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If you thought that light shows were reserved for children at theme parks or at techno shows for young adults, think again. Each year, each day, cities around the world ignite their skies with colorful arrangements of phosphorescent lights. From decorative cranes at an old Croatian navy yard to entire harborscapes like those in Hong Kong and Singapore, there’s a delightful journey in some of the world’s finest light shows. See our favorites here.
In Europe, when temperatures drop, so do the prices. Traveling to Europe outside of the summer season almost always guarantees savings — but this year you can get an even earlier start by jumping on this special offer from Lufthansa. The respected airline, a member of the Star Alliance, is offering low rates starting at $532 round-trip between the United States and a number of European cities, including Istanbul, Vienna, Berlin, Warsaw, Prague, and even Moscow. Read more
Tucked into the 350 miles that separate Warsaw and Berlin, the Lubuskie region is the unofficial capital of Poland’s small but growing wine production. It’s the largest of Poland’s three main wine-growing areas, just over three hours from Warsaw and two from Berlin via train. Thanks to the location’s accessibility, the region is a long but possible day trip. It sees few American visitors, despite its convenience and proximity to other popular destinations, but we hope that changes soon. It’d be a shame to miss out on what may be one of the wine world’s best-kept (and utterly idyllic) secrets.
Compared to most of Western Europe, Berlin is a bargain. Hotel rooms cost about half the price of rooms in Paris or London, and it’s easy to fill your belly for fewer than five bucks. The city’s affordable activities and creative spirit make it a budget traveler’s dream. And there are plenty of free things to do — from museums and monuments, to public parks and open-air karaoke. Here are some of the best free things to do in Berlin. Read more
Stuck forever in the era of boat-sized convertibles, Elvis memorabilia, and red-checkered tablecloths, these American-themed diners offer a nostalgic ride into ‘50s Americana while satisfying rumbling tummies. Although commonplace throughout the fifty states, you don’t tend to come across these neon-lit, chrome-plated structures anywhere else in the world. So if you happen to be abroad and craving a burger and a milkshake, here are twelve diners around the world that’ll transport you back home.
Visit the full slideshow here.
Get ready for another one of those anniversaries that might make you feel really old. November 9, 2014 will mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Once you’ve overcome this shock, start researching cheap tickets on low-cost carrier Air Berlin because a series of special events and exhibitions are about to take place throughout the city.
As well as being Europe’s fastest growing tourism city, Berlin is a great overall budget destination where tourist activities tend to cost less than in other European cities. A hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus ticket will cost you $23 in Berlin, for example, compared to $40 in Barcelona. If you are planning to travel around the city and visit a lot of museums, you might also consider the Berlin Welcome Card, which covers transportation, museum entry, and discount vouchers. The card starts at $25 for 48-hours.
As the count down to the New Year approaches, so does the party-planning pressure. Most major cities throw vast, crowded spectacles for the occasion, but if you’re not so keen on ringing in the New Year elbow-to-elbow with thousands of strangers, consider planning something a little offbeat this year… Read more
East-bound Europeans will be happy about the launch of El Al’s new low-cost carrier, UP. Based out of Tel Aviv, the offshoot airline will directly compete with Europe’s budget airlines like EasyJet, which offers service to Israel for as low as 68 EUR (about $93) each way. That’s more expensive than the fares offered on UP, which will start at just $69 each way.
Beyond price, frequency of service is a key part of UP’s strategy: a total of 50 flights per week will shuttle between Tel Aviv and Berlin, Kiev, Prague, Budapest, and Larnaca, some of Europe’s most popular hubs.
And here’s our favorite part: A new low-cost carrier in Europe can mean cheaper flight options for U.S. travelers heading to the region. Opting for a layover in Europe, and a switch to a budget carrier once you get there, can really save. And the difference in price can far outweigh the inconvenience of connecting in another airport. As El Al’s new low-cost carrier augments service to Tel Aviv, we’re wondering: could UP offer a new solution for U.S. travelers trying to get to Israel more affordably? Read more
A visit to the museum needn’t be a serious, subdued affair – despite whatever you were told on the field trips of your school days. Many museums are catching on to the trend of keeping doors open after hours so that guests can combine a love of art and culture with good food, drinks, music and dancing. Here are a few of the best.
Warm Up at MOMA PS1, Long Island City, New York
This experimental summertime dance party is one of New York’s hottest tickets and runs on Saturdays from late afternoon through the evening. The museum’s courtyard is taken over by an installation created by the winner of their Young Architects Program while a stellar lineup of international DJs plays to the crowd. You can also expect food, drink and al fresco dancing come rain or shine. Read more
It’s very rare that I get to experience the same destination twice. Even more rare is it that I get to experience a city twice from two completely different perspectives. If you’re traveling to Berlin, whether you’re looking to pinch pennies or indulge, here are some ways to make it unforgettable. Read more
When I think of Berlin, beer and a culturally rich city comes to mind. Not an island oasis. But head about 37 miles south of the city and you’ll encounter just that. And in an old military hangar, no less. Welcome to Tropical Islands, an entire island-like resort housed in a giant dome. According to their website, the dome is actually the largest free-standing hall in the world – it’s big enough to fit the Statue of Liberty standing up and the Eiffel Tower lying on its side. Sunbathe, go swimming in the waterfalls, and even stay overnight in the middle of the world’s largest indoor rain forest. Read more
Delightfully dynamic and effortlessly edgy, Berlin packs a punch not only on its hip factor, but also on its great-value offerings for budget-minded travelers. Dig just a little deeper (and not into your pockets) to discover a city – known for its tumultuous history, provocative arts scene, and no-holds-barred nightlife – that’s also filled with top-rate attractions that are absolutely frei. Just back from a week on the ground there, here are five great freebie finds in budget-friendly Berlin. Read more
We’ve seen our fair share of unique hotel design elements, but the sheer number and grandiosity of on-property hotel aquariums took us by surprise. While some are in locations where you might expect to find elaborate shrines to the local ocean flora and fauna – Hawaii, the Bahamas, the Philippines – mega-aquariums have turned up in some unexpected places, like central Berlin and midtown Manhattan. A pair of Vegas showstoppers, a duo of Florida hideaways, and a monstrous aquatic playground only possible in everything-to-the-extreme Dubai round out our list of the largest and most extravagant. And unlike the tanks you may have encountered during grade school field trips, these 10 hotel aquariums aren’t just for pressing your nose against the glass: Some allow guests to plunge right in through scuba or snorkeling sessions, stingray feedings, or dolphin encounters. So take it from us – it really is better down where it’s wetter, under the (artificial) sea! Check out our Top 10 Hotel Aquariums to get a sneak peek of these watery wonders.
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Whether you’re a seasoned international traveler or your passport has more blank pages than stamped ones, you’ll likely find yourself missing the faraway comforts and familiarity of home from time to time while on the road. The Mandala Hotel in Berlin takes great care to make guests feel as they have that home away from home. From towel warmers and complimentary foot cream waiting on every pillow to minimalistic interior design and handpicked art on the walls, each space feels less like a hotel room and more like a chic city apartment. Each of the 157 luxury studios and suites at Mandala also presents guests with a small library of art and culture books and relaxing CDs. Mandala Hotel welcomes long-stay guests, and it’s no surprise that actors, celebrities, and film crews working in Berlin frequently choose to stay at Mandala when in the city.
Fresh from a $25 million facelift that gave its staterooms a glamorous dash of retro-meets-modern panache, eight-year-old Crystal Serenity embarked on a series of cruises through the Baltic Sea. Onboard for the most recent 11-day “Jewels of the Baltic” segment, I sampled the award-winning hospitality, service, and cuisine for which Crystal (www.crystalcruises.com) is renowned – all while visiting a half dozen fascinating and historically romantic cities, from Stockholm to St. Petersburg to Copenhagen (shown above at left).
Crystal’s cruise product is luxurious from aft to stern (and, accordingly, Serenity fares start at about $675 per person per day), but the line’s attention to quality is evident in everything from the chic new stateroom decor to the delicious and ambitious menus in the seven dining outlets. At 68,870 gross tons and 1,070 passengers, Crystal Serenity (shown at right) is larger than most of its luxury competitors (many of whose ships accommodate 300 to 700 passengers) and it strikes a nice balance between a small and large-ship experience. The crew’s top-notch service gives Serenity a feeling of intimacy while its size gives it recreation options (two pools, two Jacuzzis, paddle tennis courts, and a walking and jogging track that encircles the Promenade Deck) that smaller ships lack.
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