Copenhagen city break

Copenhagen city break | Why not: Denmark’s Capital Copenhagen is attracting tourists because of a cool city’s harbor, some stylish cultural activities here and there and award-winning restaurants. Since 2009, Copenhagen has been one of the fastest growing metropolitan tourists destinations. Hotel capacity in the city is growing. In the last decade Copenhagen experienced a 42% growth in international bed nights, tallying a rise of nearly 70% for Chinese visitors. The total number of bed nights in the Capital Region surpassed 9 million in 2013, while international bed nights reached 5 million for the first time ever.
It is estimated that every year city break tourism contributes to DKK 2 billion in turnover. So what exactly makes Copenhagen worth a stopover? Here is what we found:

Copenhagen city break Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen
Copenhagen city break: Rosenborg Castle. Photo: wikipedia cc

Copenhagen is bicycle friendly | Comparable to Amsterdam, life in Copenhagen is lived in the saddle of a bicycle. Everybody does it. Bike that is. In Copenhageners bike whether there is sun, rain or snow. The inhabitants of Denmark’s Capital bike to work, to school, to bring the kids to kindergarten, to shop for groceries and to social gatherings. It is simply a way of life, and if you want to experience Copenhagen the local way, you have to jump in the saddle.

Tourists can get it cheap | Daily cost of budget travel in Copenhagen: $80. It would go like this: Attractions: $15 (one paid attraction + any free sights), Food: $28, Breakfast: $3.5, Lunch: $6.50, Dinner: $15, Treat (dessert/beer/wine): $2.50, Transportation: $7.50, Accommodation (Hostel): $38.
Daily cost for frugal travel in Copenhagen: $60. Like this: Attractions: $10 (free walking tour + visit one of the free sights such as the National Museum of Denmark and the David Collection), Food: $16, Breakfast: $0 (free hostel breakfast), Lunch: $5 (ethnic street food, takeaway shop fare, or similar), Dinner: $8 (make your own meal in the hostel or grab something cheap), Beer: $2.50, Transportation: $0, Accommodation: $34 (cheap hostel bed). Not bad for a city that is listed among the top 10 most expensive locations in the world.
If you’re planning on visiting more than one of the many attractions/museums in Copenhagen, you should look into getting a Copenhagen Card. It includes admission to a ton of places, unlimited travel on public transport (bus, train, and subway), and airport transfers. And also worth mentioning: There is no tipping necessary in restaurants, bar of in taxis.

Nyhavn | Especially during summer the former port of Nyhavn is a tourist’s favorite place to end a long day. Have dinner at one of the cosy restaurants. If you are on a budget, do like locals: buy your food from a nearby store and rest your feet at the quayside. Nyhavn was once a very busy commercial port. The area was packed with sailors, prostitutes, pubs and alehouses. Today the beautiful old houses have been renovated and classy restaurants dominate the old port. Nyhavn is filled with people enjoying the relaxed atmosphere by the canal, jazz music and great food. No. 9, Nyhavn, is the oldest house in the area dating back to 1681. The design of the house has not been altered since that time. Many of the houses lining the quays of Nyhavn have been the homes of prominent artists. In Nyhaven, No. 20, the famous Danish fairytale writer, Hans Christian Andersen, used to live. This is where he wrote the fairy-tales ‘The Tinderbox’, ‘Little Claus and Big Claus’, and ‘The Princess and the Pea’. He also lived twenty years in No. 67 and two years in No. 18.

Copenhagen Channel Tours | Canal Tours Copenhagen is a wonderful way of seeing Copenhagen. Many Copenhageners take the tour to get an opportunity to see their capital from a different perspective. Experience the idyllic harbors and canals of Copenhagen with a canal tour. The tour is guided in both Danish and English, and some departures have a third language, varying between German, Italian, French, Portuguese and Spanish. The tour takes approximately an hour. During the tour, you will see: The Copenhagen Opera House, Amalienborg Palace, Christiansborg Palace, the impressive Black Diamond Library, and the Little Mermaid.

Copenhagen city break
There is too much hype about Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid. But for those tourists having paid a visit to Mannekin Pis in Brussels the Little Mermaid is a must, too. Photo: wikipedia cc

For budget tourists: Make your departure from Gammel Strand. It is free with Copenhagen Card, but only with departure from Gammel Strand.

Christiania | also known as Freetown Christiania (Danish: Fristaden Christiania), is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood of about 850 residents, covering 34 hectares in the borough of Christianshavn in the Danish capital. It was temporarily closed by residents in April 2011 while discussions continued with the Danish government about its future, but then re-opened to the public. Christiania has been a source of controversy since its creation in a squatted military area in 1971. Its cannabis trade was tolerated by authorities until 2004. In the years following 2004, measures for normalizing the legal status of the community led to conflicts, police raids and negotiations.

Copenhagen city break
Christiania has been a self-declared independent territory of Copenhagen since 1971. Photo: wikipedia cc.

Where to stay in Copenhagen

Booking.com lists 86 low star hotels, hostels and backpacker selters below 100 Euros per night. We did go with the cheapest offer at 55 Euros (Copenhagen Backpackers Hostel). If you can dig out 600 Euros per night, the Axel Guldsmeden – a 4-star hotel in Vesterbro, might be high on your list. But  well, it doesn’t matter how often you turn the coin. Copenhagen won’t be getting cheaper :/

Copenhagen city break Book a hotel in Copenhagen
Copenhagen for a city break: Book accommodation in Copenhagen via booking.com

Copenhagen city break. By Chili and Churp | © International Destinations | more Travel News here.

Top 10 Islands in the World: Cook Islands

Top 10 Islands in the World: Cook Islands | It’s the last of 10 recommendations in our mini series “Top 10 Islands in the World”. If you’ve ever dreamed of being a castaway in the South Pacific, the Cook Islands might be for you. Strung between French Polynesia and Samoa but with strong ties to New Zealand, the archipelago’s 15 islands are known for their enticing aquamarine lagoons, palm-fringed beaches, and volcanic peaks. But be warned: our vacation will become expensive. Rarotonga is the main tourist hub, with its many resorts, lush peaks, and plentiful beaches. Aitutaki competes with the beauty of Bora Bora, and also comes with kind of the same price tag. Hibiscus-laced villages snuggle on the hillsides, and along its heavenly lagoon lie 21 smaller islets, many within kayak distance of the resorts. Ensconce yourself here in an over-the-water bungalow or hole up in a rustic beach shack on a remote out island and live your Robinson Crusoe fantasies.

Top 10 Islands World Cook Islands
Top 10 Islands in the World: Cook Islands – our number 1.

The Cook Islands is a self-governing island country in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand. It comprises 15 islands whose total land area is 240 sq km. Although Cook Islanders are citizens of New Zealand, they have the status of Cook Islands nationals, which is not given to other New Zealand citizens. There is a larger population of Cook Islanders in New Zealand, particularly the North Island. 58,008 self-identified as being of ethnic Cook Islands Māori descent. With more than 100,000 tourists traveling to the Cook Islands every year, tourism is the country’s main industry, and the leading element of the economy, ahead of offshore banking, pearls, and marine and a bit of fruit exporting.

Top 10 Islands World Cook Islands Tiare Tahiti
Top 10 Islands World Cook Islands. National flower: Tiare Tahiti.

Named after Captain Cook, who sighted them in 1770, the Cook Islands became a British protectorate in 1888. By 1900, administrative control was transferred to New Zealand. In 1965 residents chose self-government in free association with New Zealand. The Kiwis still handles defense, foreign affairs (including issuing passports) and currency.

Top 10 Islands World Cook Islands
Prime Minister Henry Puna of the Cook Islands, and George Ellis, CEO of the Cook Islands Pearls Authority, watch as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton dons a black pearl necklace during a Sustainable Development and Conservation event in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, August 31, 2012. You can read Secretary Clinton’s remarks at the event here: www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2012/08/197268.htm. (State Department photo by Ola Thorsen/ Public Domain)

The three unique dollar coins depicted are still in use, but the 5 and 10 cents coins, along with all other cent denominations have been discontinued since 2006. New Zealand coins are used in their place. The figure with the large head and penis on the $1 coin is Tangaroa, a sea god in Māori mythology.

How to get to Cook Islands

Rarotonga International Airport (RAR) will be your main gateway to get in. There are daily services from Auckland (3.5h) and weekly services from Sydney, Fiji and Los Angeles. The only international airlines at present are Air New Zealand, once-weekly Air Tahiti, and twice-weekly Virgin Australia. Air New Zealand has code share arrangements with other Star Alliance members including United. Rarotonga is a popular stopover on Round-the-world-flights. But there is another way to get in: Rarotonga and Aitutaki are regular stops for boat cruises operating from Tahiti. If you’re planning to sail to the Cook Islands you must enter through one of the five designated ports of entry. These are Rarotonga, Aitutaki and Atiu in the Southern group, and Penrhyn and Pukapuka in the Northern group.

Where to stay on Cook Islands

booking.com lists 172 properties to choose from. But they all sell fast. It is possible to stay for 60 Euros per night. But in order to get a bed on the lower end (2-star-resorts) you better book 1 year in advance. The Cook Islands are called “the Mallorca for New Zealanders”, demand is high year round. For those of you able to fork out 1,000+ Euros per night: try the Pacific Resort Aitutaki – a luxury resort on Amuri. At this price it comes with a free airport shuttle and free bike rental :D

Top 10 Islands World Cook Islands Pacific Resort Aitutaki
Top 10 Islands World Cook Islands: Pacific Resort Aitutaki

Top 10 Islands World Cook Islands Book hotel Cook Islands
Book a hotel on Cook Islands

Top 10 Islands World Cook Islands. By Chili and Churp | © International Destinations | more Travel News here.

Top 10 Islands in the World: Seychelles

Top 10 Islands in the World: Seychelles | Pristine and picture-perfect, the Seychelles are really worth traveling for. Some 1000 km east of Kenya, this relatively unspoiled archipelago of just 115 coral and granite islands feature tropical jungles, beautiful coral reefs and palm-lined powdery white sandy beaches. Some are flanked by giant dark granite boulders. Almost half the total land area of the Seychelles is protected, and many of the islands lie within fish-rich marine sanctuaries with excellent diving and snorkeling. The Seychelles feature some of the planet’s richest fishing grounds, making this a top destination for anglers. Add some spicy Créole cuisine into the mix as well as plush tourist resorts and it’s easy to understand the Seychelles’ allure.

There are 45 granite-based islands known as “Granitic Seychelles”. Pictures from these granite islands become iconic in the internet and kind of represent the Seychelles among tourists. Example:

Top 10 Islands World Seychelles
Top 10 Islands in the World: Seychelles. Stereotype Granite Seychelles. Photo: wikipedia (cc)

Environmental legislation is very strict. Every tourism project must undergo an environmental review and a lengthy process of consultations with the public and conservationists. Seychelles is the world leader in sustainable tourism. The end result of this sustainable development is an intact and stable nature, which only attracts financially strong tourists. Short-term mass tourism is not appreciated.
Since 1993 a law guarantees the citizens the right to a clean environment and at the same time obliges them to protect this environment. The country holds a record for the highest percentage of land under natural conservation—nearly 50% of the total land area.

Now this might sound like paradise too: Through harmonious socioeconomic policies and developments over the years, today Seychelles is described as a fusion of peoples and cultures. Numerous Seychellois are considered multiracial: blending from African, Asian and European descent to create a modern creole culture. Evidence of this harmonious blend is also revealed in Seychellois food, incorporating various aspects of French, Chinese, Indian and African cuisine.

Top 10 Islands World Seychelles Jerzy Strzelecki wikipedia
Seychelles: sailfish catch, Photo by Jerzy Strzelecki (wikipedia)

Top 10 Islands World Seychelles
Seychelles: typical beach at Mahe Island

Seychelles: Aldabra turtle
Seychelles: Aldabra turtle

Where to stay in Seychelles?

There are only hotels. Spending $1,000 per night for a room is no problem. Plenty of 5-star-hotels are eager to help you. On the other end of the scale only one resort gives you shelter at $100 per night: the Reef Holiday Apartments at Anse aux Pins. Heavy favorites among tourists: Sunset Bay Apartment in Glacis (completely booked until late 2018), Chateau Elysium in Beau Vallon ($477 per night), the H Resort at Bel Ombre Road, Beau Vallon ($800 per night).

Top 10 Islands World Seychelles Book a hotel in Seychelles
Book a hotel in Seychelles

Top 10 Islands World Seychelles. By Chili and Churp | © International Destinations | more Travel News here.

Top 10 Islands in the World: Palawan

Top 10 Islands in the World: Palawan, Philippines | It is the Philippine’s answer to paradise – simply stunning and not yet overwhelmed by tourists. But the province of Palawan is also known for kidnappings and even terror threats. And topping all that scary stuff, Nickelodeon plans to build a theme park in Coron. Such mass tourist attraction may destroy the health and beauty of a unique marine ecosystem.

Palawan province is composed of the long and narrow Palawan Island, plus a number of smaller islands surrounding it, totaling roughly 1,780 islands. They stretch southwest towards Borneo (Malaysia) with limestone peaks rising from a jewel-like sea so clear, that you can almost see the expressions on the fish from above the surface. Slivers of gleaming white sand fringed with rustling palms rim many of these jungle-clad islands, while under the water, coral reefs flourish with an impressive diversity of tropical fish, offering some of the best diving in the world. Other attractions include unique wildlife, emerald lakes, and quaint fishing villages. Coron is home to plush resorts, and El Nido drips with natural beauty and is one of the most alluring islands in the chain. From here, you can island hop around the spectacular Bacuit archipelago. One of Palawan’s top attractions is the UNESCO-World Heritage-listed Puerto Princesa Subterranean River NP, an impressive limestone cave system with a long underground river.

Top 10 Islands World Palawan Puerto Princesa Subterranean River
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, Source: wikipedia CC

In 2010, a group of environmentalists and geologists discovered that the underground river has a second floor, which means that there are small waterfalls inside the cave. They also found a cave dome measuring 300 m (980 ft) above the underground river, rock formations, large bats, a deep water hole in the river, more river channels, and another deep cave, as well as marine creatures and more. But deeper areas of the underground river are almost impossible to explore due to oxygen deprivation.

Top 10 Islands World Palawan Coron Island
Top 10 Islands World Palawan: Coron Island

Top 10 Islands World Palawan
Book a Hotel on on of the Palawan Islands

Top 10 Islands World Palawan. By Chili and Churp | © International Destinations | more Travel News here.

Top 10 Islands in the World: Fiji

Top 10 Islands in the World: Fiji | The friendly country of Fiji is every beach bum’s idea of heaven. One of Australia’s favorite tropical escapes, Fiji ticks all the paradise island boxes. Powdery white sand beaches, clear turquoise waters, teeming coral reefs, perfect weather … that’s all you need. Truly relaxed Fijian people welcome visitors with warm, friendly smiles. Conditions for diving, snorkeling, fishing, sunbathing – and in some areas even surfing – are all fantastic.

Top 10 Islands World Fiji
Fiji is every beach bum’s idea of heaven. Source: wikipedia (cc)

With more than 300 Fiji islands, it’s easy to find the perfect match, from luxurious celebrity hideaways and family-friendly resorts to the sublime Yasawa and Mamanuca group. And no matter how big your wallet, prawling under a palm tree and slipping into the silky warm seas is very rewarding to everybody. Fijians love young children, so this a fabulous destination for families looking to relax. Apart from a beach vacation you might also consider river rafting an option. It will be the most unique way of discovering rainforests at Upper Navua. The views are stunning. You can go through narrow passages and pass waterfalls, but still paddle around through some rafts.

Top 10 Islands World Fiji River rafting Fiji
River rafting Fiji. Source: wikipedia (cc)

Fiji is a diving mecca. An underwater world that is unadulterated, beautifully intact and teeming with life. With over 1,200 species of fish to admire, and a colourful display of both soft and hard corals, divers are spoilt by the sheer diversity of sea life on offer.

Top 10 Islands World Fiji diving mecca
Top 10 Islands in the World: Fiji. The island of Fiji is a diving mecca.

It might sound funny, but the Islands of Fiji are located in between France, New Zealand and Australia – territories :) Fiji has one of the most developed economies in the Pacific due to an abundance of forest, mineral, and fish resources. Today, the main sources of foreign exchange are its tourist industry and sugar exports. Fiji has a significant amount of tourism with the popular regions being Nadi, the Coral Coast, Denarau Island, and Mamanuca Islands. The biggest sources of international visitors by country are Australia, New Zealand and the United States, but China is catching up recently too.

Where to stay on Fiji Islands

For backpackers and low budget travelers there are options! 16 to be exact. Booking.com lists them all under 50 Euros per night. Ahead of the pack: Colo-I-Suva Rainforest Eco Resort on Suva Island, and Nanuya Island Resort. At 250+ Euros options become abundant. 77 resorts want to have your attention. The front runners with ratings at 9+ out of 10: Likuliku Lagoon Resort on Malolo Island (with whooping 1200 Euros per night) and Qamea Resort & Spa on Qamea Island (“just” 1000 Euros per night). If this is still below your average spending power, book a beach villa at Vomo Island Resort, coming at 1500 Euros per night.

Top 10 Islands World Fiji
5-star Likuliku Resort, Fiji.

Top 10 Islands World Fiji Qamea Resort
Qamea Resort & Spa.

Top 10 Islands World Fiji Vomo Island Resort
Vomo Island Resort.

Top 10 Islands World Fiji
Fiji natives.

Top 10 Islands World Fiji Nausori-Highlands
Fiji: Navala village in Nausori-Highlands

Top 10 Islands World Fiji
Fiji: Mamanuca Island. Welcome to paradise!

Top 10 Islands World Fiji
Book a hotel in Fiji

Top 10 Islands World Fiji. By Chili and Churp | © International Destinations | more Travel News here.