DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU CAN SEE FLOATING PAGODAS AND A PARADE OF FASCINATING CELEBRATIONS?

Processions, devotion, traditional costumes, music and even boat races. Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda is one of the biggest annual events in Asia, occurring every year around the month of October. Let’s discover more about it!

FOLLOWING A KARAWEIK: A MYTHICAL BIRD, THE SYMBOL OF THE FESTIVAL

Everyone interested in Myanmar probably already know that Inle Lake, declared Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, is a magical world. A world of stilt villages, floating gardens and crumbling stupas which have kept its unique and hundred-years-old traditional lifestyle. A world where one can relax feeling its tranquillity, enjoy the breath-taking landscape and learn about the Intha people’s interesting activities, such as leg-rowing fishing, extracting the threads from the lotus plant, weaving, manufacturing cheroots or silversmithing.

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Fishermen and Floating Gardens

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Leg Rowing Fishing

What fewer people may know is that during the month of October one of Myanmar’s biggest events takes place annually on the waters of this magical world: the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival, occurring from the first waxing day to the third waning day of the lunar month of Thadingyut.

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, located on the western end of Inle Lake, is the holiest Buddhist site in southern Shan state. In the middle of the Pagoda’s main room, a group of five oddly shaped relics covered in gold leaf are displayed.

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Inle Lake

These relics, cast during the reign of Bagan’s King Alanghsithu (1112-1167 CE) and once with human form, have been changing its shape after years and years of receiving the gold leaf donations from thousands of pilgrims visiting this holy site.

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Five Golden Relics

These golden statues are precisely the focal point of the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda festival. During the festival, four of the five statues are placed on a decorative barge shaped like a karaweik (mythical bird) and taken on an 18 days tour around the lake, stopping at each village for a night or longer so residents can pay homage.

In this procession from village to village, the barge is propelled by Inle Lake’s famous leg rowers, who dressed in traditional costumes row in unison to the beat of a huge drum, while other ceremonial boats escorting the barge carry dancers and martial artists showcasing their sills.

Visiting Inle Lake during the festival provides a great opportunity to see the different ethnic groups, including Shan, Intha, Danu, Palaung, Pa-O and Taung Yo, gathering and celebrating the festival together, giving to the lake a combined devotion and carnival-like atmosphere.

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Ceremonial Boats in the Pagoda Festival

One of the highlights of the festival and best time for visitors to engage with the festival celebration are undoubtedly the impressive boat races, in which different teams of leg rowers representing villages around the lake compete aboard narrow boats over ten metres long.

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Boat Races

Every year, the Festival occurs from the first waxing day to the third waning day of the lunar month of Thadingyut – this year from October 10 to October 27.

See you there very soon!

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Inle Lake

By Lwin Lwin Kyaw

An experience created by Myanmar Voyages

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20 Gorgeous Islands Every Traveler Should Visit

As the plane makes its gradual descent you see much of the island from your window: the cliffs at one end, the long golden curve of a remote beach, olive groves, an isolated village, a patch of woodland, the whitewashed air traffic control tower. There’s just one carousel at the terminal. People seem to know each other. It’s only a short ride in the hired car into the small main town. You drive past the shopping centre, the primary school, the restaurant that specializes in seafood, the town hall or simply an endless blue beach with palm trees…  And there’s a strange, instinctive feeling of wanting to arrive there, live a few moments there.

The feeling of pleasure we experience on arrival is partly the work of the imagination.  In fact, the pleasure of the small island rests on qualities that can be found closer to us, our expectations, our longing for. A small island is not just a place on the map; it’s a psychological destination; a model of simplifying your life. You may not even have to take a plane or a boat to get there. Read about it, dream of it, close your eyes and you may suddenly be there…

A story created with passion and love by BEYOND LIMITS

1. Maddalena Island, Italy (pop. 11.332)

Maddalena

SARDINIA’S SECRET ISLAND 

The archipelago of La Maddalena, off the Costa Smeralda, is a quiet place of turquoise lagoons, deserted islands and the most heavenly beaches in Sardinia, with barely a footprint to spoil them. In the translucent seas of the La Maddalena archipelago, you’re in another world. It doesn’t feel like the Mediterranean here. It feels like a more rugged version of the Caribbean. Suspended between Sardinia and Corsica, this scatter of seven large islands and 55 tiny islands has some of the most spectacular beaches in Italy, and some of the cleanest and clearest water.But it is only recently that these islands have begun to discover tourism, and in turn to be discovered by tourists.

The Maddalena islands are only 20 minutes by ferry from the Sardinian port of Palau, and geologically connected to the pink granite rockscapes of Gallura in the north-east of Sardinia.

For an incentive group we can arrange a stunning catamaran excursion, with drinks and delicious food on board. During the boat excursion you will enjoy time on island beaches, swim off the boat, and taste the delicious cuisine prepared by our skilled chef on board.

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2. Rosario Islands, Colombia (pop. 700)

Colombia Rosario

A TRUE CARIBBEAN PARADISE

The Rosario Islands are an archipielago located on the coast of Colombia, approximately 100 kilometres from Cartagena. It is one of the most important Natural National Parks of Colombia. They have an aquarium and open sea ocenarium and are perfect to break from the urban environment. For the most adventurous travellers they can take a kayak out the sea, go diving, or sport-fishing, while the more relaxed visitors can easily spend a day on the beach. On the islands you will find the kind of beaches that you want to experience in the Caribbean, white sand, sparkling blue waters and a few palm trees, so expect to see some truly memorable sunsets during your visit.  All the islands offer combinations of luxury rooms, private beaches, and quality food, that you will never forget. It is a fantastic place to spend one day or also a few days in the Caribbean.

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3. Symi, Greece (pop. 2.590)

Symi

WHERE TIME STANDS COMPLETELY STILL

Quiet but still full of cardio! Little, full of everything! This little spot of the Greek map, one of the most picturesque islands of the Dodecanese complex with intact beauty and special architecture, will make you fall in love at first glance … Her beauty, simple and man-made, unfolds before your eyes as the ship enters the harbor. In front of you, you can see, as a living painting, one of the most beautiful and bigger neoclassical settlements in Greece. Neoclassical houses painted in bright, warm colors, perched on the rocky slopes of the island, reflect the glorious past of Symi, with tradition in sponge, shipbuilding and woodcarving.

Beautiful and untouched, most of Symi beaches invite you to discover them. Crystal waters, provocative, sometimes play with towering rocks, sometimes with coniferous shades … The most well-known are Nos, Pedi, Marathounda and Nimporio.

The city of Symi extends to the northern part of the island and consists of two settlements equally beautiful and charming:  Ano Symi (Village) stretching as the top of the hill and Gialos, the safe harbor of the island. Symi offers you unique culinary delights featuring its own specialty, the famous homemade prawn! It is a rare variety of shrimp, of a very small size, that lives in the sea of the area and you can taste it in the fish taverns of the island.

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4. Kauai, USA (pop. 65.689)

Kauai

STUNNING HAWAIIAN SCENERY, NATURAL BEAUTY

With its striking natural beauty, Kauai has long been a destination for Hollywood filmmakers intent on capturing the island’s unspoiled terrain. Its stunning scenery is a worthy adventure for you. The Movie Tour provides a rare opportunity to experience Kauai through this lens, taking you on a six-hour guided tour of the island’s famous movie locations, including settings for “The Descendants,” “Six Days and Seven Nights,” “Gilligan’s Island,” “The Amazing Race,” “Fantasy Island,” “Blue Hawaii” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

Waimea Canyon (described as the Grand Canyon on the Pacific), Spouting Horn, a drive past Haupu Mountain range and a remarkable tunnel of 500 eucalyptus trees towering more than 100 feet, stops at the Opaekaa Falls lookout and Fern Grotto, a gorgeous tropical rain forest once reserved for Hawaiian royalty are some of the spectacular destinations you need to see in Kauai.

Take a cruise down to Wailua River, where you will take a relaxing cruise surrounded by lush jungle landscapes.

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5. Maui, USA (pop. 144.444)

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A REAL HAWAIIAN ISLAND

Hana, isolated from the rest of the island, is truly the last undeveloped tropical paradise on Maui. The Road to Hana Eco-Adventure features miles of lush tropical rain forests, beautiful waterfalls at every turn, narrow one-lane bridges and most importantly colorful and enduring cultural traditions kept by the elders. Hana truly is a world into itself. Discover its stories, live its legends and experience the authentic hospitality with cultural experts as visitors have the rare opportunity to mix with the Aunties of Hana and experience cultural practices and traditions. The guests will travel through the very heart of Maui and all that makes Maui no ka oi (the best!).

The hula and the lei, the dance and the flower are an entwined duo of Hawaiian beauty and grace. The respected islanders can share with you the true spirit of aloha. A noho or seated hula can be taught and shared through basic hula movements and their interpretive meaning. One must look inward to outwardly express the beauty and grace of the native dance.

The island offers Waterfall hiking in natural pool providing a well – deserved swimming reward, horseback riding along the pristine shoreline, standup paddle lessons & ocean snorkeling are all unique experiences you will never forget.

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6. Pringipos, Turkey (pop. 7.000)

Prigipos

A UNIQUE BEAUTY IN THE AEGEAN SEA 

Pringipos – named Büyükada now, is the3rd biggest island in the Marmara Sea which is only half hour sailing from the Asian shore of Istanbul.   The island is known to be lung of the city, with clear fresh air, where there is no motor vehicles, but all transportation is managed by bikes and horse carriages. The climate and look of the island is more like of an Aegean town, and it’s a wonderful escape from the city even for a day break.

The residents of the island either lives through full year here, or some only stay at summers for their touristic activities. The island welcomes you enthusiastically with people riding bicycles with great merriment, lots of cats and dogs and, of course, seagulls.

Pringipos is the most romantic one among the Istanbul islands.

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7. Koh Rong Island, Cambodia (pop. 300)

Koh Rong

AN IINVITATION “AU VOYAGE”

Located just off-the-coast of Sihanoukville in Southwest Cambodia, Koh Rong is known for its serene beauty and breathtaking scenery, an “island paradise” as described by visiting tourists and a perfect holiday destination for families, couples and small groups of travelers, an island for all tastes and all budgets.

Whether you want to lie back, unwind, and admire the magnificent views, swim in the crystal-clear ocean waters, or explore the exotic wildlife and underwater world, the stunning Koh Rong Island will give you the memories for a lifetime to bring back home.

Relax on the white sandy beaches, contemplate and gaze at the mesmerizing sunsets, dine with the freshest foods.

Why not let yourselves lose in the breathtaking beauty of this spectacular island? Head to Koh Rong Island, whether you’re a backpacker or a seasoned luxury traveler, find a slice of Paradise in the Kingdom of Cambodia!

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8. La Graciosa Island, Spain (pop. 700)

La Graziosa

REDISCOVERING A LOVE FRO SIMPLE THINGS

Few places remain as hidden as this little desert of just 27 square kilometres; the eighth, and least known, of the Canary Islands, located in the Chinijo archipelago. The island is home to just 700 inhabitants, there is no tarmac, no rush, and no stress. You can see incredible sunsets almost every evening or walk barefoot through the sandy streets of the island’s two villages. It is a place where you can try your best to grow tired of eating fresh fish and seafood, swimming next to idyllic beaches and cycling between red and yellow volcanoes. You can also try recreational fishing and scuba diving in Europe’s largest marine reserve, or even bodyboarding, surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing thanks to the waves and perfect wind conditions. An island where the simple things, a natural existence and the slow life are what is important… in short, a getaway that can be enjoyed with all five senses: the view of the blue horizon, the fragrance of the earth, the sound of the waves, the feeling of the sand between your toes and the flavors of the ocean.

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9. Senja, Norway (pop. 15.072)

Senja

A MINIATURE VERSION OF NORWAY

Beautiful Senja is Norway’s second largest island, located far above the Arctic Circle. The Norwegians call the island «Norway in a Nutshell» as you are greeted by an awe-inspiring mix of sea, mountains, beaches, fishing villages and inland areas, all within a few hours’ drive. The Oceanside of the island is precipitous with sculptural rocks and colorful fishing villages in sheltered coves. The inland is filled with mountains, lakes and forests, and the mainland-facing coast sports unexpectedly green.

The scenery in Senja is full of contrasts, with the midnight sun and the northern lights, depending on the season. The «raw» mountain peaks rises straight from the sea along the coast and the combination of sea and mountains is ideal for those who participate in outdoor activities. In summer you are welcome to pick and choose from a wealth of trails for hiking and biking, whilst one of the world’s best fishing grounds and areas to observe the white-tailed eagle are right on your doorstep.

The range of restaurants and eateries in Senja reflects the region’s scenery and nature. To get a real taste of the region, char from Altevatn lake, cod from Senja, and goat cheese from Balsfjorden, are among the local products to try.

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10. The Island of Our Lady of Mercy (Gospa od Milosrđa), Montenegro

Lady of Mercy

THE HOLY ISLAND

Very few know about this small island known as the Island of Our Lady of Mercy, part of the Krtoli Archipelago located in Tivat Bay. This lush piece of land houses a church bearing the same name and a Franciscan Monastery. As well as Christian importance, the island has a long history of religious rituals for nearly five thousand years.

The history of the buildings on the island date back to 15 Century. Through the centuries buildings were damaged or destroyed by different causes and the current church dates to the 19th Century.

Often confused with the frequently visited Church of Our Lady on the Rocks, this island is an important shrine of pilgrimage and people come here to celebrate the Gregorian calendar’s Feast of Our Lady every year on 15th August. It is also possible to visit other times and enjoy the calm atmosphere and magnificent views of Tivat Bay and surrounding mountains.

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11. Wa Ale, Myanmar

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THE UNSPOILED ISLAND

Choosing an island in Myanmar is a difficult task, there are many of them (more than 800) and each most beautiful than the previous one, but Wa Ale island is without any doubt one of the favorites.

Nested in the Mergui Archipelago, Southern part of Myanmar, and part of the Lampi Marine National park, Wa Ale offers unspoiled beaches and stunning nature difficult to find anywhere else in the world.

There is only one possibility for accommodation, the exclusive eco-resort Wa Ale Island Resort, with 14 rooms that look like coming out from a fairy tale.

There are many activities available in the island, most of them focusing on enjoying the incredible surroundings like: treks, diving, watching wildlife or just relaxing by the beautiful beaches reserved for the handful of visitors that make it to this remote paradise.

Are you ready to disconnect and reconnect in this dreamy island?

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12. VIS Croatia (pop 3.617)

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A REAL FAIRY TALE

Welcome to Mamma Mia fairy tale! Vis is a small, secluded island with turquoise waters and beautiful secluded beaches. It is the furthest inhabited island off the Croatian coast and the most enigmatic. Vis served as a Yugoslav military base and foreign visitors were cut off right up until 1989. You can visit the Tito headquarters in one of the islands cave. The isolation prevented development and caused most of the population to move in search of work leaving the island trapped in time for many years.
Now, lack of development and the search for authenticity has become Vis’ drawcard. Travellers now visit Vis because of the nature, local cuisine, peace and quiet. A rise of visitors is in sight as the movie Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again was filmed on this beautiful island. Beat the crowds and book your trip to Vis now!

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13. Mafia Island, Tanzania (pop. 40.801)

Mafia

THE INDIAN OCEAN’S MOST HIDDEN GEM

Mafia Island is the largest of a small archipelago of islands and atolls and the southern of three islands -with Pemba and Zanzibar– located off the coast of Tanzania.

Its name doesn’t have any link with the criminal organization but could come from the Arabic morfiyeh, meaning “group” or “archipelago” or from the Swahili mahali pa afya, meaning “a healthy dwelling-place”.

Mafia Island and its reefs are renowned as an excellent diving destination, with an unparalleled variety of hard and soft corals and diversity of tropical fish; the archipelago is one of the best locations in the world for swimming with whale sharks but it also has a rich history that goes back to the 8th century, when it played a major role in ancient trade between the people of East Asia and East Africa.

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14. El Cielo, Mexico

El Cielo

THE TURQUOISE WATER ISLAND

El Cielo is a paradisiacal sandbank named Heaven, where you will find starfish on their own habitat over an incredibly sea turquoise water. Is about ½ mile off the Cozumel coast; a very shallow unique place located in the center of the Caribbean, and only accessible by boat.

The water is only 3-4 ft as far as you can see, with powdered white sand that massages your feet. El Cielo is filled with starfish and stingrays that can be seen from yards away because of the crystal-clear waters of El Cielo. On the way there; you can snorkel or dive at the second biggest coral reef barrel in the world after Australia.

Taking advantage of the scenarios at this lovely island at the Mexican Caribbean, @Nomadic Totem develops different high-end activities and premium services; such as, luxury yachts and catamarans with premium open bar and hor d´ouvers; where you can be the owner for 5 hours and captain of your own boat at the Caribbean with servers and crew taking care of you onboard.

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15. Phu Cuoc, Vietnam (pop. 103.000)

Puh Cuoh

THE SNOW WHITE BEACHES ISLAND

Phu Quoc (pronounced “foo kwok”) – an unassuming Vietnamese island sitting pretty just off the coast of Cambodia – is one of south-east Asia’s best-kept secrets.

The Phu Quoc district is made of 28 islands, most of which are uninhabited while some are planned for development as private resorts. Spanning 574 square kilometres, Phu Quoc Island is where most of the tourism action takes place.

With no accommodation available on site, the island is a popular day trip spot. Its protected waters and picturesque beach can be enjoyed overnight by camping on the beach as part of a tour, but not independently.

There is 150 kilometres of coast with ice cream-soft sand and Phu Quoc Island is home to around 20 unspoilt beaches, trodden mostly by locals or tourists from Asian countries nearby. Khem Beach is one of its most beautiful, overlooking Emerald Bay with powdery white sands caressed by champagne-like effervescent waves.

Sao Beach, considered the “crown jewel” of Phu Quoc, while Long Beach, which boasts a 20-km coast on the west side of the island is ideal for sunsets and among the island’s most popular beaches.

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16. Karimunjawa, Indonesia (pop. 1.400)

Karimunjawa

A HIDDEN PARADISE

Any nature lover will easily fall in love with this place. Afterall, Karimunjawa is a sanctuary – an archipelago of 27 islands north of Semarang and off the coast of Central Java. With turquoise waters, fine white sand, fresh air and breathtaking views, this is the perfect escape from a hectic lifestyle that’ll likely satiate your cravings for fun under the sun.

 Travel experts recommend the best time to go is during the dry season from April to October, as Indonesia is a country with a tropical climate. Pack with you the necessary items to battle the humid weather such as sunblock, umbrella, hats and a pair of sunglasses.

Looking for a luxurious hotel? Kura Kura Resort in Semarang is nestled among coconut trees and surrounded by pristine beaches with white sand.

If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, head on over to Menjangan Island. As many sharks have been sighted around the Karimunjawa islands, this has become a tourist attraction. Swimming with these sharks is a must-try activity here. You don’t have to worry since they’re smaller than usual and won’t bite. Aside from sharks, you can also find turtles and the Javan hawk on this island.

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17. Langkawi, Malaysia (pop. 65.000)

Langawi

THE 99 ISLANDS ARCHIPELAGO

The island of Langkawi in Malaysian is a tantalizing mix of folklore, stunning visuals, waterfalls, virgin coral reefs and mangroves inhabited by eagles and other exotic wildlife.

Situated in calm waters of the Andaman Sea, it is designated as south-east Asia’s first ever UNESCO Geopark for its unique geology and tropical geo forests. On top of all that, Langkawi is a duty-free island too.

The best time to visit the island is between December and March, it’s dry season and temperatures are around 30°C or more. It can get quite hot, but there is always a nice breeze in Langkawi.

Top attractions & activities on the island include: 1) Dataran Lang aka The Eagle Square 2) Langkawi Sky Bridge & Cable Car 3) Jetski Island hopping 4) Gunung Raya 5) Kilim Karst Geoforest Park 6) Skytrex Adventure 7) Taman Lagenda 8) Telaga Tujuh aka 9) The Wells Waterfalls 10) Tanjung Rhu & Datai Bay

Try some of them and you will be so excited with your visit there.

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18. Easter Islands, Chile (pop. 5.761)

Easter islands

THE ENIGMATIC STONE STATUE ISLAND

It was the eighteenth century Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen who named this isle Easter Island after he stumbled across it on Easter Sunday 1722 on his way across the South Pacific. In later years the Polynesian islanders gave the island the title Rapa Nui, but to this day locals still use the name that’s so commonly known worldwide. Situated 3,700 kilometers from the coast of Chile, Easter Island is the most isolated inhabited place on Earth.

Easter Island is most famous for its mysterious monolithic stone statues. Known as Moai, they are believed to have been carved by the Rapa Nui people sometime between 1250 and 1500, depicting the faces of their ancestors. Many statues have been moved to other spots along the coastline and positioned facing inland.

Guided hikes lead visitors around the island to see archaeological sites amidst scenic landscape. In around seven hours, trek along the dramatic northern coast – an area that’s only accessible on foot – from the western edge of the extinct volcano Maunga Terevaka to Anakena beach, with Moai, caves and rock carvings to see along the way.

Anakena on the northern coast is the island’s most popular beach – particularly during the southern hemisphere’s summer months – where white coral sand is lapped by the warm Pacific Ocean with coconut trees swaying in the sea breeze.

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19. Parquerolles Island, France (pop. 200)

Parquerolles

THE CARIBBEAN ISLAND OF FRANCE

Welcome to Porquerolles! A short 10-minutes boat ride away from the coast, the crescent-shaped island nestles a charming village in its centre where you will find a wide and diverse offer of accommodationrestaurants and bike rentals. The best way to discover Porquerolles is hiking or cycling on the numerous marked trails of the National Park.

Porquerolles is a favourite with the French and is busy in the summer and on public holidays. The best months are in late spring, September and October. Late May sees Porquerolles at its most beautiful. Tender shoots are still green and fresh, blossoms exuberant with new colour. Nature fizzes – just before the burn of the summer sun begins and the fading starts.

Porquerolles has two facets: on the southern side, the coast is made of steep cliffs and secluded creeks only accessible to hikers. The northern side, on the other hand, offers fine sand beaches and turquoise waters…our very own Caribbean! As for the core of the island, it is made of fertile plains on which the botanical conservatory grows ancient and unique species. This special island awaits your visit…

 

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20.Cayo Arena, Dominican Republic

Cayo Arena

A PRIVATE PARADISE ISLAND

There are tons of kitschy picture-perfect settings in the Caribbean: a turquoise ocean with endless beaches, palm trees looking diagonally towards the sea, the tropical cocktail during the sunset or the jump into a natural pool of a waterfall. All these typical Caribbean dreams are waiting for you in the Dominican Republic. However, on the north coast of the country, there is a special spot which is more perfect than the mentioned moments and which will even enthuse Caribbean experienced travellers: Cayo Arena with its 7 pretty beach huts on a sandbar which is not that much bigger than 30×90 feet – surrounded by crystal-clear water, a colorful coral reef and the infinity of the ocean. Is there a better spot for taking remarkable photos of the Dominican Republic?

The fascination of Cayo Arena is basically limitless. Besides the incredible setting the coral reef offers an abundance of fishes who are presenting themselves in all colors you even can’t imagine of. And after your snorkeling trip through the underwater world of Cayo Arena you can enjoy a chilled drink and fresh fruits to complete your perfect day in the Caribbean.

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11 European Small Towns Every Traveler Should Visit

A story created with passion and love by BEYOND LIMITS

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When planning your grand European adventure, it’s all too easy to obsess over the essential, big-ticket experiences: taking selfies with the Eiffel Tower, munching pizza near Trevi Fountain, trying to steal the hats off of those Buckingham Palace soldiers. But better to give the beaten path the finger, and head off to explore lesser-known gems in hidden valleys and un-cruise-shipped coves. As you’re no doubt aware, Europe is absolutely stacked with postcard-worthy villages and historical small towns.

by Savas Kazantzides
think green, think life, make a difference.

1.  Lofoten Islands, Norway (pop. 24500)

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WHERE CULTURE AND HISTORY MEETS NATURE

Fjords, mountains, white sandy beaches, and surprisingly warm water, that’s Lofoten. A landscape of skerries, red fisherman cabins, lapping waves and the cries of gulls that will ease your tensions away. Not only the endless days but also the midnight sun gives you extra energy and you might find yourself playing golf at midnight, or forgetting to go to bed!

Take a stroll in old, charming fishing villages, where the creative ones settle to find inspiration, active people to find challenges, wanderers to find peace, where we all find endless beauty. Choose to stay in an authentic fisherman cabin, or a panorama suite with both mountain, city and sea view at the same time. Join us by speed boats to explore the beautiful nature and watch sea eagles, catch fish up close, take a hike with rewarding world-class views and enjoy a pier-front meal of self-caught seafood. Lofoten will take your breath away!

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Fishermen Village

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Sandy Beach

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2.  Semur-en-Auxois, France (pop. 4240)

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A FAIRY TALE MEDIEVAL TOWN

Just 250 km from Paris in beautiful Burgundy you will come across one of the best medieval cities of France, Semur–en-Auxois, Discover its high city and its suburbs by the river Armançon, its municipal museum, its history and its exceptional architecture. Drive down the hill into Semur-en-Auxois on a fine day and often you will see artists sketching the citadel. For this, it is a very picturesque town with attractive houses, antique ironmongery on the walls and doors and narrow streets. By day, the magnificent fortress looks onto the pretty valley of the River Armançon with its weeping willows and weirs. By night, the gigantic towers and ramparts are softly illuminated to create a spectacle all their own.

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The Entrance to the Town

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Cobblestone Streets

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3.  Cadaqués, Spain (pop. 2837)

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SENSE AND SENSIBILITY

It is said that on one of his trips to Barcelona, Einstein escaped to Cadaqués after his interest was piqued by a recommendation from one of his hosts. Upon arriving, he was so overwhelmed by the beauty and so affected by emotion that he began to play the violin.

Throughout the twentieth century, this small fishing village was a centre of attraction for great artistic figures, such as Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, García Lorca, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. The latter had childhood attachments to this area, as it was a summer holiday destination for his family.

Cadaqués remains a special place. The Pyrenees come to an abrupt end as they meet the Mediterranean Sea, and the isolation this provides from the surrounding world explains how Cadaqués has been able to preserve its purity. Yesterday, like today, the two thousand and a few inhabitants who live here view it with a very special sense and sensibility. Fortunately, Cadaqués is a dream that nobody has yet awakened from.

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Sunset in Cadaqués

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The View from the Sea

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4.  Bled, Slovenia (pop. 6322)

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A SIGHT IN YOUR MEMORY FOR EVER

Bled is a small town located in Gorenjska region, Slovenia’s most popular resort due to its breath – taking scenery. Lonely Planet chose Bled as one of the top 10 regions to visit in 2018! In the center of everything is Lake Bled (Blejsko jezero). Lake Bled is a picture-perfect mountain lake with emerald green water and a tear shaped isle in the middle. A fairy tale like church stands on the Isle and an imposing medieval Bled Castle stands tall on a rocky cliff overlooking the lake and the town.

Culinary scene of Bled is based on locally produced food. Bled also serves as an access point for Triglav National Park, where eco livestock free range breeding is extremely important and is also a big part of the local tradition. The most famous dish is a desert called Kremšnita, a cake made of vanilla custard and crème.

Bled is known as an access point for many outdoor activities – hiking, biking, swimming, rafting, and various other water sport activities. Rowing boats or more traditional Pletna boats are a great way to explore the lake. For something different, Hot air balloon flights are a great way to experience the amazing and breathtaking views of Lake Bled and nearby Julian Alps.

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Blejski Grad

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The Lake

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5.     Budva, Montenegro (pop. 13300)

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PEARL OF THE ADRIATIC

Budva is welcoming its guests all year around. Either you look for crystal blue waters of the Mediterranean, backed by gorgeous mountains or a vibrant nightlife or even explore the alleyways of the fortified medieval old town, Budva has a lot to offer to its visitors. The city is home to a variety of lodging options ranging from luxurious resorts to small cozy apartments in stone building restored for the comfort of those who seek privacy. As well as the old town, Budva area is home to many fine restaurants offering delicious seafood from the Adriatic Sea.

Budva is also ideally located within the reach of the most untouched parts of the country where nature lovers enjoy lots of adrenaline raising activities in its mountains, lakes and rivers.

An incentive trip combining all these in the beautiful environement of Budva is quite a unique experience to remember.

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Panoramic View

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The Port

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6.  Zhovkva, Ukraine (pop.13594)

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A HIDDEN TREASURE OF UKRAINE

Old Slavic Vinnyky. Medieval Zolkiew. Soviet Nesteriv. With each change in history this town changed its name and appearance. However, the centre is the same as in medieval times and is again called Zhovkva.

Zhovkva is a small Renaissance town 25 km north to Lviv, the former residence of the King of Poland Jan Sobieski III.

Zhovkva was founded in 1594 as a private town, by Polish military commander Stanislaw Zolkiewski who had decided to build a “perfect city”. From those times, the city kept the most glorious monuments: an impressive Zhovkva Castle, marvelous St. Lawrence Catholic Church, which is a real Renaissance work of art, a sophisticated house of the Town Hall, and a spacious Vicheva Square.The history of the city keeps memory of the numerous historical events that influenced the development of not only Ukraine, but also the entire Europe. In different periods, such famous people as Napoleon Bonaparte, B. Khmelnitsky and Peter I visited Zhovkva. The entire central part of the town has the status of historical and cultural reserve of national importance. The Church of Holy Trinity was listed as the UNESCO World Heritage, amongst 16 wooden churches of the Carpathian Region.

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A Panoramic View

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The Square

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7.  Alaçatı, Turkey (pop. 9745)

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ROMANTIC WEEKENDS

Alaçatı as an extension of Cesme resort in Izmir, a small town  for calmness, relaxation and recovery. You can find small, cozy and romantic hotels in this town. It offers you a lot of possibilities; a beautiful nature, excellent restaurants & cozy cafes, romantic bars, a lot of shops and antique stores, one of the most famous open bazaars of the region, the beautiful beaches with crystal clear waters and some of the best wind and kite surfing paradise in the country. It is a unique place to fall in love. With its mild climate, it is considered a beautiful holiday destination throughout the year.

Stay in a boutique hotel, walk along the narrow streets surrounded by typical stone houses of the town, visit the small antiquity shops in the hidden corners that will offer you memorable souvenirs to pamper yourself, taste the delicious Aegean vegetable cuisine in the small restaurants, walk to the hill of the hundred years old windmills for photoshoot , sit on the beach and watch the windsurfers dancing on the sea. Enjoy every breath you take in this small Aegean Town…That is all about Alacati.

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Alacati Sokaklari

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Sokak

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8.  Asolo, Italy (pop. 9085)

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THE CITY OF A HUNDRED HORIZONS

Just 80 km from Venice, defined by Giosuè Carducci the City of a Hundred Horizons, Asolo is one of the most picturesque old town centres in Italy. Contained within the ancient walls that branch off from the 12th century fortress, in every corner it preserves testimonies of its thousand-year old history. A fascinating place on the rolling Asolan hills, Asolo was a destination for poets and writers, artists and travellers that found inspiration and harmony here. Among them the English poet Robert Browning, the Divine theatre actress Eleonora Duse, the composer Gian Francesco Malipiero, the English writer and traveller Freya Stark. A visit to Asolo allows you to combine the pleasure for history and culture with that of dining. In taverns, restaurants, cafes and wine bars that overlook the characteristic arcades and squares you can enjoy delicious dishes prepared with the finest local produce and linked to the Venetian culinary tradition, such as the delicious “Cicchetti” (venetians tapas). All accompanied by a glass of sparkling Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG, the excellence of this land.

 

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Canal Bridge in Asolo

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Τhe Castle

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9.  Kazimierz Dolny, Poland (pop. 3572)

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ROYAL AND CHARMING

Kazimierz Dolny is not only one of the oldest, but also one of the most charming towns in Poland. Located 140 km from Warsaw, it proudly stretches on the Vistula bank. Being a royal city and one of the main shipping ports during the Golden Age, it is now a place full of picturesque wooden villas and beautiful verandas, which are an outstanding architectural jewel.

The unique natural landscape of the Vistula valley strengthens the charm of this town, which is surrounded by a dense loess network of woody green hills and magnificent lush gardens. The atmosphere of not only artistic bohemia, but also traces of the Jewish “shtetl Kuzmir” together with the culture, spirit of the Renaissance and idyllic landscape attract thousands of visitors each year.

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Photos by courtesy of Town Hall in Kazimierz Dolny

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A Great View of the Town (Photos by courtesy of Town Hall in Kazimierz Dolny)

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10.   Milos, Greece (pop.900)

 

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A GREEK ISLAND LIKE NO OTHER

Milos, like Santorini, is an island that is not only rich in spectacular sunset views and minerals but also in the things that travelers come to Greece looking for: beautiful beaches, inspiring views, a rich history, white-washed Cycladic villages, excellent food and good-hearted people. Combined with Sifnos, one hour away, Milos makes a perfect holiday destination for those who want to experience the real Greece in all its beauty, without the crowds that are found in the more popular Greek Islands and at a fraction of the price.

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A Fishing Village

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Famous Beach

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11.   Rovinj, Croatia (pop. 14294)

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ROMANTIC SPIRIT

Rovinj is a town in Croatia situated on the western coast of Istrian peninsula. First built on a small island and later connected with the mainland, Rovinj is a typical Istrian town. Steep and narrow cobbled streets are full of local shops and art galleries. A majestic Cathedral of Saint Euphemia stands tall on a hill overlooking the town. Despite being a major tourist destination, Rovinj remains one of the last true Mediterranean fishing ports. Tradition and romantic spirit of the town are best experienced during warm summer nights, when a visit to one of numerous music concerts under the stars is mandatory. There you can combine traditional Istrian music with seafood delicacies drizzled in homemade olive oil, and delicious local wine. And if you wish to indulge in dining of the highest class, it is worth noting that since 2017 Rovinj is the only place in Croatia that has a Michelin star restaurant.

Rovinj and its surroundings have a lot to offer. Just off the coast lies so called Rovinj archipelago, consisting of 14 small islands which make for pleasant afternoon trips. Various water sport activities offer great fun in a crystal-clear sea such as sailing, scuba diving, canoe rides, and fishing. Or hop on a boat and head into the Lim valley canal and visit mystic pirate caves.

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Lovely Rovinj

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Mirroring of the Town

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