known as the “Parthenon on the Parkway” and its steps are world famous for the scene in Rocky where he runs up and thrusts his hands up in pride. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the largest museums in the country and has countless works from modern masterpieces to ancient treasures. Don’t forget to check out the amazing collection of arms and armor.
The Franklin Institute is another museum in Philadelphia, and probably the best science museum in the country. It is dedicated to none other than Ben Franklin himself and guards some of his most interesting inventions, huge exhibits on trains, planes, medical advancements and space. There is a one-of-a-kind spherical IMAX theater that plays science related movies, as well as Hollywood blockbusters. The planetarium does laser light shows to soundtracks on the weekends for such bands as Pink Floyd, Metallica and Radiohead just to name a few.
Eastern State Penitentiary is one of the coolest things to see in Philadelphia! Located in Fairmount, Eastern State looks like a medieval castle plopped into the middle of a city. It was an operational jail from 1829 until 1971 and one of the first of its kind where reform was focused on instead of punishment (even though it looks like people were tortured there from the outside!). Famous inmates included Al Capone and Willie Sutton. You can take a tour seven days a week, from 10 am to 5 PM.
Located just west of Olde City, Independence Mall is home to Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence was signed), the Visitor’s Center, Constitution Center and the Liberty Bell. Basically everything you could possibly want to learn about the founding of the United States with the artifacts to go along with it!
Located at 10th and South Street, the Philadelphia Magic Gardens are amazing; three urban plots completely covered in mosaic glass and other interesting thingamajiggers. They are the work of Isaiah Zagar and what started as just a personal project is now a gallery, museum and outdoor labyrinth where you can wander around and marvel at the mosaics. They are made from everything from classic tiles and glass to old bike wheels and other urban relics.
The first zoo in the United States, the Philadelphia Zoo opened its doors in 1874. It’s just a couple of miles from downtown making it an easily accessible attraction that you can spend an entire day at it with its sprawling grounds and interested animals and exhibits. One of the coolest things to do is actually buy a ticket for the Zooballon, a giant helium balloon that rises 400 ft. above the zoo for commanding views of the Schuylkill River and the Philadelphia skyline (don’t worry, it’s tethered!)
What to eat in Philadelphia
Well this one is basically a no brainer, obviously when in Philadelphia, you have to eat a Cheese steak! You’ll hear a lot about two places, Geno’s and Pat’s which are in South Philly, but don’t waste your time or money. The best cheese steak in Philadelphia is Steve’s Prince of Steaks, which lucky for you, just opened a new location at 16th and Chestnut right in the heart of downtown.
After you’ve sampled a cheese steak you are free to enjoy the rest of the burgeoning food scene in Philadelphia, one that’s been getting a lot of international attention. There are a wealth of amazing places to enjoy, with a high concentration of them in downtown.
For breakfast/brunch, don’t miss Honey’s Sit and Eat in the Northern Liberties section. This place has an awesome brunch and ambiance that will leave you feeling almost as hip as the hipsters running it. You can find it at 800 N 4th St. Another hipsterific place to grab a coffee and the best fresh donuts you’ll ever have is Federal donuts at 1632 Sansom St.
For lunch, you have to go to Reading Terminal Market. Located right in downtown at 12th and Arch. This is the farmers market that other farmers markets strive to be. Encompassing an entire city block, Reading Terminal Market has amazing, fresh made-to-order food at countless stalls. There are also multiple stalls run by true Pennsylvania Dutch (Amish) who come in and sell their meats, breads and sweets. You could honestly eat every single meal here for a month and never grub at the same place twice, nor have a bad meal.
For dinner, some great places are The Continental (modern tapas), Han Dynasty (Szechuan style Chinese) El Vez (Mexican) Bellini Grill (Italian and a BYOB) and Audrey Claire (Modern Farm to Table, BYOB and Cash Only)
Where to drink in Philadelphia
Philly has some pretty solid nightlife and there is no shortage of watering holes. Some of the best bars with great cocktails are Franklin Mortgage, Butcher Singer and The Ranstead Room. For great all around bars, head to Time, Fado, McGillin’s (oldest bar in Philadelphia) Ladder 15 and Buffalo Billiards.
If you’re looking to cut a little rug, then Philly has some clubs to get your booty grooving including Lit Ultra Bar, Whisper and Z Bar.
Philadelphia is really a great place to spend a few days and is very stress-free to get to. The Philadelphia International Airport is easy to navigate, has flights from virtually everywhere, and is served by both public buses and a train that goes directly downtown. Philadelphia is also only 2 hours south of New York City by bus (faster on the train) and 3 hours north of Washington D.C. making it the perfect place to base explorations into the mid-Atlantic region or northeast.
I hope my Philadelphia Travel Guide was useful to you and that it makes your next trip to the City of Brotherly Love a memorable one!