Search Results For -off the beaten track

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Off the beaten track: Kefalonia Caves
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Off the beaten track: Natural swimming pools in the Canary Islands
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Off the beaten track: Alberobello, town of the cone-shaped roofs
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Off the beaten track: Rainbow land
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Off the beaten track: Heaven’s Gate
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Off the beaten track: Birdwatching in the Kruger National Park
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Off the beaten track: Cherry blossom lake – Sakura, Japan
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Off the beaten track: Socotra, a mystical place on Earth
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Off the beaten track: an infographic
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Off the beaten track: Funnel Wall, a music playing building

Off the beaten track: Kefalonia Caves

Along with its stunning beaches, fantastic weather and natural beauty, Kefalonia has a couple of hidden gems that really stand out. Some of our favourites include the natural splendour of the island’s caves.

The Cave of Melissani is of unique beauty and is best explored by boat. The cave appears to be in the sun’s direct spotlight, thanks to the gaping hole in the top that allows rays to pour in, flooding the cavern with a soft blueish light.

Mellissani Cave

Image via @ Zolakoma

melissani cave

Image via @ Gellybean

μελισσανι κεφαλονιαImage via @ gravegirl

The Cave of Drogaratis is a 150 million year-old cave featuring red stalactites and stalagmites. However the highlight of the cave is a hall named “Sala of Apotheosis”, thanks to its perfect acoustics. Filled with concerts and shows, this is an unmissable treat when you’re next on Kefalonia.

4641720589_d87cd45917_zImage via @ Drake391980

DrogaritiImage via @ PapaPiper

Drogariti 3Image via @ PapaPiper

Find out about more amazing places in the world from our Off the beaten track series.

Off the beaten track: Natural swimming pools in the Canary Islands

Along with superb beaches, the Canary Islands offer a number of natural swimming pools, with diving, sunbathing and discovering the native flora and fauna of the islands. Here are a couple of our picks for the best natural swimming pools in the Canary Islands.

pozodelascalcosasImage via @ Yeray Banot

El Hierro, Pozo de las Calcosas: It’s a bit of a hike to get to these natural pools, but once you arrive the gorgeous scenery more than makes up for the trek to get there.

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Image via @ Andreas Weibel

Lanzarote, Punta Mujeres: Formed by volcanic lava, these dramatic pools create the perfect atmosphere to sunbathe and relax completely.

el cotillo

Image via @ san borondon

Fuerteventura, Los Charcos, El Cotillo: A peaceful, sheltered spot, this one is great for a family day out.

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Image via @ tenerife holidays

Tenerife, Bajamar:  two natural pools absolutely perfect for swimming, one is completely dedicated to children too, so there’s lots of space for fun and games for all ages.

las salinas

Image via @ El coleccionista de instantes

Gran Canaria, Las Salinas: This is made up of three naturally occurring pools, connected by channels so you can swim right through from one to the other. Las Salinas is also where to go for quality diving to discover the colourful natural habitat.

Find out more about amazing places around the world, in our Off The Beaten Track series.

Off the beaten track: Alberobello, town of the cone-shaped roofs

Alberobello is a small town in Southern Italy, known as the capital of trulli, thanks to the fairy tale 15th-century traditional domes adorning most of the town’s buildings.

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Image via @ *Blunight 72*

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Image via @ valeriani armando

The typical trulli building are usually cone-shaped, and found in the Puglia region of Italy and built without mortar. The town has over 1500 buildings with such roofs and it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Image via @ valeriani armando

The Trulli of Alberobello

Image via @ Elizabeth Thomsen

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Image via @ rmx

The history of trulli dates back to the 15th century when the King of Naples added a tax to new buildings. That’s when peasants decided to build these simple, easily pulled-down structures, so they could be seen as temporary. The eye-catching roofs were made yby simply stacking stones in circular rings. Surprisingly the structure was found to be very stable, and the tradition was kept on.

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Image via @ valeriani armando 

Find out more about amazing places around the world, in our Off the Beaten Track series.

Off the beaten track: Rainbow land

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Image via @ S.K. LO

Imagine visiting a land of rainbow. Well now you can forget about imagining and just go for it. Mauritius is home to this weird and wonderful landscape filled with colour and wonder.

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Image via @ wikimedia commons

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Image via @ wikimedia commons

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Image via @ Anne-Marie bis 

Normally, Mauritius brings in mind exotic scenery and turquoise waters. But, in a small region near the village of Chamarel, a rainbow has found its home in the land. Visitors can can admire huge colourful dunes with seven different hues: red, brown, violet, green, blue, purple and yellow. Most viewers will be surprised to find that even if you try to mix it all together, you’ll realise that the colours are totally separated.

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Image via @ Szakács Feri 

Notably, the dunes don’t suffer from erosion, or from the torrential tropical rains of Mauritius and since the 60s it’s become one of the tourist hot spots on the island. However, you will only get to view the exquisite sands from a platform, as authorities have installed barriers to stop anyone getting too close.

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Image via @ Nitish Ramanjooloo 

Find out more about amazing places around the world, in our Off the Beaten Track series.

Off the beaten track: Heaven’s Gate

The Door to Heaven is a cave in the middle of Heaven’s Gate Mountain, which towers over the Zhangjiajie area in China. It is the biggest natural cave in China and was used as a place of worship by the ancient Chinese. The mystical gap in the rocks is a whopping 122m high and was formed when a rock between the two mountains collapsed.

Heavens Gate 3

Image via @ Wikicommons

Image via @ Wikicommons

Image via @ Wikicommons

To actually see the gaping hole in the cliffs up close, visitors will have to make a gruelling trek up 999 steps. The number of the steps was chosen wisely, since for the Chinese number nine means ‘eternal’ or ‘perpetual’. The highlight of a visit is when the clouds shroud the mountain, offering a really mystical experience.

Alternatively, for visitors that won’t think of climbing all those stairs, there is a cable car (the longest in the world) running and a bus that follows a risky mountain journey with continuous bends.

Heavens Gate 2

 Image via @ SeemingLee

For the full experience of Heaven’s Gate, check out this amazing video of a skydiver flying through the mountain cave:

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Off the beaten track: Birdwatching in the Kruger National Park

For a family break with an adventurous twist, why not grab your binoculars and go bird-watching Off the Beaten Track.

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For keen ornithologists, the vast Kruger Park in South Africa with over 500 bird species, some of which are native only to this area is the ideal place to be. The rich birding (shorthand term for birdwatching) especially in the very northern part of the Park, along with the numerous water points, rest camps and picnic sites create the perfect setting for get up close and personal with some of the most unique feathered friends on the planet.

Kruger National Park 1

 

Kruger National Park 2



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The best place to stand and watch all the weird and wonderful happenings of birding in the Park is in the bushveld camps, a woodland eco region which attract a huge amount of birds, as there is a dense concentration of trees and shrubs and they are usually next to rivers or dams.

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All images via @ wikicommons

Visitors to Kruger Park birders can expect to see birds like the  saddle-billed storks, kori bustards, martial eagles, lappet-faced vultures, pel’s fishing-owls, ground hornbills and many more.

Find out more about amazing places around the world, in our Off the Beaten Track series.

Off the beaten track: Cherry blossom lake – Sakura, Japan

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 Sakura via @ SteFou!

If you love things romantic, filled with flowers or simply think the sight of hundreds of blooming cherry blossom trees is something you’d like to see, then head for Lake Sakura in Japan. Its name translates as ‘cherry blossom lake’ after its stunning surroundings.

In Ubuyagasaki, Japan, a small paradise in bright pink appears every spring, and offers  a breathtaking opportunity to thousands of visitors who come to soak up the unique sight.

Dozens of cherry trees start to blossom turning the whole area into pink. What’s more, bright pink is blended with the blue lake waters making visitors think they are looking at a famous painter’s creation.

Colours harmoniously success each other, depending on the season, reaching their beauty peak in mid-April when visitors can witness a stunning sight.

Find out about more amazing places in the world from our Off the beaten track series…

Sakura 2

Sakura via @ Forgo23

Sakura 3

Sakura via @ jmurawski

Off the beaten track: Socotra, a mystical place on Earth

Socotra 1

Socotra tree via @ Wikicommons

Socotra

Image via @ Places to see in your lifetime

For those of you thinking that alien places only exist in Spielberg’s imagination, the island of Socotra stands as solid evidence of a true outer space land right here on Earth.

Actually, Socotra is an archipelago of four islands close to the Horn of Africa. Thanks to its  geographically isolated location and purely tropical climate, it is no wonder that the fauna and flora of this hidden gem are unique in the world.

Socotra’s unearthly images will certainly amaze even the most experienced globetrotter. Once you get there giant mushroom-shaped Dragon’s blood trees, trees that look like an elephant’s foot, and cucumbers, as well as more unusual species of birds, mammals and fish. It’s all so unusual you’ll have to pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming.

Find out about more amazing places in the world by our Off the beaten track series.

Cowrie Shell

Image via @ Gerry and Bonni

Cucumber Tree

Image via @ Gerry and Bonni

Desert Rose

Image via @ Gerry and Bonni

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Socotra beach via @ Wikicommons

Off the beaten track: Funnel Wall, a music playing building

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image by attila acs

Located in Dresden, Germany and more specifically in the area of Neustadt Kunsthofpassage, also known as the student neighbourhood, this building is unique in the world!

The Funnel Wall is an architectural creation by three artists, Christoph Roßner, Annette Paul and Andre Tempel, who converted the exterior wall of the building into a band playing slow or fast track according to the weather.

To be precise, the entire surface is covered with funnels and gutters in the shape of musical instruments and when the rain begins to fall, this colourful drain system “captures” the water and turns the wall into a melodic music band envied by every conductor!

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image by Lichtdesigner

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image by UglyGuckling

141586077_769e8746b1_z Rainer Fritz

image by Rainer Fritz

Find out more about amazing places around the world, in our Off the Beaten Track series.

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