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As views go, lakes provide a backdrop that is at once soothing and full of mystery. Unlike oceans, these mighty bodies of water are contained. You can row across their surface, dive for shipwrecks, or simply go bird-watching, all in the safe knowledge that land is never too far away. More than anything, lakes can provide a refreshing change of scenery from days spent shopping in town or hiking in the surrounding mountains.
Here are a few lakefront views worth traveling for.
Barcelona has its Sagrada Familia. Sydney has its white-hooded Opera House. And other places? Well, they’ve got steps – lots and lots of them. As the examples illustrate below, epic staircases aren’t just a way to reach higher ground. They can be major attractions unto themselves. From the fabled Ha’iku Ladder in Hawaii, to Norway’s never-ending Flørli Steps, these jaw-dropping ascents aren’t for the faint of heart. But once you get to the top, we think you’ll agree the views more than make up for the effort. Read more
If you’ve been entertaining the idea of a warm, sunny Caribbean getaway to reward yourself for making it through winter (hang in there, we’re almost in the clear!), here’s something to make you reconsider: Norwegian has just launched a “Nonstop Europe” sale with one-way flights starting at $201 to top urban spots like Copenhagen, London, Stockholm, and more. This is easily one of the best flight deals to Europe that’s currently available. Read more
Located two-hundred miles above the Arctic Circle, Tromsø, Norway isn’t exactly an ideal winter getaway. The city receives two hours of sunlight on a good day; temperatures hover at around 5°F; and any exposed skin is subjected to a vicious beating by polar winds. Though these conditions are probably only be pleasing to a puffin, Tromsø, home to a bustling college town and polar paradise, attracts thousands of tourists each winter.
So what’s there to do in the arctic, other than freezing half to death? Here are five options for any budget:
Yes, the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi have been mired in controversy, but we can’t help but get into the Olympic spirit as the opening ceremonies (February 7) draw nearer. After all, what beats watching a trained professional athlete go hurtling down the luge track at 90 miles an hour? We’ve taken a look back at previous winter Olympics host sites, and all the fun activities that visitors can still do there. Now, who’s ready for some bobsledding? Read more
Oslo is one of the most expensive cities in the world for Americans to visit. But it has almost nothing to do with the currency conversation rate. Currenly $1 USD translates into approximately 6 Norwegian krones, which sounds positive, but consider that a single beer will run you about 60 or 70 krones. Yikes. There’s no getting around the price of a meal in most cases, but we found a few ways to save cash in this spendy destination… Read more
There is generally one main factor at play when it comes to cruise prices during the holiday season: the strength of the cruise industry. If it’s been a gangbuster year, don’t expect the cruise lines to wave you aboard for a pittance. Conversely, if sales have been lagging over the past ten months, they’re more likely to roll out holiday deals in a bid to shore up fourth quarter revenues. Value offers will vary by line, so consumers will benefit from some comparison shopping.
Though 2013 brought some challenges to the cruise market – remember the Carnival Triumph power loss in February? – deals seem to be on the scarce side this season. Nevertheless, we found a few decent ones floating around: Read more
Angkor Wat, the Grand Canyon, the Blue Lagoon: just a few of the natural and man-made wonders many of us, if we’re lucky, get to experience during a lifetime of travel. In most cases, visiting them is as easy as just showing up. But what about the countless other jaw-dropping sites we’ll never get to see? Whether too remote, or frozen under ice, or sunk at the bottom of the ocean, here are a few “hidden” sites that no technological advancements – or wishful thinking – can ever bring us closer to.
Earlier this month, a team of scientists discovered a previously-unknown volcano, located deep under the Pacific, 1,000 miles off the coast of Japan. Confirmed as the largest volcano in the world (about a hundred times bigger than Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, which previously held the title), the rock mound, nicknamed Tamu Massif, would make for a pretty impressive sight – too bad its summit lies 4,500 feet below the ocean’s surface. Evidence shows that the 124-million-year-old volcano likely went dormant shortly after it formed, though that doesn’t bring us any closer to traversing its wide, craggy surface. Read more
Eurostar recently tested service between London and Aix-en-Provence. Later this year, the TGV will begin running a direct service between Paris and Barcelona, and, starting in 2016, a new Deutsche Bahn route through the Channel Tunnel will link London to Amsterdam, Cologne, and Frankfurt. Ditching Europe’s budget airlines in favor of its railways is beginning to look more attractive. Not only is rail travel throughout Europe often as quick as, if not quicker than flying, it also has the bonus of spectacular scenery along the way.
Our favorite European rail journeys are not necessarily the fastest, but they are some of the most memorable.
The Bergen Line: Bergen to Oslo, Norway
Traveling along the 231-mile-long highest mainline railway line in Northern Europe offers you a front row seat for some of Norway’s most spectacular landscapes; think dramatic fjords, lush forests, and crystalline waterfalls. If you have the time, take the branch line that runs from Myrdal to Flåm, a village at the inner end of Aurlansfjord, an arm of Sognefjord, Norway’s biggest fjord. This 12-mile route takes around one hour and climbs more than 2,838 feet making it the steepest standard-gauge railway in Europe. Read more
Don’t let the Carnival Cruise Line’s recent newsworthy items deter you from hitting the high seas. There are millions of cruises that sail each year without making the news. They have great customer service, activities for families, couples, and seniors, onboard entertainment, and unique ports around the world. Today we’ve rounded up the best of the best, from exotic international cruises to the always-popular beach destinations. Read more
There we were, in a packed funicular suspended hundreds of feet from the ground, gliding our way up to the Cristo Redentor statue towering atop Corcovado Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, when my mischievous travel buddy leaned over and whispered, “I dare you to just start screaming.”
The image of that scenario – blasting out a blood-curdling scream to the baffled terror of my fellow passengers – cracked me up so much that I started laughing like a madwoman instead (which I’m sure seemed plenty disturbing in itself).
I still chuckle when I think about it, and although I opted not to scream that day, Norway’s tourism board, Visit Norway, is encouraging people all over the world to do just that, with the chance to win a trip to this spectacular Scandinavian country as incentive. The quirky tourism campaign, called “Scream Your Way to Norway” (warning: be careful clicking at work) is inspired by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, who painted (you guessed it) The Scream and would have turned 150 this year. Read more
For American travelers contending with a cutthroat dollar-to-kroner conversion rate, budget Norway travel may read somewhat as an oxymoron. Happily, a bit of budget-savvy planning can help you to tuck a few kroner away during your Norwegian stay.
Fresh off the boat (and train, bus, and ferry) from the country’s popular Norway in a Nutshell tour, which weaves together transportation, lodging, and activities for an unforgettable trip through western Norway’s breathtaking fjord, mountain, and coastal countryside, herewith the full report on how to best crunch those kroner and maximize your wow-factor stopovers when plotting your route.
Granted, a Norway in a Nutshell excursion won’t exactly cost you peanuts, but these money-saving travel tips can help ensure that what you do shell out for won’t leave you plain nuts. Read more
The rapidly expanding network of Scandinavian-based Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA (branded simply as “Norwegian”) is about to get a major boost, with the announcement of 34 soon-to-launch routes set to roll out throughout the Nordic region. The new offerings are scheduled to kick off in March 2012, and will feature flights between cities in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland and the rest of Europe, bringing the tally of the airline’s robust network to nearly 300 routes, which spans North Africa and the Middle East, as well.
Some highlights from the new service will include: Bergen–Edinburgh; Oslo–Reykjavik; Stockholm–Corfu; Stockholm–Amsterdam; Copenhagen–Milan; Helsinki–Paris; and more. In addition to the service debuts, Norwegian will be adding capacity to 40 of its most frequented flight routes, with a particular emphasis on Mediterranean destinations. Starting rates are advertised from €27 ($37) one-way. Read more
Norwegians oohed and aahed as Hurtigruten’s cruise ship, the MS NordNorge, completed its 1,500-mile voyage through the icy blue waters of northern Europe’s Norwegian Sea this Wednesday. The fjord trip, entitled “Hurtigruten – Minute by Minute,” was broadcast live from June 16 to June 22 by Norway’s NRK TV station for a straight 134 hours and watched by a whopping 2.54 million Norwegians (over half of the country’s population!). Rune Moeklebust, project leader for the program at NRK, said his team wanted to convey the six-night journey in a way that would make its viewers feel like they were onboard the ship, which departed from Bergen in southwest Norway and finished at Kirkenes near the Russian border. The cruise line has been sailing the Norwegian coast since 1983. Similar voyages will be held year-round; rates start from $914/person. www.hurtigruten.com
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